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Beyond - Legends Saga "Our Love of Constellations" | Ficlet and Drabble Collection

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Mira_Jade , May 26, 2019.

  1. mayo_durron_666

    mayo_durron_666 Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Nov 26, 2005
    Explosion - I enjoyed Zeb's thoughts in this moment. So understandable to have doubts and think how easy it would be to just walk away. But finding something to fight for is truly powerful, glad he came to that conclusion and didn't run away.

    Delirium - Felt so sad for Ezra in this. And so upset for Hera trying to aid him in his ill state. :_| Well written and poignant moment.

    Gunpoint - I loved Rex's determination in this and his loyalty to Ahsoka. :) A tricky situation.

    Sorry if I've missed some updates! But I'm catching up and thought I'd comment on the most recent post at least. [face_blush]

    Great writing! And loved the poem, wonderfully inspiring. [face_idea]
     
  2. Mira_Jade

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

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    I KNOW, RIGHT??? It's one of my faves for a reason. [face_love]

    Exactly! Zeb is as honorable as they come, yet I can only imagine how difficult it was when he first consciously made the decision to take his stand and fight back again. I loved trying to capture such an enormous emotion from his POV in a few small words. [face_love]

    Thanks! Don't mind me while I bask in all of the found family feels here! :p

    Oh, you better believe that he would be! I loved imagining this scene - playing on the line between a clone trooper's usual devotion to their Jedi general (minus, you know, Order 66 [face_plain]) and Rex's more personal loyalty to Ahsoka. And vice versa, of course - there was a reason Ahsoka was distracted enough to take that stun bold in the first place. ;) I just adore how much these two adore each other, in whatever form that comes in whatever 'verse, you know I do. [face_love]

    Oooh, I will have to check that out! I've only ever watched TCW, movie and series both, but I've never read any of the written materiel. I will have to add that to my list. :D

    I thank you so much for reading, my friend! As always! [:D]


    Zeb is such a dear here, and taking such a huge leap of faith forward! It's hard, deciding to risk everything again, but he's Zeb. He's strong enough to take his stand again; running away isn't even an option for him in the end. [face_love]

    I was recently re-watching Rebels again, and it hit me more so than the first time around how much Ezra had missed out on and lived without for so long! Having Hera step in as a surrogate mother quite literally here - as much as we love our Space Mom and Space Dad as it is - just hit all sorts of found family buttons for me when writing. I am glad you enjoyed reading this ficlet too!

    I just had so much fun playing with the Knight and Lady trope here! I love these two to a stupid degree, and it was a really interesting exercise to jump in and out of an action scene in a ficlet format! It was rather liberating for the muse, I have to say! :p [face_thinking]

    Oh! You are a dear! [face_love] But the great thing about short snippets like this is that you can come and go at will! I always appreciate your feedback whenever you are able to leave it. I thank you so much for taking the time to read, and leave such a wonderful review! [:D]


    ~MJ @};-
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
  3. Mira_Jade

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

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Author's Notes: Hello, all! I have two more short pieces written for Whumptober to share with you. I've been trying to write at least a hundred words a day this month, and I'm happy to say that I now have a handful of little drivels ready to post. Who knows - maybe I will even make it through all thirty-one prompts by the end of the month? That's the goal anyway - anything to get my muse back in groove again. So! Let's see how it goes . . . [face_mischief] :cool:

    The title is another nick from Nikka Ursula, this time from her poem "No Soft Thing". My next few updates very creatively steal titles from almost every line. :p







    XV.



    “our dreams are beautiful at center (but jagged at the edges)”
    (Saga-PT; Pre-ANH)​


    Dragged Away (Bail Organa/Breha Organa & Leia Organa)

    Breha Organa woke many times that night; she could not seem to find her rest, no matter how she tried.

    With the Imperial delegation – along with Palpatine’s leashed monster in black, Breha had been horrified by Lord Vader’s introduction – having finally taken their leave after ensuring that Alderaan would not contest their democratically elected emperor or the new order he sought to impose, she knew that she could take her rest. She could breathe now; her spine could lose its steel, her heart could slow its raging beat. They’d passed the truest test of all with them hiding the daughter of Anakin Skywalker right underneath his very nose. Lord Vader – beyond an initial pause, a moment’s stare that had threatened to tear Breha’s world asunder – had been none the wiser. Leia was safe, she was safe. There was no one coming in the night to steal their baby – their baby girl – away from them.

    Even so, Breha still could not seem to stop shaking. Her mind answered to one truth, but her heart another. Whenever she closed her eyes to sleep she was plagued by visions of Leia being torn from her arms by those terrible soldiers in white. Over and over again, she imagined Leia screaming for her, holding out her already trusting arms and crying for her mother. Had that future come to pass, Breha knew that she would have fought, she would have fought, furiously but undoubtedly fruitlessly so, until -

    - well, the end of her imaginings had no bearings, not here and now. Summoning a regality of spirit she usually reserved for her court and its presiding, she tried her best to push her wild thoughts aside. She was only marginally successful.

    In the end, the only remedy for her ails was to sit in her daughter’s room and keep vigil over Leia’s crib. Her baby was sleeping peacefully, without a care in the night. Leia was safe – she was safe – just as she would remain for as long as Breha had breath within her to ensure against all threats otherwise. Her own eyes were bloodshot from too many sleepless nights to count, but she couldn’t bring herself to return to her own bed. She needed this tangible proof that Leia was still with them if she hoped to attain any sort of peace; she could not bear to part from her and seek her own slumber, no matter how she tried.

    When, later, a warm hand fell to rest on her shoulder, she looked up to see her husband’s sad face staring down at her in the shadows. “You too?” Bail whispered. She nodded, not able to bring herself to speak, and he wrapped his arms around her from behind in answer. He leaned his head against her shoulder, his presence heavy but comforting as they supported each other in the dark. For a long time they stayed that way, just listening in silence as their daughter breathed.



    Pinned Down (Owen Lars/Beru Lars & Luke Skywalker)

    It was a hard life, here on the sand seas of Tatooine, but they made the best they could of their portion. For her part, Beru couldn’t imagine wanting anything more than being a moisture farmer’s wife, just as she’d so long been a moisture farmer’s daughter. She was content with the place she’d carved for herself to belong in the universe, just so long as she could share that place with her husband, and now, her nephew. (For all intents and purposes her son.)

    But Luke was more than the sand and the monotony and their small, simple joys. He was restless, brimming with curiosity about the wider galaxy beyond their cloudless skies. He had a mind for adventure, no matter how Owen had scolded him from sneaking out to see the pod-races with a fury that bordered on panic. (Two Humans, two Skywalkers, with the same inexplicable gift? – the risk would have been untenable.) Luke had a knack for tinkering and mechanics, and that too Owen cautiously tried to encourage him to apply anywhere else than droid-craft to disrupt the resemblance between father and son. Beru . . . she understood, even as Luke grew and questioned and drifted further and further away from his uncle as the years went by.

    Until, finally, one evening Luke walked the perimeter to check the sensors, and stood for a long time by the grave of Shmi Skywalker. Beru watched him, her heart inexplicably heavy in her chest for the image he cut against the riot of flames in the twilit sky. That evening at dinner, his voice was small as he asked why Anakin Skywalker didn’t have a grave, his expression cautious yet hopeful all the while. Beru knew that Luke only wanted somewhere tangible to go and remember his father by, and yet -

    “ - Anakin Skywalker didn’t leave a body behind to bury,” Owen was blunt to give his answer (and only she noticed the fear in his white-knuckled grip about his fork; his hands trembled as he gave that awful truth a voice – from a certain point of view). “We won’t waste hard earned resources on sentiment; you’ll figure out some other way to remember your father.”

    Luke leaned back in his seat as if slapped, his blue eyes – so like his, she could still remember dear Shmi’s angry, burning son – flashing, first in hurt and then mulish, bitter acceptance. Owen watched as his nephew wordlessly rose and then sulked off to his room without asking to be excused. Finally, when she was sure that Luke was out of earshot, Beru sighed.

    “If you try to erase every bit of the father from the son, there will be nothing left of Luke in the end,” she was mild – but pointed, to warn.

    In answer, Owen turned weary eyes towards her. “If that’s what I have to do to keep him safe,” his jaw tightened, “then so be it. Let him hate me; I can bear that better than the alternative.”



    ~MJ @};-
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2019
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  4. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    With the Imperial delegation – along with Palpatine’s leashed monster in black, Breha had been horrified by Lord Vader’s introduction – having finally taken their leave after ensuring that Alderaan would not contest their democratically elected emperor or the new order he sought to impose, she knew that she could take her rest. She could breathe now; her spine could lose its steel, her heart could slow from its raging beat. They’d passed the truest test of all with them hiding the daughter of Anakin Skywalker right underneath his very nose. Lord Vader – beyond an initial pause, a moment’s stare that had threatened to tear Breha’s world asunder – had been none the wiser. Leia was safe, she was safe. There was no one coming in the night to steal their baby – their baby girl – away from them.

    =D=

    Fantastic blend of relief and continued dread!

    Loved this part:

    When, later, a heavy hand fell to rest on her shoulder, she looked up to see her husband’s sad face staring down at her in the shadows. “You too?” Bail whispered. She nodded, not able to bring herself to speak, and he wrapped his arms around her from behind in answer. He leaned his head against her shoulder, his presence heavy but comforting as they supported each other in the dark. For a long time they stayed that way, just listening in silence as their daughter breathed.

    :* :*




    When I first watched ANH, I never could quite wrap my mind around why Owen was so antagonistic. After watching the films in the PT, of course it made more sense: please Luke don't enjoy making droids or pod racing TOO MUCH! [face_worried] [face_thinking]
    Owen's true motive is insightfully laid out in this:

    “If you try to erase every bit of the father from the son, there will be nothing left of Luke in the end,” she was mild – but pointed, to warn.

    In answer, Owen turned weary eyes towards her. “If that’s exactly what I have to do to keep him safe,” his jaw tightened, “then so be it. Let him hate me; I can bear that better than the alternative.”
     
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  5. Mira_Jade

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

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha - Thank-you for the kind words and the support, as always, my friend! I appreciate it more than words can say. [:D] I loved writing that duo of ficlets - both Breha and Bail, and Beru and Owen, are doing the best they can with a more than tricky set of circumstances. But there's a lot of love helping them through the worst of it all that I wanted to highlight - even in the case of Owen's more surly form of protection where Luke is concerned. You're too right! :(






    Author's Notes
    : I'm still chugging away at those Whumptober prompts! It feels good to be a bit productive here. Hopefully that'll prove to be a nice warm-up for November. ;) [face_dancing]

    The title is yet another line from Nikka Ursula's "No Soft Thing". :)






    XVI.


    “but I’ve seen your hands (and how many battles they fought)”
    (Saga-PT; Rebels)

    Human Shield (Sabine Wren & Ezra Bridger)

    You shot me!”

    “Oh, please, I didn’t shoot you; I shot around you – there’s a difference.”

    “Uh, not in this case there’s not!” To prove his point – he had a flair for needless dramatics, their newest shipmate – Ezra flung his arm up to display the singed underside of his sleeve, dangerously close to the chest of his jacket. Sabine had to squint to see the ruined fibers, the damage was so minuscule. “What would you call this?” he challenged.

    Huh, would you look at that? Inwardly, she felt a well earned burst of pride; her aim was even better than she’d first thought. Outwardly, Sabine scowled and crossed her arms, unimpressed.

    “I would call that freeing you from that osi’yaim thug,” she retorted. Even then, she didn’t like remembering how Ezra had struggled against the merc’s hold, with a blaster muzzle jabbed against the soft underside of his chin while she was warned to put her own weapons down or else . . . Well, she hadn’t thought twice before reacting. With her senses cold and battle-sharpened no matter the white hot fury pulsing through her, she hadn’t doubted her ability to make the shot for a second. “So,” Sabine continued levelly, even as her hands curled into fists, “I believe the correct phrase you’re looking for is you’re welcome.”

    “What? Your helmet’s on too tight.” His lack of faith in her abilities was almost insulting, really. “No!” Ezra continued. “I will not thank you for almost shooting me when I had everything under control - ”

    Yet, with that, his voice gave; abruptly, his words broke off. Ezra reached up to rub at his temples, his breathing turning slow and punctuated as he struggled to keep his composure. He was shaking, Sabine blinked to see, her own ire banking just as quickly as it had first rose. A pang pierced through her as understanding slowly set in. Oh . . . she understood. More than he even realized, she understood.

    Sabine didn’t know if he’d welcome her hand on his shoulder just then, but she took a gamble and placed it there anyway, never one to do anything by half-measures. And this, she felt, was worth doing well. “I was protecting a member of my crew, Ezra,” she said softly, hesitating only where she instinctively wanted to say aliit rather than crew instead. Because they were: Hera and Kanan and Zeb and Chopper . . . and now Ezra too. Her jaw hooked at the thought of her birth clan, even as she solemnly held his gaze with her own. “I’d do it again in a second, just as I’d trust you to do the same for me. You don’t have to do everything on your own, you know? Because you’re not alone. Not any more.”

    Her gloved hand squeezed his shoulder only once, gentle but firm. Then, having spoken her mind, she left him alone to absorb her words in his own time.



    Isolation (Kanan Jarrus & Ezra Bridger)

    The Force ebbed and flowed around him, endless and constantly in motion. His senses hovered amongst the infinite, cradled as if by the deep swell of an ocean current as he looked on all that was, and all that yet could be. For so many years, his connection to the universe in all its enormity had felt . . . empty, almost. Where, once, his fellow Jedi had shone like an interwoven tapestry of stars in a clear night sky, those lights had long been snuffed out; those immaterial stars were now gone. There were times when he though he could feel more, could sense . . . something . . . someone . . . somewhere, but those moments were now few and farther between, they never lasted long. They never could last long with the shadow that hunted them down otherwise. Even now, buoyed by the grace of the Light Side of the Force as he was, he could still sense the overwhelming presence of the Dark. There was no balance in the Force, not anymore, not for this; only emptiness and struggle.

    And, in that sense, if in that sense only, Kanan was alone in his fight.

    Until -

    - is this what you see all the time? in his mind, Ezra’s voice was nowhere and everywhere all at once. He guided his new apprentice as best he could, allowing him to take his first true look at the luminous world they existed in, away from their temporary constraints of crude physical matter.

    Distantly, Kanan felt his corporeal self smile. No, he reminded himself, he was no longer alone. There by his side, one more light now threatened to burn in defiance of the night. Someday, he allowed himself to hope, maybe even the stars themselves could shine again.

    It’s beautiful, awed, Ezra breathed.

    Yes, Kanan felt a bittersweet stab of mingled joy and pain to agree, it is.



    Tear Stained (Rex & Ahsoka Tano)

    Rex had yet to see Ahsoka that day, even though she was shipside aboard Phoenix Home.

