Fandom: Babylon 5
Pairing: I Saw Marcus kissing Neroon underneth the misletoe last night :)
Rating: individual chapters vary from G to NC17
Disclaimer: I am very poor right now because I have spent most of my money on Christmas. Maybe next year I will have enough to own them. Hey a girl can dream :)
Notes: First of all I would love to thank Meliane for going over this series and encourging me to write more. You should have day three some time today.
Other notes: This fic was inspired by the challenge that Kim put to us members of the Marcus/Neroon list. Which was to write a Holiday Romance story in B5 style. Reminding us avide watchers of B5 that the creator of B5 never wrote a Holiday B5 story. So I have been tossing this idea around my head for a while and nothing came of it beside escaping giggles at work and strange looks from my co-workers. Well since Kim challenged us and in so doing gave a boost to my Muse who has been in a snit of late. I am finaly putting it down on paper. I hope that you will like it.Also I blame my best friend Rose for this story who was at my place the other day washing dishes and she made the comment, "Wouldn't it be funny if Neroon tired to court Marcus to the 12 days of Christmas?" and so a Plot bunny was born and a series. I hope you like it.
The last note for this series. A brife history behind "The Tweleve Days of Christmas," It was writen by the Jesuits in England during the 16th century right after the Anglican split when there was a persecution of all who choose to remain Roman Catholic - Many Catholic churches were destroyed as well as convents and monastaries. This was their way of teaching and reminding members of their church of the catechism with out being put to death.
Also the current cost of doing the 12 days of Christmas for your True Love is....
If you have that money then I just happen to know a single girl who would love to be spoild ;)
Series: The 12 Days
Warnings: A use of a christmas song, silly and strange animales oh and humor and confussion abound :)
Summary: see challenge *g*
Challenge: the December 2003 Holiday Challenge, Christmas; and to write a romantic B5 holiday story.
Neroon stood before the five council members of the Warrior clans and began to speak.
"I, Neroon, born of the Second house of Med'Re. Son of Mer'Li, who is a descendent of Liarim, who is a descendent of Ver'Cres, who stood beside Valine and helped him bring the five warrior caste together and become one Caste. Who was descendent of Kelac who was once the leader of the Star Riders and who was descendent of Kal'va. The one who began the Star Riders," He paused for effect. For he knew that many of the clans held Kal'va with great reverence and awe as he was considered the greatest of warrior clans. Kal'va was the one who started the clans and gave them their names and their pride during the dark days of Minbar. But only one clan can claim they descend from him. Only a few can show proof of this lineage. He was one of the few.
"Bring your proof. Shai Alyt Neroon." spoke Fry'iea, Clan Leader of the Fire Wings
Neroon watched as a young Minbari appeared before him holding a ceremonial knife and a small bowl before him. Neroon bowed before the Minbari as was custom when showing proof of your clan's genetic heritage.
Neroon picked up the ceremonial knife and placed the sharp blade against his hand and without flinching cut his hand and watched the blood of his generations flow into the bowl.
The young Minbari bowed to him when Neroon handed him back the knife. He watched as the Minbari turned and walked toward the council members and place the bowl in the center of the table. A light from above beamed down on it's contents and then it disappeared as a computerized voice spoke "DNA Match, Neroon descendent of Kal'va." Neroon watched as the five heads of the council bowed in reverence of Kal'va
Swadre, the new Clan leader of the Wind Swords stood up and looked at Neroon.
"What business have you brought to the Council that is important enough for us to to know your heritage?"
"I Shai Alyt Neroon, bring the business of courtship to the Council."
Swadre looked surprised as did the rest of the members of the Council at hearing this. For they all knew that Neroon never once mentioned or showed an interest in anyone from the clans. He narrowed his eyes as another thought came to him. 'Neroon may have never showed an interest in anyone inside the clans but he has of late shown an interest in someone outside the clans. That is why he is here today. He is going to ask the Council's permission to court outside of the clans.
"Who is it that you wish the Council's permission to court?" Swadre asked as he looked at Neroon.
He watched as Neroon took a deep breath and raise his head in pride as he began to speak, "Marcus Cole, of the Anla'shoc, descendent of William Cole and Anna Taylor
Astonished and shocked voices rose up from members as they sat in silence and waited for Swadre to speak for them. Never has a Warrior ever asked to court outside it's caste. Never in all of their cycles has a Minbari ever asked to court outside of it's species and have ever thought of courting a Human. Deleen was the only exception but then the Minbari don't consider her part of their species anymore.
"Silence! Everyone silence" Swadre spoke as he raised his hand to quiet them. He then lowered his hand and then looked at Neroon standing before him.
"For many cycles," he said as he spoke softly to them. "We have been angry at the humans for causing the war, for killing our families and friends. We have lost a great many warriors to the humans. However, the feelings of the Council of the Warrior clans have changed recently," Swadre smiled as he saw the look of surprise pass over Neroon's face. It wasn't every day that you could put one over the Shai Alyt.
"A half of a cycle ago, Alyt Neroon was ordered by Shakiri," at the mention of Shakiri's name he paused and spit on the floor along with the four other clan members. "to break a thousand year rule." He continued. "Put in place by Valen himself, agreed to by the newly formed Warrior Caste. And in all those cycles it has never once been broken until a half a cycle ago."
"Shakiri," he paused again to spit on the floor at the exiled's name. "ordered Neroon to kill a Minbari. However, Valen found a way to stop this and he did it through a Human," Swarde paused as he looked among the Council members and then Neroon. He moved from the table and walked up to Neroon as he began to speak once more.
"A Human, who fought like a Minbari. A Human who talked like a Minbari, a Human, who respected Minbari traditions and beliefs. A Human, who took the time to study our ancient ways. The ways before Valen. The Ways of the Warrior Clans. This Human, This mere human, who had no chance of winning against a Minbari Warrior, was ready to die for his Entil'Zha. And not just any Minbari Warrior. But the best of all the clans put together. Taught by Sech Durhan himself. Neroon, of the Star Riders. Destined to become Shai Alyt of the Warrior Caste."
"This Human," Swarde spoke as he stood in front of Neroon. "Knowing he had no chance to win against Neroon but only be able to hold him off while Deleen became the new Entil'Zha. Challenged Neroon to Denn'Sha, the fight to the Death. It was a brave and enlightening battle from what the Council's spies tell us." Swarde, smiled once more at the look of surprise across Neroon's face. Twice in one day the Council has surprised their Shai Alyt. Well, he thought, Neroon was in for more surprises today. On this day of change. "Yes Neroon, we have sent spies to Babylon 5 to look into the matter of Marcus Cole and the Denn'Sha."
Swarde paused as he turned to face the Council, "This mere human, this once enemy of our species, this one being who took the time to get to know and understand our ways, was ready to die for his Entil'Zha, for his belief in Valen's law 'Minbari don't kill Minbari'. But most of all for his belief in a Warrior's honor."
