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Before - Legends The Price of Notoriety - TOR H/C

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by SabyneAmberle, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. SabyneAmberle

    SabyneAmberle Jedi Grand Master star 3

    Sep 16, 2004
    Title: The Price of Notoriety
    Author: SabyneAmberle
    Genre: Drama, Hurt/Comfort, Missing Scene
    Rating: G
    Characters: Kybrina Gammon (Bounty Hunter), Torian Cadera
    Summary: The surprise attack had taken three people who had become important to her. In the aftermath, as they travel to the furthest parts of the Outer Rim, Torian learns more about her past, and about an event she has long buried.
    Notes: This is based on the end of Chapter 2 of the Bounty Hunter storyline in The Old Republic. I wished there was a scene like this in-game, so I decided to create one.


    As soon as he felt the ship jump into Hyperspace -leaving Nar Shadaa a mere dot in its wake- Torian wandered the ship in search of Kybrina. After the nightmare of what happened in the casino, after the subsequent holo cast and its scapegoating of Kybrina, Mako and Gault had each quieted down in their respective parts of the ship. The ship was eerily quiet, the only noise he could make out besides the humming of the engines was Blizz's happy chatter wafting from the engine room.

    As he searched the ship, the only he came across the ship's droid where it stood near the cargo bay. “Two-Vee, where's your master?” he asked. The droid seemed to jump a bit, as though it wasn't used to anyone on the crew addressing it besides Kybrina. He figured it probably wasn't.

    “Oh! My master told me she was tired and wished to retire to her quarters and rest. She also gave me specific instructions that she was not to be disturbed for any non-critical issue.”

    “Tough. I need to disturb her.” Torian brushed past the droid and climbed the stairs to the Mantis' main deck. From there, he only had a few more steps to climb before reaching the level containing the captain's quarters. Her quarters.

    He paused at the closed door, listening for any sounds within. He had never been inside her quarters before. Glanced inside a few times, yes. But never set foot in them. He felt that was an invasion of her space, her privacy, entering her area without permission. Under normal circumstances, he would abide by that. But these were far from normal circumstances.

    He could still recall her eyes. She put on a brave, almost mocking face. She joked that her grandfather would be so proud of the bounty on her head, swore she would strike at anyone who had wronged her. Yet her eyes betrayed her, told him a different story. There was something...pained in them, like she was mulling over something hurtful. No amount of jokes or vows of skira could hide that.

    As much as he hated to disturb her, it had to be done. He first lightly tapped on the door. “Kybri, it's me. Need to talk to you,” he said. When there was no response, he tapped a bit harder and repeated the statement. Still greeted by silence, he looked at the door panel on the nearby wall. He was surprised to see a green light on the console, indicating the door was unlocked.

    “Kybri. I'm coming in.” He didn't even wait for a response before he pressed the silver button on the console. The door slid open with a soft hiss, allowing him to enter the room.

    What he saw inside stopped him briefly in his tracks. He didn't even notice the armor pieces strewn about the room like some dismembered beast, his eyes were firmly locked on what was in front of him.

    Kybrina sat cross-legged in the middle of the large bed, hair unbraided and hanging about her shoulders. Her chin rested on her hands, gaze blankly transfixed on a spot of comforter a few inches in front of her. He was no longer surprised she hadn't responded to him, at that moment he doubted she even realized he was in the room. The look on her face reminded him of some of the recruits he had often fought beside; after their first violent battle, many of them sat around the camp for the next few days with similar expressions. Some never recovered, either getting themselves killed in the next fight or disappearing from camp in the night. He hoped the same wouldn't hold true for her.

    Carefully, he took a few steps toward the bed. Even though she had to have heard him by that point, she still had not moved or attempted to say anything. Standing at the foot of the bed, he sucked in a sharp breath when he noticed the faint, rust-hued smudges scattered about on the comforter. His gaze flicked to her hands, where he saw ragged skin and patches of crimson around most of her fingernails. Whatever was bothering her was causing her to chew at the skin around her nails until it bled. As he watched, she brought the little finger of her left hand to her lips, beginning to bite down on the skin. He could tell by the slight gasp she made that it hurt her, yet she continued to bite down on the skin, not even stopping when a thin trickle of blood oozed down one side of her finger.

    “Kybri.” He took that hand between both of his and squeezed it gently. He'd never seen her like this, and it concerned him. Concerned him, and hurt him to watch. He saw her freeze, as though realizing for the first time that he was there.

    “Torian.” Her voice was flat, almost totally devoid of emotion. He bit the inside of his lip when he heard his name, trying to keep up a strong front for her benefit. It wouldn't help her if he started coming apart as well.

    Eventually, he gave what he hoped was a reassuring smile. “Want me to rub your shoulders?” he asked. “Won't fix anything that's happened, but might help you relax a little.”

    She gave a nod. “Sure.”

    He moved to sit behind her on the bed, his hands gently moving to her shoulders. He heard her suck in a sharp breath as he slowly began kneading, and he noted the tightness he felt beneath his hands. He could tell by the way she was breathing that her teeth were gritted against the soreness, her breath making a soft hissing sound each time she exhaled. After several minutes passed, he felt her knotted muscles begin to loosen, could feel her body begin to relax. He continued his gentle actions, waiting for her to tell him to stop.

    “I'm a destroyer, aren't I?” The sudden question shocked him, and his hands froze mid-action.

    “Odd question. Why do you ask?” he replied.

    “It's simple really,” she answered, her voice shaking a bit. “It seems everything I've touched in recent years has been ruined in some fashion. People I've let myself be close to have been killed. Braeden and Jory, Bloodworthy, Jewl'a and the Defenestrator, Niel...”

    “Your brother? How was that your fault?” Torian kept his hands steady on her shoulders, could feel her tensing up slightly.

