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Saga - PT Snips and Snails and Bantha's Tails - OC Revolution Pet Challenge - Family of Scoundrels fic

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Kit', Jun 3, 2020.

  1. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999
    I apologise for not updating this since September. No excuses, just poor time management. At least this is quite a bit chapter (2000 words) to make up for it - hopefully.


    Pet 32 – Guarlara – Laluna – 27 BBY – (10 years and four days) - Part 13


    Kithera swung her legs over the edge of the balcony, watching as her children played on the cargo floor below. It was a treat for it actually to be almost empty. Normally it was cluttered with cargo, both legal and not. It was also a treat to have the time to sit still and watch after Quin had been born. Kirsh had tasked Heilan with watching the infant to give Kithera a break, and although she’d been reluctant at first, the lack of pressure from not having to constantly worry about her daughter’s health was freeing.

    Below her, the twins, Kei and Taro, were chasing each other over the few remaining boxes. Eena was sitting near F’kisi, both of them making silly faces anytime the twins came close enough. The two little boys would squeal and then bolt in the opposite direction. Del had disappeared with Nicco a while ago to check on their position and The Lady’s engines.

    Kithera smiled to herself, listening to the individual instruments that made up the Force signatures of her family. There was a tremble of woodwind and Kithera glanced across to where Kirsh was talking with Zallie. The girl was copying his moves as he gracefully moved his hands, showing her how to manipulate the Force to levitate one of the smaller boxes.

    Zallie screwed her face up, like she always did when she was trying to do something hard. Kithera watched her daughter hold her hands out. The box trembled and then lifted off the ground. It hovered far above their heads and Zallie turned to Kirsh with an excited smile. The box dropped and Kirsh reached out and grabbed before it smashed on Zallie’s head. Zallie’s smile turned to a frown and she scowled at the box as if it’s fall had been a personal affront.

    Kithera took a sip of the caff she’d made and shook her head slightly. She and Del told each other frequently that they would take the time to really help Zallie understand her own abilities, and all the benefits that came with them. There just never seemed to be the time between racing after the twins, or fixing dinner, or finding new jobs, or making sure The Lady was running, or any of the other thousands of things that seemed to fill each day.

    The guilt ate at her.

    She should have found time to teach her daughter.

    The older Zallie got, the harder it would become. Sometimes she wished that she’d acquiesced to the Council’s demands and left her daughter at the Temple, but she could never go back. She just hoped that she had made the right decision. Kirsh’s appearance and Zallie’s behaviour on Naboo, had brought into stark relief how dangerous her daughter could easily become without proper guidance.

    She watched as Kirsh made Zallie do it again. The box vibrated and then rose slowly through the air. Zallie was grinning, but she kept her eyes closed that time. The box tumbled effortlessly at the top of the arc.

    Kithera winced as Kei and Taro, seeing their sister concentrating and the pirouetting box, scampered over to watch. Kei clambered up onto a box and Taro, always his brother’s shadow, followed. The box wobbled under both their weights as they scrambled higher in order to grab at it.

    Eena hopped down onto the floor, angrily hissing at both the boys to come away. They ignored her.

    Kirsh looked up to where Kithera was sitting. He raised an eyebrow as if asking for help. She grinned in reply, extending a hand and uncurling her fingers as the notes of music played. The boys shrieked as they were lifted off the box and deposited back onto the floor.

    The noise was enough to break Zallie’s concentration. High above her, the box wobbled in its rotation. Kithera frowned as the box dropped and Kirsh caught it again. The boys scrambled over each other to get to the box, and she could see them demanding that it fly again. Kirsh shook his head and waved his hand. There were no familiar low notes of a bass flute, that would signal that her friend was using the Force. Regardless, the boys backed off and went back to where Eena was standing, regarding the big Jedi suspiciously. Kirsh bent down and said something to Zallie that she couldn’t make out, passing her the box. The next minute her daughter was racing up the stairs to her room. She waved at Kithera as she passed.

    “Did you see me mama?” she asked breathlessly. “I made the box float by myself. Master Aleski wasn’t even helping me.”

    “I saw,” Kithera said, “you did very well.”

    Zallie bounced from foot to foot and then took off down the corridor. Kirsh came after her, walking more slowly up the steep and narrow steps from the cargo floor.

    “She did well,” he said with a small smile. Kithera motioned to the spot on the floor beside her and he sat down. His low bass flute intertwined with her more breathy ones like they always had since they were children. Kithera smiled. It was nice to have her friend back.

    They didn't speak, but turned their attention back to the cargo floor, where the two younger adults were taking the boys through one of the family’s routines. They had to sneak up on Estra and try and take one of the many biscuits she had stashed in her pockets. If one of the boys were caught, F’kisi would chase him around the room and he would miss his next turn. Most of the time it ended with both boys with mouths full of biscuits laughing hysterically as they hid from F’kisi.

    “Is this how you teach them to pickpocket?” Kirsh asked as he watched. Kithera didn’t need the Force to feel the curl of disdain from her friend.

    “It’s how we make sure we can feed ourselves,” she answered, her face heating at his tone. Kirsh might have said that he was okay with the way the Family made their living, back on the tarmac, but it had become increasingly obvious that there were many aspects of her new life that he didn’t like. She looked across at him as she gripped the cup in her lap, using its warmth and solidness as a shield against the unspoken recriminations.

    “You are a good teacher,” she said trying to change the subject. “Zallie is learning a lot from you.”
    “She would learn a lot more if she was in the Temple,” Kirsh said and then frowned. Her face was suddenly burning hot, a pricking, angry sensation that she didn’t like.

    Kithera clenched her jaw and looked away, as the heat spread across her face and down her neck to prickle against the edge of her tunic. There was momentary pressure as Kirsh touched her knee and she glanced back at her friend who was looking at her apologetically.

    “I didn’t mean to say that aloud.” He said quietly, as if sensing her discomfort. “I’m sorry Kitkit, that wasn’t what I meant to say. I-”

    “I couldn’t send her there,” Kithera said quietly, cutting off his stumbling apologies. “She’s too old for starters.”

    “The Temple took in a boy of ten only last year,” Kirsh said. “In fact it was Qui-Gon who argued for it to happen.”

    “I’m sure if Qui-Gon picked him, then he’s very special. I can’t see the Council allowing that without an argument.” She raised an eyebrow and Kirsh had the good grace to look rather abashed.

    “From what I heard there was some push back. Yes,” he said, “but he got his way in the end.”

    “I imagine it only happened because it’s hard to argue with a dead man.” Kithera couldn’t help the edge of bitterness from her voice. Her former lover had been considered a maverick by the Council, which had led to both admiration and censure in equal measure.

