my_b7_fic: Avon karate chopping (Default)
[personal profile] my_b7_fic
This was written for the Blakathon.


"Where are you?" Vila whispered into his teleport bracelet. "Blake, Avon, anyone!" He tapped on the bracelet and listened to it. "Nothing. Just like this planet," he muttered to himself as a tree dripped water down the back of his neck. "A lot of wet, dark, nothing." He started off again in the direction he thought he'd last seen Blake and Avon before the troopers jumped out of the bushes and started shooting at them. Blake had yelled for them to scatter, and Vila had scattered.

Vila had scattered too well. He'd bashed his bracelet against a tree, and hurt his wrist, and his shoes were full of muddy water from the pond he'd slipped into when running away from the thing that sounded like a Vila-eating monster and turned out to be a little frog with a big mouth.

He was so disgusted he shut his eyes and turned around to choose a direction at random. And whacked his head into another tree branch and slumped to the ground.

*******


"Blake? Are you all right?"

Vila woke, and looked muzzily up into a very young, pretty, worried face atop the collar of a typical grubby guerilla jumpsuit. Instinctively he smiled, then winced and rubbed his forehead. "I'm glad to see you…Where's Avon?" He shut his eyes. If they'd found Blake, they must have found Avon. Avon always stuck to Blake like perma-bond, bitching all the way.

"We haven't found your men yet, Blake, but we're looking."

Vila was annoyed, what was he, then, if not one of Blake's men? And why hadn't Blake even said "Hello, Vila"? He opened his eyes again, and saw Blake's wallet dangling in front of his eyes.

"I hope you don't mind, but we didn't know who you were, and some of us were afraid you were Federation." The young woman laid the wallet on his chest, open to the standard Fed. ID card containing name, position, grade, DNA code, etc, everything except the photo, which Vila had cut out and sold to Jenna back on the London. "I'm Charmien."

Vila looked up into the adoring eyes of the young woman, then around at the equally awe-struck young men and women around him, and smiled. "No, I don't mind." He took the wallet back and put it in his pocket.

*******


Avon shifted Vila's box of tricks from one hand to another, then wiped the sweat off his brow. "I'm going to kill him when we find him."

"No, you're not." Blake hacked another branch out of his way. "The signal's this way, come on."

"The cretin's managed to find the only swamp in this hemisphere. I hope he managed to drown in it."

"No, you don't." Blake pressed his com unit again. "Cally, how close are we?"

"You're almost on him, Blake, turn ten points clockwise and you should soon be able to see him."

"And wring his scrawny neck." Avon sneezed, and shifted the tool kit once more, so he could wipe his nose on his sleeve. He pushed ahead of Blake and blinked, startled to enter the relative brightness of a clearing. "There he is!"

Vila had run ahead of the rebel scouts, insisting that his men might think he had been captured and shoot someone by accident, if they didn’t see him alone. "Don't shout!" He ran up and grabbed Avon by the sleeve. "They'll hear!"

Avon shoved the tool kit at Vila and drew his gun.

Behind him, Blake had his own weapon out. "Federation? How close, Vila?"

"No, no, it's the rebels! I've found them, and they've got the mission all set up, just like you said. I was helping them refine the plan."

"You?" Avon still had the gun out, but was no longer aiming it in any particular direction.

"Yes, me!" Vila shoved the tool kit back at Avon. "Hang onto that, you'll need it."

"Vila," Blake broke in, judging from the look in Avon's eyes that they were in for a storm unless he interrupted, "What are you talking about?"

"Um…" Vila looked from Blake to Avon and back again. "I'm Blake. At least, they think I am. I'm not sure how it happened, but I couldn't tell them different once they'd made up their minds. You know what rebels are like."

Avon looked pointedly at Blake. "Yes, we do. Single-minded to the point of obsession."

"Exactly," Vila said, distracting Blake from Avon's sniping. "It really doesn't matter, anyway. All we have to do is break in and open this safe and switch out the information. It's a simple safe - why even Avon could open it."

