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Breaking the Bad News

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                 Before he had joined the Alliance, Kara had treated each interaction with Arcann as a game. Not that she didn't see him as a serious threat, the scar she sported on her stomach was a constant reminder of the danger he could be. But each time they spoke, she could tell how he was affected by the things she said. A jab at his ego and he would attack, an offhand flirt would go over his head, kindness towards him and he acted as if he was both insulted and confused.

                She had offered to stand down when he had asked on Asylum, he was surprised, but she could tell he was grateful. She had meant it, too, but Valkorian interfered and the situation turned violent. So many times she attempted to end things peacefully, until finally, at the boulevard, he offered her his loyalty and vowed to atone. Since then the war had escalated and Kara had no time to focus on the thoughts intruding in her mind, thoughts of him, and what could happen once there was peace.

                She couldn't deny that he had become more open around her, and in turn she caught herself relying on him more than once. Then came the fight against Vaylin and soon after against Valkorian for a final time.  Kara could not even imagine what she would've done without Arcann at her side. A time of peace was settling over the galaxy, now was a time to cool down and face the choices that were made, and the losses they suffered.

                Vette's death was one that ate at her. She had chosen to back up Torian, confident that Vette would be able to find a way to save herself. Kara’s decision was also heavily based on her respect for the Mandalorian and the growing connection she felt toward Torian. He had become like a brother to her, whether or not he felt the same.

                Kara sighed in thought, her legs tucked under her as she attempted to settle her rampaging thoughts. So much had happened, and she couldn't help but focus on the mistakes she made.

                Would anything have changed if she tried to save Vette instead? Would Torian have died in the twi'lek's place? And if that had happened, would she have been able to continue her fight after loosing someone so close to her heart. They weren't blood, she had to remind herself. They looked as if they were related, but in the end they weren't. Her brother, Koro was on Coruscant city helping with repairs, while her adoptive brother and sister were still missing.Tears stung her closed eyes as she thought of them, her mind locking onto the final thought; Trey was Vette's husband, she would have to tell him what happened.

                Taking a deep breath and pushing it out slowly, Kara shifted her thoughts, moving her focus to more uplifting events. The eternal empire was stopped, and the emperor was gone forever. Kara had assumed the throne to take his place, though she still disliked the idea of ruling and being confined to one place. At least had her friends by her side, Senya, Lana, Arcann, and Theron. They were there for her, and the thought of Theron being there for her every step of the way warmed her heart.

                A knock at the door pulled her from her reflection. "It's open." she called out as she pulled her legs out from under her as the door whooshed open.

                Pierce glanced around a moment before giving her a lazy smile as he held up a datapad. He had been tasked to find any of Vette's surviving family. Since Pierce had traveled with the twi'lek along with Nora years back, she figured he may know more than even Lana. ."I found the last location of Vette's sister..." His heavy accent was laced with exhaustion. "Tivva." he said as he approached the smuggler, "She's been working in a small shop on Nar Shaddaa for the past few months."

                Kara took the pad and inspected it, "What kind of shop?" Her question earned a shrug from the large man. She shook her head, "Well, it's better than nothing. Thank you." She smiled before standing up and retrieving her breastplate. "Get some sleep alright? I'll go talk to her." Pierce nodded before turning and leaving his commander to gear up.

                Once Kara strapped on her armor, she quickly headed to her ship, nodding politely at the people she passed. She turned into the hangar, making every attempt to avoid being noticed by Lana, sure that the overly anxious sith would insist someone should accompany her. Kara didn't plan on leaving without saying a word, but she knew this was something she needed to do alone.

                Once aboard her ship, it was simple enough to slip out of the base and hit hyperspace before opening a channel back to announce her departure. The holo took a moment to connect before a miniature Lana materialized above the device.

                "Commander?" Lana asked, her confusion apparent. "Where are you?"

                Kara gave the sith a small smile before answering. "I'm on my way to Nar Shaddaa to take care of… some personal business. Not to worry, I shouldn't be long."

                "Why would you be going to Nar Shaddaa?" Senya asked, the holoimage shifting to the matron knight.

                "Like I said. Some personal business. I'll try and pick something up for you while I'm there."

                "Please tell me you at least brought someone with you." Lana shook her head in annoyance as she spoke, already knowing the answer.

                Kara gave a half smile in response and shook her head. "I promise to be careful. I'll holo you when I head back." Then she clicked off the transmitter before they could try and talk her out of it. She'd have to remember to apologize to Theron when she got back as well, since she had forgotten to leave a note.

                Taking a mental note to find a way to make it up to the her lover, Kara kicked her legs up and closed her eyes, attempting to get a short nap in before she reached the planet.

                The nearby console began beeping after what felt like no more than a minute, and Kara's eyes snapped open. Stretching, she turned her attention to the alert and prepped the ship to exit hyperspace. As the ship decelerated and the planet came into view, the smuggler opened a channel and sent her docking request through, waited for her approval from the space port, and brought her ship in to land safely in the city’s docking bay.

                Kara strapped on her belt and blasters, and tucked her lightsaber in a hidden compartment on her right boot. Patting the side of her boot to make sure the hilt would be out of sight, she stood up and headed down the ramp and out of the port. Some members of the Alliance strode by as she headed for the taxi, recognizing their commander they snapped off a salute. Kara gave them a smile and signaled for them to be at ease as she passed before returning on her way.

                Her mind raced. She wasn't sure how she was going to break the news to Tivva. What would she say? Hey, I was your sister's boss, and now she's dead. Sorry?

                Kara shook her head, that just sounded bad. She had never had to tell someone that a family member had died. She quickly purchased a taxi ride to the promenade, climbed in the vehicle and leaned back as it carried her to her destination.

                Looking around, the city hadn't changed much since she had been there back when she was just a smuggler; no responsibilities, no war, just her ship and her friends and her hunt for Skavak. She laughed, back then she wouldn't have expected that she would miss the man, but the memories of him and Risha, and even Corso brought the reminder of how much she still had left to get back.

                When the taxi brought her to the promenade landing pad, Kara jumped out, shoving the memories to the back of her mind as she strode purposefully down the halls to the shop Pierce had said Tivva worked at. She still wasn't sure what she would say, but she had always been better at coming up with something on the fly anyway.

                Entering the shop, she looked around hoping to see Tivva, or any twi'lek that looked even similar to Vette, manning the floor. The store appeared to be empty aside from a young mirilan woman behind the counter. Kara grumbled a moment before turning her attention to the girl.

                "Sorry to bother you, miss." Kara gave the woman a winning smile, "But would you happen to know if someone named Tivva was working today?"

                The girl looked up at her, returning the smile before nodding, "She's in back on break, hang on." She gestured for Kara to stay put and ran to the door on the back wall. Sticking her head in, Kara could hear her shout, "Tivva! Someone's here to see you." Kara couldn't hear the response, but the Mirilan could, "I'm not sure… a blonde woman in black armor." She paused a moment, before replying again, "Alright, I'll let her know."

                The Mirilan returned to the counter, giving Kara a practiced smile that made the smuggler uneasy, "She'll be right up." Kara nodded before leaving the counter to browse, hoping to find a gift for Theron while she was here.

                In the time it had taken for Tivva to come up from the back room, Kara had purchased a few items for Theron, as well as something for Arcann. The twi'lek turned her attention to Kara as soon as her boots hit the sales floor.

                "Can I help you?" Tivva asked, eying Kara in suspicion.

                The smuggler gave her a sad smile, "I'm Commander Kara Hawke, of the Alliance." She bowed slightly to the twi'lek. Tivva's eyes widened for a split second, but otherwise remained silent. Kara waited a moment before continuing, choosing her words carefully. "I've come to give you news on your sister, Vette."

