In lieu of a new "Misadventure," here's some OC clone/Jedi fluffy goodness...happy Saturday!
It had been a long couple of months and their last few missions had ended in disaster. Not the deadly kind, but the kind that still stuck with you after all was said and done. Captain Stonewall knew that she was taking it hard; he couldn't think of the last time that he'd seen Kalinda happy, which he was anxious to change.
But I have nothing to offer her, he thought as he stared out the window of the barracks, watching the gleam of traffic in the early afternoon light. I'm a soldier; all I have is my nickname and the armor on my back. They were on Coruscant, of all places, not on leave but having just returned from their latest dismal mission in the Inner-Rim. He knew that his squad was scheduled to depart again in a day or so, after their ship was repaired, and that it would likely lead to another few months of running around. The other members of Shadow Squad were engrossed in their own activities: Weave and Milo were overseeing the repairs on the Wayfarer; Crest had taken up with some old buddies in another division, and Traxis was looking to upgrade some of his weapons stock with the latest influx into the GAR.
So Stonewall was in the barracks, alone with his thoughts. Kalinda Halcyon, the Jedi that had been assigned to work with his squad, was at the Temple, no doubt receiving a dressing-down for their latest failed mission. At least, that had been her expectation, and she'd told him that she wouldn't be able to see him until they departed. He frowned at the memory; she'd seemed so dejected after they were unable to infiltrate the Separatist laboratory. Kali was rarely in such a mood for long, but he knew that the failure, their squad's frantic pace, and the war in general were getting her down.
He really wanted to see her smile again.
A plan had been forming in his mind for some time now, but he was short one thing: credits. As a soldier and a clone, Stonewall had only a little bit of money that he'd managed to scrape together, but he had no consistent way of getting more. It occurred to him that he could use the Force – he was so gifted, for reasons unknown – but he wasn't sure how. A mind trick would be kind of petty, wouldn't it? He knew she wouldn't approve, anyway.
The sound of jeers and shouting rose from a room nearby; the clone captain ignored them at first until he heard another noise, one that made his eyebrows knit: jingling credits. With a faint smile, he turned and headed for the source of the clamor. It was five brothers whom he'd never met, seated at a rounded table in a common room, and he sensed immediately that all of them were cheating in one way or another. He asked to join the game, keeping his tone hopeful as he claimed to not know that much about sabacc, but he was eager to learn. The others consisted of another captain, two sergeants and a lieutenant; within five minutes of his joining he could tell that they were all determined to strip him of what meager amount of credits he possessed.
It was not a quick game, because he was still nervous to use his abilities – come out a few months ago on a mission to the planet Aruna – but he was successful in the end, walking out of the room with enough money to put his plan into action and pleased to have something to do while his squad-mates were occupied. After spending a bit of time on the HoloNet, he had a better idea of what he was going to do, so he comm'd her to see how she was doing and maybe get an estimate of how much time he had.
After about ten minutes he got her reply, which was brief and made him wince: Not good.
Up for company later?
Kali's next message made him chuckle. Yes. Don't know when free. Currently hiding in 'fresher to send this to you, so business as usual.
I love you, he sent back. Let me know when you're done and I'll have a surprise. Normally they refrained from sending anything too revealing through the messaging system, but he knew that she would smile, and that the last bit would intrigue her.
Indeed: Surprise? Can't wait. There was a pause, then: I love you, Stone. Blast...knock at door. Guess Council's back. Wish me luck.
Good luck. The clone captain gave a quiet sigh, but his mind was already several paces ahead, thinking over his plan. After another hour or so of research on the HoloNet, he was satisfied at last.
Kalinda Halcyon was no stranger to reprimands from the Jedi Council, but Mace was in fine form today, and to be truthful, she knew that he was justified. The war was not going well, and her squad had just returned from a string of failed assignments. So she'd accepted the criticism with a bowed head and a nod, though within she was wincing. There had been two bright spots: the first was when Stone had sent her a brief but sweet message, even though she had to reply to it by hiding in the 'fresher; the second was when the knock at the 'fresher door had been Jocasta Nu, asking for her help with something in the Archives.
