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Saga - OT [DDC 2018] (Not) The Ballad of Ronen Syndulla-Jarrus | (OCs)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Raissa Baiard, Jul 9, 2018.

  1. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Well, I definitely feel Ronen here. For a humble, unassuming sort like him, that feeling of having to live up to someone close to you that you admire deeply can be especially keen—but all the more so when said person close to you has been invited to speak at your school to share her First! Hand! View! Of! History! Oh man, that Feipel... I'm sure he means well, and there's nothing wrong with being Excited! About! Your! Field, but between his overall gushing and his singling out of Ronen on top of it all (which, again, is difficult enough for an unassuming sort like Ronen anyway), I can't blame Ronen for wanting to find a nice dark cave in which to engage his Force cloaking ability. <3 Add to that all the assignments and papers and kata and RSJVPing... that kind of hectic life is why I have no nostalgia at all for my high school years. :p I really love what you chose for Hera's postwar cause, and it's extra cool that it's one that brings in Aunt Sabine's expertise, too.

    You always do such a whizbang job with parent-child (or parental-figure-child-figure) conversations, and this one is no exception—it really is the heart of this chapter. (And of course you know how much I love a good mother-son chat! ;) ) I really can hear Hera's voice—the Hera we know and love from Rebels—in her responses to her son: you've really such an amazing understanding of this character and her characteristic combination of firm and caring, the general and the mother.Being a teen, Ronen of course shows no small amount of teen impulsiveness in the way he barges in and immediately makes his feelings known—but it says so much about his character that he listens to his mom's responses and takes them to heart and doesn't pile on the "ifs," "ands," and "buts" (not too much, at least! ;) ). Almost his whole tone changes as soon as he hears that she, too, once had that feeling of not being able to live up to a heroic parent—and geeze Louise, I can barely imagine what it would be like to have an entire ballad written about your dad during his own lifetime! And he gets it immediately when she firmly but gently points out that the "boring" and "ordinary" life was actually the ideal she and Kanan and Ronen's "uncles" and "aunts" were fighting for—because, as Ny points out, he's got his parents' caring soul even under that self-conscious teen exterior.

    This was probably my favorite part of the whole thing, for numerous reasons:

    YES YES YES! A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, and all that! And Jedi? Not boring in the least—especially not in combination with Ronen's unique stealth talents. [face_dancing] And how can anyone not love Ronen's response—“That is such a mom answer”—and Hera's response to that: “I can’t give you any other kind.” Just perfect—so much of both their personalities comes through in those few words. And that little bit of reassurance was all it took to bring Ro's confidence back, to realize the good that will come out of the situation (namely, a really awesome story will get told), and to realize he'll manage. Plus—how perfect is it that he quotes the exact same older form clause of the Jedi Code that Noemi did at the end of the previous chapter? [face_love] And that all has gotten me curious about how Noemi will react to her "aunt's" presentation at NLUPS, so I hope you'll share that with us, too! [face_batting]

    And PS to Ny:
    [face_laugh][face_laugh][face_laugh] You are so right about that! :p
     
  2. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Ronen really is a good kid underneath all the teenage self-consciousness and uncertainty and of course, a large part of that comes from his parents. Kanan and Hera both have such a strong ethic of helping others, and you know they would pass it on to their children. Ronen’s already starting to make a difference in those everyday ways like standing up for Kaia; he shouldn’t sell himself short. I think Hera sees that side of him and thinks he’s pretty awesome, too.
    Master Feipel is based on my Modern Western Civilization class who was almost that enthusiastic and equally prone to going off on strange tangents (I jotted some notes down one day—tangents included the legend of Robin Hood and the lack of undergarments in the French Court in the same class :p) So, yes, it’s hardly a wonder that Ronen would like to be invisible in his ModGalCiv class, especially when Feipel directs all that enthusiasm towards him personally. Hera’s cause was partly inspired by the incredible movie “The Woman in Gold” about Maria Altman’s struggle to reclaim Klimt’s painting of that name, which had been stolen from her family by the Nazis during World War 2. Similarly, Thrawn made free with the Syndulla family’s art in “Hera’s Heroes” and you just know he had an entire museum full of art he’d stolen so he could “understand” (read: “defeat and subjugate”) those “inferior species”. I can see where Hera and Sabine would both see the return of art and cultural artifacts to their owners as an important part of putting things right after the war.

    Aww, thank you so much [face_love] I love all the Rebels but Hera’s the one I want to be when I grow up! I love that with Hera we get to have a female character who is strong and kick-shebs and maternal and caring—and that the maternal side is seen as as much a strength as the General side. By now our dear Space!Mom is a pro at handling angsty teens, having gone through that phase with two adopted space!kids and two of her own, so she can see that Ronen’s initial self-centeredness isn’t personal, it’s just that age. But he’s sensitive enough (and Hera and Kanan have raised him well enough) that she’s able to nudge him back on track, knowing that she really does understand and care.

    It’s easy to forget that parents used to be kids once, too, especially for Ronen, whose parents have done so much in their lives. But Hera wisely points out, she had to go through that learning and training period, too. It took her time to become the shebs-kicking general, and with time, Ronen will learn and grow an accomplish awesome things as a Jedi. And despite his self-consciousness and self-doubt, Ronen really loves and is proud of his mom, and he realizes that the other students should hear all those awesome things about her, too. I really like that older form of the code; to me it embodies the central idea of many religions, that it’s possible to have emotions, and yet be at peace through one’s trust in a higher power. I have Doran and Mara quoting the old form in earlier stories, and I think Kanan would agree that it’s not about having no emotions, but keeping them in balance. So, yes, Ronen and Noemi are on the same wavelength when it comes to the philosophy of the Force.

    Yep, and those two were adults and Honor Guards to boot! Uncle Zeb must be proud of his nieces and nephews :D
     
  3. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Thanks to @Findswoman for beta-reading and helping me keep this story on track! [:D]

    Noemi’s Journal (Now planning Phase Two of the RSJVP)
    14/08 3301


    The RSJVP’s been underway for three weeks now, and overall, I think it’s going pretty well. Ronen seems to be getting used to talking to the girls. He doesn’t sigh and roll his eyes at me too much now when I suggest someone he might try speaking to, but it’s weird… I figured that by now, he would have found someone he’d be interested in, but when I ask him what he thinks about a certain girl, he’ll just look away and hunch his shoulders and mumble something about how he just doesn’t think she’s “The One”. He says that about all the girls, even Tierné Eshe, who’s currently the front runner according to Maatko’s datasheet (except for me apparently—honestly, Maaty, what were you thinking?!) If I didn’t know better, I’d say Ronen has found someone and is too nervous to tell me—but that doesn’t make any sense! We’re best friends and he knows he can tell me anything!

    So, anyway, the RSJVP is on to Phase Two: getting Ronen involved.

    I looked at our yearbook last night and there was one holo of Ronen in the entire yearbook. One. Just his class picture, and from the expression on his face, he thought that if he made himself invisible in the Force, he could disappear from the holo, too. Nice try, Ro. Even Maatko, who isn’t exactly a social lepidopteran, was in more holos than Ronen—for the dejarik team and droid club. This year, that’s going to change!

    Of course, when I told Ronen about the next phase of my plan, he complained that he was way too busy with school and the Academy and lightsaber practice and meditation and… But I wasn’t buying that excuse. The rest of us manage; I’m on the debate team and yearbook staff, Caleb plays grav-ball the fall and chin-bret in the spring, Nadiya's in the chorus. Ronen could certainly handle one activity if he tried. I had to gently remind him about the part of our bargain that said he had to take my advice and no half-shebsing.

    The way he sighed, you would have thought I’d told him I’d volunteered him to teach levitation to Aunt Annina’s youngling class again. (The younglings loved Ro, no matter what he says. The fact that they managed to lift him a meter off the ground just shows he was a good instructor.) “All right, all right...I get it. So what do you suggest?”

    I pulled up my RSJVP file on my datapad and handed it to him. “I’ve listed all the NLUPS extracurriculars with the ones that would create maximum visibility for you at the top.”

    Ronen looked down at the list and nearly dropped my datapad—lucky that Jedi have quick reflexes. “Grav-ball?! Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me!”

    “If you want to get noticed, you can’t do better than grav-ball!” Grav-ball is a huge deal, and not just at NLUPS, but all over Lothal. I don’t really get all the fuss myself—I mean, it’s just a game, after all—but Caleb loves it. He played Junior League in primary school, and since he started at NLUPS, the Loth-wolves have gone to the division finals every year. Everyone says we’re sure to win this year with Caleb playing center striker.

    Ronen shook his head emphatically, lekku twitching out of rhythm with each other. “I don’t want to be noticed for having the medics scrape me off the field! I’ve seen the way the players get smashed around out there by bantha-headed bantha brains like Dack! No thanks!”

    “Fine…” I didn’t really think Ronen would go for it, but like I said grav-ball is the Big Thing at NLUPS, and it seems like some girls just go for grav-ball players. “How about Drama Club?” Mistress Eupraxia was right; Ronen would be great at it. He definitely has a flair for the dramatic. “They’re putting on Jakspeeir’s ‘An Estival Solstice Reverie’ this year.” I grinned and nudged my shoulder against his. “We could get you cast as one of the leading men and show everyone just how romantic you can be!”

    Ronen gave me a strange look for a second before he stared down at my datapad like he was trying to memorize the list. His left lek swayed a bit and the stripes on both lekku flushed a darker orange. I waited for him to tell me why he absolutely, positively could not go out for Drama Club and was absolutely, positively stunned when he replied, “Maybe. Except…”

    “What?”

    He looked up from the datapad, that funny expression still on his face. “You have to try out with me.”

    “Me?” Not exactly part of my plan, but if it would get Ronen out there, I’d do it. It could be fun. Maybe I’d even get a small part or something. “Well, all right…”

    “It’s a deal, then.” The weird expression changed into a smile as Ronen held out his hand for me to shake on it like it was another part of our bargain. (And I don’t know, maybe it was. No half-shebsing it for me either, I guess.) “When do we try out?”

    So, it turned out to be easier to get Ronen to pick an activity than I expected, and it gave me a great idea: the Jedi Academy needs to have extracurricular activities so the padawans can get to know each other better socially! I know we have our meditation groups and saber cohorts, but those tend to be broken up by age and gender, which is a bit limiting if you ask me. (I asked Uncle Kanan about that once; he told me to ask my dad and Uncle Luke why…oh good skies, who knew Uncle Luke had a thing for Mom back then?!) We could have, oh, I don’t know, not dances, the no-attachment set would never go for that, but maybe a book club? Or—I know!—a cross-cohort lightsaber dueling club! We’re not supposed to view our sparring in class as a competition, because jealousy leads to anger leads to hate, etc., but surely by our age we’re mature enough to handle some friendly competition. Extra saber practice could only be a good thing, right? And facing a variety of opponents is more realistic… Grandma’s the Temple’s Battlemaster; I bet I could get her to sponsor the club. I’m sure it will get plenty of interest—and as dedicated as he is to improving his skills, I know Ben will want to join!

