Disclaimer: Woe is me, these characters and this universe do not belong to me. For shame.
Mical had immediately commissioned for a transport to be sent out to Ilum. He did not allow himself to think about the matter anymore than he had earlier. After telling Bao-Dur, Mical was not sure if he could tell anyone else. Did he have the strength to last through any more meetings? Especially with Mira, more hurt than would ever admit, or Visas, more stoic than Mical could ever make himself.
No, Mical had told Bao-Dur and expected the Iradonian to do the rest.
Bao-Dur was more than happy to oblige, although he did not know that Mical had been silently wishing him to do any more work. He hadn't thought of telling Mira or Visas, but the idea appeared to him later that afternoon when Mira appeared in his doorway.
Bao-Dur had been fixing a lightsaber, not his own, but one of the Padawans' practice 'sabers that a younger one had accidentally broken in an "unscheduled" fight. He felt someone watching him and looked up at her. Mira was leaning against the doorway, her hands clasped behind her back. She looked very odd in Jedi robes, Bao-Dur noted to himself, almost out of place, but not enough that it was wrong. Mira sauntered into the room, taking his visual notice of her as her cue to enter.
"What did Mical want earlier?" she asked him casually, trying to hide her interest, but Bao-Dur knew it was there. He had set down the lightsaber immediately and tried not to smile at her very transparent behavior. But the smile died quickly as he realized that he had to give her the answer.
Mira had taken the liberty of toying with different devices Bao-Dur had been building and fixing. They littered the workbench by the door, between the desk Bao-Dur was at now and the door Mira had entered from. She glanced up at Bao-Dur every few seconds, but he was trying to figure out how to say it when Mira wasn't holding something particularly fragile.
He sighed very quietly before finally speaking. "The Ebon Hawk was sighted four days ago, on Ilum," Bao-Dur just out and said it. And as expected, Mira's grip slacked and she dropped a broken droid photoreceptor. She looked up at Bao-Dur with such obvious shock and emotion that it moved Bao-Dur and he immediately knew that he couldn't just sit down. It felt too casual for such a monumental occasion. The Exile had made an appearance after two years of silence. Their guiding light had appeared… and vanished.
"Is she still there?" Mira asked quietly. Her eyes were downcast on the workbench, hair in her eyes. Bao-Dur could read her neglected posture though. The Exile had changed her and then abandoned her. Mira's wound had been ripped open fresh again. Bao-Dur felt an overwhelming desire to put his hand on her shoulder, but resisted.
"No. It was gone the next day." Bao-Dur idly noticed his hollow his voice sounded, how like Mical's had been a few hours earlier in first relating the news to him. And he noticed how slumped his posture had grown, how his chest was starting to wrench.
Had he loved her after all?
Not romantically, this isn't an automatic indication of that. Mira is looking as forlorn as you feel at the moment and she was not romantically attached to her.
Bao-Dur couldn't fight with this logical argument and wanted to ignore it anyways. He hated thinking about these emotions. He had been tinkering with his equipment all day, trying to keep his mind off of them. He had tried to forget what Bao-Dur had told him. And then Mira had shown up, and there was no forgetting them now.
Mira didn't say anything more, but she didn't need to. The old Mira Bao-Dur had first met would have been ready with something to say, would've spoken some plan of action, but there was a deep silence that lingered in the room with the two dejected souls, a silence that connected the two through the Force that comprised both of their beings.
Bao-Dur had been gripping his chair back very tightly and finally let go when he felt the material begin to crackle under his cybernetic arm. He let go and took a step closer to Mira.
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you immediately," he found himself saying. "But you have reminded me that it is important that we all know. I ought to find Visas and tell her as well." Bao-Dur held his organic arm out to Mira and touched her shoulder, feeling the thick material of the Jedi robe beneath his arm. Mira was shaking ever so slightly, but he could feel it as he gave her shoulder a light squeeze before exiting the room. Mira could recover herself more quickly by herself, and Bao-Dur could do the same.
You need to go to Ilum immediately.
Mical will have thought of that already.
The thought provided no comfort to Bao-Dur, however, and he merely felt slightly angered by the thought. He shook his head as he wandered through the corridors leading to Visas' chambers. He had to stop thinking of Mical as an enemy. There was no logical reason as to why he would consider him as such anyways.
Because you wanted that attention she gave him. You craved for it like nothing else. But he demanded more whilst you waited in the garage, tinkering away, hoping she would come to you…
She did come to me. She did speak with me. She remade me into whom I should be, whom I wanted to be.
But it was never enough. You wanted more.
It was enough. She was always enough. She respected me, she cared for me…
But she never loved you.
I never loved her!
And with that defiant thought, Bao-Dur arrived in front of Visas' chambers. He knocked on the door, but no one was present in the room. Bao-Dur felt it through the Force almost immediately and when he realized that his thoughts had really been thought and that he was at a location for no purpose, both mentally and physically, he punched the door.
It had been with his organic arm and the force of the punch hurt his knuckles. Durasteel was not a forgiving material for impact, but no real damage had been done to his hand. Bao-Dur leaned against the door, trying to think where Visas was instead at the moment, but his thoughts were straying onto the Exile. With the announcement of the Ebon Hawk's sighting, he could not stop wondering.
