THE JOURNEY HOME (I)
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Standard disclaimers apply.
This is an NC-17 story.
There are several comments I'd liked to say first.
One, several small trees died in the construction of this story. Even though I typed this out on my computer, I come from the old school. I still need the crutch of seeing it on paper for editing purposes. I've tried to catch all the spelling errors, grammatical errors, flow construct problems, run on sentences, etc.
Secondly, I've tried to portray the characters as I read them. Between what I see every Friday in my living room, read in magazine articles, and from off the web, I've tried to make them true to what jms creates. But invariably, either writing or reading these stories we all bring into it parts of our own psyche - marred and flawed as it is.
Thirdly, I'd like to thank those who had the courage to read this during it's development and give me their frank opinions. I refuse to note their names for fear they might become inundated with requests from other wannabe writers, but they know who they are. In addition, I like to say that the music of George Winston and John Barry were instrumental, forgive the pun, in the creation of this story.
Lastly, I accept all comments. We only go forward by learning from our negative or positive moments. So don't be shy. I do hope, however, that you enjoy this.
It had only been a week since John had gotten the message from his sister that their father, David Sheridan was dying. He wasn't expected to live through the rest of the year, and dammit this was already December 3rd. John was clearly torn between his wanting to be with his father and his desire not to put his family at risk; not just his family on Earth but his family here on the station as well. But he so wanted to be with the man who had meant so much to him throughout his life.
Delenn couldn't stand to see him in so much pain and grief. He had already suffered so much in his life. Even though the war had ended three years ago, John still couldn't go home. David and Kathryn Sheridan had come to the station several times after the war, with the help of the Rangers to visit their son and his new family.
So she turned to the only people who could help - Marcus Cole and Michael Garibaldi. Delenn felt that John needed the help of the Rangers to get him home to his father before he passed beyond the veil. Delenn told them she knew John would never ask himself, so as Entil'Zha she was going to take it upon herself to see that he gets home safely and back again. She asked Marcus to contact the Rangers, especially those who were human, to meet here on the station. Michael was to keep John busy so he wouldn't suspect anything. However, she put both of them in charge of planning and executing this "operation" such as it were. They were determined to see that this event went off without a hitch.
The news spread quickly among the Rangers. Marcus had explained they were to keep Captain Sheridan 'in the dark' about what was happening. Those interested in helping should meet in Sector 12 and proceed to Babylon 5 on as few a ships as necessary. Susan had already been informed of the plan and had called on those in C&C "for their utmost discretion - or she would make their lives miserable". Rangers, came from far and wide, all in all 450 Rangers had responded in the time frame allotted. While many had been shuttled into B5 with as little notice as possible - others waited in Sector 12 for their orders. They gathered en masse in the auditorium of the building that housed Entil'Zha's offices'. She had called the meeting for 2:30 knowing John had his staff meeting at the same time. She wanted to make sure he didn't get wind of what she was proposing. She knew he would prohibit it.
Delenn was pleased and overwhelmed at the response. She informed them of the need for secrecy, guile, subterfuge but mostly expediency. She explained how Captain Sheridan's father lay dying on Earth and how she intended to give him whatever peace of mind she could about the situation. She revealed her plans to them. She explained to the Minbari that even though the war had ended, there was still strife on Earth and she was not willing to put them in harm's way unless it was absolutely necessary, however they were critical to her plan.
"The human Rangers, under the direction of Marcus Cole and Mister Garibaldi, will be divided into teams consisting of two rangers. Each team will proceed to Earth from multiple directions, entering through as many various customs points as possible. From there you are to proceed to areas within a one- hundred and fifty kilometer radius of the town where Mr. and Mrs. Sheridan live. Your job is to conduct surveillance and recon of the surrounding area. You will report on the comings and goings of 'official' persons or any suspicious activities. You will need to look for several 'safe-houses'. Access to and from the farm, hospital, and if necessary the place where his funeral will take place must be secured -."
