Echoes of Love


This story first appeared in No Holds Barred #12 and is re-printed here with the permission of the publisher and author. No Holds Barred is still in print and available.

Noise and light shattered his oblivion, forcing Blake into wakefulness and into the general awareness of his surroundings. Opening his eyes, he was vaguely surprised when he was unable to focus properly. Not fighting it, he shut them and concentrated on the sounds around him. His eyes may not be functioning What's wrong with me? but his other senses were.

Soft moans, squeaking shoes, metal objects being placed with efficiency in metal trays, a feeling of bustle. A hospital? Ship's sickbay? What ship? How did I come here? A sharp cry close by startled him. Blake's eyes flew open and he forced them to focus while cataloging his body. He was aware of a numbness, a general ache, and his throat felt like cotton. Water Eyes finally clear enough to make out blurry figures hurrying past his bed, he attempted to raise his arm to hail someone - he desperately needed water - but was unable to. His eyes went to his hand, and he became aware that he was bound to the bed at his wrists. His legs were similarly bound. Prisoner? Blinking to further clear his vision, he finally noticed the numerous tubes attached to his arms and looking down at his body, he was stunned to near panic at the sight of white bandages covering the entire expanse of his chest and stomach. What the hell?

He let his head fall back on the flat pillow and squeezed his eyes shut. Think, man, think...what?....Avon...of course...Avon...always bloody Avon... thought himself too clever by half and had made a mess of things...including, it seemed, me....Damn, damn, damn...

Too weak to fight the fatigue, besides feeling like hell, Blake drifted into an uneasy sleep. When next he awoke, a young nurse was changing his bandages. Noticing her patient was awake, she gave him one of those smiles that nurses the universe over had patented and said, "Hello. How are we feeling today? Nice to see you awake for a change."

"Please, water," he croaked.

Gathering up her supplies, she patted his arm. "You just stay right there, and I'll send someone over to see you."

As if I could move he groaned. She and Vila would make a great pair

He shut his eyes, preparing to wait the eternity it would surely take for the medic or doctor or whoever the hell it would be to arrive and give him a drink of water. Again he let his senses assess his environment.

Rubbing alcohol, antiseptics, the sickly sweet odor of sickness and death. A person passed close by - faint sweat and musk - male. Suddenly, a strong sense of deju vu swept through Blake, making him almost dizzy with the echoes of remembrance....

Blake paced the designated meeting spot. Damn, but it was hot. The humidity matched the temperature on this godsforsaken, out-of-the-way planet and that, Avon had gleefully (well, for Avon that smirk amounted to glee) told him prior to departure, was 97%.

After only 10 minutes, his white shirt was plastered to him. Deciding he might as well be comfortable while he waited for the mercenary to arrive, Blake peeled the sticky garment off, revealing smooth, sweat-slick skin.

He then commenced setting up camp. His meet had been arranged via third, even fourth parties. This particular man, though well known in the tight, select community of thieves, mercs and rebels, was also very elusive. It could be a couple of days before he showed.

As he worked, he reviewed what he knew or had heard about the man he was meeting. Part of Blake's success as a leader was his ability to read people, to know what made them tick and know how to woo them over. He wanted to be mentally prepared for this meeting. He wasn't here to hire a merc to fight, but rather he was here for information. Information that he had heard this man might have. Information he badly needed.

Bodie - a hard, dangerous man; an expert at weapons, sabotage and espionage; smart with a ruthless cunning; leader of the largest band of mercenaries known in Federation space; a killer. But word had it he could be and was trustworthy, fair and just. And he was not just a killer, but also a lover - of men as well as women. Blake remembered how Avon's lip had curled up while relaying this tidbit of information and how he had wanted to throttle him for that condescension. Blake sometimes doubted that Avon had ever had a good screw in his entire life. And he privately thought that was just what the sanctimonious bastard needed.

Suddenly he had the sensation of being watched - By the pricking of my thumbs... Not wanting to be at a psychological disadvantage of being half-dressed, Blake started to pull his shirt back on when steely-hands grasped his wrists and a cool voice purred close to his ear, "Don't. Not on my account."

More confident than he felt, he purposely looked from the hand still gripping his arm up to meet shrewd eyes. "Bodie, I presume?" He was proud that his voice was normal and didn't shake, as he had been startled at the close proximity of the man. His arm was released, and it was all he could do to keep from rubbing the spot.

"That's right. And you must be Blake." The impossibly blue eyes swept down and back up his body, making him all too aware of the sweat running down his chest, soaking into the waistband of his trousers.

Face to face, Blake took in the figure before him. Close cropped, wavy black hair framed an incredibly handsome face; sapphire blue eyes appraised him from beneath long dark lashes; there was an air of unmistakable pride and self-confidence about him. Bodie wore a black poloneck beneath a black camoflauge jacket, which was buttoned and belted tightly, emphasizing wide shoulders, a broad chest, yet surprising for all that, a narrow waist and long trim legs, encased in black. Impressive, formidable, and Blake was surprised to note, desirable.

