By Lee B




Disclaimer: All rights, credit, et cetera to J. Michael Straczynski, Warner Bros.......

   Filler story for Season 5 episode "Darkness Ascending". I played with the timing just a little in this one, extending the time it takes Lennier to return to the station after being found. Rating: R






   Sheridan looked across the council table toward Delenn ready to exchange "the look" with her. Over their years of attending these meetings, as their personal relationship unfolded, a non-verbal code had evolved between them, allowing them to share their feelings and opinions, with no one else being the wiser. A roll of the eyes upward meant: Will this ambassador ever get a clue before he opens his mouth to speak? If the other crossed their eyes it meant: Here he goes again; he, typically being in reference to Londo. There was also the gesture that John made very subtly, where he held an imaginary PPG to his head, and feigned shooting himself, to end the misery.

   That gesture was typically reserved for Londo also, but occasionally the Drazi ambassador drew the honors. Early on in their relationship, that particular gesture would drawn a slight frown of disapproval from the staid Minbari ambassador, and at times she would wonder to herself, about the level of maturity of the new Earthforce Captain of Babylon 5.

   Sheridan had of course noticed that little frown, and early on had performed the gesture just to solicit such a response. For some reason there were times when he just couldn't resist teasing the Minbari ambassador. She was always so composed, it was almost not human, then he would remind himself, that of course she wasn't human, but he would do it again anyway.

   As their relationship had grown closer and he performed his little pantomime, he would still draw the slight frown, and sometimes after, when they would encounter each other in the garden or elsewhere on the station, with no one else close by, he would sometimes get a brief lecture about his behavior. As time went on and their relationship had become even closer, once she had even laughed silently, a small laugh, behind her hand. He had still gotten the lecture later when they were alone, however, but he always knew he had her with that little gesture.

   These little rituals had developed into a silent form of communication known only to the two of them. They had come to treasure and protect their little secret over the years. It had become a silent language that allowed them to connect on the very personal level even during times when they had been so busy they had rarely had time for even the briefest of moments alone. Somehow they drew each other into their own world for only seconds, even when surrounded by others, but there were times when seconds were all there was. Yes, they had come to treasure it, and hold it dear to them; a means of connecting with each other even when working.

   Very often they would both happen to glance up and at the other at the same time, but sometimes it took a few brief moments before either felt the other's gaze and sought eye contact. Today, however, Delenn still wasn't looking. Sheridan felt a sense of sadness as he realized that Delenn of late had frequently been too preoccupied to participate in their little ritual. He also had a pretty good idea what was bothering her at the moment.

   John knew that she had sent Lennier off on White Star 27, with Captain Montoya for a covert operation in Centauri space; to gather intelligence on who was responsible for the attacks on Alliance ships. She had, for whatever reason, opted not to disclose this little assignment decision to him. He also knew, however, that she was not aware of the fact that he had overheard her conversation with Lennier, as he had transmitted from the White Star.

   His mood shifted to anger, as he thought more about her deception; well not deception exactly, she hadn't lied to him about it, she just hadn't told him. Sheridan was still looking at her, and still, she did not look up. He wondered if she was unaware of his trying to catch her attention, or if, as he suspected, she was deliberately avoiding eye contact.

   He had noticed her preoccupation the last couple of days, she also seemed tired and .......sad. John felt a mix of emotions: on the one hand he wanted to pull her close in his arms and comfort her. At the moment he simply wanted to take her to his place and lose themselves in each other. On the other hand, he was becoming more angry and hurt that she had pulled this stunt without telling him. He had taken matters in his own hand, ordering Lennier back to Babylon 5, he had opted not to inform her of his choice either.

   If he had truly taken any length of time to ponder his actions, he would have realized that he was being rather childish and petty, also foolish. They were all adults playing a very adult game, and his hurt feelings over her having kept something from him should not be biasing his decisions. Ordering Lennier back to Babylon 5 had been only about attempting to get Lennier back to the station before anything happened to him. Delenn had lost so much, been through so much in the last year, he would do anything in his power, he told himself, to keep her from being hurt. For all that he was being rational about that order, he wasn't examining the rationality of neglecting to inform his wife of his decision. If he had been thinking more rationally, he would not have given the order in the first place, certainly not without telling her.

