Disclaimer: I do not own Karrde, Shada, Aves, Dankin or anyone in the Star Wars Universe! It is George Lucas', not mine. And so I am sad.
Again another part of the 'Hidden Souls, Smuggled Hearts' Series. This is set sometime before 'Jump' again.
So enjoy a little bit of pre-relationship goodness.
"'Nother glass," Shada D'ukal slurred as she sat slumped back on the hard, bench seat of the little booth in the far corner of the crammed, smoky, stinking bar. She leaned forward, swayed and then drooped down over the table, pillowing her head on her arms. The two men sat opposite her were oblivious, having drunk quite enough themselves, and chatted together as they sipped at their empty glasses, seemingly unaware that the Corellian Reserve had run out fifteen minutes before.
Their usually sharp senses were dulled so much by the large amounts of alcohol they had consumed that they did not even notice the man standing over them, studying them with a disapproving gaze, until he cleared his throat with a loud cough and leaned over the work-surface. Pushing Shada's empty glass to the other end of the table along with the long-finished, dark brown bottle, the blonde haired man gave the three of them a scolding glare with his hard, blue eyes.
"I think you've had quite enough," he rebuked them as he flicked his orbs between the men on one side of the desk and the shivering female figure on the other, his forehead creased into a deep frown.
She looked a state.
"I can't believe you guys let her do this to herself!" he scolded them, "Besides Karrde's been looking all over for you."
Dankin looked up at the newcomer, blinking as the hard lights behind Aves scratched his eyes and gave a slovenly, lop-sided smile, eyes glittering in a way only alcohol could create,
"Does 'e want a drink too?" he asked lazily, not getting the point at all. Raising his arms into the air as if in celebration, he stood with a wobble and cried out over the close noise of the cantina, "Come on lets order 'im a drink‼!"
Chin and Shada bolted up straight but did not stand as they both offered an impassioned,
YAY!" after which Shada coughed and fell back down over the table.
Her glass and the bottle plummeted from the edge and shattered into sharp, little fragments on the grubby, slate floor.
Aves' hand flashed out, catching Dankin's shoulder and shoved him back into his seat, hushing him sternly.
"What's 'appening?" Shada groaned without moving an inch, her forehead pressed down against the metal tabletop and her breathing uncharacteristically heavy.
Dankin's pout swiftly became another ridiculously, large grin; he leaned across the table and tried to whisper to the female. It came out more like a joyous shriek.
"No he's not," Aves told them resolutely and rolled his eyes tiredly, wondering whether he should just give up, let the trio drink themselves into a further stupor and suffer the consequences when Karrde found them at dawn.
Sighing, he realised that if he did just let them swig themselves into oblivion there would not only be trouble for them, but for the whole crew too…including him.
He didn't really have an option? Did he?
"Dankin, Chin," he ordered tightly, snapping his fingers promptly and pointing austerely past the alien crowd, filthy bar and towards the door, "Back to the ship," his voice was hard and definite so even the drunkards understood that enough was enough, "Now."
Chin pulled his sweaty hands through his skewed, dark hair and then gave a sloppy salute, a mischievous smirk smeared across his roguish face,
"Aye-aye boss," he teased.
The two men grabbed at each others forearms as they attempted to help each other rise from their seat, falling over their own uncoordinated bodies as they did so. Their own glasses fell to the ground and shattered, but eventually the two chaps did manage to get onto their feet.
They hovered patiently nearby, waiting for their partner, as they chattered in barely understandable voices.
As if noticing the sudden change in atmosphere from light-hearted and relaxed to cold and severe, Shada tilted her head to one side, and with one black eye glanced at the blurry figures of her drinking-mates as they moved.
"Where are we all going?!" she mumbled after them groggily, "Guys?"
Then she squinted up at the blonde man who was left towering over her. She bared her teeth at him aggressively and then pushed herself up from the bench.
She was able to hover in place for a second or so, before her knees trembled and she fell most ungracefully back down.
Luckily Aves' reflexes had not been slowed through over-consumption of a Corellian beverage and he caught her before her head cracked on the table.
"Oops…" he strained holding her lithe, limp body in his arms, "Up we get Shada."
Yet the female seemed unable to stand, looking up at him through a curtain of thick lashes with her deep eyes, a beautifully suggestive smile lit up her slender face.
Slowly she lifted her own lethargic limbs up and wrapped them about his neck, pulling him so close their noses touched,
"Oh Mr Aves…." she giggled.
Sith, did she just giggle! He screamed inside his head, arms locked around her torso to keep himself from dropping her, that can't be good.
He looked down with exacerbation and vexation at the woman and then glared blaster bolts at the heads of the two other crew members,
"Karrde's going to be furious?" he half-growled, half-sighed, "How much has she had?"
