DISCLAIMER: Do not own . All Characters belong to J. Michael Straczynski and Babylonian Productions.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Holding The Storm
"Ah, Commander there you are."
"Yes Ms. Winters, what can I do for you?"
Talia wondered if this was a good idea as she looked into Susan's eyes.
"Well you see I would like to ask a favor."
"Um, yes. I have a client this evening that requires me to follow a certain protocol."
"Continue," says Susan as she eyes Talia up and down trying to figure out what the set up is going to be.
"I need to have an escort. Or I will not be allowed to mediate this deal."
"I'm sure Mr. Garibaldi would be more than willing to help you."
"Yes he would and he did volunteer. But I need a female escort."
"Since I am unmarried it would not be appropriate to have a male escort."
"I'm sure you could fond someone else to help you. A friend maybe?"
"I really don't have any friends on Babylon 5 Commander."
Thinking about it for a few moments, Susan thought what harm could it be. The Captain was always telling her to improve her image with Psi Corps.
"Very well Ms. Winters. Where and what time?"
"Thank you Commander. Here's the place and time," she smiled handing the Commander a slip of paper. "Oh and Commander wear your uniform."
Four hours later Susan Ivanova was waiting outside the restaurant for Talia Winters. People were giving her a wide berth. Not wanting to be near when the storm they could see in her eyes broke.
"Commander, did your day not end on a good note," said Talia as she come up behind Susan.
Susan spun around to face Talia and froze. What ever she was going to say forgotten as she stared at Talia. Her eyes darkened as her mind kicked back in.
"I thought you said this was a business meeting?"
"It is Commander."
"I don't think I've seen you wear anything like that to any other business meeting."
Talia looked at Susan and smiled. Her eyes softening as she spoke.
"The Neroud have a certain protocol I must follow. I believe I told you that earlier. And this is part of it. As are you. They have a slight distrust of Psi Corps."
"Not the only ones. Ms. Winters if this is some kind of joke."
"No joke Commander," she said as she started for the door. "Oh and Commander, please call me Talia while we are here. I need you not to so sound so formal with me. By the way Commander you look very nice in your Dress Uniform."
Susan just glared and followed the blond in, cursing every god she could think of.
The dinner had been nice. And Susan was surprised by Talia. She had never realized how much she was a part of the compromises in the deals she mediated. Using the advantage she had to gently steer each party toward the results they both wanted.
During the negotiations Talia would look toward Susan and smile. She had found she couldn't resist smiling back. By the end of the meeting she had decided she liked seeing the telepath smile.
After the MemoLasik Rep left, Talia turned to the Neroud.
"I hope Bason that you are happy with the deal?"
"Oh very, very da'Talia. As you know we got more than we expected."
"Yes, and I'm glad I could help."
"No, no pleasure is all mine. I have got to you and your very observant ashaun. I can only hope that my daughter can find as ashaun like da'Susan."
Smiling at the Neroud, Susan was trying to understand what he was saying. The Neroud continued to talk to Talia.
"Do you mind my asking how you meet."
"Here on Babylon 5. Our first meeting was like encountering a large storm let loose in a small building."
Laughing the Neroud replied, "Your family must be quite proud of you. Containing great storms are not easy."
Talia turned to look at Susan and smiled. The look of fury on her face was priceless. She knew Susan was beginning to suspect something was up.
"No it is never easy to hold a wild storm."
"How do you hold your storm."
"Like this Bason," Talia leaned toward Susan and whispered, "Please Commander don't get angry just go along and I will explain later." And then she kissed her. Not just a lite kiss. A deep kiss that left Susan light headed and confused when it was over.
"I see you take the wind out of the storm."
"Something like that."
"I see I have taken enough of your time da'Talia. I'm sure your ashaun would like to get you back home."
"Yes I'm sure she would."
Bason got up and bowed, then left the restaurant.
As soon as the Neroud was out of the restaurant Susan grabbed Talia's arm.
"All right Ms. Winters he's gone explain."
Susan was barely keeping her anger under control and Talia wondered if she should not have told her before hand.
"The Neroud will not speak to a woman who is not married. They feel only married women are strong enough or smart enough to do business."
"And what does that have to do with me and you kissing me."
"I let Bason believe you were my ashaun. I knew you would play the part without me having to give you too many instructions, since they think human ashauns should be strong and quiet."
"And ashaun means?"
"Partner, mate, wife, husband. Take your pick."
"He thought we were married," that last was said a little loud, so Susan lowered her voice and let go of Talia's arm. "You could have had Garibaldi do this. It didn't have to be me did it?"
"No and you're right Commander, I could have used Mr. Garibaldi. But the Neroud always need proof when they are working with women that their ashaun is really their ashaun."
"That's shy Bason stayed. To make sure you were my ashaun. If I hadn't proved to him that you were, he would have cancelled the deal."
"The kiss. That's why you kissed me?"
"Do you think Mr.Garibaldi would have let me kiss him without thinking there was something more to it?"
"See that's why I asked you. You don't like me. So how could a kiss mean anything?"
"You still should have told me."
"Would you have helped me then?"
"So he believed us?"
"Yes Commander you did a very good job of glaring at everyone that looked my way."
"So what was that about a storm?"
"Your eyes, Commander, there's always a storm behind them. And they keep everyone at a distance."
"And you told him kissing me makes it go away."
"Something like that."
Looking at Talia Susan couldn't believe the nerve she had had in tricking her into this. But she could play along too.
"And do you see a storm now?"
"Yes. I always see a storm."
"See it didn't work. The Neroud was blind."
"No it was gone for a moment there."
"I don't think so Ms. Winters."
"Really," said Talia as she leaned forward and kissed Susan again.
When they moved apart minutes later Susan was quiet. Talia got up from the table.
"Good night Commander," said Talia as she turned to leave the restaurant.
Susan just sat at the table. What ever storm that had been brewing was gone. The waiters if asked would have told you that they saw the Commander smiling, and there were no storm clouds.
As Susan left the restaurant she amended what she liked about Talia Winters to add kissing to her list.
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