LIVING AGAIN

By Jennie Moore

 

 

 

Authors note: This is just something that bounced around my head for awhile. Its a two hanky story. I guess you could call it an Alternate Universe story, but a very sad one.

 

 

 

 

 *****

May, 2264

   John Sheridan woke, slowly opening his eyes. Glancing at the chrono, it was oh seven-thirty A.M. Not his normal wake up time, but then things hadn't been normal for some time. He thought he felt her presence next to him, but then reality crept in, and he knew she wasn't there. Her last words to him were "I love you, John."

   Now he would only hear those words in his dreams. Sometimes the dreams were so real. He could almost smell her perfume, feel her touch on his face, her hand in his hair. And the touch of their bodies as they made love. All this was nothing more than feelings now. Something to keep him warm at night, when the tears would start, and he couldn't stop them.

   Turning onto his back he stared at the ceiling, thinking of that last moment together.

   

   April, 2264

   John had been in the Command and Control center, when word of the attack came in. The White Star Delenn was on, had been ambushed. They were making their way back to the station. Four dead and nine injured, including Delenn.

   From what John had learned, part of the ceiling had fallen on her, burning. The ship had sustained substantial damage. It was nothing less than a miracle that they made it back at all.

   As he ran out of C & C, heading for MedLab, his only thoughts were of her. How bad was she hurt and would she survive? But nothing prepared him for what he saw when he got there. He had skidded to a halt at the door, the sounds of pain all around him.

   Then he saw her.

   She was almost unrecognizable. Her right arm was completely covered in bandages, along with the right side of her face. Her right leg was immobilized, the left bandaged from the knee down to her foot. Her face, what he could see of it, was covered with grim. And parts of her dress had been burned completely off her body.

   John's heart was paralyzed with fear. He was afraid to move any closer, for she might notice he was there. He also knew that if she saw him, he would start to cry. 'How could this happen?' was all he kept asking himself.

   It was hours later before he could actually hold her hand, tell her he loved her. He never really knew if she heard him or not, and he didn't care. He wanted to be with her. The bad part was, it had taken almost three days for her body to shut completely down. When Doctor Franklin had told him it was just a matter of time before she would die from her injuries, he had broken down in Stephen's office.

   She was on a bed in MedLab, her life slowly seeping from her. When she woke up, she was in so much pain, most of what she said was hard to understand. Except for "I love you, John." That was enough to send him over the edge.

   He tried to find the words to tell her how much he loved her, but he couldn't get them out. And as he watched the light fade from her eyes, her hand go slack in his, tears started running down his cheeks. He gathered her in his arms and whispered "I love you," in her ear. Even knowing she couldn't hear him.

   Aside from his own crying, there was another sound in the room as well. A little boy screaming for his mom. John slowly lowered her back down on the bed and turned to his son.

   "Come here." Opening his arms to hold him.

   David Sheridan was three years old and looked more like his father than John had hoped for. His headbone was starting to show under his blonde hair, but John saw so much of Delenn in him. He even had her green eyes, which were now filled with tears.

   'How do I tell him she's gone.' John thought, but then he realized that David already knew. He knelt down and picked him up, feeling little boy arms around his neck.

   "Mommy! Mommy!" David said over and over. John was at a loss as to what to say. His grief was starting to overtake him as well, but he knew that David needed him.

   "It's all right, David." John tried to console him. But just how do you console a three year old, right after his mother has died. John didn't know what to say, so he just stood there, holding David. Both of them crying.

   But loosing her wasn't the worst part. The funeral was. He was asked if he wanted to say a few words about her. But how can you put into words, feelings only you understood. So he did his best, till he glanced at the casket. He broke down then, unable to continue.

   The hardest part of all, was telling young David, that his mother was never going to be there for him. That was when John realized that he couldn't give in to the grief, give in to the depression slowly creeping into his body. He had a son to take care of and he wasn't going to let Delenn down.

   It wasn't until that first night alone, that David had asked where mommy was. John didn't think it could get any worse, till then. He sat for hours in her rocking chair, holding David, till he had cried himself to sleep. John was reluctant to put David in his own bed, but he did. John was going to have his own problem falling asleep and didn't want to disturb David.

   There was so much of her in their quarters, it was hard for John to come back to them sometimes. In council meetings he would stare at her empty seat, wondering if he would ever get through the meetings. He remembered a time when she would be a calming force for him. And how she would speak her mind, when others couldn't speak for themselves. He could only hope that someday he could get past a meeting, without her invading his thoughts.

