Coma Avon Nights or Kiss of the Avon LadyBy Willa Shakespeare
Page 1 of 38
/Corpse reviver hmph./ Tarrant figured Avon needed a real Alpha's drink.
Anna had been enough to shrivel a man's guts all the way up to his tonsils.
He had just the thing, hidden in his compartment in an locked box marked,
"Vila, touch this and die." So far the light-fingered Delta dipso had been
sensible enough to believe the sign.|
A good thief might be hard to find, but Alpha Vat 2300 was even rarer.
"Dayna, take the watch, will you?" he said, as soon as Zen had proclaimed the Liberator safe from any possibility of Federation pursuit. Servalan was probably still too shook up from her party-crashers to think of them.
"Right." Dayna nodded and settled into the command position, with that so-serious look on her face that Tarrant thought was adorable. The one time he'd mentioned it, though, she'd kicked him in the kneecap. So he settled for telling her to be alert.
The liquor was still there, but when he picked it up, a note fell out of the box. It took him a moment to decipher Vila's scrawl. It said, "Weak. Deltas wean babies on stronger stuff." Tarrant eyed the bottle. The seal had been broken and a couple of mouthfuls gone. "Vila," he snarled. Then a grin slowly spread over his face. He retrieved a half- empty bottle of Taurian brandy from his dirty sock drawer (the one place no one would dare look)- and topped it up with the Super-Purge-O his mum kept sending him while he was a cadet. Maybe he shouldn't have told her how full of shit everyone was. Mum was a dear, but she did take things literally. He put the adulterated brandy in the box, locked it, and wrote a new note for the box, "Vila, don't dare lay a finger on this!!!" and drew little skulls and crossbones around the message.
Avon's quarters were halfway around the ship from Tarrant's. Sometimes he thought that was a subtle hint that Avon didn't like him very much. He pressed the announcer. "Avon?"
There was a long pause.
There was another long pause. "Avon, it's Tarrant. Let me in."
"Or?" Avon's drawl sounded off, even through the intercom. Not as sharp and nasty as usual.
"Or I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow the door in."
There was a short pause. Then Avon gave an audible sigh. "And you're the one who could do it, too." The door slid open before Tarrant was quite sure exactly what that meant.
Avon was sitting on his bed wearing a black velvet lounging robe with his elegant feet and clever hands sticking out, bare and childish-looking. He didn't get up to glare nose to nose with Tarrant. He just looked at him sideways, his gorgeous eyes full of helpless despair and soul-sucking misery.
That was bad. Avon being vulnerable? Extremely bad for the Alpha image. They had two women and a Delta to keep in their places. He had to buck Avon up, quickly, before it occurred to the others that maybe they ought to have some say in how the ship was run. They had to be supremely macho, or else they'd wind up doing the scut-work.
"Here," Tarrant said, abruptly, shoving the bottle at Avon. "Let's get drunk together."
Avon blinked. "Together? You and I? We don't do anything together, Tarrant."
"I won't tell if you don't," Tarrant said, breezily, filling the water glasses he'd had the forethought to bring along. He shoved a glass into Avon's hand and curled the fingers around to hold it. "That's right. Drink it down. Take your medicine."
Avon stared into the glass, then abruptly tossed the entire contents down his throat. He gulped, and coughed. Once. Then he held the glass out again.
Tarrant poured, and pretended to sip at his own drink. He sat next to Avon, companionably close. After Avon had several glasses, he dared to pat Avon on the shoulder. "It's not so bad as all that," he said, mouthing the male platitudes that had gotten him through a buck-toothed, pimply puberty. "There are plenty of other fish in the ocean."
"But only the piranhas are interested in me," Avon said, solemnly. His lower lip started to quiver. Horrified, Tarrant poured more AV 2300 into Avon's glass. Automatically, Avon emptied it.
They sat there in silence for a few more minutes and several more glasses on Avon's part. The bottle was getting light,Tarrant noticed. And Avon was getting tight. The dark eyes were glazing over and the pretty mouth had loosened up around the edges.
"No one wants me," Avon said, mournfully.
