Five Lives Aayla and Kit Never Had
Aayla could feel the eyes of the audience watching her, following her every move. Their breathless anticipation drove her on, giving her a feeling of euphoria as she danced, and she basked in their admiration. The Twi'lek was a born performer, she thrived on the thrill and spotlight, her grace was second only to her beauty.
She pirouetted and spun across the dance floor, her limbs a blur of motion. She finally finished with a complex movement, bowing to the audience as they erupted into applause. Flowers fell about her like a shower of rain and she retreated back stage, their love still ringing in her ears.
This was all the Twi'lek had ever known; purchased on the salve market when she was a young child by the Starlight Performers Aayla had grown up to become one of the most famed dancers and actors of the times. There was something about dance and movement that came easily to her, almost an extra sense, she sometimes mused when she alone after a show and admiring her flowers. And credits.
"Excellent performance tonight Aayla," said the Duros stage manager as he passed Aayla who was peering out to see the audience still cheering for her. "The Director thought so too. Said with you we could be heading towards Coruscant real soon."
"Indeed." Aayla turned sharply at the soft voice of Duran, the famed Zabrak singer and sometimes dancer. He smiled warmly at her, migrating the frightening tattoos on his face. "You're amazing. I'm looking forward to our duet together. With my voice and your moves we'll blow them away."
"Of course we will," Aayla laughed. "Rehearsal tomorrow morning then?"
"I look forward to it. But I will let you go, I know you must have things to do as the hour grows late," With a knowing smile the Zabrak offered her a quick gentlemanly bow and moved away.
"That I do," Aayla murmured softly as she sped off to her dressing rooms, careful not to trip on her shimmer silk costume. There were perks to dancing the role of a tragic princess she thought; the clothes were amazing. Impractical, but beautiful.
The Rutian Twi'lek arrived at her door and entered her passcode, smiling lovingly at the Natoulan who was lounging on her sleepcouch. "Don't you ever spend time in your own dressing room?"
"Why would I? I find my view in here to be infinitely better." Kit put aside his data pad and grinned at her. "You were amazing tonight, as always, my cerulean treasure."
"You were as well. The finest acrobat in the galaxy! I've said it before and I will say it again, your reflexes are incredible," Aayla pointedly ignored his use of the detested pet name and joined him on the sleep couch, laying her head on his chest. He put the data pad aside. A few moments of silence fell before Kit spoke again. "You know, we really are lucky."
"Why the sudden pensive tone?" Aayla asked, brow furrowing in confusion at the unusual lack of good humour in her lover's words.
Kit nodded at the data pad, one hand absently stroking her lekku. "Have you seen the Holonet? There was a battle on the planet of Naboo recently. Something about the Trade Federation invading. Can you imagine that planet fighting? It is so beautiful, so peaceful...Remember when the company performed there?"
Aayla nodded slowly, "The walks in the gardens, a visit to the lake district...I can't begin to imagine death and a battle there." She shuddered at the thought. "You know, Kit, we really are. Lucky, I mean."
Aayla had never fought a battle like this, never one so gruelling. She had faced the Dark Side before and won, but this paled her earlier experiences...and victories. Her sapphire blade clashed against a crimson one, the ominous taint within the Force that clouded her foe tainting the air even more than the smell of sweat and burning fabric. Her breath escaped in painful gasps, her sides aching. How long had they been locked in this dance? Minutes? Hours?
Her respect for Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker had increased tremendously, they too had fought this battle and had survived, however the knowledge that Qui-Gon Jinn had not haunted her even as she continued the deadly duel. Was she to join him?
It was said that Ventress was the deadliest of Dooku's acolytes but this Natoulan's brutality made her arm tremor even as she blocked his strikes. The power and strength behind his swings was immense, his form was perfect and the Dark Side cloaked him, choking the air. And throughout it all his tattooed faced remained twisted in an animalistic smirk.
Aayla wasn't sure when she realised this was a battle she might not win, perhaps it was when she barely blocked a strike to the head or maybe it was when the Sith's lightsabre came so close to her person that the sleeve of her cloak was cut away.