    That in of itself wasn’t terribly unusual with the Rebellion taking them in different directions more often than not. Still, he felt a whisper of disquiet; something was not right. When he finally sought her out she was in her quarters, sitting on the floor next to her bunk with her long legs folded underneath her in a meditative stance. The line of her shoulders was unbowed; her hands were unfurled and relaxed where they rested gently atop her knees. His only true indication of her mood – her grief – came from the tellingly pale shade of her usually rich blue chevrons, no matter how her lekku hung still and silent down her body otherwise. Outwardly, she was nothing but calm composure, even in the privacy of her own room. It wasn’t until he circled around to see her face that he knew better. Her eyes were clear, but he could see the unmistakable paths that her previously shed tears had left on her sunset skin. They hadn’t yet dried, no matter what her cool serenity may have tried to imply elsewise.

    Rex didn’t say a word as he slowly lowered himself to sit down across from her – a trick between the cramped space of her berth and the protesting ache in his old bones. He didn’t have to ask of her pains, her losses. Instead, he knew; he shared her grief in his own way, even. Still without breaking the silence, he mimicked her position and breathed in time with the deep, easy rhythm she first set. He could wait until she was ready.

    It was a long time before Ahsoka managed to speak. When she finally summoned her words, her voice was hoarse to start before smoothing for tranquility again. “Do you still list your names?” she asked, so low that he had to listen carefully to hear her. “For the fallen?”

    It took him a moment before he could form his own reply; his words were stuck in his throat. “Yeah,” his answer was more a rough exhale of sound, shaky as it left his mouth. Of course he remembered all those who’d marched on, though there were times when his one small voice didn’t nearly seem enough to honor everything they'd been. Every so often he would go beyond his nightly remembrances and take the time necessary to list every single fallen comrade – every clone soldier and Jedi commander and everyone in-between and since then, just to make sure that they all were remembered . . . just to assure himself that they had even existed at all.

    Ahsoka, however, knew each of his names; she had hundreds of her own to add, even. In that, there was some comfort to find . . . and share in return.

    “I would like to join you . . . if that would be okay?” It was less a question more so than it was an invitation. Her hands were gentle as they found his across the distance and then squeezed. He returned her grip, feeling her calluses and scars and strength alongside his own. There, safe with her, he didn’t feel any shame for the way his eyes started to burn as he held onto her and she to him.

    Alright then . . . alright.

    “Cody,” he started. Personally, he preferred to get the hard names out of the way first. He wouldn’t have enough strength for the members of his aliit near the end when there were just numbers and vague, shapeless memories to recall.

    “Master Obi-Wan,” Ahsoka replied in turn, voicing a name near to her own heart. Contrarily, he suspected that she wouldn’t be able to name General Skywalker until the very end. But he'd leave her to voice that name when she was ready.

    “Fives,” as always, he couldn’t resist giving the barest of smiles to remember his ARC – but his vod wouldn't have had it any other way.

    “Echo,” Ahsoka’s voice was strong to answer his grief with her own.

    And on they went, giving their ghosts life again long into the night.



    Stab Wound (Alexsandr Kallus & Ensemble)

    He awakened to a pounding in his head that was matched only by the way the skin on the right side of his torso burned to stretch, punctuating his return to awareness with a fresh bloom of pain. Oh yes, the details were admittedly still blurry as he tried to grasp them: he had been stabbed. Distantly, Kallus remembered the Devaronian pirate with his vibroblade and blasted Ohnaka and this ridiculously trusting group, how they’d eluded him for so long he’d never understand before -

    - had he been carried back to the ship? he tried to recall next. He had the fuzzy recollection of snapping that he wasn’t dying at Zeb, and the droll growl of sure – not yet you aren’t in reply before his wishes were ignored and he was actually carried like a child. The stars be kind, Kallus scrubbed the heels of his hands over his face with a groan, but he would never be allowed to live that particular detail down.

    And here he was now, on a bunk in the medcenter back on Yavin IV, with his side freshly stitched and the tellingly cool-warm sensation of a bacta patch wrapped around his midsection. There were already several pieces of flimsi that had been folded and embellished with sentiments of get well soon decorating his beside table – more than a few were from the pilots, who had somehow taken to following him with starry eyes since hearing about his work as Fulcrum aiding Antilles and Klivian. Someone had filled a utilitarian grey mug with a colorful bouquet of jungle flowers to brighten the otherwise sterile space, and the sight was so unexpected that he first stared, unable to comprehend what he was seeing. There were voices coming from beyond the curtain, he registered next – General Syndulla and Zeb, of course, and the artificial tones of a med-droid, before -

    “ - oh good! Everyone, he’s awake!” the blue haired brat – whom Kallus still wholly blamed for this debacle – peeked in before announcing. Then, his small and previously peaceful space was swarming with medical personal and well wishers alike.

    “Really, this is wholly unnecessary.” Grasping for whatever remaining strands of dignity he had left, Kallus tried meeting Zeb’s eye over the ruckus. “You’re acting as if I almost died," he bristled, "which, I most certainly did not.”

    Kallus was, of course, ignored. Zeb gave a smirk that plainly implied that he was enjoying his discomfort before shrugging in a what can you do? sort of motion. Meanwhile, Ezra and Hobbie started some ridiculous nonsense about how awesome his scar was going to be before Hera tried to shush the loudest offenders and instill some sort of order on the chaos. All the while, for some reason beyond his ability to comprehend, Kallus couldn’t seem to keep a ridiculous sort of grin from stretching across his face in answer to the hullabaloo. It wasn’t that it was nice, or anything . . . their concern – as far a cry as it was from his previous experiences in any Imperial medcenter. No, of course not. It must have been a side-effect of whatever pain meds he was currently high on, the bright sort of glow he felt steadily growing in his chest. Obviously, he concluded, that was the only rational explanation he could bring himself to accept otherwise.



    Don’t Move” (Ezra Bridger & Sabine Wren)

    They were called umbors, and, of course, there was an entire pack of them blocking their way back to the ship. She counted six so far, with the one front and center a decoy as they were flanked and then surrounded completely by the other five. At first, Sabine only frowned behind her helmet and thought: gundark, but uglier. The umbors had nasty protruding fangs sticking out over their lips, and hard, scaly hides. Privately, she wondered about her ability to make a dent if she started firing, even as Ezra cheerfully said, “Oh yeah – those teeth can sink right through beskar, if what I’m getting from her mind is any sort of accurate.”

    Great, what even a lightsaber couldn’t do, the native critters on this moon could. Why was it that every time they tried to scout out a potential base for the Rebellion, the local wildlife threatened to turn an otherwise ideal prospect into anything but? Sabine rolled her eyes, little amused by the ironies of the universe.

    Well, that was fine, she steeled her resolve as her hands dropped to the butts of her pistols. Her people had a tried and true way of dealing with pests – blaster-proof hides or not.

    Until -

    - don’t move,” Ezra’s voice was a slash of sound, stopping her hands short of her goal. “I don't think they can see you if you don’t move.”

    What?

    "Do you think so or do you know?" Sabine hissed in return, the tips of her fingers twitching.

    "No, I know," Ezra answered through gritted teeth. "I know. So. Don't. Move."

    Behind her visor, her eyes narrowed, unable to wholly process his words even as she tried. It took everything within her to stay still as they were cautiously approached by the beasts – who, it seemed Ezra was right to say, looked like they were searching for something, even with their prey standing clear and vulnerable before them. Her senses screamed at her to attack and defend; she was hyper-aware of everything around her: from the soft floor of leaf-rot beneath the toes of her boots to the comforting weight of her armor over her body to the single bead of sweat that slipped down beneath the collar of her bodysuit. She grit her teeth, her fingers all but aching to fall just a couple more inches and fight -

    “ - Sabine," Ezra's voice sounded unusually sharp to her battle-heightened senses, "do you trust me?”

    “What?” His question took her by surprise, distracting her from the quick, hot rush of her blood. “Of course I do,” she kept her voice low to return, “but this is different.” Oh, but she so badly wanted to unholster her WESTARs; the stillness was torture. “This is -”

    “ - Sabine,” Ezra’s voice was low, yet certain, “let me protect my crew. I promise you, I got this.” Then, with all of the softness of a memory returned, he added: “You don’t have to do anything on your own, you know?”

    Her eyes snapped to him even as she kept her head staring perfectly straight ahead. Having her own words thrown back at her made her want to snap a retort, but she held herself steady instead. He was right, she didn't first want to admit, he was right . . . only, it was a whole lot easier when she was the one defending instead of being defended instead.

    Still . . . she exhaled, and forced her stance to relax.

    Her heartbeat thundered as the umbors made their way forward, slow and lumbering but tellingly heavy and strong in their stride. She fought the urge to twitch, reminding herself that she was balance, she was precision, just as her mother had so diligently trained her to be. She could remain perfectly still, she could. Sabine didn’t move, not even as the lead umbor stopped right in front of her and tilted its ugly, fanged head without truly seeing her. She didn’t move, she didn’t move – not even when a long, drooling tongue came out to take an experimental lick from torso to helm, coating her in thick viscous yellow saliva.

    With that, it seemed the beast was satisfied – or, rather, less than satisfied. The head umbor turned smartly on her heel, and with a warbled cry to summon her sisters she trotted away to find better prey.

    And Sabine stood there, this time shell-shocked into motionlessness as Ezra burst into obnoxiously boisterous laughter. Disgusted, she reached up to clear off her visor, but, much to her revulsion, her gloves stuck to the spittle as she tried to draw them away. Eugh, she inwardly bemoaned, really?!

    “Whatever your report may be, my vote’s no when Hera asks,” Sabine growled.

    “Oh but why not?” Ezra crowed, still buckled over in his mirth. “You’ve made such good friends already - ”

    - well, aliit or not, the only sensible thing for Sabine to do next was to reach over and wipe her mucus covered hands on Ezra’s face before he had a chance to even react otherwise. Obviously. In short order, Ezra was more than convinced to see things from her point of view.



    ~MJ @};-
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2019
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  6. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Terrific with Sabine and Ezra drawing closer as comrades with an instinctive trust. Kanan and Ezra enjoying the majestic awesomeness of the Force so that Kanan does not have to feel so isolated.
    Touching with Rex and Ahsoka sharing their grief and supporting one another. =D=
     
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  7. Mira_Jade

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

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha - Thanks! It really was gratifying, exploring all the wonderful themes of found family in this rag tag group. I really do love them to pieces. [face_love]






    Author's Notes: Here we are with yet still more Whumptober prompts, and another title nicked from the poet Nikka Ursula. :)






    XVII.

    “and this earth bends for nobody”
    (Saga-OT; ANH)​


    Muffled Scream
    (Leia Organa)

    She would not give them the satisfaction of witnessing her grief.

    She was Leia Organa, Princess of Alderaan, heir apparent to the First Throne of the High Court, daughter of her royal majesty Queen Breha Organa the Lady of the Moonless Isles and Head of the Commoncourts and Prince Bail Organa, consort to her majesty the queen and senator of Alderaan. She was everything they once were, and would yet continue to strive for everything they had raised her to be . . . even when Alderaan itself was now nothing more than memories and icy-hot dust left to orbit their now childless sun. A princess without a queendom – a home – she may have been, and still captive to her people’s executioners, at that, but she was, first and foremost, her mother’s grace and her father’s indomitable spirit and the fury that was ever trapped deep inside her bones that was something else entirely. Let Tarkin stare; she’d not shed a single tear where he could see.

    Yet, no matter the brave face she struggled to assume, once she was ordered back to her cell the first step she took threatened to falter. She would have stumbled entirely were it not for Lord Vader’s iron grip flexing about her shoulders, steadying her. Yet she recovered herself between one heartbeat and the next and shrugged the Emperor’s pet monster away to walk on her own accord. Her next stride was sure as it fell. Feeling Tarkin’s eyes on her back – and knowing the sick satisfaction he took in her pain, the evil, tiny man that he was – she tilted her head up imperiously high and summoned her strength anew. She was Leia Organa, Princess of Alderaan, she repeated to herself; she would not bow before the likes of them.

    It was only when she was finally left well and truly alone that she crumbled, her physical strength failing her even as her heart and lungs still burned with every beat and breath. Her proud shoulders slumped, and her legs wobbled until she finally had to collapse on the durasteel bench before she fell outright. Boneless, she laid down on her side and drew her legs up to her chest. Even then, she did not give into the wild urge she felt for tears. Instead, she buried her face in her folded arms and screamed. She screamed and screamed and screamed, vowing that someday – somehow, someway – she would make sure that the Empire heard her voice and the voices of the trillions across the galaxy just like her. She would not allow the loss of Alderaan to go unanswered.

    She was Leia Organa, Princess of Alderaan, and neither she – nor the legacy of her people – would end here.



    Adrenaline (Han Solo & Luke Skywalker)

    Luke was crashing, Han suspected. In the span of just a few days, everything had changed: from the murder of his guardians and leaving behind the only home he’d ever known to old man Ben’s death – not to mention surviving the Death Star twice . . . well, what went up inevitably had to come down. There was bound to be fall-out from the adrenaline Luke had been coasting on since leaving Tatooine behind, and now, here it was.

    At first, Han hesitated, glancing around the hangar for the princess or anyone who could help the dejected teenager sitting on the Falcon's ramp like a kicked mooka pup. Han didn’t do any of this – didn’t give comfort, didn’t give a damn about anyone or anything, even – and yet here he was, sighing deep from his chest and cocking a devils may care grin to ask: “Hey there, credit for your thoughts, kid?”

    Luke had his lightsaber out, Han noticed when he was close enough to see – Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber, a part of him that was still nine years old and awestruck by heroes couldn’t wholly believe – and was looking down to fiddle with the grooves on the hilt. No matter the tired slump of his shoulders, his hands were restless as they moved. There were shadows beneath his eyes from too many nights passed without sleep, but his gaze was bright with untapped energy. Yeah, Han inwardly winced in sympathy, that would be the adrenaline burn. The next few days were going to be brutal as his body set itself to rights again.

    “I . . . I’m okay,” Luke tried to lie before Han simply fixed him with a look. He still had a lot to learn about a good sabacc face, especially in front of a master. “It’s only, I just miss . . . well, I miss a lot of things,” Luke mumbled. “But I think I miss him most of all right now. Ben, that is . . . I still have so many questions . . . questions that he was never able to answer.”

    Yeah . . . no one was ever ready to be left alone. It was a hard, uncaring galaxy to either sink or swim in, and now here Luke was, lost in the deep end. At least he mostly seemed to be treading water, no matter the initial shock of his plunge. He'd be okay, in time.

    Before he wholly knew what he was doing, Han shooed Luke over so that there was room for them both to sit on the ramp. He took his flask from his vest and offered it to Luke, raising a brow when it looked like he’d turn him down. Luke reluctantly accepted the flask, even if he was slow to take a drink.

    “You know, when I was younger I wanted to be a Jedi,” Han finally said, giving voice to a part of himself that he hadn’t thought about in years. He’d been childishly naïve and stupid then; he knew better now. Once, he’d imagined that having a Jedi's mystical power would’ve answered all of his prayers . . . would have kept him and Dewlanna safe, at the very least . . . and yet the Jedi couldn’t use their lauded Force to save the Republic they once served, to save themselves, even. Yet, looking at Luke, Han couldn’t help but remember how starry-eyed with belief he'd once been. So, he continued, “I grew up during the Clone Wars – and, Anakin Skywalker, the Hero Without Fear was my favourite. He was constantly featured on the 'net, and I looked up to him. I even got to meet his apprentice, once – a Togruta named Ahsoka. I saved her life. Helped her rebuild her lightsabers, if you’d believe it. Do you . . . do you want to hear the story?”