                "Ce'na?" Tivva clasped her hands together, "Where is she? Is she alright?"

                Kara looked away, not sure how to continue. She never had to deliver bad news to anyone before, how was she going to do this. She now regretted not bringing someone with her, she was sure Senya would've been good at this sort of thing.

                Before she could continue, the bell by the door rang as a customer entered. Tivva turned her attention to the newcomer, and waved them over, "Trey, perfect timing." She smiled at the man as he came to stand by the woman, "This is the commander of the Alliance. She said she knows Vette." She gestured to Kara, "Right?"

                Kara looked up at the man, nodding slowly. He was taller than her, with dirty blonde hair and tan skin and hazel eyes. He also sported a deep red tattoo across his forehead, clearly marking him as Sith. He cocked his head to the side, his expression guarded, "You know my wife?"

                Wife? Kara's heart sank, she knew she should've recognized the name. "Y-Yes. We fought together against Zakuul." She paused. She had not been even slightly prepared for this. "Vette was a good friend of mine during the time she was part of the Alliance."

                "Was?" Trey asked, emphasizing the word. He already radiated aggression and it took everything Kara had not to turn and bail before she got herself killed. She was really regretting not bringing someone with her.

                "Yes… I." She swallowed hard. "I'm sorry." She couldn't look him in the eye, not that she needed to. This was Trey -- Trey Hawke, Nora's missing twin. And this was the first time she got to meet him, and it was to tell him his wife was dead. "Vaylin managed to capture her during the final battle, and..." She shook her head; she couldn't even finish the sentence.

                "And?" He asked, his voice deathly calm. "And what?"

                Kara shook her head, "I'm so sorry."

                As soon as sorry had left her mouth, she should've bowed out, should've listened to the voice in her head that was screaming at her to leave while she had the chance. But her pride and her shame kept her rooted there, looking at the floor as she felt the rage build in the man before her.

                "You're 'sorry'?" He spoke through gritted teeth, like he was struggling to keep himself calm. Kara was sure he was. She looked up at him, hoping he could see how sincerely upset she was about Vette's death, but when she looked at him all she could see was barely reigned rage. "You let her die, and all you have to say is I'm sorry?"

                "There wasn't anything I could do. I wasn't able to save her." Kara struggled to keep eye contact with him. She was scared, more scared than she could ever recall being in her life. "I'm sorry." She bowed, dropping to her knees, hoping that would help somehow, "If there is anything I can do to help."

                The sound of a lightsaber igniting caused her eyes to snap open a split second before she felt the pain of the blade as it burned into her left shoulder. Pulling the blade out in an arc that sliced the latch from the side of Kara's breastplate, Trey brought his boot to the exit wound, kicking hard and causing the smuggler to flip onto her back, grunting in pain. The sound of a startled scream from both the Mirilan and Tivva was drowned out by the sound of the lightsaber buzz as Trey swung it around in a flourish.

                "You can help." He flipped the blade again as he stepped around to stand above the wounded commander, his feet on either side of her waist. His eyes flicked to the wound that he had caused on her shoulder, it was deep, but it wasn't life threatening and she wouldn't lose the limb. He grinned, "Yeah. You can help alright." He repeated.

                He brought the blade down, aiming to make the current wound worse, but Kara reacted on instinct, swinging her legs out and twisting to roll to the side, the blade glanced off the barely attached shoulderpad and nicked her arm before burying into the bloodied floor where she had been. Trey snarled as he drew back the blade.

                Kara was already on the move. Using her fear to drive her, she scooted out from under him, rolled onto her knees, and drew her gun. Her left arm was already feeling numb, either from the adrenaline or from the wound, she didn't know, but she still had to make use of the limb. Her hand closed around the blaster on her hip, the feeling foreign, and shakily aimed it along with its twin at the Sith before her. "I'm sorry, Trey, I don't know how I can make it up to you, but I'm sincerely sorry."

                Trey growled in reply, lunging to swing his blade at her. Kara dodged to the side, her moves slower than she would've preferred, but she managed to avoid the blazing saber. Or at least she thought she had. As soon as she had turned to bring her blasters up to fire at him, he suddenly shifted his stance and she was hit in the side with a second lightsaber.

                She fell to the ground, rolling away and back into a crouch and dropping her cover screen as she touched her wound carefully. It had hit her breastplate, thankfully, but she wasn't sure how many blows like that the durasteel could take. She looked up at him as he stalked forwards, flipping both blades in his hands, his body practically ablaze. A marauder just like his sister, she should've expected that.

                He advanced on her, and she knew that she wouldn't be able to win. This wasn't anything like before, even against Vaylin. Kara doubted there was anything even going through Trey's mind aside from pure bloodlust and grief. He didn't even take to using the lightsaber stance or forms that are taught to Jedi and Sith alike, he merely swung his blades in an unpredictable manner that made it difficult for the wounded smuggler to dodge, much less fight back.

                Suddenly he lunged. Kara brought up her wounded arm, taking the brunt of the attack on her gauntlets and let it deflect off, catching her upper arm once more. She knew a few more of those and that arm would be useless. He brought the hilt around, slamming the cold metal into Kara's wrist and knocking the blaster from her right hand. Abandoning the dropped weapon, she retreated, pressing her back against the shop's front wall. She glanced at the door, trying to come up with a way to escape and make it back to her ship in one piece. It was a slim chance, but if she could get out the door she knew she'd be able to make it to safety, as long as her luck held.

                Not giving the wounded woman a chance, Trey swung the blade back around, looking to either sever her wounded arm or to damage the other. Kara pressed a button on her glove and popped open the hidden compartment in her right boot, retrieving the lightsaber she had stashed there. Igniting the blade she swung it up and blocked Trey’s attack. She breathed heavily, exhaustion taking over. She had no chance at winning this, and survival was starting to be questionable with the amount of wounds that littered her body.

                Trey lunged once more, swinging his blade at her wounded side, Kara reacted quickly, bringing her own blade to block the attack and twist out of his reach. He reacted just as quickly, bringing the other blade around while she had her side to him. Turning she brought her right leg up, attempting to kick the blade from his hand, or to knock him off balance so she could escape. She succeeded at surprising him at the very least, but the surprise was short lived as he spun around and brought both blades around and sliced deep into her leg.

                Crying out, the smuggler crumpled to the floor, and clutched at the wound with her injured arm as she held up her own blade in a weak defense. The slash had penetrated to the bone, possibly even deeper. She clenched her teeth at the searing pain, and glared up at him, but the surprised look on his face wasn't what she had expected to find.

                Trey’s expression looked like someone had just told him he had killed his own family, and given the situation, it wasn't far off. Even though the pain stung bitterly, and her leg seemed to be barely attached, Kara took the opportunity to lunge out the door.. Sprinting as fast as her wounds would let her, she made her way through the startled crowds toward the nearby landing platform. She came across an unattended swoop bike idling as its owner argued with a nearby Nikto. Thanking the force, Kara hopped on grunting with pain, then kicked off, speeding away as the owner realized what just happened.

                Arriving at the space port, Kara abandoned the swoop, hoping the owner could get to it before someone else stole it, then limped her way to her ship. The ramp opened as she approached, and she rushed up making her way to the cockpit. She dropped her lightsaber in the spare chair, and cursed as she realized she left her blasters behind. She retrieved an emergency first aid kit that she kept stored under her chair. Punching in the coordinates for Odessen, she sat back and quickly opened the kit, pulling out some kolto and bandages.