    “I’m sure they’d take Zallie, she is his daughter after all,” Kirsh said quietly. She snorted, but it wasn’t in amusement. Just because Qui-Gon could get away with things, didn’t mean anyone else could. She certainly couldn’t. She could still hear the snap hiss of Mace’s lightsaber as she’d knelt in the Council Chamber on that day.

    “She’s also mine and I doubt they’d want a child who’d been taught nothing but thievery and deceit.”

    “I’m sure they would happily take Zallie and the boys and Quin if you let them.”

    “What if I don’t want to though? What if I like my family as it is. I fought so hard against the Council Kirsh. I fought so hard to keep Zallie, why would I turn around now and give her back?”

    “Because at the Temple, she and Kei and Taro could get proper training,” Kirsh said with a frown. “You love them Kitkit, you need to do what’s best for them.”

    She turned on him. Her hands clenched around the mug, until her fingers turned white. His words tore into her, ripping through every insecurity she’d ever held.

    “I’m best for them. Del and I, and Nicco and Essie and F’kisi. We are best for them.”

    She could hear her voice getting louder. Kirsh had poked the sore point that kept her awake late at night: the fear that she was doing the wrong thing by her daughter, by all of their children. Kithera looked down to see that Kei and Taro had paused in their game, their faces twisted towards her. Even Estra was staring, her eyes narrowed at the bigger Jedi as if blaming him for any upset. She smiled at the children in fake reassurance that it was all okay and noticed that Kirsh was doing the same. Kei and Taro smiled back and returned to the game. Estra narrowed her eyes slightly before turning back to her brothers.

    “I’m sorry,” Kirsh’s voice was low and soft. It brought her back to the here and now. “I did not choose my words wisely. I just worry about you.”
    Kithera shook her head. The emotions dissipated leaving a hard, bitter taste in their wake. She knew nothing he said now was going to mend the ever growing gap between them.
    “I can’t let my children go somewhere which punishes love of any kind. But I also know that we can’t follow the Jedi path as set out by the Temple. ” Kithera said, trying to keep her voice quiet. She took big, deep breaths trying to quiet her own music. She stared at the contents of her mug. The caff was getting cold, and no longer offered the same reassurance. “The real world does not allow that either.”

    “The Jedi Order exists in the real world, Kitkit,” Kirsh said.

    “It doesn’t,” she said quietly. “We, you, I...we were all cloistered and kept. The Jedi spend so much time in their concrete spire in the sky that they don’t see what it’s like for most people in the universe. The Jedi are so wrapped up in politics that they never see that they miss helping the little people. People like us.”

    The bass flute that was always Kirsh’s music, was now accompanied by the quiet echoes of a timpani.

    “That’s not fair, Kitkit.” Kirsh said.

    “Isn’t it?” she asked, glancing at him and then back to the children and their game.

    “No, it’s not. I do lots of work on the Outer Rim,” Kirsh said defensively. “I see what it’s like out there.”

    “You do,” she said after a moment or two of silence. “But you don’t really get what it’s like. How many voices have you ignored Kirsh?” She saw the look of affront on his face but continued. Picking words that she knew would hurt.

    “How many times have you left someone behind. How many times have you ignored the pull of the Force because the Council wanted you too. How many times have you ignored the hurt because you knew attending it would only get yourself into trouble with the Council. How many times have you done that Kirsh? How many times did you put the Order before the will of the Force?”

    The timpani grew louder, warring with the bass flute for which would be the loudest sound in the melody that he was creating. Her own music met it, joining in a tumultuous melody that vibrated through her. She plowed on. It was as if someone had unplugged the dam, the thoughts and anger from the last several years spilled out.


    Kithera’s mouth quirked as she realised he’d dropped her nickname. She had struck a nerve.

    “And you know what's the worst of all? You get to go back,” she said angrily before Kirsh could go further “You get to go home. Back to the safety and warmth of the Temple. Back to bacta on tap, and Healers and food whenever you need it. A library and teachers. Fresh clothes and warm, safe beds.”

    Out of the corner of her eye, she saw his hand clench. He opened his mouth but she kept going. Her heart hammered in her chest, and the noise of the Force around her roiled and grew louder. She faced him, almost spitting.
    “Yes, it’s hard when you are out on a mission. Yes, Jedi face danger every day. But you have a safe space to return to when it’s done. You don’t worry about your spaceship falling

    out of the sky, or the next job or how to afford simple things or...or…”

    She trailed away, her words petered out. Beside her, Kirsh took a deep breath. His timpani faded and slowed. She hated that he could always do that. Find the inner peace and calm where she had none. Kithera's own music filled the space. Her hands clenched and her heart sounded loud in her ears.

    “Or making the right decision for your children,” Kirsh said.

    Kithera glared at him, torn between anger and tears. He would never understand because he could never understand. She looked at her friend’s face, calm and gentle as always. Her breath hitched in her throat. How could she expect an Order so insular that it forbade attachment and punished transgressions to help her? Kirsh might do his best, but whatever happened was going to come at a price. She looked down at Kei and Taro, their mouths stuffed with biscuits and felt tears prick at the corner of her eyes. What would saving Quin cost her family? What price would the Jedi demand?

    She rose unsteadily to her feet. Kirsh still sat, staring at his hands and frowning softly.

    “Yes,” she said softly, as waves of music and emotion buffeted her. “That if you make the wrong decision, your children might die. That is something a Jedi will never understand.”

    She turned and walked away. Desperate to leave her words and all of the fears and doubts behind.

    It didn’t work.

    She almost came undone when she bumped into Del by the doorway. He looked down at her, but she refused to meet his eyes.

    “It’s lunch time,” he announced and then glanced at her again. “Rin?”

    She shook her head as she pushed past him, tears pricking the corners of her eyes. The Force was a never ending cacophony of sound and thought and fear.

    She finally reached the door of their room. Heilan was sitting meditating on the floor next to Quin’s cradle. She managed to smile at him as he opened his eyes.

    “Lunch is about to be made.” The words were automatic. She felt empty and alone, even as the music grew louder. Heilan frowned and opened and closed his mouth as if he was going to say something but thought better of it. He nodded to her and made his way out of the room.

    The moment the door closed behind him, she sunk to the floor and sobbed. In the cradle, Quin opened her eyes and began to wail.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
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  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 2 Truths 1 Lie Host star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    =D= =D= Breathtakingly intense discussion as Kirsh pushes her buttons, the guilt and self-doubt buttons. [face_thinking] There's such a delicate balance. If Zallie and the other kids aren't trained properly they could pose a danger to themselves or others without intending to.

    Kither's right though; the Jedi do get to go home to a warm safe place after a mission. If they're the right sort, their hard missions teach empathy and courage, but it's not the same as being in a life and death struggle for your family day in and day out.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
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  3. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999
    Thank you. I went back and edited it (added some more) to basically show how much Kirsh's almost accidental button press has hurt her. I think Kithera's secretly terrified that if she makes the wrong decision that Zallie will turn to the dark side and there will be nothing that she can do to stop it.

