By Kimberley Junius




   Delenn listened with only half an ear to John's recital of station events, since the only reason she'd asked was to distract him from questions about her visit to Minbar. It wasn't long before he noticed her inattention and stopped speaking in mid-sentence.

   "Are you listening to me?" he asked, amusement mixed in with the exasperation in his voice.

   "No," Delenn confessed.

   "Well, it's nice to know where I stand," he said.

   They were standing at her door. She gazed up at him for a moment, her expression completely unreadable, her face inexpressibly beautiful. John could feel his heart begin that slow, fizzy burn that started whenever she looked at him like that. She said something, but he couldn't hear it above the roaring in his ears.


   Delenn smiled. "'Are you listening to me?'" she teased. Before he could respond, she said, "I asked if you had any engagements within the next few hours."

   "My calendar is clear," John said, taking her hand and studying it for a moment before he pressed his lips to it. "Why? Do you have something in mind?"

   She merely smiled as she unlocked her door. They entered her quarters together, and before the door sighed completely shut, he took her in his arms.

   They waited just a moment before they kissed, but it was an endless moment in which they breathed each other's scent and reveled in their closeness and the warmth of their bodies and their reunion. She opened her mouth and his mouth descended on hers and they probably would have stayed that way, their kisses deepening, their embrace tightening, for a very long time if the door hadn't chimed. John released her, slowly and only partially. She could feel the reason why, and smiled as she breathlessly bade her guest to enter.

   It was only Lennier, bringing her things. Aside from her bag, he carried a box, the sight of which caused Delenn to break away completely from John to retreive it. The Captain hastily made his way to the couch and sat down, hoping that the young Minbari hadn't noticed his physical state.

   If he had, he didn't show it. He and Delenn spoke briefly and then he bowed to them both and departed, leaving Delenn standing near the door with the box in her hands and a pleased expression on her face.

   "Are you hungry?" she asked.

   "Not really," John said, shifting his position on the couch. "It's only been a couple of hours since I had lunch, and--"

   "The correct answer to my question," Delenn interrupted sternly, "is yes."

   "Yes," John said obediently.

   "Good." She purposefully carried the box to the kitchen and began to open it. John watched her warily.

   "You're going to cook?"

   "Yes," Delenn said as she peered into the depths of the box. Her face lit up as she found what she was looking for and fished it out.

   "I didn't know you could cook," John said. Finally giving up on niceties, he reached through the fabric of his uniform and gave his underwear a good tug, relieving some of the pressure on his erection, which was stubbornly refusing to deflate.

   "There are many things you do not know about me." She looked at him as he got up from the couch and approached the counter. "There are some things you will never know."

   "No doubt," he agreed. The news didn't seem to faze him. He motioned with his chin. "What is that stuff?"

   Delenn smiled. "It is called meekrom. It is a delicacy, but very simple to prepare."

   John chummily leaned his forearms on the counter. "Now, why do I get the feeling that simplicity of preparation is this meekrom's strong point with you?"

   "Perhaps because you know me well enough to know that any cooking skills I might have would be limited," she replied. She smiled at him and he leaned in and kissed her nose. He opened his mouth to say something, but before he could get it out, she produced a long and narrow instrument. "Will you light the candles, please?"

   John looked behind him at the gloom-shrouded main room. "I need a candle to find the candles."

   "You are a wise man," Delenn said absently, absorbed in the meekrom. "I am sure you can figure it out."

   As it turned out, his eyes only needed to adjust to the darkness. He found the candles -- they were everywhere -- and began to light them with the instrument she'd given him. "Do you want me to light them all?" he asked, as one of the candles burst into flame with a loud hiss that made him jump. She looked over at him. The candlelight cast a wavery glow that softened his face, made him look younger, more relaxed. Her heart, weighed down by the enormity of her love for him, fell into the pit of her stomach with a splash she was sure that even he could hear. He frowned and said, "Delenn?"

   "That is enough," she told him, recovering from her heart's dive. She checked on the meekrom, found it ready, and busied herself with pouring it into a serving dish as he returned to his post at the counter. She placed the dish before him with a flourish.

   John looked at the meekrom dubiously. It looked like coarsely ground purple peanut butter, and not very appetizing. He leaned over and sniffed it. It smelled odd, but that could also be the cloud of incense that emanated from the hissing candle. "You want me to eat that?"

   "It is very good," Delenn reassured him, coming around to his side of the counter.