   Lennier was very near and dear to Delenn, almost family. She had virtually no actual members of her family of origin left. John knew that Lennier, in many ways, filled that role in Delenn's heart. He also knew that Lennier saw Delenn as something very much different than family; however, that was another matter entirely; something he wasn't going to dwell on now.

   John was finally ready to give up, she wasn't going to look at him. He frowned in disappointment and frustration, just as Delenn finally looked up and caught his unhappy expression directed right at her. Her eyes widened almost imperceptibly and she hastily looked away. What was happening to them? He felt knots beginning to tie up his stomach and he felt his anger growing. None of this would be happening if she had not tried to pull this little stunt of hers.

   Sheridan was at his desk later, after having managed to endure the council meetings to the very end, and leaving word that he wanted to see Delenn in his office. He was feeling like a primary school principal, as he waited for her, his frustration building as the knots in his stomach tightened. He was attempting to catch up on the interminable amount of work it seemed to take to build and organize the Alliance while he waited. It wasn't working, he eventually acknowledged to himself. In his mind, he kept going over and over the situation with Lennier, and Delenn's attempt to keep him out of that loop. He had been getting more and more frustrated about the whole situation, it was definitely coming between them. He.......His thoughts were interrupted, as Delenn hastily entered his office, and stood directly in front of his desk, an angry look on her face.

   "Why did you recall White Star 27?"

   He could tell from her voice that she was angry, but she was playing it very calm and cool.

   "Because I found out they were operating on the border of Centauri space without my knowledge." With every word he spoke John was getting madder. Delenn was still playing it calm, however.

   "As head of the Rangers, I have discretionary powers over their assignments. I placed them there as part of their training maneuvers."

   "And you assigned Lennier to the crew, as part of a covert operation to spy on them." John was standing now, jabbing his finger into his desk and gesturing with his arms, his voice raised and angry. "I cannot have you making........"

   "You, are right." Delenn's eyes held his almost defiantly.

   "Uh........I..........." He stood there dumbfounded, he had been gearing himself up for a fight and she had just taken all the wind out of his sails. Her response had taken him completely by surprise. "Oh, dammit, Delenn. I have been working up a good mad all day, and I am not about to let you undercut it by agreeing with me!" He had arisen from his desk and walked around to stand in front of her, his voice rising and getting more gravelly as he finished.

   "It was inappropriate of me, to assign Lennier to that part of space without informing you," she paused slightly, her voice intense but not angry. "Just as it was inappropriate for you to not assign him there!" She clasped her hands in front of her. "I admitted mine with perfect honesty, now you can admit yours." She was still much too calm and cool for Sheridan, that was beginning to annoy him as much as anything else. They were having a fight for goodness sakes!

   "Absolutely not! For starters it is unnecessary, we have plenty of patrols there already." He turned slightly away from her, pressing his fingers to his forehead, he was beginning to get confused about this whole conversation. He had been so full of his righteous indignation directed at his wife, and more and more it was looking like he had been the one to screw up.

   "Lennier knows more about the Centauri than any other ranger. He will catch things that the others would miss. Further, he will not stop, will not slow down, will not give up, until he has proof that the Centauri are behind these attacks! He is the perfect candidate."

   Sheridan was shaking his head. "Oh, you are just saying that because he is your friend."

   "You are right, he is my friend. It is also true! And that is why you didn't assign him to that area, isn't it?" Again she was looking at him with that look of calm, almost compassionate, defiance; forcing him to look into his own motives before he judged hers.

   His mouth moved, but nothing came out at first. Confusion and disbelief written on his face. "........I called you in here, to confront you about using the rangers to gather covert information without telling me. So why all of a sudden am I, having to defend myself?"

