"Yes, goodbye, thank you, how nice of you to come. So happy to be of service, do call again!" Londo waved and continued waving, blinking past G'Kar's silhouette at the retreating backs of the Merani ambassadors, his voice jovial and a grin plastered onto his face until the moment the door slid closed. Then he deflated, sagging like a puppet with its strings cut. "Great Maker... I am getting too old for this." He dragged a hand across his face, not caring if it looked undignified. Anyway, G'Kar was too engrossed in the books their guests had left to notice Londo's momentary lapse.
"You disappoint me, Mollari." G'Kar glanced up from the volume that was supposed to be the Merani bill of rights, a small smile playing around his mouth. "Hadn't you promised President Sheridan you would… how did he phrase it again? 'Charm the pants off them'? Yet they have left with their trousers firmly in place. Not that I'm protesting, of course; having seen you naked in my lifetime is quite enough."
If these hadn't been his own quarters and therefore his own (expensive) decorations, Londo might have been tempted to throw something, if only to wipe the grin off G'Kar's face. As it was, he only glared and made his way towards to the couch.
"Still," G'Kar went on, "I believe we did well, even if there were some points of contention. They brought a great deal of material with them; it shouldn't be difficult to help them redraft their constitution under Alliance law. Of course, for the text to reflect the subtleties in their culture will be a challenge, but I must say I look forward to that. Did you know their language contains no concept of lying?"
"No, but it does not surprise me." Londo prodded at a stack of papers that sat on the table in front of him. "I have never encountered such a staggering lack of tact. Tell me, G'Kar, why would anyone even think that you and I are married, let alone ask us out loud?" He leaned into the pillows with a grunt. "On the other hand, don't tell me, I do not think I have the stomach for it tonight." There was a buzzing in his head, either from the endless debates of the past few hours or the brivari he'd resorted to in order to get through them. Playing the diplomatic game was what he was here for, but there were limits, and he was not as young as he once was.
Londo pressed down a rush of frustration at the sight of G'Kar's puckered lips, a clear sign that G'Kar was pondering something. He felt restless, no doubt from sitting still for so many hours. That, and G'Kar's presence had a way of sharpening the edges which was… not wholly unpleasant, except that this particular type of frustration could not be relieved by trading barbs. Londo knew perfectly well what could relieve it, but given G'Kar's preoccupation, he did not think it would happen tonight. He shifted on the couch, trying to ignore the distracting tingle along his sides.
"Well, do not let me keep you from your work, G'Kar. I am sure you know best, you are the writer, after all." Londo made sure to roll the word around in his mouth so that it sounded like a proper insult. "I think I will do what I am best at, and have a drink. The Maker knows I need one."
G'Kar ambled over towards him, still ruffling through the papers in his hand. "I know that on your world, royal advisors merely get to imbibe and to collect bribes, Mollari, but out here the word does have a different meaning." His eyes glittered provocatively. "I thought you knew that when you told President Sheridan you accepted the position."
"Yes, well, in that case I would advise you to start handing out some bribes to make this go more smoothly. It would be far less painful than what we just went through." Londo knew his exhaustion was seeping through into his tone, replacing the lightness by something rather too sharp for comfort. Bah. It was just the brivari speaking. He needed sleep, but more than that, he needed to unwind. This was the third – no, the fourth time they had been asked to counsel a new future member of the Alliance on gaining entry, and the whole process was beginning to feel somewhat less gratifying than it had the first time around.
To Londo's surprise, G'Kar lowered himself onto the couch beside him, meticulously stacking his papers on the floor. "I'm simply trying to do as the President asked," G'Kar said, again with that tight, aggravating smile. "For the two of us to work together, like… what was it he said this morning? Like 'a well-oiled machine.' "
Ah, yes. Londo remembered. It was difficult not to, given that the obvious smirks on both Sheridan and Delenn's faces at those words had made Londo feel like the punch line of a very tasteless joke. Turning to G'Kar, he opened his mouth for a retort, then abruptly snapped it shut again.
"What are you doing?" he said, rather needlessly. It was hardly possible to misconstrue G'Kar's intentions when his hand was fondling Londo's waist. The breath that Londo felt like he had been holding for the past few hours shuddered out of him in a hoarse little gasp, his chest unclenching as G'Kar's palm wandered upwards, wrinkling the fabric of his coat. He swallowed, unsure if he should embrace his good fortune or protest. Out of sheer habit, he decided on the latter. "Why, G'Kar. I said you ought to bribe the other Ambassadors, so why is it you are bribing m...mmph."
"What was that, Mollari?" G'Kar's expression was stolid, giving no hint of the gloved hand that was tracing its wicked path under Londo's shirt. The friction of leather against skin was nearly enough to make him come right there, but Londo breathed through it, rather more gracelessly than he would have preferred. "If I bribe you," G'Kar said, "will you stop complaining while I work? If so, I'm willing to consider it."
"Are you..." Londo gasped. Gods, he was breathless already. "Are you certain this is what Sheridan had in mind?" G'Kar's other hand slid across his chest, pressing down against his breastbone. It was an odd feeling, tense and exhilarating at the same time. "Truly, G'Kar, as much as I laud the initiative… I do not think we have time for... this."
"We will make it quick, then," G'Kar said, and pushed Londo into the pillows as he flashed his teeth.