"I'd love to, but I'm afraid I have to return to the Council..."
But the white-haired Jedi Master smiled at her and shook her head. "I took the liberty of requesting your help, Kalinda. Master Windu can send you a report of the rest of the meeting."
As grateful as she was, Kali was disappointed that she would not be getting back to Stone any sooner, but she couldn't turn down Jocasta, especially now. But when she sent him a message, his reply was terse and strange: Later's perfect. Frowning, she wondered if he'd forgotten about the surprise, or if he was busy or...
You're tired and stressed. Everything's fine. So Kali spent another hour or so in the Archives, helping Jocasta as she had done when she was younger until she was finally free. Her message to the clone captain was perhaps a little clipped: It's later...?
But his reply was stranger than before: Shower and civvies? I'll meet you...He listed an address that wasn't too far from the Temple, albeit in a rather upscale part of town. She gave a mental shrug as she slipped to her little-used quarters to bathe. Within twenty minutes she was clean and wearing some passable civilian clothes, with her normal boots and brown robe to throw over the whole get-up, so as not to look too odd striding through the Temple.
Soon she was at the appointed spot, waiting. It was warmer than she'd realized and she removed her robe, folding it over her arm.
And she waited.
For what felt like a very long time.
It was a busy evening on Coruscant; all around her she watched as the denizens of the city strode along, oblivious to the wars that were raging beyond their comfortable atmosphere. Couples strolled arm-in-arm, individuals rushed along and entire families meandered through the streets. No one gave the lone, dark-haired woman a second glance while she leaned against a building, making her feel rather invisible.
After the last few hours, it wasn't entirely a bad feeling.
Still she waited. Just as worry was starting to creep in, just as she was about to call him, Stonewall appeared as if out of thin air, and she wondered that she hadn't sensed him.
"You're late," she said, the annoyance creeping in regardless of the fact that she was happy to see him, especially when he looked so handsome in some of the civilian clothes the squad had acquired on a recent mission.
Stonewall smiled and kissed her once, hard enough to make her forget what it was that had irritated her so. "You look beautiful. As usual."
Of course, she melted under his touch and couldn't help the smile that came to her face at his warm tone. "So do you."
He chuckled and shook his head before taking her hand. They began to walk down the street, suddenly blending in with all of the other couples, no longer a Jedi Knight and a clone captain, but just two lovers in each other's company.
After a few minutes she looked at him. "What's the surprise?"
A slow smile came to his face but he shook his head again; she realized that they were heading to a rather elegant section of CoCo town. What are we doing here? It's not like either of us has any money. She was aghast when he stopped in front of one of the nicer restaurants in the area, one with an old-style door that opened outward, which he held for her as she stepped inside.
Everything was elegant and gold and she realized immediately that they were quite under-dressed; a glance at Stone told her that he had no idea, so it was particularly painful when the maitre'd – a snide looking Nemoidian male – let them know in no uncertain terms that "their kind" weren't welcome.
"I comm'd ahead," Stone replied, his brows narrowing. "We have a reservation."
The Nemoidian sniffed, his eyes flicking over Kali's scuffed boots and Stonewall's modest attire. "I'm sorry, sir."
Stone glanced at her and she could hear his thoughts in her mind through the Force, something they'd been able to do for some time, now. I didn't know about the dress code, and he doesn't know you're a Jedi. This is unbelievable.
Don't say anything, she replied. It's fine...we can go somewhere else. She was really too tired to argue with the fellow, anyway.
The clone captain gave the Nemoidian a curt nod, and they were soon standing on the street again. He looked at her. "I'm sorry, Kali. I wanted us to have a nice dinner – not rations, for once. I wanted to take you somewhere special."
