This one is an Into the Fire AU, and it is even darker than Parts I & II. Sheridan has a cameo, and there's an evil, evil twist at the end.
This is the AU I thought of first. Which just goes to show exactly how twisted my mind really is.
“Vir Cotto to Vorlon fleet… You got what you wanted. Londo Mollari has been killed. The last of the Shadows’ influence has been destroyed on Centauri Prime. Please, disengage your weapons and turn back!”
That single moment, as Vir waited for a response- any response- seemed to go on for an eternity.
And then, just like that, the sunlight began to return, filtering through the curtains and illuminating Vir’s face. The Vorlons had heard him and they were leaving.
Vir backed away from the window, the beats of his hearts roaring in his ears. The back of his leg bumped against something soft and the full meaning of what had just occurred exploded into his consciousness. Vir’s knees buckled and he fell, dropping the dagger on the way down.
In and out. In and out. Vir struggled to take in air, his breath coming in ragged gasps.
A whisper and a touch brought Vir back to himself. “Vir…”
Vir turned. Londo’s eyes had clouded over, but somehow he had still managed to summon the strength to reach out and touch Vir’s arm.
Vir grabbed Londo’s hand and squeezed it as hard as he could, hope flaring brightly. “Londo… Great Maker, you’re still alive…” There was a twitch of the head and then the slight pressure of Londo squeezing back. Vir almost wept at the feel of it.
“I’ll get a doctor. Please…” Vir spoke with a ferocity he had never before then expressed, not even on that day Londo started the war with the Narn. “Please, please, please just hold on a little longer.”
Vir struggled to get to his feet, but was stopped by a tug on his coat. “No…too late…”
“No, it’s not! Don’t say that, Londo. I’ll just get a doctor and you’ll be all right.”
Londo’s eyes drifted closed and suddenly Vir was angry and grabbing Londo’s face with his hands. “No! You can’t do this! Do you hear me? I will never forgive you if you… I… I… will never…” Vir choked and trailed off. Then, in a voice so small that it seemed to come from a thousand miles away, he said, “I will never forgive myself.”
The admission hung there in a silence punctuated by Londo’s rattling breath. And then, incredibly, Londo’s hand was moving again and Vir felt the contact of Londo’s fingers against his cheek. “You did… what was… necessary…”
Those were the last words Londo spoke before his hand fell away and the last glimmers of life faded and disappeared.
Londo Mollari was dead. He had asked Vir to kill him for the sake of the world that he loved so much and Vir had done it because he saw the desperation in Londo’s eyes and knew instantly the depth of that love.
Vir stared at the weapon by his side in shock. The blade still glistened with blood- Londo’s blood. He then looked down at his own hands, twice the hands of an executioner. For some reason, he could still feel the hilt of the dagger in his palm.
The world was small and dark and Vir and Londo were the only people in it.
Vir pressed his hands against his eyes. This couldn’t be real. Although none were this frightening, he had had nightmares before. For almost two years now, bleeding Narns had clawed at his body in his dreamscapes. And in the past few days, Emperor Cartagia had joined them, cataloguing with relish the punishments that awaited Vir at the end of his journey. He even had a recurring nightmare in which Londo fell over a fiery cliff and no matter how hard he tried to pull him back up, Vir couldn’t save him.
But he should’ve woken up by now, yelling and sweating in his nightclothes. Why was this dream continuing beyond the moment of horror?
That was when Vir realized that this was all real, that he wasn’t asleep, and that Londo really was dead.
Fury rushed through Vir with such force that before he knew what he was doing, he had jumped up and turned a nearby table over. The tabletop broke apart on impact.
Vir collapsed, chest heaving, angry at a universe that would do this to him, angry at the Shadows, and angry with Londo for bringing them both to this point. A small part of him idly wondered if the noise would attract the guards, but then he realized that he didn’t care.
