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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. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Caught up at last, and loving how everything is moving toward a gigantic moment of truth for all parties in these most recent chapters! Kit and her family are thiiiis close to being found out, Leona is about to have a monkey wrench thrown in her closely worked-out diplomatic plans, and as a backdrop to it all, poor little Quin is very soon going to be operated on very soon, as well—without the Council being 100% on board, if I understand things aright. I hope Nicco and F’kisi are all right—it seems no one can give Estra a straight answer about them yet! But through it all, I love what a pillar of stubborn strength Estra is being; I can see Kirsh and Leona both admire that in her, too. Fingers crossed—strength for Kit and her baby girl, reassurance for Estra, healing for the Big Boys, and a mutually satisfactory resolution of all the threads, Jedi and otherwise, now coming together! =D=
     
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  2. Kit'

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

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    He has indeed. He and Nicco should band together in the "Fanfic Characters Against Author Abuse League" because both of them have caught quite a bit of angst recently. Things will be looking up for everyone soon - promise!

    Yeah, Mace and Kithera's dislike of each other goes back to the original USJS and then made worse in the 2010 iteration. He's not her biggest fan and therefore Kirsh may well cop it because she's involved. Tara is definitely the better person to see them, for reasons what will become clear quite soon :)

    Yes, quite soon in fact! ;) :p

    Yep, poor Leona who likes things to go smoothly and trusts Kirsh, is discovering that his friendship with Kit has meant many corners have been cut. Luckily she's a resourceful and plucky little healer who doesn't think twice about bending (but not breaking) rules.

    I have to admit that I put the Estra part in, especially her name meaning, just for you. Estra is already a formidable young woman and I'm looking forward to one day skipping ahead in time when all the Family's children are adults (and Halulu is a bit older) to see what a terrifyingly strong woman she's become.
     
  3. Kit'

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

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    I have to admit to being a massive softy and maybe shedding a few tears while writing the last part of this. This scene was hard to write and took a couple of goes (reddit's concrit thread was invaluable for pointing out how to make the scene better. Hopefully it now works. I would recommend listing to this (goes for 5 minutes so depends on your reading speed and the whole chapter is 2600 words) as it kind of fits perfectly.

    Almost at the end of this arc - culminating chapter to go!

    *~*~*

    Journey to the Pet Shop – 27 BBY – (10 years and four days) - Part 7

    *~*~*


    “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you,” the Jedi said waving a hand, the shards of the cup swirled into the air for a second before they were deposited in a bin. Del was aware that behind him, Kithera had slowed to a walk. He saw Tara tilt her head slightly in a gesture from their youth, the one that she always used when she was testing someone with the Force. He knew that the tentative whisper of the Force would have met nothing. Rin had once described it that he was not so much innately and impenetrably shielded from the Force like Nicco and Estra, but ripped bodily from it as if he no longer existed. He knew that Rin would have her own shields up, but he didn’t risk a glance back towards her. In front of him, Tara’s face was calm but he could see how the muscles had tensed in her shoulders and the tiny hint of a frown between her eyes. She drew a deep breath and tried for a comforting smile.

    “I’m Master Tara Terindae of the Jedi Temple. Can I come in please?”

    “Why?” Del’s voice was far calmer than he felt.

    “I really think I should come inside.”

    “I would like to know why you’re here.” He didn’t know why he was being so stubborn. He wanted to reach out and touch her, to convince himself that she was really there, but the fear he’d surrounded himself with all these years grew tighter, strangling him until he could not move. In front of him Tara’s smile changed to puzzled bewilderment, as she frowned and blinked.

    “Have we met?” she asked quietly.

    “What happened to the children.” Del’s chest was tight and he swallowed hard to stop the rising coil of fear that was unfurling in his stomach.

    Tara exhaled audibly as if she did not like what she was about to do.
    “I’m afraid there has been an incident involving some of your children.”

    Del’s stomach lurched and for a brief instant the world spun.

    “Are they alright?” He could hear the unwanted quaver in his own voice. A hand rested on his shoulder and he glanced sideways to see Kithera’s face pale and drawn. He turned back to see Tara staring towards where Kithera stood, the previous slight frown deepening in suspicion.

    “Your two older boys were involved in an altercation with some Snivvian swoop gang members. They are being cared for at the Republic Medical Facility. Their injuries are not critical.”

    “How? How are you involved in this?” Rin’s interjection made Tara start. The Jedi, looking perplexed tilted her head on the side, as if trying to work something out.

    “Jedi Master Windu and I came across the fight,” Tara said, her eyes narrowing. “The young adults were using make-shift weapons to fend off their attackers. Your son Nicco had already been injured. The other boy, F’kisi, took a blow to the head and went down. At that point Master Windu and I joined the fight and chased off the swoop gang who dropped Kei,” Tara smiled towards where the boy stood, handing on to Rin’s pant leg and continued, “and then we rendered aid.”

    “And? How badly are they injured?” Del felt like the world was spinning and it was only Rin’s hand on his shoulder that was keeping him from floating away. .

    “F’kisi has a contusion, probably concussion. Nicco…” she trailed away, and then rallied. “Nicco is in the bacta tank at the Coruscant Hospital. Broken collar bone, head contusions, concussion and blood loss.” Del groaned. “He will be fine though. Estra is with him and she’s perfectly well, not a scratch.” Tara said softly. “I can take you to him if you like.”

    Del closed his eyes, trying to push down on the warring emotions. He could hear Rin’s quiet voice.
    “We have to feed the kids first,” Kithera said quietly, “and clean them up. They’re filthy.”

    “Rin,” Del’s eyes opened slowly and he stared at her in disbelief. “Nicco…”
    “Nicco isn’t going anywhere. Tara says he’s safe. F’kisi is safe. Essie is probably terrorising the hospital staff to make sure they say so. We have to take Quin there this afternoon and I imagine that the kids didn’t get fed.”

    Del felt a surge of anger at Rin’s suggestion. She was prioritising the younger kids over the older ones. Putting her biological kids first.

    “No,” he said, “I can go without you. I need to make sure that they are safe.”

    “They are safe.”

    Her voice was infuriatingly calm. His hands clenched into angry fists and he went to open his mouth but she cut him off, addressing Tara directly.

    “Whose with them in the hospital?”

    “That would be Master Windu,” Tara replied, and then stared unseeingly at the ground as if trying to make sense of some sort of puzzle.

    Mace.

