Title: Leaves in the Wind
Characters/Pairing: Canderous/LSF!Revan, rest of the crew
Summary: At a birthday party for one of the members on the ship, Revan and Canderous get a chance to talk about their past, and their future.
Notes: Revan's name is Rafsa
On their quest to save the galaxy, there were not many occasions for celebration. Killing an evil Sith hell bent on taking over and destroying the galaxy didn't leave much time for birthday cakes and parties, especially when a group of Sith fighters or a Empire ship could show up at any moment to rain on their parade.
But one thing that Rafsa had realized about 6 months into their journey, that moral was pretty damned low. Well, it would make sense considering that every member of the crew had lost at least one person, or realized at least one unpleasant thing about themselves through the difficult journey, and with nothing to counter act it, the mood on the Ebon Hawk was... uncomfortable to say the least.
The first time it hit her was during one of their communal breakfasts, an activity that most people on the crew had agreed was necessary. It had bred camaraderie, of course, but had also bred its share of uncomfortable silences and intense fighting. But today, no one was talking at all. Silently, the dark haired woman sat back and observed.
Mission was perhaps the one most down in the dumps, Rafsa concluded. Her dusty blue skin was pale, and she poked at her breakfast with the fork like a distraught child writing in the dirt. Zaalbar looked at her occasionally, but too seemed to be lost in his own thoughts. He had, after all, just been forced to kill his own brother naught two weeks ago.
Not that Chuundar hadn't deserved it, but Rafsa doubted that that made Zaalbar feel any better about it.
Carth was also conspicuously silent, but that in itself wasn't unusual. Rafsa had always gotten the feeling that Carth had never really felt quite comfortable around her. In matter of fact, he looked like all he'd like to do was flee back to the cockpit and ban everyone else from entering it. Again. Like he did all the time. Rafsa almost wished he would do that. Their relationship had been strained lately, and whatever might of been romance that could have been kindled at one point was obviously squashed now. Not that Rafsa could claim to be anything other than relieved for it.
Juhani sighed and left the table without another word, her pointed ears a bit downcast at the mood. Bastila had refused to even come out at all, trying to make a point to the rest of them, Rafsa thought. She scoffed at the thought. If Bastila wanted to act like a 'spoiled Jedi princess', then that was all well and good by her. Bastila always acted like they were honoring them just to speak to her anyway. Eventually, someone was going to shoot the young Jedi.
It was just a toss-up who. Personally, Rafsa was betting on Canderous.
Speaking of their resident gruff Mandalorian, Canderous walked into the map room with a foul expression on his face, as usual. Ever since their encounter with Jagi, Canderous had been quiet at best and outright hostile at worst. Juhani was leaving out of the same door, and the sour look she gave the Mandalorian was chilling. Not that Canderous noticed. He was a solitary creature for the most part on their ship. If most of the crew outright disliked him, and some even hated him.
Unfortunately, Rafsa had the feeling that Canderous not a solitary creature by choice. Of all the Mandalorians she had met, she had realized that very few of them traveled alone. They had at least two others with them for the most part. Well, with a society that devoted to Clans, it wasn't really surprising. Rafsa had always been curious about why Canderous had joined them even though he was so clearly despised, but she figured Canderous would tell her eventually. He was pretty talkative, with the right kind of conversation.
Either way, most of the people at the table figured that Canderous' arrival was their cue to go back to their respective duties. Mission trodded off practically destitute, but for the moment Rafsa shook her head. She'd go ask in a minute.
"Looks like you had a rough night, Canderous." Well, if no one else was going to talk, she could at least drag a few words out of her favorite Mandalorian mercenary. With a grunt, Canderous picked up his plate of food and dropped it to the ground, which three Gizka practically fell upon as they gobbled up his share of the meal. He crossed his arms over his chest, leaning back in the chair.
"I've had better, girl. What's got everyone else looking so gloomy? Besides the obvious." Even though he was responding, Rafsa could tell his heart wasn't really in the conversation. She peered up at him from her seat next to him, frowning as she realized just how massively huge that the Mandalorian was. Canderous stood at least a head above her, and was built like a tank. Not that it mattered much to her.
"I just think we've all been on this ship too long. Everyone's getting worn out. And it doesn't help that no one knows how to have any fun around here!" Rafsa slammed her fists on the table, which didn't even make it shake, and got up suddenly, her chair pushed and falling behind her. Canderous, midway into lifting a biscuit to his mouth, raised a steel gray eyebrow at her as she marched off, giving a shrug and taking a bite.
It was futile to ask Rafsa about anything when she was this wound up anyway.
Meanwhile, the angsting Mission soon found herself accosted by a less than enthusiastic kind-of Jedi. Rafsa closed the door to the barracks behind her, crossing her arms under her chest and glaring positively viciously.
"You will tell me why you are acting so depressed, or I swear I will tickle it out of you."
Mission stared for a moment, in the middle of putting on a jacket over her shirt. The young Twi'lek frowned poutily, the classic look of teenagers everywhere.