Delenn paused to take a deep breath as well as push back any tears that were trying to force themselves to the surface. "You will have a limited time period in which to accomplish this. No more than a week. After such time a small force, consisting of Captain Sheridan, myself, our son, Commander Ivanova, Chief Garibaldi, Marcus Cole and a few others will leave the station and proceed on a yet to be disclosed course towards Earth. As for the Minbari Rangers, your primary task will be to intercept and relay messages between Earth and B5 and coordinate the resulting information with Lennier. Secondly, several of you will be given possible paths of travel, which will be secured and patrolled. The chosen path will be notified just before our departure. Very little warning will be given along the travel route. All units, both in space and on Earth, must be prepared to mobilize as we approach your position. Are there any questions - if not see Marcus Cole, Security Chief Michael Garibaldi, and Lennier for your orders. And may Valen be with all of us. Thank you."
Delenn proceeded off the podium and along the corridor back to her office. So lost in thought she didn't hear as someone approached. But a voice from behind broke her train of thought, catching her off guard.
"If I may, I would like to lend my support and the support of those under my command, if you would allow us."
Recapturing her composure she replied, "Neroon, why would you want to..."
He held up a hand to stop her thought, "Over the past four years I have come to understand and respect John Sheridan. He has proven himself worthy not only as a warrior, but as someone who cares for all people. Ever since the warrior caste took up the burden it was suppose to carry, we have been humbled by his ability to forgive and to put forth a hand of friendship and respect. I learned a lot from Jeffrey Sinclair and the prophecies, especially after his departure. I was taught another hard lesson from Marcus about human will. In fighting along side Captain Sheridan in the war I have come see things more clearly. Having special 'insight' into the prophecies I have come to see him as "The One who will be" or should I say "The One". He is a remarkable man and if I can help...?"
Delenn was truly amazed, but hoped she had schooled her expressions well enough not to show it. She had seen the change in Neroon towards John and herself, but she was never sure if he could admit those feelings openly, especially to her. "If you could go and see Marcus, explain to him that you are to be in charge of the task force patrolling the travel routes, it would be appreciated." She reached out and touched his arm, gave it a squeeze then pulled back. Putting her hands together, she bowed deeply. "Thank you Neroon."
"We live to serve, Entil'Zha." He returned the bow, but before departing, he reached out to her. "Valen be with you in all your journeys Delenn."
Marcus, Michael, and Lennier had come to her office and were reporting to her how the scheduling of teams, both those going to Earth as well as those going on patrol, had come off almost with out a problem. Lennier told her that Neroon would be in touch as soon as his troops were informed and in position.
"I reiterated to him that because of our treaty with Earth, no Minbari ship was to enter the space in Earth's solar system. He said he was aware of the treaty and would convey the urgency that this be followed, but not at the cost of everything. He said he would not sacrifice you, John or the others for the sake of a piece of paper. Don't worry Delenn, I gave him a stern look. He understood."
"I saw the look, Delenn, I wouldn't want to cross paths with Lennier if he looked at me that way," Michael remarked with a smile on his face.
"What way?" said the voice coming in from the hall.
The occupants of the office nearly got whiplash as their heads spun and stopped on a dime as the body attached to the voice finished coming in the room.
"Wh- what is something happening on the station and I don't get to know about it. Again!"
They all must have looked like they had been found out, but Michael being the most experienced in lying and "quick change artistry" said, "Well if you must to know," winking at Delenn, "Delenn and I were giving Marcus tips on how he could make it up to Susan for missing their date the other night. But if he follows Lennier's advice he'll never get...well. What's your take on this, John, since you're the one with the most experience eating crow lately !"
John, bent his head, half in disgust towards Michael, then smiled at Delenn and while still looking at her he told Marcus, "Honesty, sincerity, the patience of Job, and giving her whatever she wanted, usually are the only things that work for me." Looking up at Marcus he continued, "I think you're wearing her down though, she said something nice about you today and it took her a few seconds to realize she had said it. Now, if this little pow-wow is over I'd like to take my wife and son to dinner, if it's okay with you all?"