   "I did not tell you, so you would have deniability in case things went badly. And you are being defensive, because I am right." She emphasized those last few words, a slight smile on her face. Once again challenging him to look to himself regarding what this fight was really about.

   He looked at her, then looked down at the floor; his arms gestured his defeat, finally acknowledging what he should have understood, and told her from the beginning.

   "Delenn, listen." He stepped closer to her and took her hands in his, moving his hands to her arms. "In the last year or so we have both lost people that we cared about, you in particular. Marcus, Neroon, others.......I just wanted to protect you, that's all."

   She looked up at him, she had known all along this was what the issue was. He was so stubborn, and so pigheaded sometimes, and so dear to have tried so hard to protect her. She smiled at him, and they leaned toward each other fractionally before they were interrupted by Command and Control.

   "Mister President, a call for you from White Star 27."

   He leaned fractionally closer to her still, then shook his head in frustration, his eyes still holding hers.

   "Alright, put it through."

   The call had been from Captain Montoya reporting that Lennier was missing and they couldn't find him. John had looked at Delenn as she heard the news and his heart sank; this was what he had been hoping to avoid all along. He could see from the way her shoulders had tensed and the way her body went rigid that she was afraid of the chain of events that she had set in motion. That had been two days ago and things had gone from bad to worse before they had gotten better. It had looked like they might never find Lennier, or if they did find him, it would be his lifeless body entombed in his flyer. They had found him, however, and he would live.

    Now he had plans for some serious making up, and reconnecting, with his wife. He had it all arranged, he hoped. Fresh Aire would deliver at exactly 19:45. Delenn should be home at 19:00. He would strongly recommend a long, hot bath to relax her, which would give him time to put out the flowers and candles, and to cue up some music for their evening. He had threatened everyone from C&C to Lochley and Garibaldi, that unless the sky were to fall, they were not to be disturbed, for any reason, until tomorrow afternoon. That was less than twenty four hours, and they needed the time together alone! They had certainly earned it.

    Since arriving back on Babylon 5 after their very brief honeymoon, they had had to deal with one disaster or catastrophe after another. The trouble brewing within the Alliance was something that they had been dealing with for weeks now, and with the recent tension between them over the events surrounding Lennier, they had weathered a difficult time in their relationship. They had been married less than a year and were technically still newly weds. They had yet to really have a time where it had been peaceful and quiet enough for them to just enjoy being man and wife.

   John was frustrated that the running of the Alliance, and what that required from each of them, was beginning to completely take over their lives. They had been so busy putting out fires, that it was becoming rare to find time just to be with each other. Before the wedding, he and Delenn had made some ground rules for combining their jobs and their personal lives. They would always try to eat dinner together, even if it was in one of their offices and they would need to return to work when done. They had also agreed that they would always try to sleep in the same bed together, but lately, although they had kept that promise, they were never getting into or out of either one of their beds while the other was still awake. They hadn't had the time or energy to make love in far too long.

   He thought about how much he loved Delenn, more than his own life, more than he could at times express or contain. He had vowed often to himself that he would not take one moment of the time they had left together for granted. He was not going to allow the Alliance, or the universe, to completely disrupt his marriage. He would not continue to allow things to get so busy or tense or distracting, that they forgot to even just take the extra time to touch each other.

   John contemplated how often they usually connected with each other physically every day. The brush of her hand against his as they went over trade agreements and boundary disputes. How they caught each others eye briefly in council meetings and for an instant they were husband and wife, not the President and the Ambassador. He thought about how she would always put her hand on his chest or his arm, how much he loved that contact, how he loved to hold her at the elbow and caress her arms with his thumbs, through the silk of her garments. He reflected how much love they communicated to each other with those nonverbal gestures.

    His jaw tightened in a grim line as he realized that over the last several days there had been fewer and fewer opportunities to express themselves in that manner. There had also been significantly more tension between them that had interfered with and decreased those nonverbal gestures, typically so very much a part of who they were as a couple.