"Is not that true, Neroon?" Swarde asked as he rounded on Neroon once more. "Is it not true that during the battle that this Human at his near death, knowing he was going to die, called out Valen's name?"
"It is true," Neroon stated as he watched Swarde move about the Council floor.
"Is it not true that when he called out Valen's name that you saw through your own eyes that he carries a Minbari soul. That he is what the religious caste calls the humans, 'Id'Minbari'?"
"Yes, it is true. Marcus Cole is Id'Minbari. I have seen it and I have heard his soul's call for mine and have for the past months felt my soul call to his."
"And that is why you would like the Council's permission to court him?" Swarde asked as he moved closer to Neroon.
"Yes," Neroon answered.
Swarde nodded his head and then looked at the Council members as he moved back towards the council table. On the table he picked up five data crystals. Each one he held up in his hand and placed down on the table as he let out a soft sigh.
"For the past five months now," he paused and looked around the room making sure that he had everyone's attention. " each member of the Council has sent a spy to Babylon 5. Each one coming back with different reports but the words are the same as is the praise , the respect that isdelivered and fear for his life. They all say the same thing. 'He is Id'Minbari!,' 'His bravery knows no bounds,' 'His courage is never ending,' 'His fighting skills are beyond compare,' 'He was holding back during the Denn'Sha,' and lastly but with more concern this I will quote from my spy who has just gotten back from Babylon 5. " 'He has a death wish. He is looking for a way to die with honor for he is a Warrior with a Minbari soul. We must find a way to protect him from himself.' " Swarde, finished speaking and placed the data crystal back down on the table and then he turned to face Neroon.
"Since this last information arrived this morning, the Council has been trying to find a way to protect Marcus Cole from himself and with out his knowing. The Council will protect Marcus Cole at all cost and in so doing will accept your proposal of courtship in the hopes that he will accept. For this is the only way that we can see that we will be able to protect him. There is one condition though. It is proven that Marcus does carry a Minbari soul and that soul was once of the Warrior caste. However, since we are unable at this time tell which Minbari soul he is carrying then we, as Council for the Warrior Caste, agree to give you our five best warriors from the five clans to help you with your courtship and to help you protect Marcus Cole."
Swarde, paused as he picked up another data crystal. "In our efforts of trying to understand Humans we stumbled across an ancient courtship ritual which we will give to you in hopes that it will help you with your courtship. For since you are courting a Human then you must court him humanstyle. Although the computer is still trying to find information on this Human holiday called Christmas,we do understand that the Courtship takes 12 days. So on the twelveth day of what the Humans call 'Christmas,' we hope that Marcus will accept your proposal of becoming a Mate to you, Shai Alyt Neroon." He paused as he motioned for a young Minbari to come forward. He placed the data crystal in his hand and motioned him to give it to Neroon. He watched as Neroon took the crystal given to him before speaking again.
"The Council is also seeking a way to protect the Anla'shoc from the Anla'shoc. It is a brave and noble thing for him to become a member of the Anla'shoc. However, it is not wise to be a member of the Anla'shoc when seeking a death wish. He has been protected so far by Valen himself. Now Valen places Marcus's life in our hands and we will not turn our back on him. We will find a way to protect the Minbari soul he carries even if this means that the council will seek peace from the Religious Caste. In short, Shai Alyt Neroon, no matter what happens with your proposal, the Council is in the process of taking steps to protect Marcus Cole from himself and to make sure that he will be kept safe. We will not lose another Minbari soul."
He paused as he watched five warriors appear behind Neroon. "Behind you," he said. "is the very best and bravest of our warriors. Each Warrior represents the five clans. Step forward so that your Shai Alylt will know you and so your names will be written in the testimony of time.
"Shareti, of the Fire Wings." The Minbari Warrior stepped forward and bowed his head.
"Lelita, of The Moon Shields." The warrior stepped forward and bowed his head.
"Winlea, of The Wind Swords, The clan that has been moved to the lowest ranking of Minbari warriors because of the embarassment and disgrace of it's former clan leader." The female Warrior moved forward and lowered her self on her knees before Neroon and spoke.
"We of the clan of Wind Swords offer our new clan leader's sword to you in hopes that you will use it kindly on us. We offer and put our clan in your hands and will willing help you in your courtship of the Human, Marcus Cole in hope to raise our clan from it's disgrace and to apologize to the Human, Marcus Cole, for our former leader's grave error." Neroon accepted the sword from Winlea and placed it on his waist band.
She stood and bowed to him and then moved back to stand with four other warriors.
"Kail'avic, of The Night Walkers clan," Swarde spoke as another warrior came forward and bowed his head in respect toward Neroon.
"Finally, Sarhkat, Sister of Shai Alyt Neroon and of the Star Rider's clan." Swarde smiled when he saw the pleased and proud look come across Neroon's face as he bowed respectively to his sister.
"Now, go Neroon and take the best of our warriors with you and know that you have our blessings and Valen's blessing with you," Swarde bowed his head to Neroon and the warriors and watched as they made their way to Babylon 5.
As the warriors walked down the corridor towards a shuttle heading for Babylon 5, Neroon began look at the list that was given him.
"So," he asked as he looked at his warriors as they entered the shuttle. "Does anyone know what a Partridge in a Pear Tree is?"
On The First Day
Michael Garibaldi let out a tired sigh as he watched a group of Minbari warriors march on deck and walk up to him. For the past five months now he sat and watched as one by one Minbari spy warriors have crept on board his station. The Minbari followed and took reports on a certain pain in the ass ranger. And not just any ranger but their Ranger, Marcus Cole, aka the Pain in the Ass. When Michael asked his friend, Marcus about the warrior spies, Marcus just shrugged his shoulders and replied that he didn't understand why the Warrior Caste was suddenly interested in him but whatever the reason the truth of the Warrior Caste interest will come to light sooner or later.
As Michael watched, the leader of this group of Minbari Warriors approached him. He tried to hold back a smile as he watched Shai Alit Neroon juggling with a bird and a tree in his hands while bowing to him. How ever the smile managed to escape him anyway.
Neroon bowed his head to the chief of security as Michael began to speak, "Welcome, Neroon, to Babylon 5."
"Greetings, Mister Garibaldi," Neroon replied
"What business brings you and your group of warriors to Babylon 5?" Michael asked as he began to check the Identa cards of the warriors with Neroon.
He watched and Neroon raised his head in pride as he spoke , "I come on the business of courtship."
"Courtship?" Garibaldi asked with a note of surprise in his voice
"Yes, I am here on the business of courting Anla'shoc Marcus Cole. Would you be so kind as to tell us where he is at this moment in time?"
Garibaldi paused in thought, his first thought was surprise that someone was going to finally take control over their death-seeking ranger and pull him in. His second thought was 'this is going to be such fun to watch and I get to have the front row seat. Which was followed by his third thought. 'Wait till I tell Stephen."
"The last time I saw Marcus was in Zocalo doing business with a Narn."
