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Saga - PT Saga - OT Long, Lonely Time (Zeb/OC; songfic, romance; ad-hoc OTP Challenge #17; Romance Quotes))

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Findswoman, Nov 18, 2020.

  1. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Author: Findswoman
    Title: Long, Lonely Time
    Era: Saga—PT through Saga—OT
    Characters: Garazeb “Zeb” Orrelios, Shulma Trilasha Orrelios (OC), mentions of others
    Genre: Songfic, romance; longish one-shot in three parts (you’ll see what I mean)
    Summary: At different points in his life and relationship with Shulma, Zeb ponders desire and waiting, and how they always seem to go together.
    Notes: Written in response to two challenges:
    • The whole story is a response to OTP Challenge #17: Our Song. I chose “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers, which I’ve long considered well suited to Zeb and Shulma, particularly given their long separation. The tripartite structure of the song provides the structure for the story as well, and the words of each section of the song provide an epigraph for each section of the story.
    • The first of the story’s three parts responds to the gorgeous prompt I received in @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha ’s Romantic Quotes Roulette: “Where true Love burns Desire is Love's pure flame; / It is the reflex of our earthly frame, / That takes its meaning from the nobler part, / And but translates the language of the heart.” (“Desire,” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge). You’ll see a sort of paraphrase of those lines incorporated there.
    • And, finally this story is also part of the Lasan Series. The third section references events from an earlier story in the series: Stand Together on the High Places, chapter 4.
    Thanks once again to @Raissa Baiard for beta reading. @};-


    One

    Oh, my love, my darling,
    I've hungered for your touch
    A long, lonely time...
    And time goes by so slowly,
    And time can do so much.
    Are you still mine?
    I need your love,
    I need your love,
    God speed your love to me.

    Lasan, 24–23 BBY

    Zeb was a very physical sort.

    He had always been that way. Even as a young kit, there was nothing that made him feel so happy, so whole, as the thrill of the run, the climb, the hunt, the fight. He was proud of the strong physique that he had developed as he grew to adulthood, proud of the new strength, speed, agility, and endurance it brought him. Now, as an Honor Guard, he was not only using those strengths to defend his people and homeworld—he was also pushing his strengths to new limits, and discovering new ones each day. It was exhilarating. He loved it.

    And now, with Shulma in the picture—lovely Shulma of the stone-green eyes, the luscious purple-black hair, the swirling stripes the color of deep wine…

    It was barely a dust season since they’d started seeing each other, but already she’d awakened in him a new kind of strength, a new kind of physical exhilaration. One could almost call it a new kind of hunger. He found himself longing for her touch as for water on a hot day. Without her, hours, days, and weeks of the usual Honor Guard cadet life—assignments, exercises, expeditions, exams—became an intolerable, grinding wait. Even holidays with his family seemed to pass more slowly than ever.

    But then he’d finally be with her, with her pressed up against him and wrapped around him and breathing her sweet breath so close to his face—and aw karabast, it was like a million bo-rifle sparks going off all at once deep inside him, again and again and again, and he just wanted to take her in his arms and—and—aw, yeah, talk about pushing his physical limits—

    He wondered if she felt it, too. Did she burn for him the way he did for her? She was such a spiritual, intellectual type, after all. Did girls like her even get feelings like that? Karabast, what would she think of him?

    He decided he would take the chance and ask her.

    It was on one of their walks through the cliff country, toward dusk, when the growing season had decked the sunwashed crags with wildflowers. They were not far from Amethyst Falls and could hear the gentle rush of its waters as they walked.

    “Er, Shulma?” he began.

    “Yes, Zeblove?”

    Zeblove—such a silly nickname, and Shai was always joshing him about it, the little Bogan—and yet it always awakened those same deep-burning sparks. “What d’you think about… er… well… erm…”

    “About what?”

    “About… well, y’know… bein’.. together. Like, y’know… really bein’ together. Like… close.” He crossed his fingers as if to illustrate the point, then quickly uncrossed them.

    “Oh!” She started and purpled slightly. “Like... making love?”

    “Yeah yeah yeah, that!” His response was half eager, half self-conscious.

