Title: Third Time's A Charm
Summary: Sequel to 'Tea For Two'. Four years after the rise of the Empire, Obi-Wan and Dormé meet again.
Rating: M for the sort of humor in later chapters
Disclaimer: Star Wars is the property of George Lucas. No disrespect is intended.
Notes: Rather than have one story with a large chunk of time passing right at the third marker, I opted to write the last two thirds as a sequel.
Who would have guessed years earlier that Dormé would find herself enjoying the company of thieves? She smiled to herself as she packed the few belongings she'd brought with her and took a last count of her earnings. She'd socked away a tidy sum from her take of the profits. It was time to retire into anonymity and the desert planet they were heading for fit the bill nicely. She was grateful to Rabé for suggesting several planets as possible destinations.
There was a rapping of knuckles on her door, the captain of the vessel she was on looking in. Val Kallin was a good man for a thief. He did what he could to survive and if that included pulling a few jobs that weren't entirely legal according to the empire...then so be it. His moral code was interesting, but he'd never made a move on her and she was grateful for that. Not that he wasn't attractive, but she hadn't needed the sort of complications romance brought about.
"We're coming up on Tatooine. Be there shortly. Sure you wanna do this? I could use a gal with your aim on my team. Another few jobs, a few more credits? Not a bad life, Dormé. You and me as a team." He leaned against the doorframe.
"I need some quiet, Val." She closed her bag.
His glance moved over her, warm and as friendly as it'd ever been. "I can be quiet. Get us a room somewhere private, a bottle of that brandy we lifted from that Senator a couple months ago and I'll be as quiet as you want me. Won't make a peep unless you want me to."
"I'll pass," she said with a smile. "Your kind of quiet usually involves knives and stolen goods."
"Hey," he said, spreading his arms wide. "Quiet is quiet, Dormé. There's all kinds of things that can happen in silence. Good and bad both. I'm talkin' the good kind this time, babe. You're positive I can't tempt you?"
He laughed. "All right. We'll drop you off. Now, we'll be heading back this way in a few months, so if you change your mind, look for me. I try to make Tatooine two or three times a year."
"I'll consider it."
Two hours later, Dormé watched Val and crew lift off, then shouldered her lone bag and walked down the sandy, dry streets of the spaceport. She took a room and began a slow tour of the area. It was smart to know the lay of the land and if she was going to stay here, she was going to know where to avoid.
Sand, sun, whipping winds and the cry of beasts in the day and night. All the joys of Tatooine.
Obi-Wan Kenobi lay on his bed staring at the ceiling. He was only half dressed though it was late in the day and sweat drenched every bit of cloth he touched. A pile of datapads were scattered on the bed with him and he was wondering if there was a possibility he could actually die from boredom. The thought had been on his mind quite a bit lately. He knew exactly how many cracks were in the ceilings of each room of his house and he could tell what time it was by where the shadows were on the floor.
He turned his head. The shadow was nearing the table beside him. Time for the news reports. Or rather it would be if anything in this house still worked. He hadn't the energy or inclination to fix anything. Why should he? The war between rebel and empire was still going on and he was out here in the middle of the desert going completely crazy for wont of anything to do.
"I am going completely insane," he said, reaching for his glass and discovering it was empty. When had that happened? Obi-Wan sat up and swung his legs over the edge of the bed. Not only was the glass empty, but the bottle of alcohol he'd been consuming was empty as well. Obi-Wan held it upside down over the glass and shook it. Nothing came out, not a single drop. "Well, bantha spit."
With a sigh, he got up and went outside to sit on the steps. Inside, outside... It was hot and miserable no matter where he went.
What he really wanted to do was go in to the spaceport. Not the nearest small piddling town, but the large spaceport that could provide some sort of amusement. Two minutes of conversation would do wonders to bolster him along until his next trip for supplies. He could pick up some supplies, although he really didn't need anything right now. Well...except more alcohol. Maybe he'd stay there a few days, catch up on the news and even pick up the parts to fix everything that was broken. That would occupy him for awhile.
Or he could stay here and see if it really was possible to die from boredom.
It took too much energy to make up his mind right then, so he returned to his bedroom to watch the shadows creep across the floor.
Three days later, he gave in to the temptation and roused himself enough to make the trip.