    In answer, Luke stared at him with something curious – burning, still, no matter his grief and fatigue – in his expression. So, Han settled in, and began his tale.



    Recovery (Wes Janson & Hera Syndulla)

    He couldn’t seem to accept the fact that Jek was gone, he hadn’t made it home after taking his place in the sky. Jek was dead, Jek would never fly again, while Wes . . .

    . . . well, he was still alive.

    The bout of Hesken Fever that had grounded him – don’t worry Janson, we’ll leave a few Imps for you to catch next time, had been Jek’s big belly laugh in parting, proud as he stood there in his new orange flightsuit – had finally subsided, but he didn’t notice much of a change. The Death Star was destroyed, answering the trillions of lives it’d taken since its inception and leaving the Alliance free to fight another day. Generally, spirits were high, even as they prepared to evacuate before the Empire could regroup for the lose of their superweapon. Wes mostly stayed out of the way, even avoiding his newfound friends like Wedge and Hobbie, and instead rested to recover his strength and glumly indulging his melancholy. He wasn’t the best of company, admittedly, and he was glad to be left alone.

    The only time he was able to push his grief aside, just a little bit, was when he sat with the medbay’s youngest resident: a newborn half-Human named Jacen. As was the case with most hybrids, the youngster had been born premature, and was still under the watchful care of the medics. There was usually a gaggle of people surrounding the baby – from a Mandalorian woman in colourfully painted armor to the rare sight of a Lasat Guardsman and even Princess Organa herself, once. But, with all hands needed to aid the evacuation there were times when the baby was left alone. So, Wes took it upon himself to sit with the infant whenever his room was empty. Reaching through the gloves built into the incubator, he held the baby’s tiny hand and talked about anything and everything that came to mind to fill the silence. He was good at talking, at least, and Jacen seemed to respond to the sound of his voice.

    It was, in that way, that he met the baby’s mother.

    “Ah, so you’re the Jacen whisperer when I’m gone.” A Twi’lek woman with sun-apple green skin and a general’s rank bar over her flightsuit leaned against the entrance of the room to greet. Wes looked over his shoulder, and yet the wink and grin he’d normally flash – she was gorgeous, after all, and he was known to prefer a woman with a little bit of age and . . . well, experience – was slow to come. She looked tired, he thought, and there was a heaviness to her emerald coloured eyes that he thought to recognize from his own face in the mirror. Something deep inside of him tugged, and he checked himself.

    “I’m sorry.” Wes reflexively scrambled to his feet, blushing to realize just how odd it must have looked to this mother to find a stranger sitting with her son. “It’s just . . .” well, how could he said that all he could think about was death and loss since Jek had been shot down in his place? This little one was something sunny and new and bright – hope, in a galaxy that had been so dark for too long. “I have six younger brothers and sisters back home. I like kids; I’m used to helping out with my siblings,” he rushed to explain, maybe a little too quickly. “Sure, my ma says that being the oldest of seven didn’t make me the most mature of seven, but I still - ”

    “ - at ease, soldier,” the woman held up a hand, gently interrupting his rambling. The beginnings of a smile tugged on her mouth. “You don’t have to explain; I’m not upset.”

    Reflexively, Wes felt his shoulders relax. Suddenly, he felt wobbly on his feet – he really did need to sit back down before he fell down. So, he turned to excuse himself and return to his own bunk.

    “It’s okay if you’d like to stay,” her voice was soft to offer, stopping him before he could reach the door. “We don’t mind the company.”

    “Oh,” Wes was surprised by the invitation . . . surprised, and yet grateful. He found that he wasn’t quite ready to go. “Well, um, if you don’t mind, I guess I’ll stay for a little while.”

    They didn’t have much to say to each other, with each of them lost to their respective ghosts – or so Wes suspected on her part. (He had never seen Jacen’s father around, after all.) Instead, they let the silence settle in soft companionship, the baby a warm burst of new life between shared them.



    Shackled (Winter Retrac & Leia Organa)

    There were times when her ability to perfectly recall a memory was as much a blessing as it was a curse.

    Winter still remembered her own parents, no matter how young she was when they died. She could remember the sound of her father’s laughter and the exact colour of her mother’s eyes. She remembered visiting the Triplehorn mountains with them late in the summer, with the sunlight glittering off the high alpine lakes and the wind singing through the branches of the silver-needled conifers and copper-bark trees. She still remembered the warbling cries of the clareek birds, and the taste of the sweet isle berries bursting on her tongue. She'd ever remember scraped knees and long days of swimming and love and laughter and light; she'd never forget her family as it once was.

    Just as she held onto all that was good and bright, she could still summon to mind that horrible moment when she understood that her parents were never coming home again with debilitating clarity, over and over again. They’d been too far gone when the medics arrived on scene of the crash, and now Queen Breha was going to take care of her, and somehow everything was supposed to be okay -

    . . . at first, she'd hated Leia as only a child could hate for having a mother and father when she did not. Yet, Winter didn’t often call that time to mind, choosing to remember the after more so instead. She had clung to Breha and Bail and called them her own, with her heart latching onto them in lieu of all she had lost. In no time at all Leia became sister and beloved instead of a rival to envy and fight for a right to affection. As Winter grew, she’d simply been thankful that she had this family to cherish when the one of her birth was forever lost to her. She’d loved the Organas as much as it was possible to love another as her own, and she mourned them now just as dearly as she'd once grieved her original parents.

    In like manner, Winter now remembered Alderaan in all its entirety as few left alive could claim the equal of. She could remember the feel of the grass underneath her feet to the particular sweetness in the air and the sight sound feel that had been her home within the palace walls. She could still remember the exact shape of the queen’s smile and the warm familiarity of the prince’s hand on her shoulder. She remembered . . . she remembered it all.

    “Sometimes, I feel that I am losing them,” Leia whispered to her in confidence, that first night back aboard Home One after the evacuation of the Yavin base. It was selfish of her, but Winter had wept as many tears of relief as she had of loss when she learned that Leia had survived the destruction of their home. The universe could take and take and take, but please, she'd prayed so fervently to keep this one piece of her heart with her. “I don’t want to forget them, and I’m afraid that I am.”

    “You can’t ever lose them,” Winter comforted, helping her friend – her sister – braid her hair in the old ways, as a crown of intertwining plaits about her brow, just as Leia had first done for her. “They’re still with you, in your heart.”

    Leia was quiet then, she did not speak. But Winter could see the deep, shuddering breath she filled her lungs with. Had she truly allowed herself to process her losses yet? Or, had she thrown herself into the fight on behalf of others – on behalf of everything that they had lost – to distract herself from her grief, instead? That sounded like something Leia would do.

    So, Winter simply placed a warm hand on her shoulder, and gently nudged the floodgates to open. “You won’t ever forget them, Leia; I promise.”

    When Leia did finally allow herself to indulge her tears, Winter was there to share in her mourning. Sometimes, her ability to hold the past in perfect memory felt as bonds, shackling her. And yet, she vowed then that she would remember every last detail so that Alderaan could not – would not – be forgotten. It was the least she could for the few of them who survived, and carried on in memory of their home as best they could.






    End Notes: The events during the Clone Wars Han is referring to can be found in my Ahsoka diary, "Even Without a Voice", where they did indeed meet and have quite the adventure together! :)

    And, for a bit of Legends backstory on Wes for those who may not be familiar: he and Jek Porkins were initially part of the Yellow Aces, a squadron that served the Tierfon Rebel Base. Their squadron was disbanded and sent to Yavin IV to bulk up the defenses there following the destruction of Alderaan. Wes was assigned as Red Six, while Jek was put on ready reserve - a reserve that was called up when Wes came down with a bout of Hesken Flu, grounding him from the Death Star run. I can only imagine how much that hit Wes when Jek didn't make it back alive. :( The rest of this unlikely meeting just sorta wrote itself from there . . . I have no idea what my muse was trying to do, but I kinda like it now that it's there. :p [face_mischief]


    ~MJ @};-
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2019
  8. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Muffled Scream
    Brilliantly poignantly in character. I could quote the entire thing. You've got Leia perfectly.

    Adrenaline
    Oh, Han is such a dear! He knows just what to say and do to ease Luke's burden. [face_love]
    Deny it as he might try to, Han still has a bit of idealism lurking inside. [face_shhh] ;)

    Recovery
    What an intriguing bit of connecting between two who have lost so much but still have things to be grateful for.

    Shackled
    I can just imagine that a perfect memory would be a curse as well as a blessing. I am so happy that in this instance it can be used to share grief and hold cherished memories close.

    =D=
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2019
    Findswoman, brodiew and Mira_Jade like this.
  9. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 11, 2005
    Muffled Scream
    The entirety of the second paragraph raised the hairs in my arms. You really are a master at getting soul deep in your characterizations. Any summary of your words would pail in comparison, but I loved that she recited her ENTIRE title in her head. Also, the word fury just leaped of the page and raised my tension level just reading it. Leia IS barely contained fury. Just brilliant.
    You description of Leai's breakdown cuts me to the quick. Image of the Princess of Alderaan reduced to the fetal position screaming in desperation is palpable.
    I believe her. :( :leia::mad:

    Adrenaline
    So true. The constant motion of it all, from Owen and Beru's death to the one in a million, Luke has lost everything and will need to grieve before realizing that through the loss of one family, he will find another.
    Again, tragically, true. Like Luke was sure to be, I was surprised by Han's admission of wanting to be a Jedi; his childhood fantasy. However, the truth can be purposefully buried to hide hide hope, to suppress love, and to reinforce bitterness. Han has also entered a new family, whether he likes it or not.
    This line jumped out to me. the death of hope, for short time.

    Recovery

    Your General Syndulla can match my Steve Harrington as a person both needing comfort and giving it from their semi-permanent stations. I love Hera's grace here as well as a look at Wes we usually don't see.

    'Respective ghosts'. Nicely done, Mira.

    Shackled

    It is amazing how found families have entered our popular culture to a noticeable degree. I think it is great as I am the parent of thee adopted children. Whether Stranger Things, Star Wars, or any number of TV shows or movies, family is not a concept that can be rubber stamped. The passage above shows this well. That Winter had go through her owner personal loss before finding the Organas, is tragic. Only to be compounded by the larger loss of her home planet. But the transition of any newly grafted person into a new family can take time and effort to blend. Winter's initial hate of Leia is understandable. She is concerned about her own needs at that point. But, in time, Leia becomes Beloved. Praise be for that. I am thankful, also, for Winter's memory and her unique ability to preserve Alderaan for herself and all the survivors. @};-

    ALL that said, Muffled Screams was my favorite and powerful piece of writing. I hope you are proud of it because it is a home run! ^:)^ =D= ^:)^
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2019
  10. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Golly, do I feel sheepish for having fallen so far behind on these. [face_blush] I didn't realize just how far behind I'd fallen till I saw that your most recent set is chapter 17, while the last ones I ebooked were 11 and 12! :eek: But I hope you do believe me when I say I really have enjoyed all of these, and your talents for characterization, introspection, and interaction—often between characters we wouldn't expect to see interact with each other (the combination Wes and Hera and Jacen particularly floored me)—come through in all of them, to a one. Wow, so many beautiful moments in these, from the cute anf fun (Jesse enjoying ulpkin spice caf! :D ) to the heartwrenchingly poignant (Ezra accidentally calling Hera "Mom" as he awakes from his fever)—I'll be here till the banthas come home if I try to list them all. Perhaps unsurpisingly, "Explosion" in chapter 14 was one of my faves for being such a wonderfully in-character look at Zeb's reactions and thought processes at a critical moment—he shows himself a true Honor Guard here by running back in to the fire to save his new friends. And it was wonderful to see you tackle those Whumptober prompts—unlike so much "whump" writing out there, yours has real heart and depth and actually cares for the characters being whumped. In particular I loved how you went in-depth on Leia's grief after the destruction of Alderaan in "Muffled Scream," and all the more so, since you were one of the first writers who ever brought the whole idea of Leia's grief to my attention, ever! @};- Keep up the beautiful, incredible work; I always look forward to more of these, and I'll try to be more prompt about expressing my appreciation of them. =D=
     
  11. Mira_Jade

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

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Thank-you, my friend! I was so proud of that piece, and happy that you found it so poignant as well! :D

    That's Han in a nutshell, isn't it? He was never able to be as cynical as he tried to be, and I loved showing his deeper self here. [face_love]

    Thanks! Hera and Wes hit my muse out of nowhere, what can I say? But now I like the idea of a connection between them. [face_thinking]

    I can only imagine too! Both Winter and Leia have lost so much, but they have each other to confide in. Their memories are just as much a sense of solace as they can be a burden at times. [face_love]

    I thank you so much for the lovely review, my friend! As always I can't thank you enough for your continued readership and support. [:D]



    BRODIE!! [face_love] [:D] [face_dancing]

    First off, as always, I am honored any time you drop by to leave a review, but especially for this piece. I was so, so proud of this character study in particular. Leia truly is all fire and fury here, and that fire is what's going to bring the Empire's ruin. [face_love]

    Exactly! Luke has quite literally had his world turned upside down, almost overnight. It's going to be a process to go from acceptance to true healing, but in all that he's lost, he's certainly more than gained. [face_love]

    That particular characterization of Han comes from my Ahsoka diary! Where they had quite the adventure together following her leaving the Jedi Order, to say the least. [face_love]

    But, even without that theoretical meeting with Ahsoka, Han did grow up through the Clone Wars. With all of the propaganda flying about, and especially the larger than life version of Anakin's exploits as the Hero Without Fear being broadcasted by the media, I can imagine that it was entirely possible that he idolized the Jedi as a child - especially as a means of escape from his own circumstances. With everything that happened to follow, he's purposely buried his hope to protect himself, just like you mentioned. But Han has to work to maintain his cynical bitterness, and both Luke and Leia and his own good heart shining through will see to the end of that! :p

    I can totally see that, you're right! :D

    And, it was great taking a look at Wes that we don't usually see. Usually the biggest goof-balls have deep waters, at least in my experience, and that definitely applies to Wes here. [face_love]

    I just adore the concept of found families, and really appreciate how they've entered popular culture too! I am so touched that this passage stood out to you, especially with your own experiences with your little ones! That really, truly touched me! [face_love] [:D]

    And I thank you, again, by your kind words! I am touched by your praise, my friend, as always! [face_love] [face_blush] [:D]


    You are too kind; don't feel sheepish!! I kinda went on a spree updating these in October, to say the least. Which can be hard to keep up with for anyone with their own RL plate full! :p And the great thing about ficlets is that you can jump in any time. Believe me when I say that I am just all too happy for your feedback whenever it comes, in whatever shape that may be. [face_love] [:D]

    Aw, thanks! [face_blush] As always, you honor me with your praise. [face_love]

    And, Wes and Hera! Again, that idea came out of nowhere to me, but now that it's here my muse is fascinated by the potential of some sort of a bond between them. :p [face_thinking]

    Those are two of my favourites, as well! :D Again, I thank you so much for the kind words. :)

    Your work was so vivid in my mind while writing that piece, I have to say!! Your Zeb has merged so seamlessly with canon!Zeb in my mind to be one and the same, so hearing that from the master herself is just the icing on top the cake, so to speak. I am thrilled beyond words that that piece stuck with you. [face_love] [:D]

    Thank-you! Honestly, I never understood the draw of torturing characters just for the sake of torture - and it really irks me to see it done otherwise, especially by pro!writers. The whole grimdark culture that's so pervasive in modern media, or even the traditional "whump" has never been my thing. But, characters overcoming tragedy and pain and trauma together to strengthen bonds and grow and develop through the writing? Mmm, yes! That's the stuff that stories should be about. :D

    Again, you honor me! I am all too happy to dive into Leia's grief and explore how it adds to the strong, force of nature she truly is. Leia's fire and fury and deep, abiding empathy is just part and parcel of why I think we all love her so much. I was all too happy to write that piece, in particular, and thrilled that you found it moving!