"Nothing's wrong. Why would you think that? If this is about Taris..."
"It's not about Taris. Why are you acting like such an angsty teenager? How are we supposed to help you if you won't tell us?" Rafsa frowned, approaching the Twi'lek and attempting to adopt a more relaxed stance. Getting angry wasn't going to help either of them.
Mission, for a moment, almost looked like she was going to attack her. If she did, it wasn't like Rafsa would mind. The Jedi, though only a little bit bigger than the girl, could probably easily take her. Then, Mission's eyes filled with tears and she lurched forward, clinging to Rafsa like she was the last person on earth. Rafsa awkwardly wrapped her arms around her, wondering where the hell this had gotten all mixed around.
"Rafsa, it's my birthday! And... and no one even noticed! Everyone that ever knew my birthday is gone, except Zaalbar. Who... oh, Rafsa, he forgot!"
Well... ok then.
Canderous had started the day with the full intent that he was going to lock himself in the swoop hanger and ignore anyone that came near his lair. Thinking about what happened to Jagi, was... well, Canderous realized it wasn't about Jagi at all. Jagi was their people, their culture, and their very way of life. Once strong and powerful warriors were now preying on the weak and the helpless, without honor. Once he had realized this, the thought had depressed the Mandalorian to a point where he wondered what was the worth of his honor, really? Nothing more than a handful of dead civilians and blood.
The Mandalorian sat heavily on the bench, running his fingers through his greying hair to settle it, gray eyes focused on the ground below him. What was the point of any of this? Even if Canderous did try to revive his people, there was little chance that they'd even bother to listen him. Without Mandalore, they were... they were lost, broken, and pathetic.
But before the warrior could sink further into his dark thoughts, the smell of something sweet hit his nostrils. With a frown, he got up and sniffed in the direction it was coming from. What in the world?
So what was a bored, depressed, and essentially curious Mandalorian to do but to find out where it was coming from? The scent lead, unsurprisingly, to the tiny kitchen on the hawk, where he was greeted with the sight of their noble leader wearing an apron and covered in a pale gooey mixture. The kitchen was a mess, soft powdery stuff and stuff that Canderous didn't even want to know about spread all over nearly every surface. It would take forever to clean, even with help. But...
Rafsa looked so happy, happier than Canderous had seen her in months. She was humming a tune under her breath, her heavy black hair held back in a braid as she moved around the kitchen, checking the batter in the bowl to make sure that it was setting properly. A herd of Gizka were gathered at her feet, looking up at her hopefully. A small pile of cleaned bowls was evidence of their adoration. Canderous smirked, his eyes drawn to a bit of white batter spread across Rafsa's left cheek.
"What in the nine hells are you doing?" Canderous asked with a slow growl, leaning against the doorway casually. Rafsa looked up at him and stuck her tongue out at the Mandalorian, pouring the thick substance into a pan while she spoke.
"I'm making a cake, what does it look like, dolt? It's Mission's birthday today, and dammit, we're going to have a party whether anyone likes it or not. Now, you can either help, or get out of my way." Rafsa barely stopped to take a breath, her slender shoulders tensing a bit as she expected Canderous' reaction. A Mandalorian Warrior did not cook!
"I suppose you could use some help. If only for damage control." Canderous said off-handedly, wondering what he was getting in to. But the look on Rafsa's face, a glorious smile and a bowl held out to him was more than worth it.
She was worth it.
Rafsa poked her head into the cockpit, only to see Carth and Bastila sitting and poking buttons half-heartedly. Well, at least they were sharing their depression, Rafsa thought sarcastically. She walked in, ignoring the glares she was receiving, and grabbed the pair by their arms, dragging them to the cockpit.
"Padawan Rafsa, what is the meaning of..."
"Oh, shut up for once, Basty, and enjoy yourself."
"It's Mission's birthday, and you are damn well going to celebrate with us. Now into the main room, stat!"
When they entered, the rest of the crew was already gathered there, all of them wondering what the hell their slight leader was up to this time. Well, except perhaps Jolee, who just sat in a chair and smirked at them. Canderous lurked in the shadows of the doorway, with but distinctly separate from the rest of them.
"Did you know it was Mission's birthday?" Carth frowned, and leaned over to Juhani, who's ears perked towards him.
"Vell, I do now."
Mission came in through another door, blindfolded and being gently lead by Zaalbar. She seemed annoyed, reaching up to try to take the blindfold off, but having her hand gently pressed back down by a wookie paw.
"What is going on, you guys!? Why am I blindfolded? I swear if this is a prank..."
Rafsa smirked, and pulled the blindfold off with aplomb once the Twi'lek was seated. Mission blinked blearily, looking around the room with barely concealed suspicion.
Then, all eyes turned towards the doorway, where a considerably downed looking HK-47 was carrying a large platter with a cake sitting on it. The cake was haphazard at best, the scrolling writing wobbly on the top, and looking suspiciously like a Mandalorian dialect.
