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09.09.2012 , 07:21 AM |
Maura (trooper) and Aric, takes place after the story arc and the birth of their twins. Minor spoiler for Ch1.
Maura went inside their quiet house and realized the twins were sleeping but so were their guardians. She laughed to herself, two toddlers could really sap your energy, and with Mags pregnant and her mom, well, her mom, she wasn’t too surprised. She glanced back at Aric, who was setting the door alarm behind them, and motioned him to follow her upstairs. She grinned in the darkened hallway, knowing that even though they were setting off on missions in the morning, they’d rock each other’s world tonight. Aric was fully on board with this plan and hurried her along and up the stairs. They’d almost reached the top when Maura stopped abruptly, Aric almost bowling her over from behind. He peered angrily around his wife, seeing the large form of a sleeping Weequay at the top of the stairs.
The smell of alcohol floated around him, and Maura looked at Aric, puzzled. Aric bent to shove the man’s shoulder and reared back when Tanno Vik sat up suddenly.
“Major, bad news, I had to make sure I caught you. Garza sent an encrypted message and, well, I was the only one on the ship..”
“Spit it out, Tanno, what’s up?” she snapped at him.
“Fuse is dead, his body was found at the entry to her office this evening when the Senate Plaza was being cleaned.” He hung his head. “I knew you’d want to know, and didn’t want to scare your family, so I waited here.”
Maura stood mute, seeing Aric turn away from them both. He’d known Fuse since the young demolitions expert had been send to Ord Mantell, his first posting after boot camp. He’ll take this hard, she thought, he’d always liked the young man. Aric slowly walked away from them, toward their room. She turned back to Tanno, who remained sitting on the top step.
“What else, Vik? Are they investigating, what are the burial plans, did he have family somewhere?” she asked in a low voice, not wanting to wake anyone.
“We’re to go to Coruscant tomorrow, that’s all she said. Meet with her at 1400.” He absently rubbed his eyes.
“Thanks, Tanno. I appreciate you letting us know,” she patted his shoulder. “Go sleep it off, we’ll see you tomorrow.”
“I’m not drunk, Major, I spilled the first drink I poured all over me when the priority message klaxon went off.” He half-smiled at her, “Probably a good thing I didn’t get started.” She nodded and walked past him, looking for Aric. She found him sitting on the edge of their bed, his head in his hands. She approached him and put her hand on one of his.
“I’m sorry, honey. I know he was a friend of yours.” She sat beside him, but he never moved. She heard him sniff once, and he lifted his head to look into her eyes.
“When is it enough, Maura? Why do we do this to ourselves?” He got up to pace around the room, “How many of our friends are going to die before we’ve had enough?” He paced back to where she was still sitting. “For the first time since I became a soldier, I’ve had enough. I don’t want to go back. And no, this has nothing to do with hearing about Fuse. I’ve been thinking about this for months now.” He took her hand between both of his, “I want to wake up in the mornings knowing that no one is going to shoot at you today. When I was with Corso and Felix the other day, Cor was talking about having a whole herd of baby rontos and Felix told him they were on planet at least till their baby is born, and I was jealous. Jealous! “ He walked to the window, sitting on the seat that ran underneath it. “Fuse’s death just reminds me we’re never safe, anywhere, as long as we wear a Havoc squad patch. And you’re in more danger than the rest of us, as leader.” He turned to look at her then, for a long minute. “How much longer can you defy the odds, Maura? I won’t survive losing you.”
She went to him then, and they hugged fiercely, neither of them saying anything. They knew the risks they faced every day, and they’d talked before about an exit strategy. She hadn’t thought about it for a while now, but she was ready when the twins started walking, getting into things on the ship. Aric pulled her back to kiss her, but seeing the tears in her eyes, just crushed her to his chest instead. Finally she lifted her head to him, kissed him softly and said, “Let’s do it. We’re supposed to report to Coruscant tomorrow at 1400. We’ll file the paperwork there.” He nodded at her, knowing they’d figure things out, they always did. They never even undressed, just lay on the bed in the clothes they’d worn to dinner with Miriah and Corso, sleeping in short spans. Just as dawn was breaking, Calleigh joined them, pulling herself up on the bed and snuggling in the small space between them. Maura woke to her daughter stroking her face, those silver eyes waiting to look into her mother’s own brown ones.
