Its been a while since I posted a story, but here is a new one called Beautiful Disaster. I want to give a huge THANK YOU to the wonderful Laloga for letting me borrow her fantastic characters Honi and Milo to help create this story. She has been an incredible help betaing this story and I couldn't have done it without her!
This story is AU, but it eventually ties into Laloga's story Bastion. BTW if you haven't read any of her amazing work-make sure you do! You won't be disappointed! =)
I own nothing of Star Wars
And now for the story! Hope you all enjoy and please read and review!
If we live our life in fear
I'll wait a thousand years
Just to see you smile again
Kill your prayers for love and peace
You'll wake the thought police
We can hide the truth inside
Milo walked into the medical bay and there she was with her back to him, but he knew it was her. There was no mistaking that long, beautiful, fiery red hair currently woven in a very elaborate braid. His fingers itched to free the locks from the keeper and run them in her silky mane.
Carefully he approached her and lightly touched her shoulder. She partially cocked her head toward him and he could see her pale blue eyes glitter in the florescent lights. Oh how he could easily loose himself in her diamond-like orbs. Did she know that she held him at the palm of her hand?
A small smile inched its way up her small but full lips and he returned it with a shy one of his own. "Honi…" he purred.
"Honi?" The intruder rudely interrupted his wonderful daydream. Milo's head quickly slipped off his hand that he had been resting on and opened his ember eyes wide. He had unintentionally fallen into another daydream, something he had starting doing since he had met the Jedi healer Honi Tallis nearly a year ago while she piggy backed a ride to the core world of Coruscant.
The first time Milo laid eyes on her he tried not to make it obvious that he was staring at the girl and make her uncomfortable, but he had never seen someone with such luscious red hair, eyes that could penetrate right to his core and freckles that ran over the bridge of her nose and onto her cheeks giving her a much younger impression. He was infatuated by her. Admired her. Really liked her.
"Milo! Snap out of it shiny!" One of his brothers snapped his fingers in front of Milo's face.
"Stop calling me that!" Milo swatted the hand away from his face and gave a disgruntled look at his brother, Crest.
"Whoa boys, looks like we have a shiny with his decce in a twist!" Crest winked and shuffled away from his younger brother very quickly when Milo stood up from his seat.
"Lay off of him Crest," Weave, Milo's bunk mate and technical engineer defended. Milo, Crest and Weave had all gathered in the Wayfarer's galley to grab a midday meal and discuss their latest assignment when Weave and Crest started in on some technical thing about engines. Milo quickly tuned them out and became lost in his own thoughts. Thoughts about a certain red headed Jedi…Stop it! Focus Milo!
Looking down at his now cold and sloppy meal, Milo's appetite was instantly gone and decided to find Captain Stonewall and General Kalinda Halcyon; hoping to get away from his brother's bantering. It was bad enough that he had been caught saying her name, now he would have to be ridiculed about it nonstop.
Crest and Weave abandoned their meal as well and fell in behind the younger clone. "So, would this Honi be the Jedi Honi Tallis? As in former Padawan to Kalinda Halcyon, Honi Tallis?" Crest pressed.
Milo rolled his eyes and sighed loudly, hoping that Crest would get the hint at how annoyed he was. Milo heard a hard smack behind him and an "owe!" then Weave joined up beside him.
"Thanks Weave," Milo sighed somewhat relieved.
"It's your business Milo, if you want to share you'll share," Weave nodded.
They rounded the corner and entered the bridge to find their general, Kalinda Halcyon and Captain Stonewall "Stone" for short in mid discussion. Kalinda gave them both a kind smile before finishing up the discussion and both turned to the new group.
Noticing Crest rubbing the side of his head, Stone tilted his head curiously and tried to keep the humor out of his voice, "Trouble Crest?" Crest frowned and mumbled unhappily under his breath.
"Well boys, you should be happy to know that our next assignment is going to bring a little R&R to all of you," the dark haired Jedi was pleased to announce. She loved her squad; they were all her brothers with the exception of Stone. She would lay down her life for each and every one of them if and when the time came.