    Thank-you so much for your kind words, again! I hope that you continue to enjoy these ficlets as they come. [face_love] [:D]



    ~MJ @};-
     
  12. Mira_Jade

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

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Author's Notes: Hello, my lovely readers! Honestly, DRL is still being a sneaky Sith, and it looks like it's going to stay that way through the new year, at least. But! I have some good life changes in store that should finally let me slow down a bit coming up. And that will mean more stories! Because I miss interacting with this wonderful community more than I currently am. You guys truly are all the best. [face_love] [:D]

    In the meantime, here I am with some Song!verse snippets that I've been tinkering with, this time chipping away at The Human Experience word prompt list from the fantastic 300+ prompts website. :)

    Enjoy!







    XVIII.


    “if there’s only one song I can sing (let it be this one)”
    (Saga-PT/OT; Song!verse AU | Ensemble Cast)​


    Regret (Anakin Skywalker/Padmé Amidala, Luke & Leia Skywalker)

    Once, in his mother's hovel on Tatooine, Anakin had dreamed many dreams: of flying and freedom and having strength enough to never bend the knee and call another master again. With a child’s simple trust in heroes (hope), he’d thought that the mantle of a Jedi Knight would solve everything (from the gnashing in his belly and the scars from fetters on his wrists and the darkness hidden deep down beneath his bones where he banished all of his indefinable and inexpressible things). He'd given up everything (his mother, his home, his sense of belonging and the security found in unconditional love) in one desperate bid for freedom, and blindly trusted in the dreams of his childhood to see him through. Yet, almost contrarily, as a novice disciple of the Jedi Order there were times when he maddeningly felt bound again, this time by the expectations weighing on his shoulders and the restrictions placed on his heart and that ever pressing desire to pay back the price of his freedom, to prove himself equal to the sundering of his chains. (Even so, he never quite felt like he was enough when compared to his fellow apprentices, even though he vastly outshone even the masters in raw, untapped power. His heart was seemingly never serene enough, he never achieved peace enough, nor proved his devotion enough; he was always less the Jedi then he was expected to be, and that knowledge tormented him. He was bought at great cost, and ever unequal to the price paid.)

    And yet, now . . .

    Looking into his wife’s concerned eyes, cradling Leia in his arms while Padmé settled Luke in for the night, Anakin couldn’t help but smile a soft smile for her question. Didn’t she know that, for the first time in his life, he was right where he wanted to be (where he thoughtfeltknew was his destiny). This was his path now, living a life out of the shadows with her and their children, and he had no desire to turn aside for anything else. (For once, his place to belong came to him without yearning for what he couldn’t have or striving for more or bending to an ever oppressive sense of dutybondagefear. He may have been Chosen, but this he chose for himself - for them.)

    Aloud, he answered with the only truth he knew: “Love, how is our family ever something I could regret?”



    Fulfilled (Obi-Wan Kenobi & Qui-Gon Jinn & Anakin Skywalker)

    Once, when Anakin was still new to the Temple – an (brilliantinsecurefurious) inquisitive child much too small for his age, who still squirreled away scraps from the dinner table as if unsure when he would see his next meal and whose eyes boggled at the phenomena of water falling from the sky – he'd asked where the Jedi kept memorials for their fallen. Obi-Wan had first been puzzled by the question; having grown in the Order, he did not need somewhere tangible to remember Qui-Gon by. He needed only the Force, and his memory of his Master; that very little was enough. (Never enough.)

    The Jedi kept no markers for their dead; those who were one with the Force were detached from their mortal lives, and those they had known there, in favor of the infinite. Yet, when Obi-Wan instead showed Anakin the flowering gorgetti tree that Qui-Gon had planted in the Room of a Thousand Fountains, with its weeping vines and fragrant white blossoms tangled in its swaying branches, his gesture felt like a compromise between what the Jedi believed in and what Anakin himself needed to grow and thrive. That fine line was one that Obi-Wan never wholly felt he walked as Anakin's master, not with both feet. How did one guide a storm, after all, with two small hands? Throughout the days of his apprenticeship, Anakin could often be found sitting on the stones lining the pool beneath the tree, speaking to Qui-Gon as if he could be heard in return. Somewhere along the way, his habit was one that Obi-Wan adopted for himself, and made his own. The same as Anakin, he too felt closer to his former Master here, and if his connection to something tangible made him less than a Jedi, well then . . . certainly that was the least of his concerns were the matters of attachment and dogma were concerned, to put it mildly.

    “Master, I have done my best to fulfill the task you set upon me,” Obi-Wan bowed his head before the tree – which was now so much taller than when he’d first introduced it to Anakin, all those years ago. “Anakin has grown to surpass us all in the ways of the Force, and while he’s not quite the Jedi you may have first imagined he'd become, well . . . he is a good man. He has found his balance . . . just as I have found my balance, guiding his path. But then, that’s something you’ve always understood, haven’t you?”

    As always, his words were met with silence. And yet, Obi-Wan felt as the artificial breeze through the cavernous atrium seemingly swept through the branches of the gorgetti tree with a telling intensity. He could smell the flowers as they bloomed; he could feel the trickle of the water over the stones in the pool echoed in time with the beating his own heart. Softly, he smiled, and imagined that that too, Qui-Gon could see.



    Family (Ensemble Skywalker/Naberrie clan)

    In the house by the lake, a family grew and thrived.

    It was the Day of Blessings, a Nabooian tradition dating back to the times of Kwilaan the Explorer, when such reasons for thanksgiving had been few and far between, and all the more cherished for being so. Even in its modern incarnation, it was a holiday that Anakin dove into with gusto, enjoying the chance to see his family – his entire family – together for a good meal and an exchanging of gifts to celebrate their shared blessings in life. That year, the house was fuller than it had been in past seasons, with young Mara Jade joining them from Ossus for the special occasion, and Padmé carrying little baby Shmiq in a sling on her back as she played the part of hostess to those elder in her family. Five years old now, Luke and Leia were causing quite a ruckus with Sola’s children and their extended Naberrie cousins, but as their fun and games had Mara smiling and slowly coming out of her shell, Anakin didn’t mind their exuberance in the slightest. There was nothing better than listening to their peals of laughter, really, and their joy rang in his ears as he helped Ruwee and Darred, Sola’s husband, take the fragrant loaves of seeded abuan bread from the oven – with the Father’s Yield being one of the foremost traditions of the celebration. Someday, Ruwee gravely intoned, it would be to his good-sons to oversee the baking in his place, and he was just as careful in his instruction as Anakin was doggedly determined to do right by his father-in-law’s teachings. His heart was full as they placed the bread on the table next to the offerings from the women; and he couldn’t help but beam at Padmé for his accomplishment. His plait may have been a bit sloppy compared to Ruwee and Darred’s more ornate braids, but he was proud of his efforts; in the years to come, he knew that he would only do better.

    While Padmé's extended family visited their home that year – her great-aunt Tasia Naberrie, an elderly woman with a still-sharp tongue and knowing eyes, made the journey from Theed, and Ruwee’s two sisters and their husbands and children and grandchildren all filled the house to capacity – Anakin had also invited his own family, such as they were. Obi-Wan, uncaring of the usually gendered roles of the holiday, had been hard at work helping Jobal and Ruwee’s sisters in the kitchen, and his charm had all of the woman clucking and fussing over him, obviously smitten. Ahsoka, on the other hand, had been banned from the kitchen almost from the get-go – which Anakin could have warned them of, and which Rex had cautioned them against, ironically enough. But, she was more than happy minding the children – and honestly instigating their antics more often than not. The little ones’ first uncoordinated play – a game crossed between tag and hide-and-seek – had grown with Ahsoka and Rex each splitting the children into two teams down the middle and pitting their respective ‘troops’ against each other. Minus a near mishap with an Alderaanian vase in the main hall, the Organas' gift from when they’d renewed their wedding vows in a public ceremony for all their friends and family to witness – what was it with Leia and breaking priceless Alderaanian antiques? – the game had been controlled enough to be allowed to continue.

    Later, they all gathered around the table – they had somehow made room for dozens in the dining room, and yet the tight fit of happy bodies only made the atmosphere all the warmer – and each listed their blessings aloud for all to share in. Much to Anakin’s astonishment, even Mara opened her mouth to take her turn, which was no small feat with her still struggling with her speech, especially in front of the dual combination of strangers and a large group. Yet: “I am blessed to have my family,” she gave in a near whisper that, nonetheless, each of them heard, and felt fully resound.

    “I think,” Anakin rewarded her bravery, reaching over to squeeze her small, trembling hand with his own, “that none of us could put it any better than that.”

    (Even if, in another time and place, a boy and a girl – a brother and sister, each grown and yet new to their bond, along with the full reaches of their legacy – walked through the halls of the long silent house on the lake, then empty but for memories. There, they could sense only the faintest echo of a family united in laughter, and love.)







    XIX.


    “in another life (love is enough and we are happy)”
    (Saga-PT; Song!verse, AU | Sintas Vel/Boba Fett)​


    Obsession

    This was something that she was determined to conquer, if it was the last thing she did.

    It shouldn’t have been difficult to assemble: flour, sugar, eggs, cream, and a leavening agent. She’d followed the recipe exactly, only to produce results ranging from a rock-like lump more suitable as a bludgeoning weapon to a soggy mess that bubbled raw in the baking tin and yet somehow still burned to a crisp around the edges. She wasn’t sure what she was doing wrong; clearly, she was starting to suspect, the problem was not her, but the recipe.

    Fighting off a growl, she flung her now flour-dusted braid over her shoulder and slammed another bowl down on the counter. She could do this; she would do this. She’d successfully fended for herself in a war-torn galaxy since she was ten years old, persevering against all odds to not only live as she saw fit, but to thrive. With that same stubborn refusal to bow then coursing through her, she refused to let a simple baking project be her match. She would be the victor here, no matter the cost.

    It took the better part of the day, but in the end she successfully had a sweet-loaf that more or less resembled her goal.

    The result of her labors didn’t taste like anything her mother had ever made, back before everything about her childhood had changed, yet the flour she used had been thrashed from their very own crop of golden neral, and the blue-cream was a gift from the Dral clan's farm down the road. The fruit flavoring the cake – even if it had all sank to the bottom of the tin while baking – was a type of tart berry native to Concord Dawn, a new taste that was quickly becoming one of her favourites. Mandalorians, though they were hard in many ways, appreciated their uj, and Sintas had more or less successfully made her first loaf. It was slow going, but she – they – were finally finding their way here. She thought that she was making this place, this people, her own.

    At the very least, she’d certainly put her mark on the kitchen. Usually, she was immaculate when caring for her gear or working on their ship – but here, careless and comfortable at home (their home), flour now dusted every possible surface. Dirty measuring cups, bowls caked with batter, and pans holding the remnants of her previously failed efforts were haphazardly stacked in the sink, all waiting for the washer. An entire half-dozen nuna eggs had fallen on the floor and cracked open to leave a mess of yolks and shells behind . . . and she may have swiped a soggy not-quite-a-cake from the counter to the ground and left it there to mock her.

    So, when Boba entered the room and just stood there . . . his helmet tilted in a way that said that he was trying to process her and coming up empty on his understanding, she smiled brightly and held up the one successful cake her labors had produced. “I did it, Bo!” she crowed in triumph. “Look; I made uj!”

    “I see,” Boba replied, and reached up to take off his helmet – the only distinguishable Mandalorian mark about his otherwise cobbled together ensemble. He’d just recently gained the height, but he still didn’t have the mass to fit his father’s armor, and he stubbornly refused to allow the clan elders to guide him through the rituals of forging his own. He’d been gone on another job for the woman in black, the Mirialan with burning yellow eyes, which she’d bitten her tongue for, again. They didn’t need to take bounties for credits anymore, not really; it was tight, but they could get by without. She just wished that being a Protector on Concord Dawn could be enough for him; it was quickly becoming enough for her.

    Snapping at the edges of the Jedi Order at the Dark Lady’s beck and call like an akk dog on a leash was dangerous work. And, no matter how many lightsabers he collected, he’d never bring his father back. Vengeance couldn’t fill the void left by dead kin; she knew that better than most. This obsession would drive him mad if indulged for much longer, just as it would rob them of any sort of happiness they could try to claim for themselves in the meantime. He had to cut ties with his employer and her even more secretive master – soon, for his sake, as much as her own.

    Yet, ignoring her darker thoughts, she instead beamed to repeat the obvious, looking for more of a reaction than his bemused study of the kitchen. “I,” she held up her creation, “baked. And, it’s edible.”

    Her words still didn’t garner more of a reaction than a slight furrowing of his brows. Sintas wasn’t sure what was more bewildering to him: the fact that their home now looked and smelled like someone was trying to make a home within their walls, or that she was the one trying her hardest with something so . . . domestic. Neither option sat well with her.

    So, Sintas scowled, and reached into the still open sack of flour waiting on the counter. Without a thought, she took a handful and flung it at Boba. “Hey, I worked hard today! Could you try not to be a besom?” Mando’a, at least, was expanding her vocabulary quite nicely. Even more satisfying was the way her husband now looked like he fit her battlefield of a kitchen.

    Boba scowled, and reached up to wipe his face clean – which was a reaction, at least. “Sin,” his low tone was a warning. “Don’t - ”

    Another handful of flour followed the first; really, it was his fault that he didn’t move out of the way in time. “There,” she refused to back down. “Now you’re my mess, too.”

    She half expected him to stalk away in a moody fit of temper. Yet, if she was really lucky, maybe one of his rare smiles would break out in reply to her teasing. She was walking a knife’s edge, she knew, but, her mother’s gods take it all, she couldn’t be the only one trying here and wanting -

    - so she was reasonably startled when, a moment later, she misjudged just how closely Boba was standing to the still open container of neral-meal. Before she could blink, he flung a handful of the grain at her. She made a choking sound through the yellow powder that still clouded on the air, even as a sly grin slanted over her mouth in answer to his challenge. Was that how he wanted to play this? The kitchen was her domain; she had the upper hand with knowing the terrain and the resources available to her. Yet, Boba, she could admit, was good at improvising; he knew how to make do with what he had. He was a formidable foe, in every respect.

