Title: The Art of Disguise
Pairing: Theron Shan/f!Jedi Knight
Synopsis: One day the Outlander was going to stop finding new and interesting ways to make Theron's blood pressure skyrocket. Today was not that day.. .
Author's Notes: Canonically, I've got no clue when the Eternal Championship is supposed to take place in KotFE, but I put it here after Chapter XIII, because that's when they finally worked out the bugs.
In the spy game, it was always a good idea to keep things close to the chest, and to never broadcast what you were really feeling lest that be turned against you later. While not perfect at it, Theron used to do a decent job at keeping most of his emotions from bubbling to the surface. Then that had all got shot to hell he had met a certain Jedi Knight with a tendency to leap into the heat of battle in order to save nexu kittens and akk puppies, and in general just find new and exciting ways to make his blood pressure skyrocket.
While it had been higher in recent memory, like when she had taken an unexpected camping trip in the Odessen Wilds with his mother and the Force ghost of Darth Marr without telling anyone, he was still approaching hypertensive levels as he stalked through the halls toward the Underworld Logistics hangar. He hadn't even stowed away the datapad or closed out the note he'd just received that had led to his current bout of irritation:
Going to Zakuul to meet a Wookiee. Might free some slaves. Want to come? — G
No, he did not want to go to Zakuul. And considering that her pretty little blonde head was currently on the top of the Eternal Empire's most wanted list, she really shouldn't either unless it was absolutely mission critical. As Wookiee's weren't exactly commonplace in Wild Space, he had a feeling he knew exactly what hotspot she was thinking of heading to, and nothing about the activities that went on at the Platform 6 Cantina were of utmost importance to the Alliance's current objectives.
Several people ducked out of the way as he strode by, but he hardly spared them a glance as he scanned the dimly lit room for his quarry. He usually picked her out by the bobbing blonde ponytail, ridiculously large teal shoulder guards, and embroidered brown cape billowing behind her as she darted to and fro. He didn't spot any of that, but he did spy Hylo Visz leaning against one the large storage containers scattered about her base of operations. From her barely concealed amusement, Theron had a feeling she knew exactly where the Alliance's Commander had gotten to.
"Better watch it, Spyboy, your face might get stuck that way," she said by way of greeting as he stalked over.
"How did I know that you had something to do with this?"
"Hey, I just passed the request along." The smuggler shrugged. "The Commander's inability to say no to a call for help is your problem."
"Yeah, thanks for that," he grumbled. "Where is the bleeding heart? I need to have a few words with her about this stupid plan—"
"Since when is freeing slaves stupid?"
"Its stupid when it involves getting into a giant battle arena being broadcast across the planet and advertising to Arcann exactly where he can go pick up his favorite block of thawed carbonite."
"Ah, don't worry about that." The wide smirk she shot him was in no way comforting. "I got it covered."
"Last time you said that I wound up dodging vibroblades during a high speed pursuit on Nar Shadaa."
"Hey, it all worked out in the end. Besides, I think you'll get a kick out of this."
He gave her a side eye, but before he could argue the point further, a familiar voice drifted out of the closed off area of the storage container. "Hylo, are you sure this is the right size? It's really tight in the back."
"Yep, that's the way it's supposed to fit," she called back, and then for some reason gave him a sly wink that was far from reassuring. "Why don't you come out and let us see how it looks?"
Theron crossed his arms impatiently and leaned back on a nearby barrel as a freckled face popped out, face brightening when she caught his eye. His irritation was briefly chased away as his stomach flip-flopped as it usually did when he was on the receiving end of that smile, but he recovered quickly enough and fixed his scowl back in place. "I got your note."
"You're insane you know that? You're going to be recognized the moment you step into that arena."
"I thought about that! Hold on, I'm almost finished." Her head disappeared back behind the storage container, briefly followed by the sound of shuffling as she struggled with something out of sight. "Hylo got me a disguise."
The shit-eating grin spreading across the Mirilan's face inspired no confidence, and he attempted to brace himself. "A disguise?"
"Yeah." There was a bit more shuffling before she jumped out, spreading her arms wide. "What do you think?"
He stared at the sight before him, unsuccessfully able to keep his reaction in as his mouth dropped agape. He heard Hylo snicker next to him, but he couldn't tear his eyes away from the spectacle before him. "Where… where in the blazes did you get that?"