He wished that there were some way the Great Maker could turn back time. He could go back to that day Londo sent the Shadows to attack Quadrant 14 and put his foot down. He could tell Londo that if he insisted upon taking advantage of the services of Mr. Morden, he would leave and never come back.
Vir looked at Londo and knew he would give up anything to have that second chance.
But that was not to be. Londo was gone and there were no such things as second chances. At least, not for the dead.
“He sacrificed himself.”
Vir remembered the day Londo was forced to kill his friend, Urza Jaddo. For some weeks afterwards, Londo walked the station as if he were a ghost, as if he too had died in fulfilling the demands of the Couro Prido. At the time, Vir had felt sad and angry for Londo and had vented those feelings on Mr. Morden.
Now Vir too knew what it was like to die the death of the soul and felt even closer to Londo than he ever had before.
Did Londo know how much he meant to Vir? Vir wondered this as he touched Londo’s hand, held it in his own. It was still warm, but growing colder.
“He sacrificed himself,” Vir murmured in the silence. He pulled Londo against him and closed his eyes, tears welling up and spilling down his cheeks.
It took two men to pry the distraught Vir away from Londo and it was a few hours before the other ministers could piece together what had happened. The palace guards who had seen Vir and Londo arguing in the garden corroborated Vir’s story and Minister Durano left Vir alone, apparently satisfied that the truth of the matter had been revealed.
Night found Vir sitting on the floor in Londo’s room, clutching a bottle of brivari, his clothing disheveled and his hair crest in disarray.
Vir knew the drink was an imperfect and temporary fix. He had tried it just a few days before when it was Cartagia he was trying to forget and all he got for his trouble was a new kind of nightmare and several hours spent slumped against the ship’s head. Uncharacteristically, Londo had refrained from joking about Vir’s “well known” inability to hold his liquor- or from regaling him with stories about his own hangovers- something for which Vir was profoundly grateful at the time.
The very recent memory brought Vir’s grief once more into sharp focus and in desperation, he downed another glass. No, the brivari couldn’t stop this pain, but he didn’t know what else to do.
Maybe- just maybe- if he drank enough, the resulting hangover would distract him until he could find another way to survive this.
Vir’s spiraling train of thought was interrupted by the bleep of the communications unit. Taking his glass with him, Vir stumbled to his feet. He grabbed onto the couch for support when a wave of dizziness threatened to topple him, then lurched over to the screen to answer the call.
Two images of Captain Sheridan danced before his eyes and he pressed his palm against the wall in an effort to hold it in place. The Sheridans did twin double takes.
“Vir? Where’s Londo?”
“Londo’s dead.” Vir’s slurred words were low and empty.
A long and uncomfortable silence followed as Sheridan searched for the right words. And what could Sheridan say really? Vir thought. It’s not as if Londo and Sheridan were on good terms.
At last, the Human captain settled on the simple. “I’m sorry, Vir.”
“So am I.” Vir felt utterly alone.
“I don’t know if this will help, but you should know that the war is over. The Shadows and Vorlons are gone forever, Vir. They went beyond the rim to join the rest of the First Ones. We won.”
It was small comfort and Vir never felt less like celebrating.
Sheridan continued: “I called because I wanted to be sure the Vorlons had called their remaining ships to Coriana 6 before an attack was launched on Centauri Prime. It looks as if-“
“Wait,” Vir said, letting go of the wall and holding up his shaking hand. “Did you say the Vorlons called for reinforcements?”
“Yes, I did.”
Vir started to back away from the screen, his world sliding out from beneath him.
Had it all been for nothing? If he had waited just a few minutes more before doing what Londo had asked of him, would the Vorlons have left on their own accord? If Londo had waited, would he still be alive?
“Vir?” Sheridan’s voice was heavy with concern. “What is it? What’s wrong?”
Vir’s glass slipped from his numb fingers and shattered on the floor.
I'm so, so sorry for this. You may commence the beatings now.
Seriously, concrit will be greatly appreciated.