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Title: In the Light of Two Moons
Author: Shakatany
Series: Babylon 5
Pairing: Neroon/Catherine Sakai
Rating: FRT
Chapters: 12/?
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 12

Dancer stared at the closing door and thought of an archaic word she'd once heard: gobsmacked. She was definitely gobsmacked, surprised, astonished and, oh yes, another oldie, flabbergasted. There were probably a dozen other words not counting those in Minbari, Drazi or Narn that she might've used but it all came down to her being completely dumbfounded by Neroon's offer.

One of the first things she'd learned at the Academy and in Tuzanor was to try to figure out the motives of her opponent. Why in Valen's name - and boy never was that saying so appropriate as now - did he want to do this? She suspected there was more to Neroon's offer then he'd revealed as Minbari never told anyone the whole truth but she could see no advantage for him; he couldn't reveal that Jade was the daughter of Jeff-who-was-Valen, not without massive upheavals in Minbari society which was what they were trying to avoid.

Of course she really wasn't considering his offer... no, not really... it was out of the question. She would return to Earth and make a home there for herself and Jade...somewhere. She'd lost touch with her childhood friends and, of those she'd made at the Academy, there were only a handful left alive after the Earth-Minbari War and, when last heard from, they were scattered all over space. Earth was humanity's home planet but it was no longer humanity's only home. There was also the option to find refuge on one of the Solsystem colonies or even one of the outer colonies. Jeff had been a military brat and though Marsborn, that planet had never been his home but if necessary she could make it theirs.

She'd have to return to Minbar, at least briefly, as the Maria was heading there but she would leave, perhaps on her Stardancer when she located the craft again, or on another ship once she gained access to her credits. They would be arriving at the end of 2262 Earthtime which meant it was over three years since she'd vanished on that fateful mission. Three years knowing little what was happening on Earth and elsewhere. Once on Minbar with its stable node, she would be able to access her Spacebook account to see what else she'd missed beside the defeat of the Shadows, the death of her aunt and that of Clarke, the establishment of this Interstellar Alliance and a thousand other things. Their isolation made the name they'd given to the prison planet truly apt.

She was a bit apprehensive about being on Minbar for any length of time as deep in her heart she felt sure the Vorlons had somehow made possible her capture by the Shadows and she wasn't at all positive some of the Minbari hadn't known of their intentions. No, she'd waste no more time worrying about Neroon's offer.

Having come to that decision Dancer looked down at her child, blinking back tears as it sank in that they'd finally escaped from Limbo. Infinite possibilities had opened up for Jade; after all it was a big galaxy out there. Jade, unaware of all this, looked up at her mother, while still sleepily sucking her thumb, something she hadn't done in a while. Dancer knew this day had been extremely disturbing to her daughter not the least of which was that she had to get used to warmer clothing as the Maria kept its temperature close to the Minbari mean temperature. Dancer shivered and held her warm little daughter tighter as even she felt it was a bit too cool though she'd set the register in the cabin as high as it would go. The low temperatures, which had never bothered her before, having spent a good chunk of her childhood in Alaska, bothered her now as apparently all this time in the heat of Limbo had altered her tolerance to cold

She shifted her daughter so that Jade rested her head on her shoulder and rose, a little unbalanced by the weight in her arms as she hadn't regained her ship legs yet. There were those who swore there was no difference between the true gravity of a planet and the pseudograv of the big ships but those who traveled the star lanes knew better. She was also aware of the low, barely perceptible hum of the engines so comforting to a star-faring surveyor like herself.

The stateroom was simply furnished with a pull down desk, chair and bed which fortunately was one of the newer models that could either be flat or at the 45° angle the Minbari preferred. She supposed Neroon would be pleased to be sleeping on a true Minbari bed again instead of the jury-rigged one they'd cobbled together for him back on Limbo. And speaking of jury-rigging, one of the crewmen had stopped by earlier with a large wooden box that they'd filled with soft, warm bedding for Jade. Dancer smiled as she recalled all the Rangers, curious about the refugees and the littlest one in particular, staring at them as they boarded the ship.

The door chimed and at her "Enter", a young Ranger, the same one who had brought the bed earlier, came in with a tray of food, real food. "With the captain's compliments, ma'am" ma'am she was a ma'am now? He placed the tray on the desk. "The captain thought you might like some fresh food, not a meal bar or insta heat especially as we're out of breen." He winked at Jade as he said this and turned to leave.

"How right he was. Please thank him for us." The Ranger nodded and he left the cabin. She looked down at the tray which contained a thermos and a large bowl of umidan, one of the Minbari dishes popular with humans consisting of a vegetable much like spaghetti squash and another that resembled beefsteak mushrooms in a subtly flavored sauce. She seated herself in the chair with Jade in her lap and took a bite. It was as delicious as she remembered and offered a forkful to Jade who looked at it dubiously. "Try it."

