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A Friend in Need

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"You wouldn't understand."

"Wouldn't I?"

"I doubt it," Avon said, then turned on his heel and walked away.

Blake laughed softly to himself.  Did Avon really think he wouldn't understand?  That he hadn't loved, couldn't love, as Avon very obviously had?  Blake doubted it.  And, under the present circumstances, the verbal barb was the perfect irony.  He knew he was falling in love with Avon, but his awareness did nothing to alter the headlong plunge.

Blake glanced down the corridor, but the other man was already out of sight.  He wanted to follow him, but feeling so emotionally exposed, Avon would be more on guard than ever.  Still, it was the best opportunity Blake had had to date.  The disparagement had been a warning off, but a mild one, for Avon.  He could chance the rejection and act on the latter.  Take some brandy to Avon's room, offer him booze and companionship, encourage him to talk.  Offer the consolation of his own body....  Another pointless fantasy.  From the little he'd overheard and from Avon's reactions, it was clear this woman had been treasured.  If he trod on Avon's too tender toes, his foot would be swiftly amputated, above the boot.  Blake did want to comfort Avon, but he wanted even more to seduce him.  His motives weren't pure enough.  He should stay away or he'd muck it up again.  Avon was too valuable to drive away with sexual importuning.

The now-familiar sensation was beginning, a throbbing soreness around the heart.  Blake laughed at that too.  It served him right for becoming enamoured of a selfish, sarcastic sonofabitch like Avon.  He could hardly believe he'd gotten himself tangled up in this masochistic affair.  Unrequited love had never been his penchant.  He was convinced he'd reclaimed the majority of his true memory, and he could not recall a relationship, except his earliest, tentative crush on an older girl, where the feelings had not been mutual, where, if he were more honest, he had not had the upper hand.  Personal passions had always been secondary to his dedication to the rebellion.  They still were.  Only the personal passion was far more distracting than expected.

Blake started off toward his cabin.  They - Avon - had just saved a planet from annihilation.  And he had his next clue in the search for Star One.  Docholli.  It would have to satisfy for today.  He had always been able to direct his sexual energy into his work.  Absorb it totally.  If he concentrated, he could block out the disturbance Avon created.  He began to plot his next course of action.  The time factor put tremendous pressure on all of them....

Automatically he glanced down the cross corridor.  There was Avon, back turned to him, talking quietly to Cally.  Blake almost checked his movement but forced himself to keep walking.  He saw Cally reach out to Avon, touch his arm as she spoke.  A brief gesture that he suffered...desired?  Blake felt an ugly twist of pain that made him suck in his breath.  How he hated jealousy.  Loathsome emotion.  How superior he'd been in the past, that he'd felt it so seldom, could deflect the occasional flare with ease.  He was grateful now that it didn't make him hate either Cally or Avon, only made the bitter hurt coil deeper, spiraling down through heart and belly and groin.  His legs carried him across the corridor and out of sight, but there the radiating pain was so fierce he had to stop and brace himself against the wall.  He shut his eyes and rode it out, cursing silently.  He had never considered himself a possessive lover and he had no illusions about his reaction.  Intense as his passion for Avon was, his jealousy was more emblematic of the intensity of his insecurity.

Despite his jealousy, perhaps even because of it, he'd deliberately managed the shifts so that Cally and Avon worked together most often, countering his initial urge to separate them, keep Avon close to himself.  He'd told himself that Cally and Avon worked most smoothly together, so it was the best thing for the crew as a whole.  Told himself that Cally was a better match for Avon than he was.  Cally had patience and gentleness and fire to offer Avon, and she seemed to understand him far better that the rest of them - for all that her ideals were matched to Blake's' own.  The important thing was to keep Avon aboard the Liberator.  For Avon to choose to stay.  A sexual link to Cally would achieve that as surely as one to himself, better, since they weren't at each other's throats continually, as he and Avon were.  And Cally would not desert the Cause, not even for love of Avon.  Encouraging their relationship was obviously the best solution.