   John knew his friends on board the station, were trying to help him get past his grief. But how can you stop someone from hurting inside, for a person that was their other half. Michael had volunteered to take care of David for a few days, so John could put some of Delenn's affairs in order. And Susan had been the one person that John had leaned on. He knew the two women had gotten to be good friends and it help having Susan close.

   Susan was with John one night, going through some of Delenn's things, when he had come across a baby picture of Delenn and David. Susan noticed that John was sitting, staring at the picture, tears running down his face. She had been sitting next to him on the sofa and it felt the most natural thing to put her arm around him. But Susan never expected John to turn and cry on her shoulder. That was when she made up her mind to be there for him, when he needed her. It was more of a brother and sister relationship and they both knew it would never be anything other than that.

   After one very long day, John had put David to bed early, trying to get some rest himself. He had fallen asleep, only to be woken up by David's cries for his mommy. John went to his room, seeing David sitting up in bed, tears running down his little face. John went over to him, only David didn't want his daddy, he wanted his mommy. He kept asking for her. John's heart was breaking.

   "I'm sorry, son. Mommy can't be here for you, but I can. And no matter where she is, she loves you very much." John told him, it only made his crying worse. John stayed with him for awhile, till he fell asleep. The next morning, John woke to find David in bed with him. Sometime in the night, David had gotten up again, needing his dad. So he had climbed quietly in bed with him. John really couldn't blame him, David needed to be close to his dad, the only parent he had left now.

   David got up and went to the living room, wanting to watch cartoons. John told him it was okay and he would be out soon, to fix breakfast.

   John took a deep breath, trying to start his day without thinking of Delenn. That task was becoming harder and harder every day. After time slipping on Babylon 4, going to Z'Ha'Dum, he figured that he would be the first to die. Not her. 'Why her,' he thought. 'She was so full of life.'

   Memories slowly played out in his mind.

   The first time they had made love, on their wedding night. She was so nervous, but filled with wonder. He wanted to make the night special for them both. But Delenn had shown her love for him in ways he never imagined. 'So full of passion,' that was what she said to him. And that's exactly how she made love. He thought he would die from the passion she showed him that night. And in the morning, she was so eager to take that first shower together, as man and wife.

   The day he came home, to find a candle light dinner. He never did find out how she knew of these things, but it didn't matter. She had told him something that made his heart soar. And he wasn't quiet sure if his head ever came out of the clouds. "I'm pregnant, John" was all it took. She looked so wonderful, even up to the delivery. He never knew how much he loved her, until she had given him the greatest gift a woman could give any man. A son.

   The afternoon he had come home early, only to find Delenn sitting on the floor playing with David. She was building a pyramid with his blocks, with David squealing in delight as he knocked them down. She was great with him. But when she would look up to see the one man she loved, John's heart melted.

   The one evening they had finally gotten David to take his first tentative step. He was so shaky on his little feet, John was afraid he would never learn to walk properly. But once David discovered his feet got him around faster than crawling, it was all they could do to keep him out of things. When David had accidentally broken one of Delenn's crystals, it was time to 'baby proof' their quarters.

   Delenn had discovered that John was a pretty good cook, as long as it was breakfast, and not too complicated. So she didn't object when her 'men' would fix it for her. 'Breakfast in bed' as John had put it. But something amazing happened when they did things together.

   Breakfast had turned into 'their' time, John's and David's. Both helping to make it. Only the first time John had shown David how to crack an egg, it had landed on the floor. Both of them laughed so much, Delenn had gotten up to see what was going on in 'her' kitchen. When she got there, they where cleaning up the floor. John looked up to see her smiling at the two of them, he wasn't sure who looked more guilty, him or his son.

   John shook himself out of the past and into the present. He had a son to take care of. John had talked to Susan the night before, telling her to take command for the day, he was going to spend time with David. Susan didn't object, how could she, she was David's Godmother. But Susan also knew that John wanted to spend at much time as he could with his son. So she had told John she would contact him, only in the case of an emergency.

   John swung his feet over the side of the bed, grabbing his robe, putting it on as he stood up. Running his hand through his hair, trying to clear the memories from his mind. He didn't want to think about her right now. He had done enough of that during the night. Since her death, he had never slept completely through the night. And he knew why.

   Every dream he had, she was there. He would wake himself up either saying her name or crying for her. He never really realized how much he missed not having her beside him, until that first morning he woke up alone. He had rolled over to greet her, only to find she wasn't there. Her side of the bed cold.

   He crossed the bedroom to the door, pausing only to glance at their wedding picture. 'Stop it, John!' the voice in his head told him.

