Title: In the Key of Love and Hate
Description: [Dee'ja Peak] Attn: Conner (Closed)
Lysander Odakota - December 14, 2010 01:01 AM (GMT)
Lysander had certainly hoped--in his usual fashion--that his and Constance’s next meeting would be offworld, but he’d also hoped that the circumstances would have been better. The former had happened, but not for the reasons he had been anticipating when he’d first suggested Naboo as a potential location. It had turned out to be perfect in the light of recent events, however, and despite the less than stellar feelings surrounding this meeting, he could not deny its appeal.
There was trouble. He had caught wind of it easily enough, the media having a complete and utter fit with what had gone down on Iridonia. Normally the Jedi Master paid only half a mind to the media, knowing a lot of it was utter tripe and most anything else was propaganda. But this time things had caught his attention and sent him on a run through any an all information on the failed diplomacy talks at the Zabrack homeworld.
Constance had been there. Not only that, but she had somehow managed to end up in the middle of it. How or why she’d been on this particular mission, he didn’t now. But the details weren’t important. All he knew was she had been involved and had been the proclaimed ‘hero’ of the Confederation when things had gone south. That alone had been enough reason for him to worry over her. She wouldn’t have liked the spotlight that this created, nor would she wanted to be a ‘hero’ of anything she despised so much.
Worried about her, he’d done more snooping and it hadn’t been as hard as he’d hoped to find the leaked tapes from the conference room where one High General Villa had apparently completely lost his mind. The resulting shootout and Group Captain Bravil’s resultant injuries had settled the Jedi’s mind--he needed to see for himself that his lover was going to be alright.
He had made contact with her via his Ryder alias shortly after this decision, suggesting a rendezvous on Naboo as they’d briefly discussed previously. Upon receiving a seemingly eager and dare he say desperate reply in the affirmative, it had only made him worry more. For a woman so duty bound, he had no anticipated such eager acceptance of the idea. For some reason he had assumed she would think it important to stay on Dolomar in case she was needed. But apparently he’d been wrong...
He had a bad feeling about this. Plain and simple, he felt like there was more to this than he knew. He didn’t know what it was, specifically, that was setting off this particular feeling, but he knew better than to ignore it. Getting away from his own duties had been easy enough, as he certainly hadn’t given anyone much leeway to tell him no. He had nothing more pressing than Constance at this point, and he could not simply sit back and wait for things to work themselves out on Dolomar.
Renting a room for a few days in the remote location of Dee’ja Peak hadn’t been hard with the connections ‘Ryder’ tended to have in such places. It wasn’t that he was going for opulence specifically, but this place was remote and worth going to. It was a place to get away, and even the hotel he’d landed them in was on the remote skirts of the already remote mountain city. They would be, for all intents and purposes, alone. Whatever she needed that had pressed her onto leaving her duties and her squadron behind, they could get it here.
The room wasn’t exactly as grand as the hotel room had been on Nubia. It was cozier, but no less lacking in quality. If anything, he preferred it here, hoped Constance would too. A balcony opened out over the landscape, nature abounding outside. Lysander imagined finding stars here wouldn’t be hard...
It should have done a lot to calm him, really, but he was having a hard time of it. His normally rather unflappable demeanor was suffering under his worry. He’d had a few days to work up to it now, and despite many of his attempts to assure himself that this was going to be fine he still... well, worried. A lot. He knew his lover to not be in the best of emotional states in general, doubting her own sanity and her own ability to handle everything she did. This on top of it all only seemed like another unbearable weight to drag her to the bottom of the lake she was trying to tread.
He’d gotten here earlier in the day, unable to be sure when she’d show up and wanting to make sure everything was ready for her arrival. He didn’t want her to have anything to worry about that he could prevent. Everything was in order and now he waited, the balcony open to let in some of the fragrant air from outside. It was hard to sit still and enjoy, though. He found himself pacing often. He wanted to work on a solution now, but until he knew the depth of the issues and the details at hand, he could formulate nothing.
Uncharacteristic anxiety had taken a grip on him and he was trying to shake it. He just hoped that his mood wouldn’t make hers any worse. Whatever he was supposed to expect from her, he knew it wasn’t going to be good. He wasn’t sure what made him so positive about that, but he just knew.
The sun was threatening to set behind the mountain city when he forced himself to sit down, eyes closing and a few deep breaths taken. He knew he could handle this, knew he could do damage control for anything. But still... the idea that she was hurting, even now, hurt him. He felt strangely vulnerable with so much up in the air. He tried to focus on the distant sound of the Peak’s waterfall, but even that seemed fleeting over the noise in his mind.
He just hoped she showed up soon. The sooner he could shake this tension, the better. Once he could focus on her, he’d be able to forget himself.
Constance Bravil - December 14, 2010 02:21 AM (GMT)
Running away wasn't like Constance, but damned if that wasn't what she was doing right now. And she didn't give a flying frack if anyone judged her for it. With her mind operating in do-or-die survival mode, she'd seen no other option. Staying on Dolomar would not have ended well for her or anyone else she cared about. Conner had to do this, or she'd fall apart. Messily.
She'd thought she could handle it, suck it up and embrace the pain. For thirteen years she'd managed, dealt with all the murders and lies and betrayals without blinking an eye. But not this time. Not after what had happened on Iridonia, after the events she'd kept strictly off the record. Not after what she'd become. Conner had stared into the abyss and seen herself grinning back at her. Worse than that, she'd let her dark reflection trade places with her, at least for a while. For far too long.
When Lysander had contacted her under his 'Ryder Klivian' guise, offered her a getaway plan, she'd almost wept in gratitude. While she'd figured he'd hear about the whole clusterfrack one way or another, she hadn't anticipated him taking such direct action to support her. Not that she'd doubted he cared about her, of course, but getting away from his white knight duties couldn't be a simple procedure.
Stars knew it hadn't been easy for her to get permission to go on leave. While it had been about a year since her last vacation, and she'd accumulated enough deferred liberty time over the years for three officers, the brass didn't like the idea of their latest 'hero' disappearing from the public eye so soon. The court martial of High General Villa had just finished, and they wanted her around to parade in front of the cameras in order to distract the general public from the whole bloody embarrassing incident. Nor had her direct superiors wanted Renegade One to skip town, since sending out the squadron she'd forged together without their CO would be the height of idiocy.
As for the Renegades themselves... well, Algy was kriffing upset with her over trying to keep the sexual assault a secret--not to mention ready to tear Villa's head off over same. He'd wanted to tell the other vets at least, maybe even the FNGs, but she'd pleaded with him to keep his trap shut. Constance didn't want Paol to know what his old Army buddy had done. Nor did she want him to be the only one who didn't know while the rest of the squadron fumed and plotted Villa's painful demise.
Whether Algernon would stay silent on the matter she didn't know and wouldn't dare try to control. Telling a man old enough to be her great-grandfather what to do about his personal life was a laughable concept. If he decided to take a crack at killing Villa... well, who the frack was she to stand in his way? Force knew she wanted to do far worse to the man. Which is the whole problem, remember?
In the end she'd managed to bully her way off-planet. Conner had pulled out all the stops, called in a bunch of favors, even done her best to convey to Maris how she really needed time to 'recover' from the 'trauma' of being shot by a superior officer. Less than fifteen minutes after she'd been officially placed on administrative leave, she'd been on the Mockingbird and blasting out of Dolomar's gravity well.
The trip to Naboo had given her far too much time to think. Just as she'd done since coming home from the failed mission, she'd tried almost every tactic in her arsenal to alleviate stress. She'd bored herself close to death with paperwork, exercised until she'd been ready to drop, painted instead of slept, meditated when she'd become too disoriented by exhaustion to paint... all for nothing.
What little progress Constance had made in restabilizing her sanity after returning to Dolomar had been dashed to microscopic bits during the court martial. Seeing Villa again, listening to his bluster and threats--and the occasional truth which no one would ever believe about me--had stoked the flames of hatred all the higher. The darkest part of her had practically gotten off on seeing him flail about in a vain effort to defend himself. She'd barely restrained herself from laughing in glee when his sentence had been announced: demotion, incarceration, then transfer to some nothing outpost far from the front lines.
And it hadn't been enough. She still lusted after revenge. She still fantasized about cutting him in a dozen places and letting him slowly bleed to death while she watched. She still wondered if ending his life would be worth risking her cover. That sort of thinking was frinking unacceptable, she knew that dammit, but she couldn't stop wishing and plotting.
So she'd fled to Naboo, removing herself from temptation, hiding from her life. She didn't want the Renegades to see her this way, to find the blackest stains of her poor tattered excuse for a soul. They deserved so much better. Right now, Constance didn't feel herself competent to command them, and unworthy of their loyalty. They looked to her as an example, as a leader, and she deserved neither.
The weary and drawn look on her face drew a few curious glances as the pilot traversed the resort's lobby area towards the bank of turbolifts on the far end. Conner carried a single piece of luggage, a Confederate military issue duffel bag slung over her shoulder. She'd not wanted to waste time packing anything more than the essentials. Her state of dress was all civilian though, as she'd not wanted to draw any unfriendly attention. Last she'd known, the government of Naboo sympathized with the Alliance.
Constance had to force herself not to grit her teeth as she stood in the 'lift car, waiting for various guests at the hotel to enter and exit at what felt like just about every kriffing floor. When they finally arrived at her own level, she'd stalked off at an impatient pace in the direction of the suite the front desk had told her 'Ryder Klivian' had reserved for them both. She knew her lover had already arrived, and right now all she could think about was getting to him.
So hasty was she to enter the room that she managed to swipe the door card through the reader too fast, having to stop and attempt the task again when the security monitor beeped at her in annoyance. Then she was through the door and all but running into the room, dropping her duffel bag as soon as she caught sight of Lysander and heading straight into his arms. Burying her face against his shoulder, not ready to look at him just yet, she locked her own grip around him, a near desperation to hold onto something steady and reliable in her life.
Lysander Odakota - December 14, 2010 03:58 AM (GMT)
A little distracted by his own desire to get his emotional state under control, he noticed the familiar presence that was Constance until she was actually at the door. The annoyed beep of the lock helped to announce her arrival and he was on his feet. For a moment he froze, not sure how to approach her just yet, wondering if he should let her come to him or if he should intercept her in the first step through the doorway.
The choice was ultimately made for him, however, when the door opened on her second attempt and she rushed into the room. He took barely a step of his own before she was in his arms, clinging with a clear amount of desperation. He was quick to take in her aura, to feel how she felt. Frustration, weariness... those seemed strongest to him now and he focused on those.
He returned the lock of the embrace, not ready to let go of her either. If she didn’t want to face him quite yet, he was alright with that. He wasn’t sure he wanted her to see the panic in his eyes very much, either. If he was busy fighting off that anxious feeling he’d not be of much comfort to her. He needed to be the steady one here, be a part of the solution and not the problem.
Something about her emotionally drawn state made him want to sit down. Shifting backwards the step that he’d managed to take away from his seating arrangement, he set back down, taking her with him, making sure he didn’t put her in any awkward positioning. Who knew how long she’d opt to just hold on, and he’d rather her be comfortable for the duration. He pressed his face to her hair as he often tended to do, taking her presence as a small form of comfort for himself. She was here, she hadn’t self destructed yet. This was going to be fine. Not easy, but fine.
Still, it was hard to shake the dire worry in his heart. He wasn’t his usual sedate self, and he didn’t expect he would entirely be such until he had this all sorted out. Whatever was bothering her was bothering her deeply, to the point where surface readings were getting him almost nowhere. She was distraught, but so many shades of emotions were running her right now that he couldn’t pick one to focus on for more than a handful of seconds at a time.
There was no way that single confrontation in the diplomatic talks had caused all of this in her. There had to be something more, something that hadn’t reached the media channels. Had something happened after? Before? During that he didn’t understand? The only way he could possibly know was to ask.
“Talk to me,” he urged. He wanted to ask what had happened, but if that’s not where she wanted to start, he didn’t want to demand it of her. If she just wanted to wax poetic on how distressed she felt, he’d listen to every word until she exhausted herself.
Constance Bravil - December 14, 2010 04:51 AM (GMT)
Stars, but did holding him feel good. A long exhale escaped Constance, the tension in her muscles easing a few degrees. She'd missed him so much. Though these particular circumstances were anything but ideal, being with Lysander again was still a cause for joy. Not that she could manage such a pure and innocent feeling at the moment, but just having him near eased her emotional burden some.
When he stepped back Conner stayed close, unwilling to loosen her grip yet. She followed his lead as he sank down into a nearby chair, ending up in his lap with her knees astride his hips. Unlike all the other times she'd held this position, the spy held not the slightest shred of lust in her heart. She arranged her body that way because she didn't have to loosen her embrace to do so. For these spare selfish seconds, Constance used the Jedi Master as an anchor, relying on him to keep her on a steady course.
Blue Eyes seemed just as reluctant to release her, holding her fast and pressing his face into her hair. For a moment the starfighter pilot wished she possessed the talent of empathy. She wanted to know what he was feeling, wanted to understand why he'd decided to make this time for her on such short notice. Not that she was going to complain or anything... quite the contrary. But right now she felt even more unworthy of him than usual. Conner wanted to know how he could believe her worth the effort and the neglecting of his duties to be with her here and now.
“Talk to me.”
She didn't want to. Talking to him meant going over what had happened, again. She'd had to repeat the story so many kriffing times already: to her superiors, to her squadron, in more detail to Algy in private, to Maris, to the media, to the JAG officers at the court martial. Conner was sick of retracing the same course over and over again for other people's benefit. That said, she knew her lover wouldn't be satisfied with silence. He never was.
Shifting her head, Conner brought her chin to rest atop his shoulder so her words wouldn't be smothered against his chest. "I wasn't even supposed to be there." Her voice came quiet and sad, while her aura vacillated between misery and anger. "My orders were to play chauffeur to a spoiled Senator, that's all. That was demeaning enough, piloting a floundering boat of a shuttle instead of being with my squadron. What a stars-damned waste."
Her hands clenched against his back, nails digging into the fabric of his shirt. "But that schutta had to have the very best. And then she decided she liked me, so I got dragged into the whole mess even though I was absolutely positively not in a million light-years qualified for it." The spy restrained a snarl, not wanting to demonstrate such naked fury in front of her lover. "If she'd just left me alone none of it would've happened!"
She spoke of more than the incident at the conference now, but he couldn't know that yet. However, he could read her emotional turmoil, the dark feelings which swept through her aura. "And then that bastard... I should've killed him Lysander. I should've ended him right there!"
Lysander Odakota - December 14, 2010 06:29 AM (GMT)
He knew his lover well enough to know she wouldn’t be eager to talk. She preferred to box up the things that bothered her, not flaunt them for all to see. She’d already had her privacy invaded by the whole fiasco, she surely wouldn’t be looking to explain herself any more than she already had. But Lysander also knew the spy would tell him. She wouldn’t have come if she hadn’t been prepared to face him and his inherent need to help her. And he couldn't help her if he didn’t know what he was working against.
"I wasn't even supposed to be there. [...] What a stars-damned waste."
This set the scene well enough for him. So she’d gone into a mission she’d felt a waste of time, one she’d neither wanted nor needed to do. Being a woman on a very important--and secret--mission meant that these sort of assignments had to be even more frustrating than it might have been for others. And leaving her squadron wasn’t something he imagined she enjoyed. Babysitting senators was something he understood, oddly enough, and he did not envy her for that. Politicians weren’t strictly his favorite either.
He rested his chin against her forehead with her shift in position, his grip on her still firm as he locked his gaze on the decorative artwork across the room from him. He listened carefully and gauged every word along with her emotions.
"But that schutta had to have the very best. [...] If she'd just left me alone none of it would've happened!"
Her hands tightened into his back, the first physical show of aggravation that she’d thrown out there, though he’d felt it on her early on. She was no fan of the Senator. Agraco had made something of a nuisance of herself, it seemed. He had thought there was no love there, from what he’d seen in the footage that had been leaked. A solider like Constance was not bound to think highly of a woman who ducked for cover and wailed when shots were fired. And the fact that Constance had proclaimed she’d done what she’d done for the Confederation over the Senator... well, that said something to him that hadn’t rang clearly to the clueless politician.
There was a barely contained fury in this explanation, but as much as the Alliance spy hated the Nubian Senator, it didn’t seem that that was the direction the anger was directed. It started there but ended somewhere else, somewhere that seemed to justify this turmoil. He tried to make the connection on his own but the details were still too few for him to do so.
"And then that bastard... I should've killed him Lysander. I should've ended him right there!"
There was more to this--much more--than Lysander could currently comprehend. There was such a darkness to her suddenly, a color that seemed familiar to her in a way that he did not like. Alarmed by her clear hate, his steely blue eyes narrowed at the spot on the wall he’d chosen to settle his sharp gaze on. The ‘he’ she mentioned was not specified, but he could only guess it was the High General. He knew in passing that she’d had issues with someone of the same rank in the past, but whether or not it was Villa he couldn’t be positive...
But given the feelings here, it seemed like there was history. Much as she hated the Confederation, she wouldn’t have compromised herself with such feelings without a buildup. Worried by her reaction here, and confused as to why she would feel this way, he had to question her.
“The General?” he inquired by way of clarification. He didn’t like floundering under these assumptions he was being forced into. “What did he do?” That might have seemed like an odd question, given everyone knew what he’d done in threatening Senator Agraco and then turning on those who had arrested him. But that wasn’t what he was asking about. That wasn’t enough to have the woman Lysander now held gearing for blood.
That anxious feeling in his chest wasn’t subsiding like he wanted it to and Lysander fought to ignore it. He reminded himself--again--that she was here and he would do what he must to fix this.
Constance Bravil - December 14, 2010 07:10 AM (GMT)
Conner forced her head to nod, not trusting herself to actually speak. She didn't want to give any response, really, but with an empath trying to hide such a simple truth would be pointless. No doubt he could just look or scan or whatever he did with the Force and notice the emotional response the mention of Villa inspired in her. Constance didn't like it, didn't want it, wished she could avoid it, but she didn't expect to escape it. Nosy Jedi were nigh impossible to thwart when they wanted to find something out.
“What did he do?”
Frack it all to slag, why did he have to ask? Sure, she figured he would, but couldn't he tell she didn't want to talk about it? Stars above, she'd rather take a walk in vacuum without a pressure suit than explain what she'd been through to Lysander. Explaining just part of it to Trigger had felt like crawling through a field of broken vibroblades. But he wasn't telepathic; he hadn't been able to tell she'd been holding the most awful part back.
With an abrupt jerk she pulled away from her lover, moving to break free of his grasp. He resisted to a degree, but he didn't restrain her like she knew he could. Pushing back onto her feet she walked away, her agitation vibrating dissonantly in her aura. "I'm betting real credits you saw what happened. Frack, half the damned galaxy saw what happened." She'd been almost painfully aware of how far the story of the debacle at Iridonia had spread. Part of her had approved of the efficiency with which the Alliance had spread the story; the rest had cringed way from the increased publicity she'd been subjected to.
Nausea roiled in her gut. "You're a wise and wonderful man, Blue Eyes. But there's some things you don't understand." Arms folded across her chest, hugging herself in a defensive stance as she paced across the room. "I don't want you to ever understand them. I like you the way you are, and knowing some of what I know, feeling what I feel... it would change you, and not for the better."
Yeah, she accepted she probably wasn't making any sense to him, but tackling the subject straight on didn't work. Not after Conner had gone to such effort to try and avoid thinking about it. Even now she wanted to protect him from some of the reality of her world. The spy didn't do this out of condescension but out of caring. Constance never wanted to see Lysander taint himself like she had. "So trust me when I say... you don't want to know what he did, Lysander. And if you value your own sanity you'll drop the subject."
A shaky laugh came from her then. "But you won't drop it, will you? You never do." One arm unfolded so she could rub fingers over her face. "Such a stubborn man. A Jedi ought to know better." Much as she appreciated his determination, right now she almost wished he were weaker willed. Telling him the truth would hurt them both... or at least she believed it would. She knew it would mess with her mind, and while Lysander had been trained to withstand negative emotions, surely hearing the story she had to tell wouldn't leave him unaffected.
Her stalking back and forth had brought her to a side table on the west wall. Constance lashed out without warning, her fist connecting with the porcelain vase sitting innocently upon its surface, smashing it against the wall. The pieces of pottery chimed as they fell to the floor. The pilot watched them fall, her body coiled tight as a twisted spring. "I tried to warn you, dammit. I told you what I could be like. You didn't believe me, but you should have."
Lysander Odakota - December 14, 2010 08:02 AM (GMT)
Oh yes, definitely the General she was talking about here. Even without her nod of confirmation, he could have figured it out. She was positively sparking with negative energy at the mere mention of the rank. Were she capable of burning with indirect hatred, Lysander would not have dared touch her. As it was, he didn’t really want to let her go. The part of him that feared losing her grasped to the concept that keeping her close would keep her safe in a way letting her go would lack.
