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Saga For the Love of The Lady - OTP Challenge - Milestones

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Kit', Aug 16, 2020.

  1. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    Title: For the Love of The Lady
    Author: Kit'
    Timeframe: 18BBY
    Characters: Kit, Del, Zallie, Estra, A’radia and....others....
    Genre: Angst

    Challenge: The OTP & Pairing Thread ♡ | Challenge #16 Posted: Milestones!
    Challenge topic: Reunion after separation
    Summary: The Lady burns and takes her captain with her, but will things work out when an unexpected friend from Kit's past turns up in the most unlikely of places.

    *~*~*


    The Lady
    was burning. Kit sucked in an acrid lungful of air and coughed violently, feeling her throat burn.

    “You need to take Quin and get to the escape pod,” Del shouted pushing her through the smoke as she held their youngest daughter’s body close to her. Quin’s face was pale, marred with blood from the blow to her head and her breathing was coming in little ragged gasps. It hadn’t meant to turn out like this, the job was supposed to be an easy one but then they’d run into Imperials and there had been a dog-fight. They’d won the battle but now The Lady was burning as it spun out of control through space heading towards a tiny, outer-rim planet. Kithera could feel the sweat beading on her hairline from both the heat of the ship and from carrying her daughter.

    “I can’t leave you.”

    “I’ll be on that escape pod, I’ve just got to grab a few things.”

    Kithera shook her head desperate for him to understand as the music of The Force swung wildly around her, a cacophony of brass and drums.

    “There isn’t time. We can replace everything, but I can’t replace you.”

    He said nothing, just pushed her along the corridors, past the boy’s room, past Zallie’s old room and then down the stairs. They were lucky that they’d only had Quin this trip. The older ones were off on the other side of the galaxy travelling in Nicco’s Baroness. It had been months since they'd seen them, but now Kit was glad. She stopped as they reached the door of the escape pod. It had so rarely been used that it took her a second to remember the code to get in. The door snapped open to reveal the stark but clean interior. She hustled in and laid Quin on one of the tiny bunks and then turned and looked at Del, her chest heaving as tears pricked the corners of her eyes.

    “I’m not leaving you.”

    He shook his head. His stared at her and she could see the tear streaks, the only clean spots on his dirty, worried face.

    “You have to go Rin, Quin needs you. I need to know you’re safe.”

    “Del, I’m faster than you. You tell me what you want and I’ll get it and get back…”

    “I need you to use your gift to heal Quin. I will make it back, I promise. I can’t go just yet. The escape pod is programmed to find The Baroness.” He said softly, barely audible over the snap hiss of the pipes and the crackling of the old electrics as they burned. He reached out and cupped her face and she closed her eyes at the touch, trying to memorise the feeling of his hand on her skin.

    “I can’t leave you.” She whispered again, “I can’t lose you. Please. I can’t.”

    He stepped back and out of the pod and smiled at her.

    “I love you Rin,” he said, “I always will.”

    “Just get back before the electrics go. Please.”

    He nodded, giving a tiny half smile.

    “Tell the kids I love them,” he smiled at her and stepped back and punched the button as she realised what he was doing. She threw herself at the door as it slammed closed. The pod engines rumbled to life beneath her and then the vessel was accelerating away. She stood and watched as Del smiled at her. Then the lights of The Lady went out and he was gone. Kit screamed, loss and despair threatening to overwhelm her. She threw herself at the window again and again, trying to call on The Force to send her back to him, but it was no good. Chest heaving, fists bruised, she stood and watched from the port window as The Lady spun faster and faster through the air, until it was sucked into the gravity field of the planet below.

    She watched as the old ship burned through the atmosphere, a white-hot trail of metal and memory.

    She watched and she hoped that she would see something.

    Some glimmer of light.

    The other rescue pod.

    Something that told her that Del was okay.

    That he had survived.

    That he escaped.

    But there was nothing.

    She watched until the little escape pod flew her too far away to see.

    Then she sunk onto the floor...and she sobbed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2020
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  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh, Kit'! That was heart-wrenching! The selflessness of each, the loss of a beloved ship and of each other. I do adore how Kithera senses the Force, as music. Quite fascinating. I hope she hears a symphony soon. ;) @};-
     
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  3. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    I'm glad you liked it. Definitely poor Kit, with Del gone she's going to be a bit bereft. She does love Del very much but now she's going be the head of the rather large and rambunctious family without her partner and her rock.
     
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  4. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    *

    Kithera sat bolt upright in bed, gasping for breath, her body soaked in sweat and the sheets a tangled mess around her legs. Before she could full realise what she was doing, her hand reached out to the spot where he would be, but it was cold and empty just as it had been for the last month. Just as it would always be. The bright, fresh shard of pain and loss speared through her again and she gave a quiet sob.

    “Mama?” Quin’s quiet and tired voice came from the other sleeping cot. Her youngest daughter had taken to bunking in her room since they’d arrived at the The Bower. Nicco had found them after two days of flying. Quin had been conscious by then, and the two of them had been huddled together in grief as Nicco had tractor beamed them aboard. Nicco’s partner Bryer had taken charge, while the rest of them had sat in stunned and horrified silence as she told them what had happened. Kit only had a few memories of the trip back to The Bower, only
    flash bulb pictures in her brain. She could remember Nicco embracing her and sobbing, Estra’s anger and the twin’s denial. Zallie had just sat there unmoving, tears streaming down her face.

    Kit hadn’t cried. She had to be strong, to guide the rest of the family. She had no time or space for emotions or tears. She’d cut herself off from The Force the following day, unwilling to listen to the intertwining melodies of anger, sadness, and loss. Her head was quiet now, and although it meant that she didn’t need to listen to the music of the others, it meant that her own thoughts, the voices that judged and scolded and criticised, were louder.

    “I’m okay,” she said back quietly into the gloom, scrubbing the unbidden tears from her face. She needed to be strong, to not cry. She needed to live up to the words of her long-dead Master and smile through the pain.

