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Cup Fever

By Susannah Shepherd
'How's your ankle now, Blake?' Cally asked as she stepped on to the flight deck in her surface clothes.

'Oh, it'll be fine by tomorrow,' he said from the sofa, where he sat with one foot in Jenna's lap while she played the regenerator over it.

'I could have told you that the cargo bay was an unsuitable place for an impromptu game of football, even if your favourite team has just made it into the Galactic Cup finals,' Avon said. He picked up two gun belts, one for himself and one for Cally.

'Sorry, Blake,' Gan said guiltily. 'I didn't mean to tackle you so hard.'

'Stop apologising,' Blake said. 'It was a perfectly legal tackle, I just fell awkwardly.'

'And I'm sorry too, Gan,' Jenna said, 'for hacking you in the shins like that.'

Avon gave Cally a long-suffering look as he handed her the gun belt, and she smiled back at him.

//Why are human males so obsessed by these ball games?// Cally telepathed to Avon.

'You're asking the wrong human male,' he replied, causing some puzzled looks from the others.

//But I heard you laugh when Vila did that clever thing with his feet, kicked the ball past Blake and between the tunics, then pulled his shirt off and did his little dance...//

Avon gave Cally a much colder look, which earned an even larger smile from her. Avon turned to the others.

'Well, let's get down there. Although, Blake, I must say that it seems like a pointless exercise to me. I don't see why we owe Avalon any favours, and her organisation is probably riddled with collaborators and spies.'

'Quite possibly,' Blake replied, all reasonable and even-voiced. 'But it would help if we had some idea who they were.'

'And we're going to find that in a deserted base?'

'I don't know... She thought the abandonment was strange, and I agree with her. There was no hint of infiltration, but most of them left in a hurry and were picked up in a Federation security sweep while trying to leave the planet. We don't know what happened to the others, except that they're not at the base there's no life signs for miles.'

'Well now, there wouldn't be, if the Federation had found and killed them all,' Avon sneered.

'The survivors would have managed to get some sort of warning to Avalon if that was the case.'

'Then perhaps the survivors just saw the writing on the wall and decided they'd had enough of rebellion.'

Blake gave Avon a stubborn-mouthed look. 'Or perhaps there's something we need to know about down there.'

Avon held Blake's stare for a moment and then stiffened his shoulders. 'All right. Let's get on with it. Cally, Gan, you're ready?' Both nodded. 'Vila '

'Ouch,' Vila said. 'D'you know, I think I've twisted my ankle, too? Ow.'

'I don't care, so long as it gets you to the teleport section.'

'Just the teleport section? Oh, look at that. It's feeling better already.'

#  #  #

Avon, Cally and Gan materialised some distance from the rebel base, in an area of dense fragrant pine forest.

'Nice planet,' Gan commented.

'If you like trees,' Avon replied, looking suspiciously around him. There was too much cover; you could hide a whole Federation battalion in here.

They made their way cautiously towards the abandoned base. Even though they knew its general location, they had difficulty finding it the building had been constructed inside a natural hillock and covered over with forest floor debris. It took them nearly as long to find and open the door.

The building consisted of several rooms, all dim and musty but slightly pine-scented. There were communal living areas and facilities, two bunk-rooms and one smaller bedroom, and a communication centre. There was an unmistakeable air of abandonment about the whole base; the place looked lived-in, so it had not been a planned orderly evacuation, but neither had things been dropped in panic where they lay. There were no bodies, to everyone's unvoiced relief.

Avon went straight to the communications centre and looked at the computers. 'There's only enough power left in the cells to run these for a little while. I'll download everything to data-cube and we can decrypt it on the Liberator.'

Cally and Gan started to explore the rest of the base while he worked, but they found little of significance. Avon came through to find them, clutching the data-cube.

'Gan, take this back up, and Cally and I will work through the rest of the base while Blake analyses the data.'

Gan nodded and spoke into his bracelet. 'Vila, bring me up when you're ready.' He disappeared in a flash of light.

Avon turned to Cally. 'Did you find anything?'

'No. About the only thing out of place is that the medical supplies have been stripped almost bare. But that might just mean they were due for a supply run.'

'All right then. Let's search the office, there's a lot of hard copy in there.'