Seemed she felt differently, though, and with an abrupt and uncompromising movement she was away from him. Much as he didn’t want to let go, he didn’t hold her back with any amount of force. He could have pinned her to her spot, but that would have done nothing but make her angry. Hands settling reluctantly at his own sides, he let her deprive him of the touch he felt they both currently could stand to maintain. Agitated and harassed, she walked away and he turned his gaze on her, though it lacked some of its usual intensity in his unsurety.
"I'm betting real credits you saw what happened. Frack, half the damned galaxy saw what happened."
He nodded, knowing she already had her answer without his having to actually confirm. It was a hesitant confirmation on his part, anyways, as she clearly didn’t like the idea that he’d seen, or anyone else for that matter. It had to go against everything the spy was to be out in the public eye like that. He just hoped that for her sake this all went away very quickly. News came and went rather rapidly in the galaxy. But that didn’t make the coverage any less potent in its potential for harm. If they’d really respected this ‘hero,’ they would have left her alone.
"You're a wise and wonderful man, Blue Eyes. But there's some things you don't understand. [...] it would change you, and not for the better."
Confused still, but wanting to wait patiently for the explanation he was sure had to be coming, Lysander tilted his head ever so slightly as he studied her pacing form. He understood that there were things he didn’t understand. No one could understand everything, and he had a different point of view than most. Things that were commonplace or normal to the average sentient being often seemed foreign to him. His upbringing was peculiar at best.
But to what exactly she referred, he wasn’t sure, and that stuck him in the mire of bewilderment even further. He wished she would--or even could--be clearer, but she was in no state for it. It was something she clearly felt she understood in a way he never would. Given her emotional state, he wondered if that was a big part of it. Compared to her, he was ignorant when it came to such volatile moments. Perhaps not as ignorant as she sometimes, thought, but still very much not on the same levels of feeling as she.
"So trust me when I say... you don't want to know what he did, Lysander. And if you value your own sanity you'll drop the subject."
Anxious feelings peaked in him again, surpassing confusion once more. He didn’t want to know? That was never a particularly good phrase, and the fact that he believed her made it all the worse. Maybe he didn’t want to know... but at the same time, that only made it all the more necessary for him to find out. He didn’t want Constance harboring whatever this was all too herself.
And besides, it wasn’t his own sanity that concerned him. It was hers. He could handle himself, he was sure. He needed her to share this burden before it broke her completely. He would have told her this, but she preempted him as she often did these days, knowing him better and better with every day they spent together.
"But you won't drop it, will you? You never do. Such a stubborn man. A Jedi ought to know better."
A frown marred his featured further, darkening an already sober visage. What was she getting at? Clearly he wasn’t going to let it go and she had deemed as much a fact. The stalling bothered him even though he knew she wasn’t doing it necessarily on purpose. The subject at hand was not one she wanted to discuss, so biting the bullet and going for it was nothing to be jumping at. But his patience for waiting did not apparently extend to this. He already had enough emotions in him right now to fight with, he couldn’t very well keep the smallest of impulses under control in the face of that.
He wondered what he was getting himself into, but still he had no hesitation in finding out what she was so worked up over. To walk away from this conversation now would only be a source of tension. Even if it was going to hurt, the air needed to be cleared.
Tightly wound as he was, it took what little careful control he had left to not jump when she crashed a fist into the vase. Distress still clear in his eyes, he forced some of the tension out of his body and got to his feet. A few paces closed some of the distance between them, but certainly not all. He hadn’t thought about getting up, but it had seemed a natural reaction to him, her outward violence putting his action oriented mind to work.
"I tried to warn you, dammit. I told you what I could be like. You didn't believe me, but you should have."
Stopped stark still again, he watched her carefully, caution keeping him there even while another part of him begged to just be able to comfort her. Perplexment at her statements continued to assail him and he found himself frustrated despite his determination to not let that happen. Her emotional state was getting to him, but he was in no condition to be shutting himself off from her right now. He didn’t have the control he typically enjoyed. He was too intune with her, too focused on caring and trying to clarify what was going on.
“Why should I have?” Another question, genuine in its tumult. He could only urge her to speak, to explain, so lost in this that he couldn't even create a direct and searching question. He wanted to explain that he didn’t understand any of this right now, but he didn’t want to sound like he was accusing her of keeping him in the dark. It was obvious she was trying despite not wanting to.
“What did you do?” he asked, the question a touch desperate. He had come to that much of a conclusion. She’d done something that had her shaken, on top of whatever had gone down on the other party’s part. She was talking herself down again, with more fervor than ever burning bright. No sweet words seemed right right now, no reassurances that she was good in his eyes. Much as her anger was being thrown outward, a lot of it was being kept internal as well.
Constance Bravil - December 14, 2010 08:36 AM (GMT)
Constance saw the Jedi Master approach in her peripheral vision. Part of her braced against any attempt to take a hold of her again, but Lysander instead chose to stop far short of being in reach. A sliver of her psyche wondered what that restraint cost him. The man never liked letting her go when she was upset. Did he know through his telepathy she couldn't stand being touched right now, too filled with wrath and bile to enjoy the contact? Or did he just know her well enough to understand she didn't go for distance unless she felt she needed it?
“Why should I have?”
Because you'd be safer then. The undercover agent understood who and what she was. She had accepted the consequences of her actions when she'd accepted this assignment. Her soul was damned, there was no escaping the fact. But over the years she'd decided that no matter what else happened, she refused to drag those she cared about down into the same pit she'd thrown herself into. Not the Renegades, not Lysander... never them. She'd sacrifice everything else before she condemned them.
“What did you do?”
Stars, how well he knows me. The way his voice sounded when he asked the question gave her some pause. Lysander almost sounded... pleading? Conner had never seen him beg, but this was the closest she'd seen him come. Only back during that horrible argument they'd had when he'd first told her he loved her had he been so needful of answers. Much as Constance wanted to keep the truth from him, the last thing she wanted was to repeat the same mistake again. Or to risk him doing the same, for that matter.
"The first night there, they held a reception." Unclenching her right hand, the pilot gazed down at it. A small cut traversed the knuckle of her middle finger. As Conner watched, a thin crimson line of blood welled up from the laceration. She didn't even feel the pain. Too much of her mind was occupied elsewhere. "Miserably boring affair. The High General was ordered to escort me there by the damned Senator. She thought I provided a good example." The last words were practically sneered out, rich with the irony Agraco would never know existed.
"Villa got drunk, and I mean stupid fracking drunk. As in threatening the Senator with bodily harm levels of smashed. If I hadn't intervened she probably would've gotten stabbed. So I had the pleasure of escorting the bastard back to his quarters before he made a further ass of himself." Lifting her hand to her face, Conner sucked on the cut to prevent any blood from dripping from her finger. Stars knew she'd spilled enough already in her life.
"Took me a couple of hours to wind down enough to try to sleep. And wouldn't you know it, right when I was headed for bed, he showed up again." Constance turned her head to face him, strain drawing her pale features into sharp lines and angles. "He commented on how my sleepwear wasn't standard issue." Her right hand clenched, falling back down to hang at her side. "And how he'd like to see me out of it."
Again her fury flared, her cheeks flushed and heart pounding from the emotion. But she had no one to lash out at; the reason for her rage wasn't present. "I don't know where he got the idea I'd so much as want to touch him, and I wasted no time in telling him off." Temper clawed like a wild animal in her gut, screaming to be let free. She kept it restrained only because she cared about the man she stared at so damned much.
Her tongue came out to wet suddenly dry lips. "But he wouldn't take no for an answer." The urge to retch swelled in her stomach again, but with an effort of will she forced it down. She did the same with the wish to look away from her lover. Constance refused to be so much a coward as to hide from his steel blue stare now. Whatever his eyes contained as she told her terrible tale, she needed to know.
"Before I knew it he had me beneath him on the ground, and his hand..." She did snarl then, much as she hated showing such an expression in front of her lover. The emotion wasn't meant for him, and she hoped he understood that. "I couldn't get him off me. Not at first. I had to wait while..." Nothing in the galaxy could convince her she needed to go into detail about what she'd had to wait through.
Lysander Odakota - December 14, 2010 09:54 AM (GMT)
"The first night there, they held a reception. [...] She thought I provided a good example."
Despite how averse she was to the concept of explaining this, she was humoring him, and he appreciated it more than he could tell her right now. This whole thing was costing them both, but it would have only been made worse if she’d opted to hold out on him for long. She’d not started her tale in the middle of whatever disaster she was building up to--he assumed it was a disaster because the anticipating levels were rather horrible right now--but had started in relatively neutral ground. The premise did not sound promising.
It seemed this Senator really was an indirect issue. Her meddling seemed to have set the whole thing up, and if he’d thought it possible he’d wonder if the Nubian woman had orchestrated it all. Of course, that was simply not the case as there was no reason for it, but... still. Agraco had had a hand in chaos, and to free her of the blame despite her ignorance seemed foolish. Despite himself, Lysander felt a touch of ire for the woman he’d never met.
"Villa got drunk, and I mean stupid fracking drunk. [...] So I had the pleasure of escorting the bastard back to his quarters before he made a further ass of himself."
Count on Constance to stick up and protect two people she hated from each other. He doubted it was the first time she’d done such a thing, and also doubted it would be the last. He wondered how much that burned her, not really understanding the feeling himself. He’d never been in her position to that extreme. While he’d saved people before that he didn’t necessarily like, that was a far cry from what she was forced to do so often to save face.
"Took me a couple of hours to wind down enough to try to sleep. [...] And how he'd like to see me out of it."
Some of the anxiety in him finally died at this particular revelation, pieces starting to become clearer to him, though there were still many left blank and open. However, with some of that trepidation gone, there was room left for other negatives to take its spot. Blue eyes narrowed and darkened at the implication of where this might be going. He did not want to jump to any conclusions, but he doubted such a passing--though disturbing--comment would have her in such a frame of mind.
"I don't know where he got the idea I'd so much as want to touch him, and I wasted no time in telling him off. But he wouldn't take no for an answer."
His apprehension transformed further still, a potentially disturbing light filtering into that gunmetal stare. Hard as the Jedi tended to be to read, even for Constance, right now he wasn’t much of a mystery. He knew the one thing that could really be implied by ‘not taking no for an answer.’ Men who reacted that way to rejection... they did not take good paths.
Much as he knew Constance was a big girl who could handle herself better than most, this was one clear instant where he wished he could have been there himself. His need to protect this woman surmounted all reason and he knew he would have done something rash had he been privy to this scene at the time. Even now he knew Constance was right in some ways. He didn’t particularly want to hear this, would have been better off being ignorant... but then he couldn’t have helped her, and he would have none of that.
He continued to meet her eyes, knowing that it was hard, much as if he felt the sensation as his own. What was it that wanted to force her eyes away, though? It wasn’t shame, he didn’t think. Not in the way some might have expected from a victim of what she was implying. This wasn’t a pity party.
"Before I knew it he had me beneath him on the ground, and his hand... I couldn't get him off me. Not at first. I had to wait while..."
She didn’t have to explain. He didn’t want her to explain. She’d said enough to paint an officially clear picture for the Guardian. He was not even close enough to being sheltered to not recognize attempted rape and flagrant sexual assault when he was given even these barest hints. And even without the details, it felt like too much. No wonder she’d bucked against having to explain this. He wondered if she’d even so much as told anyone else. Why did he get the feeling she hadn’t?
He wasn’t sure if it was his own genuine feeling or if he was feeding off of Constance’s mood, but the idea that someone had done this to her... It fueled a fire in him that was usually kept snuffed purposefully out. He didn’t even know the bastard and the anger he felt seemed inexplicable in that light. For a brief second, he found himself agreeing with her, that she should have taken care of him when she’d had the chance. He was clearly a threat, and a personal one to Constance at that...
A temper Constance had not previously been privy to lit in the man’s eyes. It was a good thing they weren’t on Dolomar, he decided, or he might have really marched out the door right then with intention do something rash and distinctly un-Jedi like. He saw a lot of injustice in the galaxy, but to have it pointed so directly at the woman he damn well loved...
He released a slight and slow hiss between his teeth, forcing the more impetuous side of himself back down with a strong force of will. “You sure the sentence he was given at that trial was enough? I could find a more permanent solution to keep him away...” He tried to keep his tone light, like he was joking--which he wanted to be, but he knew himself better than that--but the slight growl belied the potential for fury in his chest. He didn’t like it and doubted she’d love it either.
And what was odd, there seemed to be more to this story, and yet he couldn’t imagine it getting all much worse. Her statement of ‘waiting for a while’ seemed to imply that she had eventually made a move, but what more could she possibly add? Still, there had been no actual answer to his question. She still had yet to admit to doing anything dire.
Constance Bravil - December 14, 2010 06:51 PM (GMT)
With each infuriated sentence Conner spoke, the confusion in Lysander's expression faded out. He was a smart man; he could connect the dots without any help. In short order, she witnessed the exact instant her lover realized where this conversation was going. What she saw flare to life in those intense blue eyes next made her insides twist up into painful knots. Not out of fear; she knew that naked display of very un-Jedi emotion wasn't meant for her. No, out of something far worse: guilt.
I warned him; I've always kept warning him away. Why doesn't he ever listen to me when I do? Why can't he just accept there's good reasons behind it? And she hadn't even gotten to the worst part yet, the part she'd tried to guard him against the longest.
Constance found new reason to want to look away from her lover. Stars above, he was actually angry!. Downright furious even. Either he didn't care to hide it or he couldn't, but either way, it shone as bright and hot in his eyes as a nuclear blast. Even without being empathic she could practically feel waves of psychic heat rolling off him. Soon enough he tried to suppress the feeling, reign in his temper... but she'd seen it, and the spy cursed the Force for putting her in the position to fracture a Jedi's calm.
“You sure the sentence he was given at that trial was enough? I could find a more permanent solution to keep him away...”
With a speed born from a sudden surge of panic, Constance rushed over and took ahold of Lysander's upper arms. "...don't you dare. Do you hear me?" Her grip tightened, the pilot resisting the urge to attempt literally shaking sense into the man. "Don't. You. Dare! You're a Jedi Master, for frack's sake! Vengeance goes against everything you believe in! You're better than that." Better than me. Her voice broke, words slicing up her throat like razor blades. "I won't have you sully yourself for me, not now, not ever!"
Not wanting to take the chance of him holding her fast, she stepped away out of reach again. Constance looked down at her hands, her gaze condemning them for getting grimy fingerprints all over something good and pure. "I told you... there are things I don't want you to ever understand." Misery shouldered anger aside. Pain resonated in her tone now. "I don't want you to be like me, Lysander. I don't want you to know..."
But he'd have to know, no avoiding it now. She'd made him a promise not to try to drive him away again, not to hide the truth in an attempt to protect him. Constance kept her promises, even when it killed a part of her soul to do so. The dark-haired woman lifted her gaze back to his, her pupils dilated so wide you could barely make out the thin ring of silver around the black. "I had one of his own blasters pressed to his throat and threatened to pull the trigger. The bastard looked up at me and declared I wouldn't do it."
Her fingers clenched tight, knuckles going white, nails digging into her palm. Again she did not notice the pain. "I lost it. I... I started telling him all about how I could get away with his murder in the same tone sane people use to discuss the local weather. Asked him about his family's burial rituals..." A choked sound that might've been an attempt at a laugh or the stifling of a sob interrupted her explanation. "I wanted him afraid of me. I needed him to be afraid of me."
Constance tensed her shoulders against a shudder. "And then I wanted to hurt him. So I did. And I enjoyed it. Stars above, it was fun to torment him. Seeing the terror and pain in his eyes made me feel so... strong. So in control." One hand moved to cover her mouth briefly as her stomach threatened to revolt on her again. "Only my mission prevented me from keeping it up longer, going even further than cracking a few ribs and endangering his ability to father children."
Both hands raked through her hair, part out of frustration and part out of wanting to hide how they shook. "I've done horrible things, Lysander. I kill my own people. I lie to those who trust me with their lives. But never before, not once, had I sunk to the level of my enemies." The exhausted shadows beneath her eyes stood out in starker contrast as her complexion paled further. She felt the shock and disorientation again, unable to help it after reliving that night in her mind. Nothing in her reality made complete sense anymore. "I've become what I hate. I'm so ashamed..."
Lysander Odakota - December 14, 2010 09:05 PM (GMT)
"...don't you dare. Do you hear me?"
It was an interesting turn of roles, even if it was only going to last a moment. Normally it was him forcing her down off an emotional track that wasn’t right for her. Normally it was her tensing under his touch. But now it was him, his back tightening responsively, eyes narrowing in a sense of frustration that was directed back towards himself.
He wanted to ask why not, wanted to demand why he couldn’t, though he already knew why. He said nothing, though, eyes locked with hers as he continued to stand on top of his own darker impulses, keeping them down. He wouldn’t let that control him, much as he sort’ve wanted to...
"Don't. You. Dare! [...] I won't have you sully yourself for me, not now, not ever!"
She was right, of course. He couldn’t go off and kill a man for these reasons and remain what he was. It was too easy to step off the narrow path the Jedi tread, and getting back on was always a fight. He knew his weaknesses, knew where he might bend. This just happened to be one of those weak spots, and it had been struck upon without much warning so he’d not been prepared.
Still, no one would have missed Villa. Killing him would have been justice. More revenge, yes, but still... justice. He wanted to justify it like that, wanted to eliminate this true enemy under the guise of duty when anyone with half a mind would have known it was all too personal.
Blue eyes shut tight for a second, a brief shake of his head trying to clear these ponderings. The guilt he could feel on Constance bothered him, was something he didn’t want to cause. The only problem was he hated her hatred more. He wanted to get rid of that source. Sucking in a deep breath, he forced himself to look at her again, at her desperation to stop him from doing something they’d both regret.
"I told you... there are things I don't want you to ever understand. I don't want you to be like me, Lysander. I don't want you to know..."
She stepped away, her point made and seemingly not wanting to stay close for her own sake still. He regretted that distance immediately, feeling like he’d somehow helped in upsetting her so completely. Clearly she was worried about hurting him in some way, and it seemed he’d only validated her worries by reacting as he had. He felt something of an idiot now, having been so worried about his anxiety getting in the way of repair that he’d gone and let his temper sneak up on him for the first time in a long time.
Some of that trepidation snuck back into him with the segue she used into more of her story. She didn’t want him to know, but she was going to say it anyways. And the fact that the last was apparently the worst...
"I had one of his own blasters pressed to his throat and threatened to pull the trigger. The bastard looked up at me and declared I wouldn't do it."
She’d turned the tides somehow, then, found an upper hand on her attacker. This he approved of. He approved of her strength in the face of something that many women would have surrendered to. It wasn’t just her being a solider that had given her that edge, he felt, but a pure sense of who she was. Her strength defined her in the face of unspeakable horrors.
"I lost it. [...] I wanted him afraid of me. I needed him to be afraid of me."
Fear was not a tactic Jedi used. Fear was a dark thing, leading to so much worse. Fear was effective, but it wasn’t something the Guardian could simply ignore the use of. If he’d been there, he’d certainly have stopped her from taking that path herself. While she wasn’t a Jedi and he didn’t expect her to be, inflicting terror on purpose would make her someone she was not.
Or at least someone she didn’t want to be. It seemed she had crossed that line. As a result, did he dare say she’d made her afraid of herself? Her sense of self horror was so strong that it felt almost like a physical pain against his empathy. He wanted to hold her again but resisted.
"And then I wanted to hurt him. So I did. [...] Only my mission prevented me from keeping it up longer, going even further than cracking a few ribs and endangering his ability to father children."
And there was another step on that path that Lysander’s sort avoided with such fervor. Pain was another taboo for them, torture practically considered worse than killing someone quick and painless. While Lysander could not find it in himself to condemn the woman for her actions, he couldn’t condone them any better. He found himself wishing she hadn’t done it even while knowing exactly why she had.
He couldn’t actually imagine this particular scene, couldn’t fathom her letting herself go so far. She was usually in such careful control, the idea of her slipping into this particular abyss, even for a short time disturbed him more than he would be willing to admit to her. Did it drive him from her? No, and it wasn’t bound to, but did make him wonder if there actually was anything he could do for her. He felt somewhat helpless in the face of it.
"I've done horrible things, Lysander. [...] I've become what I hate. I'm so ashamed..."
And there it was, the hook he knew he could use to find some hope where she saw none. Stepping closer but stopping again, clearly wanting to hold her but wary of upsetting her by any percievement of restraint, he studied her, a drawn look of his own in his eyes. “You aren’t quite there,” he told her. “Your enemies don’t have it in them to be ashamed.”
Which was true. He would have been completely astounded if Villa had been ashamed in any sense for what he’d done. If anything, he’d bet the bastard reveled in it. He had to fight down another bite of fury at that thought, had to focus on helping as opposed to getting obsessed with something he shouldn’t have even considered.
But what else could he say after that? He refused to patronize and refused to treat her like a student. She was his equal and while they both understood what she’d done was wrong, he didn’t want her thinking that he thought her a lost cause.