    Yep, I think it's one of the big thing about prequel era Jedi. They've become so immersed in their own little world of politics and string pulling that they've forgotten that they literally have superpowers. They could solve so much.

    I saw a post today of Shmi pointing out to Qui-Gon that he could take her too. There was nothing stopping her getting on the ship. It wasn't like Watto could do anything if the Jedi really wanted to take her. But they didn't. They ignored the greater suffering for their own desires...
  4. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Dec 21, 2016
    I loved this whole chapter in general, but the description of Kit sitting on a balcony overlooking the cargo bay was.... My brain automatically pictured her aboard Serenity.

    I really am a Browncoat, aren't I?
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  5. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    Great update! =D= It's easy to see how raw Kithera's emotions are when it comes to these doubts and uncertainties, and how much pressure she feels trying to keep everything afloat with her family. I'm sure all of this is hard for Kirsh as well-- he's doing his best to help his friend, but so much life has happened to both of them that each has changed and is walking down their own path.

    Kithera makes a good point about how it's easy for the Jedi to be aware of what things are like for people from the outside, but since they're not fully immersed in that entire existence and they have that safety net, that that makes things different for the Jedi, even when they're trying to help. The long-term, day-in-and-day-out consequences aren't really real to them like they are to the people who have to live with it.

    It also sounds like Kithera might be concerned, like Del is, about what they'll need to sacrifice in order for the Jedi to help Quin.

    Great job! Looking forward to more! :)

    (On a side note, regarding Shmi, Qui-Gon, and Watto, I thought Shmi couldn't just hop on the ship and go with them in TPM because Watto wouldn't deactivate the kill chip planted inside her? I do think that Obi-Wan should have gone back at some point afterward to free her though.)
  6. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999
    Always a Browncoat @};-[face_love]

    Also yes, the Lady's layout may be based off Serenity...but [face_shhh]

    You are right in that both of them are coming from the same place (love of one another, friendship and protection) but both arrive at very different outcomes. The Jedi's life is so unrealistic in terms of what they can do/get away with, but I don't think you would realise that until you were actually outside of the Order and looking back in. Kind of like going to a private school (which I did) - you don't realise how ridiculously privileged your life is until you're an adult and you have experiences that go beyond that (I now work in a public school and the differences between the resources hurt).

    Definitely, and this next chapter will deal a bit with that. Del and Kit's concern though are from different places, and about different things. Kithera's worried that she walked away and she'll get rejected for leaving. Del is worried that he will be recognised and questions will be asked about why he never returned home in the first place.

    Hmm, I didn't think about that. I still think the Jedi could have used a bit of friendly negotiation to get Shmi though, and Obi-wan should definitely have gone back for her!
  7. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999

    Pet 32 – Guarlara – Laluna – 27 BBY – (10 years and four days) - Part 14


    His wife was crying and he didn’t know why.

    The thought caught Del by surprise. Kithera wasn’t his wife. Not even close. She was his partner. He might like her to be-

    He shook his head to stop the thought before it went any further. Now was not the time for things that would never be.

    Rin was crying and he didn’t know why.

    Del glanced down at where Kirsh sat. The Jed Knight had his eyes closed and was taking deep, measured breaths. Del shook his head as Estra came up the stairs towards him, mouth pinched, glaring at Kirsh, ready to start a fight. She opened her mouth.

    “Don’t.” Del held up his hand. He hoped it would be enough to stall his daughter before she unleashed her full fury on the poor, unwitting Jedi. She turned her glare on him and Del just raised an eyebrow and pointed to the hallway. “Go and eat lunch.”

    She closed her mouth and shot one last scowl at the huge Jedi Master. Estra turned and stalked down the hallway. A bit behind her, came the twins, pushing each other gently as they clambered up the stairs in an unspoken competition to see who could get to the top first.

    “Mama is upset,” announced Kei as he reached the top step. Taro nodded in confirmation.

    “She feels all wrong,” added Taro, “she’s too hot.”

    “I know boys,” Del said, quietly. “I’ll go and talk to her in a minute.” He waved at where Estra was stalking down the corridor. “Go get Essie to make you some lunch. I’ll check on Mama in a minute.”

    “I stay with you,” Taro said decisively.

    “You go eat lunch,” Del said sternly and then grinned at him, “before Kei gets all the Tok Nut butter sandwiches.”

    Taro nodded and headed towards the door slowly, as if waiting for his father to call him back.

    Last up the stairs was F’kisi. Del caught him by the tunic as the boy tried to slide past. F’kisi hated conflict of any kind, which sometimes surprised Del, considering how sweet the boy seemed to be on his firebrand of a daughter.

    “Go and tell Nicco to bring some rolls and some fresh caff down here,” Del said. He spotted Heilan coming down from the sleeping quarters. There was a wail from Quin somewhere above them. Del grit his teeth. “Take Heilan with you and make sure he eats a decent lunch for once.”

    The boy nodded and headed down the corridor, gently pushing a reluctant Taro ahead of him. Del waved a hand at Kirsh, who was slowly getting to his feet.

    “You, sit,” Del commanded. He watched as the younger man sat down again and then looked surprised as if his body had moved without his brain registering why. Del wondered for a second if that was his old Jedi training coming out, or just the voice he’d learnt after twenty years of being a father that produced such a result. “Nicco’s going to bring us lunch and you are going to explain to me why Rin is crying.”

    Kirsh gave a rather wan smile and stared at his hands. The distant wailing of the baby slowed and then stopped. The silence was suddenly oppressive, and Kirsh seemed to hunch down further.

    “I think I made a mistake,” he said. Del was surprised to see the confident Jedi that he’d thought Kirsh was, suddenly disappear. Del nodded his head.

    “I think if Rin is crying, and Estra looks like she’s going to punch you then that’s a good sign that you have made a mistake, yes. At least in my experience.”

    Kirshs said nothing, just continued to stare blankly. Del sat down next to him and waited. It was, he reflected, something that he’d become good at over the years. Waiting for people to spill their secrets was sometimes far more effective than threats or cajoling. Eventually Kirsh sighed.

    “I told her that Zallie would be better off at the Temple,” he said. Del blinked in surprise and gave a tiny nod of his head.

    “I’m honestly surprised you’re still here and not floating off in the vastness of space,” he said after a moment.

    “I also asked about what she was teaching them when they were playing,” Del clenched his hands briefly.
    “I take it you did exceptionally badly in politics classes,” he said after a moment. Kirsh glanced at him and shrugged.

