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Beyond - Legends Awakenings | Ἀνάγκη sequel, Thrawn/OC, drama/romance | Short story, OTP Challenge

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Chyntuck, Jan 21, 2018.

  1. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Title: Awakenings
    Timeframe: 9-11 ABY or thereabouts (begins around the time of the Battle of Sluis Van)
    Continuity: Legends

    Length: Multi-post short story
    Genre: Drama/romance
    Characters: Thrawn, Ayesha Eskari (OC)
    Challenge response: Written in response to the Winter 2017-2018 OTP Challenge ‘We've come through a lot together.’
    Notes: This story is the (long-overdue) happy-end sequel to Ἀνάγκη – Necessity beyond Sway and a prequel to The Lost Artist. It probably won’t make any sense at all to anyone who hasn’t read Ἀνάγκη, so I’m putting a quick summary of the salient points behind the spoiler tag.
    Ayesha Eskari is an artist and Thrawn’s lifemate. As a child during the Clone Wars, she was kidnapped and tortured by a Sith Acolyte, which has left her mentally fragile. Throughout the ten years or so of her relationship with Thrawn, she tries to suppress these memories (with various degrees of success) so as not to snap.

    At the end of Ἀνάγκη she becomes pregnant with their child while aboard the Chimaera in the early days of the Thrawn campaign. When she finds out that Thrawn is intending to kidnap the Solo twins and hand them over to Joruus C’baoth, she chooses to tell him in detail what the Sith Acolyte did to her, in the hope that he will understand the cruelty of his plan. However, bringing up these memories causes her to become catatonic.

    Thrawn clones himself and leaves his clone in charge of the Imperial fleet. He takes Ayesha to the jungle planet where he was exiled by the Chiss with the intent of spending the rest of their lives there in isolation, so that he won’t be tempted to ‘save the galaxy’ and will give his undivided attention to Ayesha and their unborn child.

    For @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha,
    who beta-read enthusiastically the nearly 400K words of Ἀνάγκη
    and liked Ayesha so much that she changed her username in her honour
    [face_love] #BestBetaEver [face_love]

    Table of contents
    Prologue
    First Awakening
    Second Awakening
    Third Awakening
    Fourth Awakening
    Fifth Awakening
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2018
  2. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Awakenings

    Prologue

    The days on this planet have all been the same since they arrived. He wakes up at the crack of dawn, for there is much to do when building a new home – but before he can start, he is compelled to linger a little and look at her. This is the one moment when he can pretend that the slackness of her face expresses the serenity of sleep, and even though he doesn’t believe it, he relishes the illusion that, right now, she might be at peace. But there is little time for such lies, because daylight is coming. He gets dressed and goes through the list of the many tasks that still need to be accomplished before the child is born; he gives his instructions to the labour droids; and once he is confident that the day is on track, he sets about preparing her breakfast.

    His life is solely about her now – about her and the child she carries, as it should have been since the morning he ran into her, covered in Gungan mud, in a corridor of the Imperial palace. He still wonders how he could fail her so miserably. He was a man who never failed, who could take on planets and armies and entire races and win, yet when it came to the safety and well-being of the one person who truly mattered, he proved himself oh so unworthy of the task. He often asks himself if he should take her back to Nirauan, to the man who never sought to claim her as his lover, yet gave her more love and comfort than he ever could. But no. He will not fail her this time. The burden is his to shoulder, and he will bring her back.

    She is awake when he returns to the bedroom with her breakfast, yet she is not there. Her eyes are staring blankly at the white plastic ceiling, but he knows that she does not see it. She does not see anything of her surroundings, trapped as she is within the walls she erected to defend what remains of her soul. He folds up the flexiroof to let the sunshine in and he sits at her side. He is shy to touch her – he never touched her without her permission before, and now she cannot give or deny it. But he repeats the last words she told him – “love outlasts everything” – and he takes her in his arms to kiss her good morning. The brain scans show that she does not hear, that she does not see – but perhaps she can feel? He clings on to that hope and sits her up against the headboard.

    They eat breakfast in silence before the Emdee droid comes to examine her. Every day, the diagnosis is the same. The child is healthy, she is growing fast now, she is gaining weight every day, and by the end of next month she will be in this world. The mother... Thrawn knows that the medical droid is programmed to sound like a Human, yet he cannot help but believe that the puzzlement in its voice is genuine. There is nothing wrong with the mother. She is, in every possible aspect, a perfectly normal, healthy, thirty-seven year-old female, save for the fact that she has cut herself off from the world. Her mind is working, she is thinking – but her thoughts are smothered under unexplainable fortifications. Perhaps she is in pain. Or perhaps she has retreated into blissful ignorance.

    She has not given a single sign of life since the evening last month when her hand went to her belly, and if the droid hadn’t recorded the scene Thrawn would believe that it was a dream. But he has seen the holovid, and it is proof of what he remembers – he had placed her hand carefully on the armrest, and she moved it of her own accord. She is there. He has discussed this at length with the Emdee. It was not a reflexive gesture. She has never reacted to any other stimuli, not pleasure, not need, not pain. For a fleeting moment that night, she was in contact with her child. He can only hope that it will happen again.

    He puts away the empty plates and cups and helps her get out of bed. He glances at the DUM-series pit droids as he leads her to the shuttle. They are building their house, a proper house of wood and stone, and as strange as it may seem he ordered them to begin with the ‘fresher – she always preferred showers to sonics, and he notes with satisfaction that the construction is making progress. The droids have started laying the pipes to carry water from the river, and soon they will be able to wash, but until then, it will be sanisteams in the shuttle. He runs a soft sponge over her body in the narrow cubicle and helps her slip on her clothes. Her breasts are swollen from the pregnancy and her belly is bulging, but the baggy trousers and backless tops she always favoured can adjust to the transformation of her body. He combs her hair carefully. He doesn’t have time now to practise braiding it, but as soon as the house is ready, he will learn. The baby will have thick, black hair too, he is certain of it, and he wants his daughter to be as perfectly groomed as her mother. It is the least he can do.

