Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by ViariSkywalker, Jul 30, 2021.
Great duel of the two revealing their emotions inthe way they fight
Finally caught up! What a varied and intense group of vignettes exploring all the facets of this definitely “it’s complicated” relationship! Both of these two are clearly chin-deep in that Egyptian river we know and love, but it’s understandable coming out of their past experiences: how could I feel that way about someone who’s my enemy, someone who tried to kill me? The shared dream scene in part IV and the duel of part V drove that home the most—it’s like the duel was the continuation of the dream, almost, though with the addition of that delicious “so close, yet so far away” factor. Great job melding the various decathlon prompts with the characters here and I’m really looking forward to seeing how this will continue!
Thank you so much! I love straight forward lightsaber duels, but it's also fun toying with the symbolism and double entendre here.
Thanks! It's quite the complicated connection between these two, isn't it?
Yay, I'm glad you think so! And lol, yeah, the denial would have to be pretty intense for these two, wouldn't it? That's really the question, especially for Allana: how can she feel this way, and what's wrong with her that she would even have thoughts remotely like this about someone like him? Someone who - as far as she knows - still wants to kill her. I imagine it would be extremely troubling and confusing, and she would do everything she could to avoid facing those thoughts directly.
I''m glad you saw that connection between the dream scene and the later duel! The two pieces really did end up sort of complementing each other, with the feelings and actions in the dream serving as an undercurrent to the fight later on. (Even though neither of them knows that they both had that same dream. ) There was definitely tension back when they first fought on the beach, but neither of them had the first clue what it meant, and Festus especially had no idea what to make of his feelings... but by now, a couple of years later, there's definitely more of an awareness between them of that tension, which leads to more banter, more familiarity, and more denial. (And more angst, let's be real )
Thanks so much for your comments, and I hope you enjoy this next drabble!
Notes: Well, I'm a bit later with this than I meant to be, but here's the next event! This is the 100 Word Sprint (a 100-word drabble about your couple using any theme).
This drabble revisits the events of What If This Storm Ends?, Section IV, this time from Allana’s POV. I named this drabble for one of the planets where Allana unexpectedly ran into Festus. (There goes my naming pattern.) Taris also happened to be where Festus and his brother were living at the time, and for what it's worth, he was just as surprised by the encounter as Allana was.
Taris | 58 ABY | 100 Word Sprint
Allana’s eyes sweep the crowded walkway, but Festus is already gone, vanished just as quickly as he appeared. “He was just here,” she tells Ben, dazed, hardly more than a whisper. This is the fourth time in four years that he’s found her, and that can’t be a coincidence.
He didn’t say a word. And he shrugged at her, like he was just a normal guy out in normal society. Almost casual or friendly – or weirdly intimate – as if he hasn’t spent all this time wanting to kill her.
She can’t allow herself to forget that.
(she can’t be weak)
Wow, they do keep meeting/encountering each other. She cannot forget that Festus is a threat, dangerous, but somehow she seems to sense or feel something else altogether between them than just adversaries.
Love the view from her about Festus. Danger and affection in one
One of those drabbles that packs a real punch! If Allana didn't know what to make of her relationship to Festus before, I can see where she especially would be confused now, after seeing him act so "normal" and nonchalant. But that's the thing: that also says so much about Festus as a character, too, since he's the one of the Chaos Twins who actually does have that normal-ish "boy next door" side to him. Perhaps this is the beginning of Allana's getting to know that side of him, and once she does, perhaps she won't feel quite as much need to "not be weak." I wonder what the tipping point will be—how she'll finally realize that he doesn't actually want to kill her anymore. So many questions and feelings raised in such a short space—in short, everything I love about the drabble form! Nice work, and keep it coming, ma'am!
Maybe it's the Force. (Or coincidence, who even knows. )
Yep, you're exactly right, she definitely can't forget that! For all that they've encountered each other multiple times over the years, at this point they still have only had a few fragmented conversations, which have consisted almost entirely of threats and/or have taken place in the middle of a lightsaber duel. There might be a not-so-latent attraction there, but she can't assume that means he doesn't also want to kill her. (Just because we know differently doesn't make it okay, either.) Allana is smart to keep her distance, but that doesn't mean she isn't still feeling that pull of something between them.
Thanks so much for continuing to read and share your thoughts!
Thanks, I'm glad you liked it! Danger and affection - of any sort - is a weird and troubling combination, that's for sure.
I'm really happy to hear you think so! And lol, I remember when I wrote this scene from Festus's POV in WITSE, I was trying to think of something he could do - without talking - that would freak Allana out, while also being his attempt to flirt with her. The smirk and shrug combo seemed to hit the right note.