    And it’ll be the perfect chance for me to show him what I can do! I can’t wait!

    Notes:

    Grav-ball and chin-bret are two sports mentioned in the Servant of the Empire series as being played at various schools on Lothal

    An Estival Solstice Reverie”—(fanon) Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” migrates to the GFFA
     
  4. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Happy wriggles! I CANNOT WAIT for Ro and Noemi to be in a play and have to "rehearse" romantic lines. [face_dancing] [face_laugh] I know that's why Ro agreed so easily [face_mischief] =D=
     
    Raissa Baiard and Findswoman like this.
  5. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Oh, I love this! :D Noemi has the cutest little case of the “unawares” going for her here! In assessing the success of the RJSVP, she’s considering pretty much every possibility except the one that is actually the case. She’s right, of course, that he has in fact found “the one” but isn’t telling her—but then very adorably stops short of putting two and two together about why (whereas even that non-social-lepidopteran Maatko has managed to put two and two together). Our heroine might consider taking a tip from the renowned detective Sherr’lok H’ohmz: “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, is the truth.” :D

    All the same, in true Noemi fashion, she forges ahead to the next stage of the RSJVP. I would be curious to know what goes into her “visibility” ranking here (just as I was about Maatko’s “compatibility” rankings; I wonder if she worked in calculating the “visibility” variable with him at all?). I’ll say I kind of don’t blame Ronen for feeling a little exasperated about being pushed to “put himself out there”; it’s a big step for an unassuming type like him. And even Noemi admits that gravball is probably not likely to be his thing. Her Drama Club suggestion, though... I like that, and it is a good fit for him. And I just LOVE “An Estival Solstice Reverie”! [face_laugh] [face_laugh] [face_laugh] The perfect first Shakespeare/Jakspeeir play in any universe! :D

    But the most amazing thing here is that this is where Ronen really starts taking the RSJVP into his own hands, on his own terms. I can tell exactly what his plan is in getting Noemi to agree to try out with him—that scheming Jedi Shadow side of him in action in a wonderful way that just might be the key to making his feelings known! Yep, another way in which Noemi’s best-laid plans are starting to gang agley—but no half-shebsing for her, either! :p Now you’ve got me all curious to see how this audition of theirs will go... I do hope we’ll get to see it in an upcoming entry! [face_praying]

    Noemi’s go-gettiveness doesn’t stop there, of course, as she goes right on to pondering suitable extracurricular activities for the Jedi Academy. Noemi being Noemi, her interest in livening things up at the academy is completely sincere, and she’s totally the one to spearhead this—she and her amazing battlemaster grandma (I know just who that is, too)! But as I suspected, there is just a tiny hint of ulterior motive here, tying into her own personal “visibility project” vis-à-vis Ben. ;) Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, other than that I could potentially see him viewing it not so much as an improve-one’s-skills thing as a “COMPETITION AND SHOWING OFF?! EEEWWW!1!” thing; the Ben of this universe does seem to have a marked Tartuffe streak to him. But Ben or no Ben, and whatever the outcome, I know Noemi will pursue this project with characteristic diligence and verve—and that she’ll do the same with her audition with Ronen. Which, again, you HAVE to show us in a future entry, because I could see it being a real turning point for these two! [face_batting]
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018
  6. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Oh yes, Ronen is a man with a plan now, not quite the plan Noemi has, of course, though both plans have the same end in mind :) We'll see how well both of their plans mesh....
    I'm not sure that Maatko has realized yet that Ronen has feelings for Noemi, though of course he's realized in his very analytical, algorithmic way that the two of them have a great deal in common and would make an excellent match. Noemi--well, I can't really blame her for failing to see what's right in front of her nose. When you have a certain idea of what romance is, it can be hard to consider that it could be not some instantaneous, ground-shaking attraction but a gradual awakening of feelings. In a way, having her role model be Mara and Ezra's Force-humming kiss the first day they met has given her expectations that don't always occur in reality. (But I love Sherr'lok H'ohmz and now I have to find a way to work him in to a story... :D)

    For Noemi's visibility rankings, I was thinking of the activities that would put him in view or contact with the most people. So grav-ball? Great! Everyone watches grav-ball, everyone knows who the players are, and chicks dig athletes :p On the other hand, something like dejarik team is at the bottom of the list, having only a few members and little interest outside of those few. Drama club? Well, even if the club itself is limited, odds are most of the students will see the play. Combined with Mistress Eupraxia's enthusiasm and Ronen's natural flair for the dramatic, it's perfect!

    Oh yes, Ronen sees the possibilities here as soon as Noemi mentions that it would be a great way to show how romantic he is! She may not realize it, but as far as he's concerned the RSJVP is down to a target of one as well. She is overall a a good friend and a good sport, so she'll do her best to support Ronen in what she still thinks is the best way to advance her plan (and it is, though little does she know how!) And, yes I promise that their audition will be featured in a future entry.

    Yes, for all her talk about how mature the padawans are and how they can handle competition and shouldn't be limited to same-gender cohorts because of some silly idea that they'll show off, Noemi's totally planning to use this as a way to show off for a boy :p Will Ben go along with her fabulous idea? Hmm... I can see where he'd be torn between a pious "thou shalt not show off at lightsaber practice" attitude and a desire to show that he is indeed superiorly superior. We'll see which side wins out.
     
  7. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Thanks to @Findswoman for beta-reading [:D] @};-


    Journal of Ronen Syndulla-Jarrus, who wonders how some of his classmates made it this far
    Taungsday, 15/08 3301


    Mom came to talk to my ModGalCiv class today. And it went better than I expected...well, mostly.

    I have to give Mom credit—she was awesome as usual. She could really have dressed up and put on all her rank bars and medals and everything, so everyone would be sure to know that she was General Hera Syndulla, Hero of the New Republic. I mean, she earned all of them, she would have been totally justified, but Mom doesn’t show off like that. Instead, she just wore her good flight jacket, the one she wears to Restoration Council meetings, the one that just sort of hints she’s ex-military instead of of shouting “hey, I’m a retired general!”

    Master Feipel practically fell all over himself because he was So! Excited! To see her! And he asked me if I wanted to introduce Mom. Um, no thanks… She’s spoken in front of the New Republic senate, she’s on a first name basis with the Chancellor. Pretty sure she doesn’t need my help. She did add “...and, of course, I’m Ronen’s mother” to the end of her introduction (like that’s really up there with being a general and fighting at Scarif and Endor and all those other places), but at least she didn’t give me one of those twinkly “hi sweetie!” waves, you know, like some parents give their kids when the Temple’s Youngling Choir performs for Life Day.

    And when she introduced herself as of course my mom and kids turned around in their seats to look at me, I almost started to make myself invisible in the Force—but just for a second, because even though Mom would never have known what I was doing, it didn’t seem right or fair to her to disappear that way. So I smiled and gritted my teeth and repeated the Jedi Code to myself—emotion, yet peace—and watched the rest of the class as Mom started talking.

    She told her story, or least the short version of it—because it’s only an hour-long class and we’d be there all day if she told everything she’d done from the time she left Ryloth to the time she retired—and she talked a lot about the Spectres as a team and their early days fighting the Empire here on Lothal. She didn’t let Master Feipel sidetrack her with comments about how Princess Leia’s hairstyles reflected High Alderaanian culture or dumb questions about whether it was true that the Ewoks ate stormtroopers after the Battle of Endor, either.

    And the class listened, really listened to her, even the kids like Zofi who usually act like ModGalCiv—and school in general—are like sooooo lame. I listened too, even though I’d heard most of what she said before, from her or Dad or Uncle Ezra. Mom has a knack for speaking, and the way she told it today, it was like something out of a blockbuster holodrama. I guess when you have a family like mine it’s easy to forget how incredible stories about Jedi and Mandos and Rebel heroes really are, even to the kids who’ve grown up here by the Academy and the Temple.

    Then Master Feipel opened it to questions from the class.

    Sometimes I’m not so sure how some of my classmates made it this far.

    “So, like, you all lived on the Ghost together? Wasn’t it crowded? Like, how many cabins were there? How many ’freshers?” Seriously, Ozrei? That’s the most pressing question you could come up with? How did you all share the ’fresher?

    “Was Ronen born on Yavin?” No, Catiel. The Battle of Yavin was twenty-five years ago. I’m seventeen, just like you.

    “How did you meet Master Jarrus? Was it during the war?” Leave it to Zofi to ask personal questions about my parents’ love life.

    And then Dack, a big smug, ugly smirk plastered across his smug, ugly face, said, “I thought Jedi weren’t supposed to, you know… get married…” with just enough of a pause to let everyone know it wasn’t “getting married” he was talking about. OMF, I knew he was a nerf’s backside before, but I never thought he’d be enough of a weasel-faced schutta to say something like that to my mother in front of the entire class. Mom hardly twitched a lek as she launched into the explanation about the Old Order and the Teyan Apologia that makes anyone who’s not a Jedi scholar’s eyes glaze over in five milliseconds. But my lekku were twitching like crazy, going in all random directions, and I wondered if I made myself invisible in the Force I could get away with Force-choking Dack, just a little.

    I felt a nudge in the Force and looked over to see Noemi watching me with concern. *Take it easy, Ro. Your mom’s got his number, and she’s got things under control.*

    *Yeah, but how could he say that to her! Didn’t he listen to anything she said? She’s a hero and he ought to show a little respect!*

    *You’re right. Dack‘s an idiot. I know it, your mom knows it. Everyone knows it. But if you Force-choke him or give him dysentery or whatever, that’s what everyone will talk about, not Aunt Hera’s speech.*
    There was another shift in the Force and Noemi squeezed my hand. *You’re a better person than he is, Ro. Emotion…

    I sighed. *...Yet peace.* Noemi was right. I was a Jedi, and Jedi didn’t give in to emotion that way. And she was right about Mom—after the Inquisitors and Maul and Thrawn, a petty nerf-brain like Dack wasn’t even worth her time. And if he wasn’t worth her time, then he wasn’t worth mine.

    And it got me thinking—Noemi’s a lot like Mom in some ways. They both do all they can to make the Galaxy a better place, not just with their projects and causes, but the way they care about people and take care of the people they love. And...they’re both there for me, even when I’m being a total drama gualama and not acting very much like a Jedi. Of course Mom’s Mom and she pretty much has to be there for me, but Noemi’s always been there, too, ever since I can remember. She’s always stuck by my side, and I wonder… have I always loved her and I’m just realizing it now?

    Tryouts for the play are next Primeday, and Noemi doesn’t know it, but I’ve been studying my lines. She said it would be a great way to show everyone how romantic I can be, but I don’t want to show everyone.

