Avon and Servalan were in the throes of passion. Again. They had been at it for hours. The two of them had barely been able to wait until the guards had left before they were all over each other; down in her office, in the lift and finally in her bedroom. Their need had become a consuming fire they could barely control.
Normally in this kind of physical exchange, Avon did her bidding. Any physical pleasure he derived was incidental to meeting her needs. Avon made love to her. It was never the other way around. Even the games she played with his body were not for him, they were solely for her amusement; an expression of her control over him.
But tonight had been very different.
Avon was exhausted and confused. They both were.
Afterwards, as they finally lay resting against each other Servalan said, "I should go away more often."
"Hmmm," was Avon's only reply. His eyes were closed. He was trying to rest. His breathing was slowly returning to normal.
Servalan reached over and touched his wrist. He was still wearing the manacles. In their eagerness, they had not even taken the time to remove them.
"We should probably take these off."
"Hmmm," Avon replied again.
Servalan got up and went to get the keys. Avon opened his eyes and watched her as she walked away.
Tonight, she had not used him. It had been a sharing of passion.
You really are getting soft, Servalan, he thought. He closed his eyes again.
Avon had no illusions that tonight would make any significant difference in their relationship. The passion had always existed between them ; and tonight they had both enjoyed that passion.
If you insist on making this mistake, Servalan. I will use it.
Servalan returned with the keys, sat down beside him and removed the bracelets from his wrists. She put the restraints on the table beside the bed, along with the keys. Picking up one of his wrists, she lightly traced the bruises and marks made from the constant rubbing of the bracelets.
"Would you like to live without the restraints?" she asked him. Her voice was gentle.
"And what would I have to do?" he asked impassively. His eyes were still closed.
"Nothing?" Avon instantly became suspicious. He opened his eyes and looked at her. "You do not believe in philanthropic gestures."
"No. That is true. But I do like to confuse you."
"So this is a game of control again?" he asked without emotion.
"Of course," Servalan replied.
Avon closed his eyes again.
She realized that he would never believe her if she had said otherwise. The last three years of torture and abuse would always be a terrible reminder for him.
If only I could change that, thought Servalan. Short of wiping his memories of the last three years, it was not possible. And they could not wipe them and still maintain their control over him.
"The Centre personnel report that you have been cooperating."
"Are they complaining again?" he asked in a tired voice. "Other than our agreements, I am doing everything you ask. I am no longer resisting. What else do you want from me?"
"Sester believes you are up to something."
"Assuming that is true. Are you going to torture me to find out what it is?"
"I do not want to." Servalan was surprised to discover that she really didn't. When did that change? she asked herself.
"So you are offering me more freedom if I tell you?" When did you stop wanting to hurt me? Avon did not believe her.
"No. The torture I will leave up to Sester. He is very good at it. As you know," Servalan told him. She lightly rubbed the bruises on his wrist. "I want to show you what it could be like if you are willing to cooperate."
"You are trying to play good investigator, bad investigator?" he remarked. "It doesn't work on me."
"But you haven't played it against us."
He opened his eyes again and looked at her. "So regardless if I cooperate or not, you will not believe me. And you are going to hurt me again."
"Then your guidelines mean nothing. They do not protect me from anything. They were never meant to were they? They were another charade. Another cruel joke at my expense. You lied to me. As you always do. There is no safe place for me here. No matter how much I cooperate." There was no emotion in his voice. Just a cold statement of fact.
It hurt her that he seemed to be accepting this.
As he spoke, Servalan realized he was right. As long as there was a lack of trust between them, he would never be safe from her. Sester had been right all along when he had tried to push her to agree.
After what had transpired between her and Avon the last few sessions, she wanted the guidelines to work, for his sake. His pain and anguish when he realized that his mind was slipping out of his control had shocked her. She knew he hated her then; but something had made him stop himself from hurting her. She didn't know why.
He had hurt for so long, she wanted to give him some peace. For that, she was willing to try.
"No. You are wrong. As long as you stay within the guidelines, I will not hurt you. I will only release Sester to hurt you if you break them."
"It is dangerous to feel sympathy for me, Servalan," he warned her. He didn't know why he said that to her. "And I will not accept it."
"I know." She bent down to kiss him. After awhile she asked, "Are you sufficiently rested?"
"You are determined to wear me out, aren't you?"
"Is that a yes?"
The very next day Cally brought another tray up to the tenth floor. As the lift doors opened and the guard gave her a cursory sweep with the hand scanner, she noticed that the room had changed. There was a small dining table with two chairs and two place settings.
"Come in Cally," said Kam, rising from his desk. "Put the things over here." He indicated the new dining table.
Cally wasn't quite sure what to make of this new development.
"I thought we might be more comfortable," he told her.
The vidscreen buzzed. There was an incoming communication.
"Why don't you set up the food and I will join you in a moment," Kam told her.
Cally began transferring the items from the tray to the table.
Kam sat at his desk and took the call. Cally could tell from his instant increased tension and anger that whoever was at the other end, was the same person who had called before. Being situated closer to Kam's desk, she could hear snatches of conversation now.