    “Well…”

    Meanwhile, they walked on, around the edge of a cliff and into full view of Amethyst Falls. Its fine spray and gushing roar now filled the summer air. Near it, a low, flat boulder, crusted with soft mosses, formed a natural bench. Shulma squeezed Zeb’s hand more tightly and pulled him gently to sit on it beside her. A small gesture, but one that never failed to get his fire roaring.

    “So, er, I mean... is it something you’d wanna… like… do, y’know?” he asked at last, quietly but expectantly.

    “Yes, of course.” She nudged close to him, nuzzling his shoulder and face. “Someday.”

    “Some… day?”

    “Well, Zeblove,” she replied, nuzzling him again (and closer, and warmer), “it is no small thing, you know, to share your entire being with another like that.”

    He nuzzled back. “Heh, yeah, true, I guess.”

    She slipped an arm around him. “The ancients say that when we… come together in that way, we become one not only with each other but with Lasan itself.”

    “Aw, heh, those ancients, they would say that

    “They know what they are talking about, dearest. It is a great and thrilling and awesome thing. That’s why I’ve always thought it’s probably best to wait till we’re bonded in marriage.” She ruffled his jaw fringe. “Think you can stick it out, ai Garazeb?”

    “Heh, yeah, I guess,” he half-sighed. “I’m an Honor Guard, after all. If I can run from here to the Southern Plateaus with a broken leg an’ a gut wound…” Both of them laughed and nuzzled each other again. “I dunno. It’s just, like… when we’re together, an’ even when we’re not, I start thinkin’ all sorts of... thoughts about us”—that’s one way of putting it, he thought to himself, breathing in the perfume of her hair—“and I sometimes wonder… I wonder if you…”

    “...feel it, too? Yes, Zeblove, yes.” She stretched up to plant a kiss on his jawline. “Of course I do. With my whole being.”

    “Aw darlin’...”

    “Because it is part of my whole being, part of my love for you, and that is no less true even while we are waiting.” Her arm was still around him and he could feel her hand caressing his back. “It is as the ancient poet said: ‘Want is the heat of true Love’s fire, the life-glow of our mortal being…’”

    “Heh, whatever y’ say…” But his heart was saying aw yeah to her warmth, her closeness, her touch… He slid an arm around her, caressed her waist with a strong hand.

    “‘It grants our highest nature’s wish’”—she leaned into his hold, upward to meet his face, aw karabast, those eyes—“‘by giving voice to its silent song’—O ai Garazeb—”

    “Shulma…” Warmer, closer, stronger…

    ...till their kiss burned and glowed and sang amid the spray of the waterfall.



    Two

    Lonely rivers flow to the sea, to the sea,
    To the open arms of the sea.
    Yes, lonely rivers sigh, “Wait for me, wait for me,
    I'll be coming home, wait for me.”

    Lira San, 3 BBY

    With a grunt of exertion, Garazeb Orrelios pulls himself over the last jagged, pearl-white crag and up to standing. Here, at last, he can see all of Lira San’s southern continent, from majestic white mountains to rolling hills to lush forests, all seeming to glow in the gold-orange sky. Through it all the three clear, deep blue rivers of Lira San’s southern continent wind their way slowly, calmly, down toward a vast, sparkling sea (Lasan had had no sea, only lakes) that fills the entire horizon.

    An awesome view, well worth the long climb. He had best enjoy it while he can, because this is his last dayhere and in just a few more hours he’ll have to take the Phantom back and continue the fight. This place isn’t his home yet. But right now, he can just stand under that gold orange sky, watch those rivers roll their lonely paths down to that big sea, and just think about things.

    And he thinks about all the time in his life that he has spent waiting.

    That’s kind of what being an Honor Guard was, after all: standing guard to defend his homeworld and his fellow Lasat. That’s kind of what it’s like even now sometimes, when he’s put on security duty, staying behind to guard the Ghost while the others are out on a mission. But even as a kit it seemed he was always waiting for his parents or older sisters or other adults to do or say somethin’ before he could do anythin’. As a cadet and young Guardsman, he was always waiting for orders and assignments. Then there was Shulma, and those long, hard years while he was advancing his rank and she was completing her studies, and while they were both waiting for their marriage bond and… all that came with it. (He still remembers her, and that day by Amethyst Falls, and it still sets off those sparks deep inside him.)

