Chapter Six

Jan. 1st, 2010 03:55 pm
shakatany: (ItLotM-N&S)
[personal profile] shakatany posting in [community profile] babylon_5
Title: In the Light of Two Moons
Author: Shakatany
Series: Babylon 5
Pairing: Neroon/Catherine Sakai
Rating: FRT
Chapters: 6/?
Disclaimer: These stories are not meant to infringe upon the copyrights held by J. Michael Straczynski, Kathryn M. Drennan, Babylonian Inc. or Time Warner Productions. I'm merely playing with what they've apparently abandoned, adding my own take on that universe. It's not my fault...my muse is forcing me to do it.
Summary: After "Objects at Rest" John and Delenn find that once again the dead do not stay dead.
Note: This fic is dedicated to John Vickery who has been described as having a voice that could melt the underwear off a cloistered nun at 50 paces. So very true.
In the light of two moons
crystal mountains gleam
within their hearts
no shadows fall.
--Shaal Mayan

Chapter 6

Jade was occupied with her breakfast as Dancer looked down on her baby in wonderment. Even though three days had passed since she was born, Dancer still couldn't accept she was actually here, that the birth, however grueling at the time, had gone well. Best of all, to all appearances Jade was full term and, to Dancer's relief, performed well on the parts of the Apgar score that Dancer recalled from her mother's clinic. Almost as miraculously Jade had taken to nursing without any problems. Of course there were so many hurdles still in the future like the terrible twos, the teenage years and all the rest... if they could survive that long. That constant fear was her secret companion.

The past few days had seen a stream of visitors as the others dropped by to gaze at the newborn, bringing little gifts scavenged from the wrecks as well as cases of diapers and boxes of clothes. She and Anyani had already stockpiled a few cases of diapers and other baby paraphernalia but now the others brought in many more, having hidden them elsewhere in order to surprise her. Dancer did her best to avoid thinking of the children that might have been traveling on the ships taken by the Shadows; there was nothing that could be done for them now.

"Your daddy would be so proud of you," she whispered to Jade. "Unfortunately you've been shortchanged in the parenting department as you have only me but I'll do my best to make it up to you, little one of mine. When we get back to Earth I'll introduce you to my Aunt Mari and your Uncle Malcolm. They'll be so happy to see you." She bent down and nuzzled the baby then sat up and looked out the window. That had been the biggest surprise of all. The day after Jade's birth the others revealed that they'd finished turning the large storage room into a place for Dancer and Jade so that they wouldn't be disturbed by the others. It was small for a bedroom but it was theirs alone. There was enough room for Dancer's pallet and eventually Jade's and a long low chest that stored Jade's things and which doubled as a changing table. There were several shells and hooks on a wall for immediate necessities and they'd knocked a hole in the wall to make the window using a porthole from one of the ships. They'd also been able to connect the cooling vent; not that it did much good but every degree lower helped.

Anyani came bustling in wanting to see Jade before she went to work. "I feel guilty leaving it all to you these past days," Dancer said.

"Not to worry. I had some help." The Centauri began to briskly neaten the room; Dancer always thought of her as being in perpetual motion though she knew otherwise. There were times Anyani would come to a full stop and be oblivious to everything, when her visions would override any instinct for survival.

"Tr'Gan?" It was funny the nonfriendship friendship that had developed between the Narn and the Centauri since the early days once, what Dancer referred to as the great opera war, had ended. When they had begun to scavenge the wrecks they'd found various AV crystals and everyone claimed their favorites; Anyani had began blasting Centauri opera at full sound. Tr'Gan retaliated with Narn opera. The duel went on for a few days until Dancer found the right AV crystal and put them both to shame with "The Ride of the Valkyries" and threatened to play it every time they played their music loud enough to annoy each other and the rest of the survivors. In their dorm they now rotated music and though neither Tr'Gan nor Anyani would admit the other's music was music they did occasionally like Earth music. Anyani was particularly fascinated by Dancer's favorite, Puccini's "Un bel di" and wanted to know the story of the opera and the details behind it.

She occasionally thought of them as the Three Musketeers though neither of the others would have understood the reference. Anyani was small and somehow gave the impression of being plump though she wasn't - not on the diet they were eating. At the beginning she and Dancer looked far more alike as they'd both been bald but now with Dancer's hair growing back that similarity was gone. Tr'Gan being Narn was also hairless and taller than either Dancer or Anyani

Anyani stopped what she was doing and turned to Dancer. "No, Neroon."

