|FIC: Reading Minds [David/Dulann, G/PG]
||[Jun. 27th, 2006|10:34 am]
The Great LJ Babylon 5 Ficathon
Request: Something pre-slashy.
Title: Reading Minds
Fandom: The Legend of the Rangers: To Live And Die In Starlight
Pairing: David Martell/Dulann
Rating: PG at most
Warnings: None other than mild spoilers for LotR.
Summary: David and Dulann talk, and then they talk some more.
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters, and I'm not making any profit.
Notes: I hope this is even close to what leyenn had in mind while making the request. :)
"Doesn't it bother you that there is still another crew wandering around the hallways in there?" David asked Dulann, quickly imagining what it would be like to see the shadow of a dead person or two in the mirror just when you least expect it, and he shivered a little. Spiritual or not, he didn't like ghosts. Ghosts were too... not there. Intangible and outside any control.
"I don't think it matters really. It's not like I can stop them from existing," Dulann replied, and he seemed really rather blasé about the whole thing, which was something David knew he could never be. Then again, Dulann was Dulann. He was a Minbari and he had always been a little different from others, which was one of the things David had first liked about him. That and the way they always ended up in some kind of friendly banter, whether it had been intentional or not. Somehow, Dulann just brought out the worst in him -- or the best, depending on how you looked at it.
"I'd feel really uncomfortable doing anything," David continued. "Who knows who's watching?" He looked down at the sandy path under his feet, the little pebbles like tiny multi-coloured marbles.
"Nobody's forcing you to do anything indecent, are they?" Dulann said, and David only gave him an amused glare.
"You're the one who brought the topic up," Dulann said.
"Who said anything about indecent? Really, Dulann, the way your mind works."
"Might I remind you of a certain someone who once walked down the corridors with only a towel around their waist? A very skimpy towel, I should add."
David really didn't need any reminders, because the incident was still clear in his memory. Sarah's flushed face with an amused little smile had been etched into his mind for years and years to come.
"It was an emergency," he said. "Someone immature enough had taken my clothes while I was in the shower. For all I know it could've been you."
"Oh! I'm shocked that you'd even consider such a thing," Dulann said, and the tone of his voice was as unrevealing as ever. David had been wondering about that embarrassing incident since it happened, and he had never figured out who the culprit was. It seemed that Dulann wasn't going to be much help.
"Well," he continued in the same light tone Dulann had used. "You always said you admired the human form. Also, you seem awfully eager to reminisce that incident."
"There's a difference between admiring the human form and watching you half-naked but for a towel."
"Aw, now you hurt my feelings," David said, mock-offence in his voice.
"Oh, do shut up," Dulann laughed.
Despite the light tone of their voices, David could sense something resembling a tension between them. Somehow they had entered a topic neither one of them had intended to enter. Somehow they just wound up there. They had been doing that a lot for several months now, but lately it had been happening more and more often. Often enough for David to really notice it. If David didn't know better, it seemed almost as if...
Dulann gave him a look, and David wasn't quite sure how to interpret it. Dulann was sensitive towards emotions and thoughts, a weak telepath that he was -- David wasn't sure how much Dulann could sense and how much he only deducted from those sensations -- and it seemed almost as if Dulann was trying to figure out what was going on in David's mind. Quickly, David tried to think of something else. He didn't need any of this. Not now.
"Did Malcolm figure out where he had put his holosuit?" he asked, trying his best to change the subject.
Dulann looked at him quietly for a brief moment, and David already opened his mouth to repeat his questions when Dulann answered.
"Yes. Yes, he did. Would you believe it had somehow ended up in Kit's bedroom?"
David regretted he had asked the question.
"Well, that's certainly food for thought," he said, trying to evade exploring the issue further.
At that moment, to David's relief, Tirk was walking towards them. He looked grey and big and without any clear shape when he was contrasted with the elegant green trees of the garden. He didn't seem like he belonged there, but there he was, and he looked determined.
"Council needs you now," he said when he reached David and Dulann. He said the words with an air of mild unease, as if he had trouble finding the proper words.
"Thanks," David said. He turned to look at Dulann, who looked back at him with mild bewilderment.
"I think you'd better go and see what it's about," Dulann said. Tirk was still standing there, looking at the two of them.
"I bet you twenty credits it's a new assignment," David said to Dulann, then turned to Tirk. "I'll be there. Go and tell the others to get ready."
Tirk nodded and went on his way.
"It's a bet I would lose," Dulann said with amusement. "You can keep your money."
"You're just too scared to take risks," David teased him.
"You're too eager to take risks that aren't even worth taking," Dulann replied.
"It's one of the things you love about me," David said, wanting to bite his tongue the moment the words came out.
Dulann said nothing for a moment, only laughed. "Off you go, then. Bring us a case we can survive."
Reluctantly David headed for the Headquarters, both excited and afraid of hearing what the Council had on their mind.
* * *
It turned out that they had both been right.
"You remember all that talk about the so-called 'hand', don't you?" David asked Sarah and others as he arrived at the table at the bar. Sarah was holding something red between her hands, and as she pulled away a little, David noticed it was a drink. The others, Sarah, Kitaro and Dulann, nodded in reply to his question.
"Well, we were assigned to accompany another crew on the mission. Some kind of a scouting mission, they said," he said as he sat down with his own drink, mildly bitter tea-like extract from plants found only on Brakos. He had developed a liking for it the first time he had tried it, and whenever he wanted to relax, he would pick up a bottle and pour himself a drink. For a quick moment David felt the faint smell of beer, reminding him of his younger years when he tried alcohol and decided it wasn't the thing for him, especially as he was a Ranger, but the sensation went away as quickly as it had appeared. He frowned a little, taking a sip of his drink.
