Fandoms: Blake's 7
Trope: au: fairy tale / myth
Characters: Kerr Avon, Roj Blake, Servalan, Travis
Length: 2,290 words
Summary: One day Little Red Lobster-Suit sets off into the woods to bring Blake a basket of food, drink, and his latest gadget.
Notes: I once wrote a B7 version of Hansel and Gretel (Avon and Vila) and remarked in passing that at least I hadn't written Little Red Lobster-Suit. This gave me the chance to do so.
Little Red Lobster-Suit (on AO3)
Or right here:
Little Red Lobster-Suit
"Very well, Mirror," Queen Servalan said, "now that Snow White is so nicely preserved in her glass coffin, tell me now who is the fairest in all the land."
"Oh Queen, Snow White is the fair—"
"Let me define the rules, Mirror in my hand that may very well drop you on this extremely hard and unforgiving stone floor. Who is the fairest alive and perambulatory person in all the land? Do think carefully, now."
"Oh, very well. Avon is the fairest."
"You did ask."
The Queen gripped the Mirror tightly. "Show her to me."
"Him," the Mirror said in a very smug voice.
"Oh, come!" the Queen said disbelievingly, frowning at the image. "I grant you the lashes and the sculpted lips, but I am still fairer by far."
"At present, yes. The consensus however is that he suffers incomparably beautifully."
Queen Servalan gritted her teeth. "If suffering makes him beautiful, then suffer he shall. Terminally." She slammed the Mirror face-down on the table so that the legend ORAC showed on the back, and called for the head of her guard. "Travis!"
Avon lived in large and surprisingly well-appointed house on the other side of the woods, along with the seven outlaws Jenna, Vila, Gan, Cally, Dayna, Tarrant, and Soolin. They lived there because they opposed the rule of Servalan, whom they called The Evil Queen (or Servie in one case). One day, Avon, who was called Little Red Lobster-Suit for his very favourite outfit, decided to go and visit Blake who lived in a cottage in the middle of the woods, to take him a basket of food, beer, and a strange and magical device that Avon had designed and made himself.
"Be careful and stay on the path," said Jenna.
"Don't let the big bad wolf get you," said Vila.
"You ought to take some good healthy fruit juice to Blake instead of that beer," said Cally.
"At least arm yourself with a crossbow and a quiver of my new arrows," said Dayna.
"Watch out for the ogre Jarvik," said Tarrant.
"See you if you get back," said Soolin, as inscrutably cool and logical as ever.
Avon just gave them all a supercilious look. "I am not reckless, I'm not stupid, and I'm now going."
"Not that again," objected Guard Commander Travis. "It's still got fleas."
"Just get on with it," Servalan snapped.
Travis rolled his eye (while safely turned away) and sighed.
Avon set off through the woods in his red leather lobster suit, which was perhaps not the best colour if one didn't want to be noticed, but rather good if one wasn't keen on being shot at by hunters. "Stay on the path," Avon muttered scornfully to himself, being possessed of the habit of leaving it frequently to investigate items of interest. "Big bad wolf indeed." He made a small excursion to look at a plant he suspected of trapping and eating insects, deciding to uproot one on the way back as an unnerving gift for Vila.
Parallel to his path, a wolf shadowed him, occasionally scratching resentfully.
A foray from the other side of the path took Avon to investigate a snake curled around a branch, a sinuous and golden-eyed creature of great beauty and probably, he thought, keeping a respectful distance despite the temptation to stroke it, danger. He smiled, reminded of the Queen.
He was back on the path, striding along, swinging his basket, when someone said, "Where are you going, Little Red Lobster Suit?"
Avon turned to see a mangy-looking wolf looking at him through the tree. "Interesting," he said. "I've never seen a wolf on two legs."
"That's because you've never seen me before."
Avon stopped, fascinated by this phenomenon. "I've also never met a wolf which could talk."
"That's because you've never met me before."
"I've never encountered a wolf with such an ill-fitting coat."
"That's because... Enough of this crap! I asked where you were going."