"I know some people," the smuggler's tone was far too smug. "Took me a while to track it all down, but I think it was worth every credit."
"You like it?" The Jedi spun around, modeling the immaculately crafted outfit.
"That's my jacket!" he finally sputtered. "And my pants—and my boots—what the hell…"
"No one will recognize me!"
"That's because they'll think you're me!" he shot back.
"Oh no," a smooth voice interjected, "I don't think anyone's going to mistake those curves for your chiseled physique."
Theron managed to break his gaze from the bizarre fun house mirror image to see Gault sidle up to their little group, a wide grin fixed on the conman's face. He shot the Devaronian a glare, which didn't phase the other man in the slightest.
"Curves?" the Jedi frowned, tossing a look at Hylo.
The Mirilian laughed, and just pat the younger woman on the shoulder. "Ignore him."
"I'll tell you," Gault leaned in close, voice pitched low so only Theron could hear, "I'm not usually much on fashion statements, but I certainly wouldn't mind seeing the Commander wearing my pants."
The cry of pain as Theron's boot firmly crunched on the Devaronian's toes briefly drew a twin look of concern from the two ladies. Theron smiled tightly and waved them off, and leaned over so he could whisper into Gault's ear. "Maybe you should just imagine your wardrobe on your girl. She strikes me as the jealous type."
"She's not the only one," Gault muttered irritated, still watching the two ladies closely. "At least my fashion style wouldn't be showing off her assets for everyone to see."
The tight smile didn't leave Theron's face as he casually rammed his elbow into Gault's stomach, knocking all of the air out of the other man. "Eyes above the waist."
"You're no fun," he wheezed.
Theron didn't consider himself a jealous man, but he couldn't suppress the spike of irritation at someone openly ogling his girlfriend. The long cape and bulky armor typically obscured the form that he enjoyed behind the privacy of closed doors, and he shifted uncomfortably as he watched the immaculately tailored replica of his outfit show it off for everyone to see. Surely his pants weren't that tight.
"You know it took forever to track down that damn jacket in her size," Gault murmured. "If this is the thanks I get, this'll be the last time I lend my skills to help spice up your love life."
Theron ground his teeth together, checking his urge to continue casually beating up the conman until he just vacated the room completely. The spy had tried to keep his relationship with the Alliance's leader low-profile, as he didn't know how the perception of her fraternizing within the ranks would come across to everyone else. Apparently his paramour had a little less discretion, as he'd caught her and Hylo talking in hushed tones in the cantina a few times. It should have figured that the juicy gossip would have made its way to Gault via pillow-talk.
"There is no need to spice anything up," Theron tossed back, deciding at this juncture denial of their relationship was pointless, "and no help is necessary."
"You have to admit this is better than her parading around in a Skytrooper helmet."
The sound of Theron smacking his forehead echoed across the room, and he scrubbed a hand across his face. "Kriff! How did you hear about that?"
"I have a healthy relationship with my lady. We talk about things. Especially the funny things."
He massaged his temple with one hand, hardly believing that she had talked about that with Hylo. Sure, it was a funny story in retrospect, but there were some things he just didn't feel like remembering. His girlfriend's complete misunderstanding of the art of seduction being one of them.
"Look, she's just a little bit sheltered—"
"That's one word for it," Gault snickered, "hence our generous help in this matter."
"And I will generously bury you in a grave so deep no one will ever find it if I so much as hear anyone breathe anything about Skytrooper helmets again, you hear me?"
"Excessively violent point taken."
Theron shoved away from his perch and approached his female doppelgänger, trying to ignore the confusing rush of heat that washed over him as she turned to face him with a bright smile, his eyes inadvertently straying to the way the replica of his belt hugged her hips. He quickly readjusted his gaze, but the amused smirk Hylo shot him let him know she'd caught his slip.
"This will never work," he said flatly. He had to press his lips into a line as the bright smile dimmed, refusing to let that distract him.
"They can still see your face, genius." He flicked the bangs flopping in front of her eyes, trying to keep his composure as her eagerness began to fade into a pout. "The whole place will be filled with Knights and Skytroopers before you can count to ten."
"Did you say Skytroopers?" the Devaronian called sarcastically.
"Shut it, Gault!"