"It's fine," she replied with a smile. "We can go back to the Temple...I can sneak you into my room..." Normally that would have been enough, but he shook his head and muttered something under his breath. "What was that?"
His face reddened and he shook his head. "Nothing." After deliberating for another moment he nodded. "Okay: new plan. Let's go." He took her hand and led them to the street, where he lifted his arm to hail an air-taxi. Several vacant ones rushed by the platform where they stood, and his brows knitted as none of them so much as slowed down. He leaned forward and lifted his arm even higher, adding a few waves for emphasis, but still the taxis rushed by, though they did seem to stop for everyone else around them. After a minute he looked at her. "I'm doing this right, aren't I?"
Kali sighed. "You are, but we're in the wrong part of town."
"No we're not, I checked on the HoloNet. Several times."
"That's not what I mean. Stonewall, look around," she said gesturing to the people surrounding them. "You and I scream 'working class' while everyone in shouting distance is clearly well-to-do. We're kind of...out of place." She met his eyes and watched her words sink in; his face fell and his shoulders sagged a little, and she felt a pang of remorse for his realization. "I think there's an air-bus terminal nearby," she said after a moment. "Depending on where we're going..."
His eyes lit up as he nodded and soon they were off again.
The terminal here was not crowded, filled mostly with worker-types on their way to or from jobs at places where they couldn't afford to eat or live, and she noted that Stonewall seemed to relax just a bit. As they approached the ticket-counter he looked at her. "Close your eyes."
"Are you serious?" She gaped at him but his expression was firm. "Stone..."
"Kali," he said, his honey-brown eyes seeming larger than normal as he looked down at her. "Please?"
She sighed and did so, putting a hand on his arm as the line moved forward, not because she needed guidance but because she liked the feel of his skin beneath her fingers. They approached the counter and she couldn't hear his quiet murmur to the seller; soon he was leading her away. "Can I open them now?"
In response he pulled her to his side and kissed her forehead; they boarded the nearest airbus and were off.
I don't kriffing believe this. All he could do was stare at the sign at the theater's entrance. Every show is sold out? I just checked a few hours ago! His jaw tightened in frustration as he leveled his fiercest captain-gaze on the glass doors as if he could change the fact by sheer willpower.
Beside him, Kali squeezed his arm. "It's okay." But he could hear the wistful tone of her voice, which was the entire reason he'd chosen this particular venue on this particular night: one of her favorite musicians was playing here and he'd actually won enough credits to get some seats – not great seats, but seats – and he had hoped that the music would take her mind off of life in general of late.
Sold out. Of course. Phase Two is completely shot to hell. He sighed and glanced down at her, noting her hopeful smile. As he was about to speak, his stomach let out a rumble, reminding him that they still hadn't had dinner. This entire evening is going up in flames. The option to return to her room at the Temple was still open, he knew, but he was unwilling to give up just yet, though their current situation had him at a loss.
He laughed helplessly. "Yeah, but that's nothing new. You are, though, aren't you?" She nodded and glanced around.
"There's a park over there," she said after a moment, gesturing towards a walled-off area about a hundred meters away. "And do you smell that? I think there are food vendors as well."
Closing his eyes, Stonewall did indeed catch the scent of something delicious cooking, emanating from the area she'd spotted. "Let's do some recon," he replied even as his stomach snarled again, and they made their way over to the incongruous swathe of manicured garden within the city of Coruscant.
It was more than a few vendors; it was a host of carts and kiosks, brimming with food and drink from all across the galaxy. After some deliberation they acquired a hefty assortment of foodstuffs; soon they were heading for a grassy knoll that seemed relatively devoid of people. Stonewall made for a bench but she shook her head and handed him her portion of the food while she spread her robe over the grass.
Several minutes later he had laid out their assorted dinners while she looked around with admiration. "This is nice. I feel...less out of place here than in that fancy restaurant."
