Perchance to DreamBy Susan
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Blake looked at the other two and smiled. Avon had dozed off, cocooned in
moonlight on a pile of blankets, while Vila was asleep and snoring. They were
awaiting the return of the Liberator, which had departed not to draw
attention to this place while the rebels had met - nobody would be interested
in the place otherwise. The local population were arranged in tribes and were
agriculturally orientated, with occasional bouts of warlike activity.|
Of the three of them he was the only one with nothing to show for it now. Odd how things had turned out - he had expected the rebel 'conference' to produce something more than Avon's predicted thirty different opinions as to what to do between the twenty of them. Vila had claimed that the wet cotton wool weather, penetrating everywhere would put anyone in a bad humour as it changed between slushy half-frozen mud and sticky mud, with mosquitoes in due season. Avon had not disagreed - one of the few things he agreed with Vila about was the weather.
Blake had known almost as soon as the discussions had started that they would end in failure - not even defining the framework in which they could negotiate. The various rebel representatives had little in common beyond thinking the Federation a nuisance that had to be got rid of. Blake had lost count of the proposals and counter-proposals that had been aired - somewhat more than thirty he judged.
When Blake had looked for his companions Avon had been talking shop with someone, each attempting to outdo the other in what they had achieved. Vila was showing the locals some of his tricks - Blake watched, amused as ever. Later on Avon and his acquaintance were debating some complex point that involved most of the note-takers the rebels had brought with them, while Vila was describing life in the Delta areas - it seemed that there were some similarities.
Eventually the negotiations came to an unsatisfactory end. Blake left the area disheartened, strangely pleased to see the other rebels go. He was damp from having brushed against the roof of the negotiating hut, not realising it had retained the drizzle. Now that the meeting was over the weather had, of course, improved. He was met by a grinning Vila and a smirking Avon, pleased to see his prediction vindicated.
'What have you done Vila? Won the lottery?' Blake asked sourly.
'Better than that - I am regarded as a hero here.'
'How? What did you do?'
'In the course of my discussions with these people who could become friends of mine,' Vila made an inclusive gesture, 'I discovered that they have been sorting out their quarrels by the lamentable solution of blood fights - of which I disapprove.'
'Particularly when it involves your own blood,' Avon mocked.
'Who wouldn't be? I pointed out the much more effective way we have evolved where I come from. Games which are quite obviously fights, but everybody knows the boundaries, and which don't involve the so called forces of law and order who don't understand the rules - except when we want them to join in. The losing side pays for the entertainment afterwards - except when the winning side does. Then you have a rematch.' Someone brought one of the local beverages. Vila drank w ithout a second thought, but Blake spluttered over what seemed to be near industrial strength alcohol.
'As far as I can see the main advantage of these "games" over the previous set up,' Avon said, 'is that you can have as many as you like without too much mess afterwards.' He tried the drink and grimaced. 'This might be as lethal a weapon as any.'
'For an Alpha you have picked up the idea remarkably quickly,' Vila replied. 'They have decided that while we are here we might as well watch them have a trial game - so I can give them the benefit of my wisdom.'
'So that's what you call it,' Avon replied, gently teasing.
'And there's a feast afterwards.' They had decided to enjoy themselves as the Liberator would not be back for a while - and, to Blake and Avon's surprise they had done so.
They'd been given a hut for the night - a store that doubled up as sleeping space for guests. The last time Blake had done this he'd been a kid on Exbar.
There was a sudden chill in the air. Blake picked up one of the spare blankets - Vila had taken half - and decided to put it over Avon. Not that Avon was a hypochondriac, but he enjoyed his comfort like anyone else.
Avon muttered something in his half-sleep as he felt the weight and warmth covering him that Blake decided to interpret as a garbled thanks. Then he whispered clearly. 'I love you.'
What was one supposed to make of that, Blake wondered, feeling slightly jealous. The man was physically attractive - Blake sometimes wished he would get more than a fraction of the admiring glances Avon did when they went planetside.
Avon's half-open eyes glittered in the moonlight. Blake could not tell if he was dreaming or awake, and decided to tuck Avon in - to have a hand put firmly on his arm.
'What do you want?' Curiosity on his part - or more? A warmth within him - he would not object, even to being in someone else's dream. Especially not Avon's.
'A kiss.' There was a fuzzy note to the voice. Blake decided that whatever happened could be passed off as a dream on Avon's part.
He knelt beside the bed and kissed Avon as he had been asked - surprisingly pleasant, considering. If only he didn't want to go further, want to be in Avon's dream, whatever it was.
Avon's hand went round his neck, holding him gently. Be careful what you wish for - you might get it. But might as well enjoy it. Was he taking advantage of Avon? Looking down he saw that Avon was aroused and, from the way that the free hand was exploring, he was willing. Blake had forgotten he was ticklish, and suddenly he remembered Vila.
'Careful,' Blake whispered, wishing to be anything but.
'Of what?' Amused drowsiness. 'Of this?' The hand travelled in a direction that made Blake yelp. Suddenly he did not care anymore, decided to enjoy himself. As he unwrapped Avon he looked into Avon's face. The glitter of moonlight on Avon's teeth as he smiled, desire marked on the dreaming face. He put a hand on Avon's belt, fingers touching cool skin that reacted - and no rebuff. 'I want you' Avon whispered, desired and desiring in his nakedness. Then Blake was beside him, willing. He had decided to fulfil the dream. His own dream, he realised, as he responded to the closeness, the caresses, aware of his arousal and Avon's. Avon's eyes opened wide as he climaxed, still looking into his dream, while Blake observed the pleasure that he saw, matching his own when it came.
'I love you Kerr,' he said, using the familiar name without thinking.
'I know,' Avon said with a soft kiss that expressed his feelings.
The next morning Blake woke on a separate pile of blankets to Avon, unable to remember separating from the other. When he looked at the other man there was no indication as to the reality of the previous night.
Well, Blake thought, as they enjoyed the breakfast provided by the locals, reality or otherwise I enjoyed it - and Avon in his dream did. Or did we both have the same dream?
The teleport bracelet crackled - time to go home.
As they waited to be retrieved, Blake caught Avon's eye.
A knowing smile played on Avon's lips.
Dream or reality?
Then they were on the reality of the Liberator.
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