Ferrus would be outraged to hear that Festus is considered the normal twin.
Probably when he stops doing his best "stalkeriest stalker who ever stalked" impression around her and has an actual conversation with her. (I guess they do sort of end up having an actual conversation about a year after this, in IDWD, which... yeah, I guess that didn't end too well. Oops. )
But in all seriousness, it's probably going to be a while before she realizes he doesn't want to kill her. If he doesn't, because let's face it, this boy still has issues. Like all the murder. The murder is a problem.
Thank you so much, and I'm glad you're continuing to enjoy these! More coming up next!
Notes: Well, you guys may or may not know this by now, but I like a good challenge, so when I saw that an optional event was added to the Fanfic Olympics, my interest was definitely piqued. I tried to resist, because I thought I had this decathlon all planned out just the way I wanted. But come on, a poetry event? When I’m already writing about Lord Space Byron himself? How was I supposed to pass that up?
Anyway, today you’re getting two events! The first is the 200 Freestyle (a 200-word story about your couple with a choice of any theme), and it takes place during the masquerade ball shown in In Dreams We Dwell.
After that is a poem for the brand-new Water Polo Poetry event, taking place in the aftermath of IDWD. I’ve chosen to write a haiku, and mine is going to have a title because that’s how I roll (and also to match all my other events. ) I wasn’t sure about posting this because I haven’t written poetry in nearly fifteen years, and I didn’t want to embarrass myself. But @Gabri_Jade's mom liked it, and Gabri told me I had to post it, so here it is.
Both titles come from songs by Cold: “Happens All the Time” and “Ocean”, respectively.
If a Dream’s All That I’ve Got | 59 ABY | 200 Freestyle
The ballroom is brilliantly lit, though not harsh, bathed in a warm glow that resembles the intimacy of firelight. Here, just outside the door, the lights are low enough that he can watch the proceedings without being noticed.
The man in the naval uniform guides Allana around the dance floor, weaving between the other couples with confidence and grace. She looks happy, he realizes with a dull ache in his chest. A little distant, somehow, but still happy.
That’ll change pretty quickly once she sees him.
He knows he should feel sorry for that, and maybe there’s a part of him that does – but it’s nothing compared to how much he longs to be near her, to drown himself in her gaze, to hold her in his arms.
(nothing compared to how much he yearns to kiss her, or trace his fingers over her skin, or see her smile up at him, or hear her laugh)
For a short time, at least, he can pretend this is real, and that he never has to let her go. He can pretend he doesn’t still have a job to do. He can pretend he doesn’t already know how badly this will end.
“Falling Down a Wave” | 59 ABY | Water Polo Poetry
futile bid for air,
spiraling into black depths,
your sins never fade
Yum, I love the 200 Freestyle because I love couple dancing scenes and the poem is lovely. Cryptic and eloquent as all good haiku.
dancing and happy until she sees him
and a great poem
Brilliant last few entries. Love the push an pull between them, the shared dream, the way they keep meeting each other. Just fabulous!
This collection continues to be so, soooo good - both from a purely technical standpoint for how enrichens your EtF 'verse, but also for just how wonderfully enjoyable it is to watch these two orbit each other in such a continuously mesmerizing dance of push and pull. I just love it so much!
Well. You know that I would have much rather been here for every one of these as they were posted, and I have to apologize that I haven't been! I'll try to make up with that with a nice mega-review highlighting all of the best parts that really stood out to me.
Such a good song choice, and now I can't picture anything else going along with it!
That's a lot of has to that's cancelling out the wants to. This poor murder babe. He's told himself for years how he has to feel in order to adapt and survive that he now has no idea how to process any emotion that isn't angry and violent, especially when it comes to Allana and everything else she stirs up in him. Everything is just such a mess and hurts so much.
Such great imagery, again! I could feel this scene, just as much as I could read and understand what was happening on a purely intellectual level.
Is that what you want?
The imagery of the lightning and the illuminated for an instant and that kiss! This whole scene came together with so much intensity, it's no wonder that they both dreamed of it.
That weakness refrain just guts me every time. As does the she shouldn't. They're both fighting this pull - and with good reason - and yet, there that pull remains.
I know that he has to keep telling himself that, but it still hurts every time. How you can make a character so sympathetic and also still Chaos-y and Evil in all capital letters is a feat I will always marvel over!
And Allana's telling herself how she should feel in much the same way. You can't blame her - obviously there's only one acceptable way to feel about her dream - but there it is: lightning-burned across her lips. I loved the continuation of the imagery!
