FACES FROM THE PAST (II)
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Standard Disclaimers apply. In addition this has some spoilers from the prequel movie, "In the Beginning". There may also be some slight plagiarism from Peter David's companion book. Since we borrow phrases from Joe, I hope that Peter won't mind. So if you don't want to be spoiled or pulled into my timeline, don't go any further. Otherwise...
Welcome and enjoy.
Events had unfolded so quickly over the past week this was the first time John had the time to think or feel anything. Delenn was recovering in MedLab and the last of Nightwatch was finally off his station. And in this moment of respite he laid down on the bed and replayed the moments that tugged at the edge of his brain.
What would he have done without Delenn? She had become the rock which he held onto in the face of the coming storm. And yet he had almost lost her as he had lost Anna, and it frightened him. He kicked himself mentally for not taking the time to say what was in his heart and it almost cost him again. Fortunately the universe had smiled on the foolish and presented him with the opportunity he needed, one he didn't let slip by.
But it was hard seeing her lay there in Medlab looking so fragile. He had come to think of her as strong, determined, showing no weaknesses. Only on rare occasions had he seen a different side of her, a more vulnerable, unsure Delenn. Closing his eyes, he could see her face, hear her voice.
"If you value your lives, be somewhere else."
At the time he had smiled, and was he ever so grateful she'd showed up to pull his butt from the fire. However something about the her confrontation with the Captain of the Earth destroyer made the hair on the back of his neck stand up. He dismissed it then, but now as the words pealed in his head, the sensation was back. Reaching up he rubbed his neck.
When Boggs and his 'friends' had taken Delenn hostage, his heart nearly broke when she cried out to let the Minbari aide go. Yet even through his grief he could feel the hair on his neck stand again.
What was it about those words? Was it the words or was it the tone? And what did it have to do with Delenn?
From the first time he had met Delenn in the Council Chambers he felt as if they had met before but he couldn't quite place it. There was something about her ...
Drifting further and further into sleep John could hear those words play over in his head until they became a mantra. "Let him go! Let him go! Be somewhere else. ...value your lives!"
And somewhere in the dreaming he knew where he had heard it before.
The old Minbari warrior had died in his arms. He knew this could only spell trouble, and yet the warrior had left him with a puzzle or a clue. He had heard everything he had said, not understanding, but for some reason knowing he had to obey and deliver the message if any of them were to have hope.
It wasn't too long thereafter that the Minbari arrived on the planet. John didn't know what sense of duty compelled them not to kill the prisoners right there on the spot, but G'Kar was arguing their case very convincingly. John was in awe of this Narn, how he was able to convince the Minbari to spare their lives at least for a little while amazed him. It gave John another chance to come up with a plan for not getting killed, however what that was he had no idea.
It felt as if it were only a heartbeat to John that the three prisoners were placed onto a shuttle, flown to a Minbari cruiser and then dragged down the hall toward what fate he didn't know.
At the other end of the hall he saw a small grey-garbed Minbari standing over the body of the fallen warrior. The other warrior, the one that had taken them prisoner, spoke to this person. The person nodded its consent and the next thing John knew they were being dragged away.
Was this the person the message was intended for? Could this Minbari help stop the madness? If they couldn't help, would it hurt to put the message out? Maybe this person could get the message to the right person.
As he neared the corner he cried out, "I know what's in Dukhat's secret place!" The warrior struck John blindside but he didn't give up. He needed to let someone know. "I know what's in Dukhat's secret place!" Again he felt the pain as the beating continued. Again John relayed the message.
A hand reached out and grabbed him by the throat. John feared for his life. He knew this warrior could rip his head off if he wanted to. Then out of the corner of his eye he saw movement and then heard a voice. A female voice. Authoritative. In command. Was she the one who has made all this happen? Could she be the one who could stop this? "I know what's in Dukhat's secret place," he gasped.
To John the command in this voice was unmistakable and the reaction instantaneous. The warrior whose hand encompassed his throat stopped and watched this diminutive leader.
John could not see her face clearly, but her voice seemed familiar to him somehow. Very slowly she spoke in his tongue, "What is in Dukhat's secret place?"
John spoke the words the old warrior had said to him. "Isil-zha," he said. And John wondered, not for the first time, if the last words he would ever speak would be curiously incomprehensible to him. "Isil-zha." What did it mean?
He saw the leader stiffen, as if jolted with electricity. Slowly she surveyed the others to see their reactions. They merely stared at her blankly or in outright confusion. It was as if the message meant nothing to them, although it was certainly odd. Just as odd was her stunned reaction. Could this really make a difference?
John waited. He waited for what seemed an eternity. Wondering what the term meant to this grey-garbed Minbari on whose word everyone seemed to be waiting.
She turned and said something in the language of her people.
John could tell from the warrior's expression that something extraordinarily unexpected had just happened. For the first time, he felt just a twinge of hope. "Satai...." he heard the warrior say. Was that her name? Title? What?
She spoke again, first in her language and then in the human's tongue. "Let them go. Let them go." The command in her voice was still there but now it was colored with a tinge of sorrow, but it was a command nonetheless.
It was then, there in his dream, that he recognized it. She had saved his life that day, just had she had done many times during the past year.
And as the dream started to fade he saw her turn to leave, take a few steps then pause, turn around and look at him. He still couldn't make out her face, but he knew from the way she carried herself it was the same woman he recently admitted to himself and to her that he loved.
John woke with a start.
It was her. She had been there. Had what he said made a difference? He hadn't thought so at the time because the war hadn't stopped as he had hoped, but only intensified. Did it make the war go worse? He wanted to know. But what would she do if he told her he had known it was her that day on the cruiser?
John looked over at the chronometer. It was nearly time to wake up, so he dragged himself out of bed and into the shower. Standing under the water, he thought about how fragile their love was. Would it survive the confrontation if he told her about it? Would it matter? Did he want it to make a difference? Toweling off he looked at his reflection in the mirror. He knew the truth and yet he still loved Delenn. Wasn't that what was important? Neither were the same person they had been before the war, during the war, or after the war. Kosh was right, they needed to concentrate on the future. Nothing in the past mattered. What was important to John now was fighting the Shadows, fighting Clark, and loving Delenn. And not in that order.
Coming out of the bathroom he gathered his clothes and sat on the edge of the bed. Delenn. He had said in one of his logs that he had fallen in love with her and that was the truth. That he had fought Minbari and killed them, but that didn't matter anymore. And that was the truth. They needed each other; Humans and Minbari, John and Delenn. And that too was the truth.
It was settled as far as he was concerned. He wouldn't say anything to her about it. He knew the truth. She'd kept things from him and now he kept something from her too. He felt the secrets she kept were to protect him, and he felt the same about this.
Strolling out of his quarters he headed toward MedLab, feeling relieved and loved. He was willing to love without reservation. And as he turned the corner into MedLab 3 and into Delenn's room, he saw she was still asleep. He stood next to her bed for a long time just watching her before he leaned over and kissed her cheek.
John brushed his fingertips from her forehead to her chin before whispering to her the words he had longed to say, "I love you, Delenn." He saw he smile in her sleep.
Turning he left to start another day. Another day with the woman he loved.
For the truth had set him free.
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