SUMMARY: No man should bear his burdens alone. Lennier spends a difficult night with Vir- and something happens that he did not anticipate. H/C.
RATING: PG- it's extremely mild.
PAIRING: Vir/Lennier- but alas, it's one sided.
SPOILERS: This is set post-And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place and references Dust to Dust.
DISCLAIMER: Vir lives in my head 24/7, but strangely, I have not acquired ownership. *g* He and Lennier belong to the inimitable JMS. I just borrow Vir shamelessly for my own enjoyment. *g*
This is the only way I could get my head around Vir/Lennier. I hope it doesn't suck.
Lennier sat beside Vir’s bed and watched the labored rise and fall of Vir’s chest in silence. His friend’s rumpled shirt fit loosely about him and from this, Lennier realized that Vir had lost weight. It was yet another sign of the emotional strain Vir had been living with over the past two years- a strain that had at last reached the breaking point this night.
Lennier had found Vir sitting on the floor of his quarters with an open bag beside him and had guessed that something had happened between him and the ambassador- something that had wounded Vir terribly. He was intoxicated and on the verge of physical and emotional collapse, and though Lennier had tried to provide whatever counsel he could, Vir had soon begun to weep, tears dropping to the deck, his hand pressed against his mouth as if he were ashamed of his own fragility.
Lennier had always been rather reserved when it came to physical contact. He still remembered the awkwardness he felt the first time Vir jubilantly threw his arms around him years ago. Vir had asked Lennier if he could have a ride on Mr. Garibaldi’s motorcycle and, after consulting with Garibaldi, Lennier had obliged. As they sped through the corridor, Vir had dug his fingers into Lennier’s arms in a combination of fear and excitement. And when they had dismounted, Vir, red faced and laughing, threw nearly his entire considerable weight behind an embrace and Lennier staggered, surprised and somewhat rattled by the touch.
It was true that Vir quickly realized his natural physical affection made Lennier uncomfortable, a realization that came with many embarrassed apologies. And it was true that from then on, Vir tried his best to honor Lennier’s personal space. But there were still times when Vir could not restrain himself, and Lennier gradually came to accept the Vir needed touch. It was a joy and a comfort to his friend, and Lennier was willing to provide that joy because he genuinely enjoyed Vir’s company.
Watching as Vir broke down in quiet sobs, Lennier, drawing upon his knowledge, leaned forward and gingerly wrapped his arms around the Centauri, holding him until the shaking stopped and the tears slowed.
“Can you stand?” Lennier had asked when Vir finally pulled away.
For a moment, Vir tried, but it was a battle he quickly lost. Collapsing once more to the deck, he held his head in his hands and whispered, “No.”
“Then I will help you,” Lennier said. “You should sleep.”
Clearing aside Vir’s glass and the empty bottle of brivari, Lennier wrapped his arms around Vir and hoisted him to his feet. Vir hung on tightly as Lennier led him to his bed and helped him sit. As Lennier began to remove his coat and waistcoat, Vir kept his eyes fixed firmly on the floor, his face flushing in evident humiliation.
Lennier was working on the last few fasteners on Vir’s waistcoat when Vir spoke. “Lennier?”
Vir swayed and Lennier helped him lean against his chest as he finished removing the waistcoat. “You should not be sorry,” Lennier said.
There was a pause as Vir released a shuddering sigh and slowly lifted his head. “I can’t help it,” he said, slurring his words. “I am. You shouldn’t… have to see me like this. This…” Vir waved his hand vaguely, “… is my problem…”
“Do you truly believe that friends should only see each other at their best?” Lennier asked. “I suspect that you do not, or you would not have stayed by Ambassador Mollari’s side. As your friend, I will help you carry your burden, as you help him carry his.”
Gratitude and shame warred for dominance in Vir’s eyes. “Lennier, I…” Vir swayed again and Lennier caught him. His face was inches from Vir’s and his breath caught in his throat, his old discomfort with closeness returning.