They hadn't worked for long, sorting paper and flimsies into piles, before Avon's teleport bracelet chimed.

'Avon, it's Blake here. Look, we've found out why they abandoned the place.'

Avon didn't like the tone of Blake's voice. 'Why?' he asked suspiciously.

'According to the logs, they were struck by a virulent infection. It killed one third of the personnel in a week.'


'Yes, I'm sorry. Look, I know this might sound callous, but I want you and Cally to stay down there for the time being. We've got everyone who's been exposed in quarantine up here, and Zen's searching the databases for more information.'

Cally nodded and spoke into her own bracelet. 'Of course, Blake, we understand.'

'We'll be back in touch as soon as we know anything else. Take care.'

Cally looked at Avon once Blake had signed off. 'They disposed of the bodies. That will cut the risk of infection.'

He didn't reply to her comment. 'Keep looking through these papers. We may as well do something while we wait.'

#  #  #

The next time the bracelets chimed, it was Jenna's voice.

'What do you want first, the good news or the bad?'

'Good,' Cally said quickly, before Avon could say something scathing.

'We've identified the illness. It's a very nasty virus, but Gan's tested completely clear, and if you've been exposed you'll be showing symptoms by now.' Jenna gave a sudden, unexpected giggle. 'Avon, how flexible are you?'

'Very,' Avon said dryly. 'I'd be dead if I wasn't adaptable.'

'No, I meant physically. The first signs are painless red rings or nodules along the spine and down around the, um, genital region. Front and back. You'll have to check each other, I'm afraid, unless there's a hall of mirrors down there.'

Avon was silent for a moment. 'Thank you for the bad news,' he said.

'Oh, that's not the bad news. There's pursuit ships heading our way. We're going to be pulling out of teleport range until we've lost them.'

'What if we are infected, Jenna?' Cally asked.

'Then I'll take the risk of coming back for a hit-and-run pickup we should have a treatment synthesised soon. But if you're not ill, I'd rather not risk the ship. Look, we've got to go. Call back if either of you are infected, and we'll get the isolation protocols ready.'

Cally looked at Avon and shrugged. 'Sounds straightforward.'

'Yes,' Avon said, his voice carefully neutral.

'It's a bit cold in here to be taking our clothes off,' Cally said. 'If we're going to have to stay for a while, we should find the heating.'

'Risky,' Avon argued. 'We don't want to show up on anyone's heat sensors, and in any case most of the fuel cells in the place are near depleted.'

'Just one room?' Cally suggested. 'What about the smallest one, the bedroom?'

It was, Avon had to admit, a sensible idea. The base was cold, and there was little point in making an awkward situation even more uncomfortable. 'All right.'

The tiny bedroom turned out to be as well lit as any of the rooms, and it had a small portable heater in it with a reasonable charge left in the fuel cell. Cally turned it on, and the room was warm within a couple of minutes.

Avon knew what they had to do, but he was still rather startled when Cally sat down on the coverlet of the bed to pull off her boots, then began to strip. She did it without any sign of self-consciousness, and he found himself watching openly as she peeled off her outer layers and then wriggled out of her tight trousers. Her plain, utilitarian underwear came off just as readily.

He pretended not to notice that her small pert breasts had not yet reacted to the warming room and that her generous nipples were still rosy and erect. He also pretended not to notice how tall and lean she was, all lithe and flat-stomached and long-thighed. No, he definitely hadn't noticed that.

Cally turned around then, so that he could inspect her bare back. He had to sweep her hair away from the nape of her neck to check the top of her spine, and her curls tangled around his fingers. They were soft, very soft, and he had to take in a deep breath before he could lift up his other hand to trace the line of her backbone.

Her spine was so knobbly that he had to check slowly, working his way down methodically and checking that each bony lump was as it should be. She was starting to warm up, and her skin felt just as soft and lovely against her fingertips as her hair had. Avon concentrated even harder on the complicated details of the skeleton beneath the skin.

Concentration became a more difficult as he worked further down and found himself inspecting the small of her back. It was impossible to ignore the curve of her hips and the swell of her bottom, softer and more rounded than he would have expected from her clothed body.

'Wouldn't that be easier to do if I bend over?' Cally asked, then proceeded to do just that without waiting for a reply, leaning her elbows on the edge of the high bed.

