Timeline: Takes place between "Point of No Return" and "Severed Dreams."
Author's Note: For some reason I seem to crave a B5 marathon (seasons 2-4) about every three months. Something struck me this time during "Point of No Return." This is the result. I hope you enjoy it.
Feedback is welcome.
"I'm alright…it's funny. I wish Delenn were here." -- J. Sheridan, "Point of No Return"
Ivanova to Sheridan, "Point of No Return": "Ambassador Delenn just got back. She's looking forward to talking to you about everything that's happened."
The gardens of the arboretum were so peaceful, so beautiful. Set apart from the chaos that claimed the rest of the station, their presence reminded the soul of the need for tranquility, if only for a moment.
Delenn sat alone on the bench furthest from the multi-paned door, hands clasped loosely in her lap. Eyes closed, brow relaxed and in a state most would call one of meditation, she silently prayed.
Faith manages. In all things faith manages. Even when there seemed to be nothing left in which to place one's faith, faith would manage. It has always been thus, and would continue to be thus.
The doors to the arboretum parted. She heard them and knew he had come. The news had broken over ISN while she had been en route back to Babylon 5. Part of her dreaded seeing him and reading the hopeless frustration in his dim eyes, the defeated slump of his shoulders. She had known his reaction the instant the words "martial law" had been uttered. Not through a comm message, not even through telepathy, but simply from her knowledge of his heart. And she did know it. He had shown it to her on many occasions.
It was that heart, and knowing that it needed comfort, that allowed her to open her eyes. He stood at the doors and stared out at the green grass and greener trees, absorbing the balming peace. After a moment, he turned to her, eyes glistening with unshed tears. His world, everything he believed in, was being rended into bits. Her heart ached for the pain that filled his hazel gaze.
"John," she whispered, his name stretching across the gardens between them. Slowly, she rose and reached for him.
"We knew this was coming. I knew this was coming. So why does the reality hurt so much?"
Delenn clasped his hand in both of hers and drew him down to sit beside her. She wanted to hold him, to comfort and shield him from the vagaries of men, just as he had done for her. His arms had twice cradled her under similar circumstances, first Sebastian, then the Marcabs. He had recognized the devastation of her soul just as she recognized desolation in his.
But he was too raw for such comfort. His emotions rippled just under the surface of his control. A wisp of pity, an admission of his fragility would send him over the edge. And he would not want that. Not when so many depended upon him.
So she stifled the longing and contented herself with the warm grip of his hand. Perhaps one day there would be more. But that was one day, not today. Delenn stared at their joined hands as her thoughts formed into the words he needed to hear. His thumb began to soothe the back of her hand, a giving and a taking of comfort.
"The mind tries its best to prepare the heart for what it knows will be painful, but sometimes the heart won't listen. It holds out hope that the mind is wrong and that its will will prevail. When that does not occur, it is shocked. The heart's faith in man has been broken.
"But that is the best part of the heart: it always believes in the good of everything. It may be battered, bruised, for that belief, but it is the heart that makes us who we are. The mind may give us the tools necessary to make the journey, but it is the heart that charts the path."
She raised her eyes from their hands to his face. He was a strong man whose strength was being tested by the universe. Delenn knew that this was just the first. He would be hardened when the coming war was finished. She only hoped that it would not harden his heart.
Resisting the urge to push back the hair that had fallen to his forehead, she asked, "What does your heart tell you, now, in spite of the pain?"
John cleared his throat, the raspy sound echoed in the silence of the gardens. "It tells me to do what is right."
"And what does your mind tell you is right?" she whispered, lifting one hand to his cheek to raise his eyes to hers.
Features etched with sadness, only now fully realizing the struggle ahead, John returned her gaze. He didn't turn away, having learned once before that she would call him back. His free hand rose to cover hers that still lay against his cheek. For a moment, he basked in the soothing warmth, the softness of her skin, the gentleness of her touch and marveled at how easily she gave of herself.
"It tells me how best to go ahead, the strategies and alliances to plan. It also tells me that I will be the one to finish this."
Delenn smiled as her thumb soothed his beard-stubbled cheek. "So you shall and whatever aide I may give is yours."
John closed his eyes feeling calm steal over his body, muting the pain to bearable levels, easing the tension in his shoulders. Again, he wondered at this woman's ability to heal. "You've already given more than you know."
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