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Glimpses from a Data Crystal, frozen in Time
#1 - Orders


"I've approved your leave form."

"Huh?" Michael Garibaldi frowned and looked up from the report he'd been writing on his data pad, sitting behind his desk in the Security office. "Jeff -- what the heck are you talking about? I didn't request any leave. Can't. Not with the chaos these last days."

"Actually, you've accumulated more leave days than the EarthForce manual allows." Commander Sinclair's face was impassive, his voice calm and without inflection.

"Jeff, what is this all about? Sure, hell, I know; I haven't taken even a third of my leave days from last year, not even mentioning this year. But I'm not working for EarthGov, so don't start quoting EarthForce rules at me!" Slowly, Garibaldi was becoming angry. "I'm the Chief of Security, remember?"

Sinclair looked a little bit taken aback and had just opened his mouth to reply when the door to the security office glid open with a hiss and a furious Susan Ivanova stormed in. "This is a joke, Commander, isn't it?!" She shook a data pad under his nose and looked totally pissed off.

Sinclair cleared his throat and answered calmly: "No, it's not a joke, Lieutenant Commander. Assuming you're speaking of the new duty roster."

Susan opened and closed her mouth once, then spluttered: "But..."

Garibaldi looked from one officer to the other and felt like a spectator at a tennis match, or someone watching the conflict between the proverbial rock and the hard place.

"May I remind you that you brought this topic to my attention, Susan." Sinclair's voice softened. "The Narn and the Centauri won't overcome their differences next month, nor will the criminals in Down Below suddenly vanish. We can't put off taking our leave simply because we feel we are too indispensable at the moment. That won't change. And if that means we'll be a little short-staffed at C&C, that's something that can't be helped. Lieutenant Corwin is more capable than you're giving him credit for. Don't worry." He gave her a half-smile.

Susan relented a little, but still was far from pleased. "I hope you didn't apply this to the security detail."

Garibaldi looked at Sinclair, suddenly alarmed. "No. I leave it to Mike to make sure that his staff tries to use their excess leave days without rendering Security helpless to deal with a possible crisis. Anyway, Michael will be off for the next three weeks." Ivanova looked at Garibaldi who just shrugged, but didn't comment. He looked a bit pole-axed, though. "And so will I," Sinclair gave the Russian the shadow of a smile, real amusement crinkling the corners of his eyes, "entrusting Babylon 5 into your capable hands. Even the Commander can't break the rules." And with a straight face: "Only bend them a little."

Ivanova and Garibaldi both gave him a questioning look.

"I still have several days left from two years ago."

***

Ivanova left Garibaldi's office a moment later, still chuckling.

Sinclair and Garibaldi, left behind, faced each other across the room.

Sinclair broke the silence first: "I don't intend to boss you around, Michael. Or preach you the rules. Not with me being even worse," he grinned openly now, "But I thought you'd like us to spend our leave together. On Earth." His eyes were dark now, intense. He leaned forward, into Garibaldi's space. "Key West, North America. And I'll finally be able to take you dancing, just like I promised. We might not be able to get out of the closet here, but there, no one will know us. There'll only be us, Michael."

"For three whole weeks," Garibaldi breathed, and a smile broke through on his face. He longed to touch Jeff, but couldn't, due to the damn glass doors. But hell, he'd be able to indulge in that next week, to his heart's content, openly, for all the world to see...

He shivered and whispered: "Oh, that leave form, Commander. Thank you."


"Babylon 5" ficlet by allaire mikháil, 664 words, Jeff Sinclair/Michael Garibaldi, Michael POV, rated PG
Dedicated to Jess, for the 'Key West' reference. ;-)
And to Gail, for giving it her beta reader's seal of approval, and thereby reminding me of the fact that a) I should use a spell-checker! b) I shouldn't try to type in the middle of the night... Thank you, Gail! <g>
Intended to become part of a longer story, later on. Hence the title.


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