Seeking Light

Ten Questions, Part I

(In response to this meme and for mini_wrimo:)

In the year 2261, after the close of the Shadow War, Vir responds to the queries of an unknown correspondent.

1. What is your full name?

My full title is: Vir Cotto, Attaché to Ambassador and Prime Minister Londo Mollari of the Centauri Republic. But you can call me Vir. Most people do, and I don’t mind.

7. Write a full physical description of yourself. You might want to consider factors such as: height, weight, race, hair and eye color, style of dress, and any tattoos, scars, or distinguishing marks.

I’m a very ordinary Centauri – not special or attractive at all. As Humans mark time, I am a little less than thirty. I had a surgery when I was very young, so I walk funny and do have scars on one leg. I’m also near-sighted, asthmatic, and clumsy. I’m not tall, and until recently, I was heavy. Londo called me his “moonfaced assassin of joy” once early in our time together (he was – er – personally occupied at the time and not in the mood for interruptions) because my face was very round. And it still is – sort of. My hair and eyes are brown, and I wear my hair in the traditional noble way, though I try not to spend too much time on it. (There is an Earth animal – a bird of some kind – that I’ve overheard some Humans compare to our hair, but I’ve forgotten the name of it. It begins with a “P,” I think.) My clothes are well made and also traditional (Londo insists upon that) – waistcoat, blouse, trousers, great coat – but I don’t pick especially striking colors or jewelry because I don’t like to stand out.

88. Are you generally introverted or extroverted?

I’m in the middle, I suppose. I’m not like my friend, Lennier, who spends many hours alone in quiet contemplation. Lennier is a good man – dedicated to his faith (later, I should tell you what he did for the Markab on Babylon 5), committed to Delenn – it is an honor to know him – but I do have to be very careful when I am around him. We Centauri define personal space very differently, you see – it’s normal for us to touch each other – to kiss and hug as friends – to express our feelings in a physical way. And, well – back when we were first getting to know each other, I’m afraid I accidentally embarrassed Lennier a few times by getting too close for his comfort. Once, after Mr. Garibaldi let us both ride his motorcycle, I – made a mistake in my excitement and threw my arms around Lennier. He was mortified, and I was terribly sorry about the whole thing for weeks. I couldn’t even talk to him without blushing.

But I’m not like Londo, either. I believe the Earther word for Londo is “raconteur.” What I mean is, Londo can walk into a room of almost complete strangers and keep them entertained for hours, especially when he’s in his cups. And what’s more, he likes to do that. He never gets tired at a party. I’ve seen him stay up drinking and laughing with people in the casino until Babylon 5 Standard morning – when he doesn’t pass out beforehand, at least.

When I arrived on Babylon 5 years ago, the first thing Londo asked me to do was prepare his ja’ala - which I’ve since discovered is actually a pretty effective hangover cure.

It may be difficult for you believe this – and I understand why, I do – but Londo’s capacity for friendship – his capacity for love – is boundless. And when he chooses not to act upon his natural impulses for reasons of ambition, patriotism, or anything else, he is miserable. The past few years, Londo has, through his own choices, locked himself out of the company of most other people. There are very few who trust Londo now – and very few Londo trusts in return. And as a consequence, I have been forced to watch as my friend dies a little bit more with every passing day.

It’s not natural for Londo to be alone. He needs companionship almost like we all need air. Isolation is a torment – one he has brought upon himself, yes, but a torment just the same.

I’m not like Londo. I’ve had to learn how to be happy alone. But that’s not my first choice – solitude, I mean. Which is something I never even knew about myself until I was sent to Babylon 5 – until Londo called me his friend and told me he had confidence in me. Londo showed me what I was missing.

(x-posted on the mun's journal)
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Back Home- by prezzey

licenseartistic: October 2007 Prompt

Title: Masquerade
Fandom: Babylon 5
Character: Vir Cotto
Word Count: 1,394
Rating: General Audience
Spoilers: Sic Transit Vir, third season, though the events in the story actually take place sometime before Ceremonies of Light and Dark.

Disclaimer: Babylon 5 and its characters are the property of J. Michael Straczynski and Warner Brothers Television. No copyright infringement is intended.

Prompt: Costume

MasqueradeCollapse )
Innocence Lost- by kathyh

licenseartistic: July 2006 Prompt

Title: One
Fandom: Babylon 5
Character: Vir Cotto
Warnings: Tentacle sex – and as close to a PWP as I’m probably ever going to get.
Pairing: Vir/f
Word Count: 1, 082
Rating: Adult. Did I mention the tentacle engaged in sexual activities?
Spoilers: None. Pre-Series. Can be considered a continuation of my previous bit of Vir porn, While Bathing. Is also an expansion of an idea broached in a previous role play. If Vir’s sexual awakening is something you’d prefer not to explore, I suggest turning back now. ;)

Disclaimer: Babylon 5 and its characters are the property of J. Michael Straczynski and Warner Brothers Television. No copyright infringement is intended.