                As the ship lifted off and hit hyperspace, she shoved the needle of the pack into her leg, attempting to save to damaged limb, or at least to lessen the pain before she passed out. The feeling had been dancing around in the back of her head, threatening to overwhelm her during the fight, but the adrenaline had kept it down. Now that she wasn't fighting for her life, she could feel the pain taking control, and her consciousness slipping.

                Her last fleeting thoughts before losing the battle to stay awake: reckless, loss, anger and confusion. She hoped Theron wouldn't be upset with her.  

Chapter Text

                When Kara had left, Lana was practically fuming. It wasn't like the commander wasn't allowed to leave, but the woman had a tendency to get herself into trouble if she was alone. Lana shook her head, calming herself and reminding herself that the war was over, and Kara had every right to go where she pleased. And at least she had said something, even if she didn't explain why.

                Theron had entered the room while Lana was grumbling, and he shot her a questioning look, "Everything alright there Lana?" He asked, raising an eyebrow as he spoke.

                "Fine, Theron," She grumbled, "The Commander just left a short while ago for Nar Shaddaa, claiming she'll be back soon." She shook her head.

                "Did she give a reason before she left?" Theron picked up a datapad and began flipping through the information.

                "After she had hit hyperspace she holo'd and said it was 'personal' and that we shouldn't worry." Lana took the datapad from him, "Aren't you concerned?"

                "Why should I be?" He shrugged, glancing over at Senya as she went over some troop movements with Aric, "Maybe she learned something about Nora and went to check it out. Or her father asked her to do something for him?" He looked back at the Sith and shrugged, "She'll be fine." He gave the blonde a smile before he took the datapad back and went to join Senya and Aric.

Lana shook her head, but turned her attention back to her work. She had a bad feeling but there was nothing she could do about it now.

                A few hours later a sensor went off, alerting the arrival of a ship in the Odessen system. Teeseven plugged himself into the console before beeping excitedly and rushing off to the hangar. Lana looked up from her work as the droid sped off, "The commander's back?" she asked no one in particular before following after the droid.

                Heading to the bridge that connected the base to Kara's landing pad, Lana discovered that Theron had arrived before her. He glanced back at her, giving her a look that just screamed 'I told you so' before returning his attention to the descending ship. Arcann joined, along with Senya, and the group watch as the ship carefully landed in its designated spot.

                "Strange." Theron said as the ship depressurized and unlocked, "She never uses autopilot to land." Lana looked at him, a question forming, but Arcann started toward the ship before she could get a word out.

                "Something's wrong." Was all he said as he pushed past the group and practically sprinted to the descending ramp, Theron hot on his heels.

                The pair raced up the ramp and into the cockpit, finding the commander passed out in her seat, blood everywhere and a first aid kit in her lap. Her breastplate was half off, and half destroyed,  the lone lightsaber lying in the neighboring chair and her blasters were not found. Lana was right to worry, she has sensed something was wrong.

                "Arcann, go get help, I'll see what I can do to stop the bleeding." Theron had already set to work, removing the remains of her breastplate with practiced speed, and shot a look to the scarred man at his side. "Hurry!"

                Arcann nodded and bolted back out of the ship, hearing Theron muttering 'what did you get yourself into...' as he left. He exited the ship, concern clear on his face, shoving his way past his mother and Lana as he rushed back into the base.

                The two women watched him disappear into the building before they turned and entered the ship, both ready for anything. Senya noticed the trail of blood leading to the cockpit. By the time the women had entered Theron had managed to get her armor off and was tending the wound on her leg. Concern and fear radiated off of him in waves,  Lana could tell that she was severely wounded.

                "These are lightsaber wounds. Who would do such a thing?" Senya asked, taking in the extent of the injuries.

                Theron shook his head, but kept his attention focused on her injured leg. Heavy footsteps alerted them to the med unit having arrived, and the trio gave them space to carefully get their commander out of her ship quickly and safely.

                The med unit rushed her out, keeping care so they wouldn't jostle her. The trio followed soon after, watching them rush their friend off and into the base. Arcann was standing at the base of the ramp, and he looked up at them, his attention focused on Theron.

                "Go." He nodded towards the base, "You should be there with her."

                Theron shook his head. "I'd just be in the way right now." He took a slow breath, "She's in bad shape and they don't need me pestering them while they work." He turned and went back into the ship, Arcann following him in, "I'll clean up the ship, she'd have a fit if she could see how much of a mess she made." He gave a shaky laugh as he retrieved a box from a side room, "Besides it'll keep me from dismantling the base while I wait."

                "I'll help." Arcann offered.

                Theron waved him off, shaking his head. "It's fine. Go and keep an eye on her, keep me posted on how she's doing."

                Arcann narrowed his eyes in annoyance before taking a bottle from the box. "I'll help." he repeated, gripping the other man's shoulder.

                Admitting defeat, Theron nodded solemnly, "Fine." He then turned his attention to Lana.

                "We'll let you know when she's out of surgery." Lana said, giving her friend a sad smile.

                Theron returned it, "Thanks." He said quietly.

                He stood for a moment then slammed his hands against the wall of the ship overwhelmed with frustration and uncertainty. Arcann watched him shake his head then returned to a calm state turning to hand him a towel. The two started working on cleaning up the ship while the two women returned to the base to stay with the commander during recovery.

Chapter Text

                The last thing Kara had felt before falling unconscious was fear, fear of worrying Theron again, and fear of dying. She knew that there would be permanent damage, and she thanked the stars that her breastplate had held together during that onslaught.

                But now, the fight was over, she had bled out badly, and she was sure she'd die before landing in Odessen. She had lost, and yet she felt so peaceful, like she was floating. Everything was numb and she felt safe. Almost too safe, the warning bells were going off in her mind. She wasn't dead, but she didn't know where she was and she couldn't move, couldn't even open her eyes.

                There were faint voices too, nothing that she could make out in her haze, but they were there, and she clung to them, wanting herself to wake up, pulling herself from the void. It was a struggle, everything was telling her to sleep, to rest, but she held onto that one bit of fear -- that bell that rang in the back of her mind, and pulled herself through to a waking state.

                Her eyes snapped open, suddenly taking in the familiar ceiling. The voices became more clear, distinct and recognizable. She still couldn't move, but she was awake, and alive.

                "Her arm may need augmentations for it to be healed completely, but her leg will likely need to be replaced."

                Arm... The left was cut up badly in the fight, but she could feel it, it still worked. She tried flexing her hand slowly, trying not to alert anyone to her being awake. The limb responded, but it was sluggish, whether that was from the pain meds or from damage she couldn't tell. Her leg... She couldn't feel at all. Again it could've been from the meds, but she highly doubted it. She closed her eyes, it had held up to get her to her ship and get her home, and it's better to have lost her leg than her life.

                "How long until she wakes up?" The voice was low and tired. Arcann was there, she couldn't help but smile that he'd be there to check on her.

                "Should be soon. If Theron hadn't tended to her as quickly as he did, she would’ve  been out much longer, but..." The humor was evident in the voice even if the topic wasn't happy. It was Dr Lokin speaking then. She was glad the doctor had been there to help. And Theron had been the one to find her? That thought hit hard. She felt terrible, she didn't tell him that she was leaving, and then he finds her a bloody mess. The thought made her groan in annoyance at her stupidity.

                The sound caught the attention of Lokin, who turned from the people he was talking to and went to Kara's side. "Well, look who's awake. How are you feeling Commander?"

                "Like I got thrown in an engine." She grumbled out. Her throat was sore, and she was starting to feel the pain med wear off. Lokin gave her a sad smile, nodded, and turned to check some monitors that were beside her bed. Her right hand moved slightly, and she felt a warm hand grip hers. Turning she saw Theron sitting by her side.

