Epilogue: Yesterday to Tomorrow
Soon after the end of the Confederation War
The seat on the new ship was big enough to accommodate a wookie. He pulled his feet tighter to his chest, making certain that the blanket still covered him. No matter how fancy the ship, how upgraded the technology, space was still cold. And sitting for hours in the co-pilot's chair, keeping his father company while learning how to fly, was not exactly the best way to keep the blood moving. But he couldn't complain. His father was finally starting to treat him like the Jedi student he was, and not some pampered civilian in need of constant protection.
Tiam glanced at his father's profile in the pilot's seat. He sat upright, hands loosely on his legs, eyes closed. Still as death; yet totally aware. Rather than sleeping, his father was in some sort of Jedi restorative trance, something he was still lightyears away from performing. He could barely hold concentration for a 20 minute meditation let alone a restorative trance. Yet, his dad looked so peaceful, and maybe he was. They were headed to Deyer, the planet he'd been born on , and the only place the Jedi Master had ever really know peace.
His Dad had taken over his training when Uncle Zekk went missing after the war. Dad insisted Uncle Zekk would return-that it was just temporary, but Tiam knew he was bluffing, that he couldn't really tell whether Zekk was dead or alive. About a month after Zekk's disappearance Tiam got the courage to ask Master Solo what she thought. Her answer was surprisingly honest, not watered down or made pretty for a child's ears. Jaina, like his father, could feel neither life nor death. Tiam worried he'd have an empathic reaction around her, they'd seemed to have grown more intense the more he deepened his connection to the Force. Nothing bad happened probably since Jaina was calm and at peace with Zekk's loss. Not so much so in regards to her feelings surrounding the death of her brother. Something far greater had happened to her emotionally when she went against her brother Jacen. Dad had reminded him that she had lost a twin, a half of herself, at her own hand. In the Force she was a bit of a void, unreadable to him. Dad told him it was just her own way of protecting herself.
Some part of him had emptied itself of feeling during the recent conflict and made it possible to accept that Zekk might never return. Might never be his master. He had spent a few weeks trying to contact him in the Force. There was nothing there, not the warmth he associated with his uncle, nor the static tingle his uncle's presence made him feel, but then he had never lost anyone before, not counting the few days he'd thought his dad was gone, no he had never really lost Dad, just been confused about it all. It made Tiam appreciate how the average being felt without the Force speaking to them. It was maddening wondering about someone when there were no answers. After two weeks of trying to make deals with the Force to no avail, Tiam began to understand why his father was calm, and though he wanted his uncle's return desperately, Tiam was learning the maturity of Jedi acceptance , that sometimes, one doesn't get what is desired.
Somethings in life stayed the same. Uncle Afrim still insisted he go to Denon to learn to appreciate the finer aspects of electronics. Sure, video sims were fun and his time spent testing new products were astral, it didn't make up for the fact that he had as much desire to go into a career in business as he did a career in sanitation. And Afrim's review of the company's finances were almost always more effective than a sleeping drug. But being on Denon met he had time to be with his mother and sisters.
When Tiam had originally left Denon for Jedi training he knew he was different; this had started when he was about six. Now, as he watched his sisters and cousins play he felt protective over them. He wanted them to stay safe, to never have to know war. He wondered if it was a sense of duty that he was getting from being a Jedi student. Any sense of superiority he might get was quickly ended by any one of his relatives, who would just as easily tickle and tease him as they would his sisters. He was special to them, because he was part of their family, and nothing more.
Besides his mother, there were lots of women in his life. Lavol remained his best friend and occasionally accompanied him to Denon. Aunt Kyra always seemed to have business on Coruscant, but Tiam knew better, she just liked stopping by to check up on all of them. Livia was still a pain in the butt, but she was family, so he couldn't be rid of her now. And Charra, his step mother, was as lively as ever. She was still an information scientist at the Temple, still changed her hair as often as her clothing, and still kept a watch over all of them. In fact, he wondered if Charra worked for Aunt Kyra now, the way the two of them always seemed so close.
Dad was bossy, and seemed preoccupied even more now than he had during the war. A new leader, Nastasha Daala had come to power after Jacen Solo's death, and Dad couldn't hide his distaste for her. His father seemed to be in meetings every day with the other Jedi Masters. Now that he was eleven his father heaped more training on him, and sometimes he just wanted to escape to the other training facility several solar systems away.
But he knew that would never happen. Dad was over protective, and there seemed no end in sight.
"We're going to be coming out of hyperdrive in ten minutes Tiam. Run me through the procedure." Kyp's voice startled Tiam out of his thoughts, his father had never let him run through the post-hyperdrive checks. He sat up in the co-pilots seat and gave his father a line by line description of the instruments to check and the protocol for entering atmosphere. He thought he had it all wrong when his father displayed no reaction.
"Well, that would keep us from burning up on entry." Was all he said before beginning the real reversion sequence himself. His silence was something new, probably related to his worries after the war ended.
