Disclaimer: Blake's 7 doesn't belong me. It was the genius of Terry Nation and belongs to the BBC. I just play in their Universe occasionally.
Author's Note: First we got to hear about their relationship from Vila's point of view. This time we get to hear from Avon. It's slightly longer, not nearly as fluffy and is for Jay, to say thank you for all my lovely reviews.
Such was my eagerness to post this for Jay (I promised today and I hate breaking promises) that it's going up raw and unbeta'd. I therefore apologise for the gratuitous use of commas and the inevitable odd typo.
Needless to say feedback, good or bad, is always appreciated, indeed loved. Thank you for reading!
Legacy - I Didn't Know
He'd had that nervous look, the one he's wearing now. That day it was because he was a low grade Delta sitting alone at a table in an Alpha bar. Shoulders hunched, his slim hands cradling a glass of Adrenalin and Soma, his eyes darted up to the entrance every time the door slid back. He'd seen me enter but when I passed him to approach the long metal counter to order a drink his eyes slid away back to the glass on the table in front of him.
I watched him from the shadows for a good two minutes before I stepped in front of the table he was occupying and eased myself into the seat opposite him. The nervousness on his face increased but he looked at me steadily, his quick eyes taking in every detail, carefully assessing. I imagine I must have been wearing my usual, almost perpetual expression. You know the one; cold, mocking, devoid of any emotion other than contempt, the one that caused friendly strangers to stop and retreat, their own expressions suddenly unsure and wary.
Vila just smiled. I remember his gentle, pleasant, unremarkable face filling with humour as though I was the punchline to some untold joke. I felt a wave of irritation – the first of many – at his presumption and later he told me that I actually growled at him. I was ready to send him packing, it wasn't as though he was the only lock-picking expert on Earth and a scathing retort sprang to my lips. And remained unspoken. I don't really know why, it isn't as if I haven't unleashed my vicious tongue at him a thousand times since. This time I just swallowed my sarcasm and instead introduced myself. As I spoke to him for the first time I saw his eyes flare, but it had nothing to do with fear. There was something much more primal about the reaction, something completely at odds with his almost nondescript appearance and nervy manner. From that moment I knew it would just be a matter of time.
It turned out he had a lot to teach me. His skill at picking locks was, and is, remarkable, going far beyond his clever assortment of tools and manual dexterity. Vila can look at a lock and just know how it needs to be opened, a kind of sixth sense, almost as though the lock speaks to him. He was more than happy to teach me some of his skills, which I mastered with relative ease but I quickly saw that I would never have the natural intuitive talent that he possessed. We held the lessons in my quarters, a small apartment in one of the better Earth domes. Vila argued that whilst an Alpha visiting a Delta's quarters in the less than salubrious dome where Vila made his home would be worthy of comment, a Delta visiting an Alpha would be accepted as a servant going to his place of work. I went along with his suggestion; it was certainly more convenient for me and the truth was I found I liked having him there. His friendly incessant chatter leant an air of homeliness to the otherwise stark apartment, and drove away my ever hovering daemons, at least for a little while.
It was during my third lesson, less than a week after we met, that I kissed him for the first time. He'd been leaning against a wall in the long sterile oblong which passed for my living room, arms folded, throwing in occasional words of encouragement as I battled with a tricky mocked-up lock. I'd looked up and saw something in his eyes as he watched me. Pride. Pride in his student. Pride in me. I remember I'd laid my tools down on the bench and pushed my chair back, it's legs scraping hideously across the tiled floor. Standing up I stepped around the table, my movements slow and deliberate, my eyes never lifting from his. He didn't move. I gave him plenty of opportunity to duck away but he just stood there, mutely watching me until I was stood directly in front of him, my face barely an inch from his. He smiled.
My lips covered his and devoured them, my teeth worrying his bottom lip until his lips and teeth parted to give me access. I pushed deeper, my tongue plundering the depths of his mouth and I tasted the sweet tang of alcohol from the bottle of wine we invariably shared during our lessons, felt the sharp ridges of his teeth and the soft warmth of his tongue meeting mine. And still it wasn't enough. I leaned in, my more muscular frame flattening his slighter build against the wall, my hands lifting to grab his upper arms, holding him still as my hips ground against his, my arousal only too evident. I felt him shudder beneath my hands, an inarticulate noise growled in his throat and I answered him with a moan of my own. The unexpected noise had shocked me into stillness. I drew my head away far enough to see soft brown eyes glazed with passion and I knew just kissing Vila Restal wasn't going to be enough.
It took me three attempts to ask him to stay, my request a bumbling string of disjointed phrases, far removed from my usual verbal adroitness. Finally I managed something coherent and practically spat the words at him, disgusted that I'd made such a fool of myself. There was a moment's hesitation, I saw the conflict cloud his face, but his answer was a shake of his head and a regretful smile.
I didn't push him, I just stepped to one side, leaving him a clear path to the door. At the threshold he paused as I called his name once in a low voice. He turned back to me, his eyes lowered to the floor and it occurred to me that he appeared almost ashamed of what had passed between us. I knew the liberal attitudes of the Alpha's were much less common amongst the Delta grades and Vila's family wouldn't have approved of him sleeping with an Alpha, never mind another man. He'd been trapped by his family expectations as much as I had been. I can't remember exactly what I said, something about freedom and choices, but it made no difference. He turned away without a word. As he exited my quarters I was unsure if I would ever see him again and I remember that the thought brought me pain.
