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Beyond - Legends What If This Storm Ends? (Allana/OC, AU, one-shot, OTP Challenge #18: 5+1)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by ViariSkywalker, Dec 29, 2020.

  1. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 9, 2002
    Title: What If This Storm Ends?
    Author: ViariSkywalker
    Timeframe: 43-61 ABY
    Characters: Darth Festus (OC), Allana Djo Solo, Darth Ferrus (OC)
    Genre: AU, drama, angst, introspection, dark romance, unrequited love, one-shot, vignettes

    Summary:
    Five times Darth Festus definitely wasn’t in love with a Jedi princess, and one time she definitely wasn’t in love with him.

    Notes:
    Oh hey, another challenge response. :p This time it’s OTP Challenge #18: 5+1.

    My hope is that this can stand on its own, but it's also set in the same 'verse as Where the Waves Shatter, The Lands of the Dead, and Enter the Foreign. One of the sections in this fic occurs directly after the events of WtWS, so if you read only one of the previous stories, read that one. If you want to learn what the deal is with these Sith twins, Darth Festus and Darth Ferrus, read TLotD (and brace yourself). And if you want a crazy AU ride featuring a whole bunch of other characters plus a dash of time travel, check out EtF. (I really need to come up with a name for this 'verse. [face_thinking]) There might be some minor spoilers for EtF in this, but I wouldn’t sweat it too much. I go where the muse takes me.

    Snagged the title from “The Lightning Strike” by Snow Patrol.

    Disclaimer:
    Still not my sandbox, still just playing in it for a while. Still spending way too much time with these characters.

    Thank you @Gabri_Jade for making me post this. ;)

    ~~

    What If This Storm Ends?


    I. Nar Shaddaa, 51 ABY


    He wakes in the dead of night, as he often does, staring up at the low ceiling of the hastily rented tenement. His twin brother is across the room, sound asleep in his own bed, as usual. Snoring like a congested Hutt – again, typical.

    Freedom is still new to him. It reminds him a little of being thirteen, standing in the barracks on Korriban for the first time, dried blood from his first kill still crusted around his fingernails. A whirl of excitement and dread and noise as his brother dragged him over to show off his bunk. Not understanding what he was supposed to do next, why he was still so scared when his nightmare was supposedly over. This new freedom feels a lot like that.

    Rage snakes through him in these quiet moments, as memories fill every dark corner of his sleep-addled brain, and he finds he can barely breathe. Traitor, he thinks, clenching his fists against the sheets, remembering his master’s face. No good bastard. There are other thoughts, too, tumbling around in his head, thoughts he is reluctant to give form or voice to. Easier to rage against his old master than to examine the truth of him too closely.

    Her face flashes through his mind unbidden, and it’s all he can see now, that moment he knelt on the ground, waiting to be struck down. Helpless in the face of so much power and fury. Her voice, so quiet as she stepped between them. She had to know it was in vain, didn’t she? When the Master decided to kill someone, they were dead – no exceptions. She couldn’t possibly think her pleas would fall on anything other than deaf ears. So why did she do it? Why?

    Why can’t he stop thinking about it? Remembering the way she finally looked over her shoulder at him, her expression frightened and resolute and sad and—

    He drags his fingers through his hair, trying to ignore the sick feeling in his stomach, the one he still doesn’t understand, even weeks later. He hates it, hates thinking about how he owes his life to her twice over, how he’s just a worthless weakling who needed some Jedi princess to save him.

    Most of all, he hates her. He hates the fact that she stayed behind while his brother dragged him away. As if she was somehow stronger and better than him, able to stand up to the Master when he couldn’t. Daughter of legends, of heroes, of everything he will never be.

    Pure.

    Compassionate.

    Merciful.

    He raises a hand to his face, roughly wiping away tears before they can fully form. Already knowing he won’t be able to go back to sleep.


    ~~

    II. Kordros, 54 ABY


    “What do you mean, you lost him?”

    He throws himself into the co-pilot’s seat without answering. His brother ignites in the Force like a flare, punching the back of his own seat.

    “That’s great, first you lose the guy, and now you’re gonna drip water all over my damn ship?”

    He knows what Ferrus is doing, trying to goad him into reacting, trying to pick a fight. He can barely hold that thought in his head, though. Can barely spare his twin more than a glance as he stares out the viewport at the dark storm clouds gathering just offshore. He was so close. So close.

    Behind them, the murderer in chains laughs, an ugly, guttural laugh that fills the entire hold. “You two are really hilarious, you know that?”

    Ferrus turns on the man and points right at him. “You shut up, or I’ll kill you right now.”

    “I wish you would,” their captive says, sneering. “Anything’s better than listening to your whining.”

    Ferrus crosses the hold and grabs the man by the throat, lifting him high off the deck, as if he were little more than a rag doll. “Give me one more reason,” he says with a growl.

    Festus leans forward to power up the ship. “If you kill him, we won’t get paid.”

    The bounty drops to the floor as his brother turns toward him. “He speaks.” Ferrus stomps to the front of the ship and drops into the pilot’s seat. “Would you stop that?” he snaps, smacking Festus’s hand away from the navicomputer. “You’re going to short-circuit the controls. Go dry off or something.”

    Festus looks down at his clothes, completely soaked with seawater and covered in sand. He can feel the storm approaching from the west. He wonders where she escaped to, if she’s still on-planet, if she’s thinking about him the way he can’t stop thinking about her—

    “What’s with you today?” his brother grumbles, using his sleeve to wipe water off of the control panel. “You’ve never lost a kill.”

    Festus lets out a long breath. “First time for everything,” he mutters, watching fat, dark clouds roll in over the coast, covering the beach in swaths of torrential rain. Lightning splits the sky in the distance as their ship jerks into the air. “You know, I wouldn’t mind coming back here again.”

    “A thousand planets with beaches, and you want to come back to this freezing hellhole?” His brother lets out a derisive snort. “You really are crazy.”

    He tips his head to the side and studies his twin’s face for a moment. “Yeah,” he says quietly. “That’s me.”