Hastily, fearing a repetition of the lip trembling, Tarrant said, "No, that's not true. You're a very attractive man, Avon. Lots of people want you."
Avon turned to Tarrant and stared deeply into his eyes. "Do they?"
"Yes, of course. Loads of people are just dying to ..." Hell and damnation, that did it. Tears were welling up in Avon's eyes. He grabbed Avon by the shoulders, shook him hard, and kissed him, full on the lips. Anything for shock value. He expected Avon to yell and punch him out. Instead Avon's lips softened under his, and Avon's hands began roaming his back, hugging him close. After oxygen deprivation set in, Tarrant pulled back, their lips separating with a wet 'pop'.
Avon shrugged out of his robe. "Do you want me?"
Tarrant thought about it for a second. Avon was drunk. This was good and this was bad. It was good because he probably wouldn't remember anything later. It was bad because...well, because it was unfair to take advantage of him when he was drunk. And vulnerable. And ready and willing for anything Tarrant felt like doing. "Weeelll. I wouldn't say no."
"Then take me," Avon said, kneeling on the bed, and presenting his posterior with a flourish.
"You are very drunk," Tarrant said, as he opened the zip on his trousers. One thing about going to Space Academy, you learned to take advantage of your opportunities when they arose.
Avon hiccuped. "Am I?" And hiccuped again as Tarrant reached for him. Just as he was about to mount, Avon fell forward.
That wouldn't have stopped him, but then Avon started to snore. That was a bit of an ego-damper. He shook Avon. Hard. "Hey, wake up."
Avon stopped snoring. "That's better." Tarrant was going to proceed when he noticed Avon had not only stopped snoring, he'd stopped breathing. He leapt off the bed and mashed the intercom button so hard it froze in the transmit position. "Cally! Get to Avon's quarters. He's sick!" he yelled before flipping Avon over and beginning mouth-to-mouth.
Boots clattered on the deck. "What happened!" Dayna cried. Being young and athletic, she had reached the room first.
"Avon?" Vila called. Being sneaky and right next door, having a listen with a wineglass against the wall, he had reached the room second.
"You swine, Tarrant!" Cally screeched. Being alien and telepathic, she hadn't busted a gut to get there to rescue that cold fish, Avon. But seeing Tarrant hanging pinkly out of his unzipped trousers while sucking on the unconscious and very naked Avon's lips was infuriating. She hadn't gotten a tumble from ol' Silver Studs, so why should anyone else?
"He passed out," Tarrant said, backing up to allow Dayna to continue resuscitation. Of course, the way she went at it, the man might never revive. "And I can't wake him up."
"His breathing is not too good, either," Cally noticed. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Vila pick something up from the floor. "What is that?" She snatched the near-empty bottle of Alpha Vat 2300 from him and whirled on Tarrant. "Did Avon drink all that?"
"Um. Well, mostly," Tarrant said. "But it's only alcohol."
"You idiot. He had been tortured for five days..."
"That's why he needed the drink," Tarrant said defensively. Behind him, Dayna had run out of air, and pressed Vila into service. After a few seconds, Vila got into the spirit of it.
"Did you not think I would treat him for his injuries, and that the alcohol might react badly with it?"
"He never lets you drug him. I figured you'd given him his usual children's Tylenol ."
"I did. But..." Cally's eyes shifted and she seemed uncomfortable. "He needed more than that, so I added an anti-depressant, Zoomital, and a double-dose of painkiller while he wasn't looking. Still, even that combination should not have had this effect."
Vila was turning purple and Avon seemed to have remembered how to breathe, so Dayna took her hand off the back of Vila's neck to let him up for air. It was Dayna's turn to look embarrassed as she said, "I'm sorry Cally, but when I saw Vila bringing Avon a glass of Adrenaline and Soma, I added a little something to it."
"What?" they all asked.
Dayna shrugged. "I don't know. It was a home remedy my sister Lauren gave me. You know, for those days when nothing goes right? It had serotonin in it, and theobromin, and...and... well, it was a long recipe."
Cally sighed. "Well, Tarrant, zip yourself up and help Vila get Avon to the medical unit."
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