Two drabbles, though the first might be edging into ficlet territory, both using the prompt "Apocalpyse."
Specs: Babylon 5, John/Delenn, 1425 words total
Spoilers: Through "Shadow Dancing"
It was a funny thing, surviving a battle during the apocalypse. John knew the danger was still out there, that the war was yet to be won, and yet he couldn't help but feel that there was nothing to fear, nothing that could possibly defeat him.
Afterward, when we're finished with this, we will spend the night together. John remembered his jaw dropping, his eyes going wide. He wasn't sure why he'd been so surprised – she had been the one to ask him out on their first date, she had been the one to introduce physical contact into the equation, touching his face, his hand. Hell, she'd been the one to swoop in like an avenging Valkyrie and save his life, and what more could you ask in terms of romantic gestures?
Not like that! Had he been relieved at her laugh or disappointed? Even now, tidying up his quarters in anticipation of her arrival, unsure whether to change into PJs or stay in his uniform, wondering if she were going to sleep at all or if he'd wake up with her still sitting beside his bed, watching him, even now, John couldn't figure out whether he was relieved or disappointed. Both, he guessed. He'd never really been afraid of making a move before, of just jumping in with both feet and consequences be damned (read: Elizabeth Lochley), but what he had with Delenn was something delicate and precious, like one of her pretty crystals. There'd been a night not too long ago, though of course now it felt years and years ago, when they'd been sitting in her quarters talking shop – Shadows and such, those talks that played at designing strategy but were really just a way to vent fears and worries, to the only other person who really understood. Finally, after the third or fourth face-splitting yawn, he'd got up to leave, but had lingered by the door, overcome by an overwhelming desire – no, need – to kiss her goodnight. He thought about it and thought about it, thought about it so long she finally asked him what was wrong, and he had to stammer out a stupid excuse he knew she saw right through without necessarily knowing what was behind it.
What if he screwed it all up? What if he kissed her too hard, or too long? What if he didn't kiss her hard enough or long enough? What if he put his hand where it wasn't supposed to go? He just didn't know what to do, and there was no one to ask. (One night while pondering this dilemma he'd remembered Dad's long-ago talk about the birds and the bees, and laughed so hard he'd crossed a rib at the thought that poor old Dad never would have considered back then that his son would end up dating an alien.) He didn't feel like he was fifteen again, because at fifteen he just flashed the crooked grin he'd perfected in the mirror and gone in without a care in his fluffy, empty head. No, what it felt like was as if there were an unseen ref in the corner of the room, ready to blow an air-horn if he put so much as a single toe over the line.
Of course, when he had finally kissed her, it ended up being in front of a whole crew of Minbari. So much for waiting for just the right time.
His door buzzed. She was here. To say that he had butterflies in his stomach was an understatement – would she be offended if he just ended up throwing up all over her? John told the door to open with a grimace at the thought, smoothing the front of his shirt down, having finally opted, through prolonged indecision, to not change his clothes at all.
Delenn entered. Had he thought he was nervous? She looked like an absolute wreck – wringing her hands, biting her lip, and he was pretty damned sure she'd been crying fairly recently. “Delenn?” he asked, a hundred dreadful possibilities crowding into his head all at once.
She just looked at him, looked and looked, and his stomach tied up into a sailor's encyclopedia of knots. Finally she just shook her head. “I changed my mind.”
Oh. The sleep-watching ritual was something Minbari did when they grew close, that's what she had told him. So she no longer wanted to be close to him? Or at least didn't want to grow any closer. John realized he was nodding, up and down, up and down, he probably looked like he had a screw or two loose. “Okay. That's fine. Okay. It's okay, Delenn.”
He was so expecting her to turn and leave that when she stepped forward, grabbed his head and hauled him down for the kind of kiss that made things spontaneously combust, John just stared at her goggle-eyed for a solid ten seconds.
By the time he was ready to kiss her back, Delenn pulled away, embarrassment and confusion warring all over her face. “I'm sorry,” she murmured, and she turned for the door. John grabbed her round the waist and crushed his mouth down on hers. Now it was her turn to freeze, and John broke off the kiss with a hasty smack, ready to launch into an apology.
“John,” she said, and no one had ever said his name like she did. She was still in his arms, and now she traced her fingers over his lips. He had absolutely no idea what was going through her head, and it was driving him crazy. Finally, she spoke. “How many times in the last year have we nearly died?”
He counted. You shouldn't need two hands to answer that question. “A lot,” he said, not wanting to be more specific than that.
“A lot,” she repeated, and then she kissed him, gentle and quick. “John,” she whispered against his lips, “I don't want to watch you sleep tonight. I want to sleep with you. I want to be with you.” A pause, and John tried to convince himself that all she meant was that she wanted to sleep in the bed beside him, everyone dressed and proper and on their own side of the bed. Then she slid a hand down his chest, resting it below his sternum, and her kiss this time was anything but gentle and quick. “I want you.”
By the time it occurred to John that perhaps he should lock his door, set it to his voice command only so Ivanova couldn't barge in in the morning as she was occasionally wont to do, Delenn was unzipping his trousers, and every other thought in his head flew mercifully away.
Delenn awakes, aware that some noise has roused her from sleep, but unable to determine what it is. She stares up at the dark ceiling, hoping to catch it again. It isn't John's quiet breathing, warm against her ear, nor the shift of his limbs as he presses himself more securely against her body. One of his hands cups the underside of her breast, and he hums low in his throat, but that is not the sound, either.
(He is above her, moving inside her, his eyes never leaving hers. This is wrong, she knows, but she is so happy she does not care. “Delenn,” he says, and he need say nothing else. All she ever needs to know is contained in those two syllables alone, the way he says her name, as though it were an object of reverence.)
The memory is enough to make her skin tingle, even now, but before she can roll toward him and wake him up, to join her in that dance once more, she is aware of a presence in the room besides their own. In the second of animal reaction, of pupils dilating and heart rate racing, of chemicals flooding the body, preparing her to fight, to defend her mate, a voice rings out. A woman's voice, and it is filled with dread, and it is filled with longing, and it is filled with love.
Delenn sits up, all thoughts of modesty banished, and she sees the woman as the woman sees her. A moment of shared recognition, of surprise and anger, of sorrow and hatred. John is waking, and in only a few seconds he too will know, he too will see. Delenn draws the sheet up to her shoulders, her fingers numb.
This is how a world ends.