|His Spirit, Her Soul
Author: leogrl19 PM
A whatifie! Pretty much, a story on what would happen if Rev and Bas's roles were switched. If she became the dark lord and he never left the order. Of course, RevBas! Merry Christmas, guys -- it's chapter 4!Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Drama - Chapters: 4 - Words: 83,697 - Reviews: 37 - Favs: 31 - Follows: 34 - Updated: 12-18-08 - Published: 10-04-06 - id: 3183694
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Arsenel: (Walks on to stage)
Umm…. Hi folks, (looks at watch) Ook... (Throws away watch and brings out calendar), Wow over a year, huh. You guys are seriously loyal...I love you!!! (Cries)
Ok, now that the drama is over, welcome back to another episode of His Spirit, Her Soul. I know we're late but a lot of things can happen during a year... a month... an hour... a minute! To all those living in the US - your country is pretty nice. It is going through some problems and changes, but in the end it is still nice.
Now may I introduce the co-writing who keeps on hitting me with kitchen objects... LEOGRL!...
Leogrl19: (Throws plunger instead) Decided to change it up a bit there; can't have things getting boring, can I? Have to keep the spice alive, man. I mean, what is the world coming to when a woman doesn't throw a plunger instead of a knife at least once in any relationship with a guy? Come on girls: you gotta keep em guessing...If only to show them that you still care...
ANYWAY! Like that floating paragraph before me said; it has been over a year, guys! How in the beans did you all survive? I mean, really -- you should all be congratulated, like, Klondike bars all around! I truly do appreciate the loyalty though, as my co-writer mentioned as well; it makes me feel all wiggly...Kinda like those Jell-O commercials that are really awesome with the jiggling people and all that shebazz...But I digress: I fear I'm getting off topic -- it's that five second attention span thing again. Like I said in my other fic that you all seem to love so much (winks and clicks tongue) lol I AM 18 now, and if there was ANY hesitation before to be in the M section, it's COMPLETELY and UTTERLY gone -- POOF. So enjoy it, kiddies: I know on good authority that there's a really, really, really...REALLY mild mannered and completely orthodox and in the box scene in this chappie.
OH! One last thing until the goodness! We actually did have proper thought in this chapter -- like seriously, guys; we have a goal! I know!!! So; pretty much what's going down is that I want you all to see that the main characters (Ariana and Revan) in this fic have direct parallels to some other lovable rascals (Kaleb and Bastila) in another fic! I know there's been some apprehension among some of you that the characters would be completely opposite and that's just not the case here! While some personality traits have to be smothered slightly in the beginning: they're still the same people, guys, and you'll see that more and more as we go along -- extra credit to whoever can spot the similarities in actions and convo in both stories!
So, without further ado...or bdo and cdo, chapter four everyone! WHOO! YEAH! ALRIGHT! (glares) Shhhh!
Traces and streaks of sunlight that would normally penetrate delicate milky eyelids were not found as Ariana reluctantly opened her eyes. Briefly glancing around in a light haze, her neck felt support from a warm pillow as she closed her lids once more from the comfort.
These are way better then those paper thin things in the upper level. She acknowledged approvingly.
Peeking through an open eye; she soon closed it at the sight of bundled strands of bronzed hair, the color brilliant as lighter streaks capriciously ran throughout the base color, before closing the eye, preferring her restful state.
Don't remember dying my hair… She wondered before a soft, yet warm and heavy weight was fully felt across her midriff, just below her breasts and, through her breathing, gently teased her body with the brushes of the object. Mmmm, the woman moaned in her mind, feeling all too relaxed and at ease. Wait; something's…wrong… Her brain immediately alerted as the object now moved up just a fraction to press firm against her bosom.
Prying her eyes open, Ariana awakened to a scene many women in the galaxy would love to see and would no doubt kill to touch: a sleeping Revan up close.
His hair obtained her attention once again, the whole thing a bundled mess from his impulsive stirrings in his sleep, no doubt, but it still eye-catching in its messy state. It looked incredibly soft to the touch, something she wished to confirm, bouncy waves going every which way before they all ended mid-neck. Her ears registered gentle snores from his humorously agape mouth, both managing to claim a soft smile from her while her eyes settled on his incredibly handsome, yet ridiculously adorable face.
Wow… Her rapt semi-conscience mind trailed, waking up the other half to view the sight, He really is hot. She admitted. Who would have thought that Jedi Rev…?
Her mind finally caught up.
"Revan!" The woman shouted just as she violently pushed her fellow bedmate off the mattress.
"Augh!" The disturbed, once sleeping man exclaimed as he felt an abrupt force on his body and then the effect of it falling, the flat of his back hitting the floor with a loud thump. "What the..." Revan lifted his head slightly as he sleepily looked around for any danger, but only saw a woman glaring down at him – perhaps the greatest threat of all. "You're hurt or…?" He mumbled before letting go of his first instinct and deciding to just ask what was wrong, "Wha…what happened?"
"You "happened"!" She exclaimed loudly, ignoring, for now, how absolutely cute he looked with a side of his hair fluffed up wildly, half opened eyes and furrowed eyebrows that truly held little threat for any unknown enemy; she pulled the thin sheets high to cover her form even though she was still fully dressed. "You self-righteous ass; I thought you Jedi took some vow of chastity or something!"
"Chastity"…"ass"?" He repeated bewilderedly while he rubbed his head, a headache pounding through as he tried to process her words and why she was so mad, so early in the morning. "Ariana; I haven't a clue to what you're referring, but if you could just stop yelling, maybe we can-"
"No -- you were…touching me." The woman interjected with a slight hint of scarlet on her cheeks.
"What!?" He exclaimed shocked, the accusation waking him up fully as his eyes shot to hers. "You must be mistaken -- I would never do such a thing!"
"What; so you're calling me a liar now?" Ariana asked indignantly, her faint blush turning into an angry hue.
"No; I am not claiming that you lied, but attempting to show you how impossible it is for me to commit such an act. First of all, my conscience would never allow it, second, I respect you too much to do something so base and vulgar, and third; yes, like you said: I am a Jedi, a Master, to be specific, and such a lewd action falls obscenely short of one of my rank."
"Then why was your Jedi Master arm feeling on my female breast?" She demanded, uncaring of her voice's level or tone.
"That's absurd! For you to even suspect that I-" Revan suddenly stopped, a moderate flush gradually affecting his face as he thought about their situation. Last night, I had to heal her…There was a poison and I just barely was able to stop it without collapsing…I…fell asleep here and was on her bed before I….
"Oh yes! Y-you…you…pervert!" The furious woman retorted before looking to lunge at him in anger.
Revan couldn't defend himself further as she suddenly leapt from the bed to his form, her kneecaps narrowly missing his groin as the man rolled over on his side. He managed to restrain her hands so they wouldn't hit him while she was on top, the merc pulling away and managing to free herself to complete her goal.
"Ouch! I'm sorry! I didn't – ow -- mean any of it; it just…happened that way!" He managed to get out before being punched once more.
"Oh, so you normally sneak into a woman's bedroom to try and have your way with her?" Ariana hissed out through her teeth. What is it with the men on this planet? She thought to herself with incredulity, First Carth, that wannabe Sith back at the party and now a Jedi!
"Oh yes; you've figured out my darkest secret!" The man exclaimed sarcastically, as he managed to get a hold of her hands again, the comforter off her bed spilling on top of her as she sent them tumbling with her kicking feet. "I was in here trying to heal you, remember? You were sick and I used the Force to stop that sickness from spreading!"
Being on top of Revan's chest was the most comfortable of either him or the floor, but she would never concede to that. All activity from her ceased as the bed cover managed to hide both occupants while she looked into his golden eyes, which were far too close to be considered safe.
"I…think I remember." The woman admitted as pieces of the previous night came back to her, "I-" She began before the door to her room opened up.
A growl suddenly erupted throughout the room as a furry Zalbaar unexpectedly walked in. "Ariana, I have been informed to tell you that breakfast-" The creature suddenly stopped when he saw the two bundled humans on top of each other. "Oh…Please excuse me. I was told of your species' erratic mating rituals, but I did not know it happened this fast."
"MATING RITUALS!" The two voices called out in unison with varying emotions, but still in the same position.
"I wouldn't think that there would be a need to explain such since you're already so deep in the act, but it is clear, from the position of your bodies, that you are engaging in-"
"Zalbaar!" Revan suddenly cut him off, not being able to take such an explanation as he, for the love of the Force, could not move. "I am not -- er, that is to say, we're not-"
"Hey, Big Z, what's taking you so long?" Mission's voice suddenly filtered through as she had her hands on her hips in the open doorway. "I ask you to do one thing and…" The young girl trailed off as she looked to the scene in front of her and colored slightly as her hands went over her mouth from an amused shock. "Wow, guys; at least wait for the third date or something."
"Mission; this isn't what it seems: it's a complete misunderstanding." Revan desperately tried to once again explain, it being one thing that the Wookie saw them, but young Mission definitely did not need to witness this and get the wrong idea.
"Exactly." Ariana agreed trying to free herself, but somehow the comforter had caught under him and it wouldn't budge. "This…Revan here tried his Jedi healing on me last night, is all." She hoped to explain, but scoffed on the inside. Third date…Come on; I'm not that low…
"Jedi healing", huh?" Mission questioned with an incurable grin. "Is that what you guys call it these days?"
Revan could only shake his head in disagreement with her words as he tried to tug the cover from beneath himself. "If both of you would just take the time to listen-" He cut himself off in frustration as he grunted from how resistant the cover was, before giving up and sighing, "Look: Ariana came up with this absurd notion to pounce on me-"
"Uh-huh…I think we can both see that. Come on, Big Z." The Twi'lek remarked as she started to pull Zalbaar out the room, "Let's leave these two alone. When you guys are finished, Carth got us some breakfast." She told them before re-closing the door, leaving the two of them in strained silence.
It did not last long: anger bubbled up inside of Ariana.
"Pounced on you?" She asked with immense incredulity. "Out of all of the words in the human language, you chose "pounce"? How in the galaxy did that Jedi mind of yours even think that would help out in this situation?"
"Oh, ok: now we add faulted for telling the truth to the list? Maybe "assaulted" would be more to your liking?" He questioned back mockingly, annoyed from her accusation, "A simple choice of words isn't the reason why we're down here in the first place or why our companions reacted as they did."
"But look at what it managed to accomplish -- look at what you've done!" She blamed as she scowled at the man.
"I did? If you never would have jumped on top of me in some crazy quest for revenge, this whole thing could have been avoided." He replied matter-of-factly.
"If you never tried to touch me while I was sleeping, I wouldn't have pushed you off in the first place!" She argued back
"For the last time, I didn't mean to touch you! It was nothing more than a mistake, alright? Reflexes that I probably could not control while I was sleeping and your…chest...area, just happened to be the thing I landed on."
"So you do admit to touching me!" The woman exclaimed, missing half of the other words.
Revan sighed tiredly from the woman's response. "I admit that I subconsciously may have bumped against you, but deny the fact that it was done purposely to make my action perverted. You told me to go to sleep last night after I healed you; so technically: this is entirely your fault."
"What?" She snapped furiously, the man witnessing her almost translucent blue-gray eyes suddenly darken as they became grayer and created a bone-chilling glare, her accent only helping as it became more defined in her anger. "Stop trying to pin the blame on the lady – act like a real man and take it!"
"Then stop acting like a child while trying to make this out to be much more than it is!" He exclaimed back, his Jedi training catching him with a warning of becoming too animated before he again remembered her uncanny ability to illicit such strong emotions from him; Revan took a deep breath and forced himself to calm down. "Ariana; I have admitted that my hand may have touched you, and yet you continue this senseless argument to the point where I have to question if you're secretly enjoying doing so." He was not surprised when he saw her glare deepen, but ignored the fact. "What I did was a mistake – nothing more. Whether you choice to believe me or not, however, is entirely up to you."
Ariana didn't know what to believe: her head was still hurting and the loud shouting, while mostly done by her, had only made it worse.
"Fine!" She eventually conceded, finally untangling herself from the man and standing up, "But just so you know: I so hate you right now and...Leave!" She ordered angrily as she thrust a finger in the door's direction.
The Jedi shook his head as he lifted himself up. "So juvenile…Is this your idea of resting up, getting into some pointless debate and trying to beat me senseless?" He sighed; despite his berating tone he truly was worried about her and wished that this entire episode had never happened from her reaction. "Here; let me carry you to your bed: you still need rest."