   Well, he had had enough, and it was past time to do something about it. He looked at the time, it was almost 19:00 hours. He shook himself out of his reverie and rushed to the bathroom where he showered, trimmed his beard and mustache and changed into his best suit, one he knew Delenn liked. He then got the ice bucket ready and put it in the refrigeration unit. He had ordered sparkling cider and chocolate covered strawberries for dessert.

   He glanced at the chrono again, it was now 19:10, Delenn was running late, he hoped not by much. Sheridan then surveyed the room and mentally ticked off the items on his to do list. All that was left was for Delenn to get here......soon or the surprise would be spoiled. He had no more than finished the thought when the door opened and Delenn walked in.

   Delenn looked tired and somewhat pale, the last several weeks had been hard for them both, but particularly hard for her. He knew he couldn't erase them, or all of what had happened. Even now, Lennier, having been found in his flyer, close to death, was on his way back to Babylon 5, presumably with proof that the Centauri had indeed been behind the attacks on Alliance vessels. That proof would almost certainly lead to a declaration of war. John found that he again had gotten lost in his thoughts, once again he brought himself back to the present.

   For tonight he didn't care, Lennier would not arrive for another thirty six hours and then without a doubt, things would get worse before they got better. Tonight, however, he was determined to make theirs. He would do everything in his power to make up for how hectic and difficult the last few weeks had been, and how difficult the next would be. Tonight would be their oasis in time, a haven for just the two of them, for only half of those thirty six hours, before once again all hell broke loose in their lives.

   He loved her so much, and he knew their time was limited and measured. He hated that it seemed as though that measured, limited time slipped away from them, while they got so caught up in following their duties and responsibilities to others. Well, from now on, he was going to pay more attention, and when he noticed that beginning to happen, he promised himself, he would slam on the brakes, and he would arrange time away from it all for just the two of them. When that day came where he would "simply stop" he didn't want to look back and completely regret the time he didn't spend with "the brightest star in his sky."

   He strode toward her smiling his most brilliant smile, his eyes reflecting all his love and a glint of mischief. He swept her into his arms, and held her tightly. Startled at first, Delenn merely stood there, then after a moment her arms crept around his neck. They just stood for a moment holding each other, relaxing into the embrace. Delenn pulled back slightly to look in his eyes.


   His eyes locked with hers and never wavered until they closed seconds before he covered her lips with his. It took some control on his part to keep the kiss light, to keep it from turning passionate and intense. God how he had missed this part of them lately. He did, however, control himself. He fully intended to go "there" later, and as many times as his body could manage, but first he intended to "wine, dine and romance" his wife, before they retired to the bedroom, together for a change.

   She pulled back from him, a puzzled expression on her face. Putting his fingers on her mouth to forestall any questions, he began to pull her by the hand across the living area, through the bedroom, stopping at the door into the bathroom.

   "Ambassador, you have had a very long day, and a very long couple of weeks for that matter. Now, I want you to take a nice, long, hot bath, slip into something comfortable, and suitable to the occasion," he gestured to himself and it was then that Delenn noticed he was wearing his best suit, the one she thought he looked so handsome in".....and join me out there," he finished, pointing to the living room.

   Delenn was even more puzzled, and her expression reflected her uncertainty, nonetheless, she was more than happy to follow his suggestion. As she undressed and drew her bath, she wondered what her husband had up his sleeve. She found herself stifling a yawn, and realized how very tired she felt. She was slightly dismayed, whatever her husband had up his sleeve, she suspected he was planning a very romantic evening, both in and out of the bedroom, she surmised. She too had begun to notice the toll that the recent weeks had taken on their personal lives.

   She grinned to herself ruefully, as she felt her body on the one hand respond to the thoughts of spending the night in her husbands arms after their enforced abstinence of the last few weeks, on the other hand she found herself short circuiting yet another intense yawn. She found that she no longer slept quite as well without his arms around her or him lying close to her in bed. Their schedules of late had been such that it had been a rarity that they fell asleep or woke up together.