    “I became a healer for a reason,” he said and smiled. Del snorted, letting the annoyance of the preceding moments disappear. The corner of Kirsh’s mouth tugged slightly in a smile. “I’m fine if it’s politics and getting local communities to accept my help. I’ve always been terrible at saying the right things to my friends.”

    Del let the silence draw on. There wasn’t much he could say. Part of him wanted to chastise Kirsh, but he got the feeling that Kit and Kirsh’s own conscience had done enough of that already. Had Kirsh been any other Jedi, the ones who were always right because the Temple had convinced them of their own superiority then their conversation would have been very different. However, he doubted that Jedi like that would ever have made it onto The Lady in the first place.

    Del had watched the younger man over the last couple of days. Kirsh had a softer edge then the Jedi that Del remembered from the Temple, and a far broader way of looking at the world. The fact that he and Rin had clashed was both completely surprising and totally expected. He’d seen how they both tip-toed around each other’s new lives while simultaneously trying to act like nothing had changed at all.

    There was a knock at the edge of the door and Del turned to see Nicco standing hesitantly by the entrance.

    “I brought rolls and caff,” Nicco said proffering a tray.

    “Thank you,” Del said with a smile. “Did you make sure that-”

    “I put Estra on it,” Nicco said, interrupting him as if he knew what he was about to say. Nicco gave a small shrug. “I figured that her taking lunch to Rin was better than her taking lunch to you. Don’t know how that would have ended.”

    Kirsh gave a muffled snort. “I don’t think the answer is ‘well’,” he said, not looking up.

    Del raised an eyebrow and Nicco gave a half smile.

    “I’ll leave these here,” he said, taking two steps out from the door and putting down the tray. “I’ll get back to the twins before Kei starts spooning Tok Nut butter straight from the jar.”

    Del nodded his thanks and turned back to Kirsh who was staring morosely out over the cargo bay.

    “We should have lunch,” Del said quietly. Kirsh shook his head.

    “I am not hungry, thank you.”

    Del gave a low chuckle.

    “You and your padawan aren’t going to beggar us if you eat your fill,” he said reaching back to slide the tray closer. “I remember how much Jedi eat-” he paused to pass Kirsh a thick, crusty roll filled with some kind of jam- “and you must be starving.”

    Kirsh took the roll but kept staring out over the void.

    “How do you do it?” he asked after a moment. Del frowned.

    “How do I do what?”

    “How do you mesh together the way you were brought up. The ideas and precepts of the Jedi and Temple with the life that you and Kit”- he frowned as if struggling with the name change-”Rin live now?”

    Del frowned, considering the question. “I never made the choice to leave the Temple,” he said after a drawn out pause. He rubbed his left thumb over one of the scars on his right knuckle. The injury was an old one, but the gesture gave him comfort whenever he had to talk about what had been done to him during that time. “I didn’t have any choice. One moment I was a Jedi and the next I was a slave. I was stripped of the Force and sold.” He took a deep, shuddering breath and closed his eyes, trying to escape the myriad of images that threatened to overwhelm him. “When I did, finally regain my freedom I didn’t know what to do. Everything I’d taken for granted had gone, including the rules I’d been taught to live my life by.” He looked at Kirsh and gave a sad smile.”It's not until you are lost, and hungry that you realise how little the rules actually mean.”

    “I’m sorry,” Kirsh said quietly, “I shouldn’t have brought it up.”

    “No,” Del said reflexively and then realised that he meant it. “It’s just that I never had to struggle with what it meant to break the Temple rules. I had no choice. If I didn’t break them I would die. That was never an option.” He looked down at his hands and realized that he’d been rubbing the scar hard enough that the skin around it was sore. “When you have no choice, you don’t think too hard about the rest.”

    “But Rin had a choice,” Kirsh said softly. “She could have stayed.”

    “Could she?” Del asked, picking up one of the mugs of caff and taking a sip.

    “Yes,” Kirsh frowned.

    “Were you there when it happened? The affair with Qui-Gon? The fall out of that?” Del asked. He tried to keep his voice level, but he could see Kirsh’s hands clench slightly.

    “No,” he admitted after a minute, “I was doing one of the extended rim trips with my Master. I only heard about it when I got back. She was gone by then.”

    He paused, frowning. Del watched the younger Jedi’s hands clench slightly a few more times and then he drew a deep breath and dropped his shoulders.

    “I didn’t get it.” He said after a moment, “I don’t get it. Why didn’t she give Zallie up? I mean she could have given Zallie up to the Temple and stayed. She would have been around to see her grow up.”

    “Do you think she would have actually felt that was an option?” Del asked quietly. “More to the point, do you think the Council gives choices without already knowing how you’ll decide?” Del asked putting down the mug and picking up a roll instead. He made a show of opening it and peering inside to check the filling. It wasn’t that he needed to check what kind of sandwiches Nicco had made, he’d long ago learnt to eat whatever the children decided was an appropriate sandwich filling. Sometimes their choices were less than appetising, but as they grew older the sandwiches they created were less adventurous and therefore safer for his taste buds. Kirsh’s frown had grown deeper.

    “Eat,” Del said to break the tension. He ripped the roll in half and watched until Kirsh had done the same. The two men sat in silence for a minute or two. Eventually Kirsh turned to Del, looking pensive and uneasy.

    “Are you saying that the Council knew she would leave?” he asked.

    Del shrugged. “I don’t know if they knew she would leave. I don’t think Master Yoda or Mace do many things without knowing the outcome. I’m just asking what would have happened if she’d stayed. She would have had to live with the rumors and innuendo. She would have had to watch Zallie grow up without ever telling her who she was. She would have-”

    “She would have self-destructed,” Kirsh said, interrupting. He shook his head and sighed. There was another pause and Del imagined that he could hear the gears in Kirsh’s head moving to fit in this new realisation.

    “How do I fix this?” Kirshed asked eventually. As if on cue there was a wail from Quin. Del grimaced.

    “Go and talk to her,” he said, offering Kirsh another roll. He was pleased to see that the Jedi Knight took it without being offered twice. “Put Quin back to sleep and then really, actually talk to her.”

    Kirsh nodded and slowly clambered to his feet. He scooped another roll off the tray and a mug of caff. Del gave him a small, tired smile. Kirsh was nodding to himself as if he was already planning on what he was going to say. He stopped suddenly as if his internal monologue had come across a rather weighty problem.

    “Is that why she’s worried about going back?” he asked. “Is she scared that she’ll lose Zallie?”

    Del smiled tiredly. “Rin trusts you, but she does not trust the Council.”

    Kirsh shook his head. “I am an idiot for ever suggesting that Zallie joins the Temple. I should have thought. I just wanted to keep them both safe.”

