[hr] Come In and Change [hr] lightning tears the sky to shreds, its slivers arcing down and out, painting the evening clouds a violet that deepens to black at the edges. zekk waits for the thunder, but it never reaches his ears; it is drowned out by distance, by the humid fuzz of summer dusk on dathomir. and that bothers him more than anything, more than everything: the silence. it has never been silent in his head. there has always been a cacophony, once only his own screams, his own demons, and later those of others, all piling into his soul and resting there, turning his ribcage into a mass grave for the lonely, his heart into a pulsing memorial. he has held them all for so long, let their weight fall upon his shoulders, let the thunder of their cries echo decades after the lightning faded, that now he does not know how to fill all the space inside himself. what is this absence, this absence of guilt, this freedom? zekk has meditated on it during the long weeks of his convalescence here in this small earthen hut, he has wondered at it as his fingers turn the thick soil and plant the seeds for long-stemmed flowers, it has kept his eyes open during the nights when he would have given anything to have that heaviness back. that heaviness has anchored him, he knows. anchored him through so very much, pulled him through so much bloodshed, given him purpose. part of the ache, now, is centered on jaina; or rather, he misses the aching he has always associated with his childhood sweetheart. without it, he feels he has lost something undefinable, a sense of self-sacrifice that kept him planted firmly with the disconsolate. lightning, again, illuminating the rustic landscape, and it smells lavender on the wind that whips zekk's long black hair around his head. the force winds through everything, electric in his veins as he reaches out to touch the storm; his skin seems to burn as the energy slips into his bloodstream, as he pours his emptiness up into the clouds and wills them to reciprocate. the rain they offer in response to his calling cools him, and then the lightning burns once more, and now he can hear the thunder, now it rushes in between his ears and turns the darkness there to a stinging, blinding light. this rain works its way into the soil, down to the seeds zekk's fingers have carefully planted, to nourish flowers that will grow blindly towards the sun. this rain works its way into zekk's skin, down to his heart, where he is a martyr with nothing to die for, and it nourishes a new seed planted in the ash of his demons. "Zekk?" the thunder in his head subsides and he turns towards the candles pouring warmth from the windows of the hut. his caregiver leaves the doorway, ventures into the rain, her hair a sea of flames in the wind. when her lips part to say his name again, they unfurl like petals, soft in the tanned setting of her face, a counterpoint to her eyes like grass. she walks to him, moving like a flower in this summer gale, shining in the force like a beacon. "Come in from the rain," she commands, taking in his tunic and dark pants, now soaked through. "Come in and change." zekk looks at taryn, wonders how it can be that the raindrops running down her cheeks and dripping off her proud jawline seem more beautiful to him than all the gems she wears when she is in ceremonial dress on other worlds. he nods to her, nods to the clouds, releases his hold on the summer night, turns his back to the dark sky -- and grows towards the sun. Yea, all the progress ye had made Was but to learn that all is small Save love, for love is all in all. -- Christina Rossetti [hr] Feedback is appreciated.