The view was breath-taking. Odd.
He had never appreciated the beauty of the city before, any city. His hand touched the screen as if to capture the vision before it faded away, the scars on his wrist reminded him that it was only an illusion.
Avon was tired. It was not the physical or mental tiredness they would soon force upon him, it was something else. His hand clenched in a fist against the screen, even without the restraints on his wrists, he could still feel them.
He could not remember a time when he was not hunted, could not recall a time when someone didn't want something from him, whether it was the Federation or Blake or those who needed his brilliance and instinct for survival. In the Federation, genius had it's disadvantages, especially one like his, which was why he had decided to use those talents for himself. Now he no longer had that option.
He smiled wryly, this kind of melancholy was alien to him; he had always been known for his lack of emotion, his objectivity. Some accused him of being more a machine than a man; a cold, calculating computer. Now that he was being used as one, it was destroying that which was still human in him.
Servalan watched her captive as he stood in front of the screen; he had thought her asleep but she had been curious. In the dim light of the holo-scape she could make out the scars on his body, some of which she had inflicted. The healing tanks could have easily removed all the marks but some were deliberately left as an uncomfortable reminder for him; especially the ones she inflicted.
Standing with his fist against the screen, he was like a dangerous caged animal. That mixture of hate and controlled passion had not disappointed her tonight; it had been like a consuming fire between them. She had marvelled at his restrained violence and was also surprised by his gentleness. Did you learn that with Anna?
She had enjoyed his capacity to give her pleasure, all the more satisfying with the knowledge between them that he did not really have a choice. Power and revenge; he had given her great satisfaction tonight.
He had lived up to his agreement and returned to her, she could not imagine what it took for him to do that, knowing what was waiting for him; and tonight she had made him fully understand the cost, again and again until she was too tired to make any more demands of him. She rolled over and closed her eyes, she would exact no more from him tonight. He would need all of his strength when he was returned to the Special Detention Centre in the morning.
I let you go my love.
You are too valuable and too dangerous to ever be allowed to be free again.
Anna and Servalan; their voices blended into each other. The ghosts had returned.
No! Avon's fist hit the screen in an uncharacteristic display of emotion, causing it to ripple. Leave me alone.
The analyst could not bear having her become part of his nightmares when she already was in the light of day. He turned around and looked in the direction of the bed, she was still asleep. He noticed the liquor cabinet and remembered alcohol was Vila's favourite drug of choice, apart from soma; he smiled at the thought. Strange. He actually missed the thief, he must be in worse shape than he thought; he tried not to think of the hurt and anger in Vila's face as he transported down.
Avon went over and tested the bottles, it was a veritable treasure of alcohols to chose from. He settled on a nice strong brandy and moved over to the couch. He poured himself a large glass; it was not as effective as a sedative, but after finishing the whole bottle he was finally able to sleep.
A shout woke the Federation President as light from the morning sun streamed into the bedroom through the skylight above and the bay window. Servalan stretched and looked around, the bed next to her was empty. Avon! For a second she thought he had escaped again but then she remembered the shout, it had come from the other side of the room. She looked over, Avon was sprawled on a couch; the shout had come from him. In sleep, he move restlessly; with a start she realized that she had forgotten about the nightmares, forgotten that he needed the drugs to sleep and to prevent the terrible dreams.
She wondered if his mind would ever be whole enough to no longer need the drugs but that didn't suit her purposes; she would never allow him that.
She got up, pulled a robe around her and walked over to where he lay. She spied the empty bottle. I see. You found your own drug but it obviously didn't helped with the nightmares. Serves you right.
"Avon," she called out his name, "it's time to wake up."
She stood an arm's length from him, there was no telling what he would do when woken up in this state.
In his nightmare he rolled towards the voice, swung out with an arm and fell from the couch, with a shock he woke up. For a moment he was disoriented, unsure of where he was. He shielded his eyes, the light was too bright, his head hurt and he was sore from where his bare shoulder had hit the ground.
"Serves you right for finishing off my most expensive brandy," Servalan noted dryly.
He looked up at her and remembered why he was there. He got up silently, rubbing his shoulder.
"I'll order us up some breakfast. Why don't you go get cleaned up," she told him.
Silently Avon gathered up his discarded clothing and headed towards the bathroom. He had nothing to say. The nightmare-plagued sleep had not done much good, he was tired and his head was pounding.
Watching him as she went over to the comm unit to give instructions to the kitchen, Servalan regretted that her oversight had deprived the analyst of the last opportunity to get a good night's rest. She sighed, this kind of regret had no place in their relationship.