    The big Jedi moved towards the door and then paused and turned again. “The Council will never know of your visit. I’m going to bypass them. I’ve already contacted Leona, and she’ll help. No questions asked.”

    Del nodded, feeling like someone had lifted a weight off his shoulders. Whatever kind of Jedi Kirsh was, lying didn’t seem to be part of him.

    Del listened to the sounds of the bigger Jedi’s footsteps fade away. In the distance there was a knock and the sound of Quin’s wailing briefly got louder as the door opened and closed. A few minutes later there was silence.

    Del reached down and picked up another roll. He peered inside. The brown of the Toknut butter and black stickiness of Mighty-Veg greeted him. He frowned and put the roll back on the plate before picking up his caff. Apparently his children’s adventures in sandwich flavours were still ongoing.
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  8. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 2 Truths 1 Lie Host star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    Superbly candid and respectful discussion.

    Del really didn't have a choice to "go back" after all he'd been through. Kirsh's genuine caring and concern was the motive behind his suggestion about Zallie, but now he has a greater understanding of the back-story that Kit is coming from, her feelings and insecurities.
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  9. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Dec 21, 2016
    Vegemite is an acquired taste, isn't it?
  10. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999
    It is definitely that. I hate it but my boys love it. I think you have to ha e grown up with it.

    Also it’s not something you would ever put with peanut butter. Ever.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  11. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Dec 21, 2016
    I had the opportunity to try it a few years ago (a friend went to Australia and brought back some goodies, and part of it was a little thing of vegemite, similar to the little packs of jam and jelly in a diner), and I loved it. Which was really rather unfortunate, as I live in the USA and it's not exactly available here.
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  12. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    Great update! Kirsh has a good head on his shoulders, and I appreciate that he's willing to learn, take in new information, and admit when he was wrong about something or didn't understand it. I also appreciate that Del was willing to talk to him and help him see things from different angles. They're ultimately all on the same side, and they all care about Kithera and the kids. Kirsh has a lot to think about with what Del told him about the Council and following the dogma and rules, but I also suspect that this interaction with Kirsh might help Del reevaluate a bit of his current notion that every Jedi is straight-laced and unwilling to change. I hope Kirsh and Kithera will be able to begin mending their friendship, even if it takes on a different form than the friendship they had before.

    Great job! =D= Looking forward to more! :)
  13. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999
    I did a little digging and apparently Walmart and Amazon stock Vegemite now - so maybe that's one way you can get your fix :)

    He's about to end up around a lot more Jedi, and that's going to challenge his ideas about himself and his place in the world. Del blames himself so much for something that he actually had very little control over, but once a thought like that is stuck in your head it's almost impossible to get rid of.

    Definitely :) I think both will lose some of the idolisation they had of the other that came from growing up together. Kit has to deal with decisions she made when Zallie was born and Kirsh gets to see that there is always 'another point of view' about morality that doesn't always abide by the Jedi's black and white definition.
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  14. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999
    So with the Family about to arrive on Coruscant, are there any pets people would like to see? Any ideas about what could happen? Swoop gangs? F’kisi trying his hand at multilevel driving? Particular pets? I have a rough idea of what happens next, but side adventures are always cool.
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  15. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999

    Pet 32 – Guarlara – Laluna – 27 BBY – (10 years and four days) - Part 15


    Del stepped into the foyer of the Kaerlia Queen Hotel and stopped. The room was gigantic. Pillars of Wayland marble held up a huge vaulted ceiling from whose arches hung huge chandeliers.

    Around him the family had also stopped, mouths open as they stared at the opulence that surrounded them. Del took in the staggering amount of marble, the scattered plush lounges and the myriad of life forms that filled the room.

    Everywhere he looked Del saw expensive clothes, jewels and tech that he could only dream of. He was suddenly terribly aware of how poorly dressed they were and that even their ‘best clothes’ were a poor imitation when compared to the dress of those that surrounded them.

    Ahead of him Rin was tugging at her tunic, trying to straighten it and Nicco had run one hand through his dark, wavy hair as if trying to tame it.

    There was a harrumph from behind them and Del turned to see an Arkanian woman rolling her eyes as she tried to move past them.

    “I think some people have their accommodation confused,” the woman said loudly to her partner and Del’s hand clenched by his side as Rin coloured at the comment.

    “Maybe we should find somewhere else,” she said quietly as she ushered the children to one side of the entrance and towards one of the overstuffed couches. The twins, seeing a new trampoline, immediately clambered onto it. At the same time Quin let out a plaintive wail.

    Del watched his partner take several big breaths as she shut her eyes. Her hands were opening and closing almost reflexively as around her the younger members of the Family, unaware of social propriety started bouncing.

    “Eena, Nicco, F’kisi,” Del growled. Immediately F’kisi and Eena grabbed a twin each, and carted them off to the side to have what Del assumed was one of Eena’s rather formidable ‘chats’.

    Nicco nodded his head, smoothed his hand through his hair again and started towards where Zallie was. His middle daughter was staring open mouthed at the various marine creatures in the giant tank that took up nearly one wall.

    “I don’t think…this is a good idea. I I know the Queen offered, but we clearly don’t fit in here.” Rin said, shaking her head. “Maybe it’s not too late to tell Kirsh and Heilan not to check us in. I think my bond with Kirsh is almost capable of that again. I mean-” Del reached out and pulled her close, cutting off her stumbling sentences. He offered the crook of his finger for Quin to suck, then reached down and nudged Kit’s chin upwards with his other hand.

    “Kirsh and Heilan are at the front desk now, so it’s already done,” Del said, trying to comfort her. “We just have to wait for them to return. You will be fine.”

    She nodded, giving him a nervous smile. Del smiled in return, trying to project an air of confidence he did not feel. His chest felt tight and the tips of his fingers tingled in a way that he did not like. Quin, tired of the finger, let out a small protesting wail and Kithera shushed her. Del looked around at the stares of the other guests and wished plaintively that the two Jedi would return soon.

    As if on cue, he saw a ripple of movement in the crowd and watched them move back across the hall. The crowd parted and reformed as if Kirsh and Heilan were skimming stones sailing across a lake.

    Just like on Naboo, the two Jedi moved as if they belonged there. Kirsh was smiling broadly as if he’d just won a prize in some Life Day fair and Heilan trailed slightly behind carrying an oversized and definitely overstuffed hamper that was piled high with various fruits and packages and wrapped in some gaudy, see-through material. The crowd parted without a word. De; didn’t remember that happening when he was a padawan, although he supposed it wasn’t because it hadn’t happened, but rather because he hadn’t noticed it happening.

    The robe effect, Del thought, remembering something that Namia had once theorised and then winced at the memory.

    He was strange to think of her now, after all these years. Maybe it had been the fact that they’d come back to Coruscant. She’d always waited for him to return, and now he was back he could almost picture her somewhere nearby, smiling at him.