    Just her.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
  8. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Hera was terrific during her talk before the class, as you know she would be!
    The questions were LAMENESS DEFINED. :p
    Dack's was just PLAIN RUDE! :mad:

    Loved the silent exchange between Ro and Noemi. :) :cool:

    Eagerly awaiting the play tryouts. :D
    Yup, I have no doubt Ronen will be able to be romantic in the audition, very convincing! [face_laugh]

    =D=
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
    Raissa Baiard and Findswoman like this.
  9. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    GO HERA! [face_dancing] No surprise that she hit this out of the park, not only in what she shared with everyone about the Rebellion era and her time with the Spectres, but also in her grace, patience, and understatedness, if that’s a word—she feels no need to show off or be ostentatious, just to tell things how they were, and that’s what shows she’s a true hero. I love the way that this scene pretty much embodies the tension between heroism and normalcy that is such a main theme of this diary—Ronen even sums it up when he remarks that

    Naturally there are always going to be moof-milkeraceous questions at things like this, but Hera handles them with characteristic grace, even Dack’s extremely tacky and uncalled for question about “getting married.” And of course she can quote that Teyan Apologia right along with the best of them, in a calm and unfazed manner. (In a way, I bet she’s a lot less fazed by such questions than Ronen is, just because she’s probably had a lot of experience with them by now.) Apropos the Ghost’s bathrooms, though: how can anyone blame Ozrei for asking something that 100% of people who have seen any quantity of Rebels episodes has wondered about at some point? :p

    And of course being Ronen’s mother IS TOO an awesome and special thing! Once again (and I find myself saying this a lot :p ) Ronen shouldn’t sell himself short. <3

    I love the route you decided to take with Ronen and Noemi’s mental conversation. I know the original plan was for Ronen to confront Dack out loud, but this turned out much more effective, because, as Noemi points out, it really does ultimately show that Ronen is the better man—the mensch. And Noemi shows just how levelheaded and wise she is too:
    When one thinks about it, that is really a pretty impressively perspicacious observation from a teen of this age. :cool:

    And of course I can’t help but adore (and even squee a bit over) this observation from Ronen:
    ... because it’s right spot on. One of those things I hadn’t quite noticed before in quite the same terms, but it’s totally true that Noemi and Hera share so many fine qualities: grace, compassion, levelheadedness, to name just a few. Yes, there are certainly makings of a “girl that married dear old dad” situation here! [face_love] And that makes me all the more eager to see how that play audition is going to go, so please do show us soon. :D Continuing to love this, as usual! @};-
     
  10. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Yep, after all that Hera’s seen and done, speaking to roomful of teenagers hardly fazes her at all, even if their questions were kind of silly or obnoxious at times. And Noemi’s there to give her best friend a gentle nudge when he needs it. As for the auditions...they’re coming right up in the next entry. :D

    I don’t think it would ever occur to Hera to show off. She might trot out the medals if she had to speak to a group of political bigwigs who would only respond to a display of that kind. But all things considered, she’d rather let her experience speak for itself—and It is a pretty incredible story :D And you’ve got it spot-on about the extraordinary vs. the ordinary. Ronen has only seen his “normal” existence in comparison with his parents’ heroic exploits, but he realizes that just being part of his family already makes him pretty extraordinary.

    There’s always that one kid who thinks they’re really smart and cool and that the best way to show that coolness is to ask cheeky questions of any presenter. Hera, as Ronen points out, has been up against real honest-to-g[oodness villains, so a snot-nosed teenager is such small toptoes as not to bother her at all—though I imagine as used to get the questions about Jedi and marriage as she is, itstill rankles her slightly even as she’s calmly boring the rude questioners with philosophical and theological details. And as far as the Ghost’s ‘fresher, I think the Spectres probably had their share of tiffs over it when Sabine had to dye her hair or Zeb was trimming his beard or Ezra was singing in the sonic and someone else needed it RITE NOW.

    Of course it is; and Hera is absolutely sincere when she includes it in her list of accomplishments. She doesn’t see being Mom as any less important than having been General Syndulla. And, yes, Ronen is still figuring out that it’s not her accomplishments that Hera treasures most, but the people she loves.

    Thank you :) As much as Dack deserves a good telling off, this felt more in keeping with Ronen’s character. Not that he won’t stand up for someone who needs it, like Kaia, but as Noemi points, Hera’s got this under control. Her little nudge reminds him that a Jedi has emotion yet peace—and this is a perfect example. Ronen doesn’t have to stuff his feelings to stay within the Jedi Code, he just chooses not to act on them, choosing peace over anger. Noemi is enough of a Jedi to see that telling off Dack will only give him the attention he wants, and take away from Hera’s presentation.

    You know, it didn’t really occur to me until I was writing this chapter either, but they are a lot alike in their concern for others and the way they take action on that compassion, whether that means stealing Imperial supplies to feed refugees in Tarkintown or washing speeders to raise credits for veterans. Noemi’s causes might be smaller at the moment, but her heart is no less compassionate. And both Noemi and Hera are unfailingly there for Ronen, because they both love him in their own ways.

    Auditions are coming right up!
     
  11. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Thank you as always to @Findswoman for beta reading @};-

    Noemi’s Journal (RSJVP Phase 2 is a success!)
    22/08 3301


    Oh. My. Force—RONEN!

    He did it! Not only did he try out for the play, he was incredible!

    I almost thought he wasn’t going to. When we got to Mistress Eupraxia’s room for the auditions, it was already full, with everyone from Zofi and her little clique from the dance squad to Rosmyn and Ozrei from the dejarik team. See, this is why Drama Club was at the top of my list for visibility. Everyone wants to be in the play, and even the people who aren’t in it watch it. Unfortunately, it seemed like everyone turned around to look when we came in, including Mistress Eupraxia who just lit up with this big equine smile. “Ronen! How wonderful that you decided to join us!”

    Ronen shifted uneasily and I could feel him start pulling into himself, putting up his “don’t look at me, I’m not really here” shields—which would make trying out for the play kind of hard, since having people look at you is pretty much essential to acting. I *squeezed* his hand in the Force. *You can do this, Ro.*

    He fidgeted some more, but let go of his shields and gave Mistress Eupraxia a watery sort of grin. “Yeah, well, Noemi talked me into it.”

    “Wonderful!” she exclaimed again. “And what part would you like to read for?”

    “Uh...Lisandro…” Wow—he really was going for the romantic lead! I had to hand it to Ronen; he might have been nervous, but he was definitely not half-shebsing it on this.

    Mistress Eupraxia nodded. “Very good! You can start with Act One, Scene One, line 130—‘How now, my love?’ And Noemi, would you please read opposite him as Erminia?”

    Erminia…Lisandro’s love interest. That was not what I had in mind; I only wanted to try out for a small part, like one of the Queen’s handmaidens who had like two lines each. And Tierné or Catiel or...no, not Zofi, but one of the other girls on Maatko’s datasheet was supposed to get Erminia’s part so she and Ro would have to rehearse together. But no half-shebsing for me either, so I got up in front of everybody with Ronen, and we flipped open our scripts and started reading.

    And, oh good skies, what happened to my Ro?

    He didn’t look at anyone else in the classroom while we read our lines, just at me...and the way he looked at me it was easy to to believe he was in love. I mean, I knew Ronen had a dramatic side, but I never knew he was that good of an actor! The crazy thing is, for a minute it felt like he was talking to me, not as Erminia but really me and the crazier thing was between the lines pledging eternal love and the look in his eyes, I felt kind of...fluttery inside, if you know what I mean. I don’t know what came over me, but, oh good skies, I am so glad no one’s reading this, because I can just imagine what Caleb would say if he found out...or even Maatko, with his “compatibility” datasheet!

    I don’t think I was the only one who noticed the change in Ronen, either. When we sat down after we’d finished our scene, Tierné was staring at him like she’d never seen him before, Rosmyn’s fur was doing this crazy ripply thing that’s a Bothan gesture of astonishment, and Zofi and her little group were all whispering to each, clucking like a bunch of nunas. Mistress Eupraxia was beaming like she’d just struck aurodium—and Ronen didn’t notice any of it. He just sank into his chair next to me, slumping down like he was exhausted. I gave his hand another *squeeze*. *You nailed it, Ronen! That was amazing!*

    *You really think so?*

    *Absolutely!*

    Ronen turned to me and smiled, and I almost thought I saw that same intense look flicker in his eyes before he leaned back in his seat wrapping the Force around himself—“you don’t see me; I’m not here”—while the other kids auditioned. (and I figured he kind of deserved it after that awesome performance) A couple of other guys tried out for Lisandro, but Ozrei sounded like he was reading from a book the whole time, Bron kept losing his place, and Jerrik was okay, but he didn’t have the same spark as Ronen.


    As I was getting ready to head out after auditions, Mistress Eupraxia pulled me to the side. “I’m so glad you convinced Ronen to try out, dear, and especially glad you decided to try out as well. You and Ronen have such marvelous chemistry together!”

    Chemistry?!

    Me and Ronen?

    What is it with people, first Maatko and his “high degree of compatibility” and now Mistress Eupraxia and “chemistry”? We’re friends, we’ve been friends forever—of course we get along, of course we’re compatible! And whatever I thought I saw in his eyes when he was reading his lines, I’m sure Ronen doesn’t think of me that way. Whatever weird fluttery thing was going on with me then, Ben’s the one I have feelings for!

    Ro and I are just friends! Why does everyone try to make this complicated?

    ———

    Journal of Ronen Syndulla-Jarrus, who has the lead in the play, not like it matters
    Centaxday, 23/08 3301


    I got the part.

    I’m playing Lisandro in the school play. Noemi’s playing Erminia.

    And it doesn’t matter at all.

    I didn’t think I could do it. When Noemi and I showed up for auditions and Mistress Eupraxia started going on about how wonderful it was that I’d come while everyone stared at me like “what’s the freak doing here?”, I thought I was going to throw up. I mean, yeah, I kind of realized that trying out for the play meant I’d have to get up in front of everyone, but knowing something and doing it are two different things.

    But when I got up there, I centered myself in the Force and let it flow through me and it was like everything just clicked... No one else mattered except Noemi. It was perfect, and just for a second, I thought I felt something kind of fluttering in the Force. And I thought that maybe, just maybe Noemi felt what I did...

    I was wrong.

    I thought I had the perfect plan. I thought that if I tried out for the play, if I could get the lead, it would be like Noemi said—that it would be a way to show her another side of me, that I can be romantic, that I’m more than just old buddy Ro who’s been around forever. I thought we could rehearse together and when I said all those things about love and beauty and honor, she’d realize that I meant them for her.

    But it’s not going to happen that way. I should have known better.

    When I saw my name at the top—Ronen Syndulla-Jarrus: Lisandro, and right below it. Noemi Bridger: Erminia—I thought for once my stupid life was going the way I wanted it to. And when Noemi threw her arms around me and hugged me right there in the hallway outside Mistress Eupraxia’s room, I thought things couldn’t get any better.

    “You did it, Ro! I knew you could!” she exclaimed. Her eyes were as bright as the summer sky over the prairie and her smile made me feel all fluttery again—or maybe it was the fact that she still had her hands resting on my shoulders as she continued. “This is totally going to be your year, I know it! You’re the lead in the play and of course, you’ve got to join the dueling club I’m starting at the Academy!”

    “You’re starting a club at the Academy?” Why didn’t that surprise me? Part of me went “oh no, not again…”, but mostly I would have signed up for anything she suggested right then.

