THE CALLING OF THE NIGHT
Archive: If you want to. But let me know where, okay?
Rating: Suitable for all scentient beings...
this is a little bit of a pseudo-gap-filler for 'Moments Of Transition'. Nothing too wild. I just wanted to bring in some tiny things that I always wanted to read about. So it turned out to be a story. Blame the weather! What else could you do in a cold night with stormy showers of rain...
And of course John, Delenn and Neroon don't belong to me or anyone except JMS, the Great Maker who will hopefully forgive my unauthorized use of his characters. *bg*
So, enjoy this as I enjoyed writing it in the middle of the night.
*****John Sheridan had been on his way to his quarters when his communicator stopped him cold, just as he was about to enter the turbolift.
"This is C&C, Ambassador Delenn wanted you to know that she is in an unscheduled meeting right now and that she will be late due to that."
"Thank you, Mr. Corwin. Sheridan out."
<Politics. We are in the wrong business.>
The President of the Interstellar Alliance would be dining alone tonight. And then he would probably be going to bed alone this night as well.
<Delenn will be sleeping in her quarters I guess. Afraid to disturb me in my sleep. So waking up alone in the morning, too. Am I married or what?>
With a frown he entered his quarters.
It was three hours later that he finally gave up waiting for Delenn with dinner. He let some of the Italian dish he had ordered earlier, in the oven. Just in case Delenn didn't have a chance to get anything to eat during a break.
After cleaning up the mess he always seemed to leave in his kitchen corner when dealing with food of any kind, cooked or delivered, John slumped down on the couch. He had still some reports to read for the next meeting with ambassadors from various worlds before he could finally collapse onto his bed.
But somehow he didn't quite manage to concentrate on those dull reports. There was something missing. Yes, there was definitely something missing and that was his beloved wife.
He smiled to himself. Usually they would have dinner at his place or hers, depending on where he was residing for the night. She would put away the dishes and then he would sit there and study his reports and she... she would be meditating, sitting on the floor on a pillow right down to his feet. There would be the faint light of a candle in front of her and as he would go over the reports he would look up from time to time and study her sweet face as she sat there legs entwined, body in synch with her soul.
John had become so used to them both living together like that. It felt rather amazing and as he wondered about how much he loved this Minbari John Sheridan had one of his glorious ideas.
He got up and began rummaging through the cabinets of his kitchen corner in search for candles.
<If she is not here to meditate and bring both our souls into synch, hell, then it's my job to do that. Where are those candles?>
He went to the bathroom and kept on searching there, remembering having candles somewhere in the cabinets near the shower. But nothing there as well.
<Beats me, no candles in the Sheridan household? Impossible. Not since one of its members is married to the religious leader of the Minbari.>
He had to smile at his own thought. And then he knew where to find some candles for sure. John Sheridan slipped into his shoes and was off to the quarters of his, oh so busy, wife.
It seemed Delenn had stored an unlimited amount of candles everywhere. John was seeping just for fun through all the cabinets in his wifes' apartement. He had never done that before because he wanted to let Delenn have her own little privacy.
But this was an opportunity he didn't want to miss. So he open every cabinet and every drawer. All of them would hold candles and chrystals in all shapes and sizes. It was quite fascinating somehow.
No wonder Delenn didn't want to get all her belongings to his quarters. There would be no room for clothing and such.
John had made his way to the bedroom and was looking through the drawer near the front door as he suddenly saw something in there, something hidden under a black piece of garment, that got his attention.
The label on the box was written in letters he didn't recognize. Minbari of course, except that there were three words he did understand: 'To John Sheridan'.
It was printed in golden letters as if it was a gift or something very carefully picked. His curiosity began to overwhelm him. So John took the crystal from the tiny box, held it in front of him a very long time considering carefully the pros and cons. Then he got to Delenn's Com unit and inserted the data crystal.
"Hello, John." Delenn's face appeared on the screen.
"It has been over two weeks since we have seen each other. With all that is going on on Minbar these days it is a miracle that I find the peace and quiet to record this message for you.
And peace is important right now. More important than anything else ever was. You see, John, when you get this message it will be almost certain that I will never return to Babylon 5 again to see you."
