Timeline: Set near the end of the first season episode Born to the Purple.

Disclaimer: All characters owned by JMS and Babylonian productions.

Author's note: written for the episode challenge at The Firing Lane community. Dedicated to Sabine.


It had been an old joke among the Centauri colonists on Darvo: what was worse than having a new official from the homeworld ruin your day? Having a Narn turn up on your doorstep.

Adira had never found it very funny. She didn't laugh, either, when she found Ambassador G'Kar standing outside her quarters. After being rescued by Londo and Commander Sinclair, she was tired with guilt and shame. She only wanted to pack and get away from the station as quickly as possible. Londo hadn't made any accusations when the security personnel had brought her to him; on the contrary, he had kissed her and thanked Sinclair again and again for his help. But surely that was just the relief of the moment. He was bound to remember how she had betrayed him and react with hate and scorn any time now.

"What do you want, Ambassador?" she asked tonelessly.

"To congratulate you on your rescue, of course," the Narn said suavely, "especially since I was able to contribute my share to it."

This was news. But then, Trakis had wanted to sell Londo's purple files to the Narn, so it was possible G'Kar had been involved. Still, she knew from Londo's tales that the Narn ambassador didn't just hate the Centauri in general but him in particular, so any involvement was bound to have been involuntarily.

Without waiting for her invitation, he stepped inside. His eyes fell on the starlaces scattered all over the room. She hadn't had time to clean up, and tears welled up in her eyes as she realised Londo must have done this when looking for her. With an effort, she held them back.

"My, but Mollari has quite a temper," G'Kar said. "If I were you, I'd try to get as far away from him as I could. Which I'm willing to help you with. We Narn know what it is like to be slaves, after all. I have a natural sympathy for the oppressed."

That was a line he could try on someone else, but not on a woman who had been Trakis' possession since more than four years now.

"No, you don't," Adira said flatly. "Not if the oppressed are Centauri. What do you want from me?"

G'Kar looked more appreciative than insulted, and smiled at her.

"Surely," he said, making it sound more like a statement than a question, "you made more than one copy of those purple files?"

She opened her mouth to reply she'd never be that disloyal to the Republic, that she'd never betray her people to their worst enemies. But what she actually found herself answering was:

"I could never do that to Londo."

"My dear, you did it already," G'Kar said, matter-of-factly. It occurred to her that this was the longest conversation she ever had with a Narn. Adira was young enough not to remember when the occupation had come to a close; all she had known of the Narn before coming to Babylon 5 was that they were bloodthirsty terrorists intent on killing any Centauri they got their hands on, stories to frighten children with before they grew up and were sold into slavery and discovered there were far more real horrors in the universe.

"But not again," she said firmly, and started to pick up the starlaces. Starved for water, they had lost their glitter and were sad, crumbled petals in her hands.

"Whatever he's paying, I'm paying more. Enough for you to buy your freedom with," G'Kar said, and added, almost as an afterthought: "You don't really believe you're in love with him, do you?"

Love. Love was for songs and stories, but not for real life. She had told herself that day in and day out, just as she had told herself Londo would despise her as soon as he learned the truth about her.

"I love him," Adira said and could not believe that a man who hated Londo far more than Trakis did was the first person to hear this.

G'Kar caught her hand as she was picking up yet another starlace. It was a firm but not cruel grasp, which startled her. She had assumed a Narn would never touch a Centauri voluntarily, but then, the girls at the Dark Star had gossiped about Ambassador G'Kar's unusual interest in non-Narn females. As a matter of fact, nobody had ever seen him with a Narn woman at all.

"But why?" he asked, sounding seriously amazed. "The man is an annoying fool who talks too much. Surely you could do better."

It was a definite pass, though she knew this wasn't about her. He wanted those files, and it seemed he wanted to compete with Londo almost as much. Still, it was intriguing that he'd go that far, and in such a way. If the stories from her childhood were true, he should have tried to beat the files out of her, or worse.

In any case, this was a far easier situation for her to deal with than the realisation that she had fallen in love. Any dancer knew how to handle men whose passes were for whatever reason not wanted, how to stun and how to disarm them.

"Don't discount something you haven't yet tried out yourself, Ambassador," Adira said, painting a bright smile on her lips and taking the opportunity to gently maneuvre him out of her room while he was still speechless. Once the doors had closed behind him, she quickly locked them.

For some reason, the entire interlude had managed to cheer her up a bit. She would pack, and she would leave, but she would see Londo again first, and tell him how she felt.

Having a Narn turn up on your doorstep wasn't so bad after all.