The Vorlon’s presence is sharp in the back of her mind. She wants to hurry along the corridors, rushing to finish whatever the business is that he wants to get done, but every time she takes her mind away, she finds her pace slowing to match his intentions. She supposes it was the same with Kosh, but she never noticed it then. Now, though, it feels as though it’s all she can do to remember where her will ends and his begins.
She even feels at times like this as though she’s seeing the world through his eyes – every mind seems so bright and sharply defined that she almost forgets to see their faces or hear their voices. She struggles to block it out, but so long as the Vorlon doesn’t bother to separate himself from her mind, she can’t do it either.
Because of all this, she hears G’Kar form the intention to call out to her a moment before he actually does. She turns around, smile carefully in place.
“Lyta Alex – ah, there you are. I hope I’m not interrupting anything?”
“Nothing that can’t wait.” Actually, Vorlons aren’t the best at waiting, but what else is she going to say? “Did you need something, Ambassador?”
“Not on any matter of interstellar import, I’m afraid,” he chuckles a bit, and there’s an echo of teeth and claws behind it. “But I have been wanting to speak to you, and it appears that there may not be another chance for some time. May I walk with you?”
She’s not sure why he would want to see her specifically. They’ve spoken, of course, in the course of the war effort, but they haven’t been close. She remembers him from her first assignment to the station, but he’s different now – maybe almost as much as she is. His veneer of refined audacity remains the same, but now it really is a veneer, and what’s beneath is much more…familiar.
Curiosity is radiating from him, tinged with something like concern. There’s fear underneath it as well, and she realizes he must have an ulterior motive for seeking her out. Does he want to know what the Vorlon is up to? But he doesn’t know she’s carrying him – he couldn’t even know that she can. She starts to look into his mind, find out what he could be after, but realizes that she’s not sure she wants to know.
It could be interesting just to talk to somebody for once.
“I didn’t think I would get a chance to see you,” he goes on, once she had started their walk firmly away from where she was going. “There have been so many preparations to make! So you can imagine how pleased I was at the serendipity of our meeting by chance.”
“Flatterer.” She smiles at him more genuinely this time. He couldn’t possibly be trying to get at her DNA again. Even if he hadn’t managed to find some other way, he couldn’t possibly be bold enough to try to grab her, superhuman enhancements and all, right from under the Vorlons’ noses. She almost can’t imagine anyone wanting to defy them so openly…but maybe some part of her can, and that part, it seemed, found the idea of his trying quite amusing.
“Unfortunately, I’m afraid I don’t have the luxury for flattery anymore. I am in some hurry. As I said, I may not be around for some time. But before that, I wanted to ask you whether you were all right.”
She looks at him in honest surprise. Is she all right? Of course she isn’t, but why should he care? For that matter, how does he know? And worst of all, why now? She has to get out of here, end this conversation. He couldn’t possibly understand if she told him, but that was all right, because there is of course nothing that she could possibly tell him.
Her shock must have shown on her face. He smiles gently at her and continues, “I apologize if my asking upset you. But I have felt a darkness in you, a withdrawing, for some time. I didn’t want to pry in front of the others, but,” he chuckles, “I have never been particularly averse to prying once I’ve found you alone.”
She isn’t alone. “Well, it’s been hard on everyone. Since Sheridan’s death, the whole station has-“
“Since before Sheridan’s death, Lyta. You’ve become withdrawn from our meetings, you’ve stopped saying anything that doesn’t come directly from the Vorlon government. Will you tell me what is bothering you?”
She stops walking and turns to look him in the face. “I’m sorry if I’ve worried you, Ambassador,” she says lightly, smoothly, with all her developing skill at hiding pieces of herself, “but I can’t think of anything in particular that you might be talking about. The war is hard on all of us; maybe that’s what you’ve been seeing.”
G’Kar looks at her for a long minute. She doesn’t move, but turns away from him in her mind. She doesn’t want to see that he’s fooled by her shabby excuse; if he isn’t fooled, she wants to see even less.
Finally, he sighs. “You don’t have to talk to me about it,” he says. “The war has, indeed, taken its toll on us all. But if there’s nothing wrong, I still wanted to make sure you knew something before I go.”
He pauses a moment, and takes her hand.
“Lyta,” he continues, “You are not alone. Humankind may not have been good to you in the past. But we, the younger races, have not abandoned you. If you should be in need of assistance, do not be afraid to seek it out. If not from me, then from Delenn, Ivanova…those of us fighting the war are comrades, Lyta, and we do not forsake one another.”
She can’t shut out his feelings anymore. He knows everything, at least he suspects. She doesn’t know how, he has no telepathy, but his intuition runs deep. He is leaving – leaving the station, going into danger. He not only believes what he is saying, he lives it. He will not abandon – any of them, if he can help it. And underneath, that familiarity, that comfort – could his mind have been –
Abruptly, his mind is gone. Almost completely – she can still feel it glimmer at the edge of her consciousness, but she can’t reach it anymore, can’t even get close. It’s like going blind for an instant, until she realizes that she can see perfectly well. She just can’t feel…of course, the Vorlon…
Leave here. This one is not important. It does not matter what he thinks. He will not return.
G’Kar is still holding her hand in his. With his mind gone, she can feel the warmth of the physical touch, but she has to leave. She pulls away.
“Of course, I’m sure you didn’t need to be told that,” he says to her gently. “But I feel better in any case, having told you.”
“You’re right,” she replies slowly, feeling her way through the fictions to find something true to say. “Of course I know that. But thank you…for taking the time to tell me.”
“I’m sorry,” she says. “but I should be getting back to work.”
“Of course; I must be going as well.”
“Good luck, then, with—with what you’re doing.”
“And luck to you as well, Lyta Alexander,” he says as she turns to walk away. “All the luck you might require, to do what needs to be done on this station.”
She’s not listening, not thinking about it anymore, just doing her job.
She doesn’t think about their conversation later that night either, when she’s lying awake in her empty room. But it does occur to her to consider, however tentatively, what she might do. Who she might call, if she ever does discover what has changed about the Vorlons. For a brief moment, before she shuts out the thought from her mind.