    That was never going to happen though, she was long dead and that perpetually empty spot was all his fault.

    The echoes of guilt from what had happened to her rippled through his subconscious and his chest tightened again.

    Del stared up at the ceiling and tried to ignore the feeling. He felt Rin grip his arm and he looked down to see her smiling at him.

    “We will both be fine,” she said and Del nodded, wishing desperately for it to be true, but terrified it was anything but.

    Kirsh reached them and frowned as he noticed their discomfort.

    “You’re booked in,” he said, mistaking the reason for the emotion. He gestured behind him, to where Heilan stood awkwardly.

    “Amidala even organised a gift basket,” he smiled conspiratorially, “and a lot more. Wait until you hear about-”

    Kirsh was cut off mid-sentence by a tall, lithe Tholothian, attired immaculately in the hotel uniform.

    “My name is Qwish,” she said with a genuine smile which faded into a small frown as she took in the entire family, “and I would like to welcome you all to our establishment.”
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  16. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 2 Truths 1 Lie Host star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    Excellently written discomfiture. =D= Now that I have a true sense of who Del is, the return to Coruscant has layers for him as well. :eek:
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  17. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    Great update! I see Zallie has found some animals in the midst of the five-star opulence. ;)

    Looks like a bit of culture shock for the group after being more on the fringes for a while. I imagine the feeling is even weirder since they used to live on Coruscant (even if it wasn't in fancy digs like this hotel).

    Hopefully Kit and Del can get each other through this. Looking forward to more!
  18. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999
    Yeah, this is not going to be a happy time for Del. He's so terrified that his past will catch up with him (even though really nothing that happened was his fault) that he's not going to really know what to do with himself. Plus, I might have some even more evil plans up my sleeve that are really going to mess with him...poor Del.

    Zallie always finds the animals - that's why we all adore her :D[face_love] (or at least I hope people do). The culture shock for the whole family is going to be immense and there are lots of other things to deal with too. Definitely a lot for Kit and Del to process, plus the fact that Kirsh threw a spanner in the works a couple of chapters ago by suggesting that Zallie and the twins should be at the Temple...

    Thank you both for reading and for the comments :) It's always really appreciated :)
  19. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999
    This is written and posted without editing as part of the First Draft Challenge. Hopefully it isn't too awful.


    Pet 32 – Guarlara – Laluna – 27 BBY – (10 years and four days) - Part 16


    “Look at this,” Kirsh said waving a hand around the room. Kithera grinned at him and then at Del. The hotel room wasn’t just a room like she’d expected. Instead it was a suite that took up half the floor. The twins ran shrieking from room to room with Zallie following them, talking non-stop about what she had spotted. Estra had been far more astute, going from room to room before plonking her stuff down on of the beds and calling it hers. Nicco and F’kisi had quickly followed suit, leaving the adults to stand together in the ‘main lounge’ as Qwish had called it. The Tholothian stood with them, a polite but bemused smile on her face as the Zallie came rushing up to her.

    “It has its own balcony,” the girl squealed, “can I go out there?” She turned to Kithera. “Please mama? Please? I can see all of Coruscant from there. Maybe I could even spot a Thrantas.”

    “The balcony is for your use as well,” Qwish said calmly, “but I don’t think you will see a Thrantas.”

    “Oh.” Zallie looked heartbroken. Kirsh raised an eyebrow as he watched the young woman realise that she had upset a guest. The colours that surrounded her flared in alarm and the young Tholothian smiled quickly and patted Zallie on the head.

    “There is a very good pet store on one of the upper levels,” she said quickly, “I could perhaps get one of our staff to collect and deliver a map that would point the young lady in the right direction.”

    Zallie threw her arms around Qwish. Kirsh watched amused as the young woman colours washed purple, pink in momentary alarm before they slid back to their normal rose-gold hue as she reached down and patted the young girl’s shoulders.

    “That’s a very nice offer,” Kithera said kindly, “maybe Nicco can take your Zallie?” The girl took a step back and hopped from foot to foot. She turned to bolt away from them and Kirsh watched as Kithera made a small noise in her throat. “But not now. Later.”

    Zallie slumped again.

    “Heilan will go with you to the balcony,” Kirsh said quietly motioning to his padawan who was standing awkwardly to one side. “He’ll also give you some exercises so you can keep practicing.”

    Kirsh had to stop himself from laughing as both his padawan and Zallie scowled at him.

    “Go,” he shooed them away, “explore the balcony and the rooms. I’ll come and find you Heilan when we are ready to leave.”

    The two departed, Heilan nodded as Zallie pointed out things around the room. Kirsh turned back to the other adults in the group. Qwish was typing rapidly into her datapad. The young woman looked up and smiled at Kit and Del. Kirsh couldn’t help but notice how uncomfortable Del seemed to be. The

    “The Queen has been quite explicit in ensuring that your family is well supported during the time,” she said and then looked at Kirsh, “however, she did not say anything about Jedi. We can accommodate you if required, Master…” She paused raising one perfectly manicured eyebrow.

    “Master Aleski,” Kirsh replied smiling. He noted the flicker of rose gold in the colours that surrounded her that appeared as he smiled. Kirsh’s face heated at the implication and then burned when he saw how Kit was grinning at him.

    “Ah,” he said, stumbling suddenly with his words. “We will be going back to the Temple and will not require rooms.”

    Qwish nodded and gave a tight lipped smile.
    “Master Aleski will be back tomorrow though to check on Quin,” Kithera added, still grinning. Kirsh could decide whether to punch or high five his friend as Qwish’s coloured flickered again.

    “I am glad to hear that the Jedi will be so attentive,” Qwish said quietly.

    “Jedi are always attentive,” Kithera said, “to everything.”

    Kirsh wanted to groan. His friend, as always, went too far. A polite knock on the door saved the day. A young twi’lek male entered wearing the same uniform as Qwish. He bowed and handed Qwish a flimsy and two datapad. The young woman bowed her head in return and took the small datapads, offering them to Kit. She was suddenly all cold professionalism again.

    “Mistress D’ladame, I need your attention for a couple of minutes, just to explain how the Hotel will work on accommodating the needs of your family during these trying times.”

    Kithera nodded and the two moved off together, Qwish pointing at various things around the rather lavish rooms. Kirsh took a step towards Del.
    “I notice you are a bit tense,” he said. It was an understatement. The man who had looked so relaxed on The Lady now looked like he wanted to punch something, or throw up or, possibly, both. Del looked up at him, his hands clenching and unclenching compulsively at his sides.

    “Are you sure that we don’t be bothered by Jedi?” he asked. Kirsh frowned slightly and then nodded.

