[Aaaah! Run! Run! It's some major spoilers from 'Rising Star'!! Run for your life!!]
Since today (November 19) is my birthday, I thought I'd pass along two stories -- 'Beholder' and 'Endings' -- as a kind of reverse birthday present for your reading enjoyment. In 'Beholder' (this one), there's the usual sex, aliens, and rock 'n roll (well...not the rock and roll, but a 'sort of' honeymoon and marriage scene), and 'Endings' deals with the older Delenn we saw in "Deconstruction of Falling Stars." I really hope you like them!!
As usual, any comments, criticisms, desposed Earth presidents, amnesty agreements, and presidential job offers can be sent to: email@example.com
"Do you, John Sheridan, promise to hold and protect Delenn's soul in your heart, to cherish her..."
G'kar watched the wedding ceremony drag on with an equal amount of honor, curiosity, and boredom: honor because he was asked to be a part of it, curiosity about the ceremony itself, and utter boredom since none of his people's mating ceremonies would have lasted longer than five minutes. It was amazing how many rituals the Humans had, much less the Minbari, in their wedding ceremonies; for instance, what was the reason for giving the bride away? For that matter, what was the purpose of the three small triangles the Minbari had reverently placed at the front of the chamber? G'kar sighed. Perhaps there were just some things in the universe that were better left unexplained, he reflected. At least it was a short ceremony or he would have really been bored.
The Ambassador from Narn looked over to his right at the lavishly dressed - to G'kar, it seemed somewhat gaudy - Centauri Ambassador and smiled at the look on his face. 'At least I'm not the only one that's suffering', G'kar thought. Londo Mollari's idea of a ceremony was to spend 15 minutes satisfying tradition, then the next hour satisfying himself at the nearest bar. Strangely, though, he thought of Londo as a friend - not a good friend, but a friend nonetheless. For one, despite the fact that he hated the Centauri with a passion, Londo had kept his word to free Narn once Emperor Cartaigia was out of the way. And he had asked the League of Nonaligned Worlds to support Sheridan in his war against Earth when he had nothing to personally gain from it. What had made G'kar admire, in a way, the Centauri Ambassador he had gotten out of a drunken Vir one night: Londo had begged Vir to kill him so the Vorlons wouldn't wipe out Centauri Prime. That made him as much a patriot to his own people as G'kar was to his, and worthy of respect. Right now, however, the mating of two of his friends were more important than thinking about the Centauri Ambassador's suffering. Besides, they were just near the end of the ceremony, anyway.
"I will," Delenn said. She turned and smiled up at John who smiled back. The love that passed between them was fairly obvious to everyone in the chamber.
"Then, by Valen's blessing and your consent, I formally declare your souls joined as one throughout eternity. May you prosper in happiness," the Minbari religious caste member said. "Um...you may kiss the bride?" she said, looking uncomfortable at this addition to tradition.
Neither Sheridan or Delenn had to be told twice. G'kar watched as they came together in a long, soulful kiss. Too long, it seemed. The Narn Ambassador could practically feel Londo itching to do something else besides stand there and watch someone else have fun. G'kar was more curious than irritated about the delay; on his world, marriages were done with business in mind: producing children and increasing your family's power. Love, if any, was a secondary thought. Here, love and power were mixed together. A dangerous combination, he thought, to any potential enemies.
Finally, the new couple broke apart and bowed to the audience. As usual, the Minbari in the audience bowed back, while the Humans clapped and cheered. G'kar nodded his head in respect as Sheridan and Delenn passed him, then felt something light tap at his shoulders before falling to the floor. Apparently, the Humans were throwing little white pellets at the departing couple. How odd. As the Ambassador and the former Captain left the chamber he found one of the Humans and asked them about that strange little custom...
Several hours later...
The dull light from the ISN report dimly outlined a meeting room and the two pairs of booted feet resting on the main table. The anchorwoman had just mentioned the rumor that Sheridan and Delenn had been married aboard one of the White Star fleet when Londo's gravely voice rang the air.