    She follows him obediently when he takes her to her workshop and installs her on her stool. He has collected various types of wood from the forest and he holds her small hands in his to caress the rough surfaces. He lifts her thumb to her mouth for her to lick, then runs the wet tip over the jagged edges. He gives her tools and directs her fingers to remove the bark, all the while observing her, hoping for a reaction. There is none. But he does not surrender, and day after day, they spend their morning in the workshop in a ghostly pantomime of what she used to be.

    He leads her back to the small kitchen for lunch, then settles her in a hammock under the shade of a tree while he tills the plot of land he has fenced off for cultivation. They have supplies of food to last them a lifetime, but he knows that she prefers fresh produce and this planet’s native pyussh berries cannot replace the taste of her childhood. He has removed the stones and uprooted the weeds, and now he is planting chyntucks and wasaka shrubs in addition to fruit and vegetables from all over the galaxy. He smiles bitterly at the memory of doing this for himself, so many years ago, during his first exile. Maybe he should never have left this planet. She would be elsewhere now, happily married to another, without any of the injuries he caused her – but then he shakes his head and abandons this train of thought. He cannot conceive of his life without her. He would have been altogether another man.

    He rarely thinks of the other, of the clone who is somewhere out in the stars fighting his war. He rarely thinks of the war, and he never checks the HoloNet to find out about it. It is not his anymore. He has understood now that there are larger forces at work, forces against which a single man can do nothing, as intelligent as he may be. Things will happen as they were meant to happen, with or without his intervention. Perhaps his clone will unite the galaxy against the threat of the Far Outsiders. Or perhaps not. But as Quinlan Vos once told him, the Force works in mysterious ways. He can only hope that it will bring Ayesha back.

    He leaves the Emdee to look after her while he goes and cleans himself up. He hates leaving her alone with the droid, but there is no comfort to be found in the shuttle’s sanisteam. It is cool, narrow, functional – Imperial, he thinks with a new surge of bitterness. He scrubs the grime off his skin and returns to her as fast as he can. The Emdee has told him that she needs to move around, to make the labour easier when the time to give birth comes. He helps her slip on her shoes and they walk slowly along the path to the boulder from which they dispersed Yakooboo’s and Rumpy’s ashes. They sit on the top and watch the sky turn red and purple as the sun sets, and he tells her, every night, that he took her away from her Human brother, but that he brought her here because her Wookiee family are close by.

    He pulls her to her feet when dusk comes and leads her back to the temporary dwelling. The labour droids have returned to their storage compartment for the night – he has given them strict instructions never to disturb her sleep. He feeds her dinner and has her sit in the armchair before reading for her. He brought many books he knows she likes on datacards, and he has the print edition of Silences from the Edge of Life. He reads – no, he recites – a poem every night before taking her to bed. He strips off their clothes, lays her carefully on her back and lies at her side, sheltering her in his warmth. He lets his hand caress the taut skin of her belly, and he whispers to her stories of their unborn child until her eyelids droop and she falls asleep. She did not give a sign of life today. Perhaps tomorrow will be different.

    --------------------------

    Wookieepedia links

    Pyussh berry
    Chyntuck
    Wasaka berry
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
    Kahara, Anedon, Sith-I-5 and 5 others like this.
  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    IT'S UP, IT'S UP IT'S UP! SQUEE! SQUEE! DISCOVERING THE JOYS AND EXUBERANCE OF CAPS LOCK [face_laugh] ^:)^ [face_dancing] [face_dancing]
    Oh how poignant! A blend of optimism and resignation, but undrrunning it all, this fathomless love. [face_love] [face_love] The small details of a daily routine are so ironic in their serenity. If only ...
    The brain/medical scans are so confusing: there is life but it's dormant. What will break the barricades? [face_thinking]

    I adore this already, duh. LOL
    :* [:D]
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2018
    Kahara, AzureAngel2 and Chyntuck like this.
  4. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Read this yesterday during my lunch break at work.

    You write romantic tragedy without getting slushy or stupid. Thrawn stays much in character, trying to find solutions/ improvement.

    Heartbreakingly wonderful!
     
  5. Nehru_Amidala

    Nehru_Amidala Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 3, 2016
    This is sooo, sooo romantic! *sniff* Love this so much, I will definitely be reading this.
     
  6. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you for the kind reviews and thanks to everyone who stopped by to read!
    [face_laugh] Thank you! I expected an exuberant reactionf from you, but not quite that exuberant!
    Hey, it's what it says on the tin: gooey mush galore! In the next chapter, you'll start getting Ayesha POV too.
    Thanks! I can't promise this story won't get slushy though. It's the OTP challenge after all, so I'm going all tropey and sappy for this one.
    Thanks ans welcome to my little Thrawn'verse! I hope you'll enjoy your time here; it's very different from yours :)

    Thanks again to lurkers, readers and reviewers! And now the show must go on.
     
  7. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    First Awakening

    She moves again! And this time, he is there to see it with his own eyes. The hovertray with her morning meal would have crashed to the ground had the emergency repulsors not activated. Some caf and juice spilled over, but it doesn’t matter. He sees her caressing her belly absent-mindedly as she stares at the ceiling. He forgets about breakfast and rushes to sit on the edge of the bed, and he places his palm timidly beside hers. The baby is kicking. He knows that he should summon the Emdee immediately for a brain scan, to check if there is a correlation between the two events, but he cannot bring himself to break the moment. He gazes at her, trying to find words that could break past her barriers, but speech eludes him. He simply sits at her side, in sheer awe at the beauty of this scene, until her hand freezes mid-gesture, and she remains as still as a statue. The baby is kicking more violently now, as if angry that she stopped. He presses his own hand a little more intently to her skin, to reassure his daughter that she is not alone, and he leans forward to kiss her belly. His lips find her fingers, and he lingers there for a moment, whispering to mother and child both. He does not know what caused her to move, or what caused her to stop. But he is certain that she is there, and he knows more than ever that he must bring her back. Their daughter will hate him if he doesn’t.