   John gulped, looked around. "Uh... is there a spoon?"

   "Meekrom is eaten with the fingers... like this." She dipped two fingers into the dish and offered them to him. He cautiously opened his mouth and she slid her fingers in. As the flavor of the stuff spread slowly over his tongue, his expression changed from wariness to delight. He began to suck the stuff off her fingers and she laughed because it tickled.

   "My fingers are not part of the dish," she admonished him, pulling them out of his mouth.

   "Maybe your fingers are what makes it so delicious," he declared. He dipped his own finger into the bowl and tasted it. He shook his head. "Not nearly as good."

   "Do you want more?"

   "Yes, I want more!" So she obliged him. At her urging, he followed suit, dipping his fingers and offering the meekrom to her.

   They made short work of it and when it was all gone, Delenn cupped her hand behind John's neck, pulled him down to where she was and kissed him.

   Back to where they were before Lennier and the meekrom interruped them, there was nothing to interrupt them, now. He pulled her close, closer, so close she could barely breathe. She didn't care. She held on to him, giving him her mouth, letting the rhythm of her desire move her as she moved against him, as her hands roamed his beloved body, finding the fasteners that kept him clothed and loosening them. His hands roamed in their turn, seeking her curves, pushing his body into her softness. He cried out when her hands came in contact with the bare skin of his chest, her soft fingertips playing his nipples.

   The sound of his cry seemed to break a spell, because she released him suddenly and, without a word, disappeared into her bedroom. He stood there, empty and tingling and helpless, his clothing half off, looking like nothing so much as the victim of a ravishing. "Delenn..." he began, plaintively. The echo hadn't died before she returned from the other room carrying a large bundle of fabric in her arms.

   She shook it out and laid it on the floor. It looked like a robe made of some kind of soft, plushy material that begged to be touched. If it was a robe, it couldn't possibly be hers because it was far too big. Before he could ask, she took his hand and led him to it, knelt and pulled him to his knees before her. She slowly removed his uniform, staying his hands when he attempted to undress her. She kissed his body: here on his biceps as she pulled the sleeve of his shirt off, there on his waist as she unfastened his belt, here on the inside of his thigh as she freed him of his underwear. Her hands glided over him, pushing away cloth until he was completely naked.

   She lowered him onto her sleeping robe and then slowly undressed herself. Delenn stopped him each time he reached for her, letting him know who was in charge. So he finally gave up, lay back and watched her, becoming more aroused with every bit of skin she revealed. When she'd discarded the last of her clothing, she climbed on top of him and straddled his thighs.

   She stared into his eyes for a long time. They were dark in the candlelight, as deep as the blackness of space. Delenn saw her reflection in their darkness, perfect as only a man in love can see a woman -- she could tell him the truth but he would never believe. So she began to touch his body, instead.

   He moaned as she pressed the tip of her finger to the head of his penis and slowly drew it away, trailing a gossamer strand of his bodily fluid, silver in the candlelight. "So beautiful," she whispered as the strand vanished. "Ao lan gien nah..." She seemed to be unaware that she no longer spoke her lover's language. The phrase sounded like an incantation to John -- the beginning of magic. She took his cock in one small strong hand, then she took him with her warm mouth and all coherent thought left him.

   Delenn tried to swallow him, taking as much of him into her as she possibly could, sucking hard. Her jaws grew fatigued and she released him, slowly, and contented herself with sucking the mushroom head, swirling her tongue around it, teasing and ticking the underside at the point where it joined the shaft. The pleasure was excruciating, and John thrust upward, into the air and then into her mouth as she received him again. He cried out as he came, unable to keep that from happening in her mouth. But she'd wanted that and she continued to suck as his seed spurted down her throat and she swallowed it. She rubbed him gently, low on his belly. The sensation of her caress sent a chill up his backside.

   She released him, sat back on his thighs and regarded him as he lay, gasping in the aftermath of his climax. Shining silver tear-tracks ran down the sides of his face and into his ears. Delenn gently smoothed them away with her fingers, softly crooning that incantation again. John weakly took one of the soothing hands in his own and kissed it. "What are you saying, sweetheart?" he asked, his voice not quite steady. "What does it mean?"

   Delenn looked at him oddly, then, as comprehension came to her, she looked embarrassed. She apologized. "I did not realize I was not speaking your language..."

   "It's all right," he said, cupping her face in one hand. "I was just curious."

