Epilogue

Allana left the next afternoon.

She was there for the brief joining ceremony for Zekk and Jaina that morning and she's remained adamant about attending; nothing Mila or the other Hapan had said would sway her and so they'd stayed. She was glad she had; nothing Allana had ever seen had prepared her for the love she could practically see in her father's eyes.

It had embarrassed her, made her a twinge jealous - at least until he'd turned that look on her - and proud that she hadn't stood in his way in this instance. He deserved happiness and if Jaina made him happy, he deserved it.

There was a small reception, but Allana, along with her father and new step-mother, had quit early to meet the Hapan transport that would take her to Hapes. She said brief goodbyes to Zekk and Jaina, hugging them both and offering one last round congratulations. As a last touch she took both Jaina's hands in hers and welcomed her into the family. Zekk had hugged her impulsively one last time before letting her go, giving her an admonishment to keep in touch.

She turned to the ramp without scanning the area for other well wishers - she'd said her goodbyes to Ben the night before and they didn't think it would have been appropriate for him to see her off without going. She'd left her mother's medallion in his care at his request, as a memento of sorts. She tried not to think of the implications of that act, and it wasn't difficult to push it to the back of her mind with everything else that was suddenly her highest priority, according to Mila.

Extracting a promise from both Zekk and Jaina to come and visit once their honeymoon was over, she waved goodbye as the transport ramp closed, and found herself a seat in the passenger compartment. She buckled herself into the crash webbing and closed her eyes against the ache in her throat.

She was going to miss the little house that was her home. She was going to miss waking up to the teasing of her father and his blurry-eyed caf discussions. She would miss the little pool that had been just hers, and the classes with her peers. She would miss Jysella's sporadic presence and the freedom to come and go as she pleased.

Above all, she would miss Ben. Being able to message him, talk to him, run with him and fight with him. She was going to miss the easy camaraderie and acceptance he represented even as she would miss their heated discussions. Most of all she'd miss the way his lips tilted into that slightly impish tilt whenever he called her Twitch.

Taking a deep breath, she let her regrets slip away. Of all the things she would miss, each of them would revisit themselves on her in her new home. She would simply have to set her focus on the things which needed doing and ensure her visitors would be granted the safety and security they were accustomed to.

She would not fail.

She, Allana Djo, daughter of Zekk of Ennth and Tenel Ka Djo, would conquer the Hapes cluster and bend it to her will as a tribute to her mother.

It was just that simple.

fin

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Author's Note - And it's finito! Did I mention I have an idea for a Ben/Allana sequel based on Hapes? No? Well, no brainer - Ben must now convince Allana he's the perfect choice as her consort with the people pressuring her for an heir. Will she give in? Of course - but the journey on how she gets there will be entertaining!

Thanks for reading everyone you've been a wonderful audience - and don't forget; feedback, feedback, feedback!