    “It was that dream again, wasn’t it?” Quin’s voice again.

    “Yes.”

    That dream. The one she’d had every night since Del had gone. The one which replayed the events of that day over and over again. The one that meant that she only slept when she had to. The one where she lost him over and over again. The one she wanted so desperately to be a dream every time she woke up so her heart wouldn’t break when she realised it wasn’t a dream at all.

    There was a movement in the room and then a weight on the bed as Quin crept in, sliding up to cuddle her.

    “I’m okay.” Kithera said softly, quietly, “I’ll be okay.”

    “You’re not.” Quin said with all the wisdom and forthrightness of a twelve-year old girl, “you haven’t cried since we met up with Nicco. Not even once.”

    “My master always told me not to.” Kit said quietly into the gloom, gently stroking her daughter’s hair as she snuggled in beside her, “She said to lift your chin and keep smiling, even though your heart is breaking. Don't let them see your pain.”

    “That’s silly advice,” she felt Quin shake her head, “tears aren’t bad. You lost Del. Nicco, Estra, Zallie, Taro and Kei and I all lost our dad. We are all allowed to be sad. Maybe if you cried, you would feel better.”

    Kit felt her lip quiver and closed her eyes, feeling a tear slip down her face.

    “You give good advice,” she said softly, hearing her voice breaking, “when did you get so smart.”

    “I learnt it.” Quin’s voice was shaking too. Kit drew in a shuddering breath and let the tears fall softly, silently down her face. “From you and from Da.”

    There was silence as Kithera stroked Quin’s soft, fine hair as the tears formed tiny, silent rivers of pain.

    “I miss him, mama.” Quin said after a moment. Her voice crumpling as she started to sob.

    “I miss him too, gorgeous girl.” Kit replied still gently stroking her daughter's hair in the gloom, “I miss him too.”
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2020
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  5. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Ouch, that she has that same dream for a month and then realizing it actually happened. :eek: Wonderful reciprocal consoling at the end. @};-
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2020
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  6. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    Yeah, it's not the best dream to be having. Poor Kit indeed, but she has her family around her, so she's at a better point than she was the last time she lost someone important. [face_plain]
     
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  7. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    This is not the most exciting of updates but it is kind of like the lull before the storm if you like.

    *

    Kit stared at the mug of hot, dark tea in front of her.

    “You’ve got to eat,” Estra pushed a plate of hot food towards her but Kit waved it away.

    “Not hungry,” she said looking up, and plastering a tired smile on her face, “but thank you Essie.”

    Estra threw her hands in the air and waddled away.

    “You’re impossible.”

    “Essie…”

    The girl turned, eyes blazing. She advanced on Kit, her heavily pregnant stomach swinging from side to side.

    “No. I’m not losing both my parents because you refuse to eat.”

    Kit felt her heart skip a beat. She’d known Estra for twenty years, twenty-five if you counted it from that first time, but she’d never heard Estra call her anything close to a parent to her face. Kit swiped away at the sudden moisture in her eyes. As Estra looked at her and the anger seemed to drain from her face and she sat down heavily and reached out a hand. Kithera took it gently and smiled at her.

    “I’m sorry Essie, I’ve just too much to do and too many things to think about. I have to organise the memorial. It's been a month and there's been no sign so we have to assume…” She couldn't say the word so instead she closed her eyes, trying to take the deep meditative breathes she’d learnt so long ago. When she opened them again Estra was staring at her.

    “We can take the load,” she said quietly, “you don’t have to do both Da’s role and your own.”

    “I know, but you and F’kisi have the bub to think about and…”

    “Please,” Estra’s voice was soft and gentle but the pleading note was still there, “I want to help. You are the closest thing I’ve ever had to a mum. I didn’t get to tell Da so much that I should have said, so I’m going to tell you. You have to let us, all of us kids, help.”

    Kit smiled sadly and nodded her head, “I will try Essie, I really will. It’s just a whole new world to navigate without Del at my side.”

    “We all feel that-“ Estra’s words were cut out by a humming out in the corridor. The next second Zallie came through the door, her feboar hunter, Blu close at her heels. “Some of us feel that,” Estra said waving a hand towards where Zallie was hunting through the cupboards as she hummed quietly to herself. Kit shrugged.

    “Everyone handles grief in a different way,” she raised an eyebrow as her daughter fixed a sandwich without even glancing in their direction, “I spent three years believing that if I smiled hard enough and bounced through life then it would make all the pain disappear.”

    “Did it work?” Estra asked ask staring as Zallie cut her sandwich and then dropped half of it onto the floor where it was immediately devoured by the dog.

    “Nope. Not for a second.” Kithera gave a tiny shrug and shook her head.

    “Uh, Zallie?” She asked softly as her daughter started to make another sandwich, “any particular song?”

    The girl’s head turned and she smiled and Kit got the feeling that her daughter had not only known they had been there all along, but had been playing some sort of game in her own head. Her daughter not only reminded her of Qui-Gon with her long brown wavy hair and height, but also in the fact that if you weren’t careful you got the feeling that she was occasionally quietly laughing at everyone around her, including you.

    “Nope. Just humming.” Zallie said. Kithera watched Estra’s eyes narrow, a normal reaction to one of Zallie’s more flippant observations. The girl headed over and joined them at the table, and Blu, only one of her many, many pets, threaded himself through the women’s legs, looking for any snacks that might have fallen on the ground. Kithera picked up one of the now cold pieces of bacon from her plate and slipped it down to the dog, feeling Blu’s grateful tongue lick her hand in appreciation before it took the piece of meat gently and went to its blanket in the corner.

    “I was thinking,” Zallie said after taking a bite of her sandwich, “that we need to go and get A’radia.”

    “A’radia doesn’t travel off world if she can help it,” Kit reminded her, thinking of the witch with her strange little cottage in the woods, “she might not appreciate being dragged off world, even if it is for this.”

