STEEL BARS

By Leyenn

 

 

 

This is going to be little, I promise you. The events depicted aren't canon; I just wanted to try it and loved the song. It's half log entry, half rambling to self, written or spoken - it's also my first serious foray into the world of first person fanfiction, and started without the aid of the song it's written to. Be easy.

 

 

 

 

*****

Steel bars, wrapped all around me,
I've been your prisoner since the day you found me...

 ---

   I'm standing here now, and I have no idea what to do with myself. It was starting out as a normal day, even a good day, and then...

   "My prisoner," you said. You choked on the words, as if they hurt. I was going to kiss you, to keep the words out of the air when you couldn't take them back. I knew how this would affect you; how you'd flinch away from me, thinking I could turn you away because of something so little. Have you so little faith in me, Delenn? In us?

   "You were my prisoner." But what does it matter now? It was years ago, so long ago. It's not important anymore, Delenn.

   I tried to tell you that. I tried before you even finished speaking, and I hardly ever interrupt you. Have you noticed that? Still so formal in all the little ways, even after sharing so much together. I've never thought about it before, and it makes me laugh to think I'm that proper with my own fiancée. Not reserved, though, that not-so-small part of me that always seems to be thinking of you reminds me. Oh God, no, not reserved and hardly proper, at times. Lately, though, I should have noticed something was up. With everything that's been going on, I put it down to the stress, the rushing around, the strain of command. I know you're hardly new to this – hell, you've had more practice than even me – but it's not every day you go up against your government and what passes for your gods. Do Minbari have gods? Yet another thing I don't know about the woman I'm going to marry. I don't believe how well we fit when we understand so damn little about each other... well, most of the time. You'd think that with all the permutations they could have used, whoever really did create us might have been a bit more into the 'variety is the spice' notion. Obviously he was just as bad at cooking as me. Not that you'd ever complain – on either front.

   Still, thinking back over the past couple of days, you've been that hint more formal than usual. Like I said, I put it down to stress, even asked you to see Stephen about it once. Why can I never see these things coming?

   I wish I could have at least seen this one. The deal with Anna, that was hard for me, but this? This is nothing. It was so long ago I'd forgotten until you started dragging yourself through it again. Yourself, not me. You stood there, looking like a frightened kitten about to be trampled by a wild animal. *Frightened.* I've only seen than look on your face once before...

   I don't remember what I said – okay, shouted during my first real fight with a girlfriend. Not that you've ever been just a girlfriend to me. Friend, hell yes, when I needed one and when I was convinced I didn't; from the very first minute I saw you I knew we'd get that close. A lover - there's no question on that one. In any and every sense of the word. Partner probably comes closest, covers the most ground, but never 'girlfriend'. It sounds immature, adolescent. Not that I've never felt that way around you... and not that I still don't sometimes. I just don't think I believe yet that I've managed to find you in all this chaos. I don't believe someone like you loves me after what I've put you through. You love me, don't you, Delenn? I can see that in your eyes. You just don't trust me any more.

   I don't know why I expected you to forget it all after I came back: maybe because you seemed to have done it already. You hid it all so well, you had me convinced that all you wanted was me to forgive you for your mistake. But I was the one who should have asked that, and I didn't know it until today.

   "My prisoner," you said. But not now. Now you're mine, my prisoner, my hostage even. Mine to do with as I please. You didn't have to say any of that: the one thing you always say with your face is your fear. You believed, really believed, that you deserved anything I would say, anything I'd do to you.

   And you believed I'd do it.

   I was so shocked by that, you probably thought I was too angry to say anything. To be honest, and I want to be, I didn't care about a word you said. "You were my prisoner. I – I captured you, during the War. I held you and Stephen captive." Your voice was so quiet, I could barely hear you. It only struck me then how frightened you were of telling me. I don't know why you had to tell me now: I couldn't form the question. I just had to keep listening.

   "I could have killed you." But it was war, Delenn! Why can't you see that? "I gave the order to have you killed." You were torturing yourself, and I wanted to tell you to stop it. It wasn't your fault! It has nothing to do with us! I should have said that out loud, but your eyes stopped the words. I don't think I've ever been so scared by someone's eyes than I was just then. You won't understand that if I tell you. You'll probably assume you looked the way you did ten years ago, but to be truthful you looked shit scared of me. Of me.