"Whatever…" The woman voiced softly, yet stubbornly as much of her previous anger filled strength left her muscles leaving her feeling weak, "At least I can like a person, rather than some perverted robot."
"Perverted ro-" Revan sputtered out indignantly before taking a calming breath. "You know what; no: you're only proving my point -- that you're childish when you should be acting your age."
"Childish? Didn't we already cover this, Mr. Robot?" Ariana said in a sing-song voice before heading back to her bed and under the covers. "I'm going to get some much needed sleep. Fighting you off," Ariana said placing emphasis on the person, "wore me out." She lied.
He merely shook his head. "I will not fall into your petty traps again: I know that while my hand might have slipped inappropriately; I have already explained why. If you do not wish to accept it; well…That's a personal problem, is it not?" Grinning slightly from his retort and her silence, Revan scoffed to himself from feeling almost proud of winning before heading for the door.
"I'm going out to breakfast; hopefully, I'll be able to diffuse thoughts of anything perverse happening in here. I'll bring you back something in a minute." He informed, his own hunger disappearing from Ariana's plight.
The merc merely curled up deeper into the bed in reply as the man left the room, seeing everyone's eyes on him as he approached the small kitchenette.
"So…" Mission started with a huge smile. "The two of you are finally done and Ari's not here with you: I gotta say; I'm concerned."
Revan sighed, adding to the numerous amounts of times he had already done the action today. "It's like I told you before, Mission; all of it was just a big misunderstanding."
Carth waved his fork at the Twi'lek. "Leave him alone, Mission." He smiled as he looked at the Jedi Master. "What Revan wants to do in private shouldn't be any of our business."
The Jedi shook his head, knowing it was useless to keep trying to advocate a lost cause, as he picked up a plate and filled it with the variety of food on the counter. "Ariana, right now, is very weak and I'm getting her something to eat so she can regain her strength – I assure you; that's all."
"Hey; I believe you – she must be absolutely exhausted." Carth teased as Mission struggled to keep a giggle in.
"Human mating rituals require food?" Big Z asked candidly, earning an irritated look from Revan as he turned around while Mission began to choke on her breakfast from her laughter, turning a deep purple.
"Hey; if you two are going to be in there all morning, the rest of us are going out to scout for a way off this planet." The Republic pilot remarked, humor laced into his words, but knowing in his mind that Revan was a Jedi and personal attachments were beneath him, "Feel free to join us once you two are done in there." He concluded as Mission finally managed to dislodge the piece of bacon in her throat.
Revan decided to let out, once again, a sigh, wondering how his, what he deemed, innocent words had again and again fallen prey to sexual innuendo.
Ignoring the snickers and coughing sounds of the people behind him, he reopened the door to Ariana's room and put on a smile in an attempt to forget the past.
"I've come back victorious. I don't know what you prefer, so I brought back a little bit of everything." It was a white lie, but technically, not one at all: he had known what Bastila enjoyed for breakfast, but Ariana was proving to be quite different yet exasperatingly similar.
The woman let out a soft chuckle, despite herself, at his words when he entered, barely being able to lift her head; the sudden loss of most of her muscles' movement…disturbing, to say the least, to the mercenary. Resting her head back down as Revan walked closer to her bed, she shut out all the pain in her body that flared within her, as she was taught in the past, and raised her upper torso.
Turning her head to his face, the woman bit back hot tears from pain and gave the young Master a weak smile, "Thanks; didn't think you Jedi came with a personal butler button."
Revan placed a strong arm behind her back for support and pushed her back slightly so she could lean into it. "You shouldn't strain yourself; you're already in enough pain." He shook his head. "And I don't know about the butler part, but I am glad to be of service…In a way, this is better than the whole slave bit."
Her weakened smile then transformed into a wicked grin, one that the Jedi had quickly found out never to be in his favor. "And just who said that you were no longer my slave, slave? If it does not expressly leave my lips then it means nothing." She concluded lazily, as if a queen decreeing a new law, while her eyes rested on the strapped leather pants he still wore from the swoop race. Mm…Slave indeed. Good thing I saved him before another woman would have made him her pet: I'm sure they wouldn't be as…reserved as I am.
He witnessed the small increase of her grin and wondered what she was thinking before casting it off as some other slave degradation. "And unfortunately, I know that this is true: I have a feeling this…moniker of yours," He expressed with slight disdain, "will continue to haunt me in the days to come. But, for now at least, I'll allow it; if only to get you to eat."
"Is that right? I'll remember to have fun with that privilege a little later." Ariana responded back teasingly, before seeing the amount of conviction in his eyes, how very serious he was, "So…Which one is good?" She asked in an attempt to change the subject; they were already too close as he kept her up and he was making her uncomfortable with how much he cared for her well being – especially since they only just met yesterday…It was…weird.
"Well, let's see here…" Revan trailed as he switched the arm that was supporting her with his other while he accessed the plate, "I've brought you some eggs, bacon, and some fruit. I guess it just depends on which one you want to eat first." He suggested with a soft smile as he picked up one of the pieces of bacon and broke one end of it in his mouth.
"Hey;" She called out playfully, something about that smile of his disarming, "aren't you supposed to offer the woman first?"
"Hm…I gave you the plate; if you can't figure it out from there, then…" He plopped the rest of the bacon in his mouth and continued chewing, a satisfied smiled on his closed lips.
"Fine: be that way!" She sassed like a spoiled girl who did not get what she wanted.
Her eyes scanned the plate, accessing what she wanted most at the time, before picking up a juicy piece of fruit and nibbling on it, enjoying its cool, piercing flavor.
Revan's eyes wandered over to the woman next to him as he chewed on the other end of the bacon thoughtfully; the piece of fruit that she had chosen was an interesting one: a piece of melon; more specifically, it was one of her favorite fruits back when they were children.
He could not stop a smile from emerging on his face from this discovery. I guess she hasn't changed as much as I thought. Perhaps…Bas is still in there somewhere…Despite the mind wipe.
The revelation caused the man as much relief as it did anxiety; his fellow Council members had warned him about delving too deep, and even though he was sure that she could be saved and led down a gentler path this time around, the other Masters thought him blinded by their former friendship.
"Revan;" Ariana started off sweetly, the man knocked out of his reveries as he looked to her eyes, "unless you want to end up back on the floor, I suggest you stop staring at me like that with those eyes of yours and go back to enjoying your breakfast." She ended a bit more edgily to show that was indeed a threat.
The man, about to explain that he didn't know he had been staring, hesitated from the seemingly forced smile on her face and simply nodded. "Sorry."
After the small dialogue, both of them systematically ate out the entire contents of the plate in the span of five minutes, leaving nothing but crumbs on the platter.
"Ahhhh…" The drawn out sound of satisfaction left Revan's lips as he now stretched out his arms one by one, making sure to keep his hold on Ariana while he did so, "That was…surprisingly good. I'll have to remember to thank Carth for finding such a decent meal on a world like this -- especially considering our situation."
The merc watched the impressive muscles of his arms tense and then relax with interest, still focusing on the moan-like sound that Revan had expelled and how pleasing it was to her ears before shaking such thoughts off.
"Yes; it was." Ariana agreed whole-heartedly, with a nod, to his assessment on their meal.
Feeling full and in far less pain than before, the mercenary tried to once again raise herself up on her own, this time succeeding without too much of the previous pain. Slipping off the bed and on to her feet after Revan moved back, Ariana performed a brief series of stretches as a way to find out what hurt the most and gave the most trouble, giving a small show to the Jedi from behind.
The man redirected his line of sight from the "performance" to the ceiling above them, knowing and feeling it wrong to stare. "So; you're feeling better, I presume?"
"Much." She replied confidently, clearly unaware of her little show. "Though there is a dull pain throughout my body and a sharper one in my joints when I bend or flex; it's nothing that I haven't taken on before."
"Hm…Even still, I feel that you should see this medic Carth informed me of, and I have no qualms against accompanying you. I might have been able to negate the poison's effects, but that medic could have some painkillers that may make it easier for you to move."
"No." Ariana flat out refused as she turned to stare at him, not at all surprised from his shocked expression. "No doctors." Even if that old man managed to patch me up, there's no way that I'm going to push my luck with those…people, again.
Revan noticed her cringe after her words that dismissed his logical conclusion, and with being curious and worried, raised a brow that sought an explanation. "And you don't favor medics because...?"
"I just don't – alright? Drop it." The merc ordered icily, her tone daring the man to continue if he was willing to experience extreme pain because of it.
She did her best to walk out of the bedroom's door without swaying from side to side from the pain that resided in her ankles.
"Hold it." The Jedi commanded, his tone having just as much authority as hers as he rose to his own feet and caught up with her. "If you're so against doing the sensible thing of going to the medic, at least let me heal you a bit more before you fall and hurt yourself."
The woman refused to look back, ignoring his words obstinately as she pressed forward through the now open doorway and into the small but empty living room: her face immediately formed an expression of extreme frustration.
"Where the hell is everyone?"
Revan came up from behind and to her side. "They obviously left. Carth told me to meet up with them when we were done, but I suppose that he's getting me the cloak I asked for since I cannot accompany either one of you without it." He continued past her and sat down on the sofa. "I guess I have no choice but to wait for him."
Ariana, volleying between aggravation and acceptance during his explanation, was now torn: she could both leave his ass and go out on her own since she had no restrictions, or she could wait and be healed again by the Jedi, which would make any trip to the doctor's unneeded. Inhaling deeply, she ventured towards the cozy kitchenette and took out a small bottle of juice, drinking it as if it were a shot of ale before finally looking back to Revan.
"So, what would I have to do to get healed?" She asked, relaying her choice without any hints of being defeated by it.
The young Master was surprised, from her selection and from the fact that she did not seem to recall being healed yesterday. "Only be still and near me."
Judging his words and the validity of them by searching his eyes, the mercenary could not find any hint of deception. "Alright." She walked to the couch and took a seat next to him.
The man was a bit unnerved when he saw her searching his eyes, almost as if she were peering into the depths of his soul to see if he was indeed telling the truth, but at the same time; it made sense. Any Jedi who received proper training was able to tell when a sentient being was lying to them: through their eyes, their pulse levels, even by the sound of their voice.
How interesting…It seems that Bastila has managed to keep at least one of the more commonly used Jedi traits as well…I'll probably have to present this to the others, but only if it proves a threat in revealing her true identity.
"Hey Jedi; we don't have all day -- if you're going to heal me, hurry it up." Ariana suddenly demanded, not knowing why there was such a pensive stare on the man's face while he looked at her, but not liking it; it was exactly how he looked at her during breakfast. "If not, I'm positive I could still navigate this dump of a world, injuries and all, faster than you're taking now."
As if snapped out of a daze; Revan nodded leaving his musings to be pondered another time before getting up and kneeling in front of her. "I apologize, but you'll probably be happy to know that this won't take but a minute: it's nowhere near the level of healing that I gave last night."
Once again, blue waves of the Force gathered around his hands as he did a full body healing, his digits mere inches away from her skin as they missed not a crevice of her form despite his eyes being closed.
The woman's own eyelids closed involuntarily as felt something inside her move. Unseen by either party, a small bridge that she had also noticed last night, began to widen and grow; it's size and depth was still minute to the two's ability, but still apparent. It pulsed with power as they entered this brief state of unity.
Revan's eyes suddenly snapped open as he felt the nature of this...thing -- this atrocity, and quickly severed it, knowing that if it was allowed to grow it would do nothing but complicate things in an already delicate situation.
"I…think that is enough for now." He rose to his feetand once again sat beside her. "You should feel much better, though."
Ariana felt the connection between them cut, and strangely, found a part of her missing its touch, its feel. She slowly opened her eyes, feeling that while some of the recent pain was gone, some was still there as well.
"Are you sure, Revan?" She questioned knowing that last night's healing took far more effort and lasted a lot longer, but this…This one felt…different somehow.
He sighed, knowing that she had caught on, if not fully to the situation. "I will not lie to you. I felt something…disturbing when I healed you just now; in the Force. I fear that thing will continue to grow if I continue healing you, but I am sure that I have healed you enough for you to recuperate naturally: without the need of my assistance."
Felt something? Ariana thought with a slight cock of her head, but let it pass as she was unwilling to make such a big fuss from Revan's strange behavior. "Alright then."
Just before anything more could be said between the two of them, the door to the apartment opened revealing Carth, Mission, and Zalbaar: all with packages in hand.
