Lifeday Candles
By: ZekksGoddess

Disclaimer: All things Star Wars belong to George Lucas. Although, I suppose that means 'Berniers' is copywright to me, now.
Timeframe: Before/During YJK
Summary: Lifedays are times for family celebrations.
Characters: Zekk, Peckhum
Genre: mush!
AN: Look! Something happy with Zekk in it!
My first Monday Mush Mania attempt.

"Twenty minutes."

In response, there was a vague grunt from the corner.

Zekk grinned down from his cross-legged position atop a pile of heavy boxes. "Nineteen minutes."

Grunting again, an old man rolled over on his cot to glare up at him. "Boy," he grumbled, his voice thick, "Don't you know old people don't like to be reminded they're getting older?"

"Which brings us to another matter…how old are you going to be?"

"Old enough." He responded briskly, closing his eyes as though trying to close the conversation.

Zekk pointedly ignored the hint.

"Come on Peckhum, I need to know how many candles to light."

Peckhum pulled the blankets closer to his face. "Don't need candles."

"It's your Lifeday; of course you're going to have candles."

Sighing, the grizzled old spacer sat up, letting his blanket fall down onto his lap.

"Really, Zekk" he said firmly, fixing the younger boy with a hard look. "I'm old, old enough to have had enough lifedays to stop caring 'bout 'em. I don't need… candles or anything."

Zekk frowned from his high perch. He knew Peckhum wasn't really annoyed, it was just the old man's nature to keep things simple, living day to day life as usual without much of a break in the routine. Of course, Zekk had taken it upon himself to dote on Peckum now and then, for becoming his friend and something of a grandfatherly figure to him, if not for taking him in instead of sending him to an orphanage.

"It's an awful nice thought, of course." Peckhum continued groggily, "but if you really insist, just a simple 'Happy Lifeday' would do."

Zekk cocked his head, still frowning although the hints of a smile lurked at the corners of his lips. "But Peckhum," he murmured slowly, "don't you want to know what I got you?"

Peckhum wiped at his bleary eyes with the back of his hand, looking up at Zekk quizzically. "You got me somethin'?

"'Course I did." Zekk answered nonchalantly. "It's your lifeday."

"Really, you didn't have to go an-"

"Fifteen minutes".

Sighing, Peckhum pushed back the covers and swung his legs to the floor. He prided himself on staying pretty limber for such an old man, but it seemed that every day, it took a little more effort to get his joints going.

Grinning again, Zekk jumped down and disappeared into the kitchen.

Peckhum's eyes passed over the small apartment. He and Zekk's bedrooms were actually one big bedroom, but piles of boxes, old parts Zekk had found scavenging, and who knew what else made a makeshift wall to separate the two. It was a small apartment, with a small living area and an even smaller kitchen.

He could remember the first years he'd lived there by himself. Naturally, as a supply runner, he had lived a fairly lonely life, and the apartment had certainly reflected that.

Now, though; Zekk brought home his finds from scavenging and the odd knick-knack he thought Peckhum might like, and there were a few things Peckhum had brought home for Zekk.

It was very different having Zekk around. Peckhum wouldn't say it aloud, but he certainly wouldn't want to go back to living alone. He liked the life they'd settled into together, two lost souls who'd found a family with one another.

"Alright, Peckhum!"

Peckhum started at Zekk's voice. With a last glance over the apartment, wearing the smallest of smiles, he crossed the couple of steps to the kitchen to find that Zekk had cleared them some table space, and set up the kitchen for the occasion.

Streamers of green, blue and yellow hung from the ceiling, and the arms of Peckhum's big armchair. In the center of the table, there was a small cake, just enough for two people to dig into. Zekk sat at the other side of the table, quietly- although Peckhum could tell the boy was eager for a reaction.

Peckhum shook his head, lowering himself into his chair. "You've got too much spare time, kid."

Zekk nodded at the cake, smirking. "I guess it doesn't matter about the candles- they wouldn't have fit anyway."

"Candles shmandles. This is just fine."

Zekk jumped up from his chair, returning a few moments later with a decent sized box wrapped meticulously in shiny blue material. Looking at the wrapping job, Peckhum raised an eyebrow at his young friend.

Zekk grinned and shrugged. "Let's say I had some help finding these…she insisted on the wrappings."

Peckhum chuckled; carefully pulling the paper away from the box- it looked expensive. Pulling out a small utility knife, he went to work on the box, muttering something nearly inaudible about Zekk and lifedays.

Zekk just grinned and studied the older man's face.

Finally managing the last fold of the box, Peckhum pulled out a new pair of boots.

"These…they still make these?"

"Guess so." Zekk shrugged with a suddenly shy grin. "You must've been right about quality boots, though- took forever to find them and get hold of them to actually get a pair."

Peckhum chuckled, still shaking his head. That boy never failed to surprise him. It must've been nearly three months ago Peckhum had ripped open the seam on a pair of cheap boots and found himself nostalgic for the old Berniers he'd had when he was young.

And here in front of him were a brand new pair of Berniers, shining, and strong with the 'new smell'.

"You're somethin' kid, you know that?"

Zekk looked down, obviously pleased.

And then, Peckhum got up from his chair and hugged the younger boy, surprising them both. Zekk hugged him back, and they both pulled away feeling a little embarrassed.

It was new to them both, having a family.

But a family it was.

Their family.