Avon's eyes narrowed.

"And he'll have to, because I told them he was Vila. I mean, I could hardly be Blake and open safes, too, could I?"

Blake said, "And I'm Avon, I take it."

"Um… yes. Can you do it? Will you do it?" Vila looked at Blake hopefully.

Blake gnawed on a fingertip. "We'll have to go along with it, Avon. At this point, if they find they've been tricked, they'll be too angry to cooperate."

"Wonderful, marvelous." Avon holstered his gun and shifted the tool kit to his other hand again. "I'm really looking forward to this."

*******


Vila smiled and patted Charmien on the shoulder. "Don't worry. Vila can do it."

Avon looked up from the diagram of the safe that the rebels had provided. His nose was running again and the rock he was sitting on had got the seat of his velvet trousers soaked. "I don't want to do it. It's too dangerous. What if I get caught?" He wiped at his nose with his sleeve. "I'm sick. I can't do it."

Vila looked disconcerted. He didn't think Avon's Vila-portrayal was at all accurate. "You can do it."

Blake glared at Avon. He handed him a flask that one of the rebels had given him. "He just wants a drink, Blake."

Avon grinned at Blake and tipped the flask to his mouth.

"Vila," Vila said, warningly.

"Oh, don't worry." Avon touched the side of his nose. "I only get drunk when I want to. The Leith troopers dismisseth us. See?"

Blake touched his mouth with the laser probe he'd borrowed from Avon. "He may have a point, though. Look here…" Blake spread out a map of the Federation installation. "The safe we need to open is in this building," he said, tapping on the paper, "Right next to the off-duty officers' quarters."

"See," Avon muttered to himself, "I'm right, but do they ever listen to me?"

"That's all taken care of," Vila assured Blake. "They've been given complimentary tickets to the spaceball championship."

Blake snorted. "And what if some of them would rather sell the tickets? We should be prepared for a fight, not just walk in with our eyes shut, trusting to your luck, Blake!"

"Hear, hear," Avon muttered, taking another long swig from the flask. It made his itchy eyes and sore throat feel better.

Vila went over to Avon. "Don't you ever give up? We're going. Get on your feet."

Avon pocketed the flask and got up, scowling. "No one ever asks my opinion."

"That's because we don't want to hear it," Blake snapped.

Vila sighed.

*******


Avon peered around the side of the building, clutching the tool kit to his chest.

Vila and Charmien were right behind him, Blake behind them, gun out, looking warily around. A security robot from Defective Droids, Ltd. was prowling the compound. Vila waved to Avon to go. Avon walked up to the robot, holding the tool kit in front of him. "Here, you called for a repair tech? Something about a pain in the diodes down your left side?"

The robot buzzed and whirled, programming disks spinning as it tried to fit Avon's behaviour into a pattern labeled either friend or foe. Once Avon had lured it out into the open, Blake shot its motor circuits. Squealing, the robot ran into the side of the building and began flaming a large aspidistra before slumping over, inert.

"Good shot, Avon," Vila said.

"I was aiming for its head." Blake frowned. "Can we get on with it?"

*******


Avon crouched in front of the safe, sweat beading on his upper lip. The few safe-cracking tips Vila had been able to impart before they returned to the rebels weren't helping. He resisted the urge to kick the safe, but only because Charmien was further in the room, rifling through the unclassified documents stored in a filing cabinet.

"Can't you hurry it up?" Vila asked, longing to snatch the laser probe out of Avon's hand and do the job himself.

"If you think it's so easy, why don't you try it?" Avon snapped back, infuriated because Blake was standing near Vila, making a complete pig's ear out of a simple code-breaking on the commander's private computer.

"You're not helping, Vila," Blake snarled and began prodding the computer again.

"Oh, and you're really doing well for a computer genius, aren't you?" Avon sniped back.

"Enough!" Vila said, quietly, but with feeling. He put his ear against the door. "I hear someone coming!"

