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All in the Mind

By Gemini
Page 1 of 11

He was warm and he was comfortable and it seemed a terribly long time since he had been either. There was pain and distress lurking at the back of his mind and he forced it away. Just a few more moments of peace before he opened his eyes. Ignorance seemed a small price to pay, to forget whatever it was that was hammering at his memory with such knife-edged insistence.

      There was someone lying next to him. Someone warm and feminine, wearing perfume that would have identified her half a kilometer away, let alone lying beside him. And did it matter if it was Servalan? He rolled over and took her fiercely in his arms, because even if it was only for a few minutes, he could delay the impact of the memory by taking her. Because he knew what it was now: Blake. He'd killed Blake, and the only way he could deny that memory was by turning to life in some form. And if that life was Servalan? He almost laughed as he kissed her red-painted lips. It didn't matter any more, because Blake was dead and all his damn revolution was dead with him. There was no one left for Avon to betray.

      She was responsive, demanding, kissing him with a hunger that spoke of the passion that had always lurked unspoken between them. Her breasts were large and pressed against him. Abandoning her mouth, he moved down, seized one, suckled, let her feel the scrape of his teeth against the hardness of her nipple. Servalan writhed against him, moaning low in her throat as Avon caressed her roughly, claiming her for himself. He ran a hand down the inside of her thigh, and found her wet and ready for him. Abandoning all pretence at foreplay, he pressed his penis against her, plunged deep and swift in a single move. Each thrust was atonement for his sins. He wanted to destroy her, to lose himself inside her, to kill her, to love her for ever. Servalan was the blackness in his soul; she was all the things that he dared not acknowledge in himself.

      Their bodies moved in frantic unison; breath coming in short sharp gasps; he was suspended between heaven and hell. Then Servalan raked her nails along his back and cried aloud, and he came in a desperate shudder, spilling his life seed within her.

      

      For a minute, they lay silent, each lost in their own separate thoughts, then Servalan rolled them over and lay on top of him, kissing him slowly, languorously, tongue tracing the outline of his lips.

      Finally, Avon broke the silence.

      "What now?"

      Servalan leaned upright, seated herself straddled across his thighs. "Business. I imagine you know what I want."

      "If it's the names of other rebels, then you're out of luck: I didn't know any. If it's the teleport..." He let a smile drift over his face. "Just how badly was Scorpio damaged?"

      Servalan caressed his hipbone as she spoke. "Badly enough that I can probably save two years' research effort if I have your willing co-operation."

      "And what about my crew?"

      She shook her head. "All dead. Ironic, if you chose to view it that way. I hadn't expected you to be there. My agent reported Blake's presence, I sent men in with orders to take Blake alive and kill all the others on the base. A sharp eyed sergeant recognised you and gave orders that you were to be stunned. You were lucky."

      "Obviously some new definition of lucky."

      He fell silent, all trace of humour gone. Irony indeed, that he had killed Blake himself before her men had arrived. Blake's hands clasped his arms, and he gazed with horror into the dying man's eyes, heard Blake's voice gasping out his name. How could he have been such a fool? Ever since Anna, he'd become accustomed to betrayal. He'd allowed himself to forget the rough affection between himself and Blake, the long arguments, the times they'd saved each other's lives, the trust they'd had in one another. Blake had been unique, a man of passion and vitality, of belief and principle. Blake of all men, would never have betrayed Avon.

      She was studying his face carefully. "Guilt, Avon?"

      So she knew. Small surprise; a ballistic check on the gun would have told her that. Was that why he was here now? For her to find whether he had broken with the rebellion, to see if he would be an easy convert to work at her side? It might be a ploy to use while he sought to escape.

      "Guilt?" he said slowly. "Hardly that. You might say that we had a fatal disagreement."

      Servalan smiled. The kind of smile she used when she knew she had total control of the situation. "Then I shan't need him any more, shall I?"

      "Who?"

      "Blake." She inspected a fingernail with exaggerated care. "Did I forget to mention that part? We had an emergency cryo-capsule, just one, unfortunately, but it came in very useful. He's still in there, but with appropriate, emergency surgery we could save his life." She inspected another immaculate nail. "I'm told that with suitable care, he could make a full recovery."

      His pulse was racing; he spoke with deliberate, forced calm and hoped desperately that he wasn't giving anything away. "Another simulation, Servalan? You're beginning to repeat yourself. Besides, I shot Blake - he's hardly likely to welcome me with open arms."

      Servalan leant closer, her breath warm upon his face. "A curious choice of phrase that. Tell me, there was one thing that even the psychostrategists were uncertain of: were you and Blake lovers?"

      "What!"

      "I'll take that as a no. Blake was, after all, boringly straight. But you, you my dear Avon are as bent as they come. Gender is totally irrelevant in your case."

      He stared at her in shocked disbelief.

      "Now don't tell me you weren't aware of it; your psych profile is perfectly clear on the point. Why else do you think you stayed with Blake for so long?"

      It wasn't true. Couldn't be true. Whatever he'd felt for Blake, this had never been a part of it.

      "I could give him to you, Avon. Manipulate his memory a little. Erase those last few moments on Gauda Prime. Give him something else instead: make him remember that he's always been atracted to men, make him want you." Her voice dropped to a throaty whisper. "He could be yours, Avon."

      "It isn't like that at all."

      She ignored his protest, ran a gentle finger along his side. "Imagine that it isn't me here with you; it's Blake. Blake's lying beside you, touching you, caressing you." The finger stroked over his nipples, ran down his flaccid penis. "He needs you, he wants you, he's hard for you, desperate for you." There was a sudden warmth inside him, growing, becoming an insistent throbbing. "He takes you into his mouth." She suited action to words, and it was Blake, he could shut his eyes and it was Blake. He was becoming hard and it was agony. He reached out to grab a handful of curly hair, needing he knew not what, and encountered only a close-cut crop of black.

      "No!"

      He was abandoned to coldness. He opened his eyes and looked at her, and for a moment thought he saw pity there. Then she was all business again.

      "Do we have a deal? Blake in your bed in exchange for your willing co-operation."

      Avon stared back at her, unable to take it all in. He hadn't killed Blake. They could be together again, Avon's betrayal erased as though it had never happened. The friendship they had shared could be restored. He stared past Servalan, up at the ceiling. Friendship - was she right? Did he want more than that from Blake? The throbbing he had felt seemed to justify her words. Regardless of that, he couldn't let Blake die if there was any way to prevent it. But could he allow what she suggested?

      Servalan slipped out of bed, and donned a blood red, silken robe which settled round her shoulders like a mantle of power. Avon barely noticed. Servalan's mouth and his own images of Blake had been all he had needed to become painfully aroused. She was right. Despite their disagreements, despite everything, he wanted Blake. Wanted his strength, his passion, wanted all of Blake to belong to him. Servalan could give him it all.

      But at what cost? Would Blake want it? Blake detested the mindwiping technology, had once confessed to fearing it more than death. The death of self, he had called it. But the only other option was living without him and Avon wasn't prepared to accept that. If the cost was building a teleport? His mind shied away from that. With luck they could find a way of escaping before he'd made any significant progress. Servalan wasn't fool enough to let him work without double checking what he did. Blake was another problem - he would never accept such a deal. Servalan might remove his memories of Gauda Prime and of being shot but she'd hardly be able to take the rebel out of him and still leave the essential Blake. If she altered too much, he woudn't be the man Avon wanted.

      "Well, Avon?"

      He glanced up. She stood beside him, smiling. One red-tipped finger traced his profile. So hard to believe that they had enjoyed sex just a few minutes ago.


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