                "Hey." He gave her a worried smile.

                "Hey." She returned.

                "How're you feeling?" He gripped her hand gently as he spoke, concern plain in his voice.

                She laughed, wincing slightly, "Well, better now."

                "I'll leave you three alone while I go check on some supplies." He patted the canopy on the bed. "Don't push yourself." Then he turned and left.

                "Three?" Kara asked.

                "I can leave if you don't want me here." Kara glanced at Arcann as he approached the bed, remembering that he had been in the room too.

                "It's alright." She sighed, wincing as her shoulder shifted. "How mad is she?"

                "Lana? Practically livid." Theron shook his head, "I think she's just glad you made it back alive."

                Kara nodded slowly.

                "What happened?" Arcann asked, taking a seat. "You left without a word, and then...." He gestured to her vaguely, and then reached down to take her free hand, inspecting it carefully and earning a curious look from Theron.

                "Vette's sister." Kara paused, wincing as Arcann ran his hand against a sore spot. He stopped, unsure if he'd hurt her. "Pierce had found her, and I wanted to tell her what had happened."

                Theron nodded, understanding why she'd want to go alone. "And she did this?" He questioned. He had heard Vette speak of her sister before, but she didn't make her sound like much of a fighter.

                Kara shook her head. "No. It wasn't her. Trey was there, and he didn't take to the news too well."

                "Who's Trey?" Arcann asked.

                "My brother." Kara glanced at him, noting the regret that flashed across his face before it was replaced by concern. "We're not blood, but he's Nora's twin, and she's my sister, so..." She trailed off.

                "Trey was Vette's husband, he was missing until recently. So this was a surprise." Theron said, finishing her explanation.

                Arcann nodded his understanding. "And he did all this?"

                "He's Sith." She shrugged, wincing again, "He was really upset and lost control, but he came to his senses at the end, I think. When I escaped." She gripped Arcann's hand before he could pull it back, "I'll be fine."

                "Lokin said you're leg will probably need to be removed." Theron said, reaching over to brush her hair from her face. "But otherwise you'll make a full recovery."

                "I heard." She paused, "Thank you -- both of you. I heard you found me."

                "Don't worry about it, you need someone to look out for you when you get in over your head." Theron squeezed her hand, "We cleaned the ship too, so don't worry about it."

                Kara's eyes widened. "Cleaned it? Really?" Theron nodded, "How much of it? That would take.. Wait, how long was I out?"

                Theron laughed, "Not all of it, just the entry and cockpit. So... what, a day?" Arcann nodded in confirmation. "Don't worry. And I put your armor and lightsaber in our room so you can see to that when you're back on your feet."

                "Thank you." She smiled at him. "My bag, was it still on my belt?"

                "The black one? Yeah, it was."

                "I had picked up something for you, and Arcann, hopefully they didn't break in the fight."

                Theron grinned, "I'll check it out and go get some sleep. So get some rest." He stood up and kissed her lightly on the lips and then on the forehead before releasing her hand.

                Arcann nodded, standing as well, giving her hand a careful squeeze before releasing it, "Sleep well." He turned and followed after Theron, the pair paused letting Lokin and the nearby nurses know what they had observed.

                Kara watched them talk for a time before she slowly drifted off to sleep once more.

Chapter Text

                When Kara awoke some time later, the first thing she noted was a feeling of loss. She shifted, stretching her stiff limbs as much as she could before she felt any pain. Sitting up, she glanced around the room, finding it to be empty aside from a medical droid quietly bustling about, taking inventory while it was slow. The droid didn't seem to notice of her moving around.

                After pushing herself up to a sitting position, Kara pushed the blankets down off her legs, taking in the extent of her injuries as she did so. The wound on her shoulder was obviously bad, and the arm was sore, but it had been tended well and, after stretching it carefully, she was sure she'd have little lasting damage to the limb.

                Moving down, she brushed her hand gently across the bandages on her arm, and took in the extent of the bruises that had formed along the limb. Glancing at her other arm she found a good amount there as well. Sighing in relief at the generally small amount of wounds she had, she turned her attention to her legs. Pulling the blankets the rest of the way off, she took in the source of the feeling that she had gotten when she had awoken. While her left leg was fine, aside from some minor cuts and bruises, but her right was heavily marred and had been amputated just above the knee and in its place there was a prosthetic.

                Kara sighed heavily at the sight, realizing just how badly the fight had gone. Glancing around and finding the droid had left the room, she turned and let her legs dangle off the bed. Flexing her legs she felt the mechanical one respond sluggishly at first, watching it slowly move as if it was still her organic one. She shook her head, focusing on the limb, and bent her legs, swinging them back and then forward again, testing the range of motion and the level of pain she felt from where the metal attached to the rest of the limb. It moved steadily enough, albeit not as smoothly as she would've liked, Kara pushed herself from the bed, attempting to stand.

                As soon as her feet hit the floor, the prosthetic gave out under her, causing her to pitch to the side. Her arm flailed out, trying to catch herself before she hit the floor, but her descent was suddenly stopped before she had even realized that she missed grabbing onto the bed. She was then lifted gently off her feet and placed back onto the bed. A low chuckle caused her to turn towards the door, surprise still apparent on her face.

                "You shouldn't be on your feet yet." Arcann said and he strode into the room, lowering his arm as he entered. Walking around to the other side of the bed, he gave her a once over. "The doctor said that you're healing well, and that there shouldn't be any lasting scars aside from..." He trailed off as his gaze drifted to her leg. He took a heavy breath before returning his attention to her face, though his focus did linger on the scar on her ribs a moment first.

                Kara nodded, "I'm just happy I made it out alive, honestly." She gave him a small smile, noting that he was turning something in his hand as he pulled up a chair and sat in front of her.

                He brought it up to show her, "Thank you for this, by the way." showing her the gift she had bought for him, a glass orb depicting a small galaxy. He turned it in his hand, letting the faux stars in the orb catch the dim lighting of the med bay. The orb sported a small crack across the one side, but seemed to be otherwise undamaged. "It's beautiful." he said quietly. Glancing up at him she caught a hint of a smile as he turned it, the star globe had stood out to her back at the shop, and she couldn't help but think that it suited him. And watching him now, she was glad she had bought it.

                They sat in a comfortable silence for a short time, before Kara began shifting anxiously, feeling the need to get up and move around. Her movement brought Arcann's attention back to her.

                "Do you want to walk around?" He asked. When she nodded he stood up and grabbed a robe for her to put on before helping her to her feet and bracing her so she wouldn't fall over again. "Take it easy, they had just finished the fitting a few hours ago."

                Kara glanced at him as he helped her walk through the med bay, "How long was I out this time?"

                "Two days. Theron had been here pretty much the whole time."

                Kara sighed, "I didn't mean to worry him so much. Is he alright?"

                Arcann nodded, "I managed to convince him to get some sleep, promised I'd stay with you in the mean time. He should be asleep in your room." He paused, pressing a button of the wall to open the door as the pair made their way out of the room. "But..."

                "He's probably working." Kara finished, laughing quietly. "He's very dedicated to his job."

                "And to you as well." He glanced at the woman leaning on him as they walked slowly down the hall. She smiled at that. "It took a lot to get him to leave your side so the doctors could perform the surgery on your leg."

                "I hope he didn't cause too much trouble."

                "Enough." He chuckled, "But that soldier friend of yours kept him out of the way."

                Kara nodded, "Did you tell Pierce what had happened? He was friends with Trey."

                Arcann shook his head, "Not yet, and he didn't push for details from us. He probably will ask you once everyone else knows you're back on your feet."