Avon strangled down the squeak that threatened to escape from his throat. Discipline, he told himself firmly, discipline and detachment. It doesn't matter that her back's swayed like that, with her bottom thrust up high and pert, waiting for some attention. It is perfectly possible to run your fingers down the cleft of that bottom in a dispassionate way, even if it is the most gorgeous flawless bottom you've seen for a while. See? Fingers moving, palms lightly gripping soft flesh, parting her cheeks just enough to check for anything wrong.

Heart pounding? Hands shaking? That wasn't supposed to happen. Control, man, control... Check, check thoroughly, your life could depend on this. He made himself look carefully, scanning the soft pink flesh for any marks of illness. Cally shifted slightly, parting her legs for him those long thighs, so slim that they didn't meet in the middle and he took in a deep breath.

'Can you see something wrong?' Cally asked.

Another deep breath, held for a second and then let out. 'No,' he said, 'Everything's... perfect.'

'Good,' she said, and straightened. Avon relaxed a little, but then she turned and lay back on the bed. 'Can you check the front too? I couldn't find a hand mirror.'

Avon wondered what shades of red he was turning as she stretched out and drew up her legs, watching him unconcernedly. His heart was thumping painfully hard, but to refuse to do this would require him to admit why, and that was out of the question. It also needed to be done.

He tried to switch his mind over into scientific curiosity. That should be easy; he'd wondered often enough just how close Cally's physiology was to that of humans and where the points of difference lay, and here was an excellent opportunity to find out.

She had reclined back in the middle of the bed, so he had to sit between her feet and twist around to look. He could smell her now, a soft, delicate odour, not quite that of a human female suggestive of some biochemical differences, surely.

He reached out, extremely tentatively, to inspect the hidden reaches of her body. She looked outwardly human, with springy dark curls covering a soft mound and fleshy pink folds. Oh, hell. Could he really touch her like that, deft and clinical, when she was all spread out like this across a soft double bed?

'Cally, could you... ah... hold yourself open for me?'

'Oh, of course. I'm sorry.' Her hands reached down and Avon took in yet another deep breath as her fingers parted those soft outer lips and laid open the delicate inner flesh to his gaze. Detachment, scientific curiosity. Yes, physiology very similar, if not identical; right down to the little hooded clitoris... Clinical, man, clinical.

And all of it was as flawless as the rest of her, he recognised with relief no nasty redness or lumps anywhere. There was just one little spot he couldn't see, tucked behind a fold of pink flesh, and before he realised what he was doing he reached out to touch her. Oh, she was warm hot, even, by human standards and ever so slightly damp...

Cally gasped as his fingertips brushed her, and Avon snatched his hand away as though he'd had an electric shock.

'Oh,' she groaned, 'your fingers feel cold. Sorry, carry on.'

The spurt of guilty fear that had washed through Avon was enough to let him finish his inspection with the required objectivity. As soon as he'd checked her thoroughly he sprang to his feet, off the bed.

Cally sat up more slowly, dangling her legs over the edge of the bed. 'Your turn,' she said cheerfully, making no move to put her clothes back on.

In his effort to keep his thoughts in check, Avon had almost forgotten that he too was going to have to get naked. Hell. He turned his back on Cally and peeled off his jacket, then his top. He stopped once he'd stripped to the waist, and waited.

Her fingers felt warm against his neck, and the path they traced down his spine was thorough and slow and gentle. Not sensual, he told himself. No, it wasn't sensual at all. She paused as she explored the lines of his lower back, and he felt her thumbs kneading delicately into his muscles. She must be hitting a nerve, because his stomach was churning.

'You're very tense in the lumbar region, Avon. You'll end up with back problems if you're not careful. I'll give you a massage when we're finished, if I can find some oil.'

Cally's hands, warm and lubricated and sliding over his skin... 'It hardly needs it,' he said.

'We have nothing else to do while we wait, and I think it would help you.' Her hands continued down to the waistband of his trousers. 'You're going to have to take these off now.'

Avon stepped away further from her, crouched down to remove his boots, then reluctantly began to undress with his back kept turned the whole time. This was about to become very embarrassing, given the awakening and unreliable contents of his underwear, but given a choice between embarrassment and lingering death, he'd have to take embarrassment.

