IC: Zoa Vra They lost. They lost but still made it into the playoffs. That’s what she reminded her team in the days after losing to Agamar. It wasn't just a loss, either; their defense had been asleep, their offense non-existent, and the only reason it hadn't been more than 33 was because of Kasin. Sunlua gave them a day off after they returned to Ylesia to get whatever it was out of their system. She was hoping that a day with friends and family would set them straight, but Zoa doubted it would work. They needed to remember what it felt like at the beginning of the season, when they thought that this could finally be their year, when they thought they could make it, convince their detractors that they weren't just any Limmie team, they were the team. It took hard work and perseverance, not coddling and days off, but Sunlua had her reasons so Zoa, for once, didn't argue. Instead she took her frustrations out on the machines in their weight room. Zoa wasn't surprised to see some of the others show up later in the day – the Kuna sisters spotted each other with lifting weights, Nolli and Kasin chatted while cycling, Tung ran endless laps of the area, and Zenro and Veiana pretended not to watch the other work out. Zoa turned away from them and put her music on, needing no one but herself today. She went through her routine, occasionally partnering with one of the others when she needed a spotter, but keeping herself distant. They didn't need a moody Zoa today, not when they were flushing their frustrations away into determination and good cheer. Her attention was away from the others as she did press-ups when someone crouched and tapped her shoulder. It was Syra, her assistant Captain, watching her with narrowed eyes until Zoa took her headphones off. “The others want to talk,” she said, and then stood and left the room. Zoa gathered her thoughts and followed. The entire team had assembled, much to her surprise, and they watched her and Syra with an air of expectation. Zoa knew what they wanted, same as every rare time they made the playoffs. “Our playoff record isn't good,” she began. “Our season record isn't good either. You know as well as I that we need to forget about last game and move on. Go home, visit family and friends, get rid of any distractions, and say your goodbyes. We’re leaving tomorrow for Genet.” Zoa wasn't one for fiery speeches, she lead by example. That’s why every single one of them had come in on an off-day, because they knew she’d be there, as she always was, and Zoa was flattered and proud. This year, despite the record, still felt like their year; she’d never been on a team that meshed so well on and off the field. It was time to show the others what Ylesia had in them. Litan, their young star forward, put her hand out in the middle of their rough circle. The others followed suit silently, and with a shout of “Ylesia!” they all raised their arms to the sky. Hearts and minds focused, most of the team left, leaving Zoa to face their physician, Dr. Kraraal. “You have to tell them some time,” the Yuuzhan Vong woman said. “Even if Ylesia makes the final, you won’t.” Zoa rolled her bad shoulder. “You can’t stop me from playing. There’s no way I’ll abandon my team in the playoffs.” Dr. Kraraal narrowed her eyes. “Promise me you’ll come in and get it looked at as soon as the season is over, and not a day later.” She agreed quickly and escaped the woman’s harsh glare. --- Candles were on the table when she finally made it back to her apartment, and all lights out. “Lorn,” Zoa sighed to herself, and dropped her bag by the door before approaching, waiting for her boyfriend to appear. It seems he’d cooked up quite a meal – or more likely, bought it and reheated it – so he had to be around here somewhere. “Hey gorgeous,” whispered a familiar voice in her ear, and she rolled her eyes. “You know I don’t have time for this,” she said, turning around. Lorn's eyes twinkled in the candlelight as he grinned. “And I know that it takes you less than half an hour to pack. Indulge a guy, come on,” he pleaded, still grinning. As always, she gave in with a sigh, and he kissed her before leading her to the table. Dinner was quick, punctuated by aimlessly chatting about work, about Ylesia’s chances, about Lorn’s chances of making partner in the law firm he worked for. But dinner was just a means to an end, and Zoa knew it, as Lorn winked and took away their dishes. He was a distraction, but one that she’d have to put aside in the next few weeks. But they still had tonight, so she allowed herself a smile as he took her hand and led her to the bedroom. TAG: No one Introducing Lorn Innis as Zoa's boyfriend.