Title: Forefathers´Eve Author: Anedon Timeframe: 35 ABY Characters: Gaven Seral, Nev (OCs) Summary: While they pay respect to the gods of their home both Gaven and Nev deal with their feelings for each other. Both Gaven and Nev are major characters in my fic Attonement and its sequel Forgiveness. This story is kind of a prequel but can be read completly independent from my other stories. Great Thanks to divapilot for the beta and for convincing me to post it on the boards. Forefathers´ Eve, 35 ABY, Dearan Nev watched Gaven, she watched as her friend walked slowly through the staircases that had gathered around the old ruin. The building had once been oval shaped with a floor that was lower in the middle than at the walls. Several sets of steps were carved into the rock leading down to a small deep oval in the middle. There Nev could see the altar, an old piece of pure white stone in which runes were carved, and on it there was a fire bowl. Around the altar four priests, two men and two women, knelt, their heads bowed towards it. It was quiet as Gaven slowly walked towards them, and the people on the ranks stepped aside respectfully as he moved forward. He took his time, his grey eyes wandering across the ranks over the hundreds of faces there. For a second his eyes found Nev´s and she gave him a short smile. He returned it to her but then he looked away, almost guiltily. Nev was surprised by the silence around them. All these people -villagers, tribesmen, soldiers, even the priests- they all waited for Gaven to take his place in the first line directly next to the altar. She could feel the aura of respect. When Gaven finally took his place, the silence became even deeper. Nev looked across the faces of the assembled. Most of them were humans but she also saw a few aliens, their faces enlightened by the shine of the torches. Then after minutes of silence the priests rose from their kneeling positions. They stepped towards the altar, raising their hands towards the sky. The building had lost whichever roof it might have had in the past a long time ago and above them Nev could see the stars. They reminded her of her childhood, before all of this had happened when she and Gaven had lain next to each other below the heavens. This happened less than twenty years ago but it felt as if it had happened in the dawn of the galaxy. Again she concentrated on the ritual. The priests had started to utter a sermon of words in a language she didn´t understand. Nev had never been very religious herself; she believed in friendship and a good blaster instead of old spirits. But these were the gods of the Teris sector, the gods of her home. She was here to pay respect to the traditions and to the dead. The Forefather´s Eve was the day of remembrance of mourning and while the priests continued their sermon Nev bowed her head with the others and thought of the people she had lost. She remembered her parents and asked herself what they would think if they could see their daughter in this moment. Would they be proud of her? Her parents had taught her that she should always defend those who were weaker than her. Wasn’t that what she had done in the last years? Defending the helpless. She also thought back to the friends, friends who had fought at her side and who had fallen there, some even in her arms. Tears run over her face when she remembered, but Nev remained silent. She looked at Gaven. His face was almost emotionless. Her friend stared at the fire on the altar as if he couldn´t even hear the priests around him. Nev knew this look She had seen it more and more in the last twenty-three years since her parents had been killed, and it made her sad. A part of her wished he would be here with her. Like her Gaven wasn´t a believer in spirits but he was their leader and many looked up to him. The priests had offered Nev a place right next to him but she had declined; this wasn´t her religion and she had preferred to keep a clear head during the ceremony. The chance for an attack was low but there. The priests finished their speech and two of them started to add additional wood to the fire, while the other two took each a golden goblet filled with a dark liquor. One of them knelt before Gaven and offered him the goblet. Slowly Gaven took it. He lead it to his lips before taking a short ship. Then he offered the goblet to the woman next to him and she took it. The additional wood made the fire burn brighter and more smoke filled the bottom of the room but Nev saw the emotionless face of her best friend. He was the warrior again, the leader. It was a mask, a mask he used to hide his feelings behind a mask of duty. Many admired Gaven for his strength, his courage, and his ability to lead. But Nev knew that sometimes the mask broke and revealed the man behind it. His good heart, his gentle words when he comforted her, his careful and almost shy way of expressing his feelings, his honest and true friendship. This was the man Nev admired, the man she loved. Sometimes she wished nothing more than admit her feelings for him, to convince him to leave the fighting and the dying behind. But she couldn´t. Many people put their hopes in them. She, Gaven and the other members of the militia were the only ones that protected the Teris sector from the pirates. If they would leave Nev knew many innocents would suffer and she knew that her happiness was a small sacrifice for keeping them safe. Maybe one day, when the fighting was over, but only the gods knew when that would be. Later, when the ceremony was over and Gaven sat on the outer staircase of the ruin watching on the people below him. Music filled the night around him. The Forefathers 'Eve was a moment of mourning, a moment of respect for the dead, but now as it was over the celebration had begun. Gaven saw the locals and his men celebrating on the fields before him. He saw a young man asking a woman do dance with him and his eyes followed them as they went to the glade where other young couples were already dancing. A part of Gaven wished nothing more than to join them. To just go down there and enjoy the warm night, to dance with Nev on the grass until the sun rose again. Gaven shook his head and tried his best to ignore the thought. He had a duty to fulfill. With a sigh he again took the data pad, he had brought with him, into his hands and read. It was a report about the events in the main parts of the galaxy, about the great war that had killed billions of people there. In the Teris sector they had heard about the Yuzzan Vong but not a single one of them had ever come here nor had Gaven ever seen the worlds mentioned in it. But he needed to know what was happening in the main galaxy when he wanted to contact the Jedi. The plan had been in his mind for a while now. He knew that he and his small group where too weak to crush the pirates on their own. They needed allies. His thoughts finally left the topic and drifted through the night. He looked over the glade and searched for Nev. He hoped she enjoyed herself, and maybe she would even dance with one of the young men down there. This though made Gaven´s feel horrible. "Who is Jacen Solo?" Gaven looked up. Nev stood above him and looked at the data pad on his lap. She smiled. "A Jedi," Gaven answered and scolded himself for letting his thoughts leave the pad. "Do you want to dance?" she suddenly asked him. A part of Gaven had dreamed of this for the entire evening. He knew, he wanted nothing more than go down there and be with Nev. But he had a duty to fulfill, a duty to his men and to the Teris sector. He looked in Nev´s face and searched for words that wouldn´t hurt her. When he looked into her face he saw happiness in it. Since their parents had died such moments of happiness had become rare among them. He returned her smile. He could allow himself a dance, he guessed. The night would still last for hours so he would have time to read later. "Sure," he said and stood up. Nev gave him a hug before they slowly walked down to the glade next to each other. When they stood on the grass among the other couples Gaven hesitated for a moment but Nev gently took his hand and he followed her. While they danced many of the sorrows that plagued him left his mind and his thoughts became clearer. He completely followed Nev as she led them through the other couples. As time went on they remained on the field, together. Both of them smiled at the other. Gaven enjoyed every moment of it and for the first time in decades he felt completely happy, and he saw that Nev felt the same. Later when the two of them lay next to each other below the stars they again talked to each other like when they did when they were children. Gaven remembered the promise that he had given Nev, that they would one day see the galaxy together. Maybe when the war was over, Gaven thought, as he looked at Nev. Maybe then I will be able to give her the kiss she deserves. The kiss I´ve wanted to give her since we were children.