But he was sure now, almost sure, they weren't lovers.  And he was helplessly glad of it.  There was just the once, when he'd heard Avon's voice, saw Cally go to him when it should have been himself.  Yet the rest room had been an obvious place to hunt for Avon and he hadn't.  Burnt out and wary, he had blundered about the corridors, only half wanting to find the infuriated man, and his recalcitrant half had lost to Cally and fate.  He had even felt a brief surge of relief, told himself he was well out of it.  Avon was too demanding, too dangerous to pursue.  But regret and longing had quickly drowned relief.  His head could preach all it wanted, his body spoke another language, whispering along his nerve ends as he lay alone in the dark.

In his cabin, Blake undid his boots and collapsed back on the bed.  The pressure of the day had been unrelenting and he was bone weary.  Under the exhaustion he felt was the ache of suppressed love, under that the irritation of unappeased lust, a sibilant whisper.  His hand rubbed his crotch abstractedly through his trousers and Blake felt his annoyance and self pity swell along with his cock.  Damn! he wanted the man.  There was no point to fighting it, a masturbation session was the easiest road to sleep.  And there was no question the image of Avon would fill his mind, only of the mode, the guise of the fantasy.  Fragments of memory came back to him, were magnified, flashes of Avon's face alight with wicked playfulness...with passionate fury... transfigured with that all-encompassing, soul-wrenching sweetness.  Moaning, Blake pressed harder against his growing erection, fumbled with the fastening of his pants.

The buzzer sounded and Blake felt an irrational surge of hope, though Avon had no reason at all to come visiting.  Swinging his legs off the bed, he tugged his tunic down, then walked to the door and palmed it open.  But it was not Avon, it was Jenna standing before him.

He knew immediately why she was there.  Her stance was provocative, challenging and uncertain, her dress a new one, a clinging slide of iridescent lavender, very easy to remove.  Her perfume enveloped him, wild roses, musk and some scent cool and bright as starlight.  Caught off guard, he tried to frame a deft evasion, distance himself with an obvious obtuseness.  But the ploys did not work for Jenna was already embracing him and his arms came around her automatically, holding the sweet softness, the lean strength of her.  Jenna's fingers twined in his hair, pulled his face to hers.  He bent his head to her neck and pressed her close, close enough to thwart her effort to kiss him.

Blake heard her gasp softly, felt her hips, her belly mold to his partial erection.  It was the easy answer.  He was half aroused with thoughts of Avon now.  He could turn the energy to her, forget his futile longings in her embrace.  Before Avon, Jenna was the one he had wanted most, and he still thought her beautiful, desirable.  Only that desire had become almost an abstraction.  There was no longer a strong urge to draw her closer to himself physically and emotionally, only the impulse to use her as a shield against his need for Avon.

"No, Jenna,"  A word he'd never wanted to say to her.  She stiffened in his arms and pulled back, and he watched her face as she struggled to control the hurt, the anger that surged up in her.  Saw the furious Why? her glance flung at him.  "It's a small ship," he said, keeping his voice gentle but remote, negating the signals she had read in his body, "and too full of tensions as it is."

She did not protest that her simmering passion for him was one of those tensions, he did not enlighten her that his for Avon was another.  She took a deep breath, released it in an unsteady sigh, then met his eyes, accepting the refusal.  Smiling lightly, he reached out and tousled her hair affectionately.  Her eyes flared with hunger for his touch, hostility at his condescension, and he dropped his hand.  She had not come to him lightly, chancing rejection in defying all his unspoken messages.  She'd risked her pride on his desire, and lost.

"You are important to me, Jenna...." he began.

"It's all right, Blake, I've always known you were married to your Cause."  Her voice was flat and bitter, but it absolved him.  It was true enough, but it still made him feel a hypocrite giving her these half truths.  Only there was nothing to say that would not complicate the situation further, and with a small, twisted smile Jenna let herself out of the cabin.

