They stepped out into the sunlight of Korriban. It had never felt so good.
"Wow. All right." Vette took a deep breath as they stood at the top of the steps, looking out toward the tombs in the distance. "That was... something. Can we go home now?"
"Of course." Sanguis started walking and the rest followed. "Where is home, Vette?"
"Uh... I... don't know exactly. The ship? The ship is good."
They hadn't gone far before they heard voices calling Jaesa's name. Two young acolytes were running toward them - two young alien acolytes, a Twi'lek and a Rattataki, with faint marks around their necks where slave collars had once been.
"Oh! Those were classmates of mine, my lord," Jaesa said. "I just want to talk to them. I'll catch up to you later." She waved and ran off to meet her friends, who greeted her with affection and excitement. The other three continued toward the shuttle pad at a leisurely pace.
"So now what?" Vette wondered. "Do we go out and win the war single-handedly? Conquer more planets for the Empire?"
"Something like that," Sanguis said, "though I admit, I would like a little time to ourselves. I want to see my estate again."
"And Tivva tells me I have a lot of explaining to do."
"If the Hand could give us at least a week's holiday, my lord, I... " Quinn stopped. "Blast. I forgot the flowers."
Sanguis lifted an eyebrow at him. "Flowers?"
"Yes, my lord, from Alderaan. For... ah... reasons." He sighed and put a hand to his forehead. "I've clearly been spending too much time around Vette. Excuse me, my lord."
"What was that all about?" Vette asked, watching him pull out his datapad as he hurried off.
Sanguis smiled to herself. "I'm not entirely sure, but I believe he intends to propose."
"Yes. Though I may propose to him first. I haven't decided yet."
Vette laughed. "You guys are weird. Hey, do you even like flowers?"
"I'm not sure. I suppose I could grow to like them."
Vette groaned. "If that was supposed to be a pun, it was terrible." She stopped and leaned on one of the metal guide rails. "You know, if Baras could write his memoirs in advance, maybe I can too. How does 'Vette, Queen of the Pirates!' sound?"
Sanguis looked skeptical. "You want to be a pirate queen?"
"I don't know - maybe - but it's a great title. I'd sell tons of copies." She sighed happily at the thought. "Hey, you should write one too!"
"I hardly think so. I'll be content with however history chooses to remember me."
"Oh, come on! It'd be great! We'd just have to add in a few things - a love triangle, royalty, prophecies..."
Sanguis shook her head firmly. "Absolutely not. I had enough of prophecies on Tatooine."
"What? When did - oh, yeah, the... thing." Vette shuddered. "That wasn't really a prophecy. More like a curse. Glad it was all a bunch of nonsense."
Sanguis looked out at the red horizon thoughtfully. "On the contrary, it all came true - or will. I was rejected. I was betrayed. I will be forgotten, in time; eventually this body and all other things I call mine will become dust. But I was also accepted, and loved, and through it all, had someone standing by me." She smiled at Vette. "And we're never really gone. We all live, in a way, through those who come after us, and through the Force. Even if our line ends, there will always be the Force."
"Huh." Vette grinned at her. "Good to know."
(Not) THE END
Whew! I can't believe I wrote something this long! I can't believe anyone read it the whole way through! Y'all must be as crazy as I am.
Hope you enjoyed it - I did!