Meetings in the Green
At once, the congenial sounds of the room disappeared, leaving behind a tense and heavy silence. Sinclair, feeling sympathy for the young Centauri who was the object of the sudden scrutiny, immediately intervened.
“Telonn,” he said evenly to the warrior who had just questioned Vir Cotto’s trustworthiness, “perhaps your concerns should be discussed at a later date. This is neither the time nor the place…”
To his credit, Vir interrupted Sinclair before he could continue. “No, it’s all right.” Then, locking eyes with Telonn, he said, without a single stammer, “I don’t expect anyone here to trust me right away. I just hope I get the opportunity to earn that trust.”
This answer seeming to satisfy Telonn for the moment, the confrontation was over before it had truly begun and Sinclair was left studying Vir with a mixture of surprise and respect.
Sinclair had come to Yedor to greet Centauri Prime’s new diplomatic liaison to Minbar because he knew a thing or two about sudden reassignments- about walking alien streets without a single familiar face to turn to for company. He had only spoken with Vir outside of a professional setting once or twice, but he liked the young Centauri- even if on a few occasions he found him a bit exasperating.
Though not half as exasperating as the ambassador, Sinclair corrected internally. Many times during his tenure on Babylon 5, he had privately wondered whether he could get away with throttling Londo, just for a minute. Dealing with Londo- and with G’Kar- was as pleasurable as banging one’s head against a bulkhead.
When the Shadows at last played their card and allied with the Centauri, Sinclair was saddened and angry- but somehow, he was not surprised. In retrospect, the only unknown was not whether the Shadows would take advantage of a centuries-long enmity, but which side they would choose to favor.
Thoughts of Londo Mollari brought forth the one question that had been eating at the back of Sinclair’s mind ever since he had heard word of Vir’s pending arrival: Why was the assignment so sudden? And why was Vir given a position that, according to Centauri tradition, should have been awarded to someone with several years more experience? Sinclair suspected some strings had been pulled somewhere, perhaps by the ambassador himself. But he refrained from asking Vir out of respect.
It was Vir’s voice that finally interrupted Sinclair’s train of thought. “I think… I think I’m going to take a walk outside,” he said and there was a heaviness in his tone that Sinclair had never heard in the Centauri before. Sinclair watched as Vir drew a deep breath, squared his shoulders somewhat, and drifted wordlessly out the door.
Weight of the world, Sinclair suddenly found himself thinking and he knew at once that it was true. He knew the posture well.
Almost without conscious awareness, he followed Vir outside, drawing up the hood of his cowl against the chilly breeze. Some time passed before he finally found Vir sitting alone beneath a tree in a nearby park, his arms wrapped around his middle and his face turned upwards towards the stars.
Sinclair was struck with a sudden memory. The first and one of the only times Sinclair had ever spoken to Vir at length, it had been in Babylon 5’s garden under a tree very much like the one he was now approaching.
If he recalled correctly, it was Vir’s first night on Babylon 5. Seeking a quiet place to think, Sinclair had stumbled across Vir, who at the time looked rather upset. Not wishing to leave the young Centauri alone with his discomfort, Sinclair asked what was wrong and was rewarded with a stream of words that led stumblingly to a confession that he was afraid he had made a bad first impression with his ambassador.
“I-I’m sorry,” Vir had then said, behaving as if he had committed some grievous error in speaking at all.
Vir was so unlike any Centauri Sinclair had ever met. He was certainly nothing like Londo, whom Sinclair had the frequent dubious honor of extricating from some of the station’s less reputable establishments lest his chronic truancy cause another diplomatic incident. Londo carried himself in a way that demanded everyone take notice, but Vir, as Sinclair first knew him, was meek, quiet, continually anxious, and eager to please.
The past two years, it seemed, had changed Vir, just as Sinclair himself had changed.
As Sinclair drew closer, Vir noticed his presence and acknowledged it with a nod before once again looking skyward. Sinclair followed his gaze and said, “I think the Epsilon system is on the northeast horizon.”
Vir flashed Sinclair a look of surprise. He opened his mouth, presumably to ask how Sinclair had known what he was looking for, but then he shook his head, seemingly changing his mind. “You know, it’s funny,” Vir said after a pause. “All my life, I’ve never really known what I wanted or where I was supposed to fit into it all. Every time I start to hope that maybe, just maybe, I’ve found what I’ve been looking for…” Vir trailed off and opened his hands before him in a gesture of supplication.
“The universe intervenes,” Sinclair finished simply.
In Vir’s eyes was a profound sadness that Sinclair had seen many times in the mirror ever since Catherine had disappeared to a time unknown- and he was left wondering what it was that had put that look on Vir’s face.
Who had Vir lost?
Because yes, Sinclair now recognized the thing that rested on Vir’s hunched shoulders. And nothing more completely convinced him that war was hell than to see such loss on the face of the young.
Is that even remotely close enough to count as an answer to Midnight? (If not, I will try something else- perhaps a Sinclair story, since I've decided upon finishing To Dream in the City of Sorrows that I'm in love with him. I suspect he was a lot like my dad in his youth, what with him disassembling speed boats and all. *g*) Is it even any good? Inquiring minds- namely, mine- want to know.