"Hey Revan: we got some goodies for ya!" Mission exclaimed happily as she entered the apartment and threw one of the brown wrapped parcels to him.
The Jedi caught it with ease, but could not stop the surprise that filled his eyes as he looked at her and Carth questioningly. "This feels much heavier than a simple cloak."
"Yeah; well, while we were getting the cloak, Mission decided that we should get you some more clothes so you wouldn't be wearing the same outfit everyday."
"Well, yeah -- cause you know it would get boring and repetitive having to wear that slave git-up every day and then washing it every night." The Twi'lek added, defending her case.
Revan smiled. "I guess you're right, Mission. Thank you for your consideration."
He opened the bag to find a long set of tan colored pants and a navy shirt. There was also a pair of heavy dark chocolate boots that filled the bottom of the package while the promised dull brown cloak was found underneath. The set of underwear would have made the Jedi raise his eyebrow at Mission's choice, but a standard issued blaster tucked away in the corner of the bag gained his attention. Lifting it up, the man did quirk his eyebrow to Carth, knowing that the entire package would have cost a good deal of credits as it was all relatively new but the look and feel.
"Thank you again, but this is far too much."
"Nonsense." The pilot replied casually as he opened up a package that contained food. "It might look like it cost a lot, but we got a great price thanks to Mission's shopping skills.
"Hey, you gotta know how to lower things if you wanna survive down here." She commented with a proud smile as she plopped down on a chair.
"At least let me pay you back what it cost when I can retrieve some more credits." Revan continued to push, "I'll feel terrible otherwise."
"Hey, don't worry about it; it was nothing." The teen assured him. "Believe me, it was the least I could do."
"So what: nothing for me?" Ariana playfully called out to the now fully assembled group.
"Now, Ariana," Carth started as he picked up another large package and tossed it her way, "you should know by now that I would never do something as stupid as that." The merc looked surprised as the parcel landed squarely in her lap. "There's some clothes for you too, picked out by Mission, of course; I plan on living today."
Ariana opened the bag and let out a low whistle. "Not bad, kid. I might just take you out as a full time apprentice if your taste is this nice." She complimented, gaining a beaming smile from Mission as Ariana took out her clothes.
First were form fitting navy and, similar to Revan's, tan pants, a blue and gold tunic and a buttoned white shirt, a short grayish-blue jacket, some new navy ankle length boots, a cute rippled grey skirt made out of light cotton material, a couple of belts that ranged from fashionably acceptable to mercenary practical, and some underwear of her own. Ariana then suddenly stood up, an act that made Revan rise as well from the etiquette demanded of any respectable male member of the Order.
"Umm…What are you doing, Jedi?" Ariana asked, absolutely bewildered from the action.
Revan only chuckled to himself before sitting back down as everyone else focused on him as well, "Sorry; old habit." He explained himself before the merc just shrugged him off as she continued to her bedroom to change.
"Did your mate offend you?" Zalbaar asked unsure of the situation, clearly unfamiliar with him and customs regarding affections.
Revan closed his eyes and shook his head tiredly while the other blushed; Ariana spoke first.
"No; I'm just anxious to change into something a little less reeking." She explained while stepping through the door of her room, before looking back over her shoulder. "And he's not my mate."
Revan winced as he heard the door slam, but it was caused from the stares of everyone. I need to come up with an excuse before they start questioning me.
"Well…I'm going to, uh, change out of these clothes too. I would like to get into that cloak to so I can help the rest of you out more directly." He explained as he grabbed his package of clothes and started to rise.
"As long as it's in your own room." Carth added as he hid a smirk.
The Jedi just continued on his way, knowing that if that was the only thing he would face, he had gotten off easy; he closed the door to the pilot's old room and started to change as well.
"So…What do you think really happened between those two?" Mission asked as soon as the door was clearly shut.
"Nothing to get your hopes up for. It was a nice joke, but Revan's a Jedi Master. They don't have emotional attachments…Although, I have heard that them being chaste is only a rumor." Carth chuckled from the thought. "Either way, I'm saying it was an elaborate accident: he's just not that kind of guy."
"Oh, so then…The whole getting caught under the sheets and everything was…" The teen trailed off, trying to wrap her headtails around the idea.
"Yup; just a plain misunderstanding like he said." The Republic pilot concluded as he continued to place dry food in a container.
Mission frowned, "Well, that's no fun."
"Well, both humans are also too young to begin mating;" Zalbaar brought forth, "they would be considered nothing more than pups to those of the Wookies."
"Aw, everyone's considered a pup to you, Big Z." Mission dismissed with a wave of her hand. "You're like over a hundred years old already!"
Carth merely laughed as he closed the container. "Now, now Mission; don't make fun of people because they're old. They can't help it, you know."
"It's okay; Big Z knows he's an old coot, but I love him anyway: wrinkles and all."
"I may be over a hundred human years, but to my people; I am only a young male." Zalbaar clarified.
"Yeah, you didn't know that Zalbaar was still a bachelor?" Carth asked Mission with a laugh. "I bet he has all the girls howling for him back home."
"Yeah right." The Twi'lek told them both with a roll of her eyes as she left her seat. "Well, I'm going to the bathroom. Old men should stick together, right?" As she made her way, the door to Ariana's room suddenly opened.
"Well, Mission, what do you think?" Ariana called out to the passing alien girl.
Mission turned her head to see what the older woman had chosen and was surprised. The tan pants were fitted into the long navy boots while her white shirt stopped perfectly before her belt as the brown jacket covered the majority; the front of her buttoned shirt was left opened because of this, revealing the barest hints of her breasts, but also a tiny strip of black that showed she had a tight armor underneath. Working her hair into a tight ponytail, Ariana's blasters were at her waist and clipped on to her utility belt, the item stocked with other goodies as well.
"Oh wow, Ari!" Mission exclaimed as she fawned over the merc. "Stylish and battle-ready; I definitely couldn't have picked out a better combination myself!"
Both of the girls suddenly stopped when they heard a second door open, however, and watched Revan as he exited his own room, with a confident stride, to Carth. His cloak was in hand as they noticed that his brown shirt was definitely form fitting, showing off his muscled torso and even gave the barest hints of his chiseled abs when he moved. His semi-loose pants were held up by a large utility belt of his own, having the trademark of any Jedi with two lightsabers clipped to either side.
Directing his vision elsewhere when he saw the pilot cock his head over to the two; the Jedi eyed both of the females strangely from their enthralled expressions. "I've…finished changing. Sorry if you thought the wait too long."
Both of the girls looked at each other before the same idea formed in their heads. Turning back to Revan, they each gave a low whistle before moving towards him as though he was an exhibition piece.
"Whew…Check out the arms on this one!" Mission started off.
Ariana nodded in agreement, "Yes; and his chest isn't too bad either."
Mission then moved behind Revan. "Broad shoulders and a strong back are always nice."
The mercenary was now in front of his face, leaning in with an unreadable smile as he took a half step back from her proximity. "And his eyes are just gorgeous."
Both women then proceeded to switch places and continue their examination as Revan only managed to exhale in a mixture of disbelief and amusement; he had never seen such behavior from women on his looks put so...forwardly – at least, not since he was appointed to be a Master.
"Pardon me, ladies, but there's no real need for all this; is there?" He attempted to pacify them, but couldn't stop a small smile from the act; this was…entertaining. "I've only changed my clothes, after all: hardly worth the excitement."
"Hmm…We've got a modest one." Mission commented as she continued maneuvering around him. "I guess that's to be expected of a Jedi, though."
"And that posture of his…" Ariana added, tsking lightly as she snaked her pointer finger down his perfectly straight back, "So proper, so rigid: loosen up, hun."
"Well, those legs of his more than make up for it: perfectly sculpted in every way." The Twi'lek mentioned on a lighter note as Carth and his Wookie companion only exchanged glances and shook their heads disapprovingly.
"And just look at that ass…" Ariana trailed approvingly with a slender arched brow, this earning a quick turn from the Jedi as he placed his hands over his posterior: the girls were getting a little too…aggressive.
"Yes...well;" Revan cleared his throat, "I think that's enough -- it's time that we move on to more important things, yes? I'm sure that an evaluation of my physical form won't get us off of Taris any faster." He tried to reason as he slowly backed away.
"Awww…But we're having so much fun." Ariana cooed before she and Mission then went into a laughing fit.
The Jedi frowned as Carth walked up the other man before scoffing. "You two ought to be ashamed of yourselves, picking on him like that." He looked to the younger man. "Here, Revan, put on your cloak. That should solve this."
"Fine, Rep; as always, take away all of our amusement!" Ariana retorted to the pilot as she saw Revan following his orders, while Mission pouted all the way to the bathroom.
Zalbaar, stretching himself to almost his full height, growled out an inquiry. "What is it that we do now?"
"Revan?" Carth questioned back expectantly.
The younger man, now that he was comfortably in his new cloak, rubbed his chin in thought.
"As I said yesterday, I want to go back to that cantina and see if there's anyone there who knows something about getting off this planet. Also, I've heard a bit about this Davik person and something tells me that we should keep an ear to the ground for anything concerning his affairs."
"The cantina…" Ariana echoed, her mind finally being able to focus on the events of the previous night, "Wait until I get my hands on that slug of a bartender." She promised herself as her eyes burned with hatred, several tiny sparks coming from her fingertips, but them far too small for anyone to be alarmed – save one person.
"The two of you should get a head start." Revan suddenly suggested as his eyes caught the small sparks from her digits. "Ariana and I will wait for Mission to come out; I wouldn't want her to travel alone."
Carth nodded, a bit reluctant as he had no idea on what was going on, but knew that Revan knew what he was doing. "No problem; we'll scout on ahead and tell you if anything interesting comes up."
Revan nodded back as they departed from the apartment and wasn't surprised when the mercenary looked positively livid.
"What the hell!" She barked angrily, her trademark icy glare holding strong, "You are not the boss of me." She stated firmly before looking to push pass the idiot of a man, his audacity staggering.
"Ariana; I only held you back to plead my case: you must let go of this anger you possess over this no name bartender." He replied calmly as he blocked her path to the exit. "You've been healed and saved from this poison; what need is there for something as petty as revenge?"
"What need?!" The woman almost screamed back at him, "The damn ass poisoned me: that's what need!"
"And you survived it, which means you've already proven that you're much stronger than he is. Do you really think that beating him or worse will make you feel better about yourself?" Revan tried to rationalize. "Will you debase yourself to a lower level than him by committing such an act?"
"Debase myself?" Ariana retorted, her anger reaching new levels, "I would debase myself by not finding this guy and personally kicking his ass. No..." She shook off any uncertainty as fast as it came, "I'll make the bastard pay -- suppose he tries that crap on some other woman tonight? What then?" She challenged, her hand curling into a tight fist just at the thought.
"How are you so certain that it was just not a simple mistake? A slight error in drinks that he made just once?"
"How do you know he wasn't trying to drug innocent women to have his way with them?"
Revan finally paused and let out a sigh. "I don't...But what I do know to be true is that violence will not and will never solve anything. At least give the man a chance to explain himself and possibly redeem his actions by discussing this issue with him personally. Then, levelheadedly choose the right course of action."
"The man tried to kill me-- does that mean nothing to you?!" The merc argued, grasping at straws, but her wrath seeming to burn in protest as it began dwindling down, the women not able to keep it up from his influence.
By this time, Mission had come out of the bathroom, but kept quiet at the far end of the room where neither could see her.
"You're serious? You feel I think that little of you?" Revan questioned back to her, a hard gaze in his eyes as he asked this question; the disappointment apparent in his tone, "You think that I'm telling you not to kill this man for his well-being? That I want you to live with the consequences of rash actions for the rest of your life? That I care nothing of your life when I put everything I was into saving it last night?"
"Then let me kill him…" She almost pleaded, her shouting voice now broken as her eyes begged him for his permission before her joints buckled painfully and she fell toward the man.
He readily caught her with a firm grip around her waist and back. "How are you going to kill someone when you can barely stand?" He let out in nothing louder than a whisper; the scent of her, the weight of her body, the desperate aura that resounded in the Force all calling his attention.
"I'll do it, Revan…I'll get revenge on that bastard…for killing my-" Before the mercenary could finish, her head dropped from fatigue, her entire body relaxing against him.
Revan let out a lengthy sigh, knowing exactly what she was going to say as it was a memory he had held in the back of his heart from such a long time ago: when she was Bastila...when they were best friends, but even so he could not do anything for her -- anything to stop her.
