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Saga - OT Stand Together on the High Places (Lasan Series; Zeb/OC drama, romance, reunion)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Findswoman , Apr 8, 2019.

  1. Findswoman

    Findswoman Fanfic and Pancakes and Waffles Mod (in Pink) star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    So, here ’tis… the fifth and final chapter. I can hardly believe I (and this series of stories) have made it to this point! As promised in the notes to chapter 1, in addition to the usual notes, you will find at the end of this chapter a list of all the quotes and flashbacks from other Lasan Series stories that appear in this one.

    Many thanks once again to @Raissa Baiard for keen beta-reading and for invaluable support and advice every step of the way, and to @TheRynJedi for the generous loan of her OCs, whom I am honored to be able to include. @};- @};- @};-

    – V. –​

    “Aw, karabast...”


    Zeb and Shulma sighed simultaneously as they emerged from their kiss several long moments later to find themselves no longer alone. Sounds and lights were filtering up from below them: a small crowd of beings—all from the coronation ceremony back at the Temple of Mak-Gu-Fina—had gathered at the base of the cliff, many holding glowrods or lumas, and a variety of speeders, swoops, and other conveyances sat parked behind them.

    Still wrapped together in the cloak, the two Lasat scanned the crowd below. Their species’s acute vision allowed them to read each facial expression with clarity. The pink-haired culture minister was there, along with several of her colleagues and some local dignitaries, and a worried look furrowed her already-lined face as she conversed with them in hushed, urgent tones. Many of the Rebels from the Amarcordia were there; there were whooping, whistling, and shouts of “Go, Chosen Servant!” from some of Zeb’s rowdier comrades. But Sabine was there too, busily and lovingly sketching the scene before her in the small sketchbook she always kept with her, and her occasional upward glances had something of awe in them. There was the insectoid from the marksmanship competition, who stood stock still, one gloved, three-fingered hand held upward in the direction of the lovers as though feeling the air for rain; beside her now stood a red-braided Human female with her hands in her pockets and an astromech droid with a macrobinocular attachment extended upward. And there were some of the court dancers and the Ryn musicians; the dark-furred lead quetarrist occasionally plucked chords and snatches of melody on his instrument, while the red-furred lead singer leaned on his shoulder. All beheld the scene above them with various combinations of concern, joy, wonder, and gobsmacked astonishment.

    Similar emotions played on Zeb and Shulma’s faces as they looked down at the crowd, then at each other, then at the crowd again, then at each other again. “Do you… know any of these people?” Shulma asked her husband.

    “Yeah, some of ’em… that bunch over there, an’ the lady in Mando armor with the drawin’ pad... don’t worry, she’s really good… anyway, they’re good friends, you’ll get to meet ’em.” He lowered his voice suddenly to a whisper. “We’re all in the Rebellion together.”

    Her face brightened. “I always knew you would join them.”

    “Heh, Ashla, right?”

    “Ashla, yes… and the fact that my Zeblove never, ever gives up the fight.” She nestled her head on his shoulder. “I... don’t suppose the Rebellion would have a place for a lowly spark-flinger like me?”

    “Aw, darlin’, of course they would. Y’know, they’ve got a few others like you already. There’s this one pilot—”

    He was cut short by a sudden loud, crackling noise of static from the base of the cliff, followed by the loudhailer-amplified voice of the culture minister: “Now, I’m sure there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for all this…”

    “Aw karabast… Right.” Zeb cleared his throat, stepped forward, his arm still around Shulma, and called down to the beings assembled below. “Yeah, so… this is my wife. My, er, long-lost wife,” he added quickly for emphasis as gasps and murmurs arose. “From, er, Lasan.”

    More gasps arose, as did some applause. Shulma nodded. “Yes, he’s my husband.”

    “It’s… er… a long story,” Zeb continued, turning to face his no-longer-lost wife, who leaned up to kiss him amid the laughter, tears, and cheers of the crowd.

