"Ahh, Delenn's speech at Earthdome… I swear, G'Kar, simply hearing it caused my hearts to swell in my – mmph." Londo's pillow, mere decoration so far, suddenly became the target of a set of very pointed Centauri teeth. The rest of his sentence petered out into a feather-muffled grunt.
"Your hearts?" G'Kar said, digging an elbow into the mattress. "Are you certain? Why, in your case, I could name several organs far more prone to swelling! Your head, for instance, and about… six others?" He underscored his point by squeezing two of the mentioned six, which elicited another gratifying wheeze. "Oh, do be quiet, Mollari!" he chuckled. "Surely you do not wish to attract undue attention?"
"I would thank you for being – ohh – entirely no help at all with that, G'Kar!" Londo gasped, squirming. "Simply because these quarters have double beds, it does not mean the Presidential staff would be pleased to find us sharing one! As diplomatic incidents go –"
"This one would be quite memorable," G'Kar agreed. "Remind me: why again are we doing this?" He raked an experimental nail across Londo's lower right appendage – brachiarte, he reminded himself. The word tasted strange, like some bland Centauri foodstuff. He lifted the head to his mouth to suck on the warm, wriggling tip.
"Education, of course!" Londo replied, sounding altogether more breathless than he had a moment ago. "Not that I am – genuinely holding out hope for you – to learn Centauri patience – but to last – ten minutes? That would already be an accomp–"
He cut himself off abruptly, head whipping towards the door. G'Kar was forced to duck aside to avoid being smothered by a Centauri crest.
"Ambassador Mollari?" a voice called from outside.
"Delenn!" Londo hissed. "I told you, G'Kar, we should have relocated to a different room for this! Preferably the one occupied by that charming Martian aide with whom you made acquaintance, hmm? That would –"
"Ambassador?" the voice repeated. Then, more urgently, "Londo?"
"Great Maker, I must answer her!" Londo muttered. "She is quite capable of ordering in security if I do not! What is it, Delenn!?" he called, rolling onto his back. He made some pains to smooth down his nightrobe in what struck G'Kar as a singularly pointless gesture. If Delenn were to enter, it wasn't the robe but what was under it that would shock her. In that respect, mere fabric concealed nothing at all.
"I heard voices," she answered, "someone crying out. Are you all right?"
"Yes, fine!" Londo said. He shot G'Kar a desperate look, which G'Kar was perfectly content to ignore. "I, ah – I talk in my sleep," he added feebly.
"I see," Delenn said. There was a long, almost expectant silence. "About G'Kar. Of course."
This time it was G'Kar's turn to smother a groan into his pillow. Oh, someone was going to be insufferably pleased with herself the next morning. G'Quan help them all.
('And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder')
"So. You are here," Londo said thickly. He was slumped on the ornate couch in his quarters – the couch G'Kar could no longer quite look at without feeling a little frisson of arousal. He despised Londo's bed with its thick, cloying sheets, but the couch was broad and sturdy and its armrests offered ample purchase when matters became... heated. Right now, Londo covered it like a mountain did a small plain.
G'Kar stifled his unease as he took in the scene. Suitcases littered the room, some filled, some half-empty, and an array of bottles was lining the table. From the look of it, someone had made an effort to pack them before Londo decided to consummate them instead.
"Well, G'Kar?" Londo pressed. He reached for the table, refilling his goblet with a less than steady hand. "After Lennier's splendid performance, I take it you have come to say 'I told you so'?" He sounded not so much drunk as angry. That, and there was a rawness to his tone that hinted dangerously at despair.
"I haven't," G'Kar said. Cautiously, he lowered himself onto the other end of the couch. "Cotto told me you are taking the next transport to your homeworld. I spoke with Delenn. It took me some time to convince her, but she and I are in agreement. I will-"
"Delenn? You are in league with Delenn?" Londo gestured wildly with his goblet, sending its contents sloshing over the side. "I warn you, G'Kar, do not try to stop me from leaving! Not unless you are prepared to chain me to the station floor! My people have been falsely accused, publicly vilified, and I swear I will prove our innocence. I swear –" His tone rose shrilly, sliding from anger into all-out rage.
Later, G'Kar couldn't even say what had possessed him. Of all the ways to subdue a Centauri, pinning his arms and kissing him fiercely had to be the most absurd of all – yet it silenced Londo as effectively as a blow to the ribs. At least it did for a moment. Then Londo gasped and wrenched his arms free.
"I have no intention of stopping you," G'Kar cut him off mid-breath. "I am coming with you."
Londo sputtered hard enough that he had to stifle a coughing fit, clumsily hidden behind a hand. "Why?" he choked out. "Why come in here and – and – handle me, and then tell me-" He flung out the words like an accusation. "Is it pity? If it is, I do not need it!"
"I assure you, Mollari, pity has nothing to do with it," G'Kar said, then frowned. At some point while he hadn't been paying attention, one of Londo's hands had slid down to his upper thigh.
"Why, then?" Londo demanded. His face was flushed, but there was a defiant glitter in his eyes. "If not pity, then why, hmm? Amusement value, perhaps?" Now his fingers had found the clasp of G'Kar's belt, undone it, and dug down possessively. G'Kar was already hard, but if that surprised Londo, he didn't show it. Against his better judgment, G'Kar refrained from protesting. Then Londo grasped his member and squeezed, and for a moment of spine-melting bliss G'Kar found himself unable to protest at all.
