“Four months on the London and you never thought to mention you do doors?”
Vila looked up from the sandwich he was tucking into after the harrowing ordeal on Saurian Major to find Avon leaning against the galley door, smirking down at him. “Didn’t want to boast, you know,” he said, but somehow he guessed Avon wouldn’t believe him.
“You seemed quite keen to down there,” Avon countered.
“Well, I had to then, hadn’t I? Blowing those doors in would never have worked.” Vila took a bite of the sandwich he had been holding, considering the conversation finished.
“You opened those high security clearance doors in a matter of seconds,” Avon said casually. “One can only assume you're an idiot savant of the craft.”
The words themselves were almost complimentary, but Avon was looking at Vila as if he were a cat that had cornered a mouse. A nervous sensation crept over Vila, and he couldn’t help but feel distinctly trapped, although he didn’t know why. His sandwich felt dry as he swallowed. “You don’t really think they send petty thieves to Cygnus Alpha, do you?”
“I had wondered,” Avon replied. “And now I have the answer. Vila, our resident lock pick. I’ll bet there’s not a lock in the galaxy you couldn’t work your magic on.”
Straightening with pride, Vila beamed. “I haven’t yet met the door that could keep me out.”
Avon smiled tightly, before pushing off the doorframe. “And yet you let me risk my life to open the doors on the London. I had to crawl through a narrow service duct and take out a guard to access the main computer. A simple prison lock on an obsolete freighter defeated you?”
“Is that what this is all about?” Vila protested, setting his sandwich down. “Listen, I’ve a thing called self-preservation. Do you any idea what those guards would’ve done to me had they caught me picking the locks on that ship?”
“Oh, yes,” Avon said, “very well. The same as they did do to me, I imagine.” He put a hand on the table, leaning down towards Vila. “Funny how modest you can be when someone asks you to put your own life on the line.”
“Look, you did all right on the London,” Vila said defensively. “I can get doors open, sure, but I’m no good at the other stuff. I’ll get so nervous that I drop my gun or—”
“So I heard.”
Vila shot him a dark look for the interruption. “It’s better that we did it the way we did.”
“Better, you mean, that I was captured and punished instead of you, when, if our forces hadn’t been divided and we could have all attacked from the prison hold, we might have had a success of that first run.”
“Avon,” Vila said, getting to his feet, “don’t think that hasn’t plagued me, all right? I’m not proud of how I acted back then.”
“And you’ll act differently now, is that it? Risk your life for us now that we’ve risked ours for you?”
“That’s how it works, isn’t it?” Vila said, hopeful.
Avon did not look convinced. “Of course. As long as you don’t have to make the first step.” He lifted his hand off the table, glancing down at it disdainfully before wiping it free of invisible crumbs. “There’s something to be said about man’s self-preservation. It’s something I’ll remember, Vila,” he said, raising his gaze to lock on Vila’s.
“I don’t need this from you.” Vila was suddenly annoyed. Earlier he had felt their rapport had been growing. Their differences seemed to make them interesting to each other, allowing them to dovetail nicely. They had worked well on the Saurian Major together and he very much wanted to to be friends with everyone on board. Unless he was very mistaken, he had also rather thought Avon had been enjoying the attention, so this change of attitude was especially unpleasant for Vila. He felt he could read people better than this. How had he so misjudged Avon? Besides, it was unfair to drag how he had acted on the London into the present. The rules changed the moment they were free. “We’re a team now,” he said. “So things are different.”
“We are not a team,” Avon said curtly. “You blindly follow Blake. I am merely staying on until it suits me to do otherwise.”
“Oh, yeah?” Vila said, eyebrows rising. “See you’ve no problem helping yourself to the bits in the treasure room and the wardrobe while you’re at it, though.” He glanced at the ridiculous combination of browns that made up Avon’s tunic. “What possessed you to wear that horrid thing, anyway? It’s like it’s been woven out of cat sick.”
Indignant, Avon replied, “At least I have found the wardrobe room.” He reached out and flicked one of Vila’s floppy lapels. “How many days are you planning to wear this lovely number? What’s wrong, are you helpless without mummy around to dress you?”
“These are mine,” Vila protested, grabbing at his vest possessively. “They’re all I’ve got!”
“And is this yours too?” Avon sneered, his fingers reaching out to snatch the black leather patch that had been crudely sewn onto Vila’s vest. From the force of the tug, it unexpectedly came off in his hand. “Stolen from a Federation prison ward, more like. And not very apt for rebel wear, is it?”
“Give that back!” Vila shouted. He pushed his chair out of the way and lunged at Avon.
