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23 March 2012 @ 09:39 am
Fic: Life in a Glass House  
Title: Life in a Glass House
Specs: Babylon 5, Susan and Delenn, 1600 words
Summary: Susan sees Delenn for the first time after the Chrysalis.

She passed John on her way out of Blue Sector to grab something to eat. He was wandering back to his quarters, and Susan actually put out a hand to stop him when he seemed ready to walk right past her without a word. “Hey. Did you get the message from your sister?”

The eyes he turned her way were a little glazed. If she didn't know any better, she'd think he was drugged. That thought found itself turning into a theory as he smiled a decidedly non-John Sheridan smile. It wasn't his usual thousands-of-white-teeth grin, but something sort of...fluffy. Then the fluffy smile disappeared as he frowned. “Wait, what?”

“Your sister. She's waiting for you in your quarters. I let her in.”

“Right. No, that's good.” Back came the fluffy smile, and Susan let him get almost ten paces behind before she remembered that he was still in his dress grays.

“John!” He turned a vaguely-flustered look in her direction. “How did the meeting go?” And there it was, the John Sheridan special, a grin so bright it could probably run the station if they could figure out how to hook him up.

“It went well. I met Ambassador Delenn.” John shook his head a little, that big goofy shit-eating grin practically blinding her, and then he left. Susan stood there for a moment, right in the middle of the corridor, consumed with such outrage that she could barely speak.

“Why didn't anyone tell me she was out?” she demanded. The empty hallway didn't answer.

By the time Susan made it to Red Sector, thoughts of food were the last thing on her mind. She knew that Delenn was likely to be tired and out-of-sorts, but Susan kept walking anyway, headed to Green. Once there, she noticed that there were definitely more aliens milling about than usual. They sounded like they were all practicing to be background extras in a vid - the various languages they spoke, any one of which Susan might have been able to work out with her polyglot mind, all melded together into one droning hum of utter nonsense. But she caught a couple words and phrases, and one in particular made her hackles rise. She looked like a monster!

By the time she finally reached Ambassador Delenn's door, Susan wasn't sure she wanted to see her. Not that she was worried about finding Delenn monstrous, however her transformation had turned out – Delenn was a truly beautiful person inside, one of the few Susan knew, and given time, she knew she would see her that way outside as well. Delenn certainly didn't strike her as a vain person, but if the time in her weird Minbari cocoon thing had done something to her, could she help being upset about it? People showing up on her doorstep wanting to gawk would be the last thing she'd want.

So in the end, Susan didn't ring asking for entrance. She just buzzed the recorder – if Delenn had gone to bed, her message would be saved for the morning. And if not, well, maybe it would do her some good to hear it.

“Ambassador Delenn? It's Susan Ivanova. I just wanted to...let you know that I'm here, if you need anything. Doesn't matter what. I'll see you when you're ready, okay?” She felt like she needed to say something else, but she didn't know what. She'd never been big on the flowery and girly. If she'd been in the same room with Delenn, this would probably have been the moment she would have awkwardly patted her on the back, like she had just grown hands and didn't know what to do with them yet. Susan had already turned on her heel when the door clicked open.

Delenn was inviting her inside.

Susan entered slowly. Delenn's quarters were dark, save for a few candles burning here and there. Delenn hadn't said a word, still hadn't said even a single word, even after the door cycled closed and Susan just stood there waiting for her eyes to adjust. The unusual and unwelcome sensation of fear tickled up Susan's spine.


Then the door to the head at the back of the bedroom opened, flooding the quarters with suddenly-bright light. A woman stepped out, a woman with rosy cheeks and dark spills of hair, a woman with laughing gray eyes and and a slightly-sheepish smile.

“I am sorry for making you wait, Lieutenant Commander,” the woman said with Delenn's voice, and Susan knew her eyes were starting to bug out of her skull but couldn't do a thing about it. “I must admit, I was looking at myself in the mirror. It will take quite a long time to become acquainted with this new image.” Now Susan could see the ivory curve of a modified bone crest encircling Delenn's head like some kind of fairy crown, and she could see the more slight changes to Delenn's face – the raised and smoothed brow ridge, the narrowing of the top of her nose. Still no eyebrows, but somehow that absence seemed to heighten the still-alien beauty of her face, as well as the shock of all that dark hair. Something thrummed through Susan's stomach, like a guitar string being plucked.