'Your nakedness makes you very uncomfortable,' Cally commented, sounding surprised. 'Why? The unclothed body is a very natural thing, and nothing to be ashamed of.'

'I'm not ashamed,' he lied. 'Things are different on Earth. I'm a very modest man.'

She laughed. 'No you're not.'

'Very well, then. I'm shy.'

'Yes,' she said more softly, 'you are, aren't you? But you know me well enough by now, surely.'

With that, her hands grasped Avon by the waist and began to guide him towards the bed. He managed to shuffle over and kneel on it without exposing himself to her, then took a deep breath and bent over. At least this way he didn't have to look at her.

'This all looks fine,' Cally said as she gripped his cheeks and parted them, then ran an inquisitive finger down the groove between. Avon tried not to whimper as she came close to his most responsive places. 'But I can't see properly here... can you push your knees apart a bit?'

Avon obeyed, face flaming red and head hanging in desperate, terrified mortification. Her fingers drifted downwards and, as she inadvertently stroked the ultra-sensitive area behind his scrotum, he had to bite his lip hard to stop himself crying out.

Her hands stopped moving for a moment, and there was a brief pause. 'Avon,' she said, 'your penis appears to be a little hot and swollen, but I cannot see any nodules.'

He took a couple of breaths to compose himself. 'That's not infectious, Cally, just a... natural variation.'

'Oh, good. I was worried for a moment. Turn over.'

He screwed his eyes tight shut and did as he was told. His cock was only just starting to stiffen in earnest, and he might be able to get away with it if she could just get it over with quickly, while he could still keep some control.

Cally guided his legs a little further apart as he lay back on the bed, and he tried to pretend that she was that ghastly sharp-fingered male doctor who'd done his prison medical. But then her warm digits slipped between his legs and gently rolled his testicles from side to side, checking for marks or lumps, and he realised it was hopeless. This was no brutal medical examination. Her fingers slipped up and lifted his cock, feeling around the base and up the shaft as she did it. The blood surged into his groin, and he had to just lie there, keep quiet, and pretend it wasn't happening.

Her hands dropped away, and he realised she had finished his examination. 'Avon, your penis is very swollen now. Are you sure you're all right?'

He swallowed hard, propped himself up on his elbows, and forced himself to look at her normally. He tried to ignore her nakedness. 'Yes, Cally, it's fine. Just leave it, and the swelling will recede naturally.'

A sudden light of understanding dawned in Cally's eyes, and she gasped. 'Oh!' She flushed and dropped her eyes. 'You're sexually excited!'

'Well now, it is a normal physiological reaction when an attractive naked woman fondles a man's genitals like that.' Avon knew his voice shouldn't be quite so hoarse or shaky.

'I'm sorry, I didn't realise...' She frowned for a moment as her thoughts caught up with his words. 'You find me physically attractive?'

There didn't seem much point in trying to lie when the evidence was so damning and impossible to hide. 'It would appear so.'

The diverted blood flow had obviously been impairing his own thinking, because the implications of some of her statements had only just caught up with him.

'Cally, are you telling me that you've never seen an erection before?' She was a mature woman, not a girl; surely she had some experience.

'I have seen pictures, but this is the first I have handled.'

That piqued Avon's inquisitive mind, and curiosity won out over embarrassment and propriety. 'Then forgive my asking, but how is sexual interest expressed on Auron?'

'I don't mind you asking at all. It is an important aspect of biology.' She sat down next to him on the bed, and he could feel her radiating warmth. 'We express ourselves telepathically, mostly, although we touch and kiss as well. Full physical coupling is only required for unmediated procreation, and I have never attempted to conceive that way.'

I don't believe this , Avon thought, I'm lying naked on a bed, nursing a rampant hard-on and calmly discussing alien sex.

'And with humans?' Cally asked, waving her hand dangerously close to Avon's groin, subsiding slightly now that they were talking in abstract clinical terms. 'This is how you would display your interest to a female?'

He laughed and lay back, lacing his hands behind his head. 'Only if I was already very sure of her interest, or she would have kicked me in the groin by now. It's a largely involuntary reaction to certain mental or sensual stimuli.'

'So humans do respond to mental stimulus? You seem so physically fixated.'

