I will move away from here, you won't be afraid of fear
No thought was put into this- always knew it would come to this
Things have never been so swell
I have never felt this well
I'm so warm and calm inside: I no longer have to hide.
-Nirvana, "You Know You're Right"
Kirney came awake with a shock, unable to escape the sensation that she was not alone. She felt somebody next to her, warm and comfortable, and it was decidedly not the ewok. Whoever it was had lain down behind her, so she twisted a little bit so that when her eyes opened she would be looking directly at the person who had joined her. Then she let herself be fully awake, let her eyes flutter open, and found a smile come across her lips. "Oh yes," she whispered to herself, "I remember."
Myn Donos was still asleep, turned towards her and apparently quite content. Kirney remembered spending three hours at the base festivities, laughing and dancing, before admitting that it had grown overly late for her personal clock. Myn had demanded he walk her back to the shuttle, as it was the gentlemanly thing to do, but once he was there it was difficult to let him leave. So Kirney had asked if he wanted to come in, and they had stayed up for several more hours just talking and discussing everything: from the state of the galaxy to their personal fears. Eventually, it had been simple exhaustion that led them to lay down and sleep. It was, she remembered, a rather comfortable way to fall asleep.
Turns out it was also a wonderful way to wake up.
Kirney began to sneak out of bed, but found herself suddenly caught up in a pair of strong arms. "It's too early," Myn mumbled half asleep. "Close your eyes again."
Kirney sighed and leaned into his embrace. "I have to speak with Mirax Horn before she leaves," Kirney reminded, though her argument felt weak even to her. "She'll have data I can use."
"And you think she and Corran are going to be getting up early?" Myn pointed out, dozing back off to sleep.
Kirney snuggled in once again, unable to compete with his argument. She was still tired, and Myn had a rather persuasive point.
----- ----- ------------- ---------- ------
Wedge and Iella were still in the common area. After the evening of partying had ended, they had stayed in place and talked long enough for the cleaning crew to draft them into helping. So it was that, tired, they were still amongst the last remnants of the festivities. All that remained were a few odd configurations of chairs as the daylight snuck in. Both of them were laughing, in spite of the early hour, and chatting. However, there were certain subjects that neither seemed quite willing to face, items not one of them truly put in conversation though they tiptoed around them.
It was Iella who first skirted the issue at hand. "I think it was sweet," she suggested as she sat in the last chair she had been moving. "What the smuggler told Myn."
"What was that?" Wedge asked, too tired to really remember.
"Just as they were dancing," Iella reminded, "when they were choosing to make a new start, she said 'I'm willing to stop making mistakes if you are.' I can't think of a better way to start over- or a better way to tell someone that you truly care."
"Hmm." That was Wedge's only answer as he settled into a spot on the floor, lack of sleep causing him to forego finding a spot on a chair. Then he added, "I'm glad they came back together. Those two both deserve some measure of happiness."
"And why is that?" Iella asked, observing his reaction.
After a moment, the answer came. "The Empire destroyed a lot of lives, caused a lot of people to pull apart. I guess it's nice to see a couple rise above all that- to create a relationship in the wake of what was torn apart. To see this war actually create something out of the ashes." With that, he leaned on the floor.
Iella had an odd look in her eye as she continued her questioning, this time lighter. "When is it your turn?"
For a moment there was no answer. When she considered Wedge Antilles again, she discovered the reason was that he had actually fallen asleep. She thought about that, then giggled, and let ehrself slide to the floor beside him as she considered her options. Luckily, at that moment Mirax walked in and took the situation in quickly with a giggle of her own.
"That," Mirax proclaimed, "is not something you see everyday. He fell asleep on the floor?"
Iella nodded. "What do you suggest we do?"
"That depends on how much we want to embarass him."
Iella suppressed a loud bit of laughter and got to her feet. "I believe," she announced, "that I will be going in that case. Do what you like."
Mirax frowned at that, but did nothing to stop Iella from leaving for the comfort of her own bed. Then Mirax walked up the the man she considered close as any brother and lightly poked at him. "Come on," she offered. "This is certainly not the best place for a nap."