Stone held a very special place in her heart and their bond proved that with the surprising but glorious discovery of his Force sensitivity. They were able to touch, speak and love each other more intimately than ever imagined though; even without the Force she would love him unconditionally.
"Vacation, really? Finally! My mind has been a wandering mess and can use the rest!" Crest dramatically put his hand to his forehead and swayed into Weave who pushed him back upright.
Kalinda snorted with suppressed laughter and Stone just shook his head. "Wandering mess is right," he said. "No, not quite a vacation, but it will allow for a little down time."
"So what are we doing?" Weave asked.
"You all remember my former Padawan Honi Tallis," Kalinda began. Milo instantly stiffed and slivers of longing slipped passed his defenses at the mention of her name. It did not go unnoticed to the Jedi Master and the Captain.
"Who could forget ay Milo," Crest ribbed his younger brother.
"Shut it," Milo snapped.
"He's never that touchy," Stone sent to Kali.
"Stone…don't you remember how he looked at her? It's the same way when you thought I didn't catch all those cute little stares behind my back."
"You saw those?"
"I'll talk with him," at the sound of throats clearing, Stone and Kali focused.
"If you are done with your Force lovers talk, we would like to know what General Tallis has to do with the mission," Crest pressed.
"Crest…" Stone warned, but Kali sent him a soothing impression through their bond.
"The Jedi, as well as the GAR are lucky to have her talented and healing abilities. She is virtuoso in her field and was recently demonstrated when she worked tirelessly and saved Tiger Company when they had come under attack. She had made sure they had made it onto their transport and healed them from their wounds, many of them near fatal."
"You must be very proud, having her as a student," Traxis, Shadow Squad's lead expert in gunnery joined in on the conversation.
"I am humbled and would be lying if I didn't say proud. Honi has always been an exceptional student and am glad that her gifts can be shared." Kali knew it wasn't very Jedi like to have pride in such a thing, but then again I've never been a conventional Jedi. What's a little satisfaction having for your former student?
"You still haven't gotten to the point where Honi, I mean," Milo quickly corrected himself before anyone could point out the use of her first name, "General Tallis plays a part in all this."
"And our R&R!" Crest added.
Stone gave his men a glare that made them instantly quiet and Kali grinned. Sometimes, working with these men felt like working with little boys. Then again they are just boys. A sad reminder of the clone rapid aging process and the limited time she and Stone would have with each other. Not to let this thought bring her down, she continued, "The Jedi Council wanted to honor General Tallis's efforts with an honorable mention a small ceremony will be held on Alderaan. While we are there I would like all of you to take the opportunity to have a little bit of leave. You have all earned it. But I want you all to be in your Sunday best for the ceremony."
"Yes! Food, swimming…" Crest started.
"And refresher duty," Stone interrupted.
"And refresher…wait, wha?" Crest's mouth dropped and his brothers snickered.
"Maybe it'll teach you to keep your mouth closed with soap coming at you," Stone pointed toward the shared refresher. Crest contorted his face and looked miserably at the Jedi general.
"I was just excited, that's all," he said pathetically.
"We can make it all the way to Alderaan," Stone threatened.
"I'm on it!" Crest moved.
Stone and Kalinda's relationship was unconventional at best and he wasn't an expert in the field with women, but through her, he had learned what love was. Love was a never ending school of text and emotions, hits and misses, highs and lows and while he was still learning, Stone was glad he was able to help his brothers with this unfamiliar territory.
"Captain, weren't you afraid of Kalinda rejecting you?" Milo softly asked as they walked down the corridors of their trusty ship.
"Not rejection Milo, but accepting that I was a tool used for warfare. But I quickly learned and had to look past my own ignorance that I was only using that excuse as a shield. She instantly saw me for the human I was, the man I could be and am. I have without a doubt the love Kali has for me and I have for her."
"But you have the Force, you can tell what she's feeling and she can do likewise. Honi, she's a Jedi and I'm not. We can never share the bond that you and the General have," Milo said mournfully.
Stone stopped mid step, turned and placed a strong but comforting hand on his younger brother's shoulder. "Maybe, but your bond will be different. You like General Tallis don't you?" Milo slowly nodded his dark head. "Would you go as far to say you love her?"