   She was as determined as John to make the most of this evening. She rummaged through the wall cabinet in the bathroom. Where were those bath crystals she had bought on impulse in the Zocolo, the ones that were supposed to revive and invigorate? Ah, she found them and poured half the package into the now steaming bath. If that didn't help, then she would return them and ask for her credits back. After all, it wouldn't do to disappoint her husband, considering the effort he had put into planning for this evening.




   Delenn started out of a sound sleep, opening her eyes.

   "Delenn, are you alright?" John was kneeling on the floor beside the tub, his face registering his concern. Her eyes traveled his face as she slowly awakened from her unplanned nap. Her face was flushed from the warm bath, her nap, and from her husband's intense scrutiny. "Are you ok?" He repeated his question, his voice tinged with his concern.

   "John, I am fine, just a little tired." She smiled at him. "However after my short nap, and long soak, I am feeling surprisingly refreshed." She smiled at him suggestively. His look of concern turned to a mischievous grin.

   "Well then, Ambassador, you are cordially invited to join me, before our dinner is completely ruined."

   "John, you didn't.......?"

   "No, I didn't cook. I have a very romantic evening planned for us, my beloved wife, and I wouldn't dream of chancing the possibility--,-- that either one of us would end up in medlab with food poisoning," he grinned.

   His light hearted grin, erased so many of the shadows of concern and responsibility that were becoming so common on his face, etching lines deeper and deeper into his countenance. She felt such a wave of tenderness for him wash over her. She let her fingers trace around his eyes, over his cheeks, his mouth. His eyes met hers, and saw something he did not recognize, could not name.


   "I love you, with all of my being, John Sheridan."

   He brought her hand to his mouth, kissing her palm. "The feeling is mutual, I am sure, Mrs. Sheridan." He did not often refer to her as such, Mrs. being a human title and distinction, and one that had been instituted to delineate possession; he therefore only ever used it between the two of them, and always seeming to indicate more her possession of his heart, not his rights to her as a husband. His eyes darkened and his voice took on that low, sultry quality that was only for her. He pulled her up out of the tub, his eyes sweeping her body, then closing as he sighed.

   "Come along, Ambassador, we need to get you dressed so I can feed you, and then undress you."

   Delenn giggled.

   He pulled out a thick towel and began to dry her, she noticed his breathing becoming shallower and a bit raspy. Suddenly he straightened, an odd look on his face, he shook himself, closed his eyes and took in a deep breath, he then handed her the towel and hastily left the bathroom muttering under his breath.

   Delenn was slightly taken aback, it had all happened so suddenly, he hadn't said a word, just marched out. She was a bit surprised at first, unsure what had just transpired. As she took a moment to process, she realized exactly what had happened and she laughed silently to herself. The poor dear, he was so determined to not make this evening just about getting her into bed, not that she would have any objections, she missed making love as much as he did, she was sure. Delenn knew, however, that he was also trying to give them an opportunity to reconnect not just on the physical level. There had been little time to talk, to eat, to read together, wrapped in each others arms, all of those little things that had gotten pushed aside recently. Well she wouldn't tease him too badly about this; not tonight anyway, some other time it might prove too tempting to pass up.

   She finished toweling herself off, added a hint of perfume, and dressed in a new black very un-Minbari dress that she had recently bought, with perhaps just such an occasion in mind. John had not yet seen this dress, she had hidden it in the back of his closet and she knew for a fact that he never looked there. She knew he would like it, however, since it was similarly styled to the one she wore on their first "date". She thought back to that first dinner that they had shared. Neither one of them had really thought of it as a romantic date when it had started, but before that evening had ended they had both felt that something had changed significantly between them.

   She studied the effect one last time in the mirror. It would do, she thought, it would do. This dress was slightly more daring than any of the others, and she knew when she bought it that she would not wear it in public, John would be the only one to ever see her in it. She stepped out of the bedroom and noted that the lights in the living/dining area were dimmed, and between the flowers, candles and the soft music that she had heard him start a few moments earlier, the room was definitely transformed into a romantic haven for two.