   Hearing his son's giggles, he just couldn't resist standing there watching him. David was watching one of the "Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 Century" videos. How Michael had gotten him hooked was beyond John. But David liked the cartoon and John had to admit, they where kinda fun to watch with him. 'Delenn, he has my warped sense of humor, but your heart. I hope I can teach him about you and your people. The way you would.'

   Sometimes at night, after he put David to bed, he would sit staring at her picture. Quietly talking to her. Telling her about his day, how their son was doing, and what was happening on the station. But the one thing he never stopped telling her, was how much he loved her, and missed her.

   "Oh God, Delenn. We promised each other we would never be alone and now your gone. I can't help thinking I'm responsible, that its my fault. I should have stopped you from going. I should have been there with you when you were hurt. But you told me my place was here. And that I needed to look after David. Wasn't that your responsibility too?" John said out loud. He was crying for her again, the tears flowing unnoticed as usual.

   "Delenn, I know you told me to take David to Minbar and to Earth," he said to her picture. "I think now is the time. I'm trying to put our lives back together, but everywhere I look, I see you." He paused, staring into her eyes. "It's so hard to go anywhere, without looking for you. I haven't been in the Garden since you've been gone. I can't bring myself to go there."

   Those on board the station that knew of the relationship they had, never questioned his blank stares or the sometimes hostile attitude. And when John had gotten angry one night when David had broken a plate, he knew he needed some time away from the station. And his command.

   He thought going to Earth would help. It didn't really. Oh, David enjoyed being with his Grandparents a great deal and they were spoiling him. And John noticed that his parents loved David. They tried not to bring up Delenn, but sometimes her name would come up in conversations. One night, David Sr. had asked John how he was doing. The response he got shocked him. John had gotten up and walked out of the house.

   He stood on the front porch, gazing out over the rolling hills of the farm. He took a deep breath and slowly walked down the steps. He stood there, looking up at the stars, hearing her voice in his head 'Starstuff.' He then fell to his knees, crying. It wasn't until later, he learned that his mom had been watching him.

   After spending about a week with his folks, he made arrangement for them to get to Minbar. John had contacted Lennier and told him they were coming.

   But when they arrived on Minbar, it wasn't Lennier that greeted them. It was Neroon. That had surprised John. But it was David that fascinated him. Neroon had asked if he could show David around the capital and John didn't object. He thought it would be better if a Minbari showed his son around. Not to mention how much easier it would be on him.

   David seemed to enjoy his mothers homeworld. He had become a natural presence in certain places. And most of the Minbari got past the fact that his father was 'Starkiller Sheridan.' It would seem that John was never going to lose that name. Even after everything that had happened.

   They stayed longer on Minbar than John had really wanted. He felt guilty for leaving the station for so long, but he also knew that it wasn't going anywhere. So when the time came to say goodbye, David was a little hesitant, and John understood. David had made a connection to his mother and her people. It was something that would change them both, for it was the same thing that happened to John, on his first trip.

   After returning to the station, John found himself looking for her as they came off the shuttle. Glancing down at David, John noticed he was doing the same thing. Then those little green eyes met his fathers and they both knew they were alone, but not alone. John reached out for David's hand and felt the little fingers grip his. Then they headed back towards their quarters, knowing that no matter where they went, Delenn would be with them. Always.

   

   **Three years later**

   John and David had moved beyond their grief and had put their lives back together. David knew his mom loved him, he also knew that his dad would be there for him, when he wanted to talk about her. John also knew that talking about her, kept her memory alive in his heart as well. And John found that when he would think of her, the memories were happy.

   John had discovered that his dreams of her were no longer painful. He could sleep through the night, waking only if he heard David call out for her. Fortunately, that didn't happen as often as it did in the beginning. David excepted the fact that his mom wasn't there. And after his dad told him to keep a 'warm spot in his heart' for her, sleeping was easier for him.

   John even found himself wondering the Garden occasionally. And when he did, he sometimes felt her beside him. Once, he even found himself catching a glimpse of her, from the corner of his eye. He turned suddenly, but there was nothing there. Somehow he knew she was watching and he smiled to himself. 'I love you, Delenn,' he thought. And as if hearing him, he caught just a hint of her perfume.

   One night, he had dreamed of Delenn. Not an unpleasant dream, but one he knew too well. It was the one where she would tell him she was waiting for him. And he knew that she would forever be with him.

   John also knew that when his time to 'stop' would come, he could live again, with her.



 

 *****

 

 

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