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Title: In the Light of Two Moons
Author: Shakatany
Series: Babylon 5
Pairing: Neroon/Catherine Sakai

Rating: FRT
Chapters: 7/?
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 7

2262

Dancer could hear the raindrops begin to fall onto the metal roof of the hanger. They'd discovered that Limbo did have seasons, alternating between warm and wet and dry and hot. The others would be returning soon as lightning and metal spaceships were not a good combination. As she continued to sort through the last load of clothes the others thought might fit Jade but were still too large, she heard the sound of an airsled landing in the front part of the hanger followed by the door opening.

"Roon. Roon," Jade cried as she dropped her doll and ran to the warrior as fast as her little legs could carry her. Once she'd learned to walk and was out of the baby sling there had been no stopping her. She refused to be constrained by anything. The others doted on the child; to them she was a diversion, a  novelty bringing a touch of the unpredictable to their existence. She reminded some of them of their offspring back home as three of the Drazi and two of the Narn were fathers. And in turn Jade was fond of all those Dancer thought of as her alloparents but her top favorite was Neroon.

He bent down and scooped her up in his arms. It was late morning and he was returning from the Pit where he'd been working overnight with the others; conditions were becoming dire and they needed all the help the could muster. Luckily he could bear the relatively cooler temperature of the wet season far longer then those of the dry. Dancer looked up from the pile of goods and smiled to herself; she never became used to seeing him in "civies". Today he wore a tan Brakiri jumpsuit looking not at all like that warrior she'd hated once upon another planet.

"Did you find Phuenden?" she asked softly trying to keep Jade from becoming aware of the possible loss of one of her favorite people not that there were that many chose from. The young Drazi had fallen yesterday from one of the ships and disappeared into the maw of mangled metal that was the lower layers.

Neroon shook his head while bouncing Jade in his arms and absentmindedly replying to her babbling. Dancer sighed; that was bad news. She hated losing one of her people and had hoped after the loss of the initial five that all the rest would survive to be rescued. She could hear the other returning airsleds and decided to break for lunch too. Grabbing Gemma from where her daughter had dropped the Markab doll and with Neroon still holding Jade they ran past the landing bay to the office building and shook off the rain in the entranceway. Jade wanted her lunch and so Dancer took her to their room to nurse her.

Half-lying on the pallet, bolstered by pillows, she looked down at Jade busily sucking down her meal. Today Jade was 581 Limbo days old; Dancer figured that was about 18 Earth months. She now had a dozen teeth and hadn't that been fun until she learned not to chew on Dancer's nipples. Dancer had started toilet training her at about 9 months when the diapers began to run out and Jade walked not long after. Dancer looked out the window as the toddler began to drowse in her arms. 711 days and they still were stuck here with no rescue in sight and her milk was drying up which was Jade's main source of nutrition.

They'd pretty much emptied the top layer of ships and now had begun to explore the layer beneath which was older and far more dangerous to search. A lot of the food found there was past it's expiration date and that was worrying them all...well not counting Jade who was oblivious to the concerns of the adults. The now finished greenhouse that Phuenden had tended was beginning to supplement their diet but could in no way supply all their needs. Things were looking bleak.

When Jade was truly asleep Dancer placed her on her pallet and, tucking Gemma in beside her, went to the main room for some sustenance of her own. She picked up a mealbar and juicebulb without even looking at the labels and made her way to the main table where Tr'gan was finishing her lunch opposite Neroon.

"You have to eat more and for your sake it is time to wean Jade." Tr"gan said looking at the items in Dancers hands.

"I have tried," Dancer protested, "but she doesn't like most of what's available except..."

"Except for the breen," Tr'gan finished for her. Once they discovered Jade's preference the Narns saved all the breen they found for her, keeping the vegetarian phroomis, lukrol, mitlop and other rations for themselves. "I find I long for fresh spoo even though I was never that fond of it before."

