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All in the Mind

By Gemini
Page 2 of 11

      "I'll give you Blake, a Blake who wants you as much as you want him. You will give me the teleport. Agreed?"

      Avon swallowed and looked away, decision already made. "I'd like to see him first."

      The smile that curved Servalan's lips made him want to strangle her, ever so slowly.

      "Certainly. Inspecting the goods?"

      His ferocious glare was ignored as she swept over to a recessed closet and tossed a non-descript black jumpsuit back at him. There were boots sitting by the side of the bed, as if she'd anticipated...

      "Guards." Two big, unpleasant-looking mutoids appeared in the doorway as he finished the last fastener. "Escort him to the medical centre." She turned away but her voice floated back to Avon as the door slid shut behind him. "I'll join you in a few minutes."

      Paying careful attention to the layout of the station, Avon obediently followed his mutoid guides down several white corridors and around two corners before they stopped. One of them pressed his hand to a key pad. The door slid open and one guard accompanied Avon inside while the other mutoid remained at the door.

      Avon's gaze travelled around the vast room. Medical equipment lined the walls, scanners, a blood recirculation machine, diagnostic couches, cutters in a clear case and other devices whose purpose he could only guess at. To his right stood a large machine with elements that he did recognise: a visual-image structuraliser, vocabulary banks and their accessories - everything needed to create a false reality. Doubtless other parts of the machine were capable of blocking unwanted memories. Something churned in his stomach for a moment, threatening vomit, before he turned his attention that which he had been avoiding. The cryo-capsule Servalan had spoken of rested in the centre of the room. The light reflected off the surface, dazzling Avon for a second before he moved closer, heart thundering in his chest. Blake isn't dead, he repeated to himself.

      Reaching the capsule, he placed one hand on the cool surface and looked at the naked man inside. Long, dark curls tumbled around a face ravaged by fate. The scar, that had so horrified Avon on Gauda Prime, drew him now. He wanted to touch it, caress it from the corner of the eye to the bottom of the stubbled cheek. Was this the love that Servalan had referred to? Or mere obsession?

      Blake's face looked oddly peaceful, almost tranquil. Strange for a man who had believed himself murdered by a friend. Avon ached to touch him, to reassure himself that Blake was alive, to deny his own act of murder. His hand rested on the capsule above Blake's face. Those strong arms would close round him, the full lips would press against his, tongue tasting him, as he would taste Blake. Avon's gaze travelled along the capsule-encased form, stopping suddenly at the ragged chest wound. He swallowed tightly, chest constricted. The damage was horrific, skin blasted open, organs exposed. Only the absolute cold of the capsule kept this man from death. Bile rose again in Avon's throat and he fought the nausea. Blake might not remember Avon's actions after Servalan was done with him, but Avon would never forget the pain on his face, the look in his eyes as he fell. He closed his own eyes. He could not think about it. He would not, not now.

      After a moment, he opened his eyes again, gazing upon other parts of Blake's body, the sturdy legs, his groin. He felt himself twitch at the sight. Blake's cock rested against a muscular thigh, long even in its quiescent state, thick...


      He spun round. There was a knowing smirk on Servalan's face and Avon felt his cheeks flame. She laughed in response . At that moment, the only way that he desired her was dead at his feet.

      "Your decision?"

      Avon glanced back at the capsule. There really never had been a choice to make.

      "Give him to me."

      "Don't be in too much of a hurry. A day for the surgery, several days in intensive care. Then you can have him. The doctors will work on his mind while he is still unconscious." She smiled, a masterpiece of insincerity and held up a small sphere between her thumb and forefinger. "Just in case you feel tempted to leave before completing your part of the deal, I have requested the surgeons to take on one minor extra task. Do you know what this is?"

      "An explosive device. Not very powerful."

      "But powerful enough to kill a man. It will be inserted into Blake's abdominal cavity. If he leaves this building, it will explode."

      "What triggers it?"

      "Do you really expect me to tell you that, Avon?"

      No, he hadn't, but it had been worth the effort. The old game: outguessing and outmanoeuvring each other. He'd played it with Blake too. He'd gambled with Blake's life before now, but then the gamble had been of his own choice. He had the right to take liberties with Blake; Servalan did not. But she had won this round, so he acknowledged her with a wry smile. Servalan flowed into his arms, and he accepted the caress, telling himself that he only seduced her to control her, and knowing that his fascination with her was nearly as strong as his love for Blake.

      Avon deepened the kiss, tightening his arms about her, then stiffened abruptly. Servalan's hands, which had been stroking across his lower back, were digging into his arse, one finger prodding at the material, forcing it between his cheeks. Angrily, he shoved her away.

      "Why Avon, so modest! You'd better get over your reluctance before Blake recovers. I doubt he'll let you be top man every time."

      "What Blake and I do, or do not do, is none of your concern." He had never done that, never had sex with a man, didn't know whether he'd be able to handle it even with Blake.

      "Oh but it is, if it interferes with your performance with me. After all, I deserve some payment for giving you Blake."

      "The teleport is not sufficient?" Resignation tinged his voice.

      "The teleport and you in my bed will do for now." One red-tipped finger traced over his lips.

      "As you wish."

      "The guards will escort you to your quarters. They, of course, will remain outside, for your own protection."

      Avon's gaze went back to the capsule.

      "The surgical treatment will begin shortly. As soon as it's complete, the psychosurgeon will finish the work. You'll have a living, breathing Blake with no sexual reservations."

      "And you'll have a hostage against my good behaviour." No sense pretending on that score. Servalan knew the hand she held.

      "I thought my bed would be sufficient inducement for that."

      Avon grinned mockingly. "I think we both recognize the truth in that."

      "Yes, Avon. We do." She looked at him consideringly. "You can see him once everything is finished. He'll be in good enough condition - our tissue regeneration techniques have advanced greatly, thanks to Blake. It seems only fitting that he should reap the benefit."

      "You expect me to believe that?"

      "Well, perhaps I should say Gan rather than Blake."

      Avon looked at her without comprehension; it had been years since he'd last thought of Gan.

      She smiled in minor triumph. "His first aid kit contained some fascinating devices - so good of you to leave them for us."

      She kissed him once, hard against his already bruised lips, before striding from the room, white gown trailing behind her.

      Gan was dead, and Blake lay in a pseudo death that only Servalan could wake him from. Avon took a final look at the capsule and followed the guards. He had little real choice in the matter. They travelled a different route to a new cabin. The door slid open and the guards remained outside. Slowly Avon surveyed the suite of rooms that was to be his and Blake's prison.

      The largest room contained several chairs, a couch and table, and a computer console. The walls were the same plain matt white as the rest of the station, except that one was almost covered with an inbuilt display of an alien landscape. One door led to a bathroom with shower, toilet and basin; the other led into a bedroom which was dominated by a large double bed. Avon walked round it. Black silk sheets covered it along with an assortment of silken pillows. He shook his head; not likely to be Blake's style, but very much Servalan's. There was a bedside table with a basket on it and Avon paused. It contained several tubes of lubricant, one of which was flavoured. Avon frowned and looked away. He wasn't quite ready to face that yet.

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