    He watches the storm-struck beach and the dark layer of clouds until they’re nothing more than dull splashes of color in the corner of the rain-freckled viewport.


    ~~

    III. Reialem, 56 ABY


    The cerulean blade slices through the air, sizzling with pure, deadly energy as it misses his chin by only a few centimeters. Too late to block, he bends backward as far as he can and readies for her next attack. Her saber reverses course, and he meets it with his own; and he wonders how she put him on the defensive so quickly.

    As the light from their weapons dances across her face, she flashes a tiny smirk, and he thinks: Oh, right. That’s how.

    “As much as I’d love to stick around and get murdered,” she says, slightly out of breath, “I have somewhere to be.”

    He laughs as their blades lock against one another. “You think I’m going to let you go that easy?”

    He uses his greater height and weight to push her back. She tries to dig in, but he’s gaining momentum now, forcing her through the jungle’s dense foliage, up a slight incline, only for her back to crash hard against a massive, gnarled tree.

    The impact jars them both. The part of him that usually aches to dominate and destroy his opponents – the part that revels in their fear as they wonder what he’ll do to them next – is strangely silent as he holds her against the tree. In its place is something else, something hungry and heated rising up in him as he leans into their crossed lightsabers. For a few fleeting seconds, he imagines surging forward to kiss her.

    —weak, pathetic, what are you doing, don’t you dare—

    —you really are a monster, aren’t you—


    He doesn’t know what to do next.

    Her gray eyes go wide, and in that instant, he sees the young girl he fought on Vjun. He remembers his hand tightening around her throat, recalls the intensity of his hatred, how he’d wanted to punish her master and every Jedi in existence by taking her precious little life. Darth Krayt had rescued him from the lands of the dead and given him purpose, filling the void at his center, focusing his rage; and by the Force, the young and eager Darth Festus was going to repay his master in every possible way, starting with the death of Ben Skywalker’s apprentice.

    The memory of that hatred is staggering in its ferocity and in the way it stands in such stark contrast to how he feels right now. Because as he looks across the blades into her suddenly terrified eyes, he’s not thinking about how much he hates her or how he needs to kill her. He doesn’t want her terror. He wants her to flash that little smirk at him again. He’d do anything to see it.

    He’s thinking he never wants this to end.

    It’s a game, he tells himself. That’s all it is. And if he kills her now, the game is over, and where would be the fun in that?

    “Come on, Princess,” he says in a low, mocking hiss, with just a hint of a grin. “Is that really all you’ve got?”

    That sparks something in her, and she shoves him hard enough to force him back a step, giving her an opening to hit him with a wave of Force energy. He staggers down the hill, tripping over a raised tree root and nearly falling to his knees. Once again, she has the high ground. As if there were any other way it could be.

    “Not even close,” she says, brushing a few strands of copper hair from her eyes as she twirls her lightsaber at her side. Then she leaps forward, swinging from over her shoulder, aiming at his head. He catches her blade against his and parries, driving forward with a series of blows she is only barely able to block. The tables turned, he swings hard and looks down at her through the union of crimson and cerulean light, utterly transfixed.

    “Now pay attention,” she says, that little smirk finally playing at her lips again, “because I’m only going to do this once.”

    Oh, what he wants to do to that soft, smirking mouth. Pay attention, right, not like he’s at all distracted by her lips or her voice or every damn thing about her.

    He pitches forward suddenly, his lightsaber clashing against nothing but air as she deactivates her weapon and ducks to the side. He throws out a hand to slow his fall, but she slams both fists and her saber hilt between his shoulder blades, knocking him hard to the ground. A blast of energy smacks his head against the jungle floor, and he sees stars.

    He hears her take off, her footfalls light as she runs up the hill, away from him. Something stings his face, and as he drags himself to his knees, he finds the mossy ground dappled with his blood. He swipes a hand across his face, identifying the source of the blood – a gash above his left eyebrow. A ragged laugh slips past tightly clenched teeth. She could have killed him, could have stabbed him right in the back. Why didn’t she? Why won’t she kill him?

    He stands in time to see her cresting the hill. She looks back at him before she disappears beyond the trees, and in that second, haloed by the brilliant sunlight that pierces the canopy, he knows he’s never seen anything or anyone more incredible.


    ~~

    IV. Taris, 58 ABY


    He doesn’t usually leave their dwelling unless there’s a job to do. He’s learned that he can’t even pretend to move through normal society like any other citizen. Everything about him reads wrong to people, and they are always instantly suspicious of him. There’s a part of him that thinks he should be a little better at it by now – it’s been over seven years, after all.

    His brother doesn’t have a problem blending in. In fact, half the time he doesn’t seem much different than any of the other criminals and lowlifes they have regular dealings with. Which, Festus supposes, is why he’s being practically kicked out of his own home in the middle of the day. As he pulls his jacket on and slips his lightsaber inside one of the inner pockets – because he’ll be damned if he gets caught anywhere without it – he glares over his shoulder at the door leading to his twin’s quarters.

    The muffled but definitely delighted laughter of Ferrus’s female companions is enough to make him want to murder someone. Possibly Ferrus himself. He grits his teeth, remembering the stupid grin on his brother’s face as he tried to convince him to stick around. You honestly need this more than I do, Ferrus had said, glancing behind him at the women just visible in his room. One human, one Twi’lek, by the looks of them. Ferrus’s grin had turned sly as he nudged Festus hard in the shoulder. I’ll take the Twi. I know you like redheads.

    Rage twisting up inside him, clawing up his spine… it had taken everything in him not to punch his twin in the face.

    Now he slips out of the apartment and makes his way down to the pedestrian level. The weather is just cool enough to justify pulling the hood of his jacket up, offering him at least a little concealment in the bright light of day. He’s not really sure where he’ll go, but as long as no one bothers him, he figures he’ll just walk for a few hours.

    That’s enough time, right? He honestly has no idea. Ferrus usually goes somewhere else whenever he needs that particular itch scratched.

    He realizes his hands are clenched into tight fists inside his pockets. He decides he doesn’t care. The anger feels good, in its own way. It always has.

