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Random Musings
B7: The Definition of Peace - Chapter 14 
4th-Feb-2008 10:53 am

Genre: PGP
Rating: Implied Het
Sequel to Wants and Needs (3rd story in the Perceptions series)

 
Previous ChapterChapter Fourteen Next Chapter
   
Avon, Cally, Vila, Ture and Allren were trying to put as much distance between themselves and their former hideout as possible. Their speed was determined by Avon's ability to move, which was not very quickly. Even with the cane, days of being on the run had taken its toll on him.
 
"I've always said that with hands like that, you would've made a decent pickpocket," said Vila approvingly from behind Avon. "When did you do it? When did you take the gun?"
 
"You were already looking for an opportunity when you turned around, weren't you? Because she was standing too close," said Ture admiringly. He had positioned himself next to Avon while Cally stood on the other side.
 
"Not very smart of her," remarked Allren. He was walking beside Vila.
 
"I bet you took it when she slapped you. She was too preoccupied to notice." Ture was talking excitedly.
 
Allren was amused by his friend's enthusiasm. Ture didn't often speak unless he had something to say. He was being uncharacteristically talkative and animated.
 
Both Allren and his friend had been very quiet since meeting Avon. Unusually quiet considering how interested in him they had been before meeting him. The last few days of being on the run and watching the unfolding tensions between the crewmates had made them cautious. Neither one of them had wanted to interfere. But now that things seemed to be better, Ture's fascination had resurfaced.
 
Cally remarked, "You deliberately provoked her."
 
Even though there was no reaction on Avon's face, from what he had said before about Ture and Allren, Cally could guess that all of this attention was starting to irritate him.
 
Avon turned his head briefly to look at her as he continued walking. She always did know him well.
 
"It wasn't difficult. But it wouldn't have worked if she knew I was able to stand that quickly," said Avon.
 
Ture had been correct. When Avon had turned around to face Jenna, he had already positioned his body for his move. By only putting pressure on the leg which was strong, he had been able to stand quickly.
 
"Just how incapacitated are you?" Cally asked curiously.
 
Avon smiled slyly. "Enough."
 
"That doesn't tell me anything," she told him.
 
"Exactly. I did tell you that I was watching for opportunities."
 
"You did. But you fooled all of us."
 
"You never asked. You all assumed."
 
"Yes. We must remember to ask you more often," said Cally wryly.
 
"Yes. You should," said Avon.
 
"When you heard that the Federation sweep was over. You realized that leaving was now a safer option," said Allren.
 
Avon was surprised. This was the kind of strategic reasoning he would have expected of Argus. He hadn't expected any of them to notice this detail as the catalyst which prompted him to begin looking for an opportunity to escape.
 
There was something else which he had reasoned, which none of them seemed to have picked up on. When Jenna had come in with the armed rebels, it was not a good sign. Especially given the additional detail of the food, which made no provision for him.
 
Avon surmised that it wasn't just spite on Jenna's part. They had come for him, most likely to remove him from the others, so they could force him to work on ORAC without interference or support.
 
When Jenna had made the mistake of standing over him, a pathetic attempt at intimidation, he instantly seized the chance. Like the others, she had assumed that because of his physical difficulties, that he was helpless and did not present much of a threat.
 
They finally reached a deserted alley just off the main commercial square and stopped.
 
"What are we doing here?" asked Vila.
 
"Cally, do you think you can find your young thief friend? Ask him if he can find us a place to stay for a few days?" asked Avon.
 
"Palty? Yes. I should have thought of him myself," said Cally. She handed her satchel to Allren and prepared to go in search of the thief.
 
"Don't tell him anything that he doesn't need to know. And be careful," warned Avon.
 
"I will."
 
**********
 
As they waited for Cally to contact Palty, there was something about what happened which had been bothering Vila. He finally realized what it was.
 
"Avon."
 
Avon had been leaning against the wall, keeping a look-out for Cally's return. He rubbed his shoulder absently. It had begun bothering him lately. "What is it?"
 
"Are you prepared to sacrifice your friends to get to me?" Vila repeated Avon's words to him.
 
Avon looked at him sharply. The look on Vila's face was troubled as they stared at each other.
 
"You would, wouldn't you?" said Jenna cynically. They both remembered what Jenna had said.
 
"Jenna believed it," said Avon.
 
"She would," said Vila. He continued staring at Avon.
 
Ture and Allren looked at the two men with puzzled expressions. Neither of them could understand the sudden increase in tension.
 
"You used Jenna's paranoia against her," said Allren. "You knew that she would believe that of you." To him this sounded reasonable.
 
"It worked beautifully," said Ture.
 
"Yes, it worked," said Vila.
 
"Even better than I had expected," said Avon. His gaze had never left Vila's.
 
"Avon…." Vila wanted to discuss it further, but with Ture and Allren there, it wasn't the time. "Never mind."
 
**********
 
"I need a place to hide for a few days," Cally told her young thief friend, Palty. "Preferably someplace out of the way. A place I can escape from quickly if I had to."
 
"Are you in trouble?" asked Palty.
 
"It's safer if you didn't know," said Cally.
 
The others were waiting in an alley nearby, trying to keep out of sight. With no knowledge of who belonged to the rebels or not, it was safer not being more visible.
 
Palty asked, "How large a place you looking for? If it's just you then there is a couple."
 
"I need a larger place."
 
"You've got friends?"
 
"It's…" Cally hesitated. She remembered Avon's warning about giving out too much information.
 
"I get it. It's safer if I don't know."
 
"Yes."
 