"Off!" Londo commanded. The viewscreen went dark and the lights came up, revealing a very relaxed Centauri Ambassador with a drink in his hand - as a matter of fact, he had had more than a few that evening - and a satisfied Narn ambassador with a small bag in his lap.
"So, how does it feel to make history?" Londo asked as he stared down at his drink.
"You do not make history, you can only hope to survive it." G'kar countered. "G'kar, you are a depressing person." Londo said, not unkindly.
"Thank you," G'kar said. Londo noticed that he was still chewing on those damned decorations that they had seen at the wedding.
"And stop eating that! You don't even know what it is!"
"Something called rice." G'kar pinched a few more grains and put them in his mouth, chewing contentedly. He had asked about them earlier and had found out that they were both thrown for good luck at a wedding and used as food. Whatever. Actually, they were quite tasty and would go excellently with several dishes he had in mind.
"Yes," Londo sneered. "If it were very good do you think they would have been standing there throwing it at people?"
G'kar dismissed the Centauri Ambassador with a wave of one hand and ate some more rice with the other.
Londo brought his glass near his lips, then paused. "As marriage ceremonies go, the Humans are very strange indeed," he said, more to himself than anyone else. After a moment, he looked at G'kar with a certain smile on his face. "They are quite a couple, aren't they?"
"Yes, they are," G'kar replied, a similar smile on his face. 'If only you knew, Londo,' he thought. Where to begin?
A small object had somehow been 'left' on a shelf in a certain sleeping chamber before the marriage ceremony had taken place. Also coincidentally, it had been left facing the marriage bed. Even though his prosthetic eye had been transmitting an empty bedchamber before and during the ceremony to his brain, G'kar didn't mind the slight case of vertigo from 'seeing' two places at once. Actually, he had been meaning to test the eye outside of his body for some time and now seemed a good time as any. All he had to do was to go to a deserted meeting room and wait for the fireworks.
Finally, Sheridan and Delenn entered the chamber and, for a minute, just held each other as a distant G'kar smiled. Delenn said a few silent words to Sheridan and disappeared offscreen, obviously heading for some type of washroom. 'It's too bad I can't hear anything', G'kar thought, although that wasn't something he expected to use tonight. He watched as Sheridan took off his black sash, his shoes, and slightly loosened the top part of his clothing. Also, understandably, Sheridan seemed somewhat nervous as he walked around the room. Where was Delenn? Ah, yes...there she was. Instead of the normal robes that G'kar saw on her as an Ambassador, she was now wearing a thinner light red outfit that seemed to shimmer in the light. He almost thought it was some type of sleeping dress until he saw the couple come together in a long kiss and their clothes eventually come down...
After that...well, there was a phrase that he had heard once: "If I've seen it once, I've seen it a million times..." Well, almost. The sex part was no different that what he had seen any Narn male and female doing, but there were several differences in the foreplay part itself. At one point, for example, he had seen Sheridan putting his head between his new wife's legs and doing *something* with his mouth or nose; he wasn't sure what had happened but Delenn certainly didn't seem to object. Definitely not after she had wrapped her legs around his head, anyway. Ah, well. By the time Londo had walked in the couple seemed to be on the verge of exhaustion, and so he could afford to waste time with the Centauri Ambassador. He said a silent prayer for the new couple as they drifted off to sleep on their slanted Minbari bed and wished them well in their journey.
Londo chuckled softly, then turned to the Narn Ambassador, smiling. "Almost makes you wish that you could peek in on them. See how it's going?" G'kar looked away, embarrassed. For the first time, Londo noticed that G'kar had his left eyelid closed, and he leaned forward, curious. "G'kar," Londo said, seriously. "The artificial eye that Doctor Franklin gave you - where is it?" Londo grinned lewdly, looking for the eye.
G'kar turned to face him and noted Londo's surprise when he opened his eyelid to reveal a empty socket. Despite being a highly educated Ambassador, there was only one word he could think of now. A Human word.
"Gotcha," he said simply, and smiled.
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