The attack, however, had been anticipated and Avon easily stepped back, clutching his hand and the patch to his chest. “Now, now, Vila. Let’s not be hasty,” he mocked, clearly enjoying himself.
“I mean it, Avon,” Vila warned, then lunged again. His fingers caught hold this time and he jerked his hand back triumphantly. Only the action was accompanied by a loud ripping noise and when he looked at his hand, Vila realized he had torn one of the light shoulder straps clear off of Avon’s tunic. His eyes grew wide. “Now look at what you’ve made me do!”
Avon stared at his shoulder in momentary disbelief, as if wondering how he had allowed himself to be ‘injured’. After a second, a cool calmness washed over him and the tension drained out of his shoulders. Then, raising his eyes to meet Vila’s again, he broke into one of his more devious grins. “If you didn’t like it that much,” he began, “you could have just said so.”
“Oh, come on now,” Vila said, backing up, hand offering the torn strap back to Avon. “It was just an accident. And you did start it, after all!” It just wasn’t fair Avon could rip his patch off his vest and think nothing of it, but get mad when Vila ripped some awful tunic he’d found in the wardrobe room.
Words didn’t stop Avon though, and he kept advancing. “Giving up already, are you?” Avon taunted, dangling the patch out. “One little misstep and you’re already turning tail?” He grabbed a fistful of fabric at the front of Vila’s shirt, hauling him close. “It must not mean that much to you.”
Vila twisted and victoriously grabbed the patch right out of Avon’s hand. A second later a frown darted across his face: Avon hadn’t even tried to pull it away from him that time. Vila tried to turn away when Avon suddenly jerked back the hand he had filled with fabric. As Vila resisted, the buttons on his shirt strained and popped, shooting off in every direction, stopping only where the row of buttons ended halfway down his chest. “Hey!” Vila cried.
Avon pulled the collar open, roughly shoving Vila back into the galley wall. On finding himself cornered, Vila reflexively put his hand out to fend Avon off, knocking the fabric out of Avon’s hand. A quick look into Avon’s eyes told him he was quite enjoying himself. “’An eye for an eye’ is how the old saying goes, isn’t it?” Avon said.
Realization of what this was all about suddenly dawned on Vila, and he dropped the patch to grab the torn flap of fabric on Avon’s tunic that was now hanging free, giving it a vicious tug towards himself. It ripped open at the seam and in the process dragged Avon’s lean body up against his. Catching himself with a hand on the wall on either side of Vila, Avon looked down his nose at him, his breathing coming a little harder from the exertion. Vila didn’t loosen his grip.
“Might've figured a poncy Alpha like you is too nice to ask,” Vila said, tearing the tan strip away to reveal more of the brown jumper beneath. “Good thing I’m flexible. Bet you wore this travesty just so I’d pick on you for it. Mind you, it worked. Probably were hoping I’d tear it off the whole time we were planetside.”
“The thought had occurred to me,” Avon said dryly, not put off in the slightest by the sudden change in tactics. “I’ll have you know, it wasn’t easy finding something worse than this,” he added, attempting to force Vila’s vest off his shoulders without undoing the sash tied around his middle. “But I always did enjoy a challenge.”
“All right, Fingers,” Vila taunted, starting to get rather worked up himself. “Challenge yourself to undo that knot first, why don’t you? I’m not that flexible.”
Avon did in short order, and then pulled the rest of Vila’s shirt out of his trousers before starting to tug them down without undoing the fly.
“Hey, ow!” Vila protested, abandoning his dismantling of Avon’s tunic to look down. “You know, it only takes a second to undo them. I’ve counted.”
“What a delicate flower you are,” Avon droned, but obligingly undid the fly before pushing the trousers down. “I see prison did nothing to harden you at all.”
“Oh, I’m hard all right,” Vila cheerfully replied, deciding not to think about just how rough prison life could be. “Hey, hey, not so fast!” he cried immediately, gripping the wall. Avon had just reached down and pulled his briefs to his thighs.
“So you are,” Avon noted, then looked up at Vila’s protest. “Cold feet now?”
“No, it’s not that,” Vila said, suddenly self-conscious. He was standing half undressed in the middle of the galley with Avon, of all people, seconds from sucking him off. Yet he was protesting the speed at which things were going—not because he didn’t want it, because, oh yes, he very much did—but because he couldn’t put into words how he had two boxes for the people he slept with: those he kissed and those he didn’t. And, criminal though he was, Vila very much didn’t want to have to put Avon into the box with the men he wouldn't kiss.
But there was no way to say that to Avon without it coming out entirely wrong.
