Specs: Babylon 5, John/Delenn, early S3, 850 words
It had been a long day. Of course, it seemed like every day these days was long. John did his best to break his days up into chunks, thinking not of 18 fragging hours putting out one fire after another, but instead of one hour meeting with the Council, two hours in C and C, half an hour signing paperwork, an hour and a half flying out to grapple back a shuttle dead by the gate... It was easier that way, to focus on getting through one task at a time, to not let himself worry about things yet to come.
It was Delenn who had figured it out first. After a particularly hairy situation in Down Below, John checked his agenda to see that she had scheduled a private meeting with him this afternoon, and he was already ten minutes late. As John ran back to his office, using his priority code to override the tubes, he wondered what was wrong now, and what she needed him to do for her. Doing anything for her wasn't a question, of course, but it was just one more thing to add to another long, busy day.
“Sorry I'm late,” he huffed as he entered, stripping out of his jacket. At least he didn't have to be totally formal with her anymore. John shoved aside some paperwork and sat at his desk, stifling a sigh. An hour, and hopefully it won't be too bad. Then just four hours in C and C, a quick bite to eat, though I can skip that if I need to, and then three hours for the summit on something or other that Vir's set up. John looked up, ready to begin, but the seat across from him was empty. “Delenn?”
“Here, John,” she said, and he found her sitting over on the far wall, on the metal bench there, scribbling on a tablet. He stole a few seconds to ogle her before she looked up herself, smiling.
“Hi,” he said, feeling dumb. She did tend to have that affect on him, more and more so lately.
“Busy day?” she asked. He nodded and joined her, unable to keep from rubbing at the back of his neck. Busy, stiff, tired, hungry, he felt a million years old all of a sudden.
“So what's up?” he asked, and then she was putting her hands on his neck, seeking out the knots so expertly that he ended up incapable of conscious thought for a few seconds. Then he thought about what her hands would feel like somewhere else on his body and shook himself, unwilling to let himself get distracted in that way. That would be the last thing either of them needed.
“You have not eaten today, have you?” Delenn asked in a tone that told him she knew damn well and good he hadn't had a thing besides some burnt ersatz coffee from the mess at 0500. John watched mutely as she reached for a bag beside her on the floor, pulling out containers filled with salad and soup. A working lunch – what a novel idea. Obviously she was in the same boat he was, scrambling from one emergency to another. She at least had a touch more presence of mind to prepare for such mundane tasks like needing to eat.
A few minutes spent getting the food spread out. John dragged over a little table, and Delenn dimmed the lights down from their usual “tell me where you left the bodies” brightness. When they finally got settled and the few first bites in, John turned to her again.
“Delenn? What do you need?”
She poked at her salad for a moment, smiling that Mona Lisa smile that sometimes threatened to be the death of him. “I was thinking that if we are to work together in facing the Shadows to come, it would be best that we know as much about each other as possible.” She scooted a quarter-inch closer, something coy and entrancing in the tilt of her chin as she gazed up at him. “So, Captain Sheridan, why don't you start? Tell me about something. Anything. As long as it is a thing about which I do not know.”
John smiled, and then he grinned, and then he laughed. “Okay. Before I went to the Academy, I did a little traveling, a little studying. I went to a place on Earth called Tibet.” They spent the rest of the hour talking about Tibet and the Buddhist monk he'd stayed with in a tent for two weeks, and Delenn's first trip away from her home village, and the time he'd accidentally put his dad's car into neutral when he was seven and it had rolled down the driveway and into a ditch, and the pet gokk Delenn had owned as a child named something that sounded like Leather.
The next week, John checked his agenda to see that she had scheduled another “meeting.” There was a brief addendum attached to her request. This time, you buy lunch.