"You have been worried since you came back, haven't you?" said Argus. "And it has to do with the Federation President."
Avon was shocked but it did not show on his face.
How did you become so perceptive? Avon wondered. It was true. The analyst had been on the brink since coming back. He had been prepared for the possibility that he would die since Servalan had activated the conditioning in his brain while they were in her bedroom. That circumstance he had accepted; he had known the risks and had preferred the resultant madness and death rather than continue being her prisoner.
But she had let him go; releasing his mind as he had teleported out. This situation his mind could not accept; could not reconcile. Even with the drugs to prevent the nightmares, this had been haunting his sleep.
She haunted his sleep.
It was not the torture which tormented his dreams; it was the anger and betrayal in Servalan's eyes when he had stopped her from using the hidden security button when Argus and Vila had entered her room; and the memory of her tears while she talked about Don Keller; and the feel of her body against his when they were driven by their passion. The conflicting hatred and desire for her were so strong that it was driving him mad. He needed it to stop.
At the Detention Centre she had crushed him again and again; and he had wanted to die. But even that choice she had taken away from him. The day when Argus had given him the pistol, Avon had so much wanted her to die; to make her pay for the years of torment.
But he found that he couldn't kill her; and this was an even greater torment. It was tearing him apart. He wanted the ordeal to finally end but it would not. He wanted the oblivion of death; but he found that he couldn't even kill himself; not because of fear, but because it meant that she would win.
Argus was right; and Avon found that he hated him too.
Somehow Argus had guessed a small part of this when he observed the analyst's treatment of Servalan in her bedroom. Argus did not understand his own perceptiveness himself. Normally he was not the kind of man to have this type of sensitivity. Argus refused to recognize that it was his own problems which allowed him to have a connection to Avon's suffering.
When Argus had returned to the Justice without Reya Reve, he had an emptiness inside him which he did not understand. He was numb. Nothing gave him pleasure anymore; nothing interested him and he did not know why.
He avoided the others; he did not want to talk to anyone. Even though the others tried to force him to eat, he did not have an appetite. He even avoided sleeping now; so he was constantly exhausted. Reya haunted his sleep; though he did not remember this when he woke up. She was constantly following him in his nightmares; her insults ringing in his ears along with his own biting responses. He tried to get away from her but couldn't. It was not until she told him to go that he would wake up terrified and in a cold sweat; and not knowing why because he did not remember the dream.
As a man of action, Argus began to pour his energies into the alien situation but found he could not concentrate. It always drew his mind away to the day he had found Reya on the command ship; lying on the ground after a near fatal pulse shot while her men tried to hold their attackers off. He had discovered that day that the aliens were part of the command crew. The eerie green glows that resulted from the death of the aliens gave his memories an unreal quality.
But now this situation with Avon was finally able to occupy his attention. The sense of danger and the need to protect his crew were the distractions his mind needed. He poured all of his energies into it; Avon became his focus.
"You still haven't answered my question," said Argus. "I want you to tell me why."
Avon remained silent. He did not want to answer.
Argus tried a different tactic, "Unless I understand why you did what you did; I cannot allow you to stay on this ship and endanger the crew. I will try to drop you off at the next planet that is safe for you."
Avon laughed sarcastically, "Is there such a place for me anymore?"
Apart from Servalan and the Federation, there were many other dangers for Avon; not the least of which was almost everyone knew that he had killed Blake.
"Then answer my question, Avon."
Avon looked at Argus. The last time they had faced each other, Avon had shot him.
"Answer a question for me first. And I will answer yours," said Avon.
"What question?" asked Argus.
"The files which Sester sent you. The ones about me. You've had them locked under a security code and refuse to let the others see them. I want to know why," said Avon.
Argus was surprised that this would have been the question that Avon would ask. But then he realized that it made sense. There was something Avon wanted to know about Argus before deciding what he would answer. Argus measured his answer carefully.
"The others are already very concerned about you. And that's from only seeing your external injuries. If they knew the material contained in the files, they would never leave you alone. I cannot afford to have them incapacitated by being worried about you. Not now. Not when we have more pressing concerns," said Argus in a neutral voice.
Avon's face was as neutral as well. He was not hearing anything which he did not want to hear. "So you do not count yourself among the ones who are overly concerned about my health?"
"You are a survivor, Avon as you have proven many times in the past. And we have some of the best medical facilities on board this ship. Should I be concerned?"
"Then your only concern is that I will endanger the crew and interfere with our fight against the alien invaders."
At last an honest man. Avon smiled cynically. "Then I can answer your question."
Argus's response had been the correct one. If he had shown any indication of sympathy or pity, Avon would never have revealed to him what he was about to reveal. Argus's concern was in Avon's value to and danger to the crew; of which Avon was a part. There was nothing personal in his assessment.
"I made a mistake," began Avon. "I tried to understand Servalan. And I'm afraid I succeeded."
"She got your sympathy?"
"No. Not sympathy."
No. It was worse. Even worse than Tarrant, thought Avon. In his mind he was addressing the Federation President; He only felt compassion for you. Because of Don Keller.
Avon admitted, "She became human." And I became human; for a few brief moments.
With the admission, Avon also realized this was the mistake he had made with Anna.
At that moment, the buzzer to Avon's cabin sounded.
"Avon." Came the voice from the other side of the door. It was Jenna.
"Avon, we have a problem. We can't find Argus. Open the door."
Avon looked at Argus. There was a smile on Avon's face. The timing could not have been worse. Argus's face showed annoyance.
"Well, fearless leader. Are you going to open the door and tell them that I am leaving? Or shall I?" Avon said cynically.
Argus did not answer him. Instead he got up, went over to the door and opened it.
"Argus!" exclaimed Jenna. Framed in the doorway outside was Jenna, with Cally and Vila behind her. They were all shocked to see Argus in Avon's room.
"Yes. I'm fine. There was no need to look for me. Avon and I are just having a discussion. You can go back to what you were doing before. We are not finished yet." With that Argus closed the door in their faces.
Going back to what we were doing before? Like worrying? thought Vila.
As Argus returned to the table and sat opposite Avon again, he noticed the look of amusement on the analyst's face.
"It appears they are worried about you as well," said Avon.
"That does not concern you," Argus replied coldly.
"Of course not." Why are they concerned about you? thought Avon. And why are you so defensive? This piqued his curiosity. Since returning to the ship, Avon had been preoccupied with his own concerns. But now he took a close look at Argus; the man looked tired and strained. You haven't been sleeping either, he noted.
"You didn't tell them," remarked Avon.
"There was nothing to tell them," said Argus.
Avon gave him a puzzled look.
"Did you really want me to tell them that you made the mistake of being human?" Argus asked.
"But how can you trust me?" Avon challenged him. He wasn't quite sure he trusted himself with Servalan.
"Is she still your enemy Avon?"
"Of course she is," Avon said without hesitation. His hatred for her was still the same. Then why is it that I could not kill her? This puzzled even himself.
Argus smiled and shook his head.
"You do not believe me?" asked Avon.
"You want to know how I can trust someone who cannot even kill an enemy in cold blood?"
"You are making a mistake," Avon told him.
"Then we are both human."
"That is not a glowing tribute."
"Perhaps not. But is does mean that I will not have you dropped off at the next planet."
"Then you're both human and a fool."
"Don't misunderstand me, Avon. I will be watching you very carefully."
Avon nodded. This he understood. It was an attitude he was very familiar with.
"Do not tell the others," he asked Argus.
"You mean, don't tell them that you made the mistake of being human?"
"They wouldn't believe me even if I told them. Now shall we go and get something to eat before they charge in here again?"
They both suddenly realized they were hungry.