    Tara had said his name before, but it hadn’t really registered properly. Mace was with his children, his oldest friend was looking after his kids and he didn’t even know Del was alive. He bit back a sudden burst of hysterical laughter.

    “Master Tarindae bought us cake,” Kei announced loudly into the silence. Del glared at Tara who was blushing furiously.

    “We were near the cake shop that I was heading to. I figured they needed sugar to get their minds off what had happened while we waited for the med transport.”

    “So you took them for cake rather than bringing them back to their parents?” Del’s voice could have cut durasteel. Tara shook her head as if pushing away a thought and then stared at him.

    “It was fringi cake,” Taro added quickly, “it’s your favourite Da. I brought you back some.” His youngest son was pulling a lint covered and rather squashed piece of cake from his pockets. Del ignored him and looked at Kit.

    “I’ll go by myself if I have to.”

    “We’ll go together or not at all,” Kit shot back, “I’m not letting you face Mace alone.”

    “What do you mean?” Tara’s voice was a quiet interjection but they both ignored it.

    “You’re forgetting Nicco and Estra are your children too,” Del said and watched Rin roll her shoulders.

    “I’m not. You’re forgetting that Zallie, Kei, Taro and Quin are our children too.”

    “Please?” The plaintive cry from Zallie broke the tense standoff. Del looked down to see her, pale faced and tearful. “Don’t fight. I don’t want you to fight,” she sobbed. “There’s been too much fighting. Please Mama, please Da. No more fighting. Don’t be angry with each other. It’s my fault we got lost and it’s my fault that the swoop gang attacked us. You should...should be...angry...angry with me. Please-” She was sobbing by the last words. From the bedroom came a wail from Quin. Rin glared at him and then threw up her hands in defeat and stalked off towards the open door. Del closed his eyes again, relishing the few seconds of blackness to get his thoughts in order and then squatted down next to Zallie, gathering her into a hug.
    “You aren’t in trouble,” he said softly wiping the tears from her cheeks. “Mama and I are just worried about the others. Did you protect your brothers?” Zallie nodded in silent assent. “Good, that’s all you can do.”

    From behind him he heard Tara’s quiet voice.

    “I know you,” she was saying. “I know both your voices. I-”

    She was cut off by Kithera coming back through the door, holding a crying Quin.

    “You’ll at least have to wait until Quin is fed. The others will need new clothes and-”

    “Kitkit?”

    Tara’s voice was hesitant, a tentative probing to the possibilities. Kithera’s shoulders, so high and tense only a moment before, dropped.

    “Yes,” she said softly and Del saw her give the familiar twitch of dropping her mental shields. Tara gasped and then smiled.

    “Kithera. Oh. I thought...I thought I’d never see you again.” The words were a tumbled rush and then she practically ran across the room to envelop Rin in a hug. Del watched his partner’s body tense and then relax as Tara’s arms wrapped around her. Part of was happy that she had been so well received, but a deeper and far nastier part of him surged with jealousy. The same would not happen if his identity was revealed. He was responsible for Master Indoa’s death and the Jedi would seek retribution.

    He shook him self out of the thought as Tara let Rin go and held her at arms’ length as if studying her face. She smiled as she brushed her fingers over Kit’s cheeks.

    “You look well,” Tara said softly, almost sadly.

    “What do you mean? You can’t see the bags under my eyes,” Kithera teased, back.

    “You feel well,” Tara amended and then looked down. “So these are all your children?”

    “Yes, all of them.” Del could see the pride in his partner’s face and his hasty words of only a few seconds ago sat like stones in his belly.

    “All of them?” Tara repeated in surprise and then smiled. “I mean I should have guessed, your young lady used the Force-”
    “You used the Force?” Kithera rounded on Zallie who was clinging onto Del as if he could shield her from her mother’s ire.

    “I don’t think she had much choice, the swoop gang-” The breath caught in Del’s throat. Tara looked down at Zallie and smiled. “They weren’t fighting fair, were they?” she asked. Zallie shook her head.

    “Nope. Plus they had Taro and Kei.”

    “They didn’t have me for long,” Taro said pointedly, and then grinned at Del, “I bit’ed them. Kei just cried.”

    “I did not!” Kei said and shoved his brother hard. Taro scrambled to stay on his feet and went to shove his brother back.

    “No fighting.” Kithera’s voice was steel. The boys stood making faces. “Go get changed boys and wash your faces.”
    They scampered away, shoving each other gently as they ran. Del watched them go, still frozen by fear.

    “May I hold the baby?” Tara asked. Kithera proffered Quin gently and Tara took her, tracing the edge of her face with her fingers.

    “She’s gorgeous,” Tara smiled at Kit and then her face fell, “Oh.”

    The coil of worry drew tighter, strangling him. He watched Kithera bite her lower lip and then straighten her shoulders and try for a smile.
    “That’s why we’re here. She’s being operated on tomorrow.”
    “At the hospital? Why not the Temple? I’m sure An-Paj and Leona would only be too happy to help.”

    Del gave a bark of laughter before he could stop himself. Kithera frowned at him and then shook her head.

    “I’m sure they’d be only too happy to help,” Tara was explaining, “we have top-notch medical facilities. I’m sure they would have helped Kitkit. You just needed to ask.”

    “Ask?”

    “Del. No.”

    He ignored her. The coil of fear was turning into anger now, a steady beat that drove him. He’d battled the fear of coming back to Coruscant every step of the way, pushed away his concerns in talks with both Rin and Kirsh, hidden his terror at being found by the Temple, only for it to all come unstuck. All for it to end up with his children being hurt. For Jedi to arrive at his door and act like it was all fine because, for them at least, it always would be fine. Something about the way Tara had made the offer, like it all so simple had touched a nerve. He rose to his feet.

    “Like they would have been happy to help all the other times that Rin got into trouble? LIke they were happy to help when Zallie was born? Like they didn’t just throw her out onto the street like rubbish.”
    “Del, I chose to leave,” Kit’s voice was rising as she spoke.

    “I wasn’t there, I-” Tara started.

    “No, you weren’t. No-one ever is. Not when it gets really bad. Not when people’s actual lives are at stake. They are just forced to leave and then life goes on as normal, as if they never even existed.” The words were pouring out now. Tara was frowning, her breath quickening as he talked. Inside part of him was screaming that he should stop talking, that none of this was Tara’s fault, that he just needed to walk away, be calm, breathe, let his feelings- The final thought never finished as the coil of fear, now anger struck the thought down.

    “I’m sure that’s not how-” Kit started.