The wolf's one eye glittered angrily; Avon noticed that the gap in the fur where the other eye should be was sewn closed. He considered pointing out that he'd never met a wolf who could manipulate a needle and thread—or would allow someone else to do so on his person, but restricted himself to saying, "Why do you ask? And for that matter, how do you know who I am?"
"That's an easy one; no one else dresses like that. And pure curiosity, just like yours."
"Ah. So you saw me investigating unusual flora and fauna."
The wolf shrugged. "Some wolves happen to have enquiring minds too."
And fleas, Avon observed, watching the wolf have a sudden savage scratch. "A possibility I am willing to grant since you are such an anomalous specimen. Very well, I am going to visit a friend."
"Not your grannie?"
"I no longer possess a grannie," Avon said, remembering the irascible old woman he was never good enough to please. "But if I did, I would be willing to sell her on the open market."
The wolf snorted in appreciation. "But not the friend you're going to see."
"I doubt that anyone would want to buy Blake." Avon set off again down the path.
The wolf stood still and said softly and savouringly, "Blaaaake," then began to run.
Blake was sitting in his cottage in the middle of the woods, at his kitchen table, working out how to attack the Queen's castle (represented by a tea caddy) and all her guards with his own forces (nine pieces of cutlery which included himself in the guise of a soup ladle). "Is that you, Avon?" he asked when the door opened. "I need your advice."
"No, it's me," said the wolf.
Blake looked up with mild surprise. "I've never seen a one-eyed wolf before."
"Not all that again," the wolf muttered under his breath. "And you haven't now," he said aloud, pulling his hairy head off and wriggling out of the rest of the wolf skin.
"Travis!" Blake jumped up, still holding a bent fork (which had been standing in for Tarrant).
"I am your death, Blake." Travis said flatly, then somewhat ruined the effect by slapping irritably at a couple of fleas still lurking in his underwear.
"An eye for an eye and an arm for an arm?" Blake asked, having been the cause of Travis's loss of those attributes a few years earlier.
"More than that." Travis levelled his wooden arm at Blake, who raised his eyebrows, slightly puzzled. Travis sighed and repeated the motion; with a sprong the arm transformed into a miniature but deadly looking crossbow.
Blake put the fork down on the table behind him and adopted a dignified pose, chin raised, not unlike the posters Vila had had printed showing the great revolutionary gazing steadfastly into a bright future.
"Get undressed and get in the cupboard," Travis said.
"My aim," said Travis, lowering it to Blake's knees, "is maximum devastation." Of the emotional kind, as the Queen had said when she had sent him off. "Right, get in that cupboard over there or I'll kneecap you and shove you in it."
Blake retreated into the pantry, and Travis slammed the door on him and turned the big iron key in the lock. "Mark my words, Blake. Make one sound after Little Red Lobster-Suit gets here, and he'll have a lot more red on him."
Blake didn't answer.
"Blood, get it?"
No response but a sigh.
"Or was that too subtle for you?"
Travis heard a soft thump, followed by a sneeze. "Oi. Keep it down in there," he said, going over to where Blake's promisingly bulky outdoor clothes hung by the front door.
When Avon arrived at the cottage, he opened the door to find Blake seated at the kitchen table with his back to the door.
"Well now," said Avon. "What a tactically untenable position you have."
"All the better to put you at your ease with," Blake said in a strangely muffled voice.
"Well now," said Avon. "What an uncharacteristically quiet voice you have."
"All the better to convince you of my cause with," Blake said.
"Well now," said Avon. "What an unfeasibly fluffy woollen hat you have."
"All the better to cure my head cold with," Blake said.
"Well then," said Avon, putting his basket on the sideboard. "Let me tell you what I've brought you, Blake. Bread," he said lifting out a rather heavy wholemeal loaf baked by Cally, "cheese, apples, pickles, beer—real ale, Vila assures me—and this."
"And what?" Blake asked after a long pause.
"Turn around and you'll see." Unseen, Avon bared his teeth. "Or not."
Travis (of course you—and Avon—knew it was Travis) spun round, wooden cross-bow arm extended, but there was no one there. "Where are you?" he snarled.
Avon's voice came from off to the side, and Travis turned to face it but Avon wasn't there.