The young clone's eyes practically bugged out of his head and his dark eyes met with Stone's intense gaze. "I…I…" Milo stumbled.
"Milo, you are young. We all are. It is unfair to be a boy disguised as a man; unfortunately that's what the fates had forsaken us to. Just because we are young doesn't mean we have to make childish decisions and mistakes. If your feelings for Jedi Tallis are true, make sure you can say those three magic words without stumbling."
Stone gripped Milo's shoulder firmly and then let go. He was about to continue on his way when Milo called out, "how will I know when the time is right?"
Stone once again stopped but did not turn around. "You'll know lad."
I'll know when the time is right…I'll know…blast those Kaminoians and their wretched training. Shoot a tinnie, sure no problem. Storm a planet and take over a Separatist base, piece of uij cake! But love? Forget about it. She must think I'm a total di'kut. She's a Jedi, follows the Jedi code to the utmost. How am I supposed to get her to even notice me when she follows the straight and narrow?
I really want what Kali and Stonewall have. Don't I? Or do I just want the experience? No…I want someone to look at me the way the General and Captain look at each other; someone to share a bed with at night and to be concerned about while away on missions. Maybe someday if the war were to ever end, we could start a family or just love each other for the rest of our lives. Would she ever allow herself to do that?
Thoughts racing through his mind, Milo didn't even notice the person in front of his path until he collided straight into her.
"Oof!" The air rushed out of her as she and Milo fell down onto the soft Alderaanian grass. Luckily Milo's quick reflexes kicked in and before he completely used this person as a cushion, he braced himself onto his strong arms.
After shaking his head to clear the stars from his eyes he opened them to find the one person who had taken up most of his attention night and day. Her scarlet hair was spread above her head like that of a pyro flower petal and Milo dug his hand into the dirt to prevent himself from lacing his fingers through the soft tresses.
Her eyes were quickly blinking trying to focus on the rude intruder was who knocked her over. Pale moonstones opened accusingly, her jaw set and ready to yell that is until she looked up and noticed who was on top of her. Her face instantly softening and a light…was that a blush coming to her cheeks? Yes! A light crimson highlighted her speckled cheeks and nose. Milo quirked a shy half smile and she furrowed her brows at him. His heart started to beat faster and he was sure that it was going to pound right out of his chest.
"Hello General Tallis," Milo said delicately, but the huskiness in his voice made his accent thick and deep.
"Milo," she breathed. "What are you doing?"
"Well right now I'm lying on top of you." Milo cringed as soon as the words left his mouth.
Honi lifted her head up slightly and looked down at their twined bodies. His armored body was lightly pressed against her much softer, robed one just enough that it felt a bit too intimate for her comfort. In the midst of their fall, their legs had become entangled with each other. If anyone were to walk upon the two of them and in the current position, Honi would not have faulted the first thought that would cross their mind. Far too intimate looking. Milo was doing his best to prop himself up and giving her and him some space.
"I see that," she looked back up at him. "I meant to say what are you doing all the way out here?"
"I was just taking a walk and thinking, Kalinda has given us all a bit of leave until your ceremony." Honi had forgotten how slack her former master was with her squad. The use of first and informal names, letting her men wander around on their own, it took Honi a bit to get use to and was still trying to learn. She had given up on correcting at least with Milo the use of the General title, but found that she didn't mind so much. In fact, she found that she didn't mind a lot of things about Milo. Not that she would let herself freely express those thoughts and feelings. That was not the way of the Jedi, of the Code.
"Yeah me too," Honi mumbled. "That is until you ran into me." She slightly smiled at the young clone's embarrassment.
"Sorry about that. I'm usually much more alert about my surroundings. But if I had to fall on someone, I'm glad it was you." Again, his mouth was quicker than his brain and his heart began to beat quickly. He was sure he could hear it against his chest plate.
"Uh yes," Honi said, growing more uncomfortable with their compromised situation. "Mind if we get up now? The grass is soft, but it's not really my thing." Honi had come out by the lake to get some air and to think as well.
The ceremony was tomorrow night and it had been one handshake and meeting with a Jedi Master or delegate after another. A small ceremony to her was a lot different than to the Masters. She didn't understand what the big deal was. After all, she was just doing what she had been taught, what the Code had instructed her to do.
