“Here you go. Warm you right up, that will.”
“I wish you wouldn’t do that,” Avon said, taking the glass of brandy Vila handed him.
“What, bring you drinks?” Vila flopped back, stretching out on Avon’s bed, propping himself up against the pillows, hands laced over his middle.
“Break into my cabin and sample from my liquor stores,” Avon dryly said. He eyed the drink speculatively before setting it down on his desk, untouched.
“I stole that brandy for you, as I recall,” Vila pointedly said. He casually kicked his shoes off, wriggling his toes. “It’ll go bad if you let the ice melt.”
“You drink it, then,” Avon said, pulling his belt off as he made to unfasten his leather. “I’m not thirsty.”
“Bad as all that, then?” Vila said. “I swear, Avon, you’re the only man alive who doesn’t drink when he’s all tensed up. And you’re ten times tenser than most of them. What gives?”
Avon pulled his leather tunic off and hung it up, smoothing out the jumper he wore beneath it. “Alcohol pollutes the synapses of the mind and retards thought.”
“Mind sometimes needs a little retardation,” Vila said. “’Specially one as active as yours. Wouldn’t hurt to shut it off for just one night, though, would it? Especially not after a job well done.”
“It wasn’t a ‘job well done,’” Avon returned coldly. “It didn’t change anything.”
“Think if you asked Grant, he might say something different.”
Avon looked sharply at Vila, but he hadn’t moved from where he had settled down. Glowering, Avon sat on the edge of the bed and worked off his boots. “It isn’t going to bring Anna back,” he cruelly said. He waited for the inevitable question.
“Never trusted necromancy much myself,” Vila said.
It wasn’t the reaction he had expected. “You’re a fool,” he hissed, standing back up.
“So you tell me often enough.” Sitting up a bit, Vila said, “Look, if you’re not going to drink the brandy, give it here. I’ll not see it go to waste just because you don’t know how to relax for an hour.”
Avon grabbed the glass off the desk and gave it to Vila, who drank it with an appreciative sigh. “I am sure that is what you had in mind the whole time.”
Smiling, Vila said, “Well, I did figure I could deal with it if you decided not to drink it. Dunno why you keep vintage brandy like that around if you never drink it.”
“Oh, I do drink it. Just not with company.”
“Seems lonely, that. You shouldn’t drink by yourself.” He took another sip. “S’not healthy.”
For a few seconds, Avon stood there, watching Vila enjoying the drink, acting like they were in Vila’s cabin and not his. “Yes, well. We all have our vices.” He waited again.
“Could be worse, I suppose.” Finishing off the drink, Vila looked expectantly up at him. “Changed your mind then, have you? Too late for that, it’s all gone now.” He took an ice cube into his mouth and proceeded to suck the liquor off it.
Avon grimaced. “Get out, if you’re done.”
Putting the ice cube back in the glass, Vila fixed him with a hurt expression. “Kicking me out already?”
“I want to be alone.”
“What, so you can drink?”
“So I can be alone.”
To his surprise, Vila did not protest further, just fixed him with a woeful sort of expression before getting to his feet. Again, Avon waited for it. “Should have expected you would be all frigid tonight, seeing how you spent all day at the North Pole as it were.” He moved past Avon, towards the door.
“Vila,” he said, suddenly not wanting him to leave without asking.
“Hey. Forgot my shoes,” Vila said, smiling as he turned back.
“You’re not going to ask about Anna?” he finally said.
“Figure if you want to tell me, you will.” He crossed back to the bed and sat, nudging his shoes into upright order with his feet. “Know you better than to go asking uncomfortable questions.”
Avon suddenly felt like explaining. “She was the woman I loved.”
“Now that’s a surprise,” Vila said, eyebrows rising. “Never took you for the loving type.”
“I am full of surprises,” Avon deadpanned.
“So, Grant’s the guy you lost her to?”
“Grant is her brother,” Avon corrected, briefly barring his teeth. “Anna was killed. It seems they tortured her to get information on me.”
“Bad luck,” Vila said. Glancing at the empty glass on the nightstand, he said, “Sure you don’t want another drink?”