   She was silent for a long moment. He could see that she was trying to work out in her head the next thing she was going to say, and it came to him that she probably had to do that often; the burden of their communication rested mainly with her. At that moment he vowed to learn her language... starting with what she'd just said to him, if he could.

   Her inner struggle continued for a moment longer, then she gave up and lay down on top of him, carefully fitting her head beneath his chin. "It is almost impossible to translate," she murmured. "It is... the colors that you are. Something that I see in you in this light, shining and dark... It is like a metal... silver, you call it. Silver and... black." He felt her shoulders move apologetically. "I cannot explain it any better."

   He thought about it for a moment. "Say it again," he said, and she repeated herself. He tried to say it along with her, stumbling over the words, and she said it again, pronoucing it slowly until he got it right.

   "Now you sound like a Minbari," she said, her voice full of laughter. John grunted.

   "How do you say, 'I love you'?" he asked. Softly, she told him, and he repeated it, perfectly the first time, his voice vibrating his chest. She raised her head to look at him.

   "How do you say, 'I love you more than life itself'?" John asked breathlessly.

   Delenn took her time answering. She pushed herself upright and reached between them, taking his newly erect cock and using it to carefully trace and retrace the slit between her legs. The slit grew wet, slippery as her pussy began to blossom like a flower, the lips swelling and the bud of her clitoris poking out between them. Back and forth she stroked, and he could feel her involuntary contractions every time the head of his cock grazed her clit. Warmer, wetter... they were both breathing heavily, now, moaning in pleasure. And when he thought he could stand it no longer, she guided him to the entrance of her vagina and he slowly and deliciously slid into her to the hilt.

   She spread her legs wider and he could see, as well as feel, that there was nothing of him left outside, that he was fully and completely hers. The sight made him feel feverish, as if his head were on fire, she made him feel feverish as she rode him languorously, deliberately.

   He took her hips and held on, loving the feel of her movements, loving the sound of her pleasure as he thrust up into her. He could feel her tightening inside, growing wetter; her thrusts became more urgent as he brought her closer, as she called his name, as she moved faster, her nails digging into his arms. "Yes!" he cried as he felt her sweet inner muscles clasp his cock even tighter. John knew that she was coming any moment, any second now, he would feel her grip on him loosen, then spasm rhythmically as it was doing now as her head tipped back and she yelled out her release in a voice that was as strong and unabashed by her existence as she herself was.

   She cried out his name over and over, her body thrumming as if someone had sent several thousand volts through her. "Here," he said, pulling her down onto his chest and holding her close. Sometimes their lovemaking was steady and serene. Sometimes it was cataclysmic, as it was now, and he wondered, tightening his hold as another orgasm whiplashed through her, if whatever had happened on Minbar could have something to do with it.

   He was certain he would never find out. No matter. He continued to hold her, soothing, caressing her, loving her as she slowly began to come down. At one point she spoke. It was Minbari again, and he absently repeated it, stroking her hair. "What does that mean, Delenn?"

   "It means I love you," she whispered, looking up at him. "More than my life."

   "You know that I do," he said to her.

   "Yes," she sighed, relaxing on top of him.

   They lay that way for a long while before she spoke again.



   "You are still inside me..."

   "You noticed," he said dryly.

   "With Minbari it is... we have... we..." She fell silent, at a loss. John looked down at her, frowning.


   "Not that I would mind," she said. "But of course you would not know about that," she finished, in a low voice.

   "Delenn, what in the hell are you talking about?"

   "We..." She sighed. "It is very hard to explain."

   "Obviously. Try words of one syllable. I know I'm slow sometimes, but I can be made to understand... eventually."

   She struggled a full thirty seconds with it before she finally gave out one word.

   "Conception?" he repeated. "You mean as in... babies?"

   "I should not have mentioned it," she said, looking embarrassed. "It is just that I was reminded... and of course it does not happen the same way with humans."

   "You might be surprised," John began. "It..." He trailed off as he suddenly remembered something.

   "Our son is safe..."

   "Well, I'll be damned," he murmured. He took her face in his hands. "How do Minbari make babies?"

   Delenn actually blushed. "We do not speak of it," she whispered.

   "But you still know how it's done."

   "Of course."

   "Let's do it, Delenn."

   "Make a baby?"


   She caught her breath as his cock grew inside her. He was deeply aroused at the prospect. "I never made a baby before. I never thought I would, never wanted to until now... and it is possible for us now, isn't it?"

