scifiland had an interesting challenge - rewrite a scene so that it ends differently. My mind immediately went to my old stand-by - "Comes the Inquisitor." So here's a short little ficlet covering ground I've covered, oh, a couple times before, but I pretty much never get tired of reimagining this particular moment.
Title: Hammer and Anvil
Specs: Babylon 5, John/Delenn, 500 words
The Inquisitor stood before her, head held just as imperiously as before, but suddenly he seemed a smaller man. Wrinkles around his mouth and eyes; the knuckles of the hand clutching his walking stick white with strain; beads of sweat on his brow. Just a man.
“I’m not afraid of you,” Delenn said, and it was the truth. The Inquisitor gave her a look she couldn’t quite interpret – it might have been surprise, it might have been respect. Later, much later, Delenn would remember that look and decide that it had signaled relief. Whatever the look was, it was the last look of his she would see; she blinked, and he was gone.
Now all she saw was John, arms still held up, hands to either side of his head, but there were no longer any restraints. She knew her expression was mirrored in his own – disbelief and waiting. Surely that wasn’t it. Surely more was to come. But one heartbeat followed another, and more than seeing no one else and hearing no one else, Delenn simply felt that they were alone. There was a peace in the air that hadn’t been there before. Something quiet and warm seemed to fill the space between and around them. It was that warmth that kept her standing, even though her muscles were cramped; that quiet that made her say his name.
She went to him, just as he came to her. His arms pulled her close, strong and tight, and Delenn was lost in his scent. Hours and hours she’d spent drowning in a sea of pain and fear, and at last here was her solid shore. “Delenn? Are you all right?” he asked, and she nodded. John pulled back enough to see her face, fingertips brushing along her cheek, and then his mouth was on hers. There was only a half-second of surprise, if even that much, and then Delenn melted into the kiss. John made a sound in the back of his throat, something slightly desperate and needy that sent electricity straight through her body. Delenn found herself clutching at his shoulder, at the back of his neck. His fingers dug into her ribcage; good pain, and she sagged against him. A moment then to draw breath.
“Let’s get out of here. Back to your quarters,” he said, and she could feel his lips move against hers as he spoke. Again she nodded. “John, will you…?” But to ask was to admit his answer, and she couldn’t bear it if he said no. No reason to worry, though, and he knew her thoughts even without words. “I’m not going anywhere tonight,” he whispered. Another kiss, a promise to be paid in full before the next day began.
Later, much later, Delenn would remember the look on the Inquisitor’s face. Relief, yes, and also the satisfaction of a job well done. A sword must be forged in heat and punishing blows before it is strong. She and John were the sword, she knew, and Sebastian had been the hammer.