Before Only Human (Jedi romantic fluff, 3641 BBY) Updated 10/19

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by SoA, Oct 7, 2012.

Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. SoA Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2008
    star 3
    Title: Only Human
    Author: SoA
    Timeframe: during "The Old Republic" game
    Characters: Cabrie Elthwen (Jedi Consular), Lt. Felix Iresso, Tharan Cedrax, and the rest of their crew
    Genre: Romance
    Summary: These are a set of short conversations that have popped into my head as I play through TOR that never actually happened in developing the relationships between the characters on my ship, through the narrated perspective of Lt. Iresso. I tried my best to keep these as spoiler-free as possible. This is, at heart, a Jedi and a soldier trying to sort out how they feel about each other.

    I should mention that the Jedi Finley is DWH's character, and I hope that we all have some Finley fanfic to look forward to in the future.

    My hope is that, even with never having played TOR, this would still be enjoyable to read.

    ----------------------------------------------------
    When Master Cabrie Elthwen arrived on Hoth, Lieutenant Felix Iresso expected her to be another halfhearted gesture of the Republic and Jedi order in support of this distant battlefield that hardly anyone understood the importance of. When she, with only the support of her small crew, single-handedly took out threat that his own men were too worn down―too terrified to face, he reconsidered. Master Elthwen was more than just a scholar and galactic spectator like so many other Jedi he had met. She was a warrior who took action without hesitation, but without lust for blood or glory. She did what was necessary. Felix knew that with every measured word she spoke that Hoth mattered to her. His men mattered to her. He mattered to her. He found himself asking more and more of her, and yet she always agreed to go deeper and deeper into danger for him and his men with the same calm assurance that she had introduced herself with when she first arrived on the planet.

    When it was all over and Hoth was safe from Captain Valon and his White Maw at last, all he could think about were all the things that could be possible if only this Jedi master would continue to collaborate with him. He asked for a transfer under her command, and she agreed and welcomed him onto her ship without hesitation. The only questions she had asked were what his skills were and what he hoped to get out of serving alongside a Jedi, and that was all. That was more trust than anyone in the Republic military had given in him years, and yet she seemed to think he deserved it.

    Cabrie kept odd company on her ship: a stoic Trandoshan hunter who practically worshiped her, a self-absorbed scientist seemingly along for the ride, a twitchy Twi'lek revolutionary who hadn't yet figured out his revolution was over, the most cheerful protocol droid he had ever encountered, and the entire Rift Alliance council. She treated them all fairly and with respect, and yet held herself distant from them all. She would always keep them briefed on her next assignments, occasionally asking for council―though more often than not he suspect it was for their benefit than hers. She hardly ever needed advice from misfits like them. Cabrie kept her own council.

    As Felix traveled with Master Cabrie in her work for the Rift Alliance and the Jedi Council, she never ceased to amaze him. Every decision she made was quick, decisive, and confident. When Felix asked her about it, she replied, “With the Force as my compass and a good sense for what is right, there is no need to waste any time or worry on deliberation. I always know what I need to do.” Her connection to the Force was not like he had seen in any other Jedi he had met.

    Master Cabrie rarely refused a plea for help, even when it led them out of their way and was sometimes even infuriatingly just with their enemies who begged for her mercy. Yet, she killed with the efficiency of a soldier when she had to. Cabrie never seemed to be afraid, uncertain, or angry. The only times he ever saw her smile was when it seemed to be for the benefit of others, and that worried him, though, at first, he could not put a finger on why.

    Felix respected the Jedi Master he served―he was in awe of her. He watched her back as they fought together with more intensity than anyone else he had ever served beside. He praised her merits to complete strangers he met in their travels, and defended her when anyone doubted. All the while, the woman he traveled with remained a distant mystery to him. Something about Cabrie drew him to her, he wanted to know so much more about her.