“He pushed you and you pushed back. Neither of you did good things, but he is far less a victim than you.” That reeked of payback, but right now he still thought the General had deserved more than what he’d gotten. “I can’t condone what you did,” he admittedly blatantly. “No more than I can condone my own reaction to his actions.” He wanted it clear that he wasn’t perfect and if she even so much as tried that on him right now it wouldn’t work.
“Just... Force, Constance, you’re driving yourself mad over this, aren’t you?” He knew very well she’d been doing exactly that, now. He wasn’t confused anymore, but he was still on edge. Most of his usual optimism was hiding in the face of his other emotions and he was trying very hard to coax it back out. They needed some hope here, but finding those words in this mire was almost dangerous.
Constance Bravil - December 14, 2010 11:59 PM (GMT)
“You aren’t quite there. Your enemies don’t have it in them to be ashamed.”
A point of fact, one even someone so distraught as she could not ignore. No, those Angler sought to destroy didn't possess any emotions resembling shame or guilt. They didn't care who they hurt in the process of getting what they wanted. Villa sure as the nine hells hadn't cared about doing damage to her. Frack, knowing him, the idea of causing her pain had probably primed his pump in the first place. But Angler had shown him, taught him exactly how it felt to be the helpless victim of a sadistic predator...
Dammit, no! Constance flung her darkest self back to the furthest reaches of her conscious mind. She had to stop thinking like this! Dwelling on past wrongs and dreaming of future retaliations would get her nowhere but into the abyss again. The fear of giving into her madness remained stronger than her desire to indulge in it, thank the stars. Between that and her strength of will she could keep control, at least for now.
“He pushed you and you pushed back. Neither of you did good things, but he is far less a victim than you.”
Conner hastened to nod in acceptance of Lysander's words. Oh, she'd never forgotten that, and she didn't want her lover to worry Constance somehow thought herself responsible for the assault. Not even in the greatest depths of her despair over the past few weeks had she ever misplaced any iota of fault in this department. She bore no blame for Villa's attempt to rape her. She'd made her loathing of him clear as crystal from day one. You would've had to be blind, deaf, and brain-dead to not recognize her rejection of his advances for what it was. He'd forced her to the ground and violated her body, and for that she hoped he burned for all eternity.
“I can’t condone what you did. No more than I can condone my own reaction to his actions.”
She'd expected as much, and in truth the spy wouldn't have been able to accept anything else. "I don't want you to," she managed, wrapping her arms across her chest in a futile effort to ward off a chill. "I can't condone what I did. I've never doubted my actions were wrong." Conner clung to this small life preserver of morality amidst a sea of self-condemnations. Much as she still felt the (extremely strong) temptation to repeat her mistakes, she knew them to be mistakes in the first place. Surely she couldn't be completely beyond redemption so long as she remembered that?
As far as Lysander's reactions went... "I never wanted to see you like that, Blue Eyes. To make you feel that way." She took a step closer, arms falling back down to her sides, wanting to cut off his expected protest at the pass. "I know, I know... you weren't mad at me, never even crossed my mind." A little more distance between them disappeared. "And it's not that I don't appreciate you being protective of me, it's actually very sweet, and I wasn't so stupid as to think you wouldn't feel something..."
Back within touching distance, the spy lifted a hand towards the Jedi Master's head. Fingertips found the side of Lysander's face, stroking down his cheek with a delicate touch normally reserved for the most rare and fragile objects. A strange thing, really, considering she was the one who felt so very breakable right now.
"Please." The word came out hoarse, forcing Conner to swallow in order to smooth out her throat. "Promise you won't do anything, Lysander." Wide gray eyes begged him to accept. "The thought of you giving into..." She shook her head sharply, dark curls springing against her shoulders, not even wanting to give voice to the possibility. "I don't know if I could live with myself if you did that. I need you... and I need you to stay you. Promise me."
“Just... Force, Constance, you’re driving yourself mad over this, aren’t you?”
For a moment the pilot thought about making another joke about her lover's propensity for understatements, but her heart wasn't up for making light. "Yes." She dropped her fingers away from his face, her gaze shifting away from his eyes and towards the open balcony doors behind him. Not that she really saw them; her brain didn't have the processing power to spare for interpreting visual input.
Part of her wanted so much to latch onto Lysander again, burrow into his warmth and hide from the universe outside the two of them. The rest had a hard time stomaching the thought of his kindness and affection when she'd proved so wretched a person. "I tried to handle it. But the situation kept getting worse. I had to keep dealing with him, and every minute I spent in his presence I had to battle the monster in my head for control."
Constance shifted away a bit, turning to one side so he faced her profile, but she didn't withdraw out of arm's reach again. Leaving his immediate vicinity completely was a feat beyond her damaged willpower at the moment. Too much of her longed for his reassurance, even though she felt herself unworthy of his concern. "I could've killed him in that conference room. Maybe I should have. I don't know anymore. It cost me so much to exercise restraint... and I got shot for my trouble." A small huff of dark amusement escaped her lips. "Figures."
The brief flicker of humor in her eyes fled, replaced by dark rage. "I've kept myself from doing anything more than rubbing his face in the fact he fracked up since then... but whenever I see him my hands itch to close around his throat. I catch myself fantasizing about assassinating him every damned day. I can't do it, won't risk my cover after all the hell I've been through to maintain it... but Force help me, I wish I could. First I want to hear him scream and beg, and then I want to end him."
She turned back towards him, the horror in her heart swelling up again and drowning out the hate. "Stars, listen to me! I'm so scared, Lysander, scared of myself and what I'm capable of. Remembering what happened makes me sick inside. I've not just lost perspective, I've lost my kriffing mind. I can't... I can't do my job like this." Admitting this tore her up inside, but she had to accept the truth. She had no business being in the cockpit of so much as a landspeeder right now.
Lysander Odakota - December 15, 2010 06:04 AM (GMT)
"I don't want you to. I can't condone what I did. I've never doubted my actions were wrong."
That fact alone really gave Lysander all the hope he needed to start building a foundation under himself. As long as she maintained that bit of what made her good, she was still redeemable. If she’d lost that... Well, to be honest, he didn’t want to think that about. Even venturing into the thoughts of what that would cost them both was too painful right now to dwell on. He didn’t think it would come to that, trusted she would maintain enough grace for him to respect her like he did.
Without her conscience, she wouldn’t be the woman he knew. While he knew that people could in fact change that drastically given the right stimulus, he wouldn’t let that happen to her. He was here to enforce what they both knew was right.
"I never wanted to see you like that, Blue Eyes. [...] And it's not that I don't appreciate you being protective of me, it's actually very sweet, and I wasn't so stupid as to think you wouldn't feel something..."
She was drawing closer, something he took as a good sign. In her efforts to address his issues, she wasn’t holding back on him. For a moment, she wasn’t thinking about herself and her actions, but more about how it was affecting him, and while he didn’t want her thinking she was guilty for his behaviour, he was glad that she was able to redirect her focus. That meant she wasn’t so stuck on herself and her internal problems that she couldn’t step back to see reason.
And for a moment, he had to stop thinking about her specifically and focus on himself in turn. No, she was right, she shouldn’t have had to see him like that, even for an instant. He felt a flutter of doubt in himself that he instantly brushed aside. He didn’t need that, he needed to fix it. His anger helped no one. And even if killing Villa would rid Constance of the temptation of doing it herself...
The hand against his face stopped those thoughts, the pleading in her eyes told him that he’d just hurt her in a different way if he saved her from her want for vengeance in that method.
"Please. [...] Promise me."
That sealed it. He couldn’t say no to her on that, couldn’t deny her that genuine need for him to do as she asked. “I promise,” he assured her without hesitation. And like that, it grounded him. Where his knowledge that it was a bad course to take had not been able to keep his mind wandering that path, a promise to his lover made it almost easy. Apparently his loyalty to her was far stronger than that to himself in the face of such infuriating evidence. “Don’t worry about it.” He didn’t need to add to her list of stressors.
"I tried to handle it. But the situation kept getting worse. I had to keep dealing with him, and every minute I spent in his presence I had to battle the monster in my head for control."
She had moved away, but not so far that she was out of reach. It seemed now that she had all the horrible details of her sins out of the way she could stand the proximity. He hoped she hadn’t assumed in any way that he might condemn her. She was clearly condemning herself enough for both of them, and he’d prefer she not even do that.
He understood the issue she was describing, though. The whole mission sounded like it had been one bad thing after another. Maybe if one bad instant had happened without all the lead up, she might have kept her sanity. As it was, she had fractured under the continuous pressure. Eventually something had been bound to give when the issues hadn’t let up. No wonder she’d been so mad at the Senator, this whole thing would have been so easily avoided.
"I could've killed him in that conference room. [...] Figures."
She could have, she was right on that. But how much High Command would have liked the High General ending up dead was debatable. Much as they were running the man over coals now, killing a superior officer never looked particularly good. She had taken the right action in simply disabling him, but in hindsight going for the kill might have made her life easier if she’d gotten off clean. Too many variables to be sure, though.
He felt a flutter of concern again at the idea of her getting shot. Though the wounding hadn’t looked horribly serious based on the recordings he’d seen, the idea of her getting hurt like that bothered the Jedi. He knew it had happened before to her, and would happen again. That didn’t mean he had to like it. He knew she was healed by now, but he’d never be able to simply shrug off the fact that she’d been wounded while doing her job in a conference room. It just seemed all the more wrong that it’d come from a ‘friendly’ source. He remembered seeing the vid the first time and just about having a heart attack until he’d noted she had taken the hit well.
"I've kept myself from doing anything more than rubbing his face in the fact he fracked up since then... [...] First I want to hear him scream and beg, and then I want to end him."
Having already heard her express desire to eliminate the man, Lysander wasn’t surprised by her words. That said, they still disturbed him a touch. That desire was beneath her, and they both knew it. She had to overcome it or it might very well consume her. While she wouldn’t bring herself to action, it was too easy to become engrossed in fantasy and dark desires. It was a rut, ultimately. He didn’t want to see her stuck there. The hate didn’t suit her.
"Stars, listen to me! [...] I can't... I can't do my job like this."
Unable to hold himself back any longer--and not believing at all that she ultimately wanted him away anyways--he stepped in close to the woman who had turned back to him and wrapped her in a hug. For a moment he just held her, and then he spoke. “No, you can’t,” he agreed. It only seemed to emphasize his desire to just take her away from it all permanently, but he knew better still. That wasn’t his place to go demanding that.
“But that’s why you’re here. To get away from all of that, forget about it for a little while, work through it in the moments when you feel up to it with someone who wants to help.” Someone who knew what she’d gone through. It seemed very clear to him that he had to be the only one with the whole truth of this. Just as was always the case, he knew her best, and he wished sometimes that wasn’t so. For her sake, he wished she could have been so much more open...
“You’re away from Dolomar. Away from the press, away from Villa. You can’t reach him here.” And he couldn’t reach her either. “Forget about duty for a little while and just exist with me, okay?” She had to take off some of the stressors of her life or she’d never be able to heal. Picking at wounds only made them worse and left scars. He wanted her to come through this with as little permanent damage as possible.
He knew what is cost her, ultimately, to admit to not being able to do her job. The fact that she'd even say that showed just how much she'd fractured since the last time he'd seen her. It was all she had. Or at least that was how she felt. Leaving it behind like she currently was left her literally with nothing. Except, well, dare he say himself? He doubted she would have been here otherwise.
Constance Bravil - December 15, 2010 07:23 AM (GMT)
“I promise. Don’t worry about it.”
Slender shoulders sagged in visible relief. She believed him. Before Constance had met the stubborn Jedi Master, she'd never have thought she could come to accept anyone's word so fast and with so little hesitation, but he'd taught her different. Lysander had never lied to her, and somehow she held complete confidence that he'd never so much as try. When he gave his promise, he kept it, same as she would had their positions been reversed. In this area they were built much the same.
"Thank you." The cloying cloud of guilt in her mind abated, granting her better clarity of thought. Conner would rather have hanged herself than bring this man to harm. Much as she danced around the dangerous L-word, she couldn't pretend to ignore how deep her feelings ran for the Guardian. "That means so much."
When her lover's arms closed around her body, Constance offered no resistance. Indeed, she all but melted into his embrace, needing the physical and emotional support of his touch more than she'd been willing to admit. The pilot's hands came to rest against his lower back, her forehead sagging down to his shoulder as he drew her closer. Maybe she should've resisted, held back rather than let Lysander show her such sympathy, but Conner didn't have it in her to pull away. Fighting what she wanted, even needed, made no sense, especially when the Jedi offered his love so freely.
“But that’s why you’re here. To get away from all of that, forget about it for a little while, work through it in the moments when you feel up to it with someone who wants to help.”
Yes, the Group Captain supposed that was why she was here. She'd quite literally jumped at the chance to get away from Dolomar. Constance had needed--no, craved--distance from her day to day life. As much as she'd confided in her best friend and wingman of thirteen years, she hadn't been able to tell him everything which had gone wrong on Iridonia. Frack, he probably knows too much as it is.
Some lines Conner couldn't cross, no matter how much she trusted the man she'd come to consider close as family. Her duty to the Alliance trumped near every other card in her deck. But Lysander knew the truth, all of the truth. Talking to him didn't divide her loyalties. She didn't have to shield her fractured mental state from him either, since he could read her mind easily as a datapad.
That said, she'd be lying if she claimed this to be the sole reason she'd badgered her superiors into granting shore leave. "I also just plain missed you," Conner muttered, the words muffled against the wall of his chest. "Think I'm allowed that much selfishness in my life, right?" The arms circling Lysander's waist drew tighter, an unconscious reaction to the sentiment behind her words.
“You’re away from Dolomar. [...] Forget about duty for a little while and just exist with me, okay?”
Of all the things he'd asked of her in their time knowing one another, this request was one of the easiest to fulfill. Not only was she already here with him, but she could think of nothing else she'd rather do. "Okay." The tension in her body ratcheted down a few notches. Constance no longer had to keep her professional facade fixed in place, her posture militaristic. Those were all surface appearances, none of which mattered when dealing with a Jedi. More than that, she didn't want to pretend with him. Only with Lysander could she let down all her defenses.
Seconds turned into minutes as they held eachother. The undercover agent's mind didn't keep careful track, fed up with thinking and analyzing for the moment. She'd driven herself mad deconstructing her every action and reaction over the past few weeks, picking apart all she'd said and done. And hadn't done. Masochistic as Constance might tend towards in treating herself, even she could accept the necessity of taking a break.
"I didn't think you'd come for me." The words came unbidden, unplanned. The Corellian's head shifted against Lysander, turning to rest on her cheek to make her words clearer to understand. "Not so soon. I knew you'd find out, what with all the media coverage. But I never expected you to make time for me right then and there." The huff of amusement she gave then brushed warm against the side of his throat. "Not that I'm ungrateful. Stars, I needed to get away." No doubt her short and hasty response to his invitation had told him how desperate she'd been for escape.
Constance struggled with what to say next, feeling the need for additional words without having any clear intention of what to say. "Maybe... maybe you shouldn't tutor me anymore, though. I can't... I don't understand what the concept you call the 'Dark Side' truly means, but if it's anything like the madness I feel right now I want no part of it. And if you keep teaching me when I'm so flawed... I don't want to run the risk. Bad enough I feel like I've disappointed you already."
Lysander Odakota - December 15, 2010 08:22 AM (GMT)
"I also just plain missed you. Think I'm allowed that much selfishness in my life, right?"
Having settle comfortably in the returned embrace of the woman he loved, Lysander managed a smile then, the first he felt like he’d had in a while now. “Right,” he concurred completely. “I missed you too, anyways.” It was hard, being apart. And yes, they both deserved this bit of selfishness. Much as he had a hard time doing things for himself, he had been quick to ultimately embrace the idea that he deserved to be with this woman.
And that was all he needed to hear. It was significant, her stepping down and away from all the emotion she’d been feeling long enough to agree to relax with him. She was already making good on that decision, her body softening against his and he snuggled her closer for it. He would hold her here as long as she wanted him to, loving every minute instead of finding reason to complain about standing around doing (supposedly) nothing.
His own tension left very quickly, the remainders of anxiety settling out. He didn’t have to worry about her anymore, she was here and safe and he was in a position to do damage control for anything else that might come up, or even if she brought the same subjects up again. He finally knew what he was dealing with, and as painful as the whole fiasco was, it ultimately could not have power over them. If he let it, it would ruin them, and he would not stand for it.
Even more quickly and completely than his fears, his anger had gone, too. Much as he was certain he would never, ever like the High General for what he’d done, the desire to destroy the man had dispersed. Not that there was any less reason to see the man dead now, but with his promise to Constance secure, even considering the action was a waste of his mental capacity. He did not entertain what he had no intention of pursuing.
"I didn't think you'd come for me.[...] Stars, I needed to get away."
A little surprised that she had thought he wouldn’t jump on the chance to get to her, he felt his mood turn to bemusement. “You didn’t think I would?” he echoed. “Please, the moment I heard I knew I couldn’t focus on anything else. You needed me, I knew that, and so I made it possible. It never crossed my mind to do otherwise.” He turned his face against her head where it rested on his shoulder, pressing a quick kiss to the tousled hair against her forehead.
“Nothing short of a bigger disaster within the Order could have kept me from you. You’re important. Plain and simple as that.”
"Maybe... maybe you shouldn't tutor me anymore, though.[...] Bad enough I feel like I've disappointed you already."
He felt a twinge of sadness at this particular thought on her part. The idea that she felt she would even go that way... “First of all, you haven’t disappointed me. I’m concerned for you, not because of you.” He wasn’t sure he was capable of thinking poorly of her, to any tangible degree. “Secondly, don’t you think this is exactly the situation I want to help you to prevent with what I’ve been teaching you?”
Sure, there was a chance that she could lose it and use what he taught her for ill, but he still didn’t see that as any real possibility, even in the face of what she’d told him. “I’d be more afraid to stop, really. This darkness you feel needs to be properly put to rest, and I don’t know of any other way to do it. Do you?” He doubted it, or she would have tried it already.
“We all have bad moments, darker impulses. Without those to overcome... well, being a Jedi would hardly be a challenge. Just because you possess these traits doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek improvement, even if that path to improvement does open some potential for abuse.” Again, not something he saw her doing. “But the chance for you falling will only really occur if you get the power to corrupt yourself, and I won’t be guiding you that far down the path until I’m certain you’re ready for it.”
A pause, a little tightening of his arms on her. “That said, if you insist on stopping, I won’t force you into a situation you’re not comfortable with.” He just hoped his evidence as to why the opposite decision was better was compelling enough.
Constance Bravil - December 16, 2010 07:41 PM (GMT)
“You didn’t think I would? [...] Nothing short of a bigger disaster within the Order could have kept me from you. You’re important. Plain and simple as that.”
Her chest felt tight all of a sudden, but it wasn't a bad feeling. Still, it did make her breath catch a bit. "Wasn't saying I didn't think you'd want to," Conner murmured, more than a little humbled by the simple sincerity of her lover's words. "Just... figured your bosses kept you busy, that's all." Duty defined the scope of both her lives. Least it usually does. In this case though, it seemed Lysander had ditched duty for a little while, same as she had. Without hesitation. For her of all people.
Constance had needed him, though she hadn't recognized the truth of the matter until she'd been in his presence again. Before she'd believed her strongest driving motivation had been escape. Now the spy realized she'd been less running away from something than running towards someone. Being here now though, holding him again... such a little thing compared to the scale of galactic events, but right now she couldn't conceive of anything more important.
"Had some trouble getting away myself." Another quiet huff of almost-laughter escaped the pilot. "Now I'm using undersatements. I'm going to have to ditch some high quality blackmail material in exchange for this one." Worth it though, every second of the vid.
“First of all, you haven’t disappointed me. I’m concerned for you, not because of you.”
The Group Captain wanted to believe what he said, tried to convince her self-doubt to shut up about it. How many times had the Jedi Master told her this, assured her of his hope and faith in her? Stars, he's going to get tired of repeating himself if I keep this up. That said, Conner's Corellian stubbornness wasn't restricted to the parts of herself she liked or wanted.
“I’d be more afraid to stop, really. This darkness you feel needs to be properly put to rest, and I don’t know of any other way to do it. Do you?”
Dammit, why did he have to be right so much? Much as she appreciated a good debate, Constance wasn't one to argue for arguing's sake. She also valued logic, used it to excel in her work where other people grew distracted by misconceptions and assumptions. "Given that my usual methods for dealing with bothersome emotions have failed? No, not really." Repression worked for a while, sure, but all the venom kept seeping out of the box she tried to lock it in, seeping back into her system.
“We all have bad moments, darker impulses."
Tell me something I don't know, Blue Eyes, Conner quipped to herself. She'd lived with hate and scorn and vindictiveness in her heart for so long, she couldn't remember feeling any other way. However, Angler had been trained to keep such sentiments reigned in. Even before that, Dora hadn't been a woman to allow her emotions to dictate her actions.
But now things had changed. She'd been pushed too far and too hard in too short a period of time. Even the densest metal alloys could be broken through with enough force and energy--and especially if a structural flaw already existed, creating a weak point. Another reason to hate Villa all the more. If it hadn't been for that bastard... oh no, you're not hopping on that train of thought right now. This is a good moment, a happy moment, and you're not going to ruin it!