---------- ------------ ------------ -------------- -------
Face found the morning surprisingly freeing. He woke up alone, took in a deep breath, and let himself stretch out fully. It was strange to feel so liberated after a painfully emotional night, but it seemed to suit him well enough.
After a while considering Dia's words, and enjoying the festivities, he had taken her hand and dragged her out to the quieter halls wehre they could finish the talk she had so adamantly begun. And, in the end, he admitted that while he had feelings for Dia those were classified as thankfullness and friendship now. They had hugged, and cried a little bit, but in the end the two had chosen to split up. It was unmistakeably for the best.
So now he was alone. And, for an unknown reason, it felt good.
----- ----- ------------ --------
The voice was so quiet, so concerned, that Kell stuck his head from the fresher to look directly at Tyria. "Yes?" he asked, pulling his shirt on as he walked back into the room they had shared for the night. She seemed frightened, uncertain, as if she was uncertain what was going to happen next.
"You love me, right?"
Kell moved to sit next to her on her bed, setting an arm around her neck. Tyria never asked these sorts of questions, and yet for some reason the tremor in her voice scared him as he wondered what the conversation was truly about. "I love you, yes," he assured, as much reassurance as possible filtering into his voice. Still, beside him she was shaking, as if considering something that was going to bite her in the rear as she backed away.
"What would you say," she asked carefully, "if I said I was going to leave the Wraiths?"
Kell considered these words for a moment, then found his response. "I would ask what you were going to do instead."
Tyria took enough time in answering that Kell knew she had truly thought about this eventuality. Her breath came slowly, though he could tell she was guiding that to be true by sheer will. Somehow, he understood that her heart was pounding as she outlined her thoughts. "Probably ask Master Skywalker if he was willing to train me again," she admitted. "If the answer is still no, I suppose there is a certain amount of study I could do on my own. It feels like the right thing to do- like with the Wraiths isn't where I'm supposed to be anymore. I think the Force is guiding me into a different path."
Kell squeezed Tyria to him, making his response slow but certain. "Who am I to go against the Force?" he finally managed, wheels turning in his head. "On the other hand, I would feel more comfortable if I had some... assurance. That you won't run off and find someone more handsome and brutishly appealing than myself."
"More brutish than you? That would be difficult."
A laugh escaped Kell's mouth and he pulled away from Tyria slightly. "Perhaps so, but I think there's something to my thought process here, if you follow me. You're not leaving me behind completely- so I guess I'm going to have to say something that's been gnawing at me for a couple of months here." With that, Kell slid off the bed to one knee, in front of Tyria- a smile on his face. "I suppose that I'm going to have to ask you to marry me, if you're willing."
Tyria's face brightened, and she found that the smile truly suited her emotions. "I should have expected you to do something rash like that," she murmured, taking one of his hands in hers. "You know, I truly only gained control of the Force because you were there along with me the entire way. I wouldn't be making this choice without you beside me. No matter how much training I undergo, no matter how hard it may seem to catch a glimpse of your face, I will always love you. So I suppose, all that considered, that I'm going to have to accept your proposal and just marry you."
----- --------- ------ --------
When Myn finally decided that it was time to wake up, he was completely alone. It took several seconds for this to register, and as it did he considered his surroundings. With a stretch, he walked toward the door and exited. Outside, there was a gentle hum of controls constantly ready to go, and a simple warmth of tone. Kolot was there, turning and showing a toothy grin as Myn went towards the fresher. There was no malice, but instead some obvious amusement.
On the mirror in the fresher, Kirney had left a flimsy with a note. Myn read it several times as he washed up. --Went to meet with Mirax. Please don't run off if you can help it.--
Myn picked up the note as he exited, and began to put together a plan to see if he couldn't make sure he could "help it" for longer than even Kirney could possibly imagine.
