(Irsin is sitting at his personal console and closes the interface)
(there is no response)
(Irsin raises an eyebrow and gets up to open the door. Just outside the door stands a hooded figure; the person’s identity is shrouded by the darkness of the hallway. All of a sudden, the figure leaps at Irsin in a rush, wrapping their arms around his shoulders and pushing against him with a kiss. Irsin, upon seeing the shrouded figure, gets halfway to his lightsaber before the assault begins. His eyes open wide in surprise and he mumbles something against the kiss before realizing it’s Q’ayla and the tension drains out of him. He melts against her and pulls her inside, letting the door close. After a time the kiss naturally ends and Irsin pulls back slightly, keeping her in his arms but far enough so he can look at her and speak)
Well that was pleasantly unexpected…
I was just testing the security measures. I’m afraid to say that they were… inadequate. What if I had been an assassin, instead of a Jedi?
(She grins at him, enjoying her fun. He grins back, his expression turning sly)
Are you implying that Jedi have no assassins?
(He playfully kisses her again before continuing)
I’ll have you know that I knew it was you. Being bonded to you has its advantages… your appearance just set off some instincts.
(At his response, Q’ayla starts to pout)
No fair! I was completely stealthy! No one could have detected me! And just so you know, the Jedi do have assassins. I could tell you more… but then, you know…
(He grins anew at her pouting)
What? You’d have to kill me? You were very stealthy. I’m sure you were practically invisible.
(She looks just past him at the room beyond)
So, this is where you’ve been staying?
(He looks over his shoulder at her inquiry. The room beyond is very spartan. There is a single bed, which is little more than a cot, and a table in the corner where Irsin’s personal console sits. In another corner is a small pack for his gear, and in the opposite corner is another pack that looks like Yevra’s. Other than that, there is hardly anything else but some dust hastily swept away to make the room liveable and a small refresher attached to the main chamber)
It’s not much, but it’s been home during the off-shift hours. Never thought I’d miss that blasted ship…
(Q’ayla laughs lightly at that last bit)
I’m sure it misses you too. Well I’ve been missing you. I know it’s only been a day or so, but bear with me. I’m not used to having someone to miss like this. And this has been some day. I know you’re still technically at work, so I won’t bug you for long, but I wanted to make sure you’re okay after the battle today, and everything else that followed.
(She smiles and moves away from him, taking her time in examining the sparse room as she speaks. He reluctantly allows her to move away, seeing the logic of her words, though he does seem slightly disappointed)
Well thank you for stopping by, it’s really no trouble. I’m off duty so I’m only required to be available if something happens, which… well, hopefully after today we have a few hours break before the next catastrophe. I’m doing okay. I’m glad you were there to defend the group during the attack. I don’t think I would have caught up to the assassin in time, and the last thing we need after all we’ve gone through to get this far is someone ruining it all and having them all dissolve into in-fighting.
(At his comment about the assassin, she wheels around at him with a sly smile on her face)
Actually… I should be thanking you. If you hadn’t taken the time to teach me about your invisibility trick, I would have never seen her or her sword coming…
(Her smile warms)
So thank you.
(Though he can’t see her eyes, he can tell that she’s looking him over)
I didn’t get a chance to check on you after the fight. Were you hurt at all? I mean fighting rancors…
(She shakes her head)
…I should have been there with you.
(She goes back to looking over the room. Irsin nods almost in a motion akin to a bow of acknowledgement to her thanks)
Don’t worry about the fight, you had more important things to worry about afterwards. I was hurt somewhat, but not as bad as the others in my group. One of them didn’t make it at all. The other, Tasandra’s husband, only barely pulled through with Q’aleane’s help.
(He smiles again)
Believe it or not, I was taking care of myself for a long time before you came along.
(At his last comment, she tilts her head back with some exasperation)
I know, I know… Never mind.
(She’s made her way to the table in the corner and turning, she leans against it and crosses her arms with a sigh)
Gods, I hate to do this when we’ve seen so little of each other recently, but if we’re going to be honest and forward with each other, I have to ask…
(She turns her face away from him as she speaks this. He seems confused at her exasperation, and almost a little guilty. As if he doesn’t truly understand what he said to be disappointing)
Q’ayla you know you can talk to me. I’m not going to turn away from you. No matter what.
(He crosses the room to come closer to her, but stops short of actually embracing her as if leaving her space if she wants it. She nods at his words, but nevertheless she seems a little fidgety)
I’ve been thinking a lot about everything that’s happened today— before I came over here, I was trying to sort out the information we’ve gained in my journal. But one thing keeps coming into my mind, and I just wanted to ask you about it. I know I’m being selfish, and so feel free to call me out on it, but it’s just not sitting right. So, here goes…
After I knocked out the assassin, you asked Kethrienne about “getting information” out of her, and…
…and it sounded like you were suggesting that you torture her. Was that what you meant?