He watched as Neroon turned to his warriors and nodded his head and then turned back to look at Garibaldi, " Please show us where this... Zocalo is."
Garibaldi happily nodded his head as he gleefully rubbed his hands together. His last thought before they moved on was 'that it was such a shame that he didn't have any popcorn with him to watch the opening of the show.'
Marcus leaned back and let out a tired sigh as he began to move his head around his shoulders to loosen up his muscles. He had just finished his business with the Narn and was ready to call it a day when the sudden silence filled the bar room.
He looked up and noticed first his friend Garibaldi was pointing him out then as he moved his eyes past Garibaldi, he noticed who Garibaldi was talking to.
He felt his heart to begin to speed up, not in fear but in pleasure, at seeing the Minbari again. They may have fought against each other down below but they ended by starting the beginnings of a friendship. Maybe he will solve the mystery for Marcus. The mystery of the Warriors Council spies and why the Warrior Caste taken a sudden interest in him of late.
He watched as Neroon nodded to Garibaldi and then began to make his way towards him carrying a strange bird in a shining gold cage and caring what looked like a combination of a palm tree and a apple tree put together.
"Marcus!" he called to me and I felt my heart soar at seeing him so happy.
"Neroon!" I answered his call as formalities between us were put aside long ago.
"What business brings you here and five of your Caste's best warriors?" I asked as I watched his surprise at my knowing about the warriors turn to pleasure and pride as he began to speak.
"I am pleased to know that your Anla'shoc skills and knowledge are still very sharp as always."
I let out a pleased smile at his words and bow my head to hide my blush.
"As for my business," I heard Neroon continue as I watched him place down the bird cage and the tree. He removed a knife and handed it to one of his female warriors. He placed the knife in her hands and said something to her in Vik,the warrior cast language before motioning her forward. "First an apology from the clan of the Wind Swords. They bear great shame of their former leader's feelings toward humans. This is Winlea, of the Wind Swords and she has something to say to you."
I watched as Winlea took the knife in her hands and move towards me. For a moment I felt my body automatically tighten and ready itself for defense just in case.
However, I was surprised when she did nothing but suddenly kneel at my feet and offer her knife out to me. In halting standard she began to speak,"I Winlea, of the shamed Wind Swords clan do offer our current clan leader's knife in your hands. To do with what you will to our clan. We will follow your words and orders and offer up our protection to you. We await your ruling and judgment against our shame."
Stunned, I was... I was completely stunned. I found myself looking toward Neroon and silently asking him what I should do now?
Neroon, that wonderful Minbari must have understood my confusion as he quickly moved to my side and whispered in my ear.
I felt my heart beat faster and my knees go weak at the feeling of his warm words, "Take the knife and place it at your side near your pike. Tell her that you accept her clan and that you will hand over judgment in twelve days."
I nodded and repeated Neroon's words to her. She seemed pleased with that decision and then stood and moved back with the rest of the warriors.
I watched as Neroon smiled down at me as he picked up the bird cage and the tree. He handed them to me as he spoke.
"Marcus, I went to the Council and asked them permission to begin courting."
"Courting?" I asked for I didn't even know that Neroon was interested in someone.
"Yes, courting. They are very pleased at the person I have chosen and so in Human tradition of courting I offer up these two gifts to you on our first day of Courting."
"Courting!" I just couldn't get my mind around that word. "Wait a minute here. Are you asking permission to court me?"
"No, Marcus," Neroon replied as he shook his head. "I am beginning to Court you with the intent to take you as Mate for life. If you will accept me. I have already asked permission to court you; and it was granted to me by the Council. You see since you have no parents living for me to ask and since the Warrior Caste Council consider you 'id'Minbari' by tradition of the Warrior Caste they have accepted you as a member of the Warrior Caste and in so doing have placed themselves Guardians over you. Therefore granting me permission to court one of their own."
Neroon paused as he lightly touched my cheek with one of his fingers before continuing, "I am sorry that we couldn't find a partridge or a pear tree for your first day of courting but I brought you a P'rtrdge bird and a Faerty tree. I am pleased with these gifts for you and I hope you will be pleased with them also. I will see you tomorrow for your second day of Courting and hope that you will by the twelfth day accept me as a worthy mate and warrior who would like to be by your side through the good days and the bad. Be well, Marcus and think of me ." With these parting words he placed a soft kiss on my forehead and left me with my mouth agape holding a bird cage in one hand and a funny looking tree in the other while he and his five warriors walked out of the bar.
"But I don't have time to be courted," I found myself saying as I watched them leave. "I have missions to run, shadows to kill and people to beat secrets out of. Who has time to be courted?"
"Bloody Hell," I grumbled under my breath.
"This is not funny, Mister Garibaldi." I growled at the laughing chief of Security.
So with a strange bird in one hand and funny looking tree in the other, I angrily stomped out of the bar and headed for Delenn in hopes that she might put some light on these strange events now occurring in my life.
"What the bloody hell does a partridge and a pear tree have to do with courting anyway?" I angrily stated as I made my way to Delenn's quarters.
But even as upset as I was with Neroon and the Council for taking over my life and assuming that I would agree to this business of courting, I still couldn't push down the sudden feeling of pleasure that someone was taking an interest in me. And that someone was as a very proud but handsome Warrior of Minbar. I couldn't help but wonder what he was going to do on our second day of courting.
On The Second Day
"He's What?" Exclaimed Dr Stephen Franklin as he looked at Michael Garibaldi.
Michael smiled back at his friend Stephen as he answered him, "He's being courted."
"Your kidding," Stephen said as he walked beside his friend down the corridor.
Michael pretend that his feelings were hurt as he placed his hand over his heart, "Oh now that hurts. Would I kid you about our Ranger?"
Stephen sighed and shook his head no. "So who is courting him?"
"You are never going to believe this in a million years?"
"I take it then that you want me to guess?"
"Got it in one Doc. However, I will only give you three guesses," Michael said as he bounced with excitement.
"Okay first guess is not Susan. For we both know how she feels about Marcus. Okay so that leaves... Lennier?"
"Please! He's busy doing Londo."
"I thought you knew those two were an item?"
"I thought they were enemies."
"Nah, It's all an act. They act like they hate each other because Londo gets turned on watching G'kar act all aggressive towards him. Personally I think Londo is into a little BDSM but that is just my opinion only."
"Well that's my three guesses. So who is courting our resident ranger?"
Michael smiled a big smile as he said, "None other then the Shai Alyt Neroon. The New leader of the Warrior Caste."
"Okay, Now I know your are kidding."
"Why do you keep saying that. You just hurt my little feelings," Michael said with a pout but Stephen noticed the laughter in his friends eyes.
"Of course I am. I wouldn't lie to you about this."
Michael saw his friend nod in acceptance and then slowly smiled, "So you want front row seats or what?" He asked Stephen.
"You better believe that I do. For I have got to see this"
"Well come on then and we will get ourselves some popcorn and watch the show."
"Aren't you going to tell Susan?"