"We're already ahead of you, Theron," Hylo she pulled something from the crate next to her and tossed it their way.
It was caught in mid-air and slipped over the blonde head in one motion. The steel mask perfectly hid her face so that Theron couldn't see her expression, but from the way she canted her hip out to the side and firmly rested her fist on it, it likely had a sarcastically quirked eyebrow raised at him in challenge.
It was really hard for him to concentrate on staying irritated and shutting down this idiotic farce, as a very confusing mix of emotions rushed over him. He was having a hard time not looking at all of the little details of the perfect copy of his outfit, or exactly how nicely it all hugged and accentuated her figure, but then his eyes strayed to the featureless mask and that just threw him off again in a completely different way.
He needed to go take a few moments alone so he could collect his wits and approach this situation as a rational adult, but there was no opportunity for him to escape.
"See?" Hylo snickered as she slung an arm across each of their shoulders. "Told you he'd be speechless."
"This was your idea?" he finally sputtered.
"Yep!" Hylo bobbed her eyebrows. "And the look on your face is priceless."
"There is no look."
"Oh, there's a look," came the Jedi's electronically modified voice through the steel mask. "I'm just not sure what words to use to describe it."
"I should have holo'd this whole thing." Hylo ruffled Theron's hair affectionately, an action that would have gotten anyone else's wrist broken. "But I'll always have the memories."
"So will I," Gault put in.
Hylo tossed an irritated look at her other half, before flashing a knowing grin at the two red jacketed figures. "Sadly, I have other business to attend to, but you kids try not have too much fun."
She sashayed away, casually slapping the still ogling Gault on the back of the head before grabbing him by the collar of his jacket and dragging him with her. Theron gave one last departing glare to the Devaronian before turning his attention back to his girlfriend. She had her arms crossed in a perfect imitation of him, and he scowled, uncrossing his arms and instead rested his hands on his hips. She mimicked the action perfectly.
"I'm just practicing my impressions."
"This is not an act we're taking on the road," he bit out.
"Well, you're free to stay here if you want. I'm still heading to Zakuul."
"You're not—look I can't talk to you like this, take that thing off." He reached out and unclasped the mask, pulling it off to reveal an irritated blue gaze directed at him.
"Why are you being like this?"
The uncomfortable rush of heat at washing over him right now was not something he was willing to discuss in an open area. Or a private one even. Or ever really. But it was a completely separate issue from what had brought him here, and if he just didn't let his eyes stray to the way the stupidly accurate replica of his shirt skimmed across her chest he could focus on that.
Right. Focus. On the whole Eternal Championship thing.
"This is a risk you shouldn't be taking," he finally ground out. "No matter who you're dressing up as."
"Those people need help," she said stubbornly, "and I'm not going to stand by when I can do something to return them back to their normal lives."
"Of course not," he sighed, rolling his eyes up to the ceiling. "Your altruistic streak is going to be the death of me someday."
"That's not funny."
"Am I laughing?" he snapped back. "Have you even looked into the guys you'll be going up against? They don't exactly pull their punches—or fight fair."
"I can take them." She crossed her arms and raised her chin defiantly. "Even if I have to do it by myself."
"Of course you're not doing it by yourself!"
She raised her brows raised quizzically, as the hints of a smile twitched at her lips. "So you're coming with me?"
"Stars, you already got us matching outfits. How can I back out now?"
The familiar bright smile that turned his insides to jello lit up her face before she threw her arms around his neck in a hug. He glanced around the room, but everyone else was very studiously looking in every direction but theirs. With a little less reluctance, he let one arm curl around her as he returned the embrace.
"Thank you," she whispered.
"You know everyone's going to think we're involved in some kind of stupid dare."
"Shh, you're ruining the moment."
"Fine," he muttered, "but next time I get to wear your cape."
"Really? You think you can pull that look off?" She let out a quiet huff of a laughter as he affectionately swatted the back of her head.
"What am I going to do with you?"
"Right now I'm guessing you're going to help me free some slaves." Her eyes glittered as she grinned at him. "After that, well, I guess we'll see."
Oh, he had an idea or two on that, but it would have to wait until they got back. But he decided to keep that to himself for now, and instead he just ruffled the high ponytail. "Come on, Commander, we better get going. The galaxy's not going to save itself."