You bloody fool, he thought, her exit leaving him in a swamp of unpleasant emotions - resentment, regret, and gnawing carnal need overlaid with a sticky scum of self-righteousness.  What was the purpose of that?  The chances of winning Avon back were almost non-existent.  Now he had offended Jenna as well.  Not non-existent, another voice in his mind responded, it was you he wanted and he hasn't stayed with Cally.  If Avon had done that, perhaps Blake would have welcomed Jenna.  She had always appealed to what was free spirited in him.  Even tonight - if she could have offered her passion freely he would have taken it, for release, for comfort, for comradeship...all the things he found easy to offer a friend.

But not for love, and not for possession.  A few weeks ago he would have tried, the attraction had been strong, despite his misgivings.  But not now, when every cell in his body cried out for Avon.  Jenna was no fool.  She'd come to him, ostensibly on his terms, but he would have to offer her something more honest, more intense than second-hand passion in order to satisfy her.  And Blake doubted, as he always had, that he could endure Jenna's posessiveness.  Although he preferred the option of adventure, of an open relationship, he could be faithful to spare his partner's feelings.  But he could not bear the watchful, enforced fidelity that Jenna would demand.  And what of Avon's demands?  He had no idea what Avon's rules would be and found, with bemused dismay, that with Avon he did not care.  At the moment it seemed a pleasant prospect to have their roles reversed, to have Avon jealous, hungry for him.  Give it long enough and you'd care, sexual obsession won't obscure your basic nature forever.  You need emotional breathing space.

And now, if he did manage to work something out with Avon after turning Jenna away, would she be the one to leave?  Jenna's expertise was almost as invaluable as Avon's, and her pride almost as intense.  Even her connection to Zen and the Liberator might not keep her on the ship if she felt betrayed.  Jenna admired his ideals, perhaps loved him for them, but she did love him, not the cause of freedom for its own sake.  Why did these stupid personal sexual obsessions have to loom so damn large in the internal landscape?  One orgasm more or less, while held in one particular pair of arms.  What did it bloody matter!  It was all so insignificant, so meaningless in the face of all the suffering the Federation was inflicting on humanity!

Stripping out of his sweaty leathers, Blake took a cold shower to counter the carnal ache, a hot one to sooth his jangled nerves.  He toweled himself dry then sat naked on the bed, hunched and despondent.  Unable to approach Avon, having to reject Jenna, it seemed his loneliness had doubled, so that he rattled around inside the shell of himself, priapic and unbearably miserable.  "The hell with it," he whispered suddenly under his breath.  He slipped into light cotton clothes and slippers and pulled the brandy bottle from its hiding place.

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Vila opened the door at his knock.  Blake brandished the brandy bottle.  "I'd like some company, Vila.  Want to help me finish this?"

"Now that's an invitation I like.  Make yourself at home."  Vila made a sweeping gesture that included the room in general, added a flourish that indicated a particular cushioned chair.

Blake walked over to the bed.  He kicked off the slippers he'd been wearing and lounged full length on the far side of the cover, leaving room for Vila to join him.  The thief looked slightly disconcerted, but not offended.  "Is this too much at home?" Blake asked.  "If it is, we can stick to the brandy."

"You want to go to bed?" Vila asked.  "With me?"

"Yes...I'd like to spend tonight with you," Blake clarified.  "If you'd enjoy it."

Vila's look was suddenly more measuring, and Blake met it easily, smiling slightly.  Vila smiled back tentatively, and turned away to pad about the room, returning to the bed with a glass in one hand, cup in the other.  He peered into the cup with a dubious expression, and handed the glass to Blake.  Blake filled it with brandy, then poured more into the cup that Vila extended to him.  Vila took a swallow, sighed, and sat down...at the foot of the bed.  He cocked his head, eyeing Blake with bright, curious eyes.

"Don't get me wrong, Blake.  Could be fun.  I'm not one to turn down a bit of hot and bother, y'know."