"It got great reviews. I thought it would be a nice change." At this he frowned and surveyed their makeshift picnic. Even though it was a pretty area, and they were surrounded with flowering shrubs and soft grass, he shook his head. "This kind of feels like how we normally eat." Only with less bickering among the others...at least we're alone.
"Not at all," she took a sip of her drink and selected a container. "For starters, the food is much better. And the company is wonderful." This was accompanied by a gentle nudge against his side and he realized that they were relatively isolated by the heavy bushes.
But those thoughts were fleeting as he turned his attention to dinner. Soon they were laughing and talking; later on he couldn't remember what about, only that he ate far too much and that the sound of her laughter echoed in his mind. Once they were done he leaned back on his hands and peered up at the night sky. Coruscant was too bright to make out all but the closest stars, but it was still pretty, and he realized that he was very full and rather content. It was a good – albeit unfamiliar – feeling.
And then she was leaning against him, warm and soft, her hair falling down her shoulders as she looked up at the sky as well, and for several minutes they sat in silence. Stonewall glanced down and noted that her skin was pricking, as it had cooled off a bit from earlier. And we're sitting on her robe. So he put his arm around her shoulder and leaned back almost absently, cradling her to his side while they continued to stargaze. After a moment she sighed and pressed herself closer to him with contentment and he smiled. "Phase One, down."
He didn't realize that he'd said the words until she looked at him. "What?"
Kriff. Stonewall shook his head. "Nothing. Don't worry about it. Just soldier-lingo."
But she was relentless when she wanted to be. "Phase One? What does that mean?" Suddenly, Kali sat up and leaned over him, her eyes sparkling with merriment. "Is that how you planned all this out?"
"Well...kind of..." At her look he sighed. "Phase One: dinner." He indicated the empty containers of food that they'd bagged up to be thrown away.
She was still leaning over him and he couldn't help but note the cut of her shirt was rather revealing from his angle. "What's Phase Two?" Her voice was a little too eager.
"If you're going to mock me..."
Kali rolled her eyes, crossed her arms and laid herself down on his stomach, which made him wince, as he was still very full. "Captain, I have ways of making you talk."
"Music," he said, sighing when she leaned up again. "Phase Two was music, but..." He gestured in the general direction of the concert hall.
She looked thoughtful, then got to her feet. As he was about to ask her what she was doing she shook her head. "I'll be right back." And the Jedi was gone. Stonewall was alone long enough to almost start worrying, but then she returned, wearing a very satisfied expression. She resumed her position next to him before letting out a shrill whistle; immediately, the sounds of a Nautolan harmonica and Bothan lute began to sound from behind one of the bushes near their position. At his look she gave a wide smile. "Phase Two: check. What's Phase Three? There must be one..."
"How did you...?" The song that was playing was vaguely familiar but he couldn't place the name.
"I used my powers of persuasion," she replied, her tone innocent even as she leaned close to him. "Now, what's Phase Three?"
But he shook his head, making to sit up. "You did a mind-trick? I thought you hated those?"
She gave a huff of breath. "I offered them a few credits to serenade us. Of course," here she paused and glanced at him beneath her lashes in an exaggerated look of modesty. "I may have picked your pocket to do so."
His hand went to his pocket and he noted that there were indeed fewer credits than had been there before, so he shook his head and gave her his best stern look. "Do they teach that stuff in the Temple?"
"No, but you were an easy mark," she replied with a shrug, lifting her brow. "So trusting." Even as she said the words she leaned closer to him, allowing him to feel the heat of her body as she kissed him. For several moments they were absorbed in the action until she pulled back and cleared her throat. "So...Phase Three?"
The captain pretended to deliberate, smiling to himself at her look of exasperation. "Hmm...Phase Three. Well, that was going to be quite spectacular, but..." He glanced around them at the citizens who were meandering by. "We're a little too exposed here."
Kali lifted her eyebrow. "I have my Force-shield."