He felt his back slide down and his knees buckle under the weight. He sat on the ground and buried his face in his hands, not to cry, but to close his eyes, to clear his mind, to meditate, even if it was in the middle of some corridor in which anybody could just happen to walk. He needed this.
And so he mentally gathered up all of his thoughts about the Exile and compartmentalized them into a little box he pushed into the back of his mind, blending in with the white blankness he was creating for his mind to rest in.
Bao-Dur had no clue how much time had passed when he heard footsteps and the white of his mind was shattered as he blinked several times before properly opening his eyes. There Visas walked, wearing robes still so similar to the maroon ones she had been donning ever since Bao-Dur had known her. If she was surprised at Bao-Dur's being there, she showed no physical or mental notice. Bao-Dur, on the other hand, was slightly jolted by the shake, and stood up hastily.
"Hello, Bao-Dur, may I be of some service to you?" Visas asked in her usual calm and smooth voice. This was something Bao-Dur always liked about Visas and was nearly envious of; her constant stability. Whether she was unable to or simply a master of her emotions, she did well to control them, something Bao-Dur could never and would never comprehend.
"Thank you, Visas, but I merely have news to relate to you," Bao-Dur replied kindly. He felt much calmer now, though whether it was because of his meditation or because of Visas' collected behavior (as opposed to Mira's emotional behavior), was unknown to him.
Visas nodded her understanding and moved to open the door. She let Bao-Dur enter first and he walked to the center of the comfortable living space before Visas herself entered. She moved to close the door, but Bao-Dur stopped her.
"I do not think I will be here very long," he said simply. Visas nodded and left the door half open before walking over to a small stove in the corner. She put a pot of hot water on, Bao-Dur presumed to make tea, before taking a seat at a small two-person table. Most council living spaces were not extravagant, but they were certainly cozy and well-equipped. Bao-Dur was more practical, so he did not admire the beauty of Visas' chambers so much, but he did notice the comforting feeling the area gave off.
"You had news?" Visas spoke again after a minute or so. Bao-Dur hadn't realized that time was passing so quickly. He gathered himself and moved towards a chair opposite hers.
"Yes, Mical related it to me earlier today," he began. "This morning, to be precise. As he has heard it, the Ebon Hawk was sighted recently. First, on Csilla, one week ago, and then on Ilum, four days ago. It vanished the next day and has not been seen since."
Visas fell into silence, but unlike the silence that had been present with Mira, Visas seemed to be contemplating all the options, much like Bao-Dur had been thinking when Mical related the news. But Bao-Dur could feel a slight quiver of shock float through the Force, emanating from Visas.
"Yes," Visas finally muttered aloud. "I had felt that something had changed recently in my meditation." Bao-Dur looked up at Visas curiously. It was not only that he usually had limited conversations with Visas, but that she had sensed it when all others had not. Her race might have had something to do with the strength of her affinity, but it was obvious she held a much more intimate connection with the Force.
"I could not pinpoint any specifics at the time, but I felt a warmth I hadn't felt since the Exile left return to my soul briefly. But it fluttered away and I felt empty again. I hadn't missed it before it appeared, but once it was gone… there was a slight ache in me and I could no longer focus on my meditation," Visas explained. Bao-Dur felt her words and found them slightly moving, the tender way in which she said them. A smile had crept onto his face and Bao-Dur felt slightly elated for some reason.
There is hope. That is why.
There was always hope. I trust her.
But now you know. Your trust was waning just as she was slipping from your thoughts. But now, she is reassuring you that you have reason to trust her and to remember her. She will return.
Bao-Dur finally excused himself from Visas' chambers as the boiling teapot interrupted his thoughts. Visas must have been musing too, for she seemed slightly jolted out of thought when the noise rang the room and Bao-Dur left, closing the door behind him, but feeling gladder with each step towards his own chambers.
His emotions for her had been set aside for now. He would worry about them later. For now, he would focus his self on getting to Ilum. A determination he unknowingly shared with the other three, all feeling the loss return to them… but, for Bao-Dur at least, the hope she brought as well.
Thank you to FeeldaForce, RunningStorm, and Uilleand. I dedicate this chapter to you guys for your encouraging reviews! It really is the reviews that remind me of my need to dedicate myself properly to these fics. Of course, I'm really enjoying writing this one so far, so, luckily, since I am not getting many reviews, my love for this stuff is making up for it.
Sorry it took a bit longer than expected to update, but here it is. I hope that everyone had a fabulous New Year. I know that I'm relieved as my evil government paper is done with and I only have four more of the classes to deal with until the semester ends. And I'm also enthusiastic to share my news of two college acceptances with you all, so I'm pretty good going.
It's weird that all this time has gone by since I first started doing fan fiction. I've been doing it my whole high school career. And that's almost over. Damn.
Well, anyhow, please continue to show your support through reviews. I love hearing feedback, positive, neutral, negative (as long as they are not flames), whatever, so indulge me!
Hope you've enjoyed the fic thus far. I'll hopefully update soon, but as usual, no guarantees!