Without those to overcome... [...] That said, if you insist on stopping, I won’t force you into a situation you’re not comfortable with.”
Constance gave it a good hard think, trying to process data without the emotional interference. One of her hands began to idly stroke up and down along her lover's spine, an unconscious impulse born of her slow slip into relaxation. "I want to keep up the meditation parts," she decided. "It did help, at least a little, with what I've been going through. And it seems safe enough."
Lifting her head from Lysander's shoulder, she leaned back enough in his embrace to look him straight on, like sane people were meant to do. Silver eyes caught the golden glow of the setting sun as she gazed into his. "The rest of it... well, like you said, we'll follow your judgment call on that." A faint semblance of a smile pulled at the corners of her mouth. "Long as you're sure you can keep your obvious and blatant bias towards me from getting in the way, of course."
Stretching up onto the tips of her toes, Constance brushed her lips against her lover's. The contact was brief but warm, no lust behind it but an emotion far deeper. "I like your choice in getaways." Truth be told, she'd hardly noticed the scenery on her way in, other than what had been necessary to make a proper and safe landing. Now that she'd acquired a clearer state of mind, though, she'd been able to think back on what she'd seen and appreciate their surroundings. "This place is beautiful. Peaceful." Stars knew she could use some peace.
Slipping back out of his grip again, Conner caught one of his hands in both of his. Another smile graced her lips, this one brighter. "C'mon, let's go outside," she suggested, giving him a gentle nudge in the direction of the balcony. All of a sudden the spy wanted to watch the sunset with him. Yeah, sure, it was a kriffing cliche, but she'd have to live with the small indignity. "I want you to talk to me now. Something about you." She'd be damned if they spent their entire visit moping about her fragile sanity.
Lysander Odakota - December 16, 2010 11:01 PM (GMT)
"Wasn't saying I didn't think you'd want to. Just... figured your bosses kept you busy, that's all."
That got a soft and understanding laugh from the man. “Oh, believe me, you were not wrong about that.” He’d been busy, for all it had been a ‘lull’ in his more intense scheduling. He’d mostly been working in the Redoubt with Tarissa, focusing on her after that small and undesirable event with Callan. It wasn’t the same as being out in the field, but it really was just as important. But it was hard to really focus on lessons with his Padawan when he knew his lover was in more dire need of him. Stars knew Tari probably wanted a break from her overly watchful master anyways.
"I want to keep up the meditation parts. It did help, at least a little, with what I've been going through. And it seems safe enough."
He was very glad to hear that, both that she wanted to keep working at it and that it had been helping. It would only continue to get easier and more useful to her, and to give it up now would have been such a waste of potential. And yes, it was reasonably safe. It was a stepping stone towards more if they decided to take it that far, but on its own meditation hardly lent much along the lines of power. Even if she were to go completely crazy and go on a rampage now, her ability to understand the Force on that small level would be a negligible in making it worse. But the potential for it keeping her from that ultimately was significant.
"The rest of it... well, like you said, we'll follow your judgment call on that. Long as you're sure you can keep your obvious and blatant bias towards me from getting in the way, of course."
That grabbed a smile from the Jedi and he knew what she said was true. His bias was obvious enough, but he liked to think that his judgment would be sound. If it wasn’t he’d probably hear about it from Shay. He’d have to remind himself to keep a watchful gaze for any signs of disapproval from his dear sister, as she was going to be his best gauge. “I’ll do my best,” he assured her. “Though I’d hate hate hurt you through my own blindness, so that’s good motivation for me to not get you into something you can’t handle.”
The kiss she bestowed then was simple but poignant. After all the rough conversation they’d just had, the brief intimate contact went a long way to assuring him he’d done what he’d wanted to do for her. If only for the moment, she’d found some peace within herself. She was away from the horrors of what her life had bestowed on her in the last few weeks and she was not afraid to indulge in some much lighter emotions. He felt a significant amount of relief at this, and he finally knew once again that they were going to be okay.
"I like your choice in getaways. This place is beautiful. Peaceful."
He nodded in agreement. “I like it here. I haven’t been near often enough, but I thought it would suit what you needed. Dee’ja Peak itself is perfect if you need to get away from people for a little while. And the views are pretty spectacular.” Now that he was in a mood to appreciate it without anxiety weighing on his mind, he knew it had probably been something of an inspired choice, beyond being something they’d mentioned before. “I’m glad you approve.”
"C'mon, let's go outside. I want you to talk to me now. Something about you."
With absolutely no reason to protest the move--in fact, he’d been thinking of suggesting the same thing himself--he let himself be guided in that direction, out onto the balcony where the sound of the waterfall nearby could be heard much clearer, but not to the point where it muted conversational tones. He’d made a point of choosing a room on this side of the building.
They moved out into the fading sunlight, the air still warm and flourishing with scents exotic to the worlds both of them lived on. She spent so much of her time underground or in space, and his situation wasn’t dissimilar. He much preferred Shedu Maad to Dolomar, though, even with the Redoubt being an underground complex. Taking the lead to get them over to the cushioned bench that furnished the balcony, he sat down with a pensive hum in his throat.
What to tell her? “Well, my recent news isn’t nearly as intense as yours. Mostly been working with Tarissa, trying to make sure I’m on the right track with her. It’s somewhat odd being back into the mode of teacher, still getting used to it. Keeps me in one spot longer than I’d become accustomed to over the last few years. But... yeah. That girl is a handful...” he laughed somewhat bitterly to himself in recollection of a particularly bad day...
“I shouldn’t complain much, she’s just a teenager. And I really do like her. But she found herself fancying a boy recently, got herself into some trouble with him. I’m afraid I probably didn’t handle it as well as I should have, but I guess I was just bothered. Give me a few years and I might be able to find it more comical than I do now.” He laughed again at himself despite his claim that it wasn’t funny at the moment. “I swear someone snuck something into the water supply back home. She’s not even the only Padawan whose come running for help for that sort of issue lately. It’s bewildering.”
It was interesting conversation, nothing so heavy as to distract from the simple joy of sitting with Constance. Really, he could have probably just sat in silence with her for a few hours. But talking was more engaging. Still with his hand in hers, he settled his shoulder heavily against her, eyes studying the fading light out beyond them.
Constance Bravil - December 17, 2010 10:28 PM (GMT)
“I’m glad you approve.”
Constance gave a small amused hum at that, though her eyes were surprisingly serious. "Blue Eyes, we could be back in that too-small tent on Talasea and I'd still 'approve'. Well, at least without the whole cold and soaked and muddy and injured parts. That wasn't much fun." She spoke nothing but the truth. Lysander's presence made all the difference, made all of the trouble and waiting and longing worthwhile.
"That said, don't think I'm not appreciative of the fact you go out of your way to do lovely things for me. It's sweet." Displays of wealth didn't mean much to her, but trying to do provide the best you could for someone you cared about? That mattered. She wasn't even talking about the large things; for example, the blue and pink flower he'd given her on Dolomar? That one blossom had touched her far more than a bouquet of two dozen Corellian fire roses ever would've managed.
Stepping out onto the balcony, Constance spent a few seconds just drinking in the impressive view. Everywhere she looked the pilot saw some sight to marvel over. After so long spent living in a dreary underground metropolis, working with people who wore shades of gray and black day in and day out, all the different hues of color felt almost painfully vivid to her eyes. But it was a good sort of pain.
Gazing out on this landscape, drinking in the scents of the flowers and the sussurant sound of the waterfall... well, it made her feel like a real person for a change. Someone who could hope and laugh and look forward to life when they woke up in the morning. Not that she'd forgotten who she really was and what she'd made herself into. She'd still damned her soul. But right here and now, sitting besides her lover and watching the sunset, she could at least pretend different for a while.
“Well, my recent news isn’t nearly as intense as yours. [...] But... yeah. That girl is a handful...”
She worried a little whenever Lysander mentioned his Padawan. Conner couldn't claim to understand how the whole Jedi mentor-student bond, but she figured it had to involve a lot of quality time. Combine that with the Guardian's hesitance to take on another student after the tragedies of the first two, and she got concerned whether she might be getting in the way of him wanting to do right by the kid.
That said, the spy knew the man well enough by now to know he wouldn't neglect his duties. Sure, his motivations behind coming here had been personal rather than professional, but he wouldn't've just up and abandoned the girl if she needed major supervision. She had to trust him in that; not like she knew this Tarissa person.
“I shouldn’t complain much, she’s just a teenager. [...] Give me a few years and I might be able to find it more comical than I do now.”
Forgetting about her own difficulties for the moment, Constance paid full attention to Lysander's 'lament'. It became increasingly difficult for her to keep a straight face as he detailed what his apprentice had gotten up to lately. She didn't want to laugh at him, she really didn't, but stars above she found his story amusing as hell. Not sure why... maybe because it's so 'normal' a problem for the robe wearers to be having.
“I swear someone snuck something into the water supply back home. She’s not even the only Padawan whose come running for help for that sort of issue lately. It’s bewildering.”
The Group Captain couldn't resist anymore; she started to snicker. "Stars, you sounded like a father there for a second, talking about your Padawan and her 'trouble'." Her tone of voice reflected the fact Conner couldn't make herself take the 'problem' as seriously as her lover did. Not that she didn't understand the seriousness of the situation... well, at least from a Jedi perspective. From her own point of view, what Lysander described sounded like a normal part of growing up.
Constance leaned against her lover in turn, shifting a bit on the cushioned bench to bring her side just the tiniest bit closer to his. "Like you said, they're teenagers. Even Jedi teenagers have hormones, right? Or are you going to pull out the 'back in my day' card and claim nothing like that ever happened to your graduating class? That'll make you even more like a dad."
An actual laugh escaped her then, accompanied by a shake of her head at the surface ludicrousness of the idea. Blue Eyes was a Jedi, and Jedi didn't procreate. Unless they're Corellians. And you're Corellian... This line of thought reminded her of the awkward pseudo-interrogation at Maris' hands. A small frown appeared, then just as quickly vanished as she put the memory aside.
"So before I start outright giggling, what kind of 'trouble' are we talking about? I mean, I'm figuring she didn't jump right into getting naked and sweaty with the guy; even 'mere mortal' teenagers tend to have more sense than that." She'd never had any trouble or discomfort talking about sexual activity, at least not since she'd been a barely blossomed teenager herself.
Another thought struck her to put a damper on her simmering amusement, though this time it didn't pull her in a negative direction. Dark brows lowered in thought. "Hmm... does your Padawan know about us? Or even about your sister's thing with Michael? Maybe that made her think you'd be okay with her getting up close and personal with a guy."
Sure, Constance understood the need to not get too close to those you worked with; the regs against fraternization existed for a reason. That said, being told you weren't supposed to fall in love (or lust) didn't work in the 'real world'. While Jedi teenagers had a lot more training in controlling themselves, didn't everyone get rebellious at that age? "You told me the Order tends to discourage 'attachments' but doesn't forbid them, so is the issue an age thing or about exactly what she did with whoever it was or some other detail?"
Lysander Odakota - December 22, 2010 08:35 PM (GMT)
"Blue Eyes, we could be back in that too-small tent on Talasea and I'd still 'approve'. Well, at least without the whole cold and soaked and muddy and injured parts. That wasn't much fun."
As much as the rain and the cold had been off-putting on Talasea, he had to admit that he agreed with her. His memories of there were oddly fond, and he would have been quite content in that tent again. Especially now that it wouldn’t have been awkward or absurd in any way. Though... probably less restful than it had been in the first instance, and that had hardly been restful at all.
"That said, don't think I'm not appreciative of the fact you go out of your way to do lovely things for me. It's sweet."
“You deal with enough less-than-stellar stuff in your day to day life, sweetheart, least I can do is try and make sure you don’t have to put up with it on your vacations as well.” And besides, it was nice making her smile with the little things. She deserved to feel like someone special. To him, she was the epitome of just that, and he wanted her to remember that. Special people deserved special things, simple as that.
Much as she marveled at their surroundings, though, he marveled more at her. He hadn’t ever expected to find himself here, so simply obsessed with a woman like her. His gaze had turned from looking at the landscape with her to watching her as she continued. She belonged here more than she did on Dolomar. She belonged just about anywhere more than she belonged on Dolomar. It brought out a brilliance in her eyes that was otherwise muted by circumstance.
"Stars, you sounded like a father there for a second, talking about your Padawan and her 'trouble'."
A part of Lysander had known that Constance wouldn’t be able to take the situation seriously like he did. He acknowledged that in many ways it was just ridiculous, and he did not begrudge her her amusement or her snickering. He knew she wasn’t mocking him with her finding humour in his (admittedly small) woes. If he took a minute to observe it from an outside perspective, he saw his story in the same light as her. Still, it was hard to remove himself from the situation more than that, and he still very much found it a frustration. But her snickering drew a tight smile.
“Wouldn’t know enough about actual fathers to actually say so with any weight, but I feel something like a father. Too bad I skipped over the endearingly cute childhood years and went straight into having a teenager.” He liked kids. Hell, he liked teenagers. Most of the time. But sometimes he wondered at the difficulty of picking up a teenager without having had previous experience with the individual.
"Like you said, they're teenagers. [...] That'll make you even more like a dad."
That got a little laugh from the man. “I don’t remember anything like this happening, though I might have been oblivious to it if it did. It’s definitely not a common occurrence, I don’t think. Or maybe when it does happen no one finds out before the problem is solved. Hard to say.” Attraction was one thing, acting on it was another. “I guess what surprises me most is that Tarissa was involved at all, it doesn’t seem like her. It was rather sudden and not something I had had any warning about...”
"So before I start outright giggling, what kind of 'trouble' are we talking about? [...] even 'mere mortal' teenagers tend to have more sense than that."
The thoughts of the details got a rather sheepish look--on behalf of his Padawan--crossed the visage of the Jedi Master. It wasn’t exactly the best tale to tell, but the details would explain his horror a bit better. Especially since her last statement was a little closer to home than he’d like. He hesitated, though, in explaining, and Constance had another thought before he explained, giving him a moment to focus somewhere other than the rather risqué story.
"Hmm... does your Padawan know about us? [...] Maybe that made her think you'd be okay with her getting up close and personal with a guy."
“She’s aware of both, though I didn’t think it would influence her if she was made aware. I don’t know, maybe I was wrong. It just doesn’t seem like her to have gotten into this issue, though. You have to understand... there’s a certain innocence, even dare I say ignorance that this girl possesses. She’s anything but a social norm. For her to be involved in ‘typical teenager behaviour’ in any format would seem odd, let alone all of this.”
"You told me the Order tends to discourage 'attachments' but doesn't forbid them, so is the issue an age thing or about exactly what she did with whoever it was or some other detail?"
“Both, really. Though more experience than age on the former. She’s not even a Knight yet, she really needs to be keeping her eye on the goal of passing her Trials and then finding her place as a Guardian. This sort’ve distraction is wholly inappropriate at her age given her station and her duties. Give her a decade or more and I wouldn’t mind her involvement with Callan all that much. If I did mind I’d definitely be a hypocrite. But given that she’s not even wholly adult by any given standard and I worry about her motivations.” And Callan’s motivations. Though he was less concerned with the boy than he was with his own charge.
“And well, the details of the incident are... Well, I guess I should just elaborate. The details aren’t particularly vivid for me, either, I didn’t want to know the little things, but the gist of it is telling. It’d be one thing if they’d kissed briefly and that had been that. I would have scolded her and we could have moved on. As it is, they did well, they came to me immediately after to try and sort things out--I think they confused themselves as much as they confused me--but...”
He paused, trying to figure out how to say this without it sounding as absurd as he still felt it was. He didn’t want to give Constance the wrong impression about Tarissa. “There are some hot springs back home, ones typically used for bathing. I suppose that’s why they went down there. Tarissa is an interesting girl--not a lot of sense of modesty born out of an ignorance of social custom. As such, I guess she thought nothing of stripping down to nothing despite Callan being there with her. I don’t know what he was thinking when he stayed, or when he joined her in this particular state, but he did.”
He paused, looking perplexed as he thought about the next step of the whole disaster. “I don’t know what got into either of theirs heads, really, but I suppose you can guess. They didn’t go so far as to actually... well, you know... but there was kissing involved and there was definitely some heavy feelings between them when they came to see me afterwards. I... admittedly did not react well. It’s been hard to trust them together since, which is unfortunate because I don’t believe in separating friends.”
It wasn’t much of an explanation, but he was certain it painted a clear enough picture for his lover to fill in any blanks. She was no stranger to the subject and he knew it. “I guess I wasn’t mad so much as disappointed. They’re both good and promising Jedi and I don’t want them forgetting their priorities.”
Constance Bravil - December 27, 2010 01:05 AM (GMT)
“You deal with enough less-than-stellar stuff in your day to day life, sweetheart, least I can do is try and make sure you don’t have to put up with it on your vacations as well.”
It still amazed Constance a little that a Jedi would understand such concepts as indulging your lover in an attempt to cheer them up. She figured sentimentality to be one of those personality traits they tried to meditate out of you at Force school. To be fair, she hadn't met any Jedi other than Lysander and his meddlesome 'sister', and he'd admitted they weren't exactly mainstream far as their beliefs went. So she probably shouldn't form any judgment on the Order as a whole based on such a limited and weighted sample size.
“Wouldn’t know enough about actual fathers to actually say so with any weight, but I feel something like a father. Too bad I skipped over the endearingly cute childhood years and went straight into having a teenager.”
Those words inspired a different sort of amusement in her, one born of sympathizing with his plight rather than snickering at it. "Yeah, not sure how well I'd handle that myself. I suppose I mother the younger Renegades to some degree, but they're still fully formed adults by the time they reach me." Using the word mother in any sentence relating to herself felt unnatural. Even before she'd lost her sister and subsequently gone undercover she hadn't been at all interested in making babies.
“I don’t remember anything like this happening, though I might have been oblivious to it if it did. [...] Or maybe when it does happen no one finds out before the problem is solved. Hard to say.”
"Probably the latter," she decided. Sure, such indulgence of base impulses wouldn't happen nearly as often as it did for normal kids, but Conner could never believe it didn't happen at all. Even Jedi were people, and all people were flawed. They weren't like droids who could be programmed to never do something. When the inevitable happened, no doubt the mentors of those involved did their best to keep it on the down low. They wouldn't want their charges to endure the censure of their peers and superiors.
“I guess what surprises me most is that Tarissa was involved at all, it doesn’t seem like her. It was rather sudden and not something I had had any warning about...”
Almost one ever thinks their children are anything less than infallible, Conner commented to herself. She wondered if this whole parental cast to the Master-Padawan bond happened on a regular basis, or if it was one of the ways Lysander varied from the Jedi norm. She found it cute, really, not to mention very revealing about his character. Not that I needed any reassurance about his inherent and heroic goodness.
“She’s aware of both, though I didn’t think it would influence her if she was made aware. [...] For her to be involved in ‘typical teenager behaviour’ in any format would seem odd, let alone all of this.”
Constance stopped admiring the scenery and focused back on her lover again, a might irked on an intellectual level. "Don't you people have sex ed classes or something?" Discouraging fraternization was one thing; trying to keep people in the dark on how it worked was quite another. "I mean, maybe you're kinda asking for this sort of thing to happen if you don't do some serious explaining about it."
“There are some hot springs back home, ones typically used for bathing. [...] I don’t know what he was thinking when he stayed, or when he joined her in this particular state, but he did.”
Okay, this story had stopped being so funny now. Even Constance, as comfortable on matters of sexuality as any sentient could be, felt surprised as to how such a compromising situation should come about without warning. And on Jedi turf at that! Don't these people believe in chaperones? "You're giving the kid far too much credit by using any form of the word 'think' in relation to him." She wasn't criticising this Callan person by saying so; what the frack else could anyone expect from the guy after seeing a pretty girl he liked getting all surprise naked time on him?
Hells, how could any girl think that sort of behavior was the smart plan anyways? Sure, Conner didn't have a problem stripping down in front of her squadron; co-ed shower facilities in the barracks eliminated a lot of modesty issues. She'd seen a significant number of her people in various states of undress over the years. But they were her comrades; acting prudish around them would be ridiculous considering they had no problems killing people together on a regular basis.
“I don’t know what got into either of theirs heads, really, but I suppose you can guess. They didn’t go so far as to actually... well, you know... but there was kissing involved and there was definitely some heavy feelings between them when they came to see me afterwards.
One of the (many) traits Constance found endearing about Blue Eyes was the fact he got all shy when it came to talking about the aforemented subject of getting naked and sweaty with someone. This hangup didn't extend to the two of them enjoying eachother's company, of course, but she hadn't forgotten how he'd reacted when Bombshell had put two and two together and found they equaled sex.
"I... admittedly did not react well. It’s been hard to trust them together since, which is unfortunate because I don’t believe in separating friends.”
"Don't blame you one bit. If my father had found out I'd shared my first kiss with a boy while snuggling naked in some hot springs, he would've grounded me until I was thirty. Maybe longer." Her parents hadn't been overly conservative on the subject of sex, but they definitely would've flipped their lids over her moving so fast.
