Title: From Slavery to Aristocracy Authors: Adalia Durron, Anedon Characters: Marie Firestone, Adrian Malek, others Genre: Romance, family, drama Timeline: Legends after LotF Summary: After serving together in the Second Galatic Civil War Marie and Adrian visit each others homeworlds and work on their relationship Author's Note: Written for the OTP Challenge #13, City Mouse and Country Mouse. Marie Firestone and Adrian Malek both come from the "The Last Stand" rpg but the story can be read as a standalone. Thanks to my co author and beta @Adalia-Durron for doing this with me. Chapter One Marie had spotted Adrian immediately upon entering the Mess hall on Hawkbat base. Who was he? Where'd he come from? How did he fit in to all this? Were the first questions rolling through her mind, followed by 'Wonder if he's single?'. Marie hadn't openly sought a relationship for a very long time, she was Dathomirian, and the men on her world were less to her liking. She'd spent too much time off world out in the Galaxy in her past , and the 'submissive and obedient' men she'd been raised with no longer held her attention. Within minutes she'd offered to 'buy' him from his older sister in a tongue in cheek move to get attention. A move that got his attention for sure. She then assisted him in cooking a meal, he could cook, another plus. So their time had progressed together and the longer they spent in each others company the more she found herself feeling closer and closer to him. He was younger, but that mattered little to her, or him so it seemed. They'd done their duty and now she found herself flying her X Wing with his similar ship on her port wing, approaching her home world of Dathomir. She wanted him to see what she did, who she was and if he could cope now he'd left the Military. She had a successful business, and if they were to work, he needed to know more. Adrian was a bit nervous as he saw Dathomir growing larger and larger in the window of his cockpit. When he had been a boy his sister had sometimes scared him by telling stories of how the witches of Dathomir would take naughty little boys back to their world and keep them as slaves forever. The type of stories an older sister might make up to scare her younger brother. But when he had grown up and learned more about the galaxy he had found out that there was at least some truth in them. And then he had meet Marie, the attractive, confident warrior woman who had expressed an interest in him from their very first meeting an interest he had soon returned. Unlike many of the noble women on Eriadu Marie was honest and upfront about her feeling, not trying to pretend something as part of a political maneuver. She was just herself and confident in what she was. Over the course of the war they had continued to spend more and more time together and grown closer and closer. And now that the war was over and there was no one ordering them around anymore they had come here, to the world of his sisters scary stories. She'd made contact with her home base, a smile touched her lips as she knew he'd be impressed by her base. Marie left the GA service 10 years before and coming back to Dathomir with knowledge of how the galaxy worked had been her saving grace. She'd opened a small mechanical repair business as she'd learned so much with the Shadow Sabers and could rebuild most ships with her own hands. With the planet opening up to commerce and trade her skills became very much required and her small business was straining to keep up. It occurred to her that it was time her world moved with the 'times' as such as she herself knew males were much more intelligent and had the ability to learn as women did. So in an unprecedented move, she took on two young men and began to teach them her skills. She received death threats, was ostracized by her peers, but she knew she was on the right path. The Force had told her. Two men, who she paid, turned to four, then six and now she currently had 10 young Mechanics in her service all paid workers with skills to match her own. She'd even left one of them in charge when she'd left Dathomir to heed Kyp Durron's call to help his now wife Adalia. Off worlders had no issues with him, locals did, but business was mostly off world ships so it mattered little to her. Lowering through the atmosphere and the light cloud cover she could see the rock outcrop near the newly established space port where her home was. She opened a channel to Adrian. "Look forward around 5 o'clock, the rock outcrop. There's a platform on top. That's where we're heading." She had decided he needed a new callsign, but hadn't come up with it as yet. It would come to her in time, so for now she stuck to her GA training and used no name. "Alright," Adrian replied, a bit surprised at how modern the spaceport below them looked. He had always imagined Dathomir as a backwater of the galaxy, mostly inhabited by barbaric tribes, and from what he had heard that was at least partially true but at least here, the modern world had reached the planet. Maneuvering his craft close to the platform he allowed Marie to land first before placing his X-Wing next to her´s on the platform. Before leaving he turned around to the droid on his back. "Would suggest you stay with the ship for now, will get you later." R7 gave him an agreeing bleep and Adrian began climbing out of his cockpit, curious to what would await him. She touched her craft down lightly and watched as he did the same. 