I loved this title too!
Another great detail!
THE IMAGERY!!! The inevitability. Seriously: every word was so carefully chosen here, and this passage sang for all your attention to every nuance.
More fantastic details!
But she is keeping up. I love how well matched they are; they've come so far from Vjun. There was a energy to this scene that really fit the Prime Time Coverage prompt so well! I really enjoyed all of the details you put into your action here, again.
Gah, the push and pull is sooooooo good.
Such. Good. Writing.
This move will never get old and I love it as much now as I did the first time around. Well done, Allana.
No coincidence at all.
Vi: this stalkeriest stalker who ever stalked is an absolute creep. But I will never not enjoy this scene.
Interesting, seeing that same refrain in Allana's mind here.
I loved seeing a bit more of IDWD from Festus' POV - that still remains my absolute favorite of this series so far, which is saying something. Everything here, from Festus' jealousy and yearning and wanting to pretend, even in the face of inevitable tragedy, it's just so good and I love it.
THE WAVE IMAGERY AMPED UP HERE TO A HUNDRED IS PERFECT.
Seriously: bravo with saying so much with so little, in true haiku style.
This collection has just been the best, and I can't wait to see your final two events!
Here you go again with those punch-packing ficlets! In both of these, I just love how vividly you show us Festus’s mixed emotional state, and how he attempts to process it, in just a few words. It’s not just the whole love thing that’s new to him—happiness and enjoyment and beauty in general are too, so much so that he’s not quite clear how to process this beautiful moment in the ballroom scene even though he’s at least aware that it does have beauty and wants it to never end. If that makes sense! And that haiku he could have written himself, as he navigates the wavelike ups and downs of his feelings and his relationship to his past. Wonderful job once again, and I too am looking very much forward to seeing how you wrap up this series!
It doesn't feel like it's been this long since I posted
Yet another Mara/Dorian parallel
And another OT parallel! Clever girl (Yoda's the closest thing we've got to a dinosaur emoji, sue me)
That's what a bunch of murder will do to your reputation among non-Sith, Festus
That's okay, he'll show up again and take over her thoughts eventually
This is a heck of a lot of flirting for enemies, Vi
More excellent description that I can see
This reminds me of you pointing out that part of VotF where Luke "growls" at Mara Except that even Luke and Mara weren't in as much denial as these two
lol, that's our girl. "He tried to murder me and I just barely escaped but I hit his head, oh noes"
STALKERIEST STALKER WHO EVER STALKED and also I love this incredibly creepy shrug because it is SO CREEPY, Vi
I'm telling you, my mom's opinion on poetry is not to be dismissed, she's been writing it longer than I've been alive, and she was speechless over this haiku *proud*
These kids are very, very messed up, Vi. And it's not that I can really fault Festus for his particular damage (vivisection! ), but he's also kind of a case study for how the stories we tell ourselves can unnecessarily define our reality
My little angsty poet
I'm always down for a good fancy dress and dancing scenario. And thank you so much!
Yep, she was a bit, um, startled when she finally did see him there. Although she might not have been quite as happy as she appeared... And thank you!
Aw, thank you! I really have enjoyed exploring their connection and how it develops over the years.
Yay, I'm so glad you love it! And to think I nearly didn't do this decathlon. Wow, sure glad I didn't listen to all my negative self-talk and just decided to dive in! It is hard to resist writing about these two...
Absolutely no worries whatsoever.
Right? I actually do think the original version works just as well for this ficlet (maybe even better, in a way, with that intense drum beat), but the acoustic version is still my favorite overall, and I listened to it a lot while writing IDWD.
Ugh, yep. And I figure the dream is revisiting a time when he was in seriously deep denial, whereas in his waking life he's a little more self-aware and hating himself for it, so those feelings all kind of mingle in a weird way in the dream. If that makes any sense? Like, there's no way this ever would have happened in WtWS, but in the years after, looking back on that moment... maybe that's the fantasy Festus sort of spins for himself, of how that moment might have gone differently. He's so very confused.
This is always great to hear! I'm telling you, this beach scenery has always been crystal clear for me, it's incredible. I love it!
I'm really glad that intensity came through! You know how much I love this whole setting anyway, but come on, a kiss in the face of an approaching storm? With who these two are? How was I supposed to resist the urge to write that?
