Obsession's Second ChanceBy Catherine Salmon
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"Turning and turning in the widening gyre|
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart: the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned ... "
"The Second Coming" by W. B. Yeats
Avon stared, his eyes full of pain and fury.
"How could you, Blake? You of all people. How could you betray me?" Without thinking, Avon reacted, firing his gun. Blake gasped in shock.
Avon fired again and again. With the third blast, Blake fell forward against him. Time seemed to stand still, as Blake slid to the ground at his feet.
"What have I done?" Avon whispered.
He slowly raised his head and saw the carnage taking place all around him. Blake had not betrayed him. Blake has been betrayed by one of his own! An ironic smile touched Avon's lips for a moment. Betrayed and shot, Blake lay dying at his feet. The man he had spent the last two years searching for was about to die because he had kept his promise. He had found Blake, but to what end. With Blake dead, there was no purpose to his own existence. He had always thought his obsession was with finding Blake, with regaining his freedom. He had never realized it was Blake himself that he was obsessed with. And now that realization had come too late. As the Federation troopers approached, he straddled Blake's body.
"At least I can join you in death, Blake."
Avon fired at the nearest trooper. Suddenly he felt himself pulled off balance. As he fell, the console behind him exploded. He hit the floor hard with the wind knocked out of him. Turning his head, he saw Blake release his ankle and collapse across his legs.
"Shut up, Avon," Blake hissed.
The troopers looked over and, seeing the two unmoving forms lying there, decided that they must have been killed by the explosion. They quickly searched the rest of the room.
"Come on. There are no survivors here. Let's check the rest of the base."
Avon could not believe his ears. The troops were leaving.
Silence blanketed the room. Avon waited and when the troops did not return, he shifted to better see the source of his mad quest.
"Blake," whispered Avon softly.
Avon felt a stab of fear. They had lain there for approximately fifteen minutes. And Blake had been wounded. He would have lost a great deal of blood. Looking around warily, Avon raised himself up, reaching to turn Blake over.
Avon choked back his cry. Blake's chest had been ripped open and was still oozing blood. Avon touched his face and, to his surprise, Blake's eyelids fluttered. He was not dead yet.
Blake's voice was very weak but it gave Avon hope. Hope that Blake would live after all. But even as hope entered his heart, Avon crushed it. Blake could never survive such injuries. But he would not abandon him. He would keep Blake from Servalan. Even in death, she must not win. Avon eased Blake over to the console then knelt behind it. There was a hatch, Blake's door, and Avon pried it open. Retrieving Blake, who had lapsed back into unconsciousness, he lowered him gently through the hatch, closing the door behind them. Half-carrying, half-dragging the larger man, Avon moved down the tunnel, looking for a clue to the whereabouts of Blake's rebel headquarters. It must be nearby! Avon kept going but was getting desperate. He was so tired and confused. Exhausted, he put Blake down and tried to catch his breath. He was so tired. He looked over at Blake leaning against the wall and felt despair grip his heart. Blake looked so pale and he was hardly breathing at all. Avon knelt beside Blake and pulled him carefully into his arm. If Blake were to die, he would not face death alone. Avon stroked Blake's soft brown curls.
"I'm so sorry, Blake. I should have trusted you. Why didn't you tell me? Why?"
Avon held Blake tighter and buried his face in Blake's hair, tears flowing freely for the first time in his adult life.
He jerked his head up to Jenna standing before him. As he, in shock, slowly recognized her, she saw Blake.
"Avon, what happened to him?" Jenna grabbed Blake's wrist. "Come on, we have to get him to medical now!"
Jenna grabbed Avon, hauling him to his feet to help her carry Blake. Avon moved automatically. He no longer cared. Despair and guilt had taken over and as far as he was concerned, Blake was already dead.
* * *
Blake opened his eyes and smiled at the sight of Jenna looking down at him.
Jenna reached out, brushing a curl out of Blake's eyes.
"What happened, Blake?" What went wrong?"
Blake suddenly realized where he was and sat up, feeling the world spin out of control. Jenna held his shoulders to steady him.
"Careful. You lost a lot of blood."
"Avon. Where is he?"
Jenna regarded Blake warily.
"He's in the next room. Why?"
"Is he all right?"
"He is in shock, that's all."
Jenna looked uncomfortable and Blake felt uneasy with her response. He reached up and brushed his fingertips across her face.
"That's not all, is it, Jenna?"
She looked away.