    He’s about to turn a corner – barely avoiding a speeder that veers too close to the walkway before pulling back into traffic – when he hears it. A voice he’s heard so many times in his sleep, it’s as familiar to him as his own.

    “Looks like your contact got cold feet.”

    He closes his eyes for a second, letting the sound of it fill him. His mental defenses are up almost all the time now, but he holds fast to them nonetheless. Then he edges out from behind the corner of the building, looking for the source of that voice.

    She’s standing in profile about ten meters down the walkway, chin tilted up to address the man next to her. Her long, copper braid draped over her right shoulder, as always. Her expression tired, but determined. He has to remind himself to take a breath.

    “What do we do now?” she says.

    Her companion turns so that his face is visible, and Festus can feel his hand itching for his lightsaber. Ben Skywalker shakes his head, saying something he can’t quite hear. Then Skywalker holds out a hand before stepping away, disappearing into the crowd. She watches him go but remains in place, standing off to one side of the walkway. Alone.

    He knows he can’t let her see him. If the Jedi know they’re here, they’ll have to pick up and leave and start again somewhere else, and his brother will be furious.

    Festus smiles to himself at that thought, and he steps out onto the walkway.

    There are so many beings moving between them, it takes a moment for her to notice him. He doesn’t move, just stands there waiting, letting the sea of pedestrians part around him. He thinks maybe she’s too lost in thought at first, but then her eyes shift up and go very, very wide.

    He’s reminded of the beach on Kordros, a few years ago, where they stared at each other like this. Silent, unexpected. Heart in his throat, pounding nearly as hard as the waves against the rocks.

    —don’t pretend you haven’t thought about her each and every day since she saved your miserable life—

    She hasn’t moved yet, which is a little surprising. He stares back at her, into those gray eyes, and he tries to imagine what it would be like to hear her laugh. Then he cocks his head to the side, puts on a smirk, and shrugs.

    That seems to jar her. She snaps her head to the side, searching the crowd, and he realizes she’s looking for Skywalker.

    And that’s my cue.

    He darts back around the corner, looking for the nearest escape route. Figures he’ll head down to the lower level and make his way back to the apartment from there. He doubts Skywalker will want to give chase right now, especially without a visual. But they won’t be able to stay here, that’s for sure. He smiles at the thought of his brother’s face when he tells him the news.

    He descends to one of the filthier lower rungs of the city, pausing every so often to check that he’s not being followed. A few blocks from home, he finally stops and ducks into a rusting public transit shelter. Pulls his hands out of his pockets, only to find them shaking.

    —don’t be weak, what’s wrong with you—

    He feels the spot where his brother shoved him, sees that stupid grin on his face, hears the laughter from the bedroom— and he thinks if it was her laughing, he never would have left, not ever. She fills his thoughts, fills every part of him, making him sick, and he wants

    —this one thing, can’t I just have this one thing—


    —stop it, don’t even think it, who do you think you are, like you’d ever deserve her—

    Get a grip,
    he tells himself. Get a damn grip, already.

    He draws his mental wall up high and blows out a long, steadying breath. The shaking subsides. He looks up in the direction of the apartment building, able to just make out one corner of the structure from where he stands. Plaster on a smile, and play the part. He’s gotten awfully good at that over the years. Most of the time he doesn’t know the difference.

    He leaves the shelter, turning toward home, and grins.

    His brother is going to be so mad.


    ~~

    V. Argeneen, 61 ABY


    Darth Festus lies on his back, staring up at a sky so blue, it doesn’t even seem real.

    The rust-colored mountain range he is currently occupying hews slightly more orange than the ones he grew up around on Korriban, and he thinks that color contrast is what makes the whole landscape look even more surreal. Like an illustration from one of the stories he used to read as a kid.

    Huh. He hasn’t thought about those stories in years.

    A breeze flutters through the canyon, whipping up around the ledge he is camped on, and he closes his eyes at the feel of the warm air brushing across his face. He could just lie here, he thinks. He could just listen to the wind and feel the sun on his skin and not have to do anything at all.

    He takes a deep breath, then lets it out slowly.

    His fingers grasp the pair of macrobinoculars at his side, and he rolls onto his stomach, peering down at the city nestled in the valley below. It still feels a little weird to be hunting someone so mundane, someone that even the most inexperienced bounty hunter could probably bring in without much trouble. Someone who is wanted most definitely alive. He feels that slowly-building pressure in his chest, the need for release, the need to crush someone so completely that they never rise again. He grits his teeth against the feeling and adjusts the settings on the binocs.

    His target is just arriving in the city center, sitting in the back of what looks to be an expensive Nubian speeder. Baron Torith Valdos, wanted by the Hutts for… well, he honestly doesn’t know. Probably stole from them, or insulted one of them, or did something equally stupid. Why isn’t his brother the one bringing this fool in? Oh right, because he’s decided to play crime boss now, isn’t that a fun game?

    There’s no rush to bring Valdos in right this second. No one down there will be able to stop him, and he figures he might as well enjoy his time away from Denon. He scans the group assembled near the speeder, a bunch of dignitaries and aides. Valdos exits the speeder and greets a few of the men and women gathered there.

    Wait a damn minute.

    He lowers the binocs, quarry forgotten as he blinks and wipes dust from his eyes. He raises the binocs again, adjusting until he has a clearer view of the woman standing to the right of his target.

    Okay, he thinks, forcing himself to breathe in and out. If this isn’t some kind of fate nonsense, I’m going crazier than usual.

    Because that’s Allana Djo, Jedi Knight and one-time princess, standing there next to his prey, completely unaware of the forces – or maybe even the Force itself – conspiring to bring them together yet again. Kordros, Ord Mantell, Reialem, Taris, Kurin, and now here, on Argeneen, a freakishly-colored dust-ball in the middle of nowhere. And before any of it, before Vjun even, before the doctor and the Sith, before he’d been put on that shuttle and sent away…

    He shakes his head, forcing those thoughts out of his mind as he returns his full attention to the woman he has spent the last ten years chasing after.

