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Beyond - Legends You Found Me (Chasing Whisperkits prequel)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Tarsier, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 31, 2005
    Title: You Found Me

    Author: Tarsier

    Timeframe: sometime between Vision of the Future and Sacrifice; I think it's more or less canon-compliant (minus the whole Abeloth thing)

    Characters: Platt, Callista, Dankin; mention of Mara and Luke

    Summary: Started off as a bit of background for the unnamed characters in Chasing Whisperkits but it ended up as . . . well, this.

    Acknowledgements: Thank you to The Fray for inspiring the title of this story.

    Part I: Platt

    They’re in the cargo hold working on that ridiculous piece of space debris. They don’t see me, they’re too enraptured in their work and in each other. They laugh, a sound that seems foreign and hollow in this ship. My ship.

    It wasn’t always like this. Laughter didn’t use to be an alien sound . . . Never mind that. Dwelling on the past was a good way to get yourself killed.

    I refocus on the two of them as he yelps in surprise. The half-put-together engine has squirted oil all over his face. She laughs again and starts to wipe the oil off the deck with a rag. He’s got that goofy grin on his face, like getting covered in oil by a worthless heap of junk in the cargo hold of a bitter merc’s ship as it limps around a galaxy filled with nothing but pain and death is just another amusing adventure straight out of a holocomedy.

    I could join them. I could laugh with them. I could tell jokes and banter about the agony of lost love with a smile on my face. I could pretend I find archaic mechanics fascinating. I could help them with their project and find comfort in them as they’ve found in each other.

    But I won’t. Because if I get to know them, if I find something in them I want to keep around, I won’t be able to cut them loose when the time comes.

    I know Dankin, and his inexplicable optimism, is not long for this world. And Callista, though she seems strangely hard to kill, must be going to run out of second chances sometime. It’s easier not to care now than to mourn them later.

    Besides, even if he doesn’t die, that cheerful enthusiasm of Dankin’s is bound to run out eventually. And I’d rather not be there when it does.

    Part II: Callista

    I know Platt is watching. We could use her help, but I don’t blame her for keeping her distance. I’ve heard the stories of how the invaders ripped through her organization, leaving her the lone survivor.

    Still, her engine tuning skills are legendary, as evidenced by the soothing purr of the engines as we glide through hyperspace, and frankly Dankin and I don’t really know what we’re doing.

    I sigh, surveying the mass of mismatched hull plating and loose wires that composes the so-called ship we are trying to reconstruct. The rusted metal and broken chunks of duraplast look like the very definition of a lost cause.

    I thought it was a sort of miracle when I first found the battered skeleton of the Delta-7 Aethersprite-class light interceptor, what I used to call a Jedi starfighter. As soon as I saw it I knew I had to rescue it, had to fix it up. It was a piece of history, about to be lost and forgotten forever; I hoped I could save it for prosperity.

    But lately the miracle is feeling more like a burden. The ship is still missing a full third of the necessary parts and we have exactly zero money to spend on it. So we make do with what we can find in junkyards and abandoned crash sites, spending hours customizing and adapting every piece. Fortunately the one thing we do have in abundance is time. We travel through hyperspace slowly as we hop from port to port in search of work so as not to overtax our most precious commodity—the hyperdrive of Platt’s ship. During the weeks it takes us to travel distances that could be covered in days, Dankin and I work on the Aethersprite. It may be a hopeless cause, but at least it gives us something to do.

    Dankin clears his throat. “So,” he begins, his tone more somber than usual. I look up to see he still has engine grease all over his face and hair. “What exactly is the plan once we get this thing finished?”

    I toss him a relatively clean rag. “Wipe your face.” I chew my lip as he complies because the truth is I don’t really have a plan.

    He hands the rag back, most of the grease now removed, or at least rubbed in so deep he’ll never get it off. “Well, I want to give the ship to Luke,” I say. “I know Luke will appreciate the history, will cherish this link to the Jedi who came before.

    “I just haven’t quite figured out how to go about getting it to him.”

    I pause, and then a new thought strikes me. “I don’t suppose you’d be interested in helping with the delivery?”

    He twists his lip without responding. I know what that means - he doesn’t want to go, but he also doesn’t want to disappoint me. “It’s okay. You don’t want to see Mara again, do you?”

    There’s a light in his eyes when I say her name and for a second I think he might say yes, yes he does want to see her, wants to talk to her, wants to resolve the issues that have been eating him up inside and I’ve just given him the perfect excuse.

    “No,” he replies forcefully, casting his eyes to the side. “I don’t want to see her again.”

    I know I’m not one to talk about unresolved relationships, but I wish there was some way I could help him. But I’ve already decided to leave well enough alone. I have a feeling there is more to the story than he tells me anyway.

    “It’s not that I was interested in her, you know, romantically,” Dankin continues. “She was my boss. I’m not delusional. I knew I wouldn’t marry her. It’s just . . . I spent so many years doing nothing but trying to please her. She meant everything to me. Shouldn’t I have meant something to her?” He turns towards the half-assembled engine, his back to me. He fiddles with the wires for a moment then whispers, “She never even said goodbye.”

    My instinct is to put my arms around him, to tell him that of course he meant something to Mara – how could he not? But I resist the impulse, knowing he’s wary of close contact and my words would only irritate him. I don’t know Mara, I have no way of knowing how she felt about Dankin. Instead, I sit beside him, keeping a few inches between us, and gently offer a few words: “Sometimes goodbyes are the hardest with the ones that mean the most to you.”

