Discoveries (Part One)

By Peej

This is the first section of a story I've been working on on-and- off since "War Without End." I stopped working on it when spoilers for the "Final Five" made it apparent that things couldn't possibly have happened the way I imagined them. I dug it out again later, and shared a rough draft of the first half with some of the members of the John & Delenn e-mail forum & got decent feedback, but just got too busy, or too bored, to finish it. I've had a couple of "beta readers" encouraging me and giving me feedback on various versions, & I would probably never have finished it without them.

Another motivation was seeing how many of you have been brave enough to share your efforts with the rest of us. I've been trying to avoid reading anthing which might be remotely similar to my story, such as anything the author describes as having been written between WWE & the Final Five, or anything with erotic content. As a result, I've had to save several stories unread, and my curiosity is getting the best of me. I wanteed to get mine done so I could read the rest.

This is my first ever attempt to write erotica, and only the second piece of fiction of any kind I've written in more than fifteen years -- my earlier story, "Reactions," was the first, and was actually written as an adjunct to this one, which was far more difficult to complete -- dialog is much easier for me to write than action, especially since I had some very specific stylistic elements in mind.

The story contains some sexually explicit material, so if you're offended by that kind of thing, read no more.

The characters and setting are the property of JMS, Babylonian Productions, etc.

The story takes place immediately following the White Star Babylon 4 mission.


Leaving the White Star, exhausted, emotionally drained, John caught up with Delenn and took her arm. "Before you go, could I talk to you for a minute?"

Delenn turned to him, trying to pull her thoughts back to the present. "Of course." She studied his face, trying to read his feelings. "Is something wrong?"

"Not really." He looked at her, remembering what she had said, or would say, in the cell on Centauri Prime. "I just--do you remember when I said there were things I'd have to tell you later? A lot happened to me after my time stabilizer was hit, and I want to talk about it while it's still fresh in my memory. I know we've been away from the station for a while, and we've both probably got a dozen crises to deal with, but I think this is important."

She hesitated -- Jeffrey Sinclair had been the first Human she had ever called "friend," and she had thought to have some time alone to meditate, to come to terms with all that had happened; to reconcile herself to his loss...but this was John, and he was smiling at her -- that charming, almost apologetic, little boy smile that always melted her heart.

"Come on," he said, "You've got to eat sometime -- why don't we have dinner later?" He grinned, trying to lighten the mood. "Don't worry, I promise I'll pick up take-out this time. You survived my cooking once, but twice might be tempting fate."

She gave up, and he saw the beginnings of a smile before she composed her features and looked at him in mock seriousness. "I had been wondering whether you were ever going to ask me to dinner again. I was beginning to think that I was such poor company that not even flarn could compensate."

Before he could react, she flashed a smile and turned, skirt swirling, to disappear around the corner, leaving him to shake his head in bemusement.

Later, in his quarters, John paced the floor as he waited, trying to decide how much to tell her and how to do it. Telling a woman you'd never even kissed, at least as far as she knew, that you were going to have a child together had to be done delicately.

When the chime announced her arrival, he walked toward the door to meet her. She smiled at him as she came in the door, and he greeted her a little nervously. "Come in. Dinner's in the warmer -- we can eat whenever you want." He'd gotten back into his routine for a few hours, long enough for him to begin to wonder whether things had really happened the way he remembered them, and how likely it was that the future he'd seen was the one which would actually happen. He had begun to doubt whether he should tell her anything at all.

He poured two cups of tea, and tried to make a joke. "I've got the com running a self-diagnostic, and I've increased security in the ambassadorial section, so maybe we'll finally get to finish a meal in peace."

She smiled, acknowleging his humor as she took the cup he offered, and he began to pace again as he sipped his own drink. Deciding it would only get harder the longer he waited, he decided to go ahead and tell her what he had experienced during his absence from the White Star. "Do you mind if we don't eat right away?"

"Not at all...I would really rather hear what happened to you -- you gave us all quite a scare." She sat on the couch as he continued to pace. She watched him for a moment, wondering what he had to tell her that could be so hard for him to say. Suddenly, she recalled what had happened to her on Babylon 4, the time flash, as Zathras had called it. She had seen herself dressed in a bathrobe, standing in John's quarters watching him as he slept, obviously happy to be there with him...until the door had opened. She had seen the shock on her own face, but hadn't seen the person at the door. The whole experience had been so disorienting that she'd pushed it to the back of her mind so she could concentrate on what had to be done.

