A Different Kind of War...

A/N: Hey, haven't updated in a while. I had some real problems writing this episode becaus it features Stephen Franklin prominently, and that felt wrong after Richards's death. I know your all as saddened and agrievved to hear about his truly untimely death as I was. I considered changing the plot of this episode but to honour him I have decided to returne to the original plot for this chapter. Here it is in all it's finished glory.

Dedication:
For Richard Biggs, a great actor, a funny guy and a wonderful person, may you rest in peace. And remember so long as Babylon 5 survives he survives, through his beautiful acting. We will not forget you...

I would fight for you - I'd lie for you
Walk the wire for you - Ya I'd die for you

I would fight for you…


"Clear your mind." She told him, her dark eyes boring into his. 'focus'. He nodded slightly. "Picture a wall inside your head." She told him, her voice soft and melodious. 'Remember, your focus will determine your reality'. He snorted softly. "Do not laugh." She told him sternly. He nodded. She smiled. "Now imagine a tall wall, a wall of rock. It is solid. He could see it in his mind. Tall and impregnable.

"Now," she said. She felt the presence in her mind retreating. "bring something to mind, a memory, something you don't want me too see." She told him softly. He reached into his memory… He dragged out the recent memory of finding himself.

"Very stupid."
"Yeah. It was that, wasn't it. Always trying to be the hero. Never stopping to think first. Now, look where it got you."
"I must be going into shock."
"You said you had to keep walking until you met yourself. Well, here I am. So, if we are gonna talk, let's talk, because I don't think you have a lot of time."

"Have you got it?" he nodded, it was hard to keep the thought bottled up and hold the wall in place. "Alright. This time build another wall. Don't just bottle up the thoughts and feelings but actually build another wall around these specific thoughts or memories. He nodded, sweat had broken out on his forehead. He could feel her pressing in on him. "ready?' he nodded again. Sudden pain cramped behind his eyes. Like hot needles were being plunged into them. All he could see were her eyes. Huge, dark, commanding.

"Show me." She ordered.

'Show me.'

'Show me.'

'Show me…'

He was falling, it was like a well, a well of pain and fear. Suddenly he saw himself in the room in Downbelow, he heard the words he had had spoken to him those months before.

"You know what your problem is? All your life you've run away from everything. Home didn't work out, wouldn't talk to your father, so you just .. walked away. You didn't have the patience for a long internship back home, so you just ran out and started hitch-hiking on starships. You didn't want to turn over your precious notes on Minbari biology during the war, so you just burned them instead and walked away again. You used work to run away from your personal life and stims to run away from your work. And right now, you are running away from everything. Don't you die on me yet. I'm not through with you. You finally had it all, didn't you? You had a good job, people who cared about you and you messed it up! 'I have to leave before they fire me. I have to go find myself.' What a bunch of mealy-mouthed self-indulgent foundationist crap! Take responsibility for your actions, for crying out loud. You go in there and you fight for what matters to you, don't just walk away because it's easier. What did you say? Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot. You are too busy dying, aren't you? I guess that's a bit more important to you right now. Well, fine, you do what you want, because you and I, we parted ways a long time ago. So just go ahead and die, because I really don't care anymore…get up off the damn floor. I don't care how much it hurts. Don't you go passing out on me, because that's just another kind of running away. Now, you take the reponsibility. Show me that you want it. Get up off the damn floor. That's it. Come on. Come on. Get up on your own two feet and stand up, you stand up!"…

The words faded away. He was looking at something, the ceiling he realised. Something moved into view, for a moment he didn't remember who it was, and then he saw her eyes. A spike of irrational fear flooded him.

"Sorry." She said softly, her gentle hands helping him sit up in the cramped room they were using to try and find if he could block her scans for any length of time.

"oww." He muttered, gingerly touching his head. He could feel the pain on the back of his head.

"I can imagine." She smiled ruefully. Sitting back she stared at him. "you really didn't want me to see that did you?" she asked with a frown. He swallowed the taste of bile in his mouth and nodded.

"Never really want to tell anyone." He said softly. She frowned.

"Maybe that's your new way of running away…" she suggested. He looked up at her.

"No, not really. It's just… I dunno-"

"So personal you don't know how you'd deal with someone else knowing." She smiled slightly, bitterly. "I understand that." She looked towards the doors. "Sometimes though, sometimes it can help when your friends help you." He looked up at her.

"I didn't know we'd reached friend status.." he joked. She smiled.

"I know your darkest secret, you know most of mine." She shrugged. The silence seemed to ring in the air.

"Let's take a break.