    “I will have to talk to Leona, but I know she will not betray your confidence. As far as the Temple is concerned you are Del D’ladame, trader and businessman.”

    Del nodded, but Kirsh noticed that his shoulders were still tight and high with stress. He reached out to comfort Del and then stopped, his hand hovering in midair.

    “It will be alright,” he said, pushing the idea with all his might through the Force and hoping that despite the fact that Del was cut off, that some of it might reach him.

    The former Jedi closed his eyes and sighed. From the other room Kirsh could hear the squeals of the twins and Estra telling them off. Del opened his eyes and gave Kirsh a wan smile. When his voice came it was thick with emotion.

    “For all our sakes, I hope you are right.”
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  20. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 2 Truths 1 Lie Host star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    Super, as Zallie remains enthusiastic about animal-spotting [face_laugh]

    I see Kirsh still has his endearing effect on ladies, and what makes it more so is he's not trying [face_tee_hee] [face_love]

    Love how he tries to reassure Del but of course he's going to stay on edge until they've successfully treated Quin and are on their way again. [face_thinking]
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  21. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999
    Thank you for reading @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha, I always love seeing the notifications from you :) :) Del is definitely going to stay on edge, although maybe now Kirsh will have even more reasons to visit the hotel just to make sure that Quin and the rest of the Family is settling in okay. :p

    The next couple of chapters (all the Journey to the pet shop ones) are part of the OTP - RomCom in Space challenge. Although this is going to be far more angsty then it is going to be funny. For this challenge I got Soul-gnawing secrets and Younglings.


    Journey to the Pet Shop – 27 BBY – (10 years and four days) - Part 1


    There was nothing but silence. Beautiful, exquisite and extraordinarily terrifying silence. Kithera closed the door to the bedroom and looked across at where Del sat one of the overstuffed couches that made up the ‘sitting room’ of the luxury suites. He looked terribly uncomfortable and completely out of place. He must have felt her staring at him because he glanced up and gave her a half smile even as she saw that he had slipped back into an old habit of rubbing the fingers of one hand over the knuckles of the other. Kithera knew that gesture well. It was the one that appeared whenever Del was stressed. She remembered him doing it from the day they’d met. The endless motion of the fingertips running along the scars and grooves that made up the knuckles on his other hand. It had lessened over the years, but every time there was a stress point, something Del couldn’t control it came out again. She knew it was an unconscious gesture, but it was one that spoke more about Del’s mindset than any words.

    “What is it?” she asked, making her way across the room. She stopped at the basket that the Queen had given them and pulled out one of the bigger bars of Naboo chocolate. Kithera had a feeling that she would need it. She walked over to the couch and dropped down beside Del. Her partner gave her a rather wan smile and kept running his fingers across his knuckles. Now that she was up close, Kithera could see how red the skin had become.

    “Are you worried about Quin?” she asked. Del nodded and tried for a smile again. Kit knew it wasn’t just that. It was never only just that. There were demons that haunted Del that Kithera could never vanquish. Kithera frowned. They were demons she could never hope to understand.

    No, she corrected herself, that wasn’t right. She also had things that kept her up at night. It was just that she knew that there was nothing she could do about them. There was no time machine that could take her back to undo what she had done, and, even though time hadn’t entirely blunted the pain, she was at least at peace with it. Or she thought she had been. Just as she had thought she was at peace with no longer being a Jedi. That was now a lie too.

    She’d been okay with her place in the world until she’d bumped into Kirsh. Had still thought she was okay until their fight. Lied to herself that it hadn’t mattered until they’d stepped back onto Coruscant. Lied right up until she realised that she might have to face more Jedi and the consequences of her actions all those years ago.

    All she had worked for, all she had thought she had put behind her, felt as if it was coming undone.

    She pushed away the thoughts that were bubbling through her head and reached out her free hand to take Del’s larger one.

    “She’s sleeping better if that helps,” she said softly. Talking about mundane things was a distraction for both of them. She decided that she wasn’t going to push him about the other issues that were making him anxious. He would talk when he was ready, even if that readiness never came. She’d learnt long ago that pushing was only likely to result in either an argument or Del retreating further into himself. She couldn’t stomach an argument right now; she needed him beside her for whatever was to happen next.

    Kithera breathed deeply and wrapped her fingers through his to stop him rubbing his hands.

    “Kirsh said that she’ll probably go in tomorrow. We’ve just got one more night to wait.” She continued realising she was vocalising what they both already knew. She smiled at him, trying to conceal the fact that her own stomach was a mess of knots at the thought of their youngest daughter undergoing surgery.

    Kit realised that she was waiting for something to go wrong. Every minute expecting a holo message from Kirsh saying that Leona had called it off. Or that the Council had found out and forbidden it. Or that there was no surgery that could be done to save their youngest. She closed her eyes as she took a shuddering breath. Del’s fingers tighten around her own. She opened her eyes and gave him what was left of her smile.

    Del glanced at her and then went back to staring into the middle distance, his jaw clenching and unclenching as he thought. Kithera leaned sideways until her head rested on his arm. With her fingers still interlocked with his, she turned his hand slightly so that she could see the scars that criss-crossed his knuckles. The redness that he’d created by running his fingers was beginning to fade. She stared at his hands, trying to lose herself in the way his tanned, tawny skin contrasting with her fairer tones, trying to use their familiarity to keep her grounded.

    Up here she couldn’t use the familiar melody of the Force to keep her centred. Even though they were far above the hustle and bustle the music still roared. It had been one of the things that had struck her as soon as they’d left The Lady behind. She had forgotten how loud the Force was on Coruscant. How the music collected every life, every thought, every intention and made it swell into a cascade of sound. The maelstrom had drowned out the familiar and simple song of her family and almost carried her away. She’d found herself slipping back into the habits she’d kept as a padawan of trying to separate herself from the orchestra, but she was rusty and out of practice.

    “Do you think our other younglings are having fun?” She asked quietly, desperately wanting Del to tell her how silly she was to be worried. The silence of the room drew out pendulous and terrifying as she waited for Del to answer. Eventually he let out a pent up breath and she could feel his weight shift as he turned his head towards her.

    “I hope so. I gave them a little money. Told Nicco not to get into any trouble. He said they’d keep to the upper levels. It shouldn’t be hard to find that pet shop.”

    She nodded her head still against his arm, feeling the spikes of anxiety roar through her.

    “I just hope they listened,” she said softly. There was another long pause and Kithera found her mind conjuring images of every possible, terrible, improbable scenario that could happen.

    “Do you not think we should have let them go?” he asked quietly.

    “I don’t know, I just worry because Coruscant can be dangerous.”

    “We were doing far more dangerous things at their age,” Del pointed out.