Dormé glanced up from her drink. She made no reply, knowing better than to do so. Wait until they speak, Val had told her. You'll get yourself in trouble if you smile or answer too quickly. Of course, he'd also warned her to wear her cloak at all times and never give a glimpse of her figure. She'd ignored that bit of advice today, having slipped off her cloak when she'd sat down. Too late, she realized her mistake. She was garnering more attention than she liked.
Not that she was wearing anything particularly revealing. Her shirt was high necked and long sleeved and her pants were slim fitting. Nothing that looked out of place. However, all the men seemed to be looking at her as though she was wearing a skimpy negligeé and prancing about shimmying and shaking.
The man before her was short and squat, with features that reminded her of a shaak. He smiled, revealing a mouth filled with many tiny sharp teeth. "You're a pretty little thing. I hear you're looking for a job." His beady eyes flashed with amusement, gaze in constant motion upon her.
Did he? Pretty amazing feat since she'd not made any inquiries regarding employment. Dormé raised her brows and sipped her drink, resisting the urge to shudder. After a moment of silence, she asked," Does your conversation have a point?"
His smile wavered, eyes narrowing. "My employer would like to hire your services."
"And what services does your employer think I offer?"
"Surely we can work something out."
Yeah, right. Something. Dormé suspected what that something would be and rolled her eyes, downing the last of her drink. "Surely not. I'm not interested in whatever work your employer thinks I would do for him."
"You look like a dancer."
Of course she did. Dormé could well imagine the sort of dancing that would be requested of her: horizontal and without music. "I'm not a dancer, nor do I aspire to be one."
"My employer is very rich in this area. He has a barge and a palace. It'd do a pretty girl like you good to accept the position he's willing to offer you. You would be favored. He likes dark haired females. Honest work..."
Honest? Dormé sat forward. Did she have a sign on her forehead that asked creeps and weirdoes to come right up to her? "Look, I don't care if your employer owns half of Tatooine. I'm not interested."
The man stepped back, nodding. "You will be, pretty girl. Think on that offer, hmm?"
An odd encounter and one she'd rather forget. She'd hoped that this establishment would be different, but every single one she went into had some creep coming on to her. Even being all swathed in her cloak hadn't made a difference. Shaking her head, she left the bar. Maybe she'd have better luck with relative solitude at the next bar.
Several hours later, she discovered one that served tea. Bizarre, but then she was beginning to understand that Tatooine was bizarre in many ways. She sat down at a table in the far corner, the furthest away from the others and surveyed the room. She wished Tepin were with her, but that was impossible. They had been happy for awhile, until the Jedi were killed and the empire had taken out it's wrath on Queen Apailana. Tepin had been at the Palace that day, on duty when Imperial troops had descended. Dormé had fled for her life.
She'd not been silent on her views of the empire and of the ludicrous official stories bandied about, growing more and more vocal until it had been a certainty that if the empire did come to Naboo, she'd be among those rounded up for questioning and eventually death. And so, she'd ended here, on a sandy hot planet that held no love for the empire or the rebels that had begun to fight it. It was, therefore, the perfect place to hide until she decided what to do with her life.
Working for the Hutts wasn't something she desired -- and she'd already had more offers for that than she cared to --, nor did she fancy moisture farming. What else was there? She was certain there were things she could do when she inevitably needed employment. There had to be someone who needed her talents in the area of security. Where to find that person however? She hadn't a clue.
Dormé sighed, ever since leaving Naboo, she'd taken odd jobs here and there, staying as low on the empire's radar as possible. She'd worked for five smugglers and pirates, had eleven close encounters with Imperial troops and missed her friends and husband the entire while. She'd played decoy for a female thief and learned the art of running a con. Val had been a wealth of information in that area. She'd finally made her way back to this end of the galaxy. Nothing like taking a circuitous route to make certain you're not being followed.
All she really desired was to settle down once more. Maybe make a friend or two and live in peace and quiet.
Since the day her life had turned upside down, she'd wondered on the Jedi; how many were left and if any she'd known were in that number. The news of Anakin Skywalker's demise at the Temple had saddened her. She'd imagined that he'd fought hard to save the lives of the children and his colleagues. And then the news of Padmé's death on top of it. How she had cried! They'd both been good people.