"Downhearted Statement: Now would be the time to sing your silly birthday song, Meatbags, celebrating the day in which your pathetic organic life crawled out of your mother's womb like maggots out of dead flesh..."
"HK." Rafsa glared at him, T-3 rolling next to the assasin droid blurped in a way that said what Rafsa was implying. HK sighed dramatically, walking towards the table.
"Humiliated Song: Happy birthday to you..."
The rest of the crew joined into the song with surprising gusto, surprising even Rafsa. She was expecting a half hearted attempt at best. Off in the shadows, Rafsa watched as Canderous slipped away and back to the swoop hanger. She frowned, but joined in with the song. Mission blew out the candles with passion, and nearly the present crew all cheered to the 15 year old Twi'lek girl.
"You guys, this is... No one's ever done anything like this for me before..."
Carth grinned, leaning forward to steal a bit of the frosting off the cake, even though Bastila smacked his hand for it. Even so, the stuck-up Jedi seemed... almost happy.
"What did you wish for, Mission?" Carth asked curiously, licking the stolen frosting off his finger with a grin. Silently, the Twi'lek stared at him, and grinned.
"If I told you, it wouldn't come true, would it!? Come on, let's party!"
A few minutes later, a small figure slipped into the swoop hanger, holding two plates with cake on them in her hands. Canderous sat near his bunk on a cushion, carefully examining his vibrosword for any sign of scarring. He looked up, almost surprised, as she held out the plate as if in a peace offering, grinning for all she was worth.
"I thought you might like a piece of our hard work, Canderous. Why aren't you at the party?"
The Mandalorian carefully set aside his blade, taking the plate from her and examining Rafsa as she plopped down next to him, so close to his side he could nearly smell her perfume. He sighed, picking up the fork.
"I wouldn't be welcome there. They're all having a good time, and I wouldn't want to disturb that." Canderous said simply, taking a bite from the cake. It was... surprisingly good, actually. But that may have something to do with the fact that he helped make it, with Rafsa.
"Awww, is the big bad Mandalorian growing a heart?" Rafsa cooed teasingly at him, poking that hard, compacted arm with a grin. She took a bite from her own cake, and they sat in silence for a few moments. Canderous stared down at the plate in his hands, and Rafsa frowned at him. She scooped up a piece in her fork, and held it up to him.
Canderous raised an eyebrow, but did as ordered. Sometimes, Rafsa could be random as a Giska in a gravity generator, but he had to admit, she could also be absolutely adorable when she wanted to be. He sighed, allowing his arm to relax. It was oddly comfortable, with the line of his thigh touching hers and his arm pressed against her own. He could get used to this.
"It's funny, you know? But if I had made this cake on my own, I don't think it would have tasted so good." Rafsa started casually, leaning back against the wall and a bit against his shoulder.
"What do you mean?"
"Oh, I don't know. Maybe it just tastes better because we made it together. We're so much better at everything together than we are apart. You..."
Her words paused, stopped by the press of chapped, thin lips against her own. Rafsa's hand reached up of it's own violation, cupping his cheek in her hand and feeling the stubble beneath her palm. It was not much of a kiss, barely enough to be called one really, but for some reason it left her tingling as if she had just gotten done with an hour make out session. She stared at him, cake forgotten.
"Rafsa... you... you may not realize it, but you saved me. I don't think I can ever make up for that. Do you even think we're going to survive this war? You make me think about these things, things that I've never really thought about before. I don't know what to do."
Rafsa smiled softly, leaning up to press their forheads together. She could honestly admit to herself that she loved this Mandalorian, for everything he had done, no matter how distasteful, and everything she knew that he would do after all of this. Their lips met only a moment later, and she...
"Sometimes, Canderous, we can't control our destiny. We're like leaves in the wind, and we just have to go wherever the wind takes us. If it's any help, everything will be ok. We just have to believe in it."
Canderous softened, leaning closer to her...
"Ewww! So that's what you two are doing, hiding all alone in the hanger?"
Canderous pulled away with an annoyed frown, looking to the door with almost a look of surprise. The rest of the crew stood there, cake balanced precariously ontop of T-3, and looking like they were ready to bring the party in with them.
Rafsa blinked, tilting her head to the side. It made her look adorable, Canderous concluded, and barely resisted the urge to kiss her again.
"What are you guys talking about?"
Jolee smirked, shrugging his shoulders at the pair. "Well, it just seemed that we were missing a few people. What's a party without everyone around to enjoy it? So like it or not, Mandalorian, we're coming in, and we're bringing the booze with us."
Canderous stared at them for a moment, and then his thin lips broke slightly into a grin, and then a full on laugh.
"Well, I doubt anything I say will stop you anyway! You might as well come in."
And as the rest of the crew herded into the room, Rafsa grinned and leaned up to kiss the Mandalorian gently. And for some reason, Canderous thought, it seemed sweeter, knowing that they were surrounded by friends.