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01.21.2013 , 03:02 PM |
At the risk of inventing a fifth Sith Warrior…it's just a one-shot and as soon as this idea popped into my head I had to play with it.
for Sith Warrior Auresse. SW Act 3 spoilers. 1200 words.
Auresse stood on the bridge, hands clasped tightly behind her back, and stared out into hyperspace. She didn't stir until she heard a step from the corridor.
"My lord," said Quinn. "You sent for me?"
That's right. I did.
"Captain." With a hard effort she turned around to face him. "I…regret that our paths must diverge."
His brow contracted. "My lord?"
"I'm having you reassigned, effective immediately." A decision she had not come to lightly. "We're nearing an Imperial base now; I'll let you off as soon as we land."
He took only a couple of seconds to process that. "My lord," he said quickly in a strained voice, "is that wise? This is a critical time. Now that Darth Baras is moving against you it would be profoundly unwise to start dismantling your support network."
"That's the point, isn't it?" She kept her expression neutral. "You have a clear conflict of interest. With, for you, a clear solution. Forgive me if I'm selfish enough to hope that at least the decision gives you pause."
He faced her, sharp and unblinking. "There is no doubt in my mind at all. I am yours."
Strong words for a servant. She paused to regather her thoughts, as she always did when he asserted something in that voice. Then she shook her head. "Were Commander Rylon or Admiral Monk the Republic's? Was Draahg Darth Vengean's? What Baras gives, Baras takes away."
"I didn't seek assignment here for his sake."
"Ah. Did you choose an unknown like me over a sponsor like him, and would you hold to that now? I don't think so. I know you have to say it; your honor, as you've stated a hundred times over and demonstrated a hundred times more than that, demands absolute discretion in addition to absolute obedience." She did admire him for it. He was good at what he did, everything an Imperial should be. "Top marks for both, captain, and I have benefited greatly so far. But now that Baras and I are at odds he's going to force your hand."
"Even if he tried to request action from me I would not listen. After what we've seen, the service of the Emperor himself? By any measure, starting with my word and ending with the good of the cause, this is my place." He dropped his gaze. "And apart from that. More than my oath holds me here."
The idea had flickered between them many times before, and she wanted to believe it. Now that war had broken out, however, what she wanted – what they wanted – didn't much matter. "You're listing reasons as if this were a negotiation instead of a command. You wouldn't argue if you thought I were the legitimate authority."
He looked desperate. Not just desperate, wounded. "I would if I thought this misstep would cost us both more than we can afford." He took a step toward her, compressing the tension more painfully than ever. "Don't ask me to leave you."
"I'm not asking." She drifted toward him as she spoke. "I am…drawn to you, make no mistake. But I know you. I know you well enough to realize that you may choose to kill yourself fighting me rather than forsaking your duty to him, but I still have to try to save you." She stopped when they were nearly toe to toe. "We are both already compromised far beyond what we've tried to avoid." That she even wanted to save this man who had started as a servant was proof enough of that. "And now, because I do know you, and because I know you are loyal to a self-destructive fault….well."
"My lord, please. If I have not proved myself to you already–"
"You've proved everything you need to." Every time he gunned down a perfectly loyal fellow agent on command. In spite of her resolve she had to blink a few times and look away. Swiftly, seemingly reflexively, he brought up a hand to cup her chin and bring her back to face him. It was the first time he had ever touched her without gloves.
She looked into his eyes. And didn't bother talking again just yet, because this might be her only opportunity for what she had daydreamed, and determinedly pushed away, almost every day since she had met this brilliant impossible creature. Now they were very nearly out of time; giving in at this juncture wouldn't matter anyway.
So she kissed him. He kissed her back instantly, snapping the tension in the room with a sudden firm embrace that finally, finally closed the distance between them. Whether to persuade her or just to take advantage of his last chance, she didn't know and didn't care. She wrapped her arms around his neck and met his pressing kisses hotly, fiercely. Hopelessly.
Before the last of her judgment melted she forced herself to break contact and back away. "We can do this two ways," she said. "You can go, well away from this struggle, and make yourself useful against enemies that your master and I have in common. In the field if you can, from a prison console if I have to." She smiled a tiny wry smile in spite of herself. "Or I can knock you out here and now and freeze you in carbonite until this is over. Either way I won't let him hurt you, but neither can I let you get in my way."
"I…" For a long painful moment he looked past her. "You will not be convinced, will you, my lord."
"I will not."
"Even if things were as you say, if I leave your side my life is forfeit."
"You've gone into mortal danger on my orders before. Believe me, this conflict won't last long." She had little more to offer him on that front. "We'll talk after. Because what's between us isn't just the assignment. No matter how much you or I might want it to be."
He seemed to flinch at that, but only for a moment. "Then…I will go."
"I'm glad. I didn't want to have to hurt you. We've made a good team, it would be a shame to end it that way." Once again, he wasn't quite looking at her. "Captain," she said, and waited for him to meet her eyes. "Will you at least admit it?" She did have a lingering doubt. A stupid wishful doubt, but a doubt.
"Say the word and it doesn't have to matter. I'll serve you. But, having been incisive enough to come this far, you won't believe that."
That's right. I won't.
"Will you admit it. Directly."
Some small light in his eyes died. "Yes." He kept facing her as if waiting for a response, but she had already said everything she had to say. So after a long moment he composed himself. "I'm sorry it's come to this, my lord," he said, and bowed.
And then he left, as she had always known he would.
Auresse clasped her hands tightly behind her back and stared out into hyperspace. Compared to this, everything else she had to face was straightforward. She looked forward to ending it.
Notes, also with spoilers:
I was going over Sevasht's "Yep, he's totally a plant from day 1" thing and thinking "Well, what if you knew it and tolerated him anyway…but actually got fond of him? What then?" Better get him out of the way someplace. Jail time would probably have to be involved to keep him from doing something stupid.
…now clearly Auresse has to go get with Lord Draahg because none of my Warriors have done that yet…and STOP IT STOP IT THIS WAS A ONE-SHOT, you silly idea monster.
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