Milo's smile disappeared and worry cased in his amber eyes. Was it something I said? He carefully untangled his legs from hers, wishing not for the first time that his plastoid armor wasn't separating him from the soft contours of cotton and flesh. His mind tried to wander off as her legs folded out from under him, but he quickly suppress the coveting thought.
Rolling onto one side of her and then onto his heels, Milo offered a hand to Honi and she graciously took it and sat up. Blades of green grass greatly contrasted with her red hair and Milo instinctively made a reach to pluck the grass out, but hesitated in mid-air when Honi gave him a startled look.
"Milo what are you doing?" She once again asked, but he wasn't sure by the tone of her voice if she was confused, startled, irritated or a little of both.
"I…I'm sorry. I don't know what's come over me. I promise I won't do it again General Tallis," Milo averted his eyes from her so she couldn't see the hurt burning through. He stood up and the gentleman inside of him extended the Jedi healer a hand off the ground.
Tension was thick in the air between the two of them and after a moment Honi was first to break the silence and offered, "Why don't we take a walk?"
"Okay," Milo accepted.
As they walked next to the glistening lake, the native birds chirping in the trees and a light gust of wind tickling Honi's ruby locks, it couldn't be a more picturesque day, but Milo walked in turmoil. He was sure Honi could sense his brooding state, but he wasn't dumb. He had built up defenses so that even his own general couldn't see or feel the deepest of his enigmas.
"I don't know why the masters are making such a big deal out of this last mission. There are many Jedi who have accomplished and achieved far greater things than I have ever done," Honi solemnly murmured as she scuffed her feet across the soft blades of grass.
Oh how Milo wished he was like his captain and had the Force. Life would be so much simpler if he could read and feel emotions. Or would it make life that much more complicated?
"You are a one of a kind General," Milo treaded cautiously. He wasn't the best at this kind of conversation or comfort, but for Honi he would be her shoulder to lean on. "To save a whole battalion and for all of them to come out alive is something to celebrate and recognize. I know I am honored to be serving in a military that has a dedicated and valiant healer. It gives us boys something to admire and hold our heads up proud."
"Oh Milo," Honi said exasperated. "I'm none of those things. I'm only doing what I was taught, following the Jedi Code as close as I can." She let out a small sigh. "I may be dedicated, but that's because I am supposed to be. I am honored bound by the Code. I don't know any different." But you do, a small voice yelled at her. "Can I tell you something and promise not to tell a soul?"
They had stopped walking and had found themselves on the outskirts of the lake. The sun was just beginning to set behind the glacier like mountains, casting a purple glow across the forest. Honi crossed her arms around her chest, warding off the chill in the air. Milo wished he had something to offer her to help warm her chilled arms, but wrapping her in his own arms would have to continue to be a dream at the moment.
"Cross my heart and sworn to die," Milo made a crossing motion over his chest plate with his finger.
Honi regarded him with a cool icy blank stare, one that Crest had so often ribbed Milo about.
"Sometimes I want to envy those who aren't controlled by the Code. Then again I remind myself the Code is there for a reason." She narrowed her eyes at Milo. "You understand don't you? About being controlled by a code?"
"I am not a droid; I am not controlled by just one code."
Honi continued to regard Milo with her cool impassive look when she finally responded almost in a flippant tone, "Sometimes I wish I could let go."
Milo wasn't sure if the girl was serious or trying to play it cool and hide her nerves. How could she say something so substantial just so offhandedly? Maybe she really was as cold as his brother thought her to be?
"Well maybe you should," Milo shrugged.
"What?" Honi cocked her head toward him, her hair falling over her face. She tucked the errant strands behind her ear and continued her bemused gaze at him.
"Would it be so bad if you just let go? Kalinda doesn't follow the Code rule by rule and things have worked out for the better. She and Captain Stone as well as the rest of Shadow Squad have an amazing connection without her following the straight and narrow. Maybe sometimes lines need to be bent."
"It never ceases to amaze me," she murmured.
This time it was Milo to look confused. "What?"