"Nah, I'm saving that one for tomorrow."
"Now that I also want a front row seat to see."
"Selling tickets even as we speak," Came Michael's laughing reply as they went to make popcorn for the second day of Marcus Cole's Courtship.
I let out a frustrated sigh as I glared at the way too chipper in the morning blasted P'rtrdge as it loudly sang me awake.
"Noisy bird, once I am done with seeing Delenn this morning. I am then going to release you in the gardens of Babylon 5 where you can sing to your hearts content."
With another glare at the bird, I began my daily routine of getting dressed and mentally went through my schedule of the day. First thing on my agenda I thought as I stepped into the shower and quickly washed was to see Delenn and see if she can clear up this courtship business with the Warrior caste. I had gone yesterday to her quarters but Lennier told me that she was going to be in meetings all day. I asked if it was all right if I saw her first thing this morning. He agreed and so I have her as my first meeting for the day.
I stepped out of the shower, quickly brushing my hair and put on my ranger uniform. I had, as always on busy days like this, no time for breakfast. So grabbing a piece of bread from the table and some water to go, I stepped out of my door. Without even thinking about it I automatically opened my dennbok and pointed it at the unknown Minbari warrior standing before me.
"Stand down Marcus," I heard Neroon softly chuckle as he walked up to me. "You nearly killed Kail'avic, of the Night Walkers clan."
"Is not he wonderful," Neroon continued as I retracted my dennbok. "You see, Sarhkat, " Neroon nodded to the young female Minbari warrior standing next to him. " It is not of any wonder why I fell in love with him during our battle."
Sarhkat simply smiled at me as she began to walk a circle around me. I could feel her dark eyes looking me up and down as she made her circle.
"Yes, dear brother. I can see why you fell so hard for the Id'minbari. However as much as I and the Council approve of this match I still can foresee Father protesting the match, more so then Mother. She will be just happy that anyone is going to marry you at all, " Sarhkat replied in Standard as she gave her brother a mischievous look in her brown eyes as she stood next to Neroon once more.
I put my hands together and bowed respectfully to Sarhkat and spoke what little Vik I knew, "Sim'wa Sarhkat, Sal'ier Ra Shai Alyt Neroon."
Sarhkat returned my smile and bow and replied in perfect Standard, "Hello Marcus, future mate of Neroon and Alyt of the Star Riders."
I raised an eyebrow up at that but kept my thoughts to myself.
"What are you doing here ?" I asked Neroon as I removed my bread from the pocket of my robe and picked up my fallen drink.
"Today, Marcus, is our second day of courtship. I would like to spend this time with you and see what you do during your day."
I all most choked on breakfast when I heard Neroon's suggestion. Any other time I wouldn't mind spending the day with Neroon. However, since I was planning on meeting with Delenn today ,there was no way I was going to be able to bring up this courtship business to her in front of Neroon.
"Uhm," I stumbled around my words trying to find a way to word my reply. "That's a wonderful idea, Neroon. However, this morning I have a meeting with the Entil'Zha ." I found myself touching his arm as I finished my reply. "I don't know if she will welcome you and your caste into the meeting or not."
I watched as Neroon frowned at my mention of Entil'Zha Delenn. I didn't know if he was still holding a grudge over the fact that she had become the new Entil'Zha over the rangers or if he was just upset at the fact that he might not be allowed in the meeting with me.
"Very well then, Winlea, I will place Marcus under your protection while the rest of us go and look," he paused as he looked at his list. "for these turtle doves."
Winlea snapped her feet together and saluted Neroon as he and the rest of his warriors headed down the corridor.
"Turtle doves?" I confusingly asked Winlea. She on the other hand just smiled enigmatically and motioned me forward.
I sighed, shrugged my shoulders and put aside the confusing thought of what the warrior caste would want with some ancient and extinct species of a bird and made my way to Delenn's quarters.
I let out a relieved sigh as I watched her welcome me with open arms into her rooms. She greeted my new friend with curiosity and confusion.
She motioned me to sit down while Lennier went to bring us our tea. There are some welcoming comfort that I have found in the Minbari culture and one of them was that no business would conducted until tea was served. As I sat and sipped the soothing tea, I was once more reminded my mother and of the times as a child she taught me the fine aspects of tea drinking.
As I sat the cup down Delenn once more looked to my new friend with a raised eyebrow in question.
"I guess you wouldn't believe the old excuse of she followed me home one day?" I teasingly asked. I sighed seeing only confusion on Delenn's face and then sighed once more. Sometimes I wonder if the Minbari will ever get the concept of earth humor.
"Never mind, It's just an old human joke," I quickly explained to her and saw her smile once more at me.
"Actually she is part of the reason why I am here," I then quickly explained the situation to her covering over the courtship, the Warrior Caste answering for me without my consent and Neroon's strange obsession with birds and funny-looking trees.
When I finished she sat in silence for a moment before she spoke. "Oh dear," was all she said.
"Oh dear!" I exclaimed. "The Warrior Caste has given their Shai Alyt permission to court me without my consent. Not just any Shai Alyt mind you but Neroon of the Star Riders. The Minbari who tired to kill you six months ago. The Minbari that almost killed me and now he wants to bleeding COURT ME WITH THE INTENT TO BECOME LIFE MATE and all YOU CAN SAY IS 'OH DEAR!" I yelled. I jumped from my chair and began to pace the floor.
"Delenn, I just don't understand this sudden interest that the warrior caste has taken in me of late. I mean first the spies they sent and now this," I stated with a wave of my hand as I sat back down again. "Is there anyway that you know of that this silly courtship ritual can be undone?"
"It also explains," Delenn softly spoke for the first time. "the sudden interest the Warrior cast has in seeking peace with the Religious Caste."
"What?" I asked at this newest information.
"Yesterday morning I received a call form the head of the Warrior Council saying that they have agreed with Shai Alyt Neroon and believe that it is time for the Warrior Caste to seek peace with the Religious Caste. Swarde, of the Wind Swords clan and the new head of the Warrior Caste Council will be arriving tomorrow and will begin peace negotiations with me. Never before, Marcus, have the Warrior caste ever sought peace between the Religious Caste and themselves until now. Until you came along and proved to them that you are Id'minbari. I believe you are the reason why the Warrior Caste suddenly wants to make peace with us. For they apparently believe that you are Id'minbari. Oh don't you see, Marcus. This is wonderful news to us.
"Wonderful news! But what about me. I never once asked to be courted and what does the Warrior Caste do to show their appreciation of this new revelation of theirs? They give permission to Neroon to court me without my consent or knowledge of it. Is there anything you can do to undo this mess without losing the peace negotiations between the two castes?
"I'm sorry, Marcus but there is not a thing that I can do. For you see, the Warrior caste is and always have acted on ancient traditions put in place before Valen's appearance. According to their ancient tradition, if a child of the Warrior caste has no family left then that child is to be raised by the family of the clan leader as it's very own. However, if the child is of Warrior Caste but has no clan to claim it then the child will be a ward of the Warrior Caste Council. They will act as it's family and will take care of all of the decisions for that child until the child is of age of consent or mated."