"Mission…" He called out hoarsely, but still strong enough to show that it was a slight mishap.
The teen was shocked that she had been spotted; a master at stealth, it was nothing short of amazing that he was able to detect her so quickly. Had he known all along?
The Twi'lek came out of the shadows, not attempting to escape. "Y-yeah?"
"Go ahead with Carth and Zalbaar; I'm sure they'll both need your help and expertise." He ordered, not looking her way as he still stared at the woman in his arms.
"Sure, but…Is Ari going to be okay?"
Revan finally looked over to her and gave a smile. "Of course; I'll personally stay with her until she wakes up and then we'll both join the rest of you: don't worry, we'll be there before you know it."
Mission slowly nodded, feeling that she could trust him, before turning and leaving the apartment, the door sliding closed behind her. Revan headed to Ariana's room as he carried her there and once more placed her on that bed.
"You always were so strong willed and loved to argue even when you knew you were exhausted." He placed a hand on her hot forehead and tsked, before removing it and getting up to leave for the kitchenette for a wet rag.
Mission weaved through the slightly crowded street of the Lower City with expert ease, noticing a few pockets that could be effortlessly picked, but she ignored them for now, focused on her task given by Revan. As she finally reached the cantina, the teen spotted both Carth and Big Z talking to a Hutt in the back.
"Hey, you guys!" She called out as Zalbaar looked behind him to see her running toward them both. "Hope you didn't have too much fun without me."
"No, Carth was questioning this Hutt on any information he could relay." The Wookie looked to either side of his friend. "Where is Ariana and Revan?"
"Oh; Ari fainted so Revan said that she would take care of her while we took care of business, but not to worry because they would join us soon."
"Yeah, sounds like him." Carth commented as he finally stepped up, apparently done with talking to the Hutt. "Anyway, we found out that there is someone that can help us; one of Davik's men by the name of Canderous Ordo."
"Hmm…His name rings a bell…" Mission trailed as the name was definitely familiar, "I've got it! He's that Mandalorian that's always competing with Calo. Yeah, everybody knows that he's Davik's right hand man; he's gotta know a way out."
"Maybe, but we have to find him first." Carth reminded.
"He should be around here somewhere; I've always seen him in cantinas: lower and upper, so we should check those first."
Revan closed his eyes once again at the drained female form on the bed. He had laid a cold rag on her forehead, but it seemed to do nothing to bring down her fever. He then began to give her one more round of healing, feeling the strong tug from her own Force signature but refusing to stop, uncaring, at the moment, of the small bond that had seemed to have formed between them as he purged all of the remaining poison from her system. After several long minutes of Force healing, Revan finally desisted and waited for Ariana to open her eyes.
Thankfully, the wait was not long and within five minutes, Ariana's own smoky blue orbs focused on the exhausted Jedi looking down at her in an overly friendly way, "Hey…What happened?" She questioned as her tongue moved about her lips: it felt like paste.
"I finally managed to get all of it…That poison out of you." He ended, still a bit winded from his effort; one full night and half a day of this in a row were not going to be a good thing for him. "It's finally over…You should be at a hundred percent health right now."
"Thank you…" Ariana uttered softly before, again, rising from the bed, "But what happened to the others? Last thing I remember was Big Z asking us about plans…" She trailed off hoping Revan would fill in the blanks.
"The others already left for the cantina and I told them to go ahead. I was the only one who could heal you like this, so it was clear that I had to be the one to stay. But, as long as you're healthy; I'm satisfied. I just…" He hesitated as his brows furrowed lightly with concern, his heart in his eyes, "Don't want to see you passing out anymore."
"I'm…" The mercenary was surprised when she could not finish her statement; the look in the Jedi's orbs was unfamiliar, and yet, it felt like she had…seen it before – known it, even...wanted to witness it, "Thank you." Ariana repeated once more, blinking to sever the tie of her eyes to his before shaking her head from this feeling he always seemed to stir in her -- it was too much, too fast. "I…didn't mean for you to heal me all those times. You could have just let me rest here."
Revan smiled, though he could sense her uneasiness earlier. "It's fine: really…Just, next time, if you want to spend more time with me; try asking to talk."
She ignored the feeling that the man was hiding something from her; the mercenary had nothing to justify it so she decided to continue his joke, "If I wanted to spend time with you, Revan, then I definitely would need to go to the doctor."
His smile grew slightly, happy that she was feeling better from her words, but a moderate twang of guilt rang inside of him: he had sworn to himself that he would not lie to her when they were younger -- and with what the Council had decided to do with her…It further spurred him on: they would lie, but, the Force help him; he could not. "Ariana…There was something else, your feelings on that bartender…There was a fight between you and I and on how you would handle it."
Ariana looked to Revan's face at the mention of the bartender. "What happened?" She questioned seriously.
"You were set on killing the man and I tried to talk you out of it." He answered solemnly. "I didn't want you to make choices that you might not be ready for, but then you said I wasn't the boss of you and so on…An argument was our result."
"Oh…" The woman replied unsure of her feelings on the matter, I don't hate the bastard anymore…might want to kick him in the groin, but I don't hate him. "Well, then…We should go and catch up with the others." She concluded easily, wishing to side-step the whole incident and just move on.
Revan nodded as he glanced away from her, still not revealing the entire story, but knowing it for the best…And that it could possibly jeopardize the mission. This damn mission….
To avoid her gaze once again, he busied himself with the task of draping his hood over his head, so that a proper shadow hid his face. "Yes; we should."
The pair silently made their way out of the apartment and then the building without a sound between each captivated by their own thoughts. As they walked through the now thinning streets as it was about mid-day on the Upper levels, the duo seemed to refuse to glance at one another as the entered the cantina.
"It would be wise to search for the others as well as find out our own information, if we can." Revan stated passively, his first real stare at his companion to see her reaction.
"You take the left side and I'll take the right. Ask about Mission and Big Z rather than draw unwanted attention to Rep." Ariana stated, her intentions only on business. "There can't be that many Wookies on Taris."
"I don't truly favor the idea of splitting up in a place like this, but I know that you can handle yourself and actually have more fear for anyone who crosses your path than vice versa. Besides, I'm sure that this particular cantina loops around, so if I find out anything; I'll come find you."
"Agreed." The merc said over her shoulder before walking away, not wanting to look back.
Revan sighed jadedly as they went their separate ways, the loud music engulfing him as he went further in. As he went to the left of the area, there was nothing of note: drinkers drinking and gamblers making bets on Pazaak; further down it was the same, even as he checked the rooms.
"Nothing seems out of the ordinary this way…Maybe Ariana had better luck than I did-"
"Hey…You!" A slurred voice suddenly interjected loudly through the already loud atmosphere, causing Revan to turn around with a questioning finger pointing to his chest. "Yea, you -- you tall, mysterious…bastard!" The Jedi saw a dark-haired man stumble towards him, "What makes you think you can go someplace and not show your face to people?"
"I meant no disrespect-" Revan started calmly attempting to diffuse this before it began, but was cut off once more.
"No…I think you did mean…" The drunk stumbled before glaring at him, "disrespect! You need to be taught…some manners, outsider!" The man shakily pulled out a pistol out and aimed it at him.
The Jedi's eyes narrowed. "I don't wish to hurt you; put your blaster down, sir."
"Oh -- ain't no time to be…s-start being polite now!"
Revan knew that he would call far too much negative attention if he pulled out one of his lightsabers, so he held a hand out as he felt the Force gather in it; he would incapacitate the man with the invisible energy he held making everyone think that he had only passed out.
Ariana, on the other hand, dealt with her own opportunity as she caught up with the bartender from the previous night. The shaken Twi'lek regarded her without a backbone as she began to interrogate him.
"So tell me; did you slip something into my drink last night?"
"N-no…" He told her shakily, looking like if he had the chance to run, he would.
Ariana twisted his arm even further in a direction it was supposed to not naturally go, eliciting a cry that ran throughout the small area. "I will ask you one last time. Did you or did you not try to drug me last night?" She questioned with venom on her very tongue.
"M…May…m-maybe." The creature groveled as the woman already knew the answer.
"Goodbye." The merc gave with finality as the head of her blaster was pressed roughly against his temple, her finger teasing the trigger as she scoffed from the alien's whimpers.
"Ariana – stop!" The voice yelled at her, gaining her attention and her momentary lapse of judgment.
Revan's eyes switched from the mercenary to her victim bartender, glad that he had ended his situation in the manner that he did to catch her before she did something she truly would regret.
"Please, don't do this. If you take his life…There are no do-overs or second chances like the one you had: he'll be gone forever. You should never have to make a choice like that, Ariana, no matter how much of a scum a person may be."
Like I had….The words seemed to roll over in her mind as the mercenary slackened her tight hold on her blaster and lowered the gun from the coward's head, the Twi'lek making a quick dash to the cantina's exit. Refusing to move her eyes off of Revan, Ariana tried to make as much sense as she possibly could of his words.
"Like…I had…" Why do I feel like he knows something…that I should know…?
An agonized scream rang out through the small area as the woman clutched her head, a powerful headache surging through her mind, all at his words.
Revan was to her side as another huge wave of guilt welled inside of him from her painful outcry; he had no idea what he had done – said – but he just knew that he had caused it. "Yes; like you had…When the bartender poisoned you and you recovered." He tried to explain even further what he had meant, fearing that she was putting too much into it.
"No…some…something else..." The words seemed to leave her mouth before she even knew that she grasped them.
Pink stained eyes, filled with pain, now looked at the young Jedi as many of the patrons around them merely got up and left from the crazy incident: they took their drinks with them, hurriedly searching for a less dramatic atmosphere.
Revan did not know what to do or say; a lie would eat him up inside and the truth could threaten the entire galaxy.
What should I do? Whatcan I do? He had no proper training for this; no tutorial on how to handle a friend who had gone rouge and then later, was captured but was now forcibly turned into something else -- something "safer".
"Perhaps…Something that causes such terrible pain should not be something you would want to remember. It…" The man hesitated for the slightest moment as he thought on his words and how they so mirrored the Council he allied with, "Can only be for the best."
The unimaginable clench in Revan's chest astounded him as he witnessed the pleading in her eyes before she finally nodded: accepting his consolation, his lies.
Hastily gathering herself, Ariana dismissed any thoughts that were not on finding the rest of their party. "Did you find anyone?"
The Jedi could almost swear his relief from her off topic question was palpable, if his concern for this woman wasn't already taping into old reserves from their past. "No…I haven't seen them anywhere; maybe they went to the Upper City – listen, are you absolutely sure that you're alright?" He asked pressingly, holding out a hand for her.
"Y…yes." Ariana strained through her teeth as she slowly climbed back to her feet, blatantly ignoring his offer.
Taking a small shot from a nearby patron, the female mercenary downed the entire glass of ale – very strong Tarisian ale – in one gulp.
Feeling it burning down her throat and moisture beginning to form in her closed eyelids, she allowed the alcohol to numb the pain away.
"Perfect." The woman then concluded to the Jedi as her eyes opened back to the world to see a pissed off patron; all the man was given in return was a nasty glare that verbally said "I'm not in the mood".
After the patron backed down and slunk into his seat, the merc stormed off as Revan was absolutely baffled at what had just happened here. One second she was about to kill a bartender, the next she was having a mental breakdown, and even after that she was back to the badass mercenary who stole people's drinks. He was sure, however, that he now had to be far more careful with what he said, and what could possibly be a trigger; his guard was let down even for a second and this was what had transpired. She had been hurt even more and the mission was dangerously close to failing -- none deserved such lax treatment. With a new resolve, the man quickly gave an apology to the angered patron and laid down a five credit chip before rushing to catch up with Ariana.
Crowds of people did nothing to deter the mercenary as she pushed, shoved, or just simply moved any man, woman, or alien between her and the closest elevator to the Upper City. As she reached her destination, there was still a wait period of several minutes for an available elevator to arrive; more than enough time for Revan to join up as the two once again remained in complete silence during the ascent.
As the elevator door parted, the Jedi's eyes were temporarily blinded from seeing his first glance of a sun's bright rays in days; he placed a slightly parted hand over his eyes.
