Disclaimer: Babylon 5 and its characters don't belong
to me. Londo Mollari and the others mentioned all
belong to J. Michael Straczynski, and my amateur
efforts probably can't do justice to his work. But I
do try. :)

Author's note: Londo may be just a little out of
character here, but I've done my best to capture some
of what his thoughts might be, circa "The Fall of
Centauri Prime". So this has spoilers for that, and
vague spoilers for a lot of stuff that took place
before it.

"Nightmares in Waking"
by Christine Anderson
alias Elayne Trakand

It is another dark moment, too much like the one when
I at last came to understand what the Regent had
done- and, perhaps more importantly, /why/ he had
done it. When I am allowed to close my eyes, I can
still see those jump points forming, dozens of them
in the skies of Centauri Prime.

I sit upon the throne I never wanted, the one I want
even less now, and I do not sit straight and look out
upon the world before me as a Centauri Emperor
should- I slouch, one arm upon the armrest, my chin
in my hands. I brood now in ways I never did even
when things were at their worst back on Babylon 5. I
long for those days.

For those days, for my freedom- and since I can have
neither of those things, I long very much for a
drink. But when I am free to take one, I find that I
do not want it. Perhaps there is a part of me that
knows it will do nothing to dull the pain of any of
this. /They/ will not allow that.

How little thought we gave to some things, while we
still had a chance to make a preemptive strike. The
Drakh served the Shadows. We knew that, of course,
but I do not think that anyone really grasped that
fact. The Shadows were insidious; they did terrible
things in the darkness, things you would never see
coming until it was almost too late, if then. The
Drakh are not the Shadows, but they learned from
those whom they called masters- and they are fools
not to have seen it.

I, of course, have a much changed perspective on
things now- now that I am no longer free to tell them
/anything/ but what the Drakh wish me to, I can think
whatever I please. My inability to divulge this
knowledge I have gained amuses them, as it amused
them to watch me walk away from them for the last
time of my own free will, when I said my last
goodbyes to G'Kar. Oh, the irony of that! That /he/
was there, and I could not speak a word of what I'd
learned from the Drakh, from the Regent, because if I
had, they would simply have killed him. I could have
taken the chance, once- if his life meant nothing to
me. But it does, now, and the attempt would have been
futile in any case.

I delivered to Sheridan and Delenn the instrument of
the Drakh's revenge, a thing which would have made
even the Shadows proud. The thought of it sitting
there now, upon their shelf, might cause me a shudder
or at least a cringe, if I were allowed it.

I am not allowed much. They put words into my mouth
and I speak them, and sometimes they will let loose
their choke hold long enough for me to make a
gesture, take a step, say a word in my own voice.
Just enough to give me a taste of freedom before they
snatch it away. Even when they give me their
'rewards', these hours and moments 'free' of them,
they watch, and they wait... I could not, even then,
call anyone, nor speak the truth if and when I
reached them.

My pride was the first thing to be sacrificed in all
of this, I think. Outwardly, I am still Centauri-
arrogant, proud, sure of myself. But within,
everything is different, and if I could ask for their
help- if I could /beg/ for their help, /plead/ for
it, throw myself at Sheridan's feet and cry out that
he must, if not save me, for I am already damned,
somehow free the Centauri, free my people... If I
could do any of those things, I would. But I cannot.

I think back upon the dream I used to have, of G'Kar
killing me, strangling me as I sat here upon this
very throne, and if I could make that dream come true
now, today, I might do that, as well. That may be
what it takes, indeed, to free the Centauri, and for
that- To be released from this torment and to free my
people all at once, that I would do in an instant.

The irony of wishing a /Narn/ were around to save my
people is not lost on me, but as I believe I heard
Mister Garibaldi say on more than one occasion,
"We've got bigger problems."

I think of them, all of them scattered now, gone
their separate ways- Garibaldi finally having gotten
sense enough to trade in his overindulgence in
alcohol for a good woman- I rather miss mine, though
am grateful she did not live to see me like this. And
you must understand, of course, that the irony of
this statement doesn't escape me, my own
overindulgences being the stuff of legend, back when
these things mattered... G'Kar, running out to the
Rim to explore, in order to escape his peoples'
attempts to turn him into some form of religious
figure... Oh, how I wish that I had been on Babylon 5
to see that! ...Lyta, who I am told has changed so
much that I would hardly recognize her, journeying
with him. The way she quests for what is best for
her, the way she drives after what she wants... ah,
she could almost be Centauri... Vir, dear Vir, who
may not be so hopeless as I once thought, after all,
back on Babylon 5, taking over where I left off...
Ivanova, gone a year already now, gone after Marcus
died, somewhere out there in the stars, in command of
her own ship... Franklin, back to Earth to continue
his work, a choice I thought dull, but then, Franklin
always was that... Sheridan and Delenn, on Minbar,
overseeing the Interstellar Alliance, a dream I wish
more than ever to see succeed because I can no longer
be a part of it, and the two of them, always
together...

I know that in all likelihood I will never see them
again. Sitting at the last with Sheridan and Delenn,
it felt like goodbye, and even if it is not, it
should be. Anyone close to me is in danger, I know
that. And because it amuses the Drakh to keep me from
anything which I would enjoy, I may very well never
be able to see my friends again, not in person.

When it all began five years ago, we did not know how
it would end. We did not know if peace were even
possible. Now the galaxy seems to have it, but I
think the wars have simply become internalized now.
For some, like Garibaldi, the internal wars someday
end. For me, they will end only when I am dead.

I know that one day the Regent's fate will be mine. I
will either die when I cease to be of use to them...
or their presence within my thoughts, their fingers
in my mind, will drive me mad, as the Regent was
driven mad. /Then/ they will kill me, and another
will be chosen, for the dual burdens of leadership of
the Centauri, and...guidance by the Drakh. I do not
envy whomever next leads.

It is funny, in a tragic sort of way- I always
thought that to be the Emperor must be a grand and
yet very lonely thing. As with many things I decided
when I was but a foolish young Centauri, I had no
idea. I had no /idea/!

It would be easy to say now that I did not know,
either- did not know when I met the strange man
called Morden, that it would place me on this path. I
could say that I did not understand I was making what
the humans would call deals with the devil. But I
understood enough. I understood there were things I
didn't want to know, questions I didn't want to ask.
But not asking those questions, doesn't mean I did
not know the answers.

Listen to me now. I sound like that three-times
damned Vorlon who used to lurk about Babylon 5,
dispensing confusion of a sort our seeresses, mad as
they all are, could only have dreamed about. But it
is the truth. It is the truth I speak now- now, when
there is no one to listen save myself.

Oh, the bitter irony! If I am not killed by the
Drakh, if I am not struck down in mercy by my old
friends, or wiped out by the vengeance of the gods, I
will probably suffer death by irony.

I should be so lucky.

Reaching for the bottle, ever-present though I seldom
find I can gather the energy to drink from it, I
stare for a while at its contents, before taking a
long sip. It is the first effort to do anything I
have made in a while. I do very little now when my
time is my own- such as that is -because there is
little point.

I often fall to sleep here, in this throne that has
become like a prison. Better here, where the Drakh
must hide in shadows, then in my own private rooms,
where they may step into the light and force me to
look at them. It is a small thing, and it does not
matter enough to trouble them. It is not willpower,
is not me fighting back against them- I can't do that
anymore, I've forgotten if ever I knew how -but it is
the last act of defiance I have it within me to make.

Now I dream again of G'Kar's hands around my throat,
and I pray to whatever gods may still exist in this
cursed world of mine, that this time it is real.