'Oh yes, very much so. It's something of a cliché, but it's said that the brain is the primary sexual organ.'

Cally lay down next to him on her stomach, and turned her head to hold his gaze. 'Avon...' her voice sounded hesitant.

'Mmmm?' She really did have a lovely bottom.

'I can't really describe how I would...' she searched for the right words, ' with an Auronar I was close to, you wouldn't understand. But I could show you.'

Avon's internal organs all seemed to reorganise themselves with a sudden lurch. Sex. Sex with lovely Cally and her naked bottom. Hot alien sex.

'Why not?' he said, trying to sound nonchalant but not quite achieving it. 'I must admit I am curious.'

She gave him a relieved, grateful smile, and it suddenly occurred to him just how isolated and alone she must feel on board the Liberator, without another telepathic mind to share with.

'What should I do?' he asked.

'Just hold me, hold me close. I'll do the rest. Stop me if you don't like it.'

He rolled on to his side and took her into his arms. That was no hardship, she was so warm and soft to the touch. She didn't return the embrace, but she rested her fingertips on his temples and closed her eyes.

Avon did the same and felt the tendrils of her consciousness begin to move through his. It was unlike the way she normally communicated telepathically there were no words but her meaning and intent was clear. She was stroking him, stroking and teasing at every synapse and neuron, and it felt absolutely wonderful.

He groaned aloud, and her telepathic laughter bubbled through him. //Nice?// she asked teasingly, and he whispered an agreement. His hands played down her flanks and her back, caressing her skin as she caressed his mind.

She continued for what seemed like forever, dancing around in his consciousness, touching and probing until she had found the most responsive places. Then her tempo changed and she began to stimulate those spots more thoroughly, whipping Avon up to a peak of mental sensation. It felt like the best lay and the best blow job of his life all rolled into one, but all happening exclusively inside his head. Who needed nerve endings when you could have this?

Avon felt one last explosion of sensation, cried out loud, and then she slipped gently away from him. He rolled back feeling drained and happy, and yet he was still physically aroused.

Cally leaned over him, smiling down.

'Like it?'

'Oh yes.' He turned to touch her again. 'You're not going to tell me that we're now bonded for life and obliged to have at least ten children, are you?'

She laughed, recognising the joke under the deadpan delivery. 'That was only foreplay we would have to merge our minds for complete intercourse.' She looked a little sad at that, sad and frustrated, and he stroked her cheek until she smiled again. 'And I couldn't have your children anyway, our chemistry is all wrong.'

'I'm sorry,' he whispered, 'sorry that I couldn't respond for you.'

'It doesn't matter,' she said with a shrug, but it clearly did matter to her, and he pulled her down and held her close. 'You have very expressive hands,' she added. 'I could tell what you liked most.'

Avon let his hands play over her, tracing the dip of her waist and the curve of her hip. 'I feel as though I had all the pleasure from that. I should reciprocate, show you...' He searched his memory for her earlier words. ' I am with a woman I am close to.'

'I would like that,' she whispered, burrowing into his arms. //Very much.//

He raised her face with one hand and kissed her, very gently at first, while his other hand carried on stroking her skin. As he sought out and caressed the warmth of her bottom, she groaned against him and deepened the kiss. This might be easier than he thought, he realised; she could at least respond to him physically. His own responses would be the problem this was supposed to be for Cally's pleasure, but he was burning with unsatisfied desires of his own, and every kiss was making it worse.

He pulled away from her for a moment, and she gave a little frown. He bent over to kiss her gently, then rolled her on to her back. 'Let me know if you don't like anything,' he whispered, then moved his lips to her body.

She cried out softly as he kissed down her soft throat and along the hollows of her collarbones, licking and nibbling at her skin. His hand sought out and traced the delicate curves of one breast, cupping the softness in his palm. She arched up off the bed to meet his touch and he chuckled. His fingers sought out her nipple, found it hard with arousal instead of cold, and flickered at the sensitive flesh.

'Nice?' he murmured, lifting his mouth from her delicate skin.

'Yes,' she gasped, 'oh, yes.'

He chuckled again and slid his mouth down her body until his tongue caressed her other nipple with the same teasing, flickering rhythm. Cally moaned and slid her hands into his hair, holding his head down on to her body, and he began to suckle her more enthusiastically.

