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I.

Garibaldi never did manage to track down the guy who had left a corpse in G'Kar's quarters, but given the way G'Kar relaxed all of a sudden, it was a safe thing to assume the Narn had dealt with the problem himself.

"Look," Garibaldi said, "no tears for assassins from me, but there's such a thing as due process. If you kill someone on this station, that's my business. Doesn't matter whether it was the scum of the galaxy or a saint. What I'm saying is that when a corpse shows up, you'd better have an alibi prepared, G'Kar, because I don't care about diplomatic immunity if it turns Babylon 5 into some kind of blood feud arena."

"You spend too much time with Mollari, Mr. Garibaldi," G'Kar said. "We Narn would never descend to assassinating each other; we leave that sort of degenerate behaviour to the Centauri."

Garibaldi rolled his eyes, and thought, not for the first time, that Londo and G'Kar deserved each other.

II.

Learning Narn hadn't been Garibaldi's idea of how to spend his very limited spare time, but the weird thing was, he found himself doing it anyway. While trying work his way through someone else's bible, Qu'ran, or whatever one wanted to call the book of G'Quan, no less. Jeff would get a kick out of this, if he ever had an opportunity to tell him. Of course, there was nothing like practice if one was learning a language, so he dropped by at G'Kar's cell and said, pronouncing the words as carefully as he could: "Old Kar, look at mighty word deed."

G'Kar looked as if he was experiencing tooth ache, but he smiled tightly and said something about always having known that Garibaldi had it in him.

"Gift I have brought... aw, hell, G'Kar, I can't keep this up," Garibaldi continued, lapsing into English again. "Anyway. Not to interrupt your writing efforts, but I figured you might want to look at something fun now and then as well. Plus, well, you showed me yours, I'll show you mine."

Now G'Kar looked somewhere between suspicious and intrigued. Garibaldi produced the small screen reader and the crystal he had brought along: "Show Biz Bugs, man. Best Daffy Duck and Bugs cartoon ever. Trust me, you'll never understand the universe without knowing it."

 

III.

That message from Jeff hit Garibaldi like a punch in the gut. He knew himself too well to remain in his quarters after that, or to go anywhere near a bar, so he told Zach he'd take over customs duty for a while. Checking incoming people's ID probably wasn't the best distraction, but it was better than nothing, and before Ivanova, the Captain and Delenn were back, he couldn't even ask whether Jeff had really gone through with it.

G'Kar was waiting for some incoming Narn refuges, and after spotting Garibaldi ventured towards him. "You look troubled, Mr. Garibaldi."

Garibaldi wanted to blow it off, but then thought, why the hell not? "Commander – Ambassador Sinclair was here," he said. "While I was gone. And he left again. Not just the station. He – I won't ever see him again."

A thousand years. A thousand goddamn years in the past. There was no coming back from that, ever.

"The Commander and I did not always see eye to eye," G'Kar said, "but most of the time, I could not doubt he acted for the greater good. I assume this is the case now as well?"

"You could say that," Garibaldi said, and thought, screw the Minbari. Screw the Shadow War, then and now. Then he looked at G'Kar and thought of the people the Narn must have lost when his planet got bombed. At least Jeff had a guaranteed life span ahead of him. As goddamn Valen, no less, and how about that? So he swallowed down his protests, except for one. "I would have gone with him," he said. "If he'd let me. I'd have gone with him."

He wouldn't have told this to Stephen Franklin, or Susan Ivanova, and definitely not to Sheridan. It would have been desertion; the station sure as hell needed them all right here, right now, more than ever after they'd separated from Earth. But Garibaldi would have done it.

"In that case," G'Kar said, "I must confess I'm glad he did not ask you to. For I would have lost a friend."

"You just want your book back, don't you," Garibaldi said, and something of the heaviness in him began to lift.

IV.

G'Kar had been the only one who had been looking for him, the only one who had responded to his return with joy instead of distrust, so Garibaldi figured that the least he owed the guy was to say goodbye when he left Babylon 5 for Mars. Dropping by G'Kar's quarters, he was not a little surprised to see Londo leave them. The Centauri looked upset, but otherwise unharmed, and left in complete silence, which for Londo Mollari had to be a first. The bizarreness didn't end there; when Garibaldi entered G'Kar's quarters, he found G'Kar sitting behind his desk and utterly still as well.

"Care to tell me what Londo wanted, or is that a state secret?" Garibaldi asked, trying to get back to some semblance of normality instead of the surreal day dream he found himself captured in ever since his return to the station.

"He wanted my signature," G'Kar said tightly. "And a drink."

Sometimes, Garibaldi wondered whether Londo was suicidal. On the other hand, G'Kar's reaction apparently had not involved any more assaults, so maybe Londo knew his Narn, after all. In any advent, none of this was his business anymore. So he harrumphed and proceeded to tell G'Kar he would leave the station, for good this time.

"I had hoped you and Sheridan would settle your differences," G'Kar said.

"Yeah, well," Garibaldi shrugged. He wasn't about to go into another rant about how Sheridan was not the pope, no matter how everyone else treated him, and how the urge to go to Mars was growing stronger and stronger by the minute, because he knew that made him sound crazy, and he appreciated that G'Kar, at least, didn't look at him as if he was a madman. "There are some things you just can't fix. So the best thing is to call it quits and move forward, right?"

He couldn't quite work out G'Kar's expression. Possibly because the artificial blue eye seemed to look at an empty on his desk, and the red eye on Garibaldi.

"Mr. Garibaldi," G'Kar said, "I think you may be right about this. Moving forward is better."

It felt like he and G'Kar were having two very different conversations, but that was true for Garibaldi and everyone on the station these days.

V.

"I hear you have a daughter now," G'Kar said. He looked unchanged, even though it had been years since Garibaldi had last seen him. Garibaldi nodded, smiled, and proudly produced the picture he always carried with him.

"You were right, you know", he said, and for the first time in a long while spoke in Narn again, the words feeling scratchy and odd in his mouth. But they all came, and not stumbling and in the wrong order, either. "About the universe. I screwed up so badly, again and again, and I still ended up with Lise and my baby girl. If that's not a miracle, what is, huh?"

"Mr. Garibaldi," G'Kar asked suspiciously, "how did you practice your Narn in my absence?"

"Like I did the first time. Through reading. What can I say, G'Kar, your book is way more of a page turner than the Book of G'Quan."

G'Kar looked as if caught between writerly satisfaction and religious embarassment, and coughed.

"Jeff would have loved it," Garibaldi said, and though the old sadness was there, it was coloured with wistfulness, not with the bitter, burning sense of loss he had once felt.

"Mollari thinks it could stand an editor," G'Kar said. "But then, he would. At least this was his opinion when I started my travels. I shall have to visit his benighted planet to find out whether it is his opinion still."

There was a lot Garibaldi could have said to that, starting with the fact Centauri Prime wasn't exactly tourist friendly these days even if the tourists weren't Narn, but he thought G'Kar already knew all of this. He poured some water in the glasses in front of them, handed one to G'Kar and said: "To travels, then, to absent friends – and to coming home again."

"To the past, the present and the future," G'Kar replied, and just for that moment, they were both at peace with all three.