"But...?"  Blake asked the silence that followed, sipping appreciatively at his own brandy.

"I thought Jenna was your leading lady.  Hard to compete with that, even for a night."

Blake shrugged in turn, shook his head in a faint negative.  He didn't want to get into personalities.  Vila had a strong sense of self-preservation, and could usually keep his own council...but he also had a fondness for heedless babble.

"Suppose I started braggin'?" Vila conjectured, as if following this thought.  "I might get me a few special privileges, being the current favorite."

Blake doubted it was a serious question.  Vila was just probing, testing the lie of the land.  Well, discretion was one thing, but there was no point in moronic ignorance.  "From whom?  Jenna?  She'd have your hide for a jacket."

Vila contemplated this for a moment.  "No, not really.  Nobody'd be jealous of me.  No one takes me seriously.  I'm safe.  That's why you're here, innit?  Jenna's really beautiful, and keen on you...too keen.  You're not one for a leash, are you Blake?"

"No," he said, succinctly.

"You're not just for men.  You like women, I can tell.  Jenna's the most beautiful, but Cally's the sweetest.  Lovely legs, Cally has," Vila mused.  "She'd have you...comrades in arms and all that.  Only Jenna would have your hide for a jacket then, wouldn't she?"

Jenna and Avon both, Blake thought, grunting noncommittally.  Split it up into a cap and muffler apiece.  Avon might well play dog-in-the-manger where Cally was concerned.

"I bet you could even have Avon, if you put your mind to it."

This last sounded wistful.  It piqued Blake's curiosity and he tried to look casually quizzical.  Vila blushed and squirmed defensively.  "I always liked women best," he said, oblivious to Blake's masculine presence.  "But he fair oozes it, dunnee?  Can't help but notice.  If I looked like that, could draw everyone's eye like that, I wouldn't waste it.  Have myself a good revel, I can tell you.  Screw everything in sight, and not say no when they came begging for seconds."

Envy then, as much as desire, more perhaps.  Blake was relieved.  The growing potential for hurt pride and broken hearts was alarming enough as it was.  He should have followed his own first counsel and not laid a finger on any of them, least of all Avon.

"Gets twice the attention from you as the rest of us put together.  Always has," Vila added knowledgeably.

The comment startled Blake.  Was that how it looked to Vila?  Was that how it was?  Avon had been the most difficult, the most demanding, especially in the early days.  But, even now, Blake was more aware of his absence than his presence, challenging as it was.  Had Jenna only been the easy, the obvious draw, and Avon the deeper one from the beginning?  When Avon approached him, his body had responded so hungrily....

Vila was eyeing him thoughtfully.  Blake swirled the brandy in his glass and grinned lasciviously at him.  "I suppose we've all noticed Avon from time to time."  He deliberately exaggerated the tone, letting it drip with innuendo.  "Then again, I notice everybody."  If Vila was going to say no, he would have done it by now.  Blake stretched out a leg, sliding his bare foot over Vila's thigh, his toes wiggling a questioning little dance in Vila's crotch.

Vila giggled, "Ooooo, that's wicked, Blake.  I think I like you wicked."

"Do you, Vila?  Refreshing change of pace, is it?"

Vila took another gulp of brandy, then set the cup on the table.  Blake handed over his glass as well, then opened his arms to Vila who came into them, snuggling close.  The simple human warmth of it was comforting.  They wrapped their arms about each other, hugging, their bodies rocking gently.

"S'nice," Vila murmured contentedly.

"Mmmmm hummm."

"I like a cuddle.  Can you imagine Avon all cozy and relaxed like this?"

Blake had to force himself not to tense.  The continuing comments about Avon were downright rude, under the circumstances.  He did not want to talk about, think about Avon any more tonight...but he could not stop himself from listening as Vila prattled on.

"Course, he may never get cozy.  Probably stays coiled up tight as an Arcturian gilliwog.  I'll never get close enough to find out - don't know as I'd want to.  He might bite or something."