Now, she wondered if she should tell him about it, but she couldn't bring herself to tell him she'd forseen anything so intimate, at least, not yet. Perhaps later, after he told her of his own experience. Perhaps what he was finding so hard to tell her was that he had seen something similar. She began to think he would pace all night if she didn't say anything, so she broke into his reverie. "John, please sit. Whatever it is, we can talk about it."

He sat beside her and studied her face as he said, "When we were on the White Star -- when my time stabilizer was hit, somehow, I was on Centauri Prime, and it was seventeen years from now. Londo was the emperor, and I was his prisoner. I don't know why I was there, what was going on, but the city -- I don't know, maybe the whole planet -- was in flames. Londo blamed me for it--he said I'd driven away the Shadows, but that I hadn't, as he put it, 'cleaned up my mess.'" He shook his head, remembering.

"He told me I was going to be executed, and sent me back to my cell. I -- I was totally confused -- I kept sort of phasing in and out -- I'd think I was back on the White Star, then I'd be back in the cell. After a while, the guards came back and pushed someone else into the cell...It was you, Delenn." He stopped to give her time to process what he'd said, then took her hand. His thumb idly stroked its back as he continued, "You were a prisoner, too, and you told me you'd been questioned, but you hadn't told them anything. He paused before going on. "I gathered it hadn't been pleasant. You didn't realize I was from your past at first, and you didn't seem surprised to see me, so I assumed we'd been taken prisoner together."

She was watching him, concentrating on his words, trying to understand what he was telling her; what it meant for the present.

He smiled softly, remembering how she'd looked in the cell, older, obviously under extreme stress, but still beautiful, still strong. "You were so You thought we were both about to die, but you said you'd accepted that possibility a long time ago. It took me a while to sort things out, to tell you that I wasn't from your time. I asked you about the war, and you told me we'd done what we'd set out to do, that we'd built something that would last a thousand years...but that victory had come at a terrible price, and that the war was never really won. When I asked if there was anything I could do to keep that future from happening, you said the only way would be to surrender to the Shadows. When the guards took us back to Londo, he'd changed -- apparently, he hadn't really been in control of things before -- he let us go and, in exchange for our lives, he asked us to try to free his people. I don't know what happened after that, whether we actually escaped -- I was pulled back to the White Star."

He paused, remembering. "Delenn, while I was in the future, you told me -- well, you told me a lot of things -- but you said that when I went back to my own time, I should treasure the moments that I had, because they wouldn't last, and they'd never come again. I've been thinking about what happened, and what you said, and you were right -- I've been so caught up in trying to fight this war, to prepare, to plan for the future, that I've ignored the present. I've let opportunities slip away, I haven't done things, or said things, that I should have. I guess I've thought that fighting the war was more important than my personal life. But when I thought about what you said, I realized that's what we're fighting for -- our personal lives, everyone's personal lives. Sure, we're fighting for a cause, but when you really think about it, that cause is defending the freedom -- the personal lives -- of billions of people. I thought it was time to remind myself why life is so important, why it's worth fighting for."

He held both her hands now, as he looked at her seriously. "Delenn, I should have told you this before...I don't know why I haven' just seemed like there was never enough time, or it was never the right time, or, to be honest, I guess I've been a little scared." He shook his head ruefully. "It's crazy, I guess--I've never been afraid to go into battle, to face an enemy...but...I've been afraid to tell you...I love you, Delenn."

She'd listened to him seriously as he'd explained what had happened, wondering how they could use the information, but now a smile touched her lips as she reached out to him and her fingers traced the line of his jaw. "John, do not ever be afraid to tell me anything...especially not when it is something I have wanted to hear for a very long time."

Breaking into a relieved grin, he asked, "Really?"

She smiled and shook her head slightly as her hands moved up his chest to encircle his neck. "Did I really hide it so well? I thought I was being terribly obvious. How could you not know that I love you?"

He started to say something, then decided they'd done enough talking for a while. He slid his arms around her waist as he pulled her toward him, and they kissed, tentatively at first, then more urgently as they became more sure of each other.

Delenn tightened her arms around him as the kiss continued, a bit surprised by what she was feeling. She had thought she was prepared for this; that she knew what to expect. After her transformation, she'd studied human anatomy, trying to understand the changes her body had undergone, and more recently, as her feelings for John had deepened and he had made it clear that he cared for her as well, she had been curious enough to access the scientific database on Human sexuality. Now, she was finding it difficult to relate the technical information to what was happening to her. She knew that kissing was supposed to be enjoyable; she hadn't known that the pleasure would be so generalized, that the feel of his lips on hers would echo throughout her entire body.

