Avon's StoryBy Catherine Salmon
Page 2 of 11
"Orac. How long must Blake remain
on life support before he can survive on his own??|
"Forty-eight hours should be sufficient to ensure his complete recovery. However, the station's energy banks only have enough power for 22.7 more hours of medical support. After that point in time..."
"Yes, Orac. I know what will happen!" Avon snarled at the little computer. Damn, it will take at least twenty-five hours to tap the geothermal energy with the antiquated Federation equipment.
"Orac. If Blake's life support was lost for a period of three to four hours and then resumed, would Blake survive for those hours?"
"Unknown. There is no available data on such circumstances. I can only conjecture."
"So conjecture, Orac."
"It is a possibility but not a certainty that Blake would survive. I would estimate his survival probability at thirty percent."
"A slim chance is better than none, " Avon muttered. "Vila and Tarrant can get started on the drilling while I tell Blake."
~ ~ ~
"So, Blake. What Orac offers is a partial solution. The core energy of the planet can power the station indefinitely."
"But it will take twenty-five hours to implement."
"Orac claims that you will be able to survive for a short while without the life support system. Once forty-eight hours have passed on full support, you will be able to function without it."
Avon hoped that he sounded more confident than he felt. Blake deserves better than this, Avon thought angrily. Damn you, Servalan. Blake will suffer for those hours and I will never forget that you have made me responsible for it.
Avon focused in on his face as Blake licked his lips nervously. "Avon, I would like to ask you to do something for me." Without giving Avon a chance to protest, he went on. "I know that you want to supervise the core drill but, when the power cuts out, will you stay with me?"
Avon's skin appeared even paler than usual and his eyes were very dark. "Blake, I..."
"Avon, please listen." Blake sounded exhausted and not a little scared. "I know that you hate feeling helpless and that if you are active you feel better but I don't think I can do this alone." His husky voice was very soft now. "Cally is right. The worst curse is to die alone."
The vulnerable, lost look on Blake's face tore at Avon's non-existent heart. How could I refuse you, Blake? I have given you my trust and what friendship I am capable of. I would give you my life if it would save yours. But I can never say the words you seem to need. I know that I will regret this later but...
"Yes, Blake. I will stay, but you won't die. You are far too stubborn to quit fighting now. After all, who else is foolish enough to lead your rabble?
Blake smiled gently at Avon's sarcasm. Still afraid to admit that you feel, aren't you, my aloof friend. But I do understand. "Thank you, Avon."
Avon briefly returned the smile. "I will be back."
"I am not going anywhere."
~ ~ ~
"Avon!" Vila shouted. "The drill is almost through!"
Avon hurried over to the drill monitor, glancing again at the wall chronometer. 22.5 hours had passed since he left Blake in the medical center. He had not slept with the exception of a brief and restless nap several hours ago.
"Orac. How long will it take for power hookup implementation?"
"It will take two point one hours for the new power system to come on-line."
Vila looked worriedly at Avon. "Will Blake be all right?"
Avon continued to watch the monitor. When he answered Vila, his words were very soft. "I hope so, Vila. I will be in the medical center. I have a promise to keep."
Avon abruptly turned away, heading for the doorway. "Inform me when implementation is complete."
Without waiting for a reply, he was gone, leaving a very concerned Vila behind.
~ ~ ~
Avon stood quietly in the doorway of the medical center. Cally had been sitting at Blake's bedside but, at Avon's appearance, the Auron warrior stood. Walking softly, she moved towards the door. "He has been asleep for about three hours, Avon. Call me if you need anything."
Avon nodded fractionally as she left, all his attention concentrated on the form lying peacefully on the bed. I do not want to be here, Avon thought desperately. There is nothing I can do to help Blake now. Why can I not just let go of him? Breathing deeply, he sat down at the rebel's side, watching him sleep. Damn you, Blake. Why could you not take better care of yourself? Avon's frustrated thoughts were interrupted as Blake shifted restlessly.
"Be quiet, Blake."
Blake opened his eyes and a faint smile graced his lips.
"I'm glad you're here. Stay?"
Avon stared openly at Blake's hopeful but peaceful expression. How could he accept death so easily?
"Yes. I'll stay. The new power system will not be on-line for two more hours. I'm sorry, Blake."
Avon looked away, frustrated by his helplessness and by Blake's apparent calm. I do not want to lose you, Blake. Not now, not ever.
"You really are the Fearless Leader." Avon's voice held wonder at Blake's strength behind his overt sarcasm.
"No, Avon. I am scared and frightened but there is nothing that I can do. Tears are unlikely to help at this point. Anyway, I like to leave the hysterics to Vila. He does them so well."
Avon smiled and faced Blake. "Yes, he does seem to relish his role."
Blake returned the smile for a brief moment. Wincing against the pain, he closed his eyes, reaching out for Avon's hand. Avon allowed the touch, worried at Blake's increasing pallor.
"What is it?"
"Avon, I want you to know. What I said at Star One about trust, I meant it all. If there were one man in the universe that I could call friend, it would be you."
At Avon's blank expression, Blake turned away and whispered very softly, "I just wanted you to know. In case I don't make it."
