IN VINO VERITAS
Both of them were, of course, considerably drunk. It had started during the wedding festivities on the White Star, en route from Earth to Babylon 5.
"Well, what can you expect," Londo had sighed, as he found himself alone with G'Kar after the other guests had withdrawn to their quarters. "The Minbari can't drink, and the humans won't until we're back on the station. What kind of wedding is this, hm?"
"Since nobody is getting married to *you*, I imagine everyone prefers to stay conscious," G'Kar had replied tartly, but had matched Londo drink for drink. After they had watched the Earth news and Londo had found out about G'Kar's eye, the conversation began to develop a one-track tendency.
"I knew you were desperate ever since everyone started to put you on a pedestal, but I wouldn't have thought circumstances were *that* dire. Really, G'Kar."
"It has nothing to do with being desperate. Interspecies mating habits just happen to be of a certain interest to me. Besides, you said you wouldn't mind a glimpse yourself."
"I," Londo replied, and took the bottle from G'Kar, "am a cynical old man. You on the other hand have established yourself as some sort of saint. Of course, it's easy to be saintly if one doesn't have the stamina or the patience for anything else."
With a snarl G'Kar snatched the bottle back. "You know, Mollari, just because a man doesn't go about bragging and boring everyone with his endless prattle doesn't mean he couldn't find witnesses of all races to testify for...well, to testify."
Londo leaned forward, something which nearly sent the chair he was sitting on reeling, and wagged a finger in G'Kar's face.
"Talk is cheap and easy to buy. I'm quite familiar with the going rate myself. And if mine is so boring, one wonders why you are still here. Instead of enjoying the view."
"Someone has to make sure you don't embarrass yourself completely," G'Kar shot back, though his voice had started to become slurry. In the old days, the amount of alcohol they had consumed, enormous as it was, wouldn't have bothered him. But in truth it had been a while since the last time he had been able to relax enough to get drunk. In fact, if he thought about it, it had been years. "You are only the future Emperor of the most expendable race that ever lived, true, but for some reason Delenn made you a member of the Advisory Board of the Alliance. Wouldn't do to replace you that early."
He couldn't be sure, but it seemed Londo's face had gone blank for a moment. "Oh yes," the Centauri replied and pried the bottle out of G'Kar's fingers. "I am the future Emperor. Great Maker help us all. Why is that thing empty already?"
"Because you drink too quickly, Mollari."
"No, you do. Too fast in everything, I told you. We Centauri can last."
G'Kar stood up, which caused the room to spin, and some part of him wondered whether the artificial gravity field of the ship had collapsed.
"That," he pronounced with grave distinction, "is it. We will settle the question of my sexual prowess once and for all, Mollari."
Londo tilted his face upwards curiously and blinked.
"And how shall we do that?"
"You may have conquered my world, Centauri," G'Kar hissed, "but you did not conquer *me*."
He didn't know how he had expected Londo to react; with laughter, in all likelihood. Instead, Londo blinked once more, then rose as well.
"That is quite possibly the most ridiculous thing you ever said to me," he replied, his voice, with its strong accent that had originally grated on G'Kar's nerves but now was oddly soothing in its familiarity, stretching each syllable to the limit. Which was a reassuring sign that Londo, too, was finding it increasingly difficult to pretend the alcohol had not affected him.
"Then why aren't you laughing?"
Silence. Well, if nothing else, he had shut Londo Mollari up for a while, which was probably the best one could hope for with that man. In fact, it was so satisfactory to find him at such a loss for words that -
"You wouldn't go through with this," Londo stated. Was there an undertone of challenge?
"Oh yes, I would."
"You mean *you* wouldn't."
"*I* would never suggest such a thing in the first place. *I* have taste."
"*You* are all talk and no courage to see it through. Pointers indeed."
"You know, if I weren't so sure that you have lost what was left of your mind, I would."
"No, you wouldn't. You're a windbag and a coward, Mollari."
"Yes," Londo said, glaring at him, "I would."
"Well, then prove. you would?"
Somewhere, G'Kar had lost track of the conversation, it seemed. There was Londo Mollari, angrily removing his waitcoat, and G'Kar wasn't sure how they had got there except that it seemed somewhat inevitable to remove his own coat as well in order not to be outdone.
"I just want to make it clear that this has nothing to do with you. I'm simply defending the honour of the Centauri."
"And besides, you won't get past one anyway, and one does not mean a thing."
"Oh really?" G'Kar said between clenched teeth. And began to demonstrate the vast knowledge gathered in years of selfless dedication in the study of interspecies relations.
"Well, that was..."
"Why does it not surprise me you demonstrate your obvious lack in the virtue of post coital silence, Mollari?"
"Possibly because we did not have sex."
"G'Kar, I hate to disappoint you, but this kind of juvenile fumbling is not remotely comparable to the experience of... what are you doing?"
"You were saying, Mollari?"
"This didn't happen. I am having some kind of bizarre dream induced by too many bad drinks in the company of an insane Narn."
The headache which greeted G'Kar when he awoke was a reminder of why he hadn't truly missed getting drunk. His eye hurt, the light on the White Star seemed more wrong and glaring than ever, and his limbs ached. Most horrible of all, however, was the realisation that he wasn't alone.
"This did not happen!" he moaned.
"That," Londo, who was getting dressed, returned without looking at him, "is what I said last night. You are not being very original, G'Kar."
In the midst of feeling embarrassed and horrified, G'Kar couldn't resist the obvious opening.
"That is *not* what you said last night."
"Great Maker," Londo murmured, "what have I done to deserve this?"
"I was wondering that myself. But then, *I* am a generous person."
The com unit announced they were about to dock. Headache, embarrassment, gloating and the triumph of being able to win an argument all become of secondary importance as G'Kar remembered his artificial eye was still in Delenn's cabin and in immediate danger of being discovered. With renewed horror, he began to get dressed himself.
Unfortunately, Londo demonstrated his uncanny ability to guess G'Kar's thoughts at just the wrong moment.
"I could help you retrieve it, you know."
"I don't know what you are talking about, Mollari."
"Oh yes, you do. I'll get that eye back to you and save your saintly status in the eyes of our esteemed fearless leader and his new wife. And you will not mention the. occurrences of this journey ever again."
That was Londo Mollari for you. Always ready to blackmail when a simple request would have done.
"Gladly," G'Kar growled. "They weren't particularly memorable anyway."
Londo was already halfway through the door when he suddenly turned, showing enough of a smile to bare his sharp teeth.
"That was not what you said last night," he replied. And was gone.