    He wonders, in a distant sort of way, what he would actually do if he ever caught her, if he ever defeated her again. He knows what he should do. He’s known that since he was eighteen years old. He used to picture it, that moment when he would drive his lightsaber through her chest and burn out her heart, always feeling that sick, sick twisting of his stomach as he did. But now, every time he tries to imagine killing her, all he can think is that he’ll never hear her voice again or look into her gray eyes or feel the rush of being so close to her.

    —it’s just a game, it’s just a game, but every game ends eventually, doesn’t it—

    —don’t be weak, you idiot, you can’t be weak, as if she could ever love you—

    He grips the binocs hard, knuckles bone-white, fingers aching. She couldn’t. She wouldn’t. Not someone like him. Not ever.

    The doctor whispers to him across time and space, almost kind, almost tender: Don’t try to hide from what you are, what you were always destined to be…

    What am I? he’d asked back then, desperate for truth, for anyone’s truth. And what was it his old adversary – his old mentor, captor, patron, opponent, teacher… his guide through the lands of the dead – what was it he had said?

    The only one who can answer that question is you.

    There have been many answers to that question over the years, all of them falling short of the truth. All of them except one:

    Monster.

    He thinks of the stories he used to read as a kid, the ones where the brave knight always slayed the monster in the end.

    Down in that valley is a brave knight. Maybe the bravest he’s ever known.

    All right, he tells himself as he puts down the binocs and picks up his lightsaber. Time to go be a monster.


    ~~

    I. Jedi enclave, unidentified location, 43 ABY


    The boy kneels down in front of her, holding the toy out for her to take. “I’m sorry,” he says, and she can tell he really means it. She doesn’t know why he’s sorry. It’s not like he did anything wrong.

    As she reaches out for her most precious possession, he smiles at her. She tries hard not to look away, much as she wants to. She’s gotten used to people looking down on her or over her or past her. Like she’s not even a real person who matters. His daughter, they whisper when they think she can’t hear. Isn’t that why those other boys stole her toy in the first place? To punish her?

    Her fingers grasp the soft, slightly worn plush of her stuffed tauntaun, and she hugs it against her chest, dipping her head to breathe it in, or maybe to hide her face. “Thank you,” she whispers, slightly muffled.

    He’s still smiling at her, a little wider now, she thinks. For just a moment, she thinks of the stories she’s heard, about what a princess is supposed to do when someone comes to her rescue. But she’s not a princess anymore, is she? She doesn’t think she ever really wanted to be one anyway.

    “You’re welcome,” he says, tilting his head ever so slightly to one side. “I’m Dorian, by the way.”

    She peeks out from behind the plush. “I’m Allana,” she says, so quiet she’s not sure he can even hear her. She hugs her toy tighter, unsure if she should say something else.

    “I know,” he says gently. “I’ve seen you around.” Finally, he stands, and this time his smile is a little sad. “They won’t bother you again. I promise.”

    She nods, silent as she watches him turn and walk away. She doesn’t think about it until later, why he chose to kneel. It’s not like she’s a toddler that he would tower over her. He can’t be more than two or three years older than her. She wonders why he did it.

    She sees him a few more times in the days that follow. He mostly sits alone, reading on his datapad, but she’s too shy to approach him. Not long after, she learns he was transferred to one of the other enclaves, along with his brother, and that something had gone wrong along the way. The adults are reluctant to say more, but her grandma pulls her into her lap when she asks, and she explains what happened.

    She thinks of him often, for a time, wondering where he is, if he’s even still alive. The sadness eats at her, and her grandma smooths the hair back from her forehead and sings old Alderaani lullabies; and she remembers him the way she remembers a dream – hazy, distant, not quite real.

    Dreams pass in time, her grandma whispers, and she’s right. Eventually, all she’s left with is an ache, like what she feels when she thinks of her mother, her father, her grandpa… everyone she’s ever lost. A quiet heaviness in her heart for each of her dead.


    Fin
     
  2. Gabri_Jade

    Gabri_Jade Fan Fiction Archive Editor Emeritus star 5 VIP

    Registered:
    Nov 9, 2002
    *pounces*

    Edit: These angsty children =((

    So very much psychological trauma here. Some of it, that aching sense of being unimportant, of being nobody, predates his capture by the Sith, and that is just so sad, that even that is still tormenting him. But the realization, even if he doesn't consciously acknowledge it, that all the things he most admires about Allana are the things that he secretly wishes he could be - now that's heartbreaking.

    I'm telling you, Ferrus is a Sith version of Biff Tannen. Which does not make him less intimidating! Imagine Biff knowing how to use a lightsaber and actually having been taught to kill people since childhood! And these lines really bring him to life for me. Festus is easier for me to visualize/hear, but in this scene especially I can see Ferrus.

    Heh, dueling can be distracting :p[face_love]

    It is by turns comical and tragic just how very confused this boy is. Growing up among Sith is not conducive to emotional health!

    It's not right for a Sith to be so cute, Vi :p

    Our little Lord Space Byron [face_love] The volumes of yearning poetry that he would produce if he wasn't so busy being murdery @};-

    Vivisection'll make you a little weird ]-}

    Darth Festus thinks Darth Ferrus needs a punch in the face :p

    Aw, he loves her so much [face_love]

    And from adorable young love right into shades of stalkeriest stalker who ever stalked

    It genuinely cracks me up how happy he is to piss off Ferrus :p

    He's such a theater/poetry club kid, I just can't even

    Bright Lady and Dark Knight, was it? Definitely, definitely your wheelhouse, dear :*

    Poor Allana =(( Poor Skywalkers in general, they seriously just can't catch a break.

    I don't think her mother did, either. Nor did it do Teneniel any good. The EU did the Djo women dirty.

    Go ahead, break my heart, I don't mind [face_not_talking] It is all absolutely beautiful and polished and exquisite and heartbreaking and I love it endlessly [face_love][face_love][face_love]
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2020
    Kahara and ViariSkywalker like this.
  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Absolutely riveting and stunningly intense! =D=
     
    Kahara and ViariSkywalker like this.
  4. SiouxFan

    SiouxFan Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2012
    Whoa...this is....just whoa!
     
