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By Belatrix Carter
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Blake was floating.

Lights pulsed around him. Red lights, strobing into his soul. They came from everywhere, and he could not shut his eyes against them because, somehow, he did not seem to be seeing them with his eyes.

There were sounds, too, but they seemed far away and unimportant. *Unimportant...* The word drifted for a moment in Blake's fuzzy, disoriented mind. It seemed wrong. Something *was* important. *Something* important had just happened. What?

He focused on the sounds, and found them coming a little clearer. Gunfire. Should that be important? He followed it downward... *Downward.* A direction. He was looking *down*. Suddenly the scene below him came into focus, began to make sense...

Except it didn't. For he was looking at his own face. Down, at his own face, and his eyes were open and staring *up*... And there was blood, lots of blood, too much blood...

And standing over the Blake-on-the-floor was... Was...

*That* was what was important!

"Avon!" he cried, with no tongue, no mouth, no lips. He reached out for Avon with no arms.

Avon smiled.

Then the room dissolved, and the world dissolved, and he was somewhere... Somewhere that was nowhere. Before him, dimly seen, a figure in leather stood, smiling, with a gun.

"Avon!"

But the figure came closer, and it was Travis. He spread his arms, as if inviting Blake's embrace.

"No. I *am* your Death, Blake." He smiled, a compassionate smile, and he was no longer Travis, and Blake was no longer afraid.

He stepped forward, and realized that he was not alone. Vila was here before him, looking confused, and frightened, and lost. The figure beckoned. Vila cringed away from its reaching hand, then, suddenly, looked past it. His eyes widened, then, calling out a name Blake did not know, he rushed forward, the fear vanished from his face as if he had never been touched by it. The figure swept him up, whirled him exuberantly through the air, kissed him on the lips, and tossed him, laughing delightedly, upwards, into nothingness.

It beckoned again. Blake stepped forward, and the figure spread its arms wider, and he could see now that there were others behind it, familiar faces: his parents, his brother, his sister. Bran Foster. Gan. Cally.

Cally... Cally was looking, not at him, but at something behind him. He turned (or did something like turning), and saw that the tracking gallery was beneath them again, and that another person was rising towards them from the chaos below.

Avon was still holding the gun, or the ghostly image of the gun. His gaze was fixed downward, on the dead Blake's staring eyes. He did not seem to see the beckoning figure, or Blake, or anything except the now-unimportant scene below them.

"Blake," said Death, warm and welcoming. "It is time." Behind it, his mother smiled.

He looked behind him again and saw Avon sinking slowly towards the ground, towards Blake's body, and his own. There seemed to be tears in his eyes.

"Avon!"

"Come," said Death.

"Not without him!"

"It is his choice to stay."

"But he's dead!"

"Even so."

Blake had the sudden image of Avon, forever walking the haunted places of Gauda Prime, a weapon in his hand that he could never put down, and tears in his eyes that he could never shed. "No!"

"Blake," said the figure above him, "You must come now, or you, too, will be left here."

But he had reached Avon and was tugging desperately at his unresponsive hand. "Avon! Avon, come *on*!"

"Blake..." But it was addressed to the body below them. "*Blake!*" Nearby, a soldier shivered.

"Damn it, Avon! You gave me your word! *You gave me your word* that you would see me home!"

Hopeless eyes looked up at him. "Blake?"

"Yes, Avon!"

"Blake... I killed you."

"Yes, you did." He felt no anger, at that, no betrayal. He was beyond such things now. "So you owe me, Avon. You *owe* me."

"Yes." It was nearly a sob. "I do. I won't leave you." Avon's eyes were on the corpse again. His insubstantial hand reached out to caress the bloodstained face.

"But I'm not there, Avon!" Avon blinked at him, uncomprehending. Blake took his hands. *Both* of his hands, and suddenly the gun was gone. "I'm not there any more. I'm *here*. Follow me, Avon. Please."

"Follow you?"

"Yes."

"Oh, Blake." Ghostly tears fell, splattered unnoticed on the corpse's face. "I always did."

They rushed into Death's welcoming arms together. Its kiss was sweet and warm, and they both cried out in joy as, hand-in-hand, it tossed them upwards.


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