Genre: Babylon 5/Crusade.
Characters: Elizabeth Lochley, Susan Ivanova
Notes: Spoils the general premise of Crusade.
For minerva_fan's Womanslash challenge. Sorry that its pre-slash.
Elizabeth stood on the surface of the moon, dust still at her feet. She could hear her breathing processed through the air pack on her back. Tears stung at her eyes. She'd forgotten she could see Earth this close, this large, filling the whole lunar sky. A planet of dying people lay before her, and here she stood on the cratered, dead moon, feeling the darkness of space squeezing her.
"Crap." Elizabeth brushed non-existent moon dust from her gloves.
Elizabeth turned around to see another figure in a spacesuit bouncing toward her. Her name had come through the hollow tin of her helmet speakers, and she raised her hand and answered in kind. "Commander Ivanova." She could see the woman smile through the mask.
"Do you miss Excalibur?"
Elizabeth faced Earth, and said, "My frustration at not helping their mission right now is weighed against the frustration of not being able to help them, because my abilities are lacking. That's why I came to you, Commander."
"That's why I came to you, Susan." Elizabeth offered the woman a smile.
Susan landed in the dust beside her. "The Rangers will be able to help. The Rangers want... to help. My connections are your connections. Maybe you will have something to teach me, too."
"I seem to find myself in the position of protecting our greatest commanders from our politicians. And vice versa."
Susan said, "I was never very good at politics, or finesse, or the ways to peoples' souls. Now, shooting things. That I was good at."
Elizabeth chuckled. She looked sideways at her new teacher. Rumor had it this woman would be the next leader of the Rangers, but Elizabeth was realizing the hollowness in Susan's tone wasn't just from the bad speakers. "Can I ask you a personal question?"
She watched Susan square her shoulders. "Yes."
"Are the rumors...?"
"True?" Susan turned to her, and offered a wolfish grin. "Yes. Every single one."
Elizabeth nodded, and turned back to Earth.
Elizabeth felt herself smile. "Every single one."
"I guess none of that matters now. Maybe none of it ever did." Susan said. She swallowed, audibly enough that Elizabeth could hear it over the transmission. "Are you ready to begin your training, Elizabeth?"
"Wait. I want to... look. A little longer." Elizabeth studied Earth, named its continents, counted its oceans. Noted there was rain moving over Indonesia. She felt Susan move closer to her, so that her arm pressed against Elizabeth's shoulder. Elizabeth leaned into her, tasting the loneliness in all the futures that might have been.