“I guess I wasn’t mad so much as disappointed. They’re both good and promising Jedi and I don’t want them forgetting their priorities.”
"Much as I think your people are far too repressed, I kinda have to agree with you there. You've got to think about those things before you do them, so you don't have to worry about not thinking while you do them. Teenagers aren't so good at that." Stars knew she'd made some mistakes of her own in that department growing up. Nothing too stupid, but definitely facepalm worthy in hindsight. "And when you've got Force powers, keeping yourself from being controlled by your hormones is even more important."
Constance gave Lysander's hand a gentle squeeze, feeling the sudden urge to comfort him. "The fact they came to you right after is a good sign. It shows they knew they'd messed up. Talking about doing anything physical with an authority figure is never easy, but they found the courage to do it anyways."
The spy understood his disappointment, she really did. Those two had an advantage over 'mere mortal' teens when it came to behaving themselves. Not that she was condeming them for their actions herself, but she wasn't a Jedi and hadn't agreed to play by their rules. They were and they had.
"Have you talked to her about it? I mean, beyond the 'You did what?!' point? And do you know whether this was some fluke in-the-heat-of-the-moment sort of event, or if they've got serious intentions towards eachother? You can't keep them apart forever, after all, and if the latter is the case there's a good chance they'll do something again." Maybe they'd wised up and could go back to just being friends, but Conner wouldn't bet real credits on it.
Lysander Odakota - December 29, 2010 09:30 PM (GMT)
"Don't you people have sex ed classes or something? I mean, maybe you're kinda asking for this sort of thing to happen if you don't do some serious explaining about it."
A valid question, and one that wasn’t actually addressed simply. “Well, it sort’ve depends on the Master in question. By time these kids reach thirteen they’re either under someone specific wing or they’ve been shipped off to the Corps. So for most sentients by time it becomes an issue worth discussing, it’s up to an individual to address it. Formal classes are more or less done by time anyone would think to bring it up.”
He’d actually never really thought about it, honestly. He’d not had to touch on it with his first Padawan--she hadn’t been old enough to fret over before she’d died--and Grahnt was past the age and already presumably educated enough... and he’d had other issues to worry about first with that boy anyways. Memories of the discussion with his own master years back were so far away and fleeting...
“I guess it’s probably part of the problem. I really couldn’t tell you how far her previous knowledge really extends, but her surprise seems to indicate a lack of specifics.”
"You're giving the kid far too much credit by using any form of the word 'think' in relation to him."
That got a faint and thoughtful laugh from the man. Again, she had a point. While he was prone to giving Callan credit as a smart young man, there came a point where thinking wasn’t the issue at hand. Really, the boy should have turned tail and run--figuratively if not literally--at the beginning of that scene. But it was possible he’d been so taken off guard that thinking had been run out of the equation well before it should have been.
“I guess I just expected more of him. He’s been nothing but reliable at any other point I’ve associated with him.” That horrendous mission on Korriban, for one. He’d kept a cool head there, even in the face of all the horrors they’d felt and destroyed. Lysander counted Callan as a big part of the reason that mission had gone as well as it ultimately did.
"Don't blame you one bit. [...] Maybe longer."
It was strangely reassuring to know that he hadn’t overreacted even in the conventional sight of ‘mere mortals.’ By all rights, it had been hard to decide how to react. Throwing a fit had seemed like a great idea at the time, but even then he’d known how little good it would actually do. Making his disappointment clear without throttling them both had turned out to be a more reasonable reaction, but the former would have been justified, it seemed.
"Much as I think your people are far too repressed, I kinda have to agree with you there. [...] keeping yourself from being controlled by your hormones is even more important."
He nodded, glad she understood him and his Order well enough to get that. Much as the Force and Order tended to confound her on a number of issues, she understood the importance of how they operated. She had touched on the Force just enough to help her understood the power at stake here. She didn’t necessarily put herself to their standards, but she understood why they did things the way they did it. He was glad for that, not wanting to have to argue with her on an established and unchanging point.
"The fact they came to you right after is a good sign.[...] but they found the courage to do it anyways."
The gentle squeeze of her hand did a lot for him, actually, reminding him that he was here and these things weren’t necessarily a point of worry for him right now. It was barely an issue anymore--or so he was counting on--and he needed to enjoy himself as much as Constance needed to. Neither of them would be happy if they fretted over these small things for too long.
He nodded to her point. “I don’t know if I could have myself in their same situation. I told them I appreciated their forwardness. But still. Hard to ignore the fact that it happened at all.”
"Have you talked to her about it? [...] You can't keep them apart forever, after all, and if the latter is the case there's a good chance they'll do something again."
Sliding back into the seat slightly, losing some of his usual posture as he looked out past the railing and towards the sunset again, he shrugged. “Probably haven’t talked to her enough about it. She’s aware I won’t tolerate another ‘incident’ and she’s appropriately ashamed of herself. I don’t think it’ll happen again, but...” He laughed softly, using Constance’s usual tones of self-deprecation. “Admittedly sort’ve just want to ignore it, forget it even happened. Not that that’s a good idea.”
Ignoring the situation had potential to open holes in his defenses. Given the chance, anything could happen, and there were plenty of ‘anythings’ that he would be loathe to see happen. He could be disappointed once. Next time he’d probably end up just downright angry. And no one wanted that, least of all him. He loved those kids, didn’t want to be irate with them for any reason.
“Small issues,” he commented thoughtfully after a moment of silence. “Small, but still important. Bigger pictures are altered all the time by tiny brushstrokes.”
Constance Bravil - December 30, 2010 08:29 PM (GMT)
“Well, it sort’ve depends on the Master in question. [...] Formal classes are more or less done by time anyone would think to bring it up.”
Yeah, definitely asking for it. How could Jedi be so wise and enlightened on some subjects while acting downright ignorant about others? For frack's sake, sex was a basic biological function! Couldn't they manage to let kids in on the 'secret' starting in primary school like everyone else? Seriously... keeping the whole damned matter mysterious and taboo just made it all the more likely their teenagers would be tempted to experiment. Having been an experimental teenager myself, you couldn't ask for a more expert opinion.
“I guess it’s probably part of the problem. I really couldn’t tell you how far her previous knowledge really extends, but her surprise seems to indicate a lack of specifics.”
Some of her amusement came back. "To say the least. And you'd never have tried broaching the subject with the kid before this happened either, knowing you." Constance gave her lover's shoulder a gentle nudge with her own. "I'd offer my services in educating your Padawan on the subject of sexual relations, but I bet that would make your superiors pitch a royal fit about my 'corrupting influence' or some such garbage."
“I guess I just expected more of him. He’s been nothing but reliable at any other point I’ve associated with him.”
The right corner of her mouth pulled up in a smug sort of smirk. "'Expected more of him', huh? So tell me something then, Master Odakota... how much would you be thinking if I stripped down right in front of you, then invited you to 'bathe' with me in some hot springs, hmm?" The tone of voice she used in asking the question made it clear she'd already come to a confident conclusion as to what his answer would be. His attraction to her was one of the few subjects she'd never held any self-doubt regarding in their relationship.
“I don’t know if I could have myself in their same situation. Admittedly sort’ve just want to ignore it, forget it even happened. Not that that’s a good idea.”
"Well, yeah. Ignoring it wouldn't help anything. Sticking your head in the sand and pretending reality doesn't exist is never the smart plan." Sure, Conner often took steps to avoid dealing with some of the aspects of her life, but that didn't mean she failed to acknowledge their reality. "But you shouldn't end the discussion with 'naughty Jedi, you're grounded' and leave the subject alone after that. Knowing she'd disappointed you had to feel awful. And if she does slip up again, it's only going to get worse. Shame can be self-destructive, maybe even more than lust. "
There you go, getting all kriffing philosophical again. Constance had never been much one for pondering semantics or contemplating her navel. Such esoteric musings were better left to people far more capable than her. Or at least... that's what she used to believe. Then Lysander had come along all nosy-like and made her ask serious questions about her worldview for the first time in... well, forever.
The spy didn't much enjoy this process of self-reflection, but she couldn't deny its effects on her all too bruised psyche. All those little pebbles building up in her mind, one at a time. So small by themselves, just a thought or two every now and then. Brief moments of doubt, or wonder, or joy. But over time they added up, from a pile to a hill to even a mountain. They gained a significance she'd have to be blind not to see.
“Small issues. Small, but still important. Bigger pictures are altered all the time by tiny brushstrokes.”
His words and their similarity to her own thoughts startled her a bit, but for once her paranoia didn't flare up and insist he must've been poking around in her braincase again. Lysander wouldn't do that without good reason. She knew that as well as she knew the feel of a starfighter in flight. It ought to scare her senseless--it used to--but she just couldn't work up as much fear anymore. Another pebble on the growing pile. This one started a cascade, sliding down the slope.
"It means love." Constance ducked her head away, keeping the man besides her from seeing her face. She fixed her own gaze on a distant mountain peak. "The word I used before. Old Corellian." Her throat got all tight and dry, while her whole body tensed up in a fight or flight response. When it came right down to it, she was terrified of what she was saying. Yet she said it anyways. Stars damn her soul, she had to before something else went horribly wrong in her life.
"The noun, not the verb. It's an... an endearment." The spy let out a shaky breath. "I didn't... didn't mean for it to come out. But it did. And... you deserve to know what I meant." She still couldn't look at him, and she didn't know why. Her face flushed hot, but from what emotion she couldn't tell. "It's... hard to admit that. Admit even that much. But certain recent events... made me realize if I didn't tell you sooner rather than later, there might not be a later. I'd be gone, and you wouldn't ever hear it."
Lysander Odakota - December 31, 2010 11:42 PM (GMT)
"To say the least. [...] but I bet that would make your superiors pitch a royal fit about my 'corrupting influence' or some such garbage."
To the knowing nudge of his lover’s shoulder, the Jedi shrugged apologetically. Yeah, she had him figured out well enough. He knew it was something of a mistake to have avoided the subject like he had previous to now, but what was done was done. He supposed he probably shouldn’t continue to make that mistake.
“I almost daresay they don’t need to know and you can have at her,” he told the woman with a sniff of a laugh. Yeah, that would save him the trouble, though how well Tarissa would do under the lecture of the sort Constance might give, he didn’t know. Still, some part of him was desperate enough to just hand the responsibility off to someone who wouldn’t blush and stammer about it.
"'Expected more of him', huh? [...] then invited you to 'bathe' with me in some hot springs, hmm?"
His gaze shot sharply to the woman, and for an instant his mind wandered at the mere suggestion. Realizing that was just her point, he blinked sharply and shook his head. “Oh, that’s just not even fair,” he told her, some part wanting to insist that it wasn’t the same thing, even though he knew otherwise. “It’s not even the same...” And that was an obvious lie, even to him. Still, whether or not Callan’s lack of thought was logical, it wasn’t justified. He didn’t think that was the point Constance was making, though. She just wanted to point out that it might not have been so out of the black as he felt it was.
"Well, yeah. Ignoring it wouldn't help anything. Sticking your head in the sand and pretending reality doesn't exist is never the smart plan."
“But easier. In the short run, at least,” he stated a with a touch of glumness to his voice. But it wasn’t a good idea to take the easy route, and wasn’t something he normally did. He hated how this subject pulled him away from his normal strengths and made him anything but reliable.
"But you shouldn't end the discussion with 'naughty Jedi, you're grounded' and leave the subject alone after that. [...] Shame can be self-destructive, maybe even more than lust. "
He nodding, knowing that well enough. Shame led to a lack of self-worth, and what was the point of doing anything right when you felt like that? He’d had his own periods of that sensation, and he’d nearly lost himself to them. While lust wasn’t out of the question in his life--look who he was sitting next to!--it had never actually done anything towards destroying him.
“We’ll talk more,” he concluded. “I’ll make sure she understands...” He was going to hold himself to that, stating it aloud so as to affirm it, moreso than he was actually informing the spy he currently shared close quarters with.
A moment of silence followed, one he didn’t mind, his thoughts lingering on the last discussion even as he felt his lover’s shift ever so slightly, her focus altering. He wasn’t sure where her mind moved or what precisely spurred it, but he let her think. Much as he tended to guide her thoughts--not entirely intentionally--he saw a lot of benefit in letting her reach various conclusion on her own time.
"It means love."
A little surprised by the statement and not at all sure what she meant, his gaze flitted back to her, only to find her own face was moved away, purposefully. Curiosity colored his eyes, and there was a quizzical turn of his head as he studied her as best he could. There was a sudden tense note around her, a hesitation.
He knew the significance of that word between them. He wasn’t sure he’d ever even heard her utter it before now, in or out of a significant context. He trusted an explanation was on the tip of her tongue.
"The word I used before. Old Corellian."
Another blink and the confusion disappeared from his eyes as he understood immediately what she referred to. Larel. He’d thought to ask Shay a few times about the word, it somehow being familiar to him, but he hadn’t and he was glad for that now. The fact that Constance now had a chance to tell him herself was much better. Though it seemed to cause her distress, and he knew why. Admitting to have ever used the word ‘love’ towards him was something of a stress point on her psyche.
"The noun, not the verb. [...] And... you deserve to know what I meant."
Maybe he did. It was nice to know, at least. Much as he knew how she felt towards him and as much as he understood why she could never bring herself to say it so plainly, it was nice to know that in some form she already had. He didn’t think himself delusional when he reminded himself that she did, in fact, love him, but the fact remained that the issue was skirted at all costs. She could barely even take having him say it without flinching.
It didn’t hurt, her avoidance. But it did leave something to be desired. A selfish want on his part, but one he’d never push for.
"It's... hard to admit that. [...] I'd be gone, and you wouldn't ever hear it."
A sadness tinged his eyes then as he watched her, his hand moving up now to rest against her back, reassuring and gentle. “Thank you,” he told her, knowing his gratitude towards her gearing up against her fears for him had to be said. “I’d wondered...” he trailed off for a brief second, knowing what he wanted to say, but not sure if he should say it or not. In the face of her fears, he didn’t like poking at the cracks more than he had to.
“If there’s a next time,” he didn’t want to require it of her for there to be a next time, much as he’d like it, “hopefully it won’t have to be accidental.” He didn’t want to call it a mistake, because to him it certainly wasn’t. He wasn’t positive she wouldn’t call it that, though. She seemed so distraught simply admitting to it, and it’d happen a while back.
Still, the fact that she’d brought it up now... it was interesting, and he wasn’t sure what it meant. She could have left it a mystery forever. Was she really so afraid that he might lose her? He supposed she’d had a close call with a bad ending recently. Having one’s mortality reevaluated always lent to interesting decisions. His hand rubbed gently along her shoulders, wishing she’d at least glance at him. Maybe with the confession out of the way she’d feel comfortable again.
He trusted she’d meant the word when she’d said it. Unintentional it may have been, but that didn’t lessen its significance. Subconscious played a lot into word choice, and the fact that she’d said ‘love’ in Old Corellian had a double significance. It was that small show of who she used to be again, that woman she had thought long gone.
“You don’t have to cause yourself distress for my sake. Having you feel comfortable is more important than anything.” Her comfort was a telling sort of thing, really. It meant she trusted him, trusted what he was doing or saying, or what he was making her feel.
Constance Bravil - January 3, 2011 06:13 PM (GMT)
Conner's head bobbed in a slight nod. She knew what Lysander thanked her for. The Jedi Master couldn't just see how she struggled with her emotions, but feel it as well. Sometimes the Group Captain got curious as to how far Force empathy went. Was it like experiencing the sentiment yourself? Or did they 'see' it somehow like a datapad screen or a hologram? So far she'd kept such wonderings to herself, as she categorized those questions as low priority.
You wondered what, exactly? Whether she'd ever explain to him what the non-Basic word meant? Or maybe he had already looked it up for himself, and he'd been waiting on her to admit the truth? With her face still turned away from Blue Eyes, the spy couldn't try to pick out the truth from his body language. Not as if that always helps anyways.
“If there’s a next time, hopefully it won’t have to be accidental.”
Back muscles tensed at the first touch of Lysander's hand, then relaxed as Constance stamped down on the instinct. Despite what her body would like to believe, she wasn't in danger here, and Lysander wasn't a threat. She refused to treat him as such, no matter how scared she got. He deserved better. Better than anything I can give him.
A small huff of breath escaped her, more than a sigh but less than a laugh. "Considering my lousy track record at keeping my kriffing mouth shut around you, there probably will be a next time." Conner forced herself to twist her head back around enough to risk a glance at his expression. What she saw in those intense blue eyes made the knot in her stomach tighten. She hadn't wanted to make him sad. Hells, she couldn't do anything right today.
"More than one," she continued, filled with the sudden need to attempt to banish the sorrow from his gaze. "Because explaining what I meant wasn't just about the definition of the word." Constance wondered if her lover could hear her heart beating, the way it was pounding in her chest. "I meant it. Meant that." Stars, let him understand what she was trying to get at. She could barely think right now, let alone put together an eloquent speech regarding her feelings for him.
“You don’t have to cause yourself distress for my sake. Having you feel comfortable is more important than anything.”
Those words brought her back around to face him full on, a faint smirk tugging on the corners of her mouth despite her distress. "I get what you're trying to tell me, I really do, but... you do recognize the sheer irony of your saying that, right?" Talking about his quirks distracted Constance from her own issues, at least for a little while. She managed to loosen up enough for the comforting movements of Lysander's hand against her shoulders to start feeling good.
"I was 'comfortable' in my life before I met you." The hand he'd so recently released moved up, rubbing at her weary eyes. "Had everything all planned out, my course set and locked. Sure, I didn't like a lot of my existence, but I'd gotten used to it. I had my mission, and my people. Those were enough. Good thing too, because I'd given up everything else."
Her fingers fell away, resting in her lap again. Silver eyes stared down at them; not actively avoiding his stare now, only lost in thought. "Then you came along and messed everything up." While she did 'blame' him for what had happened, Conner wasn't upset at him or anything. He was the catalyst, no way he could deny that. Sure, Lysander hadn't made her change, but he had made her think.
To be honest, the spy couldn't determine for absolute certain whether or not she really had changed, or if she were just paying attention again to parts of herself she'd locked away a long time ago. Hard to say, really, because being Constance Bravil had changed her. The slicer had become a soldier. Even if the war ended tomorrow and she could finally go home, she couldn't ever be Dora again.
"And I let you. Sure, I fought you tooth and nail at times, but in the end I know I could've stopped it all at any point if I'd really wanted to. If I told you to leave and meant it, you'd leave." Much as she didn't like contemplating the idea of him leaving her, Conner had never thought him the stalker type. Sure, he might call her his 'obsession', but he'd never forced his attentions or even his mere presence on her. Well, save on Talasea, but that doesn't count.
She glanced back up at the man beside her, her face gone solemn again. "It's ridiculous, really. I can face down twelve to one odds in the black without the merest flinch, but one damn word makes me panic. One simple everyday word people throw around casual like all the time. I know I'm putting myself through hell for no good reason, but I'm having a hard time stopping."
Lysander Odakota - January 4, 2011 12:02 AM (GMT)
"Considering my lousy track record at keeping my kriffing mouth shut around you, there probably will be a next time."
The fact that she even tried to keep her moth shut around him is what really astounded him sometimes. She neither had to, nor was it particularly useful to her. By now a lot of what she said was willing and forthright, but sometimes she still let things slip on what she perceived as a mistake or as ‘babbling’ at the very least. He wanted her to tell him everything, and he doubted there was much point in doing otherwise.
Naturally, he did consider the fact that he was less forthcoming than she, even with all the attempts she had at keeping herself ‘together’. It still wasn’t something he did intentionally, and he was trying to be better at divulging. It was ironic, though, that she who had so many secrets she wanted to keep kept telling all and he who didn’t actively try to hide anything managed to be a bit more of an enigma.
"More than one. Because explaining what I meant wasn't just about the definition of the word. I meant it. Meant that."
She was skirting actually saying it again, but that didn’t change the sentiment. The slight sadness in his eyes filtered out, his worries for her and her concerns unable to stand up to what she was offering him. She didn’t perceive this as a mistake, as something to take back and assure him she hadn’t actually meant. She might not have meant to say it then, but she’d meant to explain it to him now. A conscious choice, one of a significant impact.
“I know,” he said, in no way looking to make little of what she’d done, what she’d said. “You might be inclined to say it differently, but I trust you mean it as much as I mean it when I say I love you.” Much as she had shown her fear of that word, he’d not stopped using it since he had on an accident of his own. He didn’t harass her with it, but he didn’t stop himself from using it when that sentiment was one he felt desire to express.
"I get what you're trying to tell me, I really do, but... you do recognize the sheer irony of your saying that, right I was 'comfortable' in my life before I met you. [...] Then you came along and messed everything up."
That got a soft, quick, and self-conscious laugh out of him, Lysander shaking his head at himself. Yeah, alright, it was ironic, but his point still stood. He’d not like to see herself uncomfortable for his sake. For her sake, yes, but not his own benefit. He’d make her uncomfortable to better herself, but never to make himself feel good. Seemed she had that one figured out on her own, anyways.