    There was a pause and Zallie grinned at them.

    “You’ve already contacted her, haven’t you?” Estra asked after a moment, raising an eyebrow. Her sister smiled again.

    “I have. She said she’d come, but only if mama collected her.”

    “I can’t go Zeezee,” Kit shook her head, “there’s too much to do here.”

    “Remember the discussion we just had?” Estra put in from the side, “we can take the load.”

    “Uh huh,” Zallie was nodding taking another bite of her sandwich, “I worked out it will take two days to get out there and two days to get back. Cheryl’s already organised the catering, F’kisi is making arrangements for our off-planet guests and Nicco and Bryer have got the rest.”

    “What about me?” Estra asked sternly, “please don’t say something about putting my feet up because of the baby.”

    “I wouldn’t dare it,” Zallie grinned, “I was going to say that you need to make sure the boys stay on track and that Quin doesn’t kill my animals while she’s looking after them. Also A'radia's going to call you later to sort some extra stuff out.”

    “And what are you doing, oh daughter of mine?” Kit smiled again, genuinely amused at Zallie’s sudden happy penchant for organising everyone.

    “I’m going to fly you.” She said and then held up a hand as if to belay any argument, “on The Bug and, before you say anything, I’ve already cleaned out my menagerie as you put it. I figured we could leave this morning.”

    “Why do I get the feeling I have no say in this despite the fact that I’m your mother?” Kithera sighed and frowned in mock anger.

    “None at all,” Zallie said smiling again with an odd look that gave Kit the feeling again that her daughter knew more than she was letting on, “you just have to trust me.”

    *
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2020
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  8. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Lovely hearing Estra's affirmation of her feelings and Zallie being all organized even while having a menagerie [face_laugh]
     
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  9. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    Yeah, Zallie's menagerie would be pretty darn big by this time. I also figured she should finally get that Febor pup she had been promised in The Plate :D. I like that you liked the conversation with Estra as that was rather hard to write and try and get right. I had to go back and edit a part of it to make the bit after this next bit work. It wasn't much but I probably should have written the whole thing first, but I'm too darn impatient.
     
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  10. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    Third last post (I think). Hope it works.

    *

    *

    “Come on mama,” Zallie turned slightly and smiled as they walked through the forest. Just as always, the forest was as deep in shadow as normal but there were birds calling and the spring air felt more alive than normal. There were mushrooms growing in amongst the pine needles and ferns poked their heads through the dense leaf litter. Blu was snuffling around the base of a tree, a second later he looked up and barked as a bat-squirrel poked its head around the trunk and chittered. Zallie stopped and scrunched her nose before making her own chittering noise. The bat-squirrel left and a moment later came back with three smaller ones.

    “Oh! She had babies.” Zallie exclaimed pointing at the little faces. Kit shook her head with a smile. Her daughter’s love of nature never ceased to amaze her.

    “Trust you to know all of A’radia’s animals.” Kit said.

    Zallie gave a small shrug and reached out a hand towards the bat-squirrels who launched themselves from the tree to land on her. She giggled as they licked and nuzzled her face.

    “I was here for six months last time remember?” She asked, “I had plenty of time to make friends.”

    “I remember.” Kit’s smile faltered again as she remembered how she and Del had dropped Zallie off. It was meant to just be a short stay, but then the she had been captured by the religious zealots and their leader had…she shuddered at the memory. Del had taken care of that though, but it had taken her a long time to heal. Without thinking, her hand touched her shoulder where the scar from the mad woman’s whip had made a permanent reminder of how their life could go so terribly wrong. Del had saved her then, but he now he was gone and she would have to learn how to be a self-rescuing princess all over again.

    “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean…” Zallie made a motion and the bat-squirrels glided off again to land on another truck. They chittered in concern as Zallie made her way over to her mother and threw her arms around her. Kithera closed her eyes and breathed deeply, smelling the damp and earthy smell of the forest.

    “Why did you close yourself off to The Force?” Zallie asked after a moment.

    Kithera opened her eyes and frowned.

    “Because I don’t need it anymore.”

    “Really?” Her daughter’s voice was sceptical and Kit had to remind herself that a very long streak of Qui-Gon’s practicality ran through her. Lying to Zallie was next to useless, she could always see through the disguise or through the lie to the heart of the matter. Sometimes it was great, but sometimes it meant that it became impossible to lie to yourself as well.

    “No. It was because I couldn’t…I didn’t want to listen to all the melodies of the family and not hear Del.”

    “Ah,” Zallie nodded and released her, “maybe you should open yourself up again. See what it’s telling you.”

    Kithera shook her head. “I know A’radia taught you how to see through the weave of what she’s wrought on these woods, but to me it’s just jumbled noise. I can’t hear anything through it Zee, and to be frank I am just too tired and too sad to try.”

    “For me?” Zallie clasped her hand as the two started making their way further into the forest, the bat-squirrels gliding from tree to tree above them. She didn’t say anything until they reached the witch’s ring of bells. Kithera stood underneath them, remembering the first time that Del had brought her here and how uncomfortable the tiny chimes and the bones and teeth had made her feel. It hadn’t been until several years afterwards that she’d discovered that A’radia, like her mother and grand-mother before her, had become almost a person of folk-lore to the people of the town and that the teeth were left by parents in the hopes that by offering their child’s first baby tooth, the witch would protect them. A'radia took them as a personal promise that if the local people protected her, then she would look after them too.

    Kithera tore her gaze away from the teeth and looked down at the bunches of flowers that the townspeople had also left and the small letters. Each was either an entreaty or an offer of thanks as none of the locals dared entered the field where the house lay. Kit knew A'radia collected the letters each day and tried to answer what she could. She wondered how it would all work if she was gone for a week or more.

    “Looks like A’radia has a lot of work to do,” Zallie said gathering up some of the offerings and the letters, “she is a very talented healer.”