"Ah spoo. I know I'm famished when even the mention of spoo makes me salivate." Dancer said wryly before trying to eat another mouthful of the unappetizing mealbar.

"What dish would you wish to find?" Neroon inquired as he finished his own meal. Being a warrior Dancer had never heard him complain about his own provisions but she suspected he had his own longings for flarn or some other Minbari dish.

"I have a friend named Michael who had an old family recipe for bagna cauda that I am so yearning for that I can barely stand it. He made it once and once was enough to hook me."
She sighed. "I wonder if he's survived all the chaos out there - he had a self-destructive streak that never boded well."

"What else would you wish for?" Tr'Gan asked.

"I wish for a way off this accursed rock.
I wish to live long enough to be a grandmother... no, to see Jade become a grandmother," she replied vehemently. "But first we have to get off this planet...and I fear rather soon."

"Well at least the storm will wash up some fresh edibles at the shoreline," the Narn said. Out of the windows they could see the storm diminishing and the clouds breaking up in the distance letting the afternoon sunlight through.

Dancer yawned as she rose then said, "Wake me when you decide it's time to go there and I'll come with you. Jade loves the shore and the poor thing gets little enough of a change of scenery." Sleepily she walked to her room and settled down next to Jade.

Some time later a number of the survivors headed for the shore to scavenge among the debris. Fish were often washed up and stranded by the storm waves. Seaweed was also bountiful in the aftermath. The majority had been found to be edible and could be dried for later consumption.

Dancer waded in the shallows with Jade who thought this the most wonderful excursion. The child would pick up small stones washed smooth by the waves and, upon examining them minutely, would drop those that struck her fancy into her little pail. Close by Neroon dumped a larger pailful of fish and seaweed into one of the big barrels on the airsled and walked toward them. Jade put down her pail and held out her free hand, letting the adults swing her forward over one of the sea branches that littered the shore, laughing with glee. Her joy in these simple things sometimes hurt Dancer; she felt so mad that Jade was deprived of so many things that other children took for granted but more than that she felt a deep anger at the universe fearing that Jade might not have many tomorrows; that she had given this child life only to see it end far too early was her ultimate fear.

"You never told me how you came to be the leader." She started, having been so deep in her thoughts that she'd forgotten Neroon was there.

"Well once we reached the surface my old Earthforce training kicked in. The Narn and the Drazi were about even in numbers so they started what we'd call a pissing contest. I just ignored them and began to build a consensus with the others until the about-to-be combatants realized that no one was paying attention to the outcome of their contest and decided it wasn't worth the effort. Actually I'm not so much leading as herding a bunch of cats."

"Cats?"

"Small independent-minded Earth animals sort of like goks."

"Ah I see."

"I doubt it," Dancer had a hard time picturing him playing with any small animal. "Anyway the one command decision I made was to let the Pak'mara eat what carrion could be found even if it meant sentient beings. The needs of the living outweigh those of the dead."

Neroon thought upon what she'd said. "So you were in Earthforce?"

"Half a lifetime ago. I first met Jeff at the Academy."

"And what did you do during the war?"

"I fought Minbari as we retreated across space then I was assigned to the back of beyond."

"Say again?"

"Back of beyond - unexplored space. There was a plan for us to find unknown planets capable of being colonized; there were colony ships ready to go once they were located. We would hide there and regain our strength until one day we would emerge to destroy our destroyers...at least that was the plan," she said laughing ruefully. "I'd just found paradise when we were recalled; your people had surrendered and the war was over. Bali Ha'i is still out there, untouched."

"Bali Ha'i?"

"It's what I named that planet...it comes from an old song I once heard with Jeff. If I had the choice to be stranded on a planet I would've chosen that one. It was beautiful."

"Unlike Limbo."