"Sure, I think I've had about enough for one day," Marcus laughed. "I tell you how it goes later, Delenn if that's okay with you? Michael, Lennier your help, as always, has been... invaluable." He bowed and left.
"Well, if it's just the same to you all, I hope everything goes as planned. Me, I've got reports to go over before I turn in. If I don't see you in the future, I'll see ya in the pasture." Michael smirked as he headed out the door.
"Why would Mister Garibaldi want to see us in a field?"
"Never mind Lennier. You should know by now not to take anything he says as gospel." John chuckled.
"I will remember that, Captain, thank you. I, too, have a few details yet to work out about tomorrow's schedule. I will see you in the morning, Delenn, Captain." Lennier turned on his heel and left.
Delenn smiled to herself, all her fellow conspirators had finished giving her their reports, in his presence, without his ever knowing. Those three were very good, very good indeed. She was grateful they were on her side.
"If you are ready to go, Mrs. Sheridan, I believe a certain young man is waiting for us, as we speak." John extended his arm which she took with a smile and a bow.
"Ready whenever you are, kind sir!"
John had taken the family to the new restaurant which had opened in the Zocalo a couple of weeks ago. Several members of the C&C crew had had dinner there and raved about the food. Susan only harrumphed - now John had understood why - she and Marcus were to have gone but he was called away unexpectedly and forgot to tell her. John shook his head - it was never a good idea to piss off the Russian. The restaurant served a mix of oriental style cuisines. John had developed a penchant for oriental food on his trip to see the Dalai Lama and had introduced Delenn to the experience. Now they were sharing this with David. They had tried to show him how to use the chopsticks but after a while he had become frustrated and stabbed at the meat with one of the sticks and used his fingers to scoop the rice. Mortified, Delenn tried to get David to at least use his fork.
The owner watching this exchange between mother and son, approached -
"Ma'am, in my country it takes the children until they are about seven to become proficient with chopsticks. It is quite customary for them to eat in the manner in which your son is eating, until their fine motor skills fully develop."
Maybe Delenn was biased but she felt her son's motor skills, as well as his social skills, should have been developed enough. "I hope when he gets to Earth his eating habits will have improved." Then it hit her as to what she had said. If she could have reached out and physically taken those words back she would have.
John's head snapped up quickly, "When is he going to Earth?" he replied sharply at Delenn.
With as much composure as she could muster she casually responded, "Someday" though she didn't feel as if she had pulled it off.
John half laughed in response, "Well, by that time he just might have a family of his own, right David?"
They had made it a ritual when both John and Delenn were on station of helping David get ready for bed. Lately though he had become such a 'big boy' that he excluded them from some of their duties, but prayers were always said as a family. Usually David had a litany for things and people he prayed for but tonight he only prayed for one thing - "Please let granddad live long enough for my dad to be able to say good-bye!"
John thought his heart would break. He leaned to kiss the top of his son's head. "I pray so too, son" was all he could choke out. John left the room leaving Delenn to finish tucking her son in, kissing his forehead and telling him good-night before pulling his door almost shut.
When Delenn got back to their room John was flopped across the bed with his arm draped over his eyes. She had seen him cry before; sometimes tears of joys, sometimes when a close friend died in battle. These tears were different. She came and laid beside him, reached out and touched his arm. He rolled over into her embrace and she held him. She knew words could not ease his pain, only in the comfort of her arms could he find peace.
She didn't know how long she had held him, but she would have held him until time stopped if he needed her to. She heard him take several deep breaths, give her a squeeze, and pull away enough to look at her. "Thank you Delenn." He didn't know why but he gave a weak laugh, "I'm always saying thank you - ever since I met you. Why is it that you always know what I need the most?"
"Because you are the other half of me - I know you because I know me!" Putting her hand to the side of his face, "But the thing I know the most is that I love you more everyday!"
