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Shmi blinks in surprise at the babbling humanoid in front of her, in some odd mix of Basic and Huttese and something else that she can’t quite place but somehow understands.

 

“I’m so sorry, I usually don’t knock people over, but I’m still getting used to this, and I forgot I could hit people. I’m Hdaforss, by the way. What’s your name?”

 

“…Shmi,” she says in Huttese, pulling herself back onto her feet. “I’m a woman, and my name is Shmi Skywalker.”

 

The humanoid smiles, pulling a strand their curly, colorful hair behind their oddly shaped ear.

 

Hdaforss is wearing a long, dark robe, half black and half white, with a belt of graded blue, green, and red. An offworlder-most likely. They have scales, too, which shimmer in so many iridescent patterns that Shmi can’t quit pick colors to describe them as. Their eyes are pure white, and each strand of their long, curly hair seems as if it’s a different color.

 

They’re beautiful, honestly.

 

“Nice to meet you, Shmi,” they say, switching to just Huttese, themself. “Do you… happen to know where I am?”

 

Shmi smiles.

 

“The podrace track in Mos Espa,” she says. “On Tatooine.”

 

She’s not usually the type of slave to leave Gardula’s place (none are really, that Hutt knew that slaves communicating was dangerous), but she’d been lucky, today. For a certain manner of luck. At least it meant she could speak to the community in town.

 

The humanoid just hmms.

 

“I like desert planets,” they say. “My children do well on them.”

 

Oh?

 

“You seem young for children,” she says. Hdaforss just shrugs.

 

“I’m older than I look,” they say. “Some might even call me… eternal.”

 

Hmm.

 

“So how did you come here?” Shmi asks. “You do not seem to have forgotten anything else.”

 

Hdaforss just shrugs, again.

 

“I go where I’m called,” they explain. “In search.”

 

In search?

 

“And what are you searching for?”

 

Hdaforss moves to answer, but, just then, Gardula calls Shmi’s name.

 

When she looks back, Hdaforss is gone.




Shmi finds herself thinking about the offworlder often, wondering about all of their eccentricities. Hdaforss isn’t like anyone she’s known, and there’s just something about them that sticks with her…

 

“Shmi?”

 

What?

 

Shmi turns around in surprise to see Hdaforss behind her, hair tied behind their head and wearing a far simpler robe, though still red and black.

 

“What are you doing here?” Shmi immediately asks because Gardula lets few but her slaves into this area. Hdaforss just shrugs.

 

“Like I said, I go where I’m called,” they say. “And, once again, I’m called to you…”

 

What is that supposed to mean… actually. No. No time.

 

“You have to leave,” she says. “Gardula or the overseers will be angry if they finds you here.”

 

Hdaforss laughs.

 

“Oh don’t worry about me, Lady Skywalker,” they say. “They can’t hurt me.”

 

Shmi scoffs.

 

“I’m sure you know how to get out of trouble, but I can’t,” she says. “Now, how did you get in here.”

 

Hdaforss shrugs.

 

“I appeared,” they say. “Should I have used the door?”

 

How do they not… you know what? Whatever. Just another of their strange eccentricities.

 

“Yes,” she says. “Now, go.”

 

Hdaforss sighs, nods… and disappears right before Shmi’s eyes.”




For the next year or so, Shmi keeps finding Hdaforss in the oddest places, and she slowly learns more about the mysterious humanoid.

 

“My youngest… zir name was Ej-Loo,” they explain to her. “I failed him terribly. I want to help more, but I can’t . He imploded, almost. Because I couldn’t help zir when he needed me. I’m not even supposed to stay in this form for as long as I do…”

 

And Shmi hugs the humanoid and she thinks she hears them whisper “this is different,” as they cry.

 

Sadly, eventually, an overseer finds them somewhere hidden. Somewhere Hdaforss shouldn’t be. She’s not surprised when she gets beat for it.

 

Nor, really, when Hdaforss is in her room. Well, “cell” would be a more accurate term, but technicalities. And her life. Hdaforss looks at her.

 

“You’re hurt,” they say. Shmi sighs, sitting down next to them on her bed.

 

“I knew it could happen,” she says. “You go where you’re called.”

 

She still has no idea what that means, but she understands it, somehow. But that’s just Hdaforss In a nutshell, really.

 

Hdaforss just reaches out, hands tracing the wounds under her clothing in uncannily accurate patterns.

 

“I put it off,” they explain, “because I love you more than any other… but now is the time.”

 

“Wha—”

 

Hdaforss kisses her, deeply.

 

“Take care of him for me,” they say, “I’m such a disaster while corporeal, but…”

 

Hdaforss trails off, and they disappear for the final time.

 

Shmi never sees them again, but she does wake up in the morning with nothing but scars left on her body.

 

And, though she doesn’t know it, yet, a child.

 

She suspects that, somehow, it’s Hdaforss’.

 

And great mother but she tries to care for her Ani.