deference

pg | major character death

Minbari do not lie.

That could be his excuse. It would be simple enough. It is the truth (almost).

Except, of course, she would never accept it. If Minbari can lie to protect the honor of another, they can surely lie to protect someone's life. She would hate him.

She would hate him.

And he's not getting out of this alive, anyway.

He closes his eyes, as if that would somehow mitigate the pain. His attempts at meditation keep getting interrupted, so he must find some other way to deal with it. Perhaps, before, he could have coped by thinking of her, but now the image of her gentle, beautiful face does nothing.

No. Not nothing.

Pain.

He can envision her kissing him, kissing Sheridan, kissing John, kissing the alien.

Being with the alien.

He presses his lips together, clamps down on them with his teeth, as if he's afraid they might betray him. It is not true that Minbari do not lie, simply that they tend not to, because to do so is usually dishonorable. In this case, however, it is more honorable to lie. More charitable to lie. He remembers when he and Delenn were caring for the dying Markabs, how she had told the ill child, "You will be fine." It was, perhaps, not a lie in actuality, as Delenn had no way of knowing for certain that her words would be false, but even if she had, she still would have said it. It would have been the right thing to do. There would have been no honor in telling the girl that she was dying.

Still, part of him hopes to think of an excuse. It makes him ill.

Maybe they will bring in a telepath. Maybe they will bring in someone to scan him, and he will give up Sheridan's location unwillingly. Then, it could not possibly be his fault. She could not hate him.

But it would still destroy her.

They ask him again, this time with the gun to his temple. He bites down so hard that it draws blood.

It would destroy her.

Delenn.

Delenn.

"I do not know," he gasps.

It would destroy her. She would hate him. It would destroy her.

Again, they ask. Again, "I do not know." He hears the gun charging.

We live for the One.

"I do not know."

At least, he thinks, he has honored her.

(fin.)