"Tiring, little Jedi?" He spoke for the first time, flashing a grin like an animal bearing it's teeth. And Aayla knew she was, her body screamed for respite. The battle had been going far too long for her to maintain her energy.
That was when a wave of Force energy hit her, sending the Twi'lek flying backgrounds to hit the durasteel wall behind her , too exhausted to block. She crumpled to the floor, lightsabre lying on the ground out of her reach. The Natourlan used the Force to call it to him before crossing to where his opponent had rise painfully and pointing his blade at her throat.
"You've lost, Jedi." His smirk widened. "And I am going to kill you. But first," His smirk turned to a leer and Aayla felt more than saw his eyes wander appreciatively over her body. Comprehension and fear tore at her. Lightsabre still at her throat he moved closer, body pressing against her, smothering her. She opened her to scream, to whimper, she wasn't sure but his free hand clamped over it. She beat her fists against his back, he didn't even wince. Her helplessness rose in throat like bile, body trembling with revulsion. His leer widened and he leaned even closer to whisper in her ear. "But first, pretty Jedi, I'm going to make you wish you were dead."
Kit was a blur of green light and cloak whirling as he deflected blaster blots and disarmed the thugs that flanked him. His blows were precise, controlled, and not a single being died in his attack. Those he did not knock out with a well timed kick or blow from a lightsabre hilt turned and ran, terrified of the Jedi Master.
With aid from the Force Kit leapt into the air and landed beside the leader of the band of thieves, easily cutting his rifle in two and holding his blade to the Mirilan's throat. "I suggest you tell the rest of your gang to disarm themselves and leave." His tone was calm betraying no hint of aggression. "I am here on behalf of the Jedi Council to collect this holocron and the Jedi do not look kindly on thieves guilds."
Swallowing, the Mirilan's bulging eyes darted between the green blade and his captor's face. "Uh, sure, sure. We don't want trouble with Jedi, we didn't even know this was a Jedi holocron! honest! What can I say? We hear about some treasure, we go to find it. But, we're going! Right now!"
Kit smiled. "Do have a safe passage." He deactivated the blade and his hostage fled, his fellow thieves following suit, dragging their fallen comrades. Shaking his head, Kit returned his lightsabre to his belt and turned his attention back to the cave. That particular guild had a reputation for biting off more than they could chew. He frowned and reached out with the Force, concentrating, attempting to find even a hint of the presence of the Holocron. He was so focused that he did not sense the small group on top of the cave nor the explosives they were setting.
He moved a little deeper into the rocky outcrop, excited now, he was sure he could sense the holocron. There was an aura of light here, calling to him. The secrets contained within would be invaluable to the Jedi, lost history and techniques from the Jedi Civil War thousands of years ago. He remembered the briefing he received from the Council, that a Jedi Knight had crashed landed here on this planet hundreds of years ago. He had been transporting artefacts discovered in the Enclave on Dantooine, but his shipment had never arrived and his location had been lost until recently.
"And I've found it. I've found history," Kit murmured as his eyes fell upon a mound of stacked rocks nearly lost in the shadows. He eagerly started forward.
"You know, I don't know much about Jedis, but I didn't think they had suicide wishes."
Kit whirled around, lightsabre activated and in his hand. How in the name of the Force had he not sensed this arrival?
Smirking, the Rutian Twi'lek stepped forward, hips swinging, and a blaster pistol pointed squarely at the Kit's chest. "Now, don't do anything hasty, darling. This here is just for show, although don't think I won't use it if I have to. If you had just opened your eyes, you would have seen the real thieves on top of the cave setting explosives. Fortunately, I, in my usual brilliance, have a plan."
"And pointing a blaster at me is part of this plan?" Kit asked, eyes narrowing.