Blake burst out laughing.  He couldn't help the response, and Vila did not understand the significance for him, just chuckled along at his own joke.  Blake hugged him tighter.  "Yes, Vila, I can well imagine he might bite."

"You don't bite, do you Blake?" he asked, nuzzling an ear, running his tongue around the whorls.

Blake shivered with pleasure at the moist, velvety touch.  "Only if I'm asked , Vila.  Only if I'm asked."

It went well enough at first.  Happy to distract Vila from his conjectures, Blake centered his concentration on encouraging his explorations, on responding to them.  Their natural curiosity  matched well, their ability to enjoy the moment.  Vila was as playful as Blake had expected, nimble with his hands, their delicate touch as woman-soft as his tongue.  After the introductory kisses, they set to work on the fastenings of each other's shirts, letting things happen smoothly.  All easy, warm, and companionable.  There was no real fire between them, but its lack did not bother either of them.  They both knew how to coax a flame from a tiny spark.  Blake's earlier urge had waned and now Vila was more easily stirred than he was, but the other man's growing arousal was rousing his own.  A small flame was kindled, but there was a coolness, an undercurrent of loneliness that ran beneath the warmth, distancing Blake from the contact.  He tried to shrug it off, told himself a little more fire would burn off the chill.  He helped Vila tug off his pants and briefs, cupped the bobbing penis in his hand.  It was small and pink and pretty.  Altogether an endearing cock.

Now to the unveiling, he thought, as Vila opened his fly, grateful he was only half aroused for the initial viewing.  Blake was used to nervousness, but he was shocked at the way Vila paled at the sight of him.  He looked positively panicked and his incipient erection shriveled.

"Blake...." the thief whispered nervously, chewing on his lip, "I can't.  I don't think...please, I just can't, really I can't.  Split me open you would."

"Well, you don't have to, do you now?" he replied blandly.

"I don't?"  Vila gulped.  "I mean...I didn't exactly think you'd force me, Blake.  But I thought you'd want...expect....  You being an Alpha an' all."

He pulled Vila close against his chest, feeling the smaller body stiff with tension, afraid his refusal had offended.  Blake was offended, if not for the reason Vila feared.  He pushed the response aside and carded his fingers through the fine, thinning hair.  Vila shivered, but pressed a little closer.  It saddened Blake that Vila assumed he'd demand dominance in bed, but he probably had his own authoritarian behavior on the flight deck to blame.  And he supposed his entrance tonight had been a bit overbearing.  He'd just wanted to get things settled, one way or the other.  He didn't know that being an Alpha had all that much to do with it.  Prison life must have introduced Vila to bullies of all ranks, more low than high.  Few Alphas were incarcerated - they were just "reconditioned".  Now he shivered against the Delta.

"I just want a little company, Vila," he said quietly.  "A little shared pleasure.  You're always saying how good you are with your hands - and I'm very good with my mouth, I'm told.  Nobody has to fuck anybody...or you can fuck me, if that's what you'd like."

Vila stared at him, utterly disbelieving.

"I'd enjoy it, Vila.  It's relaxing, being pleasured that way."  And why the hell he'd had to make it a thing of such symbolic significance, getting inside Avon....  He sighed.

"You do give a lot of orders, you know," Vila added, explanation, insult, and apology all in one.

"You just tell me what you want, Vila, and how you want it done.  I like most everything, from both sides."

"Good with your mouth, you say?"  Vila asked perkily, irrepressible as ever.

Blake grinned.  "I take it you'd like a practical demonstration?"

He tipped Vila onto his back, began edging slowly down the center of his body with kisses, licks, and soft nibbles.  He executed a leisurely circle from navel to hipbones to the tender-fleshed inner thighs, then tongued the rosy balls until Vila's cock stood upright and eager again.  Blake traced every centimeter of it with his tongue tip before gathering it all into his mouth.  He'd always liked sucking cock, the sensuality of it, the immediacy, and he'd taken care to develop his skill.  His own cock caused more trouble than it was worth and his hands, though not clumsy, hadn't the soft delicacy of Vila's touch.  Or the deft, sure strength of Avon's....