    “But it is, isn’t it. Mace and Yoda and the rest of the Council get to decide what happens, justifying that it is all the will of the Force when all it really is, is petty politics and personal feelings. The Jedi must always persist, isn’t that what they taught us? Isn’t that the creed? No matter the cost, no matter the hurt or the pain. No matter-”

    “Taeyn.” His old name, the one long discarded stopped him in his tracks. Tara was staring at him, head cocked to one side. “You are Taeyn aren’t you? You sound just like him, but he is dead.”

    “I..I…” he stammered. Beside him Rin was staring at both of them with a tight-lipped smile. She reached over and took the suddenly quiet Quin out of Tara’s arms. The voices that had been so angry and loud in his head only a second ago were suddenly silenced. He looked to Kithera who had tears in her eyes.

    “No more secrets, no more lies,” she said quietly, just to him. “No more hiding. She knows Del, and as soon as you saw Mace he would know too. Make a decision here and now. Make the right one.”

    Tara was still staring at him, perplexed.

    Del clenched his fists, feeling the tightness of his chest and the way his vision was narrowing. This was his choice, right here. He looked at Rin again, wishing that they were alone.

    “I can’t. I can’ t go back. They’d punish me for what I did.”
    “You didn’t kill him,” Rin said quietly, “Muldeen did that. They won’t punish you Del, I’ve been telling you that for years. You built it all up in your head. Tara wants this to be you. I can hear it in the Force. Give her what she wants, Del. Please.”

    Del turned back to Tara who had gone pale.

    “It is you, isn’t it,” she said quietly, her hand going to her mouth. Del tried for a smile and failed. The world was spinning, and he felt like he couldn’t draw breath. The next word would seal his fate, one-way or the other. This was his choice.

    “No more secrets,” Rin said softly.

    “Yes.” It was a whisper but in the silence it sounded like a shout.

    There was a strange, garbled sob from Tara and she took two steps towards him, hands outstretched. Her fingers touched his shoulders and then his face where they traced the outline of his cheek-bones, his nose, ran lightly across his eyebrows and then down to his chin. Del stood, unmoving, watching Tara intently as tears tracked down his cheeks.

    “You,” Tara breathed after a moment, “we thought you were dead. Why didn’t you come back to us? Namia thought...we thought...I...you were...I…” she stammered into silence.

    “I”m sorry,” Del said quietly, “I’m so sorry. I can explain-”

    There was a knock at the door.

     
  4. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Marvelous rollercoaster of emotions and the final bit... superlatively heartwarming. Tara's gladness at reuniting with both Kithera and Del is great to read, and beyond their wildest expectations I'm sure.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2021
  5. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Oh ho, now, that’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time, a long time! :eek: I know I have seen that name Taeyn before...
    Particularly in (romantic) connection to Namia...
    ... so it looks like Del’s past really has caught up with him at last, in a big way! Especially if the knock at the door is who I suspect it is... But knowing Tara, I know that she really does care here and want to help the Family as best she can. The Jedi really are here to help now—I think in a way even Kit can see that, even if Del (very understandably) can’t just yet.

    I also liked the way liked you brought the (sometimes fraught) Family dynamics into play here, with the tension between Kit and Del’s concern for “their” respective children; given what a “Brady Bunch” situation this is, I’ve often wondered how that dynamic might play out.

    (And yes! I did notice, and smile a big smile, at the very familiar meaning of Estra’s name! :D And it’s got more than one meaning, too, of course: “star,” too, which she also is. [face_love] )

    Okay, now, hurry up and show us who that other knock at the door is! :D Keep up the great work, as always! =D=
     
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  6. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    It's a grim letdown whenever a being figures that out ... :(

    So good to see Leona again.

    Only trust GPS ... and the Force!

    Booze helps everything go better

    He's indescribable and mysterious and I can see why people wouldn't like him.

    Hee! :)

    Excellent description of the range of the Force and one person's perception of it.

    Completely immersive [face_nail_biting]
     
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  7. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Del has lots of 'splainin to do, or feels he has. [face_good_luck] Good luck to him.
     
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  8. amidalachick

    amidalachick Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Journey to the Pet Shop – 27 BBY – (10 years and four days) - Part 1:

    What a great start!

    I love this opening line. Because this whole scene is a quiet moment between Kit and Del but it feels like there's a lot going on beneath the surface, and this line just really sets the scene.

    Oh, no wonder they're so anxious!

    And this sounds ominous!

    Again, a wonderful start and I look forward to catching up on the rest. =D=
     
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  9. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Just caught up reading this story. Great characters
     
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  10. amidalachick

    amidalachick Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 3, 2003
    All caught up! Wonderful job on this. I loved Tara and Mace in Part 4, they have such a great rapport with each other. Your writing in Part 5 was so powerful. Using Nicco's POV here, while he's injured and in pain, made this scene so intense. Del and Kit's conversation in Part 6 was just as intense. And then, finally, the reunion with Tara!

    I really loved this bit.

    This is such a great story, and I look forward to reading more when and if you continue it! =D=[face_love]
     
  11. Kit'

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

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    Definitely for Tara. She's the more easy going of the pair, and far more forgiving. I think most of the Temple will be glad to see Del, Kit on the other hand...

    You are, indeed, correct as to who it is. I really have to get to finishing the long story of Namia and Kit to really fill in the backstory and why he's so important to everything.

    Thank you. I sometimes wonder if it's all too brady bunch like, where everyone just gets along. I think the age gaps between the children (there's something like twelve years between Nicco and Zallie) makes it a bit easier (I have step siblings who are much older and we have a different relationship then they do with their closer biological siblings).

    I like Yoda, but I sometimes get the feeling that for the Council the letter of the law was far more important than the spirit of it. Which doesn't work when dealing with teens.

    Thank you. It was hard trying to work out what Tara could perceive and definitely a good lesson as to what to do when so much of your writing is based on visual descriptors!

    Ah...yes...? At this point of time, everything in this fic is ominous :p I'm so glad you're all caught up though.

    Thank you :) :) Glad you are enjoying it.

    Your wish is my command :)
     
  12. Kit'

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

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    Wouldn't say I'm the happiest with this chapter, but I hope it works. Sorry we've deviated away from the normal stories of Zallie and her pet obsession. We'll get back to it soon, I promise.

