Fandom: Babylon 5
Characters: Lennier, Marcus Cole, Ivanova
Word Count: 1,149
Written For: wolfsavard
Prompt: Lennier, Marcus Cole, Ivanova: faith
Remixed as: Matters of Faith (The Ouroboros Bridge)
Lennier was raised in the temple. Minbari do not think of their religion in terms of “faith” as humans do; it is, and it defines them; it is not contingent on their beliefs but on their observance of it. Philosophers may argue the theologies and meanings of each action to their heart’s content, secure in the knowledge that their theories are, at best, of secondary importance to the soothing patterns of ritual that mark every day, every hour, every action. In preparation for his diplomatic posting to
After a year on
In learning to articulate the question, Lennier found he already knew the answer: Delenn. It was good and proper to place one’s trust in one’s superior; devotion to one’s mentor was the most laudable trait an acolyte could possess. Certainly, Delenn was worthy of it. Her goals were laudable. He learned a great deal from her, including the power of hope to change the world; but he could not see her vision of the future, and each battle they won seemed to be followed by two they lost, and while he knew the power of hope he could not quite let himself believe in it. He learned to love her, but knew it was not enough; she would never love him back and as her aide it was sacrilegious to even contemplate acting on his feelings. He learned to mask his feelings, swallow them down, and fit them into a proper reverence for his mentor.
As the war against the Shadows and their allies progressed, ever more changes to Lennier’s duties and even to Minbari society itself took place. Each change took him farther from the life he had been trained for all his life. Each change made him cling ever tighter to Delenn, to the dream she followed, to the … faith she taught him.
He did not ask himself, even in his meditations, if it was enough.
Marcus used to tell himself he lost his faith in anything much during his years with EarthForce Intelligence after the war, when he’d done his duty, used any means necessary to find things that would make Earth safe. But so little of what they’d found had been worth the lengths they’d taken to get it, and so much of what they’d found had been … if not evil, at least amoral. There hadn’t seemed to be anything to have faith in.
So he’d been glad to go back to Arisia when his tour was up, work in the family mining company, take it over when his parents died, and forget the whole idea of having ideals. Not much need for them, running a mine. Not much need for anything but work. He told himself he didn’t really miss having a life, anyway.
Then his brother William had come back to Arisia, a Ranger and proud of it, and Marcus had been damn proud of the man his brother had become. When the Shadows had come, destroyed Arisia and Cole Mining and killed William, Marcus had fulfilled his dying wish and gone off to become a Ranger himself. Because he didn’t have much faith anymore, but he did have love.
As part of his service, Delenn had demanded that he give up his workaholic ways, open his heart to the possibility of growth and new life, and Marcus loved her as a holy woman and a leader, so he did it.
And promptly fallen in love with Susan Ivanova. She was strong and lovely and idealistic and realistic both at the same time, and getting a smile from her soon became the highlight of his day. And by focusing on her, on how much he loved her, he re-learned faith (in the world, in people, in possibilities) and re-learned hope, which he hadn’t even realized he’d lost. It felt like his soul was coming back to life—and he hadn’t even realized it had been in danger of dying. So even though she never said yes to him, even though there was a war on and the whole galaxy was quite possibly going to be shadow food, those two years on
So when she lay mortally wounded and dying, and Marcus realized there was a way to save her but it would cost him his life—there was never any doubt what he’d do. Because not only did he love her with a passion he’d have scoffed at before coming to Babylon 5, she’d given him the gift of life, and now there was a gift he could give her in return. One that she couldn’t give back. He had faith she’d use it well.
Susan believed God existed, but she’d never had much faith in him. Not since her mother died, anyway.
After that, she tried to put her faith in people, but her father was gruff and stern and her brother Ganya went off to war and promised to come back and didn’t and she got tired of trying to win her father’s approval.
After that she tried to place her faith in institutions, the flow of history, but she knew too much of history (particularly Russian history).
After that she put her faith in the fact that the worst was going to happen and things could always be worse, and didn’t regret it. It served her well for many years, made her a conscientious officer, and when her faith was challenged by events (as all faith is eventually) and sometimes proven wrong, well, it was always a good thing.
But now, standing on a balcony watching the latest class of Rangers be commissioned—her rangers, now—Susan thinks back on her life at all the people who came through when she needed them (even—like Marcus—when she didn’t want them to), given her gifts of love and hope and taught her how to love and hope in return, of how history had turned out all right in the end, of how some institutions were worth believing in.
And she thinks, maybe it’s time for a new faith.