    Dankin raises his eyes to me and there’s a bit of sparkle in them again. “Maybe you’re right,” he replies cautiously, as though he wants to believe me but is not quite sure he can.

    Part III: Dankin

    “I almost went back,” Callista says, breaking a comfortable silence.

    I look up, to see her staring at a section of hull plating she has been studiously polishing. I set aside the metal parts I had been trying to piece together. She looks up at me and continues.

    “After a couple years of searching furiously to find my powers and never discovering even a hint of how they might be restored, I gave up. I decided if I was meant to have Jedi powers I would wake up one day and they would be restored. Otherwise, I had best stop defining myself in terms of what I didn’t have. I also decided I needed to stop projecting my own neuroses onto Luke. If he claimed he could love me Force-blind as I was, why should I assume he was wrong? Didn’t he, didn’t we deserve a chance?

    “As much as I missed Luke, as much as I wanted things to work out, I approached cautiously. I was prepared for rejection and the last thing I wanted to do was hurt Luke again.” She pauses, and I nod encouragingly. I’ve never told anyone else about my deep feelings for Mara, about how it hurt when she left. I like to think Callista’s never been this candid with anyone else about Luke. She continues.

    “It was on Coruscant. Luke, his sister, and her family were just returning from a family vacation. As Luke walked down the ramp of the Millennium Falcon, he got a slightly surprised look on his face and then he smiled. I thought maybe he had spotted me and I almost ran to him. But then I realized he wasn’t quite looking in my direction. I followed his line of vision and there she was. Mara Jade. She was talking to a colleague of some sort, but her eyes drifted ever so slightly toward Luke. She gave him the tiniest nod – so small and smooth, I doubt the person she was talking to even noticed. Luke dipped his head in acknowledgment and then was dragged away by his nephews, a grin on his face.

    “He was so happy, I knew it was too late. I’d missed my chance.” She gives a brief sigh, lost once again in the shine of the hull plate. After a moment she locks eyes with me and adds, “Though if I’d known it would take him another five years to propose to that girl, I would not have let him go a second time so easily.” She laughs to prove she’s kidding, to show she knows they were destined from the start. I laugh too.

    “But anyway, it’s okay,” Callista continues quickly. “Clearly I was no more meant to be with Luke than I was meant to regain my powers.”

    “Are you sure about that?” I ask her, no longer able to keep up the light-hearted banter. I need something serious, a real answer, no more covering up the heartbreak with cheeriness and good humor. “The way things end up, the way things are, is that the way they have to be?”

    I stare deeply into her eyes, partially hoping that she’s not put off by my bitter tone, but hoping even more that she has a straight answer to the question, that she won’t say anything about forgetting the past and looking ahead to the future.

    She looks at me as she answers, but there’s something different about the look, some unfamiliar quality to her gaze. “No. Things don’t have to be this way. There’s a million ways things could be different . Thousands of ways they could be better.” She hesitates, seeming unsatisfied with the direction of that thought. “But . . .”

    She searches for the right words, furrowing her brow and casting her eyes to the deck. Then, as if giving up on the words and settling for action instead, she returns her eyes to me and reaches her hand towards me. She pauses with her slender fingers a few centimeters from my forearm. She knows physical contact makes me uneasy. What she doesn’t know is that hers is the one touch I have never minded. I lift my arm to meet hers, my grasp falling just below her elbow. In the same motion, without even thinking, I pull her closer to me. Following my movement, she leans in, and for a moment I’m overwhelmed by how near she is, her face takes up nearly my entire field of vision and her scent fills my nostrils. Then she kisses me, softly. Her lips barely touch mine but I’ve tasted her breath and she’s taken mine.

    A moment later she has pulled away, no longer in kissing distance, but her body is still close to mine, and our arms are still entwined. I try to catch my breath, wondering what just happened.

    When she speaks again her voice is low, and soft like her kiss. “This may not be the best life, Dankin. But I can’t begin to tell you how much more bearable it’s been since you found me.”
  2. Ceillean

    Ceillean Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Nov 13, 2001
    ?It?s not that I was interested in her, you know, romantically,? Dankin continues. ?She was my boss. I?m not delusional. I knew I wouldn?t marry her. It?s just . . . I spent so many years doing nothing but trying to please her. She meant everything to me. Shouldn?t I have meant something to her?? He turns towards the half-assembled engine, his back to me. He fiddles with the wires for a moment then whispers, ?She never even said goodbye.?

    Oy. Harsh. Not even saying good-bye. :( I feel sorry for him. But I guess it's not in Mara's nature to be heart felt.

    ?Sometimes goodbyes are the hardest with the ones that mean the most to you.?

    So very, very true.

    And this part reminds me of a song by Shinedown. Just one line. "Sometimes good-bye is a second chance".

    Her lips barely touch mine but I?ve tasted her breath and she?s taken mine.

    I absolutely love this sentence. [face_love]

    This was truly a wonderful little piece. And I love your writing style. You had me hooked from the very beginning.

  3. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 31, 2005
    Hi, Ceillean! Your review makes me so happy. :D

    And this part reminds me of a song by Shinedown. Just one line. "Sometimes good-bye is a second chance".
    I love that song! And the line does fit. :)

    I absolutely love this sentence.
    Thanks! It's one of my favorite lines too.

    Thank you so, so much for your kind words. I didn't expect anyone to read this story, I really appreciate that you did.