    “Yeah, just as soon as Grandma can convince your dad that it’s not all about competition.” Noemi’s expression turned serious, even a little wistful. “Okay, don’t laugh, but I’m starting my own visibility project.”

    “Noemi, I don’t think anyone’s more visible than you!”

    She sighed. “Not to Ben…”

    “Ben Solo?!” I sounded like I was choking on the name and I felt I’d been kicked in the stomach by a bantha. The Galaxy shattered into a million pieces around me. Noemi wanted to be visible to Ben Solo. Ben Flowing-Hair-and-Smoldering-Eyes Solo. Dark and Mysterious Ben Solo. Bloody Karking Annoying Ben Solo.

    Noemi looked at me like I’d grown a couple extra lekku. “Why? What’s wrong with Ben?”

    Oh, where to begin on that one? “He’s…” Moody. Mopey. Sullen. Self-absorbed. Self-important. Self-righteous.

    Not me.

    But I didn’t say any of that. I couldn’t. She never would have listened. As long as we’ve been friends Noemi’s only been really mad at me a couple of times, and it wasn’t pretty. I really didn’t want to try it again, especially for an argument I couldn’t win. So I just turned around and said, “Come on, we’re gonna be late for ModGalCiv.” I didn’t even wait to see if she followed. I just took my seat in the back of the class and made myself disappear, even though Noemi kept poking me asking what was wrong. I wanted to make myself so invisible that no one, not even Noemi—especially not Noemi—could find me, but the last time I did that, they called in my Dad to find me and I really did not need to deal with the questions I knew he’d ask. All I could do was zone out and smile and nod when Noemi and Maatko asked me if was okay.

    Ben Solo.

    Noemi’s in love with Ben Solo.

    I should have known. I should never have let myself think a girl like her would ever want a freak like me.

    I guess… I guess I just have to accept it.

    Noemi and I will never be more than friends.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2018
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  12. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Entering capslock -- SQUEEEEEEEEEE AND OH NO! =D= The audition went SPLENDIDLY until :eek: Yikes, Noemi really needs to go with the fluttery feeling she had during the audition and there's a reason Ro was so convincing! :p [face_pulling hair out] [face_laugh] [face_love]
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2018
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  13. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Oh, I love this, from the GFFAified Shakespeare to Ronen's dramatic triumph to the whole reaction of both our teen friends! No surprise in the least that Ronen hit this audition out of the park—not only does he already have a talent for this sort of thing (and that too is part of his Jedi Shadow talent, in a way), he was really throwing his whole self into it in a very sincere way. And his delivery of those lines about beauty and love and honor is so effective that it opened up that one fluttery moment of emotion in Noemi where she maybe kind of sort of felt the same! (And sure, Noemi, no one was reading that, no one at all—just us nunas. :p ) And of course, dear Noemi, bless her heart... she continues to be the most unaware young woman in the galaxy in that adorable teen way! Everyone, and I mean everyone, sees it but her—first dweeby Maatko, now horsy old Mistress Eupraxia. And given the classmates' wide variety of gobsmacked reactions (all described in such an evocative way), I shouldn't wonder if they see it too. Nope, they're not the ones making this complicated, Noemi, you are! And I mean that in the best possible way, of course. ;)

    But poor Ro... he's such a darling that it's hard to see him this dejected. Of course, it's totally understandable that Noemi's little comment about becoming visible to Ben would have this effect on him (once again, your keen understanding of teen characters coming through), and that it would hit all the harder after his huge triumph at the audition. Not to mention that still having to rehearse romantic lines alongside Noemi is going to be über-awkward! I don't blame Ronen for wanting to just disappear under these circumstances, the poor little fellow. =(( But knowing him, I am sure he won't succumb to despair for long, and as always, I can't wait to see what will be next for these two—I doubt this is quite the end of this relationship story yet! ;)
     
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  14. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    :D Thanks for the capslock SQUEE! :D Noemi really does need to search fer feelings on this, doesn't she? There's a good reason Ronen seemed to be talking just to her...and maybe a good reason why it made her feel so fluttery inside! ;)
    Ro does have that talent, though in this case, as you note, it wasn't all acting. He poured himself into the role, investing his lines with everything he felt for Noemi, so much so that even the most unaware young woman in the galaxy could see it and responded, if only for a moment. I shouldn't wonder that all the students who were watching could see that something was up with with the hitherto withdrawn Ronen, but in a way, it's a lot easier for them to see it than Noemi, because they have no reason to deny what they see.

    It was hard for me to write him feeling so sad and rejected, too. (Sometimes you just want to give your characters a big hug and tell them it's going to be okay :p) After that one shining moment when he could sense that Noemi felt what he did, he's absolutely crushed be the news that she's pining after Ben to the point where she's creating her own Visibilty Project to catch his eye. He suspected as much before, but now he has confirmation and it's a real blow to the self-confidence he's developed over the course of the RSJVP. But no, this story is far from over... Ronen and Noemi still have to figure out how they really, truly feel for one another.
     
  15. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    As always, thank you to @Findswoman for beta-reading @};-

    Journal of Ronen Syndulla-Jarrus, who would like to be invisible again, please
    Benduday, 02/09 3301


    I wish now I’d never agreed to Noemi’s bet. Because you wanna know what’s worse than being invisible to girls? Being in love with your best friend who’s in love with another guy while A.) you have to rehearse romantic lines for a play with her, B.) she’s trying to set you up with every other girl at school and C.) you’re trying to pretend everything is normal. How I’ve managed not to just head out to the grasslands and disappear some days is beyond me. And I’m either a better actor or a better Jedi than I thought, because even though I feel like my head is going to explode from trying to have emotion, yet peace, and even though Noemi asks me every day what’s wrong, she still hasn’t figured out the truth.

    She keeps asking me to put a good word in with Dad for her dueling club idea. So far, I’ve been able to change the subject or mumble something that vaguely sounds like “uh-huh,” but I never have said anything to him. And I know that probably makes me a terrible friend and probably a terrible person, too—because a good friend would support his best friend no matter what, right?—but I can’t stand the idea of Master Smoldery Solo getting up there with his fancy cross-guarded lightsaber (really? Are cross guards on a lightsaber even a good idea? Is it wrong to hope one day he scorches his own kneecaps with them?) so Noemi can swoon over him. And I hate feeling this way, because Noemi’s still my best friend and I still love her, but sometimes it hurts to be around her when I know I’ll never have a chance with her.

    Today was Benduday, and Noemi came over. I think we’ve spent practically every Benduday together since I was like five. As usual, I knew it was her even before she rang the doorchime to the tune of “Jedi Rock” the way she always does. And as much as I wanted to see her, I was kind of dreading it, too, because she’d informed me that she was going to start Phase Three of the RSJVP and it was going to be awesome! Awesome was kind of the last thing I wanted; I wanted my life to be ordinary again. I wanted a normal Benduday where I could watch “Juo Deltar Faces Gamblor the Terrible” with Noemi instead of worrying about the RSJVP or the play or the dueling club or talking to girls or Ben karking Solo...

    But Noemi had her mind made up. “Today, we’re going to update your look,” she said as we went into the conversation circle.

    “I don’t need my look updated.” No matter what she had planned, I was still gonna look like a freak, so why bother?

    She gave me an incredulous look—so not buying that, Master Syndulla-Jarrus. “Ro, you’re always complaining that your hair won’t do anything. So...hair gel!” She rummaged through her satchel and pulled out a shiny black tube labeled VibroAxe Dark Temptation in bold white lettering. “It works for Dad, except for that one piece that never wants to stay in place—it even smells pretty good, you know, in a Dad kind of way…”

    “Noemi—”

    She’d already unscrewed the top of the tube and squeezed some of it into her hands. “Just let me try a little. If it doesn’t look good, I won’t bother you anymore,” she said, taking a step towards me and stretching her hands up towards my head. (And she was right, the gel actually didn’t smell too bad, kind of like chocolate mixed with santalum wood.)

    I sighed. “Fine.” It’s no use trying talk Noemi out of something when she gets like his; you’d have better luck using mind-tricks on a Hutt.

    Noemi stood slightly on tiptoe as she leaned forward and ran her hands over my seriously-messed-up-as-usual hair. She was really close to me, like almost nose-to-nose with me and eye-to-eye, and though she was looking up at my hair, I could see all the dark blue and green flecks in her eyes, the pale gold freckles across her cheeks, the way she pursed her lips a little as she considered me. If I had leaned forward, I could have—no, I couldn’t let myself think of that. Okay, I was thinking of it. A lot. I had to remind myself that Mom was in her study and Ayelet was in her room doing whatever her current artistic project was, so this was not exactly the best time or place for anything like that, even if it had been a good idea, which it definitely was not.

    And then, when she was smoothing my hair back, Noemi’s fingertips brushed my left lek.

    Okay, if you don’t hang out with Twi’leks a lot, the first thing you need to know about lekku is they’re connected to our nervous system, so there are a lot of nerve endings in them. Like a lot. So they’re really sensitive, and even though I knew that, I guess I never realized exactly how sensitive they really are. (And really, who’s gonna have that conversation with me? My mom? My sister? No thanks…)

    Just that brief touch made me feel hot and cold all over, and I pulled away from Noemi and slammed up my shields before she could sense how I felt, before I did something really stupid, like pull her close and kiss her right there in my conversation circle, never mind Mom or Aya or anything.

    But she noticed. Of course she noticed; how could she not when I jumped like a Loth-cat whose tail had been stepped on, and almost yelped like one. “What’s wrong?”

    “Nothing.” OMF, my voice cracked when I answered her; I sounded like a total moof-milking idiot and felt like it, too.

    Noemi frowned. She wiped the hair gel off her hands on the edge of her tunic and crossed her arms over her chest. “It’s not nothing,” she insisted.

    I kind of lost it then. “Just stop, Noemi!” I shouldn’t have snapped at her, but it was just too much all of the sudden. I just wanted to forget the whole stupid RSJVP and go back to being the old Ronen. I scrubbed a hand through my gel-sticky hair, messing it up again. “It doesn’t matter. None of this matters—the hair gel, the play, the Visibility Project—because it won’t make any difference to”—and I stopped just nanoseconds short of saying the word that would have ruined everything between me and Noemi—“you.”

    And once again, she caught my slip up. “Won’t make any difference to who?” she asked softly.

    I turned away, afraid that if I looked at her, she’d see the truth despite my shields. “I can’t tell you.”

    She put a hand on my shoulder, and I winced a little, hunching my shoulders miserably. “Ro! I’m your best friend; of course you can tell me!”

    There was hurt in her voice and in her Force-presence, mixed in with sadness and concern. I wanted to turn around and hug her and tell her everything, but I couldn’t. What would she think of me then? So I just shook my head. “I can’t this time. You’d laugh. No...someday, when I’m ready to laugh at myself about this, I’ll tell you. But until then… Just let me go, okay?”

    Noemi left after that, and I felt like the Galaxy’s biggest nerf’s posterior for making her feel so bad. But what else could I have done? I can’t tell her how I feel. As miserable as I am, it would be worse to lose her, my best friend, the one who’s always believed I’m not just a freak.