And though part of himself thought he ought to apologize for inconveniencing, he really wasn’t particularly sorry. Did he wish it had been easier on her? Absolutely. But the fact stood that he felt her better off for what he both taken from and given to her. He couldn’t bring himself to feel bad about turning her complacency with her situation on end. He was sure she was happier--if not a little crazier--for all he’d shown her since he’d known her. They’d both improved, and he was not one to wish away progression, no matter how hard the progression had been.
He didn’t think she was saying that, either. He didn’t feel accused of anything. Taking responsibility was not the same thing as being blamed, at least not with the negative connotation that word was meant to bring more often than not. But there was no denying that without him, none of this would have happened.
"And I let you. [...] If I told you to leave and meant it, you'd leave."
A true if not slightly depressing fact. He would have been upset had she told him to leave her alone for good, simply because he was quite enamored with her. But if it was what she’d really, truly wanted, or she had demanded it on no uncertain terms... well, he couldn’t in good conscience stalk her for his own sake. He was only here now because the part of her that wanted him with her had won out. It would have been easy enough--in the practical sense--to break off ties with him, but it had yet to happen.
They were both to blame for her changes. And as much as they brought up moments like these where they struggled to explain themselves to one another, the changes had been worth it so far. Optimistic Jedi Master wasn’t about to start thinking that was going to stop.
"It's ridiculous, really. I can face down twelve to one odds in the black without the merest flinch, but one damn word makes me panic. One simple everyday word people throw around casual like all the time. I know I'm putting myself through hell for no good reason, but I'm having a hard time stopping."
A thought occurred to him and caused a genuine smile in the man, then. “Maybe that’s the problem, or part of it. The fact that others throw it around casually.” He fixed her with a considering gaze, his touch still settled on her and gentle as it continued to administer both comfort and affection. “You can’t see it as that--casual, I mean. And you shouldn’t. But in thinking it should be an important thing--so important it might even be above and beyond what you’re capable or deserving of--you deny yourself being comfortable with it.”
He mulled over what he’d just said, never having really looked at it like that and doubting she had either. He wondered how much validity the idea would have in her sight. “You hold it to a greater significance than most sentients do these days. And important things are often scary. Maybe it’s not quite as irrational as it first seems to react like you do. Maybe in some way, you’re right.” Maybe he was taking too positive a spin on her different way of viewing love and the word ‘love’, but it felt right to him and how he operated.
Constance Bravil - January 4, 2011 03:33 AM (GMT)
“I know. You might be inclined to say it differently, but I trust you mean it as much as I mean it when I say I love you.”
She'd become better about hearing him tell her so, but her heart still clenched a bit in her chest at the sound of the words. No, she hadn't thought he'd stop using the L-word after seeing her initial reaction to it. That would require Lysander to take the sentiment back or pretend he didn't feel as he did, and Constance knew he'd never do either. As a result, she hadn't bothered with asking him to stop. Neither of them could be anything more or less than the people they were.
"I do." Silver eyes fell closed, Conner's head canting forward a few degrees. A deep sigh escaped her parted lips, and the pilot tried to expel some of her remaining fear with it. "It wouldn't've come out otherwise. Even by accident. I haven't... I've never called anyone else that. Ever." Way to go with the redundant explanations. You're so eloquent.
The sound of Lysander's laughter after she called him out on the irony he'd indulged in brought a faint smile back to her lips. Constance began to come down from her adrenaline high. Talking off on a tangent helped ease her stress levels, or at the very least gave her a good distraction from the source of her strain. The spy's fear dissipated by small increments, to be replaced by her underlying weariness. Stars above, she was tired, and not only in a physical sense.
“Maybe that’s the problem, or part of it. The fact that others throw it around casually. [...] --you deny yourself being comfortable with it.”
Blue Eyes' redirection of the conversation had Conner turning back towards him with a curious expression. The remaining upset in her eyes and aura began to fade as her mind turned more towards intellectual analysis. She'd never been one to let emotions trump reason as a rule, which had been why her behavior towards Villa (and to a lesser extent Lysander) scared her so damn much. Dark brows pinched together above the bridge of her nose as she worked on figuring out this new line of logic.
“You hold it to a greater significance than most sentients do these days. [...] Maybe in some way, you’re right.”
Once again, Lysander proved able to make her think and reflect. The former she'd never had a problem with doing, but the latter was a whole other story. A soldier who got all contemplative on a regular basis had a hard time doing their job, could get distracted in the field. At least this subject isn't so tender as the others he's pushed me on. Talking about someone loving her remained frightening, but talking about how she viewed love as a general concept didn't cause an immediate fight or flight response.
Could he be right? Constance didn't know yet, though she couldn't say he was wrong either. Instead she mulled over what he'd said for a while, trusting in his ability to be patient and wait her out. This discussion called for serious consideration, and she wouldn't feel comfortable sounding off on the subject before she'd formed a true opinion.
"Never thought about it that way, but now that you've brought it up... I suppose I do look at love differently than most." On that point she couldn't find reason to argue after a review of her brain's data banks. "I've not loved many people in my life, not felt sure enough about my feelings to say I loved them without hesitation. Just my family, really. Well, and the Renegades, but they're like family, especially Algernon. And even that fact I've only recently come to accept, after years and years of serving with them."
Worried he might take her words the wrong way, she leaned towards, shaking her head a bit. "I mean, it's not that I don't care about you or I don't have strong feelings or I don't take this serious or anything, you know that's not true." He had to by now, and not just because of his Force 'cheating'. "But... is what I feel love? I have no fracking clue. What if I decided it was and I turned out to be wrong? What if you turned out to be wrong?"
She'd never considered this possibility on a conscious level, but now that she'd voiced the idea Conner found it made sense, given her instinctual reactions whenever the topic got brought up. What if she decided she loved him and gave up that last remaining barrier, took that last step out of her comfort zone... and then he changed his mind? To have given so much and then have what she'd been given in turn taken away... stars, she'd never be the same.
"I got mad at your sister about that, actually," she continued, admitting this without the slightest sign of remorse. "She started going on and on about your feelings about me and how she knew they were true because of your whole Force connection thingy." The right side of her mouth quirked up in a rueful expression. "Bet you can figure out how well I reacted to that noise."
A hand lifted to her face again, this time to brush back some strands of hair blown into her face by the breeze. "I told her I wanted to know where you Jedi got the gall to decide you understood all about how love worked when most 'mere mortals' don't. We don't spend years and years learning how to not feel and not do, after all. But love's still a mystery to us. We try to define it and fail, people write hundreds of kriffing awful romance holonovels about it and perpetuate these stupid fairy tale notions of how it's supposed to work..."
Constance let a few beats of silence pass then, puzzling over additional questions which had popped into her head while she'd been talking. "Yeah... I do have a hard time believing I'm capable of the emotion, to say nothing of deserving it. Love should be... pure, without reservation. I'm not pure, and I've had plenty of reservations. Sure, out of fear and not doubt, but still. Should love, romantic love, be scary to begin with?"
Lysander Odakota - January 4, 2011 07:03 AM (GMT)
"I do. It wouldn't've come out otherwise. Even by accident. I haven't... I've never called anyone else that. Ever."
A significant point of fact. If it were something she’d used on a past fling or on a regular basis at some point in her life, Constance letting it slip might have been far more an accident than it was turning out to be. The fact that it hadn’t been a force of habit by any stretch and that she’d still said it--the fact that it was her abandoned old Corellian aside!--meant it had been a pointed slip. While she had not consciously intended to stick the word to him, some part of her had decided it fit.
Though he had no doubt of her feelings, he was taking a lot of heart from these reassurances. She might have no felt particularly secure within herself, but he felt secure with her. He didn’t think he was going to be losing her by her changing her mind anytime soon.
She fell into a state of mulling over the thoughts he’d voiced, and he let her take her time in considering her response. It was a thought that had taken him by surprise just now, he didn’t expect her to come up with a conclusion in short order. He doubted--provided the deep thought reaction she was having to it now--that she’d ever considered what he’d offered as an explanation just now. It would have to be up to her to decide just how far off the mark her lover was. Given how new a thought it was, if she decided to tell him that she didn’t feel he was right about that at all, he’d be alright with it. He didn’t actually need an explanation for her fears, though he hoped it would do a lot to help her if they could get a handle on what seemed to make her behave irrationally.
"Never thought about it that way, but now that you've brought it up... [...] And even that fact I've only recently come to accept, after years and years of serving with them."
From what he understood of families--and that admittedly was all secondhand explanation--they tended to come with a sort of unconditional love. You were given a family, and unless they wronged you horribly in some way, you tended to stick by them and love them, even when they were driving you up the nearest wall. Given her assignment, the Renegades were something she had to put up. Easier that she learn to love them like she would a family than to have to suffer through their necessity. And it was hard not to become attached in that way. That he knew from personal experience. And like she said, it hadn’t been immediate with them--it had taken her years of service to come to this point.
"But... is what I feel love? I have no fracking clue. What if I decided it was and I turned out to be wrong? What if you turned out to be wrong?"
The idea that he might be wrong hadn’t actually occurred to him. It wasn’t that he was so arrogant as to assume he was infallible, but he didn’t find himself questioning what he felt he felt. It felt right to him, and it was simple as that. But he understood her point beyond that. Putting herself on the line, admitting to love, only to turn out to be wrong? She took it seriously to the point where she almost dared not take the chance. Stars knew she’d tried to push him away at first, to warn him off. She didn’t want to take something like love and squander it only to lose it.
"I got mad at your sister about that, actually. [...] Bet you can figure out how well I reacted to that noise."
He’d known Shay was going to drop in and pay his lover a visit. The fact that it had happened didn’t actually surprise him, and he found himself a touch amused and also a bit curious as to how that had gone down. A topic of discussion they would have to venture, but later. For now, the mode of conversation was more important.
Yeah, he knew how well Constance was prone to reacting to the sort’ve talk Shay was bound to have gotten into. But so long as they hadn’t gotten into a fist fight over it, he was alright with the pair of women being at odds. Given that he trusted Shay more than he trusted himself, he doubted it had ever come to more than verbal sparring.
"I told her I wanted to know where you Jedi got the gall to decide you understood [...] how it's supposed to work..."
From a certain point of view, of course, Constance was perfectly right to be annoyed with Jedi assuming they could understand it any better than anyone else. He didn’t think that was so much the case, though, as they were typically very self-aware. When you were so aware of your emotions and could categorize each of them and find reasons for each of them... when something like love snuck up on you, what else could you label it as? That’s how he felt, at least. While he definitely didn’t consider himself an expert, he knew what he felt, and what he felt he could only assume was that fleeting love so many sought after. It was either that or something everyone understood even less than this notion of ‘love’. Either way, it was significant and worth expressing.
"Yeah... I do have a hard time believing I'm capable of the emotion, [...] Should love, romantic love, be scary to begin with?"
Another interesting point. “I don’t know,” he admitted. “Might depend on why you decide you’re scared of it. If you’re scared because it feels wrong, then no, probably not. But if it feels right and that’s what scary? Then maybe that’s just a part of it. I know I myself felt some level of trepidation at first, though that might be more of a time of fixation than it was love. Much as it would be easier to accept, purer, as you say, if love came easily and without any holdups... I don’t think it happens that way. It just doesn’t strike me as something that was meant to be easy.”
He mulled briefly again, hand sliding from her back to find her hand again as he found a comfortable position with his back to the cushion of the bench. “I don’t claim to be an expert at this. I’m not saying I’m right and there’s no other explanation. But if this isn’t love... I don’t know what it is. I know caring. I know unconditional self sacrifice. I even know desire. But this... this isn’t those. It contains those, sure, but it’s not the same. What I feel for you isn’t what I’ve felt for anyone else.”
A quiet sigh, one expressing some amount of restlessness in his head, but no distress. This conversation didn’t bother him, but it was very hard to parse out without massive amounts of reflection. “I know what I feel. I trust that. Being what I am dictates that I allow myself to be moved by those gut feelings. It feels right for me to use the word ‘love’ in relation to us. I’ve never had a doubt. But I understand you can’t operate like that, it’s not who you are.
“Even if I’m wrong, anyways... I’m willing to take the risk. Loving you--or at least thinking I love you, if I do turn out to be off my rocker--is worth hanging onto, even if it’s destined to end in disillusion and heartache.”
Constance Bravil - January 4, 2011 08:56 PM (GMT)
“I don’t know. Might depend on why you decide you’re scared of it. [...] It just doesn’t strike me as something that was meant to be easy.”
Once again, Lysander's uncertainty comforted her more than any amount of confident reassurances ever could. He didn't have all the answers either; more importantly, he never claimed otherwise. That said, Constance gave what potential answers he did offer intense consideration. Was love supposed to be difficult after all? That didn't sound right to her. With her family there'd never been any doubts or hesitations. Expressing those feelings had always come easy as breathing.
Then again... that had been another life. The only parallel she had to work with in her current existence were the Renegades. Her attachment to her fellow pilots had snuck up on her over time, years of fighting side by side wearing thin the emotional distance she tried to maintain from other people. It had been a gradual and begrudging process, one which she had often worried over during her tour of service. This brand of love--if indeed she were correct in using the label--hadn't been easy to acquire or accept.
“I don’t claim to be an expert at this. [...] What I feel for you isn’t what I’ve felt for anyone else.”
Well, he's got me there. No one else in the universe had ever made Constance respond the way he did--and she wasn't just talking about the incredible sex, either. All of Lysander's words and actions carried such massive importance for her, especially those aimed in her direction. Every passing endearment and small affectionate act affected her more than the most polished seduction routine ever could. No amount of alcohol could make her feel so intoxicated--or unbalanced--as his mere presence in her life did. When they'd said goodbye last time, she'd felt this strange mix of sad and empty within minutes of his departure, like a part of her insides had been cut out.
So what else could she call it then? The spy threaded her fingers through the Jedi Master's while she puzzled over the question. Well, she supposed 'obsession' might not be a bad fit. Stars knew Lysander wasn't the only one here who'd developed a 'fixation' on their lover. 'Infatuation' could work as well; Conner did display all of the symptoms in spades. 'Crush' was far too teenagery to be taken as a serious option. That said, if she could rule out all those possibilities... well, I'll have painted myself into a bloody corner then.
“I know what I feel. [...] But I understand you can’t operate like that, it’s not who you are.
Constance gave a quick shake of her head, silver eyes returning to his face. No, it wasn't who she was, hadn't ever been. Emotions were nice and all, great fun in the off hours, but when it came right down to the wire in the black you needed to think, not feel. Not to say she didn't have intuition (and apparently Force sensitivity), but she never used them as a basis for her actions alone. She dealt with anything dangerous using her head first, not her heart.
Yes, she considered this dangerous, and with damn good reason! If it went down in a bad way, one (or both) of them could end up with scars which never healed. Just because Conner thought she might not deserve his love didn't mean she wanted to ever give it up.
“Even if I’m wrong, anyways... I’m willing to take the risk. Loving you--or at least thinking I love you, if I do turn out to be off my rocker--is worth hanging onto, even if it’s destined to end in disillusion and heartache.”
"Not saying it isn't worth having," she murmured. The spy tilted her head back, lifting her gaze up to the darkening sky. "Only that I have a hard time naming it. I don't want to get it wrong."
Away from where the remains of the sunset glowed red and gold on the western horizon, the first few brightest stars began to appear. Memory flickered to life behind her eyes, bringing a wistful smile to her lips. Right, that's how the whole topic of visiting Naboo had come up in the first place... her wishing they could sit under the stars together. Now she'd gotten her wish, and even the underlying suffering of her spirit didn't diminish the significance of this moment. He'd made her wish come true, a rare and special gift.
Shifting her body to lean more against him, Constance dropped her head to rest on Lysander's shoulder. It had swiftly become one of her most absolute favorite pillows in the galaxy. Closing her eyes, the soldier focused on simple physical feeling for a little while, letting the last pieces of acid and ice in her gut disappear before speaking again.
"You didn't help by springing it on me so soon, y'know." This accusation didn't hold any more heat than her earlier 'blaming' of him for turning her life upside-down. "I mean, we've known eachother a while now, but we've not been able to spend much of that time together." One of the few major and persistent downsides of their relationship. "I'd barely become able to start puzzling out my feelings, and there you were, already sure."
The sound of her sigh could barely be made out over the distant echo of the waterfall. "Setting aside my multitude of mental problems which made me freak out in the first place... stars, you work fast! You always have. And I've never bought into that whole 'love at first sight' garbage the popular media likes to feed lowest common denominator sentients. I guess I've always figured that kind of love would take serious time to develop, not just jump in your lap. Not that I'm any more of an expert on the subject than you."
Lysander Odakota - January 5, 2011 07:31 PM (GMT)
"Not saying it isn't worth having. Only that I have a hard time naming it. I don't want to get it wrong."
Lysander understood that and nodded in response, his eyes following the path hers had taken up towards the sky. Constance was being cautious. Perhaps overly so, but that was probably better than being reckless. And if she only ever got so far as using ‘larel’, he felt he could deal with that. Much as he’d like her to be as sure as he was, he knew what she felt and that left him without real complaint.
She shifted to one of her favorite spots against him and he removed his hand from hers only to wrap his arm around her shoulder and let her settle in snugly. His other hand claimed her hand now, running his thumb over the back of her knuckles softly. He liked this, liked that even after all the long discussions about things that weren’t easy to talk about, they could always find some mode on contentment. It went a long way towards dissolving the harder feelings they’d picked up along the way.
They were silent as the stars began to appear, one by one. He was glad to see them, knowing full well that it was a fulfilling of a decision they’d made back on Dolomar. Stars were meant to be seen like this, somewhere you could breathe easily. With so little light pollution to be had out here on Dee'ja Peak, each individual distant sun stood out with its own tenacity.
"You didn't help by springing it on me so soon, y'know. [...] I'd barely become able to start puzzling out my feelings, and there you were, already sure."
That drew a self-conscious sort of smile from the man. Yeah, he had to admit he’d moved in rather quickly on the subject. He wondered how much better it would have been accepted if he’d waited a lot longer. He’d intended to, really, but he hadn’t precisely been thinking of anything but the present when he’d finally said it for the first time.
He still maintained that their time together--however short and far between--was quality time. Their ‘dating’ was neither idle nor tentative. Every moment they had together was spent as best it could be. And it wasn’t in the sense of rushing things, either. He just wanted to make sure he didn’t miss anything, and if that meant condensing the sensations into their current intensity, so be it.
"Setting aside my multitude of mental problems which made me freak out in the first place... stars, you work fast! [...] Not that I'm any more of an expert on the subject than you."
“Ah yes, working quickly, the Guardian prerogative.” There was a faint lace of humor in his voice, though he was completely serious. Moving quickly towards a goal was something of a ingrained-trait due to his class among Jedi. “I suppose it’s just more of my trained habits. In the field you learn very quickly that you don’t question feelings, you just act. Feel like you should duck? You duck. Get the sudden impulse to jump out a window on Coruscant? You do it, even if you’re not entirely sure why. To some it might seem crazy, but there’s always a reason for it. I’ve never had following those impulses go awry.”
The arm wrapped around her squeezed gently and his fingers moved over the spot on her arm where they rested. “I guess I just did the same with you. I felt like I was meant to love you, so... I did. No questions to be had, it just seemed the easy and obvious thing to do.” No, while the circumstances sometimes made loving her hard, the actual act and feeling was so very simple.
“Leaps of faith are part of who I am. I’m afraid I’ve just dragged you along on this one with me. I’d apologize more if I didn’t get the impression the fall wasn’t entirely unpleasant for you.” Maintaining the metaphor made it seem obvious to him. The fall might be freaking her out somewhat, but she enjoyed the company and trusted him enough to not scream the entire way down.
Constance Bravil - January 8, 2011 07:45 AM (GMT)
“Ah yes, working quickly, the Guardian prerogative. [...] I’ve never had following those impulses go awry.”
"You're right; it does seem crazy," Constance quipped, her sense of humor regaining its usual strength now that the worst parts of their evening were (hopefully) over. Sure, she understood Jedi 'instincts' were inspired by the Force and therefore more reliable than the norm, but still... crazy. "Especially the bit about jumping out a window on Coruscant."
The pilot blinked as she gave his words a second mental review. "Wait a minute... do you mean you actually jumped out a window on Coruscant at some point? Or did you just intend it as a hyperbolic example?" Stars, she hoped for the latter. Sure, Blue Eyes was a big boy and could take care of himself, but that didn't mean she'd give the man a free pass for pulling insane stunts, Force or no Force. Both of their lives contained enough danger without seeking out additional risks to take.
“I guess I just did the same with you. I felt like I was meant to love you, so... I did. No questions to be had, it just seemed the easy and obvious thing to do.”
This time when her heart skipped a beat and her throat drew tight, it had nothing to do with fear. From any other man, those words would've sounded like a line pulled out of one of those romance holos she found so ridiculous. When he said them, though, they mattered, made her feel special and treasured and a whole bunch of other sentiments she couldn't quite define. Frack it all to slag, she'd become so vulnerable around him.