Stephen glanced over at her as they sat in the small cramped room, it no longer spun if he moved his head too quickly and the pain in the back and right side of his head was fading. She had her dark eyes closed, the first thing he noticed was that her dark eyes were brushing her cheeks. He noted the tiny pinprick cuts on the still slightly yellow tinged skin of her cheeks. Her eyes opened and met his.

"What was it? It was a glove, with tiny little sharp bits of metal in the leather." She said with a sardonic smile. He frowned.

"Did you scan me?" he asked, slightly indignant. She closed her eyes again. "No. You're broadcasting. At this range, and with my head in it's current state I doubt I could block a latent." She sighed and shifted. She winced as she did so. He felt an echoing twinge of guilt. She still had open wounds. Almost as though she did not have the heart to heal.

That added to the fact that anytime he had to touch her he could feel the way her muscles tightened. He could in fact see them under her dark skin, they were taught as though at any moment she might have to defend herself.

"Well I might." She whispered. He glared at her.

"Would you stop that?" he growled irritably. "It's bad enough I have to spend large amounts of time with Marcus without you reading my mind every five seconds!" he exclaimed harshly. She opened her eyes. One brow was lifted elegantly at him. A mocking smile graced her lips. He looked at her for a second before a small growl issued from his throat. He threw his hands up into the air. He considered apologising. He went to open his mouth-

"I accept your apology." She said with a serious expression, before once again closing her eyes. This time though her mouth still held the traces of a mocking smile.

"You're as impossible as he is!" he told her exasperatedly. She cracked one eye open slightly.

"Thank you. That's a real compliment." She smiled at him. He glanced away before being drawn back to the enormous smile she was wearing, her one eye still watching him. He looked away again and found himself glancing back. She was still watching him. Resolutely he turned his attention to studying the wall. It was a very interesting wall. With all sorts of different marks on it… A scratch. He glanced sideways. The damned eye was still watching him.

"What do you want?" he finally exploded.

"Who me?" she gave him an innocent wide eyed look. He growled and turned back to his examination of the wall. Marcus came in.

"Well you two seem to be getting along splendidly." He said regarding the pair of them.

As they stood they gave him death glares. He grinned as they passed him.

"What news from the bomb site?" asked Stephen worriedly. As Marcus was about to respond he was interrupted.

""More importantly, how are the arrangements to get us off this rock once they've-" she jerked her thumb over her shoulder. "-made their decision." As she said it her head tilted sideways. She frowned, something on the edge of her thoughts... Then her eyes widened. She whipped her head up to look at the roof.

"What-" began Marcus, when they were lifted off the floor. "GET DOWN!" she screamed, throwing herself after them, even as she used her telekinesis to throw them like rag dolls. Behind her the room dissolved in a shower of fire and metal.

Stephen found himself on the ground he pushed himself upright and paused. A group of soldiers were dropping through the hole. Guns trained on those in the room. After a moment of silence one of them issued an order.

"Beta squad! Grab any weapons they have, and then get the two of them out of here!" he ordered. "Gamma squad continue on Target!" Stephen looked at Marcus who was standing, hands raised, apparently at ease. A ladder had been lowered into the room and two Psi Cops descended the ramp. They turned and surveyed the room clinically. Stephen felt the breath leave his body in a gasp as one of the soldier's hauled him to his feet. The first of the two was medium sized dark skinned man with a buzz cut, the second had short blonde hair and an icy expression.

"Talia!" he choked, coughing on the smoke in the air. The woman smiled slightly at him.

"Ah hello Stephen. I thought you might be here." She smiled as she approached him.

She quieted her mind, Blocking out every emotion in the room, a difficult task because of the amount of tension that hung in the air like a choking gas, blinding her Psi senses. Fortunately it was also blinding the others too her presence. She watched as the blonde who had once been Talia Winters approached Stephen, His eyes were alight with something. He pulled in the guards grip.

"Get out of my head!" he said as his eyes focused fiercly on Talia.

"Where is she?" asked the blonde, her icy voice cracking slightly. She felt the pressure the woman was applying on Stephen, she waited till the other joined her. They both had their hands raised as Stephen struggled in the soldier's arms.

She dropped to the floor, using her telekinesis to cushion her landing, even as she released her telekinetic bonds to the walls and ceilings. She landed without a noise denn'bok extending between two soldiers heads. They were shoved apart and fell with cries. She leant down into a fighting crouch.

"She's right here." she told them as she opened her mind. As they turned she threw her head back and screamed. And screamed as those around her clutched their heads and fell to their knees.