It's really interesting writing his resistance to that pull, too. Obviously Allana has all the reason in the world to want to resist - he tried to kill her, he's an evil Sith Lord, etc - but apart from perceiving his feelings as a weakness, what other reason would Festus have for denying them? I think it lies there in she shouldn't and she never would have let him do that to her... because he knows how reprehensible he is. Not only are his feelings a weakness, but they are wrong and shameful, and how dare he think about her that way? He's such a mess.
It doessss. (And awww! You know how much I love striking that balance between sympathetic and terrible, so this is excellent. )
Our weakness is the same...
And right? I mean, that's really it, isn't it? There's only one acceptable way for her to feel about a dream like this. Anything else is unacceptable and wrong. Anything else means she's broken, there's something wrong with her, she's weak or naive. And especially in light of her experiences in the most recent chapters of EtF, she would have genuine reason to not trust her own judgment. She should run far away from this man and never look back. She should be completely appalled by any dream with him in it. And she knows that.
I actually originally toyed with the idea of her not exactly remembering the dream, but I decided no, I liked both of them remembering exactly what happened with startling clarity. Even if she doesn't think about him the next day, I doubt the memory of that dream would fade so quickly. Especially not with that kiss being what it was.
And I have to thank you again for recommending that song!
Ha, this was actually one of the last things I wrote for this ficlet, and I was thinking of those forces of gravity, and I was like, "well duh, they can't escape each other's orbits, and this is SW after all, so binary stars it is!" One of those things where now I'm wondering why I didn't think of it right away, but either way I'm glad it worked out so well. (Plus it seemed fitting that they sort of dance around each other for the next several years, before actually dancing with each other in IDWD. And I'll try not to pat myself on the back too hard over that metaphor, but I do really love it. )
So glad you liked this part! I really wanted this ficlet to add something to this fight, rather than just being an alternate POV of it, so I'm happy to hear these details stood out!
Well, you know how much I like to hear when the action is good! And it does make me happy to see Allana come into her own as a Jedi, able to defend herself where before she was completely outmatched.
Especially when you know what Festus was thinking of in this moment.
(Okay, he wanted to kiss her. )
You don't know how happy I am that you liked this part in particular. I figure yes, Allana has had a boyfriend before, but this is a whole new level of sexual awakening for her, and that can be as frightening as it is intense. Which is what I hoped to convey here without, you know, actually saying it.
I seriously want to see more moves like this in SW. Seems like there would be a lot of great ways to use the ability to shut off your lightsaber and turn it back on in combat. (Not that I'm saying I've utilized this feature in any upcoming chapters of certain epic-length stories... )
The Force ships it.
I'm so ridiculously proud of his creepy shrug in that scene. Seriously? Imagine standing there on this crowded walkway, staring back at this guy who you know is weirdly attracted to you - and who you are weirdly attracted to, shhhh - but who is also, you know, a murderer who has actually attempted to kill you, and he's standing there completely still amid all the bustling crowd, and then he does that head tilt thing and the smirk, and then he freaking shrugs what even does that mean??? *cue internal freakout*
I love it so much.
Hee, I enjoyed playing with that bit of mirroring.
It still makes me so glad to know how much you enjoyed IDWD, especially with how much trouble it gave me early on. And I thought it would be good to get a small glimpse into Festus's mindset in that story, since we don't see into his thoughts at all during the masquerade. For as much as it might have seemed to Allana that he was just playing her the whole time, he was in some ways just as caught up in the dream as she was.
Aw, yay, I'm glad you liked it! Even with all of my existing wave/ocean imagery, I don't know if I would have thought of it for this poem if it weren't for that song, "Ocean". The refrain is perfect for Festus at this point, when he realizes how badly he screwed up (and how doomed he was anyway, honestly, because this was never going to work out). But yeah, first piece of poetry since 2007, I think? Wow. It's been a while.
I can't wait to share them with you!!! One of those is coming up now, and it's the AU event you've been waiting for... although maybe not the exact AU you might have expected? Thank you so much for the amazing feedback, and I hope you enjoy this next ficlet!
Thanks, I really tried to cram as much emotion as I could into the short word limit! And I love writing Festus's mixed, often contradictory emotions. After everything he's been through, he can hardly process any sort of positive emotion without filtering it through a lens of violence or rage. I do think by this point, after many years of dancing around his feelings for Allana, he's started to settle a little bit, so his thoughts aren't quite as ragey as they once were. It's really interesting that you pointed out his ability to recognize beauty even if he can't quite process it. That's one of the things that I've found interesting as I've explored his character more over the last year, because I think he does see and gravitate toward things he finds beautiful - a holdover from his old self, that gentle boy who loved to read and was so observant of the world and people around him - but because his life has been so ugly and brutal, he doesn't realize that he still can see the beauty in the world. A lot of his inner musings - about Allana, the ballroom in this ficlet, and even things like the hanging globe lights in "There Are No Jedi Here" over in the chaos twins' thread - show some serious poetic/romantic leanings, even if he doesn't consciously think of them as such.