He focused back on the cock he held in his mouth, sucked it tightly.  Vila was definitely one of his most appreciative audiences.  He articulated his delight with coos, gurgles, and groans.  Blake would have laughed if his mouth wasn't full.  He practiced some of his fanciest tongue rolls, pleased with the breathless gasps they drew.  He pressed the thrusting hips down and increased the suction, wet and insistent, heating Vila up.  But he did not push the flame too high.  He'd promised Vila some fucking too, and wanted the thief to feel in control.  Releasing the taut cock, he licked his way up Vila's torso, pausing to nibble at the nipples he'd neglected earlier.  Vila wiggled pleasurably, more sensitive there than he was, but not as intensely sensitive as he knew Avon to be, arching into the touch.

Blake dragged his mind away, embarrassed and distressed.  This wasn't like him.  He didn't give a damn if his partner liked to picture him as the latest vis star, but he'd always prided himself on his own ability to enjoy whoever he was with, not to have some fantasy lover encroaching on that unique reality.

He turned over onto his belly, pressing his face into the yielding softness of the pillow.  A feather pillow, he realized.  What strange treasures the Liberator had secreted away, and how like Vila to have discovered this one and carried it off to his private lair.  Blake felt a light, uncertain stroking on his buttocks and opened his legs.  Careful fingers probed between his cheeks, prepared him.  The cream Vila used smelled of mint, not sandalwood....  Vila settled between his spread thighs, and Blake felt the cock enter him gently, first the head, then the shaft sliding into the channel.  A bit uncomfortable, but not painful.  Vila moved slowly, until he was sure Blake's body had accepted him.  Blake tightened his muscles, squeezing the sex he encased.  Vila was appreciative of that too, crooning to him softly, wrapping himself about Blake who lifted his hips to let the arms come under him, the searching hands gather his genitals.  Vila began to move more quickly within him, body questioning, trying to find a rhythm to excite them both.

The movement felt good, but not quite good enough.  Blake's attention was still divided, more energy going into holding off invasive thoughts of Avon than into feeling, being with the man who caressed him so intimately.  Pleasant as they were, he could not lose himself in the light, coaxing touch of Vila's fingers, the darting pressure of his cock.  It was another, fiercer touch he desired.  Chagrined, he felt what erection he had shrinking in Vila's grasp.

Vila stopped moving inside him.  He hovered for a moment, rubbing Blake's back in a soothing massage, then withdrew his own tight erection from Blake's body and pushed him gently over onto his back.  Blake met the warm, comforting gaze with apology.  Vila smiled at him lightly.  "Not ready for that, you're not.  How about a bit of a suck?"

"Please," he said, not knowing what else to suggest.  He felt ashamed of himself.  He was the one who had initiated this encounter.  Would he have performed so poorly with Jenna?  Ghastly thought.

Vila sidled down to his groin, gathered Blake's drooping member in both hands and contemplated it with a perplexed expression.  Blake sighed.  Getting the poor monster sucked could be almost as much of a problem as finding a fuck for it.  But the head was, luckily, extremely sensitive.  Supplied with this information, Vila commenced with enthusiasm, working it lavishly with his tongue while his hands supported the shaft.  Blake closed his eyes, concentrating on the new sensations.  Suddenly, vividly, it was Avon holding him, Avon's expert hands skimming the rising length of him, his hot mouth sucking....  Pleasure flared at the image and Blake moaned, his cock jerking in Vila's grip.  Eager to please, the hands squeezed him more strongly, as Avon's would....