    Unfortunately, the crew had little productive to say on the matter. To Qyzen, she was the Scorekeeper's Herald―whatever that meant. Zenith only saw her as the brilliant strategist that rescued Balmorra from the Empire, and Felix already knew that. He read the Republic military dossier on her as soon as he heard there was a Jedi assigned to him on Hoth. The Rift Alliance council could only tell him other things he already knew about Master Cabrie's virtues and successes. Tharan Cedrax, a little distracted as he always was, had only to say that she clever, generous, and beautiful before turning back to that blasted gadget he was always working on. Felix didn't bother asking C2-N2. He swore that droid was programmed to only speak in florid compliments. The only person who might have something productive to say would have been Cabrie's frequent companion, the Jedi Knight Finley Tuering, but he had not seen Finley in the weeks since Hoth.

    Tharan's comment, flippant though it was, awakened a dangerous realization within Felix. Jedi Master Cabrie Elthwen was beautiful. This yearning to know her better was more than that. All this while, he had been repressing his admiration, telling himself that those were improper thoughts to have about a Jedi Master. But every time he pushed those thoughts away, something she would do or say would bring them back even more strongly. He had heard that Jedi could read minds, and that thought shamed him. If Cabrie had any idea what he was thinking, however, she gave no sign of it.

    Trying not to think these thoughts, Felix filtered through the security feeds and transmission records of the Defender as he did every night now. After what had happened with the imperial spy living among them, he didn't trust any of the Rift Alliance delegates―or really anyone on this ship besides the virtuous Jedi Cabrie. He heard footsteps approaching the cockpit and knew it had to be Cabrie herself. She made a point of checking in with everyone on her ship every evening they were all aboard.

    He rose from his chair to greet her and saluted, “Master Elthwen.”

    Lieutenant Iresso,” she bowed to him, her green eyes neutral as ever. “Checking the security of our ship?”

    He nodded, “And nothing looks out of the ordinary tonight.”

    Good to hear it. I would hate to have more reason for distrust on my ship,” she replied, the moved to sit down in the seat next to the one he had just vacated.

    Is that a comment aimed at me? He wondered. Taking her cue, Felix sat back down, somewhat apprehensively. It was not Cabrie's habit to stay and exchange more than a few sentences every night. “What's on your mind, Master Jedi?” he ventured.

    At the moment?” she responded frankly, “How am I supposed to keep five high-ranking delegates happy on one increasingly cramped star fighter in the midst of an unpredictable journey across the galaxy as we try to keep the Republic and Sith Empire from descending into another state of all-out war.”

    Felix whistled appreciatively. “Though, seriously, I don't know how you put up with that bunch of civilians cluttering up this ship and always asking you for favors,” he sympathized. “Why don't they take their council to some more stable location?”

    As I understand it,” Cabrie replied, “They like it here, and they like having me close. Keeping them happy is my duty.”

    Having them here is a security risk to you,” Felix observed, “I shouldn't have to remind you that, Jedi Master. But flying around with you is a security risk to them. What are the Jedi going to send you off to do next? Take out the Emperor single-handedly?”

    No, that's Finley's job,” Cabrie replied with her usual dead-pan frankness that made Felix wonder just how serious she was actually being. And if it was true, she just trusted him with one of the highest level secrets the Jedi Order kept for their war plans. The level of trust she gave him straight away from the first day was baffling.

    Neither he nor Cabrie had anything more to say on the subject, but she remained sitting where she was. Clearing his throat to break the pause, Felix commented, “Tharan was just bragging to me that you are the youngest Jedi Master in the order right now, and the Bar-saint or something like that.”

    Barsen'thor,” Cabrie corrected with a small sigh, “Herald of the Order. I wouldn't be a Jedi Master if not for that, and if my position with the Rift Alliance didn't necessitate it.”

    Oh, I am sure you are being hard on yourself,” Felix protested.

    Lieutenant, I am a full three years younger than you,” she replied dryly, “And the next youngest master, currently, is just about your age. They don't make Jedi Masters as young as me, especially when I started my training as old as I did.”