"Noo. Want breen," Jade wailed as she slammed her body against Dancer's.

Sighing, Dancer rubbed Jade's lips with the fork and her small tongue licked at it. Jade had eaten the last of their breen this morning so she knew Jade was hungry which added to her temper. Fortunately Jade decided she did like the dish and devoured a nice sized portion after which Dancer ate her fill. While Jade had her after dinner milk straight from the tap, so to speak, Dancer, poured the liquid in the thermos into the mug and sipped, happy to find she'd been provided with green tea that almost tasted like the tea her Aunt Mari made for her when she visited her. It wasn't matcha but after so long without it tasted almost as good.

Thinking of Mari depressed her. She hadn't been a very good niece these past years, visiting her only briefly on her infrequent visits to Earth. She always thought they'd have time enough together one day...one day which now would never be. Dancer looked down at what remained of her family and started. Jade was making patterns in the bowl with the leftover sauce and playing with the flatware, including a fortunately not-sharp knife which her mother took away from her. Looking at it in her hand brought to mind the implement Anyani had used. Dancer had been wrong in her initial assumption though; Anyani hadn't used a knife but a small kutai, the Centauri short sword, suitable for a Centauri noblewoman that she must've found among the items they'd salvaged from the ships in the Pit. Why she'd performed jigai, the ancient Japanese form of suicide, Dancer would never understand when if memory served correctly there was an appropriate Centauri version that was quite different.

Gathering Jade in her arms she went to the small adjoining head and washed her messy little daughter and made her go potty. Dressing her in a pair of pajamas decorated with something that resembled fanged butterflies she got her to try her new bed and tucked her in with Gemma safely in her grasp. Jade closed her eyes then opened them, frowning. "Meema, where here?"

"You mean where are we?" At her nod Dancer continued, "Well we're in a spaceship, which is sort of like a huge airsled, but, instead of going to the Pit or the ocean, we're going across the stars to a new place called Minbar where Neroon came from."

"Neroon's home?"

"Yes punkin. Neroon's home."

"Our home?"

"No, hon, we'll be going on to another place called Earth and I'll show you where I lived when I was a little girl like you."

Jade considered this then curled around Gemma and thumb in mouth was soon fast asleep. Dancer thought how glad she would be when she could get her hands on some children's books so she could read Jade bedtime stories like those her parents read to her before the divorce. She leaned back against the bulkhead and began to doze off as this had been one emotionally draining day. She snapped awake when she began to relive Anyani's last moments then, certain Jade was asleep, rose and stretched before heading back to the bathroom to perform her own ablutions.

Catching a glimpse of herself in the small mirror startled her. She barely recognized herself in the mirror as the bathroom in the dwelling had been mirrorless. She was thin, thinner than she'd ever been with hollow cheeks, sunken eyes and thinning hair which she still hadn't cut but she now supposed she wouldn't have to. In a word she looked dreadful and wasn't at all surprised that one of the Rangers on board had been one she'd trained with and he'd passed her by in the passageway without a hint of recognition.

Upon getting out of the desertsuit she started to stuff it into the laundry chute before she remembered to check the pockets. In one of them she found an AV datacrystal and looked at it in bewilderment before realizing it was the one she'd found on the Aelita not that many days before. The desertsuit she'd so hurriedly donned after getting out of the blood-stained caftan was the same one she'd worn that day.

Anyani may have made it impossible for her to listen to "Madame Butterfly" for a long time but Ila Kiersaarge's "As Twilight Falls on the God of War" was as much a favorite as the Puccini opera. When she finally left the bathroom she found the player and with the lights and volume set low let the opening aria fill the room. Setting the bed to horizontal she climbed on wearing one of the few caftans she brought with her and, snuggling under the thin coverlet, drifted off to sleep as Berengaria lamented the untold dead.

She was running through the deserted prison pursued by Shadows before turning a corner and finding herself in space facing the ancient beings at Sigma 957. The strange dreams continued until she woke in the captain's stateroom or was she still dreaming? She was in that dreadful state of hypnogogia where she couldn't move and felt a presence in the room. Alarmed she looked toward Jade's bed. There in the dim light she made out the cloaked figure of someone leaning over Jade's bed. She desperately tried to move but her body wouldn't cooperate. As if hearing her silent struggle, the figure turned to her and as he did the cowl dropped. She saw it was a Minbari, a strange yet familiar Minbari. He wasn't Neroon nor any of the Minbari Rangers she'd met upon boarding the Maria. She stared at him until it came to her that he had Jeff's eyes...she was looking at Jeff as he appeared as Valen. He smiled at her then mouthed the word "Bridges" as he vanished from the room. Bugger, she thought as sleep claimed her once more, Jeff don't do this to me.
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December 2012

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