"Well you know, men, they never follow directions well. Now pay attention! Up on the roof think I'm working with them, which I am not. No way am I stupid enough to get on the wrong side of Jedi. I was meant to distract you, while they set the explosives. Jedi senses and all that, don't want you concentrating and getting tipped off by the Force. I make a run for it, you go boom and they bring in a digging equipment to find the holocron. It would have looked like you triggered a bobby trap that destroyed both you and the holocron. However, don't think they won't blow it with me in here if they think I've double crossed. Although, it never was a very good plan. Why do I always end up with idiots?"
Kit snorted. "And you were going to distract and kill me with a blaster?"
The Twi'lek laughed lightly, throwing back her cloak to expose her somewhat revealing armour and weapons belt. Hooked on the belt was a lightwhip. "Don't worry darling, I can be quite distracting when I want to be. And did I mention killing with a blaster?"
Ignoring the suggestive tone Kit frowned. "And you're telling me all this why?"
The Twi'lek rolled her eyes. "All I have to do is deliver part of that cache back to my employer, not the holocron by the way. He wants some ancient statue or something, apparently it's worth millions. He's eccentric. A lot of people were gunning for that holocron though, I figured that helping the Jedi would be the best way to get my hands on what I wanted. Ran into those clowns when I landed . Can't take them all out by myself so that is where, once again, you come in tall handsome Jedi."
Kit shook his head. "I'm not helping a bounty hunter. The rest of the cache goes back with me to Coruscant."
"Come on! You think those guys are just gonna let you walk away? And you are forgetting about me." The bounty hunter pulled at one of her lekku in frustration. "I don't feel like going up against thirty or so pyromanahiniacs or reporting a failed mission. Well, not that he's violent but I don't like to lose-" A chime from the comlink on her belt interrupted her.
"Ah, Aayla. Should have known you'd back stab us. You really should learn that when you plot against someone make sure your comlink isn't on and broadcasting."
Aayla's eyes winded and she swore loudly.
"Charming to the last," the voice on the other end of the link continued. "A pity to waste all that beauty... Enjoy all the rock you and that Jedi are going to be buried under."
Kit was moving before the voice had finished, grabbing the Twi'lek's wrist, he pulled her to the back of the cave, her curses quickly masked by the explosion and rock grating on rock as the roof began to fall.
'Get down!" He shouted, pushing her down under a small rocky outcrop and throwing himself down alongside her as well as their ears were deafened by the sound of the cave coming down over their heads. "Keep your head down!" He reached out with the Force to hold back the falling rocks.
He couldn't say how long he and the bounty hunter, Aayla, were trapped there while the rock shifted and fell. A few minutes? An hour? He barely recognised the silence that followed the cave in, ears ringing from the explosion. Beside him Aayla was breathing heavily, a hand on her heart. "I must admit, that was not part of my plan."
"It was a bad plan."
"Aw, come on. That was hardly nice; you could have hurt my feelings with that one." It seemed Aayla had gotten her nerves back. She smiled at him. "Look, thanks. You just did save my life."
Kit waved off her thanks. "I'd have done the same for anyone. We're probably going to be stuck here for awhile, looks like my comlink got...broken by the rock." He held up the sparking device. "You don't have yours do you?"
Aayla shook her head mutely. Kit sighed. "Ah well. Shouldn't be too long at least." He glanced at her curiously and felt the need to talk. Coming from a water planet, he wasn't good with enclosed, tight spaces; they were so alien to wide open ocean. "So why does a Rutain Twi'lek become a bounty hunter anyway? It's a hard life."
Aayla shrugged. "A better life than being a slave. My uncle sold me to a hut when I was a girl who then took me off planet. I became a dancer, served him for ten years. When he was eliminated by a rival gang lord I decided being a slave wasn't that great and escaped. I'd also been mildly trained in weapons use to help protect the slug so it wasn't that hard."
Kit swallowed, taken aback. "I'm sorry..."
Aayla frowned at him. "Don't be. It wasn't that bad and I'm not sorry. It's a better life than most former slaves or even Twi'leks get. And I'm making money, good money." She grinned. "And I don't have to kill for it, I don't do those jobs. Heck, it's a pretty good life actually. If anything I pity you Jedi; shut up in that Temple, not having any freedom. And there's that whole no-love thing,"
This time it was Kit who frowned. "We are hardly held against our will. And our fellow Jedi become our family, there are deep bonds of affection between us." He shifted uncomfortably, a difficult feat in the small space. He was painfully aware of how close Aayla was to him, the mere centimetres between them.