(She can’t seem to look him in the eye. He seems to realize what she’s concerned about… and lowers his eyes with a sigh, not really sure how to proceed)
I was suggesting doing what was necessary to get information from an enemy assassin who represented an endemic problem within the Witches’ ranks. I… realize this is uncomfortable for you given your experiences, and I assure you there is a very great difference between what was done to you, and what I was proposing. It may seem hard to understand emotionally, but what Trasa did to you was done out of a twisted enjoyment of pain in others. I promise I would have taken no pleasure in whatever I might have had to do there. For some… the means is all that matters. There are firm lines which cannot be crossed. For me… the why of a thing can be just as important, or even more so. Even a terrible thing done for a good reason, or to the goal of benefiting others, can be necessary. This is a truth of War. And make no mistake, this planet is at war. I’m not, nor do I intend to ever be proud of some of the things I have done or would be willing to do in the future. But… I am willing to do them if they must be done. And I won’t hide that. Not from you. I understand if that makes you uncomfortable and…
…and if you need to keep your distance from that… or from me…
(He says the last with great difficulty, as though it is being pulled from him unwillingly, and then he falls silent. At the mention of Trasa, he can see her visibly begin to take long, deep breaths. She continues to fidget a bit, rubbing her arms slowly as though trying to calm herself. As he says the last, her head whips towards him, a somewhat shocked look on her face)
You think this means I don’t want to be with you? That’s not it, Irsin— not at all!
I’m sorry, I said I was being selfish. This subject it really, really hard for me. I can’t not have been tortured to near death. My perspective on the whole thing is… tainted. I don’t know why I asked you about this.
(She seems to be getting frustrated with herself)
I know that you’ve been trained to do… those things. And I’m sure that you’ve used those lessons. It’s not your fault that I can’t align the you I know with the you you know. I’m being stupid and selfish and unfair. I’m sorry…
(She seems to ramble on)
Q’ayla, do not berate yourself for asking. It is only right that you do so. You have every right to want to know my intentions and what I am capable of. You have exposed yourself a great deal to me, and it makes sense that you should want to know my mind. You are not being unfair. You need to give yourself as much grace on this subject as you give me for my own failings. You cannot treat your difficulty with your trauma as something you are failing at. Is is a scar, both emotional and physical, and you may never truly get over it. I certainly don’t expect you to, though it would make me happy if you did if only because you would be happier. You are not being selfish, to talk to me. You are not failing in talking to me, and you are not judging to do so. Cut yourself some slack.
(He pulls her into a hug and tucks her head under his chin)
I love you Q’ayla. We both come with our own baggage. You’re the first one who’s ever truly seemed to accept mine. I would be remiss in the extreme if I didn’t accept yours. The very fact that you see such a good person in me is precisely what makes me want to meet your expectations, and is what gives me hope for the future. Don’t treat yourself any worse than that.
(She allows herself to be hugged)
I love you too. Don’t doubt me so easily. It’s true, I’m traumatized by what happened on Ansion, and honestly? I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. But even if you did something like that to someone, I wouldn’t leave you. I might not stay in the same place while it’s happening, but you’re more important to me than what Trasa and Desvin did to me. I think the nagging feeling that I have is aligning something like torture with someone like you who I love so much. Being a Jedi, I’m used to people aligning to their behavior. If I could just think of you as a Sith, maybe it wouldn’t bother me as much. I don’t know. But I don’t think of you as a Sith. I don’t care what you were. You’ll have to forgive my upbringing— it’s made me ill-prepared for dealing with non-Jedi, our order’s propensity for diplomacy be damned. I’m still trying to figure things out as my world continues to be torn down around me. I wish I wasn’t like this, but I am.
(She unlocks her arms and hugs him tightly)
So thanks… for putting up with me.
(There’s a tone of relief in that. He renews his embrace as she hugs him back, holding her close)
This is a learning experience for both of us. On so many levels. Don’t ever doubt that I’m learning how to not be a Sith just as much as you’re learning how to maybe exceed your own order’s predispositions.
I’m trying… it’s so hard… I still don’t know who I’ll be when this is all said and done. We’ve got a lot left to finish here before we can even think about the Jedi. But I won’t lie, I’m very pleased with how today went. Don’t let my earlier outburst confuse you. The Clanmothers are united, and the end might… just might be in sight.
(She hugs him even tighter)
I want us off this planet. And then we’re going out on the town. I don’t care what planet we’re on. It’s got to be better than this.
…Maybe not Hoth.
(Irsin actually laughs out loud at the comment about Hoth)
I do have to say I’m running low on my supply of Red Dwarf. We need some more stock for the after-mission celebration. And there will be a celebration, of epic proportions. I’ll get Q’aleane to have fun if it kills me. I might even buy a drink for Yevra… if she doesn’t assume it’s poisoned.
(He grins at that, but seems to lose his mirth slowly)
All that being said, I should probably get some rest. You’re welcome to stay here if you want while I sleep, but I’ll have to wake up in a few hours when Yevra’s shift is done. And you might prefer a night uninterrupted.
(She laughs lightly)
You know I want to stay. But as much as I would love to… I’m not sure Yevra would appreciate that. I don’t think she and I are on good terms, and reinforcing my “sins” against the Jedi wouldn’t help that.
I should go.
(She moves her head out from under his chin and kisses him gently before giving him one last tight hug, then moves away towards the door)
Think about where you might want to go after Dathomir. After all, apart from Taris I don’t really know the galaxy that well…
(Then, as she passes through the door)
…But I’m eager to start learning.