That was an interesting suggestion, but Stonewall merely shrugged and ran a finger down her arm, noting the shiver that appeared on her skin. "I think you'd want to devote your full attention to Phase Three. Certain aspects were not to be missed."
"Were?" She truly sounded disappointed and he tried not to chuckle.
"Kali, unless you can bribe someone at a hotel room..."
She took a breath. "I'm starting to consider it, especially since my room at the Temple is a bit far away at this point." They studied one another for a moment before she gave him a smile that he recognized well. "Aren't the barracks close by?"
This made him sit up, blood rushing from his head. "Kali, I don't think..."
But he could see that she'd made up her mind. "You said that officers get their own rooms, right? And I do have my shield...I can sneak in."
Okay, back in the barracks is certainly not where I wanted this evening to end. "Are you sure? They're not very comfortable. Pretty far from it, actually."
Kali gave him a knowing look. "Where was Phase Three going to take place, anyway, Captain?"
"If things had gone as planned, we wouldn't be that far from the Temple."
She shook her head. "This is more interesting, and I'm anxious to see where you and the others stay." Getting to her feet, she began to tug on his hand. "Come on." They cleaned up their mess, gave the rest of his credits – save airbus fare – to the musicians and made their way back to the GAR's Coruscanti barracks, standing in the shadow of the building while Kali readied her shield.
"You don't have to do this," he said as he glanced around to ensure that they were alone. "You're a Jedi...you could just walk in."
"But then the rumors would begin," she replied, completely obscured by her Force-shield. "And I don't know about you, but I hate adding fuel to the gossip machine. Now, please give me the grand tour." She put her hand on his arm and he sighed.
"It's not much to see."
Of course she was adamant, so soon he was guiding her through the halls. They went to the mess where there were – thankfully – few clones about; the gymnasium was also quiet, as was the common area, though he did have to stop and make polite small-talk with the brothers he'd beaten at sabacc earlier.
That was not entertaining, especially when one of the sergeants began going on about some girl he'd met at a caf and all of her physical attributes. Stonewall extricated himself from the situation as quickly as he could; the moment they were out of earshot he muttered to her. "Are you satisfied?"
She squeezed his arm. "Not yet, but I have pretty good feeling I will be soon."
His room was sparse, with only a bed, trunk for his gear and desk. The moment the door shut behind them Kali dropped her shield and glanced around the tiny room with an appraising look. "You weren't kidding about it being plain."
"Nope." He took a seat on the bed and began shucking his boots before slipping off his shirt and leaning back into the bed with a sigh, closing his eyes and thinking that maybe he was more tired than he realized, because it felt awfully good to lay down right now. And then he heard her boots hitting the floor, punctuated by an interesting unzipping sound, which was then followed by the shifting of the small mattress when she climbed next to him and laid against his body. He took a moment to inhale her scent and savor the warmth of her skin against his own. I want to move, but I'm pretty comfortable...
She kissed his chest gently at first, then the motion strengthened after a moment, sending shivers across his skin. "I'm ready for Phase Three. I don't want to tell you how to do your job, but you should probably take off your pants."
Afterward, they lay curled together on the narrow bed, her head resting in the crook of his shoulder even as she was pressed against his side. He could feel by the tempo of her breath against his chest that she was falling asleep and he wondered if it was wise for her to stay here.
"I'm not going anywhere," she murmured into his skin. "Except to sleep."
Stonewall grinned and kissed her forehead. "Okay. Fair enough." He was silent for a few minutes before he looked down at her. "Kali?"
"I'm sorry that things didn't work out like I'd planned. I know that you wanted to see that performance."
She inhaled and exhaled before she replied. "Don't be. It was a wonderful evening: food, music and sex...my three favorite things."
So this is what happens when I just need some silliness. Hopefully y'all enjoyed it! :D
FYI: in this story, Coruscant is kind of set up like NYC, at least in my head.