    “If only she could bring back people from the dead,” Kit murmured softly to herself. There was a short barking laugh from Zallie.

    “You never know.”

    Kithera shook her head and frowned almost angry at the sudden flight of fancy.

    “She isn’t that good. No-one is.”

    Her daughter simply shrugged and picked up some more flowers. Kit watched her daughter for a second and then closed her eyes and breathed deeply, slowly and surely taking down the walls that she’d so hastily piled. It was almost the same as the last time she’d had to take down the mental walls she’d so built to protect herself. That day in the Council chambers after her Master had died. That day it been because of the insistence of the Masters led by Mace Windu and it had hurt almost as much as her Master dying. This day she did it more slowly, unpacking it brick by brick, feeling the pain of the emotions she’d kept so carefully hidden wash over her one by one. She sobbed as the bricks came down and felt her daughter slide a comforting hand around her waist.

    “You got his mama.” Zallie whispered. Kithera crumbled onto the forest floor, sobbing as the realisation that she was never going to see her beloved ever again speared through her. The last month of having to be strong, of having to be fine battered against her as the pain, misery and unbearable hurt clutched at her. She tried to breath but her chest ached as if someone was stabbing her with a knife over and over again. She hiccupped and then sobbed even more loudly, feeling Zallie fold her body around her and the soft, flute like call of her daughter’s Force signature embrace her.

    Eventually her breathing eased and she raised a tearful face to see Zallie looking at her sadly.

    “You needed to do that,” her daughter said softly, “even though it hurt. Now we need to find A’radia.”

    Kithera nodded mutely, allowing Zallie to pull her to her feet and following her through the circle and out into the clearing. The Force here was the same twisted cacophony of sound that it always was, but Kit frowned as she thought she caught a familiar jingle from long ago. She glanced across to see someone working, bent backed in A’radia’s vegetable patch.

    “I didn’t think the townspeople ever actually came in the clearing,” she said pointing to where the figure was. Zallie looked over her bundle of offerings and smiled.

    “I think she said she’s got some off-planet guests.”

    “Oh,” Kithera frowned again, “you and A’radia speak often, do you? Thinking of setting yourself up as a witch, were you?” It was a lame attempt at teasing and she well knew it, but her heart wasn't in it for their normal banter.

    “Well,” Zallie gave a tiny shrug, her face looking thoughtful. “I was thinking of it actually. A’radia’s asked me before to be her apprentice and I did some of her work last time I was here, so yeah. Maybe.” Kithera frowned at the concept and her daughter must have caught the sudden fear that flooded her, “but not anytime soon mama. I’m sticking with you and…I mean the Family for a while yet.”

    Kithera nodded bit the inside of her lip, wondering when her little girl had become so grown up.

    “I’m going to drop these in the herb house,” Zallie said holding up a bundle, “I’ll meet you inside.”

    “Sure kiddo,” Kithera said frowning as the music of The Force played that oh so familiar jingle again. She mounted the short set of stairs at the door as the music became louder and more familiar. As she reached the top stairs she gasped, sudden realisation flooding her. She took too faltering steps towards the front door, her hand raised to knock when It was flung open. He stood there in front of her, broad chested and as tall as ever, his face wreathed in it’s normal calm and benevolent smile. She felt her heart skip a beat. He was supposed to be dead. She had seen him die. Why and how had he got here?

    She felt like she couldn’t breath again, like someone had sucked all the air out of the world. Her vision narrowed until she could only see him, a ghost brought back to life. He grinned at her and when his voice came it was a low rumble that took her breath away.

    “Hello little Kit.”

    He caught her as she fell, broad hands sweeping under to catch her. She looked up at him feeling light headed and dizzy. Stars swam before her eyes but she couldn’t tear her gaze away from his face. The music flared brighter and louder than she’d heard in years. When she finally spoke, her voice sounded like it was coming from so far away.

    “Kirshof?”

    And then the world turned black and silent.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2020
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  11. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Fabulous. Love the musical tones first being discordant and then becoming joyful again.
     
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  12. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    And here I was thinking you'd just be stoked that Kirsh isn't quite as dead as Kithera had been led to believe :p I'm glad you liked the musical elements. This next bit has quite a bit of it too :)
     
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  13. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    2nd last bit. Hope people are enjoying it. This has a reference to Snips and Snails and the latest instalment of that. Also I promise I am going to go back and write the meeting between the Family and Amidala. Lastly the wonderful character of T’Lor who is only referenced here doesn't belong to me but to @K'Tai qel Letta-Tanku and is part of the USJS universe.



    *

    Kit shivered as Zallie pushed a warm mug of tea into her hands and Kirsh draped a blanket around her shoulders as she sat propped up on the couch.

    “The tea is just normal tea,” Zallie said answering the unasked question, “not one of A’radia’s prophecy brews.”

    Kithera nodded and took a sip as her daughter perched on one of the arm chairs opposite and watched her with a worried frown.

    “I’m sorry,” Kirsh said softly as he sat down beside her and rested his hand on her knee. “I didn’t think my appearance would literally knock you flat.”

    Kit looked up at him still shivering and smiled.

    “I literally thought you were dead. I’ve thought that for the last twelve months and so to see you suddenly here and alive was…” she paused and took a sip of tea, “…rather unexpected.”

    Kirsh wrapped one arm around her shoulders and hugged her tight to his body. Kithera could feel her body slowly stop shivering under the weight of the bigger Jedi’s arms and listened to the soft healing music that Kirsh seemed to emanate wherever he went. “How did you survive?” She asked eventually, “how did you survive when everyone else died? In that dream I saw the troopers shoot you and you fall.”

    Kirsh gave her another squeeze and then peeled his arm away from her shoulders to rub the bridge of his nose with his fingers, “It’s a rather long story.”

    “Doesn’t mean you can’t tell it,” Kithera said and then looked across at Zallie, “and also how my daughter knew you were here before I did.” Zallie had the good conscious to blush at the quiet rebuke.