I must have stood looking at the closed door for the better part of an hour. I wasn't expecting him to come back but I waited anyway and when the knock came I knew it was him. I opened the door, my mouth suddenly dry, my heart pounding my chest. He wore the same apologetic smile that had accompanied him out of the door. There was a beat of stillness and then he walked straight into my arms.
That first time was as if we were men possessed, urgent and unforgiving. A trail of clothes marked our progress into my cubbyhole of a bedroom as hands, his and mine, sought heated flesh. Mouths fused, our tongues duelled until we were fighting for breath. I pulled away directing my focus to his neck and chest until he fell back across the bed, his legs seemingly unable to hold him. I followed him down, my mouth blazing a trail across his flushed skin, drinking in the taste of him, soap and salt. I revelled in the feel of the surprisingly soft skin of his chest and stomach beneath my hands as I pushed him down into the mattress. Now wasn't the time to explore. I knew what I needed. I covered his body with mine so that I could feel him beneath me from shoulder to toe. Vila's hands snaked round my shoulders pushing my head down onto his chest and from there lower still, his breaths short and gasping with the need to be touched. For all his earlier reticence it quickly became clear that Vila was not inexperienced. Every height he reached at my hands, I matched at his. His hands and mouth marked his territory with the same intuitive skill he demonstrated in his work, and as our moans turned to screams, making me grateful for the soundproofing in the walls, I was aware of a satisfaction and contentment I had never felt at the hands of any of my previous lovers.
I would like to be able to say then that I knew I had found something precious but I didn't. For three weeks we indulged in a passionate affair, rarely leaving the apartment, my lock-picking lessons inevitably interrupted by other more enjoyable activities. I don't know what Vila told his family to excuse his absence, and I didn't ask. But when Anna came knocking on my door I'm ashamed to say I made my farewells from Vila without a backwards glance. And though I saw the ill-concealed hurt in his honest brown eyes, my need for Anna was so strong, so overwhelming, that it made not the slightest impression on me.
I can't even claim to have known it when Vila followed me onto the London. In losing Anna I had lost part of my soul and I can honestly say I didn't care then if I lived or died. I'd failed her, as good as killed her myself, and a lifetime on Cygnus Alpha seemed to me fair punishment. I wasn't pleased to see Vila on the London and I made my displeasure obvious. I flung every abuse at him, verbal and otherwise, to try and drive him away, but he wouldn't go. He loved me, and had done from that first night. I'd been blind not to see it but once I finally realised it didn't take me long for me to draw him to one side and propose we pick up from where we left off. For the first time in my life I found a measure of happiness and before long I could admit to myself that I loved Vila too.
Even then I didn't really know. No, the moment I knew I had something precious was the moment I lost it. The moment I woke up in a deserted store room, alone, with Vila nowhere in sight, my chest aching with the aftermath of a stun blast and memories of an ambush flooding over me in a wave of fear and guilt. I searched. I searched everywhere I dared, but there was no sign of him or the Feds anywhere in the complex. My heart screamed in agony as I finally gave Blake the order to bring me back to the Liberator. I couldn't believe I was abandoning the man I loved to the Federation. Vila's loss makes Anna's look trivial, even unimportant, and I had loved her ferociously since I was a child. What does that say about my love for Vila?
I have had to pretend, these past weeks, that Vila's fate is of little concern to me. I don't intend to share my grief with the crew, and I've gone out of my way to drive the others away. Madness is easy to feign when it's the truth. I haven't even told them the real reason we're returning to Tarcan Four; that a coded message from Servalan has called me back. As far as Blake is concerned I'm callously going back to retrieve the component I failed to obtain on my first fateful visit.
I don't know why she took him, or why she's kept him so long. I have spent the last month imagining the tortures she has inflicted on him, trying to get him to divulge information he doesn't possess. Those thoughts have woken me from my drug-induced sleep, rivulets of cold sweat running between my shoulder blades, a scream of terror lodged in my throat. In her message she says that Vila is alive and uninjured and that she is ready to release him – I know she lies, that there will be a catch, but it's all I have to hold on to. It's the hope that keeps me sane.
And so here I am, waiting in a room surrounded by Federation guards and in the doorway, just a few metres away, is Vila, flanked by thugs, Servalan at his shoulder, his face white and pinched, a mixture of relief and fear, hers hatefully serene, filled with triumph. Some of my relief, the sudden release of the iron band that has constricted my chest since I woke up alone in the store room, must be showing on my face because I see his eyes light up with satisfaction. He's pleased to know I've missed him. Missing him doesn't even come close. I long to stride across, destroy my carefully maintained façade of aloofness, and kiss him long and hard. Prove to myself that he's alive. But I know I can't, not whilst Servalan is watching. I can't give her reason to make him more of a target.
Vila finally stands beside me and it takes every ounce of my will power not to clasp his hand in mine. A few moments more and we'll be away from here, back in the safety of the Liberator. There I'll finally be able to show him, once and for all, just what a precious thing I've found in him.
Just as soon as Servalan has said her piece.