                "Oh yes, because I'm doing such a great job of walking on my own at the moment." She laughed sadly.

                "You'll get used to it, trust me."

                There was a throbbing pain where her leg connected to the prosthetic, but Kara ignored it as much as she could, keeping most of her weight on her other leg and Arcann's shoulder. The metal limb was slow and felt entirely unnatural and she doubted she'd ever get completely used to the feeling, but she did try her best to make do with what she had, because at least she had survived the encounter. She sighed in thought as she ran through the fight again in her head, taking note to get a new pair of blasters when she got the chance.

                The silence dragged on while the pair made their way through the base, Arcann leaving his commander to her thoughts. He still remembered when he lost his arm, remembered the pain and the shock of having the warm limb be replaced with something cold and metal. But he hadn't had the chance to gradually adjust to the new limb, he had been in a battle with little time to do more than fight immediately after the injury. But he had Thexan there by his side when it happened, and he vowed to do the same for Kara, to be the rock for her as she took the time to adjust to her new limb, something that he hadn't had the luxury of.

                After making their way past what Kara was pretty sure was the mess hall, she glanced up at him, "Where are we going?"

                "I figured you'd want some fresh air." He answered simply, taking her around another turn and walked out onto the balcony overlooking the Gravestone. "We can go back if you want."

                "No, I..." She took a deep breath, looking up at the night sky, "I needed this, thank you." As they approached the railing she pushed off from his shoulder and took a few careful steps before leaning on the cold metal.

                "Guess I'm not the only one who needed a breather." A voice from her left alerted her to Theron exiting the lift from the war room. "It's good to see you up and on your feet."

                "Theron." Kara smiled at him, "Shouldn't you be getting some rest?"

                He waved her off, "I'll sleep when you're released from the med bay." He smiled at her, though he was obviously still very concerned, "Speaking of, I don't think you're supposed to be out of bed yet." He looked at Arcann, raising an eyebrow in question.

                "She was getting restless, so I walked her out here. You would've done the same." Arcann crossed his arms across his chest, silently daring the spy to claim otherwise.

                Theron put his hands up in defeat, earning a small laugh from Kara, "You got me. But all the same, we should get you back before Lokin realizes you've escaped."

                Kara nodded in agreement, "I don't think I should be on my feet too long anyway." She reached over and leaned on Arcann once more. "Let's go back, I'm sure he'll release me soon enough."

                "Especially if he doesn't notice that you left in the first place." Theron added, approaching the pair to see if there was any way he could help. Seeing that they had it all under control he took to standing on her side opposite of Arcann as they headed inside.

                "And why would you think I wouldn't notice?" Doctor Lokin spoke up as the trio rounded the corner. His normally jovial expression was replaced with a mask of tired annoyance.

                "Oh." Kara smiled at him innocently, "I'm sorry… I insisted on leaving, Lokin."

                "I'm aware, the med droid came and got me as soon as you started moving around." He gestured for them to continue, and kept himself a step ahead of them, "I also have cameras and saw you two leave."

                "You hid cameras in the med bay?" Theron asked.

                "Does that honestly surprise you? I was part of Imperial Intelligence." The doctor smiled at them proudly.

                "Point taken."

                They walked back to the med bay in silence. It wasn't until they reached the door that Kara spoke up again.

                "Has there been any word on Trey since I got back?"

                Arcann glanced at her, concern apparent on his face, as Theron shook his head.

                "Nothing yet," He said, "Lana has some contacts keeping an eye out, but since you..." He grimaced, "Nothing, no."

                Kara nodded, "I wish we could've gotten a chance to talk. Maybe he would know where Nora is, he cares so much about her, I figured he'd be the best shot at finding her."

                "What about her husband?" Theron asked. "He's been in contact with Jorgan recently, could ask him."

                "He has?" Kara asked. With Arcann's assistance she sat down on the bed, letting Lokin inspect her injuries while they spoke. "I thought Mikael's been too busy with the war." She flinched when the doctor rubbed a bit of kolto on her leg.

                Theron shrugged, "He's still the commander of Havoc, if only in title at this point." He glanced over his shoulder as Lana walked into the room, datapad in hand. "Maybe we'll be lucky and she'll have been with him the whole time."

                "As if we'd be that lucky." Kara sighed, "I doubt the Republic would let a Sith fight alongside them, especially the 'Emperor's Wrath'."

                "I see you're awake Commander." Lana greeted her, giving the smuggler a stern look as she strode up to the bed, "I believe it's safe to assume that you're speaking of Lord Nora again." She seated herself in one of the chairs next to the bed as Kara laid back down, letting Lokin finish his examinations of her injuries. "I have my agents out looking for her, so don't worry and focus on your recovery."

                "She's been missing for six years, I'd prefer to find her while we have even the smallest clue, rather than wait." Kara grit out as Lokin redressed her wounds.

                Lana nodded in understanding, "I know how important she is to you Commander, but trust me with this and focus on your own health before you worry about others." She sighed when Kara glared at her, "Very well, I was planning on waiting for confirmation before I sent the report your way, but one of my contacts did alert me to someone who fits the description of Nora."

                "Which contact?" Theron asked, leaning on the wall.

                Arcann had also taken a seat during their conversation, keeping silent but paying attention to the many details about the commander that he had never known about. Kara smiled at him gratefully as he took her hand in his before returning their attention to the conversation.

                "A friend amongst the Sith, Anya Reyes." Lana stated, handing the datapad to Theron as she spoke. "She claims to have seen her on Alderaan recently, but hasn't given much detail as of yet."

                At the mention of the name Kara gripped Arcann's hand tightly. He looked at her, noting the annoyance on her face, and felt her usual confidence waver slightly. "Who's Anya?" Arcann asked.

                The advisors looked over at him, Lana answering his question, "A powerful Sith. She usually keeps to herself, and never took a title, but she's well known for her... questionable... methods to gain power."

                "She also happens to be my mother." Kara finished, pulling the blankets up with her free hand as Lokin walked away from the bed, excusing himself from the conversation before he was pulled in as more than just an observer. "Koro and I were meant to 'inherit' her power but we didn't work out."

                Lana looked away, as Arcann spoke up once more, "What didn't work out?"

                Kara gave him a sad smile, "Koro wasn't force sensitive and was left with his uncle. And I had 'too much of my father in me' and was left with my dad as a toddler. So she’s…. not exactly the most loving mother in the galaxy."

                Theron laughed quietly at the comment, but said nothing.

                "I think Senya's been more of a mother to me than Anya ever has, and we've known each other for only a little over a year." Kara continued. "So let's just leave it as it's complicated."

                Arcann nodded, "You were raised by your father then?"

                "Yeah, for a while." Kara laughed, "He trained me as his Padawan until I ran away and became a smuggler." She grinned, "I have yet to regret that choice. I probably wouldn't've met any of you if I had stayed meditating in the temple."

                "Yeah, because Jedi training is sooooo terrible." Blue said as he walked in, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "And here I heard you only managed to survive your fight because of that training."

                Kara rolled her eyes at her father before shaking her head. "I'll give you that much, it did help me in a pinch. Maybe it was where I was trained that made me want to travel far away and ‘see the stars'." She said mockingly.

                "Wait, I thought you liked Rishi!" Blue laughed. "Anyway, how are you feeling? Any better?"

                "A bit better now. Don't think I'll get used to this though." She wiggled her right leg as she spoke.

                "Patience. Give it some time and don't push yourself. You'll be back in fighting form before you know it."

                "I sure hope so. Couldn't get much of anywhere without leaning on Arcann, and as lovely as that was, I don't was to be a burden." Kara sighed.