//Oh, Avon, that's...//

He lifted his head for a moment and grinned. 'Nice?'

//More than that! Don't stop, please...//

He did as he was told with pleasure, taking the opportunity to switch sides so he could savour her other breast. She tasted like she smelled, pleasant but slightly different. He let one hand drift downwards, tracing a line across her improbably flat stomach, swirling around the soft dimple of her navel, reaching out to caress waist and belly and hip.

She was responsive to every touch and so he let his hand drift lower, into the warm thatch of curls at the base of her stomach. He faltered then, wondering just how far she'd gone with him, in Auron terms, and just how far he should go with her to demonstrate the basics of human sexual arousal.

Cally seemed to sense the source of his hesitancy, because she parted her legs for him and whispered into his mind. //Yes, Avon, yes, you may.//

Avon lifted his mouth from her breast, gave each nipple one farewell kiss, and moved down the bed so that he could prop an elbow in the curve of her waist and give his full attention to arousing her fully.

He closed his eyes briefly as he slipped his fingers between her legs, devoting himself solely to the feel of her velvety flesh. She was hot and moist already and there was almost no friction as he stroked up and down, gathering the wetness, exploring every place that he hadn't trusted himself to touch earlier.

She sighed and stirred restlessly under his hand, and he opened his eyes to watch her. Her own eyes were closed and her hair had spread out in a tangle as she rolled her head on the covers, giving soft moans of pleasure. Avon smiled, feeling unwarrantably smug, and began to move his fingers with more purpose.

Cally's eyes shot open again as Avon's questing fingertips found her clitoris and began to stroke it gently. Her flesh responded instantly, hardening under his touch, and he laughed.

'That's the human equivalent of some of the things you were doing to my brain,' he murmured.

He sensed she didn't quite know how to manage her body's overwhelming response to these unfamiliar stimuli, so he took things cautiously, mixing spells of gentle skirting strokes with more intense stimulation until she was panting and writhing beneath his hands. And he knew there was more he could do to take her higher, if she would let him. He pushed himself back up the bed for a moment, stroked her hair back from her face, and kissed her.

'That is human foreplay?' she asked, when he had reluctantly parted from her mouth. 'I'm burning.'

'I can make you burn hotter, Cally, if you want it,' he promised. 'A way we have sex sometimes, for fun rather than procreation. It's not too intrusive, I won't hurt you.' Although I may well explode myself before I'm finished.

'I know you won't.' Her smile was languid and sultry. 'Perhaps you should show me, Avon, in the interests of interplanetary understanding.'

He laughed again at that and began to kiss his way back down her body, continuing onwards until he had her most intimate places within his reach. Oh, it was bliss, to taste her sweet juices and feel her heat, to have that little hard swelling of flesh responding so thoroughly to his laving tongue.

She was gasping out incoherently now, bursts of speech and telepathy which washed across him. He wanted to feel inside her, to feel her most visceral responses to him, but that was the one place he had avoided touching her, out of fear of hurting or frightening her. But he couldn't restrain himself any longer; he had to touch her there.

His finger slipped into her wet body so easily that it surprised him, as did her response. She cried out and tightened around him, welcoming him inside her. It had been a very long time since Avon had explored a human virgin with his own fumbling inexperienced hands, but he didn't remember it feeling like this. It wasn't a time to ask questions, just to be grateful that his concerns had been unfounded.

Cally clutched his shoulders and ran her hands through his hair as he matched the rhythm of his tongue with that of his fingers, dipping shallowly into her. Each time she contracted around him it send a bolt of arousal straight to his cock, which was imagining all too well just what it would feel like to be wrapped in that hot, tight, silky passage.

He twisted inside her, seeking that hidden spot which would complete her pleasure. He didn't find it immediately, but it was apparent when he did her wild cry rang through his mind, making his own body tingle and seethe. He made himself ignore it, made himself concentrate on the feel of her, her responses, her needs.

He let out a moan of his own when she arched her back and tightened around him one last time before falling back, spent and breathing hard. It wasn't a full, shuddering orgasm, but he couldn't hope for too much too soon. There was time yet to show her that.

'No more,' she panted, 'no more!'

Avon wiped his mouth on his hand and pushed back up the bed to caress her face, smiling as he saw her pink glowing cheeks and dilated eyes. She extended her arms for a cuddle, and he held her close.