----- ----- --- ----- ------- -------- ---
Kirney sipped on her caff as she leaned back in her chair, a smug grin on her lips. The caff was good here, though not nearly as sweet as she might like it- and she certainly preferred stim-tea if possible. Still, the caff was beyond passable and it had a better smell, which for this morning was the operative thought in her mind. Caff smelled of wakefullness, and energy, where tea simply smelled like dead plants. It was a subtle difference, but the woman who Kirney had always been beneath all the hiding appreciated it. Across the table, she could see that Mirax appreciated the difference as well, but it was obvious that the other woman actually did enjoy the taste of the caff- a thought that boggled Kirney's mind to no end.
The smug grin was because she had managed to catch a Terrik off guard.
"So you are presuming that you will be asked to catch up with the Errant Venture and are making arrangements beforehand to find it's location. I should think that was overly presumptuous of someone in your position." This was the cover, though, which came after Mirax had buried her face in the mug of caff to hide an expression of surprise when Kirney announced she was looking for the Venture.
"I would have started looking for your father soon of my own accord, regardless of my orders. If this happens to allign with Intel's plans for me at the same time, so much the better. If not... well, I do have certain ways of repaying Booster's hospitality."
"He likes credits," Mirax assured.
"I have my own ways," Kirney asserted. "I have been the premiere data slicer for an ex-Imperial warlord. Your father offered me a job before- even if he did try to disguise the fact. I see no reason I shouldn't be able to broker an offer now."
Mirax set her mug down and looked at Kirney again. "Data slicing, you said? I could probably use you on the Skate, at that. It would mean more time closer to the Rogues." Her eyes lit, and Mirax gave a subtle wink. Kirney was taken aback for a moment, then realized that most of the base had probably seen her with Myn the night before and their relationship would hardly be a secret.
"I'm not sure where I'm welcome to go," Kirney explained. "Better stick where I can easily hide."
Mirax nodded, then gestured forward. Kirney looked at the hand that now lay open before her and sighed, fumbling in a pocket for a clean datachip. This she handed to Mirax, who set it in her datapad and deftly transferred information to it. "There it is then," Mirax assured, handing the chip over. "If you use it in any way harmful..."
"I'll have a whole new bunch gunning for me, and I don't need that," Kirney finished. "I wouldn't sell anyone out. Least of all Booster Terrik."
Mirax gave an answering nod, and the two women went back to their respectives cups of caff and shared a much more pleasant conversation as they continued along the day. In the end, they had developed a grudging respect for each other though they were keenly aware that, when it came to normal business, they were now and would probably continue to remain competitors for the same small section of the galaxy.
----- ----- ----- ----- -----
"Be reasonable, Antilles. I'm not sending somebody with Slane's skill set and vulnerability alone anywhere, not even to someone who's an ally- argueably." Cracken sounded breathlessly annoyed as he explained his view to Wedge Antilles, the arguement in his tone coming through well over the direct hololink. "She'd be prime bait for anyone Thrawn wanted to send after her."
"It isn't as though she'd be in the middle of nowhere, with no protection. I'm certain Booster would take her on like she was one of her own," Wedge assured with a hint of humor carefully hidden.
"And that would be another concern."
Wedge was careful to make sure that his next bit of information didn't sound too much like his own idea. "I don't suppose you'd want to send someone currently on Balmorra. That would be too obvious."
"Actually," Cracken mused, "I was going to have one of the Wraiths go with her. Sarkin, possibly. Did you have a better idea?"
Wedge nodded slowly. "I could spare a man, if it would be more convenient for you."
Cracken raised an eyebrow. "That's an awful generous offer. Can you afford to lose a man for an undetermined set of time?"
Wedge shook his head. "Not indefinitely. Two weeks, General, and then if you still want you can have whoever you like take over." And I'll be saving myself a load of worry about having Donos look around like he's lost- not to mention that he might well yell at you if he finds out someone else was tailing his girlfriend. We both win, General.
"You won't reveal the entire situation to this pilot."
Wedge was barely able to supress a grin at that. No need, as I'm certain Notsil- err, Slane will take care of that for me. "That is a reasonable request to me. As the pilot in question is due two weeks of leave, I will not have to hide his whereabouts to the others. I will state that he is taken a much needed vacation."