    The weather has been poor these past few days, with a constant drizzle, and he wraps her in a cloak to take her to the ‘fresher. They have running water now, and he likes to think that she finds pleasure in it. He positions her fingers around the sponge and runs her hand over her body to let her wash herself. He helps her slip on one of the jumpsuits she used to wear on his Star Destroyer – he hates the cursed Imperial things, but he has not had the opportunity yet to lay traps for larger animals whose hide he could process into leather, and she does not have much in the way of warm clothes. Years of living in a climate-controlled environment can cause such absurdity, he thinks bitterly. What he gave her all this time was merely the illusion of a life.

    He has found that the wet soil in a pool by the river makes for good clay, and he takes her to her workshop to plunge her hands in the sticky mud. He talks to her as they knead the brownish material together; he asks her if she remembers the Northern Lights room, if she thinks she could process this material with the modified Demahl method. She doesn’t answer, but he keeps talking. Someday she will react to this, he thinks as he wipes their fingers clean. Someday she will remember. She would not be her if she didn’t.

    He cannot install her in the hammock for the afternoons or take her to the boulder because of the rain, but he cannot neglect his garden – her garden, he corrects himself; the garden is hers, like everything else since they came here. He took to waking up earlier in the morning to record himself reading her father’s poetry for her to listen to while he is at work, until the Emdee told him in no uncertain terms that he needed to sleep. He smiles inwardly at the recollection of the droid’s stern tone. He did not like being told off in the past, but this time he enjoyed it. For a few fleeting moments, someone else was in charge.

    Now the droid takes Ayesha to the shuttle in the afternoons, to stimulate her abdominal and pelvic muscles, and he joins them as soon as his gardening duties are done. The Emdee instructs him to sit behind her, his knees on either side of her body as she lies on his chest, and it explains to him what will happen when she gives birth. He wants to be there, he wants to be part of it. He has left her alone too many times already. He places her hands on her belly and he mimes the moments when she will be arching her back to push the baby out. The baby. Another creature dear to his heart that he has made to be alone in the last few weeks before she comes into the world. But he will not fail this time. His daughter will never be alone.

    The few brief minutes when she moved have given him courage, and he is less shy now when he lies at her side for the night. He entwines himself around her, like he used to do in their happier days, and he caresses her skin, he presses his lips to her forehead, he inhales the scent of her hair while she falls asleep. She is as beautiful as ever. If only her smile could return.


    * * *

    She likes it here. It’s a haven of warmth and safety and comfort. There are no days and nights, no sounds and edges, only the luminous haze that carries her. She has no needs, no wants, no desires; she has no body and no mind. She just tumbles aimlessly across the cottony mass to enjoy the brush of its softness, together with the Little Soul.

    The Little Soul is bound to her. Sometimes it tugs her in one direction and she follows suit, sometimes it allows her to pull it in another. Sometimes they stop moving and wrap around each other, and they hover together where they are. They are two, but they are one.

    Only the Little Soul matters to her. The Little Soul is kindness, the Little Soul is purity, the Little Soul is unconditional love. It gives without thought of reward and it likes to receive that which it hasn’t demanded. She relishes its gentle presence at her side. The Little Soul is never gone, no matter where they travel in the whiteness that engulfs them. It is always with her. Two, but one.

    Sometimes their journey takes them to the Wall that keeps the shining mists from escaping into the Beyond. The Little Soul likes to play with the Wall. It is taut, yet smooth and pliable, and the Little Soul’s favourite game is to swim towards it, to bounce into it and to be thrown back. She always indulges the Little Soul’s whims when they come to the Wall. Sometimes the Beyond seems to push back, sometimes it seems to want to play too. She doesn’t know what it is, or maybe she doesn’t remember – but the Wall is solid. It is safe.

    Little by little, she grows curious about the Beyond. She recalls having been there before, before the whiteness and the Little Soul. She sometimes wonders what she left behind, why she chose to leave it behind. She knows that these are not good thoughts, that she should remain here where it is soft and warm and safe and not seek out the past. But she also wants to know what has been, and, time after time, an echo of her inquisitive nature – was she inquisitive? – prompts her to nudge the Little Soul towards the Wall.

    It is during one of those visits, when the Little Soul is bouncing against the Wall with silent glee – and she wonders fleetingly what it would be like to actually hear – that she decides to take a peek. The Wall is soft and smooth, supple and stable, and without knowing how now she has a hand and she is running it over the Wall. She looks for an opening, for the tiniest slit that would enable her to catch a glimpse of the Beyond – and suddenly she senses something.

    There is someone beyond the Wall – someone she has known, someone she has left behind.

    She does not like it. She does not like it at all.

    She wraps herself around the Little Soul to protect it. Together they flee to the heart of the luminous white mass – to the place where it is warm, to the place where it is safe. And they stay there.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2018
    Kahara, Anedon, AzureAngel2 and 2 others like this.
  8. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    I love Thrawn's resurgent sense of hope. Then the gorgeously lyrical description/narrative from Ayesha's POV. The "wall" /barrier behind which is safety and warmth. [face_thinking] Quite understandable that she would feel that way. Quite a formidable task /choice it will be to venture to the other side. [face_thinking] Her inquisitiveness or child's survival perhaps will make that necessary. @};-

    Thrawn, like Leia did often in Legends, made hard choices that cost the family and created strains. But he, like she was, deserves happiness and he is trying to make amends and that is something many often never come around to. [face_love]
     
  9. Nehru_Amidala

    Nehru_Amidala Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 3, 2016
    Such a sweet update, and she is starting to remember. Yay.
     
  10. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you for the reviews and thanks to everyone who stopped by to read!

    A few quick replies:
    Thank you! As you know I had no plans for a sequel initially, and it was very much your reaction to the direction where Ἀνάγκη was headed that made me decide to give the story a happy end after all. This entailed figuring out what would be going on in Ayesha's mind once she has gone catatonic, and it was no small challenge, especially since I couldn't continue to operate in my usual doom and gloom mode for a happy mushy story. I'm glad this works for you :)
    I agree with this comparison but only up to a point. Yes, Thrawn made hard choices, but many of those essentially relied on the idea that people are disposable commodities, and in Ἀνάγκη he often chose to lie to Ayesha about it rather than seek alternative solutions. He has a whole lot more to atone for than Leia – which is why I'm going to make him work hard to get Ayesha back :p
    Thanks! Indeed, she's beginning to remember, and as time goes by she will remember more. There's a long background to this in Ἀνάγκη, where another character has lost their mind completely, as in, their mind is gone altogether. In Ayesha's case she hasn't been subjected to the same dark side power so her mind is still there, there just came a point where she snapped.