"How do you do that?" The quiet question didn't specify what 'that' she referred to, but Constance figured the Jedi Master could pick up the context. He knew her too well to not get it, even without rifling through her brain.
“Leaps of faith are part of who I am. I’m afraid I’ve just dragged you along on this one with me. I’d apologize more if I didn’t get the impression the fall wasn’t entirely unpleasant for you.”
A soft huff of amusement met the metaphor. Leap of faith indeed. "Wasn't asking for an apology, Blue Eyes. Even I don't think... loving someone is something you ought to say sorry about." Using the L-word still gave her pause, even when speaking about it in the abstract rather than the specific. "No, the ride hasn't been 'entirely unpleasant', to put it your way. Very much the contrary, there's been metric tons worth of 'pleasant' where you're concerned. And I'm not just talking about the incredible sex, for the record."
The spy turned her head a bit where it rested against Lysander's shoulder, all the better to take in the sky. "Think that bright blue star just above the horizon to the north is Chommell Minor," she mused, to herself as much as to the man besides her. Getting her bearings astronomically speaking helped settle her mind. "Enarc's further up and to the right, and that pinkish blot would be the Kaliida Nebula. Never had the chance to see that up close and personal."
Conner's hand gave the Guardian's a gentle squeeze, her body coming to lean a touch heavier against his. "Gotta admit, it's ironic for a Jedi to have an easier time expressing their emotions than a mere mortal like me. Then again, I've always been the sort to make rude gestures at the statistical averages." The Group Captain didn't care for conforming to the norm. She wasn't a downright contrary sort, but she refused to allow other people's expectations to shape her actions. Well, save when it's a part of my job; then I at least pretend to color inside the lines.
"Have I said thank you yet? For arranging all this?" A rhetorical question; Constance knew she hadn't. Venting out her dark emotions had taken precedence over expressing the gentler sentiments. "Much as I feel more than a smidge hypocritical for essentially running away from my problems, I think I needed to this time around. Even if my people probably won't be happy with my absence. Better than them seeing me this way."
Lysander Odakota - January 11, 2011 06:50 PM (GMT)
"Wait a minute... do you mean you actually jumped out a window on Coruscant at some point? Or did you just intend it as a hyperbolic example?"
That got a soft but genuine laugh out of the man, a hint of sheepishness finding its way into his aura as he noted she definitely hoped it was the latter. “I don’t make a habit out of it,” he told her, confirming it was the former. “Only done it once, and that was a while ago.” He liked to think his risks were acceptable, and when they were on the extreme side, they were rare. “I promise I wasn’t doing it for the thrill.”
"How do you do that?"
A slight squeeze around her shoulders was held for a few seconds before it was released. He knew the effect his words had on her from time to time. He felt it strongly and sometimes he wondered the same thing she did. He didn’t go out of his way to make her heart skip that beat, but it seemed being honest with her often struck her deeply. He was mostly glad that she took him with the utmost sincerity.
“The simplest truths are often the most profound,” he gave by way of explanation. That was true more than in just this case. “No point in keeping them to ourselves.”
"Wasn't asking for an apology, Blue Eyes. Even I don't think... loving someone is something you ought to say sorry about."
He definitely agreed with that, hence his decision to not apologize for feeling for her like he did. The fact that she said that word in the abstract was significant to him, though. Meant she was willing to acknowledge the concept existed between them, even if she wouldn’t define it more than she already had. They had made progress here. He didn’t doubt that the horrible events of her last month had a lot to do with it, though. She was stressed and that was pushing her to action she might not have otherwise taken in a lot of cases.
"No, the ride hasn't been 'entirely unpleasant', [...] And I'm not just talking about the incredible sex, for the record."
That pulled another soft laugh out of the man. The ‘incredible sex’ indeed. Much as they tended to joke about that, this relationship would have never lasted beyond Nubia (if even then) if they had nothing but the physical relations to cling to. There was no denying that they both enjoyed themselves quite fully in that respect, but they weren’t nearly shallow enough to throw themselves from the precipice for a lot of physical indulgences.
"Think that bright blue star just above the horizon to the north is Chommell Minor. [...] Never had the chance to see that up close and personal."
His eyes flickered from each star as she mentioned them, noting them without thinking too much about them. The stars were so numerous, and with all the traveling he’d done, he’d barely touched a fraction of them and any of the systems that orbited them. The galaxy was simply so vast, it was a wonder anyone could make any difference at all. And yet, they did. Maybe not for everyone, but just one individual could do a lot if they put their minds to it. Constance had put her mind to it. He wondered what her ultimate impact would be.
"Gotta admit, it's ironic for a Jedi to have an easier time expressing their emotions than a mere mortal like me. Then again, I've always been the sort to make rude gestures at the statistical averages."
Ironic, maybe, but not irrational, the Jedi felt. Much as they were about controlling emotions, that didn’t mean he didn’t understand or feel them. He was very self-aware for a reason, and part of that was being able to express things. Even if he didn’t let himself be controlled by what he felt, that didn’t mean he couldn’t explain them. Not to mention he felt his lover was better at expressing herself than she thought. She might not have always been perfectly eloquent when flustered by emotion, but she did always manage to make him think. It was that thinking that often gave him the basis for his own conclusions.
"Have I said thank you yet? For arranging all this? [...] Better than them seeing me this way."
“I’m sure they understand. I don’t think any of them would have fought to keep you there.” The Renegades at the very least probably would have insisted she take some time off. Having met them all, he knew they cared about the woman who commanded them. Much as they needed her, they needed her to be healthy more. “And it’s my pleasure to set this up. It goes a long way to putting my mind at ease to see you here, and Dolomar was no place to be staying in these circumstances.”
He watched the last bits of light fade behind the peaks of the mountains around them. The darkness of night was actually quite pleasant here, the air still mostly warm and the stars bright enough to lend a lot of visibility. It reminded him a bit of Ossus, remote but familiar in a way. “Whatever you want to do while we’re here, we do it,” he told her quietly. “If you just want to hide out here, that’s fine. If you want to go see what our surroundings have to offer, we can do that too. Anything that’ll keep you happy.”
Constance Bravil - January 12, 2011 07:20 PM (GMT)
“I don’t make a habit out of it. [...] I promise I wasn’t doing it for the thrill.”
For a few seconds Constance simply stared at the man, wide-eyed and uncomprehending. The actions he admitted to performing were sheer madness, yet she knew Lysander beat her soundly in the sanity race. It didn't compute. "Why the kriff did you--wait, nevermind, I don't want to know," she interrupted her own sentence, giving a vehement shake of her head. "No explanation you give is going to make me feel any better about the idea, and I could probably do without the detailed mental imagery."
“The simplest truths are often the most profound. No point in keeping them to ourselves.”
A few years back, Conner might've dismissed such a statement as trite. Several months ago, she would've argued with him over the 'truth' of his loving her, refused to believe his words could be accurate. In this time and place, however, she couldn't work up any defiance or denial towards the idea. Some part of her had begun to accept what he said as right and natural, a fact which sent other pieces of her psyche screaming for the hills. Another line of defense destroyed, melted away by Lysander's relentless sincerity.
Conner tried to laugh, but the sound came out closer to a sigh, or maybe even a sob. Not that she was at all sad right now, but processing these sorts of emotions didn't come easy to the spy. Fact was, she just plain didn't know how. But he was forcing her to learn.
Gold and crimson streamers of clouds on the western horizon burned out, shifted to gray and violet as the planet turned this face further away from its sun. More stars came out, filling the blue-black expanse above them. Staring up at them didn't make her chest ache like looking at her lover would, so she kept her silver eyes trained on the sky. Her brain worked on automatic pilot, naming and categorizing each bright speck on a mental starchart.
Weird the sorts of normal everyday things you could end up missing that others took for granted. Seeing stars twinkle, for one. Out in the black they burned with a steady light, sharp and cold against the void. However, viewed through an atmospheric envelope they flickered like far off candles in the dark. An illusion, sure, but a pleasant one.
“I’m sure they understand. I don’t think any of them would have fought to keep you there.”
"I hope they do," she murmured, worry clouding up her consciousness. The Renegades were so damn important to her. Conner didn't want her people to believe their commanding officer would rather not be around them. Well... okay, right now that might appear to be the case, but not because of any fault of theirs. She was the one who was flawed to the core. They deserved a leader who didn't possess such hateful darkness, never let it take control. She wouldn't be fit to command them again until she'd gotten her head back on straight. "Algy's probably going to give me a good talking-to when I get back."
“And it’s my pleasure to set this up. It goes a long way to putting my mind at ease to see you here, and Dolomar was no place to be staying in these circumstances.”
Constance nodded, in complete agreement with him on this point. Not only was that wretched iceball an unpleasant place for her to live in general, but staying on Dolomar put her in too close of a proximity to the focus of her ire. Sure, he'd finish his stay in the stockades soon enough, get transferred to whatever nothing planet they'd chosen to exile him to, but in the meantime.... yeah, better to remove myself from all temptation.
“Whatever you want to do while we’re here, we do it. [...] Anything that’ll keep you happy.”
Stars, there he goes again. Every time she thought she'd waded her way back onto solid rational ground, Lysander managed to come up with some new and endearing way to show he cared. How the hells was she supposed to keep flying straight and professional under that kind of influence? You're not, came the unhelpful response from a sentimental corner of her psyche. Yet another one of those parts of herself she'd cut off long ago and left for dead. Turned out she'd underestimated the pervasiveness of her stubborn nature.
"Whatever I want." Her tongue shaped the words with wonder. When was the last time she'd been given the option, had that freedom? Most of what she did in her life she most certainly didn't want, part and parcel of the job she had to do. But being here with him didn't figure into her duty. With him she could be something--someone--other than Angler or Captain Bravil or even Conner. She could be herself, whatever the hells that meant anymore.
Lifting her head off her favorite pillow, Constance turned shimmering silver eyes on the only person in the galaxy left who knew every part of her. "You've already given me everything I want," she murmured past the small hitch in her throat. "More than I thought I was capable of wanting. Just by being here. Caring this much." The right corner of her mouth quirked up. "Tolerating all the problems I create for myself." Yeah, she admitted the fact her own actions roughened the road she walked. Didn't mean she'd stop doing it, of course.
"Asking for anything else feels downright greedy. Especially in the face of your selfless nature. You're always doing for other people, thinking of other people before ever considering yourself. But it's not martyrdom, it's not a lack of self-worth or a poor-pity-me attitude. It's just... you." Lifting their joined hands towards her face, she brought her cheek to nuzzle against the back of her lover's hand. "Lysander... what do you want for a change? Want for yourself?"
Lysander Odakota - January 12, 2011 09:40 PM (GMT)
"Why the kriff did you--wait, nevermind, I don't want to know. No explanation you give is going to make me feel any better about the idea, and I could probably do without the detailed mental imagery."
Lysander continued to be amused by her wide-eyed wonder, but he knew she was right. “Yeah, the details aren’t something you need to be hearing, I don’t think.” Much as he’d tell her if she asked--it had been a rather epic day, all things considered--he knew he didn’t need to feed her fuel for her to worry about him. He’d almost died that day, and it was probably best she not have that to dwell on. Brushes with death were amazingly common in his line of work, but some were far closer than others. “Just take assurance in the fact that I am still very much alive, right?” He smiled, perhaps still more amused than he should have been.
"I hope they do. Algy's probably going to give me a good talking-to when I get back."
“I’m sure he will, but only because he cares about you. They--and him in particular--are probably quite concerned about you right now. But you’ll go back eventually and everything will be fine. They’ll live without you for a little while.” And they’d forgive her for any distress they felt because theirs was not nearly so strong as hers. If she’d been driven away, they had to know it was for good reason. She’d never abandoned them before.
“I doubt you would have left if you sincerely didn’t think it was worth it and they could handle it. Badly as you need away, you hold them closer than most anything. Letting them go for even a minute isn’t something I think anyone thinks you would do on a whim.”
"You've already given me everything I want. [...] Tolerating all the problems I create for myself."
Naturally, it wasn’t hard for him to give her what she wanted in those ways. Meeting her needs was second nature for him, and the idea that he wouldn’t do it for some reason was completely foreign to him. It didn’t inconvenience him. It didn’t make him feel used to do whatever it took to keep her without immediate wants. He wanted to be here much as she wanted him here, and that would always be the case.
"Asking for anything else feels downright greedy. [...] It's just... you."
Much as he was self-aware, it always took someone pointing out the obvious to him in so many short words for him to think of himself that way. He didn’t have to try and do what he did or be what he was, it simply, well, was. He supposed that was her point, though. For her it was hard to ask for more when he already gave without thinking about it. Others might have taken advantage of him for it, but their caring was mutual and she could abuse his grace no more than he could bring himself to abuse her trust.
"Lysander... what do you want for a change? Want for yourself?"
The question took the man completely off guard. Much as he felt he should have seen it coming in her train of thought, he hadn’t. No one asked him that, at least not very often. The amount of weight behind the question right now was also unfamiliar to him. She truly wanted to know, it wasn’t just some idle wondering to give herself ideas or something. What did he want? He never even really asked himself that.
The look he fixed her with then made his surprise clear enough, as well as his perplexment as he tried to ponder over it. She deserved an answer, and as much as he wanted to brush it off with a true statement of wanting whatever she wanted, he knew that answer wouldn’t fly right now. It was a cop out, however much a fact it was. She knew his selfless nature and didn’t need more evidence of it right now.
“I... huh,” he finally forced himself to speak so she didn’t think he was just going to sit there and stare silently at her. Still, he didn’t know what to say. Everything he thought of in the initial seconds--just wanting to be here, wanting to see her happy, wanting to be at her beck and call--was all wrapped up in her and her wants. He wasn’t even sure if he could see beyond her well enough to think of himself solely in any way.
“You know, I can’t even think of the last time someone’s asked me that and expected the sort’ve answer you’re looking for. I haven’t even thought about things like that in... well, the last time I even came close was when I decided to pursue you, and that only happened when I had someone insisting I be selfish for at least a second. And even then, a lot of it was still about, even for you. I would have walked away from even that if it had turned out to be something truly bad for you.”
He laughed at himself quietly for a moment. “I’m... not sure. I guess in the immediate I wouldn’t mind just spending some time here with you for the night, take a quiet evening... And I’ll admit to rather wanting to take a bit of a hike in the morning. This place... it reminds me of familiar places that I miss. Places I don’t often let myself miss.”
Constance Bravil - January 12, 2011 11:05 PM (GMT)
For the first time in... well, forever... Constance had managed to make a Jedi Master speechless. Not some mere momentary loss for words or a thoughtful pause either; the expression he leveled at her wasn't so much surprised as downright shellshocked. His startled reaction confused the spy a bit in turn, her head canting to the side as she watched Lysander struggle to form an answer. The pilot didn't try to fill the silence with more clumsy words; she waited him out, as he'd always done with her.
It hadn't been her intention to knock him this much off balance when she'd posed the question; indeed, there'd been no ulterior motive behind her words at all. She'd honestly wanted to know, because stars knew he'd never get around to expressing his own wishes without being out and out asked. They were both in this relationship together, and he deserved to have his happiness tended to as much if not more so than her own. For one party to constantly serve the other's whims wasn't right, didn't balance.
In hindsight she supposed his reaction made sense. After all, she'd just gotten through describing his self-sacrificing habits. Those weren't mere affectations on his part. His priorities remained eternally skewed towards the needs of others and away from anything involving himself. Still... Conner hadn't thought she'd stump him quite this much. Nor had she quite realized how important his answer would be to her until she found herself waiting with baited breath to hear it.
“You know, I can’t even think of the last time someone’s asked me that and expected the sort’ve answer you’re looking for. [...] I would have walked away from even that if it had turned out to be something truly bad for you.”
"Then it's about time someone did ask." Constance moved to hold Lysander's hand in both of hers, trying to comfort him and reassure herself with the same gesture. Force, had she been doing him a disservice all along? They'd spent so much time focused on her problems, working out her feelings. Yeah, she knew he didn't begrudge her the time and effort, and it's not like she'd been taking advantage of him, but... no one ever asked him what he wanted all on his lonesome? For real? That wasn't fracking fair.
“I’m... not sure. [...] Places I don’t often let myself miss.”
Something about the simplicity of his answer, the subdued tone of voice he offered it in, made her chest ache. He asked for so little, when he deserved so damned much, whole galaxies worth of happiness. Not just for everything he did on her behalf either. Blue Eyes dedicated his entire life to helping others, and had no problem putting his (very metaphorical) money where his mouth was when life went all pear-shaped. Yeah, the universe didn't give a damn about rewarding good deeds, but that didn't mean he shouldn't get something he wanted for a change.
And what he wants is me. Nothing could humble her more than that. This sweet, intelligent, drop dead sexy man thought the world of her for some crazy reason. He could've had just about any woman in the galaxy if he'd tried, yet he'd picked her over all the thousands of better (in her opinion) options. Constance still experienced amazement towards this concept. She'd always believed anything that seemed too good to be true couldn't be trusted. But with him, she couldn't do anything but trust.
Words wouldn't work to express what she thought right now. Actions would have to do. In the space of a breath she'd leaned forward and brought her mouth to his. The spy tried to hide how her lips trembled by deepening the kiss, and hoped he wouldn't notice the tears beginning to spill from her eyes before she closed them. Not that it would do any good with an empath, of course, but ingrained habits were hard to break.
Constance only pulled away from him after she'd grown lightheaded from a lack of oxygen. Even then she didn't go far, pressing her now damp cheek against his. "I'd like that," came the whisper, only audible due to her close proximity. "I want to make you happy too, y'know. Can't always be about me. Won't feel right."
Letting go of his hand at last, the spy all but crawled into her lover's lap, trying to get as close as possible as their current location would allow. Both arms wrapped around him, grounding Conner in this moment, with this man. "Where is it that you miss?" Again she'd been reminded of how little she'd learned of his life, at least in comparison to all he'd come to know about hers. Lysander didn't tend to talk about himself unless directly prompted, another symptom of his selfless nature.
Lysander Odakota - January 18, 2011 08:04 PM (GMT)
"Then it's about time someone did ask."
Maybe so, he had to acknowledge. Much as Lysander didn’t really mind the fact that no one ever asked, now that he had been asked, it did seem oddly important. He liked forgetting himself in doing things for others, forgetting that he was an individual with needs as well. It wasn’t something he did to deny himself, it just seemed to come naturally to him. He couldn’t imagine doing otherwise. But at the same time, he needed to take care of himself, and if that meant being able to think about what he might want--even if he didn’t necessarily get it--then he needed to do it.
Still, that didn’t change the fact that he wasn’t sure what exactly he wanted. He doubted even practice at wanting would do much for him. His motivations would always be rooted in others, and he felt that was the best. But here, here he could force himself to think of himself for a moment. She’d asked, and he’d’ not deny her the answer just because it felt bewildering to him.
With his simple current desires voiced, it seemed that Constance was rather struck by what he’d decided on. She had no words of her own, and for once he was not looking to make her voice the unvoiced. The kiss said more than enough, the tears he could feel more than actually see speaking straight to his heart. He was glad he’d answered, it meant so much to her, and in turn meant a lot to him.
He imagined part of it was probably she was touched at his current wants residing her, between them. He could have had a lot on his mind, a lot of things far away from here that he might have wanted to do, but he really didn’t. He wanted to be here, and nothing could deter him from that. Nothing compelled him to leave or to hurry through this encounter, not even in the slightest. There was nothing else on his mind, and he liked it that way.
He took in a deep and replenishing breath as she pulled away just far enough to press her cheek against his. He squeezed her hands again as best he could with his entrapped between hers.
"I'd like that. I want to make you happy too, y'know. Can't always be about me. Won't feel right."
He smiled softly as her words confirmed what he’d already felt from her. So it was, their desires at the moments were to be mutual desires. He couldn’t deny her the decision to make this about him for a moment. He always made a point of making it about her, and when she chose to turn the tables, he couldn’t bring himself to fight her on it. If her needs had been more pressing at the moment, he might have, but they had put a lot of her hurt behind them for now and they needed to focus on things that weren’t quite so harrowing.
“You do make me happy, that never changes,” he told her. Even in their worst moments, she ultimately made him happy. No regrets. Things that hurt only tended towards making them more a couple and less individuals. Accustomed to being very close to those he considered important, he took the fire between them as a strengthening agent and not a weakening one. They were metal, not wood.
She climbed into his lap and he protested that even less than he did her decision to indulge his simple wants.
"Where is it that you miss?"
Another question he’d not really expected, but it was easier to answer than the one she’d posed previously. Returning her embrace, he held her close and took just a moment to revel in how simply good having her in his lap felt. He often wished she didn’t have reason to leave. It was a simple gesture that had quickly become one of his preferences.
“Ossus. The only place I’ve really ever considered home, I guess. It was the only real constant growing up, and the planet for most of my childhood memories. The temple there was something I could always rely on, the landscape familiar. I’ve been so many places, many planets only briefly. I see so much unfamiliar landscape all the time, places I’ll probably see only once...” Planets he’d both enjoyed and not enjoyed were memories he’d never experience again. The galaxy was just too vast.
