Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
It was published in Pæan to Priapus #4 and is online.
Reactions and Reviews
I *Highly* recommend the A/V story in the Paean to Priapus 4--it subverts the entire top/bottm concept and turns it totally sideways.
Why this must be read: It's another session where Vila carries out Avon's prescribed program of humiliation and pain...and then Avon outsmarts himself (or does he?) by bringing back a deluxe piece of bondage equipment from yet another revolutionary mission. Bound, gagged, and helpless, this time Avon can't prevent Vila from getting what Vila really wants....
The Vilaphiles in the audience are no doubt saying that it's about bloody time we had an A/V rec. I'd also like to steer your attention toward the Oblique archive, which reproduces Oblique's extensive library of slash paperzines (updated as recently as this April, with a Smallvile zine). Oblique concentrates on darkfic, and "Benchmark" sounds like it's going to conform, but then takes a sweet detour Curtain-wards.
In the generally hostile and distrustful world of B7, (most of the time) Avon and Vila like each other, and they have enough similarities (although Blake has a predilection for the criminal element, Avon and Vila are the only two thieves in the operation; they're also the two most self-conscious verbal artists) and enough differences that *don't* become a matter of contention (there's no argument that Avon is smarter than Vila, and Vila has nil interest in achieving a higher place in the ship's hierarchy than Avon) that they're a plausible sexual and perhaps romantic couple.Dunno if I believe it, but "Benchmark" is an example of a common fanfic take on A/V: Vila is more emotionally intact, or at least more emotionally expressive, so that provides something that Avon can learn from him.