                "Trust me, we've relied on you for a long time, the least we can do is be there for you." Theron smiled, pushing off from the wall to stand next to her, Lana joining him as well. He placed a hand on her arm comfortingly.

                "I appreciate it, really." She said, giving them a small smile, "But I'd also appreciate it if you didn't all surround me like I'm on my deathbed."

                Laughing, Lana and Blue backed up a step, giving their commander some space.

                "I'll head back to the war room, and I'll be sure to let you know if I hear any more on your family, Commander. Rest up." Lana said as she headed to the door.

                "I'll go too. Just wanted to check on my baby before I hit the books." Blue grinned at his daughter as she shook her head at his comment. "Stay in bed, I'll be back later." He waved as he left the room, jogging to catch up to Lana, the pair discussing the plans for today’s research as they left.

                "You should go get some sleep Theron, you look exhausted." Kara spoke up after the Jedi and Sith had left.

                "I will, though I think I'd rather use one of the beds in here, just in case." He smiled at her as he scouted out the free beds in the room, even taking a moment to debate on pushing a few chairs together and just using that as a bed.

                "Worried I might try and escape again?"

                "Guilty." He had found one of the beds in the corner and, with Arcann's help, had rolled it over so it was near enough the Kara's that he could keep an eye on her without being in the way. "You do have a habit of trying to do too much while injured."

                "Like you can talk." Kara scoffed at him. "What about you Arcann? Are you going to head down?"

                "I'd like to stay for a while, if that's alright with you." He returned to his chair next to her bed.

                "Of course." She smiled at him, taking his hand once more, the warmth comforting.

                "Oh get a room." Theron laughed as he dropped some blankets and a pillow on his bed. He went to Kara's side giving her a soft kiss before wrapping himself up in his procured blankets and settling down in his bed, reviewing his datapad.

                Kara shook her head, laughing quietly, "Stop working and get some rest, you're making me tired just looking at you." Theron gave her a half nod as he scrolled through his messages, scooting lower in the bed till he was laying fully on his back. Shaking her head once more, Kara turned her attention back to Arcann, she tugged his hand until he leaned near to her. Sitting up she place a kiss on his cheek, and gave him a smile. "Thank you again for everything."

                Unsure entirely how to react, he gave a nod and a small smile of his own as he settle back in his chair, noting a curious glance that Theron sent his way.

                By the time Lokin returned to start work for the day the trio had fallen asleep.

Chapter Text

                Kara sighed as she stretched, feeling her sore muscles pull before she released her arms and lowered them to her lap slowly. She swung her legs back and forth, flexing the limbs as she leaned over and grabbed her crutch. Pushing off the bed, she used the crutch to walk through her room, carefully making her way down the steps and headed out the door into the winding halls of the Alliance base. She nodded a greeting to HK-51 as she turned and made her way towards the war room

                One week. It took one week before Lokin had cleared her to walk without someone assisting her. Granted it was mostly her fault that it had taken so long. As much as she cared for Theron and Arcann the fact that either of the pair, and sometimes both of them, would practically hover around her treating her like she was made of glass, just annoyed her to no end. She was grateful that they cared about her, but she didn't want to be doted on, nor did she want to appear weak so soon into the creation of the Eternal Alliance. Tomorrow, she should be cleared to walk without the crutch.

                Entering the central room Kara found Lana and Koth speaking to a few people on the holo. Kara recognized Aric but the other three figures were people she didn't know. Two of them wore robes, and based on the voice, one of them was female, and sounded unfortunately familiar. Lana glanced over to her commander as Kara approached them, as quietly as she could manage.

                "Good morning commander. I was just reviewing some news from some of my contacts." She handed Kara her datapad, "Jorgan has located Major Mikael Hawke, but he hasn't met up with him just yet."

                Aric nodded. "The major has been on Alderaan for the past few weeks with a small team. I have yet to make contact, but I should have the specifics by end of day, sir."

                Kara nodded in thanks before turning her attention back to Lana.

                "Darth Imperious has been working to find some of your crew as well as offered her assistance in researching Zakuulan technology."

                The figure to Aric's right nodded, her long braid slipped from her shoulder from the motion. "Pleasure to meet you commander. You can call me Kurana." She gave a small smile, but otherwise looked unenthusiastic about the conversation. She was pretty, and through the holo Kara could tell she was a force to reckoned with, even with the slave brands that covered the right side of her face and her forehead. She pulled her braid back over her shoulder, idly playing with the metallic piece at the end as she turned her attention back to Lana.

                "One of my anonymous agents has alerted me to sightings of Trey." She gestured to the first of the two robed figures.

                "It's an honor, ma'am." He bowed slightly. He wore a heavy dark coat covered in a multitude of straps and wore a mask that reminded Kara much of Revan's. She tried to place the voice, but it was too distorted to recognize.

                "And lastly, Anya had some reports of both Nora as well as your uncle." Lana gestured to the last of the lineup.

                The figure dropped her loose hood, smiling down at Kara. "Look how big you've gotten dear. It's been so long since I saw you last.” She smiled, “It's good to see you again."

                Kara crossed her arms. "It hasn't been that long, Anya. And Kross wasn't missing, he's been in contact with his brother often enough."

                Anya tsked at the dismissive reply, but didn't speak further.

                Lana quietly thanked her luck that the woman didn't try and push her daughter right now, and continued with her report. "Outside of family matters, repairs are going well in both the empire and the republic. Koro sent a message asking if you were doing better and if it was safe enough on Odessen to bring Caleb to visit." She tapped the screen as she spoke before turning it so Kara could see. "He also sent a photo of him and your son making some, frankly, rude gestures at the supreme commander, with the note 'can't believe Cal thinks this guy is cool.'"

                Kara laughed at the image, shaking her head. "I'll let him know they can come out here, and tell him to stop teaching my son such terrible things."

                "Perhaps I should visit as well." Anya said, and instantly Kara's smile was gone. "I would love to meet my grandchild."

                "No." Kara stated.

                Theron and Arcann had entered the war room during the conversation, the spy carrying a large stack of datapads in his arms.

                "I'm sure he'd want to meet his grandmother, don't you agree?" Anya pressed.

                "I said, no." Kara glared up at the holo.

                "Don't be so uptight. I won't hurt him." She laughed lightly, "besides, of what use could I possibly have for a child of a Jedi and a smuggler anyway."

                "Enough." Lana cut in before the interaction could escalate. "Thank you all for your reports. I'll wait for your check-in, Major. Speak to you all later." She then cut the transmission before they had bid their farewells, and turned on Kara. "What was that commander?"

                "What was what?" Kara asked as she released her crutch, flexing her fingers carefully. She had a white knuckle grip on the crutch from the time that Anya had removed her hood, and now her hand was sore.

                "That. Commander, I know you are not on the best of terms with Anya, but she has been helping us. At least try and act like you appreciate her efforts." Lana put down the datapad and cast an annoyed look towards Theron as he noisily scattered his datapads on the terminal he frequented.

                "I do appreciate it,” Kara made her way over to pick up a datapad, “but I also don't trust her."  She started scrolling through the information, attempting to avoid continuing the conversation.

                "Well, you'll have to at least be cordial with her. She offered to help as soon as she learned that you were the commander." Lana crossed her arms over her chest, adamant about getting Kara to accept her mother's help.

                Kara sighed, "That makes it worse. She's only doing this because she thinks she'll get something out of it."

                "That's how Sith are, Kara." The use of her first name made Kara turn to look at her friend as she spoke, "Even I was like that when we first met, give her a chance."

                Kara huffed in annoyance, but didn't say anything, opting to glare at the datapad in her hand instead.