    “I know,” she said softly, “but they aren’t us. They didn’t have our training.”
    “You mean they weren’t brought up in the Temple-”

    She felt Del’s body stiffen as he said her unspoken thought aloud. There was the touch point. That was where the demons lay.

    “I’m sure they will be fine.” she said quickly, trying not to back away. There was a tense silence and then she felt Del breathe out, long and slow. He unhooked his hands from hers and leant forward to pick up the bar of chocolate from where she’d left it on the couch.

    Kithera frowned to herself. This felt like they were dodging the topic. Too many secrets, hidden too long would bring them undone. She went to open her mouth, to pry a little deeper but Del got here first.

    “I’m sorry, my love,” he said quietly, “it’s just all a little overwhelming. I shouldn’t snap at you.”

    The moment slipped out of her grasp. She watched his hands as he unwrapped the chocolate bar and snapped it in half. He passed her the larger section and then wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close.

    “Maybe we should just eat the chocolate and let the kids sort themselves out,” Del said quietly, “I’m sure whatever they’re up to, they’ll be fine.
  22. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 2 Truths 1 Lie Host star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    Great OTP entry! You detailed Kither's reflections marvelously, as she tries to balance openness and supportiveness with not letting things fester or drive a wedge between her and Del. [face_thinking] It's hard knowing when or whether to push or not.

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  23. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    I am all caught up now, and wow, this story has gone to some really amazing places! :) Zallie’s beastwarden adventures have been the catalyst for her parents to begin coming to terms with their pasts and even some of their present-day motivations—all against the backdrop of Quin’s impending surgery and all the possible implications. Really wonderful heart-to-heart chats between Kit and Kirsh, Del and Kirsh (yes, I’m surprised Kit didn’t throw him out the airlock, too! :p ), and of course Kit and Del in this most recent installment. The journey to the pet shop looks like it will be equally momentous for the adults of the Family of Scoundrels, and I have to say I’m curious as to how Del’s past might end up catching up with him in this section of the story. (Did I see Namia mentioned earlier on? ;) ) Keep up the mighty fine work, as always, and I shall do my best to be better about keeping up! =D=
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  24. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999
    Thank you! I really appreciate the feedback. Kit is hyper aware of Del not being comfortable, but she's also a lot better at hiding her own discomfort at the situation they find themselves in. A fact that will become apparent when the younglings bump into someone from Kit's past...

    First off, thank you for taking the time to catch up on the Family's (mis)adventures :) Zallie has certainly come a long way, although she's also become very, very precocious. This trip is the catalyst for all sorts of reckons for both Del and Kit, but I doubt they are going to give up their life of crime anytime soon. As Kit would point out - it's just too much fun :p

    Yeah, if they weren't such good friends I think he might have found himself in quite a bit of trouble. I mean Kit could have set Estra on him too, I wonder if there would be bacta enough for when she would be done with him. Although Del would probably definitely have tried to rescue both Estra and Kirsh from that situation.

    Uh, maybe? That particular history is going to come out a lot more in the snippet after this one. I'm a bit hesitant to go down that path because it's going to spoil parts of the long Kit fic that's still in the works, but at the same time it may just make it all the more interesting as everyone tries to piece together what each character says happened, and what is actually the truth.

    Thank you! Thank you for reading and commenting too! It's very, very much appreciated :) :) :)
  25. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999

    Journey to the Pet Shop – 27 BBY – (10 years and four days) - Part 2


    “We’re lost,” Estra spat, frowning at her little sister, “and it’s your fault.”

    “It’s not,” Zallie countered, “I thought we were going the right way.” She twisted the flimsy with the map in her hands.

    “Does this look right?” Estra countered waving a hand at the graffiti covered durasteel walls that surrounded them. “We’re lost Zallie, because you wanted to go and find that stupid pet store.”

    Zallie pouted and twisted the map again. “I just wanted to see the animals.”

    “You always want to see the animals. You always get your way too.” Estra started up.

    “I don’t.” Zallie’s pout grew, “I don’t always get my way.”

    “Do too.”

    From the side Nicco rolled his eyes and sighed.

    “Stop it both of you,” he said sternly. Estra opened her mouth and Nicco held up his hand. She shut it and glared at him. “We need to get out of here.” he continued, “squabble later all you want, but for now we need to get back to where we were. I have a bad feeling about being down here.”

    He looked back at his sisters and then at the twins who were tracing the graffiti patterns on the wall.

    Nicco sighed again.

    “F’kisi, I need your skills,” Nicco said quietly trying to quash the nerves that were roiling through his stomach. It probably would have been fine if it was just the four of them, but he’d offered to take the twins too. It probably also would have been fine if they’d stuck to the upper levels like they’d promised instead of believing the tourist map’s supposed shortcut.

    Across from him, F’kisi nodded and took the map out of Zallie’s hands. He uncrumpled it and spread it out against the wall. Nicco looked back at his sisters.

    “Essie, you take Kei, Zallie you look after Taro.” The two girls looked at him, Estra cocked her head to one side.

    “Just because we’re girls doesn’t mean that we always have to be responsible for the twins,” Estra said, putting her hands on her hips.

    “Yeah,” Zallie added, copying her sister’s pose. Nicco rolled his eyes again.

    “I will quite happily take all of us home,” he said wincing as he realised he sounded just like Del, “with no pet store.” Zallie scowled. Estra looked triumphant. “And no craft stuff either.” This time it was Estra’s turn to scowl.

    “Rin and Da won’t be very happy with you,” Estra said, still pouting.

    “Rin and Da won’t be very happy when they find out you didn’t do as I asked,” Nicco countered.

    “Where are the twins?” F’kisi asked in the tense silence. The normally reticent teenager was looking around, the map held gently in his hands. Nicco felt like the air had been sucked from his lungs as he looked around and realised that the twins had vanished.

    “Find them,” Nicco commanded. Zallie closed her eyes and spread her arms out, palms up. There was a scrape at the end of the alley way.

    “Don’t worry,” Estra said, the relief palpable in her voice. “Here they come.”

    Nicco didn’t look where Estra was pointing, instead he looked at Zallie. The girl’s huge, fearful eyes stared up at him. From around the corner came the sound of one of the twins crying and someone laughing. Then booted feet on the steel walkway. Nicco cast around for a weapon but came up empty.

    “Missing something?” a voice drawled. It belonged to a young snivvian dressed in flying leathers, a vest covered his shirt and Nicco could see a red patch adorned the front breast. Nicco’s heart sank. He’d read enough about swoop gangs to know what it meant. The Snivvian’s arms held a struggling Taro. More joined him. One of them held a crying Kei.

    “Mama and Da are going to be really mad,” Zallie said softly. Nicco reached out a hand to smooth his sister’s hair as a small gesture of reassurance. Then he turned to the Snivvians, fists raised, ready to face whatever came next.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2021
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