   She nodded and he rolled over, somehow managing to maintain their connection, until he was on top of her. "It is possible," he said again as he slowly, gently began to thrust into her.

   He reached behind him and hooked her knees with his elbows, forcing her legs way up, sending his cock deeply into her, deeper than he'd ever penetrated her before. She gasped and cried out, overwhelmed by the intense pleasure of it. He continued to move inside her, moaning in bliss. She climaxed quickly, calling his name. His orgasm followed close on the heels of hers and he made sure that when it happened he was deep inside her, that his seed would not have far to go to reach what it sought.

   John held her in his hands for a long time after, kissing her through her next three orgasms. He'd never felt such pleasure in his life. All his senses were engaged: the acrid, stirring scent their combined juices, the softness of her skin, the silkiness of her hair, the taste of her mouth, her sweat, the sound of her pleasure-roughened voice, the sight of her sweet face, filling his eyes, filling his heart, his heart.

   When he released her legs she wrapped them around his waist and he rolled over on his side, holding her close because he was losing her, and he wasn't ready to be apart from her, not yet.

   She was limp, profoundly sated. "If you are going to do that every time, we will have many babies, John," she announced in a languid, slurry voice that made him chuckle.

   "Oh, it'll get better."

   "Then I will not survive it," she sighed.

   "You'll survive," he assured her. "You're a strong woman."

   "Strong enough to have children who are not pure Minbari," Delenn said, with a touch of bitterness that puzzled him.

   "We both are," he said firmly. She looked up at him to see his love for her, shining clearly in his eyes.

   "Are you hungry?" she asked.

   John blinked at the sudden turn the conversation had taken. "Not really."

   "I am."

   "Do you want me to get you something?" He started to rise but she held him back, shaking her head.

   "I am too sleepy to eat right now," she said softly.

   She closed her eyes for a second...

   The young acolyte hovered over the table, poking her nose into the dishes and getting in the way of the servers, who favored her with scowls which she pretended not to see. The servers did little more than throw dark looks at her. None of them wanted to risk the Master's wrath. It was all right for him to chastise his protege; no one else was allowed to.

   She wasn't aware that he was watching her as she looked, smelled, tasted and got her hand slapped for her trouble. Dukhat let that one pass. She deserved it. A smile touched the corners of his mouth as she pressed her injured hand between her breasts and rubbed it, staring reproachfully at the indignant server, who met her look for look. She finally moved away from the table, but not for long and not very far. She came back, hovering again as several more dishes were brought out, and he decided it was time to join in the fun.

   "Do you think, Delenn," he said, as he reached a long arm over her shoulder to a small dish containing a lumpy paste that Delenn didn't recognize, "that meekrom is truly an aphrodisiac?"

   "I am not familiar with meekrom, Master," Delenn replied.

   "But you are familiar with aphrodisiacs," Dukhat said, mischief glinting in his eyes.

   Delenn saw the mischief but decided to play it straight. "Not personally, Master. I am, however, familiar with the concept."

   Dukhat dipped two fingers into the bowl, then offered them to Delenn. "This is meekrom. This is how you eat it." She hesitated. He nodded. She cautiously opened her mouth and he slipped his laden fingers between her lips.

   The taste of the meekrom was deliciously strange but it wasn't the flavor of the food that made her heart pound. He didn't seem to be in any hurry to remove his fingers from her mouth and the word "aphrodisiac" began to maddeningly repeat itself inside her head.

   "Good?" he asked. She nodded and he slowly withdrew his fingers. He tasted some of the dish himself, same fingers. Watching him do this had an effect on her that she only halfway understood. "And aphrodisiac?"

   "Master?" she said, startled.

   "The concept, Delenn. What do you think?"

   After a moment's thought, Delenn said, "I should think that an aphrodisiac would be unnecessary if the couple were of a mind..." She trailed off as she noticed his gaze had shifted to a point over her right shoulder. She turned in that direction to find that her latest proclamation had been delivered to an audience. An amused audience, judging by their expressions. Delenn wasn't sure they weren't laughing at her, rather than with her. When she looked back at Dukhat, he was still staring over her shoulder, his gaze now challenging. After a moment, his expression changed again. She didn't dare look but she knew that no one was laughing at her, now. His eyes returned to her.

   "That is an astute judgment, Delenn," he said as he replaced the bowl on the table. "One I happen to share."

