Saga - PT Gifts of the Sages or Storytime with Younglings (a Fic Gift for Raissa Baiard)

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

  1. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Force Ghost star 5

    Jun 19, 2019
    Title: Gifts of the Sages or Storytime with Younglings

    Author: devilinthedetails

    Characters: Jocasta Nu; Caleb Dume; OC's.

    Genre: Humor; Fluff.

    Timeline: Saga-PT.

    Summary: When her fellow archivist is ill, Jocasta Nu must offer storytime to a clan of curious Jedi younglings.

    Gift-Fic Note: Written for @Raissa Baiard in fulfillment of the following wish:

    "A story in which Jocasta Nu has to take over youngling story-time. By the end of the story she should have some warm, fuzzy feelings about the younglings, despite their interruptions. The younglings should not include young Ahsoka or Baby Yoda, but bonus points if a young Caleb Dume appears."

    Happy holidays to @Raissa Baiard! Thank you for the opportunity to explore both the prickly and the soft side of Jocasta Nu. I really enjoyed writing this story for you, and I hope you get as much joy out of reading it. I tried to make it humorous and light-hearted because of the rough year we've all had!

    Author's Note: The inspiration for the story Jocasta Nu shares with the younglings is "Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry, one of my favorite short stories. I thought it would make a good theme for a festive gift-fic.

    Gifts of the Sages or Storytime with Younglings

    Five minutes before her alarm should’ve awoken her, Jocasta was startled from her sleep by the ringing of her comlink.

    She answered with a sharp, pointed demand because it was too early to fake pleasantries, “What is it?”

    “I’ve got a sore throat.” The voice of her fellow archivist, Ta’nara, sounded scratchy and stuffy. “I won’t be able to make it into the Archives today. Got to see the healers instead.”

    “I’m sorry to hear that.” Jocasta was truly sorry to hear that. Ta’nara, a Twilek, was the archivist who specialized in children’s services. She was responsible for overseeing the youngling storytimes with their annoying songs, exaggerated finger puppet shows, and crafts that could spread sticky glue all over the holobooks if a constant vigilance was not maintained over the rambunctious younglings at all times.

    On a normal day, or what passed for a normal day in the Archives, Jocasta only had to handle the questions and problems posed by adult Jedi and Padawans who at least were old enough to be sufficiently intimidated into being appropriately deferential to the knowledge and authority she projected.

    This wasn’t shaping up to be a normal day, however. A point Ta’nara drove home with her next words: “There is a clan of younglings coming in at midday for a storytime. I’ve got the holobook I was going to read them on my desk. Could you read it to them for me?”

    A request to which Jocasta could only agree with something less than good grace. “I can.”

    “You’re the best.” As usual, Ta’nara was oblivious to the grumpiness in Jocasta’s manner and effusive in her compliments. She was, Jocasta thought, eternally effusive about everything. It must have come with being an archivist for younglings. If any career could cultivate a false sense of excitement, that could. Jocasta was, not for the first time, grateful that she had chosen the more staid profession of being an archivist for fully-grown Jedi. “Thank you.”

    Jocasta made a noncommittal grunt that functioned as both a “you’re welcome” and “goodbye” as Ta’nara ended the comlink call with a click.

    After that bit of bad news, there was no point trying to get even a minute more sleep. Resigning herself to the prospect of a midday storytime with snot-nosed, sticky-handed younglings, Jocasta rolled out from beneath her blanket with a sigh and began the process of dressing and preparing for another day in the Archives.

    In the Archives, after restoring some titles that had been put in the wrong places on the shelves to their proper locations, straightening the chairs around the tables, and ensuring that all the data terminals had switched on automatically as they were supposed to do when she unlocked the Archives, Jocasta crossed to Ta’nara’s desk.

    On the top of a pile of flimsi was the holobook Ta’nara had evidently intended to read to the younglings that afternoon entitled: Gifts of the Sages. She flipped through it before the Archives could start filling with patrons and their endless inquiries--many of which had answers that were painfully obvious to Jocasta--could arrive so that she would have some familiarity with the story before she presented it to the clan of younglings later.

    After an uneventful morning, the moment Jocasta had been dreading since Ta’nara’s comlink call came. Led by their caretaker, the tall and gentle Ali Alann, the younglings trailed through the Archives door. They chattered despite Ali Alann’s efforts to shush them and clung to fuzzy blankets.