"But Delenn, I am over 30 years old. I think by now that I am a bit past the age of consent."
"Not according to Minbari or Warrior Caste tradition," she replied. "With the Warrior Caste,the age of consent is only reached when the child has passed certain trials put to it by the Council. These are started when the child has reached 50 cycles which is 120 of your human years."
I just couldn't help but to let out a groan at the thought that I still had 90 years to go before I was even considered old enough to start the trials for coming of age.
"So, the only other thing for me to do is," I paused as Delenn answered for me. "To agree and consent to Neroon's purpose of becoming his life mate."
"And Neroon is how old?" I asked as I placed my head in my hands and looked at her.
"130 cycles in Minbari years. In Human years he is 230 years old. He is considered the youngest leader that the Warrior Caste has ever in their history had.
The chime sounded in her rooms as I took in what she told to me. I watched as Lennier came in carrying a bowl filled with water with two baby turtles inside and a note attached to it.
"This came for Marcus," he said as he handed me the note along with the bowl of turtles.
The note read:
To my dearest beloved, I am sorry that we could not find you the turtle doves that is part of your courtship ritual but the shopper assured me that you would find these baby turtles more pleasing. I am pleased with these gifts and hope that you are content with them also. We are now on a search for what you humans call French hens. I will greet you in the morning and hope that my pursuit of human courtship rituals are pleasing to you enough that you will accept becoming my mate on the twelfth day.
I sighed and looked up from my gift to see a smiling Delenn looking down at me.
"So would like to see the latest gifts that will be added to the gardens of Babylon 5? " I asked her as I showed her the baby turtles that Neroon gave to me.
For some odd reason, even though I didn't understand it at that time, I felt my heart grow lighter at the thought that there was someone out there buying me strange gifts in the hopes to win me over and give him the love he felt for me in return. Oddly enough I couldn't help but look forward to tomorrow and to seeing what Neroon would come up with next.
On The Third Day
"Get OUT!" Susan Ivanova, yelled as she angrily pushed Michael Garibaldi against the wall.
"Your shitting me!" She accused him.
"I'm not Susan I am telling you the honest to goodness truth."
Suddenly she let go and Stephen softly laughed as he watched Michael slowly fall down the wall to land on the floor.
It was a good thing that they had all the airlocks closed off for some timely repairs. He thought as he suddenly froze at the serene look coming across Susan's face. This couldn't be good for them.
"Our Marcus is going to be married." She sighed as she suddenly turned on them.
"Not yet." Michael spoke up from the floor. "Neroon still has to court him for 9 more days and then Marcus has to accept Neroon purposel."
"Oh we all know he is going to say yes. Marcus has been pinning over Neroon for six months now. I mean we've all heard him. 'Neroon said this, Neroon did this, Neroon, Neroon, Neroon. All we have heard about for the past 6 months is Neroon. If Marcus didn't do anything by the end of this month I was going to hijack him and place him on Neroon's door. With a card that said. 'Horney single human male wants a strong Minbari to mate with him.'
Suddenly she clapped her hands together. "You know what this means don't you?"
Feeling a sudden chill fear run up at their spine at the gleam of happiness in Susan's eyes they prepared for the worst.
"We're going to have a WEDDING!" She happily squealed.
"OH NO!" Michael and Stephen exclaimed at the same time."She's gone to WEDDING MODE!"
"We better find a place to hide until this is over," Stephen suggested as he helped Michael up from the floor.
Michael nodded his head in agreement as the stated out the door.
"Hey!" Susan exclaimed as started to fallow them. "Where do you think you going. We have invitations to pick out, Color's to choose from and People to invite."
"I just knew you shouldn't have told her," Stephen muttered under his breath as he started to make a break for it.
The annoying chime to his quarters woke Marcus up this morning. The strange bird, the weird looking tree along with the two baby turtles were both placed in the gardens of Babylon 5 and listed as donations from the Warrior caste of the Minbari home world.
So with a glare and a resigned sigh ,Marcus got up and answered the door. "This had better be damn important, " he muttered under his breath.
He gasped when Neroon rushed into the room and stared at him, "What you are doing not dressed yet?"
I quickly looked down at my gray paints and "eeped!" when I realized that I had answered the door with no shirt on. I quickly dashed into the bathroom and started dressing while Neroon talked.
"As much as I love seeing your handsome naked chest, Marcus. I am sure that your parents will not be pleased with the greeting."
"Parents!" I exclaimed as I peeked out the door. "But Neroon my parents have been dead for years. I have no parents!"
I 'eeped' again as Neroon sexually leered at me and popped back into the bathroom to finish changing.
"Actually you have two sets of parents and one single father who is a cousin on my side of the Star Riders. But I digress. Either way we must hurry for your first set of parents will be arriving in moments and we must not be late. I fear if we are late then Swarde will think that I am not taking care of you as a mate should. If he thinks that I am not taking care of you then he will take back my offer of courtship and offer you up to the rest of the clans to fight over the honor of courting you."
I had finished dressing and entered the room as I heard Neroon's last words. "Wait a minute," I said as I looked up to him. "You mean to say that if this Swarde guy doesn't like the way you are treating me then he will take back your offer of courtship?" I asked and watched as Neroon pushed me out the door and into the corridor. "Yes and if he does that then he will offer you up for the rest of the clans to fight for the honor of courting you." Neroon replied as he dashed down the hall way with me following quickly behind him.
"Oh bloody hell!" I muttered as I quickly started to run past him as I found the thought of the rest of the clans fighting over me to be more frightening then being attacked by a fleet of shadows. "Well hurry up, Neroon," I called back as I began to get ahead of him in our race to get to the docking bay on time, "We must not be late."
We arrived just on time to the docking bay as two Warrior Caste leaders entered. Between my puffs for breath I began to quickly catalog their appearance. The first was a strong Minbari male. He wore the Warrior Caste uniform like he was made for it. On his right shoulder were the two ranking pins. The pins told me that he was the new clan leader of the Wind Swords and also head member of the Warrior Council. The woman next to him was an inch or two shorter then him ;however. her pins told me that she was of the Clan leader of the Fire Wings and also a member of the Warrior Council. So this was my first set of parents. To say that I was nervous as hell would be an understatement right now at this moment.
I watched as Neroon started to bow to them and I unconsciously repeated his movements.
"Greetings, Swarde of the Wind Swords Clan and Fry'iea, of the Fire Wings Clan."
"Greetings ,Shai Alyt Neroon." They paused to turn to look at me for the first time. I found myself automatically standing with pride as I felt their gazes fall on me.
However, I was not expecting Swarde to kneel before me, "I Swarde, of the lowly and embarrassed Wind Swords clan bow before you to ask for forgiveness for the unjustness that our former leader caused to you. Our Clan is now in your hands and we await your judgment in nine days."