  5. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 9, 2002
    @Gabri_Jade
    [face_dancing] ANGST![face_dancing]

    Reading your analysis of his trauma always makes me feel so bad for inflicting this fate upon him. :( I think even though he always had that feeling of being no one, it’s something he would have come to accept and just kind of live with, had he not been taken by the Sith. But during his time in captivity, there had to be that thought: “well, if I was someone, they would have made sure to rescue me, wouldn’t they?” The idea that he was expendable, or that if the Jedi were going to fail to bring someone home, it was going to be someone like him, with no connections or family or importance.

    And you’re so right, it is heartbreaking how deep down – way deep down – there’s still a part of him that longs to be noble and pure and heroic. And he knows he can never be those things, not anymore. (As Jacen told him long ago: "All that you might have been is lost to you. There is no changing that.") At this point, it’s been roughly two-and-a-half years since he became a Sith Lord and purged his former self, dramatically playing up his own mental instability and becoming the flippant yet terrifying Darth Festus we know from EtF. But like you and I have talked about, so much of that is an act that he puts on – one that he buys into wholeheartedly for a long time, but an act nonetheless. Now, in this section, so soon after the events of EtF, he’s still grappling with having his world turned upside-down yet again and having another run in with one of these Skywalkers, a child of heroes like the ones he used to read about and admire… and it brings up all these old feelings that he thought dead and buried. He can’t process them or filter them through any emotions other than hate and rage and loathing, but they’re still there.

    And then, of course, there’s the fact that while (in his mind) Ben abandoned him on Yalena – destroying his image of what heroes were and dooming him to a fate arguably worse than death – Allana instead saves his life, even when there seems to be no hope that it can be saved. And in doing so, maybe she restores a tiny fragment of his old beliefs? He still hates her for it, or at least he thinks he does. For now.

    Welp, look at me, getting all analytical. [face_blush]

    Seriously, combine Biff’s bullying ways and physicality with creepy Imperial shuttle co-pilot from The Mandalorian finale, and you’ve got Ferrus – or at least his voice and mannerisms, if not his actual look. But that’s okay, I’ll fancast someone who looks off if they embody the character in all other ways. And that dude, Gabri… I’m telling you, that’s the voice I hear when I write Ferrus. (And shuttle co-pilot’s first line in the finale was “I suggest you shut your mouth, this isn’t your laboratory,” which, as my sister pointed out, is just such a Ferrus thing to say. [face_laugh]) Ever since I saw the actor on Agents of Shield, I got a Festus/Ferrus vibe from him, and as the final season went on, my brain just kind of latched onto him as Ferrus.

    I’ve put way too much thought into this. :p But I’m glad I was able to bring Ferrus to life for you! (Even if you do hate him, lol.) Even though he doesn’t have as big a role in the narrative as Festus, he’s just as real to me, and I love exploring their relationship.

    He’s just so matter-of-fact about it, too. :p

    It goes back to what we’ve talked about before, how would he process these types of emotions when he was never taught about any of it and had to repress any decent, normal feelings he ever had? And then all of a sudden, he and his brother are out in the real world, surrounded by all kinds of people and things they never had contact with before. I figure Festus is repressed for sure and has zero experience, but by this point he’s in his early twenties, and he knows how things are supposed to work. The boy is frustrated, Gabri. Incredibly frustrated. o_O

    I still can’t believe you even typed this sentence, what is happening??? [face_laugh] I knew I was fighting an uphill battle to get you to like him (other than as a frightening, twisted villain), so reading this is pretty much the ultimate triumph. And to think how he started out in EtF, or even where he ended up in TLotD, yikes. (To say nothing of how you felt about him when you started reading the sequel, lol.)

    I honestly surprised myself a little as I wrote this whole thing. I knew he had developed feelings for Allana sometime post-Vjun, but the way they developed over the course of all these meetings was a bit unexpected. I thought he was going to deny those feelings harder and for a longer period of time, but this is way more interesting, I think. He ended up being a lot more self-aware toward the end than I anticipated. (Although he never specifically calls it “love” until that last section, which I think it significant.)

    But yeah, apart from all the murdery, hate-filled memories, this scene is pretty much, "You have the cutest smile, and every time I see it I want to kiss your adorable face."

    Oh, the murder. *sigh* Kind of a sticking point in any potential relationship, especially when one is in love with a Jedi Knight. Nevertheless, I am exceedingly proud of Lord Space Byron (both the character and the moniker). :D It’s been ages and ages and ages since I’ve attempted to write poetry of any kind, so I suppose more prose from Festus’s POV – where he yearns endlessly after Allana – will have to do. ;)

    Yeeeeah, it will definitely mess you up. (I’m never going to live the vivisection down, am I?)

    Darth Ferrus still thinks Darth Festus needs to get laid… his words, not mine. [face_whistling]

    It still amuses me greatly that Ferrus is like “you need to loosen up, here, I brought girls over,” and Festus is like, “nope, outta here”.

    I’m not even going to try to be cagey about it anymore, he’s so in love with her, it’s ridiculous. :p[face_love]

    Yeah, funny how his way of casually flirting with her doesn’t exactly read the same way from Allana’s perspective. :p Every time I picture this scene, no matter how much I know Festus is in love with her, it is always creepy. Like, if you were in Allana’s place and you saw him just standing there completely unmoving in the middle of a bustling walkway, and then he just smirks at you and shrugs? You’d be like, OMG WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? IS HE GOING TO KILL ME NOW???

    This is seriously one of the most consistent things about Festus, no matter what stage of life he’s in or where he falls on the spectrum of good and evil – he likes to piss his brother off. [face_mischief]

    Scary to think of the hidden depths in those theater/poetry club kids, lol. A little self-loathing, some social awkwardness, a dash of vivisection (okay, way more than a dash), and poof! Insane, homicidal dark side villain. [face_hypnotized] (Okay, not really.)