Blake turned towards the door, Charmien ducked down behind the filing cabinet, gun aimed past Blake and Vila at the door. Avon had no chance to move himself, the scattering of tools and the tool kit out of the way so he simply ducked down.

The door opened. Vila grabbed Blake by the hair, kissing him soundly and blocking the view of Avon by the safe. The trooper who opened the door said "Oh, sorry!" and shut it quickly.

Vila broke the kiss, and started to apologize.

Blake smiled. "That was quick thinking, Blake." He turned to the computer and happened on the right code. It began spewing information across the screen and onto the data-cube he'd put into it.

Charmien was grinning. She whispered to Avon. "So it's true!"

Avon looked at Charmien, and ground his teeth. He kicked the safe, and it popped open. He stared at it in surprise, then began shuffling through it.

Vila looked over Avon's shoulder. "Leave the credits, Vila."

Avon looked up at Vila, resentfully. "I know, I know." He substituted the packet of forgeries the rebels had supplied for the originals, which he handed over to Charmien.

"We'd best leave before that trooper begins to wonder who he really saw." Vila held his hand out to Avon. "Hand them over."

"What? I didn't take anything."

"The extra teleport bracelets you always carry. Come on."

Scowling, Avon raised his trouser legs, unzipped his boots and removed a bracelet from each ankle. "How did you know?"

"I've seen the way you walk."

Avon's scowl increased as he handed over the bracelets, one to Charmien and the other to Vila.

Blake grinned at Avon as he started to lift his teleport bracelet to call Liberator, then remembered it was Vila's show. "Perhaps you'd best warn Cally we'll have a visitor with us." Blake looked at Charmien significantly - they'd not taken the time to tell the Liberator about the identity switch.

"Yes." Vila activated his com button. "Cally, there's no time for questions, this is Blake."

Cally telepathed to him, Vila, are you in trouble?

"No, no problems, Cally. Vila opened the safe- he's not in his best form, however, I think he's caught a cold. We're coming up with a friend. Bring us up, now, would you?"

"Yes, Blake." Vila, I don't know what you're up to, but I will trust you on it. This time.

*******


Charmien arrived on Liberator, eyes aglow. She smiled at Cally. "I'm Charmien. I lead our group." She held out her hand to Cally.

Cally smiled and shook hands with Charmien. Avon sneezed.

Vila took Charmien by the shoulders. "I'll just show Charmien around a little before we return her to her people. Cally, you can take Vila to the medical unit, can't you?" Behind Charmien's head he wiggled his eyebrows suggestively in the direction of the flight deck.

"Yes, of course." Cally telepathed You want me to warn Jenna and Gan not to give you away?

"Yes, thank you." Vila left with Charmien.

She is very pretty, Vila.

Vila stumbled slightly, but recovered.

Once Vila was out of sight, Blake started laughing. Avon did not.

Cally looked from one to the other and shook her head. Jenna, Gan, can you hear me? Vila is bringing a rebel to the flight deck who thinks that Vila is Blake. Please go along with it. She also thinks Avon is Vila, and Blake is Avon, apparently. If I ever find out why, I will tell you. "Now, will either of you tell me the meaning of all this?"

Avon dropped Vila's tool kit with a loud thump. "Vila has just improved Blake's shining reputation on this planet." He scowled, "And ruined mine."

"Oh, give him something for his cold, Cally." Blake grinned. "Turnabout's fair play, Avon."

Cally frowned. "I still don't understand."

Blake chewed on a knuckle. "Somehow Vila was mistaken for me, and it seemed easier not to confuse the issue. You'd be proud of him."

"Yes, he proved that anyone can be a fearless leader." Avon sneezed again. "Apparently neither intelligence nor courage is required."

Blake grinned. "I was very proud of him and of our teamwork."

"Well, hooray for us."