    *~*~*

    Journey to the Pet Shop – 27 BBY – (10 years and four days) - Part 8

    *~*~*


    Kithera walked down the quiet, white halls of the hospital and stared at the Coruscant skyline through the windows. The last couple of hours had been a rush of trying to get children fed and cleaned, gathering stuff for Quin and making arrangements. She had Qwish to thank for organising most of it really. The twi’lek had shown up carrying the hot chocolates, an act that Kit didn’t think would have been in her normal job description. It was confirmed when the young twi’lek introduced herself to Tara and then asked Kithera if the Jedi was also requiring a room.

    It had been Qwish who had brought food for the children and the same who’d organised transport to the hospital. The twi’lek had given her now permanently polite smile and waved her hands and things had just happened. In some ways it had been a kind of magic, something akin to a Jedi hand wave. Qwish waved her hand and things just appeared, or disappeared. She’d even managed to find a nanny for the twins. Kithera had been loath to be apart from them again, but Qwish had pointed out that they would merely be bored in the hospital. She had left them behind, contentedly eating and watching holovids.

    Zallie had begged to go with them too, but Kit had refused. It wasn’t that she didn’t want her daughter there. It was just that the meeting at the hospital, and the fallout from whatever Del’s reappearance would bring, would mean she would have to make a decision about Zallie’s future. If she wasn’t there it would be easy enough to ignore what she had to do for just a little bit longer.

    She glanced across to where Del was walking next to Tara, talking quietly. Part of her suddenly ached with jealousy at how easily Tara had accepted Del’s return. She saw how Tara’s hand occasionally reached out to brush Del’s, how he didn’t flinch away from the gesture. She could hear the love and happiness sound through the Force like a cacophony of joy. Part of her, deep inside hurt. She doubted that she would get the same welcoming reception.

    //Child!// the jibe whispered nastily through her brain. //You had a choice where he did not. You put love above duty, he put duty above everything. He stayed with his Master until the end, you did something that no true light-sider would ever contemplate. He will be welcomed back like a long lost son and you...you will be-//

    She closed her eyes against the sudden tightness in her chest. From within the sling on her chest Quin mewed.

    “Are you alright Rin?” Del’s voice was soft but it didn’t stop the tears that pricked at the corners of her eyes, nor the tightening knots in her stomach. She opened her eyes and glanced at him, giving a small smile in the hopes that it would be enough to make her partner let it go.

    “I’m fine,” she said trying to make the smile realistic and wondering if she was failing, “it’s just been a long day is all.”

    Beside Del, Tara nodded and Kit heard the tremor of the guqin as Tara’s Force probe brushed her shields. She raised an eyebrow, even though she knew the blind Jedi could not see it.

    “Still there,” Tara said and then gave a hand shrug as if in apology.

    “Still there,” Kit echoed a bit more forcefully and then tried to smile again to hide the flicker of irritation. That was the Jedi way though wasn’t it? To intrude and pry even when it wasn’t wanted. Del frowned and went to say something but she cut him off. She didn’t want to talk. Talking would mean that the anxiety that she’d been pushing away since they’d left the hotel might win. Now was his moment of healing and redemption, and she wasn’t going to spoil that. “I’ll feel much better once we’ve found the doctors and Leona and Kirsh’of. Once I see the children.”

    Del nodded and Tara smiled, even as Kithera noticed that she was staring at her as if contemplating something. She didn’t care though, she could feel the edges of her patience vibrating as they wore thin. She’d spent the day keeping Del level, even as she cracked apart. After the outburst of that morning, she’d pushed her own feelings aside to make sure that he was okay, but she could not do it forever.

    They rounded the corner and she saw Kirsh’s massive frame illuminated by the harsh lighting of the hospital. He had his back to her. She let out a breath that she didn’t realise she was holding as the Force trilled a warning - all brass and snare drum. There was the ping of a turbo lift, but she ignored it.

    “Mistress Rinani,” the low resonant timbre of the voice made her come automatically to a stop. Suddenly she was back in the Temple, a child in a muddy, torn tunic staring at the floor, while he berated her for her failings. Her breath hitched as she turned. He was standing behind them in the corridor. She met his eyes and then dropped her gaze, feelings of guilt and shame washing over her. She took a shuddering breath and Quin wailed from where she lay, tight against her chest.

    Anger gripped her, she didn’t owe him anything. She was not a Jedi anymore. He had no right to make her feel this way. Slowly she raised her eyes until she met his gaze. She bowed her head slightly, the only acknowledgement of his rank.

    “Master Windu,” she said, hoping that she wasn’t broadcasting her unease to everyone, “how nice to see you again.” She nodded her head and smiled. Her Master’s advice about always smiling, even when her heart was breaking rang clearly through her head.

    That was the Jedi way though wasn’t it? Pretend. Pretend until it broke you.

    She nodded her head, tired of the games and the pretence. Suddenly bone weary. Let him think of her what he would. There was nothing she could ever do to change it. She had killed his lover and would always be made to pay the price. To him it didn’t matter that she’d had no choice. Part of her wondered what he would do if he ever knew of Del’s involvement. She forced a polite smile.

    “If you’ll excuse us,” she said curtly, just wanting to be away, “we have to meet Master Leona and Doctor Rygwys.”

    She turned, hands clenched, head held high and went to walk away.

    “Rin,” Del’s voice tugged at her, reminding her of what was at stake. She breathed in and stared briefly at the ceiling, trying to will her body to calm. She turned her head, but found she could no longer smile. Her patience broke. She could not do the pretence anymore.

    “Oh yes,” she said curtly, “thank you for saving our children from the swoop gang. We really do appreciate it. Perhaps you and Master Tarindae could take my partner to see our older children. I’ll make my own way to Doctor Rygwys. I’m sure you three will have a lot to talk about.”

    Then she turned and walked steadily down the corridor to where Kirsh stood waiting. She tried not to run, even as her legs trembled and her heart beat wildly in her chest. She knew she shouldn’t have done that. Shouldn’t have left Del by himself, but she couldn’t deal with both Mace and Tara. She couldn’t listen anymore to the guilt-laden narrative in her own head. She reached Kirsh and had to resist the urge to throw herself into his arms. The broad-shoulder Jedi bowed slightly and then reached a hand out and brushed the tear from her cheek.

    “Let’s find Leona and get Quin seen to,” he said, and she was grateful that he hadn’t probed as to what had just happened in the hall. She turned her head slightly as she walked away next to Kirsh. Del was standing next to Tara, staring at her - his eyes wide with fear. Kit closed her eyes and turned away, telling herself that it would be alright - even as the guilt ate her alive.
     