    All joking aside, I thought it would be interesting to show a Sith Lord just outside, being a little bored, maybe even possibly *gasp* enjoying nature. (But not for too long, because he can’t let himself enjoy anything good without having a mini breakdown.) They can’t constantly be scheming and murdering, right? They have to eat and sleep, and in Festus’s case, go to work because he doesn’t have the big Sith bank account taking care of things anymore. What does that look like for a bad guy? Maybe almost a little normal? And I liked the idea that the longer Festus and Ferrus are away from the Sith sphere of influence and actually have to make their way in the real world, the more “normal” they become. And I don’t mean necessarily mean “good”, but rather that their brand of evil starts to align more with normal evil rather than Sith levels of evil, if that makes sense. This is especially true for Ferrus, I think, who by this time has carved out a little crime syndicate for himself.

    As for Festus, well, he still has plenty of psychological damage to deal with, and he’s still incredibly dangerous, but he’s at least gotten to a point where he can admit to himself, in a roundabout sort of way, that he loves Allana. Something he wasn’t able to do for years, and even then it was through the self-deceptive lens of “well, if I kill her then I won’t be able to play this fun cat-and-mouse game anymore” rather than admitting outright that he was in love with her.

    I really think it might be. [face_thinking] Why can’t I find more examples of this trope in play? Surely I can’t be the only one interested in this sort of dynamic? I mean, sure, it’s super problematic, but it would be entertaining and angsty as hell. There have to be other examples of this sort of relationship out there, someone find them for me! :p

    Also, this moment is probably the most self-aware and self-reflective Festus has been in at least a decade, if not more. You know it’s not going to last, because he’s got to bury that stuff down deep. But it made me sad to write this part. :(

    My poor sweet baby. =(( The Skywalkers are my favorites, and I am so mean to them. But Allana, my gosh… she just breaks my heart. I just want her to be happy. Why did I inflict Festus on her again? Because I wanted to challenge myself creatively?? *shakes fist at self*

    *sees little Dorian being sweet and heroic*

    Oh, right. That’s why I did it. :p

    It really did. Damn Hapes. Not that I won’t still use Hapes every chance I can get because ANGST. [face_mischief]

    I know, I know, I owe you tons of happy!fic ;)

    Gabri, your comments and support and encouragement and den mothering mean the world to me, and I am endlessly grateful to have such a wonderful friend! If I’ve created something you can enjoy, then I am very proud and happy! :*[:D]



    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha
    Thank you very much! :D



    @SiouxFan
    Lol, that’s basically how I reacted as I was writing this thing. ;)
     
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  6. amidalachick

    amidalachick Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Allana! That's a name I have not heard in a long time.

    This is so intense and sad and really beautifully written.

    I love the imagery here.

    And the entire last section. Little Allana and her stuffed tauntaun and all that might have been. =((

    Gorgeous work on this! =D=
     
  7. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 9, 2002
    @amidalachick
    She may not get any more stories in the profic, but that won't stop me! :p I've been writing versions of Allana for about fourteen years now (yikes :eek:), and I just love her so much!

    I'm so glad you think so! [face_blush]

    Intense is definitely one of the first words I think of when it comes to Festus. Kinda hard for him not to be - his life hasn't been the greatest. :(

    This was one of the last parts I wrote, and it was a bit unexpected, but I enjoyed imagining the scenery here!

    She's so sad and precious, and I feel so mean for inflicting all of this on her. =(( Maybe it'll be worth it in the end. Maybe. [face_whistling]

    Thank you so much for your lovely comments! I'm glad you enjoyed it! :D
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2021
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  8. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Quite a dark and tragic story all things considered...
     
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  9. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 9, 2002
    Definitely what I was going for here! [face_mischief] Thanks for commenting!
     
  10. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    I AM HERE!!

    This was posted at the high point of DRL swallowing me whole over the winter, but I still remember reading this and feeling a little socked in the gut, in the best possible way. Just heartsick and wistful and morbidly fascinated and even more than a little oddly hopeful all at once. You're really just aces at balancing so many extreme emotions and taking what should be dark and creepy and even revolting and making it . . . well, almost human in a way. Identifiable. Tragic.

    Anyway, I'm babbling, aren't I? But there's not a single word I can think of for the emotion you're able to capture when you write Festus/Allana, but I am totally onboard for it. These two! [face_love]

    [face_laugh] Right off the bat, I love how very typically sibling-esque this was. Ah, brothers. :p

    Goodness, but where to even begin with unpacking this? (And, golly, but don't I have to catch up with EtF so I can properly experience the full weight of these subsequent vignettes.) I was first reminded of a younger Dorian seeing Ben Skywalker in TLofD as his last chance of rescue and then having that hope suffocate before extinguishing completely. There's some bitterness there, as far as heroes are concerned. The Jedi weren't able to keep him and his brother safe, or to save them from the Sith after they were lost. Dorian himself couldn't save his brother and himself from the Sith. In the end, he had to become what he hated in order to survive. He couldn't stand up to the One Sith without breaking, and for Allana to do so in his place . . .

    Plus, there's the whole imagery of the princess and the knight and the monster kinda all playing off of each other in all sorts of interesting ways that's just so, so fascinating. I looooove it! [face_thinking]

    This poor murdery mess is a mess. And that just breaks my heart. =(( Even when he's free, he's still far from escaping his less literal chains.

    Loved your prose here!

    Oh boy. Ferrus. Such a classy human being, he is. o_O

    But, this entire scene was just a fantastic follow-up to Where the Waves Shatter. =D=

    [face_laugh] [face_whistling]

    Ouch. Again, for a boy who's grown up with the Sith and has learned how to stamp down any natural or positive emotions and turn them to rage that fuels him, that's to be expected. But he's still just a boy and she's a girl and pesky things like biology and the heart and love could care less about Sith dogma. In some ways, Ferrus is more than right. :p

    But, it says something that he kinda recognizes that about himself. No matter how much he would protest my saying so, there's still a dreamer and a romantic deep down inside of him. Otherwise he would have availed himself to Ferrus' preferred type of companionship a long time ago. (Not to mention anything else the rest of the Sith were undoubtedly be into. Yikes.)

    Love is dangerous, compassion is a weakness, and what does it matter because she could never love him anyway?