                "Lana's right, Commander." Arcann spoke up, "If you give her a chance, she might be an asset to the team."

                Kara looked at him, a wave of emotions crossing her face before she just shook her head and nodded. "Alright. I'll give her a second chance. But I don't want her alone with Cal. And I want to let Koro know as well." She narrowed her eyes in annoyance at the former emperor, "I'm doing this for you, so I hope you don't regret it." And then she turned and left, taking the elevator up to the balcony, datapad in hand.

                Lana just shook her head, and returned to work. Arcann glanced over at Theron who had been doing his best to keep from being dragged into the argument. "Theron, am I missing something?"

                Theron shook his head, "Don't worry about it, she's never been crazy about her mom and I can't blame her. You'll understand when you meet her."

Chapter Text

                Kara huffed in annoyance. She couldn't believe him, taking Lana's side. She knew Arcann didn't know what the woman was like, but still, couldn't he have trusted her enough to take her word for it? She shook her head, and made her way out to the balcony, leaning on the railing and closing her eyes. She knew what Anya was like, had experienced it first hand, but nobody else knew her except Lana. And Lana thought that it was a good idea for her to come out to Odessen?

                Kara grumbled in annoyance, she knew her father would be happy to see the woman again, those two got along surprisingly well. But Kara could never agree with her mother. There was just something about the sith that always riled her up. True she had been left with her father soon after she was born, as had Koro with his uncle. But she had never given it too much of a thought until she had met the woman face to face.

                It had been around the time of the battle against Revan. Anya had been on Marr's ship, and was pitching in where she felt was necessary while they were on Yavin. When she saw Kara, she rushed over to introduce herself to one of the leaders of the coalition. Within minutes of the conversation, it was all the smuggler could do to get her to quiet down for a second. She seemed friendly, overly so, and Kara tried to return her enthusiasm at being 'reunited'. But after Darmas, she was still careful. And she had been grateful for that care.

                Anya was nice enough, and that was honestly how she was. But she also did so many things that struck Kara as wrong. She made offhand comments about her fighting style, he crew, her family, and Theron. She spoke in an arrogant, condescending tone. Still, part of her thought that she wasn't trying to be rude, wasn't trying to pick a fight. And yet…

                Kara shook her head, she didn't want to think badly of the sith -- her mother, and aside from what was said in conversation, she hadn't done anything to Kara directly. Not back then. She had simply been running errands for Marr and Satele, trying to unlock the temple and get everyone to work together on the field so they could stop Revan before it was too late.

                Kara kept her sons in mind while she fought the revanites, tried to keep their safety on her focus, but even with Corso at her back, she got sloppy. Looking back on it now, it was her own fault that she was caught off-guard, she should've been more careful. Honestly, she couldn't've seen the black red lightsaber flying towards her, nor its twin immediately after. She would've never expected her own mother, who had spent the last few days practically fawning over her, to leap at her, sweeping lightsabers in a practiced motion at her.  Attempting to strike down her own child.

                Kara had managed to dodge both blades, rolling for cover as soon as she had heard the angry hiss of a lightsaber. But she had expected a revanite, not her own mother, grinning wildly as she swung at her viciously. An offhand swing brought the hilt of her lightsaber to Corso's jaw, sending the armored man to the ground, hard. Kara dodged as best she could, but the sith was faster and soon overwhelmed her, knocking her to the ground. Before Kara could push herself to her feet, Anya had pulled both arms back and locked them together, hauling the smuggler to her feet and shoving her off towards a small camp on the other side of the temple grounds. A few revanites had been gathered there, with a heavily armored man in the center of the tent.

                Anya had approached them, pulling Kara along and shoving her towards them. She had discussed her terms with the group, like Kara was some token to be traded, and the armored man finally approached. He had grabbed Kara by the chin, scoffing at the dirty coat she wore (a momento of simpler times) before making his way to Anya. He towered over the sith and glared down at her with annoyance, shaking his head ‘no deal’. Anya had smiled at him, and then promptly ran him through with her lightsaber.

                Nobody had seen her move her hands or draw the blade, but in a moment the leader of the group was down, dead before he hit the floor. And seconds after the rest of the group dropped dead as well. Then the cuffs were removed, and Kara was set free once more. She had looked up at her mother, the woman who she was supposed to be able to trust, and had asked her 'why'. And all the sith could do was shrug, saying the plan went wrong. Kara couldn't even remember what Anya had been trying to do, nor did she even care. She had been used, again, and this time is was by her own blood.

                Kara was furious. She stormed off, not bothering to listen to anymore of what Anya had to say. She was bruised, and tired and pissed off. She went back to find Corso desperately searching for her, his face literally lighting up as soon as Kara called out to him, and they went back to their camp to tend to their wounds. Kara had been thankful that Corso hadn't pushed on what had happened, they had traveled together long enough that he knew when he shouldn't push her for information.

                And now, years later, that betrayal still burned. She had told Theron what had happened, as well as her brother. How could she trust someone who was willing to let her die. How could she trust the woman around her kids, or around her brother? She really couldn't. She couldn't let them get hurt by Anya. Even if there was no war currently, even if they were only repairing what had been damaged, she will not let something like that happen to anyone she cared about.

                Kara would let Anya come by, she'd be friendly, but she'd keep her at arm's length, and warn Koro about her arrival.

Chapter Text

                He felt like she was circling him like a predator circling its prey. Or at least that's what Arcann felt like as Anya sized him up within moments of entering the war room. Her bright green eyes, so much like Kara's, narrowed as she inspected him, smirking slightly as she strode up to him. She was shorter than him, very much so, but she had an air to her, that she wasn't to be messed with. That she was likely the strongest in the room.

                "So you're the former emperor that my daughter dethroned?" Anya's smirk turned into a full smile, her previous show of power fading away as she stood before him, a picture of innocence. She sighed before continuing, "I must say, I expected more, honestly. With how you managed to take control of so much in such a short time. And yet." She placed her hand on her cheek, shaking her head.

                Arcann bristled at the comment. He went to make a comment, to voice his annoyance at the woman, but a gentle touch on his back stayed his tongue. He turned to look at Kara as she gave him an apologetic look before turning her attention to her mother, keeping her hand in place.

                "Welcome to Odessen, Anya." She gave her an obviously forced smile, "It's been too long, hasn't it."

                "It has!" Anya smiled at her daughter, looking up at the blonde before striding forward and pulling the taller woman into a hug.

                Kara returned the hug carefully. She had promised Lana she would be polite, and wouldn't start anything with her mother, but from the near outburst from Arcann a moment earlier, she doubted she would have to start anything at this rate. Anya pulled back first, Kara counting it as a minor victory, and beamed up at her daughter.

                "You'll have to give me the grand tour." Anya patted her daughter on the shoulder, "When your brother and son get here, I mean."

                "I would love to," Kara smiled down at the woman, "They should be here any minute. Theron already told me their shuttle was inbound before I walked in."

                "Theron's here?" Anya asked, joy clear in her eyes, "I'll have to get a drink with him, it's been ages since I saw him last. What of his mother? Is she here as well?"

                Kara shook her head, and started off toward the hangar, "No, Master Satele is on Coruscant I believe." Kara took a steady breath, everything was going fine. She could feel Arcann following behind her, his quiet presence keeping her calm. She laughed quietly at that, never did she imagine that he would be the one keeping her in check, but here she was. Although she had yet to have any reason to argue with her mother. Yet.

                Anya glanced at her, hearing her laugh, "Something funny?"

                Kara couldn't tell if she was annoyed or not, but Anya was good at hiding her emotions, something that still surprised her since the woman was a sith. "Just thinking." She smiled. "This will be your first time meeting your grandkids. I hope you get along."