He kissed her sweetly, then got up off the bed and headed for the shower. Once inside he let the water pulsate over him. He wanted it to drive the demons out, the anger, the grief. In a single sentence the son had spoken to the very core of the father. So lost in his thoughts, John never heard Delenn enter the bathroom. As she opened the door to the shower, he turned suddenly and saw her as she stepped into the enclosure. He took her hard into his embrace and brought his mouth down onto her waiting lips. Slowly she pushed him back against the wall and backed away. Taking the soap in one hand and the washcloth in the other she bathed him, letting her hands massage his muscles and cleanse him simultaneously. She had wonderfully strong hands. She seemed to know the pressure points along his body that help to ease the tension he felt. He rinsed off as she went and dried herself. When John exited the shower she dried him in the same fashion she had used to bathe him. Wrapping the towel around his waist she led him to the bedroom.
The bed had been turned down, the lights were dimmed and oil was warming next to the bed. He knew he needed this, knew she knew he needed this too. He willingly dropped the towel and prostrated himself on the bed, releasing a cleansing breath. Delenn positioned herself on the bed, straddling him. She reached for the oil and poured it across his back. The sensation of warm oil and clean skin caused him to inhale deeply. She began rubbing his torso. Starting at his lower back, moving up his spine, along side his neck, across his shoulders and down his arms. She rubbed, rolled, kneaded, caressed his muscles. She could feel him start to relax as a moan escape his lips. John was ever so grateful to the Minbari religious caste for teaching her this ritual. She moved to one side and started again. First one side then the other; using long strokes into his calf muscles, up the back of his thighs. He was in such a state of bliss he only heard her say one word - 'Over'. Obediently he did as he was told - at this point he would have done whatever she said.
She started at his feet then moved to his thighs; first the outside then the inside. Without volition he spread his legs, releasing a groan. She moved to place her hands on his collarbone, back along his shoulders and again down his arms, then caressed his chest. He was almost in a state of nirvana.
She loved the feel of him under her hands. From the moment she first saw him she felt pulled towards him, felt a need to reach out and touch him. It was as if her soul cried out to be joined with him. As she continued to stroke his body, she remembered the times she had touched him in various ways. During the Markab quarantine, she came to ask his permission to enter the isolation zone. She could hear in his voice his concern for her safety and something else. Fearing she might never see him, she reached out to him. As her hand touched his face he moved ever so slightly into her palm. It was electric, that which she felt. Even now when she touched him a shock coursed through her. When he had almost kissed her, when he did kiss her on the White Star, and every time since it took her breath away. The first time he took her into his bed and she saw his naked masculinity she felt compelled to slide her hands across him. When he made love to her, she thought she'd die from the ecstasy. Every moment burned into her memory. She wanted to savor every bit, every morsel of their life together. All she wanted was to be with him, forever. To make him happy. Give him joy wherever they could find it. Leaning down she took his hardened shaft in her mouth. Lovingly, gently she began to stroke it with her tongue.
He let a groan of pure rapture as he arched his back. This had never been part of the massage. Usually she continued until he fell asleep. He propped himself up as well as he could and looked down at her. He saw a tear escape and fall as she continued kneading his cock. Stroking him, flicking her tongue across it, biting just below the head. He leaned back moving beneath her hands.
She could feel him getting harder inside her mouth. She loved the taste of him; salty, warm, firm. He tasted wonderful and she could never get enough. The first time he had asked to do this, she was hesitant. But once she took him into her grasp she found she couldn't let go. When she saw what it did to him, she knew she wanted to pleasure him forever. She brought his testicles into her grasp and gave them a squeeze, he let out a moan deep from his throat. She then took them into her mouth and sucked them as well while she fingered the tip of his cock. Feeling wetness seeping out she moved to lap it up, to savor the taste of him. Then taking him as fully as she could, she increased her strokes. Sucking him hard then softly. Feeling him squirm more beneath her. He called her name, pleaded with her to go faster, to make him come. But she only teased him more, drawing him further and further into his desire. She was driving him to the brink. But she stopped ...