He had not known- could not read the intention in Vir’s bleary eyes until Vir’s lips were on his. It was not a terribly long kiss or a very deep one. It was a soft, fluttering taste of salt and brivari that caught Lennier completely by surprise, and before he could react, it was over.
At the memory, Lennier touched his lips with his hand. This he had not anticipated. When Vir had drifted into a restless sleep at last, Lennier had accessed the station’s anthropological database from Vir’s terminal in search of insight and had found none. Then he had reflected upon their times together and in the solitude came to wonder whether each touch, each smile, each impassioned conversation were signs that he had missed.
Lennier remembered that night many months ago when Vir came to his quarters just before he was scheduled to depart once more for his post on Minbar and begged Lennier to look after the ambassador in his absence. His bruises still fresh and his mended arm in a sling, Vir had to stop and squeeze his eyes shut against his pain in the middle of his plea, but the passion was still there and it was still true.
“Please. Stop by his quarters tonight or tomorrow and make sure he’s all right. I… I don’t want to leave him alone.”
Lennier had only heard fragments of what had occurred between the Centauri and Citizen G’Kar: that Vir had been found crumpled, bleeding and disoriented on the floor of Ambassador Mollari’s quarters, calling out for the ambassador and G’Kar in pure terror; that Captain Sheridan and Mr. Garibaldi had ordered a station wide manhunt that ended when G’Kar turned himself in, carrying a broken and unconscious Mollari in his arms; that G’Kar was at that moment sitting in prison and was mystifyingly at peace with his punishment. Out of respect, he hadn’t asked Vir to explain fully what had happened- and in the intervening months he had kept to that silence- but he had seen in Vir’s eyes then that something terrible- far more terrible than an assault- had occurred.
But, in truth, when Vir made the request, Lennier had felt a distinct discomfort. He had come to know by then that caring for Ambassador Mollari was the calling of Vir’s heart and he honored Vir for his love and faith. But it was a faith he did not- could not- share in the face of the darkness that stained the ambassador’s soul. “I am not certain I am the correct person for what you are asking,” Lennier had said then and Vir’s face fell. “Perhaps Dr. Franklin’s medical expertise would make him more suited to the task.”
That was when Vir caught his shoulder with his one functioning hand. “No, please.” With deep sadness in his eyes, Vir had said, “I know… I… I know how you feel about… And I… I don’t blame you. I don’t. But there’s more to him than that… I know there is… and I…” Vir trailed off. Then, his voice strained, he said, “I wish there were some way I could show you.”
Vir had already had Lennier’s respect. Lennier had taken great care to tell Vir of this truth. But after G’Kar’s attack, Vir seemed driven by a desperate longing to share more with Lennier than the simple mutual esteem of two good friends. It seemed as if he had wanted Lennier to understand, to feel what he felt.
Perhaps, Lennier reflected, he should’ve seen it then.
Lennier looked down at the supine form before him and felt guilty because he knew he could not return Vir’s feelings. His heart and soul were pledged to another. And here, for a fleeting moment, he permitted some of the anguish that dogged his own footsteps to whisper through his mind. The ghost- the shadow- had her voice, her smile, her touch. He had told Marcus that his love was pure, unblemished by desire, but when he was alone he knew that to be a lie.
A sound from the bed pulled Lennier from his reverie. Vir was trembling and crying out softly in his sleep. Lennier felt sorrow for Vir that the kindness of his soul had brought such despair. But, strangely, he envied him far more. For he was certain, even if Vir was not, that even though his friend had fallen, he would rise again. He would rise and he would forgive and he would desire and he would live as a whole man unbroken by the act of feeling and loving. And Lennier feared that if he unlocked that same door inside himself- if he allowed himself to touch the desire that lurked at the edges of his heart- he would be consumed.
Lennier rested a hand on Vir’s shoulder and kept it there until the nightmare had passed. “Peace, my friend,” he said softly. “I am here.”
And there he would remain until morning because he knew his friend would be quite ill when he awoke. There Lennier would remain, sharing Vir’s suffering because, as Valen had once said, no man should bear his burdens alone.