'He can fly' she mused, another assert she admired about him. She did wonder about the age difference between them, she'd not addressed it as yet, but she knew he was younger. How much was yet to be discussed. It amused her the subject had never been approached, but there was a part of her that feared everything would change if it was out there. Popping her canopy she stood and removed her helmet, placing it on the floor before looking around for her ground crew chief. She smiled as the young man approached. "Davron! Good to see you!" she called as he pushed a ladder to her ship. "How have things been going?" The mans dark eyes gazed up at his employer, or in his mind his emancipator. "As good as when you left Boss." he said with a warm smile. "Usual protests, but we've all being doing well. How about you?" he glanced at the other ship as it opened, "We getting more employees?" he asked as the man stood and disembarked his own craft. Marie hit the ground and shook her head. "No, a ............friend." It wasn't a lie. He looked back with raised eyebrows. "A mate?" he hissed. "You've found a mate?" "SHSHSH, that's not what its called out there!" she whispered back as she pointed upward. "At this point he's a friend........" she shrugged. "Aiming for more, but not Dathomirian style!" Davron smirked. "Well, I had best watch and learn, as no one here will ever look at me again!" he turned and watched the new comer approach. Adrian approached Marie and the young man she was talking to. The stranger at least didn't look like a slave and the way he and Marie talked was that of friends. He offered his hand to the other man, "Adrian Malek I'm Marie's... friend." he said a bit awkwardly, while scolding himself for being so formal again. But this was a strange world and he was unsure what was expected of him. Davron looked at the mans hand, then to Marie with a quizzical expression. Marie shook her head. "Men here don't shake hands, its a show of equality and that's still not acceptable around here, yet." She shrugged, "Still working on it." Adrian raised an eyebrow and for a second fought his own impulse to simply take the other mans hand. "I see," he said slowly, wondering what other things he considered normal would be inappropriate here. He gave the young man a friendly smile as to apologize for getting him into this situation. "What's your name then? Have you been working for Marie for long?" "I'm Davron, I run this place when Marie's isn't here, but don't tell the locals that." the dark eyed man stated. "Been here about 9 standard years. I was her first." he explained. Her first? For a second Adrian felt... jealousy? The way Davron said it was a bit vague but Adrian calmed himself down, it probably didn't mean what he had thought for a moment. He turned to Marie, "So the locals have a problem with you letting men run your business?" Marie lowered her gaze, she'd felt a wave of emotion from him and it amused her before she snorted. "The locals have a problem with men having any sort of responsibility. See here, men are the lower class citizens, designated to servitude and ......" She smirked and looked away. "Breeding purposes." She looked back. "Keep this in mind when you meet my mother." So it is indeed true, Adrian thought. But it also seemed that Marie disagreed with her worlds practices with what she did here. "My father was one of the first Eriaduans to employ non humans in a position higher than normal workers, got a lot of push back for that as well." He said after a moment and his admiration for Marie grew as he realized what she was doing for people like Davron. Then he gulped, "Your mother?!" Marie grinned "Yeah, my mother." She began to walk toward the staircase downwards. "My father died many years ago, an accident in the construction of a local home. Before you go all 'I'm sorry' don't be, I never knew him. It's the way here, not the way I approve of, but changing the 'world' as it were is a slow process." She gestured for him to follow as she began to descend. Adrian followed Marie down the stairs. The almost callousness with which she mentioned her father's death shocked him a bit but he understood why she thought that way. "Yeah, most people are resistant to change," he agreed. "My parents have spent the latter half of their lives changing things on our homeworld and achieved so little in many ways." They entered a large room with a lounge and view screen on one side and a table and chairs on the other. The