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  13. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Superbly intense as Kit strides the razor's edge of emotion
     
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  14. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Kit sure has emotions with all those Jedi around
     
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  15. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 9, 2001
    Sorry for the delay, but I'm finally caught back up with this. Great job! There's been a lot of intensity down on Coruscant, starting physically with the swoop gang fight and then emotionally as everyone's truths and beliefs come crashing into each other. It's like the Force is trying to untangle ten strings of Christmas lights that have been in storage for years, LOL. Del and Kit are having quite a rough day with everything heaped on their plates, and it's interesting that each of them is jealous of the other's positive reception and thinks their own welcome will be sorely lacking.

    Keep up the great work! =D==D=
     
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  16. Kit'

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

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    Thank you @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha, @earlybird-obi-wan and @Thumper09 :) You guys are amazing and far too kind. Particularly as this arc has turned into a far bigger adventure then I'd ever intended. I promise we'll go back to Oneshots soon (looks back through past posts where she'd made the same promise)....Soon...
     
  17. Kit'

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

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    *~*~*

    Journey to the Pet Shop – 27 BBY – (10 years and four days) - Part 9

    *~*~*


    Kithera leant against the hospital cot railings and swept Quin’s hair off her sleeping face. The baby had finally fallen into an exhausted sleep after what had felt like a myriad of tests and scans and then more tests. Kirsh had helped her settle Quin after the last blood test and now her littlest was fast asleep. Kit closed her eyes briefly, blocking out the outside world to listen to the soft chorus of chimes and piccolo notes that surrounded Quin. There was a shift in the music and a brief touch on her arm and she opened her eyes to look up at Kirsh.

    “Are you okay?” His face was full of concern and tears pricked at the corners of her eyes. He pushed a disposable cup full of hot caff into her hands. She dropped her shoulders and let out a breath.

    “Not really. I mean I will be, but today’s been a bit much to take in.”

    “Want to talk about it?”

    “No,” she turned back and stared at Quin’s sleeping form, letting the heat of the mug rest in her hand until it was almost painful. The words when they came, bubbled forth like water from an unkinked hose.

    “I just thought he’d be here,” she said and then looked up at Kirsh. The tears were threatening again. “I shouldn’t have left him alone with Mace and Tara. I was just so angry. I thought he’d follow. It’s been hours now and I haven’t seen him. Maybe he’s with the boys and Estra, but I don’t think he is. I think he’s talking to Tara and...and Mace.” Her voice stumbled on the last words.

    “And that bothers you?”

    “No? Maybe. I don’t know, maybe it shouldn’t. I mean, he’s got Nicco and Estra to check. F’kisi too. That’s going to take time, isn’t it? I mean he deserves to be welcomed back into the Temple, doesn’t he? It’s not like they would have arrested him or anything. I mean...”
    She trailed away, looking up at him as she swatted a tear from her cheek. "They wouldn't arrest him would they?"

    “He wouldn’t have been arrested,” Kirsh said solemnly.

    “Then why hasn’t he come here?” Kit asked. She was aware that there was an unbecoming whine to the edge of her voice. Kirsh shrugged.

    “You are probably right in that he’s checking on the boys instead. I’m sure he’ll be along soon.”

    She could feel her face twitch in anguished displeasure. She opened her mouth, a thought bubbling to the surface. One that she couldn’t quite put a voice to yet. That twang of jealousy about Tara’s reaction to his return. The nasty little voice that hissed at her about always being on the outside, always feeling unwanted. She frowned slightly and drew her shields more firmly around her, hoping that Kirsh hadn’t noticed.

    “Kitkit,” Kirsh’s voice was quiet but firm, “Del loves you in a way I’ve never seen anyone love anyone else.”

    “To be fair Kirsh, as a Jedi you’ve not really ever seen anyone in love.” The words were out of her mouth before she could stop them. She couldn’t look at him, instead, staring at the soft curl of baby hair on Quin’s head.

    He sighed. “I’m going to go check in with Leona, see what the plans are. There is no use talking to you when you’re in a mood like this. That, at least, hasn't changed.”

    She straightened and looked at him, her face flushing hot with guilt and self-recrimination. She opened her mouth.

    Kirsh shook his head, cutting off her unspoken apology. “I need a moment too. Sometimes you use words like weapons Kit.” Kirsh gestured to where Estra was standing near the Healer and the Doctor who were talking in hushed tones outside the room.

    Leona glanced towards the door and then back at Estra, smiling.

    When Kirsh spoke again his voice was flat and clipped. “Maybe talk to Estra. Maybe she’ll be able to give you the answers I can’t.”

    The taller Jedi turned and walked back to where Healer Leona was talking with Doctor Rygwys. Kithera stood by the cot, clenching and unclenching her hands, feeling the guilt wash through again, heating her face scarlet and roiling in her stomach. She tried to focus on Quin who was stirring, responding to the emotions in the room. It was always the way when babies, she’d noticed. It didn’t matter how well you thought you were shielding your emotions, somehow they would sense your innermost feelings.

    There was a little noise at the door, and Kit could hear the hushed sounds of Estra’s music, soft susurrus of viola and strings, floating on the melody of the Force. Unlike their father, Del’s children still had their own music, it was just muted as if the instruments were being played from behind closed doors in a building a long, long way away. Estra’s tune was full of minor notes, and Kithera pushed her own feelings aside as she turned, palms up and arms extended. Estra’s face was a pale version of her normal tawny colouring, her eyes red-rimmed and cheeks puffy. The girl, not one for hugs, almost threw herself across the room and into Kit’s welcoming arms. They stood in silence for a few moments, and Kit stroked the girls’ hair softly listening to her own worried melody intertwine its notes with her adopted daughter’s.

    “Are F’kisi and Nicco okay? Has your Da seen them?” Kit asked eventually. Head still buried in her shoulder, Estra nodded. There were a few more seconds of silence and then the girl pulled away. Kithera felt the damp patch on her shoulder from where Estra’s face had rested.

    “The doctors said Nicco will be out of the bacta tomorrow. F’kisi should be okay too. He’s just got some bruises and some scrapes. They were worried he had a concussion like Nicco, but he’s okay.”

    Kithera grinned in spite of herself. “Your young man definitely has a hard head,” she teased gently.

    Estra scowled at her. “He’s not my young man.”

    “Could have fooled me. I think you two are a lot fonder of each other than you’d like anyone to know.” Kit’s grin faded as Estra’s scowl turned into a look of consternation. She reached out and brushed her fingers lightly across Estra’s cheek so that the girl looked at her. “But I could be wrong. You have to go where your heart leads.”