*******


Avon's cold turned out to be something more akin to hay-fever. Once Cally had given him something to alleviate the symptoms and he was resting in his own cabin, he was in a slightly better mood - until Blake stopped by to inform him that Charmien was staying with them until they reached Querida. Apparently some of the unclassified material she had read involved a Federation officer who'd since been transferred to command of the outpost there.

"And what genius thought we should provide transport?"

"Vila." Blake pushed Avon's feet over and sat on the bed next to him. "It's only for a few days."

"It's all very well for you. You don't have to portray an idiot."

Blake looked at Avon who was lying on the bed and sulking, and repressed a grin. "It's not easy being you, either."

"Very true." Avon suddenly grinned. "Why don't you go annoy Blake whilst I nap?"

"You never nap."

"Vila does. Ergo I do." Avon shut his eyes firmly.

Blake laughed and got up. "Good night, Vila."

*******


Avon arrived on the flight deck late for his - Vila's - shift. Vila was sitting on the couch with Charmien. Gan and Jenna were also there, relating tales about Blake and the marvelous rebel things he'd done. Jenna in particular was telling lies with abandon.

Blake was at Avon's station, and looking a little pink around the ears, pretending to be absorbed in the instruments. He looked up when Avon walked in. "It's about time you got here."

"Oh, don't start on me, Avon. I've got a splitting headache." Avon moved to Vila's console and stared moodily at it. He couldn’t even tweak the controls without looking suspiciously like a computer tech.

"Maybe if you hadn't drunk yourself to sleep, you'd be able to put in a day's work, like the rest of us."

Avon scowled. "I'm sure you saved the dirty work for me."

"Well, now that you mention it..."

It was beginning to feel like Pick On Vila Week and even if Vila wasn't Vila, he didn't like it, so he said, "Avon," in his borrowed Fearless Leader quiet command voice.

"What?" Blake turned to him, restlessly turning a laser probe around in his hands.

"I think there's a fault in the teleport system. Nothing I can lay my finger on, but I'd feel better if you looked at it."

"Oh, well, you'd feel better. Just so long as I have a good reason for wasting my time." Blake looked at Avon. "Come on, Vila, you might be useful for a change."

Avon followed Blake, secretly glad of the opportunity to leave the flight deck.

*******


"Do you think you're playing me accurately?" Avon lay under the teleport console next to Blake, fiddling desultorily and watching that Blake didn't fiddle with anything likely to break.

"Sorry?" Blake looked at a puzzling bit and pushed it back in again.

"Do I really attack Vila so often and for so little cause?"

Blake thought about it. "Perhaps not, but it's that or disassemble Zen."

Avon shuddered. "By all means, continue to verbally disparage Vila, then."

*******


"Oh, Blake, I'm flattered, but I wouldn't want to come between you and Avon." Charmien smiled at Vila and kissed him on the cheek before leaving his cabin.

So much for hero-worship. Vila considered having an adrenaline and soma, but decided that Blake wouldn't be at all pleased if Charmien smelled it on his breath and started a rumour about Blake's drinking.

*******


Avon flopped onto his bunk, adrenaline and soma in hand.

Blake frowned. "You don’t need to drink that much. Vila doesn't."

Avon looked at Blake owlishly. "If you say I'm ruining his reputation, I shall laugh."

"I don't know why you're so upset about all of this."

Avon sat up abruptly and swayed. "I'm not. I'm having a perfectly good time being Delta."

Blake looked disappointed. "I hadn't thought you were a classist, Avon."

"You didn't think. You don't think. Go away." Avon got up and pushed Blake out of his room and into the corridor. "And don't come back!" He shouted as the door slid shut immediately after the bottle he threw smashed onto the wall between Blake and Charmien, already in the corridor.

Charmien stared at Blake.

Blake was annoyed at Avon and becoming accustomed to venting his annoyance verbally. "Well, what are you looking at?"

"Nothing, apparently. I'd heard you were a hard-hearted bastard, but seeing it is another thing. How could you…Vila is so… vulnerable… and what this will do to Blake…"

"How could I what?"

"Force Vila."

