“Vila, I know you're there.”
Vila stops, in the middle of helping himself to Blake's things – damn, he was sure Blake would be asleep at this hour. He must be getting sloppy. “Sorry, Blake, just trying to keep myself sharp,” he says, tossing Blake's watch back to him on he bed. Blake chuckles affectionately as he catches it. Lucky he's not that attached to his property, and values Vila's skills as a thief highly. “What are you doing up anyway? I thought Cally tore your ear off for only snoozing on the flight deck?”
Blake smiles at him, but a pensive look crosses his face shortly afterward. “I admit, I haven't been sleeping well lately,” he says. “Ever since all that with the course interceptor...”
“Oh.” Vila flinches, a twinge of guilt striking him when he remembers his role in that sorry saga. He crosses the room to sit on Blake's bed with him. “Do you remember any of that yet?”
“Not much,” Blake shakes his head. “A few flashes here and there, but nothing cohesive. It's probably for the best. From what you all told me, I have nothing to be proud of.”
Well I don't either, thinks Vila, remembering just how easy it was for a brainwashed Blake to convince him he had to let him go. He feels bad about that, but he trusted Blake; he always trusts Blake, maybe more than he should. “Well don't worry about it, it's over now, right? And we're on our way to Del 10! Even you've got to let go and relax there, right?”
“We're going to Del 10 for professional purposes, Vila,” Blake tells him, but he chuckles warmly, far more so than he would on the flight deck. Vila feels an odd pang. Blake has been so cold, so serious lately, the closer they get to Star One, and ever since Gan – damn, of all the things to think of. Still, he doesn't see much of the warm and kind Blake anymore. He misses him. The closer they come to tracking down this Doccholli the more Vila thinks Blake might actually accomplish something, and he doesn't know what will happen next if he does. Sure, he threw his lot in with Blake a long time ago, but he never meant to be any kind of revolutionary. It just sort of happened.
“Yeah, but that doesn't mean we can't have a holiday while we're there, right? Come on!” He nudges Blake with his shoulder, and Blake smiles.
“You're not mad at me, are you?”
Vila blinks, thrown for a loop by the non sequitur. “Er, why would I be?”
After a second's hesitation, Blake bites his knuckle, clearly anxious about the thought. “I did trick you,” he mumbles.
Vila shrugs it off. Blake's done that half a dozen times. Who's counting? “That wasn't you.”
“Wasn't it?” Blake's wide dark eyes strike him hard, fear written plain in them. “Sometimes... Sometimes I feel like I don't know who I am. Who is to say that the me created in a Federation psych ward is any less me than anyone else?”
“Er.” Vila only came here to steal things, he wasn't expecting to be confided in. Since when does Blake confide in anybody? Still, he does remember that feeling, that fresh-out-of-the-rehabilitation-chamber sensation – the sense that you really didn't know what was real, you could have been created in the lab five minutes earlier and you would be none the wiser. It's not something he remembers fondly, and it's impossible not to want to say something to make Blake feel better – but what?
Before he can answer, though, Blake carries on. “I have to find Star One,” he says, no longer meeting Vila's eyes. “I have to get it done. It has to be worth it. You understand, don't you Vila?”
“...Of course,” he says, although he doesn't really, not at all.
Blake looks at him once more, as if he's only just returned to reality from wherever he had gone – then he smiles again. “Sorry. Didn't mean to get carried away,” he says, and it's like a shield going up – honestly, he's worse than Avon sometimes. “When I've not slept properly, I can...”
“Right,” Vila says, not sure he knows what to do now. “Well, in that case, maybe I should...”
He gets to his feet, about to bid a hasty retreat. Blake watches him go with eyes full of doubt, not like him, and at the last possible moment calls out: “Wait, Vila.”
Vila stops. Blake's chewing his bottom lip again, wrapping his arms around his knees, looking small and vulnerable. He remembers that feeling too. “Would you mind staying tonight?” Blake asks him. “It's just, I might be able to sleep better if I'm not...”
Alone. Vila is a little taken aback by the suggestion, but then again, he's been invited into beds he was less willing to enter.
“Yeah. Alright.” And it's a little awkward, shuffling their bodies into position on the narrow bunk, but Vila soon finds himself wrapped around Blake's heavy frame. He clings to him, soaking in the fire that burns inside him. Blake sighs heavily in his arms, sounding content and at peace, if only for one tiny moment.
In the sleepy hour, Vila's mind whirrs. Well, while he's here...
Blake seems amused by Vila's fingers heading southward. “I suppose I can't be surprised that you have wandering hands?”
“Not in the slightest,” Vila grins against the back of his neck. “Look at it this way, someone's got to help you relax enough to get some proper sleep. God knows what will happen if I don't,” he says, hands already inside Blake's underwear.
“And it's a good way to keep your hands off my things,” Blake muses. “You know Vila, I have always admired your dedication.”
Vila laughs, but it doesn't sound as sarcastic as it ought to.