Or something like that.
Ha, he certainly could have! I'm so glad you liked these, and I'm excited to share these last two events. Next up, AU Archery!
I'm telling you, this month flew by. This whole summer actually.
I really think Mara would be one of Dorian's favorite Skywalker/Solo family members, if he had the chance to know them (and not want to murder them). There are so many similarities. And just imagine the snark!
I do love my parallels. And hey, this was another H/L one, after already writing the "you're trembling" parallel into IDWD.
(And now I want to watch Jurassic Park. )
The murder is really becoming a problem.
Honestly, is there anything normal with him?
(Okay, there is, but I like being snarky about it. )
What's that one AO3 tag? "Character's terrible attempts at flirting are also genuine murder threats"?
I love it way more than I probably should.
I mean, I know we've talked about how Zahn isn't the most emotional writer and that he's very restrained in his portrayal of romance, but I seriously don't know how Luke's dialogue in that moment could be interpreted in anything other than a sensual light. That was definitely deliberate on Zahn's part. And even though I'd say my intentions are usually not so veiled in my own writing, I like that this scene reminded you of that, in a way.
There's so much denial, Gabri, it's ridiculous.
She's so adorable.
Always and forever super proud of this one stupid little shrug. My creepy little murder Sithling.
I was and still am incredibly flattered and a little dumbfounded, honestly. Plus, your mom's answering haiku was awesome.
So much psychological damage. And yeah, it's hard because on the one hand, no one is forcing him to make any of these choices anymore; but on the other hand, how do you fight against years of torture and conditioning and the weight of every terrible thing you've done since then? He's such a mess. And Allana, for all that she's a good person who generally makes good choices, is not without her own baggage and trauma. It's a tangled, complicated mess.
Aw, thanks, babe! I've loved reading your feedback, as always!
Okay, the penultimate event is upon us!
Notes: We’re getting close to the end, and this next event is one of my favorites: AU Archery (a story of at least 100 words set in an alternate universe). Now, technically, all of these stories are already set in an AU – but in a world where time travel is possible, AUs of AUs aren’t really much of a stretch, so that’s exactly what this is going to be.
This ficlet takes place in what I currently refer to as the “pen pals AU”. It’s one where Festus was never captured by the Sith. He and Allana grew up in separate Jedi enclaves, but they managed to keep in touch during that time, (as much as was possible, given the Jedi’s need for secrecy,) and they became very close friends. I would love to explore this version of events more someday, but for now, here’s a very small glimpse at what might have been…
(Once again, the title comes from “Happens All the Time” by Cold.)
Where You’re Still in Love with Me | 51 ABY | AU Archery
Allana watches the ramp lower, bouncing up onto her toes as she waits for some sign of him. Finally, after all these years, after hundreds of messages and thousands of words and feeling like a part of her has been missing, her best friend is here.
He emerges from the ship without fanfare, eyes slowly roaming the hangar as he reaches the bottom of the ramp. Force, he looks so much older – hardly anything like the boy she knew. She doesn’t realize she’s been holding her breath until she opens her mouth to call out to him.
His eyes lock on her, then – so intensely blue, maybe more than she even remembered – and he smiles. Stars, she’s not sure a smile has ever made her feel this way, like she could just float away and not even care about coming back down. She runs forward, then stops just beyond arm’s reach, suddenly aware of the fact that they’ve never hugged or touched or anything, really; and she’s not sure why that matters, but it stops her all the same.
“Hey,” he says in a quiet voice, much deeper than she expected, and she feels silly for not anticipating all the ways he would have changed.
“Hey,” she replies, and then her hesitance melts away as she all but leaps into his arms.
He catches her and leans back, lifting her off the ground. “You didn’t miss me, did you?” he whispers in her ear as his hold on her tightens.
She laughs, and for one wild instant she has the urge to kiss him on the cheek. That thought sends a rush of warmth through her, from her stomach to the center of her chest, where she can feel her heart beating faster. He’s here. He’s here, and she never, ever wants to let him go.
Oh, oh, oh! Wonderful scene of friendship and love reunited. The fact that this is an AU makes it so beautifully bittersweet, knowing that (if I understand everything aright) this is just exactly the sort of thing these two deep-down wish they could have in the “prime” universe, too. If you do decide to explore this AU further, I’ll be there for sure—for now, thanks so much for sharing this glimpse of it!