Avon’s mouth almost twisted into a smile at that. Deep inside he was hurting terribly, so that he could think of smiling at one of Vila’s stupid remarks now was hard to believe. “I wouldn’t expect you to understand.” He certainly hadn’t expected Blake to.
“Don’t have to understand to see it’s important to you,” Vila said, getting to his feet again. Avon noted distantly that he hadn’t put his shoes on. “Look, if you think talking about the woman you love is going to put me off, maybe you’ve got the wrong idea about all this.”
“I assure you, I don’t,” Avon said.
Smiling a little, Vila stepped closer, putting a hand out to tug at the top of his trousers. “Then why are you still trying to throw me out?”
In a flash, Avon grabbed Vila’s wrist, twisting it free of his trousers and in the process pulling him closer. “If you ever speak a word of this to anyone I will see to it that you never speak again.”
“You know me, Avon,” Vila said coolly, his eyes not on Avon’s eyes, but on Avon’s mouth. “Always keen to live a good threat down.”
“Good,” he hissed, but didn’t lessen his grip on Vila. It hardly seemed right to think on Anna all day and return to Liberator to satiate his needs with someone like Vila, but he couldn’t deny that the desire was there. There were no complications with Vila, no awkward questions or looks longing for commitment. There was just a warm, willing body and an understanding mind.
Sensing Vila was anticipating it, Avon held off for several seconds, tightening his grip until he was sure it was probably growing uncomfortable. He did not want Vila to think it was always going to be this easy. Just as the points of Vila’s brows were starting to curve up in discomfort, Avon smiled fiercely and dragged him close for a kiss. They did not kiss much, as a general rule, and the way Vila stiffened in surprise delighted Avon.
It didn’t take but a second for Vila to open to him, kissing him back roughly. Both of Vila’s hands dropped to grip at his trousers, pulling him close. In a few seconds, Avon had walked them backwards until Vila was against the bed. Vila broke the kiss, gasping for breath, and pulled Avon down onto the bed on top of him.
There, they resumed kissing as Vila began to work his jumper off. Avon didn’t know why this was any different than the other times they had had sex, but he felt a coil in the pit of his stomach coming undone that he had never quite felt with Vila before. Perhaps it was because he had been thinking of Anna today, and Grant had awoken several passionate memories. Perhaps it was because one of the last times they had fucked it had been after Gan’s death and Vila had been a mess and Avon had held him afterwards.
Perhaps it didn’t matter why, only that it was different.
It didn’t take long for them to divest of all their clothes. This time, Vila’s hot skin against his was positively maddening. Avon tried to blame it on how cold he had been in that frozen fortress with Grant, but it didn’t lessen the overwhelming need he had to bury himself in Vila’s heat. “Vila,” he hissed, biting the soft skin at the curve of Vila’s neck.
“Yeah, Avon,” Vila replied, turning his head to kiss sloppily, affectionately at him. It took just a second for Vila to twist a bit until his head was on a pillow, and then his strong arms were pulling Avon up against him. “Yeah. Hey.” He was smiling, eyes full of affection. “This is nice, this is,” he said, running a hand down Avon’s side. “Could get used to it like this.”
It should have infuriated Avon, but it didn’t. It was too true. “Shut up,” he growled, biting at Vila’s soft flesh again, delighting in the way it made him gasp in pleasure. Sitting up, Avon fumbled in the drawer by his bed for the lubricant, drawing in sharp breath as Vila’s mouth kept working, finding a nipple to tease while Avon’s torso was exposed.
It was almost a pity to make him stop; that part of his anatomy was too rarely attended during this sort of thing. He watched Vila for a few seconds before running a hand through his soft hair, tousling it and causing him to pull off. Vila’s breath was coming heavier now and he lifted his eyes to meet Avon’s. As he usually took Vila on his knees from behind, there wasn’t often a chance to look each other in the eyes like this. It sent a jolt right down through Avon’s groin, loosening that coil further, which prompted quite an impressive rise considering he hadn’t even been touched yet.
“Lie back,” Avon said, controlling his voice perfectly.