entire room had been carved from the rock. Marie spread her arms. "Welcome to my home." "Wow," Adrian was impressed, after all the simple military quarters of the last months this place had character and a simple beauty to it. "Did you build that all by yourself?" She visibly blushed. "No, my mother had her...." She looked away, this was where things got strange, "males build it for me." She turned to him. "Look I have to tell you, my mother doesn't approve of what I do, how I treat men and how I want to change things. She is not going to like you, its that simple. In her mind, you're a servant and if you speak out of turn she will want to have you beaten." She shook her head, "I don't agree with it, but she is my mother." "So you want me to act as your servant in front of her?" There was no anger in his voice, but maybe disappointment that he had to pretend something he was not. She spun to him. "HELL NO!!" she was shocked he'd ever suggest that. Stepping closer she place her hand on his chest. "Just be you, please. If she has an issue, let me deal with her." Adrian took Marie's hand and gave her a smile. Glad to have just misunderstood her. "Then I will, guess we've survived worse together." Her heart was racing now, there'd been many opportunities but she'd never taken them. He'd never taken them either, she'd noticed that. Was this another of those opportunities? We're they both about to let it pass? No, this was her territory, she saw it as her ground, therefore her decision to make. She leaned forward in an instant, closing her eyes and pressed her lips to his as she'd wanted too for sometime now. In the first moment Adrian was surprised at Marie's action. Even though he had dreamed of this for a long time, he had never found the courage to do it, always worried about what might go wrong if he tried. But then he leaned into the kiss as well as he returned it, enjoying the shivers it send down his spine. She broke it off, but did not move away and keeping her eyes closed, her lips centimeters from his. "That....was nice." she whispered as the churn in the pit of her stomach continued. "I'd like to do that more." "MARIE FIRESTONE!" A strong female voice spoke from the nearby door way. She groaned outwardly. "My mother." For a second Adrian froze in terror, as he heard the voice call him and Marie. A part of him wanted to cower down or try to find an excuse but he remembered Marie's words and fought that cowardly part of his down. Instead he met the older woman´s gaze with a confident but hopefully not too aggressive look. Marie turned. "Mother. I don't recall inviting you into my home." she said firmly standing in front of Adrian. "You did not, but I do not need your permission, I am your mother and the family Matriarch." The tall muscular woman strode into the room, wearing traditional skin armour that reflected a range of colours, a cape flowing behind. "And who have you brought home? Did you buy yourself a mate?" she began to circle the couple and as she rounded them she prodded the young male between the shoulder blades. "A rather healthy looking specimen, good shoulders. He will work well in the fields." she stated. Adrian tried his best not to flinch as Marie´s mother touched him like a piece of meat. He didn't want to look weak or submissive but also worried that he could escalate the situation if he behaved too cheeky. "Adrian Malek, I've been traveling with Marie for some time now. And in regards to the fields I can only say that I think it would be a gratuitous waste of my skills." Adrian bit himself on the lip for the last part, he hadn't intended for it but the way Marie´s mother treated him had provoked him. Marie lowered her eyes and smiled, this was what she wanted. She sensed her mothers intent, it was to make the man feel uncomfortable, she knew he was an offworlder and unfamiliar with their ways. "Tell me Adrian Malek, what would be your skills then?" The older woman stopped in front of the couple. "Mother, that is none of your business." Marie lifted her chin slightly as she spoke. "I'll ask you to not touch him." Chalise Da Chume stopped, she looked her daughter up and down as a wicked smile touched her lips. "Oh I see, you have discovered his talents. Well done daughter." She folded her arms over her skin armour, a wry smile touched her lips. "Finding a breeder that shows potential and skill in that area is a rare find indeed. I hope he brings you many daughters." "MOTHER!!! That is enough!" Marie snapped as she stepped forward. "Please leave, I will see you later." she said firmly. For a moment Adrian was caught in between anger and embarrassment at the older woman´s words. It truly seemed that at least with some Dathomirians his sisters stories where accurate. "I´m not here just to impregnate your daughter," he said heatedly. "Things like that are our decision, not yours." He had gone too far he knew had escalated the situation, said more than he should have. Marie turned and