SOMEHOW EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL AND YET EVERYTHING STILL HURTS. WE - and by that I mean these two - COULD HAVE HAD IT AAAAAALL!!! GAH!!!
Ahem: by that, what I really mean to say is that this little glimpse of happiness really just makes the angst of your main EtF 'verse all the more poignant, knowing that this is definitely what could have been. (Also: you know how much I love this AU and want more. Stat. Along with all the other AUs you have tucked up your sleeve. )
Finally putting those intense blue eyes to a non-creepy use, I see.
But what I loved best of all about this snippet is the giddiness you managed to convey so very well. Allana's all but sparkling with joy, and her exuberance leaps from your words. This is more than just meeting a best friend after years spent apart from each other, it's a piece falling into place and you can feel how transcendent that is through your writing!
And I love, love, loved the detail of Allana stopping short of hugging Dorian before just diving right in to hold on tight. Gaaaaah, these two!!!
The last line just gutted me in the best of ways, especially when juxtaposed with your main canon, again. Yep: hold on tight, and don't let go! It's beautiful knowing that, in this time and place, things are different in the best of ways.
I really can't wait for your finale piece all the more so now! This entire collection has been such a joy to read, again, and I'm thrilled beyond words that you decided to run with it.
VI, VI, VI! THIS IS SO WHAT HAPPENED! SQUEE! I love the exuberance between these two. He has the witty snark without the biting hard edge and she has the hesitance without fear.
Wonderful. Looking forward for more of this
Beautiful reunion between the two of them.
Aw, look at you, writing happy things
...for eight whole paragraphs
Thanks, so glad you liked it! It really is bittersweet, and I think it's fairly safe to say that deep down, each of them does wish they could have this. And while this version of Allana and Dorian could possibly find happiness with each other, that sort of relationship might be unattainable for "our" versions of them. (But that doesn't mean I'm done telling their story either, because these two and their unlikely connection fascinate me to no end. )
I do have tentative plans to explore this AU - and others - in the near-ish future, so we'll see how that pans out! I'm really happy to hear that you enjoyed this small look into what might have been.
Success! I'm so happy to hear this, because that's really what I hoped to accomplish here. I mean, yes, I wanted to show a tiny slice of happiness that could have been, but the point is really how it ties back to the main story, because without that, what does this little AU ficlet truly mean? And that's not to say that happy stories for happy stories' sake don't have merit, because they do... but in the context of this decathlon, with these two characters, in the main world I've created, there has to be something more. (Everything is beautiful and yet everything still hurts, right? )
Also, I need all of the AUs to just transfer directly from my brain into nicely-organized and well-written fics, that would be great. But I'll get there! Eventually. (Although I still have the Ferrus fic and the Allana-Ben Latin quote prompt still kicking around in here, too, and I'm thinking it might be about time to get back to those. Especially the Ferrus one. For reasons.)
Yay, this is exactly what I wanted to convey! That piece falling into place... almost as if they were always meant to be this way.
Ooh, I'm glad you loved it! That detail just felt right. Even though they've been friends for about eight years at this point, they haven't actually seen each other since she was seven and he was ten. That's such a huge amount of time when you're that age, with so many changes taking place. Apart from the very beginning of it, the entirety of their friendship has taken place through written words alone, so it wasn't hard to imagine there being a split-second of uncertainty about how to proceed. But of course, Allana doesn't let that stop her for long. (And you'll notice, Dorian is more than ready to catch her. )
It's funny, because I ended up repeating that idea of letting go - or not letting go, in this instance - through the last few pieces in this collection. In fact, the final event starts out with that very idea. It's probably good that I saved this happy moment for so late in the game, because yeah, this last event...
I'm so, so glad I went for it, too! I didn't realize how necessary these stories were at first, thinking that I was just being indulgent by writing more about these characters when I'd already covered their encounters over the years. Wow, was I wrong! It just shows how amazing writing is, that you can still discover new things about characters and situations you've already explored, just by changing up a POV here and there, or filling in a small missing moment. (Or throwing in a random shared dream. ) Before, I thought IDWD did a solid job of setting up the Allana/Festus dynamic heading into the sequel, but honestly, I think this last piece helps tie everything together, from TLotD and HTBM, to EtF, to all the vignettes and IDWD and this decathlon and even the twins' decathlon. Which is sort of nuts, considering it's only 1,500 words. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.