   "So, why are you serving meekrom, Master?" a woman spoke up. She was a tall woman, of the Warrior caste and the insinuating way she looked first at her, then at Dukhat, made Delenn feel as if someone had discovered her deepest heart's secrets, found them puerile, and held them up for ridicule to everyone in the room.

   "Because I like the way it tastes, Aniel. Would there be any other reason?" Dukhat said this mildly enough but his stare was glacial. Delenn remembered well the last time he'd looked at her like that. She had decided at that moment that she would never do anything to make him look at her like that again, and she felt a slight pity for the woman. Aniel the staunch warrior lasted about three seconds longer than most would have under that look before she lowered her eyes, muttering, "No, none at all."

   Confrontation over, Dukhat extended his arms. "Come," he said. "Feed yourselves. Then we will talk." To Delenn he murmured, "Aniel will eat all of the meekrom, so if you want more, you'd better get it now," then moved away. Delenn ducked her head to hide her grin. She had a feeling that Aniel would take her smile entirely the wrong way. It was bad enough that many of this company disliked her because she was Dukhat's chosen.

   It was worse that she didn't care.

   "We seem to have lost your acolyte, Master."

   He looked over to where Delenn sat, alone on a small bench. Her hands were folded calmly in her lap, her head tilted at a respectful, listening angle, her eyes closed. She was fast asleep.

   "It's been a long day," Dukhat said. The tenderness in his voice and on his face as he looked at his aide was lost on none of his company. He ignored the exchange of meaningful glances among them as he got to his feet.

   Delenn never woke during the robe-rustling, hand-to-chest pressing, "Valen go with you" leave-taking that went on soon after. After everyone was gone, Dukhat went over to the bench and stood before her. She was beginning to list. He quietly took a seat next to her, in the direction of the list, and waited. Thirty seconds later she was leaning against him. He put his arm around her and thirty seconds after that she shifted, putting her hand on his chest and drawing one leg up and across his thigh. Snuggled against him she continued to sleep and he continued to hold her, delighting in the scent of her that was so much like a warm breeze over snow and reminded him of the homeworld he hadn't seen in years.

   She stirred and sighed and he tightened his embrace, pulling her closer to him, smiling in both pleasure and amusement at his current situation. His smile deepened into a quiet chuckle as she began to talk, softly, in her sleep. He watched her face as he listened to her monologue, which made no sense whatsoever. Her eyes moved behind their closed lids. What dreams ever make sense, he wondered. Asleep, her face was rather ordinary. Her beauty lay in her eyes, those nearly colorless windows to her soul and reflectors of his own. Dukhat felt a sudden, overwhelming need to see his soul in her eyes and, as if in answer to his desire, she opened them.

   She stared up at him, not quite there. He glimpsed his soul in the crystal depths of her eyes and was satisfied. "Did you know that you talk in your sleep?" he said to her.

   Delenn smiled, her eyelids lowering slightly. "I have been told," she whispered. "Did I say anything incriminating?"

   "In your sleep you are not old enough to do anything incriminating," Dukhat informed her.

   "And when I am awake?" she murmured. "Am I old enough, then?"

   As he stared into her eyes, he realized that she must be half-asleep, still. Had she been fully aware, she would have been out of his arms and halfway across the room, stammering in embarrassment in full acolyte mode.

   "Ask me again," he said, "when you are awake."

   She smiled again, for just a moment, before she came fully awake. Her sweet expression changed to one of chagrin. Just as he predicted, she started out of his arms but he held onto her, unwilling to release her warmth and the scent that brought him the memory of home. "Stay," he said, and she relaxed slightly against him, although she would not look up. He could feel the frightened thrumming of her heart. "You asked a question of me."

   "Did I, Master?" she said breathlessly.

   "Yes," Dukhat said ironically. "You did."

   "I do not remember, Master," Delenn lied.

   Dukhat tipped her chin up with one finger. "I think you do."

   "I..." she began, then got lost in his eyes. Got pulled into their depth, into their calm, into their bedrock certainty of who he was and why he was and what he wanted. Delenn also saw what had been in them for her, almost from the beginning. It both frightened and drew her. The allure quickly overcame her fear. Her mouth was already open for her explanation, and so she was ready for his kiss when it came.

   The kiss lasted for a very long time, and when it was over she was pressed against his body as she had been in her sleep. She was far from relaxed, however.

   "Even sweeter than I imagined," Dukhat said softly, touching her face.

   A delighted smile dawned in her eyes. "You imagined..."