“No, it's...” she started, aware of one floppy fish hand flopping about in the air, trying to help her say something, anything, but also receiving no help from her brain, like her stupid mouth, still hanging open. “It's fine. So. You're out of the Chrysalis.” Thank you, Lieutenant Commander Obvious. Delenn only smiled, and walked forward a few more steps, lighting extra candles.

Susan couldn't stop staring at her. Delenn had to notice, had to feel that stare burning into her, but she didn't say a word. And if Susan couldn't stop staring at her, what would it be like from everyone else, in the days and weeks to come? Delenn leaned over, lighting a candelabra on a low table. She put up a hand, unconsciously it seemed, to push one of those dark curls back behind her shoulder. Again that thrum through Susan's stomach.

Susan had prided herself for a very long time on how fiercely she regimented her mind. Duty was duty, work was work, free time – what little she had of it – was free time, and romance was something altogether different, best shunted aside into a dark, forgotten corner, because honestly? When was the last time romance had worked out? Susan was so used to keeping her thoughts and desires in order that she no longer thought about it, except to wonder if perhaps she weren't slowly calcifying into an asexual organism, and this sudden flood of desire was enough to make her ears stop working. She saw Delenn murmur something to her, and Susan nodded dumbly – Delenn went to her little kitchenette, putting on a kettle, so Susan could only surmise she had asked about tea. Susan hadn't heard it.

She had been thinking about how much she wanted to lead Delenn back into her bedroom. How much she wanted to slide that robe off her shoulders, see if any of the rest of her body had changed as well. Maybe it had been the effect of her official Minbari clothing, which had always made her look a bit flat and blocky, but the human robe Delenn was wearing now seemed to highlight every maddening curve hiding from sight. Susan wasn't a breast lady, or an ass lady, or a legs lady – she was a liminal lady, captivated by the transitions from one part of the body to another. The smooth plane of the abdomen leading up to the bloom of breasts; waist flaring to hips; following the line of the spine down, down, down. As Susan watched, Delenn fussed with the tie of her robe, fabric shifting against her form. Susan's hands twitched, wanting to feel that form under her palms.

When a sudden mental image of Delenn beneath her, writhing against silken sheets, popped into Susan's head unbidden, she knew it was time to make her escape. She carefully inched her finger over to press a button on her link, opening up a line; she hit the button twice more, to send a call through to Security, knowing that Garibaldi was on duty right now. Beep. “Ivanova, go ahead,” she barked. There was a pause, and as Delenn's head slowly swung around, Susan could only hope that Michael didn't frag things up.

The pause lengthened.  Then finally, “Yeah, we've got some suspicious activity in the Zocalo. Could use some fire support.” Bless him.

“Be there in ten.” She sighed, and shrugged her shoulders at Delenn, who nodded and smiled in the sweetest, most understanding way. Susan turned for the door, but stopped before it had a chance to pop open. “Ambassador? Delenn? I meant it. If you need anything, just let me know.”

“Thank you, Susan.”

With that, Susan made a hasty exit. A big gulp of the outside air to try and get herself under control; she knew that once back in her quarters, she'd need a big gulp of something a bit stronger if she was ever going to get to sleep tonight. First, though, she needed to thank Garibaldi, whose instincts had been, as usual, unerring.

Halfway there, Susan realized there was a smile on her face. Not a big smile, but a sort of...fluffy smile.

Damn it.

Tags: ,
(Deleted comment)
Shannonkungfuwaynewho on March 23rd, 2012 06:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I, erm, was actually thinking more John/Delenn/Susan? IDK?
(Deleted comment)
Shannon: b5 garden talkkungfuwaynewho on March 23rd, 2012 06:37 pm (UTC)
(I realized halfway through that my smitten-Susan voice was remarkably similar to my smitten-John voice. Which made me realize that Delenn just plain has that effect on everyone.)