    In the end, the match was a draw. They were both covered in flour, and Sintas had even gone for the low blow of smearing what was left of the crushed berries in his hair. It was only because she loved him that she hadn’t smashed an egg over his thick skull, honestly.

    Their tiny kitchen was well and truly a mess by the time they both slumped to the ground, fighting back smiles – and outright laughter, on her part. But she counted it as a true victory when she finally convinced Boba to actually try a piece of the cake.

    Until -

    “I think this edge here is still burnt,” he pointed out.

    - and she wished that she had cracked an egg in his hair anyway.




    End Notes
    : Both Sintas and Boba had large parts still to come in "Her Still, Small Voice," before my muse stalled on that WIP. Though, that's honestly still a project I'd love to return to in the future, so I'll try not to spoil my plans overly much here! [face_love] [face_mischief] For those of you who may not know the Legends' backstory for these characters: Sintas Vel was Kiffar, and another orphan left behind from the violence of the Clone Wars. She and Boba teamed up as bounty hunters together at a disturbingly young age, though by the time they were eighteen they were married and living on Concord Dawn, trying to earn an honest living together. In Legends-canon, that's when Boba began to make his name hunting down surviving Jedi for the Empire, which was at odds with Sintas, who wanted to leave their violent childhoods behind and embrace the tenets of Mandalorian philosophy. Their marriage only lasted three years before falling apart, and Boba left her and Ailyn, their baby daughter, behind. He only really tried to make amends for being a lousy family-man through their grand-daughter Mirta, years down the line. In my Song!verse, though, I'm wondering if I can write a bit of a better story for them, as is my wont. Because that's just what I do. [face_mischief] [face_whistling] :p



    ~MJ @};-
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2019
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  13. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Wonderfully insightful for Anakin and I adore the loving and warm family scene on Naboo @};-

    OH ... [face_laugh] And I thought I was familiar with every pairing permutation in Star Wars until Sintas/Boba. HOW awesomely cool and fun is this foray into domesticity! [face_rofl] If your 'Song-verse wasn't engraved on stone tablets of SW fact, already, it would be now. [face_dancing] ^:)^
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2019
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  14. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Ooh, the SongVerse is back! :D [face_dancing]

    Love seeing Anakin's ruminations, and even though they lead to the conclusion that he is in the best of all possible worlds, with his family safe at his side, that shadow of What Might Have Been is still constantly present (I get the feeling that the parenthetical, italicized bits are at least partly meant to be that). I was glad to see Obi-Wan get a moment of tranquil reflection, too (and in such an amazingly gorgeous setting!); I get the feeling he, too, realizes that there was a whole lot of What Might Have Been hanging around this star student of his. The Naboo Day of Blessings is just beautiful—so wonderful to see pretty much the whole ensemble cast of this 'verse gathered together sharing their gratitude and blessings with each other (and that with so much wonderfully tasty and fragrant food!), and Ani's right: Mara really did say it best. (Though there too the reflection on what happened in that other time and place add that extra bittersweet note; I have no doubt that that brother and that sister can pick up on the vibes still echoing in that empty house.) Finally, so much fun to see Sintas and Boba—wow, it's really been a long time since I've seen them! And what a fun scenario, with the flour and egg and kitchen mess everywhere: baked goods 1, Sintas 0! (Which I can say with a certain amount of impunity, as I've been there. :p ) Very heartily agreed that these two do deserve a lot better than what they originally got, and who better to give that to them than you! [face_love]

    Great work once again and congrats on another excellent batch—keep it coming. =D=
     
  15. Mira_Jade

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

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Hello, all!

    Dear goodness, but it's been a while since I've had an update for this collection, hasn't it? This will be my first post in this thread for 2020! (And how fitting, for offering number twenty? :p) But these last few weeks have quite unexpectedly swallowed me - thanks DRL, aren't you a gem as always? :oops: - and as this thread was made for the express purpose of combating DRL, I wrote a couple of drivels to exercise my beleaguered muse a bit. Now as a result, I have ficlets to share! The good news is that RL should be slowing down now, and that will hopefully mean more time for all of those stagnating WIPs and reviews I have accumulating in my queue. I know that I am much overdue, but eager to rectify that state of affairs!

    But, first I have a little bit of a missing scene from the end of An Old Song, Re-Sung, and a much needed addendum to TCW, at that. [face_love] The title is an Edmund Spenser nick.


    (And, last but not least, as for my last ficlet back in December, I have to thank you both, @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha and @Findswoman, for reading and taking the time to leave your thoughts! You feedback and encouragement remain invaluable, and I hope you continue to enjoy these drivels as they go. [face_love] [:D])







    XX

    “nothing is lost, that can’t be found (if sought)”
    (Saga-PT, post-RoTS; Song!Verse, AU | Luminara Unduli & Ahsoka Tano)​


    Bridges

    Luminara hadn't seen the former Padawan since her trial, now well over a year ago. There, looking on with her fellow Masters as one of their own (though one of their own no more, cast out as Ahsoka Tano had been by decree of the Council) was prosecuted for the unthinkable, she hadn’t known what to feel beyond a stunned sort of surreal disbelief. The Force had been nothing but shadow and roiling, angry turbulence to her immaterial eyes then, swallowing the light the same as lightning being smothered by a storm cloud just as soon as it flashed. There was no up or down to be found in that maelstrom of pain and anger, no clear path forward for them to take, and it wasn’t until Knight Skywalker dragged in Barriss – her Barriss – to confess the full truth of the matter, just before Chancellor Palpatine could deliver Ahsoka’s sentence, that Luminara understood just how grievously they had erred.

    . . . just how grievously she had erred, Luminara had humility enough to admit her own culpability and accept her share of the blame for the consequences of their shared inaction. After all – as an honorary member of the High Council, only temporarily filling in the twelfth seat during Depa’s convalescence – she had not joined Obi-Wan and Plo and Shaak and Kit in sounding the poor girl’s defense. Instead, she’d firmly sided with Mace and Saesee and Ki-Adi when deciding that the evidence against Ahsoka was too damning to not allow Admiral Tarkin’s investigation leave to do what needed to be done elsewise, for better or worse. Then, she'd thought to serve the side of justice, no mater how difficult a decision it was to make, all the while striving to keep the delicate balance that was ensuring that the Jedi Order was separate and yet beholden to the laws of the Republic they so endeavored to serve. How much of that, she wondered now and yet still could not quite honestly answer, was her perhaps subconsciously knowing who the true culprit was and wishing to prove her instincts wrong, even so? How much pain could she had spared Ahsoka if she had spoken up for what she had, deep down inside, known to be right – no matter what the optics of the situation may have insisted otherwise?

    Now, Ahsoka was returned to the Temple from Mandalore with a subdued Darth Maul in custody and heading the 501st in Skywalker’s place, as was perhaps natural for her to lead. There, waiting alongside Obi-Wan and Shaak and Plo and Master Yoda on the landing pad, Luminara did not shy away from meeting the young woman’s eyes (and Ahsoka truly was a woman now, wasn’t she? grown in body as much as she'd ever been in mind and spirit), no matter how, perhaps, she may have shamefully wished to instead. After Ahsoka finished briefing the Temple Guardians she too did not duck and hide her gaze away. Instead, she was bold to tilt her crest back and proudly meet their eyes. Regardless, Luminara did not miss how the clone at her side – Captain Rex, she recognized, even with his customary jaig markings now swallowed by the red-orange paint swathed over his helmet in a loud declaration of allegiance to her – stepped closer to Ahsoka’s left and angled himself to intersect their line of sight in an action that spoke louder than any words. He saw the gathered Jedi as a threat, and something about that knowledge chilled Luminara just the same as the cutting wind that swept in this high on the Temple’s north spire. Shame and self-loathing were then as familiar companions as her own shadow, and they filled her lungs until she hadn't the ability to breathe. So far, no matter how she’d tried, she’d not been able to give her emotions over to the Force as she better ought to have been. Her shortcomings as a Jedi, and especially as a Master of the Order who should have been more than she currently was, caused shame to fill her, weighing her down alongside her grief and regret.

    But Ahsoka waved her hand, and at the subtle gesture Rex backed away – even if only a single step. Even so, Luminara could feel the weight of his helmeted stare, no matter that he trusted his commander and did not follow as she approached. Yet the unspoken challenge of him resting his hands on his holstered twin decees was as much for them, she suspected, as it was to warn Darth Maul to behave as he was led away by the Guardians. But Luminara she could not pay the captain any further heed than that as Ahsoka walked up to them, her stride languid and battle-strong. She fought against the urge she had to let her head hang, lost as her pride was. This was not about her pain, after all, she inwardly hissed to remind herself, but what Ahsoka both needed and deserved.

    “Master Unduli.” There was a new confidence to Ahsoka – something that was now grounded and simply part of her, rather than the cocky sort of swagger she’d sported as a Padawan – as she stopped just before them. She politely bowed, low from her waist but without holding the gesture, no matter that such formality was no longer strictly required. Luminara couldn’t help but notice that she’d grown taller; her features were more defined, just as there was a new height to her montrals and an added length to her lekku. Had she truly been such a child when the Order had thrown her away to fend for herself? Luminara reflected with an ache. As unfortunately conscripted soldiers in their Force-forsaken war, it was sometimes easy to forget just how young Ahsoka’s generation of apprentices truly was – how young they were, for far too many of them.

    . . . Barriss too had been more child than woman the first time she commanded troops on a battlefield, and she was four years Ahsoka's senior, at that. She’d been much too young for everything they’d not only expected but increasingly demanded of their Padawan ranks, especially at heart. Hers were bald thoughts, true, but Luminara had had much time for reflection since Barriss’ fall . . . and honesty was oftentimes as ugly in its clarity as it was necessary to see a matter in its entirety.

    “General Tano,” Luminara returned her bow, only fumbling for a moment over her address. Padawan was no longer accurate by their own doing, and she did not feel as if she had the right to use her given name. Her doing so would suggest a familiarity that she no longer felt she deserved – after all, she was not Ahsoka when Luminara had cast her vote to expel her from the Jedi Order, when she’d allowed her mind to speak louder than the truth as she’d known it to be in her heart.

    A long moment passed, heavy with tension. Lumiara had not felt such an awkward sense of floundering since she herself was an apprentice, lost as her own Master patiently waited for her to solve the answer to some aggravating riddle. Usually, she was grim to admit in retrospect, those answers were oftentimes plainly obvious, waiting unseen right before her eyes. Yet, for the life of her Luminara could not bring herself to say aloud what then most needed to be said.

    But surprisingly – though perhaps not so much so, for she knew this girl, no matter how she’d turned herself blind to that knowing – it was Ahsoka who looked at the chasm gaping between them, and chose to leap.

    A step forward was all it took, and then Ahsoka’s arms were suddenly around her in an embrace that was as startling for her to understand in its inception as it was suddenly so very necessary for her heart in its entirety. Luminara faltered, lost for how to respond – she could count on one hand just how many times Barriss had sought such tangible physical affection from her over the course of her apprenticeship, after all, let alone this former Padawan whom she’d judged as much as she’d once guided – before instinct took over. Then, it was as natural as breathing to wrap her arms around the girl’s slight frame and return the embrace as best she could. Distantly, she was aware that she was shaking; her eyes were dangerously burning, even as she refused to let her tears fall. There is no emotion, only peace, and the Force had taken her grief and rage and guilt enough over the past year that she felt that she should have had nothing more to give. Yet somehow she still wasn’t empty, not until she felt as the wound inside of her began to close over and scar for the absolution this simple, heartfelt gesture offered her. Ahsoka Tano, Luminara couldn't help but admit then, had a bravery about her that was as unique as it was beautiful and humbling to behold. Again, she was a teacher being taught by the student, in more ways than one.

    “I am so very sorry about Barriss,” Ahsoka’s own voice was raw to whisper. “I know . . . I know how much she meant to you.” She meant so much to me too, Luminara could hear ghost across her thoughts, carried and then amplified by the Force as it swelled with such light between them. I miss her more than I can say. After all, their bond was not the only one Barriss had sundered and betrayed with her actions. Luminara had been her Master, but Ahsoka was her friend; theirs was a bond of choice rather than one borne of duty, and in some ways Ahsoka’s wounds were deeper, cut in a different shape than her own even as they were torn by the same blade. Luminara closed her eyes, long and slow, before exhaling, doing her best to let her memories – her miserable grief and ruined expectations and dreams of old, all – go with her next breath. For the first time in far too long, she felt reasonably successful; her shadow, then, was merely her own as it stretched behind her.

    “I have much to apologize for too, young one. I'd seek your forgiveness, if you'd let me,” she shaped the words as an exhale against her montrals, but knew that she was heard, clearly and resoundingly so. In the Force, she could feel something that was raw and pained for so long close over like ripples on a pond, smoothing and returning to calm serenity once more. In that moment, she couldn’t tell if it was she who felt so, or Ahsoka. She held on tighter for the thought, and added, speaking from her heart, “We never should have let you go.”

    In response, Ahsoka squeezed her one last time before slowly letting her arms fall away. “I forgive you, Master,” she voiced the words that Luminara needed most to hear. “I did a long time ago.” Her blue eyes were full when she stepped back to meet her gaze, but with an emotion that was more than just sorrow. The time for wounds was past, hers was a resolution they felt and shared; now, there was only healing to seek and be had, from this moment forward. A lightness filled her heart then, resounding with her hope for the future as Luminara fell into step with her fellow Jedi. Together, they turned back towards the Temple, Ahsoka’s head held high as she walked ahead of them all.



    ~MJ @};-
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2020
  16. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Gorgeous, stunningly touching! Like the best chocolate, when one of your nummies are posted, it's always a delectable treat!