    You really are something special then,” Felix complimented. “You're not like any other Jedi I've ever met. It amazes me how the same Jedi order can turn out so many one-trick-eopie who are hardly more useful on the battlefield than a solider like me, and then a real jewel like you manages to rise out of the same training and save the galaxy.”

    I set food on Tython only once as a youth,” she replied, avoiding the specifics, “The rest of my training was carried out in the field by my master on the edge of Sith space. I did not return to Tython until just before I was knighted, to face my trials. My education was hardly ordinary.”

    And you are hardly ordinary yourself,” Felix praised, but this failed to elicit the smile he had hoped from her. “Though, the way Tharan brags about you is the same way he brags about his degrees and that generator thing he is working on, like you're something that he's done himself.” The moment the words were out of his mouth, he regretted his phrasing. Suddenly worried he offended her, he dared to make eye-contact, but the expression on her face told another story entirely.

    You didn't...” he stammered in disbelief. “I thought Tharan got all his entertainment from that hologirl.”

    Cabrie looked away. “It seems that he does, after all,” she muttered to the floor.

    What? He treated you like one of his experiments?” Felix felt his temper rising. Come of think of it, he had noticed the way Tharan sometimes watched Cabrie while she never reciprocated. “What is he still doing on this ship?” He started to stand to go do—who knows what, but Cabrie seized his wrist with a strength that surprised even him.

    That was months ago,” she argued, fixing her piercing green eyes on him, “He earns his keep here. We need a medic on board.”

    Really? With you as a healer?” he demanded. “Doesn't he have any respect for you?”

    In his own way,” Cabrie tempered. She looked away again and spoke more softly, “Don't blame him, Felix. I was lonely.”

    He relaxed back into his chair and Cabrie released his wrist. “You? Lonely? Everywhere we go there are more people wanting to talk to you than you could ever have time for,” he marveled.

    Try being the youngest Jedi Master in the order, the first Barsen'thor in over five thousand years, and the one person everyone keeps looking to to save the planet—the whole Republic some time,” she replied dryly, “And if you still can't figure it out after all that, ask me again.”

    I'm sorry,” he apologized, “I didn't meant to...”

    Don't worry,” she responded, “I know you meant well.”

    You really do have a lot on your shoulders,” Felix replied, “But I was assigned to you to be your support. I may not be the Barsen'thor, but I can still be of more help than monitoring security feeds. Just let me know when you need a hand with anything. It seems like everything they ask you to do is world-shaking important.”

    You'd be surprised,” she smirked, “It wasn't that long ago that I rescued a crate of stuffed animals for a full grown man from a rackghoul-invested village.”

    That's why I like serving under you,” Felix pointed out, “You take the needs of civilians and the military seriously.”

    Suddenly, Cabrie stood up. “And it is pleasure having you to rely on in these dark times,” she said, returning to her usual enigmatic phrasing. “Thank you for your hard work.” With a respectful bow, she turned and left. Felix did not even have time to salute her before she was gone. He wanted to kick himself for pressing too far into her personal life. That was hardly professional or even respectful. He doubted she would stay long for casual chats again any time soon.
    Last edited by SoA, Oct 19, 2012
  2. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Nice to see a story about this area
  3. Commander-DWH Shiny Costuming & Props Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 3, 2003
    star 4
    Hooray for Cabrie and Felix! [face_love] It is fluff, but fluff is good for the soul every now and then. :p
  4. SoA Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2008
    star 3
    Glad to see you like it Earlybird!

    Fluff is what happens when SoA is in grad school and has very little creative energy left once all the readings are done and the papers are in.

    Oh, look, more fluff!

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

    The horrors of the prison planet Belsavis still haunted Felix even after they finally departed from that Force forsaken planet. What war did to soldiers, and even civilians, Felix had grown numb to that, much to his own shame. Master Cabrie’s constant commitment to helping whoever she could constantly awakened a feeling of guilt in his gut that he should have jumped to do more sooner. But, Belsavis was another story entirely. While he advocated justice, the way the Republic treated its criminals, and even their blameless descendants that happed to be born on that horrible planet, was a new horror in and of itself. It shook Felix right down to the foundations of what he believed in and who he truly trusted. Could he proudly call himself a soldier of the Republic after he had seen all that and done nothing, really, to stop it. Cabrie tried, but her efforts did not amount to much.