Blake's scruples seemed pointless to him now.  His excitement was real enough, more vital than the half-hearted responses he had offered so far, and Vila was reacting to it, sucking him hungrily.  Blake gave himself over to the fantasy, letting the gentle urgency, the enticing touches become Avon's.  He trembled now as the soft tongue laved his cock head, teasing round the rim, the tip delicately probing the tiny opening for the welling moisture there.  He gasped as the hands fondled him, one stroking the shaft, the other sliding down to cradle his balls, rolling them between agile fingers.  Slowly, those fingers delved lower, gliding between his cheeks to tease across the sensitized orifice.

There was a pause, filled with his ragged breathing.  He could imagine Avon smiling at him, laughter flickering in his eyes.  Deliberately prolonging the exquisite torture, drawing his anticipation to a quivering peak....  Blake cried out as he felt the delectable mouth close over the head even as the tantalizing fingers pressed into him.  He opened himself to the tender invasion and they pressed in deeper...deeper...as the mouth took him deeper, sucking strong and sure and sweet, the tongue flicking again and again over the most sensitive spot.  The touches were so gentle, so loving, they broke his heart.  He clutched the bedspread in both hands, his hips rocking helplessly back and forth on the twin pleasures, soaring to orgasm.  The spasm shook his whole body and he had to bite his lip to keep from sobbing Avon's name as he came.  He was aware of the last drops being sucked from him, then the mouth simply held him, a warm, wet haven, until his cock was as limp as the rest of his body.  Finally, it released him, the velvet tongue licking him with affection.

"That was good for you," Vila said, pleased with himself, pleased for Blake.

"Yes," he murmured, full of gratitude and post-coital langour.  For a moment he drifted, at peace, then...too soon, too soon...came the insidious undercurrent of loneliness, an invading chill.  He pulled Vila into his arms, holding on to the solid warmth of him, trying to hold the cooling tide at bay.  But it took him, swept him away then beached him, naked and shivering.  Empty and aware of emptiness.

Aware too of the hard shape of Vila's cock, pressed to his flesh, of the tense expectation in the other man's body.  He was not alone, no matter how alone he now felt.  Automatically, he drew Vila into position, lifting his own legs back and guiding the pulsing cock between his cheeks.  Vila was excited, panting, thrusting even as he entered.  Blake found his pace, matched it, increased it, urging Vila to come, to find his own release.  He clenched and relaxed his internal muscles, squeezing Vila's cock.

"Blake, oh Blake, that's lovely," Vila whispered.  So Blake did it again, embracing Vila with his arms, his legs, speaking his name, wanting to give him something for himself alone.  Vila flew into him, fast and light, then poised in his flight, face lifted, eyes closed, locked in his pleasure.  He said 'Oh' softly, repeated it softer still, then wailed it silently, his mouth rounded with the sound, as his cock throbbed and the warm fluid spilled out of his body and into Blake's.

For a long moment, Vila lay slumped against Blake's chest.  Then he sighed deeply, opened his eyes, and smile blissfully at Blake.  "Lovely," he said again.  "Stirred me up, you did, you came so pretty."

"I'm glad," he said, stroking Vila's hair.  Cat-like, Vila rubbed his head against Blake's palm.

They pulled apart and Blake rolled Vila to the dry side of the bed, cuddling with him, spoon-fashion, until Vila drifted off to sleep.  Then, with a need for solitude as strong as his earlier need for companionship, he got up and dressed, hunting a missing slipper he finally found buried under Vila's trousers.  He surveyed the brandy - there was a good measure left in the bottle, more than enough to get drunk on in one sitting, which Vila would probably not be able to resist.  Blake left it anyway, another decision he'd probably regret.

No...he did not regret coming here tonight.  How could he regret Vila's kindness, his humor, his sweetness?  But the sex had not been the escape he had hoped for...rather the reverse.  Unbidden, his mind replayed the images, echoed the sensations of his fantasy.  The welcoming mouth, the intimate, coaxing hands, the flooding tenderness of the orgasm they had brought him.  Lovely, he thought, with a bitterness that shocked him.  It had been beautiful.  It had just not, after all, been Avon.

"It was good, Vila," he assured the sleeping thief softly.  "But I have it bad.  Very bad indeed."