His own painfully aroused flesh pressed into her body as he embraced her, and he knew he was too far gone to complete ignore it. He pulled away a little and began to stroke himself, trying not to make it too obvious. It was unlikely she'd be too concerned, though, at a demonstration of male auto-eroticism; she seemed totally free of any hang-ups or fears. He was torn between asking for the assistance of her lovely but inexperienced hands, or simply going it alone and aiming for a quick but mind-shattering orgasm.

Avon decided on the latter and rolled on to his back, using one hand to stroke himself, slowly at first, while his other hand reached out to play with Cally's breasts as she leant on one arm to watch him. Oh yes, his fist was tight, but not hot and wet, not like her. He had to imagine he was holding her, sliding into her, taking her, over and over and over...

//Make love to me, Avon.//

Her request was so unexpected that both his hands stopped dead and he looked at her with what he knew must be an idiotic expression, because she gave a little laugh and smiled a knowing smile.

//We both want to.// She reached out a hand to tease a damp strand of hair away from his forehead, and as her fingers brushed his temple he felt her desire wash through his mind. Her mental caresses circled erotically across his consciousness again, just as her hand reached out and closed gently around his cock, mimicking his own movements.

He wasn't sure whether he pushed her down or she pulled him over, or a combination of both, but after only a momentary tangle of limbs he was lying over her, cradling her welcoming body between his arms.

He paused for a moment to compose himself before he guided himself into her. Oh, that felt magnificent, snug but not resisting, engulfing him with heat, touching him everywhere. It felt so magnificent that he had to withdraw and do it again, sliding past her portals with a heartfelt groan.

Cally held his body tight, willing him deep inside her, and so he complied, caressing them both with long, slow strokes. She groaned and arched again in a gesture already becoming familiar to him, and he could feel the need rising in both of them.

'Cally.' It was the lightest of whispers, a barely expressed thought, but she smiled and kissed him, then reached up to touch his forehead again. He cried out as he felt it, all her arousal and desires, physical and mental, washing through him, becoming his as well. He thrust into her, harder, faster, feeling the feedback, finding the rhythms that drove them both wild and then driving them both wild, over and over again.

Avon felt as though his brain was about to boil, although his bollocks might possibly overheat first if this didn't end soon. He reached up a hand to stroke Cally's face and tangle in her hair as he began to lose control and thrust into her more erratically.

Cally! His larynx wasn't working, only inarticulate moans and cries were emerging as his orgasm exploded through him, but all he could think of was her, Cally, Cally, yes, Cally...

//Avon?// Her telepathic voice was surprised as it was delighted, and then she yelped, short high cries in his ears and in his mind as she juddered and pushed up against him, seeking unity and satisfaction. He held her tight as she came, crying out and sobbing, filling him with a sense of shared fulfilment that he hadn't known since... well, ever.

She quietened quickly as he kept her in his arms, with both of them still cradling the other's face. Then she gave a deep sigh and let her hand drop.

'I felt you,' she said in wonder, 'right at the end, I felt you, in my mind. You called my name.'

'Yes,' he said. 'Was it enough?'

'It's more than I hoped for,' she whispered as she kissed him.

They wrapped around each other, kicking and wriggling until they'd worked under the covers and into the warm if slightly musty sheets, pressing skin against skin until they were almost melded.

Avon was just starting to drift into a satisfied sleep when she mumbled his name.

'Avon? That's not the only way humans make love, is it?'

He was too tired and relaxed to argue with her choice of terminology, and he rested his chin on her shoulder. 'No. There are plenty of variations.'

Cally giggled. 'I'd like to try them all.'

He threw his head back and groaned. 'Cally, I'm only human.'

'All right, then, just a few of them. When you've rested.' She twisted in his arms to kiss his cheek.

Avon closed his eyes and smiled. Now there was a thought. He could think of plenty of things to show her, and that didn't even include the improbable illustrations he'd once seen in that highly illegal book-plaque. Let's see. Cally riding him, seeking her own pace and pleasure on top. Cally on her hands and knees, bottom quivering with his every thrust. Cally, up against the wall for a quick and dirty knee-trembler; good thing she was so slim. Cally, bent over the edge of this bed or even the big solid desk in the office. Cally, lying on her back on the big solid desk in the office with her legs wrapped around his waist. Cally, straddling his lap while he sat on the rec room sofa. And then, when they were too tired for anything else, curled up in bed like this, taking her slowly from behind...