    The only one who really sees me.


    Noemi’s Journal (What just happened here?)
    02/09 3301


    Ronen’s in love with someone, really in love.

    I could sense it, just for a second, maybe not even that long, before he put up shields between us. And it was the kind of glowing, humming feeling Mom and Aunt Annina have always talked about.

    Isn’t that what I wanted Ro to have? Shouldn’t that make me happy? Because I’m not sure I am, really, and I don’t understand why. Mostly, I just feel sort of… weird.

    Maybe it’s because he sounded so sad about it, so hopeless, like he doesn’t think she’ll ever love him back.

    I don’t know why he won’t say who she is. He’s always told me everything before. He told me when he was eight and he borrowed his dad’s lightsaber and misplaced half of it and when he was ten and spilled fizzy-glug on Jacen’s datapad. He told me that he was the one who overfed the Loth-rats in biology class and made them all sick. We’ve never kept secrets from each other.

    What could be so awful that he doesn’t think I’d understand? Is he interested in Nadiya, who’s already got a crush on Caleb? Is it someone of another species, like Rosmyn? Stuck-up Zofi, who totally does not deserve Ro? No matter who it is, no matter what he thinks, I would never laugh at him!

    Whoever she is, she’d better not hurt my Ro. If she does, I will kick her shebs to Coruscant and back...and since I know k’tarra, I am only being halfway metaphorical about that.

    It hurts me to see Ronen so miserable. This isn’t what I wanted when I started the Visibility Project. I just wanted him to be happy. He’s my best friend and I love him; there’s got to be something I can do to help him.

    I just wish I knew what.

    Notes:

    “Juo Deltar Faces Gamblor the Terrible”: another of the Jedi Action holovids that are a favorite of the Blayne-Bridger family

    VibroAxe: the GFFA version of Axe men’s body/hair care products. Axe does indeed produce a fragrance called “Dark Temptation” which according to the package smells like “dark chocolate and coriander” (and also smells rather like sandalwood). Because I’m that fanfic writer, I decided it smelled like something Ezra might wear.
     
  16. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh RO! [:D] [:D] [:D] [:D]

    Ahem. ;)

    His jumble of feelings is very well written!

    Noemi's, as well. Her confusion would be so easily cleared away.

    The "I wish I could tell you but I can't/shouldn't" dynamic is believable & heart-stoppingly frustrating! =D=
     
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  17. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Oh man, poor Ro... I really feel for him here. What an awkward situation to be in, and Ro says it best himself:

    It's all the more so for these two, given the combination of Ronen's personal tendency toward self-consciousness and Noemi's dogged determination to carry on with the RSJVP and kick off the dueling club and all. And of course Noemi being Noemi, she would ask and ask what's wrong again and again, which leads to that whole difficult "I can't tell you how I really feel but at the same time I REALLY WANT TO" that is the subject of centuries' worth of love songs. Her own entry here shows that her confusion on the matter is sincere; I just wonder at this point what it will take to get her to see the truth, though I can totally see where that truth would be harder for her to see than for us readers.

    Then, as if all that weren't enough, Noemi's latest phase of the Visibility Project involves updating Ronen's look! Talk about bringing all the self-consciousness to the fore... and yet it's totally believable, because it's just the sort of thing teens that age would try to do in the name of helping a friend Become More Popular, and the whole scene brought me distinctly back to similar things people tried on me back when I was a self-conscious young person. Though now there's the whole romantic aspect thrown in the mix, too, with Noemi standing so close—close enough for Ronen to see the flecks of color in her eyes, her every expression, close enough for him to kiss—and then she has to go and brush his lek, setting off that "first trembling made me freeze, then shot like fire all o'er" feeling! Which I think you described in a way that fit very well with the character and his age and didn't seem excessive at all—I know you were concerned about that at the beta stage, but once again you made it just the right amount. What a moment for the two of them (I say the two of them because Noemi picks up on it too, as we see); again, I echo Ny in saying you did an absolutely amazing job both with Noemi's perplexity and Ronen's mixed-up feelings and the whole "want to tell you but can't" dynamic. If only he knew how much it wouldn't ruin things for him to say exactly what he feels—I almost want to bust through the fourth wall and hug him and tell him! (Though he'd probably find that experience pretty weird. :p ) On a lighter note, I grinned a big doofy grin to see your VibroAxe products making another appearance—I bet that sandalwood scent is as perfect for Ro as it is for his "uncle"! :ezra: And I also snickered a little to read about Ben's "fancy cross-guarded lightsaber"—it's good to see that being recognized in-universe as the affectation that it is! :p

    As for Noemi, she's still "so close, yet so far away." Once again, there's something so adorable about the way she speculates about every possibility except the actual one—insert Sherlock Holmes quote about ruling out the impossible here. :p I found this particularly cute for some reason:

    The way she's so protective of him is cute, and really shows that her own feelings for him are deeper than she thinks! And she shows here how well understands him so well, because she comes so close to guessing the truth when she says this:

    Because that is pretty much exactly how he feels, of course. =( Just the fact that she's such sensitive and caring friend will go a long way in smoothing out this awkward road, I'm sure, because in the end it will just a matter of being herself (and for him, being himself). [face_love] As for this wonderful bit:

    ...you realize we need stories about all these happenings, now! :D :p

    Keep the great work coming—you're such a whiz with these two and all their sweetly jumbled-up teen emotions! =D=
     
  18. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Thank you! This is another instance where my own mortifying teen years served as inspiration. I crushed on a couple of my good male friends at various points during high school, but was always too scared to say anything to them for fear it would make things awkward or worse between us. So I'm right there with Ro on the "I love my best friend but I can't tell them!" dynamic and also with Noemi on the "I don't understand why I feel this way; he's my friend!" It's good that all the teenage angst was good for something in the end, though at the time I was just as miserable as our young friends. But at least they've got the author on their side ;)

    Yes, poor Ro is really in an awkward position here. He really made some strides in opening up for the RSJVP, but now that he feels they were all for nothing, he's starting to shut down and go "invisible" again. And it's made doubly difficult by the way Noemi is determined to carry on both with his Visibility Project and the one she's set for herself. She really is confused by her own feelings when she realizes her suspicions about Ronen being in love are true--after all that's what this whole project was about! But I think she will almost have to figure out her own feelings before she can recognize Ronen's for what they are. Right now, she's seeing what she expects to see both in terms of her feelings and his.

    Noemi is trying to help Ro the best way she can think of; since he complains about his hair--let's do something about that! Hair product works miracles, right? At least it turns tousle-headed Lothalis into mature Jedi ;) (and it smells good, too! Though I bet Mara finds it secretly amusing that Ez's signature fragrance is called "Dark Tempation"). Of course applying said hair product puts her alarmingly close to Ronen and inadvertently causes her to brush his lek--though neither of them realize kind of effect that has until it happens. I'm glad that things didn't come off as too squicky there; it's kind of a fine line when you're writing teens, particularly one as self-conscious as Ronen. But that is also the moment when Noemi can sense something is up with him--that not-even-a-second when he drops his guard and she sees the glowing, humming emotions that have been lurking below the surface the whole time.

    She's getting there, but she's still seeing things the way they always have been, rather than the way they are. She's always been protective of him, ever since she volunteered to kick the kids who'd been mean to him when he was in first grade, but you're right that she doesn't yet realize just how deep her feelings really are. This is actually the second time she's called him "my Ro", which could be over-protectiveness...or something more. For all her enthusiasm about finding someone for him, when she thinks he has found someone, it doesn't quite sit well with her.

    Ronen Syndulla-Jarrus's Most Embarassing Screw-ups! Hosted by Uncle Zeb, perhaps? ;) If nothing else, it could be a great way for him to bond with his Uncle Ezra, who who had few Embarassing Screw-ups of his own. And he could reassure Ro that all the stupid poodoo has a way of working out in the end. :)
     
  19. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Thanks to @Findswoman for beta-reading and encouragement @};-
    --------------------

    Journal of Ronen Syndulla-Jarrus, who might be slightly less lame than he thought
    Primeday, 13/09 3301


    Jacen came back from Capital City today. Did I mention my brother’s not just a Jedi? He’s also in the New Republic Guard—Captain Syndulla-Jarrus, leader of Convor Squadron, just like Mom was the leader of Phoenix Squadron during the war. I wouldn’t be surprised if he winds up a general or something someday, too. My family is full of overachievers—and then there’s me: lame padawan, lame prep school student, lame in general.

    My awesome flyboy brother was in the kitchen when I got home from school, talking to Chopper while he stirred something on the stove—from the smell of it, mushroom noodles, our family comfort food. (Yeah, Jacen cooks, too. Like what can’t he do?) “… I do not like R8-J2 better than you, Chop. Yeah, Jaytoo’s a good partner, but she’s part of the squadron. You’re family.”

    “Bwah! B’bwahbwah bwaah bwah bwop.” Chopper doesn’t think any other astromech droid is as smart as he is (you should hear it when he and Master Skywalker’s droid get into it), and he definitely doesn’t think some upstart R-series is good enough to take care of Jacen—not take care of his X-wing, mind you, but take care of Jacen. Because at 24, and a Jedi and captain, he still totally needs Chopper to take care of him.

    “Sure, but who’d look after Mom if you came with me?” Jacen smiled as he ladled the noodles into a bowl; I don’t know how he can stay so calm when Chopper goes all overbearing metal mother avian, because it drives me nuts when he gets into these moods.

    Case in point—as soon as I plunked my satchel down on the table, Chopper’s dome swiveled around towards me. “Bwaaaah! Bwah b’bwahbwahh bwop bwa bwaaah!” Oh, really, Chop? I have a chemistry test tomorrow? I didn’t know that. And I should get started on my homework right now, because my grades in math aren’t as high as they could be? Thanks, I love you, too.

    Of course, I didn’t say any of that to him, since I didn’t want him to zap me me with his electro-shock attachment (yeah, he keeps it on low most of the time, but still…) so I just nodded and pulled my datapad and texts out of my bag. “Yes, Chop. Starting on on it right now…” He blatted an electronic zoochberry at me and muttered something about how young organics had no respect these days as he rolled off, probably to go tell Mom I was slacking on my schoolwork because it had taken me more than .5 milliseconds to get started on it.

    Jacen rolled his eyes and grinned, spreading his hands like “Chopper—what can you do?”, though not until after Chop was too far away to shock him or poke him in the ribs with a grasper or...well, with Chopper, who knows? I know Jacen says Chopper goes easy on me, but really I think Jacen’s his favorite because they’ve been doing mechanical stuff together since before I was born. Chopper may not be his astromech when he’s flying with Convor Squadron, but the two of them pretty much built Jacen’s ship, the Spectre, from the ground up.

    “Hey, Ronen. Want something to eat?” Jacen didn’t wait for an answer before he started dishing out another bowl of noodles—not that it took any sort of Jedi powers to figure out that I’d want some. (Another great thing about being a seventeen-year-old guy...you’re pretty much always hungry). He set both dishes down on the table, then stopped and took a step back, frowning as he looked me up and down. “Oh…Aw, no…” He shook his head and sank into the chair next to mine. “So, who is she?”

