By Coucher de Soleil




   I've decided to write this in three parts. Those of you who enjoyed 'Prologue' should enjoy this one. (I hope) It's another D/Sh story, set in an alternate universe. (You'll see what I mean)

   B5 belongs to WB, and intellectually to JMS. (Something like that.) No infringement intended, certainly. :)

   This one contains spoilers for WWE, so if you haven't seen this one, beware. This one is intended to be rather tame and sappy. ;)

   BTW, this story is dedicated to my sister. Lots of love. BTW again, I usually don't really like to write this kind of fanfic story. But this one called out to me...

   On with the story...






   "Welcome back from the abyss Sheridan." As he awoke.

   "John? (...) I am not afraid...Not if you are with me..."

   "We all have our keepers, you see..." A face peering out of darkness.

   "There is a ship, hidden behind the palace..." Escorted by Londo's guard, they found it and climbed aboard. Leaving the burning Imperial City behind, the ship climbed its way into space.

   Inside, Delenn sat motionless in the cramped piloting compartment while Sheridan piloted the ship of the atmosphere. Apparently there was not much need to worry about Centauri planetary defenses.

   She continued to sit there as the ship jumped into hyperspace. He set the controls on automatic after checking that no one was following them, and walked over to her. Something was wrong.

   "Delenn, are you all right?" He asked gently. She looked up at him, visibly startled. She nodded, before walking out into the neighbouring and equally cramped sleeping quarters, which along with the piloting compartment constituted the entire ship. He followed her.

   He was startled when she lay down on the nearest bed and began to cry. He hesitated, then put a hand on her arm. "Delenn..." He began, intending to say something comforting. But the sentence died unspoken as she sat up and kissed him, with tears still on her cheeks. More were in her eyes as she put a hand to his lips to silence anything more. More fell as they embraced again. As he looked at her, graying now, more beautiful than ever.

   She kissed him again, drawing him to her. Unsure, he hesitated, but the more threatened. In her eyes. In her body as she moved away when he hesitated. The abyss...

   He took her in his arms, gently. Softly, he kissed her. Softly, his lips moved down, down... His hands found the fastenings of her gown... Hers caressed his back... Passion wove its way out... as, for a while, they flew over the abyss...



   "Are you all right?" He asked of her again. She was sitting in a dark corner of the room, silent, and had been sitting there for a while. He could hardly see her.

   "Yes." Barely hearing her, so softly did she speak, and so far away did her voice sound.

   He felt the tremor of fear in his heart. He rose and went to her, lifting her into his arms. Hers clung to him with a strength which surprised him. He brought her to the bed and sat down, seating her next to him. Saying nothing. She had been this way ever since the previous storm.

   He had not been entirely sure how to react. He was still not certain. But some part of him sang with joy. And so had she, before hiding from him again.

   He felt tears on his neck. "Delenn?" She looked up and kissed him with desperation on her lips. Couched, hidden in passion, a tearing request for no questions, only love, only now. A request for abandonment, forgetfulness before being forgotten and alone.

   Their hands and arms and bodies intertwined. They caressed, softly. Clothes were loosened and abandoned. Softly, slowly, discovering the other, sensing through touch like internal fire, smell, and instants of tortured vision. A rise in intensity. Wild intertwining of propriety and lack, crazy and sane, as his hands found her neck, her breasts, her hips. Hers found him. Touched to bring wake in him the fire. Eyes closed to heighten the senses. More touching, a more frenzied pace in everything. Positioning herself. Him entering her. Unbearable. A memory of arching her back and rocking her hips to match his thrusts. Hurried breathing, their own, sounding in their ears. Rising...rising...A blinding light, unseen and perceived, smelled through ears that transmuted their last minute cries into the light...

   Then the darkness again as forgetfulness left and remembrance returned.



   The ship continued moving. The strangely colored waves of hyperspace wrapped it in silent golden arms before releasing, silent golden arms before releasing, silent golden nothing in an ocean of emptiness...

   Inside the ship was also silence, which to its auditors seemed to have endured for a time comparable with that of the golden.

   "I'll have to go soon, you know that."

   She looked up at him and nodded. She seemed unwilling to speak, which he understood. To them, the silence made a moment into eternity. As for him, he wondered at what had happened to her. Her reactions seemed -like what?

   There was something within him which screamed its understanding while another -self preservation?- screamed its lack thereof and obscured the rest.

   He moved to hold her again. She leaned against him silently.



   When he had disappeared from view she stood and moved to the piloting compartment of the ship. Still silent.

   As expected, she had reached her destination.

   She brought the ship out of hyperspace and set it to move in normal space. She still had a certain distance to traverse in normal space before arriving. It was the way she was supposed to arrive.

   Looking at the stars which had housed them for all their life together she felt tears wet her face. Remembering. In silence she walked into the other compartment. He had been here. They had been here. Surrounding her now that his sight was gone was memory. The disorder in the room he had stayed in. The bed they had lain in. The floor they had walked on and the air he had breathed. Now that sight was lost she felt and listened and smelled remembrance.

   And heard silence.

   She turned.

   The abyss.



   J'ai voulu ce matin te rapporter des roses;
Mais j'en avais tant pris dans mes ceintures closes
Que les neuds trop serrés n'ont pu les contenir.

   Les noeuds ont éclaté. Les roses envolées
Dans le vent, à la mer s'en sont toutes allées.
Elles ont suivi l'eau pour ne plus revenir;

   La vague en a paru rouge et comme enflammée.
Ce soir, ma robe encore en est tout embaumée...
Respires-en sur moi l'odorant souvenir.


'Les Roses de Saadi'
Marceline Desbordes-Valmore.


   Author's note: The poem above is in French (my mother tongue :), and expresses a similar sentiment to the story.





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