"Over here," Avon said, this time near the cupboard Blake was locked in, and Travis swung his arm towards the sound, knocking Blake's tea caddy off the table, and fired.
The bolt hit the cupboard door with a thunk, followed by an outraged "Hey, watch it!"
"What did I tell you, Blake?"
"What did you tell him, Travis?"
This time the voice was right by Travis's ear and he turned, flailing wildly, and connected with something encouragingly leathery. "Little Red Lobster Suit!" he growled and lunged forward, grasping at empty air. "Where are you?"
"That's for me to know and you to find out."
The voice came from near the stove. Belatedly realising that the front door was still open and that Avon might escape unseen if given the chance, Travis rushed and slammed it shut. He turned just in time to see a frying pan rise from the stovetop and come right at him and ducked, but not quite fast enough to avoid the collision and the following darkness.
"I hope," said Blake from inside the pantry where he had he recognised the clang of cast iron, "that you didn't damage my pan."
"I doubt I hit him hard enough to do that," Avon said, going over to unlock the pantry. "You only ever cook bacon and eggs in it anyway."
"As opposed to your fancy sautéed asparagus and marinated pheasant?"
"I should never do that to asparagus." Avon blinked and drew back. "You appear to have coated yourself in flour ready for browning."
Blake sneezed and slapped at his clothes, raising a cloud of flour that lightly dusted and defined an Avon-shape in the air before him. "I punched the sack. I needed to take my frustration out on something." He frowned. "Why can't I see you?"
Avon suddenly appeared in his usual opacity, holding a bracelet. "Cloaking device."
"That doesn't look at all like a cloak," Blake said.
"Cloak is what it does, not what it is."
"Hmm." Blake gnawed a floury knuckle, then pulled a face at the flavour. "How does that work?"
"Light ignores me when I'm wearing it."
"Then how do you see?"
"I couldn't possibly explain it to a non-magician like you." Avon said loftily and slid the bracelet over his wrist again, disappearing but for his faint dusty outline.
Blake regarded the negative space (volume?) that was Avon, and said casually, "Care for a cup of tea?" rather hoping that he'd be able to see the liquid going down Avon's throat and into his stomach.
"If you're putting the kettle on." The faintly cloudy Avon sprawled in a chair while Blake opened the front of the stove and set the wood alight. "No milk for me, if you recall."
As Blake set out cups, a small jug of milk for himself, and Cally's heavy and healthy wholemeal loaf with some butter and honey, Travis stirred on the floor. Opening his eye carefully, he could see a faint outline of an intricately stitched leather tunic. "Little Grey Lobster Suit," he said under his breath and gathered himself to attack.
Seeing the sudden movement out of the corner of his eye, Avon leaped up and grabbed the breached sack of flour, holding it in front of himself as Travis fired. "Run, Blake!" he yelled as clouds of flour filled the room.
Avon grabbed Blake's arm on his way past and dragged him out the door, then flung him to the ground and himself on top.
"Wait!" Avon said.
There was an loud whump, a flash of flame, and Blake's windows blew out, followed rapidly by Travis, yowling in pain, his borrowed goose-turd-green shirt billowing and burning around him.
"Thank you, Avon," Blake said, sitting up. "It appears that the wolf has huffed and puffed and blown my house down. Or to be more accurately, you did."
"An exaggeration. Your kitchen may be slightly charred though." Avon stood up and removed his bracelet, appearing once again in his red lobster suit. "Your room is still available back at the Freedom House, you know. Of course that would make it Blood Red and the Eight Outlaws."
"Blake's Nine, you mean."
Walking ahead of Blake where he couldn't see him do so, Avon grinned.
"Well? Did he suffer, beautifully or otherwise?"
"Hard to tell through the explosion," Travis said sullenly, but brightened fractionally as he realised that he no longer harboured residual wolf fleas.
"Go and get cleaned up," the Queen said. "You look extraordinarily scruffy and smell unattractively smoky." As Travis stomped off, she picked up the Mirror. "Mirror, Mirror in my hand, now who's the fairest in the land?"
"You, oh Queen," the Mirror said, waiting until Queen Servalan had smiled and swept triumphantly out before adding, "at this very moment."
Also posted on Dreamwidth, with comments.