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Same River Twice

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Ivanova can feel him hovering over her shoulder, like he's actually in the room. He's not. She's not either. At least, not right now. This is years ago. Back before the Olympic snatched her escape pod out of space. Back before she'd been turned over to Bester's tender mercies.

Talia is in her bed. The one back on Babylon 5; the one she wishes she could go back to. She idly wonders what happened to it. There is always the possibility Babylon 5 still exists, but she doubts it. She's been here a long time, and the last thing she remembers is more Earthforce destroyers jumping in to attack the station.

Bester's irritation at her inattention draws her back into the memory in progress. It's a well worn memory, he likes the ones with Talia best of all, and they had so little time together to make any memories. Ivanova smiles as her remembered self stalks towards the bed. It had been such a good night.

It's easy to tell he's getting off on this, watching them together. She can feel his need just as she can feel her own other self's. She just feels weary and resigned. Bester's getting off on that too.

It's worse when he shoves her so far down into the memory that she thinks its real. When she can't remember that Talia is dead and gone until it's over. When she can't remember she is a PsiCorps prisoner and that one day, when Bester tires of her, she too will die.

She's pondering death as her doppleganger's hand trails up Talia's thigh. She watches dispassionately, it's not real after all, or at least, it's not real right now.

It's tempting though, watching herself moan in pleasure, smile in joy. It's been a long time since she truly felt joy.

Talia kisses her other self, all tongue and passion and joy. It's too much, it always is, and Ivanova sinks down into her remembered self. It's pointless to deny herself any joy she can take, so she let's herself enjoy the feeling of Talia's hands skimming up over her skin and ignores Bester's hovering presence.

Talia moves against her, fitting like a missing puzzle piece. There are gasps and moans, and it all happens like she remembers. There is no changing memory.

She can feel Bester come in the echo of Talia's own orgasm. Usually, this is where he pulls them back into reality. Back into some cell or interrogation room. Tonight though, the memory doesn't end. Tonight, they stay as the Ivanova of memory pulls Talia into her arms and holds her, whispering half memorized poetry into her hair.

It hurts more than she imagined. Ivanova pulls out of herself, but can't not watch as she holds her lover, can't not feel Bester's contentment in her arms.