Author: Helena L PM
Oneshot, taking place just over a year after the events of KotOR. BastilaJolee... well, not really, but probably as close as you'll ever get.Rated: Fiction K - English - Words: 2,204 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 3 - Published: 08-31-06 - Status: Complete - id: 3133067
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The wedding had taken place in the Jedi Temple, in the Room of a Thousand Fountains. It had been a quiet, low-key affair; neither the bride nor the groom was keen on publicity, and the number of guests had deliberately been kept as small as possible. Just the old Hawk crew, really, and a few of the Jedi Masters.
Jolee sat in a secluded corner, sipping a large glass of Corellian sparkling wine, and idly watching the dancers milling around in the centre of the courtyard. Was that Carth's boy Dustil over by the central fountain, dancing with young Mission? And there was Bastila's mother in her hoverchair, talking to Revan. She looked a lot worse than she had when he had seen her last; she was thin and gaunt, and she clearly didn't have much time left. No wonder the kids had chosen to marry so soon, before the war was even officially over.
Jolee found himself looking away, unwilling to stare at Helena's hunched, shrunken figure for any longer than he had to. He didn't like to think about death and decay; it reminded him all too starkly that he himself was no young cub any longer. He might have had kids Bastila's age, now, if things had gone differently...
He heard a faint rustle in the distance, and looked up to see Bastila herself walking towards him. She looked radiantly beautiful, dressed in a simple white gown, with a small circlet of white blossom in her hair. Jolee watched her approach with unalloyed pleasure; he might be getting on in years, but he could still appreciate the sight of a beautiful woman. It reminded him of a time when he was filled with youth and energy, and of a girl with coffee-coloured skin, laughing eyes, and a braid of glossy black hair hanging down to her waist.
Bastila was drawing near to him now, carefully holding up her dress as she stepped over the wet grass. "Won't you join the dancing, Jolee?" she asked, with a faint smile.
He returned the smile, but shook his head. "I don't think so, kid. Not this time. My old bones are getting too creaky for this sort of thing."
"Don't be ridiculous," she said impatiently. "Your old bones, indeed! I wonder if they'd be quite as 'creaky' if you weren't enjoying your wine so much."
Jolee spluttered on his drink. "Listen to the child! You need to learn some respect for your elders, you young kath pup."
"Well, you're the one who's always telling me not to listen to decrepit old Jedi Masters," she retorted, a twinkle of amusement in her eye. "Or perhaps you count yourself an exception?"
"Damn right I do. Decrepit, I ask you!" Jolee took another swig from his glass. "I'll have you know I could take on five or six kinrath at once when I lived on Kashyyyk."
"In that case," she said firmly, "you can dance."
Jolee laughed softly and threw up his hands, beaten. "You never give up, do you? Oh, very well." He put down his glass and began to haul himself out of his seat. "Miss Shan, will you do me the honours?"
She looked at him a little oddly. "It's 'Mrs Skywalker' now," she reminded him gently. "And I'm afraid I already have a partner.
"Ah." Jolee sank back into his chair, feeling rather foolish – and, if he was honest, slightly hurt that she couldn't bring herself to spare even one dance for him. But then, newlyweds...
"You know, maybe I'll sit this one out after all," he said, and gestured to the chair beside him. "Here, have a glass of wine with me."
They sat in comfortable silence for the next couple of minutes, sipping their wine and listening to the music. Jolee's gaze wandered over to Canderous Ordo, who was standing by the buffet table, attacking a generous serving of food with great gusto. "Tell me," he said at last. "How long did it take Revan to persuade you that our Mandalorian friend should get an invite?"
She paused for a second, looking at him through narrowed eyes. "About as long as it took me to persuade him that you should be invited."
Jolee raised his eyebrows. "So that's how it is, is it? Hmph." His mouth twitched slightly. "Well, I can't say I'm entirely surprised."
"He doesn't know you as well as I do, Jolee," she said softly. "He... resents you, I think."
"Oh yes, I know." The old Jedi smiled rather grimly. "He thinks I'm a feckless, irresponsible coward who abandoned my duties and ran away, leaving everyone else to clean up the mess I made." He saw the astonishment in her face. "Don't worry, kid, I've heard it all before. And not just from Revan, I can tell you."
"You don't understand," she said hotly. "When he went out to the Rim and saw all the damage the war had caused, knowing that he was responsible for it... it nearly killed him, Jolee. He doesn't feel that he can ever make up for what he did, even if he tried for the rest of his life. Whereas you..."
"Ran off and hid in a forest, yes."
She shifted in her chair, looking distinctly uncomfortable. "Please, let's not quarrel about this," she beseeched him. "You know I think well of you, and I don't want this to turn into another fight. Not today."
She had a point, of course; they had certainly had plenty of heated disputes over the months they had spent together since the Star Forge. Not that Jolee really minded; he was an argumentative old coot in any case, and Bastila's wit and intelligence made her a good sparring partner. He liked a woman who could stand up for herself.
She was so different from his own wife, and yet there were similarities: she had the same stubbornness, the same strength of will. She didn't have Nayama's fire, but there was something else: a quiet, intense passion which showed itself only in the occasional word or glance, often when you least expected it. She was wasted on the Order, he thought suddenly, with a rueful smile.