Neroon's warm words whispered in my ear as I found myself unconsciously leaning into him as I repeated them, "I accept the responsibility for judgment of the Wind Sword Clan and I will make my final decision on the last day of Neroon's courtship."
Swarde seemed pleased with my words as he stood up and moved to stand next to Fry'iea. I turned my eyes to face her. She smiled at me as she moved closer to me and without thought opened her arms and pulled me into a hug.
"Our son, our son," she whispered softly in my ear as I without thought returned her much- needed hug.
"The Warrior Caste welcomes you as one of our own," she paused as she placed her hand on my check when she pulled away from our hug. "Never again will you be alone in this life or the next. Know this that you will from now be considered a member of the Warrior Caste and have a place with us." Then she stood back and looked me over making clucking noises.
"You're too thin, Marcus, " she said with a shake of her head. "Come Swarde and Neroon, let us go and feed this poor starving boy some real Minbari food. So he will grow and become as strong as his future mate."
I started to protest but apparently she wasn't listening as she took a hold of my hand and tugged me away to the nearest Minbari dining area. I looked to Neroon for help but he chuckled and shook his head as he mouthed the words, 'Well she is your mother."
'Coward,' I mouthed back but I couldn't hold back the grin that was on my face as I realized what it was like to be really cared for. I remember thinking as Fry'iea pushed me into a seat that my own mother if she was alive would have liked this Minbari woman.
Later as I groaned out loud on our way back to my quarters with Neroon holding me up, I made a promise to myself that I will never eat that much Minbari food again. It just can't be that healthy for me.
Neroon just chuckled and shook his head at me as he wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me closer to his warm, comforting body.
"Oh, Marcus, " he whispered as he pressed a kiss to my forehead and entered my quarters. "I am so glad that your parents like you. I knew when I first felt my soul call to yours that they would. But even then I couldn't help but worry. But now when I watched as Fry'iea fed you and Swarde talked to you about Minbari history, I knew then that I had nothing to worry about anymore."
He then wrapped his arms around me and pulled me closer to him. "Now it is time for your third gift on this day of our courtship," He leaned down to me and brushed a soft kiss across my lips. "While my group of warriors were out yesterday looking for these French hen's of yours, I overheard a conversation of regarding this thing you humans call French kissing. So I thought it would make a better gift than giving you another bird."
Then he pushed me against the wall and leaned down for my very first ever kiss. I couldn't help but moan as I felt his warm lips crease over mine. Willingly I found my lips opening up to his and gasped when I felt his answering moan. His tongue slowly slipped inside of my mouth and I groaned when it touched mine. I felt as if I was on fire from his first of three kisses.
I pulled away and gasped for breath at his passion-filled eyes looked down at me. I couldn't help but smile as I raised a finger and touched his face as I whispered between breaths. " I think that I am going to like this gift, Neroon." as I pulled him down for my second gift of kissing.
I couldn't help but chuckle against his lips as he let out a lusty groan and thrust his hips against mine causing me to gasp in pleasure. I felt my cock thicken as our second kiss deepened and turned more passionate.
"Marcus," he gasped as he this time was the one to pull away. "We have to stop. I do not think I will be able to control myself if we continue."
I found myself pouting for the very first time. I haven't pouted since I was a child but I wanted my third kiss and I was going to get my third no matter what Neroon said. So with that thought in mind I roughly turned him around and pushed him against the wall and kissed him for all that he was worth.
I gasped when I felt his strong hands grip my butt to pull me closer to his hard body. I thrust my tongue inside his warm mouth when he opened mouth under my passionate kiss.
He moaned when our tongues met and played with each other. I answered his moan when I gasped his name as I felt his warm hand caress me on the inside of my back from underneath my shirt.
Suddenly he pulled away from me and gently put me aside from him. I couldn't hide the smile as I watched my strong warrior try to pull himself together after our passionate kiss.
"Marcus, you tempt me to much," he said as he pulled me closer to him once more and placed a soft kiss on my cheek " I will leave you now to dream of our kisses and when you wake tomorrow you will meet the rest of your parents. They will be my fourth gift to you on our fourth day of courtship. Sleep well, Am'Sheal,"he whispered in my ear as he kissed me one last time before he left my quarters.
I couldn't help but let out a blissful sigh and turned to get ready for bed. 'Am I falling in love with Neroon,' I asked myself as I took off my shirt and started my nightly rituals. Whatever my feelings for him were I couldn't help but look forward to our fourth day of courtship when according to Neroon I will have four caller's calling.
On The Fourth Day
So on the Fourth day of our courtship I had four callers calling. The first three were my other sets of parents.
Never in all of my life have I had more Minbari food forced down me, drank more tea then I thought there was ever made, and had my cheeks pinched till my face turned red. However, out of all the visits from my two sets of parents and one single father, I found my meeting with Neroon's cousin more intimidating than anything else.
De'kahrt, the new clan leader of the Star Riders. He was appointed according to my beloved.... wait I didn't say beloved. I don't think I am ready to call Neroon my beloved yet. Anyway, according to Neroon he was appointed when the Warrior Council selected Neroon the New Shai Alyt of the Warrior Caste.
He was what the Warrior Council considered my single Father. For a warrior he appeared to me to be a formidable foe.
At first he said nothing to me as I motioned him to sit down as I brought us tea. Like I said before I had drank enough tea that my bathroom and I were becoming very well acquainted.
First he glared at me over his cup of tea and then he sat in silence and stared at me till I felt like I was about ready to just pull my hair out for just something to do with my nervous hands.
Finally he spoke in a gruff and hard voice, "Let it be known, Marcus, that I am not like the others of our caste or like the Council who suddenly believe that the human race is what the religious caste calls 'id'minbari'. However,I like the rest of the Council, was curious about you. You who fight like a Minbari. Who talk like a Minbari and even show respect for our ways. So like Swarde ordered, I sent one of the clans Warrior spies to Babylon 5 to see what all the fuss was about. However, what Swarde did not know was that my spy was one our clans telepaths."
"Yes Marcus," He said when he saw my look of surprise on my face. "A very powerful telepath. One known to even to penetrate what your Psi Corp refer to as P12 shields. Do you want to know what he found out?"
"No," I whispered as I looked down at my hands and then looked back up at him. "I all ready know what you found out. You found out that I am unworthy of Neroon's affections. That I am unworthy to be even considered to be part of the Warrior Caste. But most of all you found the whole silly thing of me being id'minbari to be nothing more than a sham." I swallowed my pride and mentally began to prepare to let Neroon go. To let this idea of being part of a family go. It was a nice idea while it lasted but like De'kahrt was going to say it was all a lie anyway and as I know nothing lasts forever.
"You think this is what my spy found out about you?" he asked as he took another drink from his cup of tea.
"Yes," I answered as I raised my head in pride. I may be a human but I am a Ranger also and I am proud of it. I will not hide it from him.
"Then you are willing to let Neroon go. Willing to watch as the Council picks for him a mate more worthy of him then you?" De'kahrt asked as he looked me over with his cool dark eyes.