    Okay, how does he even do that? I mean, I’ve gotten the Concerned Parental Looks from Mom and Dad, and the “any time you need to talk, Ro…” from Ayelet, but Jacen takes one look at me and knows it’s girl problems? Just how? Not like it mattered though, because no way was I really going to give Jacen a chance to say “I told you so” and gloat over my misery. I shoved a big spoonful of mushroom noodles in my mouth and mumbled, “I don’t know what you’re—”

    “Ro, come on. Jedi older brother, remember?” he said, fixing me with the “seriously, kid?” look he’s perfected over the years. “And if even I wasn’t, I’ve seen that look enough from the guys in Convor Squadron.” Jacen shrugged and smiled. “Been there myself a couple of times, too.”

    “You? Pfft...Right.” Jacen has definitely never been invisible to girls, not even close. How could he be when he’s got that green hair that gets described as “striking” and “exotic” and, unlike mine, actually lies flat like it’s supposed to (helps that he doesn't have lekku in the way). He dated off and on when he was at NLUPS, no one serious, but no one would ever have taken bets about whether he’d have a date for the Life Day fete, not unless they just wanted to throw their credits away.

    He crooked an eyebrow at me (and he has Dad’s eyebrows, so they crook impressively).“You don’t remember that summer on Ryloth? No...you probably don’t. You were only eight, but I was sixteen and crazy about this girl who was in the Junior Flight Auxiliary. She had lavender skin, these amazing dark violet eyes and the longest lekku…” Jacen’s smile turned faraway for a second before it twisted ruefully. He poked at his noodles with his spoon. “That was the first time a girl ever accused me of being a ‘tail chaser’. Not the last, though. So, yeah, I get how you feel. You sure you don’t wanna talk?”

    I don’t know why—maybe after keeping it to myself for so long that I felt like I was going to explode sometimes, I just wanted to let it out, to finally tell someone, even if I couldn’t ever tell Noemi—but I sighed and confessed: “Noemi. It’s Noemi. You and Ayelet were right.” I stared down into the gray, noodly depths of my bowl and waited for him to laugh, to grin and give me a noogie and call me a moof-milker. But he didn’t, he didn’t say anything, just waited for me to continue. “But she has a thing for Ben Solo.”

    “Solo?!” Jacen’s spoon clattered onto the table. “Aw, karabast… what is it that girls see in that guy, anyway? You know he thinks he’s next in line to be the Chosen One, right?”

    “What?!” Seriously? What kind of delusional, self-centered nerf-brain..? Wait, never mind. This is Ben Solo, Most Superlative Jedi in the History of Ever we’re talking about here.

    “Yeah.” Jacen chuckled wryly. “When he first came to the Academy, Mom and Dad and Master Skywalker tried to get him to play with me and Aya, but he never wanted to play Force-tag or hide-and-seek or any of the games the rest of us liked to play. He was always studying, always practicing and he told me once that he had to. He had to be the best because he was going to be the Chosen One, like his Uncle Luke and his grandfather had been.”

    “Um, okay...I don’t think that’s really how it works.” First of all, now that balance had been restored to the Force, did we even need a Chosen One? We’d done pretty well without one for like thousands of years before the Force got out of whack. Maybe it only needs re-balancing every couple of millennia? Second, even if Chosen One-ness was somehow hereditary, wouldn’t that mean Lyra and Owen, Master Skywalker’s kids, had just as much chance of being Chosen as Smoldery Ben?

    “Me neither, but try telling that to him.” Jacen put a hand on my shoulder. “Noemi’s smart; sooner or later, she’s going to see how full of himself Ben really is. And someday she’s going to realize you’ve been right there beside her the whole time.”

    I snorted. “Someday… yeah, right. She’s never going to want someone as lame as me.”

    At that, Jacen took his hand off my shoulder and punched me there instead, just hard enough.

    “Ow! What was that for?!” I asked, rubbing the spot where he hit me.

    “Ro, knock it off with the ‘lame’ stuff!” He frowned at me, looking a whole lot like General Mom with a dash of Very Serious Dad thrown in for good measure. (Do you automatically get those kind of expressions when you become an adult, or does Jacen just practice them?) “You’re not any lamer than anyone else your age—and everyone your age thinks they’re like the lamest person ever. Yeah, even me,” he said, before I even had a chance to protest that I bet he’d never felt that way. (more fun with Jedi sibs--they know what you’re going to say before you say it.) “When I was your age, I thought I was a poodoo Jedi and I was going to wind up hauling freight on the Outer Rim because flying was the only thing I could do right. But flying is part of my gift in the Force, and I realized that instead of worrying that I wasn’t as good a Jedi as Dad or Uncle Ezra or anyone else, I should focus on that gift.”

    There was just one small problem with that advice, and I would have thought it would have been obvious. “Yeah, but you have a gift! I’m just—”

    He punched me harder this time. “Ronen! Would you listen to yourself?! You could make yourself invisible in the Force when you were six! Do you know how rare that is?“

    “Um....” Not really; I’d pretty much figured it was something everyone could do.

    “Rare, really rare. With that kind of talent, you’d make a great Jedi Sentinel, even a Shadow.”

    Okay, me? A Jedi Shadow? In the Old Order, they were like the secret agents of the Jedi world, the ones who got out there and tracked down Dark Side artifacts and adepts. It was like an elite job, only the best and strongest Sentinels qualified—definitely not a job for lame, half-shebsed padawans like me. And Jacen thought I’d be great at it, because I could tell he was really serious about it, not just trying to make me feel better. Was it possible that the way I could disappear was my gift in the Force, the way flying was Jacen’s and art was Ayelet’s? Was it really something that could make me—well, not awesome, that was probably going too far, but at least useful as a Jedi? Like maybe I could fit in somewhere after all?

    And Jacen...my always-awesome big brother...he’d gotten shot down by girls and thought he was lame just like me and I hadn’t even known it. I’d been too little or too stupid or too focused on my own problems to see it. I stirred my noodles around for a minute. “Thanks, Jace.”

    He smiled. “Anytime, kid. So, now tell me what happened with you and Noemi.”

    I started to fill him on the RSJVP and the play and Noemi’s dueling club, but before I could get even halfway through the whole messed-up saga, Chopper came back and started lecturing me for not even having started my homework. Jacen managed to talk him down before he blew a gasket or two or three by telling Chopper it was his fault for distracting me (see, I told you he’s Chop’s favorite). And sometimes having Jedi siblings isn’t so bad, because Jacen and I kept *talking* while Chopper kept a watchful photoreceptor on us as Jacen helped me with all my math and chemistry homework.

    Because my brother’s awesome like that.
     
  20. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    What a wonderful eye-opening talk! First that Jacen had his own phase of "I'm lame" :eek: and second letting Ronen know he has a talent that is unique [face_dancing] ... [face_laugh] out loud at the whole sharing of opinions about Ben being "full of himself" :p

    Chopper [face_mischief] ... still right in the thick of family stuff. [face_rofl]

    =D=
     
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  21. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Love this scene so much! And I knew I would, ever since you first mentioned your plans for it. Just amazing family dynamics (as indeed you are a whiz at), and just "amen, brother" (literally!) to everything Jacen says to Ronen—this is so much the exact kind of encouragement Ronen needs at this point in his life. Put another way—and I say this in the most affectionate way possible—it's about karabasting time that someone told him to dial down the "lame" business. :p Jacen is just the man for the job, and he provides a perspective that no one else in Ro's family possibly could:

    Right. On. Even the flyest flyboy out there is likely to have once grappled with those same feelings of insecurity and awkwardness—everyone grapples with something, even those (especially those) who look like they've never had to grapple with anything. And what's even better—another "about karabasting time" moment—is the way that Jacen reminds Ronen about his Force invisibility talent and just how rare and special and, yes, awesome that really is. Of course, it is understandably going to take a bit of time for that message to sink in, but given how much Ronen looks up to his big brother, I think it's already well on its way. [face_love]

    And Chopper! :chopper: [face_dancing] What a presence! But of course he's there acting in loco parentis, making sure those easily distracted meatbag younglings are Doing What They're Supposed to Do, just as he did way back when with a different generation of meatbag younglings on the Ghost. From one generation to another! :D It's neat that Jacen seems to have a bit of a "Chop-whispering" ability; in a way that makes sense given that he was the first S.-J. child and thus the one of the three that Chop has known the longest.

    So yes, Ronen, you are definitely not at all as lame as you think! In fact, you are not in the least bit lame, and your big bro speaks the truth. Keep remembering that, and you'll go far—with your studies, with your Jedi career, and with the girl you love! [:D]
     
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  22. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 14, 2002
    I quite liked this concept of the schoolchildren being assigned to write diaries.

    Not having had this sort of homework myself, I am not sure how it is supposed to be monitored, as both kids, after initial hesitations, open up with their deepest feelings in the assumption that the contents will never come out.

    How is this supposed to work? Is it an honour system, with Ronen and Noemi waving a data chip in their teacher's direction and saying "Sure, this contains daily entries, Miss" and Mistress Eupraxia nods and gives them an 'A'?

    Or do they have to read a selected entry in front of the class, or what?

    Interesting to see Ronen's explanation of the various ways that genes from a Twi'lek Mom and a Human Dad, manifested themselves in his siblings and himself, though I thought there would have to be Togruta somewhere to get striped lekku.

    You captured Ronen's stream-of-consciousness dilemmas perfectly, making for a very engaging first diary entry for him.

    His friend Noemi is right, he is very hard on himself.

    I don't understand why people, him, me, others, have people that they won't absorb advice from.

    Is the Jacen that Noemi likes, the eventual dark jedi that co-led the Galactic Alliance? If so, Ronen being tempted to vote him as "Most Likely to Join the Dark Side" is a neat touch.

    For Noemi's own diary, I liked her reference to an item of GFFA fashion as "fuchsia sequin glitterskirt" before she threw that idea under the bus. Would she have worn that for Jacen? Also, nice initial resistance in thinking to just do weather reports. Future meterologist there.

    Very sweet that she thinks that her Loth-cat understands her. Aww. I don't watch Rebels, so no idea if the creatures have a canon empathic ability... Good survival plan, not telling people all about that.

    Good stuff about feeling 'invisible'. Perhaps Mistress Euphraxia should be reading these things after all.

    You have a vibe between these two that reminds me of Xander Harris and Willow Rosenberg in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Best friends since very small, Willow loves Xander but he just looks through or past her when it comes to femmes that he wants to notice him.

    All great stuff, Raissa. Keep up the good work.
     