Avon continued to stare at Blake, at the shaggy curls surrounding the rebel's face like a halo. Why, Blake? Why is it so hard for me to give you what you want? I feel the same way, my foolish rebel, but I just can't say the words! I never could. He tightened his grip on Blake's hand, drawing his attention back. Some of Avon's pain reached Blake and he nodded once.
"I understand, Kerr."
Avon's eyes flashed at the use of his given name. His grip tightened a fraction more and then released.
"You should rest, Blake. Conserve your strength."
Avon expected an argument but Blake nodded his agreement and lay back, closing his eyes. Avon remained at his side and as Blake descended into sleep, he heard the whispered words, "You have to make it, Blake. I won't lose you, my friend. I can't."
~ ~ ~
Avon jerked awake. Who called me? Immediately, he looked down at Blake. Still unconscious. Then who?
It could only be Vila.
Avon turned as Vila skidded around the corner and into the medical center, a huge grin on his face.
"We have full power. Orac's system works!"
Avon nodded and Vila let his sight center on Blake.
"How is he, Avon?"
Avon sighed, gazing down at the suddenly frail-looking rebel. "I do not know. Full power should sustain him but I can not tell how much damage has already been done."
Vila heard the pain and guilt behind Avon's words. I wish I could help you, Avon, but only Blake seems able to reach behind your walls. Cautiously, Vila touched Avon's shoulder. Avon looked at him with surprise.
"He'll be all right, Avon. I know he will. He's a fighter, he is."
With those words, Vila slipped away, leaving Avon alone with his thoughts. And with his friend.
Looking around carefully, Avon sighed and took Blake's hand in his. Leaning back in his chair to stretch his aching back, Avon gazed down at their entwined fingers.
"Well, Blake. I have done as you asked. Now it is your turn. Come back to us."
Avon stared hard his face, so innocent in repose, searching for some sign of awareness but Blake was as still as if chiseled in stone. Releasing his hand, Avon jumped up to pace back and forth across the room.
"Damn it, Blake! Don't you dare leave me. I will never forgive you for it."
His back to Blake, Avon could not see the flickering eyelids that signaled Blake's' return to consciousness.
Avon froze in shock. Suddenly spinning round, he reached Blake's side, leaning over until he was almost nose to nose with him.
Avon's voice was soft and questioning. Please answer me, Blake. Come back to me now.
At the sound of his given name, Blake opened his eyes, which widened in shock at the sight that greeted him. A slightly disheveled and extremely agitated Avon was peering into his face. Blake's heart warmed at the obvious concern in his companion's eyes. A faint smile tugged at his lips and he tried to lift a hand to Avon's worried face. Briefly brushing Avon's cheek, he let it fall back, exhausted by the effort.
Blake's voice was very low and husky and his own eyes had filled, the tears spilling down his cheeks.
"For what?" Avon softly inquired, his free hand brushing the tears from his leader's face. Blake smiled.
"For staying, for your friendship. I would have died if you and Orac had not found an alternative power source. I owe you my life, Avon. Many times over."
Blake watched carefully for Avon's reaction. It was slow in coming and Avon released Blake's hand before speaking.
"You would not have been the only one to die, Blake. I could not have lived with the knowledge that I was the cause of your death. This past year without you, I have been slowly dying inside and I never realized why."
Blake's gaze was filled with puzzlement and concern, and Avon looked away.
"I realize why now, Blake. I needed...still need...you. Even without believing in your Cause, you forced me to believe in you. I had convinced myself that mankind was inherently evil, justifying my own actions. But you flaunted your goodness in the face of my certainties. You bleed for the masses, have compassion for everyone. You forced me, against my better judgment, to care again. And that bound me to you, Blake. From the London, I was held. I could not leave you even if I wanted to and, at times, I hated you for that."
Avon bowed his head, hiding his face from him. Blake was shocked by his admission but he reached out and took Avon's hand in his.
"I never realized how much this bond between us hurt you, Avon, and for that I am sorry. I felt that you cared and I thought by staying away I would help you accept that we needed each other. What had happened was my fault. I was wrong to stay away. And I will never leave you again, my friend."
Blake tightened his grip as Avon stared deeply into his eyes.
Avon's voice held wonder and a sense of amazement and Blake was again struck by the strength of Avon's fealty.
"Yes, Avon. Always."
Blake reached up to take Avon's shoulders, pulling him into a bear hug. He felt Avon shiver and then return the embrace. Releasing him and lying back down, Blake noticed the teardrops clinging to Avon's dark lashes.
"Get some sleep, Avon. You need it and I'll be fine now."
Blake said it gently and with a smile but Avon automatically bristled at the suggestion that anyone could tell him what to do. But Blake's grin was infectious and Avon relaxed. Standing away from the bed, Avon stretched his back stiffly, making Blake chuckle in amusement. Avon shot him his old irritated glare.
"I'll go, Blake, but you will sleep, too. Or I will send Cally to enforce my orders."
With a devilish grin, Avon slipped through the door, leaving Blake to his rest. As Avon walked to his temporary cabin and opened the door, he was surprised to find himself at peace. It has been too long, he admitted to himself. I have been alone too long. Collapsing on his bed, he only had the energy to remove his boots and crawl under the covers. But Blake's here now was Avon's last coherent thought as he drifted off to sleep. My rebel's finally back.
"As many nights endure
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