    * * *​

    Once the culture minister had heard Zeb and Shulma’s story (or at least the abbreviated version thereof, because it was getting late and cooling off), all of her consternation about ruined ceremonies and broken protocols melted into effusive sentimentality, and she declared that she had never seen a more fitting conclusion to the Days of Love and Light in all her twenty-odd years serving the Khorassani culture ministry. She invited the two Lasat to stay another week in Khorassograd as guests of the culture ministry, all expenses paid. It didn’t take much urging from Shulma and his Rebel comrades for Zeb to agree to this invitation.

    The culture minister also chauffeured Zeb and Shulma back to Khorassograd in her own speeder, and the others followed in the other speeders and swoops. Once they were all back in town, the minister wasted no time in making all necessary preparations for her guests’ sojourn, while Rebels set about planning for their Lasat friends’ eventual safe return to Alliance headquarters, discussing rendezvous points, code phrases, and hyperspace byways. The Gand, the red-haired Human, and their astromech joined in, offering the use of their own ship in transporting the couple anywhere they might need to go. Zeb, meanwhile, who didn’t want to think about such things just yet, dashed off a quick message for Sabine to bring to Hera—er, General Syndulla—explaining everything. (He knew she would understand.)

    Sabine showed Zeb and Shulma the sketch she had made at the foot of the cliff. It was a delicate croquis in pencil, simple but tender in its lines, showing the two cloak-wrapped, pointed-eared figures kissing on the jagged cliffs beneath a small, round moon. (“Aw karabast, that’s us?!” yelped Zeb, his cheeks purpling deeply, upon which Shulma smiled at Sabine and said, “He was right, you are good.”) The Mandalorian said she planned to use it as the basis for a larger painting, and after snapping a quick holo of the sketch with her wrist comm, she signed it and gave it to the Orrelioses as a gift.

    The Ryn musicians treated everyone to a final impromptu serenade. The dark brown quetarrist and the orange-red singer joined voices in some of their people’s sublime love songs, and the younger Ryn female who had been among the dancers joined them, playing haunting countermelodies on a small fiddle she held low on her arm. All through the evening there was much exchanging of introductions, handshakes, hugs, pleasantries, laughter, and even a few tears, until gradually everyone retired for the night.

    * * *​

    As for Zeb and Shulma, they were exhausted. Once back at the culture ministry guest suite, they immediately retired to bed and lay down together. They didn’t say anything; they didn’t need to. They barely moved; they didn’t need to. The warm, bright Lira San of their embrace was enough. There they stayed, holding each other, feeling each other’s warmth and breath and heartbeat, taking in each other’s sweet, musky essence till sleep overtook them.

    And that night, even after all had gone dark and silent, Khorassograd was full of love and light.

    From the Journal of Shulma Trilasha Orrelios

    O Ashla beyond all things sovereign and beloved—

    O heart of mine, soul of mine, body of mine—

    O my Garazeb, my love—dearest husband, warrior, bristlecone, CHILD OF LASAN—!

    Oh, I shall write more of it—all of it—some other time, once I have some time to collect my thoughts. But I cannot now. I simply cannot now. It is too magnificent, too overwhelming. I am blinded by the brightness and melted by the heat. All is you, all is us, all the prophecies are fulfilled.

    And I—all I can do is languish here in your embrace, saying and singing to you the words of the Seer to the Child:

    Sleep now, beloved Child of Lasan, my strong one and my sweet honor. Your trials are over, your battles are won; rest from them in my arms, pillowed on my breasts. We have stood together on the high places, in the light of all the star clusters; now let my stripes bind your wounds, let my tears wash away your pain. Warm your shivering limbs in the softness of my fur. Together, embracing and enfolding, we are peace, we are bliss, we are home.

    Sleep now, sweet strong one. You have come home, at last, for always.

    – fin –

    Sabine’s small sketchbook is just speculative fanon. She might keep it inside a boot or a vambrace or some such.

    The younger Ryn dancer who also plays fiddle is another one of TheRynJedi’s OCs: Wenna, daughter of Sennah and Danyal. Once again, I cannot thank TheRynJedi enough for the generous loan of all these characters.

    All stories and chapters named here were written by me unless otherwise noted.