    Ahsoka's warmth and genuineness healed so very, very much! [face_love]
     
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  17. Mira_Jade

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

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Aw, thank you so very much, my friend! A box of chocolates? That's really what these ficlets are, aren't they? I adored the comparison! You really never know what you are going to get, with my muse! :D

    As always, I appreciate your kind words and encouragement more than I can say! I hope that you continue to enjoy these as they go. [face_love] [:D]






    Author's Notes: Alrighty, then! With this next ficlet I'm going back to my 100 Ways to Say I Love You prompt list, this time featuring Commander Bly and Aayla Secura. (What can I say? I've restarted TCW from the beginning to watch all the way through the new episodes, and my heart is already hurting all over again! Gah, and I'm not even out of Season One yet! =(() Though, honestly, while this is technically intended to be a canon compliant missing scene, you can also call this a precursor to my Song!verse, where Order 66 is subverted and Bly gets his chip removed and his rapid aging fixed and these two will instead live a long life together kicking butt and taking names and being so beautiful and wonderful and happy that they sicken everyone around them . . . except maybe Kit Fisto, who started the betting pool and collected quite the hefty sum of credits when they finally admitted their feelings, and loved to be able to gloat and tease: congratulations, Quinlan, but you have a clone son-in-law. La la la, canon, I can't hear you - so there. :p [face_not_talking] [face_whistling]

    But, in all seriousness, I have included some TCW backstory and all the reasons I ship this tragic ship behind the cut for those of you who would like some further exposition regarding this scene. If not, here we go, and I hope that you enjoy! :D [face_love] [:D]


    In Season 1, Episodes 13 & 14, of The Clone Wars, Anakin, Ahsoka, and Rex had quite the adventure with Aayla Secura and Commander Bly. The arc began with the 501st being called as backup for the 327th. Aayla's star destroyer was critically damaged, and during the evacuation Anakin suffered serious injuries while ensuring their shuttle got away safely. Due to a damaged navicomputer, they ended up crash landing on the planet Maridun, far from the main bulk of the fleet. While they were stranded, Aayla spent much of the episode counseling Ahsoka - who struggled with the idea of letting Anakin go if he didn't survive - on the Jedi philosophy regarding attachment, admitting that she went through similar struggles with her own Master at her age. They found the native species, the Lurmen, who are pacifists who do not support the war. Although the village elder did not welcome the Jedi, he agreed to help treat Anakin, since he could not turn away anyone in need. While Anakin was healing, the Separatists arrived to test out their latest weapon - a device that kills all organic life but leaves machinery untouched - on the sentient population. The plot offered all sorts of interesting debates about the morality of war, exploring the question of how violence can ever truly achieve peace, even when nobly intended, as well as the difficulties of standing up for your beliefs, even unto death. The Jedi ended up protecting the Lurmen village against the elder's wishes, and eventually the younger generation of Lurmen stood up with the Jedi to defend their homes against the Separatists. Even though they achieved a victory, the elder wondered at what cost. It's a sobering, thought-provoking couple of episodes, and I highly recommend them if you're looking for a place to dive into the series, even just for an episode or two!

    But, one of my favourite side points in the arc is how, while Aayla remains a stalwart mentor, trying to teach Ahsoka a few painfully truths about letting go, she nevertheless consistently goes out of her way to see that Bly remains safe and sound, and usually at great risk to herself! They're Jedi, preserving life is what they do best, but when framed by her counsel to Ahsoka it's kind of an eyebrow raising thing. Like, she literally throws herself in front of an unknown weapon to save Bly at one point, and, actually, just watch her go here -

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    - which I can't imagine Bly being very happy about, because it's supposed to be his job to protect her. (Which, incidentally, provides the framework for this next ficlet!)

    And while we can make all the jokes we want about Bly being absolutely boots over bucket for his general, there's this veeeeeery interesting quote in Republic Commando by Karen Travis, which I know is considered Legends now, but shush, it's my canon and I'll keep it if I want to! -

    [​IMG]

    Huh, would you look at that? [face_mischief] [face_tee_hee]

    Then, in Republic Commando: Order 66, which I don't have a copy of on-hand so I am paraphrasing: Beviin actually flat out asks Bly if he loved Aayla in another such chapter header and he answers yes, he did. When then asked if Aayla returned those feelings Bly said that he didn't know for sure but he liked to think so, though now he'd never know. Because that's after he's been brainwashed by his chip, and she's dead, and oh sweet Force but doesn't that make everything SO MUCH MORE PAINFUL?? DON'T WORRY MY SONG!VERSE WILL FIX EVERYTHING FOR THESE TWO, I'M GONNA SPRINKLE HAPPILY EVER AFTERS LIKE CONFETTI ALL OVER THE GALAXY, JUST YOU WATCH ME.

    But, ahem, yep. That little bit of background information makes all of Aayla's speeches about attachment very interesting indeed. And, honestly, it can also partly explain why every time Quinlan Vos is in the same room with Bly he just wants to boot him out of the nearest airlock. Besides his usual dislike of the clone army, of course. [face_mischief]

    I mean, c'mon, but just LOOK AT THIS:

    [​IMG]

    Rex knows that Anakin and Ahsoka Have Got Everything Under Control, and they are going to make it out of the crash just fine. He's not worried. Doesn't even look back once. But you have Bly there fretting like a lost mooka pup waiting to rush back in and save his Jedi.

    AND THEN LOOK AT HOW HER FACE SOFTENS TO LOOK AT HIM, EVEN IN THE MIDDLE OF A FIREFIGHT!!!

    [​IMG]

    And don't mind her just saving him again, but that's okay, Bly appreciates how strong his space goddess is and likes that she can bench press him, let's be honest:

    [​IMG]

    And them just being so casual and easy together:

    [​IMG]

    Which totally ticks poor Vos plain off, because no one is good enough for his little girl former Padawan, let alone a clone:

    [​IMG]

    Which of course has Bly biting back. :p

    [​IMG]

    And I know that so wasn't the point of the comic, and this Legends!Bly is honestly a bit OOC compared to the TCW!Bly I better know and love, but that was really all I took away from my reading, regardless, because that's how shippers gotta ship. :p [face_whistling]

    I mean, just, in short . . . they're one of my favourite battle couples, and I will never stop loving them. [face_love]

    [​IMG]

    Ahem, yeah . . . so basically put: I totally ship them. Even if its a painful ship of pain that brings nothing but, well, pain. :p =(( So, I'll just be here in my corner, fixing things in my own 'verse, because it's what these two dears deserve, I have spoken.

    And, with all of that said, we can now get back to our scheduled posting right about . . . now. ;) [face_mischief] [:D]







    XXI.


    “with both hands”
    (Saga-PT; TCW | pre-Bly/Aayla Secura)

    The Fourth (prompt: come here, let me fix it)

    The injury was admittedly inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, hardly enough to slow his Jedi down let alone do any sort of lasting damage. Had Bly not seen General Secura himself, sitting on the floor of the Lurmen hut and tending to her wounds, he never would have guessed that she was hurt in the first place.

    Yet, there she was: with the skin of her right palm rubbed raw from her stunt with the vines – swinging down when he stumbled and pulling him up and away from the radius of destruction caused by the Seppie weapon without a care for her own self-preservation – and gleaming with the same faintly luminescent salve that the healer was using to treat General Skywalker. She was trying her best to wrap her own hand with a homespun cloth bandage, yet her usual grace was failing her for the inherently awkward nature of the task. No matter that he felt a pang to see the raw, painful looking lines marring her skin (he was supposed to protect her, after all, not the other way around), Bly huffed out a sigh for her struggles and stepped forward before he could think the better of doing so.

    “Here, General,” it was as reflexive as it was instinctive for him to offer, “let me.”

    Aayla looked up, and a small, rueful sort of smile tugged at her mouth in greeting. She stopped trying to manage the bandages alone, and instead waited as he settled himself down on the mat across from her on the hard packed floor. Even bound and hushed, her lekku twitched briefly in gratitude – just a few months out from Geonosis, and he was already reasonably confident of his ability to translate – before settling into relaxed lines, welcoming him.

    “I appreciate your assistance, Commander; thank-you.” Sensibly, at least, his general wasn’t one to turn down an offer of aid out of a sense of misplaced pride or independence. Bly had seen what Rex had on his hands with General Skywalker, and he didn’t envy his vod in the slightest.

    They’re Jedi,” had been Rex’s rather succinct opinion on the matter as they scaled down from the mammoth branches of the marid tree – with Bly still trying to keep from shaking like a shiny for his near miss, or, rather, for his near miss nearly being shared as Aayla’s near miss, “it’s just what they do.”

    Bly had to scuttle a sharp retort for that, following – Rex wasn’t bred for command, and, as such, he couldn’t properly understand the turmoil roiling through him with all the intensity of a Kaminoian typhoon. What Rex had managed as a mutated reg rising higher than the generic stock of his birth was certainly impressive, and Bly had quickly come to personally respect the 501st captain, yet the fact of the matter remained that he just didn’t get it. He couldn’t understand, not entirely. Bly wasn’t one of the myriad stock troopers born to serve far and away from his general, no: he was a clone commander. It was encoded into his very DNA, in the depth of his cells and his every last molecule, to be his Jedi’s right hand and shield and even her second self as was needed. Failing in even one of those self-appointed tasks was anathema to his very perception of being, and if General Secura had suffered anything worse than a scuffed hand for so recklessly endangering her life for the likes of him, he would have -

    . . . yet, Bly forced himself to calm, that wasn’t quite right either. He’d seen firsthand how Rex looked after his own pair of Jedi – guarding the unconscious General Skywalker following his own misguided heroics, and then supporting Commander Tano as she grappled with the burdens of assuming leadership in her Master's place – and Bly knew better than to snap at his brother when it wasn’t actually Rex he wanted to lash out at. Instead -

    “ - you’re angry,” was General Secura’s frank observation as he finished peeling off his gloves. Gently, he took her proffered hand in both of his own. For a moment he could only stare at the abrasions scoring her skin, his heartbeat cutting into his chest like a lance with every painful pulse. Her words were a statement, he didn't immediately process; she wasn't asking him. As always, her voice was warm and lilting, as soft as the murmur of the ocean after the passing of a storm. He exhaled deeply for the sound; the band of tension steeling his shoulders threatened to ebb, but he held onto his umbrage with a steely insistence of will. He wouldn’t be diverted from his anger – righteous and indignant as it was – as easily as that. Not this time.

    Angry? Bly wanted to snort, even as he cradled her injured hand, trying to compose himself. Her hands were just so small compared to his, he couldn’t help but notice, petite and graceful and soft even when callused from years of hard work and capable of such amazing feats of strength. Such amazingly stupid feats of strength, he grit his teeth to remember all over again. No, angry was too light a word for the rage slithering through him, incandescent and terrified and furious as it was instead . . . not by a long shot.

    So.

    “You put yourself in danger for me, sir.” Twice, he wanted to add, remembering the falling seed pods from the night before. But he refrained; it was her last stunt that really took the uj, after all.

    “Yes, I did,” his general was easy to agree. “Would you not have done the same for me?” she countered. She dragged her vowels out with a wry sort of humor, and her lekku shifted languidly over her back. Growing more frustrated by the second, Bly held back his scowl; even so, his composure nearly broke. How was she not taking this more seriously? he wanted to fume. Because it wasn’t the same – it so karking wasn’t even in the same solar system, let alone the same galaxy, how was that something she failed to understand?

    Of course I would, even so, he had to ignore his first instinct to respond. My life is already yours – in every way that matters and then some.

    “It’s different, General, and you know it is,” just barely, Bly kept himself from biting the words out and snapping. Her deep brown eyes were sparkling as he started wrapping her hand – he'd spent far too long just holding on and staring, after all, his eyes fixed on where her sky-blue tones contrasted against the warm tan of his own skin. For the life of him, he couldn’t understand how unconcerned she was, his jaw squared to fixate. She spent so much time lecturing the Padawan about the dangers of attachment, readying her for the eventuality of letting go through loss in wartime, and then couldn’t even live by her own standards. Wisely, though, he kept those words to himself. It wasn’t his place to say; he was already walking a thin line as it was, and he knew better; he’d been bred for better.

    “How so?” Aayla wasn’t letting this go, he realized in dismay. “I could save you, and so, I did.”

    And that was it; with her words, something in Bly stretched beyond the breaking, and then finally snapped.

    “Permission to speak freely, sir?” he ground out from between his teeth.

    “Permission granted, Commander,” she readily released him. A part of him knew that he didn't have to ask; she usually encouraged him to share his opinions, unfettered - strange, strange Jedi that she was. With her words that not-quite-a-smile flashed again, showing the sharp edges of her teeth. For a wild moment, he found himself wanting to bare his own, matching her.

    Still, he clung to his calm, even as his words flew out, finally free. “You had no idea what that weapon was capable of,” he hissed to rebuke. “We were facing an unknown threat, and instead of acting with caution for our lack of intel you threw yourself blindly into danger instead. Don’t you understand that I am . . . I am not . . . ,” but he couldn’t seem to shape the words he wanted – needed to say. Frustrated, he scuttled the end of his sentence with a growl and moved on to finish as best he could, “It is my duty, sir,” to die for you. More so than it being what he had been bought and bred and born to do, he couldn’t stomach the idea of her ever weighing one against the other, and viewing her life as forfeit for sake of his own. They were not nearly equal in worth; they couldn't even begin to compare.

    With that thought, Bly took in a deep breath and let his next exhale out slow in an attempt to regain some semblance of control over his suddenly racing pulse. He felt like he was storming a live battlefield, even as he sat with his general, stolen away in a rare moment of peace instead. He'd finished wrapping her hand while he spoke, yet he had not let her go. He held on, unconsciously running his thumb over the top of the bandage, tracing where he knew her hurts to be as if he could heal them with nothing more than his touch. “It is my duty,” he repeated, needing her to view their partnership as he did, “and I would have done my duty gladly.”

    The sooner you learn to let me go, the better, the unspoken thought pulsed, heavy as an ocean undertow, between them. Though he did not say as much aloud, she held his eyes with her own and answered, “And yet, I was not ready to let you go.” There was a softness to her voice then, even as her lekku pulsed with something that was uncertain, almost, or at least so Bly thought. As if she was faced with a question she couldn't answer or a riddle that she couldn't rightly solve. He could have been translating wrong, though; the motion was one he didn’t wholly recognize.

    “You should have been,” his voice came out as little more than a whisper. All of the fight had gone from him, and yet the fear still remained. All the while, he continued to hold her hand. She too, he would only reflect later – much, much later, had not tried to pull away.

    “One life is never worth more than another, not in the eyes of the Force,” she said, low and firm in a way that brokered no argument. He recognized the same tone she'd used to guide the Padawan – or that he would use when he wanted a shiny to learn something quick that would save his life on the battlefield. Hearing her so, he couldn’t help but snort. She could insist as much until she turned blue in the face – figuratively, of course – and yet on this they would never see eye to eye. His Jedi was his to protect, and so he would, even from her own sense of selflessness.

    “So you’ve said,” he was neutral to return. “Yet I would have you know that these are my wishes on the matter, and ask that you respect them.”

    Aayla did not answer him outright. Instead, she paused for a long minute, her thoughts hidden from him as the silence stretched. She turned her hand over in his grasp, but only so that she was holding onto him just as much as he was to her. “As long as I feel there is something I can do, I will not stop from doing so,” she finally answered without agreeing. Her lekku were taut with determination, he was dismayed to find, curling in an unmistakable challenge as she set her jaw. She had heard him, but, stubborn as his Jedi was, she was still not listening.

    For that Bly only sighed – most every Jedi he knew had that same stubborn streak in common, at the very least. But, he and his brothers came from equally tenacious stock; he was far from cowed to match her. In that manner, they really were well made for each other.

    “General,” he huffed in exasperation, ready to try one more time, before: “Perhaps, Commander,” the line of her mouth turned sharp to intercept him, “we can simply agree to disagree, on this, at least?”

    Because disagree they would. Bly wasn’t nearly ready to let the matter go, not nearly, until -

    “ - General Secura; Commander?”

