Title: What Love Is Summary: During a brief respite from running the Eternal Alliance, the Outlander is forced to dredge up emotional scars from his past, while wondering what his future entails. Characters: Jorren Vor-Lonn (Male Jedi Guardian/The Outlander), Amana Wentlas (Female Smuggler) Note: The following was inspired by the Foreigner song "I Want To Know What Love Is", selected as part of the Memorable Melodies Roulette challenge. *** The forests of Odessen were a welcome quiet compared to the mass of humanity that was the secret base of the Eternal Alliance. Jorren Vor-Lonn sat cross-legged in the middle of a clearing near a small stream. Gone were the white plasteel plates of the body armor that he normally wore, replaced by the simple brown homespun of a Jedi robe. Sweat beaded on his forehead, causing his umber-colored hair to matte close to his scalp. He had come to this planet nearly a year before; barely thawed out and still sick from five years in carbonite. From the verdant forests and large cliffs of this temperate world, he had crafted an increasingly uneasy alliance of Republic and Empire, Jedi and Sith, all in an attempt to end the former Sith Emperor’s reign of terror once and for all. The galaxy called him many things: The Hero of Tython, Outlander, Battlemaster, and commander. Despite his many accolades, however, there were times that he still felt like that young Padawan who had just stepped off of the shuttle at the Jedi temple on Tython. Jorren sighed deeply and stood up, kicking at a rock near his foot. The serenity of his surroundings did nothing for the turmoil in his head. No doubt when he returned to his base, Lana or Theron would bring another incident to his attention. He closed his green eyes and took a deep breath in, Jorren Vor-Lonn disappearing from his stance and replaced by the Hero of Tython’s stern face. His strides took him down the dirt path and onto the long metal bridge that connected the two sides of a large valley. “You look worried,” a Coruscanti-accented woman’s voice sounded from behind a pillar. She was dressed in her standard outfit: a white synthcotton shirt covered by an open, dark gray vest and black pants. Her brown hair was cut short, barely to her shoulders. “Amana,” he said. He risked a slight grin to escape from his stoic face. She chuckled and crossed her arms against her chest. “No answer then?” Her hazel eyes looked him over. “Or is it above my clearance?” “A little bit of everything,” he said. “That bad, huh?” she said. She pushed herself away from the support pillar she’d been leaning on and matched his pace. “News about Empress Vailyn?” He gritted his teeth at the thought of the new Empress. “Not yet,” he said. Amana Wentlas looked around the area before her voice turned soft, the Coruscanti accent nearly disappearing. “Then what is it?” “Nothing,” Jorren said a bit too forcefully. He looked around the area before admitting it. “Everything.” “The Alliance, then,” Amana said. She chortled nervously. “I kinda know what you’re going through.” Jorren raised a skeptical eyebrow. “I’m sure you do...” Amana stopped and leaned forward against the bridges railing, looking towards a Corellian-made freighter in the distance. “A rag tag group so soon after a major loss in your life?” A smile of remembrance crossed across her face as she told him. “On my ship, I had the daughter of a crime lord that was actually the lost heir of a planet, a freedom fighter from Ord Mantell that was straight out of a youngling’s storybook, a Wookiee pitfighting slave, this Zabrak Mandalorian who was in dire need of getting laid, and a Mon Cal conman that was actually a Jedi student that flunked out. It was my job to make sure that they worked as a group and didn’t kill each other.” Jorren allowed himself a chuckle. “I had the former Emperor’s Wrath standing in my conference room,” he said. “I think I slept with one eye open every night after that.” A small lump developed in his throat as he thought about the rest of his crew. He cleared it with a cough before continuing. “There was a medic we had, who probably would have taken you up on your Mandalorian problem. There was a sergeant in the Republic military with us, too. And...” A few tears fell from his eyes. “And that was it.” “That doesn’t sound like it,” Amana said. “Look, I know both of us have been pretty silent on our pasts, so if you don’t want to tell me, don’t feel...” “Kira Carsen, another Jedi,” Jorren said. His voice was barely a whisper and he didn’t know how she could hear him at all. “She was my wife...” He shut his eyes and gripped tightly onto the rail of the bridge. He didn’t see the look on her face, but he could feel her surface emotions churn through the Force: confusion, pity, dark hints of anger and jealousy. “I didn’t you know you were married,” she stammered out after what seemed to be hours of silence. “Hell, I didn’t know that you Jedi even could get married.” Jorren paused for a moment, wondering if he could continue picking at a mental scab that still hadn’t healed. He looked at Amana, her Sabaac face not betraying any of the emotion that he could feel rolling off of her. “We tried to keep it hidden from everyone, not that I’m sure some people didn’t figure it out on their own. If they did, though, they didn’t say anything.” “I’m sorry,” she said. “It happen when you were on ice?” “A couple of years into it,” Jorren said. He sighed and leaned back down against the railing, looking forward but at nothing in particular. “I found out a couple of months ago.” “Damn...” Amana said. “I’m sorry, Jorren, I didn’t know.” Jorren shrugged. “I guess part of me didn’t want to really admit it. I’m trying to move on, but sometimes it still feels like a raw wound.” Amana instinctively ran her hand over where a large scar marred the skin of the side of her stomach. “I know the feeling.” Jorren nodded slightly. She hadn’t really given any details on how she had gotten such a large blaster wound, nor much of anything about her past before she had burst onto the galactic scene after fighting for Republic partisans on the civil war ravaged world of Ord Mantell. Some parts slipped past her at times, however: a planet that she hadn’t talked about before, or the hint of a name before she suddenly went silent. It never truly bothered him, for everyone on Odessen had their secrets, even him. “So...” he said after moments of silence. “Where does this leave us?” Jorren chuckled at the thought. “What exactly is ‘us’?” “I don’t know,” Amana whispered after moments of pained silence. “Two very kriffed up beings trying to find a little temporary solace with each other.” Jorren looked out at the horizon again, the bright sun of Odessen beginning to slowly disappear beyond a faraway mountain. He gripped the handrail tightly. Temporary had never been part of his plans, but neither had falling in love with someone—either Kira or Amana—had been what he’d planned when he had became a Jedi. “I might be able to live with that,” he said.