Shannon (kungfuwaynewho) wrote,

Weekly Drabble: Somnus ex Machina

Title: Somnus ex Machina
Specs: Babylon 5, John/Delenn, 1200 words
Rating: G (!)
Spoilers: Through 3x10 "Severed Dreams"

They finished getting the rest of the Nightwatch personnel off the station – those who hadn't already turned in their black armbands, of course. John finally got Garibaldi to agree to go to Medlab, and then he finished cleaning up the bodies where the breaching pod had landed – too many dead, Human and Narn alike. After the heady jubilation following Delenn's return to the station, the impromptu applause in the Zocalo, taking care of the dead was a reminder of the real consequences of his actions that day. It was with a heavy heart that John returned to his quarters. Was it late? Early? He had no idea, and wasn't about to check. He needed sleep, having reached a point where he couldn't bluff his way out of it anymore. To insist on staying up and working would be irresponsible, and they had a lot of work ahead of them. He would sleep as late as he needed, catch up, and then it was back to it.

He was having a hard time digging his card out of his trousers, which was why he didn't see Delenn at first, sitting outside his door, looking as tired as he felt. “Hey,” John said, hoping she wasn't here to tell him about some new crisis, feeling immediately guilty for even thinking such a thing. “Everything okay?”

She put up a hand and he helped her to her feet. She ended up very close to him, as close as they'd been in the Zocalo, his arm around her shoulders. “Have you been waiting long?” he asked, finally snagging his card and opening the door. He guided her in, a hand on her shoulder, needing to touch her. It all still seemed slightly unreal, the way she had swooped in to save the station.

“No, no,” she murmured. “Perhaps ten minutes. I am afraid I might have dozed a bit in the corridor.”

“I need to give you my code,” he said, thinking out loud. Then it occurred to him that it would basically be the equivalent of giving your girlfriend the extra key to your place, and was she even his girlfriend? John shook his head, stripping off his jacket. It was too much to think about right now. “So what's wrong?” he asked, trying to fight off a yawn and failing.

“I brought you something. A gift.” She handed him a slender black box, around the size of a notebook, though a bit thicker than that. It was cool to the touch; he had never seen anything like it. “Sleep well,” she said, her hand on his arm, fingers slipping down to curl around his wrist. The barest pressure there, as though she were taking his pulse. John thought about kissing her, but he thought too long, because she turned for the door.

“It's a long walk back to Green Sector,” he blurted out. She was more than tired – she was exhausted, he could see it in the set of her shoulders, the pace of her steps. Delenn stopped, and the look she gave him was enigmatic even for her. “You could stay here, if you wanted to.”

She just looked at him, looked and looked. He wanted her, though he was too tired to do anything about it, which turned his desire into a sort of comfortable warmth in his limbs. “I know,” she finally said, which wasn't an answer at all. She didn't come to him, but she didn't retreat, either. She just stood there, just out of reach, and John had no idea what she was thinking.

He reached out for her as she stepped forward, and he ended up putting his arms around her as she buried her face in his shoulder. “When we came through the jump point, and I saw the battle, I was afraid at first we might have been too late,” she whispered, and one of her hands clutched at his shirt.

“You were just in time.”

They held each other for a little while, and then he guided her to his bedroom. She took off her shoes and slipped out of the outer part of her dress, leaving her in a sleek, form-fitting brown dress that would have been the death of him in other, less fatigued, circumstances. John stripped down to a t-shirt and boxers, and bit back a grin at the way her eyes went a little wide when she saw his bare legs. They climbed into bed, and he couldn't help but chuckle at the way she put out a hand as though she were going to tumble off. “Beds are supposed to be flat,” he told her. “No, they're not,” she shot back. A few moments of getting situated; by unspoken agreement they stayed on their own sides of the bed. John would have liked to snuggle, but he sensed that just getting her into bed with him, in this completely platonic, sleepover kind of way, was already a huge victory, and he should not push his luck.

He had been in bed about ten seconds, his head on the pillow maybe eight, already past the threshold of doze and well on his way to sleep, when Delenn said something to him. John opened his eyes, and made a sound that she correctly interpreted as you'll need to repeat that.

“Your gift,” she said, covers tucked demurely under her chin. He thought about saying half a dozen different things - but I left it way over there, like fifteen whole feet away; I'm already asleep; the covers are too heavy to move; why don't you go get it - the last being a dick enough thing to even think of that he winced inwardly, but then he got a good look at her eyes. It was important to her, really important, so he made himself, through absolute force of will, slide out of bed and shuffle back into the front, where he'd left the black thingy on the counter. Back to bed, and she gestured for him to put it on his bedside table.

“I had it programmed, for English,” she said. She was so sleepy that she wasn't quite finishing her words off, her consonants sounding different – her accent coming through more strongly than usual. John adored it. “Tell it to rain,” she went on, smiling at him a bit shyly.

John had to think for a moment. Then he turned to the black thingy and said: “Rain.” A beat, then two, and then the sound of falling rain filled the room. It was the same trick she'd pulled on the White Star. Amidst all of the shit they'd been going through recently, she had somehow found the time to do this for him. John swallowed hard. It wouldn't be enough to just say thank you, not after everything. He reached out and found her hand, clasping it in the space between them.

John fell asleep to the sound of rain, holding Delenn's hand.

Tags: b5, fic, j/d

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