    On the surface, and even now, the only loyalty he could make sense of was his loyalty to Cabrie. Always a beacon of morality wherever she went, Cabrie balanced the needs of her own mission with the needs of the people she encountered. How she did it all without going crazy, he did not know. Amid all that chaos, Felix threw his whole self into keeping her safe. Though, more than once, she saved him from injury, or worse. The whole experience left him feeling more than a little unsettled, with a dull headache that never seemed to go away.

    Massaging his temples, Felix descended the narrow stairs into the lower hold to the med bay in search of pain killers. As he rummaged through the shelves—Tharan never kept the med bay as tidy as his own research station—Felix overheard Tharan and Cabrie in conversation across the hall.

    “Jedi, I should caution you, though,” Tharan said with his usual confident precision, “That military man you have brought on to this crew may not have been the wisest choice—not that I question your superiors’ decisions, but—”

    As Cabrie cut him off, Felix relaxed, realizing that he had been about to launch himself across the corridor and into their conversation. “Lieutenant Iresso has been an invaluable addition to our crew since he first joined us on Hoth,” Cabrie said firmly, “Both his skills on the battlefield and his perspective on what we face are valuable to me.”

    “Have you looked closely at his record, Jedi?” Tharan probed, “With all of his accomplishments, the Republic rewards him with frequent transfers and no promotions. And then there was the bit about him being imprisoned by the Sith.”

    “From which he escaped,” Cabrie replied sharply, “But I was not aware that such records were public on this ship.”

    Neither was I. Felix ground his teeth together, but still waited to see if Cabrie would defend him further, hoping that she would. It had occurred to him that Cabrie would have seen his records by now, but the implications of that never crossed his mind. Tharan, no doubt, sliced into the files to obtain that information for himself.

    “Jedi, you are deflecting me,” he accused, but sounded only slightly hurt, “There is of course, the other matter. I have seen the way he looks at you, the way he follows you. I am concerned that he cannot be trusted to keep a respectful distance.”

    “Tharan, I don’t know what—,” Cabrie started, actually sounding bothered now.

    Felix would not stand by and let the conversation go any further. Before he even realized he was moving, he stood in the doorway to Tharan’s workroom. “How about you learn some respect, Cedrax?” he practically roared. “And keep your nose out of other people’s business.”

    “I would say the same to you, Lieutenant,” Tharan chided with just a bit too much calm, “Clearly you have no respect for the private discussions of two other individuals.”

    “When they concern me? Hell no,” Felix retorted and stormed over to him, “This is too small a space craft for that.”

    “See, Jedi?” Tharan turned to Cabrie for alliance. It irked Felix at his refusal to use her given name, only the title of what she was. “This is what I am talking about. The army didn’t trust him, and now he has been thrust on us. Who knows what happened when—”

    Felix grabbed a fist full of Tharan’s shirt. “Look at me when you’re talking about me, Cedrax,” he growled. “What is this about? Another man comes aboard your ship and you start getting territorial? You don’t care for her any more than you do for that blue jiggling hologirl of yours.”

    “Enough!” Cabrie suddenly cut in. With her words came a violent push, as if a strong wind suddenly surged against his chest. It was all he could do to stay standing as he slammed back into the cabin’s wall. Tharan stumbled back into a heap on the floor, tangled in his long, red coat. At least that gave him some feeling of vindication.

    “That is enough, both of you,” the fire in her green eyes was the closest he had ever seen to anger in Cabrie. Suddenly, Felix felt completely ashamed. She said nothing more, only fixing each of them with another disapproving glare and stormed out of the room.