Dad had been awfully quiet during the flight and Tiam had buried his face in a holonovel about the rebellion since Livia was whining about how long the trip took and Charra had spent most of the trip sleeping. Dad was weird like that now, always looking like his mind was some place else.
An hour later the newly named Horizon class star yacht Scintillation landed gracefully on public access pad. The sun had just disappeared below the horizon allowing only a dim light to remain. The first to leave the ship was Tiam, followed closely by his defender droid Isa; its constant presence had once annoyed him to the point of whining, but he was learning to ignore her. There wasn't a single adult he spoke to who would see things his way. He was a high profile child, the galaxy was not safe, he needed protection, end of discussion. So he stopped fighting and decided to accept her presence as a companion of sorts, much like C3PO was for the Solos.
As the group stepped onto the ground Tiam ran a tired hand over his face. The flight hanger wasn't much, basic durocrete and transparisteel, but beyond he could see the ocean stretch out for kilometers. His father was right, this was one watery planet. But apart from the fact his father once called this place home, he had felt no excitement over being there. The opposite was true of Kyp who had bounded down the ramp holding hands with Charra. His dad was in love, and had fallen hard. He totally wasn't into girls, though everybeing told him, just wait, his turn would come. He didn't want it to.
A tan transport greeted them and whisked them across the hanger to customs. "Welcome home, Master Durron." Kyp handed the officer Tiam's identicard. Registered his weapons and ushered them into the main terminal.
"There's suppose to be a speeder waiting for us." Charra looked around for a sign of a driver. "Kyra arranged it."
"Astral." Yawned Tiam. He and Livia sluggishly followed the adults to a droid standing by the exit doors. The drive wouldn't be lengthy, their new home was in Deyer's main port city, and Tiam was thankful for that. With the unbound energy of a child Kyp couldn't contain the joy of showing off "his" planet. After the twentieth, "I can't believe how much it's changed." Exclamation they arrived at their destination.
"All I want to know is where's my bed. I'm so tired." Livia was whiny, but Tiam could understand. Being in the Scintillate for forty hours had to be dull if you couldn't pilot it.
"Your bed is in this house." The speeder stopped before a two-story home made of brick and lots of transparisteel with rounded protrusions on all four sides of its square form. Each protrusion held a balcony. "I hope everyone likes it, I didn't pick it out, Kyra did, or some agent for her did."
Charra's mouth hung open a moment before she gathered herself. The two children raced each other inside and up the stairs.
"I love this house!" Livia exclaimed as she eased herself into the pool float. "I slept just like a princess last night in that big fluffy bed." She absently reached to the arm rest of the float and found it empty. "I just wish we had a server droid rather than your baby droid Isa."
"What's your point, bantha breath?"
"Is that anyway to talk to your sister? Please!" She rolled her eyes, and despite the seriousness of her voice she laughed and splashed at the water. It missed Tiam by meters, but he caught on to her mood and shot a small trickle of water back at her with the Force.
"Hey! Thirsty? I was gonna get something in the kitchen, want anything?"
"Are you feverish? You're getting me something?"
"Yeh, don't make me change my mind."
"Ok, I want some of that fizzylime, 'kay?"
"Got it". Tiam scrambled to his feet and danced blissfully towards the large black and white tiled kitchen. He was busy pouring the second glass of fizzylime when his sensitive hearing picked up on the conversation his father and Charra were having in the other room.
"This place is so lovely Kyp, I could stay here forever."
"If we had real peace..." His voice trailed off and Tiam could hear no more. It was likely they were kissing. That would be nothing new, it seemed that Charra and his father were as gross as a couple of teenagers always kissing and touching each other.
Soft music, the kind Tiam thought of as "candy songs," began to play in the other room, and Tiam, despite not trying to consciously tap into his father's mood, realized the couple were now dancing. His father's mood was so joyous he couldn't help but smile. Grown ups might be a little hard to understand, and his father might be bossy, but he liked him happy, and that emotion had pretty rare lately.
Tiam turned before he heard the soft padding of wet feet on the tile behind him.
"What's taking so long?" Livia asked. Tiam placed his finger to his lips and silently pointed towards the living room. Livia's brows furrowed in confusion and at the same time both children heard Kyp's voice.
"Come on in and join us."
As soon as they entered the room, Tiam and Livia saw their parents entwined happily.
Kyp and Charra were dancing together; Kyp's hands were upon her stomach and his mouth was close to her ear. "Is that what I think?" Tiam heard him whisper. Charra turned to him, the answer in her eyes. "Tiam, come here and join us, you too Livia." The four held each other and swayed briefly to the sound of the music. "We're family now, whatever happens, we'll stay together."
"Dad, that means no more sending me off to Denon for my safety, I'm almost an apprentice now. I can take care of myself." Tiam's confusion from his father's look of concern quickly faded as he saw him smile, delight in his eyes.
Kyp reached down and took his son's chin in his hand. "My boy, I'm so proud of you." He then pecked his son's cheek affectionately. The boy flinched as all children do under too much emotional attention and replied.
Kyp Durron wrapped his arms tightly around his family. It was not a dream. It was his life, and it was very very good.