"So, this is the infamous Upper City? I would be lying if I said that I expected better." As soon as he took his first step out, he could feel an immense whirlwind of corrupt emotions: greed, vanity, hatred, lust, envy, slothfulness, racism, and selfishness; all of them colored the Force and almost choked his grasp on it as it was like walking through thick, noxious smog. "Ugh…This is nothing short of…abysmal." The man commented, actually jealous that the woman beside him could not sense the same auras in the Force as he could. "The stench is gone but something far worse remains."
"Yeah: the people." Ariana remarked dryly before walking in the general direction of a hoverbus stop.
Revan, his face trying to resist frowning from light revulsion, briefly chanted the first line of the Code to keep his impartiality while following after her: the mercenary knew where she was going while he had no idea. "It could be pitiable instead of loathsome…The ones who started this trend are to blame, but…for newer generations to take it up so handily. Abandoning the poor and desolate as easily as they breathe: that is the real problem here."
Ariana did not seem to hear the Jedi's comments or perhaps she just did not care as she took a position near one of the hoverbus's stops and waited. Filth, both human and inanimate surrounded her, but she paid no mind to either of the two as her head raced with questions she could not ask herself. Soon, the bus came and the two, along with several others prepared to board it.
The duo waited until a couple other occupants left the craft and walked in afterwards; there thankfully being an empty section that could sit at least two people in the front and Revan took full advantage of it as he and his companion sat. The man took a quick glance at her, already knowing that her expression would be stoic, but her emotions, when read, not as easily restrained.
Exactly the case when she was a member of the Order.
In the current circumstance, it felt like something needed to be said -- he knew comfort would help, but by the Force; he could not grasp the correct words. Revan was in such a state of limbo, a purgatory of indecision; he knew console, in theory, could make her feel better, but could he give it? Would she take it if he actually decided to do so?
"What?!" Ariana abruptly snapped at the man sitting across from her, past Revan as he continued to stare at her. Seeing himself caught, the young man of no more than 16 or 17 sought to look elsewhere in hopes that the woman would drop the issue. "Now you're going to ignore me, punk?" She challenged directly, clearly looking for a fight.
Exhaling in relief, Revan had fully thought the mercenary was regarding him until her claims became more specific. Watching as she continued to become more and more angry, the boy's decision to act as if nothing had happened was not the right one as it only spurred her anger on, and forced the Jedi into action.
"Ariana; please, don't make a scene." He whispered evenly as he placed a hand on her shoulder in an attempt to hold her back. "He's only a teenage boy: he probably could not help himself."
"Who are you to butt into this?" She questioned back tersely, her body itching to relieve itself of pent up tension, "This is between me and Captain Stares-A-Lot over there."
Her tone was frosty, but fortunately level: something that the man hoped he could deal with. "I am not trying to say that I know how you feel or that I have some divine right to intervene, but do not take past angers out on a teen who merely found you attractive. There are plenty of other ways that he could have gone about showing his interest."
"Then maybe he should go for it before I really lose my temper." The woman bit back at him while the teenager in question drifted to the front of the bus and had gotten off as soon as he could while the two adults were arguing amongst each other…Well, the woman anyway: plus; he had noticed her blaster, and a violent temper plus a blaster almost always equaled dead.
Revan sighed as the doors to the bus had closed and the boy was on the safer side of them: he had managed to stall Ariana long enough for him to finally get the right idea. She was still very angry and arguing, but now he just refused to partake in it knowing that any words from him would only be adding fuel to the fire, and this fire would just have to burn out.
"What the hell!" The merc exclaimed as she noticed the kid on the other side of the bus doors running away. "You!" She snappily accused Revan as many brain cells told her to take her blaster out and shoot the…the…guy.
"Have you ever heard that it takes far more energy to be angry than simply happy?" The Jedi posed languidly as he calmly stared out the dingy window to his right, feeling that direct eye contact would only open her further to confrontation. "I have to wonder then, how it is that you're always so animated when you're incessantly livid. Do you not find the levels of your anger tiresome?"
"Do you not find being a smartass annoying?" She retorted from his pompous query, thinking that the Jedi was an ass, though her voice had considerably toned down from the earlier levels of stress. "And stop looking out of my damn dirty window – get your own." She ordered as she pushed his slightly leaning body away from her and further in his seat.
Revan shrugged lightly with a smile as he closed his eyes and conceded to her demand: this entire thing was humorous really and it once again so easily reminded him of the past. The Bastila left in her may have still been able to crack his Jedi demeanor, but he apparently still had the ability to calm her down when it seemed like nothing else in this galaxy could.
"There's that insatiable anger again, and while you seem immune to it; it certainly has worn me out."
"Humph!" Ariana issued in aggravation as she rolled her eyes before looking out at the disease ridden city.
As she viewed the crowded plazas, memories of the previous day, night, and morning gathered in her mind as a small smile grew on her lips; she was sure to keep her face turned from Revan and to the window so he could not see, forgetting the slight reflection in the window itself.
The man opened his right eye only a bit to check on the merc despite her words and noticed that she was trying to repress a smile; a shame since the action itself was.... I never knew that I would miss it so much.
The rest of the 30 minute ride was in relative peace as both parties took a form of rest, but their minds constantly alert as other passengers left and boarded the vehicle. Finally, when they reached the North District, just a short walk from one of the Republic's escaped pod crashes, Ariana stood up to disembark as Revan repositioned himself to let her out first.
Taking a small breath as they exited the hoverbus, the Jedi could not deem this air any better than any of the others he had breathed; looking to Ariana, he questioned, "Where are we headed?"
She walked a few paces ahead of him and did not look back. "Into that complex." A jerk of her head toward it his only guide, as she did not allow her arms to leave her sides, or rather her blasters as they crossed open ground.
"Are you always so prepared for a fight to occur?" He asked as he spotted her hand straddling her weapon.
"No, but then again; I'm not usually traveling with a very wanted Jedi. And as much as I would love to get into a fire fight right now, I have one or two more pressing concerns."
"With this cloak on, it should be close to impossible for someone to figure out my identity if any serious threats come along. I could easily take care of them without use of a weapon either way."
"That's good to hear…" The woman trailed off, her mind on other objectives.
After a sigh from the Jedi, the pair soon made their way through the pressure door of the apartment complex and then down the hall into the first apartment Ariana and Carth procured.
"Wait here." The merc ordered as Revan simply nodded, wondering what was going on, but deciding to sit down in a large red chair beside that.
Either way, he knew nothing of these "concerns" she had, but felt the need to have some kind of information.
"After this, where are we going?" He questioned loudly so she could hear him behind the closed door.
The sound of a running refresher soon filled the once silent room as Ariana tuned out the entire world and focused on getting back to some semblance of hygiene after her two day trip through the Lower and Upper Cities.
Revan heard the steady stream of pulsing water and knew that he had been ignored, but it wasn't unfounded. She was a woman and there was some sort of internal time limit that they had when they thought themselves too dirty and in need of a wash. Unlike he himself, who preferred to be clean, but did not post it as truly urgent as long as they could make some more progress on getting off this planet: washing could be done during any time and was considered a waste of such if done without reason. But, then again…if it gained her some form of peace, she could stay in there all day if she had to.
Nearly two full hours passed before the door to the bathroom reopened, and by this time, Revan had fallen into a deep, meditative trance, recovering from the drain that had come from healing his companion several times and regaining his bearings after everything that had transpired since he was located.
As Ariana finally exited the bathroom, the snoozing man was the first thing she saw, an impatient brow rising from this indolent behavior. She crossed the apartment clad in only a fluffy white towel before scowling at him and poking him hard on the forehead. Revan groaned softly as he tried to reposition his head from this irritation, but it just came back harder and clearly more persistent. A more annoyed groan escaped his lips now as he contemplated on levitating whoever was touching him to the ceiling and pinning them there with the Force until he felt properly rested. Knowing that would not be proper, especially when he did not know who it was; he refused to open his eyes and, by timing it in his head, grabbed the finger that aggravated him and restrained it.
"Whoever you are; can you not tell me what you desire without resorting to childish antics?" He mumbled groggily as the woman could not deny that she was surprised from his precise actions while even in this state. "I took this respite to save myself from a headache, not gain another one."
"Probably…" Ariana agreed teasingly as Revan had, inadvertently, drawn her toweled form closer, "However, I should also ask: can't you keep your hands off me?"
His brows furrowed slightly as Ariana's accented voice instantly gave her away – he doubted he would ever meet another person with her specific inflection. Choosing to think on that later; the man did not know if it was the way that she asked that made it sound less like a quip and more like a challenge, or something else entirely.
Revan, deciding not to provoke her now roguish mood, released her finger. "Easily."
"Well then; you have your answer…I can, "easily" – I choose not to: it's far more fun that way." She explained.
"Hm; perhaps I'll just find someone else to take your place then." He answered her back without any true hint of care. "Maybe Mission since she actually still is a child and this sort of action would not be completely beneath her."
He heard her scoff from his comment. "And you're so certain that I'd let any other female abuse you behind my back?"
Revan smirked lightly before placing the back of his head back against the wall and trying to relax once more. "Watch yourself: that's a deadly vice you've invited…One which sounded awfully close to jealously."
"Well, of course…You're my Jedi to be abused; why in the galaxy would I want someone else abusing you?" She questioned right back, a sly smile on her lips from that smirk of his, again, something strangely…familiar about it, something she felt affect her immediately though she did not know why.
"I'm certainly on a roll, then; it seems I've found myself in another no win situation with you. But hey; here's a quick idea – what if you didn't abuse me at all and just let me rest?" The Jedi asked plainly as he shifted a bit more to make himself comfortable. "You didn't see me barging into the bathroom when you took your twenty-four hour shower."
"Oh! So you do admit that you wanted to surprise me in the refresher?" Ariana posed, twisting his words for her own benefit.
Realizing her method and already having experience against her manipulative ways, the man made several loud snores as he turned around to face another direction. It was not that he ignored her, but more so chose to not partake of the conversation as it would not be in his favor.
"Hey you." The merc said as she playfully slapped his chest, taking in how firm it was as she let her touch linger a few seconds longer than she probably should have.
He swatted her hand away before sighing. "Fine; I give up – are you satisfied? What exactly is so important that you have to keep waking me up?"
"Well…I'm here talking about abusing you and you just begged for a demonstration."
Revan finally opened his eyes, his only purpose to convey a truly frustrated look to her and relay that he did not beg for anything, but got far more than he bargained for, as he so often did from the woman who now resided on the bed directly across from him.
Smoky blue orbs were the first thing that the man had been exposed to as they danced with amusement, a spark of mischief ignited in them now that his own eyes were opened and on her. Expanding out onto the smooth alabaster skin of her face, he paused at full lips that seemed over saturated with water. Damp, unrestrained dark brown hair plastered the crown of the woman's head, past her face as it framed her eyes, cheeks, nose and mouth before his gaze dipped lower and onto the white towel that covered her bosom. The fluffy garment seemed brand new as they protected either her modesty or his eyes from the image that many men would give their left arm, right leg and a half a dozen human sacrifices for. Slender, yet athletic arms partly held the towel in place across the woman's chest, accenting her supple breasts while a pleased smirk played on the mercenary's face as Revan's gaze continued to dip further down. The towel ended mid thigh, covering her fully but giving the deepest part of any male's mind cause to seek more. Effectively avoiding her more intimate areas, his eyes maneuvered down the long, toned legs that spilled from the towel's bottom opening, crossing provocatively and ending in freshly painted toenails.
"Anything worth mentioning?" Ariana had found some way to say this innocently yet with the wickedest of smiles when his eyes came back to her own; her audience seemed to have trouble swallowing his own saliva.
Revan blinked himself out of his growing stupor, knowing that he should be annoyed from her query, but it not properly registering in his head: he had never seen her so…exposed before.
Force…Has my Bastila grown up….
Mentally shaking his head of the thought, he re-applied his steely composure and made sure that all musings were in check, however; for added assurance; he looked away from her. "I can't seem to recall anything – no wait…You painted your toes?"
"Why yes; do you like them?" She continued her naive act while turning and raising a foot to the bed, causing her towel to hike up a few fractions more, something, and this could not help but frustrate her a bit, he did not witness.
"Does it matter?" He questioned back as he was content with his previous decision to not look her way: while confident of his willpower from his training; it was more from respect than anything. "Unless you've done so to impress me; it's of no consequence."
"Well, aren't we vain? I thought Jedi were supposed to be all modest and humble. I did my toes because it's been days since the last time I did so and the paint was chipping."
"Wait; I'm vain for thinking you did your toes for me when you asked me did I like them? Excuse me for relying on common sense." He scoffed from her fickle attitude. "Anyway, I wasn't really paying too much attention to your toes in the first place."
