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 . . .
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.
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 . . .
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
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.
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-
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.”
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?”
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
“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.”
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)