    “It was your fault actually,” Kirsh said after a moment with a smile, “remember the whole incident with the box and the Guarlara?” Kithera nodded. That had been twelve years ago although it felt like twice that. She could still remember the day though, and the lunch with Amidala. The future then had seemed so bright and hopeful, before the darkness and the Empire had come.

    “Well at the end of that trip, just before we parted ways, you told me that I was in danger. That solders in white armour would end my life. You said you couldn’t tell me more but that I needed to come here.”

    “I remember,” Kit nodded and raised an eyebrow, “you laughed at me and told me Jedi were always in danger.”

    “Well, yeah.” Kirsh gave a short laugh, “and at the time I believed it. So I ignored it and went about my day. I did that for ten years, going and doing healing work on the outer-rim and figuring that the Jedi Council would eventually see the foolishness of involving themselves in a war about trade and regain their path.”

    “Except they didn’t.”

    “Yeah, they didn’t.” Kirsh sighed, “and then one day a trooper came to find me to tell me to return to the Temple on the Council’s orders and that I was needed for the war effort.” He paused again bit his bottom lip and Kit could see him contemplating what to say next, “that was your soldier in white armour. So I thanked him, and told him I’d come home on my own terms. Which I did, but I stopped here first.”

    “A’radia was waiting for you, wasn’t she?” This time it was Zallie’s turn to interrupt. Kirsh grinned and Kit watched in puzzlement as his face lit up at the mention of the witch’s name.

    “She was. She said she’d been expecting me. Then she made one of those Force awful teas that she brews and by the time I left I was planning on telling the Council everything I knew. But…” His voice trailed away as his shoulders suddenly slumped and his mouth became a thin, narrow line.

    “But you didn’t.” Kit said softly.

    “No, I didn’t.” Kirsh’s hands tensed into fists on his lap and then relaxed, “I realised that they wouldn’t listen anyway. They were so caught up in their war and being on the side of righteousness that they were never going to listen. So I left.”

    “And Jazz, T’lor? Did you warn them?”

    Kirsh shook his head, his face contorting in grief, “I couldn’t. They were already away. Last I heard from Jazz he and his padawan were on the front lines.”

    “and T’lor?”

    He shrugged, “I don’t know where she ended up.”

    The sharp seed of grief that she had been carrying for the last twelve months flowered again in Kit’s chest and she brought one curled fist to her mouth. She already knew they had died. She’d felt it, just as she’d felt the deaths of the thousands of other Jedi through The Force. It had been a cacophony of grief, fear, anger and betrayal that had called out all at once and then was suddenly and irretrievably silenced. It was different though to have it all confirmed by someone she loved and trusted. She gave a sudden sob and then Kirsh was wrapping his arms around her again, gently pulling the cup of tea from her hands. He held her tight to his chest and she could hear his heart beating through the thin fabric of his shirt. He murmured softly and calmly into her ear as she cried for friends and their Masters, for the little initiates, for everyone she had ever known. She cried for the loss of the Temple and the Order and everything that she’d both hated and loved. She cried for Del and the family and the fact that he would miss out on seeing his grandchild born, miss out on seeing the twins and Quin grow into adults, miss out on all the tiny intricacies of life. Eventually the tears slowed and stopped and she slowly unwound herself from Kirsh’s arms.

    "I'm miss them too," Kirsh said, "it took me a long time to come to terms with it and with the fact that I had left them."

    “Where did you go?" Kit asked quietly, "How did you get back here?”

    “Where else was I going to go? I had no way of contacting you and Del and I wasn’t even sure if it was a good idea. A’radia had said that I was always welcome. So, I came back here and waited, and I healed and I grew wiser in The Force.”

    Kithera nodded wondering about the strange confluences of the universe. She stared at Kirsh’s softly smiling face and for a few seconds she debated even asking the question and then she realised she had to know if he had lost the one person he cared about more than anything else.

    “What about Heilan?”

    Kirsh’s smile grew and then he chuckled. Across from her Zallie was grinning madly. Kithera frowned in confusion.

    “What?”

    “You passed him on the way in.” Zallie said with a chortle before slipping off her perch on the couch and making her way into the kitchen. A second later she was back with a jar of biscuits. Kirsh handed Kit back her rapidly cooling tea as she took a biscuit from the jar.

    “I don’t understand,” she said taking a small bite and feeling the rush of sugar from the sweet biscuits that the witch so favoured.

    “Heilan was, unlike every other Jedi, never in any danger. When he passed his trials, the boy went exactly where he had always wanted to go.”

    “Which was?”

    “To the Agricorps.” Kirsh chuckled, “he got what he wanted. He went there and then took a band of those students to worlds where crop blight, or whatever other issues that plants face, was a problem. The Council, as far as I can make out, never recalled him.” Kirsh took a bite of a biscuit. “There isn’t much call for a farmer when a war is on.”

    “And how is he here?” Kit asked still perplexed. She looked across as Zallie. “Why do I get the feeling daughter of mine that both of you are only telling me half the story?”

    “Last month,” Kirsh said softly drawing Kit’s attention back to him, “A’radia had another vision. She said she’d need two Jedi to sort it. So I went and got Heilan. Which was lucky really. I don’t think I could have done what I needed to do without another Jedi.”

    “What did you have to do?”

    “A rescue mission and then some very tricky healing,” Kirsh said with a grin, standing up and brushing the crumbs from his clothes, “of both mind and body. Come, I would like to introduce you to my patient.”

    Kithera stood too, carefully folding the blanket and placing it back onto the couch. Kirsh was grinning at her and she could feel Zallie bouncing from toe to toe behind her.

    “Is that where A’radia is?” Kithera asked softly starting to get slightly irritated by the other two’s apparent glee at her bafflement.

    “Yep, out in the back garden.” Zallie said softly, breathless with excitement, “I saw them as I came in.”

    “Zallie, what’s going on?” Kit said staring at her daughter, her lips pressed together firmly, “I’m not in the mood to play games.”