"Shouldn't be long. My ship's in orbit around the planet with my Padawan aboard. He'll come soon." Kit quickly put in to fill the uncomfortable silence and wishing his apprentice would hurry up. He could sense Aayla's eyes studying him carefully.
"Why didn't you say so?" Aayla moved forward quickly, grasping Kit's shoulders and drawing him close before touching her lips to his in a passionate kiss. One of her hands caressed his check, the other cupped his neck. Kit was too surprised to move, his hands had settled on her sides, frozen in the act of pushing her away. Aayla finally moved away, crawling backwards in their small alcove. She grinned again. "Well, I could hardly thank you properly for saving me if you had more Jedi on the way." Her grin softened as the sounds of muted battle reached their ears, the blast of ship fire and screams unmistakable. "I'll see you round, Jedi."
Kit sneered up at the overgrown slug before him, tuning out the Hutt's rambling with deft talent. You're going to get yours soon, slime ball. Count on it. "My Lord Zorba, we have been business partners for years now. Surely you can see you are being unreasonable in your demands?" The answer to his fairly worded question was found in the hutt's act of slamming a fist into a passing serving droid, rendering it into two. The protocol droid that was translating seemed even more shaken than usual, if that was possible for a droid, as he reiterated the hutt's answer. "The great Lord Zorba does not see that. He finds your words offensive and his Lordship questions your continued partnership."
Around Kit guards drew their blasters, all expertly trained on the Natoulan. Brushing some nonexistent dirt from his expensive armour, Kit smiled. "I am most upset you feel that way, Zorba. Perhaps you are right, our partnership should not continue." He nodded, just once. Around him, more of Zorba's court sprung into action, revealing rifles and pistols hidden on their persons. Every second guards switched the direction they pointed their weapons. Kit's grin widened. Zorba may control smuggling and profit, but it was Kit Fisto who trained the best operatives. Spies, mercenaries, agents. Not for nothing had he been a famed freedom fighter on Glee Anslemi. A terrorist they called him, the fools. When he had finally left his homeworld, he had taken a great many connections with him.
Zorba laughed, one large hand yanking the chains of his slaves in his glee. The sounds of coughing from his assortment of humans and Twi'leks filled the otherwise oppressive silence and Kit's hand curled into a fist. The Hutt, still cackling his ugly mouth off, used his free hand to press a button hidden on a statue next to him, his poor excuse for a tip of a tail now all but wagging with glee.
Kit allowed himself a chuckle as the Hutt realised nothing had happened. His security system had not turned on, the intruders were not smoking piles of ash. "What's the matter Zorba? Your turrets not working? Your gas didn't come online? I've been planning this for months, I planned well. Now it's just your men and mine. My highly trained, extremely loyal men and your rabble."
His eyes locked with one of the slaves, a Rutian twi'lek whose beautiful looks would have been a curse in a place like this. He noticed a fresh wound on her bare stomach, another just above her scarcely covered breasts. Distantly Kit could hear the Hutt garbling something about surrender, a new partnership, insignificant when compared to the cruel smile that appeared on her face, match on his.
"Surrender? I don't think so." Before Fisto had even finished speaking he had thrown his blaster to the Twi'lek. The fool Hutt barely had the time to realise what was happening before the slave had put an expertly shot blaster bolt between his eyes. Then another. And another. And one more for good measure. She then aimed the gun at her chains, the weapon fire easily freeing her. The guards looked too stunned to move.
Kit laughed lightly, one arm reaching out draw his accomplice close to him as she approached, slipping it protectively around her waist. "Aayla made me promise she got to end him," He explained to the assembly, tracing a finger across her face. "And you all know what that means. There's a new partnership in charge now."