The merc sighed lengthily, exactly as a teacher did patiently with a trying pupil. "And that's because I wore my boots. Really, Revan; I know I'm a once in a lifetime sight, but focus a bit here."
"The audacity you have to accuse me. Such haughtiness on your part…" Revan shook his head in disapproval, "It should be a crime. I wonder…I mean the towel thing would explain it: even by only going on your words, you seem so comfortable."
"Well, the towel is here because the entire bathroom is soaked: be my guest and see it yourself if you don't believe me." Her eyes strayed to the area she just left, "Though, I will admit, the water is much cleaner now…Not saying much about this dump though."
That aspect hasn't changed as well. The Jedi chuckled. "You're too hard to please."
"Oh really?" Ariana replied as she played with the top of her towel, "And what if I told you, you had already pleased this towel off of me?" She added on seductively as she moved her foot to rub slightly against his leg.
As if by instinct, the Jedi quickly repositioned his leg to move away far enough from hers, but could not deny the stunning, lightening fast rush of heat that spread throughout the area she touched, shamed at the fact. Gearing himself up to speak out in protest to the woman's actions, Revan never had the chance to as he suddenly felt Ariana's foot once again caressing the side of his calf; she took the initiative to scoot up closer as she was now able to easily rub against the inside of his thigh.
"On second thought…" The woman trailed off as her foot trailed its way back down, "I think you've more than pleased a reward from me. Don't you?"
"Ariana…I don't-" He started only to meet failure as he could not continue, her sensual movements giving him extended gaps in time were only feelings could survive and logic was swiftly eradicated. "You shouldn't…"
He attempted once again before becoming distracted as the man made the terrible mistake of looking into her eyes as a way to convey his seriousness on this situation: the crystal clear blue orbs with a lucid grey draping over them were just as beautiful as he remembered when a child, yet this time teasing as that wicked smile of hers prevailed.
"Shouldn't what?" Her voice was now a sultry purr, her accent breathy as it seemed to melt the very air.
She now retracted her foot only to be able to stand and move closer to him, kneeling while keeping her hands on top of his strong thighs to support the action: as soon as Ariana was comfortably on the floor, she put her fingers to better use as they laced up and teased his upper thigh and lower abdominal area – but strayed from his more private parts. For now; it was entertainment enough to just tease him.
Revan almost shivered from the electric touches that her fingers seemed to easily elicit as she felt his body, the vessel reacting involuntarily…eager.
Force…This woman is dangerous… He thought as he summoned all of his willpower to simply break eye contact with her, their spell hypnotizing, yet damaging all the same: relying on the Code once more in only one day, the man managed to close his eyes, being able to successfully turn away from her afterwards.
"…Do this." Revan exhaled in moderate effort, as if escaping a life threatening gambit; he quickly accessed ways to get away, knowing that his mind was temporarily cleared – timewas what he needed now: time to gain control.
"Do what…?" Ariana once more questioned coyly, enjoying how hard it was for this "Jedi Master" to answer her and taking pleasure in getting this far for another reason she did not know…Or wish to discover just yet.
The mercenary was not an easy woman – and nowhere near the status of some of the whores seen in the lower levels – but with this Jedi…with Revan: there was a difference, something that made him so unreasonably superior to any other man on this planet. He had earnedher attention through his undeniable skill in combat, gainedher attraction through his amazing looks and almost relentless caring, and receivedher current…interest, for reasons she could not quite place.
"This." Revan suddenly reiterated firmly, giving his own emphasis on the word to combat hers as he could sense that more of his self-control was returning just from not looking directly at her.
Ariana paused, giving the slightest hesitation from his almost forceful reply before her mischievous smile transformed into an even naughtier grin: her game would not conclude that easily.
"Perhaps…" She pressed down firmly on his thighs once again as she rose, slowly tackling his sitting height as she only halted when she was level to his face, "But who would know…" The merc leaned in and whispered into his ear; growing sick of his avoidance of her features, the woman used one of her now free hands to capture his face and turn it to him, a bit roughly as he tried to fight it, "Who would tell?"
Revan could not stop himself from cursing his flesh from her performance – especially since he abruptly lost the strength to fight against her, their faces now so close that he could feel her soft, warm breaths tickling the stubbly hairs that paraded above his upper lip.
"We would know, Ariana." It was a blessing of his extensive training that he could continue fighting.
The woman chuckled lightly from his remark, rubbing her thumb across his cheek after having the greatest urge to touch his skin again, feeling the most satisfying amalgamation of grating roughness and gentle smoothness between the skin and stubble. "Isn't that the whole point?"
Time appeared to only be some fabled myth as somehow their bodies had gotten so close, while the captured Jedi could not distinguish when and why this had gotten to the point where it was. A force acted on their faces as well, an ally to the entity that stopped proper time -- until a sudden, if not desperate, burst of realization hit the man; the war, his mission, but most importantly: his and this woman's past.
"No – I can't do this." Revan stated clearly as he tugged his chin out of her grasp and scooted as far away from her as he possibly could in the chair. "We can't." Closing his golden eyes briefly, he exhaled soundly before revealing them again and staring straight at her; boldly, "Not this…Not with you." In the motions of standing up, he was relieved, at least, that Ariana backed away enough for him to do so properly. "You…Your clothes should be dry by now."
Not being able to distinguish why she felt any semblance of hurt over this man's rejection of her, Ariana automatically turned to white hot fury.
"Not with me?!" She screamed venomously, placing both hands on his chest to push him away forcefully: an effective method in getting away from him and taking her aggression out. "What the hell am I then? Chopped gizka?"
"What? Never." Revan commented hastily, the concern and pain in his own eyes pissing the merc off even more so as he tried to capture the proper words, now that he had a useful grasp of them, to explain it in a way she could comprehend. "The truth…Any man, I am sure, would no doubt love to be put in the position you have just placed me in, even if it was only once in their lifetime…" The man hesitated from what he was about to reveal, but knew that failing was only a process to achieving something far greater, "and…Weak as it is, my body would no doubt like to give in as well. But, Ariana; I refuse not you, but my emotions!" He exclaimed when he saw her protesting face about to spout more insults, but halted her. "If I were to do this, I would feel something for you because I now know you as not only a person, but a woman that has gained my utmost respect…A forbidden feeling when faced with this act." The Jedi expelled a lengthy sigh. "It is an unforgivable form of disrespect to share such…an intimate expression and have nothing but apathy – the logic of only fulfilling a human desire – while doing them. I am a member of the Jedi Order, Ariana…That is all I could offer you."
"So basically…You do want to have sex?" Ariana asked with a straight face and a cold, hard tone before her lips gradually curled into a smile despite herself. It may not be killing a mark, but it'll definitely relieve some stress — and feel damn good in the process.
Revan felt his entire face drop, not from her question, but the way she put it so bluntly – especially after he felt confident he conveyed his true feelings about the act. And that was all she had gotten out of it?
His brows could not help but furrow in astonishment, before he shook his head from how expectant she seemed to now be. "I was merely trying to justify my actions: not make you an offer, Ariana." He shook his head, accepting this more than the fury she held before. "Either way, this all started from claiming that I had stared at you, but it was because of what you chose to wear, or…lack thereof. I'm sure that you would do the same if an attractive man did something like this."
"Maybe…maybe not…" The merc trailed off as she stood up and walked around the apartment, a bit deliberately to make his eyes follow her form; she had grown used to their stare, "But, I guess that would depend on how cute the guy is. I'm sure it's the same with you males since you don't look at every other woman who crosses your path…Save for that one chick that died back at that swoop race." She turned around and ambled back to him, her eyes almost accusing. "The one in the tight clothes who you couldn't keep your eyes off of?" Ariana asked while at the same time, remembering her foolish sacrifice for that asshole Brejik, but knowing that she gained a nice rush when her dagger hit her gut.
Weird… She thought while still waiting for his answer.
He frowned. "Naomi…She didn't belong in a place like that and was only trying to survive. It's unfortunate that she chose those means…And that she died: she did not deserve that."
"Like hell she didn't. She did three unforgivable things: one: got in my way; two: tried to stop me; and three…" Ariana paused as she placed her hands on her slender hips and leaned the slightest bit toward the man.
With her refusal to conclude her thoughts, Revan moved a step back and bumped lightly against the chair behind him, feeling that if he had any less self-discipline, his face would surely be a rich crimson by now from all of her antics, his pulse accelerated; but as it was, his expression turned out to be more quizzical than anything else.
"She had something I wanted." The woman finally ended simply.
"Hm…Well; I'm sure that would be a problem since you want to be paid. You would have to come up on your part of the deal and deliver me, but it's a shame that there had to be such conflict at all."
Ariana suddenly sighed as he had completely missed her point. "You Jedi…" She expressed in exasperation as she turned from him, giving a full view of her other assets as her hips swayed while walking back towards the bathroom.
"Ariana;" Revan suddenly blurted out before she lost herself, once again, in that room, "I…Would you mind if I asked you something?"
Turning around with a dark brow delicately raised in question, she made sure to tighten her grip on her towel that held her lithe form as she shook her head. What is he up to now?
The man was grateful that she had stopped. "I'm worried…about this relationship that we have. I seem to frustrate and anger you a lot at times when that is nowhere near my intention." His eyes left hers almost guiltily as his left hand began to absently tug at the fabric of his pants. "Like just a moment ago, when you said "you Jedi"; what did you mean?"
Ariana caught the sight of his busied hand, but didn't comment as she thought on how to reply, "…You go on preaching about peace and love and all that load of crap. Have you ever been out there on the street without your precious robes or glow-sticks – or with whatever the hell it's called – the "Force"?" She remarked, as she made quotation marks with her fingers in the air. "No – I doubt you, or the whole damn Jedi Order has! And yes; it's true that I do enjoy the stress reliever of a good fight every once in a while. Killing is necessary for our survival. Even your so called "tactics" for the Republic are helping them to kill off more Sith. So, quit that Bantha dung on loving your enemies and just make your peace with that swoop jockey bitch."
Revan's frown deepened significantly at the end of her response: he was disappointed, if not noticeably dismayed; it was almost offensive from how she talked about these things. "I…see. I'll refrain from talking about such when around you then."
The woman noticed how his eyes seemed to now be saddened as he spoke. Strange…His face hasn't changed at all, except for that frown…But his eyes…gods; I could spend a year just looking into them and telling myself what he truly feels. She shook her head: those were dangerous thoughts. Still…I…Maybe I was a bit too forward with him; after all, he did manage to save my butt twice during that swoop race….
Ariana tried to wrap her mind around the budding concepts as one side of her fought the other, another fight just being able to keep her face as impassive as she could.
Not noticing that she was so deep in thought, perhaps because he was still struggling with her answer, Revan looked up to her inquisitively.
"Why do you feel that you must kill to survive? Why is it made so crucial?" He questioned, easily snapping her from her pensive mood.
"Because I…" The mercenary began, but quickly stopped thinking so hard, "For me." She stated, her voice slow and cautious. "My enemies attack me: if I don't stop them, they'll kill me."
The man felt a heaviness in his chest from her response as he once again played with his pants; he truly did not have an answer and it killed him that he didn't. He felt obligated to this woman, because of their pasts and her present, but just seemed to repeatedly fail her. He was a Jedi Master, for Force's sake, and couldn't solve a problem that any other Master would need no time for contemplation for.
But that's because I can't give her some needless, cryptic saying and go on with my day…
"I-I'm…I'm so sorry." Revan finally settled on: it was simple, but the only thing he could think of as being in all ways, heartfelt.
Ariana could only stare at the man. Part of her was fully expecting some long speech about the value of life or talking about finding inner peace over a cup of tea, but to just say…"sorry"? It was more than just a word…At least from a person like him: it was admittance that he was wrong and nothing more could be said on it. She should have felt elated that she had come out on top of the Jedi, but inside, she just didn't know. Emotions played against one another as she looked into his eyes and could see the true sincerity of his words. After the last couple of hours, and everything else in her life, it shocked her more than she thought possible.
Slowly nearing him, the woman was, at first, unsure of her own body's reaction, but as she got closer, her body seemed magnetically pulled in favor of her direction; not by the Force, but by his simple statement. Hanging her head slightly, Ariana knew that she held back tears at perhaps the first true batch of sincere words she had ever received and believed in a long, long time.