    Then their repeated unsuccessful attempts to to conceive a kit, then the arrival of the Empire and the tense, hateful years of escalation—karabast, try not to think about that, any of it—

    Then after the destruction, after he had awakened to find himself pinned beneath the ruins of the palace, when he couldn’t even move or call out and could barely breathe, and thought he was just waiting to die. Not to mention all those years drifting around aimlessly here and there in the Galaxy, before he met Kanan and Hera and could finally start to think he was someone again. That was waiting, too, even if he hadn’t known it.

    And now, Zeb thinks, as he stands here atop this white cliff under this gold-orange sky, looking out at those rivers and that sea, he’s got something new to wait for. Something good, something beautiful: this place. It’s different, it’s not home (because nothing will ever be), but it’s somethin’. Someday, when this war and everything are over (whenever that is), he’ll come back, just like those rivers that always roll on to the sea. The sea always waits for them, so maybe Lira San will wait for him, too. Till then, he will watch and wait for any other Lasat that may be out there, and show them the way.

    The sun’s dark gold is starting to sink. It is now time to climb down and go back. Garazeb Orrelios takes one more look out toward the sea, places hand over fist in salute.

    “I’ll be comin’ home,” he says. “Wait for me.”



    Three

    Oh, my love, my darling,
    I've hungered for your touch
    A long, lonely time...
    And time goes by so slowly,
    And time can do so much.
    Are you still mine?
    I need your love,
    I need your love,
    God speed your love to me.

    Khorassan, 0 ABY

    Zeb woke up first. With a jolt.

    With a jolt, because—to his considerable surprise—he was not in his bunk aboard the Amarcordia, the Alliance transport frigate he had traveled on with some of the other Rebels in order to come to this place for the festival to begin with. He wasn’t even on the Ghost. No, he was in a room. With furniture and windows and curtains (and sunlight filtering through the curtains) and a balcony and a real bed.

    And in that real bed, beside him, was her.

    Shulma. His Shulma. His darlin’. Still wrapped in her flowy white Festival Queen outfit. And no, she wasn’t a dream or a vision or a hallucination or anything like that, because he could hear her breathing and smell her hair and feel her, karabast it.

    His thoughts and feelings were a jumble. Okay, so, it was real, she was real, and so was the whole thing the night before where they stood up on that cliff and kissed—but now what? Well, they were together again, that was what, and they were going to stay together just like they had promised to, all those years before when old Chava had lightning-bonded them in front of all their family and friends. But it had been so long—what was it, a decade? He remembered that kiss, how sweet it had been—but he was worried, mostly about himself. After so long and all they’d both been through, could he still love her like he used to? Could she still love him at all? And now that they were together again, where were they going to go next? Back to the Alliance? How would that work? Where would they stay? What would the others think of it all? Did that even matter?

    Not to mention that deep, hungering burn in his core—long dormant, but in the way a volcano is dormant. The one he’d felt he’d felt on their wedding night, on the morning after it, and so many other times, so long ago—

    Okay, okay. Don’t get ahead of yourself, Orrelios. He took a deep breath, a few of them. Maybe he just needed to think a bit. Maybe he’d just go out to that balcony for a bit and look out over the city and the cliffs (and he seemed to remember a river, too) and wait till she got up. He was used to waiting, after all.

    No sooner had he pulled himself out of bed than he heard the sound of the covers rustling and shifting and a yawn (a beautiful, deep, female yawn). She was now turned toward him, stretching. Her emerald eyes flashed open as she, too, awoke with a jolt.

    “Whoa, easy there, darlin’!”

    She said nothing but placed her hand tentatively on his arm, then pulled it back, then placed it there again, then stroked it upward to his shoulder, to his neck, his beard, and his face.

    “Zeb… love…”

    “Heh, yeah, it’s me… who else?”

    “No one else!” So saying, she threw her arms around his neck and kissed him. He responded—both to her touch and the fire that roared up inside him—by gripping her close and tumbling her down onto the bed, and there they remained locked in their fiery embrace for several beautiful, fiery moments.

    “Oh, love…” she said, when they separated at last, catching their breath.

    “Darlin’...”