“Hey, when’s it going to be my turn?” Vila teased as he complied. “You’d be surprised how good I am at this when given the chance.”
“Maybe tomorrow,” Avon said, slipping a hand under Vila’s knee.
“That’s what you always say,” Vila replied, though without much protest. “Hey, now! Just how flexible do you think I am?” he cried as Avon bent him double.
“Flexible enough,” Avon surmised.
Scowling slightly, Vila kicked his legs free of Avon’s hands and hooked his ankles over Avon’s shoulders. “If it’s gonna be like that,” he said practically, “you can’t hold on all tight. Got to give me a little room to move. Better that way, believe me.”
“All right,” Avon agreed, breathless. On his back, legs bent up around his chest, Avon could see Vila’s arousal and that tight opening he was soon going to be enjoying. It was making his cock twitch in anticipation.
Grinning, Vila said, “Better view this way, too, isn’t it?”
“Yes.” With Vila’s legs resting against his shoulders, Avon quickly applied the lubricant and got into position. After lining himself up, he glanced up and found Vila’s eyes had already closed in pleasure, and Avon hadn’t even done a great deal of prepping. It was strangely pleasing; he so rarely got to look at Vila when they were like this.
“Eh?” Vila cracked an eye open at Avon’s hesitation. “Something wrong?”
“No,” Avon said, pressing into Vila. He grinned fiercely as Vila sucked in his breath and let it out, releasing his tension. It was bliss, and Avon gripped the headboard with his free hand for support. “I like seeing your face,” he admitted quietly, struggling to keep his voice under control.
Vila didn’t answer, his fingers clutching the bedclothes tightly. It was a very pleasant sight, watching Vila fight against the pain and the pleasure until the latter won out.
Holding his breath a moment, Avon came to a rest for a few seconds before he began to work his hips, bending Vila even more as he did. After listening to Vila moan a few seconds, Avon dropped his still slick hand to Vila’s length and began to stroke him. He kept his eyes locked on Vila’s face, suddenly overcome with the desire to please him. Too often in the past he focused more on his own needs instead of taking Vila’s into consideration. It worked because Vila took his own needs into his own hands, but pleasing Vila openly was far more satisfying and rewarding.
It was completely different than Anna, and that was what Avon needed. Nothing would ever fill the hole that losing her left, but distracting himself with this sort of pleasure was ideal. That Vila was so obviously enjoying himself as well helped more than he realized. It was no longer simple sex. There was an emotional connection now that he had fought against, but which made it much better.
“Open your eyes,” Avon breathed, aware how raw and rough his voice sounded.
It took a few seconds for Vila to reply, but when he did, Avon tensed. Vila’s hair was falling about his face, loose and tousled, his lips were parted as the air rushed out. His pupils had dilated and his eyes were wide. A light sheen of sweat stood out on his brow and though Avon would never admit it to anyone, he thought Vila looked beautiful. It was a little overwhelming and to break the thought, he hissed, thrust hard into Vila and bent down to kiss him, making Vila gasp into his mouth as he did.
To Avon’s delight, Vila clung to him in response, nails biting into the flesh of his back. Through the discomfort of the bend, Avon surmised he was hitting Vila perfectly. The kiss broke as Vila thrashed his head. His hips suddenly ground desperately against Avon’s and then he threw his head back and let out a silent cry as he came. Avon wished he could hear it.
It took only a few thrusts after that, as Vila’s body spasmed around him, for Avon to reach his own climax. He pressed his mouth to Vila’s ear as he came, making just enough noise for Vila to hear.
After, he wanted nothing more than to collapse on top of Vila and fall into sleep, but he knew how uncomfortable such a position had to be and withdrew. Vila dropped his legs with a sigh, and Avon flopped down on the bed beside him. For a time they said nothing as they caught their breaths.
“Whatever got into you tonight,” Vila panted, “is all right by me.”
“You’re a mess,” Avon replied, propping himself up on an elbow to take in Vila’s disheveled state and the mess he had made on his stomach.
“If I am,” Vila said, eyes closing, “’s your fault.”