"Neroon?" Somehow Dancer couldn't picture the warrior doing something as mundane as sorting through scavenged goods. If that was really happening she realized she was far more cut off here in her little sanctuary than she'd thought, her entire being focused on her daughter.

"Well what's a warrior to do when there's no war to fight? There are few diversions here and, being Minbari, he found the heat in the Pit to be difficult. He tried it a couple of days ago and had to return after a few hours. I simply played on the well-known Minbari desire to serve, pointing out that temporarily, being in the same fix as us, he should consider us his people. I don't think he really bought that argument but after a few hours trying to find something to keep him occupied here he came over and has been diligently sorting through the goods ever since." She turned and wiped her hands on the Brakiri garment she favored. "Now I'm off. Is there anything you need before I go?"

"No thank you. We're doing fine." From Dancer's shoulder Jade made a gurgling noise as if in agreement - it was nice to hear but it wasn't the burp that Dancer was trying for. She glanced up and saw Anyani staring out of the window. As she knew that there was little of interest to see she wondered what had caught Anyani's attention. "See anything interesting?

Anyani shook herself and smiled apologetically at Dancer. "Nothing here," she replied enigmatically and left the room.

Dancer carefully put Jade into her bassinet and settled down in her bed. They had all the immediate necessities but the one thing she missed most was an old-fashioned rocking chair like the one they had when she was small but who would bring one on a spaceship? she wondered sleepily as she drifted off to sleep.

She found herself reliving that last battle when, in fighting the agents of the Shadows, she was hurled into the time rift and spat out elsewhere, elsewhen right into the midst of a squadron of actual Shadow ships and brought here. She heard again Jeff's frantic promise to come after her and woke to find tears in her eyes and Neroon staring down at her.

"We have to talk," he said and seated himself on the trunk.

Dancer bristled; his tone was accusing as if she'd done something wrong. "Talk about what? About what really happened to Jeff? And aren't you supposed to be helping Anyani?" She wasn't about to reveal how unnerving it was to have him here like that but the Minbari didn't have the same notions of privacy as humans.

"I told her there was something I must do. She made no protest. With the others at the Pit there will be no one to interrupt...or overhear."

Interrupt what? Dancer thought nervously but maybe it was time to thrash things out. She glanced at Jade who was sleeping soundly. She wanted Neroon away from her baby and so she rose from her pallet, rebuttoned the neckline of the caftan she'd opened to nurse and lead the warrior into the main room. She went to the cabinet and took out a mealbar and juicebulb then sat on a cushion by the low table pushing the game boards out of the way. "All right what is it that we have to talk about?"

"Tell me how you came to be here," he said after grabbing a few items for himself then seating himself on the table so he could look down at her.

Though unnerved Dancer could see no harm in telling him the abridged version similar to the one she had told the others. "Word was brought to Jeff as Entil'Zha that the Shadows were attempting something and had to be stopped. We tried, I was captured but I think Jeff succeeded in stopping them." She unwrapped the unappetizing mealbar and told herself that she had to eat it for Jade's sake.

"And where did this battle take place?" Neroon asked while unwrapping his own.

Again she saw no harm in answering. "Sector 14." She took a bite - ugh. It was labeled pizza-flavored but resembled no pizza that she ever ate. She took a swallow from the juicebulb to quickly wash it down.

"Where Sinclair disappeared," he stated, appearing to have found an answer to an unspoken question.

"He did come after me? No," she corrected herself, "you said he disappeared in 2260." If he did vanish in Sector 14, did he also go into the time rift? So it wouldn't just be a question of where was he but when was he.

"In 2260 he vanished into the time rift with a couple of Vorlons...and Babylon 4," the Minbari replied watching her carefully.

"Babylon 4?" Now that really didn't make sense. He'd already encountered it on its way to the future so it could aid in a great war. The one against the Shadows? But if he'd emerged with it wouldn't it then be known what became of Jeff? Could he emerge one day in the future, in her future? "Then he and Babylon 4 could reemerge one day," she said excitedly, then frowned. "But that would mean another war and I really think this galaxy has had enough of that."