The kitchen staff sent up a light meal as she had instructed. She was hungry from their exertions from the night before and neither had eaten but she knew that it was not wise for him to each much, not with what was in store for him today; but he did need to keep his energy up.
When Avon reappeared, washed and groomed, he looked much better. She had not noticed his clothes the day before, but did now. Where she preferred to wear white, he had taken to wearing black. He wore a silky black shirt and black pants. The black medium-length jacket with a silver chaser pattern down both arms, he lay across the back of a chair. He was still as handsome and as elegant as the first time she had met him, despite the harsh treatment of the past two years.
Although the analyst was frequently starved as part of his treatments, it was never allowed to compromise his health; supplement injections made sure of that. Even though he was kept in a constant state of injury and weakness, she had also directed that his muscle tone be kept up with the use of the healing tanks. She was glad she had done that as she enjoyed him last night; she had not wanted him to become one of the emaciated, physically diminished creatures that the denizens of the Special Detention Centre always became.
Avon had been the figure behind Blake when they broke into the fake Central Control in the Forbidden Zone on Earth; the enigmatic engineer whom Blake held onto for support when he realized that they had all been tricked. Until then she had only known Kerr Avon as a name, the systems engineering genius who had been the focus of Federation Security's Computer Fraud Division for so many years. Even when he had attracted Central Security's attention and they sent their best undercover agent after him, she and Avon had not crossed paths, though she was already a senior political officer assigned to the Bureau.
Later when he had accidently fallen in with Blake, he had still only been Kerr Avon the computer genius, one of Blake's reluctant band of rebels. She knew his capabilities then, as she got to know the capabilities of all of Blake's crew, and she recognized that of all of the crew, he was the most valuable to Blake in his crusade.
For two years, after Blake was out of the picture, she and Avon had played a deadly game of cat and mouse with each other but in that game had also been a growing attraction. Almost a year after the incident on Sarran, during the Teal-Vandor convention, he had kissed her again. This time he had threatened to kill her and then pulled her to him roughly and kissed her before letting go and signalled for teleport back to the ship.
Now she had succeeded in harnessing that dangerous genius for her own purposes. Every time she looked into his eyes now, she saw the impotent hatred, the trapped and wounded animal.
Avon saw the tray which had been brought in while he was washing up. It looked good, but he didn't have much of an appetite.
Servalan headed to the vacated bathroom but seeing him staring at the food, not moving, she said "You should eat something."
"A last meal for a condemned man?"
"You sound like you're going to your death."
"Is there a difference?"
"The kitchens are very good here, you shouldn't waste the opportunity. I don't do this for everyone."
"You mean you usually kick your lovers out without feeding them?"
Servalan smiled at his words. "Suit yourself." She left him to his own devices as she went to take a shower. There was no danger in leaving him alone, all access points and technological devices in her bedroom were coded to her personally and alarms would be set off immediately if he tried to use anything she had not allowed him to.
When the Federation President returned to the bedroom, the food still lay untouched. Avon was standing in front of the holo-scape again looking over the city of Europa as it came to life.
What fascination does that city hold for you?
Servalan stood for a moment, studying him. In stillness, there was an air of quiet beauty about him, a hint of unfathomed depths and sheathed power. He was a man touched by a greatness few achieved but many strived for. After two years of torture and abuse, it was still there but there was also a sadness about him now, a weariness which went much deeper than any physical exhaustion.
Servalan turned her back towards him and poured two cups of coffee. Into one, she surreptitiously injected a liquid from the ring with the Presidential seal she always wore.
Carrying both cups, she went over to him.
"You'll appreciate this," she handed him a cup.
He took the proffered cup and took a sip of the hot liquid. "Real coffee. You must have a good supplier." He drank a few more mouthfuls.
Servalan said, "You don't need a good supplier, you just have to be Federation President. Here, give me your cup." He took one more mouthful of coffee and handed it to her; he staggered. She quickly put the cups down on the table.
"What's this?" Avon asked, his voice slurring. He reached out to steady himself and found her hands supporting him as he sank to his knees.
"Don't worry, it's just a strong sedative," she reassured him as he fell forward. She guided his head so that he would not hit it against the ground and helped him roll over. She checked his pupils, they were glazed over, this sedative was quick.
Servalan went over to the liquor cabinet and picked up the manacles which he had deposited there the night before. She knelt beside him and picked up one unresisting hand, she kissed it briefly before snapping one of the bracelets to his wrist.
"At least you will have some rest before it begins, that's all I can give you," she said as she snapped a bracelet to his other wrist. Servalan went to get ready for the day before calling for her personal guards to convey the unconscious man back to the Special Detention Centre.