"No," I had no idea where that word came from but the very thought of Neroon being forced to marry a mate that was not of his own choosing. The thought of that person kissing him as I kissed him last night made my heart burn on fire with an anger that I never felt before. "No," I said again more firmer than ever before. "I will not give up Neroon because you do not approve of me. I will not give up the only good thing that has ever happened to me since my brother died. I will not give up Neroon. I refuse to do so," I said as I stood up and began to pace the room.
"I don't care if you are my single father or not. I will not give him up." I think it was then that I realized that I had fallen in love with Neroon. That I was ready to call him my beloved. That I was ready to die for him or fight for him which ever one came first. It didn't matter just as long as I loved him and I knew that he loved me too.
De'kahrt, then did the oddest thing I have ever seen a Minbari do to me. He just smiled as he stood up and pulled me into the tightest hug I have ever had. We're talking bone crushing Minbari forget Humans are fragile kind of hug here.
"I am proud of you, son. You are everything my spy told me you were. I am proud to call you son and I will be very proud to give you over to Neroon. For you my son have passed my own personal test of love. I am pleased that you passed it so well. You will be a proud addition to the Star Rider's clan and to the Warrior Caste."
When he let go I found I could do two things again. The first was that I was able to breathe again and the second was that I found my self scratching my head in confusion as I looked at him.
He smiled at me and spoke in a now happy booming voice, "Come my son, sit with me and let us talk of courtships and Neroon's childhood. I am sure you are wanting to know every thing that went on in his childhood."
So with a shrug of my shoulders I sat down and listened to De'kahrt tell me of Neroon's growing up.
When the chime rang again I was laughing at the antics of stories of Neroon as a young boy trying to defend his older sister from her suitors.
I opened the door and there at the floor of the door was four yellow Cal'yg Birds sitting in a cage with a note that read.
To my dearest Marcus. I was unable to find you what your humans call 'Calling birds," However, I found these beautiful Cal'yg Birds for you. I hope that their sweet music will put you to sleep so that you may dream of me,
"Ah!" De'kahrt exclaimed as he looked over the four birds that I brought in with me. "Cal'yg birds, what a rare and wonderful gift my cousin has given to you. They say that at night when a Cal'yg bird sings that person who hears it sing will dream of their one true love."
I watched as De'kahrt rose from his seat and began to leave. As he turned he motioned me closer to him.
He bent down and placed a kiss on my forehead, something that I have found a lot of my parents doing of late. That and feeding me. "Sleep well, my son. Dream of your one true love and be safe in the knowledge that you are id'minbari. A welcomed blessing from Valen given to the Warrior Caste for safe keeping."
With that he turned and left. As the birds began to sing I found myself thinking of Neroon as I undressed for the night. I wondered what he was doing at this moment. If he was also thinking of me and what was his plans for our fifth day of courtship. I found myself becoming sleepy as I listened to the Cal'yg birds sing and soon found myself in the arms of my beloved as I began to dream of him.
On The Fifth Day
On my fifth day of courting with Neroon. I spent the first part of the morning having my fingers on my right hand measured and ring sizes taken down for Neroon's mysterious gift. I watched as each warrior was given my ring size for each finger and then they would take note of it and then suddenly they turned and were off on some odd hunt for gold rings.
I had asked my beloved , for I can call him that now, anyway, I asked him what the deal was with all of the strange birds, tree, parents and the kisses. I mean even though I liked the kissing gift. Okay let's be honest with myself here. I really, really, really liked the kissing gift. I mean were talking toe-curling kissing here. Who wouldn't like that?
Anyway, I asked him about all the gifts I have been given of late and what the purpose of them were and he would just smile at me and then kiss each finger on my right hand.
"They are part of you and a part of our courting process."
Okay, so I still have no clue what a strange bird and a funny looking tree, two baby turtles, three French kisses, four calling parents along with the four Cal'yg birds had to do with courting humans but with Neroon kissing all five of my fingers, well, who could think with a Minbari sucking on your thumb?
Watching it slowly go in his warm mouth then slowly back out again. Then slowly going back in again. Clearing throat here. Is it suddenly getting hot in here or is it just me?
"Listen Neroon, I have to go to another meeting with Entil'Zha Deleen. I think she would be acceptable if you come with me today. I 've spoken to her of your courtship and she is agreeable to it but I think she would like to reassure herself that you are taking care of me and all," I said as I raised his hand to my lips and brushed a kiss on it.
He sighed as he watched my lips caress his hand, "Do we have to," He asked as I watched his eyes deepen when I slowly began to suck on one of his fingers. "I'd much rather spend more time learning this thing you humans call French kissing then seeing that woman."
He let out a reluctant sigh as his dark passionate eyes watched me slip his now wet finger out of my mouth. "Oh very well, Am'Sheal. We will go to this meeting of yours but once that is over I would like to have you to myself for the afternoon."
I couldn't hide the pleased smile that crossed my face as I pulled him close for a kiss. "Thank you," I whispered between kisses.
He smiled down at me as he pulled me out of my chair and we started on our way to Delenn's quarters.
"Do you not know by now?" he paused as he lifted my hand up to his lips for a brief kiss. "That I would do anything for you, Am'Sheal. Even if it means seeing that woman again."
"No," I softly chuckled as we continued to walk together hand and hand. "But it is nice to know that I would also do anything for you too, Even if it means eating more flarn," I jokingly replied to him.
However, the raising of loud voices from Delenn's quarters broke us out of our teasing banter as we neared her rooms.
"He is Warrior Caste," came a deep reasoning voice.
"Yes but he is also Anla'shoc and therefore put under my command," came Delenn's angry reply
"But he is our son," came another reply this time I knew it to come from one of my new mothers although which one I couldn't tell from the rising voices.
"Yes, let us talk about that," came Delenn's suddenly cool voice. "In all of our cycles never once have you believed in the Religious Caste belief that the humans are 'Id'Minbari. Not once. Suddenly Marcus appears and fights Denn'sha against one of your best warriors and now suddenly it is as if the sun is rising you suddenly believe that we are right. You now suddenly want to make peace with the Religious Caste. Why I ask myself? Why is Marcus suddenly so important to the Warrior Caste that they even sent spies to Babylon 5 to study him? What you think that I wouldn't notice Warrior Caste spies on our station simply because I am Religious Caste? I'll have you know that I make it a point to notice everything when it comes to the Anla'shoc. Marcus is one my best Anla'shoc. He is, when it is time and when I believe for him to be ready, my choice to become the next Entil'Zha. So I ask again. Why is the Warrior Caste suddenly interested in Marcus Cole? Why do you want to take him a way from me?"
Marcus relaxed against Neroon's comforting embrace they listened outside the door to Delenn's rooms.
