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Written for the Blakes 7 Birthday Buffet Ficathon


"Haven't you got that line located yet?"

"No, Avon, I haven't." Blake yanked on something and there was a shower of sparks. "Now I have."

"Wonderful. You've just shorted out the guidance controls."

"Well, we'll use the secondary guidance controls."

"That was the secondary guidance controls. The primaries fused in the crash. The crash that wouldn't have happened if you hadn't been curious."

"I wanted to know what a Federation shuttle was doing drifting unmanned so far from a base. So did you. No one held a gun to your head and made you teleport aboard it with me."

"Well, we still don't know, do we?" There was a thump, followed by a muttered curse. Avon emerged from the service conduit scowling.

"You're bleeding." Blake reached towards Avon's forehead. Avon ducked him and slipped on an oily patch, slamming his shoulder into a shelf bracket. He cried out in pain and sudden anger, lunging at Blake with outstretched hands.

"Avon! Avon, enough!" Blake found himself fighting off a madman. Faced with Avon's unreasoning hysteria, Blake had a split-second decision to make. He pulled Avon close and kissed him.

Avon stopped fighting, his eyes wide in surprise. Blake loosened his grip.

"Why did you do that?"

"There are two classic ways to deal with hysteria. You didn't want me to slap you, did you?"

"Probably not." Avon sighed and leaned against Blake's chest. "I'm tired."

"I know you haven't slept much since the crash." Blake read something in Avon's silence. "Not at all?"

"Unless you count waking nightmares of micro-sleep, no." Avon shivered. "This desert..."

"Yes, I know." Blake had opened the airlock once and gazed out at the silver glitter of the dancing wind-devils, and then slammed it shut as they seemed to look at him. Just imagination, but still, there was no going out in that perpetual storm of sharp metallic particles. And no teleporting through the curtain it placed between them and Liberator. "You have to sleep. When you wake we can repair this ship enough to get it into a stable orbit, and then teleport to Liberator. We can do anything together."

"MMm..." Avon leaned more heavily against Blake. "If we're so marvelous, why aren't we rich?"

"We are, Avon, we are." Blake hugged Avon tightly. "What will it take to let you sleep?"

"Drugs." Avon shook his head. "Haven't got any. Concussion? Surely you've wanted to beat me unconscious?"

"Not recently." Blake patted Avon on the back. "Hot milk and a bed-time story?"

Avon rolled his eyes. "We don't have any milk, hot or otherwise."

"So you want a story? What shall it be, a rousing tale of good triumphing over evil?" Blake smiled.

"I never liked fairy tales." Avon smothered a yawn against Blake's shoulder. "It wouldn't be a bad idea to go over those schematics again." He pushed away from Blake. "As long as I'm not sleeping I might as well do something useful."

"After all this time awake, you should at least lie down and rest. I'll read the schematics to you."

"Inefficient," Avon grumbled, as Blake half led, half supported him to the nearest bunk. "It'll never work."

"Fine. Just lie down, shut your eyes and listen."

Still grumbling, Avon settled on the bunk and closed his eyes.

Five minutes later as Blake was describing the interconnected sensor display he was interrupted by a soft, rasping noise. He looked down at Avon and smiled, remembering his younger brother. Softly he said, "Works every time," and covered Avon with a blanket.

(I used prompt #38. Blake and Avon are stranded on a space ship in a desert and insomnia causes them to quarrel.)

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December 2011

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