    “Oh, you don’t know how many times I’ve awakened in the morning to see you lying beside me, smiling—and I reached over to touch you, and then you disappeared like a fever vision because you were a fever vision—”

    “Aw, darlin’—”

    “—but not this time, this time you didn’t—my Zeblove is really here, and—oh, dearest—” She pulled gently out of her husband’s embrace. “I’m sorry, please just give me a few minutes.”

    “Aw, darlin’, we were just gettin’ started, heh, heh…!”

    “I know, I know… it’s just—I just—need to write in my journal for a bit.”

    Journal?! What the—? Why?

    “I know, I’m sorry—I’m just so full of thoughts and feelings and you right now that I—need to set it down in writing. It won’t take long, I promise. I’ll let you know when I’m done.”

    “All right, all right.” Zeb sighed. Yeah, this was Shulma he knew, his shaman with her journals, even in bed—she had done the very same thing many times before, in the old days. He watched her as she shifted into a sitting position, took a stylus and a small book from the bedside table, and began writing busily in it. He noticed a few of the words that flowed onto the page. Her handwriting had always been a bit… fancy, especially when she was feeling really inspired or whatever, but he could make out some things about the Ashla and hearts and souls and bodies.

    And his name. His heart leapt. Well, that was a good sign, anyway!

    Well, karabast, he thought, if his own thoughts were such a jumble, then hers probably were, too, and maybe this was how she sorted them out, and maybe she just needed a little time. As for him, maybe now was a good time to go out on that balcony and think for a little while. “Be back in a bit,” Zeb said as he leaned over to kiss his wife on the brow ridge.

    She kissed him back. “All right, dearest.”

    He got up, went to the ’fresher, washed up a bit, and went out the curtains and double doors to the balcony. It was mid-morning, with a summer sun high in the sky, washing the distant cliffs in gold and kindling the river with sparkles. He stood looking at it for several minutes, and as he did he began to compare the scene before him to similar scenes he remembered from Lasan and to the magnificent panorama from his last few hours on Lira San. Cliffs: check, but red instead of purple-gray like Lasan’s or white like Lira San’s. Rivers: check, but only one, like the northern continent of Lasan, where Lira San’s southern continent had three. Distant: sparkling sea, check. Sunlight: yeah, definitely check…

    Suddenly, he feels a warmth beside him, a gentle touch on his arm. It is Shulma, come out to join him on the balcony. She has taken off the Festival Queen’s white robes and is now clad in a simple flowing red dress of the sort she always used to wear. Her long hair is still loose, but she has put in her ring-medallion.

    And she slides her hand down his arm to tug gently, longingly on his hand, and says, “I’m done now.”

    And that is when Zeb knows. With mighty, striped freedom-fighter arms he gathers her into an embrace that burns, glows, and sings. A little later he will ask her, once again, what she thinks about being… like… close, just like he did that time by the falls long ago. Just like in those old times, it will take both of them time and thought. But for now he will hold her in the sunlight, where their closeness is brightness and desire and Lasan and Lira San.

    fin
     
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    SQUEE! SQUEE! AND MELT! MELT!
    #1 oh the sweetness - the blushing, flushing cuteness [face_laugh]
    #2 -- gorgeous scene and introspection full of hope and nostalgia.

    #3 -- Delicious as each basks in the "are you really here", how is it now after so long apart, even though it feels like they just parted not too long ago. A strong contrast, as it feels like forever but no time at all. And then to find out [face_dancing] that the feelings are as they've always been, if anything, deeper.

    A most scrumptious response to both challenges.
     
    Kahara, Raissa Baiard and Findswoman like this.
  3. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Yay for more Zebma! You know I’m always thrilled to see more of our favorite Lasats, and this is no exception. Aww, Zeb:D Yes, Zeb’s definitely a physical sort and now Shulma’s awakened all these new feelings in him, along with some new physical reactions. And this being his first real love, he’s all sorts of confused about how to express them and how to broach the subject with Shulma.
    :oops:While I understand how he might feel that way, still...:oops:”Girls like her” are still human,..er, Lasat...after all. But at least he did the right, if somewhat awkward and uncomfortable thing, by asking Shulma herself, rather going to his buddies (Force forbid, Velibor!) for advice. Of course she does feel them, though perhaps her answer isn’t quite what he hoped.
    Oh, the interminable waiting of “someday”! :D (Though of course, we know from “Feel Safe at Night” that he does stick it out and that it is worth the wait.)
    Loved this—it’s so Zeb!