    “No games Kitkit,” Kirsh said, “come on.” He grabbed her by the hand pulled her through the house and out to the back door. Kithera had only been into A’radia’s garden a handful of times and mostly remembered it as a small vegetable patch and some weedy looking herbs. Now the door opened to a riot of coloured flowers. Bees buzzed and few between them, their legs holding heavy loads of pollen. Many coloured butterflies flew in clouds through the air. Fruit trees arched above and everywhere there was light and colour and movement. It was beautiful but Kithera didn’t notice any of it. The only thing she could see, the only thing she could focus on, was the tall broad-shouldered figure sitting on a chair next to the witch.

    “Don’t faint.” Kirsh whispered. She bounced from one foot to the other as she felt her heart race and the blood rush to her head as her brain struggled to comprehend what she was seeing. “Go to him.” He gave her a tiny push and it was enough. Her feet was suddenly flying across the pebbled pathway, scattering bees and butterflies and creating a storm of petals and leaves. Then she was on him, her hands reaching for his jacket, his arms, his hair. Her mouth was on his, feeling his soft lips beneath hers. Tears ran down her cheeks as she pulled him towards her, holding him so tight that she couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think. Around her The Force roared, a full orchestra of light and noise and melody. She pulled away and found herself staring into his dark brown eyes.

    “I thought I had lost you.” She said breathlessly, “I thought you were gone.”

    “I was,” he said softly, “for a while I was. But now I’m back.”

    He grinned at her, his own face wet with tears. She bent her head and kissed him again, more softly this time. She reached out to wrap him with her song and found a song in return, a tiny, faint refrain where there had never been one before. When the kiss broke she found herself staring at him, feeling confused.

    “Are you sure this isn’t a dream? Are you sure this is real?”

    “I’m real,” he said and grinned at her and then pinched her shoulder gently with one calloused and slightly bandaged hand, “and I love you.”

    She sighed, feeling the world right itself again when she hadn’t even realised how tiptilted it had been. She touched her forehead to his and breathed deeply.

    “You promise?”

    “Rin,” he laughed, “I promise you.”

    She sighed, softly, gently.

    “I love you too Del. I love you always.”
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2020
  14. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    SQUEE! A million million times! :) [face_sigh]
     
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  15. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    I hope the next scene makes you squee even louder!!!! Last bit (well, there is an epilogue too...so...)

    *

    She sat next to him on the bench in the garden and watched the butterflied twirl through the air above them. Her hand rested in his and he drew trails down her palm with his fingertips. Kirsh was walking arm in arm with A’radia as she picked herbs from the garden and further away Kit could see Zallie talking with Heilan in the fields around the house as Blu jumped and snapped at the insects.

    “So tell me again how you escaped?” She asked and then turned and faced him, “and why your ability from The Force decided to come back?”

    “I think it’s was when I was pinned inside the escape pod,” Del said stroking her palm gently, “All I could think about was you and the kids. I knew there was no point screaming, no-one was going to hear me, so I decided to meditate instead.”

    “Meditate?” Her voice sounded sceptical, even to her. He stopped stroking her palm and one eyebrow shot up at her look of disbelief.

    “There was no other choice Rin, I figured I was going to die. Might as well see if I could go peacefully.”

    “So you meditated.”

    “Yes, I meditated and then I must have gone delirious from the pain at some point because I dreamt about you and the kids crying in The Baroness. Then I saw A’radia telling me to hang on and that help was coming soon. My next memory was Kirsh’of and Heilan wrenching the door of the escape pod off. Kirsh said they found me because they could feel a Force signature. Apparently,” Del smiled, “to Kirsh I’m this odd orange-red colour. According to Kirsh the desire to see you all again overrode whatever mental block I'd developed to fend of the Mukdah's all those years ago.”

    “But I didn’t see the escape pod leave,” Kithera frowned ignoring Del’s sudden familiarity with her friend.

    “It’s one of the old ones on the ship, I had filled it with stuff. I wasn’t sure it even worked anymore.”

    “Then why take it all? Why not just come with us?”

    “I needed The Lady to crash Rin. I had information from a source that The Empire was looking for Akiri and The Lady. I needed her to go down and to look like all hands were lost so that their hunt would stop and you could be safe.”

    “You could have told me.” She pouted suddenly annoyed by his lack of trust.

    “And you would have stopped me. She was my ship Rin. She gave me life and so I had to see her to her moment of death.”

    There was a long pause and Kit considered the vessel that saved their lives so many times. It was strange to think of a ship as being alive but somehow, she had been. Imbued with all their lives and hopes and dreams, The Lady had just been another member of the family.

    “I’m just glad you’re safe.” She said after a moment.

    “Almost safe,” Del smiled sadly and looked down at his leg. The new metal limb that replaced his left leg looked odd in the afternoon light, a strange juxtaposition of shiny newness to the ruggedness of the rest of him. “Kirsh said that once the skin goes on you won’t even be able to tell it’s there.”

    “But no more heists.”

    “Well no. None where I need to do any fast getaways, not for a while at least. We need to lay low for a while anyway. Heilan said that the crash site had been visited by Imperials but I just want to make sure.”

    “And Zallie? How come she knew?”

    “Kirsh had been trying to let you know for weeks Rin, but apparently, you cut yourself off from The Force.”

    She sighed in annoyance. “I had to. It was the only way to keep myself sane.”

    “So, he went to see if Zallie could pick up on it. A’radia didn’t have Nicco’s contact and we couldn’t just put an advertisement out across the Universe to see who knew where you were.”

    “You could have…”

    “I wasn’t in any fit state to do anything,” Del sighed, “not for a really long time.”

    “Do the others know?” Kithera said softly after a moment, “Essie was beside herself.”

    “About an hour after you left Kirsh patched them through.” Del grinned as Kithera scowled, “are you grumpy to be the last to know?”

    “Yes. Of course. I’m your partner Del. I am supposed to be the first to know.”

