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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

A Small Favour
By ralst


"Oh, hell no!"

Michael sighed, "Come on, Susan, for me?"

Ivanova looked at him as if he'd morphed into a Narn's armpit. "Don't try my patience, Michael, I'm not in the mood."

"When are you," he mumbled, before plastering on his most winning smile. "I'll turn a blind eye the next time you smuggle in off-world coffee beans."

Susan scowled.

"I won't tell Sheridan who ate his chocolate bunny rabbit."

"I--" Susan paused, her mind flashing back on the image of a fuming John Sheridan terrorising the C&C and accusing a visiting Centauri dignitary of stealing Delenn's Easter gift. "Why me?"

"She likes you," Michael smiled, knowing he'd won, "heaven alone knows why, but she does."

"Oh good." Susan's scowl turned murderous. "Lucky me."

Michael reached into his pocket and produce a small, brightly wrapped package. "All you have to do is hide this under her pillow."

"Her pillow!" Susan began pacing, muttered invectives seeping through her lips. "You only said I had to put the damn thing in her room, you never mentioned anything about going into her bedroom!"

"Bedroom, living room, what's the difference?"

Thrusting the package into Susan's arms, he turned and made a hasty retreat from her quarters.

Slumping down into her sofa, Talia Winters admitted that the past twelve hours had constituted the worse half-day of her life. She's been late for a meeting with the Trolean delegation, only to find out that sharing their thoughts was the equivalent of telepath hell. Six hours of excruciating pain later, she'd been accosted by a swarm of Drazi children, who had proceeded to cover her in cuts and bruises as they stampeded towards the new 'Clubs and Swords' exhibit on the Zocalo.

After limping home and stumbling over a crate of strangely smelling cheese, wrapped in yellow ribbon and sporting a sparkly 'Happy Birthday' banner. She'd realised that this was also the worst birthday she'd ever had, and considering the utter devastation of her first few birthdays without her parents, that was saying something.


Talia's head fell back on the cushion as she sighed in defeat.


She closed her eyes and tried to pretend she was the only person alive on the station. A lone woman in a sea of peace and quiet--


"Argh!" Talia stomped to the door, anger masking her usual grace. "Well, what now?"

The new arrival took a step back, her eyes wide with shock. "Ms Winters?"

"Susan?" Talia reached out as if to pull the other woman to her, just barely managing to restrain herself at the last moment. "Please, come in."

Susan sent a silent curse Michael's way before joining the embarrassed blonde. "There's a crate outside for you," she said, waving towards the smelly offering littering the corridor.

Talia ignored the comment. "What can I do for you Commander?"

It had taken Susan two hours of pacing and fuming to think up a reasonable excuse for getting into Talia's bedroom. Two wasted hours, when all she'd really wanted to say was that Michael had blackmailed her into hiding a birthday gift under Talia's pillow. "I need to see your bedroom."

Talia blinked. "My bedroom?"


"You want to go into my bedroom?"

Susan forced back a sigh. "Yes."

Talia pointed towards her room, a bewildered smile lighting her face, as she wondered whether the cheese had hallucinogenic properties. Susan Ivanova, in her bedroom? Who says there isn't a God?

As Susan made her way into the small bedroom she was disconcerted to realise that the blonde woman had followed her, and was staring rather bashfully at the floor. "Regulations," Susan muttered, waving towards the far wall in the vaguest manner possible, "I need to check the--"

Talia waited but Susan didn't elaborate. "The what?"

Susan instructed her mind to think, but all it came up with were seventeen different ways to torture a chief of security without being thrown in gaol. "The bed," she finally decided, before patting the satin sheets.

Talia was, at that very moment, positive that their was a God, and she was magnificent. "Do you need any help?"

"Help?" Susan watched as Talia removed her shoes before slipping onto the bed, a trace of desire peeking out from behind her pink-tinged embarrassment. "You want to help me--check the bed?"

"Isn't that why you're here?"

Susan felt her pocket and the gift it contained. She was pretty certain that Michael had never had this scenario in mind when he'd asked her to do him a favour. In fact he'd probably have a stroke if she even so much as looked at Ms Winters the wrong way.

Susan took off her jacket. "It's exactly why I'm here."

The End

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