Yeah, I wrote this as a one-off, but seeing what happens next would be fun. It also wouldn't kill me to write something that isn't John/Delenn for a change. I shall ponder it. ♥
hearts_blood on March 23rd, 2012 06:40 pm (UTC)
Ahem. *raises hand* I support this entirely.
Shannon: b5 delenn robe smileskungfuwaynewho on March 24th, 2012 12:46 am (UTC)
I might have them alternate. :D
hearts_blood on March 24th, 2012 12:48 am (UTC)
That sounds delightful. :D
hearts_blood on March 23rd, 2012 03:22 pm (UTC)
Heeeeeeeeee! I knew it was only a matter of time. ♥ This is wonderful. I especially like Susan describing herself as a liminal lady. Very nice. :)
Shannon: b5 delenn robe smileskungfuwaynewho on March 23rd, 2012 06:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Icepixie: [B5] Delenn Susan hugicepixie on March 23rd, 2012 03:29 pm (UTC)
Heheheh, fluffy smiles! Thiiis was adorable. And I agree with rivendellrose in wanting to push John out of the picture to see what happens between Susan and Delenn. ;)
Shannon: b5 delenn halfkungfuwaynewho on March 23rd, 2012 06:36 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I just love the idea of everyone in the station ending up madly in love with Delenn. Because that's what happened, lbr.
МилаMila Epshtein on March 23rd, 2012 04:00 pm (UTC)
New B5 stoooooooooooooooory!!!!!!! Aaaaaaaaa!! I'm so happy ))
Shannonkungfuwaynewho on March 23rd, 2012 06:36 pm (UTC)
:D yay!
Halima: ★ something of an educationcartography on March 23rd, 2012 10:52 pm (UTC)
NO. STOP IT. How do you make me read things that would, written by anyone else, leave me completely cold?

This is perfection. We obviously all agree with Susan here, but you've made it so real and believable for her character to feel this way, and to be so surprised by her feelings. Amaaazing.

i was kidding. never stoppppp!
Shannon: b5 mira creditskungfuwaynewho on March 24th, 2012 03:31 am (UTC)
Heeeeeeeee. My natural inclination isn't to Delenn/Susan, I must admit, but I did have fun with this, so I guess you and I are in the same boat.
telekinetic redhead chick: ∞d (between the candle and the star)openended on March 24th, 2012 03:17 am (UTC)
Oh jeez, this was lovely. I really like that Susan's not a one-particular-part woman, that she likes how everything gets put together. And Delenn totally has that effect on everyone

(and, ahem, raising my hand for the John/Susan/Delenn or any combo thereof)
Shannon: b5 delenn atonementkungfuwaynewho on March 24th, 2012 03:33 am (UTC)
Thanks! Delenn totes has special powers. (I wish we'd seen more of that canonically.)

See, I was going to work on a screenplay tomorrow, but now I know I'll probably end up writing something in this 'verse. Grr. (XD)
nenya_kanadka on March 24th, 2012 07:00 am (UTC)
And again, all the squee. :D If I have in any way contributed to your delinquency writing of Susan/Delenn, I am entirely, unrepentantly gleeful. XD

More would, indeed, be lovely, and while I can't *totally* wrap my mind around a combo that included Susan and John at the same time...I'd be willing to read it. :D AU with Susan/Delenn all along would also be lovely.

In conclusion: yay! \o/
Shannon: b5 ivanovakungfuwaynewho on April 9th, 2012 03:10 pm (UTC)
Whoaaaaa late reply is late. Anyway, thank you! I haven't had time to actually write, but I have been thinking about this little AU 'verse thingy, so maybe some day. :D
nenya_kanadka on April 9th, 2012 05:15 pm (UTC)
"Maybe someday" sounds good to me! *continues subliminal messaging*
ruth76ruth76 on March 24th, 2012 08:11 am (UTC)
That was just adorable! You've captured Susan's voice so well, especially the sarcasm e.g. "Thank you, Lieutenant Commander Obvious".
And her totally going brain-dead out of lust for Delenn in exactly the same way as John clearly had was hilarious and perfect.

I normally only ship John/Delenn (or even John/Delenn/Jeff), but John/Delenn/Susan sounds brilliant in this case!
mac_beth13: Delenn1mac_beth13 on April 6th, 2012 09:58 pm (UTC)
Aww, this was really cute! I can picture perfectly the goofy-ass fluffy smiles! Perfect reactions and I completely agree with the liminal preference and appreciation. There is something about the total package of Delenn that is appealing, not just one part. Also, the way she walks, the way her hips sort of swish, for reference, you know, in case you do write more in this story-line. ;) Liked this one!
Shannon: b5 delenn robe smileskungfuwaynewho on April 9th, 2012 03:11 pm (UTC)
Hey, you! Good to see you. :D:D:D

Haha I might just have to do so "research" on the hip-swishing. ;)