   "And you did not?" The irony was back in his voice. Discomfited at having been so easily read, Delenn lowered her eyes. She saw the stark outline of his erect penis, distinct amidst the soft, iridescent folds of his robe. The effect of this sight on her was immediate and powerful.

   She looked up at him as he gently covered the small hand that had fisted the material of his robe against his chest. "I want this," he murmured, slipping again into the depths of her eyes, feeling the pull of her passion, now. "Do you?"

   "Yes," she said immediately, breathing hard. Dukhat shook his head.

   "Your body is talking. Try to ignore it, just for a moment. Is this what your heart wants? Is this what your soul says you need? I do not want to lose you, Delenn, to anything, and certainly not to foolish recriminations. So think."

   Delenn closed her eyes and tried to do that. She'd never found anything more difficult in her life. That most female part of her screamed to be joined to what she had seen. It was a maddening ache that blocked all thought, erased all reason. She moaned. His hand tightened on hers. "Think," he said again and, accustomed to following his orders, she did so.

   Could I face him, having done this? Could I bear to be alone in a room with him after this? Everyone would know. Could I bear the gaze of someone like Aniel? Of anyone? Or would it be so unbearable that I would have to leave? Could I leave him?

   "No," she said softly. She opened her eyes. "I mean... yes." She looked up at him. "I want this." She unclenched her fist and tried to smooth the wrinkles in his robe. Her hand trembled.

   He took her hand and kissed it. "This will be a joining of equals, Delenn," he said, " or it will not happen at all. Can you be my equal?"

   Aghast, Delenn said, "No one is your equal, Master."

   "That is not what I asked you."

   Stern patience. Tenderness. Amusement. Joy. She saw them all in his eyes. I love you, she thought and suddenly, she had an answer for him.

   "Can you be my equal, Delenn?"

   She laid a hand against his cheek, then gently touched the silky bristles of his facial hair, and the lips in between. "In love, Dukhat," she said softly. "Only in love."

   It was the correct answer. He pulled her astride him, moving her as easily as if she had no weight at all. The press of his erection against her took her breath away. She could see that the contact was having the same effect on him.

   "Have your way with me, then," said Dukhat, with a sigh that ended in a soft moan.

   She did.

   She disrobed them both as he kissed every part of her that he could reach. He kissed her in places she'd never thought in her wildest imaginings that anyone, let alone the best of all of them, would want to kiss. He easily lifted her to kiss her in those odd places, his pleasure in this painted in bold strokes across his face.

   As she reached between them to guide his penis to the soft, slippery warm canal between her legs, he stared at her, drinking her with his eyes. He slid into her and fell. She caught him, holding his face in her hands. His hands clasped her waist, slid lower, held onto her hips, feeling their liquid movement as she worked at joining their bodies, squirming, writhing...

   "Be still," he ordered.

   Delenn stopped and stared at him. "I am doing this," she said, as indignant as one could be in the throes of passion.

   "You are doing it wrong," he growled.

   After another pause she announced, "Then I will stop," and moved to climb off him. Dukhat's hands tightened on her hips, stopping her.

   "You will be still..." he whispered. "So the Bliss can come."

   She stared at him. "The Bliss?" she murmured. "I have only heard..."

   He silenced her with a finger against her lips. "Forget what you have heard, Delenn. Experience..." He trailed off, lost in the depths of her eyes again. He kissed her, intimately twining his tongue with hers in the space created by their wide open mouths. She broke away suddenly, put her hands on his shoulders, then wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling herself closer to him, impaling herself further on his rigid penis. Moaning in pleasure, Dukhat coaxed her right leg up until her bent knee pointed to his armpit. Following the sleek line of her calf, he found her foot and slowly and deliberately began to stroke her arch with the very tips of his fingers.

   He could feel the effect his caress had on her in the spasming of her inner muscles as she sat, motionless, astride him. "There?" he whispered, stroking the exquisitely sensitive spot. Her response was a high-pitched, musical moan that surged through his senses like an electrical charge. It was a beautiful sound and he wanted it to fill the world.

   "Sing for me, Delenn," he said. "Sing for us all."

   She caressed his cheek with her own. This was how they would know, then: by the sound of her song, coming from his quarters. She could not stop it. Even if he had not asked her to, the music of her love for him, of their passion, of the joy of their joining, would have come out of her in her ecstatic moans.