    Besides the momentary lull in battle, he doesn't know what to do next in more ways than one. [face_plain]

    It's an awful full circle, isn't it? He once looked to Ben for rescue, and then dove into Krayt's philosophy and embraced the Dark Side to survive when it became apparent that there was no escaping the Sith, and now just look at the mess that remains? =((

    Gorgeous prose is gorgeous! Poor Festus. Attraction is hard even without all the creepy Sith creepiness in the first place. 8-}

    Oh, this heartbreaking murder baby. Of course he doesn't understand Allan's mercy. Mercy is dangerous. He couldn't afford to show mercy, and mercy was never shown to him. She's everything he once could have been and even now can't begin to recognize.

    THAT SAID . . . Allana, dear? Why didn't you kill him? Even the most conservative Jedi would have seen her doing so as justice. [face_thinking] Juuuuuuuust saying. [face_whistling]

    Gorgeous imagery! This Space Lord Byron and his poetic lamentations, I completely agree! [face_laugh] [face_laugh]

    Eugh, vivisection, I have to echo Gabri's comment. How is he ever going to be able to pretend to be part of normal society after what he's endured? After what he's done in his turn? It seems too impossible to even imagine.

    And that's just sad in its own way, isn't it? He's not a Sith anymore, technically. He can do anything he wants with his life. He can renounce the Dark. He can be anything he wants to be. But he can't. Even seven years later, he's still a casualty of his trauma and he can't let it go. The ANGST.

    [face_laugh] [face_laugh] SIBLINGS!

    Plus: this stalkiest stalker who ever stalked. Way to be a creep, there, Festus. :p

    =(( =((

    Again, Fesrus feels like he has so clearly been written into a role. And, in many ways he has been. Yet, what was that the doctor was always saying about choices? [face_thinking] And the Force certainly keeps on bringing these two together in a massive galaxy willed with so many infinitely possible paths otherwise . . .

    What really struck me about this scene - besides the sheer squee-out-loud adorableness of baby!Allana and baby!Festus [face_love] - is how Allana too feels so clearly defined by circumstances beyond her control. She's not she, herself; instead, she's the tragedy of her parentage.

    And the line about Dorian kneeling before the princess and her not thinking about that until much later. That was another wonderful use of the archetypes we are already well familiar with in fiction to better explore the complex bond that's somehow taken root between these two. There's just so much interesting symmetry and top notch storytelling going on here that I can't even. I just love it!

    Allana and Leia, Allana and Leia!!! I adored even that small glimpse of their bond. [face_love] This dear, tragic girl. Both of them! Seriously, but the universe needs to give the Solos/Skywalkers a break one of these days.

    But, I found it really interesting - and telling - that Allana counts Dorian amongst one of her dead. That she thought of him, felt bound to him, and mourned for him, even though she barely knew him. She even dreamed of him. Dorian too thought of himself as dead until Festus emerged from the ruins left by the Sith and oh my goodness but the symmetry here just killed me. Really, such beautiful, haunting, A+ writing. I just want so much better for this murderous trash bag of a character. I really do. And Allana too! Even though she obviously deserves better than Festus. Obviously. :p So, it's amazing that you're able to write this ship with so much star-crossed longing - even if that's mostly on Festus' side - without it feeling completely repulsive. Instead, again, it just feels tragic. (And my own ridiculously hopeful, dreamy inner-romantic just wants both of these sad, broken characters to find peace and happiness. Together, even. In whatever way they can.)


    Anyway, I hope that wasn't too rambly and properly expressed just how much I really enjoyed this story and respect the quality of your writing. I can't wait to see what you have in store for these characters next! [face_love]

    =D= [:D]
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2021
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  11. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 9, 2002
    @Mira_Jade
    Woohoo! [face_dancing] (I totally read that in All Might’s voice, btw. :p)

    I can’t even begin to describe how much I love this. [face_love] (Not you being swallowed whole by DRL, but the rest of it. :p) This is just… everything I could hope to make someone feel while reading this fic, really. And you are not babbling at all! (Girl, have you seen my replies? 8-}) But this really is the highest compliment I can think of, and I’m so, so glad you enjoyed the story!

    I’m going to sound like a broken record by the end of this, but I really do love writing their twisted sibling bond. They’re so close to normal… until they’re not. It’s always important to me that they not only interact with each other as brothers, but that their sibling relationship is still recognizable from before they were Sith Lords. I find them simultaneously tragic and terrifying and hilarious. It’s a strange mish-mash, but I love them.

    This is so spot-on perfect, I don’t even know what else to say. (Other than yaaaasss, don’t resist the siren call of EtF… we’re seriously getting into the good stuff now. Just saying. [face_whistling][face_mischief])

    The whole princess-knight-monster dynamic seemed so perfect for what I’m writing here, and I didn’t even intentionally do it, at least not at first? I mean, it’s always been there just by virtue of this being a world with Jedi Knights and monstrous villains and Allana being an actual princess… but I didn’t specifically hone in on it until I’d done a fair bit of work on the EtF sequel; and it was like a lightbulb went off, and all these little details I’d included across the sequel and TLotD and WtWS suddenly coalesced and it was amazing, and I wish I could say I planned it all from the beginning, but it’s really more like it clobbered me over the head and then refused to let go? Which is kinda how this weird little ship started in the first place, lol.

    And honestly, the first time I wrote a reference to these stories of princesses and knights, I thought maybe I was being a little cheesy or too Earthy. But Gabri very wisely directed me to a passage in Shadows of Mindor where Luke and Han are discussing a holofilm that directly deals with those tropes, and I was all “thank you, Stover!” and I just ran with it. ;) Plus, SW is basically a space fairy tale, right? (Even if this particular fic is so not a fairy tale. [face_worried]) So yeah, long story short, I love this dynamic, and I’m glad you love it, too! :D

    He is so very confused. :( And you're right, every time he escapes one form of bondage, he ends up chained in other ways.