She gulped her drink, shoving aside maudlin thoughts. There'd been far too many of them for a very long time. With a wistful sigh, she wished for some silliness and levity to once more come her way.
Pure chance. That was what it had to be. There was no way Dormé was actually here on Tatooine.
Obi-Wan set down his drink. He wasn't drunk was he? Mentally, he counted the number of drinks he'd had, then counted two more times to be sure. Nope, he'd only bought three of these. Anymore, that wasn't even enough to get him tipsy. He wasn't intoxicated.
Or was he, because that woman looked like Dormé. Her hair was shoulder length and her clothes were not the sort he recalled Dormé wearing. This woman across the bar was in a tight shirt and pants. Dormé had worn dresses. He watched her, very tempted to go strike up a conversation.
These trips he made were the only ones where he had good, old-fashioned face-to-face contact. He'd begun to crave conversation these past two months. The urge to come here had been nearly too strong to resist. So, he'd quit resisting it, coming into the spaceport for no real reason save that he was going stir-crazy. Lovely. What did he find here? A woman who looked startlingly like Dormé.
Perhaps he was hallucinating. The heat could do that.
He turned his head, saw the barkeep motion towards the woman. "Yes, she is."
"She comes in every afternoon and has for almost a week. Stays until business picks up, has tea with a drink on the side, then leaves."
Obi-Wan's interest perked. "You serve tea?"
The man glanced about and leaned closer. "Don't spread it about. I've got a slave trader that comes in who won't touch anything else. He drops a lot of business my way, so I accommodate him."
"Makes perfect sense," he replied, taking a sip of his drink. "Has she given a name or anything?"
"Nope. Not a talker, that one. Orders, drinks, leaves. Tips well."
The more Obi-Wan watched the woman, the more he thought it had to be Dormé. But if it was her, then where was her husband and why was she even here? Tatooine was not a vacation spot. It was out of the way and the various inhabitants very dangerous. This was not a place to come to unless one had no other choice.
If it was Dormé, then what should he do? Obi-Wan stroked a finger along his beard. Thoughts of her had remained in the back of his mind for years now. He'd tried to remember her without sadness. His mind went back over old ground, returning to the history between them and when the woman left the bar, Obi-Wan followed behind her, keeping to the shadows.
Palamon Perrin, successful slave trader, was not a happy man. He was growing older and craved having a sweet young thing by his side to bear his children and be his companion in his distinguished years. He was only eighty three, still young compared to the rest of his brothers and the only one without a wife and children to carry on his name. He'd put his career first, throwing all of his energies into proving successful with the failing family business. Why, he'd built up his slave trade practically from scratch!
He sighed, drinking down his tea and motioning for more. He was growing so lonely and beginning to feel his age. A shudder worked through him. A young wife would be just the thing to rejuvenate him, but where was he going to find one? He didn't like to pick from his merchandise. The very thought was distasteful. He needed a woman of feisty nature and great beauty and to be honest, the women he sold were little better than animals. Oh, they had a rough sort of beauty, but he much preferred a more refined kind.
Okay, the woman didn't need to be feisty, just pretty would do and he really didn't care if she had anything in the way of brains. Although... He frowned. It wouldn't do to have children that were dull-witted. Wouldn't his brother Perstemon enjoy teasing him over that? No, he decided, he'd have to find one with brains or at least street smarts.
His glance went about the bar, falling on the woman in the corner. She got up to leave, her efforts to put on her cloak emphasizing her trim figure. Quite a rack on her, he thought, eyes widening. Look at those... I'd get quite a pretty chunk of change for her with a figure that, all slender and curved at the same time. Just what men want in this area...
Hey wait a minute, he thought, an idea forming. What about her? Why not proposition her? She was pretty enough and moved with confidence. This was not some dumb slut trolling the bars for clientele. This one looked to be a real lady. He chortled. Wouldn't that just be a stick up Perstemon's backside? He imagined walking into his brother's house with that woman on his arm -- she'd be pregnant of course, with triplets. Palamon grinned wider, motioning to the underling waiting behind him. "Follow her. Find out where she goes and report everything to me."
He ordered another cup of tea and dreamed of his new future with the woman in the corner. Once he had information on her, he'd arrange to...woo her. How could she resist a man like him?