She soon found herself hugging the taller man in front of her tightly; eyes stinging with moisture as she uttered two words with equal heart. "…Thank you…"
There could be no words at this point: saying "You're welcome" was fruitless; she should be saying that to him, not the other way around. His tense body began to relax under her embrace, despite his mind nagging him otherwise, until he felt a moist spot on his chest: she had been crying. Memories of countless times before when he had done this for her filled his mind, but this…this was special. He had only witnessed three times in his life when Bastila cried: witnessing the tragic affect her mother's death had on her father, the night that followed the morning she would leave for the Mandalorian War without him, and now – it still hurt the same, exactly the same: the most influent reason being that he could not stop it; impede the pain before it could hit.
So, because what he deemed as a failure; Revan momentarily forgot his status, allowing himself this one chance at feeling and let his arms wrap around her lower back protectively; not so tight that it would be obvious, but enough to make his conscience feel she felt safe with him when it was clear that she did not get that anywhere else.
I'll protect you. As long as I can be by your side, I swear it; I'll fight for you, so you won't have to…So you can be at peace, if only for the moment.
Ariana could feel his arms tighten around her as she just allowed herself to be free in the moment, her face instinctively digging further into his chest: its firmness comforting and warmth inviting. Gone was the rough exterior that protected her from the harsh galaxy; gone was the quick wit and cynicism in the face of danger. If it was any other person…Hell; it could have been any other person: in a few short hours, this Jedi…This man was able to break through years of defense mechanisms and allow her to feel safe…Wanted…Hope. In a few short hours, Ariana opened herself up to someone she barely knew….
But it felt right; was the only phrase. As if her body was exclusively made to contour with his…Like he had known her for a lifetime.
Tears fell freely now as the woman refused to let go of the first time she allowed herself to be anything, but the confident mercenary she knew herself to be.
But is it who I want to be? The sudden thought halted her tears as she regained the self-image of herself.
The man could feel the change, it sudden. Even though she still held on, their moment was now over. Ariana would return to her old ways and he would have to remember that he was a Jedi, but…While he was like this, right before logic would once again pound against his mind, he sighed deeply, fully losing himself in the warmth her body produced by the span of his action.
Force…How he had missed her touch; her feel – the mere thought that she would always come to him for comfort before anyone else. How unbelievably lucky he felt to be able to experienceall of it once again…before he reluctantly began to pull away.
Slowly regaining her straight posture, Ariana only released a small cough to help hide her quick "thanks" before turning around and heading into the bathroom, uncaring if Revan called her back or not.
As the bathroom door shut, the merc leaned against the now locked obstacle between them and did absolutely everything to make her pulse stop racing as her body slid to the floor.
"Hell…what is going on with me?" She questioned breathlessly as she tightened the grip of her arms wrapped around her knees, bringing them closer to her stomach.
Here the man was a Jedi Master and she just…There were rules against this, unspoken but respected by all mercenaries: never – never – did you do anything to compromise the job – and that included fraternizing with your mark on anything more than a physical level. The woman could not pinpoint the exact moment when she so hopelessly lost control of the moment. She had been the one flirting with him, seducing him – and yet, in the end; she was the one running desperately into his arms for support?
"Dammit…" Ariana cursed bitterly, as her hand curled into a tight fist and pounded hard against the cold floor. "How could he…There's no way…Dammit!" She repeated once more as she wished nothing more than to bash her head in.
Revan, now sitting back in the red chair, leaned back, his head going along as he eyed the plain ceiling, denying with everything he was that he felt cold when she left his embrace – he was a Jedi: he should have prevented the situation better than this. "I can't do this…Never again…" He trailed softly, "I'm in danger – she's in danger. If anything; I have to save her from myself…She can't feel for me…Not again; not with what happened last time."
Several excruciatingly long minutes passed by before the door to the bathroom reopened. By this time, both parties came to terms with what had happened and a quick look into the other's eyes told them that it would be a one time thing.
"You ready?" The woman questioned, her trademark 'ready for anything' smile on her face.
He stood up with a nod. "I am; lead the way."
The pair then made their way through the apartment door, neither knowing the room's memories would be buried for all time in a few short days.
As they walked down the halls, Revan placed his hood over his head once more. "Where are we headed this time?"
"To the closest cantina. We still have to find a way off of this rock." She replied as they crossed into the open streets, their shadows dwindling in time with the setting sun.
"Well; I'm actually stumped here. I have formulated plans to get off this planet, but none of them are feasible or are otherwise too outlandish."
"A clever way to say they'll get us killed." He explained before looking to her as they continued on. "Any good suggestions?"
"One: the cantinas." Ariana repeated dryly.
Revan chose to only smile before saying back a bit sarcastically, "And when we enter this cantina...?"
"Not a cantina, Rev: the cantinas. The best place to…acquire information is usually from a drunken mouth…Cheap information, anyway." She clarified.
One of his eyebrows shot up inquisitively; he couldn't remember the last time she had called him that. "Have a new nickname for me already, do you?"
"Figure I'd name you something: Revan was getting too long…And I want to make Rep jealous." She told him cynically, shrugging off the amusement in his voice.
"Is that so? Well, I should be gracious enough to return the favor." The man rubbed his chin in thought, as he usually did, even though this time it was contrived. "Perhaps Mission's nickname for you: "Ari"? It's rather appealing…But then again; "Ana" isn't too bad either and has a good feel since it's original and all, don't you think?"
"Hmm, that depends…" The merc paused, giving her next words some thought, "Tell me, Revan, does keeping your manhood have a "good feel"?"
"Ooh; I'll be feeling that one in the morning…Or maybe I won't, when going by what you said…" The Jedi trailed with a fake shudder as he bit back a laugh, "You a bit feistier in the PM, Ana?" He asked jokily, using his new moniker for her despite her earlier words.
"A bit." The woman admitted easily, ignoring how pleased the man looked from her allowing the nickname. "So let's get to the closest cantina and get a drink before I decide that you're actually funny."
"A drink?" Revan chuckled. "I don't know what you're talking about: I have a great sense of humor. I might not spit out random jokes every five seconds, but if you saw the other Masters; I'm practically a comedian compared." He grinned. "Unless…You prefer the whole cryptic, mysterious routine – which is an extra five creds, if you're interested."
"Right...If I give you ten, will you also leave?" Ariana asked in good humor as Revan's naturally longer strides allowed him to walk side by side with her
"I would say make it twenty, but if it were that easy to leave, we wouldn't be here now, would we?" He stopped suddenly at the large metal door of the Upper City cantina that was right across the street, "But, it looks like we're here. I guess we'll have to talk business later."
Ariana only nodded as her face loss all of the previous humor. Eyes that once released salty tears held a firm gaze that would not be denied. Stepping through the metal door, the scent of booze, smoke, sweat and even vomit attacked the duo's noses.
Passing a small den of Pazaak boards, Ariana motioned to Revan and asked, "Know how to play?"
"Ah…I dabbled a bit with Republic Standard rules, but then my friends got tired of losing. No credits though; never really liked gambling." He saw her skeptical look. "And before you jump to conclusions, that has nothing with me being a…you know what." He concluded cautiously as they were surrounded by seedy looking people.
"Right now, those tables are one of the best bets we have on getting information. So either choose a table to win a couple of hands and buy some info or go to the bar and drink a couple of shots of info from someone." The woman whispered to him, her tone dropping even lower as a Twi'lek brushed passed him.
The man shrugged. "I guess I should start buying myself a drink, then. Good luck." He commented with a small wave as he left the area and went further into the bar area.
Ariana could only shake her head before dipping into her pocket and pulling out two hundred credit chips. Now the only thing left to do is find a well dressed coward.
Revan strolled by a couple of stools before settling at an empty one; the bar had been filling up nicely since it would soon be nighttime and many people were getting off their jobs and in need of a drink to relax. He sighed as he rested an elbow on the counter and his eyes scanned an electronic menu for their drinks; none of them looked appealing.
"Oh wow," A soft, attractive tone said to his left, "wait until I tell my friends that I actually met a tall, dark, and handsome man in this hell hole with drinks."
Revan turned to see that it was the exact same Twi'lek that had brushed past him before. Small galaxy…. "Handsome" and you can't see my face…Are you so sure?"
"Now? Absolutely positive." She stated confidently, as she held up two fingers to the barkeep. "It's your voice; it always gives a man away."
"Quite a gift you have, then. I've never paid any attention, but thank you." He mentioned as a shot glass was scooted into his hand as she got one too.
"So, the cloak? I'm gonna take a leap of faith and say that you do well to keep your identity hidden. What's a man like you got to hide?"
"Probably less than some, more than others..." He trailed off vaguely before wondering if she could possibly help him with their cause, "I'm currently trying to find a way off this planet; I have plans elsewhere."
The pale yellow skinned alien with copper rings around her headtails scoffed. "Who isn't these days? Everybody's suddenly going crazy to leave Taris when before they couldn't care less. I guess it's true about not missing something until it's gone." The woman took a long sip and seemed to be in thought. "But you look like you're not just out for a joy ride…and there's something about you that I just can't place…" She smiled, "And I don't take kind to strangers easily."
"Then I have to personally express how flattered I am."
"Mm…There's a Mandalorian named Canderous, a lot of people have heard of 'em because he works for Davik. Word is, though, that he's looking to get out of the business and he needs a helping hand. If anyone can get you out of here; it's him."
Revan was genuinely surprised. "You'd just give me information like that willingly?"
"Listen; I'm not giving you the ship, honey, just pointing you in the right direction. For all I know, the offer could be dead, and even if it's not, knowing Canderous: you might not live long enough to actually get off world."
"Still; I feel compelled to thank you: you've saved me a lot of time." With one last flash of his lightly shadowed, yet still endearing smile, the Jedi left the to find Ariana as the Twi'lek shook her head.
"Definitely my good deed for the day – any other time I wouldn't have let one like him go." Her eyes spotted a credit chip that he had left behind. "Damn; he was a gentlemen too."
Revan's face bore a satisfied grin at the information he had obtained from his first and only 'informant'. Gathering two non-alcoholic drinks from one of the more private sections of the cantina on his way to the Pazaak table, he wondered if Ariana had gotten anything yet. With impressive skill, the man weaved through the building crowds of patrons without spilling the contents of either glass, stepping through the door to hear the large shout of a familiar voice.
"YOU CHEATING, BASTARD!"
The Jedi lowered the drinks slightly and closed his eyelids with a sigh before moving closer to the growing crowd surrounding the betting tables, his eyes finally catching a glimpse of Ariana's fists pounding the flat table's surface and cards swept away in anger.
Oh no, please try to control your emotions…Just this once.
Revan tried to squeeze past the other patrons and get closer to her before the person who she accused would be in danger, if it was not already at that stage.
"You vile snake; how dare you try to cheat me?" She lashed out venomously as she pulled out her hidden dagger as her blaster would have been overkill on the disgusting pig.
The man in question was a human whose pungent smell, as well as the numerous Pazaak cards around him, pegged him to be a regular to the establishment if not a fixed ornament.
"I-I don't know what you're talking about lady! I just play the cards and fate decides how it turns out – it's not my fault that you lost, so…I don't know, better luck next time, babe."
Revan winced: that was not the right thing to say to her, of all women; he attempted to push his way through even faster, but the rude Upper City people didn't attempt to budge.
"Babe?" Ariana hissed out in anger and threw her dagger, catching the slow man's hand as it tried to reach towards her stack of credit chips which looked to be over 500.
The man screamed in pain as the weapon pined his appendage to the metal top and blood began to pool under it. As the man screams drowned out the constant murmuring of the cantina; they soon halted to a notable whisper as the merc drew her blaster.
"Dammit…" The Jedi swore, a spectacle against his usual laidback nature, when he saw the scene and her rash actions; he quickly turned to a man next to him. "Sir, if you could do me a favor? Hold these for me until I get back."
Before the civilian could question why or complain, Revan thrust the drinks into his hand before pushing people out of his way and finally making a clear path to his goal.
"Ariana; you have to stop this!"
"Why the hell should I?" The woman challenged back, never taking her eyes off the now crying man, but removing her finger from the trigger -- a large step for her to say the least. "This asshole tried to cheat me out of a friendly game of Pazaak."
"It's just a game; material possessions such as credits should not be adequate payment for a man's life!" Revan placed both hands on her shoulders to at least gain her full attention. "And even if he is responsible, this is extreme, to say the least."