    Part two sees Zeb reflecting on that subject of waiting and all the waiting he’s done in his life. But for all the annoyances and frustrations of waiting, it’s lead him to all the good and worthwhile things in his life: becoming a Guardsman, marriage to Shulma, meeting the Spectres, finding Lira San. And though there’s more waiting ahead of him, it, too, will bring him a more fulfilling homecoming on Lira San (particularly since we know he’s also waiting to be reunited with Shulma). And as always, you paint such a beautiful a vivid picture here of the panoramic view of Lira San that Zeb is drinking in in these last few moments before he has to leave.

    And Part 3–Zeb and Shulma, reunited at last! And Zeb’s feelings are quite a jumble; he feels all those old familiar feelings and stirrings at being near her again, yet he wonders if things are the same—for him and for her—if the can ever be the same. It’s understandable that he feels this way after the length of their separation and without knowing full details of her time away from him. When she wakes up, Shulma seems to be going through a similar gamut of emotions, first kissing him but then needing time to order her thoughts, and I can’t blame Zeb for being the tiniest bit hurt when she would rather write in her journal than talk to him. But he gives her space, and soon enough she comes to him and with a simple touch let’s him know that, truly, the waiting is over. Even if it takes time for them to be close again, she is here and she is his, and he is hers—as they always have been.

    Thanks for sharing this lovely addition to the challenge [face_love]
     
  4. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Always nice to see more of this couple and get a few more glimpses at Lasat culture.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2020
  5. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Thank you all so much for reading and commenting! :)

    Oh, thank you, so glad you enjoyed this! I just love writing them in that twitterpated flush of love, because I’ve always seen that twitterpatedness as characterizing their whole relationship, in a way.
    Thanks so much! I knew I wanted to have Lira San as that middle section—it so fit with the whole theme of “I’ll be coming home, wait for me” at the center of the song itself.

    You hit the nail on the head! So many feelings, so many thoughts all jumbled around, so many uncertainties still, in a way—all one can really do is lean into it, bask in it a little (or a lot, as these two are). And exactly—they still do belong to each other, just as much as ever, and arguably even more. [face_love]

    Thank you so much, as always! <3 And thank you, too, for your wonderful Romantic Quotes challenge and for letting me “double dip”! :)

    Thanks so much, and thank you, too, for the role you played in helping me make this better and get that romance/physicality balance right! It’s a tough one, especially with a character like Zeb who is so physical by nature. He would naturally approach this new LOVE thing from that standpoint.

    Yes, at this early stage, he’s got a little bit to learn about how Girls Like Her actually do work, doesn’t he! :p But you’re right, being the honorable sort he is, he knows to go directly to her as the source, and not, say, to Velibor. Her answer isn’t quite what he expects, sure, but he knows she is right and that what she is saying makes sense—and more importantly, he ultimately does believe her when she says she feels those feelings, too.

    Yes, indeed, especially for a physical sort! But you’re so right, on all those counts! <3

    Yes, that little bit of skepticism/pragmatism! ;) Yet it is always said with a smile, because he knows and respects that Those Ancients are very important to the lady he loves.

    Thanks so much! We didn’t get to see Lira San on screen, but I take that very much as a “more for me” type of thing, and hence this scene (and his reminiscences about it in Stand Together on the High Places). I imagine him having so many thoughts about his past, present, and future as he surveys this new-ancient future homeworld of his—everything coming together in this moment, kind of thing. It would naturally lead him to some perspectives new for him—for example, the whole notion of a naturally hotheaded and impatient character like him to pondering the nature of waiting and the fact that it has, as you righty note, ultimately brought him so many good things.