"Delenn" was the only word he could form and it came out barely a whisper as he touched her shoulder. She moved over him, placing herself just barely on him. She leaned to kiss him and he pulled her close to him. As they kissed she lowered herself onto him. Sliding him into her, grinding him as far as he would go. He arched below her as she started her rhythm. He moved to meet her thrusts. Both now trying to pull the other out of their bodies and into the universe where their soul's could touch. She made him crazy with desire. Gaining leverage he rolled her over and came to rest above her. He smiled down at her but she reached up hungrily and pulled his face down onto her. She was insistent, demanding, desiring, hungry.
He pulled back scanning her face before taking her. Kissing her he could still taste the remnants of him inside her mouth. There was nothing more exciting than the taste of both of them in that single instant. He moved from her mouth, brushing her cheek, letting his tongue trace the outside of her ear before stopping at her bonecrest. As his lips rubbed against it she let out the most melodious moan, almost like a chant, his name riding on it. But when his tongue followed the crevices she arched beneath him running her nails along the expanse of his back leaving the faintest of trails.
Slowly the rocking began again becoming more rhythmic. He pulled gradually back before thrusting forward as the heat in their bodies grew. He tried not only to grind himself further into her, but to grind her further into him. He wanted to pull her through his skin, past his heart, right into his soul. She called his name and to him there was nothing more erotic than the sound of her voice. He quickened his tempo, hastened his stroke, tried to drive himself further inside. If he could only surround himself with her warmth, pull it over him like a blanket. He felt her ragged breathing, heard her cry out, felt her arch and stay there. He knew she was close, he could only think about making her come.
Moving so his gaze was on her, he saw her writhe beneath him. In a sudden flurry she reached up and grabbed his arms and looked at him with both joy and anguish. He saw her orgasm and in the moment of recognition he too came with a force he had never felt before. When he had finished pouring his worth inside her, he collapsed. As he buried his face into her neck she reached around and held him. She never wanted him to leave her, ever. Even if he had the will he certainly didn't have the strength. They laid there, his cock still inside her, her muscles tightening around it, trying to keep it from slipping out.
'God, how did I get so lucky' was the only thought his one remaining semi-functional brain cell could muster.
He could have slept like that - atop her - and she was willing to let him. Breathing was using whatever strength they had left. But somehow come morning they were spooning, though neither knew how they had gotten into that position.
Almost as an alarm clock there came a small rap at the door. Both snapped awake as if cold water had been thrown on them. They looked at each other realizing neither had locked the door. Delenn jumped up and grabbed her robe, John ran to the bathroom, just as David opened the door and stuck his towhead in.
"Hey, when are you guys gonna get up, I'm hungry!"
Coming from the other room came a loud bang and then, "Jesus, Delenn! I'm late! What happened to the alarm?"
"Well, I guess you never set it before you went to sleep," she winked at her son.
"You know Mom, it's a good thing Dad's in charge - otherwise he'd be in big trouble!" David said with a grin.
"He may still be in trouble, Susan has yet to get ahold of him," she replied back, "Come on let's fix Dad some breakfast!"
With that Mother and son walked out to the kitchen. Delenn had fixed David some cereal, and was fixing John toast and jelly, when the teapot whistled and John walked in. In a short period of time John had showered, dressed and was in the process of scarfing down the food. To David, his father looked as if he wasn't even swallowing -
"Gee Dad, you must have been hungry?"
John happened a glance in Delenn's direction, the expression on her face was priceless. "Yes son, I believe I just might be starving!" he laughed. "Gotta go, bye son," as he leaned over to kiss the top of David's head, "See you this afternoon!" Then turning to Delenn, he spoke in Adronado, "You - I might have to take a vacation before I could see you again! I think you're trying to off me now rather than wait another 14 years."
"I'm hoping that by using opposing techniques, shock therapy as it were, I might be able to extend your life." she countered sweetly as she leaned over the table to give her husband a kiss.
"Unlikely!" was his parting comment.
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