“Right about the time we decided to get involved with the Alliance we went under the radar and abandoned our public sites. Where we are now isn’t the same. Much as I probably shouldn’t put so much emotional value on a planet, I still miss Ossus. A silly little thing, but... yeah. Naboo is probably prettier in a lot of ways, but it still reminds me of the one place I’ve dared ever call home.”
He knew he wasn’t the only one who felt this way to at least some extent. The Padawans had had a harder time than anyone dealing with the move. Much as Jedi weren’t to be attached to simple things like familiar walls, it wouldn’t change their natures. Familiar places were so hard to come by in a galaxy that was ever moving.
Constance Bravil - January 20, 2011 10:03 PM (GMT)
“You do make me happy, that never changes,”
She wondered about that sometimes. Sure, she knew the two of them had seven sorts of fun together, that he cared about her, that she could in fact make him smile. But surely dealing with the difficulties their relationship created had to get him down at least once in a while. Hells, the roadblocks she'd thrown up in his face alone had to have hurt him, good as he could be at hiding it. She couldn't help but wonder if he'd be better off without her during the difficult stretches.
Still, he'd hit the nail on the head all the way back on Nubia. Lysander called the shots when it came to how he went about finding his own happiness. No one else had the right to make those decisions for him--or worse, to take the choice away from him. Constance had promised not to try at warding him away or protecting him from the mess that was her life, and she intended to keep her word.
“Ossus. The only place I’ve really ever considered home, I guess. It was the only real constant growing up, and the planet for most of my childhood memories. [...] I see so much unfamiliar landscape all the time, places I’ll probably see only once..."
Constance couldn't place the planet off hand, an unusual circumstance. She'd spent at least half her career in space and countless hours reviewing sitreps and sector overviews. While the pilot couldn't say she'd memorized the whole galaxy map, she had a strong grasp of what systems went where. However, most of her astrogation knowledge had been acquired through her service to the Confederation. Far as the brass were concerned, Ossus was a nothing world without tactical significance.
While he spoke, she took the opportunity to arrange her body to rest sidesaddle across his lap instead of astride it. Much as she (enthusiastically) enjoyed getting their bodies up close and intimate, this position lent itself more to long-term cuddling as well as conversation. The fact Conner took those sorts of details into consideration constituted a major paradigm shift on her part. She'd long ago stopped being surprised by her sudden interest in snuggling, but she hadn't forgotten its significance.
“Right about the time we decided to get involved with the Alliance we went under the radar and abandoned our public sites."
"Smart," she murmured, wanting to convey her opinion but not wanting to interrupt him much. Sounded like the Order had taken a page from the Alliance's book in that regard. No one with a lick of strategic sense could deny the Confederation held the advantage in terms of manpower and materiel. Standing out in the open against enemies like that would only get you vaped for your trouble. Jedi might be all kinds of magic and special, but she figured the Force could only do so much against an orbital bombardment.
"Much as I probably shouldn’t put so much emotional value on a planet, I still miss Ossus. A silly little thing, but... yeah. Naboo is probably prettier in a lot of ways, but it still reminds me of the one place I’ve dared ever call home.”
Dark curls slid over her shoulders as Constance shook her head. "It's not silly. Least in my opinion. If you didn't have a place worth remembering or people worth fighting for, you'd be pretty much adrift in the galaxy as far as motivations go." Her words cut rather close to the quick on a personal level, but that merely made her more vehement in stating them. "I understand your people don't encourage attachments, but to be quite honest I don't know if you could be a worthwhile sentient being without caring about something enough to miss it."
The spy tried for a smile, but it ended up more like a grimace. "Yeah, missing home sucks. I know all about that. But while I do my best to repress the missing so I don't get distracted, it doesn't mean I feel stupid or wrong for having the feeling in the first place."
Conner's hand began to toy with the collar of Lysander's shirt idly, not looking to undo any buttons but finding a mild sort of amusement in the action. She knew the Guardian didn't always care for the fancy get-up he often had to assume in his Ryder guise, but the pilot had to admit she enjoyed the effect. "So you shouldn't either."
Fingertips moved away from fabric and onto skin, tracing a line up and down the side of the Jedi's throat. Another odd detail she couldn't help but notice was the fact her lover's body always felt warmer than hers did. Conner could never pin down whether the cause was physical, psychological, pheromonal, or a combination of all three. "Have to admit, it's hard to think of you as a kid. I mean, obviously I know you were one, but trying to picture you any less wise and dignified as you are now doesn't compute."
When she'd first arrived at the resort, Constance couldn't have imagined all her built up hate and pain and shame fading away for any length of time. Yet right now, sitting in this man's lap and gazing into this man's eyes, all the horrible stuff in her life felt very small and far away. She wanted to hold onto this state of being, resenting how the inevitable passage of time would take it away. "What's it like growing up as a Jedi kid, anyways? Not having parents or even being related to anyone around you is hard to imagine for me. Family's such a big deal to us Corellians."
Lysander Odakota - February 2, 2011 05:50 AM (GMT)
"It's not silly. [...] I don't know if you could be a worthwhile sentient being without caring about something enough to miss it."
Lysander took her words seriously. He’d not thought of it quite like that before, but he supposed her point was valid. Without the ability to care, it was hard to be caring. Missing was a part of caring, at least when what you cared about became a long term part of life. It was only a natural response for someone to miss a place they’d grown up. As long as it wasn’t a matter that crippled him in any way--which it didn’t--what was the matter?
Much as Constance ‘complained’ about him changing her thoughts on matters she’d thought long since settled, she did the same to him. While they didn’t talk about him as much and the opportunity didn’t show itself quite so often, she did often make him think, or rethink. And there always seemed to be some serious validity to her point of view, so different as it tended to be from his own.
"Yeah, missing home sucks. [...] So you shouldn't either."
“Well, can’t really argue with that reasoning,” he told her with a soft smile. Yes, she had all the more reason to miss home than he, and if she couldn't condemn herself for those feelings, neither could he. She had left everything on Corellia in forming who she was now. He, at least, had been able to take the familiar with him. The environment had changed, but that had been all that he’d lost.
His hand rested on her thigh where she sat on his lap, his touch familiar but noninvasive. The touch of her fingers on his collar and then up along his neck spurred his own fingers to a slight light movement, tracing little circles on the fabric of the clothing she wore. Both of them being as physical as they were, it always seemed to end up with some amount of flirting in this fashion. A tap here or a stroke there continued to convey their own brand of affection.
"Have to admit, it's hard to think of you as a kid. I mean, obviously I know you were one, but trying to picture you any less wise and dignified as you are now doesn't compute."
That got a short bark of laughter from the man. Being called ‘wise and dignified’ seemed to him to be amusing. In his world he felt he was the norm, the truly wise and dignified far enough above him that he didn’t forsee himself reaching those sorts of levels. But in comparison to your average non-Jedi sentient, she had to have a point, or she wouldn’t have said it.
“I still have my moments. I’m fairly certain I revert back to teenaged behaviour when Shay’s around. I still feel very much a child when we’re together, though typically only in the best of ways.”
"What's it like growing up as a Jedi kid, anyways? [...] Family's such a big deal to us Corellians."
“Well, growing up with someone who is related is hard for me to imagine, in turn. I literally remember nothing of anyone who shares my blood. I don’t know anything about them short of the fact that when I was taken, my mother was alone. Beyond that...” He knew where he’d been born. That was something, but he’d never desired to seek out the bloodline he hailed from.
“Growing up among the Jedi isn’t a lonely existence, mind you. I had plenty of friends, especially when I was younger. Not many chances to isolate, but not so many kids you feel lost among them. I don’t think any of us really thought about the fact that we didn’t have families. I know I didn’t. I had Shay from the time I was a toddler, and any instinctual need for companionship I possessed went to her.”
It was odd for him, to think back and try and explain it. He didn’t suppose many people had a chance to try and explain what it was like to grow up. Most came from at least a semblance of a ‘normal’ family life, and from there people tended to assume what they wanted about how others grew up. But he clearly had a different history than most, despite his knowing so many that were like him.
“I don’t really know what it’s like to grow up with a family like yours, I guess I don’t know if I’d miss having had it if I knew...” he trailed off, his passive senses picking up on someone stopping outside the door of the room. At first he couldn’t place why anyone would bother coming by, but then remembered he’d requested food at this hour much earlier in the day. The knock on the door that he heard faintly through the open balcony doors seemed to confirm what he’d remembered.
“I trust you’re probably hungry,” he said then, reluctantly urging her up and out of his lap. If they’d been in a more dire moment, he might’ve ignored the intrusion entirely, but as it was, it was nice to have a moment of action--however small--in the face of having to talk about himself. Not that he disliked it. It was just... well, unusual.
With all the stress she’d been through, and the travel she’d done, he couldn’t imagine she’d done a whole lot of eating in the last few hours. He’d made a point of ordering room service that could last several hours without needing refrigeration or needing to be eaten while still warm. Not knowing when exactly she’d get here had been part of the point of this, also a desire for a flexible schedule. If she didn’t want to eat now, she didn’t have to. And if she only wanted a bit and wanted to save the rest, that could be done as well.
Crossing back into the room, he answered the door and accepted the cart from the man who had brought it to the room at the scheduled time. Tipping the man quickly with a credit chit, he made it clear they didn’t need anything else before dismissing the fellow by closing the door. Turning back to locate his lover who he’d momentarily left behind, he fixed her with a slight smile. “If you end up wanting anything else, just let me know. Couldn’t be sure what you would be in the mood for, so I made a point of a small variety.” Various fruit and breads were high on the list, all local but exotic enough to those not from the planet.
Constance Bravil - February 7, 2011 07:52 PM (GMT)
“Well, can’t really argue with that reasoning,”
The right corner of her mouth pulled up in amusement. "Of course you can't, because I'm right." Constance liked to think her personal amount of pride didn't verge on the overweening category. Still, no denying she held a lot of confidence in the rightness of her opinions as a general rule. No starfighter pilot--at least one who had a habit of surviving--suffered from a lack of ego. Not like I meant that in all seriousness anyway.
“I still have my moments. I’m fairly certain I revert back to teenaged behaviour when Shay’s around. I still feel very much a child when we’re together, though typically only in the best of ways.”
Conner didn't quite get why Lysander found what she'd said so funny, but she didn't concern herself with the lack of understanding much. You didn't always need to be in on the joke. "Pretty sure teenaged Jedi behavior still has most grown up mere mortals beat in the maturity category." A thoughtful frown took shape on the spy's lips as her brain reminded her of an earlier topic in the conversation. "Well... on average at least."
“Well, growing up with someone who is related is hard for me to imagine, in turn. [...] I had Shay from the time I was a toddler, and any instinctual need for companionship I possessed went to her.”
The pilot had (mostly) stopped feeling resentful of Marin for knowing so much more about Blue Eyes than she did. Blaming the woman for having the good fortune to grow up with Lysander would be downright petty, and Constance knew it. That said, she often wished she could be as in the know about her lover. The two of them talked plenty when they were together, but somehow the conversation never tended to stay on the Guardian long.
Guess it's time to fix that. I've blathered on enough about myself for more than one day. Not like discussing my recent past makes for pleasant conversation.
“I don’t really know what it’s like to grow up with a family like yours, I guess I don’t know if I’d miss having had it if I knew... I trust you’re probably hungry,”
Frack it all to slag! Lady Luck sure enjoyed throwing hydrospanners into her engines. Or maybe it was the Force? Conner didn't think it was supposed to be a vindictive entity, but how else could you explain some of the lousy 'coincidences' which had showed up in her life?
The pilot grimaced in dislike, but she went along with the disembarking maneuver from Lysander's lap all the same. Stars above, the day she degraded herself with clingy whiny girlfriend behavior would be the day she put a round through her skull. Conner hated how she tended to unload all her problems on her lover enough without turning into that kind of horrific abomination.
"A little," Constance admitted as she found her feet. Truth be told, she'd probably be feeling ravenous if not for her stress level. Grinding her teeth and plotting assassinations apparently made her body forget the need to eat for a while. It'd been a while since she'd felt so much anger for such an extended period, what with her well-honed talent for emotional repression.
She followed her lover back inside the suite, giving a last glance up at the sky. Suppose there'll be more time for stargazing later. They'd have at least a few days together, after all, with nowhere they needed to be other than together.
“If you end up wanting anything else, just let me know. Couldn’t be sure what you would be in the mood for, so I made a point of a small variety.”
Another smirk appeared on her mouth. "I don't know why you keep worrying about not doing enough for me." Strolling on over to the cart, Conner took a curious gander at the contents. "You think more about other people than they even think about themselves." That was definitely the case when it came to her. Not that she was (too) self-abusive, but several people rated higher on the priority scale than little old her.
Captain Bravil picked up a small pink berry she couldn't identify off-hand, gave it a critical look, then popped it into her mouth. The spy considered as she chewed, finding the flavor even more unfamiliar than the appearance. "Mmm... not bad. So where do you want to settle down for dinner? I suppose we could have ourselves a little picnic on the carpet," she suggested on a whim."
Lysander Odakota - February 15, 2011 07:52 PM (GMT)
Only a little? Yeah, he decided then that he’d have to make a point of making positive she got her fair share of indulgences while she was here. Lysander would not be sending her back to Dolomar without some serious reformation of her recent behaviour. He’d take care of her until she decided to fully take care of herself even when he was gone.
“Don’t tell me we’re going to have to work on that appetite of yours,” he mock-scolded, though he fully meant it. If she still wasn’t feeling a serious need for food, she needed to relax even more than she already was. Much as he enjoyed talking with her, he could think of a few things that would go further towards putting her in a more normal state of mind.
Given that she seemed rather put out at being displaced from her comfortable spot outside, he figured she wouldn’t mind settling back in in a moment. Truthfully, he himself just wanted her close, and so he made the trip inside to collect food as short as possible.
"I don't know why you keep worrying about not doing enough for me. You think more about other people than they even think about themselves."
He let her observe the food for herself, knowing it was probably all as foreign to her as it was to him. He knew the names of a few of them, simply because he’d been the one to select them, but anything about them beyond that was not something he’d made himself privy to. It was going to be something of an adventure trying it all out, and that suited them just fine.
“You think so?” he wondered aloud, knowing the answer to that rhetorical question. Of course she thought so, or she wouldn’t have said so. Still, it was a curious thought. He figured she was right--his attention was constantly focused outward, and his mind’s gaze was sharp. Even people prone to self-reflection were rarely so attentive to the smaller details. And in the case of Constance, who was inherently self-sacrificing, she certainly didn’t worry about herself. Not enough, at least, in his opinion. She might not have rated high on her own priority scale, but she was practically at the top of his, especially as individuals went.
"Mmm... not bad. So where do you want to settle down for dinner? I suppose we could have ourselves a little picnic on the carpet.”
“That sounds ideal to me,” he agreed, thinking the floor was certainly a more cozy setting than setting up at the table might have been. Maybe tomorrow they’d have to make a similar venture outside, take advantage of their surroundings. It was, as always, tempting to spend all their time in private, but they knew how to make best of their time and their resources when they could. This place was remote enough, anyways, that he figured the amount of privacy they could enjoy outdoors here was far superior to most places, let alone someplace like Dolomar.
Moving over closer to the bed, he pulled a throw blanket from the end of it and spread it on an open patch of floor between the balcony--still with open doors to let in a nice waft of cool night air--and the bed itself. Going back over to the cart, he grabbed a couple of the platters of food and moved back to the picnic spot he’d created at his lover’s whimsy. Sitting down, he made himself comfortable by leaning back on his hands, and then patted the spot next to him invitingly.
Unsure what else he might say anyways, he didn’t immediately pick up the conversation where they’d left off. He was actually still feeling much more inclined to action, but what sort’ve action might help her here... well, he could think of a couple of things, but he’d hate to offer her food only to distract her from it immediately.
Still, once she was settled down next to him he lifted the arm closest to her and pulled her against his side, intent upon stealing at least one lingering kiss, testing those particular waters. Earlier he wouldn’t have pressed such an action upon her, but she seemed relaxed enough to permit more... wanting on his part. She seemed to want this to be about him as much as he wanted it to be about her, after all. He’d just have to make sure it became a mutual evening, where their wants and inclinations were the same.
He could taste the faintly odd sweetness from the berry she’d eaten still on her lips. It wasn’t a strong sensation in this form, but he wasn’t actually all that worried about getting a taste for himself. After a moment of his lips upon hers, he pulled back and smiled. “Not bad, indeed,” he agreed, sure they’d find plenty else to ponder over. Without taking his eyes off of her, he reached towards the nearest plate of fruit and grabbed another unidentified piece of fruit. Pressing it quickly to her lips, he insisted, “Eat more.”
Constance Bravil - March 14, 2011 06:46 PM (GMT)
“Don’t tell me we’re going to have to work on that appetite of yours,"
The corners of Conner's mouth twitched as she fought to keep a straight face. Really, she wasn't sure while she still bothered playing pretend around him in even the least serious of ways. Damned mind readers! Then again, she supposed certain jokes wouldn't play out quite the same without some effort in the acting department. "Don't tell me you're going to be all bossy on our vacation," she teased back.
Not like I can stop him if he wants to be, Constance's inner peanut gallery pointed out. She'd wondered in the past whether Lysander's persistent--dare she say stubborn even--personality was the result of all his Jedi discipline or just an inherent trait. Either way, the Corellian enjoyed the challenge his strong will presented... well, when she wasn't being frustrated by it, at least. Not that she faulted him for that; no doubt Blue Eyes found her occasional bouts of obstinacy much the same.
“You think so?”
Captain Bravil eschewed any verbal response in favor of rolling her eyes in amusement. Of course she thought so, or she wouldn't have said so. I swear, he's worse at taking compliments than I am. The fact she felt it necessary to compliment him on a regular basis meant she ran afoul of the Jedi Master's ingrained humility on a regular basis.
“That sounds ideal to me,”
The pilot stood still for a few seconds instead of following her lover, blinking a bit in mild surprise. She hadn't honestly thought he'd indulge such a silly whim of hers. Then again, she probably should've known better by now. Lysander could be considerate of her needs and desires near to a fault. Something inside the spy kept fighting against the temptation to get used to such behavior on his part. Probably my paranoia talking, worried I'll lose it the minute I come to rely upon it.
Almost as surprising as his acquiesence was the fact she'd come up with the idea in the first place. Conner didn't have much experience in the pure romance department. Sure, she was familiar with all the standard tropes, but she'd never thought to indulge in same. Something about the man currently spreading a blanket out on the floor drew all sorts of unfamiliar impulses out of the spy.
Shoving aside that line of thought as pointless and distracting, Conner took Lysander up on the silent invitation she offered. She settled down besides him, legs stretched out before her. The feel of his body heat soaking into her side made the built up tension in her body ratchet down another gear. He didn't have to say or even particularly do anything to soothe her anxious spirit; simply being there was enough.
Then Lysander's arm stole around her waist, his mouth found hers, and in the blink of an eye Constance forgot all about being anxious. A small sound of pleased surprise thrummed in her throat, one of her hands moving to rest against the firm wall of his chest. She hadn't been tempted to increase their intimacy level up until now, too distracted with other things, but now that her lover had made the first mood she couldn't help but respond in kind.
Still, said response felt... different than normal. The need took more time than usual to build, as though she were slowly thawing out inside. Conner supposed that wouldn't be an innacurate description; stars knew her libido hadn't come out to play in quite a while now. Angry sex hadn't ever been her thing. And the tone of the feeling itself didn't fit the normal pattern. She possessed desire, but not lust. It wasn't a bad sensation, nothing to complain about or anything. Just, well, odd.
“Not bad, indeed,”
Constance said nothing at first, gazing up into Lysander's eyes with an adoring expression. Conventional wisdom held blue to be a cool color, but she'd never relate this particular hue to anything but warmth again. You're getting all poetical now. Must be crazier than you thought.
Lysander's insistence broke through the haze of her sentimental reverie and drew one corner of her mouth up in a lopsided smile. Not finding any reason to make an argument over him feeding her, she tugged the piece of offered fruit out of his fingers with her teeth. Amusement continued to spark in her gray eyes as she chewed and swallowed. "Hey, you're the one giving my mouth something else to do," she teased, not in the least bit unhappy about this fact.
Before he could make with urging more food on her, Conner picked up another piece of what looked like pink melon. A thoughtful expression stole over her pale countenance as she ate this one. Here was another one of those romantic tropes she'd never thought to be engaging in, and another one she didn't feel like putting up a fight about. Force forbid... deep down, did she actually like this stuff?
One way to find out, I suppose. Picking up another snack--a piece of bread this time--the pilot brought it up in front of Lysander's mouth. "I'm not going to sit here and chow down if you're not going to eat anything," she said, perhaps a flimsy justification for her actions but a true one all the same. "It'd be rude."
Truth be told, a small but growing part of Conner didn't want her lover to be tasting anything but her at the moment. This was absolutely and totally the Jedi Master's fault... she'd not sought anything more than comfort before he kissed her. However, by doing so he'd reminded her body precisely how long it had been since they'd had sex.