"He didn't go into the future," Neroon said.

Not the future? That meant into the past. How...when... there were no records of Babylon 4 in the past. She looked at the warrior in bewilderment.

"When all was dark and hope was lost," he began to recite in Minbari.

"The Drala Na with its bright promise appeared to lead the way," she finished the first lines of one of the great epic poems of the Minbari which told of the coming of Valen. "The Drala Na was Babylon 4? But where was Jeff and how did Valen come to helm it?"

"The chrysalis device works both ways," he replied enigmatically.

The chrysalis device had turned Delenn into a hybrid neither human nor Minbari. So human became...stricken she looked at Neroon and whispered, "Jeff became Valen?"

"He became the Minbari not born of Minbari," he bit off as he looked past her into the distance.

The Minbari had said repeatedly that Jeff had Valen's soul though he never accepted that. But it was a twist on the truth. Jeff didn't have Valen's soul; Valen had Jeff's soul because he was Jeff. A snippet of an old song played in her head, "Thou art lost and gone forever, dreadful sorry..." He was gone forever in a way she could never have imagined. "How do you know?"

"The war between the castes was raging out of control; there seemed to be no way to stop it. One day I received a summons from Delenn to meet her on the Takari to discuss a plan to end it. Someone from the warrior caste had to talk to one of the religious caste or Minbar would be torn asunder. I could see no alternative so I went. We made our plans but I was still reluctant until she told me the biggest secret of all known only to a few...that Sinclair had taken Babylon 4 into the past and had become Valen. Of course I doubted her but she showed me a letter from him written in Minbari and English. The document was old and though that could've been faked, it contained information passed down through the ages by Rashok of the Warrior Caste and kept secret by us." He stopped and sighed. "At that moment everything the Religious Caste had done made sense. They weren't fanatics, they were simply trying to do what had to be done; their fault lay in their secrecy." He laughed somewhat bitterly before adding, "And now I've joined the ranks of the secret keepers and so have you."

She looked around to the open door of her room where Jeff's daughter lay sleeping. "I will keep silent of course...for now." As he began to protest she held up a hand and continued, "The only one I will tell is Jade when she is old enough. She deserves to know the truth about her father." He nodded in agreement. She swallowed the last of her juice before adding, "If anything happens to me you are the only one who knows my true name. You must see that she gets to my Aunt Mari or Jeff's brother and when she is old enough you must tell her the truth. Promise me this."

"In Valen's name I swear I will do as you ask," he replied solemnly. "But why the secrecy? Why did you ask me to keep calling you Dancer?"

"We don't know what's going on out there. From what you told me on the flight back here no one knows who framed Jeff. If there is any danger for Jade because she is Jeff's daughter I want to be in a safe place before I reveal who we really are."

"Prudent. Did you also enter the time rift?"

"Uh huh. Only I think there are currents and eddies in time and I believe was thrown out some months in the future. From what you said Jeff had already gone back. I wonder if they planned it that way?"

"Who?"

"The Vorlons. They were never very pleased that I was with Jeff, always talking about arrows not being deflected from their course. The whole thing reeks of their manipulations - sending us to the time rift and there was something about the time stabilizers that were given to us that bothered Jeff." She shrugged. "Oh well I guess we'll never know the truth of the matter now. They're all gone. They and those accursed Shadows."

"They frightened you? Then you were not taught well to deal with terror."

"Oh I was able to face the terror - for hours, days, months... time had no meaning in our cells where we were confined, where the lights were turned on and off at irregular times so we had no idea how long we were kept prisoners. I faced it...until the time when I realized I was pregnant. I found I could face terror for myself but not for my child." Hearing Jade cry she stood up and walked back to her room.
*****************

Neroon rose, slowly crushing the container in his hand before throwing it in the recycle bin and followed. Dancer was picking up her daughter from the bassinet. It bothered him somewhat that the bed was not at a proper angle. Dancer put the child on her shoulder, her tiny arms waving about. He reached out his hand and the baby grabbed his finger wrapping it in her tiny hand. Her eyes were brown like her mother's, like her father's... like Valen's? An old saying of his people rose unbidden in his mind: there are certain souls destined to travel together. These groups of souls are drawn to each other in life to either relive good relationships from the past, or to make right the bad ones. Neroon shivered in the heat.

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