and finally a love poem
by not jenny

i. my left hand will live longer than my right

Cold. Wet. White. Snow.

The window is open. She wipes an ice crystal from Delenn's cheek.

It's the middle of the night, the coldest so far this year, and she can't sleep. Instead she watches Delenn, listening to her light humming dreams. Listens as she mumbles, "Valen... stars... light... now," softly clutching at the sheets.

Snow is drifting in through the window.

In a few hours, Delenn will slip out of bed to watch the sun race with the horizon, and Susan will close her eyes and pretend to sleep. In a few hours, a new day will begin and the President and Entil'zha will nod politely if they pass in the corridors. They will nod, politely, and smile.

Until then, Susan wraps herself around Delenn's body, pressing herself against an expanse of bare skin. She will hold Delenn through the long night, keeping her warm. Keeping her safe. Delenn feels like silk beneath her fingers, and it's the coldest night of the year.

She is not afraid of morning. Of mourning. Of the sun rising over the mountains.


ii. in another dimension this is exactly what's happening

The bottle of wine is empty. Talia laughs, suddenly. Stops.

Susan tilts her head to the side, questioning, "what?" And, again, "what's so funny?"


They're sitting across from one another, a bottle tipped over on the table between them. Suddenly, Talia begins giggling uncontrollably. Curled up into herself and shaking, she laughs and it sounds like rain.


"Well, maybe not nothing nothing."

So Susan stands, stalking toward Talia's chair. "Talia," she says, half-plea and half-growl, "tell me what it is." Which only makes Talia laugh harder, louder. Until she is gasping for air.

Until they both are.

"Spinthebottle," she mutters. "I was thinking that this reminds me of a game of spin the bottle."


iii. perhaps i am somewhere patient, somehow kind

Delenn sits at the window, staring out at the stars. Susan sits next to her, reviewing her latest stack of intelligence reports. Decidedly not looking at Delenn; decidedly concentrating on the Rangers' latest attempts at reconnaissance work on Centauri Prime.

Outside, it continues to snow.

Their hands occasionally brush as they work.

"The Rangers are still having difficulties getting operatives onto Centauri Prime." And of course Delenn already knows that, she's the President of the Interstellar Alliance, but Susan can't think of anything else to say. So she shuffles her pile of flimsies, adding, "Londo's doing a good job of keeping off-worlders away."


This is what they do. The room is silent and empty. Silent and full. The weight of the air is too heavy, sometimes, with all the history taking up residence between the molecules. Too heavy with the weight of the past on their shoulders.

And so they return to their work. Occasionally touching.


iv. here i have two hands and they are vanishing

Which is when the room becomes silent and still.

Susan standing in front of Talia, looming over her, and the room five sizes too small. The air fifty degrees too hot. Susan standing over Talia and Talia looking up at Susan and everything suddenly hushed.

So Susan takes the bottle between her fingers. Pushes. The bottle spins. Talia smiles.

"Spin the bottle, Talia? Where'd a good little telepath like you learn a game like that?"

Talia smiles, and her voice drops an octave. "You'd be surprised, Susan."

The bottle spinning, wobbling, and when it falls to the floor the noise barely registers.

Talia's hands are soft, under her gloves, and gentle. Her lips even softer.


v. my hands are webbed like the wind-torn work of a spider

"Baruch atah Adonai, Elohaynu, melekh ha-olam..."

Three candles lit, and five more nights to go. The prayer more instinct than memory.

Delenn stands over to the side, mouthing along almost imperceptively. It's the third night, and three is the most holy of numbers. They stand together, not touching, and watch the flames.

"We Minbari believe that fire represents life," Delenn starts. The candles flicker, and Susan smiles. "We begin as molecules, in the hearts of a billion stars, and we know nothing of politics or the petty interests of man. The flames remind us of the stars from whence we came."

"That's- Chanukah, it's supposed to remind us of a miracle. The miracle of a people who were persecuted and persevered and of oil that lasted eight nights instead of one." She laughs, "but I must admit that your story is better."

"No, not better." Delenn insists, "just different."

Sometimes, Susan wonders what she's doing here, on Minbar,as Entil'zha. What she's doing here at all. But, then, Delenn will smile, or the Anla'Shok will avert yet another disaster, and it all makes sense. For the moment, at any rate. For a moment.

They stand apart, touching, and the candles slowly burn out.


vi. somewhere else i am saying "i never want to be without you again"

It feels like poetry must taste, kissing Talia. Like music must feel.

She smiles into Talia's mouth, and Talia laughs, the sound reflecting in her mind like windchimes, you are, you know, a romantic.

"I am not. I am Russian, a-"

"Romantic, foolish, lovely, cranky Russian." A kiss between each word, and Susan hasn't smiled this much in years. Decades, even. She hasn't smiled this much in far too long.

You should do that more often, echoing in her thoughts. And she doesn't even flinch.

For once, words in her mind, someone in her mind, and she opens herself to the sensation. Her blocks falling, she opens herself. Opens wider. What, kiss a beautiful woman? You're right, she pushes Talia against the wall, I should.

Her mind tingles. This must be happiness, she thinks. And, somewhere, answering, it is.


vii. when i don't touch you it's a mistake in any life, in each place and forever

Sitting in the garden, they touch, finger to finger and hand to hand, in silence. It's snowing. It's the first snow of winter. Susan's been on Minbar for three years now, long enough to expect this sudden jolt from summer to winter, but not quite long enough to get used to it. She wonders if she ever will. If she wants to.

Delenn reaches out, catching a snowflake in the palm of her hand. Smiles like the midnight sun in St. Petersburg.

And Susan used to sneak out of bed as a little girl; she used to open the window and stretch her arms toward the sky. And she's older now, not wiser, and she keeps stretching her fingers toward the heat. She keeps getting burned.

Delenn smiles, and the ground glitters in white. There's a snowflake balanced on the tip of her eyelash, and Susan wants to reach out and touch it.

So she does. It feels like summer.


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