"…if you hurt….I will…cooperate…you think…you had better…or I will…I want to see…I will back…"
It was snatches only but it was informative. Cally was beginning to get an idea what was happening here.
Kameron Reve turned off the vidscreen and came over to the table to join Cally.
"Please, sit." He indicated one of the chairs.
They ate in silence. The meal was simple but delicious. Cally waited for the quiet man to initiate the conversation. He appeared to be in deep thought. Cally felt him begin to calm down.
"You are very patient, Cally." He finally broke the silence.
"When I have to be," she replied guardedly. All of her senses were sharp.
"You want to know why I asked you to share a meal with me today," Kam began.
"You are also probably wondering why I have asked, that only you bring up my tray this past week."
"The question has crossed my mind."
You are very cautious, thought Kam. And very different than when you first arrived here.
"You remind me of someone," he began. "She was also very careful and much more intelligent than she let on."
He is looking for a substitute? Cally knew that this may put her in an important position but she refused to take advantage of someone else's grief. She knew that Jenna may not like this but she would not go against her own conscience.
I have had enough grief of my own. I will not take advantage of someone else's.
"Are you always this quiet, Cally?" Kameron Reve asked.
"When I have nothing to say," she replied.
"Or when you don't know what I'm after?" He gave her a brief smile. "You are a wise young woman."
"What are you after?" she asked.
"To be honest, I'm not sure," he told her.
She looked at him appraisingly. This was not the kind of admission she had been expecting.
"The woman you were speaking of earlier, who was she?"
He looked startled. For a moment she thought she had made a serious error asking the question so soon.
"She is someone I love. Very much," he said finally. He looked down at his plate.
Cally could feel the waves of sadness and loneliness emanating from him.
So she is the source of these feelngs you have, thought Cally.
There was also something else she noticed. Love? Not loved?
"I'm sorry, I should not be asking such a personal question."
"No. Don't be. That is why you are here after all. Because you remind me of her."
"I look like her?"
"A little. Around the eyes especially. But it's more in your character and attitude. You're very much alike. She is also very intelligent and like you, she feels a need to hide it. I am always aware of a lot going on underneath when I am with her. She has great depths. She has a shy smile that brightens up a room. And a wonderfully dry sense of humour."
The way he described her, it was like a man speaking about a lover. There was a distant look in his eyes. She could tell that he was seeing the woman in his mind. A slight smile played on his lips. The tension was gone from his face.
You must love her very much. But what happened to her?
"What was her name?" Cally asked.
Kam looked startled again as his mind returned from whatever pleasant memory he was recalling. He looked at Cally intently.
Cally realized that he wasn't seeing her.
He shook his head. "You were asking a question?" he asked her.
"Yes. What was her name? The woman you were just thinking about," she asked again.
"You can tell that?"
"Your voice and your face changes when you talk about her," she told him. "You seem happy."
He smiled wryly. "I must be miserable to be around normally." He suddenly had a thoughtful look on his face. "When you are around, I am less miserable."
"Because I remind you of her?"
"Yes. Would you mind keeping me company? I will ask Alain to free you from all your other duties. I know you don't like working downstairs."
"You have been watching me?"
"Yes, I'm sorry. I had to be sure you were not a spy. She didn't like working downstairs either. Don't worry, Cally. I have no ulterior motives. It is completely your choice."
"And what would this work entail?"
Is this how it began with her? Wondered Cally.She did not like where this was going.
"You are still not sure of me. There is no reason why you should be. But be assured, I expect nothing from you except what you have been doing so far. Serve me my meals and keep me company. If at any time you feel uncomfortable, let me know and you are free to go."
Her other sense was telling her that he was being sincere.
"Alright. I will try it," she agreed. "You were right, I do not like working downstairs."
Kam gave her a brief smile. "I will tell Alain that you are not to work downstairs anymore."
They gathered the items from the table and piled them on the tray. He escorted Cally to the lift.
"Until tomorrow then, Cally."
As the lift doors closed, Cally realized that he still had not told her the name of the woman.
"How are you doing up there, Vila?" Jenna asked over the Justice's vidscreen.
"It's been very exciting," said Vila.
"No. Not really. Don't tell me, Argus is unavailable again?"
"Yes. He reported in again saying that he is still busy with Borel Reve's group. And probably will be for awhile."
"Do you have anything for me to do?"
"You're volunteering, Vila? You must really be bored."
"Well, it's nice to be wanted sometimes." People used to want me to do things.
"Are you sure you're alright?" asked Jenna.
"Yes, I'm alright. Same time? In three days?" he asked.
"Yes. Jenna out."
The vidscreen went black.
"Alright Zen," said Vila tiredly. "Go back to where we were before. Standard by six."
They are not sure they can rely on you, said the Avon-voice. That is why they are not including you.
Vila had been having regular conversations with the Avon-voice. It insulted him regularly. It was like having the old Avon with him. He could almost forget the Avon who had abandoned him.