Bastila shot him a quizzical glance, noting the smile. "What are you thinking?"
"That you're wasted on the Jedi," he answered honestly.
She pursed her lips and frowned, drawing back a little. "I don't consider my life a waste, Jolee."
"Not your life," he countered. "You. You're too volatile for them, Bastila. Damned killjoys squeeze the life out of anyone who feels too strongly."
"Maybe so," she said quietly. "But I am a Jedi, and I always will be." She sighed. "Jolee, I know you don't believe it's possible to be happy while following the Code, but you must understand that I'm as happy now as I ever could be. I could never forgive myself if I abandoned the Republic and everyone who depends on me."
He could have taken that on a reflection on him, but he knew she didn't mean it that way, so he let it drop. "And isn't love against the Code?" he challenged her.
"Not always." She looked straight into his eyes. "Only if you place it above the interests of the Order."
Jolee leaned forward slightly. "So you're telling me that if you were asked to choose between Revan and the Order, you'd give him up?"
"Yes, I would. And so would he, though neither of us would be happy about it." She saw the expression on his face, and sighed again. "I don't imagine we'll ever see eye to eye on the Order, Jolee."
"No, I don't suppose we will." He searched for a way to change the subject, and his eyes fell on the small, star-shaped pendant around her neck. Jenruax crystal, if he wasn't mistaken, and expensive stuff at that. Probably worth six months' pay to a Jedi...
"Revan buy you that?" he asked, nodding at it.
"I'm sorry? Oh, that." She looked down at the necklace, and a faint blush spread across her pale cheeks. "Yes, he gave it to me when he asked me to marry him."
Something in her voice made him look at her sharply. "You really love him, don't you?" he murmured.
"I do." Her voice was steady, but her eyes betrayed her; they had lit up like smouldering embers kindled into flame. "Yes, I do love him. He's a part of me."
Once again the simple words sparked a flash of remembrance, and he felt a sudden sharp pain in his chest. Damn it, he was going to miss her! How long would it be before he saw her again, if he ever did? Now that the war was ending, she would be reunited with her husband, and he and Juhani wouldn't be needed any more...
He swallowed hard, trying to dredge up a reply from his suddenly blank and agitated mind. The silence might have become uncomfortable, had it not been for the welcome sight of Revan striding across the grass towards them. Dressed in the ceremonial robes he had worn to receive his Knighthood, the young Jedi cut an impressive figure. He looked happy and confident, his eyes sparkling with an inner warmth and joy; clearly the cares that normally weighted him down had been at least temporarily forgotten.
"Jolee," he said good-humouredly, without a trace of the resentment Bastila had mentioned earlier. "Don't tell me I have a rival already?"
Jolee joined in the resulting laughter with good grace, though his heart wasn't in it. Though he could hardly deny it, there was something slightly painful in the implication that the very idea of his being a rival to Revan was ridiculous. Somehow it made him feel very, very old...
"So where are you taking her?" he asked, forcing a genial smile.
"It's a surprise." Revan slid his arms around Bastila's waist and drew her into his arms, murmuring just loudly enough for Jolee to hear. "But I hear Alderaan is very nice this time of year."
In answer, she drew his face down to hers and kissed him. They stood motionless, gazing into each other's eyes with the starry-eyed fervour of young lovers, until Jolee had to cough loudly to remind them that he was still here. Revan shared one last, lingering glance with his wife, before releasing her from his arms.
"I'd better be going," he said with a sigh. "Canderous is telling us all about the Battle of Ulandra IV." He caught the look in his wife's eye and grinned, then turned to Jolee, his expression growing more serious. "Thanks for looking after her for me, Jolee."
The old man felt his throat constrict. "It was a pleasure," he said gruffly.
Revan left to rejoin the other guests, leaving the other two alone once more. Bastila was the first to break the silence, crouching down for a moment so that her face was level with Jolee's. "I must thank you for everything you've done for me," she said, her voice full of feeling. "Especially in the first few months. If it hadn't been for you and Juhani, I don't know how I would have coped."
Jolee's eyes were beginning to mist over. "No problem, kid," he said, or tried to say, but the lump in his throat was so painful that it was hard to speak. Bastila hesitated for a moment, hovering over him; then, very quickly, she leaned over and kissed him on the top of his head.
"I'll miss you," she said quietly. A moment later she was gone, a pale, wraith-like figure gliding over the grass.
Jolee remained in his chair, unmoving. Through the haze of tears he could see Bastila talking with her husband, laughing, drawing him away to one side. She was a fine lass, he thought, a damned fine lass. Too good for –
No. No, that wasn't fair. Revan was a good lad as well, and the Force knew he deserved some happiness after everything he'd been through. Besides, anyone with a particle of Force sensitivity could feel the strength of the bond between those two.
What had he been thinking? Ridiculous, to imagine that he could ever really mean anything to her. The galaxy belonged to the young, as it always would, and they didn't need old Jolee Bindo any more. He wasn't dead yet, but his time had come and gone.
The old Jedi drained the last few drops from his glass, then laid it back down on the table. He brushed a few stray crumbs from his tunic and smiled for a moment, just a little sadly. Then, shrugging, he got slowly to his feet and trudged back across the courtyard to join the dancers.