   Do you know how it feels to look at the person you love, the one who means life itself to you, and see fear looking back?

   That frightened me too, Delenn. It frightened me that I had that power over you. It frightened me that I hadn't seen it before, that you'd managed to hide it from me. How many times have we made love since I got back from Z'Ha'Dum? How many times have we fallen asleep in each other's arms, woken up together, had breakfast together? Did you feel like this every time? Why didn't I see it? Am I blind or just stupid?

   I know blaming myself won't do anything for the situation, but I can't help feeling like this. I want to be there for you, Delenn, but you won't let me. I know why, and that only makes it harder. After all, how can I be there for you when I'm the one you want to be protected from? I don't know what to do, only to tell you how sorry I am.

   I said I didn't remember the words from my first real fight. But I remember our first fight. Every breath of it. And oh God, every touch. Do you think I'm not sorry for that? Do you think I wanted to hurt you? I hope not, because I would never want that.

   Maybe that's what you don't accept now. You don't see in my face how much I regret shouting at you like that, or how much I hate myself for even laying a hand on you. You have no idea how painful it was for me to hurt you like that. I don't believe you think I don't care: I know that's not true. But that I care isn't enough - I know it's not. Even love isn't enough. There has to be trust there, and that's gone. Or has it?

   I trust you. That's why this is so hard for me to understand... why you think I would turn away from you because of how we met all those years ago. I know that has no bearing on us now; I think you do too. So... are you testing me? Testing your trust in me? Maybe that's it.

   "My prisoner." Those words keep echoing in my brain. And I am your prisoner, Delenn, in many ways. I couldn't live without you, and I mean that literally. It was only the thought of you that brought me home from that abyss. I'm a prisoner of your strength, of your passion, most obviously of your love. And now of your trust; surprisingly, the one single thing I need from you. I'd be devastated if you didn't love me, that much is true, but nothing hurts more than knowing you don't trust me. But then why should you when I don't trust myself?

   I can still hear the anger in my own voice when I shouted at you. "You told me she was dead!" Why didn't I trust you then, Delenn? Because you were right, in every way that mattered. I can feel your clothes, your arms, the way I held you. It wasn't gentle, and I'm ashamed of that.

   Do you realise that, Delenn, that I've never apologised because I'm too ashamed to even look at you and remember? You must think I've just forgotten. I should have told you that it's just the opposite – I can't forget. I just never realised it had hurt you so badly before. That's no excuse, I know, but it's the truth.

   I hope you can forgive me, for what I've done to us and for not having the guts to bring it up before. I may even pray for you to forgive me, because I don't know what I'd do without you. I've relied on your presence since the minute I first looked into your eyes; on your friendship ever since I felt your hand rest on mine. On your love... since I don't know when, but on your trust - always. I don't know how to survive if that's gone.

   I desperately want to go to you now and hold you, tell you how sorry I am, but you won't accept that. It's agony to admit it, but you want me to hurt you even more than I want never to do that. You know why? And I am going to make you hear this, I know. Because you think you deserve it, but you've never known anyone who thought that was true. That was what you wanted from me, what I hope you still want. You trusted me to deny you the pain you thought you deserved, and I let you down. I hurt you. But do you really think I can do it again?

   I lost my temper. It happens. Given the situation... it's hardly forgivable, but maybe understandable. I'm not saying it'll never happen again. But...

   Oh, hell, Delenn. I don't know when this became a message to you, but it is. I'm trying to make you understand: what happened in the past is gone. My life now began when I found you; anything before is just packaging. Yeah, maybe we did meet ten years ago, or however long it was. That doesn't matter anymore. What matters is that now that I know you, I love you above anything or anyone in my world. But I can't imagine never knowing you, never being your lover or your friend. You're a part of me, and all I want to do is apologise for everything. I don't want that fear to look at me through your eyes again. I know you think you deserve my temper, but you could never deserve the way I've treated you. I *can* forgive you, if that's what you need, if you can forgive me. We can work this through together. All that matters is that we trust each other: we had it once, and we can have it again - and we both know that the War has nothing to do with anything. You torture yourself with it, but I won't let you anymore.

   "My prisoner," you said, as if you were ashamed. But don't you see it, Delenn? Then and now don't mean a thing. I've always been your prisoner, since the first day I saw you. You've got your hands on my soul, and I hope nothing ever makes you let go.

[END]

 

*****

 

 

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