    Aw, thank you! [face_blush]

    Ferrus is… *gestures vaguely* I love him as a character, I really do. But he’s such a jerk. It’s been interesting balancing their relationship through the years. I think when they both served the Sith, Ferrus would have been more likely to defer to Festus. But now that they’re on their own and Festus is more untethered and unsure of himself, Ferrus ends up taking the lead a lot. I do think it shifts back and forth throughout their lives. Obviously when they were captured as kids, Dorian was the protector; but even just a few years on, Veeran was trying to take on that role, saying that he would free them both. So I do think that while some things about their relationship are pretty constant, there’s also a lot of shifting of dynamics, and I find that super interesting to write and explore.

    I am very glad you think so! [face_blush] And even though this story is about Festus & Allana, I really wanted to use at least a few of the sections to shed more light on the relationship between the brothers. It’s always fun when I can make a scene do double the work. ;)

    This lovesick dork. :p

    I love how you expressed that. *sigh*

    Ferrus is kinda right, while also being so very wrong, lol. Which is why he nearly got himself punched in the face. o_O

    I do think you’re on to something there… ;)[face_mischief] (Seriously, your reading is spot-on. I feel so seen.)

    And yikes indeed, what even were all those Sith up to? Nope, never mind, I don’t need to know. :p Let’s just say, Ferrus has likely been dealing with his own trauma in this particular manner for quite a while now – since Korriban, even; and he’s completely baffled as to why Festus wouldn’t want to partake. But then, he also thinks his brother is a weirdo, so there's that. :rolleyes:

    He’s such a confused, repressed murder boy. =((

    I’ve been so mean to him. :( But at least he’s making some tiny bit of progress? He’s not actively thinking about killing her here. (My OTP, ladies and gents… “at least he might not actively want to murder her now!” :oops:)

    What lovely praise! [face_blush][face_blush]

    He really is creepy, and it is not helping things. :p

    Exactly this!

    Well, of course it’s because she’s a precious, empathetic cinnamon roll who values all life and wouldn’t ever want to kill anyone… [face_whistling]

    I’m telling you, Mira, wait until you get to his first appearance in EtF. He’s literally hanging out in a gloomy mansion, and the first descriptions of him were totally inspired by the image of the Byronic hero, or my understanding of one at the time. (Although that was well before I’d fully developed him as a character. I honestly can’t remember what inspired me to write him that way back then, but it’s certainly paid dividends. [face_thinking])

    This just hurts because it’s so true. There’s nothing and no one standing in the way of him doing whatever he wants to do with his life… except his trauma and the horrific choices he made and how impossible it is to reconcile those things with the person he wanted to be before he was taken by the Sith. Jacen told him in TLotD – and he believes it wholeheartedly – that he can’t ever be that person. So why even entertain that thought? He really doesn’t even consider it a possibility, because Dorian Starskip is dead. =((

    These ridiculous Sith twins, they crack me up. I think I’ve mentioned it elsewhere, but I really think this aspect of their relationship would be true no matter what age Festus is or where he falls on the sliding scale of good and evil – he likes to piss off his brother. [face_laugh]

    And ugh, he’s such a disaster, I can’t even. :rolleyes:

    Right? :(

    It’s seriously like you’ve looked directly into my thoughts as I was writing this. :eek:

    They’re so darn adorable, aren’t they? [face_love] Her little kid crush on him is the sweetest thing ever, and then I just had to ruin in. [face_plain]

    The tragedy of Allana’s parentage does come up a bit more in EtF, just saying. [face_whistling]

    I also think it’s interesting that young Dorian knew Jacen in a way that Allana didn’t, from his time on Korriban. That Jacen even helped him, in a way. Such a tangled web. [face_thinking]

    I’m just really pleased that this part stood out to you. My reasoning for including it was twofold – bringing in those princess-knight dynamics and the stories each of these characters have internalized… but there was another reason, and it was actually the initial reason I wrote him kneeling. It’s nothing earth-shattering by any means, but essentially, he elevates her above himself. Most kids ignore her and won't play with her, and a lot of the adults don’t know how to interact with her because of their own grief and anger over what Jacen did. As Allana says, they look down on her, or over her. But Dorian doesn’t just see her – he puts her above him, both physically and symbolically. I suppose that isn’t really entirely separate from the whole “kneeling before the princess” thing, and a big part of why Dorian consciously chooses to kneel is because of those stories… but on a deeper level, it didn’t matter if she was a princess or not. She was a sad little girl who needed help, and that protectiveness he showed in TLotD when his brother was threatened clearly wasn’t a one-time thing, nor was it only limited to his twin.

    This is getting very rambly and not making near as much sense as I want it to. :p To be continued in PM, maybe? I have a lot of thoughts, lol.

    Also, your comments on the symmetry and quality are making me [face_blush][face_blush]

    I live for these little Sky/Solo family moments. :D Sadly, I am not very kind to them in EtF. [face_worried] (ANGST!) But omigosh, Allana with Leia… I just loved writing that tiny little section.

    It killed me, too, believe me. =((

    Also, it was only a tiny scene in TLotD, but do you remember when Dorian wondered if anyone from his old life remembered him or missed him? :_|

    One last thing about this scene: I know I told you I spent about a month feverishly working on the EtF sequel after the intended one-shot completely spiraled out of control. Well, this scene comes from something I wrote on day 2 of that writing spree (last summer), so that’s how long this childhood meeting has been in my mind. Just to kind of give an idea of how woven together all of these stories really are. Even though I’ve written each fic from scratch for their respective challenges, the ideas have been there from the beginning. Gah, I love writing. [face_love]

    Lol, I hear you, girl. ;) I feel like I have to let everyone out there know that, no, I do not endorse becoming romantically involved with a murderer, no matter how cute he might be, or how tragic his backstory is. In real life, I would tell Allana to run far away from this human disaster. I love her so much, and she deserves all the best things after what she’s gone through. Festus clearly isn’t the best.

    And yet… [face_batting]

    Like I’ve said before, maaaaybe there’s more story to be told here… [face_whistling];)

    Ramble on! (And no, it wasn’t too rambly! Seriously, look at my own responses, yikes.) I’m still positively giddy over these comments and thrilled that you got so much out of this story, and so excited that you’re on board for more! :D[:D]
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2021
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