Prompt: First

OneCollapse )
Innocence Lost- by kathyh

licenseartistic: June 2006 Prompt

Title: No Failure
Fandom: Babylon 5
Character: Vir Cotto
Word Count: 551
Rating: General Audience
Spoilers: Set during A Day in the Strife, third season.

Disclaimer: Babylon 5 and its characters are the property of J. Michael Straczynski and Warner Brothers Television. No copyright infringement is intended.

Prompt:

"Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
~Samuel Beckett

“You are troubled. And you have been drinking.”

Vir sighed and ran his fingers over a large, blue-green leaf. Delenn had steered him into the gardens after he, too preoccupied to pay attention to where he was going, had crashed into her in the corridor. “A little,” he admitted, slurring his words slightly. “Just two.” He looked up, squinting his eyes in thought and rocking just a little. “Or maybe it was three.”

“Because of Londo?”

Vir shot Delenn a look of surprise. Then he pressed his hands against the bench and leaned forward, stilling his fidgets. “I didn’t think… but I-I guess he would ask you.” Then, after a pause: “I’m always being sent away. Ever since… well, ever since I can remember. The only reason I’m here at all is because no one else wanted me.” He met Delenn’s gaze once again. “I-I had twelve different positions before I came to Babylon 5.” The words made his chest ache, deep down. “Did you know that?”

“I did not. But I do not see why that should be important now, Vir,” Delenn replied, and Vir swallowed hard over the lump in his throat. “You have taken what others on your world might see as your failures and have always tried to shape them into something better. And you will take your new assignment and do it again. You understand hope and renewal – even if you don’t realize it. That is something to be praised.”

“But what about Londo?”

“You believe Londo is your failure?”

Vir looked away. “I… don’t know.” Yes.

“Londo has made his choices.” Delenn’s voice was firm. “He is responsible for his own actions. Perhaps it is time you learn to accept that. To do otherwise is to be unfair to you both.”

For a long moment, Vir said nothing as he turned things over in his mind. “I just wish I could’ve done more.”

“Because you have mistaken the movements of empires as the crux of the war. But it is in the heart – not in the vastness of space – that the most important battles are fought, Vir. And you have won some of those battles already.” Delenn waited until Vir lifted his eyes before she continued: “Londo is not sending you away because you have failed. He is sending you away because you have succeeded – because you have loved him - have shown him light - and he has found that he cannot help but love you in return. Where Londo is now, that love is too much for him to bear. But it is still a victory that cannot be erased. It still matters, no matter what Londo’s future may hold.”

Vir struggled to breathe. “I’m afraid for him,” he murmured. “And… I-I’m afraid that I won’t be good enough.”

“You are not alone, Vir. Lennier and I will help you if you wish it. You need only ask.”

Vir rubbed at his eyes and smiled sadly. “Thank you, Delenn. Thank you both.” He felt drained. “I-I’ll try to meet Lennier tomorrow… if that’s convenient, of course. Right now, though… I-I think I need to sleep on things.”

“Of course,” Delenn replied with a dip of her head. “I will not keep you any longer.” And she was gone, leaving Vir alone with his own thoughts.
Quiet Winter- by muffinmonster

T_M Challenge: Shame

Talk about something you did that made you feel ashamed of yourself afterwards.

Historian’s Note: This is an excerpt from Emperor Cotto’s personal chronicles, written in 2279.

Lady Mariel, wife of Prime Minister Durla and the former wife of Emperor Londo Mollari, was interred at Apia. And I killed her just as surely as if I had plunged a dagger into her hearts with my own hand. I have many more regrets, but this is my greatest shame.

Almost twenty years ago, I nearly left Londo for good. He had used me, you see, to get to Lord Refa and, he believed at the time, to avenge the death of his love. He used my loyalty, to my family and to him, to lead Refa astray, and for a time, I didn’t think I would ever recover from the knowledge that our friendship had not, in the end, made me indispensable. But I did recover, and, eventually, I forgave.

What does this have to do with Mariel? Well, while I did forgive Londo and, perhaps, had begun to understand why he did what he did, that one, blinding moment of total clarity didn’t truly come until Kane showed me that my trust in Mariel and her affections had been misplaced. Because before then, I had never been hurt in so personal and intimate a way. When you make love, you reveal so much more of yourself than you do even in the closest friendships. It leaves you open, a little dizzy, and very vulnerable. Mariel saw me at my weakest and most exposed, and she laughed. Discovering this, I finally knew what it was like to feel that burning sense that the universe itself had a personal vendetta against me. Cut off both from home and from my peers on Babylon 5, I had been so alone, and Mariel had been a light of hope. To see that light snuffed out before my eyes was, as the Humans say, the last straw. Tired of being hurt, I hardened my heart.

