Nico (vilakins) wrote,

Fic: Player of the Year

From fannish5:

Pick 5 characters from your fandom(s) for a World Cup AU story/episode/etc.

I don't think I was actually meant to write the story, but I couldn't help it. It came to me in the car a few days ago, but I only got round to writing it now because I had Multiverse stories to finish. To reassure those who dislike sport, there is no football/soccer in this story. It all takes place at a party. About 950 words.

Player of the Year

Avon sighed as he looked around. The place was full of politicians and social climbers, and though he understood that was why Anna was there—to keep her finger on the pulse, as she put it—he did not comprehend why she had to drag him along too. It was not as if she could show him off. He barely spoke to the various empty- or wrong-headed fools she introduced him to.

His eyes lit on a man who looked almost as uncomfortable and out of place as he did. He had light brown hair, a slightly hunted expression, and a black and silver outfit that Avon regarded with interest. If it could make that chap look almost distinguished, it was a combination worth trying himself.

As he watched, Space Fleet Supreme Commander Servalan slid up like a snake after prey, placing an admiring hand on the chest of the man, who looked briefly startled before plastering a practised smile on his face.

“Who’s that over there with Servalan, Anna?”

“You don’t recognise the Federation team colours?”


Anna smiled mockingly. “Football, of course. Really, Avon, even you must have been aware of the Galactic Cup.”

“I did my best to ignore it.”

“We won, you know. And that’s Restal, player of the year. Most goals scored in the entire tournament.”

“I have never seen the point of sport. Apart from the occasional relaxing sound of a leisurely test match in the background.”

Having lost interest, Avon was about to turn away when Servalan smiled her creamiest smile and crooked a perfectly manicured finger. The footballer leaned over and she whispered something in his ear. He went red, then laughed, said something to her and moved away with a hint of panic. Avon raised his eyebrows and transferred his attention to Servalan. She really was a very beautiful woman.

“Admiring our much feted football hero?” said Rontane, appearing beside him.

“Certainly not.”

“The striker extraordinaire,” said Bercol from his other side. “Not a football man perchance?”

“Bread and circuses,” Avon said shortly.

“Oh, it is! And dreams,” said Rontane.

“Every little Delta who can kick a ball dreams of being the next Vila Restal,” said Bercol.

“And is content with his lot in the meantime?” Avon said sourly while he tried to think why the name was familiar.


“And it’s a very engaging story,” Anna said in that light, amused voice that always made Avon think she was laughing at him. “Delta boy turns away from life of crime to become sporting hero.”

“So inspiring,” said Rontane.

“Juvenile detention wards, CF1 penal colony, and then discovery, the LondonDominators, and a meteoric rise to fame,” said Bercol.

“Poor boy makes good and donates to charity. Which of course cuts down on government expenditure,” said Rontane.

“Inviting him to a bash like this is cheap at the price,” said Bercol. “Speaking of which, we really must check the buffet out.”

Avon stared over at Restal. So that was why he remembered the name: the teenager who got into the most protected bank vault in the dome and was only caught when one of the others in the gang set off an alarm. “He may be worth talking to.”

Rontane laughed. “Perhaps your Avon is a fan after all,” he said to Anna.

Anna just smiled.

Restal was loading up a plate with hors d’oeuvres, peering critically at each one as he did so.

“I doubt anything here is likely to poison you,” Avon said.

“Oh, it’s not that. I’m a vegetarian, you see.”

“And a hungry one, it seems.”

Restal grinned. “I’m an active lad!”

“I’m curious. What did the esteemed Supreme Commander say to you?”

“Oh.” Restal looked sheepish. “She asked me how many goals I thought I could get into her net tonight.”

“Did she now. She’s a very attractive woman.”

“Yes, but a bloody scary one. She doesn’t just ruin people’s careers on a whim; some of ‘em disappear for good. So I pretended I thought it was a joke.”

“Hmmm.” Avon looked over at Servalan. “The risk could be worth it.”

“Nah,” Restal said cheerfully. “I’ve got to stay injury-free for the coming season, you know. She’d have me for breakfast.”

Possibly literally, thought Avon. “So you’re the man with the talented hands.”

Restal looked hurt. “I’m not a goalie! And I don’t do handballs, if that’s what you’re implying.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about, but I was referring to your previous career.”

“Ah.” Rather than looking embarrassed, Restal actually seemed to cheer up. “Not many people ever mention that.”

“Have you considered going back to it? Such a waste, with a skill like that.”

“Not yet. Not while I’m the best at this. I’m coming up to thirty though, and when I start to go off form or someone better comes along, I can always fall back on being a thief. I mean, that’s a lifetime profession so it’s a comfort knowing I’ve got that.”

“Well, when the time comes, look me up.” Avon gave him a card. “With my computer skills and yours with locks, we would make a good team.”

“Thanks! I’ll keep it in mind.”

Vila watched him leave. Just someone else who wanted something from him. All those women—and some men—after the money and fame, flattering him, admiring him, but never really talking to him or seeing who he was. Maybe when all this was over, Vila would buy himself a new identity and citizenship far away from the Federation. And maybe someone would like him, just for who he was, not what he did.

Tags: longer fiction
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