This time Marcus recognized the next voice coming from his father Swarde, "First we took an interest in him because we had to make an investigation of Neroon's reasons for letting Marcus live. Then when the first reports started coming in saying he was Id'Minbari we took greater interest in our son. As for us wanting to take him away from the Anla'shoc, we do not want to take him away from what he has known most of his life but we want to take him into the Warrior Caste. Teach him our ways now. Our beliefs, our history, and our stories. He may be Anla'shoc but he is now our son and he needs to know these things if he is to become an Alyt to the Warrior Caste."
"That is another thing I would like to discuss with you," Delenn's crisp cool voice floated in the air. "I know of your ways. I can understand why you have chosen Marcus as your son but why the sudden need to see him courted and put under Neroon's protection?"
The deep reasoning voice came from his single Father De'kahrt, "Our reports were each different, however, they all carried the same meaning. They said 'Marcus is Id'Minbari. He has a Warrior soul. However, he has a death wish. You know about his death wish. Even though you claim to protect him and would like to see him as the next Entil'Zha. You constantly put him at risk. We will not allow this anymore. HE IS ID'MINBARI and HE IS WARRIOR CASTE!" De'kahrt voice rang out in anger. "WE WILL NOT STAND BY AND SEE OUR SON PUT AT RISK ANYMORE!"
The deadly silence was what finally motivated me to move and enter Delenn's rooms. There standing in the middle of her room were my five parents angerily glaring at Delenn while Delenn clutched her hands in anger as she returned their glare.
Clearing my throat, I found myself gaining confidence from Neroon's hand on my shoulder as I began to speak, "Excuse me here but, don't you think that it would be a wise decision on everyone's part here if I decided what I would like to do and where I would like to be?"
"Son," came the voice of my second Mother, N'ghk of the Night Walker's clan. She was a bit taller then Fry'iea, my first mother. A little more rotund then Fry'iea also but I liked her for her understanding of my weird sense of humor and she makes some great cookies too. Once again I think my own mother if she was alive would have liked these women who have adopted me into their clans.
She once again pulled me into a hug and kissed my forehead in greeting while Fry'iea made her way over to me also to great me with a hug and a kiss on my cheek.
I bowed respectfully to Delenn as was custom of my rank as a ranger and then I spoke. "What is going on here?" I asked as Lennier came forward with some tea for me and Neroon.
Delenn motioned for me to sit while she stood and began to pace, "The Council for the Warrior Caste have brought it to my attention that you are now considered their son and therefore part of the Warrior Caste. They seem to think it is wise for you leave the Anla'shoc and be trained in the teachings of the Caste."
"We are not asking," this voice came from my third Father, Mid'ry of the Moon Shields clan. He may look stern on the outside but I find him to be a good and loving Father all the same. "for him to leave the Anla'shoc all together. All we are asking is for some time with him. You have had him long enough, Delenn. We as his parents would like that same amount of time to get to know our son," He paused as he walked nearer to me and brushed his hand through my hair before continuing. "Once he is mated with Neroon we will not have much time to see him. For he will be busy with the business of the Caste and the Anla'shoc. All we are asking for, Delenn, is just some extra time with him. To get to know him, to teach him our ways, our history and our stories. These are things that he must know if he is to become your chosen."
I watched as Delenn pause in midstride to take in Mid'ry's workds. She then looked at me smiled but I saw the look in her eyes as when an idea struck her. I knew then what she was up to.
"Very well Swarde, I will give you leave on this but on one condition."
"What is that Delenn?" My first Father asked as he watched her calmly sit down and begin to drink her tea.
"The condition is that we will let Marcus make his choice. The Council has chosen for Marcus his mate and his parents. I say we give him this choice. To continue on as he has or to spend time with his new family. He will decide in 7 days where he shall stay."
"But he is only a child," spoke Fry'iea, my first mother.
"To Minbari standards he is. However, in human eyes he is an Adult." Delenn replied.
"Hello I am here in this room," I spoke up for the first time. "I agree with Delenn. That I am an adult. That I can speak for myself and that I can make decisions on my own. I will make the choice of staying with the Anla'shoc or getting to know my parents for a while."
I stood and looked at my new parents. "I greatly appreciate your concern for me and I love you for it but I have been taking care of myself for 10 years now. " I then turned to look at Delenn, " I have been proud to become and serve the rangers. They have become more family to me then anything else. Delenn, you have all ways been the sister that I never had. I am very glad that you have given me the chance to choose. I will think this over greatly in the days ahead. " With a bow to her and to my parents I walked out of the meeting with Neroon following behind me.
As we made our way back to my quarters I felt Neroon's reassuring grip in my hand. It was nice to know that whatever choice I made Neroon would be with me all the way.
I smiled as I watched his five warriors marching up to us as we entered my rooms. However I was surprised to see my five parents following them as well for I had thought I had left them with Delenn.
I watched in curiosity as my five parents formed a circle around me each holding a gold ring in their hands that was given to them by Neroon's warriors.
My first mother spoke first, "On this fifth day of courting according to human tradition you are to receive five golden rings. I, Fry'iea of the Fire Wings clan give my son his first golden ring. On this ring is the symbol of our clan. We are pleased to call you son and welcome you into our clan."
She took my hand and placed her ring on my thumb and then pulled me into a hug.
I watched as my second father came forward. He also took my hand and placed his ring on my second finger next to the thumb. " I, Mid'ry of the Moon Shields clan give our son his second golden ring. On it is the symbol of our clan. We are please to call you our son and welcome you into our clan with open arms. " He bowed and placed a kiss on my forehead and then moved back with the others.
My first father came forward then. He smiled kindly at me as he also took my hand and placed his ring on my middle finger. "I, Swarde of the shamed Wind Swords clan do warmly welcome Marcus Cole into our clan. On this ring is the symbol of our clan. May you wear it in pride one day as we will one day be proud of our clan." With this he bowed his head to my hand and placed a soft kiss on the finger of his ring.
My second mother came forward bearing her ring which she placed on my fourth finger. "N'ghk of the Night Walker's clan do warmly welcome you Marcus Cole into our Clan. You have become the son I never had and I will love you always for that gift. On this ring is the symbol of our clan. Wear it well and with pride for you are now a member of our clan." When she was finished she pulled me close for a hug and then stepped back into the circle.
I raised my hand and wiped against the moisture that was falling from my eyes. I must have somehow gotten something in them.
De'kahrt smiled at me as he placed his last ring on my small/pinky finger. "I, De'kahrt, cousin of Shai Alyt Neroon. The new clan leader of the Star Rider's do so welcome our lost son back into the clan. We are pleased with you and hope that you will be pleased and proud to wear our symbol on your finger always." He pulled me into one of his bone-crushing hugs and then kissed my forehead.
I couldn't help but hug him back and thanked Valen for giving me this wonderful gift of a family once more. Of a man who loved me and the choices that I was going to make that will change my life forever.
I couldn't help but wonder what Neroon will give to me on our sixth day of courtship. But whatever it was going to be the best gift that Neroon will ever give to me is the love of a family and his love for me.
The 12 Days: The Sixth Day
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