    Felix regained his composure but knew that he could not go after her, not after all he had just said, right in front of her. Breathing deeply, he started out of the room for the cockpit. He had to find a way to lock down his personal files better from the likes of Tharan. As he moved to go, Tharan groaned, extending a hand, “A hand up, Lieutenant?”

    “Get yourself up, Cedrax,” he snapped under his breath and left Tharan to detangle himself from his coat.


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

    My other major complaint about TOR is how the side characters never interact with each other at all, and rarely even acknowledge that each other exists. Tharan is such a twit, I am sure he and Felix really don't get along well at all.
  5. Commander-DWH Shiny Costuming & Props Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 3, 2003
    star 4
    Excellent use of the Force-push-everything move. :D Also, Tharan could probably use a good punch in the face, so I can't say I disapprove of Felix giving it...
  6. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Love to see more of Felix's background and the tangle it gives with Tharan
  7. SoA Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2008
    star 3
    DWH, as much as I would love to let Felix punch Tharan in the face, Tharan would spend the next several weeks a complete whiner if he broke his nose. I think that would be even more obnoxious.

    Earlybird, I think I may give up on avoiding spoilers of character plots and go deeper into Felix's back story from here on out. Tharan doesn't have much of one, other than that he's a overly ambitious hobby-ist inventor.

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

    Cabrie came by the cockpit that night again, like usual. “How is the ship?” she asked, standing in the doorway.

    “Fine, cruising through hyperspace like a charm,” Felix reported with uncomfortable formality. “No delegates doing anything suspicious. No unapproved transmissions.”

    “Good to hear,” she said with a nod and took a slow step backwards into the hallway.

    “Master Elthwen,” he blurted, not daring to sink to the informality of using her first name, “I want to apologize for all that, today.”

    She stepped back into the cockpit and walked towards where he sat. “It is Tharan you should be apologizing to, but I know you will not,” she replied. He started to rise as she approached, but she shook her head, “No, please sit.”

    As she slid into the chair next to his, Felix protested, “Master Elthwen, I really am sorry about all that, I—”

    She cut him off, “Please, just call me Cabrie. I am reminded often enough of my rank. I don’t need it from you.” Cabrie paused thoughtfully. Clearly she did not want an apology, but Felix was unsure what it was she did want. Finally, she said, “I often forget that not everyone sees the universe as I do. I trust Tharan as much as I trust you, Qyzen or Senator Grell, or even Zenith. I see—beyond the physical, and I see no reason to distrust any of you. Without the Force, I cannot expect you to trust Tharan like I do, but I do hope that you will not let him bait you again in the future, though another such encounter would be more dangerous for him than you, I do not want conflict on my ship or amid my crew.”

    “Understood,” he caught himself short of using formal titles for her again, “Cabrie.” He felt a pang of guilt at her unwavering trust of him. Her priorities were clear, but somewhat turned on their head from what he was used to in command.

    “I’m sorry,” she stammered suddenly, “That was not supposed to sound like a lecture. I just wanted you to know where I was coming from, how I see things.”

    “I wish I knew how you see things, through the Force,” he replied, “To hear you talk about it, makes me wish I had been born a Jedi.”

    “You would make a good Jedi,” Cabrie said distantly.

    “What is it like, having a sixth sense in the Force?” he asked. Seeing her work seamlessly through the Force always made him yearn to know what it was like.

    Cabrie closed her eyes and leaned her head back in the chair, breathing deeply. He could practically see her struggling to find the words to describe it. “Being connected to the Force is so much more than an added sense,” she tried to explain, eyes still closed, “It’s more than hearing, more than seeing, more than all five senses put together. All life in the universe is connected, and if you look for it, you can see it. The Force ties everything together, binds it. The Force exists outside of time, tying the present, past, and future all together at once. In those moments of unsurmountable crisis, you let the Force swallow you up, you become a channel to its will until you don’t know where you end and the rest of the universe begins. Surrendering completely to the will of the Force, you know that everything will be alright. Life and death no longer matter, just the Force.” She fell silent, then opened her eyes and looked directly into his, “It often is as terrifying as it is exhilarating.”