    Aw, thank you so much for this. <3 As I’m sure was evident during the beta, this was the section I was the most insecure about, in nmany ways, not only in terms of striking a good balance but also in emotional terms—after the heights they reach together in STOHP, I feared some of the mixed feelings, awkwardnesses, and uncertainties voiced in this chapter (on both characters’ sides) might undermine the reunion moment of STOHP. But I shouldn’t, should I, I suppose! :p Of course there will be some jumbled-up feelings, but I have to remind myself they in no wise undermine the fact that the deep, underlying love is still there and will win out. That was what I was trying to get at here, especially when Shulma comes back out on the balcony to be with Zeb, and I am glad (relieved!) that it came off successfully to you! @};-

    You are so welcome, my friend, and thank you once again for all you did to help it be its best! @};-

    Thanks so much, Anedon! So glad you are enjoying this couple and these stories. It’s wonderful to have you here. :)
     
    Kahara and WarmNyota_SweetAyesha like this.
  6. Mira_Jade

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

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Well, I just adored this. Which is no small surprise, really. :p I never want to slip into insincerity through too many compliments, but I have to say, again, that I just love these characters and this series so very much. I appreciate it all the more so with every story I read! [face_love]

    And, in particular . . .

    Aw! [face_love] I just adore how much Zeb adores Shulma. That may sound overly simple, but it's true! There's just such a bright affection along with such deep love between these two that's just a pleasure to read.

    Oh, Zeb. :p My thoughts echoed @Raissa Baiard's here. Yes, Girls Like Her still have thoughts and feelings just the same as everything else. Piety and spiritual intellect don't cancel out natural desires, silly Zeb. She just has a unique - and lovely! - way at looking at them. [face_love]

    Oh Zeb! :p

    But the dialogue here was so in character. Zeb's awkwardness and earnestness, going straight to the source to actually talk to Shulma about his concerns and feelings (good man, as he should!), was just perfect. And Shulma, for all of Zeb's worries, is actually the one who can put it into words. [face_mischief]

    Gorgeous use of the Coolidge poem! [face_love] And I love, once again, how Zeb and Shulma's personalities are such a complementary juxtaposition, if that makes sense. He may huff good naturedly at the ancients and maybe not say it in quite the same way, but they are reaching the same conclusion by different roads.

    This entire scene was just wonderful. From the beautiful scenery to the blooming quality of young love and those sparks. Ever and always those sparks. [face_love]

    Oh. =((

    This entire second section was heartbreaking. But gorgeous in its hope as we know there's hope and that promise of home yet to come for Zeb. The imagery of Lira San and the summit and the light and fhe sea - gah, so lovely!

    Good things come to those who wait, as Zeb well knows from his own life experience. And the best is truly yet to come! [face_love]

    (The mention of their want and struggle for children just hurt, again, too. Eventually, I can't wait to meet their youngster on one of these stories, perhaps. [face_batting])

    Oh! What a perfect coda to Stand Together On the High Places! Of course there's going to be a sense of what comes next? now that the immediate intense euphoria of finding each other again has banked, ever so slightly. And any hesitation and awkwardness doesn't in any way detract from the intensity of their love or how overjoyed they are to be reunited. They just have to find their footing again after so many years apart. But, they'll get there!

    Ha! But there they both are! In so many ways, some things never change. [face_love]

    Nothing here to say but gorgeous, again! (I need to find a new adjective, I know. :p) A beautiful note to end this beautiful story on. [face_love]


    I really enjoyed this triptych of scenes, and thank you for letting us back into this fantastic 'verse again. I can't wait to see what you have planned for Zeb and Shulma next. [face_love]


    =D=
     
  7. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Thank you so much for this awesome comment, Mira, I appreciate it so much! :)

    Aw, well, shucks, thanks! I am so glad you have been enjoying these stories and characters so much—that means I am doing my job! :) I know I have said it before, but I mean it when I say that your support and readership

    Thanks so much! From the start I’ve felt that Zeb would totally be that way in love—it just seemed consistent with the way he never enters into anything he does half-heartedly. :zeb: <3

    Right, absolutely, and for sure on all those counts! And Zeb will come to see it and love her all the more for it. [face_love]

    Thanks, I’m glad you felt this part worked well! I was kind of unsure at first whether it was in character, etc., but you’re right that a naturally forthright sort like Zeb really would go straight to the source and wouldn’t let a few awkward feelings put him off from asking the questions he wants to ask. And Shulma understands that—or, at least, that is what I was trying for!

    They definitely are, and that’s been a theme of their relationship since I started writing them—meeting halfway, coming to the same conclusion each by their own means. So I am glad it shows through here, too—thank you! :) And yes, I knew as soon as I first saw it that I wanted to put that beautiful Coleridge poem into Shulma’s mouth. @};-

    Thanks again! Oh yes, those sparks always are and always will be part of it. They go hand in hand with the beauty and the bloom for this couple, always and ever indeed! [face_love] (And there, too, I am glad they came off well to you, because I’m still never quiiiite sure of myself when I’m writing them!)