    Chapter I

    “My queen… all night long”: Feel Safe at Night

    “MY QUEEN… at the festival, in the temple”: Shaman, Traveler, Oracle, chapter 30

    Chapter II

    “The southern part of the parade grounds… by event and age group”: The Beginning of Honor, chapter 1, by Raissa Baiard

    “And grasping the sheer rock… rustling light enfolded him”: Light of Lasan, chapter 4

    Chapter III

    “Zeb glanced around… straight through him”: “I am my prayer to you”

    “Run from Lira Zel… and a gut wound”: The Beginning of Honor, chapter 3, by Raissa Baiard

    Chapter IV

    “If you can walk, you can climb”: Shaman, Traveler, Oracle, chapter 20
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    What a delightful and wonderful conclusion, as the joy of Zeb and Shulma is shared by new and old friends alike.

    And this:

    Sleep now, beloved Child of Lasan, my strong one and my sweet honor. Your trials are over, your battles are won; rest from them in my arms, pillowed on my breasts. We have stood together on the high places, in the light of all the star clusters; now let my stripes bind your wounds, let my tears wash away your pain. Warm your shivering limbs in the softness of my fur. Together, embracing and enfolding, we are peace, we are bliss, we are home.
    Sleep now, sweet strong one. You have come home, at last, for always.

    Melty, gooified me! [face_dancing] ^:)^
    That was sheer poetry! :* [:D]
  3. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard FFoF Artist Extraordinaire star 4 VIP - Game Host

    Nov 22, 1999
    Awww, what a moment for reality to intrude on Zeb and Shulma! Who can blame them for uttering a few heartfelt “karabasts” (And I love that Zeb’s is just plain “karabast”, while Shulma, the shaman goes for the fuller, more emphatic form!) They’ve got quite an audience gathered: Ardyse, the Rose Evergreen’s crew, the Rebels ( I can guess which ones are shouting “Go, Chosen Servant” :p Shut it, Klivian and Janson!), Sennah and the other musicians, and of course, Sabine, immortalizing the moment in a sketch.

    Poor Ardyse—nothing like this has ever happened at the Days of Love and Light before! It’s even more irregular than that incident when the Alderaanian girl was queen! But there must be a perfectly reasonable explanation for all this rushing about and unseemly display of affection by queen and servant. And Zeb provides one—she’s his wife, er, from Lasan (no, really, Zebby? :p) How could this not melt even the stodgiest minister’s heart? Beneath all the concern for protocol and decorum, Ardyse seems to be a gooey romantic at heart; not only is all forgiven for upsetting the ceremony, she immediately offers them a romantic retreat, courtesy of the Ministry of Culture, which is just what these two need—some private time to talk and get reacquainted and readjusted to being together after being apart for so long.

    What a sweet ending to this heartfelt reunion, with Sabine’s gift of her sketch (which will no doubt inspire a masterpiece, an impromptu concert from the Ryns, and lots of congratulations, hugs, laughter and tears. And at the end of an eventful day, Zeb and Shulma fall asleep in each other’s arms at last, all the prophecies fulfilled. Truly, the spirit of Love and Light [face_love]

    =D= Bravissima on this wonderfully touching story! I’m so happy to see our favorite Lasat together again, and I can’t wait to see the next chapter in their story. [face_love] :zeb:
    Kahara and Findswoman like this.
  4. Kahara

    Kahara FFoF Hostess Extraordinaire star 4 VIP - Game Host

    Mar 3, 2001

    Will be back to leave a slightly more coherent review at some point, but for now I'm just gonna join the Rogue Squadron Undignified Break Dancing Troupe. So much happiness to see these two lovebirds together at long last! [face_love]
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
  5. Kahara

    Kahara FFoF Hostess Extraordinaire star 4 VIP - Game Host

    Mar 3, 2001
    Hope this doesn't count as a double-post, but since it's been almost a week I figured I'd make it separately.