“Indeed.” He pulled up a corner of the sheet and wiped Vila off, which was apparently a rare enough act that it brought Vila out of his daze.
“Your Anna must’ve been something special,” Vila said.
Avon stiffened at that, before forcing himself to relax. “What makes you say that?”
Curling on his side to face him, Vila said, “You’re practically treating me like royalty tonight; must be thinking I’m her.”
Avon smiled. “You flatter yourself.”
“Don’t I?” Vila grinned back. “Well, someone ought to.”
“Were you pretending I was someone else?” Avon tensely asked. The thought that Vila might be using him like that had never occurred.
“No.” Vila’s smile faded a bit. “Don’t have anyone better to picture.”
Relaxing, Avon said, “I wasn’t thinking you were her. For one,” he said, sitting up, “she never tasted of brandy.”
“Bet she didn’t let you fuck her up the arse, either,” Vila said confidently.
Avon gave him a withering glare.
“Or maybe she did,” Vila said, eyebrows rising in appreciation. He broke into a wide smile. “Avon’s an arse man! Wouldn’t have guessed it, but it makes sense. Myself, I’m a leg man. Give me a pretty girl in a short skirt any day of the week.” He gestured with his hands. “There’s just something about the way the calf curves into thigh that--Hey, where’re you going?”
“Not far.” Avon was already pouring more brandy over the remaining ice in Vila’s glass. He returned to the bed with it, propping up against some pillows before sipping it.
“Decided you did need a drink after all, eh?” Vila said, scooting closer in a way that was almost too much like snuggling for Avon’s tastes. “Better if you have it before the sex, you know. Makes you all nice and limber and warm that way.”
“However, you both talked too much,” Avon surmised, sipping at the brandy. He lowered his eyes to Vila.
Grinning, Vila put his hands behind his head and stretched out contently. “Could get used to this, you know. First Tynus, now Anna. I mean, you practically ripped those trousers off me when we got back from Fosforon—and now this. Got any more old friends we can drop in on?”
Considering, Avon quirked an eyebrow. “Quite a few, in fact.”
“I don’t believe you,” Vila said. “Just so you know. One friend and one lover, that’s all I’ll make allotment for. Mind you, if it all ends up in such incredible sex, you can say everyone’s an old mate.”
Avon took another sip of the brandy and handed it to Vila to finish. This was not at all how he had anticipated spending the evening after seeing Grant and learning more about Anna, but it did make it all a little easier to bear. “If you don’t shut up soon,” Avon said, “you can just leave.”
“All right, sourpuss,” Vila said, taking a sip of the brandy and grinning. “Still, I meant what I said about being good at switching. Cally’s doing some Auronar yoga classes, you know. Could be a nice way to limber it up, if you want to try it sometime.” He raised the brandy. “Little meditation and a little brandy’ll do wonders. I’ll even wear that black shirt you like so much.”
“Which black shirt?”
“You know, the black one. I’ve seen you looking when you think no one notices.”
Avon grimaced. “I thought I told you to shut up.”
“You also told me to leave when you got here. We’d never have any fun if I actually did what you told me to. And some thanks I get!” Finishing off what little remained in the glass, Vila set it aside and wormed his way under the covers. “Gonna sit up brooding all night?”
“All right, then,” Vila said. “As for me, all that sex has me knackered.” Stifling a yawn, he added, “Don’t worry, I’ll let myself out before anyone notices I’m missing.”
Avon didn’t reply, just sat there thinking on Grant and Anna and Vila and what a strange mess his life had become over the last few years. After about ten minutes of deep thoughts, he was pulled out of his reverie by one of Vila’s soft snores. Glancing down, he saw Vila contently curled on his side, sleeping peacefully, hair still in wild disarray.
Allowing a smile to tick the corner of his mouth in this semblance of privacy, Avon reached out and smoothed the wayward hair down. It wasn’t at all how he had expected to spend the night, but it was definitely better than what he had anticipated. “Thank you, after all,” he said, at length. Then, deciding that was enough, he reached over, turned out the light, and settled down beside him to sleep.