John was startled by how quickly he was becoming aroused, but it had been such a long time...suddenly, images of Anna flashed through his mind, but he pushed them back, into the past, where they belonged. She was gone, and he knew she wouldn't have wanted him to spend the rest of his life alone. He had mourned her for four years, but now it was time to move on, to admit how much he loved the woman he now held in his arms--the woman who was responding to his kiss with a passion which surprised him.

Finally, their mouths parted, but they couldn't let each other go. Their eyes met and held, and their thoughts were so clear that no words were necessary. The emotions they'd both supressed for so long had been allowed to surface, and they were suddenly unwilling to waste any more time. They shared brief, sweet kisses as they explored each other's faces with lips and fingertips, finally able to yield to their impulses.

Her fingers moved across his face, touching him as she'd longed to; she held his face in her hands as her lips brushed his lips, his eyes, his forehead, and he found the soft touch of her mouth almost more erotic than their earlier, passionate kiss had been. She ran her fingers through his hair as his kisses moved from her mouth to her ears, and she felt his lips traveling down her throat until they were stopped by the collar of her dress and lingered for a while.

He pressed his face against her, tasting her skin, feeling her pulse pounding against his lips, then moved his hands up her back until his fingers slid through her hair to caress the sensitive skin at the base of her skull. As his lips moved on her throat, she gasped; her breath caught as her head fell back and she felt his arms supporting her as he gently lowered her to the couch, his body pressed against hers. She tightened her fingers in his hair, pulling his face closer so she could kiss him as his hands moved over her body, warm even through her clothing.

He kissed her throat as his fingers found the fastener of her collar and loosened it, then hesitated for an instant before he pushed her dress out of the way so he could kiss the soft skin of her shoulder. She gave no indication that she wanted him to stop, and he heard her gasp again as his lips traced the line of her collar bone.

She felt the cool air on her skin as he pulled the fastener lower and she began to tremble as his hands and lips moved lightly down her body. He unfastened the silky garment cupping her breasts, replacing it with his hands, and her nipples tightened and became almost unbearably sensitive as every nerve in her body seemed to respond.

Her breathing became shallow and slightly ragged as her world contracted to include nothing except the two of them. Her awareness was limited to sensation; the silkiness of his hair under her fingers, the touch of his hands and mouth on her body; her own body reacting in ways she never knew it could. Inarticulate sounds escaped her throat and her back arched as his hands caressed her breasts and she felt the soft warmth of his mouth as it closed around her nipple. His tongue traced slow circles around it as his mouth pulled at the surrounding skin, and she began to feel a pleasure so intense that it was almost painful.

He felt her body trembling, heard the sounds she was making, and suddenly realized how overwhelming this must be for her. Feeling slightly guilty that he'd let his passion take him so far so quickly, he stopped, pulled himself away with difficulty, and sat up. The abrupt absence of his touch jolted her back into awareness, and she opened her eyes to search his face questioningly, wondering what had happened; what she'd done to make him stop.

He took a deep breath, trying to get himself under control. "I...I'm sorry...I shouldn't have...I just..." Again, he inhaled deeply. "Maybe you should go."

She looked confused, a little hurt. "Why? What happened? What did I do?" She sat up, and her clothing, already off her shoulders, slipped down her arms, leaving her naked to the waist. She made no attempt to cover herself, and he couldn't keep from looking at her breasts, the nipples hard and slightly darker than the rosy aureoles surrounding them, contrasting with the pale, almost luminous skin of the rest of her body. Almost involuntarily, he reached out to touch her again, but instead, he forced himself to pull her dress back up, hiding her body.

He didn't trust himself to look at her and averted his gaze, taking another slow, deep breath before he answered. "No, no, Delenn, you didn't do anything. I--it's what I was doing. I... this is happening so fast...I don't want you to feel pressured into anything you're not ready for."

She brushed her fingers across his face, then her thumb stroked his lips as she slid her fingers along his jaw and gently turned his face back toward her, catching and holding his eyes with hers. "John, have you not known me long enough to know that no one makes me do anything I do not choose to do? I am where I want to be, doing what I want to do. I do not want to go, unless you really do not want me here."