    Jocasta had settled herself in a chair with an open area around her. She invited the younglings to sit on their blankets in a circle around her.

    Once they had done so, she gestured toward her eyes, saying, “Raise your hand if you can see me.”

    A flurry of hands and equivalent appendages surged up from the younglings of varied species arrayed before her.

    Pointing at her ears, Jocasta went on, “Raise your hand if you can hear me.”

    Again, hands and equivalent appendages lifted all around her.

    “Good. It looks like you can all hear me.” Jocasta attempted a smile at the younglings that she hoped wouldn’t traumatize them. Her pursed lips were unused to smiling at anyone or anything. “Today I’m going to read you a story called Gifts of the Sages. Does anyone know what a sage is?”

    This was a fairly advanced vocabulary word, so Jocasta hadn’t expected any affirmative answers.

    To her surprise, a boy with brown hair and teal blue eyes whose sloppily written name tag proclaimed him to be “Caleb Dume” replied so quickly that he almost tripped over the syllables, “It’s an herb. The cooks use it in the kitchen. It’s green like Master Yoda.”

    Jocasta felt her smile softening into something more genuine as she explained, “That’s one type of sage. Another type of sage is a wise being.”

    “So not just green like Master Yoda but wise like Master Yoda.” Caleb gave a solemn nod of his head as he offered this youngling’s understanding of the universe.

    “The sages in this story title refers to wise beings.” Jocasta decided this was all the clarity she could bring to the definition and opened the holobook to the first page, taking care to tilt it so the colorful illustrations would be visible to the circle of younglings crowded around her.

    She read aloud to them about a brother and sister living together in poverty in a big, bustling city as Life Day approached and about how the sister longed to buy a chrono chain for her brother.

    “What’s a chrono chain?” a girl with two blonde braids that fell past her shoulders and a name tag that announced her as “Noelani Alamea” made the inevitable interruption.

    “It’s a chain for keeping track of a chrono,” Jocasta responded crisply, irked by the interruption even if she had expected it. “It attaches the chrono to a pocket.”

    “Why would anyone need a chrono chain?” Noelani demanded as she sucked on her thumb. “Chronos are supposed to go around wrists. Everyone knows that.”

    “This story is set a long time ago.” Jocasta struggled for patience. “A long time ago, chronos were tucked in pockets instead of wrapped around wrists.”

    “A long time ago, people were stupid then,” muttered Noelani, who was plainly unsatisfied with this attempt at explication.

    Ignoring this potentially undermining comment, Jocasta continued the story, recounting how the sister went to a hair salon to sell her hair.

    This provoked another interruption from Noelani. “Why would the hair salon buy her hair?”

    “To make a wig out of it.” Jocasta’s lips thinned in disapproval. She was unaccustomed to being challenged by anyone, much less a youngling who barely came up to her ankles.

    “Who would want a wig of her hair?” Undaunted, Noelani didn’t drop the issue.

    “Someone unhappy with their hair or unlucky enough to lose their hair to disease.” Jocasta gave Noelani no opportunity to reply, plowing on with the story.

    She read how the sister earned just enough credits from selling her hair to the salon to purchase the chrono chain for her brother. She returned to the dingy conapt she shared with her brother and waited with bated breath for him to come home, imagining his delight when she gave him the elegant chrono chain. However, she read to gasps from the younglings seated around her, how her brother expressed sorrow at her shorn hair when he returned and how the brother revealed that he had sold his precious chrono--inherited from their dead father--in exchange for fancy clips for his sister.

    “Why’s this story called Gifts of the Sages then?” Noelani’s jungle green eyes narrowed. “They weren’t very wise if they sold everything they had and were left with nothing.”

    “Maybe that’s why they were wise.” Caleb Dume’s voice and eyes were shockingly grave for a youngling. “They gave everything they had for each other.”

    “That is what Jedi believe.” Jocasta nodded. “Jedi believe it is the ultimate wisdom to sacrifice everything we have for others. Some might call that folly, but we know it is the only true wisdom.”

    She smiled at the younglings, her heart warming toward them like honey melting into steaming sapir tea. Their endless, eager questions and wide-eyed curiosity made her thaw, reawakening the child in her, in a way that guiding the older Jedi through their research in the Archives never could. The older Jedi who visited the Archives came to the Archives in search of specific sources that would answer their precise, narrowly defined questions. They did not crave and gobble up any piece of knowledge offered to them. They did not thirst for new information like plants soaking up rainfall as the younglings did.