    “Because of what happened before his death.” Kybrina turned to face him, keeping her eyes averted. “You remember how furious my mother was after I was injured, right?”

    He nodded. “Hard to forget a detail like that,” he said.

    “That was about the point she began tightening the noose on my hunting, while attempting to funnel me into more ladylike activities.” She paused, biting her lip briefly. “That was also when she began searching for a future husband for me. Pretty much every week I was introduced to some young man or other, with the hope I would take a liking to one and accept a proposal.”

    “Had to be difficult.”

    “It was. Especially because my mother's taste in young men ran so counter to my own. All of her choices were of the 'spoiled rich boy' variety. They had money, could afford to send others to do the dirty work, and wanted a wife who was little better than an ornament. Someone like me intimidated them, and the few who were brave enough to challenge me walked away in bandages.”

    “Impressive. But not sure what it has to do with your brother.”

    She smiled weakly. “I was just getting to that,” she said. “Niel hated what our mother was doing. He and I had always been close as kids. He told me to pursue what made me happy for my own benefit, not the benefit of others.” She rubbed her temples, trying to ward off the headache that was just beginning to manifest. “I remember the fight he and Mother had about me one night. He kept insisting she leave me alone, that I needed to figure out my own life, without her interfering.”

    “Take it she didn't listen,” he said.

    She shook her head. “If anything, that made her even more insistent that she be the one to guide me. His retort was she needed to guide me, not bind me. He stormed off at that point, left early the next morning for a big job. Came home in a box.”

    “And you were blamed for that?” His tone was even, disguising his disbelief.

    “Tangentially, yes.” she answered, trying to fight back bitter tears. “Mother claimed that, had I simply accepted her aid, had I been happy as anything but a hunter, that fight would never have happened. Niel wouldn't have felt the need to run off to that job, and he might still be alive....”

    She trailed off. Her expression didn't change, but Torian noticed the tears that streaked her cheeks. It hurt to see that, to see her in pain. He automatically reached out, pulling her into his arms. She resisted briefly before relaxing, her head resting against his chest. She didn't sob, she didn't struggle, she just sat there quietly. If she was surprised at the gesture, she didn't show it.

    If anything, he was more surprised at himself. He had never been the type to initiate contact as a comforting gesture. He'd always prided himself on his analysis skills; he could look at a problem, figure out plausible reasons for it, and offer solutions. But a case like this was different, there really weren't any concrete solutions to make. He also rationalized that offering reasons might not be the best approach. Offer the wrong observations and solutions, he could be accused of being cruel and insensitive. Normally not a risk he wanted to take, but in this case a dose of brutal honesty might be necessary.

    “Got a question for you, Kybri,” he said. “How long you gonna keep falling on your sword for everyone else in this galaxy?”

    Abruptly, she shoved him away. “What...what did you just say?” she asked, her tone flat and icy.

    “Think about it, Kybri. None of what you told me is in any way your fault. You didn't hold a blaster to your brother's head and make him take that job, did you? You didn't make him have that argument with your mother, did you?” He stood up, keeping his back to her as he gathered his thoughts. “He knew the risks of what he was getting into with that job. Nothing to do with you. Anyone who claims otherwise is asking for a black eye.”

    She nodded. “I tell myself that all the time,” she replied. “Yet I still feel guilt because of it.”

    He turned back to face her. “Likely because you were raised to accept that responsibility, even if you shouldn't,” he said. “Often felt the same as arue'tal. Always someone out there who throws choices you had no say in back in your face.”

    “Funny you put it that way. Reminds me of something my grandfather told me when I was staying with him once.” She swung her legs over the side of the bed, moving to stand up. “He told me my mother was embarrassed I didn't turn out to be the proper young lady she wanted, said a lot of her criticisms were less about my behavior and more about her refusing to deal with her own failed expectations.”

    “Sounds plausible,” he said.

    “But one thing still bothers me a bit,” she continued, tilting her head slightly. “What about everything that has happened since I set foot on Hutta? Everything with Braeden and Jory, with the other Champions...”

    “Still not your fault,” he cut her off. He didn't mean to be rude, but her behavior was starting to wear on him. “Think about it, Kybri. Could have happened to anyone in your boots. Just happened to fall on your shoulders.”

    “You're right. I'm sorry,” she replied. “ just dredged up a whole load of unpleasant. Some of it I really hadn't dealt with before now. I always buried it and moved onto the next job. So it's gonna take a lot of processing before I'm through.”

    He nodded, drawing her to him for another hug. This time, he was surprised to feel her arms encircle his back, holding him gently yet firmly. “Take your time,” he whispered. “No one here's gonna rush you.”

    She drew back, and in a moment their faces were mere inches apart with gazes locked. He studied her features, noted the reddish tinge her eyes had taken on. She had been dealt a lot of stress, and it would take time for her to recover. But she was resilient, she would make it.

    He gently grasped her chin, softly rubbing his thumb over her lower lip. He resisted the urge to kiss her, however. Attracted as he might be to her, she was still a bit vulnerable at that moment. He didn't feel so great about kissing her when she was still recovering. Instead, he moved his hand to brush a few strands of hair from her forehead, placing a soft kiss on the now-exposed skin.

    “I'm here,” he whispered. “Whatever happens, count me in.”

    She smiled, something he hadn't seen since before they landed on Nar Shadaa. “Thanks,” she replied.
  2. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    :D =D= Torian gave the right kind of comsolations, a shoulder rub, a reassuring word, and cool, objective reasoning. I really enjoy reading from his POV. :) Kybrina's feelings are very plausible. In the EU, the Sky/Solos kind of have the market on 'it's my fault' even when it isn't or shouldn't be. [face_thinking]