    Estra nodded and stepped back, disentangling herself from Kit’s embrace.

    “What did the doctors say about Quin?” she asked, her voice taking on more of her usual brusque tone.

    “I’m not sure what the plan is yet,” Kithera said, glancing towards the door and out to where the two Jedi healers were talking with the doctor. She gave a little shake of her head to try and dislodge the worry about how long it was taking them to tell her that plan. If it took a long time, her brain reasoned, then the prognosis must be bad. She watched as out in the corridor Leona nodded, said something else and then walked away, her comms unit held in her hand. Kithera sighed and turned her attention back to Estra.

    “How was Del? Is he with Nicco?” she asked.

    Estra shrugged and then made a face. “He was. Master Windu and Master Tarindae were keeping him company. They kept talking to him.”

    Estra’s normally muffled viola was suddenly filled with snare drums. The girl was gritting her teeth and Kit had the suddenly vivid mental image of Del’s desire to look after his children being swept away by the Jedi’s desire to reconnect with one of their own.

    She felt a small spark of anger.

    The Jedi way. Ignore the hurting child because Jedi business was more important.

    That had been her way too. Push the sacrifice into the rock-lion’s den to save herself.

    “Don’t be angry at Da,” Estra’s voice, lost of confidence, was a tiny hiccup. Kithera watched as her daughter’s eyes filled with tears. “I don’t think he had much choice. There were just so many of them.”

    “No. I’m just angry at myself,” Kithera said quietly, trying to stop her jaw from clenching. She reached up to push the wayward fringe from the girl’s face. Something that Estra had said repeated itself in her head. Her hand paused in mid-air.

    “What do you mean by too many of them?”

    “When Del went and saw Nicco and F’kisi. Master Windu and Master Tarindae disappeared for a bit and then they returned. Then a bit later more Jedi just started showing up.”

    “What did they look like?” Kithera smiled, trying to keep her tone light and not betraying the sudden flash of fear that surged through her.

    Estra frowned again. “I don’t know. There was a Cerean, an Iktochi and a couple of others.” She paused still deep in thought and then brightened. “Oh and a little green Jedi Master that talked backwards.”

    Kithera clenched her fists. This wasn’t good. If the Jedi Council was here then- her mind skittered away through the tumble of thoughts. Every outcome was worse than the last.

    She felt her breath catch in her throat as bands of steel closed around her chest. Suddenly it was hard to breathe.

    The conversation with Del from that morning roared back into her head. Her mind screamed that this had all been a mistake. That she should never have taken Kirsh up on his offer. That she needed to hide Zallie and the twins. That the whole idea of a family holiday was ridiculous. That she should have gone with the kids that morning when they wanted to go to the pet store. That she should have walked away when she saw Mace. That she should have turned on her heels and gathered up Del, and Quin and Estra, and Nicco and F’kisi, and Zallie, and the twins and taken their chances in space. On another planet. Somewhere far away from the Jedi and their rules and control. Their poking and prying. Their interference. Their ever ensnaring web.

    She should have walked away.

    She should have -

    Run.

    The thought was almost overwhelming. Her calves tensed as if to spring. Without thinking about it, she rose up on the balls of her feet, her mind fermenting and rejecting plans of how to escape the situation as quickly as it made them.

    Run.

    She gripped the steel bars of the cot and closed her eyes to try and calm her body down.

    “Rin?’ Estra’s voice was hollow. When she opened her eyes she realised the girl was staring at her. She could see both Kirsh and Leona out in the hallways, their eyes fixed on where she stood, their bodies tensed in a far too familiar way. She made herself smile at Estra and tried to keep her voice level.

    “I need to go find your father. Can you look after Quin for a bit? I won’t be long. I promise.”

    Estra was frowning.

    “I’m not good with her, Rin, I mean she’s in a hospital. She would be safe. Maybe I could come with you.”

    “No, I think having a family member with her would be a good idea,” she pulled Estra close and stared at her, wishing that she could take everything of the last twenty-four hours back. “I’ll be back soon, I promise. I think it’d just be good for you and Quin to have a little bit of time together. Keep the family safe. I need to get your father."

    Code. They all knew the code. Estra would get this.

    "If one falls," it was barely a whisper.

    “We all fall.” Estra returned, her face worried.

    Kithera nodded and then turned to the door. She tried not to make eye-contact with the two Jedi or the doctor who stood outside.

    “Kitkit?” She heard Kirsh’s voice. She kept going.

    “Kithera?” Leona’s voice now. The one that was harder to ignore. Leona had kept her safe as a child, had bandaged cuts and found excuses. Applied bacta and listened.

    “I’ve got to go find Del,” her voice sounded weak and pathetic. Her legs kept moving, almost as if they were driven by something other than her screaming, panicking brain.

    “Kithera Rinani, stop right now.” Leona’s voice cut across the corridor with the swiftness of a drawn lightsaber.

    She came to a juddering halt. Her legs, so driven a moment before, now betrayed her. She wasn’t a knight anymore. She didn’t need to listen to them. She tried to move, but her feet felt like they had sunk into the duracrete floor.

    She turned on the spot, trying to slow her breathing, trying to pull air desperately into her lungs. Trying to stop her vision from narrowing and ignoring the stars that floated on the edges. The Force pounded around her, a thousand melodies tangled in a jumbled mess.

    “I need to find Del,” she said quietly. The Healer reached her and firmly grasped her shoulders.

    “You need to stop,” Leona said quietly. “You need to breathe.”

    The last word came with a crescendo of noise and then sudden, smothering silence.

    “Breathe,” the healer said softly.

    “Don’t patronise me.” Tears stung the corners of her eyes. She felt like she was a padawan again. Just like she had with Mace. “Don’t start with the stupid mantra.”

    “I wouldn’t dream of it,” Leona’s voice was calm. “All I want you to do is breathe and think.”

    The music tilted around her like ocean waves, ebbing and flowing as it slowed. She found that she could ride each crescendo with more ease, diving through rather than being tumbled by the breaking waves. She stared into Leona’s hazel eyes and felt her shoulders relax. Eventually the Healer smiled.

    “Now, Miss Rinani, I think we need to talk.”
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2021
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  18. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    A lot of emotions for her and I hope Del will be safe.
    The Jedi and their rigid code
     
  19. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Superbly intense, touching between Kit and Estra. Leona is a warm, steadying presence; poor Kirsh is caught in the middle. [face_thinking]

    I feel sorry for Del too. Suddenly the whole Council shows up and what?! =D=
     
  20. Kit'

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

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    That rigid code gets them into more trouble then it's worth I feel. Particularly for those that don't quite live up to the COuncil's expectations.