"When do we leave?" Kitaro asked, looking around as if trying to find something. David couldn't tell what, but it was obvious that Kitaro wasn't seeing whatever he wanted to see, because his shoulders sank a little.
"In two days."
Kitaro nodded and continued his search.
"Did they mention any details?" Sarah asked.
"Not really. We'll be briefed sometime tomorrow, but for now that's pretty much all they said."
"You know, David, I told you to get us an assignment that we can survive," Dulann said, a small smile on his lips. "The hand? It doesn't seem like a picnic in space."
David looked at him from under his brows, smirking.
"Just bring yourself on board and I'll bring the basket."
"Why, I just might," Dulann laughed and examined the glass he had in front of him. It wasn't his own, but Kitaro's, and his gaze was still following it as Kitaro picked it up to take a sip.
"So, where are the others?" David asked Sarah, trying to ignore Dulann. "I thought at least Tirk would be here since he's the one who told me to go see the Council."
"Tirk was here for a moment but then he left. I have no idea where he went. Na'Feel said she's getting an important call from Narn, but she should be here later. The others are off-world somewhere, but they should be returning tomorrow."
"And Malcolm's just busy," Kitaro interrupted, and David wondered about the way he said it. Putting two and two together, remembering the holosuit incident, he was fairly sure he had figured it out. Well, to each their own, he thought. Maybe it would keep their work morale high. As he thought about the two of them together, he felt envy. It had been a long time since he had had anyone like that in his life, and he missed it. Sure, there were people he kind of wanted, some of them more than others, and some of them... Well. Some of them were perhaps more out of reach than others.
Dulann gave him another strange look.
"What?" he asked, fearing the answer.
"Nothing," Dulann said, but he was smiling a little, like he knew a secret David didn't know. David didn't like that look one bit.
"Then quit looking at me like that," David said defensively, and Dulann turned his eyes towards Sarah for a moment. David followed his gaze. Sarah was talking with Kitaro, but she was almost whispering so that David couldn't make out the words.
"It's your fault," Dulann said, and he still didn't stop smiling. David wanted to blush.
"Didn't they tell you prying into other people's minds is impolite?" David said in a whisper, not wanting Sarah and Kitaro to hear him.
"Why, I did no such thing," Dulann said, his voice also lower.
"What do you mean?" David asked.
"I'm not reading anything off you that you're not sending in my direction," Dulann said coolly, and David stared at him. He had no idea what to say.
"I'm not sending anything."
"If it isn't you, then I wonder who it could be," Dulann said, and he looked like he was enjoying every single second of this conversation. David looked around, slightly paranoid that people were eavesdropping or looking at them, but everybody seemed to be minding their own businesses.
"All right, so maybe I'm thinking about--" David started, but stopped mid-sentence. "Maybe I'm thinking something. Why are you so sure you're interpreting the thoughts correctly?"
"Oh, just stop it," David said, and the mild irritation he had been feeling for a brief moment turned into amusement. A part of him was excited, but he wasn't sure if he should trust his instinct.
"I don't want to stop it," Dulann said, and his expression changed a little. David wanted nothing more than to be telepathic so he could read Dulann's mind to see what was going on, even if he knew it would be against the law. He just wanted to know. Wanted to see if he was right.
At that moment, Sarah said something to him, but David missed it.
"Sorry?" he asked, turning to Sarah.
"I should head for my quarters to get a few things done. Since we're not going anywhere today, I might as well organize my personal life before we leave."
"You think we won't be back?" David asked.
Sarah hit him softly in the arm and laughed.
"With you as our captain, it's highly possible," she said. "But with these boys here, I'm sure we'll do just fine."
"Thank you for the vote of confidence," David said, folding his arms in front of him. "Maybe I'll go and find another crew to play with."
"You wouldn't dare," Kitaro said, grinning.
"I just might," David said, but he knew he wasn't fooling anyone. As he was thinking about the coming assignment that was only two days away, Sarah and Kitaro got up and started leaving. David noticed with a slight shock that Dulann didn't seem to be going anywhere but had decided to stay there with David.
"If I don't see you later today, good night," Sarah said, and she made her way towards the door.
"Sorry, guys," Kitaro said, "I should get going as well." With that, he rushed after Sarah, and then there were just the two of them there. David and Dulann. Suddenly, things became a little more difficult than they had been a while before.
"A drink?" David offered, nodding towards his half-empty glass on the table.
Dulann was silent for a moment, and David couldn't tell whether he was thinking of something or if he was just waiting for David's next move, whatever that might be.
"Yes," he finally said. "I believe a drink would do nicely."
David got up to leave, and as he walked towards the counter, looking at the familiar bartender, he turned around. He hadn't asked Dulann what he would like, but as he opened his mouth to ask Dulann, he already got his reply.
"I'll have what you're having," Dulann said with a raised voice, and David noticed a couple of people turned to look at them for a moment.
David had a sinking feeling that Dulann had been playing with him for the whole time. In fact, he probably enjoyed looking David squirming like that in front of him. He knew what David had been thinking. He knew what David felt. He knew. Simple as that.
"Two more, Jim," he said, and he sat down on one of the chairs. He had no idea what was waiting for him when he returned to his table, but it could turn out to be something nice.