Lol, well, in another world at least! It doesn't change reality for the characters we've been following, but I did hope to give a glimpse of what might lie at the heart of this otherwise mystifying connection between Allana and Festus. It doesn't change who Festus is or what he's done in the main EtF timeline, any more than writing happy AU versions of Anakin Skywalker changes the evil of Darth Vader or erases his many crimes. But that's one of the things I love most about writing and reading AUs - exploring the ways in which the characters we love (and sometimes hate) are still themselves, even when their circumstances are so drastically different. And for characters both good and evil, it's fascinating to see what they would be like if their moral alignment was the opposite of what we know, and indeed, if certain characters are capable of being anything other than what we know of them in their main stories. Yes, Dorian would have been very different if he hadn't been captured and twisted by the Sith, and maybe he even would have been someone Allana could have loved and chosen to be with... and maybe someday I'll tell more of that story. I do love all the AUs of my AU, I really do. But the story I love the absolute most - and the one that feels the most real to me - is the one I've been telling throughout this decathlon and across all of these vignettes and short stories. And I'm definitely not done telling that story.
That's a great way of putting it, the witty snark without the biting hard edge. Like I've said here and elsewhere, one of the things I enjoy most about writing Dorian - at any age - is making him believably good, (or, as in TLotD, descending into darkness,) without making him feel like a completely different person from Darth Festus. So I'm glad this came across.
Glad you liked it! Thanks as always for reading!
Aw, thanks, I'm glad you thought so! I do love writing this version of them.
(I was going to pretend to be outraged, but let's be real, I'm not. )
Just a little infusion of fluff before I dive headfirst back into the angst.
Okay, everyone! The last event will be up in a few minutes!
Notes: Thank you so much for coming on this angsty little journey with me, guys! I hope you’ll enjoy the final event for this decathlon: the 1500 Word Dash (a 1,500-word story about your couple with any theme).
This takes place in the immediate aftermath of In Dreams We Dwell (59 ABY), and then it moves forward through the next two years, ending just slightly after section V of What If This Storm Ends? (61 ABY), when Festus pursues a target to the planet Argeneen and discovers that Allana is there as well.
I took the title from the song “Hurts Like Hell” by Fleurie. I also wrote a significant portion of this vig while listening to Tommee Profitt & Fleurie’s “Remembrance”, because the sound of it is perfect and I love it. (Thanks once again to @Mira_Jade for that music rec! )
Here we go, friends. The last one…
I Loved and I Loved and I Lost You | 59-61 ABY | 1500 Word Dash
Letting go, it turns out, is a lot easier said than done.
Allana Djo returns to the Temple and is received with sympathy, with understanding. How was she supposed to know Festus and Ferrus would be there? She couldn’t have been expected to fight them both, especially without her lightsaber; and besides, she managed to keep the queen and the other guests alive. Who even knows the damage the Sith might have done if she hadn’t been there?
It makes her sick. She wants to scream at them to hate her, to judge her for what she is – a stupid, foolish girl who was so distracted by the dreamlike glimpse of the life she might have had—
(and his eyes and his touch and his lips brushing across her skin)
—that she lost sight of reality. Two of the queen’s ministers are missing, along with two of Kurin’s most influential entrepreneurs, and that’s all Allana’s fault.
Ben is the only one who doesn’t offer any comforting words, and she can’t decide if that’s better or worse. When they’re finally alone, he puts an arm around her shoulders and pulls her close, and he kisses the top of her head like he’s done since she was small. Whispers that he’s glad she’s safe. His relief is a gentle ocean swell rolling over her, calm on the surface, but thunderously powerful underneath.
She doesn’t tell him anything more than what she’s told everyone else, but she wonders how much he suspects. Sometimes she thinks she hasn’t been hiding the truth from him so much as she’s been playing a game where they both pretend not to know what that truth is.
(she still refuses to give the truth a name, because if she does that, then she might actually break)
Life moves on, and she tries to move on with it. She doesn’t take solo missions for a long time after, preferring to work with her friends, or with Ben. Sometimes she works with Geridan, too. They’ve settled back into a fairly comfortable friendship, almost like the old days. Once or twice she wonders if she should try to rekindle what was once there, but then she remembers the parts of her she’s walled off, the things she’s packed away and hidden from sight.
(the piece of her heart she can’t get back)
She wonders if that’s what caused her to pull away years ago. She always tried to convince herself it was because of her heritage, because she was afraid of where she came from and what might come from her, someday. And even though that’s still a part of it, maybe more than ever, she knows now that it was her brief stop on Kordros that truly changed things.
Even now, she still dreams of that beach and those rocks and the waves shattering against them.