Blake extended his hand. It was taken in a firm handshake. Again he met the other man's eyes and before he could be drawn into their depths and lost, he turned towards the tent saying, "Care for something to drink before we get down to business?"

Getting a wry grin in answer further unsettled Blake. Bodie was getting to him; rarely had he had this type of reaction to another. Only Avon had this ability to make him so unsure, so very conscious of every move.

As he handed the other man a tumbler, so intent on appearing unruffled and cool, Blake didn't take into account the rough ground the campsite was on and stumbled over a root, spilling the liquid down his already sweat-wet chest.

Bodie seemed only slightly taken aback before saying, "Well, that is a novel way to serve a man a drink." Then he approached Blake.

Blake watched as the dark head bent and a tongue snaked out to lick his nipple. It had been so long - too long, now that he thought about it - since he had had man-to-man sex, and the prospect of doing so with this incredibly beautiful and strong man brought a half-stifled groan from him.

Bodie stopped and regarded him with a sardonic blend of amusement and desire. "We can stop now, no harm done, if you like."

Actions speaking louder than words, Blake pounced on the smaller man, pushing him back onto the mat. His blood fired in his veins and raced to his cock, filling it achingly hard. He braced up on his arms, his chest away from the supine figure beneath him and looked into the eyes that met his - all traces of amusement were gone, leaving blue eyes that seemed black with heat and desire. Arching upwards, he pressed his groin downwards and felt an answering hardness. "Let's get rid of these clothes, shall we?"

Soon, they were skin upon skin, both sweating from more than this harsh planet's heat. Blake felt as if he would combust, so hot were they. Sweat poured from them, sealing them together, the scent of male musk was strong, an aprodisiaic to him.

Suddenly Blake was rolled onto his back. He watched, panting, as his dark- haired lover kiss/bit down his body to his cock. Without hesitation, Bodie swallowed him whole. And before Blake could adjust to this sensation, his legs were nudged apart and a sweat-slick finger entered him. Bucking, groaning now at the dual stimulation, he gave himself up to the pleasuring. Bodie brought him to the brink of orgasim, then flipped him, pressing him into the mat, beginning a seductive slide along his back.

Blake stiffened. He was good with people and he had felt instinctively that he could trust the mercenary, but god, what was he doing?

In all other such situations, he had always been the dominant one; he needed that control, hated that feeling of being used; he had been used too much in the past to be able to let go in such sexual situations; sex with a stranger. God, what was he doing?

Then all rational thought fled as he was tugged to his knees and his cock was sheathed in an tight, sweaty fist. He surged forward into it and moaned as the hand squeezed him, milking him. He humped backwards and felt Bodie's cock nudge into his back, bringing him back to reality.

There was only one man that Blake trusted with his ass, and it wasn't this dark stranger, who was doing delicious things to his body. As if reading his thoughts, Bodie bit into his shoulder and whispered, "Trust me. Just trust me, Blake". And with that, Blake mentally added that there were now two men he would trust with his ass, as he felt Bodie's sweat-slick cock slide between his buttocks.

Mentally preparing for the expected entry, Blake was surprised when, one hand firmly gripping his hips, the other around his cock, Bodie began rubbing along his cleft, faster and faster. Each downward thrust nudged the hard penis into his balls and pushed him forward, fucking the fist that held him. With a cry, he fell forwards, spurting into the stroking hand. Bodie followed him to the mat. Blake felt the other man stiffen above him as his ass crack filled with sweat and semen.

Bodie peeled himself off the larger man and lay back on the mat, touching along one side. Blake found the strength to lift his head. Starring into eyes grown soft with spent passion, he said with a smile, "You can have that drink now." Bodie's laugh warmed him to his soul. He couldn't help comparing Bodie with another dark-haired man. Though he could imagine sharing his body with Avon, this feeling of equality and comraderiare was unthinkable. The rivalry between them was too much. Here he had found an equal - a leader of men, a risk taker, a rebel at heart....

Impulsively, Blake raised up and took hold of the hand beside him. "Join me, join us."

Bodie freed his hand and reached up to tangle it gently into the tumbled curls. With a smile to soften the rejection, he said, "Can't. I already have one curly-haired idealist in my life. Don't think I could cope with two." Bodie hopped up and held his hand out. Blake accepted it and was pulled to his feet. "How about that drink?"

"How about that drink?"


"Water. You wanted a drink of water."

Blake came back to the present with a crash as he registered the male medic offering a cup to his lips. He drank thirstily.

When he had finished, he squeezed his eyes shut. When he reopened them he was alone again. Alone in an overcrowded, hot sickbay. Alone, left with only the echoes.

-- THE END --

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