    Thanks again! Next chapter coming right up.
     
  11. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Second Awakening

    The sun finally emerges from behind the clouds after two weeks of damp greyness, and he decides that today will be special. She has not been sleeping well – her belly is huge now, and the Emdee believes it is causing her discomfort. He often wakes up in the middle of the night to find her staring at the ceiling, and he has to get up and help her move around to relieve the pressure on her spine. But today, he can think of a better way to lighten her burden.

    He inspects the construction site quickly and gives the droids their instructions for the day – the inner and outer walls of their family home are built now, and he wants to be sure that they understand where to place the lucarnes on the roof – then he returns to the bi-state memory plastic shelter and prepares her a light breakfast. She is asleep when he goes to their room and he wants her to get her rest, so he waits patiently until she opens her eyes of her own volition. He takes her in his arms and hugs her tightly, then kisses the child through her skin before he sits her up. He knows that she will enjoy the surprise he has planned for her.

    He slips a light dress over her head, gathers some towels and takes her down the newly cobblestoned path that leads to the river. The droids have brought the equipment trunk as ordered, and he unfolds a chair for her to sit while he hangs her hammock between two trees. He then removes her clothes and his own, and he lifts her in his arms to carry her to the shallow pool. He is doubly careful not to misstep on the slippery stones – a fall would be disastrous at this advanced stage of her pregnancy. He reaches his destination and helps her stand up, and their feet sink into the soft pebbles. The crystalline water covers her up to her breasts, and even though she does not react, he can imagine the relief she must experience at the newfound buoyancy of her belly. He stands behind her and holds her tightly to his chest, his arms wrapped around her torso, his face buried in her hair. He can feel the child tumbling within her in what he imagines to be utter delight. The regular rhythm of the river’s splatter suddenly changes, and he looks over her shoulder to see that her hand is playing with their baby once more.

    He feels vindicated. He wants to cry with joy. “Do you like it here, Ayoo’sha?” he asks. “Does our daughter like it here?”

    “Yes,” she whispers. “She likes it.”

    The sound of her voice makes him shiver so violently that he very nearly loses his balance, and he scrambles to remain in an upright position and to circle her, to look at her in the eyes. Her face is as blank as ever and her gaze is absent, but her palm is still stroking her belly. He cups her head in his hands. “Ayoo’sha?”

    She does not react. She does not answer. Soon her arm falls limply into the water. She is gone again.

    The sense of disappointment that crashes over him is overwhelming, and he cannot fight the tears that spring to his eyes as he pulls her close and presses his lips to her forehead. He should have known that it would not be so easy. But he will not give up. Tomorrow, he will bring her here again.


    * * *


    The luminous whiteness has changed. Not in a bad way; it is still soft and warm and safe – but it is different. It is as dense as before, but somehow it feels lighter. She is soaring across it, together with the Little Soul, with the mists rippling around them. The Little Soul enjoys it, and she enjoys it too. It is as if the cottony haze that surrounds them is ballooning and flying upwards, and they rise within it.

    It is breathtaking. It is exhilarating.

    They glide weightlessly amongst the shining mass that carries them, sometimes towards the top, sometime towards the sides as it morphs into thick, snug clouds, solid enough for them to rebound on before dissolving again into wispy volutes of immaterial caress. They are everywhere and they are nowhere; they are alone with each other, and all that matters is the pure joy of the Little Soul’s presence as they sail across the silken nebula.

    Until they bump gently into the Wall.

    She has been avoiding the Wall since their last visit, when she thought to take a peek at the Beyond. She doesn’t quite recall what it was that caused her to flee, but she doesn’t want to remember. The Wall is not to be trusted. The Wall is what separates them from pain. Every time the Little Soul brings her here, she lures it back to the safety of the whiteness. And she will do it again, because the Little Soul is hers to protect – even though, like the whiteness, the Beyond feels different this time.

    Her hand materialises and she seeks to push the Wall away.

    The Little Soul will have none of it. It wants to play with the Wall; it likes this sensation of a new Beyond, of one that ebbs and flows and ripples at the same pace as the whiteness – a Beyond that feels just like the shining mists, but that is kept apart from them by the Wall. The Little Soul does not fear the Beyond. It wants to know it, and it yanks her gently but firmly back to the Wall.

    She cannot bring herself to deny the Little Soul its pleasure, and so she stays. She turns her back on the Wall – when did front and back come to be? – and she watches the Little Soul bounce happily against it as the Beyond answers back. She is now able to watch, and it puzzles her. Her disembodied world has grown to have substance, texture and direction of its own accord, and suddenly she remembers – these are things that she has given up, things that she has left behind. The Beyond is invading the whiteness, and while it is warm and light and soft too, she knows that it is not safe.

    She spins her non-body around, determined to protect the Little Soul, to thrust them both away from the Wall – but there is an opening, a widening gap before the eyes she doesn’t have, and this time she sees.

    She sees shapes and hues and sizes, colours that should not exist, objects that have names. She sees the sky and the river and the trees, she sees the pebbles on the banks, she sees the blinding light of the sun. All of a sudden, a whirlwind of the mists propels her into the Beyond, and she fears that she will lose the Little Soul who is still on the other side of the Wall – but before she can understand that she is already apart from it, that she has a body, she hears.

    She hears her own voice, answering the voice of someone she left behind when she retreated behind the Wall. Someone she loved unconditionally, someone who loved her back, who shared her pleasure and her pain, her sorrow and her passion. Someone who saw her as a person, someone with whom she had a body and a mind – when she was alive.

    It is breathtaking. It is exhilarating.

    It is terrifying.