He shook his head slightly and looked at her almost helplessly. "Not want you here? You have no idea how much I want you here, how much I want you in my arms, how much I want..." He stopped and his eyes searched her face, trying to read what she wanted, trying to see whether she really meant what she was saying; whether he really understood what she was saying.

She brushed his lips with her fingers, then kissed him gently. Her choice had been made the moment she felt his arms around her, his mouth on hers, and she searched for the Human terms to tell him that she shared his desire. "I want to stay with you tonight, John, to-- to make love with you," she whispered. "We could be at war tomorrow- -tonight could be all we ever have."

He reached out to stroke her face, asking, "Delenn, are you really sure about this? Are you certain it's what you want?"

She looked deeply into his eyes for a long moment before she answered softly, "I'm sure. Are you?"

He met her gaze, searched her eyes, then nodded slowly. "I'm sure," he whispered as he pulled her close again. "More sure than I've been about anything for a long, long time."

His hands moved slowly up and down her back as they kissed again, less urgently now, as if, having made their decision, there was no need to hurry. They took their time, savoring the taste of each other's lips, the scents of hair and skin, the warmth of body touching body.

Finally, he broke the embrace and took her hands in his. He stood, pulling her up to stand in front of him, and his eyes held hers, silently questioning, giving her a chance to change her mind. She met his gaze steadily, and he swept her into his arms and carried her toward the bedroom. He put her down on the bed and and lay down beside her, propping himself up on his elbow. He stroked her cheek with his other hand as he studied her face. "You are so...incredibly beautiful," he whispered. She looked up at him, her emotions clear in her face, and they held each other's eyes in silent communication.

As he brushed the backs of his fingers across her face, they came into contact with the crest that was all that remained of her Minbari head bone, and for an instant, he looked almost puzzled. He stopped and took a deep breath before saying, "Delenn, somehow, I keep forgetting that you're not -- that you're Minbari. That's not what I see when I look at you. I just see... you." He paused and began to look slightly uncomfortable. "This is probably a little late to be asking, but...I, um...I don't, uh...I don't know very much about Minbari...uh...physiology or...customs." He smiled apologetically. "I thought about doing some research, but that seemed like, well, like an invasion of privacy."

She looked at him, a litttle amused -- she knew where this was heading, but she wasn't about to bail him out.

He continued, "Is there anything I, uh...anything...important...I, um, need to know? I mean, is there anything...I should be...doing differently?"

He'd have been more comfortable fighting a battle than having this conversation, and it was obvious in his face. She finally took pity on him, but couldn't resist teasing him a little. She tried to look horrified as she said, "You mean you didn't study Minbari anatomy? Then you don't know about...oh, should spend at least an hour at the computer before we continue..." She laughed at his expression, then became serious and stroked his cheek as she said "John, since my transformation, my..." She paused and smiled. " no longer really Minbari." Tapping his nose with a fingertip, she teasingly chastized him. "I did do *my* research, and from what I have learned, I am not really very different from a Human woman."

He looked vastly relieved and muttered, "Good."

She pretended to be offended, saying, "Oh? Are Human women so superior to Minbari?"

He looked abashed, then realized she was smiling. "You're teasing me again," he accused.

"Only a little." Her face became sober as she said, "John, when I was studying Human...physiology..." Again, she smiled--it was becoming a private joke. "I, um..." Now it was her turn to be embarrassed, and she looked away as she continued, "I know *what* happens, but...not" She forced herself to meet his eyes. "What do I do?"

He smiled as he took her in his arms and kissed her forehead. "I think we can figure this out together." They both became very serious as they gazed into each other's eyes, then slowly, gently, kissed. He slid his fingers through her hair and lightly caressed the back of her head, while his thumb stroked the front of her ear and the sensitive skin below it. She felt his hand glide down the side of her neck, and his fingers moved lingeringly over her skin as he pushed her dress off her shoulders again, his lips brushing her ear as he murmered, "Most of the time, if something I do feels good to you, it will probably feel good if you do the same thing to me."

"Oh," she whispered, slightly breathless. She slid her hands from his ears to the base of his throat, and began to unbutton his shirt. She slipped her hands inside and her fingertips stroked his shoulders and moved down his chest. "Like this?" she breathed.

"Umm hmn," he whispered against her throat, as his hands continued to explore her body, and they both began to breathe more quickly.

"Or this?" she whispered breathlessly, mirroring his movements.

"Oh, yes," he sighed in answer, and they stopped talking as they found other things for their lips to do.

[END 1/3]


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