"He refuses to speak or eat. He just stares into space. It's as if there is nothing left inside. Not even the cold arrogance of our time on Liberator."
She turned to look at Blake and saw the shadowed pain in his eyes.
"I'm so sorry."
Blake shook his head.
"I have to see him. Talk to him."
"You can't yet. Later, when you feel better." Jenna stroked Blake's hand.
"What happened, Blake? To you and Avon?"
Jenna waited, as Blake thought back. Ah, Avon, what would I have said to convince you? Blake looked up at Jenna and sighed.
"Avon shot me."
Jenna stared in shock.
"My God, Blake. Avon did this to you. How could he?"
Jenna's face darkened with rage and her grip on Blake's hand tightened.
"He was confused, Jenna. He thought that I had betrayed him."
"You are defending him! He wanted you dead and now you are defending him."
"Jenna," Blake began.
She jumped up and suddenly Blake realized what was running through her brain.
"No, Jenna, don't!"
But she was already up and out the door. Blake had to stop her! Gritting his teeth against the pain in his chest, he forced himself to his feet and staggered to the doorway. Leaning into the other room, he gasped at the sight confronting him.
Avon sat passively on the bed as Jenna screamed at him. His eyes were fixed vacantly on some distant point, his face pale and drawn.
"Listen to me, damn you!" Jenna screamed, striking Avon across the face.
Blake stared in confusion. Avon was making no move to defend himself, letting Jenna abuse him. Perhaps to punish himself for what he had done, but that was nothing like the proud Avon Blake knew. That Avon would never allow anyone to touch him in such a manner. What happened to him during the two years they had been apart? As Jenna prepared to strike Avon again, Blake whispered raggedly. "Stop it, Jenna."
"But, Blake ..."
"Stop it now!" Blake thundered.
Jenna stopped, amazed at the force of Blake's anger. Even when he could scarcely walk, barely able to stand up, the force of his personality was not diminished. She stepped back from the bed, allowing Avon to see Blake fully.
That voice, so soft and shaky, was the most welcome sound in the universe to Blake.
"Yes, Avon, it's me."
Blake moved towards the bed while Avon watched warily. He sat down and reached out to Avon, brushing his fingers against Avon's arm. Avon shivered, closing his eyes and flinching away from any physical contact.
Blake stared pointedly at Jenna until she left and then he turned back to Avon. Avon had pulled away to the far corner of the bed and had his head pressed tightly to his drawn-up knees.
"Avon. Look at me."
"No. You can't be here. You're dead and I killed you. Now please go away."
Blake could hear the pain and tension in Avon's voice. He wanted to comfort him and explain that everything was all right but he didn't know how. Blake reached over and gripped both of Avon's hands tightly. Avon gasped, opening his eyes in surprise. Blake stared into those piercing black eyes, bleak with despair, willing Avon to respond. Ever so slowly, Avon returned the pressure of Blake's convulsive grip. Then, as Blake smiled, Avon lowered his gaze.
"What is it, Avon?"
"Blake, I almost killed you."
Avon spoke softly and hesitantly, refusing to meet Blake's gaze.
"But you didn't, Avon. You saved my life by bringing me back to my base. You didn't kill me. I'm still here and so are you."
Blake punctuated his words with a tightening of his grip. Avon shook his head and looked at Blake with a hint of his old spirit.
"Your grasp of the obvious is an enlightening as ever," Avon said dryly. "But the final outcome, however welcome, does not alter my actions."
Blake sighed, releasing Avon's hands.
"No, you are right, it doesn't, but right now I don't care. We can discuss the implications of both our actions later."
Blake leaned forward tiredly, head in hands, as Avon looked at him with a mixture of guilt and concern.
"Will you be all right?"
Blake nodded, moving to stand up, but after a moment of struggling to maintain his balance he gave in to exhaustion and sat back down. He looked at his friend apologetically, as Avon looked away.
Blake raised an eyebrow in surprise and inquiry.
"If you still trust me," Avon said with a trace of his old bitterness.
Blake smiled sadly and touched Avon's face, forcing him to meet his gaze.
"I always have, Avon, and I always will. I meant what I said at Star One. From the very beginning."
Avon smiled and shook his head as Blake trustingly leaned back against him, closing his eyes. He still could not understand what had happened, could barely believe Blake had survived. But, for the first time in two years, he felt at peace. Blake had not died and neither had his trust in Avon. He wrapped his arms around Blake's shoulders as he slept, watching the rise and fall of his broad chest. Yes, everything would be all right. He was finally home.
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