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  23. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Thanks! It was fun to be able to get in some more with the S-J sibs. Jacen is seven years older than Ronen, so he's moved past the awkwardness of the teen years and is able to view that time in his life with some equanimity and let him in on the secret: no one knows what they're doing at that age (something I've tried to share with my niece and nephew as they reach young adulthood). Being outside the situation, Jacen can provide some perspective on Ronen's talents and that annoying Ben Solo, who's even more full of himself than Ro realizes with the Chosen One conceit. And of course Chop is still in the middle of things, taking care of these organics. What would they do without him? ;)
    Aw, thanks! I've wanted to do some more with the sibs and this seemed like a good time to work in some brotherly advice. Older sibs are great for smacking you upside the head (sometimes literally!) when you need it. :D Jacen's got a lot of Hera's personality, and her ability to be firm and compassionate at the same time. He's got a lot of sympathy for his little brother, because as he points out, he's been in the same situations Ro is in, but he's also able to tell it like it is. Ronen isn't especially lame--in fact he's completely average in feeling that way!

    Yep. Everyone experiences those moments at some time or another, even if it doesn't seem like it. With Jacen being so much older than him, Ronen never really saw that side of his brother (though I can say from experience, it's hard enough to see it in a sibling who's only a few years older). Now he sees the Jedi Captain who's got it all together and it seems like he was always that way. And I think that having Jacen be the one who points out that, yes, he really does have a gift and it's pretty cool is a good thing, because if it had been Kanan, Ro would have written it off as "you're my dad, you have to say that", whereas big brother is perfectly capable of telling him what a moof-milker he is at times.

    Of course he is! Someone's got to keep these meatbags in line (and as you pointed in beta, Chop still sees it as his duty to watch after Hera). The more things change, the more they stay the same. Jacen's "Chop-whispering" (Love it!) talents stems in part from the fact that he's the most like Hera. He's got not only her mechanical abilities, but her general level-headness, so Chopper's crankiness doesn't phase him the way it does Ronen, and of course, as you said, he's had he longest to learn that that's just how Chopper says "I love you". ;)

    Remembering it is going to be the reall trick for Ro. It’s one thing to hear it when you’re having a brotherly chat in your kitchen and another when you’re facing Ben karking Solo. But, as always, Ronen has a loving family who’s behind him all the way.
    Thanks for taking the Read and Review Challenge, and thanks so much for this great review! I do appreciate it:) Ronen and Noemi’s assignment is based on a similar one that I had as a freshman in high school. We were assigned to keep a journal for several months and we turned it in at regular intervals. Our teacher basically checked to make sure that we did have something for every day, that it was at least a paragraph, and that we weren’t just copying the dictionary :p For the GFFA (or probably RL, given current technology) this could probably be accomplished without Mistress Eupraxia ever having to look at the entries, if the students did turn in a file or data chip.

    I thought it was pretty interesting that of the three canon examples of Twi’lek/Human children, two have lekku and one doesn’t, so my fanon explanation is that the genetic combination can be unpredictable—especially in Ronen’s case. I don’t know how canon it is, but when I played Galaxies back in the day, there was a wide variety of lekku patterns including spots, stripes and swirls. Ronen’s stripes aren’t as distinct as a Togruta’s would be, more of a sort of tone-on-tone effect, with light orange against his regular skin tone. (Hera’s father, Cham, has orange skin, while her mother’s was green; more fun withnTwi’lek genetics!)

    Thank you so much; glad you enjoyed it. It is a puzzle, isn’t it, why we’re willing to listen to the ones who tell us we’re “freaks” when we won’t listen to the people we love and trust when they remind us we’re not? You’d think they’d be the first ones we’d listen to. I guess there’s just something in human nature that makes us believe the bad things are true while we view the good with suspicion. :(

    Actually, it’s Ben Solo that Noemi likes— still emo in this universe, if not Kylo Ren—so voting him “Most Likely to Join the Dark Side” still fits. The Jacen that’s mentioned is Ronen’s older brother, based on Hera and Kanan’s son, Jacen Syndulla (born after Kanan’s death in canon).

    Well, Loth-cats do at least seem to have an empathic ability with Ezra. They tend to follow him around and a couple even take it upon themselves to distract a pair of stormtroopers for him. Noemi’s inherited her dad’s animal empathy skills, so it’s likely Spots does understand her on some level. Noemi and Ronen share that feeling of being invisible compared to their famous parents; Mistress Eupraxia could learn all sorts of interesting things about her students this way, couldn’t she?

    I’ve only seen the movie version of Buffy, but Noemi and Ronen certainly do have that dynamic! Thanks for taking the time to review and glad that you enjoyed the first part!
     
  24. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Thanks to @Findswoman for beta-reading the angsty teen Jedi angst! :D [:D]
    ———
    Journal of Ronen Syndulla-Jarrus, who would totally Force-choke Ben Solo if it wasn’t against the Jedi Code
    Taungsday, 27/09 3301


    So I am pretty much the Galaxy’s worst friend, worst person and worst Jedi ever.

    Because I seriously hate Ben Solo. Yeah, I know hate leads to suffering, emotion, yet peace and all those other Jedi axioms we’re supposed to follow, but I can’t right now. I really can’t. I just want to Force-choke the smug, self-absorbed schutta until his smoldering eyes bug out like Maatko’s when he sees an arachnid. I seriously, seriously hate that guy and his stupid perfect hair and his overbearing I’m-so-wonderful attitude and his pretentious cross-guarded saber! He’s got everything…he’s always had everything...

    And now he’s got Noemi, too.

    She finally convinced Dad to allow the dueling club at the Academy. Of course she did. I knew she would, even if I kind of hoped she wouldn’t—and yeah, I know that put me in the running for the Galaxy’s worst friend. I thought I could at least get some points back for showing up anyway, though I would rather have eaten a live gorg than watch her try to impress Ben. Oh, what, you really though I wouldn’t go? Come on, this is Noemi we’re talking about—short of throwing myself in a sarlacc pit (which I am considering doing now, or would if there were any sarlaccs on Lothal), there isn’t much I wouldn’t do for her, and that was true even before I realized that I love her.

    And it would have looked pretty strange if I hadn’t gone. Noemi had already talked Ayelet into making a logo and and a banner for the club, so she went early to help Noemi set up. And Dad went because that’s the kind of stuff headmasters do, just in case they needed another Responsible Adult Jedi besides Noemi’s grandmother, our Temple’s battlemaster, who was sponsoring the club.

    Noemi decided to hold the club’s first meeting on the Academy’s front lawn instead of the salle where we usually practice, and that was probably a good thing because I don’t think everyone would have fit in there. Most of our saber cohorts only have five to ten students in them, but Noemi had been busy spreading the word, talking up her club all over the Academy, so by the time Dad and I arrived, there were already a bunch of padawans there—all the way from not-quite-Jedi-yets like my sister down to younglings who were still using practice sabers. There was even a group of slightly nervous-looking parents there, hanging out at the edge of the lawn. People stood around chatting in little knots, and Noemi flitted between them, datapad in hand, her Loth-cat, Spots, bouncing at her heels and Mistress Blayne following behind at Responsible Adult Jedi pace.

    Noemi spotted me from across the lawn and dashed over, waving. “Ronen! You made it! Isn’t this amazing? I can’t believe how many people showed up! I haven’t seen Ben yet, but I’m sure he’ll be here soon.” I managed to get my shields up, slap a stupid, crooked grin on my face and nod. I didn’t trust myself to actually say anything, because Noemi had dressed up and she looked amazing. She had on her favorite green jacket with the gold trim and stars on it and even a necklace, and I’m pretty sure she was wearing makeup, too, which was odd for her, because she’s always been a no-muss, no-fuss kind of girl. She was beautiful, like even more so than usual, and it made me feel kind of strange. I mean, on the one hand, she looked really, really good with the makeup and the jacket, and the way she was smiling, but on the other hand, I knew it was all for Ben, not me. Never for me.

    So horrible friend and horrible person that I am, I felt kind of relieved when Nadiya called out to her and waved for her to come over. “Oh, I’ll be right back…” Noemi smiled as she called back over her shoulder, “And make sure we get to spar together later, okay?”

    Yeah, okay… With Noemi gone, I started to wonder why I what I was really doing there. She didn’t need me—didn’t need my help to run things, didn’t need me around to watch her flirt with Ben. What was I doing to myself, making myself come here just to watch that? Did I just enjoy making myself miserable or something? Because it was working already and Ben hadn’t even shown up yet. Morosely, I started scoping out a good spot where I could fade into the background and *disappear*—maybe I’d even slip away once things got going. Noemi would probably never notice I was gone.

    There was a table with refreshments, draped with Ayelet’s banner, over to one side. There were big carafes of blue milk and jogan fruit punch, a platter of sliced fruit, and a huge tray of Wookiee cookies. Remember how I said it’s weird being related—or almost related or whatever—to all the Academy’s leaders? This is another one of those times, because Mistress Blayne is the Temple’s battlemaster—she knows more saber forms than anyone, she’s the best duelist there is, and you do not want to mess around in her advanced saber techniques class—but she also bakes cookies. She’s like the unofficial grandma for all the Spectre cousins. We always have this huge Life Day celebration with everyone at Master and Mistress Blayne’s house, and she must make about a million Wookiee cookies. Sometimes I think she just likes to bake and feed kids. I figured a few of her cookies were just what I needed; chocolate chips can make just about anything better, right?

    Caleb had already stationed himself by the refreshments and was munching a handful of cookies. “Hey, Ronen. So Noemi talked you into this, too, huh? Or are you just here for the snacks?”

    “No, of course I’m here for her.” Padawans and younglings were starting to gather in the middle of the lawn, and Mistress Blayne was matching up pairs while Noemi kept track of them on her datapad. Every now and then she’d look up and glance out at the crowd. She smiled when she noticed me watching her, but I knew who she was really looking for. I snagged a couple more cookies and sighed. It was going to take a lot of chocolate chips to make me feel better—like maybe the whole tray. “Are you actually going to duel someone?”

    Caleb wiped the crumbs from his mouth and unhooked his lightsaber from his belt. He tossed it into the air; it flipped twice before he caught it with a Loth-cat grin. “Well, someone’s gotta show these younglings how it’s done!”

    There was a sniff behind us, and that tiny sound dripped with so much condescension I didn’t even have to turn around to know that Caleb and I had just been graced by the presence of the All-Knowing Ben Solo, who would now enlighten us with his wisdom. My stomach churned as he strode up to the table, shaking his perfectly-coiffed head and looking down his perfectly straight (if rather long) nose at Caleb. “And that is exactly the reason why we shouldn’t have this club. I can’t believe the headmasters and our battlemaster would permit something that encourages pride and vanity in what should be a serious discipline.”

    “And yet you’re here…” I muttered, chomping my cookie a little more viciously than I’d meant to. Ben would know all about pride. But that wasn’t what Noemi had in mind at all. She really wanted for all the padawans to have a reason to get together, even the nerf-herding know-it-alls. Especially this particular nerf-herding know-it-all, who couldn’t even appreciate things like fun. “Or maybe you just came for the cookies.”

    “Of course I’m not here for cookies!”

    Caleb grinned as he crunched into another Wookiee cookie.“You sure?” he asked, mouth full and spilling crumbs as he spoke. “They’re really good...Grandma just baked them this morning!” He held one out to Ben, waggling it like he was offering it to a petulant youngling who was on the verge of a tantrum.

