Saints, Angels, & Vorlons
Disclaimer: Babylon 5 and its characters don't belong to me. The characters mentioned all belong to J. Michael Straczynski, and my amateur efforts probably can't do justice to his work. Delenn, Kosh the second, Jeffrey Sinclair, the Shadow-tinged persona who once was Anna Sheridan, and anybody else I might have mentioned here, will be returned unharmed, though I can't say the same for my sanity after being woken up by these characters muttering in my ear at around 2AM...
Author's note: My Kosh quotes are probably just a bit inaccurate, and my Sinclair 'quotes' are figments of my imagination. This is slightly on the AU side... a little bit of a "what if...?". This story takes place sometime between "Walkabout" and "Shadow Dancing".
"Saints, Angels, & Vorlons"
by Christine Anderson
aka Anla'shok Ivanova
Before the advent of the Shadow War, I do not think any of us knew that gods could die. We found, with great and terrible sadness, that we were wrong. We were wrong. I know, of course, that the Vorlons were not gods. But in his own way Kosh was the wisest of us, though it wasn't his way, nor the way of his people, to impart that wisdom in words that we could readily understand. We lost much when we lost him to the Shadows.
I think that the others do not know what I do, that Kosh knew what the price would be for helping us, for doing as John asked. John...John knows, but the others do not, and better that way, I think. It had to be done; sacrifices had to be made, and Kosh knew that.
John blames himself for the death of Kosh. I think that he, like many of the others, did not realize what Kosh meant, what he was to all of us and to this place, until he was gone.
The guilt about this place is, has always been, tangible. You can walk down any corridor or into any room and wrap yourself up in it. You can do that until you feel nothing else at all. And I wish very much that I could do that, but I cannot. I am more Grey now than ever I was before, and as ever, the burdens of that are heavy indeed.
I want to tell them everything, all of it down to the very last thing, but I am afraid. It is too soon. The Shadows move openly now, but it is too soon, and if they turn their eyes to us before we are ready, while the alliances are still fragile enough to break at the slightest touch... I know the cost of speaking up. But for keeping silent, I do not know yet what the price of that will be. It does not matter, for it must be this way, but I do wonder.
To myself at least I can admit this much- that a great deal of the guilt that haunts Babylon 5 is mine. I feel as if I am lying to all of them, and to John especially I wish that I could tell the truth. I cannot, however. If he knew what I knew...
Secrets. They have never been the way of my people, and now they are nearly all I know. Kosh knew things he did not choose to share with me, and many of those died with him. And there was a secret between he and Sheridan, something... I do not know what it is or was, I only know that there are things I know none other but John Sheridan would do. For the most part this is a good thing, and much needed now; without his strength and force of will, we might not have come so far, and yet... I see a deep and terrible something in his eyes, and it is not just the secrets we share, we of the war council, it is not simply these horrible secrets none of us wanted but that which we all must bear now, for better or worse.
As there are things I am keeping from him and the others, so too is there something which he is keeping from me, from us. And this troubles me, has troubled me since Sheridan came to know of the threat the Shadows posed to all of us. Something happened that day, something I do not yet know. Something changed, something he and Kosh were aware of, but somehow I was not. It is only fair, I suppose, that as I keep things from them, so too were things kept from me, but I cannot rid myself of the feeling that this is something I need to know.
And as to what it is I have not told him...there are many things, but there is the possibility of a dark and terrible truth that I would keep from him at any cost. Knowing it would serve no purpose, but it pains me not to tell him. I love him. I want to tell him, but I must not.
"Understanding," Kosh once said, "is a three edged-sword. Their side, your side, and the truth." And this is something it would cut him very deeply if he were to understand.
But the name, the face in the photographs, these things haunt my dreams, and I wish there were someone I dared confide in. Sinclair, my dearest old friend, is gone, and he is, I think, the only one whom I might entrust these words to. Certainly no one here...Not Lennier, and certainly not John.
All these years, and it is still too soon. I know that whenever her name passes his lips; it is a wound not yet healed, a wound that may never heal if he knows what might be so...
She would not serve! I scream in my mind, to anyone, anything, who will hear it and care. Not the one he loved, not her...
You know the Shadows, a voice in the darkness of my quarters seems to whisper back, you know what they are, what they are capable of.
Those who would not serve were killed, I thought, willing it to be so.
And I am reminded then of something Sinclair said to me once, what seems so long ago, "There is death and death again, old friend."
Suddenly, with a horrible and certain clarity, I understand.
Almost before I knew I was moving, I was aware of the door sliding closed behind me, of stepping out into the corridor, finding it deserted before me, the lights dimmed for station night. Robes swirling around me, I turned and made for the tube.
I do not know that Vorlons ever sleep. Certainly each time I have sought out Kosh, the new or the old, he has been there, somehow seeming to be waiting.
"This should not be," I said. One does not bother with greetings to the Vorlon ambassador.
"The avalanche has begun; it is too late for the pebbles to vote."
"Tell me what they have done to her." No answer. "Kosh, I must know! Is she dead? Does she live?"
For a time nothing, then, "Yes."
"I do not-"
"Understanding is not required, only obedience."
"What obedience? What would you have me do?"
He turned away, and I, thinking I must be mad, reached out for him. "Kosh-"
"Go." And I felt myself pushed back, struck as if by some invisible hand.
I staggered out into the corridor beyond, hands clutching at my head.
I turned. "Lyta."
"Are you alright?"
"I do not think any of us are alright, or will be for some time yet," I replied.
"He..." She paused. "The new Vorlon Ambassador, he's...different. Not like our Kosh."
"No," I agreed, "and yet, in some ways, quite similar."
"Did he hurt you?" Lyta asked. "I can help you back to your quarters if you would like-"
"No, thank you," I said.
I returned to my quarters alone, and there, unable to sleep, lit a single candle and sat before its flame. "Valen help me," I whispered. "Old friend, the darkness comes, and there is nothing I can do to stop it. She will come, and she will not be what she was."
"We never are, are we?" Jeffrey Sinclair's voice asked from everywhere, and from nowhere. Then, "There is death, and death again."
"Yes," I whispered.
"Who?" he asked.
"Anna Sheridan," I said, and I wept then, for the woman who was once Anna, for John, for the pain in his eyes which I knew would only grow. For the million things it seemed that I could not stop.
No, the Vorlons are not gods, and nor are we saints or angels, as the humans say, though we have tried to be these things. We are only what we are, and we face these things alone, as it seems we must. In the end we are all alone, alone in our hearts, in our dreams and our fears and our nightmares.
And I sometimes think, that by trying so hard to avoid destiny, all we are ever able to do is bring it that much closer. If we were ever to play those roles, we forgot long ago, if ever we knew, that along with saints and angels there must be their opposites- those forsaken into darkness. It seems that what will be, will be, no matter what is done or not done by us. And we, we are not nearly wise enough to fulfill those roles of saints or angels.