The Short Fic Weekly Challenge Thread!
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07.31.2012 , 11:15 PM |
Characters: Malavai Quinn and LS!Jaesa
Quinn digs up a bit of his past and Jaesa publicly pries it out of his cold, angry fingers.
“This is not up for debate. My duty comes first. It always has and it always will,” Quinn said stubbornly.
This was the last conversation he wanted to be having, especially in front of the other crew, but Jaesa was insistent on getting an answer out of him. She blocked his route to the bridge, sat on consoles he was trying to read, and all around made herself as visible as possible. He tried to explain that he was thirty-six hours into a seventy-two hour shift and needed to focus, but that answer was “not good enough”. She frustrated him.
“I’ve been trying to have this conversation all week. You keep dodging it,” she said emphatically. “We’re having it right here, right now!”
“No, we are not,” he insisted.
“And why is that?” she asked. When he opened his mouth she interrupted him, “I swear to the Emperor if you say ‘I am on duty’ I will Force push you out the airlock!”
His mouth snapped shut with an audible click. She made a frustrated noise in the back of her throat. He shrugged at her, a motion he didn’t often make, turned on his heel, and left for the bridge. She stomped after him. He quickly hunched over a console.
“Jaesa, I do not wish to have this conversation at this time. Please do not persist in this line of questioning,” he said stiffly.
“Why?” she demanded, “Why won’t you talk to me about this?”
“It’s none of your business.”
She stiffened behind him. He continued monitoring screens and typing out a pattern on the board in front of him.
“So, that’s it then?” she asked softly.
He inhaled sharply. He didn’t want to talk about this. Not now, at least. Not in the middle of a seventy-two hour shift.
“No, that is not it. I do not wish to speak of this during my shift,” he said gently as he turned to face her.
She crossed her arms under her breast and cocked her hip. It was a challenge. He turned back to the console to ignore her stance. He hated when she became standoffish.
“Malavai,” she started.
“Don’t!” he yelled harshly as he turned on her. “Do not use my given name! You have no right!”
“’No right’? No right!? I defended you to the crew! I got you back in the loop! I helped you when you woke up screaming bloody f***ing murder! And I have no right!?” she screamed emphatically.
“Damn it, Jaesa!”
They stood apart, staring at each other red faced and breathing heavily. He knew she was right, she was always right when it came to him and the goings on in his head. Taking a deep calming breath, he let his mask slip back into place. She bristled visibly.
“My grandfather, Malavai Barnabus Quinn, died two days ago,” he said softly.
He turned back to the consoles to distract him. He didn’t need to see the pity cross her features when he finally told her what was bothering him. He hated that look.
She walked to his back, waiting for him to continue. He always took his time, calculating his responses and emotions carefully so not to reveal too much. She had seen him at his worst, she argued, there was nothing more to reveal. But he was set in his ways and he told her as much.
“He was in the running for Moff when Broysc managed to rip the position from under him. The new Moff Broysc went about destroying his career much as he later did to me. I was told Barnabus had been killed several decades ago. Instead, he died in obscurity, his name forever tarnished by that bastard Broysc,” he said miserably.
“If he only just died, why have you been closed off for the last week?” she asked softly. She didn’t want to press him too hard, he would shut down. She ran her hands down his back. He stiffened, but did not shake off her touch; a good sign. She let her hands work on his shoulders, working at the knots there. He grunted softly.
“He contacted me two weeks ago via mail. He wanted to meet with me,” he continued quietly. “I went.”
“What happened then?” she pried gently.
“I do not wish to speak on this further. Do not press me,” he said through clenched teeth.
She silently continued working at the knots in his shoulders, slowly moving her small hands down his back. She could feel his stubborn resolve slipping, until finally -
“I looked up to him,” he said quietly. She didn’t stop her work on his back. She dug her fingers in deeply along his ribcage. The stiff scar tissue didn’t often relent to her soft touches, but she worked it anyway.
“I was named after the man, for the Emperor’s sake!” he continued thickly. “To see him, frail and dying… alone in disgrace. It brought to mind…”
Tears tingled at the corners of his eyes and he willed them away. Not now. Not when he was on duty. Jaesa slowly wrapped her arms around his waist and hugged herself to his back. He hugged her arms awkwardly.
“I apologize for being harsh earlier,” he said, turning in her arms.
“I’m glad my persistence paid off,” she said gently.
He smiled a small smile. She tilted her head toward his and stood on the tips of her toes. He continued to smirk teasingly at her.
“Malavai…” she whispered against his lips.
“Hmm?” he rumbled in his throat.
“Such a tease,” she pouted.
She rocked back onto her heels quietly. He quickly dipped his head, stealing a short kiss before straightening his back.
“Now, I am on duty, Miss Jaesa,” he said softly.
This time she grinned broadly. The corners of his mouth twitched in an upward motion before he squashed their traitorous ascent.
“We’ll talk later,” she said. Her tone brooked no argument and he gave none. He bowed shortly and returned to his blinking consoles and fast moving screens. He was back in his element. And a little less distracted, he admitted to himself a bit unwillingly.
These shorts write themselves, I swear. This is part of a larger project that I hope to bring together (with my previous entry, of course) and possibly post on the forum under its own thread. For now, a slice of life.
The name Barnabus comes from me watching way too much How I Met Your Mother...
I'll probably die if you group with me, but I'll go out with both lightsabers drawn stabbing someone in the face. Probably you, but it's cool. Forever Shenanigans!!
Quick Quinn Quotes
Ninety Seven Percent
Ald, the Silly Sith Warrior