    “I figured you wouldn’t believe anyone until you actually saw me.”

    She harrumphed at him and scowled crossing her arms across her chest.

    “Not the point.”

    “I would have made sure you knew first if you were my wife.” His voice was teasing, gentle.

    She looked at him perplexed, “But I’m not your wife.”

    “But you could be.”

    Then suddenly he was down in front of her, his new leg resting on the ground, his other bent in front of him. Time seemed to slow as he fished into his jacket pocket and brought out a ring box and opened it.

    “That’s the Baroness’ ring!” The words were out of her mouth before he could say anything.

    “It was one of the other things I went back for, yes.” He seemed bewildered that things weren’t going according to plan.

    “You risked your life for a stupid ring? I’m not marrying you with that.” Her voice was angry confusion. Del looked perplexed and hurt all of a sudden. “It’s too much.” She went on gesticulating and ignoring both Del’s expression and the fact that the other four had drawn near, “That would buy another ship twice over.”

    “Oh.” He cast around looking perplexed, “but you will marry me?”

    “Of course, but not with that ring.”

    “Oh.” He fished in his pocket again and brought out a little metal ring. “This is from The Lady. Heilan found it for me when he went to check the crash site.”

    “That’s better.” She nodded her head and then looked expectantly at him. When he said nothing she squared her shoulders, “Well? Are you still going to ask?”

    He grinned at her, not knowing what to do with the quixotic nature of the woman before him, “Kithera Rinani, will you marry me?”

    She grinned as if the last few moments were forgotten.

    “Yes, with all my heart yes.”

    There were whoops and cheers from the others as she pulled Del to his feet and embraced him as he slipped the tiny, piece of scrap metal around her finger. Above them the butterflies soared and it was beautiful.
     
  16. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_laugh] [face_laugh] She is incredible. I love her range of moods in just about a minute's interval. [face_love] I am touched that she doesn't need a fancy ring at all. :)
     
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  17. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    Yeah, I think that's me coming out in Kit a bit. It's something that she's kept from USJS and definitely used to be a descriptor of teenage me (and occasionally adult me). The flipping rapidly between emotions is something that made her really struggle as a Jedi, particularly in an Order that likes it's peace, calm and consistency!
     
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  18. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    Last bit. I wrote this a dozen different ways in my head and then when is sat down this evening none of them worked. I'm not happy with this at all, but I hope it's still okay.

    If you've been silently reading this, please say hello. Also thank you @WarmNytoa_SweetAyesha for your unfailingly wonderful feedback that always brightens my day.

    *
    Epilogue

    Kithera looked over the crowd and smiled as she leant her head against Del’s chest as they danced. The wedding had gone off without a hitch, a late afternoon celebration on the shore of the wide bay that she’d seen so long ago when they’d first made their way to The Bower. Del had been healing nicely, and although his metal leg still needed some tweaking, but Kirsh had said he’d hang around until it was mended. Kithera giggled as Del spun her out and across the dance floor. Above them the lights that been strung up between the long driftwood struts jiggled and twinkled. It had all come together as they’d made their way home. Cheryl, Gazz’a’s wife, had been almost overwrought at the idea of trying to provide food for a wedding which was going to be attended by nobility. That had disappeared the moment that Eena and her army of daughters and daughter-in-laws had arrived laden with food. Cheryl had apparently been amazed that the R'gomaiwhenua of Ai'Nalani, or the Queen as Cheryl had labelled her, had turned out to be a short and rather to the point lady who wielded the skills of her daughters like Kit wielded a lightsabre. F’kisi and his cousins had built the pagola and the tables that groaned under the weight of his food. The whole thing had come together with a breath-taking seamlessness that Kit was still marvelling at.

    “Are you happy my love?” Del asked quietly.

    “More than I can say,” Kithera grinned. The music of The Force was a powerful but loving wave that had been washing over her all day. It was almost impossible to feel anything else.

    “Have I told you that you look beautiful?”

    “It’s the dress. Your daughter has outdone herself.”

    Kithera looked down at the sparkly long, silver dress. It had been Estra who had expressed horror when Kit said she’d get married in her fighting leathers because it was the only thing she had left. Estra had thrown a fit about the Gazz’a had brought it out of The Bower explaining that he wasn’t sure where it had come from or how old it was. Estra had declared it perfect and then spent the next four days fixing and changing it so that it would fit.

    “She’s pretty amazing,” Del said looking around as he twirled her out across the floor again, “but I can’t see her anywhere.”

    Kithera grinned.

    “Oh, did no-one tell you?” She asked. Del’s eyes narrowed.

    “Tell me what?”

    “Essie went into labour about two hours ago. Just after dinner actually.”

    Del stopped stock still on the dance floor, his eyes going wide.

    “Really? Why didn’t you tell me?”

    “Didn’t want to distract you.” Kithera said poking out her tongue, “plus I figured that it if I told you, you’d want to rush straight to her side. Which is what Essie figured too, and so she said not to tell you.”

    “But what if she’s in trouble.”

    “Del!” Kithera was almost laughing now, her face twitching in delight, “she has two Jedi healers and a witch with her. Plus F’kisi and that boy would fight anyone or anything to make sure his wife and the mother of his daughter is okay.”

    “It’s a girl?” Del was barely breathing, “how do you know?”

    Kithera frowned in puzzlement and then giggled. “One Jedi, two Jedi healers. I’ve known for months. I’m sure if you try your very rusty skills you’ll know it too.”

    Del frowned and then closed his eyes, after a moment he opened her and sighed in exasperation. Kithera’s mouth twisted in sympathy.

    “It’ll get stronger and you’ll learn to use it again. Trust me, we’re in this together.”

    “And that’s why I love you,” he said pulling her close, “always willing to keep going no matter what.”