    Ch 1:

    The beginning of this really made me feel for Zeb. Even in a moment of joy for the whole Rebellion, he can't help but remember those who aren't there to celebrate with him. :( I too was glad that Sabine made an appearance at that point! :sabine: It's really sweet to see that being kind of dispersed to their own jobs in the Alliance hasn't changed their Space Family ties.

    [face_laugh] Visit Scenic Khorassan! No, Not That One, Ours Is Much Nicer!

    And I really liked that the detail that managed to hook him was the queen -- even though the very word reminds him painfully of better times. I get the sense that there's something there that draws Zeb in even though he doesn't know why. He's not Force-sensitive as such, but he can hardly not be pulled towards Shulma when their lives and hearts are so strongly linked in the Force. So maybe he knows just a little, even though he's completely unaware.

    And it was a wonderful surprise to find an excerpt of Shulma's diary -- that's such a fun callback to STO. [face_dancing] It's unfortunate that her apparent date with destiny (AKA date Tall, Purple, and Handsome there :p) approaches on such an unsettling note. All the headaches and trouble from her visions sound really terrible. Though as others noted, it's really nice that Telfien and Sennah have both been able to lend her some strength to see this through. I can totally see why she's apprehensive that things might not turn out. It's a big risk, emotionally. She's seen the visions, but what if? What if? What if? Shulma's been all too accustomed to loss and heartache for many years.

    It was fun to see some of the inner workings of the Festival. Like with any big bash, there's a lot of work to be done behind the scenes. And of course, for Shulma it's a bit of a pain at times with the secrecy rules. Very inconveniently timed ones at that! :rolleyes: I'm glad she found some familiar faces in the form of Sennah and Danyal -- what a relief. :)
  6. Findswoman

    Findswoman Fanfic and Pancakes and Waffles Mod (in Pink) star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Thank you all so much for commenting, reading, and just being here! @};-

    Thanks so much! I definitely wanted friends and found family members to be present to share in their joy, and as a reminder of the bigger circles of friendship and love that they're both part of. And it's just so much fun to get All Teh OCs (and otherwise) together in one spot! :D

    Aw, thanks, I'm glad you liked that little attempt! I figured Shulma's first recourse in any kind of strong emotion would be to turn to her sacred texts—and this is of course a moment where some of those texts come to life in a way they never have before, as their prophecy is fulfilled. @};- I had a bit of trepidation trying to craft this text, and had a lot of worries about whether it would be too excessive, etc., so I am glad it came off all right!

    It was fun to bring everyone together here and write them all expressing their feelings in their own ways—Telfien by feeling the Mists, Sabine and Danyal with their respective art forms, and Rogue Squadron with their, well, exuberance. Even Ardyse's deliberations with her colleagues grow out of the fact that she can tell how momentous thare occasioned by the fact that this is clearly a pretty momentous happening. And of course the two Lasats' respective "karabasts" are indeed reflections of them and of the complementarity that they have (and now get a chance to rediscover).

    Oh yes—that queen at least kept herself veiled and didn't high-tail it from the premises! :p

    Yes, of course there has to be! Ardyse isn't really trying to be negative with that remark—she's not really all that angry, just more like, "OK, so what actually is up here, you mischievous young folks, you?" :p

    Aw, he just wants to make sure everyone knows for absolute sure! Like, this isn't just someone he picked up and eloped with in the Outer Rim's version of Las Vegas. :p And Ardyse is definitely good at heart and somewhat of a romantic, too, or she wouldn't be in the job she's in—she takes the Spirit of Love and Light very seriously, and if there ever was a time to put her devotion to that ideal into action, well, now would be it. ;)

    Thanks! It all just seemed like the right time for a nice, life-affirming get-together by all the members of all the friends and families, complete with music and art. And what better way to follow that up than by falling asleep in each other's arms, completely warm and loved and secure? Even with all the setbacks and emotions, it was a perfect day for them, in many ways—especially since the prophecies are indeed fulfilled. <3

    Thank you so much, and once again an especial thanks for the leading role you've played in shaping this reunion, this story, and this series—I've been very much indebted to your good council in terms of deciding What to Do Next and unpainting myself from various narrative corners, and your encouragement has meant so much at every stage. :)

    Aw, thank you so much! :D A purple, all-caps squee with roses—and with the Rogue Squadron Undignified Break Dancing Troupe, at that (which is pricelessly perfect, by the way)—wow, I am so glad this story brought you that much joy, because it brought me quite a bit too to bring the lovebirds (nuzzlecats) back together! <3

    And now on to your other post...