    There was something charming about the insatiable curiosity of the younglings. At least there was on a limited basis. She might be willing to volunteer to lead Ta’nara’s storytime once a week. No more than that. Any more than that, and she might be tempted to strangle a youngling who got too inquisitive.
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Fun read. LOL as I pictured Jocasta's "oh no, kids' story hour" reaction, followed by her unexpected and delightful thawing at the younglings' curiosity and natural bubbliness. I do agree that she's wise to do the story hour thing just once a week though [face_mischief]

  3. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Force Ghost star 5

    Jun 19, 2019
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha As always, thank you so much for commenting!:) I'm happy to hear that you found this to be such a fun read since I don't often write humor pieces, and I'm always worried they won't turn out to be fun. I definitely got a chuckle out of writing Jocasta's "oh no" reaction to having to lead storytime for the younglings and then having that thaw into an affection for their curiosity and outgoing personalities by the end. Being in charge of kids can be scary but at the same time there is something wonderful about the innocence and the excitement that little kids bring to everything so it's nice that Jocasta got to see both sides of that with the storytime with the younglings. And she is definitely wise to limit her storytime with the younglings to just once a week. Then it can be a special treat for her and the younglings!
  4. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Nov 22, 1999
    First, my very sincere apologies for not responding sooner; Darth Real Life has apparently decided to get a few last licks in before year's end :p

    Thank you so much for this sweet, fun story! I'm a former librarian (and I see on your profile you're a librarian, too! :D) so I always enjoy a good Jocasta Nu story. You do s great job in both capturing he brusque, prickly side and making her more than the shush-y, uptight librarian stereotype she often is portrayed as. I do sympathize with Jocasta, being woken up to the news that Ta'nara is sick and needs her to fill in for storytime--oh noes! Jocasta isn't necessarily unkind, just exceedingly terse in her replies; she's not going to use a single word more than she has to or sugar-coat anything with "fake pleasantries". Though of course, "pleasant" isn't synonymous with "fake, and Ta'nara seems to understand that. I'm guessing that her enthusiasm for working with younglings isn't the false sense of excitement that Jocasta thinks it it. She strikes me as one of those people who just have a naturally sunny disposition and sincerely love what they do.

    That being said, I do kind of relate to Jocasta here:
    . Yeah, there are definitely days when all the patrons' questions are like this [face_laugh]

    And then the younglings arrive--and hooray for little Caleb's appearance!
    I love this! So very Kanan and so childlike at the same time, and of course, he is the one who grasps the significance of the title, that giving everything you have for love is the wisest course of all. He certainly lives this ideal when he grows up[face_love]

    Little Noelani is cute with all her precocious questions and her blithe dismissal of those long ago people as "stupid". [face_laugh][face_laugh][face_laugh] Jocasta may not care for the interruptions, but you can't blame Noelani for being confused when the idea of watch chains and selling hair is so far out of the realm of what she knows--and I'm pretty sure that was my reaction the first time I heard "Gift of the Magi", too :p (and I have to ask about the choice of names here, because in my AU, Kanan eventually has a granddaughter named Noelani :D)

    By the end of the story, even Jocasta can't fail to be moved by the youngling's inquisitive natures.
    This is really true, and so beautifully put. But, as moved as she is, Jocasta is still Jocasta:
    [face_laugh][face_laugh][face_laugh] What a perfect ending for the story. Once again, I can't actually blame her here (and I say that as a mom who both loves my kid and is wondering how I'm going to make it through three weeks of Christmas break).

    Thank you so much for this story; it was just the kind of warm and uplifting fic gift I needed right now! [:D]
  5. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    Oh, this was absolutely adorable—great job with that prompt, though that is no surprise at all from a PT Jedi specialist like you! :D What a wonderful job you did with Jocasta; you really got across both her stereotypical-crusty-librarian side and her kind, good-hearted side, and how could anyone's good-hearted side not ultimately be brought out by young Caleb Dume and all his questions and observations? Love how you show us both his eternally inquisitive side (which did indeed sometimes drove his master, Depa Billaba, crazy later on) but also his understanding side, as he picks up on the meaning of the story—as Raissa says, that fits perfectly with the kind of man he grows up to be. (And good choice with “Gift of the Magi,” a true Christmastime classic!) I have to add, too, that was fun to see a bit of the inner workings of the Jedi Temple library, with both Jocasta as head librarian and Ta’nara as youth services librarian—it makes sense that it would have both! (I hope @Seldes_Katne doesn’t mind if I page her, as that is her real-life job! :) ) The contrast between their personalities was a lot of fun, too. It was wonderful to see Jocasta both soften up a little (particularly in comparing the way adults and children go about their searches for knowledge—a really keen observation there) and still not completely lose her usual Jocasta-like personality, which has its charm, too! Really nice work, as always—thanks so much for sharing! =D=
  6. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Force Ghost star 5