"Right. Let me dump some stuff first and I'll meet you back here in two hours."
 
**********
 
Cally went back to where the others were staying out of sight. She told them what Palty had said.
 
"Where do we go for two hours?" asked Vila.
 
"We stay here. And watch," said Avon. "This is a discreet enough place."
 
"Watch? What's there to watch?" asked Vila.
 
"You're afraid of a trap?" asked Allren.
 
"He's always afraid of traps, and conspiracies and people planning things behind his back," Vila told Allren.
 
"Yes. Vila should also tell you that I have an annoying habit of being right," said Avon acidly.
 
"Avon. You don't have to worry about Palty. He's helped me before," said Cally. "And other than for a tendency to want to make a profit out of everything, I've found him quite reliable. We can trust him."
 
"Our current situation does not give us the luxury of trust," said Avon. "We will stay here. And watch."
 
"Well you can watch. I'm going to make myself comfortable," said Vila. He went further down the secluded alley and found a place to sit.
 
Ture said to Avon, "I'll keep watch. Why don't you get some rest?"
 
Avon had been watching Vila walk away. He said, "No. I'll watch. All of you get some rest." The tone of his voice made it clear that he wanted to be left alone.
 
"Alright," said Ture with a disappointed tone. He and Allren left Avon to his thoughts. Avon turned to look at the commercial avenue again. He leaned tiredly against the wall.
 
"Avon." Cally had noticed the increased tension between Avon and Vila since she came back. She was not about to leave Avon alone.
 
"Get some rest, Cally," said Avon as he continued looking out onto the avenue.
 
"You're tired. You need more rest than any of us."
 
"Yes, I'm tired," said Avon. There was a tightness in his throat. "That's why I need you to leave me alone."

********** 

Manipulating a human being's physical reactions was simple compared to what Sester normally did as a psychostrategist. That was why he had proven such a gifted torturer once he had applied his mind to it.
 
He was also a gifted lover. Sester had found that manipulating a woman's physical responses quite easy, even with a woman who was as reluctant as Reya was. He knew all the most sensitive places; knew how to touch her and when. As long as she didn't actively fight him, it was hard for her to resist what he was doing. It was a building of sensations. Sester was very good at it.
 
He was patient and gentle, not wanting to hurt her. It meant that it took longer but in the end, he got the responses he wanted.
 
Sester could feel her body reluctantly reacting to the physical pleasure. At times she almost worked with him as he guided her towards a climax. Her reluctance and the challenge of overcoming it excited him as much as her physical responsiveness when she finally was moving in rhythm with him.
 
Afterwards, when they were finished and their breathing was returning to normal, he smiled and looked down into her eyes.
 
What he found there shocked him. She was crying. After what they had just shared, this was the last thing he had been expecting.
 
What have I done? thought Sester.
 
There was nothing pleasurable in what he had done anymore. He realized with horror that there was something he had not considered.
 
"Reya. Were you and Argus exclusive to each other?" he asked.
 
Reya couldn't speak. She only nodded. Her mind understood that what she had allowed to happen was out of her commitment to what Argus had asked of her; but her heart would not allow her to escape the guilt. It felt as if she had just betrayed him. She knew that she would never be able to think of Argus again without the pain of her own weakness.
 
I should have guessed, thought Sester.
 
"I'm so sorry," said Sester. His voice was filled with remorse. "You should have told me."
 
For Sester, as for most people, sex was a pleasurable activity between two consenting adults. Exclusivity in it was considered an outmoded concept. It was still practiced but it was no longer common.
 
Sester had known that it might be hard for Reya. His mind had already identified all of the difficulties she might have. Compared to their goal, it had seemed worth it. He had tried to make it as easy as possible for her, to help her to find pleasure in the activity.
 
He felt ill.
 
When she had recovered enough to speak, Reya said, "It wouldn't have made a difference."
 
"Yes, it would have. It would have made a difference to me. I would never have asked you to do this. I would have tried to find a different way. I shouldn't have manipulated you. It was my fault."
 
"That's why I didn't tell you. It was my choice. I knew what I was doing. We both know there was no other way," she told him.
 
He was taken aback. "You knew I was trying to manipulate you into doing this? And you let me?"
 
"You were very good. But I didn't need to be manipulated. I already knew this was a possibility the day you set me up as your lover."
 
Sester looked at her thoughtfully. "You were waiting for me to make a move? You let me do all that work so that you could convince yourself that you didn't have a choice? You used me."
 
"I'm sorry. I don't normally use people like that. But I couldn't bring myself to do it willingly. I needed you to manipulate me. If I had told you, your conscience would have gotten in the way. "
 
He touched her face gently. "You did this for him? Allowing yourself to be hurt?"
 
There were tears in her eyes again. "Yes."
 
Sester hugged her to his chest.
 
Reya didn't have to stay. Sester knew this. With her abilities, she could have escaped at any time. But that would have meant leaving him behind and he was part of her commitment to Argus.
 
I'm not worth this. You should have left, thought Sester.
 
Sester held Reya tightly as she cried. It was the only thing he could do for her.
 
He was amazed that this was the second time he had run into this kind of relationship. The other had been even more surprising than this one; that had been the connection between Avon and Anna Grant. The breaking of that bond had almost destroyed Avon; he had not wanted to go on without her, despite her treachery. Even after the distance of time, he was still affected by it. That was why Sester had been able to use it against him.
 
He wondered if he would ever be able to find someone like this too. Sester had to admit that part of him wanted her; wanted someone capable of this kind of love.
 
You're a lucky man, Argus. I hope you understood that.
 


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