   She looked into his face. What she saw (helplessness) surprised only the part of her which was not his equal. She took his face in her hands, her curious fingers once again drawn to his facial hair. He smiled with his eyes as she touched it wonderingly, giving his permission to an intimacy greater even than their joined bodies. Her hands wandered lower, to caress his shoulders, and he closed his eyes, moaning deep in his throat. His reaction to her caress went even farther as his penis swelled deep within the haven of her body.

   His mouth found hers again. One hand slid from his shoulder and began to rhythmically caress his belly. He moaned into her mouth and she broke the kiss as his hand left her foot to caress her belly in return.

   And she sang, the song as old as the Minbari. They were cries of pleasure, sweet and high, not quite inarticulate; an affirmation, a negation, a name could be discerned now and again. Delenn's song was incredibly arousing and the sound of it carried throughout the quarters section and all knew, though no one asked, the who and the what and the where and the why.

   The rhythm of their caressing brought about orgasm, a sudden, singular leap that left her bruised, him scratched, and them both with something to talk about for a long time after, but before the time after came the Bliss. This they would never discuss, although it came to them each time they made love, and they made love many more times than anyone ever suspected.

   "Breathe, Delenn..." The words had not far to travel physically, yet they covered a great distance before Delenn heard them. "Breathe..." Dukhat said again, and this time she could hear his voice, gentle, coaxing. She gasped, pulling in oxygen, returning to this plane. "Better," he said, and with a great effort she tipped her head forward to rest her forehead against his. She opened her eyes and stared deeply into his, saw what she knew he could see in hers, saw that what she felt was what he was feeling. "Does this..." She stopped, tried again. "Is this..."


   "It hurts."

   "I know."

   She tried to pull away, detach herself. An excruciatingly pleasurable sort of pain flashed through her body. Dukhat cried out, an echo of her own cry of pain. He forcefully pulled her close again and held her. "We cannot separate now, we are one," he said. "Give in to it."

   She willed herself to relax, to not think of the point where there their bodies joined, a point for which the term "join" now had no meaning, for joining required separateness and at this moment there was none. "There..." he murmured soothingly, stroking her back. "This is a good thing, and like all good things, will not last." She relaxed, into his caress, into his embrace, into their amazing union. "There..." he said again, and pulled her even closer, intensifying every sensation. And as she relaxed, those sensations became bliss.

   As he said, the good thing did not last. The physiological event ended. Their bodies released each other and they disconnected their genitals.

   Separated, Delenn remained astride him. "I do not think I can stand," she confessed, rather shamefacedly.

   "I am sure I cannot," Dukhat said mildly, "so I do not expect you to. Stay where you are."

   "Yes, Master."

   An expression of annoyance flitted across his face. "Delenn, do you not find the use of the term 'Master' incongruous, considering the position we are now in?"

   "Yes, Master." Your point being? her expression said.

   "Then stop using it," he commanded.

   "Yes, Master. You seem to be regaining your strength," she added hastily.

   "So I am," Dukhat said. He lifted her off his lap, got to his feet and set her on hers. She staggered and he grasped her by the shoulders. She stared up at him. Small and naked, she didn't even come up to his shoulder -- yet she was the biggest thing he had ever held in his hands. "Do you love me, Delenn?"

   "Yes," she said. No flinching, no faltering, not the slightest hesitation. She continued to stare up at him, waiting. He made her wait a long time before he said

   "Don't look at me like that. If I did not feel an eleventh of the way you feel about me I would not be standing before you naked," he said, so dryly that Delenn laughed. "The last woman to see me naked was my mother, and I was very young."

   "I do not believe you," Delenn challenged playfully.

   "You have been listening to gossip again," he growled. "It is a wonderful way to learn, but do not believe everything you hear.."

   "Yes, M--... my love." She changed the ending of her sentence at his baleful glance.

   "'My love'," Dukhat mused, leaning over to retrieve their robes. "You will stay with me tonight."

   "Is that a request," Delenn asked, taking her robe from him, "or a command?"

   "It is a plea," he replied. "At this moment I have but two desires in life: one is to sleep and the other is to do that with you in very close proximity."

   "I have slept in your quarters before," Delenn pointed out.

   "But never in my arms." He smiled with his eyes. "And, since I have but one sleeping robe, you will be in very... close proximity. So... what do you say to my plea?"

   "Since it is a plea, and since I am accustomed to sleeping here..." She paused and laid two quiet hands on his chest, her robe slipping to its final resting place on the floor. "And since at this moment I have but one desire in life... I will do what you ask."