"Inform your man of his new perimeters, then. Then come back to the fleet with the rest of your team."
----- ------- -------------- --------------- ----- ------- ----------- --
Kirney walked into Talon's Revenge with a definite calm about her. She found her way into the pilot's seat and settled back, only vaguely aware that she was anything but on her own. Kolot was in his usual place next to her, and in the background she could hear Tonin carrying on a seemingly wild conversation with Myn. It was a perfect position to be in for the moment.
"It's almost time for an evening meal," Myn mentioned. "Want to tell me about your day?"
"I'll be leaving sometime tonight," Kirney told him.
"That soon." There was no hint of actual surprise, and it didn't seem like an actual question. More of a statement, though Kirney didn't catch on directly.
"I wish we had more time together," Kirney sighed, "but I suppose we'll have to make due with what we find."
Myn had a smile on his face as Kirney turned around. "Wish granted," he announed. "I've been ordered to accompany you to the Errant Venture at the earliest possible moment, and stay in direct contact with you for the next two weeks. I've been told to ensure that Tonin is prepared to deal with direct links so that you can get messages personally at any time. You aren't supposed to get too far from him, either." The last was added as an aside, and should have come with a shrug. Instead, it was practically cut off by Kirney launching herself into Myn's arms.
"Well," Kirney stated as the elation left her, "I probably shouldn't have done that. Completely out of character."
Myn set a hand on her shoulder. "I suppose that's what romance does. I know I haven't been as closed up as usual. Now, how about having Ton calculate our route to Errant Venture so we can get a little more time alone?"
The chip was flipped aptly from Kirney's hand to the droid, and she hardly noticed him catch it. She was melting into a pair of arms that moved around her, and she wrapped her arms around his neck in triumph. It was something she hadn't believed she could ever do, not after the mess that was made after Zsinj, but in that moment the reality hit her. This sudden knowledge filled her, leading her to pull Myn in and capture him. This, she knew, was real- and she had two more weeks to get used to it completely before she would again wonder if it had ever happened at all.
-------------------- ----------------------- -----------------
Maybe nothing would ever be perfect. Maybe Kirney would never figure out how best to push away the nightmares. All Myn knew was that she was getting better- infinitely better- as the days went on. One day they paused to look back and realized she hadn't had an episode for almost a year and a half. This was after Myn had been kidnapped, presumed dead, and come back to a tearful Kirney pushing herself at him. The very night he saw her again, and assured her that Iceheart was truly gone this time, he proposed. That was when Cracken cleared her, and truly let Slane be her own person- be free. That was how Donoslane Excursions began, and Myn chose to leave the New Republic to return to Corellia...
With some help from falsified documents, of course. That came from Kirney's primary employer, Booster Terrik, who used her off and on for odd jobs.
That left only one thing to do: finish a joke.
------ ----------- --------------- ----------
"Are you sure this is appropriate?"
"Don't you think we could all use a little morale boost before we head off for Commenor?"
"Come on, Gavin. It's a simple thing. Face will help us."
"Myn, I don't know. Isn't it...irreverant?"
Myn watched, glad to see a smile on his newest accomplice's face. "So you're in?"
"All we have to do is set him up in the hangar..."
Ten minutes later, Wes Janson walked towards his fighter to see a short figure dressed in the conspicious orange of a fighter pilot. Assuming it was a new alien recruit for one of their assisting squadrons he moved toward the figure, not even once expecting the furry pilot that faced him from the other side of a modified helmet.
"Leiutenant Kettch," the ewok provided, offering a furry hand.
Wes glared at the ewok and sighed. "Whose idea..." Than, abruptly, he sputtered. "Wait a minute. You spoke."
"Yes, I did."
Wes turned, finding nobody, and instead spoke to the air. "He spoke."
Toothy smile, Kolot greeted, "Yub yub, Major."
Wes stood still as a rock, again saying, "He spoke."
You may have noticed I changed this, and went back to clean up. I realized I DIDN'T want to deal with a villain change, and would rather let everyone be. Feel free to feel cheated, but I thought this would be a cleaner ending.
Thank you all for following! Enjoy!