    Yes, exactly, and there's something about being alone on security duty that brings those wistful feelings out, somehow. Once SpaceFamily, always SpaceFamily, I say—even with all that's happened, these folks (or what's left of them) still have each other's backs. <3

    Hah! Yes, exactly! [face_laugh] I guess I just couldn't help but bring in that particular gag in both stories I've written about this planet and this festival. Though in a way I sometimes wonder if the actual canonical Coruscant wasn't partly inspired by the RL Khorassan (which is a region in Iran with some mythological resonances), in addition to being related to "coruscating"/sparkling.

    Thanks! Writing that bit was the point at which I decided to try to bring in various little references to other Lasan Series stories, just as a way of showing that all of those have been, in some way, leading to this point. I agree that Zeb may be subconsciously sensing some kind of intuitive connection there, in the Force or otherwise, between the queen of the festival and the woman who once was queen of his heart. His intuition will later be proved right, of course! :D

    I just couldn't resist continuing her diary as part of this story—Shaman, Traveler, Oracle was part of me so long it just felt like the right thing to do. She has indeed gotten used to loss and disappointment and grief for so many years, as well as all those visions of her husband that suddenly vanish as soon as she tries to reach out to them—so much so that it seems impossible to her that this rendezvous with (tall, purple, strrrripey) fate could end in anything other than disappointment. But it's no small thing that she has close friends by her side, and again, it just felt right to have them, too, share in this incredibly important moment. (And again, I am so glad that TheRynJedi's amazing Sennah has become one of those friends, too! @};- )

    Exactly my thinking, too—there's got to be a lot of preparation that the festival guests don't see. All that intricate choreography definitely needs some kind of advance rehearsal, and all those dancers, etc. have to be someone—so why not a mix of scions of local prominent families, with some dance and theater students filling out the mix? Best of both worlds that way. :D

    Thanks so much for reading and giving such a detailed review, as always—always a joy to have you hear! And that goes for all of you, really. @};-
  7. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The (FavoriteTM) Fanfic Mod With the Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Hello!! I know this is a very belated comment - shamefully so, but I had to phrase everything just right, and I finally had a good moment to sit down and put my thoughts into words as best I can. So! Here I go, I'm going to try!

    To start, the best as I can explain the end of this wonderful story: you know how sometimes expectations and build-up fail to match the eventual resolution of that promise? Yeah. There was none of that here, not even in the slightest. Instead, this was more like dessert at the end of a sumptuous ten course meal. *blows chef kiss* Perfect!

    To begin, on the last two updates:

    Oh Zeb. Honey, no. :(

    Once again - like Shulma too often does - Zeb takes too much on his shoulders and internalizes his struggles. It's the downside his great sense of duty and honor, of course, that demands such perfection. But still, such expectations are enough to make anyone crumble. Especially when Zeb is already healing from such unbelievable truama. It only stands to reason that he'd flich away from a reminder of his losses. My heart just hurt for him here, terribly so.

    Yep, just slightly! Oh, this dear. :p

    Again you did a wonderful job portraying a real visceral emotion to his climb. And what fitting imagery the climb proved to be as a whole! Not only as a literary device, but in an echo of the earlier climbs that are such obvious markers in their relationship. [face_love]

    AND OF COURSE SHE'S THERE. GAH - my heart was just in my throat here, and I grinned like an idiot. I may have squee'd a little out loud. Maybe a lot a little. I first read this scene in a crowded airport terminal between flights and I think I had a couple of people staring. But hey, it was what it was. :p

    It's okay to cry, you big strong manly man. Or, erm, Lasaty Lasat. [face_tee_hee] This line was so Zeb, and a great way to break up the strong emotions of the scene.