"Oh I'm willing to admit that Limbo has a certain beauty of its own but it needs far more time and equipment to make it truly habitable both of which we lack." A bit down the shore she could see Anyani dancing with the waves. There was another problem; recently the seer had become moody as she went into her trances more frequently and uttering things like, "there is a darkness growing on Centauri Prime". Her visions now clearly disturbed her and she rarely even bothered to listen to her music that used to calm her. Neroon followed her gaze and said, "There may be trouble with her."

"Possibly or there may be a method to her madness. Never underestimate her; she may look harmless but in her way she's a better strategist and tactician than even Branmer." Neroon appeared skeptical possibly because for him there was no one greater than Branmer...at least in modern times. Dancer laughed and continued, "She's survived the intrigue of the court around the Cenatauri Emperor for decades which make the contrivances of the the Borgias and Medicis look positively angelic."

Anyani swirled closer humming what Dancer now recognized as Trovalli's Ducata. She smiled dreamily at Jade. "Did you find anything interesting?"

Jade ran back to her dropped bucket and brought it to Anyani and began to show the Centauri her treasures. Suddenly Anyani reached out and threw the pail out of Jade's hands so it dropped in the water spilling Jade's carefully collected treasures back into the sea. As Anyani danced backwards Dancer laid an arm on Neroon to keep him from going after her. Jade appeared to be in shock as no one had ever been this mean to her before. Distraught, she looked up at Dancer her lower lip trembling as she tried not to cry. "Meema," she wailed as she reached up to her mother. One day Dancer would give Neroon a piece of her mind for teaching Jade the Minbari word for mother but not today as she picked up her daughter and hugged her, mumbling soothing words to her while Neroon bent down to retrive as many of the scattered stones as he could find.

From down the beach Anyani called out, "Warrior, use your past to give her her future." As she carried Jade out of the water and further up the shore Dancer glanced back at Neroon who shrugged as he stood up and joined them. Jade had stopped crying but still appeared distressed. The adults looked at each other trying to think of ways to distract her. Neroon scanned the area and seeing the seabranch nearby, went over to break off a twig before returning to Jade.

"Many years ago," Neroon said, then lowered his voice, "before the war with Earth," then raising it again, "I took my children on a trip to one of the F'Tach islands. The shore looked somewhat like this but was much colder so they played in the sand and we made sand pictures."

Jade looked up at him. "Pictures?"

"Yes, drawn in the sand like this." He used the stick to draw a passable likeness of a gok. As Jade said again he sketched out an ingati and madagon then some lovely Minbari calligraphy spelling out Jade's name followed by the crest of the Star Riders. Jade was enthralled, her recent trauma forgotten and kept asking for more. Clearly beginning to run out of ideas he started sketching once again a strange circular pattern adding bits and pieces as he recalled them.

Dancer looked down the shoreline to where Anyani had halted still looking back at them, the setting sun behind her. What was she going to do with her? Just a short while ago Anyani had come up with an anodyne to help with Jade's teething pain and now she was causing her pain. Distracted by her thoughts she was brought back to the here and now by Jade saying as she tugged her caftan, "Look Meema. Look at what Roon made for me.

Dancer looked down and it was as if time stood still. Hardly daring to believe her eyes she asked, "Where did you see this?"

"On the ship I was exploring just before word came of Phuenden's accident. I thought it unusual. Why?"

"It's the sign of the Thieves' Guild," she said hoarsely as if saying it any louder would cause it to disappear. "What ship was it on?"

"An old freighter that looked ready to fall apart even before it was dumped on Limbo."

Could it be...? Perhaps there were miracles after all. She looked down the beach but Anyani was gone then turned back towards Neroon and the drawing on the sand. "It's not just a guild of thieves but smugglers too. They've gotten things past the best security we have." She grabbed Neroon's arm. "Perhaps the arrogance of the Shadows has caused them to overlook something we can use. Take me there."

"Now?"

"No, not now," she replied regretfully. "But as soon as I can leave Jade with Tr'Gan we're heading to the Pit."


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December 2012

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