Seeing the man now on his knees trying to ease his hand free, or at least lessen the pain somehow; Ariana's vision returned from its once red haze, but she refused to admit fully that she might have gone overboard.
"So what about morals and virtues…don't they have some part to play in all this? He tried to cheat me and he was getting what he deserved. Action and consequence." She stated logically.
"You're right; consequences are needed for his actions, but you've already impaled his hand to the point where he will not be able to play Pazaak properly for at least a week, and you still have your money – isn't that enough?" He almost begged as he was worried about the man's injury, there was too much blood already. "Please, Ariana; if not from it being the right thing: do it as a favor to me."
Turning her head sharply around, the woman didn't know why she sought his eyes at that moment: his last words seemed to bring up memories.
But how could they? She questioned herself as a flash of a much younger pair of eyes came before her, Younger…But still his…. She wondered as Revan's golden brown irises penetrated deep within.
Sudden warmth flooded her body and pooled deep in her lower regions as she broke eye contact, seeking to keep the flush of blood from being displayed on her cheeks as she realized how her own body was reacting. Swinging back around, Ariana grabbed hold of the handle of the dagger and yanked it free, leaving the man to fall fully to the floor in a heap. Glancing towards the pile of credits, the mercenary wondered on what Revan would do.
Will he keep the money, or take it…And why am I even concerned about what he would do…?
The Jedi rewarded her by smiling at her warmly, the act making her eyes look elsewhere for some reason and keeping that haughty disposition, but he gently brushed past her and kneeled beside the whimpering man.
"Sir," Revan whispered, already knowing that everyone's eyes were already on them, "I'm going to heal your hand, but you can't tell a soul how I did it or I'll have to come and find you," He smiled but his eyes declared his warning, "with her; I'm afraid."
The thief's eyes widened as he looked Ariana's way, but quickly looked back and nodded. "I promise – yea, sure."
"I'll hold you to that." Revan quickly stood in front of the man, obscuring the view of curious eyes before hurriedly taking his hand and pouring the Force through; the small slit healing easily and receding into a thin pink scar. "I'm sorry; I can't heal it fully or it'll look suspicious, but you should be able to leave here safely and go to a doctor." The Jedi rose to his feet. "Remember: you're still hurt -- make it look good."
The Pazaak player cradled his healed arm as though it was still wounded and made a dash for the exit, the blood covering his arm denying the fact that it was now healed.
The crowd parted away from him as they soon began to get back to their drinks seeing that the entertainment was over. Ariana still had yet to move throughout the entire ordeal before a slight nudge on her shoulder made her turn around to face a rather good-looking male holding two drinks.
"Can I help you?" Ariana asked slightly exhausted, but glad for the distraction from her thoughts.
"I believe these are yours." He replied smoothly, handing her both.
"T-thank you…" She stammered, unsure and out of character just as Revan rose up to catch it and the blush that was only now fading from her cheeks.
"You're welcome…Storm." He replied as her eyes widened in shock.
"How do you know me?" The mercenary asked fiercely, her arm's muscles tightening in case she would need to slam the drinks into his face and kill him at knowing her mercenary name.
Giving a slight chuckle, he placed a hand on her shoulder, "I'm surprised you don't remember one of your better contractors."
Ariana's muscles relaxed as she looked the man over once again. "…Gary?" She asked in disbelief.
"In the flesh." The man said, opening his arms as if to show her he wasn't lying.
"Son-of-a-Bantha." She immediately replied before hugging the man as best she could with drinks in hand.
Revan felt sort of out of place in this situation; it was always awkward when one person knew somebody, but the other didn't, but it was more so that he seemed to know Bastila's new persona more than anything. Gaining a hug in their first greeting…It managed to put a huge damper on the fact that they shared one just half an hour ago.
I'm sounding as if it bothers me. It's her friend, is all. He thought to himself just before the two let go and Ariana faced him.
"Gary; this is…Roger." She smiled to the Jedi almost too sweetly, showing that she had give him a new name for his safety before cocking her head to the side as if trying to find the right words. "He's a…Well he's my newest contractor. Roger, this is Gary, one of my "better" contractors and a good friend."
As she said the word, they both seemed to snort at some hidden joke.
"Yes, we've met before actually, if only briefly." Revan replied as he gave a polite nod towards the man. "Yeah, he's right; it's nice to meet you properly, Roger." Gary replied with a smile. "He's the one that gave me this great icebreaker we call drinks, Ari." He said with a chuckle.
Something about the fact that he called her Ari and she didn't get upset, rubbed the Jedi the wrong way, but he brushed it off. This is getting ridiculous; I no longer have the right of being overprotective.
His thoughts were actually quite justified, really; even when they were children, he had always been overtly protective of her as if she were his little sister -- and this only increased when they were teens and she had far more male admirers than that of her female friends. Moreover, her girl friends continued to drop at an increasing rate with her growing popularity with the young men at the academy…And for her close friendship with him, as well…. Shaking his head, Revan once again focused on their conversation.
"Oh…And here I thought you were trying to woo me, Gary." He caught Ariana telling her male friend. "Guess I was mistaken…"
The Jedi frowned – was she really all that disappointed?
"Aw, you blew my cover, Roger." Gary replied jokingly as he placed a hand on the mercenary's cheek. "You know that I would never even approach you without a symbol of my everlasting affection, Ari. The hero here bought these drinks, but I'll treat all of you if you want."
"That would be appropriate: as long as it not a kid's drink. I need some alcohol." She said smiling in and over friendly way.
"Whatever the best merc in the galaxy wants." Gray said, returning the smile as he ushered her to the bar.
As Ariana took several steps forward, she noted that Revan had yet to move and turned around, cocking her head to the side "You coming, Roger?"
"Uh…No; the two of you go on ahead." Revan told her as he couldn't quite meet her gaze – he was still on her comment of his drinks being "kid" like. "I actually got a lead on someone who can help us out and I was told that the sooner I contact, the better, so I should probably go look for him. You have fun though, and catch up. I'll tell you all about it when we meet later." Before she could say anything else, the Jedi was already disappearing into a crowd.
That was strange…The mercenary thought as she let herself be led off by Gary.
"Man, that's kind of a downer. One person is nice, but to use my expert entertaining skills on two people. No one could deny them then." The man joked as his eyes scouted for an empty booth. "Ah, here's one."
Ariana beamed at the fact that they were able to get some semi-private seats, but chalked it up to Gary's infamous luck. A whole year since I've seen him…I wonder if he's noticed I've changed…
"So…How's business?" She questioned casually as a waitress came over to the pair.
"Good evening; may I get you both something?" The woman asked in a pleasant if not high-pitched tone.
"Sure; Tarisian ale on the rocks and a 'Rancor' steak with some veggies for me and a Mango Twist with noodles with a light creamy sauce for the beautiful woman opposite me." Gary called off, not even bothering to glance at Ariana.
"Sure; it'll be ready in just a bit." The waitress commented before going to the bar to have the food prepared.
"I hope that's good for you?" He asked, "I remembered it was your favorite."
The mercenary only nodded as she sipped on the drink Revan had ordered for her thoughtfully.
A Blue Twi'lek…She commented in her head, Like Mission…I wonder…
"Taris to Ariana: anyone home?" Gary asked in a friendly tone as he got her attention.
"Oh; yeah sure…Just thinking about…something."
"That Roger guy?" He asked in curiosity, with a tight grin on his face.
"No…" Ariana trailed absently until she looked up to see the expression on his face, "No! Another friend on Taris: I haven't seen her most of the day and I'm kind of worried about her."
"Oh, okay." He conceded, "So, what about Roger..." Gary trailed off. "You two dating or something?"
"No!" She issued forcefully as the waitress suddenly came back to the table, depositing the drinks and plates before vanishing again. "I mean…no. We're just…"
"Business partners?" The man filled in.
Friends... "Um…R-right;" Ariana agreed, digging into her food to hide her uncertainty, "partners."
Gary simply nodded and dug into his own food, creating a welcoming lack of conversation on Ariana's part.
Why it is that I can just be myself around Rev, but I'm acting like a bubbly teenage girl with Gary? Come on Ari, you're better than this. You've crushed on the guy for years now…Do something.
"S-so; you never did tell me how's business." She started up after swallowing.
"It going good: this Sith War has been great for me actually. Lots of shipments and some of them even legal." Gary informed her as he laughed.
The woman managed a small chuckle herself, but her heart was not in it: spice trading was not something she particularly endorsed.
"But, this blockade had me troubled for a while, until, that is, I met with some higher ups around here and now; I have free passage on and off this hell hole. All for the price of a couple shipments directed a certain Sith commander's way." He told her with obvious pride for his own genius.
"Wait – you can leave this rock whenever you wish?" The merc questioned, not being able to hide the growing excitement in her voice.
"But of course." Gary repeated, grinning even more than before.
"Can you – could you do me a favor?" She hesitantly asked.
"Sure; what's on your mind, Storm?"
"Would you be able to get me and four others off this rock?"
Gary looked at her slowly before setting the glass he had just drained down, a flush of heat marring his high cheek bones. "Nope…You and you alone. But…If you'll do me a favor: one extra person." He tried to compromise.
"What it is?" The merc asked first, knowing to get all details before agreeing so she would be able to get three other people after the first.
"Sleep with me." The man stated calmly as he watched the blood drain from her cheeks, her mind racing a light year a minute.
"Have sex with me." Gary put even blunter than before. "I know that you like me, Ari. Over the years, you've filled out pretty nicely…" He trailed as she saw his eyes travel down her body, causing it to shiver – not in pleasure, but in disgust, "So, it's a win-win situation for you." He ticked off as if talking about the weather.
The woman was absolutely speechless as she contemplated leaving then and there.
Why…didn't you want him to notice you…and didn't you want him to relieve some sexual tension…You loved him, right? Her mind debated before she let out an "excuse me" before getting up to walk away.
Seeing Ariana's shaky steps, Gary knew the spice he slipped into the two drinks would be affecting her. Smirking he rose to his feet, "I don't think so, angel." He called to her huskily as she moved to leave, "Do you know how valuable two packets of spice can be, especially on a world like Taris? Even you can't deny how effective it is. A single pack can kill a person if mixed with alcohol, or half of one could really offset a woman's balance." The man explained as he moved to catch her, seeing that she refused to be seduced by him
Damn it – all men are just nerf herders. Disgusting, worthless animals who only want sex. Who think we're worthless besides a quick screw. The woman managed to think to herself, drawing on her anger to fuel her muscles.
"Uh-uh, Ari…" Gary whispered and followed her out into the open cantina.
Ariana leaned against one of the walls, breathing hard as her body refused to move any more. The spice dealer easily walked toward her and reached out with his hand, "I don't think so; dear…You're coming back to the mansion with-"
Inches away from Ariana, a large hand griped his wrist and gave a short but extremely violent squeeze. "And you are?" The owner of the hand gruffly voiced the question.
Trailing the arm up with his blue eyes, Gary came to the view of a middle aged man with a hard look in his eyes…and a modified blaster. "Just a friend of the lady here, no need to get violent." He said trying to worm his way out of his grip which only tightened.
"Now, I haven't known Ariana for a long time, but I do know that she wouldn't be caught dead looking like she's about to faint and having some slime ball trailing after her. So, I'll ask this once: what do you think you're trying to do here?"
"I-I'm…I'll be leaving now." Gary said trying to free his wrist.
"Good answer." Carth agreed before giving a single, but solid punch to the other's nose, breaking it and dropping him in the process.
Turning to Ariana, the pilot allowed the woman to rest on his side as he swung her arm over his shoulder and began to help her back to the apartment.
"Myhero…" The woman uttered weakly to the elder man.
He shook his head from her slightly mocking tone even now. "Don't mention it: just glad I had stopped to pick up some dinner before going to the apartment." He said, genuinely glad he was there. Where the hell is Revan? He wondered, before shaking his head: those thought would come later.
"Rep…Do me a…favor?" Ariana asked slowly as she could barely speak.
"Sure, but if you want me to kill the guy; I would have to turn around" Carth joked back, half serious as he hated those type of men.
Giving a slow chuckle, the mercenary coughed harshly before regaining her breath. "N-no…don't tell Rev…?"
Rev…Oh Revan, but…what happened between the two of them?' The pilot wondered before agreeing, "Alright; no problem."
He wouldn't tell Revan, but he would get to the bottom of what exactly happened; he had learned to respect the mercenary, and Master Revan he already respected.
"T-thanks…" She murmured softly before slipping into unconsciousness.