    She dives through the Wall into the cottony haze ; she struggles to shut the opening, to seal the gap to the Beyond. She ignores the Little Soul’s protests and pulls it to her side as she flees to the core of the mists. She does not want a mind, she does not want a body, she does not want colours and sunlight and rivers and trees. She does not want questions and answers and memories, she does not want a life. She only wants the white world where there was never fear, not for her, not for the Little Soul.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
  12. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    The wee one is insistent. She wants to, should, and will eventually have to, venture into the Beyond. [face_thinking]
    There is definitely progress but understandably a recoiling from Ayesha. The "world" on the other side totally feels threatening!
    =D=
     
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  13. Nehru_Amidala

    Nehru_Amidala Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 3, 2016
    Why must there be so much angst? So well written, but the feels!
     
  14. divapilot

    divapilot Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Just want to say this is ethereal and lovely and heartrending. I wish I could be more coherent but between the hot mess that is RL and my schoolwork, I can't really devote the time right now that this deserves. Just please note that I am really loving this story. It's a great extension of Ἀνάγκη, with all the amazing writing you did there, but it stands alone as its own beautiful work. [:D]
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018
  15. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank your for the reviews and thanks to everyone who stopped by to read!
    Thank you! Ayesha thinks that she's done what it takes to keep herself safe and unhurt, but in reality she's in a lose-lose situation. She cut herself off from Thrawn, and when her daughter will be born she'll be cut off from Thriyé as well. Soon she'll have to make a choice!
    Thanks! The truth is, you made me laugh a bit. There are pages and pages of angsty feels in the prequel to this, so it's really just the natual continuation.
    Thank you and welcome to this story! I'm so glad you like it. I know all about DRL and work, so don't worry about "devoting the time" – your reply made my day and I'm just happy to know that you're here, reading and enjoying.

    Thanks again to reviewers, readers and lurkers. Next up: more angst.
     
  16. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Third Awakening

    It is their first night in their new family home, between walls of stone, under a roof of timber, and the sensation of warm dampness against his thigh pulls him out of his slumber. She is awake, staring vacantly at the ceiling, but her body is shifting of its own accord. It takes him a few moments to understand that she has broken her waters and that her labour has begun. Quickly, quickly, he slips on his pyjama trousers and summons the Emdee.

    They help her across the clearing to the shuttle, where the small medbay has been converted into a birthing room, and they lay her on the bed. The droid has taken charge and is issuing instructions, and he is relieved for it. He has never been present for a birth before, let alone that of his own child, and he expected to be discombobulated – but what he sees now is eerie. She is visibly in discomfort, even in pain – she must be with these regular contractions that send violent shivers across her limbs – yet she does not utter a sound. Her mind is fighting her body. Their daughter will be born, and she will not know. Their daughter – the unique, perfect creature in which two loving beings became one – and soon they will be three, they should be three. But it will happen in her absence.

    He lies down behind her with his knees on either side of her body to let her back rest on his chest. He takes her hands in his and places them gently on her belly. He can only hope that, if she is aware of his presence, she is mistaking the panicked drumming of his heart for eager anticipation at the arrival of their child. At first his greatest fear had been that she was gone forever. Then, when he understood that she was still there, sheltered behind the walls of her soul, he feared that he was not up to the task of bringing her back. But now… now he fears that she might return and not recognise him. Not remember him. Worse, not want him in her life. He had to woo her back once in the past for his failure to prevent a crime against her. Now he is the criminal, and she might not want to come back to him at all.

    Love outlasts everything. Love outlasts pain, madness and death.

    He repeats her words aloud and takes a deep, soothing breath. She cannot feel her own pain, she cannot be there, she cannot witness the arrival of their daughter into this world. He will hurt for her, he will scream for her, he will greet their daughter for both of them. Even if she won’t come back for him, she must come back for their child. He will make sure of it.

    * * *

    The mists are churning. They swirl and boil and froth around her, and they toss and jolt her to and fro. She does not understand what is happening, and for the first time she senses dread emanating from the Little Soul. She wraps herself around it to reassure it, to comfort it, to console it, to tell it that it will never be alone, and she tries to swim back to the warm, luminous heart of the whiteness. But the roiling cloud that surrounds them has grown stormy and dark, and she cannot fight its currents. It casts and flings and propels them around, and despite all her efforts it brings them to the Wall.

    She does not like it. She does not like it at all.

    But the Little Soul is suddenly happy. The Little Soul always liked the Wall – the Wall and the figure lurking in the Beyond. It does not understand the threats that may come if the gap in the Wall opens; it thinks of the Beyond as a friend, as a source of love. She knows that there is love in the Beyond, but she knows that there is also sorrow and pain. There is life outside the Wall – and it is so much easier not to be alive.

    The Little Soul wants to live.

    The realisation slams into her so violently that for a moment the cottony haze seems to become solid and rough. The Little Soul wants to live. They were two, yet they were one – but now the Little Soul is one and she is another. The Little Soul cannot remain forever alone with her, it wants the taste of adventure in the Beyond outside the Wall. It wants her love, always – but it also wants the love of the Other, it wants to see the colours and the rivers and the pebbles and the trees. It wants to see the stars. She cannot deny it. She does not want to be alive, but she cannot deny it its life.

    Before she can fully process the thought, the Little Soul moves away from her. It bounces happily against the Wall, like it does every time they come here – and suddenly a crack in the Wall opens and widens, bright light streams in…

    And she finds herself alone in the whiteness as the Little Soul is sucked into the Beyond.

    * * *

    It has been going on for hours. Her body is convulsing with each new contraction; fat beads of sweat are rolling off her brow; the Emdee says that her cervix is fully dilated. The baby should be born any moment now. And still, not a yelp, not a grunt, not a moan. She is breathing hard, yes, she cannot help it – but beyond that, all indications are that she is simply not present for the birth of her child.

    Until the infant’s head comes through the birth canal, and she lets out a heartrending scream. Quickly, quickly, the droid pulls the child out and cuts off the umbilical cord.

