One Last Time

A severely ill woman lay unmoving in a medcenter bed. She was about to die, not that she really cared. The doctors had given her only two months to live from the date of her diagnosis, and she was almost fine with that. The reason why she harbored some dissatisfaction with the fact that she only had two months left was a rather interesting one, too.

She wanted to meet the boy that she had raised as her own, for one last time before she died.

She had raised him since he was born, and he had left at the age of… Was it ten? She couldn't recall anymore, due to her failing memory. She sometimes had difficulty even remembering his face, how he looked… She had seen him as an adult before, not too many years before she was struck with the fatal illness now ravaging her body and mind. But now she couldn't even recall how his voice sounded. She looked out of the medcenter window, and saw nothing but rainfall.

'Does it ever stop raining?' She asked herself mentally. As far as she knew, it had never stopped raining here. Her homeworld was a watery globe, nothing more.

She let out a sigh, and closed her eyes. Upon her diagnosis, she had immediately sent a tight-beam transmission to the planet he where he lived. It was a desperate action, taken so that she could see him again. For he had given her that planet's name several years ago, and he could have moved away by now.

She decided that it was worth a shot.

But as the days passed, and the end of her 'alloted' two months drew nearer. He didn't turn up, nor did he contact her in any way. She had almost given up the hope of seeing him again, but she decided to hang on. It would be worth it if she could see him even for just one second…

xxx

On a rain-drenched landing platform, an antiquated Firespray patrol ship landed with almost silently. Its entrance hatch opened, and a man stepped out of it. He took in his surroundings through a slitted visor, and saw that he was close to his destination. Locking up his ship, he walked towards a building at the edge of the landing platform.

As soon as he was out of the pouring rain, he strained his memory to remember the layout of this particular building.He finally remembered, and took off at a brisk pace towards what he hoped was still a medcenter.

He hoped that he wasn't too late.

xxx

A nurse was taking a bowl of porridge to a terminally-ill patient in Ward 8503, when she was stopped by a stranger.

The stranger was wearing a set of battle-scarred armor, and a blaster at its hip. It gave her a silent stare, and seemed to notice the bowl of porridge in her hand.

"Who is that for?" It spoke up, in a man's voice. The nurse blinked at him, curiously.

"The patient in ward 8503," she replied, "If your looking for food, the cafeteria is just around the corner."

"Give it to me."

"Certainly not. Who do you think you are?" Retorted the nurse, only to find the stranger holding out his hand. His other hand was on his blaster. Letting out a squeak of fear, she handed him the bowl of porridge.

Turning tail and running away from him, she decided that maybe she should just have gotten another bowl of porridge for the patient in Ward 8503.

xxx

The patient in Ward 8503 painstakingly sat up in bed when she saw her ward door opening. It was about lunchtime, and the nurse would be bringing her some horrible medcenter food.

She nearly jumped out of her skin when a stranger in Mandalorian armor walked in, holding a bowl of what looked like porridge. He walked up to her bedside, and placed the bowl of porridge down on her bedside table.

She looked at the stranger, and realised that she knew who this was. He was no stranger to her than she was to her parents. Tears welled up in her eyes as she saw him take of his helmet. So he did come after all….

He was the boy she had raised, and was searching for.

"You came," she said, weakly.

"I'm sorry for not coming sooner," he replied, bowing his head, "I had some digestive problems."

"You were sick?"

"No, I fell into a Sarlaac."

"You poor thing! You aren't pulling my leg, are you?"

He looked at her, and smiled.

"You haven't changed much."

"Why, should I have?"

"No, I love you just the way you are."

He was taken aback as a single, silvery tear rolled down her cheek. He stretched out a gloved hand and wiped the tear, feeling sick to his stomach. The woman he knew was so lively, so vibrant. Seeing her lying in a medcenter bed, pale and skeletal, it was saddening.

She slowly stretched out a hand and lay it on his cheek. She stroked his face fondly, like a mother would her child's.

"Look at you, all grown up," she chuckled, feeling bristly stubble on his face, "Thank you for coming…"

"How could I not?"

"Now if I die, I can do so restfully."

"Don't talk like that. Here, have some of this porridge."

"No, it tastes like poodoo."

"Please?"

"Alright then…"

He scooped up a spoonful of the porridge, and fed it to her slowly. Her face contorted into an expression of disgust as she swallowed.

"I think they make medcenter food horrible so people will stay healthy and can eat at home," she sniffed, "You can have the rest of it, if you want. I'm not hungry."

"You must eat."

"Seeing you here is enough. How have you been?"

"Up-and-down. I have a daughter now."

"Really? I'm so proud of you!"

He saw her smiling at him, her eyes filled with pride. She suddenly clutched at her chest, and starting gasping for air. He panicked.

"I'll get a doctor!"

"No!"

"You need help!"

"Come… Closer…" Her words were almost inaudible now, "Let me… Tell… You… Something…"

He calmed down slightly, and leaned towards her.

"I am old, and must die," her voice was barely a whisper.

"Please don't say that," he said, almost in a pleading tone.

"But before I passed on, I wanted to see you one last time."

"…" He felt tears welling up in his eyes, eyes that had been dry for decades.

"I'm so proud of you. Even your father would have been proud of all you've done. Thank you…"

"No need to say that, I would have come anyway…" He started, only to be cut off by her whispers.

"Thank you partly for coming, but mostly something else."

She grasped his hand with hers, and looked at him in the eye. He saw nothing but love in her eyes, which normally held as much emotion as a pair of mirrors.

"I once thought that clones couldn't feel," she continued, slowly, "But you taught me otherwise."

"…"

"If not for you, I wouldn't have known what it is like to love, or be loved. It is not my species' tendency to be loving."

Her grip on his hand tightened, as she began to wheeze.

"Thank you for teaching me how to love, Boba."

Her hand released its grip on his, and her head fell backwards onto her pillow. He slowly closed her eyes, and folded her hands over her stomach. Putting on his helmet, he turned to leave, but stopped at the doorway to her room.

Turning to face her, he snapped his right fist to his left shoulder in a Mandalorian salute. He bowed his head in sorrow.

For Taun We had been almost like a mother to him.

END