Title: AU is Pure Gold

Rating: T

Era: An even longer time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Characters: All OCs! Ha, ha, just kidding! It's Obidala, plus one. You can probably guess who the One is.

Disclaimer: I am not George Lucas and make no profit from this fanfiction set in His Universe.

Summary: Now is the Winter of our Content. [Written for the Online Valentine's Obidala Convention 2012]

A/N: Inspired by the remarkable demon_rum on LiveJournal, this Obidala came into being with the happy exposure to her stories of Mrc and Esc, otherwise known as Marcus and Esca of The Eagle fandom. The setting is changed from canon's ancient Rome to her AU of Caveman Days on Earth, a jolly time filled with baby mammofs and small Cats that grow up to be Smilodons. Mrc and Esc have four stories about them, yes, they do and the two cavemen and all their pets and fellow fauna are illustrated by LiveJournal's motetus. Motetus is an artist par excellence and you should admire her works and praise them copiously; the Star Wars ones are Yum.

For this Star Wars Caveman Days Obidala, the challenge of a one-syllable story framework has been conquered just like Caesar conquered Gaul, with the usual three or four unavoidable two-syllable words. Let us begin, um, 'start.'

IOIOIOIOIO

One day, a bit past the rise of the sun, cold creeps past the cave where three live as a tribe. The cold wants to steal their warmth, but it does not know how. The three are pleased as they can be to rest out of the cold and the wind, have good, strong loves and a babe to come soon. The man looks at his mate. She sweeps out their cave with brisk strokes. It is not all that she does, but she is good at it. Whisk! Whisk! While she works, he thinks of a gift he can give her, a snip from a plant said to hold luck. He must find it on his own. He must carve runes in it on his own. It is his right, for he is Chief of his small tribe. His young friend sleeps still and will not rise with the sun, as he and his mate do. The man smiles. He loves his friend, too. There is love to share in this cave of theirs. It is not a thin love, but rich and deep and wide so that three can live in it till their ends come, as all must face. But for this day, the man sets a task that he can do to bring luck to his mate, for their child Calls to him to be born soon. It might be this very day! The man sneaks through the cave's mouth with his knife made of black glass as his mate turns to throw the bones from last night's meal in the fire. He takes large, soft steps to sneak and then he runs. He knows where he is to go. He runs till he is out of sight of his home. He will be back when he can. The luck will not wait. His mate will need it.

His mate works on through the morn. Love, Work, Time, her thoughts spurt through her head as she bends, lifts, cleans and grunts. She thinks of her mate and her babe and works hard and fast, for she tires soon these last days. Her mind swirls with all that she has to do. The white fur wrap on its frame is done. The pots made from red clay are not. She must see to them next. The dawn birds shriek with her as she turns up a new clay urn that she has set by the hearth to dry. She wants to paint runes on the urn that she has made so that she may fetch her own luck, but a live thing is in it and she knows it is a bad live thing. And she has not yet made a club for the spring hunt which she will join! She needs help!

"Wan! Waaaaan!" Mé jumps on a pile of furs. She screams with bad nerves when they move and groan and then she jumps off. A friend sits up. "Kin! Where is Wan?"

"The sun is up, I am not." Kin spits hairs towards their hearth. The hairs burn and there is a bad smell. "I do not know, Mé. I could Feel when he went out with the dawn. What is wrong?" He yawns like the cave mouth does. He tilts his head to Hear. There is a thing in their cave that does not mean good. Kin gets up as slow as a slug each day, but not this day. This day is not to be same as past days, he Knows. He jumps up, too. He finds his club.

"Look, Kin! A frink bug! Squash it!" Mé pants hard as she jumps on the fur pile once more. She is very big now. She pants a lot when she moves fast.

"I will try!" Kin looks at the frink bug. The frink bug looks at Kin. It lifts its front claws, the ones with the spikes. Dark stuff seeps from the spikes. Smoke comes from where the dark stuff hits the ground. Kin shoves Mé in back of him. He takes a deep breath and aims his club. The frink bug jumps. This is war.

"It got me! It got me!" Kin grabs his right hand with his left as the bug drops to the dirt. Kin sinks to one knee and the club falls. The frink bug backs up and waves its claws. Kin moans. "Hard to see ... Mé! Mé! Take my club!"

"I have it! Ugh, it is too big for me! What is in it, rocks?" Mé swings the club, but slow, slow, slow. The frink bug backs up step by step, its eye stalks spread wide to each side of its small head, but there is no way out for it. It stands its ground at last. Things look very bad for Mé and Kin, and not too good for the bug.