   He took her face in his hands and held it for a while, then he sighed. "If I kiss you, I will break my neck."

   Delenn laughed. "We cannot have that."

   "No," Dukhat agreed. "We cannot." He gathered her to his side and led her to bed.

   His sleeping robe could have sheltered a small family. He donned it then held it open for her, his face a welcome; she stepped eagerly into it and he enfolded her in the gentle strength of his arms. She snuggled against him as she had on the bench and they kissed, sharing love and warmth and, in the sensation of lips and tongues, the deeply embedded memory of the primal bliss... that of the mother's breast. They slept.

   Deep within the night he woke her. She knew the reason even as he rolled her over onto her stomach and entered her from behind. She grabbed the top of the bed as he pressed into her. A piercing cry of pleasure escaped her and he pressed a finger against her lips. "Quietly this time, my own," he whispered, and she felt herself melt inside. Kindness was rare for this man; terms of endearment were nonexistent. Yet he'd bestowed one upon her. It was priceless, and she would savor it for as long as she lived... except she didn't think she'd survive the current sexual encounter. It was more intense, he was more intense. She had learned from the first time and having learned now felt everything more intensely.

   He slipped his hand between her belly and the bed and rubbed circles until she climaxed, screaming. She felt the delicious sensation of his ejaculatory spasms as his orgasm swiftly followed hers. And then the Bliss, again. He whispered his love and his pleasure to her, kissing her between the words, and she touched what she could reach of him, little as that was despite the fact that she was almost completely covered by him. When their bodies released each other he withdrew and moved off her and onto his side, gathered her once more into his arms and spooned himself against her back.

   "My own..." he whispered into the darkness, giving her his gift again. What she felt was more than could be expressed in words, and so she said nothing, which was just as well since sleep reclaimed them both in a matter of seconds.

   The inexpressible was very much on both their minds the next morning, and so was the tacit focus of their meditation. When it was over she set out their morning meal, apparently forgetting that it was his turn to do that. He hadn't forgotten, but he had a decision to make and so let her continue.

   "Master?" Her soft voice pulled him out of his consideration of the consequences of his choice. He looked over at her and she motioned at the table. "Are you ready to eat?"

   "Come over here," he said. She came and he took her arms and pulled her down into the seat beside him. After a long moment he spoke.

   "There will be a child," he began.

   "No," Delenn replied softly, having already thought the thing through. "There will not."

   Dukhat was silent. Then he said, "As long as that is understood."

   She looked into his eyes. "I understand." She rested her hand on his. He took it and gently kissed her fingers. His eyes held her captive, held her, held her...

   "From here on, there will be many times when you will think I do not want you." His eyes left hers and studied the tips of her fingers. "You will be wrong." He released her suddenly.

   "Come," he said briskly as he got up and went over to the table. "I am very hungry. I seem to have used up everything I took in at that big meal yesterday." He looked at her archly. "Have you any idea how I might have done that, Delenn?

   She smiled. "None at all, Master," she replied.

   She closed her eyes for a second...

   Delenn woke to the sight of John Sheridan's beautiful human face. He was smiling at her and her heart contracted a bit, seeing that smile. It appeared so rarely these days.

   "Hi," he said.

   "Hi," she said.

   "You still hungry?" he asked.

   She thought about it for a moment. "No. I dreamed that I ate, and now I am full."

   "I could tell you were dreaming," he said, caressing her face with the back of his forefinger.

   "How could you tell?"

   "You were smiling, talking... moaning..."

   Delenn stretched luxuriously, hiding her smile as she pressed the length of her body against his. "What did I say?"

   John shook his head. "It was all in Minbari. I couldn't make out a word."

   "That is just as well, I suppose." She turned her back to him and he spooned himself against her, pulling her close.

   "Were you dreaming of me?" he asked, nibbling at the shell of her ear.

   "I have no need to dream of you, when the reality is so close," she told him.

   John grunted. Then he said, "Then, who were you dreaming of?"

   Delenn was silent for so long he thought she wasn't going to respond. "A child," she finally said. "A woman-child."

   "Was she anything like you?"

   "She was very much like me."

   "I hope they all are, Delenn," John said, so fervently that she shifted again to look into his face. What she saw there touched her so she was moved to touch what she saw.

   And she said nothing, since that is the best thing to do when you don't know what to say.





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