"What!" Blake's mouth dropped open. "I never… I never touched him!"

"He's so frightened of you he'll probably back up your story, but I'm going to tell Blake the truth." Charmien headed for Vila's room.

Blake stared after her, then went back to Avon's door and leaned on the announcer. "Let me in."

"Go away, Bl... Avon."

"Let me in. NOW, Avon."

The door slid open. "What?" Avon was slumped on the bed.

Blake went in, and closed the door, locking it. He grabbed Avon by the shoulders and shook him. "Charmien is telling Vila that I raped you."

Avon started laughing.

"I'm serious, Avon. She saw that little scene and jumped to conclusions."

"She's good at that… She thought you and I… I mean, Avon and Blake…. No, you and Vila… well, you know…"

"Come on, Avon, sober up and help me figure out what we should do."

"Nothing - what's a few more rumours?" Avon slithered out of Blake's grasp and fell back on the bed.

Blake growled and picked Avon up by the collar. "Come on, wake up." He began slapping Avon.

The door slid open. Vila was standing there, lockpick in hand. "I didn't believe it…"

Blake turned, exasperated. Charmien was nowhere in sight. "Vila!"

Vila turned and bolted.

Avon opened one eye and looked at Blake. "Hit me again…and I'll…"

"What?"

"Be sick." And Avon was.

*******


Everyone was staring coldly at Blake the next morning, even Jenna and Cally. Blake rubbed the nape of his neck. Apparently either Vila or Charmien - or both - had been very busy last night. Gan got up and pointedly moved to the other side of the table when Blake got his coffee. The only one who wasn't there was Avon. Blake came to a decision. "This has gone on long enough. It's not funny any more."

Vila frowned. "It doesn't excuse what you did."

"I didn't do anything," Blake growled, standing up and leaning on the table. "I didn't do anything before, and I haven't done anything now."

Vila went pale. "Well, I know I didn't believe the Federation, but…"

Blake snapped his head up. "Gan. Go and get Avon. You may have to pour him out of bed. I don't care."

Charmien looked confused. "Get Avon?"

Blake looked at her. "Vila has been playing a joke, and we went along with it, because it seemed harmless. I am Roj Blake. I have never raped anyone and I'll not stand for that lie to be attached to me, or to Avon, either."

Gan got up. "Yes, well, it's only fair to get Avon's side of things. I'll fetch him."

Charmien turned her gaze on Vila. "You're Vila? But…you had Blake's wallet…"

"It was a souvenir." Vila hunched his shoulders. "But when you thought I was Blake… for a while I was somebody people would listen to."

Charmien shook her head and went silent. No one had anything to say, and the atmosphere was becoming very uncomfortable by the time Gan returned, walking discreetly several paces behind a rather rumpled and slightly damp Avon.

Blake handed Avon a cup of coffee, and waited for the caffeine to work its usual magic.

After half a cup, Avon straightened, and his eyes seemed to focus. Blake took that as his cue. "Avon, the show's over. Tell Charmien what happened last night."

Avon shrugged. "I was inebriated. I'm not quite clear on all the details."

"Avon."

"Blake was disparaging my elitist attitudes, so I escorted him to the door. A few moments later, he returned to complain about Charmien's misinterpretation of his eviction. I was not in condition to commiserate with him, and he attempted a crude method of inducing a false sobriety. Vila then misinterpreted that." Avon finished his coffee. "Are there any cheese buns left?"

*******


After Charmien left, in a chilly farewell scene, Blake sat on the flight deck couch between Avon and Jenna and threw his arms out, one to either side along the top of the couch, his expression daring the universe to read anything sexual in his pose. Avon pretended to be interested in a bit of tech lying on the table. Vila pretended to be getting drunk. Cally pretended she didn't notice anything wrong at all, and Jenna quietly seethed because Charmien hadn't heard any rumours about her and Blake.

There was another fairly lengthy silence, then Gan remarked, "Next time, can I be Blake?"

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December 2011

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