    Her eyes sought him out in the dimness and they rested upon his figure retrieving the glasses from the cabinet on the wall, his back to her. He turned toward her as he heard her entering the room behind him. His jaw dropped as he saw the new dress. It was just above the knee in length, revealing her gorgeous legs, he had never seen her wear anything that short. The front was cut low revealing the tops of her breasts and hinting at the valley between; he saw that in the back it was cut to a vee that ended just above her hips. In his surprise and overwhelming delight, as his eyes traveled over her figure, he dropped the fluted glasses, the romantic atmosphere being somewhat shattered along with the glasses.

   John first rolled his eyes, then heaved a sigh and hung his head on his chest. He couldn't believe this, his romantic evening was turning into a comedy of errors. Delenn laughed gently at him and moved closer to him, bending down to begin cleaning up the broken glass. He bent down as well.

   "Delenn, no, let me. I made the mess, why don't you sit and pour yourself something to drink and I will be right with you." His voice was so low, filled with tenderness and love that it nearly brought tears to her eyes.

   "John, ....... " she brought her hand to his, to still his jerky, frustrated movements, "relax, you are trying too hard." She whispered quietly.

   He glanced at her from his kneeling position. He smiled softly at her. "I just wanted tonight to be as perfect as it can be, things have been so difficult lately, and we........." His voice trailed off, he did not want to talk about what they knew was coming, not tonight.

   "I know, my beloved one, I know. Let us do this together and then we will eat." She smiled her most reassuring smile at him, letting him know that as far as she was concerned this evening was indeed turning out to be perfect.

   He reached out to cup her face in his hand and to pull her closer as he leaned over to kiss her. "You are so beautiful, and I love you so very much." She returned his light kiss and in turn caressed his face that was so dear to her. Her eyes speaking the words her heart was too full to say.

   They cleaned up the glass quickly then sat down to enjoy their meal. It was wonderfully delicious and still palatably warm. They talked softly with each other, about anything but work. He told her the latest news from his family. She updated for him, the most recent escapades of the newest ranger recruits from all different backgrounds. They talked about simple, little things and spent lots of time just looking at one another, smiling, holding hands and touching each other.

   John rose from the table moving toward the frig unit. "Close your eyes Delenn, and I hope you saved room for dessert."

   Delenn chuckled slightly, "I had begun to get the impression, John, that I was going to be dessert." She teased him lightly.

   He turned to her with a mock frown. "Behave yourself ambassador or you won't get any dessert." He teased back. "Are your eyes closed?"

   "Yes, yes, they are closed. What is the big surprise?"

   John pulled out the perfectly chilled strawberries enrobed in dark chocolate. He knew this was her favorite. It was very difficult to get fresh strawberries on the station, and Fresh Aire was usually the only establishment that would pay the extra cost to get them, or that had the facilities to keep them from spoiling, for even a couple of days. John had a standing order for them to let him know whenever they had strawberries arrive. The timing for this particular dinner couldn't have been better, although truth be told he would have been very tempted to pay whatever it cost to have them special order for him, but he hadn't had to do that. He placed the bowl on the table in front of her.

   "Okay, you can open your eyes now."

   Delenn opened her eyes and smiled in delight. She loved these earth berries and chocolate, well, who didn't love chocolate, she wondered. She pulled a berry from the bowl and put it into her mouth, her eyes closed involuntarily from the delicious sensations and textures in her mouth. She pulled another one and looking over at John who was smiling smugly to himself, delighted in her pleasure. She reached over to him and in anticipation he opened his mouth letting her place the confection on his tongue. He liked chocolate covered strawberries himself but he had never seen anyone react to it the way Delenn did. She truly loved this dessert, to her it was practically an intoxicant, come to think of it maybe one of these days he should have Stephen run some tests.