    He can see that it is improvising, that there has been a change of plans. He’d been told that they would let nature run its course, that their daughter would be returned to her mother as soon as she was born, and that all three would rest together on the bed, for the first time as a family. But now the Emdee must examine this woman who remained silent during hours of labour but abruptly started howling as if her heart were torn out. It directs him to stand up and take Thriyé – Thriyé, she has a name now, Mitth’riy’eskari – to the changing mat.

    He does not want to leave his lifemate – is she injured? could she die? – but the droid is far better placed to provide her with the care she needs. He lifts her carefully off his chest and lays her back on the birthing bed, and for the first time he holds the slimy, flailing, wailing bundle that is their child. A minuscule humanoid shape whose skin is a bright hue of silvery blue and whose head is covered in wispy black hair, and who seems as upset at having been separated from her mother as her mother is at being separated from her.

    A few minutes later, once Thriyé is wiped clean and swaddled in warm blankets, resting against her father’s bare chest, her cries subside into nervous gurgles, but Ayesha is still screaming.

    He tries hard to clamp down on his terror, lest his daughter sense it rolling off him in waves. “Is she hurt?” he asks the droid. “Her womb was damaged when she was assaulted. Is she bleeding? Will she need surgery?”

    The Emdee shakes its bulbous head and points at the brain scan monitor. “Pain, sorrow, grief. This is what she experiences now. Her body is fine. Tired, but in perfect health.”

    His eyes travel from the screaming woman lying on the bed to the jittery bundle in his embrace, and he steps forward to place Thriyé at her mother’s side. Ayesha immediately reverts to her eerie silence, and she wraps her arms reflexively around her daughter to hold her tight. The droid glances at the monitor, where a curve has just spiked.

    It nods at Thrawn. “Indisputable, irrefutable proof, sir. She is here. She knows that her child is here.”
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
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  17. Nehru_Amidala

    Nehru_Amidala Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 3, 2016
    Ladies and gentlemen, we have a breakthrough! Rough, but baby has arrived! :)
     
  18. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Beautiful and riveting update =D= Thrawn is intensely aware of the ramifications of any and all outcomes of Ayesha's awakening and knowing him versus not, or knowing him and rejecting him in her life :eek: But his love is unflagging and unfailing. [face_love] Thriye is also aware of this unconditional boundless love, for her, as well; that is part of what draws her to the outer world.
    Eagerly awaiting the next part where Ayesha is separated from Thriye as well as the rest of the "world beyond." [face_thinking]
    Fascinating parallel I just thought of -- between the picture Ayesha presents in this update towards the end and the self-sculpt early in "Necessity" of herself as "The Screaming Woman". @};-
     
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  19. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you for the reviews and thanks to everyone who stopped by to read!
    Thanks :) And it's about to get rougher too (in a good way). You know what Thrawn in panic-daddy-mode looks like!
    Thank you :) It's been an interesting experience to write this fic in light of the current OTP prompt, as I wanted Thrawn and Ayesha to be processing their issues even though they don't directly communicate for a significant part of this story. Thriyé doesn't know it, but she's playing go-between here.
    That's coming right up!
    That was absolutely deliberate, and it says a lot about your beta-reading that you would still remember this detail [face_love] There are several scenes in Ἀνάγκη where Ayesha acts out being her sculpt after making it for Thrawn in order to show him who she is, and this one was meant to be in the same continuity. Meanwhile, the sculpt itself is in the lounge of the new house and will appear in this story as well!

    Thanks again to reviewers, readers and lurkers! And on with the show...
     
  20. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Fourth Awakening

    He is exhausted.

    Caring for his lifemate in the last weeks of her pregnancy was taxing. He had to provide for her every need, to anticipate that which she failed to voice, to ensure that she and the child she carried were safe and comfortable and healthy. He had to find ways to tell her, to tell them both, how much he loved them even though they were unable to listen. He had to make time and prepare for their life when Thriyé was born, when Ayesha came back. He had to find a way to bring her back.

    Now he has to care for his lifemate and their newborn daughter, and it is exhausting.

    He is exhausted, but he is happy.

    He has stopped looking at himself in the mirror so as not to see the dark circles under his eyes. His weariness does not matter. His yearning for a night of uninterrupted sleep does not matter. His longing for a moment, a single moment when someone else could look after him, when someone else could be in charge, does not matter. The only thing that matters is that the baby is safe and healthy, that his lifemate is safe and healthy, and that, every time he places the infant on her lap, Ayesha wraps her arms around Thriyé and holds her tight.

    Thriyé knows that she is loved, not only by her father, but also by her mother. That is all that matters.

    What he cannot stop seeing is the dark circles under Ayesha’s eyes. She may not know it, but she is exhausted too. She has not had proper rest anymore than he did for the past two weeks. They both live at the pace of their daughter’s whims since the day she was born, and her pace is all but regular. It is impossible to predict when she will be hungry, or when she will be tired, or when she will need a clean nappy. The only certainty is that she wants to spend her every waking moment with one or both of her parents.

    He has considered pumping Ayesha’s milk to feed Thriyé himself, so as to allow her more time to rest, but he cannot bring himself to do it. He cannot take away these precious moments when they are mother and daughter in the most primal sense of the word. He forces himself to wake her up whenever Thriyé is hungry, he lays the infant in her arms, and he stands back to gaze in wonder at the miracle of her cradling their child. It breaks his heart to see her cling to Thriyé when the feeding is over and he must take the baby away to put her back in her crib. But the infant needs to sleep, and so does her mother. He forces himself to pull them apart, he waits until their eyelids droop, and he goes about performing the myriad chores that must be attended to on a daily basis.

    There is still much to be done for their life when she returns. He should take down the temporary shelter; he should move her workshop to the luminous room built by the droids. He should continue to collect samples of wood and stone and clay. He should hunt and lay traps; he should tailor warm leather clothes. But there is no time for it. His life is in the here and now. He cooks, he cleans, he washes, he tends to the garden while Ayesha and Thriyé lay in the hammock. The future will have to wait.