    Thank you. Poor Kirsh indeed. Definitely caught between Kithera and a hard place.

    And then this...
     
  21. Kit'

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

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    Last part of this arc...

    *~*~*

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

    *~*~*


    Kithera allowed herself to be led to one of the benches on the side. Leona was giving her a look that she couldn’t quite fathom. Her legs felt strange and shaky. She could see Estra arguing with Kirsh. The girl was standing toe-to-toe with the Jedi, arms crossed, face angry. She made a small sign with her hands, family code for checking on the other person. Kit signed back that she was fine. Across the corridor Estra glared once more at Kirsh and then stalked back into Quin’s room.

    “Quite the family you have created,” Leona said. Kit found herself looking for the insult but it wasn’t there. Instead the healer was looking at her in the same measured and calm way she always did. Kithera shrugged.

    “Needed to. Wasn’t left with much when I left. Essie’s fine, just a bit easily angered sometimes.”

    “Takes after her mother, I see.”

    “She doesn’t know her mother.”

    “I didn’t mean her biological mother, Kit.”

    Kithera looked up at Leona. She wanted to point out that Estra had been just five when she’d met her during that mission and ten when Kithera had finally joined The Lady. Essie had always been her own person, a fact which nothing and no-one could ever change. She thought about explaining that and then rejected it. She was too tired for more arguments.

    Instead she listened to the Force as it washed around them. The melody was quieter now, just her own breathy woodwind and Leona’s quiet harmonies.

    “Where were you going?” the healer asked after a moment.

    “I needed to-” Kithera started and then stopped. “I still need to find Del.”

    At the thought of her partner there was another flutter of panic and fear, but Leona’s quiet music soothed it. In all her years, Kit had never figured out how Leona did it. It seemed to be a healer thing, the ability to soothe people with just your presence but no-one could do it quite like Leona.

    “Why?”

    The question took her a few moments to properly register. The panicked thoughts of only a minute ago had fled, leaving nothing but a bitter taste in their wake.

    “Did you know the Council was here?” she asked, knowing that Leona would see the misdirected answer. The healer raised an eyebrow and then nodded.

    “I know. Does that worry you?”

    More silence. Kithera weighed up how honest she should be. How exactly did you say that you were terrified? Jedi weren’t supposed to be terrified, not even ex-Jedi. What was worse was that she couldn’t explain why. Leona stared at her for a second and then reached over and gently picked up one of Kit’s hands. The healer’s fingers were soft against her skin. Two minutes ago she would have snatched her hand from the Healer’s grasp, but now she relaxed her fingers, feeling the warmth of the touch against her hospital chilled skin.

    “Are you worried that they’ll take your family away?”

    The question felt like a slap. She sucked in a breath and stared at the bright turquoise and indigo weave of the hospital chairs; desperate to look anywhere except Leona’s face. The tears that had been threatening for a while bubbled up. She nodded. Leona let her hand go and held out her arms. Without thinking Kithera threw herself into the older woman’s embrace.

    “I’m too old for hugs,” she murmured. She heard the chuckle deep in the healer’s chest.

    “You are never too old for hugs,” she said quietly. “No-one is going to take away your family Kithera. Not even Master Yoda.”

    Kithera found herself giggling between the sobs.

    “I just feel silly,” she said, disentangling herself. She paused and wiped the tears from her eyes. “I’m an adult. I’ve not done a good job of showing that today.” Her mouth twisted to one side as she stared at the edge of Leona’s soft, tan robes.
    “I think you are discounting what’s happened today,” Leona said, taking back one of Kit’s hands. “You have a very sick child, your other children were involved in a fight, your middle daughter managed to reveal her force sensitivity to a member of the Jedi Council, two of the others were badly injured, your eldest daughter isn’t coping, and on top of this your partner is having to deal with his own demons.”

    Kithera frowned, not quite sure. She gave a half-hearted smile at the healer.

    “I was brought up as a Jedi, Leona. I have fought for my life before, I’ve negotiated peace deals. I should have been able to deal with this.”

    Leona just smiled. “It’s the difference between having to deal with a situation when you have no emotional attachment, and when you do.” Her smile deepened. “It’s why the Jedi aren’t supposed to form attachments. The attachments themselves aren’t bad, it’s the panic and the fear when they are threatened. That’s where the danger lies.”

    Kit gave a tiny shrug. The two sat in silence. Kithera listened to the hospital sounds and the melody of the Force entwined through all of them. She bit the inside of the lip.

    “That’s one lesson I never learnt.”

    Leona laughed and Kithera found herself grinning.

    “No, you always thought with your heart and never with your head. Looking for potential consequences was never your forte.” Kithera frowned, but Leona just smiled and patted her hand. “It’s not an insult Kithera. We needed-” she paused and then corrected herself. “No, we need more Jedi like that. Jedi who think with their hearts and listen to the Living Force, not ones weighted down with dogma.”

    Kithera shook her head. “You might want that, but I fear the Council doesn’t.”

    Leona snorted. “I don’t think the Council knows what it wants sometimes. They will lead us all into danger with their looking to the past instead of to the future.”

    Kithera smiled. Leona had never been one to play entirely by the Council’s rules. Kithera wondered briefly if that was why she had been so protected by the healer growing up, or if it had been something else. There was a wail of a distant baby in another room and the anxiety that she’d thought gone reared its head again. She sighed and pulled her hand from Leona’s grasp.

    “Quin isn’t good, is she?” she asked. Leona took a deep breath and then shook her head.

    “No kitkit, she’s not.” She closed her eyes, feeling the bands of steel tighten around her chest again. She bit down on her lip - hard enough for a stab of pain. Leona’s music swelled through the Force, entangling hers and smoothing it, creating harmonies from the cluttered collection of notes and chords. When Kit opened her eyes, Leona was staring at her. “But she will be.” Leona added.