   This time he picked up a berry and reached toward her, she opened her mouth and he placed the berry just inside her lips. She reached up and grabbed his wrist before he could pull his hand away, pulling his chocolate covered fingers into her mouth, licking the chocolate from them slowly and sensually. Sheridan felt his stomach begin to flop around in the lower part of his chest cavity. Well two could play at this game. He picked up another berry and offered it to her, as she bit into it he pulled back his hand and captured her mouth with his, his tongue probing her lips for entrance. She granted his request and he shared the taste of the berry and chocolate on her tongue and palate.

   Delenn made the next move in their slow, seductive game placing a berry half in her mouth and half out in invitation. John again moved his mouth to hers biting into the berry, drawing back fractionally to chew it slightly, then again covering her lips with his own. He kissed her deeply then pulled away to slowly lick the chocolate from around her mouth using just the tip of his tongue. By this time Sheridan's pulse was racing and his breathing constricted. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all, he still had some other activities planned before moving to the bedroom. He tried to take some deep, calming breaths.

   Delenn extracted another berry from the bowl while he was preoccupied and before he knew it she had smeared chocolate all over his lips, his beard and his cheeks. Moving into his lap she returned the gesture of slowly licking and sucking the chocolate from his face and lips. By this time John was damn near hyperventilating, he was growing lightheaded and dizzy and he wasn't even standing up.

   "Delenn," his voice came out with a strangled quality that surprised them both. "Ahh...." with near perfect timing, the music that John had cued up for them to dance to began emanating from the babcom unit. John's face lit with a big smile as he reached for her hand, taking a deep breath. "Dance with me." He stood pulling her up and into his arms, as she nodded her agreement.

   The music was soft and slow and perfect for dancing close. They moved together, gently swaying to the rhythm of the music, her head resting on his shoulder, his cheek against her hair, one of each of their hands entwined, each with an arm about the others waist. Indeed, the rest of the world had ceased to exist for them. It was just the two of them as their breathing became slow and even, their hearts beating together to the rhythm of the music. They lost themselves in their own private world.

   Some time later, John stepped back slightly to allow him to kiss her forehead, his lips then moved to her pronounced brow ridges, her eyes. A slow contented smile crept across her face, her eyes closed, enjoying the music and the sensations of being held and kissed by her husband. John found himself smiling in response to hers and the soft gentle sigh that escaped her lips. He bent his head and captured those lips with his, gently traveling over her mouth with the gentlest pressure of his lips on hers.

   Their movements became slower as their kiss deepened. Delenn pulled her hand from his grasp and moved it behind his neck, opening her eyes and pulling his mouth more forcefully to hers. Their mouths opened, their tongues tangled in the mutual need to taste and explore. Their slow languid movements of only moments earlier, began rapidly disappearing as they both again felt the familiar escalation of their desire to connect on all levels.

    From the beginning they had both discovered, to their delight, that not only was the bond of their love something they both felt intensely and equally, but that they also were matched in the bond of their sensuality, passion and desire for one another. Their intimate life was very fulfilling, when their work lives didn't get in the way as had been the case recently.

   Their kisses and caresses were less slow and studied, and were becoming more fevered as though they were starving for each other. Their breathing raspy and gasping. Their emotions and desire spiraling almost completely out of control. John finally pulled back from her mouth, pulling Delenn against his body in a tight embrace, their arms merely holding each other not moving.

   "Delenn, I .....I don't want.......I don't"

   Her fingers moved to his lips. "Shhhhh,....." she smiled at him letting him know she knew what he was trying to convey. She moved out of his arms and tugged at his hand, moving toward the bedroom. She stopped at the table and picked up one of the still flickering candles, gesturing for him to do the same. He followed her cue, and then followed as she continued on to the bedroom. She let go of his hand as she walked around to the other side, and placed the candle on the stand beside the bed. Again he followed her lead, doing the same. He then just stood, deciding to give her control over what happened next. He knew he was so keyed up, and it had been awhile, he would so easily wind out of control again. He wanted to be with her so desperately, but he wanted it to be slow and wonderful for her. They needed so badly to reconnect emotionally as well as physically.