    Jun 19, 2019
    @Raissa Baiard Thank you so much for commenting, and I'm so happy that you enjoyed your fic gift:D I'm sorry to hear that Darth Real Life kept kicking at you right up until the end of the year. This year has definitely been a crazy one, and I think we'll all be relieved when it is over and we can move on to the hopefully better 2021.

    It was a real treat for me to be able to write a story that was just fun and sweet, so I thank you for the prompt that inspired this story, and I'm so glad it was to your liking. I can definitely understand why you're drawn to Jocasta Nu as a former librarian (probably for the same reason I saw your prompt, and as a librarian thought, "Oh, I have to write that one with my inside experience of library craziness"[face_laugh]) and Jocasta Nu is an under explored character in fanfic so it was great to be able to sort of shine a spotlight on her and explore what her daily life and work in the Jedi Archives would be like. And how that daily life and work could be thrown into chaos in a way that she ended up appreciating in a strange way by the end of the story.

    I hoped to be able to showcase that sort of brusque, prickly side we see in her interaction with Obi-Wan in AOTC, but also delve into her softer side so that she'd feel like a complex character and not just the uptight, shush stereotype of a librarian.

    I can totally sympathize with Jocasta being awoken by the news that Ta'nara is sick and she'll have to fill in for story time. It's one of the real trials of the workplace when someone is sick on short notice and you have to try to last minute take over a job you don't normally do to cover for them. What a scramble it can feel like even if you feel sorry for the sick person.

    Yeah, I like to think of Jocasta as not necessarily being unkind, just crisp and terse in her communications trying not to say a word more than necessary. I also think that she'd be a sort of no-nonsense person who would not want to engage in what she sees as time-wasting fake pleasantries. She just wants to get down to business fast as possible and exchange information in a very matter-of-fact way. At least that is my mental image of her.

    Pleasant is really not the same thing as fake as you say, and I do picture Ta'nara as being genuine in her excitement and upbeat personality. Ta'nara to me is just someone who is truly happy working with kids and doing her job every day, and probably just has a very naturally sunny personality. So, I agree that I don't think Ta'nara is faking her pleasantness even if Jocasta might think she is.

    There can definitely be days when I relate to Jocasta and kind of roll my eyes internally at the questions I get from certain patrons. Especially certain patrons who ask me the same questions every day. That might be the worst for me, ha ha.

    The arrival of the younglings felt like a burst of energy to me and I'm so glad you were happy to see a little Caleb. I really wanted to include him to give this fic that extra special gift quality, and he was a joy to include:)

    The Caleb line you quoted brought a big grin to my face as I was writing this story, so it's awesome to know that it was a highlight for you as well. I really wanted him to be the one to grasp the theme and message of the story better than all the other children--to sort of offer that insight into the deeper meaning of the story and of true wisdom--because he really does grow up to embody that theme and message later in his life.

    I did have fun writing little Noelani. It's always amusing to write a child who isn't afraid to ask questions and make bold, blithe proclamations about things like people in the past all being "stupid." I think to a kid in the galaxy far, far away that we see the idea of clock watch chains and selling hair would probably be even harder to imagine or understand than it is for many kids in our own world today since in so many ways the Star Wars galaxy seems more advanced than our own world so I can understand her confusion about those things.

    Wow, I didn't know you gave Kanan a granddaughter named Noelani. Proof that great minds think alike:cool: I kind of picked Noelani's name at random from a list of Hawaiian baby names because I was thinking to myself how nice a Hawaiian vacation would be. I saw Noelani meant "heavenly mist" and thought that name was just too beautiful in sound and meaning not to use. So that is the story of Noelani's name in this fic.

    And it was wonderful to have Jocasta moved by the inquisitive nature of the younglings by the end of the story. The excitement and curiosity of younglings can ultimately be hard to resist. I'm so glad that you found my description of the difference between childhood interest in knowledge and adult interest in knowledge so beautiful since one of my favorite things about interacting with kids is that sense of excitement and curiosity they have about everything.