He drifted off to sleep with a broad grin on his face.

#  #  #

They were dozing in bed after a partial completion of Avon's mental list when their teleport bracelets chimed, startling them both awake. It took a moment to find them in the debris of the bedroom.

'Avon? Cally? Are you all right?' Blake's voice was beginning to sound anxious.

'We're fine, Blake,' Cally replied into her bracelet, pushing her tousled hair out of her face. Avon obviously couldn't resist one more squeeze of her bottom as she rolled over, but she slapped his hand away with a mock scowl on her face. 'Sorry, I had my hands full.'

'Are you ready to come up now?'

Avon's eyes widened and showed a flash of panic at that prospect, and Cally nearly laughed. 'No. Can you give us ten minutes or so, to, um, sort some things out down here?'

'Fine. We'll be waiting for your call.'

They both scrambled from the bed and instantly shivered. Somewhere along the line the heater had run out of fuel without them noticing.

Cally smiled at the look of fastidious disgust on Avon's face as he pulled his trousers back on. 'I really need a shower,' he growled.

'Want me to tell Blake why we're making him wait even longer?'

'No.' There was no trace of good humour in that answer, and she walked across to stroke his cheek and kiss him gently.

'Don't worry, Avon. This will be our little secret.'

He didn't respond, but she saw the quickly suppressed gratefulness in his eyes. Such beautiful dark eyes; such a terrible shame he felt he had to try to hide so much behind them, even now.

It took them several minutes to get even vaguely presentable, and as Cally tried vainly to detangle her hair with her fingers Avon disappeared for a moment. He returned with a boxful of flimsies from the office.

'Best make it look like we've been doing something. We've been down here for more than a day.'

She smiled and raised her bracelet. ' Liberator, stand by.'

Avon dropped the box, swept her into his arms, kissed her hard, then let her go again while she was still gasping. He bent to tuck the box under one arm, then raised his bracelet. 'Bring us up.'

'You two look wrecked!' Vila said cheerfully as they materialised. Cally teetered on the teleport pad, still trying to catch her breath after that stunning passionate kiss. 'Not a five-star hotel down there, then?'

'No,' Avon said shortly, and shoved the box into Vila's arms. 'Give these to Blake. I need a shower and a hot meal.'

'Righty-ho,' Vila replied. 'Oh, and by the way, you're at half-mast.' Avon gave him a glowering frown. 'You know? Zip zip?'

Cally looked back and forward between them, with no more idea than Avon of what on earth Vila was talking about.

'Your fly's undone!' Vila explained in a loud stage whisper, and Avon's eyes narrowed with anger. Cally fled before she could start to laugh.

#  #  #

'I'm sorry you had such a wasted trip,' Blake said to Avon and Cally when they re-emerged, washed and fed. They both looked tired; perhaps the base's facilities had not been conducive to a good night's sleep.

'It wasn't a complete waste,' Cally said. 'At least you can reassure Avalon that her cell was not compromised, just terribly unlucky.'

'Still, it must have been boring for you down there.' Blake wondered why Cally coloured ever so slightly and Avon suddenly went blank and stared off into space. Had they had an argument? Blake thought Avon only did that to him.

'We were too occupied to be bored,' Avon said. 'You'd be surprised just how much useless and insignificant written minutiae a band of dedicated rebels can create.'

'And we've also been able to add to our stock of anti-virals,' Cally added. 'We may run across that infection again, and we will be prepared next time.'

'By the way, does this virus have a name?' Avon asked.

'Only a laboratory reference number,' Blake said.

'But I gave it a proper one,' Vila protested. 'We watched BritDome lose 2-1 while you were away, and Blake got so annoyed that he kicked the console and hurt his ankle again.'

'Come on,' Blake broke in, 'any ref who could give a penalty for that completely innocent tackle had to be blind!'

Vila shared a grin with Cally. 'It was just then that Zen told us that we were all clear of any nasty bugs, so I decided to call it Cup Fever.'


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Susannah Shepherd

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