Chin raised a hand, holding his thumb and forefinger about two centimetres apart, as he garbled, running all his words together into an unintelligible mess,
"An incy, wincy, tiny bit," he dropped his hand heavily back to his side and began to chorus in a sing-song voice, "Seems like the assassin can't handle a lil' liquor."
Aves flicked his eyes back to Shada who was running a single finger rather annoyingly up the back of his neck, his hair stood unpleasantly on end.
However he could not help but give the glimmer of a grin at the words.
It seemed Chin was right, the Mistryl warrior had been defeated….and defeated by her own drinking inexperience of all things.
"Back to ship guys and gal," he called, dragging himself and Shada towards Dankin and Chin, "Come on, you need to sleep this off before you fly tomorrow…" he paused and looked down at strap on his wrist, the time flashed there like one of the tacky, neon signs that were all too common in the under levels of the planets they frequently visited, "…or today!" He concluded with a sigh.
And so the two men began to make their way towards the exit, still holding onto each other. With juddering, uncertain steps they zigzagged across the crowded room, occasionally colliding with others and once getting a fist in the face because of it. Aves watched with an amused grimace fixed on his face right until their figures disappeared from view.
Turning back to the female in his arms, Aves groaned again.
"That means you too Shada."
He picked her up so her feet were no longer dragging on the floor and stood her up carefully, his arms stretched out on either side of her, just in case she fell….again. For a second it looked like she was about to drop straight onto his chest, but she managed to remain shakily upright, even taking a few steps as she followed him gingerly away from the table.
Aves carried Shada in his arms through the sliding, metal door of her small suite and laid her carefully down on her small cot, drawing the light blankets over her as she uttered little purring snores in her deep, alcohol induced sleep.
"There you go," he mumbled gratefully, glad to have relieved himself of her weight.
"Stay there and sleep this off OK?" He continued to mumble to her, looking around the room to make sure there was nothing of any danger within reach that she could damage herself with in her drunken, or later hung-over, state. There was nothing; no doubt the expert killer had specific, secret places where she kept her weapons and other toys, well out of reach of her enemies or anyone else who happened to be curious. Once he was assured of her safety he headed towards the door. Leaning against the cool doorframe he cast a fleeting glance back over the room and addressed the unconscious figure on the bed again, "You're going to have one awful headache when you wake up," he paused and scratched his forehead with a bewildered expression. What was he doing?
"Completely oblivious?" he murmured exasperatedly to himself, "Why am I even talking to her?"
Spinning on his heel Aves rolled his eyes at his own stupidity, and then disappeared off to his own room and his own bed and hopefully a good night's….morning's sleep.
The blonde cursed under his breath, flicking his blue-grey eyes towards the open door of the small chamber Karrde had given him for this mission.
Silhouetted in the doorway, her slender and mostly bare body still very recognisable despite the lack of fine details, was Shada D'ukal.
And Aves nearly had a heart attack.
"For Force's Sake Shada. You can't….Get inside," he cried, taking a firm grip on her arm and pulling her roughly from the corridor into the cramped space.
If anyone saw her, he was dead.
He grabbed a spare shirt from the chest by his bed and chucked it at her, unsurprised when she did not catch it,
"And put this on."
He watched, becoming increasingly frustrated, as she tried to put her arms into the right spaces.
Eventually he pulled it over her undergarments and quickly pushed the buttons through the holes. He needed to get her back to her room, and he needed to get her back to her room NOW!
Yet Shada seemed to have a very different idea.
Wrapping her digits around the open edges of the top he wore she pulled him close, her breath was hot against his cheek and had the unmistakable, strong stench of booze burned into it. It almost made him retch.
"You know Aves," Shada purred, her voice uneven and indistinct, "You're a really, really nice guy," she drooled into his ear, her finger drawing lazy, jagged circles across his skin, "And I want…I…."
Aves drew in a very shaky breath, terrified over what was about to happen.
He needn't have been so worried, for as Shada leaned in to touch her lips to his, she seemed to sway lightly on her feet before once again; and for the umpteenth time that night, she fell against him: eyes closed, breaths even, fast asleep.
Lifting her into his arms, he lay her down on his bed, too shattered to carry her back to her own room, and too frightened that he would be seen. He would sort this chaos out in the morning, when there was some light and he had enough energy to think straight.
It looked like he would be sleeping on the floor.
Plucking one of the silver, cami-foil blankets from beneath his bed, being especially cautious not to wake the snoozing woman, he wrapped it around his lanky body and laid himself out on the cold, grated floor. And despite being incredibly uncomfortable he kept mumbling to himself as he tried over and over and over to drop off was,
"If Karrde finds out I am SO dead!"
The silence that had settled over the 'Wild Karrde' was shattered before the blue sun rose over the planet's hilly horizon.
Oddly enough it was the owner of the ship, Talon Karrde himself, who was stalking the corridors, wondering what in Sith's name had happened to his crew, and why they weren't moving anywhere.