put her hand on his chest with a look she hoped he understood as she thought 'No more'. She turned back and noted her mothers eyes widened. "He dares speak to me like that?!" Chalise growled. "MOTHER! That is enough! I asked you to leave my home, who I have here is my business." Marie stood her ground. "I will go, only because I do not wish to be in the presence of this disrespectful male. He may have the skills you look for in your bed chamber but he needs to learn his place!" she spun, whipping her cape around as she strode from the room. Marie's shoulders slumped, she didn't want to face him. She could feel his confusion and as they'd only moments before shared their first kiss, the implications her mother had just made were nothing short of embarrassing. Could their new found relationship stand her mother? Could it stand Dathomir. What if she couldn't work on his world? Adrian carefully place his hand on Marie's shoulder, she had turned away from him guilt overcame him. "I'm sorry, I... I shouldn't have escalated things by being so rude to your mother." He knew that Marie and her mother didn't saw eye to eye on many things but that didn't make him feel better. She shook her head. "I had planned to prepare you for her, I didn't know she was coming here." she said quietly. "And you know what?" she turned to him. "I think that's it. Lets get some food, change and cleaned up and head to Eriadu. Maybe your family won't be as horrific as mine." she stepped closer and lifted her brown eyes to his. "Hold me please?" Adrian carefully placed his arms around Marie's shoulder. "It's okay, my father would say that´s just who she is, was raised to be." He couldn't believe he defended the woman who had just treated him as nothing more than a slave, but remembered his fathers words to try and see the best in people and be understanding instead judgmental. "My family might be, but the rest?" He muttered more to himself than anyone else. Eriadu´' nobility with their deadly intrigues and plots and extreme arrogance to anyone not of their kind where their own nightmare. She put her head on his shoulder and felt safe, something she'd always believed she was and needed no one to make her feel that way. She was wrong. Placing her palms on his shoulder she breathed deeply letting it out slowly. His scent, his breathing, his touch. Yes she was safe, she didn't care about anyone else right now. Marie curled her fingers, grasping at his shirt as she stood there, she was fighting her own desire again. She'd been doing it for a while now, since she'd met him. Her upbringing was fighting with her knowledge, her mother raised her to 'take the males' she wanted, and something had always felt wrong about that. Once she'd gone off world at 16, she knew she was right and had learned very fast the men of the galaxy in many cultures were equals, but many more had them as superior. She'd learned to fly, become a fighter pilots, fought in the Vong War with The Wild Knightz and the Shadow Sabers, with men. She knew the truth now, yet her upbringing kept coming back to her and there were fleeting moments when she wondered how he'd react to her instincts. She released him and stepped back. "I need to clean myself up, please make yourself comfortable while I bathe." She murmured, avoiding his gaze for fear of him seeing her desire, no, it'd become more. Turning she left through another doorway that led to her bedchamber and a refresher, she needed a cold sanistream she decided, one that would cool the Dathomirian Warrior Woman inside her. After Marie had left Adrian sat back and closed his eyes for a moment, reflecting on what had just happened. How he and Marie had finally been able to kiss each other, how her mother had interrupted them, how her provocations had caused him to escalate the situation even further, how Marie had asked him to hold her after her mother had left. He felt save with her, even though this was a dangerous planet to be on he knew she would protect him like she did from her mother. Chalise Da Chume was enraged. How dare her daughter bring an offworlder home, how dare he even speak in her presence let alone with such strength and as an equal? This would not do, her very reputation in the Misty Falls Clan depended on it. She'd sent for three of her most powerful males and a trusted warrior woman, and now she stood before her window gazing at the Waterfalls that gave the clan its very name. "Da Chume Firestone? You called for us." A strong female voice spoke as Chalise turned. "I did." She glanced at the men around her trusted body guard. "Thank you for coming so far Zarinee. There is a man in my daughters home, an offworlder who she has brought home to offend me. I need you to take him silently without my daughters knowledge and bring him to the Trade Circle this afternoon. Do you understand?" Zarinee gave a half smile. "Consider it done Da Chume Firestone." She inclined her head and led the men away toward Marie's residence.