Months go by. A year. She starts accepting solo missions again. Ben worries at first, but when nothing bad happens, he grows more comfortable, and so does she. The fledgling Republic still has a long way to go toward achieving galactic unity and peace, but they’re making strides every day. And she spends as much time as she can with the younger members of her family, marveling at their energy and their strength in the Force, watching them grow into confident Jedi apprentices.
She doesn’t think of him. She’s stronger than that.
She has to be.
Darth Festus hides behind a wall. He has for years, ever since he first lay shivering on the doctor’s table. It was the only way he knew to protect his brother, to keep his pain from bleeding across their bond; and over time he built up that wall to be nearly impenetrable. He spent so long defending it that to do so now is like breathing – an instinct, something he hardly gives any thought to.
From behind the wall, he can be anything. Whatever he needs to be. He plays at being charismatic, at being volatile and unhinged. He plays it so well that he often can’t see past the act. He doesn’t want to see past it. Sometimes – most times – he’s not actually sure it is an act. He thinks maybe he was always this way, that all he needed was permission to give in and be every terrible thing he ever tried to hide from.
He remembers the day his master offered him a new identity, a new life. How Lord Krayt reached out to him in the depths of his despair and loneliness and gave him meaning and the promise of rebirth. How grateful he was to finally belong somewhere, even if the things he had to do and endure to get there were unspeakable. He remembers how easy it was to reach for the darkness that day, to pass his master’s final test and claim the name he’d bestowed on him. What was one more line, when he’d already stepped over so many, not even looking back until he was too far away to see them?
It’s been years since he’s leaned into the insanity of his life like he once did. Since he hated anything or anyone as violently as he did while under his master’s tutelage. There was a time when that realization – the thought that he was becoming anything less than the vicious Sith Lord he’d forged himself into – would have driven him mad. Oh, he still hates pretty damn fiercely, and he doesn’t ever flinch away from the violence he inflicts on others. But he already knows he’ll never again be that same stupid, deranged boy who held the life of a frightened, helpless girl in his hands and nearly ended it.
(sometimes he sees that moment in his nightmares, hand around her throat, screaming at himself to stop, and he wakes up shaking at how close it was, how close he came to killing the most precious, beautiful soul he’s ever known)
For the first time in a long time, he thinks he might actually be going crazy.
He can’t sleep, and he can’t eat, and he can’t stop remembering the way she looked at him outside that ballroom – furious, on the verge of tears, hating him.
Gods, she hates him.
She hates him.
It’s so damn perfect, isn’t it? He deserves every ounce of that hatred. He deserves the torment of having held her in his arms, of imagining that she might have ever wanted him the way he wants her.
He deserves to never see her again.
Stars, what if he never sees her again?
He can’t breathe thinking of it, can’t see anything past that all-consuming fear. It crawls up into the hollow place inside of him and settles there like a stone, pulling him down, down, down.
Behind the wall, he’s drowning.
He knows his feelings for her are a weakness, one that he can’t afford to have, even now. He has to carve that weakness out, or bury it deeper than ever, alongside everything else he can never have and everything else he can never be. He has to be what he is, what he became to survive. What he was always meant to be. A murderer and a liar and a sick, manipulative bastard. Weird, creepy psycho. Detached and smug and flippant and stubborn. Indomitable. Always indomitable.
Darth Festus doesn’t just hide behind the wall. He is the wall.
He has to be.
Two years after Kurin, Allana receives a new assignment on the planet Argeneen. She balks at first, because a border dispute on a tiny, isolated world hardly seems important when there are still spice dealers and slave rings and crime syndicates stretched all across the Outer Rim.
(there are still remnants of the Sith Empire out there, too, causing their own special brand of trouble, but the Republic doesn’t pay them much mind these days, and neither does she)
At the end of the day, though, she’s a Jedi Knight, and no world is unworthy of assistance, even in matters that may seem trivial from the outside. So she goes to Argeneen to meet with the king and the barons, and to discuss the disputed territory. And as she stands along the main promenade outside the palace, awaiting the last of the dignitaries, she’s hopeful that this will go quickly, and then she can return home.
Festus waits outside the palace, sitting in the driver’s seat of a stolen speeder. He stares down at his lightsaber, turns it over in his hands. Positions the emitter up under his rib cage. He’s such an idiot, thinking he could bury this. Pretending he hasn’t been in love with her this whole time.
He blows out a shaky breath and clips the weapon to his belt. That’s not the way this story ends, he tells himself. Every knight needs a monster to slay. She has her part to play, and he has his.
At least he’ll get to see her one last time.