“Fly today?” her daughter asked her. Maura had to think, such little sleep had made her brain sluggish.
“No, not today,” she told the little girl. “Mommy and Daddy will, but we will be back before dark.” Calleigh pressed her body to her mother then, sensing the emotional turmoil going on inside Maura. I know Mags said she’s not force sensitive, but I swear she knows things, Maura thought. Aric opened his eyes, and hugged his daughter before kissing his wife. There was an odd lightness to him, she thought, and took Calleigh to get dressed. When she turned from getting Colin ready for breakfast, Aric was there, taking them and telling her to grab a shower, and take her time. He sent the twins downstairs and turned to her, pulling her to him and kissing her.
“I know you’re a little anxious, but I feel like I could float to the ship. It’ll be fine, hon, I promise.” He whistled as he went downstairs to feed the kids. He’s right, she thought, I am anxious. She joined them in the kitchen once she was dressed for the day, in her black cortosis gear. She waited until the kids had bounded off for the playroom before facing Aric.
“We might be asked to help in the investigation into Fuse’s death. Is that something you want to do before we officially retire?” she asked him. He shook his head.
“It’ll always be one thing or another that Garza will try to lure us to stay. Another puzzle, another mission that only we can do. It won’t bring him back,” he told her.
“So, what do you see us doing without being Havoc squad?” she looked at him, seeing him smile for the first time that morning.
“Consultants. Working from here, with occasional trips to other worlds. You’re a premier strategist, your brain is valuable to the military. Your brains, Miriah’s tactics, Corso’s encyclopedic knowledge of weapons, my sniper training—we could form a consulting group. Combined with our pensions, we’d be fine.”
She blinked, it was an idea she hadn’t considered, but it made perfect sense. Suddenly she smiled, knowing they had a plan set her resolve. She knew Garza would argue, but neither of them had any commitment time left on their commissions. “Let’s jet, I’m ready to do this,“ she told him.
On the ship, they told Tanno, Yuun and Elara what they planned to do. Elara cried, as they knew she would, but understood. Tanno said little, and Yuun agreed that their family was more important. When the crew left the briefing room, Tanno doubled back.
“Boss, I have no family, no home planet. Got any room in that consulting firm for a hard worker who likes to blow stuff up? I don’t need a lot of pay, I got a good cushion from gambl… I mean selling salvage and stuff.”
Aric grinned at him and held out his hand. Tanno shook it, and happily scampered off. They could hear him whistling in the crew quarters. They’d completed their requests for terminal leave and sent them ahead of their docking. By the time they reached Garza’s office, she’d know their plans, but Maura wouldn’t be deterred.
They were indeed preceeded by their requests, and Garza was understandably upset, but in the end, when Aric asked her to consider what she’d say to her own daughter, she relented. She’d told them that Fuse had no family, and would be buried in the military graveyard here. They’d be there, she swore, to see him home. They laid the demolitionist to rest that afternoon, and saw many of his squadmates in attendance. As they solemnly made their way to the shuttle service, Maura caught Aric’s hand in hers, holding on when he would pull away. “We don’t have to worry about the regs anymore, hon,” she told him. He grinned at her, and pulled her against him.
“Well, hell, let’s do this right then.” He kissed her as several troops clapped and hooted loudly, and boarded the shuttle. They’d arranged for their personal gear to be taken from their Thunderclap and shipped to them, and would take a taxi home from the shuttleport.
Aric looked at his wife as they started home, and she smiled up at him. He knew when he’d met her that his life would change. For the first time in forever, he felt that she was safe now, and that was priceless.
Love is the strongest magic of them all.