    - a voice sounded from the entryway of the hut. Bly snapped to attention, annoyed that he’d allowed himself to become distracted enough so as to not notice Rex's arrival in the first place. They were still, he berated himself, on an unfamiliar planet with hostiles waiting in the distance; this was not the time to drop his guard. Aayla, he thought, was also surprised at being caught unaware from the way her lekku flicked, and yet: “Captain,” she greeted, her voice cool and calm as ever. "Please come in."

    “At ease, Rex," Bly added, noticing that he'd saluted and yet continued to hold himself strictly at attention – though, perhaps somewhat ridiculously, he felt like he was the one who needed permission to be excused. Surreptitiously, he'd let Aayla’s hand go – hopefully quickly enough so they'd not been noticed, but he doubted it from the way Rex was trying almost too hard to keep his eyes front and center.

    With a huff, Bly curled his fingers in on themselves, for a moment feeling strangely – wantingly – empty. He scowled, and forced himself to stand just as Aayla did.

    “Commander Tano sent me,” Rex spared them both by strictly keeping to the mission at hand – the ones who marched on be thanked for small mercies. His professionalism, Bly sternly reminded himself, was one he needed to bring himself to emulate, and quick. He needed to focus. “General Skywalker is done with the healer. He’s ready to form a plan when you are.”

    “Certainly, Captain,” Aayla was smooth to agree. “We’ll come now.”

    Rex nodded, and with his message delivered he smartly turned to leave. Aayla followed just a step behind, yet before she reached the flap hanging over the doorway she turned back to him. Bly drew himself up short, feeling as much as hearing the words that she spoke into their shared shadows. “And thank you, Commander,” she held up her bandaged hand to say. “I couldn’t have done it by myself.” Again, her lekku gave that same sort of uncertain ripple, the one that he couldn’t quite begin to understand. A sense of warmth, just as strangely unfamiliar, fluttered through him in reply.

    “Think nothing of it, General,” Bly replied, nevertheless feeling as the words resounded with a meaning that was so much more. “It’s what I’m here for.”



    ~MJ @};-
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2020
    Findswoman, Kahara and divapilot like this.
  18. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Fantastic musings from Bly and undertones/undercurrents between the two of them. =D= The balance of I care more for you than my own life so don't risk it for me is a delicate one to tread because each would give their life for the other. [face_thinking]
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2020
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  19. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    I have time, thanks to the shut downs, to finally catch up on my reading. And what a wonderful story to begin with! I love the unspoken communication that goes on between them, the eddies and flows in the stream of words that they almost-say.
    So much said and still unsaid between them.

    Really lovely look at these two complicated, fascinating people!
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2020
  20. Mira_Jade

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

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Whew, so! Somehow, being back home on the ground hasn't quite freed up time for writing like I first thought it would! 8-} I'm still trying to find some semblance of a daily schedule, especially since starting school, and it's getting better, slowly but surely! In the meantime, to keep myself writing at least just a little bit every day when my muse is too tired for my WIPs, I've taken to writing these little drivels again. I have a few new pieces finished, and I can't wait to share!

    But, first, a few replies for the wonderful feedback you guys left on the last vignette! [face_love] [:D]


    Aw, thanks! Undertones and undercurrents really sums it up, doesn't it? There's so much that they can't say here - and don't quite realize that they feel, at that, at least in whole - and it's sadly going to be that way for a couple of years (before I fix everything in my Song!verse, of course. ;)). But they'll get there! [face_love]

    I can't thank you enough for reading and taking the time to leave your thoughts, as always! [:D]


    Thanks! This was such a fun vignette to write for just that reason. There's not much that they are free to say aloud at this point, and they are both just starting to understand what they would say even if they could! In the meantime it gave me a wonderful sort of tension to play with as an author. I'm glad that you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it!

    Thank you so much, again! I always appreciate your kind words. [face_love] [:D]



    Alrighty! I'll be back with more in just a few. :D [face_dancing]


    ~MJ @};-
     
    Kahara likes this.
  21. Mira_Jade

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

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Author's Notes: These two mini ficlets are next on the 100 Ways to Say I Love You prompt list! I'm chipping away at all hundred of them, slowly but surely. Also, I have to give a warning for FLUFF! This is about a thousand words of a-hundred-percent, guaranteed-to-make-you-smile, heartwarming-bordering-on-saccharine fluff, set in my Song!verse again, because that's just what I do best! So, erm, if you don't want happiness and all things bright and lovely, turn back now. ;) [face_mischief]

    Enjoy! [:D]





    XXII.


    “Come: Let There Be Light”
    (Saga-PT; post_RoTS, Song!verse AU)​


    The Fifth (Prompt: I’ll walk you home | Anakin Skywalker/Padmé Amidala)

    They’d hardly left the shadows of the Senate building behind before Riyo Chuchi glanced at her with a knowing little smile. “Padmé,” the Pantoran senator gestured, “I think you have an admirer.”

    Padmé – whose mind was still a thousand parsecs away, attacking the affairs of the Republic from a dozen different angles – didn’t at first understand the subtle teasing in her friend’s voice. At least, not until she felt a familiar hand rest on her shoulder, and she reflexively turned into her husband’s welcoming embrace. “Ani!” she was pleasantly surprised – especially as that first, instinctive reaction to keep a respectable distance between them and formally address him as Knight Skywalker died on her lips as if it’d never been. They had no reason to hide now, she reminded herself. There was no lie darkening their bond, no oppressive guilt shadowing what was instead the best and brightest part of her life – not anymore. There was just them, together, as it always should have been.

    Flashing an impish grin – a look that was all her, herself, rather than the serene mask she presented in her professional life each and every day – she stood up on the tips of her toes just as she tugged Anakin down to close the gap between them. She could kiss her husband in full view of anyone who cared to look now, and so she did – softly and sweetly and so, so happily. Such casual displays of affection were now theirs to share whenever, wherever they wished. He was hers and she was his; she no longer had to dim the beacon of her love underneath a disguising shroud of polite indifference. The idea was all a thrill and a spark singing through her veins, causing her heart to leap. The startled look on Anakin’s face before he cautiously kissed her back only added to her giddy sense of joy – no matter the novelty of them being able to meet openly like this, he was still so endearingly hesitant to make sure their every step forward was what she wanted – and she beamed as she pulled away. His hands fell to rest on the curve of her hips, not quite letting her go. Beyond them, she distantly heard Riyo and Mon wish them a good evening as they left with their own delegations, fond amusement more than apparent in both of their voices. She waved a distracted farewell, but didn’t pull away from her husband. Sabé, who’d taken over for Anakin minding the twins where they slept in their hover-pram, waited back a step with Threepio, her own smile more than apparent as she gave them their moment together. The scene, Padmé couldn’t help but think, was perfect.

    “I thought that I could walk you home . . . you know, now that I can,” Anakin explained, ducking his head to hide his suddenly shy expression. So much of this was still so new to them, after all – so new and bright and dazzling with possibility as they embarked on their future together. “That is, if you’d like, Mrs. Skywalker.”

    Still grinning such a grin, Padmé turned so that her arm remained threaded through his own, there to stay. Content, she rested her head just below his shoulder, “I’d like nothing more, Mr. Amidala. Lead the way.”



    The Sixth (Prompt: have a good day at work | Bail Organa/Breha Organa)

    Standing in the private ready room attached to his new office on Coruscant, Bail Organa fiddled with the ornate fall of his robes for what felt like the umpteenth time.

    Was he ready for this? he couldn’t help as his doubts swelled, threatening to swallow him. Maybe . . . perhaps? He didn’t know for sure; not really. Yet, would he ever feel ready to bear the burden now placed upon his shoulders? He’d been elected by the will of the people, yes, but did the people themselves even know exactly what it was they wanted? They wanted peace, he could answer readily enough; they were sick and tired of war, just as he himself was. They wanted transparency in a Senate, free of corruption, that refused to bow and cater to special interests. They wanted to be assured of their safety and security, trusting that their their rights as citizens and liberties as sentient beings were being upheld by their government. They wanted a leader . . . and they'd elected him to be that leader.

    Now, at the dawn of his first official day in office, Bail wondered how he could rise equal to the task set upon him. What would he do if he fell short of being the chancellor the Republic so desperately deserved? How would he bear it if the people had misplaced their faith, and he failed them?

    Clearly, another round of pacing was in order.

    “I doubt this room’s former tenant fretted for fear of failing his constituents half so much as you are now throughout the entirety of his term.”

    Sitting on one of the room’s low couches, his wife watched him, a fount of tranquility amongst the tempest he was attempting to weather. She stood, and crossed over to take his fidgeting hands in her own, stilling him.

    “I would say that already puts you far and beyond the stewardship of Palpatine,” Breha teased.

    Softly, Bail huffed. “That's not quite the bar I aspire to surpass, dear,” he pointed out wryly.

    “Perhaps not,” Breha agreed. “Yet, you quite misunderstand me: the Republic is ready for peace and prosperity, now more so than ever before. I believe that you can lead us out of the mess Palpatine left behind, just as they do.” She squeezed his hands, and he leaned forward to rest his brow against hers, taking strength from her presence then much as he ever did. “The day you stop worrying about whether or not you are fit for this office is the day it should no longer be yours to hold,” Breha whispered. “You can do this; I believe in you.”

    “That," Bail shared her breath to say, "makes everything possible.”

    When she kissed him, he could feel her smile against his mouth. Suddenly, the mountain of a task before him didn’t seem nearly as impassible a summit as it did before.

    “Now,” Breha pulled away and gently nudged him to where his cabinet was waiting for him in the room beyond, “have a good day at work, Chancellor Organa. You have a Republic to serve.”



    ~ MJ @};-
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2020
  22. mayo_durron_666

    mayo_durron_666 Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Nov 26, 2005
    Oh this was a lovely treat! [face_love]

    The Fifth:
    Ohh I so wish Anakin and Padme could have enjoyed their romance more in the canon. =(( This was such a lovely moment, not only for them being public in their affection and feelings but they could actually walk home together! :D

    Yesss! :* Really liked this bit, so glad Padme could enjoy being with her husband in the open. Simple pleasures are the best.

    The Sixth:
    It was so sweet to see Bail so worried about his performance in future as Chancellor and so conscious of his political role/power.

    This moment... was just perfect! [face_love] So tender.

    Thoroughly enjoyed this update, apologies for my absence lately.

    I will NEVER turn back from mush! :p:D Thank you for sharing! ;)
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2020
  23. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    The Fifth: Thank you for my Lindt ™ Excellence Bar =P~ This was so incredibly adorbs! They're unabashedly basking, and so am I!
    The Sixth: Breha is so right. The moment Bail doesn't worry is the moment he needs to resign. [face_thinking] I can see Luke as Jedi Master and Leia in her political role having similar doubts, soothed away by their given soulmates. :)

    Nopers, I think you know, the day I turn away from mush is the day you can call me CRAZY!

    ^:)^
    [:D]
    !!!!
     
  24. Mira_Jade

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

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Thanks so much for reading, you two! I always appreciate your kind words more than I can say. [face_love] [:D]


    Thank you so much! It's such a simple pleasure, but one that's long overdue and very well earned! I adored giving them this moment, just as they always should have had! [face_love]

    It's such a huge burden, I can only imagine! Of course Bail is worried about his role and his power, but that's what makes him so suited for the job. [face_love]

    Aw, you never have to apologize! That's the best thing about ficlets and drabbles - they're easy to come and go on as DRL allows! [face_love] [:D]

    Ha! I had a feeling. [face_mischief]

    Thanks so much for stopping in, again, and taking the time to leave your thoughts! [:D]



    Aw! Yep, I take that as the highest of compliments! They deserve to bask in this moment, don't they?? I'll admit that it brought such a matching smile to my face to write this for them. [face_love]

    Exactly! And oh yes, this is a situation many of our SW OTPs undoubtedly find themselves in. But they get through it together, just like Bail and Breha here! [face_love]

    Ha! I suspected as much. ;) [face_mischief] [face_love]

    Thank you so much for reading, my friend, as always! I appreciate your support so very much!

    [:D]



    ~MJ @};-
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2020
  25. Mira_Jade

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

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Author's Notes: This vignette carries on with my 100 Ways to Say I Love You prompt list, this time with a bit of pre-TPM teenage angst, which, lemme tell you, is not how I thought this ficlet would first go. This is a new era for me to dabble in, but I couldn't help but run with the idea when it hit me. (Honestly, who can even blame Luminara here? She's channeling most of us teenage girls when we were confronted with TPM Ewan McGregor, to say the least. [face_laugh] [face_mischief] [face_love]) Also, this follows Disney canon and, in my perfect world, is a precursor to my Song!verse, so: no Siri/Obi-Wan, sadly, even if I couldn't help but add my JA babies there at the end for just a bit of Legends homage! I'm instead dabbling with my very complicated feelings as far as Obi-Wan/Satine and the entire New Mandalorian canon in TCW is concerned. I . . . it's not my favorite ship, nor my favorite plot arc, but it was there and played a huge part in Obi-Wan's development as a character. So, here I am. Let's see how it goes!

    Then, as a last disclaimer, my title is nick from Nicole Krauss' History of Love. [face_love]

    I thank you all for reading and hope that you enjoy! [:D]







    XXIII.


    “the heart surges (and absorbs the impact)”
    (Before the Saga; pre-TPM | pre-Luminara Unduli/Obi-Wan Kenobi (Obi-Wan Kenobi/Satine Kryze))​


    The Seventh (Prompt: I dreamt about you last night.)

    Luminara knew the exact moment when Obi-Wan returned from his mission, safeguarding the Dutchess of Mandalore as she fought to assume power over a people ever tenuous to the idea of being governed. The Mandalorians were a stubborn ilk on the best of days, and they were especially reticent to bow their heads before a teenage girl who raised her voice and declared that hers was the way to follow to end the Great Clan Wars. When Satine managed to secure the backing of the Republic itself, and thus the Jedi Order, well, each one of those Mandalorians were now a threat to her friend – a very real, unapologetically lethal threat, even for a Jedi Master and his near-Knighted Padawan.

    Obi-Wan had been gone for over a year now; an entire year. All the apprentice ranks kept track and marveled over how Master Jinn managed to stay one step ahead of the terrorist sect known as Death Watch, keeping Mandalore’s new hope alive one hard won day at a time. A few among them wondered if it was even possible for their mission to to succeed, or if it should have been a mission assigned to them in the first place. It was a matter of debate amongst the Knights and Masters, even: should the Jedi have agreed to interfere with the Mandalorian sector’s internal wars to begin with? Especially after the moral intricacies of their prior history – from Revan’s crusades in times bygone to the preemptive Razing of Mandalore now seven hundred years prior – many would have preferred a course of observance rather than outright intervention. The Jedi already had difficulties enough seeing to the Republic’s needs, stretched thin as their numbers were, without dabbling in the affairs of systems beyond their jurisdiction. Yet, should the Jedi even have laws of jurisdiction, others argued? They served the will of the Force, which should know no boundaries . . . yet they were also servants of the Republic – where was the line? When did interfering with the law and order of the galaxy become much too much? When was it proper and right to raise their swords as warriors over peace keepers? Was there, in the end, even a difference?