    “How bad? How long will she be in the hospital?” Kithera asked gently. Her mind had begun to race again, picking up and dropping ideas as if they were hot coals from a fire. “Because I don't know how long Amidala would let us use her apartment. We’ll need money and a place of our own too. Maybe I could stay and keep Zallie or even the twins and Del could take the others, once Nicco’s out of hospital of course, back on The Lady and look for more work.” She realised that she was babbling, the words a blanket over her rising sense of unease, but she could not stop. “I’m sure I could find something that would keep enough money in to keep some sort of roof over our heads while Quin was in here and-”

    “Breathe,” Leona’s voice cut through the stream of words, “I have a plan.” The words were like a life-line, her drowning brain grabbed onto it and she shuddered to a stop. Leona gave a comforting smile. “I’m going to step you through it. Start with what Doctor Rygwys and I have discovered, and then what my plan is. I don’t think you’ll like my plan to start with, but I want you to keep an open mind.” Kithera nodded, aware of the muscles in her shoulders tightening slightly with the expectation of bad news. She nodded again and then listened with growing horror as Leona described how bad Quin’s heart condition was, how the baby was underweight and gave terms like failure to thrive. She listened and the guilt that she always carried with her grew until she was clenching both hands into fists so hard that her thumbs ached with the strain of it.

    “You’ve stopped breathing properly,” Leona said, watching her. Kithera gave a tight lipped smile of pain.

    “It’s all my fault. I should have done something sooner. I knew she was tiny, but I thought it was because she took after me, or because she was an early baby, or because I…I mean I knew it was my fault, but I didn’t want it to be.” she finished lamely. Leona frowned and shook her head.

    “You didn’t listen again,” she said quietly. “I never said any of this was your fault. You kept Quin alive and safe without healer’s training or medical equipment. You and Del did that Kithera.”

    “I should have asked for help sooner?”

    “Could you have?”

    She frowned at the question. That was the thing. Hospitals cost money and it was hard enough feeding and clothing their many children and keeping The Lady fueled and in the air. Del had suggested hospital a few times, but it had been something that Kithera had rejected - too scared that it would tip the family’s finances into a position from which they could never recover.

    “No,” she answered, the guilt still nagging at her. “I should have though.”

    Leona shrugged as if it was a fight that wasn’t worth having. “It’ll get fixed now though. Which is good. Doctor Rygwys will do it for free, and the Temple will pay for the rest.”

    Kithera straightened, suddenly wary.

    “Why?”

    “Why not? You were a Jedi after all. We look after our own.”

    “I was a Jedi, and I don’t remember the Temple being this magnanimous. What’s the catch?”

    Leona grinned. “Remember how I said you wouldn’t like my plan? Well, this is it. Doctor Rygwys, Kirsh, An-Paj and I will do the surgery. Quin will do her convalescence in the Temple.”

    “No.” The word hung crisp and clear in the air. Leona made a conciliatory gesture.

    “Hear me out. I would like Quin to do her recovery in the Temple because I believe it would be good for her.”

    “I suppose if I say no then the Jedi will withdraw their support.”

    “Not at all, but I also don’t think it would be in Quin’s best interests.”

    Kithera shook her head, it was all coming together a bit too neatly.

    “What’s the catch Leona? This is the Council that we are talking about, there is always a catch.”

    Leona smiled. “There is Namia’s training! Look through the offering to find the plate beneath. There is no catch. No expectations you will rejoin the order or give your children to the Temple.” The healer paused again, “although I do believe that the Creche Master would be interested in meeting Zallie and the twins and seeing some of the games you play with them.”

    Kithera frowned and Leona laughed.

    “Kirsh has filled me in on some of what he saw while he was travelling with you.”
    “Did he now?” Kithera glanced towards where Kirsh was standing looking at a flimsy pad with the doctor. As if called, he looked up and seeing her glare turned a brilliant and instant shade of red. Kithera looked back at Leona. “What else?”

    “Well, there is Nicco. His head injury is quite severe. I think a stay in the Healing ward will be good for him too.” As if she sensed Kithera weakening, the healer continued hurriedly, “we’d put you up in the guest quarters. You never would have gone to them, they are on the east side of the Temple near the garden. Off-limits to padawans.” she grinned. “Even to padawans such as yourself. If you stay there you will all be honoured guests rather than Jedi and you’ll be treated as such too.”

    “You organised all of this?” Kithera asked, head titled on one side. She was still looking for the catch. There had to be one. “Why? Why so fast? The Council never moves quickly? Why move so fast now?”

    There was a drawn out pause. Leona’s comms gave a tiny ping and she glanced at it quickly. When she looked back up at Kit she smiled.

    “You might not believe this,” Leona said softly, “but you still have friends at the Temple who care about you. You might have left us, but that doesn’t mean that we also abandoned you. We care about you Kithera, and your family. For the sake of your children, you need to see through your own anger and bitterness to the truth beneath.”

    “And that truth is?”

    “Love,” Leona said and then gave a small snort of amusement. “I heard you accuse Kirsh of never knowing love before, and in terms of romantic love, that might be true. Although not in all cases. Certainly not in the case of you, or your Master. Not even in Kirsh’s case, I suspect.” Both of them glanced across to where Kirsh was standing, looking at them and obviously only half-listening to the doctor. He blushed again and made a show to going back to his work. “Jedi might not know romantic love, but they do love.”

    Kithera frowned.

    “There’s something else, too,” she said quietly, listening to the echoes and melodies of the Force.

    “Yes, there is.” Leona said, “and that last part is Del. I think he needs to go home, Kitkit. I think he needs to make peace with his demons, just as you do.”

    Kithera sighed, dropping her shoulders.

    "Fine. We will all go back to the Temple, as soon as Quin and Nicco are out of the hospital." She gave mirthless laugh. "Why do I always feel that when it comes to the Jedi, that choice is only ever an illusion?"
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2021
  22. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Leona is a darling! [face_love] She soothes all of Kit's past and present turmoil. =D=
     
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  23. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Lovely healers, always different from the council, doing what's best for someone
     
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  24. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    I am so very far behind on this but just wanted to let you know that it's been a stupendous read so far! Zallie's plight in wanting to adopt one of everything is very relatable. [face_laugh]
     
    Jedi Knight Fett and Findswoman like this.
  25. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    OK, all caught up now—whew! Kit has gone through so much in these last few chapters, between Mace, Tara and Del (hands brushing hands? What the—?), Quin's condition, and the WHOLE COUNCIL showing up to keep an eye on the proceedings (also a "what the—?"). And just GO LEONA—what awesome words of comfort and wisdom for Kit, and exactly what she needs right about now, especially that reassurance that Kit still has caring friends at the Temple who want to help her through these tribulations. I hope she will believe that as the moment of truth draws nearer and that the Jedi's support will not be an illusion this time! And I'm biting my nails to see how Kit and Del will mend things with each other. Keep up the fine work, as always, and I'll do my best to be better at keeping up, too! =D=