He shuddered and yanked Londo against him.
"You know why," he managed, through gritted teeth. "Do you wish to make me scream it out? I thought we were long past that."
Londo jerked back his hand, took another breath that turned unsteady. "No. No, of course not." His words had taken on a ragged quality. "Great Maker, G'Kar, how can you–" He swallowed. "You do know, if you come... I cannot guarantee your safety. I will do what I can, but-"
"I know," G'Kar nodded, suddenly feeling as drained as Londo looked. "It doesn't matter. My safety is secondary to this." To yours, he thought, but could not bring himself to say.
"You are quite mad," Londo muttered, the alcohol-slur in his voice reasserting itself. His eyes had grown very bright. He made a badly coordinated attempt to capture G'Kar's lips, but his equilibrium failed him, and he ended up sagging against G'Kar's shoulder. In an impulse, G'Kar moved to steady him.
The only thing worse than Vir entering that moment would have been if he'd entered ten seconds before.
"Londo, I booked your tran– Oh." Vir trailed off as the door shut behind him. His eyes flitted from Londo to G'Kar and back again. "I didn't know... I, uh – did I interrupt...? Were you two –"
"Drinking," G'Kar said. For some reason, he was almost certain the word Vir had been thinking of was 'cuddling', which was simply too much to bear. "At least Mollari was. I was simply attempting to keep him from ending up the floor." He lifted his chin and met Vir's gaze with a steel-hard glare of his own.
Well. If this was Vir's "intimidated" look, he would make a fine ambassador yet.
('The Fall of Centauri Prime')
He would grow used to this. That was the worst of it. Even now, with the horror still fresh and no way to ignore the... abomination clinging to his shoulder, he could already feel his initial shock fading. In time, he was certain, despair would make way for resigation, encrusting it like the scab over a wound.
He had witnessed his death. He'd seen the condition he would be in when G'Kar finally squeezed the life out of him: old and decrepit, a mere shadow of himself. Years would pass – long, heavy, hopeless years – in which the fear and the horror would ebb, along with whatever fight was left in him. Until, at the end, there would be nothing left to feel at all.
He could not accept that. Whatever else he had been in the past, he was still Centauri. His people deserved an Emperor capable of fight, and hope… and passion.
There was one man left in the palace who could be counted upon to stir passion in him – a whole plethora of it, violent and messy and real. Very soon that man, too, would be gone. Which was why Londo now found himself storming down endless hallways, furious at himself for having misplaced one stubborn Narn.
He found G'Kar in a side room close to his own chambers, sitting cross-legged on the floor. His eyes were closed, his lips forming words Londo didn't recognize. Londo hovered in the doorway, torn between a desire to interrupt and another, purely irrational one, to stretch out the moment forever. Then G'Kar opened his eyes and looked up at him.
"Mollari," he said, pushing himself to his feet. "I received a call. President Sheridan will be here in less than an hour, so we should –"
Londo took one step, then another. Later, he didn't even remember the transition between the moment where he grabbed G'Kar by the collar and the one where their mouths met, crushing against one another as if they were the only source of oxygen in the universe. What he did remember were his hands – sweaty, fumbling, pulling down G'Kar's hands with all the strength he possessed, even as the Keeper stirred on his shoulder and all he could taste was G'Kar – G'Kar's lips, G'Kar's tongue, G'Kar's rasping breath.
He could not hope to draw this out. He had mere seconds left before G'Kar freed his hands, and once he did, less than seconds before G'Kar might reach out and feel the Keeper on his shoulder…
He pulled back. His body was quaking with need, but still he pulled back, releasing G'Kar's forearms and taking a step back to steady himself. His hearts were racing; he felt light-headed enough that he thought his legs might fail him. But he stood his ground.
And only then did he realize – they were not alone. The Drakh were here, in this room, lurking in the shadows. He could not see them, but the Keeper knew, and its tendrils shivered in anticipation. One false move, and they would strike.
G'Kar was still watching him, hands balled into fists, face flushed and contorted with effort. Londo could not begin to guess what he was thinking.
"I could stay," G'Kar said, his voice a whisper. "If you want me to."
Londo's throat constricted. Great Maker, for G'Kar to make that offer, and to make it freely… If there was ever an offer he wanted to accept – but no. If he did, the Drakh would hold G'Kar as leverage against him for an eternity to come. He could not afford that weakness. And G'Kar deserved a kinder fate than this; a fate that would be squandered unless he escaped this world.
He straightened, lifted his chin. "No."
G'Kar blinked. "No, I cannot stay... or no, you do not want me to?"
There was only one answer; only one that would make sure G'Kar would not be tempted to do something spectacularly foolish, like refusing to leave anyway.
"I do not want you to," Londo said. Somehow he managed to keep his voice from breaking. He turned away before G'Kar could see the effort it cost him, but too slowly to miss the pain in G'Kar's eyes.
It was never said that Centauri do not lie. They lie ruthlessly, artfully. They lie with a passion.