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Man of Good Fortune

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It's been over a month now. Slowly, Vir starts believing that this is one appointment that will not end in being told he was a disappointment and being sent back. There are even moments where he thinks the ambassador - Londo - actually likes him. Well, does not dislike him. The preparation for the Feast of Life offers several such moments. Hiring all the musicians for a fee that does not strain their budget too much, organizing enough food that can be consumed by all species invited and hiring good cooks, and sending out invitations in time, all of this takes a lot of effort, but to his surprise, he finds he's rather good at organizing. What's more, when he presents the result, Londo grabs his chin in his casual way and tells him he's a treasure, and Vir finds himself beaming.

They've only known each other for a few weeks, but Londo already has touched him more than his uncle has done in Vir's entire life. It is decidedly odd, because Vir can tell Londo doesn't think about it even once. He's such a physical person, Londo is, and no matter whether he throws things or pats your shoulder or clasps your arms, it never appears pre-pondered, or awkward, or embarrassing.

Going over the invitations, Vir asks timidly whether it was correct to include the Narn ambassador.

"Oh, by all means," Londo says and grins. "He won't come, of course, but he'll spent a delightful hour raving about the insult of being invited."

Vir isn't sure whether that was meant to be a sarcastic chiding, and so he says:

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to cause trouble."

"Great Maker, Vir, do I really have to tell you that anything upsetting G'Kar is a worthy service to the Republic? Accept the compliment for what it is, and while you're at it, do something about my jaala. It is getting cold."

Flustered, Vir offers his own, hot jaala, and would almost apologize again, except that Londo is still looking amused, and he's slowly starting to recognise when he's being teased but not taunted.

In any event, Londo is right. G'Kar does not appear at the celebration, and doesn't even apologize for not appearing. He does send a rigid little note stating that as the Narn do take their religion seriously, he is not going to perform empty rituals for the benefit of the public to demonstrate his faith, and thus sees no reason to appear at the Centauri ceremony.

"But he'll show up at the Minbari one, I'll wager," says Londo. "Well, I already knew it was going to be a trial. Now, let us enjoy ourselves!"

The evening is most enjoyable indeed. All of the Centauri seem to take Vir's presence for granted; nobody ridicules him, and he's sitting at the head of the table, next to Londo, who jokes with him, not about him. After Londo has become one with his inner self, it's left to Vir to host the rest of the evening, and instead of panicking, he finds he's still carried by the wave of joy he feels since the celebration started. In the end, he even dares to ask Mr. Garibaldi to help him with the unconscious Londo, and united, they carry him back to his quarters.

"Jeez, tell him to lay off the burgers when he wakes up, will you?" Mr. Garibaldi asks, which is utterly incomprehensible to Vir, but it is said in a tone of friendly exasperation, and so Vir just smiles and nods.

After they have put Londo on his bed, Garibaldi says goodbye and leaves, muttering something about "needing to check on Jeff". Vir could go, too, but he finds he doesn't want to quite yet. Reality might catch up on him once he's back in his own barren room, where most of his possessions still haven't arrived from the homeworld. He has sent messages repeatedly, but his family is probably ignoring them, as usual.

So he listens to Londo's slight snoring, and wanders over to the kitchen corner, laying out everything needed to prepare a good jaala the next morning when Londo wakes up. Then Vir goes to the sofa and makes himself comfortable there. The velvet feels soft under his neck and hands, and a pleasant drowsiness settles on him.

Before falling asleep, Vir decides that for the first time in his life, he was really celebrating his good fortune.