"Where is everyone!?" he shouted out, his rich, deep voice echoing down the narrow hallway, "Come on people!" he clapped his hands together hoping the unexpected rumpus would awaken them from their unauthorised lie-in, "Actions stations, I want to lift off this rock…NOW!"
The echoing stopped and the ship fell quiet again. Karrde's brow folded into an intimidating, serious frown as he moaned to himself and ran a hand through his greying hair,
"This is not my job!"
Still there was no movement, not even a sign that anyone was getting ready to leave.
Karrde's impatience caught up with him and he shouted in his rarely used, but rather terrifying, 'commanders' tone.
"OK boss, enough with the shouting already."
Karrde turned around to see Dankin's head pop through a part-open doorway.
He looked awful: there was powdery blood trailing up his chin from his nose, the whites of his eyes were so bloodshot they appeared crimson and the bags beneath were puffy and purple.
Karrde raised his eyes to the heavens, tutting disappointedly beneath his breath,
"I should have guessed."
At that very second the tell-tale sound of pressurised air being released caused Karrde to turn back and face his original direction. His mouth dropped open at the sight, blue eyes widening in utter surprise.
For propped up against the wall was a dishevelled Shada D'ukal: her hair looked like it had been whipped up by a hurricane, her eyes were stained through with lines of red and the little amount of cosmetics she wore was smudged untidily across her face.
It was very out of character.
And yet she looked as beautiful as ever.
"What's with all the racket?" she stammered incoherently, her voice still sounded angry through the exhaustion, her hand resting on her head to nurse the pounding, "Some of us are trying to sleep."
"Shada?!" Karrde breathed his shock evident in his voice. His cool eyes scanned her up and down, unused to seeing her like this. They then fell to observe her informal attire, namely a shirt that was just long enough to cover half of her thighs and so thin it might as well have not been there.
His mouth went dry.
But the shirt was familiar; he had seen it many a time on a very different person.
Wonder swiftly evolved into rage.
Why was Shada emerging from Aves' room?
And why was she dressed in one of his dreadful garments?
"Shut-up," Shada snapped irritably, waving her hand flaccidly at him and turning to disappear back into the room that was not hers, "I'm going back to bed."
As she stepped through the doorway and moved in an unsure fashion towards the disturbed sheets on the single bed in the shadows of the far corner, Karrde's eyes still trained on her scantily dressed body, Aves walked out in the opposite direction.
But as soon as he viewed the fuming face of his boss and the way his fists were clenching and unclenching repeatedly by his holster he wished he had stayed inside and locked the door like the coward he was.
Karrde's cold, hard eyes bored into him like a lightsaber through flesh.
"Aves!?" He exclaimed, voice brimming with barely controlled fury. Karrde really did have it bad for her didn't he? "My office, three minutes."
Although he knew it was pointless Aves fought back, "Boss, it's not what it…"
"Two minutes…" Karrde screamed.
Aves noticed that Dankin had quickly fled the scene.
"You've gotta believe me I….." he argued again.
"One minute…" Karrde said, holding up a lone finger for emphasis.
"She needed a place to sleep and I…"
Aves raced back into his room, not wanting to keep Karrde any longer than he had to. Better to get this over and done with than leave it to drag out. Having his boss brooding for half-an-hour on the matter was not going to help things.
Glancing back at the woman who was once again lying prone on his bed, her limbs spread-eagled across the rumpled sheets, he wondered why, after having been on his own ship for years and coming back on Karrde's order for one lousy trip, he had ended up in such dire straits.
"Thanks D'ukal," he whispered accusingly as he viciously pulled on a clean top, not bothering to change his trousers. He didn't need to give his boss any added ammunition, "A great mess you've got me into here."
Of course Shada was completely unaware.
Aves sighed at the hopelessness of his situation.
Ducking through the doorway into the quiet passage, he was greeted by a sickly looking Dankin and a half-serious wish of fine fortune.
"Good luck Aves old mate," he dribbled, "We're all rooting for you. Try to come out of there as more than Gungan slime."
Aves couldn't hide his nervous grimace and Dankin smirked knowingly.
"Thanks," Aves spat back maliciously, before pacing quickly away down the corridor, some of the newly-awoken crew passed by with sympathetic and half-humoured expressions, glad that it was him and not them that would be getting the brunt of Karrde's full and illogical anger; when Shada D'ukal was concerned it seemed the infamous smuggling boss just could not be a rational man.
I hope you all enjoyed this. I certainly enjoyed writing it: drunken Shada is fun and jealous Karrde is great!
I would like to give a huge shout out to my fellow Shada/Karrde fans who have been faithfully reviewing this series so far:
Sweetdeath04, AzureFalls, The Wineglass and NiGHTxRECCONAiSSANCE.
You people are the reason I write, I so love looking in my inbox and seeing your wonderful, helpful and happy reviews.
THANK YOU SO MUCH! I hope you continue to keep checking in!