Wan runs in their cave and this is what he sees: Kin on his hands and knees, one arm huge and red with a split in its skin, the good arm stretched out to a frink bug that rears in a mad stance to fight for its life. Kin's point is off to one side by two and one half prims at least and he hoists the good hand to his eyes to rub at them. Mé, Wan's Mé, drags a club up and up and up, but she is weak, though she is strong in the big ways, the ones that count. But she is weak with the lift and Wan sees with his Far Sight that the frink bug will claim his mate and his babe, too, if he waits to act. They may die or they may not die but they will hurt and he will not have that. His black glass knife flies ere he thinks of it in flight. The bug is pinned to the far cave wall. Its legs crink to make 'z's.

The frink bug dies with a hiss that sounds like a sigh. It had been so warm in the urn.

Wan knows that it will not make a safe meal. Wan prays to the frink bug to not hate him for its death, even so.

Mé clasps his neck. He pats her here and there. "You are all right? You are not hurt?" His babe kicks from her womb, and he feels it like a drum through his fur robes. The cold time of year is not a good time to bring forth a babe, but he and Mé could not wait to start one. Kin had had a word or two to say when they told him how things stood. Kin is past it now.

"No, no," sobs Mé, "but Kin, Wan, Kin - "

Kin is flat on his back. He is bad off, but he can speak. '''Wan, Mé?"

"She is well, Kin. You are not. Let me see." The arm has two splits in the skin now and the red is up more, towards Kin's heart. Wan says, "It is worse, Kin. I fear for your life."

"That is not good, Wan."

"No. It is not. I will do what I must. Do you trust me?"

Kin blinks hard. "With all that I have." He stares with blind eyes towards Mé. "And with all that I have had."

Wan grips Kin's good hand. He plants a kiss on Kin's brow. "This will hurt. I will need to move fast."

Kin nods. "Do not speak much of it, though I know that is your way. Just do it qui-"

Wan hits Kin's jaw as hard as is called for, no more and no less. Kin sleeps. "Mé, bring wood and oil." Wan takes the wood and puts Kin's sick arm on top of it. He takes a scrap of white fur and rubs his black glass knife with the oil till the frink bug's death stain is gone. Next, he puts the blade in their hearth for five beats of his heart. He looks up at Mé. She is too sad to weep.

"Mé, I must - he dies if I do not - " He puts the snip with the runes of luck on it near the three of them.

"I will help you." Mé kneels next to Kin and her grip is firm on Kin's arm. "Let us do this for him, you and me."

The first slice cuts to bone. The next cuts through Kin's arm's joint cap and the last goes down to the skin, and then out. There is much blood. Wan takes up a coal from their hearth in two sticks of green wood. He burns Kin's stump. Kin does not move more than a twitch. Wan's aim to his jaw was true. And now there is no more blood.

"Mé, it is done." Wan weaves strips of soft tanned hide round the stump, all the way up to Kin's pit. He puts oil on the skin that is not sliced, to make it so that Kin will not feel a hitch from the hide strips when he moves. When Wan is through, he weeps. Mé weeps, too. They take Kin's dead arm and dig a hole deep as they can far from the cave. Beasts will not smell the arm, birds will not pick at it. Wan prays that Kin will not miss it too much. He weeps some more. Mé holds him. There must have been a time when he felt love this much, but he does not know when it could have been.

Kin sleeps till the high arc of a full moon, when cries of pain wake him. They are not his cries. They are Mé's. He wakes with a hot sense in his arm which he has lost. He can see, but his world spins. "Wan? Mé?"

Wan is there in three shakes of a nerf's tail. "Kin. The babe comes."

"When?"

"Since dusk. There will be hours of this for poor Mé." There are new lines in Wan's face. "You must rest now. We thank you for your help." Wan bows his head. "I thank you." Mé calls and Wan goes to her.

That night, Kin would not sleep if he could. He had thought it a good thought, a smart thought, to carve out a space in his club to put rocks in to make it as fierce as Wan's. He thinks now that his place in life is not to be Wan. It is a new thought. His arm burns, but not his heart. His heart is glad to live. When dawn comes, it is good to see Wan and Mé and their small ones at the hearth. There sleeps Wan, Mé in a tired sprawl on his chest and their three babes in a creche of white fur. All is well in their home.

IOIOIOIOIO

The End.