Wednesday, May 4, 2016

My Fault: A Star Wars Fanfic

In which I celebrate Star Wars Day by- what else?- writing a bit of fanfic. A note for those unfamiliar with the characters and circumstances, otherwise known as everyone who doesn't take part in the CaC2 roleplay on Whitehall Castle forum, otherwise known as most of my blog readership: this roleplay is set before any of the movies, during the Old Republic era (around the year 3653 BBY, to be exact). These particular events occur shortly after a group of Jedi have made a raid on the Sith Academy on Korriban in an attempt to recover a stolen holocron. The results, however, have been less than successful . . .

Three ships left Korriban, two members lighter than when they’d come. In the medbay of the Felrel, Ver Tai slumped by the bacta tank where her sister rested, still and silent and serene. If Ver only looked at Dae’s face, what she could see of it beneath the mask, she could almost convince herself that Dae was simply sleeping. But her eye invariably wandered lower, to the bloodstains at Dae’s midsection, and so she couldn’t forget how close death still lurked. As if Polla hadn’t been enough . . .

Thoughts of the day spun in a mental misery-go-round, despite Ver’s efforts to not dwell on what had happened. They’d failed. She’d failed. The holocron was still lost, Aza was captured, Dae had almost died, Polla had died because Ver hadn’t been able to defend herself, hadn’t moved fast enough, hadn’t fought well enough . . .

Once or twice the cycle slowed enough for a few halfhearted, un-Jedi-like thoughts of what she’d do if she happened to meet the Sith who attacked Dae, who left her bloody and dying . . . the Sith who used whirling blades rather than sabers. Strange, that was, and frightening. Lightsabers and blasters blackened and burned; they didn’t leave their victims to slowly bleed out . . . She should’ve been there when Dae was attacked; they should’ve been gone before the Sith even realized Dae was there; why hadn’t they moved faster . . .?

Ver was still sitting there when the ship docked in the Temple the next morning. But when she tried to follow the infirmary workers come to move Dae, they pushed her aside and told her to go get some rest, that there was nothing she could do, that she looked like she was about to collapse and they didn’t have space for a fool Jedi who worried herself to exhaustion. That might actually have been true, with all the attacks that had been happening lately, and so Ver straggled off as ordered.

But she didn’t actually make it to her room, or to the dining hall, or to anywhere in particular she might’ve meant to go. Instead, her former master found her crumpled against the wall in a little-used corridor, head in her arms, elbows resting on her knees. He’d heard about the mission by now, of course. A Jedi had died; everyone knew about it. And so he didn’t have to ask what happened, what was wrong, how could he help. Instead, with an exasperated shake of his head, he pulled Ver to her feet and half-supported, half-dragged her to her room, ignoring her muttered insistence that she was fine, that she’d be fine, and no, she didn’t want to talk about what happened.

Dae wasn’t awake the next day, when Ver checked after six hours of exhausted sleep, an official Council debriefing, and a hundred inquiries from well-meaning friends and acquaintances about was she all right and how was Dae doing, and an equal number of assurances that they’d both be fine. Ver hadn’t protested the latter, even though they were wrong. They didn’t know Dae would recover; even the doctors didn’t know if Dae would recover; and whatever happened, Ver wasn’t sure she herself would ever be fine again. Not with Aza captured, Polla dead, Dae dying, all because she’d failed, failed, failed . . .

The next day passed, and the nurses transferred Dae from the bacta tank to a bed. The wounds on Dae’s midsection were reduced to pink scars by now, but still Dae didn’t awaken . . . The infirmary attendants assured Ver that this was fine, this was normal, that after such a close brush with death some patients didn’t wake up for some time because their minds and bodies were still healing, and bacta could only do so much. Ver worried anyway, and now she practically took up residence in the chair by Dae’s bed. The nurses and other workers grew used to seeing her there: slumped in restless sleep, or meditating, or reading or working on her datapad, or holding Dae’s hand and talking to her in hopes of a response.

Once or twice, Dae drifted close enough to consciousness to talk too- in her sleep, muttering about masked Sith and flying blades and lightning, and calling Ver’s name. But not once did she fully awaken, even as the days turned into weeks and still Ver kept her vigil, only departing when basic necessities and responsibilities forced her to. Others came by often, bearing comforting words and mugs of tea and occasionally the suggestion that Dae would rather Ver go on with living her life rather than just sitting here and fretting. Ver accepted the first two gratefully and glared at the last. Her life could wait until Dae woke up, and surely it wouldn’t be too much longer, it couldn’t be . . .

When the others weren’t there, and when Ver had run out of things to say to Dae for the moment, her thoughts inevitably turned back towards the mission. She replayed every moment, every choice in minute detail, wondering: if she’d done this, if she’d said that, if she’d moved faster here or responded better there, would they not have failed? Would they have recovered the holocron? Would Aza not have been captured, Dae not be lying here? Would Polla still be alive? Would I not have failed? She never found answers, only a growing certainty that if she’d simply been better somehow; everything would’ve been all right.

And then, late one night, a long-awaited voice interrupted the spin of her thoughts as she drifted towards dozing: “’S not your fault.”

Ver started. “What?” She turned-

And there was Dae, eyes open, half-turned on her side to face Ver. “’S not your fault. Whatever you’re thinking is your fault, ‘s not. Never is, ‘cept when you make it that way.”

Not her fault, she made it her fault . . . Ver couldn’t think through the ramifications of Dae’s words right now; there were more important things to focus on. “You’re awake.”

“’Course I am.” But Dae’s eyes drifted towards closing again, and her tone was still heavy with sleep. “I got tired of feeling you mope beside me, so I had t’ wake up and set you straight. How long’d I nap?”

“Two weeks.” Ver took her sister’s hand where it rested on the rails of the bed. “And if you ever come this close to dying again, I’ll . . . I’ll kill you myself.” She’d meant the threat to be teasing; it came out wobbly and suggestive of tears.

“Don’t plan on it. It wasn’t fun . . .” Dae shook her head, trying to stay awake. “Next time, you can take on the ridiculously overpowered Sith and I’ll sneak around and enjoy myself, ‘k?”

“I vote we both sneak around and leave the overpowered Sith to fight each other instead.” Ver’s smile faded. “The mission failed, Dae.”

“I know.” Dae squeezed Ver’s hand weakly. “But ‘s still not your fault.”

Ver nodded silently. The questions, the self-accusations still swirled. But in that moment, she could almost believe Dae- and even if Dae was wrong, maybe it would be fine. She had another chance. And this time, this time she wouldn’t fail.

Happy Star Wars Day, and May the Fourth be with you. Hope you enjoyed the fanfic!-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)  

4 comments:

  1. That was well written. I like these characters, even though I am not familiar with them or their mission.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

      Delete