So he did the only thing practical he could think of and grabbed the ruined front of Avon’s tunic. Putting his weight behind him—he was bigger than he looked—he reversed their positions, shoving a surprised Avon against the wall. Then, smiling cockily, he said, “I’ve always wanted to do this to someone,” and kissed him.
Avon was a good kisser, probably, but he was clearly more interested at the moment in putting his mouth to better use elsewhere. It was a shame, really. Vila rather liked kissing and it had been awhile since he’d had a really enjoyable snog. It occurred to him, as Avon rather quickly broke the kiss to glare at him, that Avon probably had boxes for people too: kisses for people he liked and no kisses for people he didn’t. It wasn’t hard to guess which box Avon had put Vila in.
But that was all right, because Vila liked Avon and that meant Avon had to like him back. In Vila’s head, that was just the way things were.
“Satisfied?” Avon practically growled.
Smiling dopily, not to be undone, Vila said, “You haven’t even done anything to it yet!”
Taking that for the intended challenge it was, Avon grinned viciously and sank down to his knees. Vila let out a little choke of delight as Avon got right to work, leaning forward to brace against the wall for support. “Could use some of that tongue action up here next time,” Vila managed before sucking in his breath and holding it to keep from moaning.
It wasn’t hard to imagine Avon liked to suck cock—practically everything the man spoke, wore or did screamed it—but that he was so willing and eager was surprising. Vila had been with one or two Alphas in his time, but never like this, almost as equals. In another time and place, he might have chalked it up to a kink—enjoying the taboo of tangling with the lower class—but Vila somehow doubted any of that was on Avon’s mind right now. He just seemed to be enjoying himself.
Caught up in the pleasure, Vila allowed himself to touch Avon’s hair, tousling the neatly combed locks until they were in far more a pleasing disarray. He leaned back heavy on his heels so he could stop needing the wall for support, and pressed his other hand on his abdomen, flatting his shirt so he could watch as Avon swallowed him down.
One of Avon’s hands rose to grip at the back of Vila’s bottom, angling him, but he slipped the other up between Vila’s legs to cup at the warm sack of flesh there. Vila bit his lower lip appreciatively. Avon was damn good at this. With his back to the galley door, Vila found the whole situation indescribably arousing. He could just imagine Blake or Jenna walking by and catching sight of them like this. Almost affectionately, he smiled and began smoothing Avon’s hair back down. How amused Cally might be if her first night on Liberator ended with her walking in on this.
And since his back was to the galley door, Vila would never know if anyone had seen them.
On his knees, Avon gave a small questioning hum that sent ripples of pleasure through Vila’s body, making him groan despite himself. He redirected his attention down to Avon, and for a second their eyes locked. It was an intense stare, and Avon didn’t stop what he was doing while he had Vila in his sights. It was all too clear that the eye-contact was part of the package deal, and Vila had to admit that looking down into Avon’s eyes as he was sucked off was doing wonders for his libido.
“Yeah, all right,” Vila said, trying not to pant. “You’re good. That what you want to hear? Very bloody good.” He sucked in air between his teeth. “Don’t want to think how many cocks you sucked learning this trade, Avon.” Vila let out a whimper. “No, that doesn’t mean stop!”
“Then, be silent,” Avon hissed, before returning to his work.
That was what did it—the stop, the cold air and then being back in that warm, talented mouth. Vila jerked his hips once, smiled apologetically and released, gritting his teeth as he did for fear that Avon would be angry with him for not warning him or pulling out first.
But Avon seemed far from displeased. For the first time, he closed his eyes as he continued sucking. Vila could hardly believe it—could scarcely even think through his orgasm—but Avon was swallowing. Vila wasn’t about to complain about in the slightest, but it seemed like something fastidiously neat Avon would never lower himself to do. Vila himself had yet to meet the man he would willingly swallow a load for.
Leave it to Avon to be perfectionist enough to swallow, but yet unwilling to kiss.
Avon held him in his mouth for several seconds after the moment had passed, which was far more courtesy than Vila had ever experienced from anyone else he had ever been with like this, before sitting back on his heels and wiping his mouth.
Letting out the breath he hadn’t realized he was holding, Vila sighed. That had definitely been worth losing all the buttons on his shirt and the patch. After enjoying the glow a few seconds, he languidly buttoned up his trousers and then offered a hand down to help Avon up. He had to admit he was pleased to see that the attraction hadn’t just been one-sided. Avon could barely stand for it.
“Come on then,” Vila said, encouragingly as he pulled Avon to his feet. “Let’s get me back to your cabin so I can rip the rest of that horrible thing off you.”