    “Why did the Council send them, anyway?” she’d grumbled to her own Master. “Mandalorian space is neutral territory, beyond the reach of the Republic. It makes no sense for Chancellor Valorum to request they accept this assignment.” Luminara privately thought it was ridiculous that Satine had even appealed to the Senate in the first place – when had the Mandalorians ever been friends of the Republic, of the Jedi? She wanted to rule over Mandalore as a duchess? Fine then; she'd better learn how to fight her own battles. Of course, from a shrewd, political point of view, it made sense for the chancellor to see an opportunity to further tame the Mandalorian people (who’d, objectively, already been tamed as a whole for centuries now), and desire to take it. Yet, for the chancellor to then involve the Jedi, and for them to agree . . .

    “I wonder, though, if it is the chancellor’s politics you find lacking,” Master Joyalis had gently guided her, “or something else? No katas today, my Padawan, I want you to meditate on this matter.”

    Luminara barely stifled the urge to roll her eyes and sigh, which she knew would only worsen her punishment. Instead, she obediently meditated as her Master directed, and allowed the Force to guide her to a better understanding of herself.

    Yet a calm mind – and a calm spirit – did not come easily to her. Usually, slipping into the Force was as reflexive as submerging in a calm, clear pool of water. Then, she instead felt as if she was trying to keep her head above an ocean swell, fighting all the while not to drown. It took one and then several breathing exercises for her to assume the peace she needed, and then she finally found a current to take her. She gave herself over to the will of the Force and let it lead her to . . .

    - a rocky, barren world somewhere in its night cycle. The stars were very bright, and curtains of light danced in the sky beyond the – cave, shelter? - her vision showed her in a dazzling display of celestial radiance. Moons were visible overhead, at least a dozen. Further beyond the moons, a blue-violet planet with silvery rings hung heavy in the night sky. Ah, she understood: this must have been a moon itself, then. Inside the shelter, Luminara watched as a ghostly onlooker as a Human woman – a beautiful Human woman with porcelain white skin and icy blue eyes, her pale blonde hair pulled back in a severe, short braid – sat across from a familiar young man. Obi-Wan! Luminara recognized – of course she knew her friend, even if his shoulders were broader and his features more defined since last she’d seen him, so many long months ago now. He wasn’t wearing his Jedi robes, but rather dark, utilitarian clothing with hard geometric designs that matched the girl’s. His arms were even guantleted with armor, Luminara was unreasonably uncomfortable to notice, though the girl wore none.

    The girl, Luminara saw next, was injured. A long gash had scored high on her arm – from some sort of razor wire? perhaps. Her jacket was pushed back off her shoulder, showing more perfect white skin as Obi-Wan tended her injury with a bacta spray.

    “That was close, even for us – too close,” the Force allowed her to listen. Luminara could hear the concern in his voice, further warming the usual baroque of his accent.
    His eyes were troubled, undoubtedly for memory of the battle they must have just narrowly escaped.

    “As if I would ever fall to the likes of Clan Vizla,” the girl – oh, this must have been Satine then. The would-be duchess herself. Luminara felt as something tight and foreign gripped her chest. “Savage brutes, the lot of them.”

    “They may be savage brutes, but they’re brutes with good aim,” Obi-Wan countered. “A near perfect aim,” his voice lowered to mutter.

    He’d set a bandage in place over her arm by then, Luminara soured to notice; he could let go. But he traced the back of his fingers up and down her arm, instead, the gesture hesitant and gentle. He moved so tenderly, so slowly and softly, as if any more firm a pressure would break the moment between them.

    “Perhaps. Yet they were ultimately unsuccessful,” Satine whispered, “with my Jedi here to protect me.”

    The moment fell hushed as they simply stared at each other. Even Luminara could feel the tension binding them together, and she wondered with a queasy sort of horror if Obi-Wan would close the scant distance between them and kiss her. Just when she was certain he would, he pulled back with a resounding, “I was happy to do
    my duty, Lady Kryze,” and the moment passed.

    With that, Luminara snapped back into her own mind with a jarring thud of awareness. She started from her meditative pose, for a moment only able to stare blankly ahead as her heartbeat slowed from its thunderous rhythm in her chest.

    Oh , , , was all she could manage to think. Oh.

    Was she . . . was she jealous? Was that what her Master wanted her to understand?

    It was a terrible realization, an unflattering flaw of character just as it threatened to suggest an attachment forbidden by her very calling as a Jedi. Yet, as the weeks passed, she made very little progress in her efforts to correct her emotions. Then, it was announced that Master Jinn and Obi-Wan were finally due to return to the Temple, with the duchess and her rule deemed secure.

    The night before their return, her vision returned in the form of a dream. Yet, this time it wasn’t the pretty and perfect Duchess Satine there with Obi-Wan, but her. She could feel his hand whisper across her arm like the flicker of an ember, branding her. Her headdress – which she had never removed in front of another being since coming of age – was strangely missing, the way it should only be in front of one’s parents or children or spouse. She could feel his other hand thread through her hair in such a sweet gesture of familiarity. But instead of pulling away with a respectful my lady, he leaned forward and kissed her, and his touch was all softness and golden light and heat before -

    - Luminara woke up, her heartbeat racing and miserable frustration pulsing through her veins. She was better than this, she fisted her hands in her bedsheets to berate herself. There is no emotion, only peace, she inwardly chanted, and yet . . .

    . . . she felt the furthest away from peace as it was possible to be then.

    Knowing that further sleep would prove then prove impossible, she pulled herself out of bed and readied early for the day. As she splashed water over her still flushed skin, she looked up to meet her reflection in the mirror. Normally, she was proud of her heritage, but Luminara couldn't help but frown to take in the golden-green tones of her skin and the too wide shape of her eyes and mouth then. Her hair was all untamed curls, thick and dark and wild down her back, the complete opposite of her in every way. She stared at the tattooed diamonds on her chin – earned just earlier that spring, she had previously been so happy to share her accomplishment with her friend – and wondered, then, if they just made her look too other, too less Human, just as she truly was.

    Which, of course, was a ridiculous thought. Such was mere vanity, focusing on her corporeal appearance rather than her inward self, which would someday be all that existed in the memory of the Force. Luminara shook her head and resolved to meditate longer that day – even before her Master told her to. Clearly, she needed to clear her mind.

    By the time she joined Master Joyalis and the other Jedi who'd gathered on the landing platform, she'd found her composure as a Padawan of the Order once more. High on the Temple’s West Tower, the setting sun painted the clouds and skytowers in rich shades of red and flame. The wind whipped at her robes and tugged on her headdress, yet she paid it no head. Instead, she demurely bowed her head as Master Jinn came down the landing ramp first, and passed her and the other Padawans by with a faint smile to approach the waiting member of the High Council. As soon as the Knights and Masters began their debriefing, the apprentices broke rank to more informally welcome back one of their own. Luminara waited as Garen Muln and Bant Eerin took the honors of hugging Obi-Wan first – and then even the usually severe Siri Tachi grinned to let Obi-Wan embrace her. He was now tall enough that he could tug the girl completely off her feet, and she swatted at his shoulder with a roll of her eyes. “Honestly, Kenobi,” she chided, but her expression was fond, “it’s only been five minutes but I already want to send you back.”

    Luminara waited just a step back with Agen Kolar and Shaak Ti, ignoring, all the while, the pointed way her Togruta friend was watching her. She'd already said all there was to say on the subject, and she wouldn’t let Shaak draw her into another pointless philosophical discussion about the Code and attachments again. She refused.

    Obi-Wan knelt to welcome the pair of younglings who'd begged to come with them next – with the slightly older Kit Fisto obediently staying close to Agen while little Aayla Secura all but thrummed with energy next to Shaak. “Did you really spend all this time with Mandalorians?” her lekku flicked and arched in unrestrained excitement to ask. “Are they really a match for even a Jedi? Did you get to use a jet pack? Is it true they never take off their helmets?”

    “The Mandalorian I was with didn’t wear a helmet,” patiently, Obi-Wan answered the girl's questions. “She wore no armor, and refused all weapons.”

    “Oh,” Aayla took a moment to process his answer. Then, with nothing but youthful innocence filling her brown eyes, she frowned, concerned, to ask, “Are you sure she was really a Mandalorian, then?”

    Luminara blinked, surprised as her composure threatened to break. By her side, Shaak was not nearly so circumspect as she gave a whistling sort of trill, high in her throat. Obi-Wan himself only huffed softly for Aayla’s question, not at all blind to the irony. “Answering that question was just what Satine was fighting to prove.” His expression turned soft, then; his eyes were very far away. “There’s far more to their creed than merely violence, young one, and those qualities – the ones that matter – she possesses ten times over.”

    Suddenly, Luminara didn’t feel quite so amused anymore.

    Yet, Obi-Wan rose to his feet, and she was distracted as he accepted his welcome from both Agen and Shaak. Then, it was her turn. “Luminara, it’s good to see you again,” Obi-Wan’s smile was warm with affection. Yet, even in the fading sunlight she could see the heavy set to his shoulders and the shadow that had darkened around his eyes. He may have been there with them in body, she thought, but he’d left a part of his heart behind on Mandalore.

    “It’s good to have you back, my friend,” she gently enthused, meaning her every word true as she stepped into his embrace. If felt good to hold him, and she grounded herself in those few short moments before he pulled away. (All the while stalwartly not remembering her dream, lest gold flush over her cheeks and she flared in the Force like a star gone supernova.)

    “It’s good to be back,” Obi-Wan replied, and then his gaze dropped down to the new markings on her chin. Despite his clear weariness, his smile grew to touch his eyes. “You’ll have to tell me all about how you earned these,” he recovered some of his usual good cheer to say. She flushed for his observation, pleased.

    “I look forward to it,” she answered with a smile of her own, but anything else she could think to say was swept away by:

    “So,” Garen stepped forward to loop his arm over Obi-Wan’s shoulders, “you have to tell us all about your Mandalorian goddess now.”

    “She’s a duchess,” Obi-Wan rolled his eyes to patiently chastise his friend, “not a goddess. There’s quite the difference.” Even so, he did not shrug Garen away as they all moved to return inside the Temple.

    “Yeah, yeah; hard telling from the way you go on about her,” Garen chuckled – somehow unaware of the pain that flashed across Obi-Wan’s eyes just then. Something deep inside Luminara threatened to break for the sight, no matter how stalwartly she held herself together.

    “Knock if off, Garen,” Siri, however, was more insightful than their obtuse friend. She traded a look with Bant, whose own eyes were heavy with understanding. “You’re going to make Obi-Wan wish he was back fending off crazed Mandalorian terrorists again.”

    “We would like,” Bant gentled Garen’s words, “to hear all about your adventures, though.”

    “I don’t even know where to begin,” Obi-Wan looked somewhat helplessly between them. “My time away from the Temple has seemed . . . surreal, in so many ways. It’s odd, almost, to be back.”

    “How about the beginning, then?” coming up next to them with the younglings, Agen offered. “That’s usually the best place to start.”

    “Alright then,” Obi-Wan took in a deep breath, before exhaling. “I suppose . . . well, Master Qui-Gon and I first met Satine - ” and there Garen gave a teasing whoop, before Siri elbowed him, “ - on Mandallia, a year ago now.”

    Luminara found herself trailing just a step behind the main line of their group with Shaak, listening as he spoke with a heavy heart. I missed you, her innermost thoughts seemingly caught up on her tongue, useless and forlorn. I dreamed about you last night, even more pathetically her heart wanted to scream. It scares me that I want to dream about you again. Yet, that would only hinder her calling as a Jedi Knight, and, Obi-Wan . . . well, that was not what he needed to hear just then. First and foremost, she would be there for her friend, in honor of everything he meant to her.

    So, she picked up her pace to walk abreast of her friends, Shaak steadily following by her side to offer a support of her own. There she listened as, slowly, Obi-Wan shared his tale.



    For those of you who may not be as familiar with this time period, I wanted to include just a few notes! Satine Kryze was the Duchess of Mandalore during TCW. (Personally, I am still not a fan of the Mandalorians using such titles, but that's just my own preference.) She believed in the ways of the New Mandalorians, and was a true pacifist. (Even though I'm not quite sure how she held onto her power over her fellow Mandalorians who held differing beliefs without using violence. o_O) As a teenage girl she was able to bring many clan heads in line with her thinking and ended the Great Clan Wars. Which is all well and good, but when the terrorist sect known as Death Watch - the extremist Mandalorians on the other side of her coin, whom her sister Bo-Katan had joined - tried to assassinate her to return the Mandalorian people back to their warrior ways, the Republic stepped in and assigned her a Jedi guard until she could better solidify her power. (Because of course the Republic wanted a pacifist Mandalorian sector; it's in their best interest.) Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon became her protectors for an entire year, living in hiding as they stayed one step ahead of the Death Watch and numerous bounty hunters. A deep bond developed between Obi-Wan and Satine during that time. Years later during TCW he told her that he would have left the Jedi Order for her if she just said the word, and her death at Darth Maul's hands really was a heavy hitting, brutal couple of episodes.

    There's a lot I like about Satine, in all honesty. I love how strongly she holds onto her values, and how passionately she fights for her people and her beliefs. I love how she challenges Obi-Wan and gets him to seriously question the Clone Wars and the Jedi's place in them. I love her sass, and her wardrobe. :p I do not, however, like the overly simplified way the Mandalorian culture was portrayed in TCW - with the two polar opposites of pacifism (which goes against everything about the tenets of Resol'nare - though, um, I know that's considered Legends now. [face_plain]) and the violent bullies in Death Watch (whom even other Mandalorains typically eschewed as extremists, though again that's Legends thinking) being the only two representations of their culture. (Where are my True Mandalorians? :p) I thought it was a crude reboot of the much more complex story we knew through Legends. And I particularly didn't care for the animation choices for Satine's Mandalore, or at least I hope that it was just a poor animation choice. Um, all of a sudden every Mandalorian was white skinned with blond/red hair, even in scenes depicting crowds? Though Rebels and the Mandalorian have since made much better casting/design choices and have attempted to better flesh out the story, TCW really rubbed me the wrong way. I mean, Mandalorians have been conquerors for millennia. They are going to be hugely diverse in appearance; they aren't even supposed to be all Human. Anyone could be a Mandalorian; between adopting foundlings and outsiders swearing to the ways of Resol'nare, and, you know, just the pattern of conquering and marrying and children being born into those diverse households for thousands and thousands of years . . . why was everyone suddenly so white? Especially when you had Satine's government say that Jango (who was played by a Maori actor) was just a common criminal wearing stolen armor, thus stripping his and Boba's heritage and retconning all of their Legends development. That was . . . well, a really poor writing choice in my opinion - bordering on offensive, even - and one I simply elect to ignore in my own work. After all, Satine could just be saying as much to knock down another rival for power - after all, according to Legends, Jango was the last Mand'alor, a leader that the Mandalorian people will always hold more closely to than a duchess who refuses to wear beskar and fight her enemies with every resource available to her. o_O But that's just my little bit of salt to throw on the matter. [face_mischief]

    Of course, those are just my opinions! I hope that I presented this vignette in a way everyone could enjoy, regardless of where you fall on this little TCW fandom divide. :) [:D]




    ~MJ @};-
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2020
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