    I lost it here, you have no idea. Home is where the heart is, and all that, but even all the more so in this instance. Lasan's spirit and traditions and lore and his happy memories. Shaman and seer and wife and eventualy mother to a Lasat of the next generation. Those are all Shulma.

    More incoherently: perfect line is perfect! [face_love]

    Of course!! Such an in character moment for both of them!! But I love how they are able to appreciate the differences in each other, after so much time apart. They are going to have such stories to tell as they get to know each other again!! And now they have all their future left to share and do so. Yep, there goes my inner romantic. She's gone!

    Warrior, fool, and child - those are all Zeb, dear Zeb! I cheered Shulma here for saying loud and proud what we all wanted to beat into his ridiculous head - with love, of course. This whole exchange was just wonderful.

    What a punctuation point of a line!! After so many beautiful long and winding sentences, those two words were so heavy hitting. Yep: you bet they did! I have to echo Raissa's Princess Bride sentiment. Amen and a hundred times yes to that comparison! [face_love]

    [face_love] [face_love]!! If that's not a perfext way to fulfill prophesy then I don't know what is. :p

    Wes; Hoobie!! I see you there, you dorks. I loved the reaction from Zeb's friends - his new family, and Shulma's too!! With all of the dear souls she too collected into her heart along the way. [face_love]

    Sabine!! Thank you for being you - that's something Zeb and Shulma are just going to cherish for the rest of their lives. I adored Zeb's that's really us? reaction. [face_love]

    LUKE!!!!! Yes, you must write that meeting. :D Or even Shulma meeting Ahsoka, in time, if she ever comes back around. Both being exiles in a sense carrying on what traditions of home while they may . . . oh, plot bunny! But, anyway, there are so many little moments you could choose from. I'm so excited to see where - and if you so choose to, of course - this lovely 'verse goes from here. [face_love]

    Bwaha!!!! This was just the best little coda. But yes, what a Days of Love and Light to remember! One for the story books, certainly. [face_love]

    I need another word for SQUEE now, I really do! Even caps lock and italics aren't quite enough. Maybe I'll borrow one of Nyota's lines and just say thay I completely evaporated there. So, so beautiful, and an ending so richly deserved by our previously star crossed couple. [face_love] :D!!

    In short: I enjoyed every word of this story, so very much. I thank you for once again sharingn a bit of this rich, vibrant world with us. I can't way to see where you take us from here. [face_love]

    Brava! A hundred times brava! =D= [:D]
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  8. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    What a wonderful reunion! All their longing, all their disappointment and struggles - all of it led up to this one, glorious meeting. And the most wonderful aspect is that all of their dear, dear friends are there to witness it. They are home at last.

    I love the idea that everyone gives the couple a gift, and it's a gift that reflects the best of them. The culture minister gives them a vacation in her beautiful city. the singers serenade them, the crew of the Rose Evergreen gives them their ship to use, and this:

    Every gift is a gift of love, an echo of the love of Shulma and Zeb. True love and light!:D

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, and beautiful again. @};-@};-@};-@};-@};-@};-
    Findswoman likes this.
  9. Findswoman

    Findswoman Fanfic and Pancakes and Waffles Mod (in Pink) star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Thank you both for reading and commenting—always a joy for me! :rose

    Oh, no worries, no worries at all—I completely understand how RL can be, and your comments are appreciated immensely whenever they come!

    Thank you! I am so glad you found this a satisfying wrap-up—that is exactly what I was hoping for (and worried about) as I was writing this. :)

    This is definitely a tendency that both Zeb and Shulma share, and as you note it comes out of their huge sense of responsibility and honor (which was one of the things that always drew them to each other). They hold themselves to high standards, which means that they often feel disappointed with themselves when they think (emphasis on "think") they aren't achieving those standards. All of that is hard enough on one when one hasn't lost one's homeworld and family and entire people! Throw that into the mix and it all gets turned up to eleven or twelve or so. =((