    The Emdee often chastises him for his failure to care for himself. It tells him that he is taking on too much. It warns him that he will burn out. It assures him that it can take over the nighttime feedings, that the child and the mother will not understand the difference. He always refuses. The droid cannot understand his drive to care for his lifemate and their daughter. It cannot understand that, in his exhaustion, there is a secret pleasure.

    There is a well-rehearsed scenario, a moment in the night, every night – sometimes earlier, sometimes later – when Thriyé’s bleats or squeaks or squeals pull him out of his slumber. He fetches her from her crib and brings her to their bed; he settles Ayesha against his shoulder; and he installs the child on her chest. He watches her wrap her arms around the tiny body, and a fraction of a second later, the infant’s lips latch onto her nipple and she begins to suckle happily. He doesn’t have to go away to clean or cook or wash; he doesn’t have to squeeze in a chore while Thriyé and Ayesha are mother and daughter. This is the time of day when they are together as a family, and in this moment he knows that his baby has all she needs: her father, her mother, and milk.

    He is exhausted, yes. But he is happy. His child is beautiful and safe and healthy, and his lifemate is finding her way back.

    * * *

    She is alone in the whiteness.

    Alone.

    Alone.

    Alone.

    It is still warm. It is still safe. But she is alone.

    She doesn’t seek shelter in the heart of the cottony haze anymore. Now she remains by the Wall and waits for the Little Soul.

    The Little Soul visits her often. It comes and presses against the outer side of the Wall, she presses against the inner side, and they sit there, apart but close to each other. She longs for the before, for the time when she could touch it, hold it, wrap herself around it. She longs for the time when it never left.

    Now the Little Soul comes and goes. Sometimes it is there with her, sometimes it is not. She thinks that it leaves her to be with the Other, and together they discover the Beyond. It causes her pain. It causes her sorrow. She resents the Other for taking the Little Soul away.

    All was light in the mists before. There was no anguish, there was no heartache, there was no anger. There were no dark feelings. Now there are.

    She does not like it. She does not like it at all.

    But it cannot be helped unless she crosses into the Beyond, and she cannot bring herself to do it. She fears that the Beyond holds more agony, more grief, more darkness. And so she stays put, hovering by the Wall. She is content when the Little Soul comes along. She feels empty and forsaken when it doesn’t. She has resigned herself to the idea that it is her lot in life.

    She remembers that she came here so as not to be alive. She does not want to remember why. She does not want to remember her life. She came here to hide behind the Wall. She should stay here.

    Should she?

    As time goes by she notices that the Wall is changing. It is still solid and supple, compact and flexible at the same time. It still protects her from the Beyond. But with each one of the Little Soul’s visits, it grows clearer. Gauzy. Translucent. She can see light. She can see movement. She can see colours and patterns and shapes. Sometimes the Beyond is enclosed in its own wall of beige and ochre and sand, with a single shaft of brightness streaming in from above. Sometimes it is an open expanse of green, ablaze with glorious sunshine. And every time the Little Soul comes to her, she sees a blur of silver and a shade of blue. The blue leaves the silver outside the Wall and returns later to take it away.

    She cannot understand why the Other does this to her. Why he cannot let the Little Soul be with her all the time.

    What she can understand is that the Little Soul loves the Other too, and that the Other loves it back.

    Sometimes the Other stays close to her, along with the Little Soul. Together they hover outside the Wall while she hovers inside. When this happens the entire Wall takes that special shade of blue. The Little Soul presses against her, the Other presses against her, and she wonders if he is taunting her to come outside.

    How does she know that the Other is a he?

    She does not want to remember. But she cannot fail to remember. It was the Other who gave her the Little Soul. It was an act of love, back when she was alive in the Beyond. Maybe the Other isn’t being mean when he takes the Little Soul away. Maybe, instead, he is being kind when he brings it to her. Maybe he is trying to tell her that she can be with the Little Soul again, that they can all be together, if she chooses to be alive.

    It is easier to not be alive. It is safer.

    But it is lonely. It is hollow. It is loveless.

    She does not want the pain of the Little Soul’s absence. She wants to love and to be loved, even if it means the pain of the Beyond.

    She tries to pry the Wall open, but it resists her. It is slick and smooth and firm. The crack is gone. The gap is gone. The notch is gone. She is trapped inside. There is a secret to open it, and she cannot remember.

    She cannot remember, because she made herself forget. She needs to learn anew. She needs a teacher.

    She waits for the Other to bring the Little Soul to her. Maybe the Other remembers the secret. Maybe he will whisper it to her.
     
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  21. Nehru_Amidala

    Nehru_Amidala Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 3, 2016
    Well then, Thrawn needs to get to it then! This was a sweet chapter, I love Thrawn in Daddy!mode. :)
     
  22. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    OH SQUEE SQUEE! The balance is tipping more towards adventuring courageously into the Beyond. [face_love] Where finding the risks of pain is worth the gains of loving and being loved versus a place/existence where one is cut off. @};- =D=
     
  23. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you for the reviews and thanks to everyone who stopped by to read!
    Haha! I knew you'd like it! Thrawn in daddy mode appears to be your thing. I like it too, you know, but don't tell anyone [face_shhh] Incidentally, I find it amusing that we both chose to give Thrawn a daughter. There must be something about the character that compelled us to picture him as the gaga papa of his little girl.
    Heh. You know Ayesha, she's not the sort to hide forever – especially when being with her baby is at stake, but also with Thrawn. She didn't spend ten years of her life with him for nothing!

    Thanks again to readers, lurkers and reviewers. The last chapter is coming right up, and the epilogue sometime at the end of this week.
     
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  24. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Fifth Awakening

    It is a morning like any other. Ayesha is still asleep at his side when he is ready to get up, but Thriyé is already gurgling in her crib. He checks that she is not fully awake yet – no, she is barely stirring. He plants a soft kiss on her brow and another one on his lifemate’s lips, and he hurries to the kitchen to make himself a cup of caf before his daughter can demand her first meal of the day.

    All he can hear is silence when he finishes gulping down his mug, and a second check reveals that Thriyé has gone back to sleep. He cobbles together a breakfast tray to take to the bedroom, and he settles on the edge of the bed. He is spreading wasaka berry jam on a spice bun – Ayesha’s favourite – when he sees her stretch and half-open her eyes. “Is it time to wake up already?” she asks sleepily.

