Whoever is responsible for the "Five Things" challenge has my thanks.
This first segment is set after Legions of Fire: Armies of Light and Dark, and it is dark. I have no clue from which vile pit of hell this idea was brought forth.
Actually, to be honest, the other four scenarios also tend towards angst or general creepiness. Which I suppose goes to show that while Vir's life in canon was difficult, it could've been much, much worse.
Apologies in advance for depressing you all.
He had to see him.
As soon as he had heard, he had gone down to the dungeon to see him. The vile Shiv’kala had not interfered, perhaps because the Drakh had known, Londo thought darkly, that there was nothing the emperor could do.
The cell was cold and dark and stank of waste and perspiration. Londo almost retched at the smell of it. He reached into his coat with a gnarled, shaking hand and produced a handkerchief, placing it over his mouth and nose. He crouched down and with his other hand gingerly touched the form slumped before him.
Chains clanked against the wall as the prisoner shifted position, looking up at Londo with bleary brown eyes. Londo brought the cloth away from his face and murmured, “Great Maker… Vir…”
Until that moment, a part of Londo had fervently hoped that Durla had misled him. That hope vanished like a touched snowflake at the sight of Vir’s battered face. One side of Vir’s jaw was purple and swollen and blood still seeped from his nose and mouth. “Londo…” Vir began, but before he could continue, he was overcome by a liquid cough that seemed to come from the very pit of his chest. Londo looked down and saw flecks of crimson standing out against the white of his vestments.
“Londo…” Vir said again, but this time he was stopped by the pressure of Londo’s hands around his face.
“Do not try to speak.” Londo’s whisper was ragged, harsh in the silence. “Gods, Vir. Why did you not stay away as I asked you to?”
But Londo knew the answer to that question the moment he asked it. The reason burned brightly in years of memories. Memories of parties and jokes and arias sung. Memories of Vir by his bedside, watching and waiting. Memories of Vir’s arms around him, holding him awkwardly but warmly. Memories of Vir’s words years ago:
“I will never stop hoping that you retreat from the road that you’re walking. I will never stop searching for a means to turn you away from it. And I will never stop being your friend… even if, eventually, I find that I have become your enemy.”
Where did it come from? Where was this place inside of Vir where he found such faith in him? Londo had depended upon this faith and, by the gods, he had taken advantage of it on more than one occasion. And now Vir was going to die for him, for his cause. Londo felt heartsick, he felt ashamed, and most of all, he felt responsible.
“Not… your… fault…”
Londo dropped his hands and stared at Vir’s face, seeing the quiet strength that shined there even then. Had he heard correctly? Yes, Vir was saying it again: “Not… your… fault…”
Great Maker. Vir knew what Londo had been thinking.
Vir drew in a wheezing breath. His chains rattled again as he reached out and grasped Londo’s shoulders. “My choice…” he choked.
Londo heard the cell door open behind him, heard the guards enter. “I can’t save you.”
The full meaning of those two words struck the core of Londo’s being. He knew Vir had learned of the Drakh. And now it was clear that he knew of the Keeper as well. In Vir’s eyes was forgiveness and it hurt with a physical pain.
Londo watched as the guards unchained Vir and dragged him to his feet. Watched, his last hope drifting away and disappearing like a wisp of smoke in the wind. All he could hear in that moment was the pounding of his hearts. All he could feel was the ache in his chest and the burning in his eyes.
And then, suddenly, Londo was on his feet. Propelled by insanity and grief, he lunged for one of the guards, knocking him to the ground with the weight of his body. The guard’s eyes drifted closed on impact.
Londo, chest heaving, fought against the hold of the other guard, but his struggle was quickly and cruelly cut short by a blinding flash of pain. Falling to his knees, Londo screamed in agony, his cry echoing down the corridor.
Tell me if this sucks.