Fourteen words. Strange, that an emotion as complex as love can be enkindled by a spell so simple.

If I was to save my people, I needed a connection to Minister Durla- a spy in the royal palace itself. I had learned that Lady Mariel was Durla’s weakness- and so I asked a wizard to make her my instrument. When she was returned to me, I knew at once that I had made a mistake. But the fourteen words could not be called back. Words never can.

I didn’t simply use her. I imprisoned her. I robbed her of her free will and left her vulnerable to Durla’s insecurity and rage. Nothing she had ever done had made her deserving of such a punishment. Nothing I have ever done- or will do- can erase that mark on my soul. I betrayed my own belief in freedom, and no amount of justification can ever undo that sin.

As it turns out, Londo and I are not that different.
Quiet Winter- by muffinmonster

Star Stuff: Specters (originally locked, now open to all)

Continued from here.

Other players are now welcome. The danger has passed. For now.



Briefly, Vir closes his weary eyes. The last day and night have passed in a drug-induced blur periodically interrupted by bouts of violent sickness and painful muscle spasms which have only begun to subside in the last hour. Senna now sleeps beside him, her face finally relaxed, her lips slightly parted. Vir caresses her cheek gently as Risak continues his lecture.

"I do not wish to say I told you so, your Majesty, but... actually, no, that is precisely what I wish." Risak kneels beside the bed. "By all the gods, you could've been killed- and for what? What are you trying to prove?"

"I'm not trying to prove anything," Vir replies, his voice weakened by pure exhaustion. "I'm trying... to confront a ghost."
Early Vir- by ruuger

Star Stuff Prompt: An Unexpected Lesson

Author’s Note: This scene takes place in 2258 between “Born to the Purple” and “Parliament of Dreams.”

Vices

The dim light of the club was hardly fit for a myopic young Centauri, so Vir heard the ambassador bellow his name before he saw him- and he stumbled several times over people and chair legs as he crossed the room, paperwork in hand, toward Londo’s table.

“Ah, if it isn’t my killer of merriment,” Londo said as Vir, apologizing profusely, mopped a spilled drink off a young lady’s blue dress. “And you have brought work, I see?”

“Just a few things. I-I-I was starting the preparations for the negotiations over the trade routes in Quadrant 16, and I just had a few- oh!” Vir cut himself off with a squeak as Londo firmly plopped him into a nearby chair. “Or, you know, I-I could sit and watch the show.”

“Vir,” Londo began in a stern baritone. “You have lived on Babylon 5 for quite some time now, yes?” Vir nodded, suddenly apprehensive. “But it occurs to me that, in all this time, I have not properly introduced you. So- sit. I will buy you a drink- and perhaps,” Londo added with a wave of his hand and a flash of his feral teeth, “see to some other services- and you will come to know Babylon 5 as I know it. Yes?”

“Oh, but I-I don’t drink, Ambassador.”

More than that, there was a scent hanging in the air that was activating his asthma. But Londo paid Vir’s protestations no heed, and soon Vir found himself shyly resisting the lips and wandering hands of a slender alien woman, his blush deepening to the approximate color of a linfra berry.

From that point forward, Vir never brought work to the Dark Star.

Comment at b5_star_stuff.
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I Never Wanted- by spericki

T_M Challenge: "I thought I knew you."

Talk about a time you realized that someone close to you was not the person you thought you knew.

Pawn

Vir hadn’t betrayed Londo, even though a large part of him had screamed that he should if only to escape the emotional exhaustion. He hadn’t betrayed him, and for his trouble, an assault was his reward, fast and careless fingers tearing through the layers of his mind to find the secret beneath. Then, for hours afterwards, he sat under armed guard, shivering and alone, his nose running- sometimes with flecks of crimson. For hours, he sat, needing the toilet, wanting a bath, and, most of all, wanting sleep.

Sleep had come later thanks to Londo and two pills- twenty standard hours of sweaty, restless, nightmare-ridden sleep. Only when he had awoken and the drug induced fog had cleared from his mind did it register that Londo had had the pills in his quarters already. He had known before Vir had told him.

When the pieces of the plan were finally laid out before Vir, it took awhile before confusion gave way to anger- and it took longer still before Londo noticed.

And when he did, he didn’t understand.

Londo knew Vir. He had predicted- correctly- that Vir wouldn’t betray his family- wouldn’t betray him- unless he were forced to do so- and he exploited that knowledge. Vir had given Londo his loyalty, and Londo had used it as a game piece.

Clearing his kitchen, Vir came across a bottle of brivari- 2213, a good vintage. And, with one glance at his open luggage, he decided to get drunk.