    I still also wanted to have Jocasta still be Jocasta at the end of the story so I have her being sure to limit her storytelling volunteering to once a week to avoid the possibility of strangling a too inquisitive youngling[face_laugh]

    I can't really blame her for wanting to limit her volunteering, and good luck to you with your children during the three long weeks of Christmas break. I imagine it will be extra challenging with the pandemic this year. Not an easy year for parents, I'm sure. Take care of yourself and happy holidays to you and your family[:D]

    And thank you again for the chance to write something warm and uplifting. Writing it was great fun for me:D

    @Findswoman As always, thank you so much for your kind words on my stories. I'm always so grateful for them:DI'm so happy that you found this story absolutely adorable and thought that I did a great job with the prompt. I am a big fan of the PT Jedi, so it made me so excited to get a prompt that gave me the chance to write about them. Jocasta was a really fun and interesting character for me to write. I enjoyed writing her sort of crusty, grumpy side (because sometimes it can be cathartic to release my inner grouch in my writing, haha) as well as the softer side she keeps hidden beneath that tough exterior.

    I think you're right that anyone's good-natured, soft side would have to be brought out by young Caleb Dume with his insights and observations. He was really a star of this fic for me because he was able to understand the true meaning of the story Jocasta read better than any of the other younglings.

    I'm so glad that you liked my decision to make the story Jocasta Nu read be a galaxy far, far away equivalent of the Gift of the Magi. It is such a Christmastime classic and it has been a favorite of mine for many years so I couldn't resist including it to add a festive touch to this story time fic.

    It was great fun for me to be able to explore the inner workings of the Jedi Archives, and to have that as a reason to have the story time suddenly dumped on Jocasta Nu when her coworker woke up sick in the morning. The contrast between Jocasta's personality and Ta'nara's was an interesting, amusing dynamic for me to write as well, so I'm happy that I decided to write Ta'nara into the story. I think she really added to it and was just a joy to include.

    I really wanted to show Jocasta's softer side by the end of the fic but still not compromise on that more prickly side to her that has its own charm to it as you say. One of my favorite bits was Jocasta's revelation about how differently children and adults approach learning and searching for knowledge, so I'm glad it was a standout for you as well.

    Thank you again for your kind words, and I'm so glad that you enjoyed this story:D
  7. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 3

    Mar 18, 2002
    I don't mind at all, and I appreciate the heads-up on this story. There aren't nearly enough Jocasta Nu fics out there, let alone really good ones like this! It make sense to have at least two (and preferably more) librarians at the Jedi Temple, as it's basically a school as well as a place of spiritual seeking and service. (And it really is amazing what questions preschoolers will ask, or the things they notice in stories. Not to mention the information they want to share with everyone else.... [face_hypnotized])

    Nicely done, Devilinthedetails!
  8. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Force Ghost star 5

    Jun 19, 2019
    @Seldes_Katne Thank you so much for commenting!:) I agree there aren't enough Jocasta Nu stories out there, and it was nice to be able to write this story putting the spotlight on her for once. I'm so happy to hear you found this to be a really good story, and that you liked the idea of having at least two librarians. You're right that it's definitely amazing the questions little kids will ask, what they will notice in stories, and what they will decide it's appropriate to share with others. It was really fun to be able to write about youngling antics in this story, and I'm so glad that you enjoyed reading it!
    AzureAngel2, Kahara and Findswoman like this.
  9. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    Most of the time I am too busy to read stories at work for there are so many other things to do. Only in the mornings when there are not many children yet or in the late afternoon. You just reminded me, how much fun it can be. Thanks! @};-

    I also like it that you chose Jocasta for this one.
  10. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Force Ghost star 5

    Jun 19, 2019
    @AzureAngel2 As always, thank you so much for reading and commenting on my stories!:)It can be great fun to read stories to children as Jocasta re-discovers here, and I'm so glad this story could make you remember the joy of reading to children as well. It can be so amusing but also heartwarming to see and hear the reactions the children have to a story as it progresses. Children just have this sense of wonder and excitement about everything. Everything is raw emotion with them in a way, and it's so cool to witness.

    And I'm so glad that you enjoyed the focus on Jocasta. She doesn't get enough time in the spotlight, and she proved to be a perfect person to compliment and contrast the innocent enthusiasim of these younglings.

    Thank you again for your kind words! They are very much appreciated!