    “And all you Jedi see the universe that way,” Felix said, awed, barely above a whisper.

    “Most Jedi, I think, never reach that tipping point,” Cabrie admitted. She always seemed somehow embarrassed about the ways in which she was special beyond the average Jedi.

    “You do far more than just throw rocks around and read people’s minds,” Felix marveled.

    “And I try not to do the later as much as I can help it,” Cabrie replied. “Delving into people’s thoughts uninvited is immoral, except in dire circumstances.”

    Felix relaxed. That was a relief to know. “I wish I could have even a glimpse of what you see,” he admitted.

    Cabrie pursed her lips thoughtfully. “I may be able to project the sensation of the all-connecting Force to you,” she started, then took his hand between both of hers, not waiting for an answer from him. The shock of her cold fingers enclosing his palm was quickly drowned in a powerful, overwhelming feeling that he could not put a name to. A moment later, it was gone, leaving his head spinning.

    “Woah, I don’t know what that was, but I’ll take your word for it and leave all the Force to you,” he chuckled. Now that her hands were in his, he did not want to let her go. But, again, he was struck with a pang of guilt for all the trust she placed in him, especially after the argument of this afternoon. He took a deep breath and began, “There’s something I should tell you, Cabrie.” He met her eyes but she did not interrupt him. “That period I was imprisoned by the Sith, there’s two whole days of it that I can’t remember. My memories are just gone, and no amount of psychiatric reconstruction has brought them back. That’s why the army keeps shuffling me around without a promotion. They don’t trust me after that. That’s why they were more than happy to give me off to a Jedi Master.”

    “Would you allow me to try to heal your mind?” Cabrie offered, catching him off guard.

    “Ah, no,” he replied, “Jedi have already tried to fill that gap, but it’s all gone. All it winds up doing is bringing back memories that I would much rather forget.” And there are a number of things in my head right now that I don’t want her seeing.

    “You’ve never felt the Dark Side—no, how to I put this?” Cabrie pressed quickly, almost fearfully, “You’ve never felt an influence in your mind or thoughts that weren’t yours since then?”

    “No, nothing weird like that,” Felix replied slowly, unsure what the questions implied. “Just forty-eight hours of no memory.”

    “I—good, I’m glad,” Cabrie sighed off her intensity. He had almost never seen her like that before. She added quietly, “I have seen the Sith take hold of the minds of more people than I would ever care to.”

    “Believe me, I’ll be the first to let you know if something funny starts happening up there,” he assured her tapping his knuckles lightly against his skull.

    “If ever you reconsider, I am a mind healer,” she persisted, serenity regained, “Know that the offer stands.”

    “Thanks, I really appreciate it,” he replied earnestly. He had nothing more to say, but sitting beside Cabrie, her hands clasped in his, he wished some witty comment would come to his mind, to keep her there with him.

    “I should go check with Senator Grell and the others,” she said, “We will be arriving at Corellia before too long.”

    “Yes, right,” he replied, releasing her hands and standing with her. “Thank you, Cabrie.”

    She turned to go, then paused, saying, “Thank you.”

    She left Felix feeling in a daze. Cabrie’s trust, her forgiveness, just her; it was almost overwhelming. He wished he could do something to earn it. Cabrie really was unlike any woman he had ever met, and he knew that he would never meet another woman like her. Yet, even knowing that, he did not know how, or even if he should, act upon what he felt for her. It was almost as if Cabrie was too far removed from average, dull humanity to be pulled back down by more earthly feelings.
  8. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Love the interplay between Felix and Cabrie. And no memory of those forty-eight hours. Maybe he should let it be
  9. Commander-DWH Shiny Costuming & Props Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 3, 2003
    star 4
    Yay fluff! Yay Felix! Yay Cabrie!

    Yeah, that's all I've got, but per usual, this is all fun stuff. :p
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