    Thanks—I have to say it was a bit heartbreaking and bittersweet to write this, too! We see nothing of Zeb’s experience on Lira San in the show (what, me, salty?), but it had to have been a hugely emotional and bittersweet experience for him, to put it lightly. Nothing ever really will be like home on Lasan, of course, but there is still hope and beauty to be had, and he deserves it after all he has been through.

    Oh, for sure, as he will see in the very next section of this story! ;)

    Yes, I think so, I think so! ;) :D

    I have to say that this third section was probably the hardest parts of the story to write, because on one hand I didn’t want to minimize or undo the events of Stand Together on the High Places or make that story seem pointless—but I also wanted to explore the “what comes next?” factor a little further, and I felt that at least some little bit of awkwardness and hesitation would be natural given the circumstances. And of course I never wanted to leave any doubt that they will indeed get there—so here, too, I am glad that came through. :)

    Indeed—the more they stay the same! (And ultimately they will both regard this moment as a reassuring reminder of that fact! :) )

    Aw, thanks! :) I angsted a good bit about the wording in this section, too, because I wanted to get it just right for the feelings Zeb and Shulma must be experiencing in a moment like this, and I also wanted it in some way to recall their earlier chat about desire—and also bring in the Lira San aspect. It was a lot to pack in, but I wanted to bring it all together in the ending—so I’m glad it worked!

    Thank you once again—and I mean that, and really can’t thank you enough for all the support you have given this ‘verse! @};- :zeb:
     
  8. amidalachick

    amidalachick Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Oh, this is beautiful. [face_love] From your song choice (and the way you use it to shape the story) to your use of @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha's lovely prompt-quote to the sheer beauty of your writing and Zeb and Shulma's love - it's all just so beautiful.

    I could quote the entirety of Part 1, but I'll stick to these lines. :p I love the humor here and Zeb's "half eager, half self-conscious"-ness, and the way Shulma reassures him that she loves him just as much. I also love how close and intimate they already are in this section (the nuzzling! [face_love]) without "y’know… really bein’ together", as Zeb puts it. Just lovely.

    [face_love] You paint such a beautiful image here! Love Zeb's introspection, and the final line was a fantastic use of the song.

    And then their reunion in Part 3! Zeb's realization that they're both actually there, and all the emotions for both of them, and all so beautifully written. I love it.

    [face_laugh] Also, aww!

    Beautiful (I know I just keep repeating that, but it's true). [face_love]

    Amazing work, and a lovely response to both of the challenges! =D=
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2020
  9. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Oh, thank you so much, @amidalachick ! I am so glad you came by to read and comment! :)

    Aw, thank you, I really appreciate that! :) Between the Righteous Brothers and Coleridge, I definitely had some A-1 source material for both challenges!

    Thanks! :) It was an interesting exercise, trying to write this kind of side of this kind of character--Zeb is a very physical sort, but he's very self conscious about this, too--but still not afraid to ask at the source. And yes, they are so close and physical with each other already, in their way--that's part of how I've imagined their always being, just as a couple (plus, being kind of catlike, the nuzzling seemed to fit). That is part of what she is trying to remind him of by quoting the poem: how beautiful and wonderful even those kinds of touches can be, too, even before you "go all the way." (Not that she doesn't want to, eventually, too!)

    Thanks so much! That central "B-section" of the song is so beautiful, both musically and textually, and it was fun to marry that to (what I imagine as) the imagery of Zeb's "new-old" homeworld. And I do like giving him introspective moments when I can, as that's something that doesn't always get associated with this big bruiser of a character.

    Aw, thanks again! After so long apart, how could both of them not have such a huge jumble of mixed feelings, even along with a little bit of incredulity? It's a lot to process, but fortunately neither of them will be processing it alone!

    Yep, even just a little thing like is a big reassurance in answering his question of "are you still mine?"!

    Thank you--I'm glad that part came off well, because I wrote it and rewrote it a lot! :D And once again, thanks so much for reading and commenting--I'm so delighted that you enjoyed this! :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2020
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