DISCLAIMER: Babylon 5 and its characters are the property of J. Michael Straczynski, Warner Brothers, PTEN, and/or TNT. No infringement intended.
SPOILERS: All five seasons of Babylon 5. Takes place approximately four or five years after "Sleeping in the Light".
CHALLENGE: Written for the first International Day of Femslash.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
If you show grief a mirror, its reflection is happiness.
Sunlight streaming over crystalline mountains set fire to the gray at her temples, turning ash to embers and ice to flame. Like a mirage, a dream made real by wistful fantasy, she sat, absorbing the warmth of the Minbari sun. This day, like all days on the wintry planet was cool, though it was the height of summer.
At her side, emptiness beckoned. Memories filled the corner of her eye; begged her to turn and peer into the past, to dive into the pain that awaited her heart at the sun's morning crescendo.
Steadfastly, she refused. A subtle, sad smile perched on her lips as a whisper of sound echoed down the hall. Her silent companion waited just out of view.
She supposed that it was out of courtesy a rare enough commodity among humans; none of her people would dare interrupt her morning ritual. Minbari were like that holding an ecclesiastical devotion to form and manner, making even the simplest of actions into a ceremony of great dignity and import.
"Join me, please." It was not the first time she had issued the invitation, and, as yet, it had to be answered.
Paired grief is often overwhelming.
Soft footfalls heralded the watcher's approach. Looking up, Delenn offered only the briefest of glances before returning her gaze to the vista below.
Standing to the Minbari woman's right, was General Susan Ivanova, leader of the Anla-shok and friend of John Sheridan. It always came back to him. He was the beginning; he was the end. But the middle Delenn shifted her eyes to gaze up at Susan. The middle had yet to be written.
"Please, sit. There is room enough for you."
"I don't mean to intrude," came Susan's soft, measured answer.
"It is not intrusion when it is an invitation," replied Delenn. She never took her gaze from the sunrise, even when she felt the soft flutter of Susan's robes as the other woman perched on the bench beside her.
Something a little like contentment settled over them. As the sun reached its zenith, Delenn turned to face Susan. "I find that I cannot watch at this point. It is too bright; too painful to look upon."
Squinting, Susan said, "Sometimes, pain is what is required to remind you that you're alive."
"Another very 'Russian' view, I suppose?" asked the Minbari woman with something approaching humor. It had taken her many years to accustom herself to human culture, but Delenn felt she was finally beginning to understand.
The tiny grin that shaped Susan's full lips was reward enough, but when the smile spread to her eyes, the heat of that regard wrapped around Delenn like a comfortable old cloak that had lain, long forgotten, at the back of a wardrobe. Reaching now for that shyly offered comfort, the Minbari woman loosely laced her fingers with Susan's.
Years of long practice had allowed Susan Ivanova to have more than a modicum of control over her reactions and so, when she felt the cool softness of Delenn's fingers grip hers, her only response was to nod, accepting the new road their friendship would follow.
There would be time enough, later, for the slow, languid kisses and the tentative-yet-knowing touches that each could see writ in the other's eyes. For now, they were content with the sunrise.
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