The Grip of Grace

Standard disclaimer applies; not my characters or settings or backgrounds. But they are my words.

Clenching his blood-filled glove against his chest, G'Kar stormed down the corridor. Having to listen to the apologetic mewling of Vir Cotto was almost more than he could stand. What did that Centauri lackey think...that blurting out a clumsy apology would buy him some sort of cheap absolution?

The rapid pace cleared his head somewhat, easing the blood-rage and leaving him shaking in reaction, a feeling which was followed by a cold wave of despair. So many hands reaching out, clutching at him, dragging him down, and his people along with him. He shook his head. Other hands, it was true, were offering support. Few of those hands belonged to his people's ancient enemy.

First the old emperor, and now this stammering, unimportant little man had reached out to him. Both seemingly felt regret for the actions of their race. G'Kar was under no obligation to grant them pardon. He felt no geas, and it was impossible in any case. They wanted to put their crimes in the past, to move forward, to ignore the details of pain and death, to pay no price. He growled deep in his throat at the thought. There would be a price. There was always a price.

Peeling the glove from his hand, ripping away the dried blood that had sealed the cut, he watched the life-giving fluid well up again. The natural course of such wounds was to close, leaving a scar and perhaps a deep bruise, one that he would feel for a long time. If he kept it open, it would not stop bleeding, not until his heart stopped.

So the wound would heal if he let it. Impatiently he thumbed the doorlock to his quarters and entered the dim peace of the room. He let the calm of the familiar surroundings wash over him, as he went through the sitting room to the bath to cleanse and wrap the cut. Uneasy, he considered again the apology he had been offered. It took some courage to speak to an angry Narn warrior, alone, especially one whom you had harmed. Bravery was not a trait he expected from the common Centauri, though he knew few of these. It made him uncomfortable to recognize this, and he buried the thought to consider later, during his evening meditations.

But what G'Kar did not realize was that it was too late. Grace had gripped him by the throat, and would not release him; not until he had learned to forgive.