    Ben glared at the offending cookie like it was a dead giju on a stick and sniffed again. (Maybe he ought to see the med droid about that?) “I admit I had a certain morbid curiosity about how this would work out, but it doesn’t even seem like it’s…” The snap-hiss-swish of a lightsaber igniting interrupted Ben’s harangue. In the center of the field, Noemi was facing off against Dhel Faf’lar, a Bothan youngling who’d just built his first lightsaber. You could tell from his toothy grin and the crazy way his fur was rippling that he was all sorts of excited to try it out, especially against an older padawan. He was swinging with more enthusiasm than style, and the duel should have been over in about two seconds, but Noemi was pulling her blows, blocking Dhel’s parries, but never attacking him. She was really great—patient and encouraging, everything a saber instructor should be.

    Noemi has the most unusual lightsaber blade of anyone I know; her focusing crystal is a blush-green Solari crystal, just like the one on the necklace Aunt Mara always wears. They’re pink in one light, green in another, so Noemi’s blade is mostly green, but with this cool, shimmery pink aura around it. Her jacket was the same shade of green as the center of her blade, and its aura matched the pink of her lipstick. Her smile was as bright as the blade and the Force like *shimmered* around her as she moved. She was so beautiful, so amazing….

    I wasn’t the only one who noticed.

    Ben froze and then took half a step forward, looking like a bassa hound pup that had spotted a kneeb for the first time. “Wait… Who’s that?”

    Oh, no. No. Just… no. This could not be happening. The Force couldn’t possibly hate me this much, could it? If I’d felt like a bantha had kicked me in the gut when Noemi told me that she had a thing for Ben, then right now I felt like that same bantha had kicked me, knocked me down and was gleefully stomping on me. I couldn’t have answered Ben if I’d wanted to, but Caleb frowned around his mouthful of cookie. “Who? Dhel?”

    “No, no, no! Not the Bothan!” Ben snapped. His expression left no doubt that he felt dealing with such a moof-milking, nerf-herding bantha-brain was so totally beneath him (not that unusual of an expression for him, actually). “The girl! The one with the pink...green...pinkish-green lightsaber…”

    “What, you mean Noemi?”

    “Noemi…” Ben said her name like he’d never heard it before, and watched her with the kind of intensity he usually reserved for slab-like tomes of ancient Jedi history and dusty treatises on the philosophy of non-attachment from the Pius Dea era.

    Caleb’s brows drew together like a line of blue-black thunder clouds. He broke a piece off his cookie and nailed Ben dead center in the forehead with it. “Hey, Solo, put your eyes back in your head. That’s my little sister you’re staring at.”

    “Your sister?” Ben’s expression of Righteous Indignation at being assaulted with baked goods suddenly vanished. He glanced between Caleb and Noemi, his attention to her sharpening. He had a speculative look in his eyes as he watched her finish her match with Dhel; Mistress Blayne declared it a draw. “I didn’t know Master and Mistress Bridger had a daughter!”

    Caleb glanced over at me, one eyebrow raised. *Is this guy for real?* “Uh, yeah, you did. You’ve met her before. You’ve been at our house with Uncle Luke and Aunt Annina.”

    “Excuse me,” Ben huffed, “but I think I’d remember meeting someone as strong in the Force as she is!” Okay, anyone who thinks that I’m too dramatic needs to spend more time around Ben, because I can at least say things occasionally and not always have to sniff, huff, pout, whine, pontificate, etc., etc. And this is the moof-milker Noemi’s in love with? Great hair can’t be worth putting up with this so-the-drama-gualama for!

    “Yeah, you’d think, wouldn’t you?” Caleb remarked, crossing his arms over his chest as he leaned against the refreshment table. “Of course, you did spend the whole time with your nose glued to your datapad, reading the Teyan Apologia like it was the latest issue of The Amazing Krykna-Man.”

    Ben pursed his lips and tossed his flowing locks, apparently deciding not to dignify this with a sniff. “Well, some of us take our studies seriously. Having a thorough understanding of our history and traditions is more important for a Jedi than being able to kick a grav-ball,” he said, skewering Caleb with a pointed look, “or”—and here he shifted his glance to me—“whatever it is you do. Now, if you’ll excuse me…” And,without waiting for a reply, he strode off towards the group gathered on the lawn, his Very Proper Jedi Robes swishing around him as he went.

    “I’ve got a bad feeling about this…” Caleb said darkly as Ben approached Noemi. Oh, yeah... I nodded, and if I’d been able to put words together words together I would have said that “a bad feeling” didn’t even begin to cover it. A terrible, horrible, awful, completely miserable feeling was more like it, except that that still wasn’t enough to describe the sick way my stomach lurched when he swept up to her and bowed. Yeah, bowed. Really. Noemi’s eyes widened and she blushed as he took her hand.

    I’ve never really been a fan of horror holo-flicks—I guess I don’t get what’s supposed to be fun about watching movies about horrible people doing horrible things—but when I was like seven, Caleb, Ayelet, Noemi and I found a copy of “Red Harvest” and decided we were so brave and mature that we could totally handle it. I spent the whole movie wishing I could close my eyes but not being able to look away as zombie Sith Lords munched their way through one hapless acolyte after another. That’s how I felt as watched Ben and Noemi talk; he was suave and smoldery and whatever he said to her made her glow like Life Day fireworks.

    Meanwhile, Spots decided that Ben’s swishy robes were her new favorite toy, and other circumstances, I probably would have laughed my shebs off watching Master Smoldery Solo keep twitching his robes away from her while trying to have a Serious Conversation with Noemi. He finally shooed her away, and Spots took a swipe at his hand before retreating under the refreshment table, where I swear she sneered at Ben while licking one hind leg with the elegant disdain only a cat can pull off. Yeah, I’m right there with you, Spots. I’d show my claws to that stuffy bantha-brain, too, if I were you.

    Finally Ben asked Noemi something that made her blush a brighter shade of pink, she nodded and he sauntered off with another totally overdone bow, sweeping his robes in a Very Dramatic fashion as he went.

    And Noemi, still glowing and blushing, ran over to me and grabbed both my hands and squeezed them, bouncing up and down on her toes like a hyperactive crickbeet. “Ro! Ro, it worked! He noticed me—oh, hi, Caleb!—Ben Solo finally noticed me! AND! And he asked me to have dinner with him in the City tomorrow!” Her voice rose to an un-Noemi-like squeal at the end.

    “What?!” Caleb saved me the trouble of exclaiming in dismay. He shot up from slouching against the table, scowling and shaking his head. “Noemi—”

    She sighed and tsk-ed at him. “Okay, yes, I know I still have to get Mom and Dad’s permission, but…” She stopped, taking a step back, and cocked her head at me with a slight frown. She was still holding my hands. “Ro? Are you okay? You don’t look good.”

    “I… yeah, I’m not feeling very good, either.” That was like the understatement of the millennium . The bantha that had kicked me and trampled me was now doing its level best to grind the pieces of my shattered heart into a fine powder and taking great pleasure in it. Meanwhile, my stomach had decided that half a Wookiee cookie was too much for it too handle and my head felt like it was going to explode. I let go of Noemi’s hands and turned away. “I think I’m going to head home.”

    “I’ll walk with you!” I must have looked as horrible as I felt, because she reached out to put a steadying arm around my shoulders.

    I pulled back.”No! No,” I said trying to soften it with a wobbly smile that didn’t want to stay put. “You should stay here. This is your big project.”

    “I’ll get your dad, then,” Noemi insisted. “Or Caleb can go with you.”

    “I said it’s okay! I just need to... lay down “ Throw up. Scream. Crawl into a Loth-rat hole and never come out. Disappear. All of the above.

    I started off before she could say anything else, but I didn’t actually go home, because there would have been someone there—Mom, Jacen, Chopper—who wanted to know what was wrong and why I wasn’t still at the club meeting, and I just wasn’t ready to deal with the questions. Instead, I wandered out onto the grassland at the edge of the Academy complex. I sat in the shadow of a stone outcropping and pulled the Force around myself until no one, not even my family, could have found me.

    The wind started to pick up while I sat there, whipping the prairie grass around me like my emotions were churning inside, a new feeling every five seconds: sadness, hopelessness, and anger, lots of anger—at Ben for being Master Perfect Jedi who was always the best, who always got everything, including Noemi; at myself for being such a moof-milking idiot that I’d really believed I’d have a chance to be more than friends with her, and...I was angry at Noemi, too. How could she choose someone like Ben? How could she not see what he was really like beneath the perfect hair and eyes? How could she not see that I loved her more than he ever could?

    And that led to another great feeling: guilt. Because a good friend, a good person wouldn’t feel this way. A good friend would want his best friend to be happy, would be happy for her that her club was successful. A good Jedi wouldn’t have all these emotions and no peace. A good Jedi wouldn’t be so angry and wouldn’t actually hate someone so much that they wished they could Force-choke them, no matter what that person was like.

    I don’t know how long I sat there before I finally just felt numb from it all. I went home and slipped in the back door; the Force must have taken pity on me, because no one was around, not even Chopper. I left a note on the conservator—“Sick. Going to bed. —Ro”—and went to my room and crashed.

    And now I’m just laying here, waiting to see who will find my note and come check on me. I don’t know what I’m going to tell them when they do.

    Notes:

    Battlemaster: the Jedi in charge of all lightsaber instruction. In this universe, the title is held by Raissa Blayne (neé Baiard), wife of joint headmaster Doran Blayne, And Noemi’s grandmother.

    Wookiee cookies: a Blayne family Life Day tradition, though Raissa enjoys baking the double chocolate chip cookies for any special occasion.

    Blush-green Solari Crystal: a gemstone created by @Findswoman for The Jewels of…WHAT?! Also appears in When the Time Is Right, where Ezra finds a Solari crystal that he plans to give Mara as a betrothal token—so you can guess where the one on her necklace came from. :D

    The Amazing Krykna-Man: fanon holo-comic, based on the RL The Amazing Spider-Man. Previously appeared in Teenage Rebellion, when Mara, Luke and Ezra rescued its creator, Stahn Li.

    Uncle Luke and Aunt Annina: Yep, Luke really is Caleb and Noemi’s uncle :D No bitter hermits in this AU.

    Red Harvest: the holo-flick is based on a SW novel of the same name.
     
  25. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    I'm glad the dueling club is a success! Noemi did a great duel with Dhel, showing great technique while not overwhelming him with her skills. [face_thinking]

    Having Mistress Blayne's yummy goodies & Ayelet's artwork just put it over the top!

    Caleb is wonderful, I really like him; he's a good friend to Ro & a terrific big brother for Noemi. :cool: :)

    ACK! BEN ASKED NOEMI OUT AND SHE ACCEPTED! I'd be happy too, and Ro could also, even being in love with her, if Ben wasn't such a GIGANTIC JERKFACE who thinks the sun shines out of his backside. [face_laugh] Eagerly awaiting more, as duh!, as I did with "Teenage Rebellion" and also with Shaman ... =D= =D=

    ^:)^
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
    Findswoman and Raissa Baiard like this.