Senator Kit Fisto entered his penthouse wearily and dumped a stack of data pads on his desk as he passed, before sinking thankfully into the blissful comfort of his favourite chair. A very expensive chair, designed specifically for Natoulans, that provided relaxation for every tense pressure point.
His days were getting longer and more stressful, the Military Creation Act was going to be the death of him, he knew it. It didn't matter how many logical arguments were put forward to stop it, how hard Amidala, Bail and Mon Mothma worked, Kit had a sinking feeling it was going to pass. It didn't help that the opponents of the Act didn't trust him. Afterall, he had voted in favour of the bills that had lead to this moment. Increased authority for security services, increased fire power, the list went on. Hundreds, it seemed, of tiny allowances that only ground inch by inch. Now it seemed those inches had come together to be a gaping chasm. Kit buried his head in his hands, massaging his throbbing temples, tentacles curling over his calves.
He had only been trying to help protect citizens, he had seen what lack security could do to a world. He had seen terrorists on his home planet bypass lack security, had seen the destruction and death that followed. He had served his military, talked down some groups, but there always seemed to be more. It was partly why he left for politics, maybe he could make a difference there instead of on the ground where whatever he did had no effect at all.
"Tough day?" The sweet voice of his wife interrupted his melancholy thoughts and he rose; treating her to the smile he saved just for her.
"Aren't they all? It never seems to get better. I'll be glad when it's all over and we vote, though I'm not looking forward to the aftermath."
"You fought against it as hard as you could. No one could ever say you didn't do your best. We'll deal with what happens."
"Yes...But how was your day, Aayla? Better than mine usually are, I hope?" Kit quickly changed the subject. The good his wife did on her committees was usually enough to set him at ease. She ran several charitable organisations and sat on the boards of others, designed to help get people off the street, to help the disadvantaged and to eradicate slavery. That was where she had started, helping former slaves get back on their feet. It was actually how they had meet, a fancy trip to the Opera for him and a colleague where she had been working with some of the Twi'lek performers to raise awareness.
She was smiling gleefully, he noticed. There seemed to be a sort of delight radiating from her, a glow even. She took his hand and lead him to the couch, her robes rusting as she walked. "Quite good, actually. The case against the slavers got a guilty verdict and the funding came though. You know, from the benefit held a few weeks ago." They sat together, Aayla sitting in Kit's lap. He leaned forward slightly to breathe in her unique scent; sweet and almost floral it never failed to set him at ease.
"But that's not all that happened, is it?" He asked suspiciously, aware that her good mood was something that even a great day at the office couldn't provide. While Aayla loved her work, loved managing her organisations, loved helping people, this was something else. Something was up here... but Aayla looked too serenely happy to cause him alarm. The hand that had caught hers relaxed. No, this was nothing like the time she had told about her plains to travel Twi'lek worlds, plains that had been both dangerous and lengthy.
"No, I should've known you'd see that something had happened. You're so perceptive. And don't look like that, I'm not going anywhere."
If Kit had been a human, he would have blushed. Sometimes he thought his wife could read his mind; with the uncanny way she seemed to know what he was thinking.
"It's nothing like that. Kit, it's...the most amazing news, I'm so happy. I heard from the agency today. The adaptation agency-" The words were nearly falling over themselves trying to get out of her mouth, breathless in their excitement.
"What? What did they say?" Kit clenched her hand, too hard by a mile, but it hardly mattered. She was grinning, all but laughing and he knew what she was going to say, knew the good news before she had time to deliver it.
"It's been finalised, it's going to happen. Both of them, Kit! The little boy and the little girl! I can't believe it, we're going to be parents!" He enveloped her in a hug, gazing at their apartment over her shoulder, imagining the little Rutian Twi'lek boy and the Natoulan girl who had stolen their hearts away framed by the space. It seemed to Kit that stresses of his work days, the constant conflict, now melted away to the insignificant. He knew his joy now matched Aayla's, that he was probably glowing too, and he thought he could face another unproductive day in the Senate, another year...Force, maybe even the days enough to fill the rest of his life.
A/N: Ulta special thanks again to Nanuk Dain (check out her amazing work on livejournal) for betaing.