    His hands freeze in mid-air. He does not know what to say, he does not know what to do.

    She stretches again and pulls herself to a sitting position. Her gaze falls on the assortment of plates and jars between them. She gives him a radiant smile. “Oh, good. You brought breakfast. I’m starving.”

    His jaw works for a moment before any words come out. “I should have toasted the spice buns,” he manages to stammer.

    “It’s okay,” she says through a full mouth. “I’m too hungry to pay attention.”

    It takes a long, awkward silence for her to notice that something is amiss. She looks up at him. “Is there something wrong?”

    He does not know how to answer. He does not know where to begin.

    Her eyes wander to the stone walls, to the wooden ceiling, to the greenery outside the window. Her brow knits in puzzlement. “Where are we?”

    This, he can explain. “We are in our new home, Ayoo’sha. On the jungle planet that you already know.”

    She ponders his reply for a while. “How long?” she asks. “How long have I been out of it?”

    Her tone is plain and factual. Clinical. She immediately understood what happened to her. Dread wells up in his heart at the idea that she might remember the why – what she did, what he did, what caused them to fall apart.

    He knows that he cannot hide the truth from her forever. He knows that telling her the truth may destroy her again. “It has been several weeks,” he says in a low voice, as if this could soften the blow. “And I am wholly to blame for… all of it. I understand that you have many questions, but –”

    She is not listening. Her hand has already gone to her belly and tears are shining in her eyes. “Did we… did I lose our baby?”

    “Thriyé is fine, Ayoo’sha,” he says soothingly. “She was born two weeks ago.”

    She pushes the breakfast tray aside. “Our daughter is born? Where is she?”

    There is a moment of confusion. He is holding her back as she tries to scramble to her feet. “Please,” she begs. “Please. I want to see her.”

    He pins her firmly to the bed. “I will bring her to you, Ayoo’sha. But I am asking you, please, to remain seated for the time being.” He can see that she is panicking. “Thriyé is just over there. I am bringing her to you now.”

    He waits for a single second to make sure that she understands, and he stands up to fetch Thriyé from her crib. Ayesha wraps her arms around her daughter clumsily. She is visibly distraught, and her unease only grows when the infant opens her eyes and lets out an angry wail.

    “What am I doing wrong?” she asks anxiously. “Why doesn’t she like being with me?”

    He nudges her breast a little to bring her nipple within reach of Thriyé’s mouth. The child’s cries are instantly silenced as she begins to feed.

    He settles comfortably at their side and pulls Ayesha to rest her head against his shoulder. “Believe me when I tell you that she loves being with you, Ayoo’sha,” he murmurs. “Although you may be disappointed to learn that, at this time, she thinks of you primarily as the pantry, and of me as the means to access it.”

    * * *

    She expected that her first encounter with her daughter would be a moment of pure bliss. She was wrong.

    It should have been when Thriyé was born, moments after she took in her first breath. She would have held her against her skin and whispered to her that she was not alone. She would have admired her tiny body, her mop of black hair, her glowing red eyes, the silvery hue of her skin. She should have been there to see the child she carried for months become a person of her own.

    Instead, her child was born in her absence. Instead, she was… elsewhere. She hates herself for it.

    She hates herself for not knowing how to hold her baby, for not being able to understand her needs. She hates herself for not remembering. She cannot fathom that she deserted her child.

    And she hates Thrawn for being so at ease with Thriyé. She hates him for the implication that he was the one who pushed her over the edge. She wants to lash out, to blame him. But she hates herself even more.

    “I’m a terrible mother,” she whispers.

    Her voice jolts Thrawn out of his reverie. “Please do not be foolish, Ayoo’sha. It was entirely my fault. I –”

    “I abandoned our baby, Thrawn,” she says with absolute finality. “Even if it was your fault, I abandoned our baby. And” – she bows her head in shame – “I may do it again. I failed Thriyé before she was even born.”

    Thriyé. It feels so awkward to be saying her name.

    There is a long silence. She is lost in her thoughts when Thrawn begins to speak – hesitantly at first, but then with increasing confidence when she stops shaking her head and starts listening to him. He tells her of the brain scans that proved that she was thinking, he tells her of the days when her hand played with their unborn child. He tells her of the afternoons they spent in the garden or by the river, of the day when she spoke of their daughter for the first time. He tells her every detail of her labour, her silence, her screaming, her serenity after he placed the newborn on her chest. He tells her how she spontaneously held Thriyé for every feeding, how she fought him back when he sought to return her to her crib. He tells her of the quiet moments of the night when he brought her to their bed, when they lay together as a family, just as they do now. He tells her in every way he can that she was never really gone.

    And she hears him. She hears that he made her be present, that he placed her hand on her belly when she couldn’t do so herself. She hears that he took her to the workshop and the garden and the river, that he pushed for her when she was giving birth. She hears what he does not say: that he cared for her and for their daughter, that he surrendered his military projects only to look after them. She hears the deep sense of guilt in his voice for putting them in this situation, and she hears that his life is now solely about his love for them.

    Thriyé is asleep again by the time he is done speaking. He awaits her verdict. Their daughter’s little hand is wrapped tightly around her father’s finger; her cheek rests against her mother’s heart.

    She does not know – she cannot remember – what happened aboard the Chimaera. She may never find out. But she knows that he has paid the price for his failure and that he has atoned. He brought her back for their daughter. Now they are together. She will not fail Thriyé again.

    It is a place to start.
     
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  25. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    GORGEOUS EXQUISITE DELIGHT IN THE ABUNDANCE OF YUM!
    I love how Ayesha is so matter of fact at first -- how long was I out of it, like it was just a nighttime's worth. ;) Then his explanations help to begin to erase the sense of guilt she feels and self/other blame. It is definitely a place to start; it is fortunate that there are some details she doesn't recall now, if ever. [face_thinking]
    [face_dancing] [face_dancing]
    ^:)^
    ^:)^
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
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