    Thank you! It was a fun challenge to write him climbing again, and I did indeed feel as if I was coming full circle with his climbs in Raissa's "The Beginning of Honor" and my "Romance among the Stones"—I returned to both stories multiple times for guidance while writing this new climb scene. Besides being a distinctively Lasat way to blow off some steam through physical activity, it's a way, as Raissa says, for him to confirm to himself and to the universe that he's still manly and capable. And given the role his past climbs have played in his courtship of Shulma, it's a bit of foreshadowing, too... though he doesn't know that yet! ;)

    Yep, there she is, and that's where this climb, again, comes full circle with his earlier courtship climbs! And no worries, you're allowed a public squee or two, and I'm honored and thrilled that this story was able to bring you one! :)

    Yes, this is one of his tendencies, too: to try to stuff his emotions, sometimes violently, in the name of being Brave and Courageous and Honorable. But his naturally sincere side makes that a difficult proposition sometimes. I admit that I've been wanting to write crying!Zeb for a while now—I have long wondered to myself what kind of situation might make a character like him break down in tears, and how to portray that in a believable way, because there must be such a way. It was a wonderful and enlightening exercise to be able to fulfill that wish!

    Well, shucks, thank you! All of what you said here was pretty much my thinking when writing this line. And Lasan is here in him, too, though he hasn't always realized it! (Perhaps now he does, a little more.)

    As they reaccustom themselves to being together again, I can see some things taking a long time for them to readjust to, butI can see other things coming back right away—and this awareness of their contrasts, their complementarity, is one of those, precisely because it's always been so fundamental to their relationship. (And one of my own favorite themes in writing relationships of any type!)

    Zeb is all those things; as Chava once wisely said, we are all of us all those things at different times, and each of those things is necessary at different times. If she were here, she'd be as proud of him as her student is! :D (Though her student's pride has an added dimension of attraction to it, of course! ;) )

    Thank you—as I said to Raissa, I am immensely honored by that comparison. @};- That kiss was one of the things in this story that I really wanted to Get Just Right, so I glad that it felt that way!

    Thanks so much! So glad you enjoyed that moment—I really enjoyed writing it. I knew I wanted to at least try and bring everything (as best I could) together in this scene, so I'm glad it more or less worked! :)

    I couldn't resist bringing Hobbie and Wes in here to emphasize all the more that all of those present have their own various ways of expressing their happiness for Zeb and Shulma, and for the fact that they're all now part of both their found families, too!

    Sabine's art has always been her biggest, most sincere way of expressing joy, so why not here, too? And yes, you big dear, that really is you—it's just you filtered through a large quantity of sisterly joy! :D

    Oh ho, very, very good ideas there, and definitely ones that I'll file away in the old bunny hutch! :D I was thinking too that Leia would be an interesting person for Shulma to meet somewhere along the line, for similar reasons. (Oh, to get ALL of those characters together... and maybe Telfien, too... what fun that would be! [face_dancing] )

    Even as the person who's in charge of Running Things and Enforcing All Teh Rulez, Culture Minister Goldfleck-Straz knows that at the end of the day the Love and Light Spirit is thing one, and she wouldn't be in the job she's in if she didn't take that spirit seriously! If I do say so myself, I agree that this is a festival they'll be talking about on Khorassan for a long time, and it's one that Goldfleck-Straz can be proud of her own role in!

    I guess there's always the good old keyboard smash, too: fasdjkl! :D Thank you so much; I angsted a good bit about getting this ending just right so I'm doubly glad you enjoyed it. @};-

    Thank you again, and it is my absolute pleasure! :)

    Thanks so much, as always, for being here and reading and commenting! :) I knew from the start that I wanted their friends to be on hand to witness their reunion, because those people are so much part of both their journeys now.

    A perfectly reasonable Zebsplanation, of course! :zeb: :D

    Exactly. Every friend or group of friends has their own way of expressing their joy, and aren't the best gifts those that really reflect the giver? It's themselves they're giving as gifts, really. [face_love]

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, and thank you again! @};- Always a joy and a privilege to have you here, and if I've made as fine a writer as you happy with one of my little stories, then I know I've done my job! :)
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