John's heart made a sudden leap of emotion hearing this. The picture of her face on the screen was silent for a moment as if she could not speak trying to push back unshed tears.
John let out a gasp when his mind processed what he had just heard.
<The Minbari civil war.>
"I didn't want it to end like this. This step will probably be the last one I take. This path has to be taken or my world will fall into a greater darkness than the one we destroyed.
I make this sacrifice willingly even though I know I will leave behind such great grief and sadness. There is no other way. I will step into the starfire wheel yet hoping that you will forgive me, John."
The tears ran down Delenn's face.
"The last night we spent together, John, you told me an ancient egyptian blessing. 'May God stand between you and harm in all the empty places where you must walk.' There is a harmful way waiting for both of us. May God be with us both.
I love you, John."
Her words were mere a whisper.
"I will always love you with all my heart. And wherever the path I take today will lead me, in the end, and I'm almost certain about it,... it will guide me back home to you."
John touched the screen and ran his fingers over the edges of her cheek. His heart felt heavy, as though it might burst.
"And never forget this: Nothing is greater than the darkness that will creep into your heart with despair. That is what my father told me once and I found it to be true.
These are desperate times and more than anything else I wish I could stay here with you. But it's my calling. The calling of the night."
Then she said some words in Minbari which meant something like 'You are my love and my soulmate. I will see you in a place where no shadows fall.' Delenn had taught him the words. It meant a great deal to her. John couldn't hold back the tears now that he understood exactly why.
With that the screen went black.
John let out a deep breath. Carefully he removed the data crystal and wanted to put it back into the box when he saw that there was another data crystal underneath. He fished it out and without further ado put it into the player.
It was Delenn again now heavily bruised and battered. Her skin was burned and her eyes... he hadn't seen her with such sad eyes before. She seemed to be having problems breathing, her every word hurting her more.
John couldn't understand a word. It was all Minbari she spoke. It was probably her diary for that day.
All he could catch were names: 'Neroon' was said fairly often and she cried the last time she said his name.
John suddenly understood what this was all about. Neroon died when Delenn was on Minbar. John always believed it happened during the riots because all Delenn wanted to say about the circumstances of Neroons death was that he had saved her life.
<The starfire wheel... what is this starfire wheel?>
Whatever it was. Delenn had been prepared to face it, knowing she would die. His heart ached even at the thought of it. And Neroon had saved her. Neroon.
John took the second data crystal and put it back into the box where it belonged. In the bedroom he arranged the box under the garment as though he had never touched it.
He felt tired. But not sleepy at all. What he had found out got him thinking about Neroon and how little he knew about the man. All he knew was that Neroon had nearly killed Marcus and was against Delenn's role as Ent'il'zha.
But Neroon had saved his wife. And somehow helped to restore peace on Minbar.
John returned to the main room and lit a candle. He carefully placed it outside the bedroom door. He stood there for a while looking down at the candle. Then he went back to the bedroom and got a long black candle from a drawer behind the slanted bed.
He placed it near the other candle and lit it as well. Then John sat down and began his own little meditation.
It was late at night and Delenn felt exhausted, which was just one big understatement. She didn't want to disturb John in his sleep so she went straight to her quarters. The door opened with a low hiss.
"John?" It was an unfamiliar sight that greeted her. Her husband was sitting on the floor apparently meditating.
When he gave no answer to her single worded question she stood beside him and looked down on him. That was when she noticed the second candle. A black one which she kept for meditations on things passed and buried deep - death mostly.
"What does the black candle represent?" Delenn hushed softly.
"Things buried deep, things that are kept hidden - even from loved ones." John answered as if he had read Delenn's mind. "But in this case also a very special person."
Delenn couldn't speak.
"Sit with me, my love." John looked up into Delenn's eyes. And they held a love so powerful and true that Delenn felt a bit lightheaded when she sat down beside her husband.
John took her hand in his.
"Tell me about Neroon, Delenn. Who was he?"
After a little pause Delenn answered softly, "A friend, a man who heard a calling, the calling of ..."
"... the night?" John squeezed her hand. "I'm sorry, Delenn."
They gazed at each other. Soul entwined and in synch.
"Tell me what happened to you." John looked down.
Delenn rested her head against John's shoulder. And then, then she began to speak of all those things buried deep, deep inside.
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