"You, your brothers; the clones. You constantly surprise me with your uniqueness, your ways to see the galaxy through untainted, vestal eyes."
"General, other than battle, the galaxy is an idle creature to us," Milo earnestly said.
Milo pursed his lips together. He was confused. Honi walked the fine line of the Jedi Code yet was she ready for the release that Kalinda had found? Did she want the closeness that he wanted with her?
"I'm sorry Milo," she apologized and effectively shut down their conversation.
"For what, General?" he tentatively asked.
"This is your time off. I understand that you only get it once in a blue moon and it shouldn't be spent by talking about polices of Code. Go and enjoy yourself or do whatever you and your troopers do when you have time off."
She didn't mean for it to come out so harsh, but she was beginning to feel uncomfortable again and between her conscience and heart battling each other, she was starting to get a rather bad headache. The little voices inside of her raged within. One was telling her it wouldn't hurt her to follow in similar steps that of her former master, to take the "long and winding road," the other constantly berating and scolding for such thoughts. The storm within did not reflect out as she continued to stare across the dark lake.
Taking a deep breath and gathering up the courage, Milo stepped closer to the Jedi healer and wrapped his arm around her. Surprisingly she did not reject his closeness, though he could feel her body tense as if readying herself to spring at moment's notice.
"I am enjoying it," he murmured.
Much to his surprise, Honi took a baby step closer into Milo's warm embrace and settled into the nook of his arm, her body slightly relaxing. He looked down at her small form and smiled.
Is this the time I tell her? No…not yet. Just holding her is enough and if this is the closest I ever get to telling her I am okay with that.
"So Milo," Crest between mouthfuls of the piece of fruit he was chomping on, prodded. Some of the juice dribbled onto his chin and Milo watched with a grimace as the stain fell and splashed onto the steel floor.
"So Crest," Milo repeated, going back to his task at hand and trying to sound disinterested.
He had returned to the Wayfarer late that eveningfrom escorting General Tallis to the Palace. Honi…Milo ached to say her name. They had walked in silence; one lost in thought the other trying to figure out what his day had meant if it meant anything. Milo had been adapted at reading body language and the small Jedi beside him was all but relaxed. She would slightly eye him, even faintly tilting her head toward him. It was as if she was trying to analyze him, maybe seeking his thoughts though Milo would never know. When he would slightly turn his head toward her, she would immediately avert her eyes and her face would become vacant. Shields at 100%!
What does it all mean? I'll never understand women, especially Jedi women.
"You came back pretty late," Crest walked into Milo's shared room and plopped down onto Weave's bunk. Milo continued to keep his attention focused on polishing his armor, making sure it shined for the ceremony. "Did you run into a certain somebody and did she freeze you in place with her ice blue beacon of pessimism?"
"Crest…you don't know her," Milo growled.
"Maybe, but shiny, I've never seen eyes so cold that if I were on Hoth that being wrapped up in a snow tamale would feel like a thermal blanket compared to being ogled at by her," Crest took another bite of his fruit, slurping up the mess he was making.
"Hey!" Crest protested as Milo snatched the fruit away from his brother and pitched it into the small trash bin. "What did you do that for?"
Milo pointed an angry finger at his brother. "First you are being disrespectful to a superior. Second, you don't know her!" Milo once again repeated but this time with a small inferno in his belly to back him up. "Maybe there is a good reason for her to be so distant or she's like us, trying to follow her teachings without breaking a rule. You know, we aren't the only ones bound to a code of honor!"
The room remained awkwardly silent between the two brothers. Crest rubbed the back of his bald head and ground his molars together. "Milo…I'm sorry little brother," he finally said, breaking the quietness. "I guess I just don't know when to keep my big mouth shut sometimes. I didn't know what she meant to you."
Milo went back to polishing his armor, but with a half growl/frustrated snort, he tossed the plate onto his bed. "Crest, she means, I mean, I think..." Milo stumbled for a response and stopped himself before blurting out what he had trapped so long inside. It would only give him fuel to make fun of me.
"Milo…" Crest started, but Milo had already gotten up from his bed and made his way toward the door.
"You're right Crest; I didn't know how much she meant to me either."