    “Cake time?” Quin said bouncing up to them. The tiny girl was brimming with excitement, she’d even allowed Zallie to put a couple of pretty, jewelled clips in her short-cropped hair. Kithera looked across to where the twins were standing next to the large, multi-tiered pavolva that Cheryl had made.

    “You organise everyone and we’ll be there soon,” Kit said. She pulled Del to her.

    “I did get you a wedding present you know,” she said softly.

    “Oh?” She could see Del only half-listening to her as he watched his youngest daughter try and organise the crowd.

    “I got Gazz’a to split up the Baroness’ ring.” Kit said quietly, “and then I sold him one of the diamonds.”

    “Oh?” Del looked down at her, “why did you do that?”

    “Well, I know that this planet is important to you and I've loved the bay since I first came here. So I bought that strip of land off him,” Kit let one of Del’s arms go to point at where the bay ended and the narrow, densely wooded land at the end of the curve. “That’s ours. Eena said that we can use her boys to build the house as her family’s gift to us.”

    “And the other stones?” Kit could feel Del’s music change in The Force as she spoke. The tilting and slightly sad music that she’d come to know over the last couple of weeks after so many years of silence had suddenly smoothed and flattened into a quietly calm melody.

    “I gave one to Nicco,” Kithera said, “He and Bryer are going to buy you a ship with it.” She held up a hand to Nicco said that you are not allowed to go with them. He wants to make sure that checks the electrics without you deciding that you will just do with a ‘fixer-upper’. The last set of smaller stones we'll keep for now.”

    Del frowned and went to say something but Quin was back boucing from foot to foot.

    “Come on, you’re taking forever.”

    He shook his head quietly and Kit scrunched her nose.

    "You can't fight me on this," Kit said, "it's already done."

    “You're completely incorrigible," he scolded but his voice and his smile betrayed his words. "And I'm not going to fight you, but this isn’t over.”

    “No,” Kithera said thinking back to the last time she had heard that phrase, all those years ago, “it’s really, actually just beginning.”

    She smiled at him again and then stood on her tip toes to kiss him gently, as The Force swelled around them, filled with love, and music and joy.
     
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  19. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Fantastic blend of joy and love. The new ship and the purchase of a home-place besides the birth of Estra's daughter just rounds it out and makes the day perfect.
     
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  20. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Caught up with this at last—a near-miraculous escape for Del and a beautiful and touching reunion story for him and his beloved Kit'! [face_love] I love that almost all their kids seem to know all about their Da's survival before Kit did—as if they were orchestrating the surprise of the reunion just so, which they kind of did! ;) This is not to minimize the loss of the Lady, that ship that has been the home to the whole Family and especially more than a home to Del—but he did what he did precisely for the love of both that Lady and the real flesh-and-blood lady he's loved for so long (I love the that title refers to both). And even though it may mean "no more heists," it turns out to lead the way toward Kit and Del embarking on a new kind of commitment and closeness in marriage. Really, it's lovely and fun to see the entire Family at this older, more mellowed-out stage: all the kids grown and excelling, tiny little Quin at twelve, Zallie with her own pet feboar hunter (is Blu an offspring of Gazza's Red? ;) ), Estra becoming a mother, and of course a brand spanking new ship to be their own! The adventure really is just beginning, for them and for us—and thank you so much for this new beginning with us! =D=
     
  21. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Oh, but I just LOVED this story! What a wonderful answer to the challenge, and another fine addition to your Family of Scoundrels Saga. [face_love]

    Ouch ouch ouch! What a way to open up on such a heartrending note as this. I was fully immersed in the action, and could feel Kit's desolation and pain. This line of prose, in particular, really struck me.

    True words! I wanted to shake Del here, oh yes I did!

    Ha! Out of the mouth of babes. Quin knows what's what. A sign that she's been raised right. [face_mischief]

    Beautiful. [face_love] As heartbreaking as the family's grief is, these moments of comfort and mutual leaning on each other were touching to read. I especially love Estra realizing how much she loves her 'mom and dad.'

    Zallie! I loved this description of her. And her 'menagerie' of pets! I can only imagine by now. :p

    Speaking of the kids knowing what's what . . . [face_mischief] [face_whistling] If I wasn't already reasonably assured of Del's fate from the beginning, this would have given me a sneaking suspicion, yes siree it would!

    I could SO see Qui-Gon in this too. [face_love]

    Oh, oh! I have to echo @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha's absolute SQUEE!

    The music of the Force reaching its crescendo was particularly well portrayed for dramatic effect here, too. Top tier writing, all! =D=

    This part really hit me hard. =(( Having thought Del dead and finding him again is only the latest hardship Kit has suffered in life - and Del too. They have so much to mourn, and, through necessity, haven't really yet allowed themselves to process their grief properly. This was touchingly cathartic, this small healing of such a large grief. (And I am glad that I am not the only one inspired to write a somewhat angtsy OTP story for this challenge. Sometimes the angst just makes the mush shine that much brighter in comparison. ;) [face_love])

    Oh! =(( Like the Falcon and Enterprise and Serenity, the Lady really was more than a ship! I have to echo the others, and agree with how much I love that your title was as much for the Lady as it was for Kit. Really clever play on words! [face_love]

    Aw! What a perfectly in character proposal. [face_love] I squeed again, I'm not gonna lie. :p

    Ha! I LOVED this! [face_rofl] [face_love]

    Oh! [face_love] HOW PERFECT!!

    Of course Kit would have gotten married in her leathers. :p I'm glad that Estra has superb fashion sense, though. The dress - and the entire wedding, and the grandbaby!!! - was all so lovely. This really is just the beginning of the rest of their lives, as Kit so perfectly expressed - a milestone in more ways than one! [face_love]

    What a perfect way to end the story! Love and music and joy, indeed. [face_love]


    I can't say, again, how much I enjoyed this story. It really was a fantastic answer to the challenge, and I thank you for sharing! [face_love] =D=


    ~ MJ
    @};-
     
  22. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Great story, suspected the entire time that Del was indeed alive. :)
     
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