   Delenn sensed his wish to not have the first opportunity to make love in weeks be just about the physical release, but about them continuing to deepen their bond of companionship, respect and commitment to one another. She also could tell that because it had been awhile and with the intensity of his feelings tonight he had little control to spare, he was worried about his ability to follow through with his intentions, on more than one level, she suspected.

   She walked around the bed and stood in front of him. She placed her hands on his chest and smiled at him tenderly, their eyes locking. His eyes reflected the depths of his love and the tenderness he was also feeling. At times that look in his eyes almost brought her to tears, the intensity of what they had with each other experienced to the very depths of her soul.

   "John, just breathe," she instructed him softly. She herself was taking slow, deep breaths. She moved her hands under his jacket and slipped it off his shoulders, breathing deeply and slowly as she went. She then began to unbutton his shirt, again being sure to keep her breathing deep and rhythmic. She noted that his breathing was taking up the cadence of hers as she had intended, and that some of the tension was leaving his body. Slowly and methodically she finished unbuttoning his shirt and proceeded to slide that over his shoulders and let it drop to the floor, the whole time keeping her breathing firmly under control and making no move to touch or caress him.

   His breathing was now rhythmic and steady, matching hers, his eyes closing slightly as he relaxed further, content to let her lead. She then reached down and unbuckled and removed his belt being careful not to touch him or brush against him as she did so, still regulating her breathing and, by extension, his. She glanced up at him and smiled again, that tender smile that melted his heart and made him want to take her in his arms and bury his face in her hair, in her neck, and hold her to him forever. She held his eyes, again placing her hands on his now naked chest, one over his heart, feeling it beating, slowing down and speeding up with his breathing. She stood that way for several moments again letting him match his breathing to hers.

   When she felt he was sufficiently in control, her hands moved to the waist of his pants, undoing the button and the zipper. Removing her hands to the outside of his thighs she gave a gentle tug and his pants fell to his ankles. He toed out of his shoes and bent pulling his pants completely off and laid them on the chair in the corner near the bed. He took a deep breath and smiled at her, feeling that he had regained a significant measure of control with her help.

   John stepped closer to Delenn and locking his eyes with hers placed his hands on her shoulders. He bent his head and placed a series of small, gentle kisses on her mouth. His hands moved and simultaneously pulled the straps of her dress down over her shoulders, their were no zippers, no other fasteners and due to the dresses' design it simply fell with a near silent rustle of fabric, to the floor. She had nothing else on but lace underpants. He was struggling just a little at this point to maintain that slow, even breathing that she had modeled for him, and he noted with some satisfaction at this point, that her breathing was also slightly erratic.

   He moved his hands to cup her face and kissed her again, his lips traveling and worshiping her face, then her neck. Her hands began moving over his chest and his back, after a moment she pulled his mouth back, needing the feel of his lips on hers. They kissed until neither could get enough air. Again he pulled her into his body, just holding her, his hand moving up and down across the warm skin of her back, caressing not necessarily arousing. He suddenly picked her up and gently laid her down on the bed, immediately positioning himself beside her. He then proceeded to travel his hands down her body removing the last of her clothing, he then removed his own last remaining garment, throwing it aside, not caring where it landed. He rolled onto his side and again locked his eyes with hers, his hand touching her hair, then moving his fingers to trace her brow, her eyes, her cheek, then to her mouth.

   "I love you more than my life......" he whispered as he bent his head to once again take her lips with his.

   They began to touch each other, relearning the lines, planes, and curves of one another, sighing and whispering and other sounds of lovers echoing through their room. They made love slowly, their eyes locked to each others as they rocked together, first gently, slowly then fiercely and intensely as they followed each other over the edge of passion and release. Both felt tears on their faces as they held each other tightly and savored the sensations of pounding hearts, gasping lungs and relaxing bodies. They drifted asleep held in each others arms, to wake again and again make love and drift asleep, and over again, not falling deeply asleep til the wee small hours of the morning. Finally content to rest and feeling more strongly than ever the depth and fulfillment of their powerful connection to each other.





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