Lodestone: A Wynston/Ruth Alternate Universe
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01.10.2013 , 02:20 PM |
Epilogue, scene 4: On the Aegis
"Hello there." Ruth beamed at the newly arrived Colrand and gave Quinn, who had not quite stepped out of the transport, a gracious nod to answer his bow.
Colrand had gotten his hair cut short. Not a perfect match to his father's, but conspicuously close. He took up his station at his mother's side with something approaching formality.
Ruth addressed Quinn. "He's been behaving?" She could have sworn she heard Colrand's eyerolling beside her. Ah, the learned formality hadn't completely taken root yet.
"Of course, my lord," said Quinn.
Suspicion struck. "If he were misbehaving would you tell me?" she said archly.
"Certainly, my lord. I fear I am not qualified to make discipline stick to a Sith." He very nearly smiled. "You are."
"Very true. Well, thank you for bringing him by. Call me whenever you finish your current assignment." That would be the next reasonable chance for him to see Colrand again.
"I will. Until then, my lord."
"Good hunting, Quinn."
He bowed. She nodded. He warmed into a smile for Cole, who waved. Then Quinn retreated into the shuttle and Ruth and Colrand proceeded into the
"If I were making trouble," Colrand said, "you really would hear about it. That's his usual threat, telling on me." Colrand didn't sound all that worried about it.
"He…usually threatens you?"
"Only when he gets annoyed. – I try not to, honest. I still owe him a few dozen years of good behavior for…you know."
There was hurt in his voice. "He doesn't blame you for the Emperor using you," said Ruth. "I hope you know that."
"Easier said than undone. He's been really nice, acting normal, but…"
"He loves you, Cole. And, believe me, he doesn't blame you for what happened or hold it against you. Once he has declared for you, nothing stops him and nothing changes his mind. You're very fortunate to have that." She managed a smile. "You're incredibly fortunate to have that."
"I guess? I hope it's okay." He perked up a little bit. "Anyway, he's still showing me around and stuff, so it's not like he's been avoiding me. You should've seen the look on his face when I asked him to teach me to shoot. I don't think Sith are supposed to do that."
"No, they really aren't."
"He went with it, though."
"For you? Of course he would."
Later that day they went to one of the
's practice rooms, a wide clear space with weapon racks around the edges.
"Where's Wynston, anyway?" said Colrand.
"Strategy session. He's crunching numbers and higher-order patterns with his analysts; I'm not going to call it boring but I'm really glad you're here to give me an out until the actual field assignment comes down."
"We going back home anytime soon?"
"Yes. I'll make time for it." The last thing she wanted to do was exile him from Dromund Kaas.
They moved while they spoke, heading to the center of the room, facing each other at a couple of paces. Ruth activated her two sabers, Colrand his one. Colrand's face twitched into a staring frown.
"Are you all right?" said Ruth
He blinked. "I think so. I just…"
He just wasn't enjoying drawing a weapon on her again. She walked around to stand beside him. "Why don't we do the old centering forms first. Calm and focused." She looked at his expression and lowered her saber. "I know it's hard, Cole. But you can come out of what happened stronger. I won't say it's easy, but it's going to be all right."
He stood very still for a little while. Then he deactivated his saber. "What was it like?" he said quietly. "Fighting something that big? And not getting, you know, squished like me."
"It was like pulling together every good thing I've ever known and then punching an ocean of the most caustic stuff I've ever felt with it. It took a lot of punching."
"I felt his presence in my head. It was huge. And old. And strong."
"Lucky for me I've known a lot of good things to bring to bear on it."
"Yeah." He examined her face. "You seemed okay after."
"I felt okay after. Tired, but still, we won. And any darkness that stays has its counterbalance. I have you. I have Wynston. It's hard to feel bad under those circumstances."
"Yeah," said Colrand. He seemed to be thinking of something else. "It would've been a
worse without Wynston."
She smiled at him. "We won, Cole. You're safe, and things will be all right. You didn't disappoint any of us." She waited. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah. Yeah, I just, swinging a lightsaber at you kind of, it caught me off guard."
"It probably won't feel great for a while. But you'll have to stay in practice to defend yourself."
"Right, because after that we've got so much to be scared of."
"A run-of-the-mill Sith thug might still come after you someday."
"You and Wynston or Father would kick his ***."
"We probably would. Still, it's better for you to stay in practice."
"All right. Centering." He activated his saber and placed himself in form-perfect stance. When he spoke again he sounded steadier. "It's gonna be all right."
There, that's the stuff I had in mind. Now just add a vignette of Larr Gith and Doc totally going to find someplace quiet to recover from the ordeal of the Emperor...just, wow, we shouldn't miss that one get-together tonight...but, resting will definitely happen after. It's on the to-do list. For real.
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