                "I'm sure we will." Anya turned her attention to the hangar doors as the whooshed open, and the trio strode in.

                Careful. Kara reminded herself slightly. Keep a cool head, don't turn over protective. This is Arcann's first time meeting them too, let's make it nice for everyone.

                Theron stood watching as a shuttle came to land in the open area of the bay. He turned to look at Kara as she strode up to him, and gave her a comforting smile. "That should be them. You ready?"

                "Born ready, love." She returned his smile before heading over to the shuttle as it decompressed and the boarding ramp descended.

                As she approached three figures exited the craft. Kara immediately recognized her brother, his unruly black hair covering much of his face, and the cybernetic implants imbedded in his cheeks and above his left eye. He carried a child with a mop of blonde hair who was poking at a datapad, and had another at his side, his hair brown and set in a more professional way than the boys he walked next to. They were followed closely by a young girl, her hair such a light blonde it was nearly white.

                "Koro!" Kara called out as she strode up to the group, her arms spread in a welcoming gesture. "I'm so glad you could make it! I loved the picture you sent."

                Koro grinned at her, putting the boy he was carrying down before pulling Kara into a tight hug. "It's been a long time sis!" He picked her up, pulling a laugh from her, "Why is it I only hear from you when you almost get yourself killed? You worry me too much, what will I tell the kids, huh?" He put her down, releasing her from his grip.

                "I'm sorry, it wasn't a planned event, I promise." She grinned at him and then turned her attention the boys, "Caleb! Connor! You've gotten so big. Come here, I've missed you."

                The pair charged her as she knelt down, pulling them into a hug. "Mom!"

                She released them, patting them on the head, "Have you been good to your uncle?" The pair nodded ecstatically, "Good. Good." She smiled at them, "You're both so big now, I remember when you were about this big." She gestured the approximate height they had been when she had seen them last, right before meeting up with Marr. "I can't believe it, how old are you two now? Four?"

                They giggled at her, "I'm nine mom! Don't you remember? And Connor's seven." Caleb grinned, his dark hair falling out of place.

                Kara fixed the loose strands, "Nine already. huh? And here I thought you were still only eight." She teased.

                He huffed in half-hearted annoyance, "Only until next week!" Kara grinned at him, he looked so much like his father, so much like Skavak. The thought hurt a little, but she still grinned at him pulling him into another hug.

                "And you two have been getting along? No fights?"

                Both boys shook their heads. "Caleb's been trying to help the Jedi and Supreme with fixing things." Connor spoke up. "They tell him not to, but he does anyway."

                Kara smiled at him, ruffling his hair, "Do you help too?" Connor nodded. "Then good, as long as you don't get yourselves hurt, you should help out. It's a good thing to do."

                "See??" Caleb poked his brother with his elbow.

                "You just want Supreme to tell you you did a good job, that's all." Connor shot back.

                “That’s not true. I wanted to help too.” Caleb shot his little brother a glare at the comment.

                “Uh-Huh.”

                Kara laughed, “Enough you two. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get a pat on the back when you do something good. Trust me. I’ve met some great people just because I wanted to be told that I did a good job.” She looked up towards Theron and winked at him earning a grin from the spy.

                “That’s true, I wouldn’t have sought you out if I hadn’t heard your name come up so often. And then where would we be now?” Theron gave a half-hearted shrug, grinning as he spoke.

                Caleb detached himself from his mother wandering over to where Arcann stood watching the family reunite. “Who are you?” He asked, looking up at the prince. Kara turned to watch her son, waiting to see the reaction from both Caleb and Arcann.

                Arcann looked towards his commander, a look of uncertainty crossing his face before he turned his attention to the child before him, kneeling down so he was eyelevel with the boy. “My name’s Arcann, I’m-“

                As soon as he said his name Caleb’s eyes widened and he backed up, quickly retreating to his mother’s side. “You’re the one who took mom from us.”

                Arcann got to his feet, “Yes.” He paused, looking away, “I did. One of many things I regret doing.” Anya watched the interaction with interest, her curiosity piqued.

                Theron strode over to the prince, throwing an arm over his shoulder companionably, startling the scarred man slightly, “He also is the reason we have the Alliance and stopped the eternal fleet, as much as I’d hate to admit it.”

                Kara gave Theron a grateful look before speaking up, “That’s right.” She stood and went over to Arcann’s other side, putting an arm around his shoulders in a similar manner, “If it weren’t for him, there likely wouldn’t be a Coruscant left for you to help out in.” She smiled at her boys. “He’s a good guy once you get to know him.” Arcann glanced at both gunslingers, clearly grateful they stood up for him, but also unsure if that would be enough to convince the boys.

                Caleb walked to stand in front of the trio, Connor at his side. He looked to his mother first, then Theron, before sighing and nodding and turning his attention to Koro instead.

                Theron leaned closer to Arcann, attempting to whisper to Kara without releasing his hold on the prince. “Do you think he accepted that explanation?”

                Kara leaned the same, the pair crowding Arcann more than they had prior, “He’ll come around, we all did.”

                “As much as I appreciate you two standing up for me, I’d prefer if you didn’t hang on me.” Arcann said, sighing in slight annoyance.

                Theron detached himself immediately, laughing out a sorry, before heading over to catch up with Koro.

                Kara moved away more slowly than the spy had, placing her hand on Arcann’s back for a moment, “He’ll come around, Arcann, I promise.” She smiled at him.

                “How long has it been since you’ve seen them last?” He asked, watching the boys talk to their uncle.

                “About six years give or take a few months. Connor wasn’t even two yet and Caleb was a little over three when the fleet first attacked Marr’s ship.” She paused, “I’m glad Koro was there for them while I was gone, I was so worried for them.”

                Arcann looked down, the hand against his back was warm, and while normally it would’ve been a welcome, comforting touch from her, instead the warmth burned. He was the reason she wasn’t there for her sons, he was the reason she didn’t get a chance to raise them herself.

                Her voice brought him back from his thoughts, “Their fathers can’t be there for them, but they had Koro and Theron. They’ll be alright.”

                “What happened to their father?” Arcann asked carefully, concerned that they may have died by his hand.

                “Caleb’s died before he was born.” She paused, “And before you ask, I’m the one who killed him. I didn’t want to, but he gave me no choice.” She sighed before continuing, “Connor’s was in prison last I heard.” She didn’t explain further, leaving it at that. “I’m glad Koro was there for them when I couldn’t be.”

                Arcann watched her carefully, her regret obvious on her face, but she still had a look of pride as she watched her sons. “They’re already so big, and so many things kept me from them before, I won’t let anything else interfere now.” She grinned at him. “So of course, you’re going to have to get along with them.”

                “Of course.” He nodded, giving her a small reassuring smile.

                Kara patted him gently on the back, and then leaned up and kissed him on the cheek, “Thank you.” She said before she pulled away, giving him another smile and turned away.

                Arcann reached out, grabbing her wrist and pulled her into a tight hug. “I won’t let something like that happen again. I promise.”

                She froze unsure how to react at first, but as he spoke she returned the hug. “I know.” She said quietly.

                He held her close for a moment before letting her go. She smiled at him before she turned and went to join the conversation with her brother and sons. He watched her go, not cutting himself off from the gathering of people, but not forcing himself into their conversation either. He knew he needed to give her family time to accept him.

                Anya strode over to stand beside him, a grin on her face. “Interesting.”

                Speaking of family, Arcann thought as he looked down at the sith, “What’s interesting?” He asked.

                “Oh nothing.” She smiled at him innocently. “Just thought that it was interesting.” She strode past him, purposefully bumping his arm as she passed, and went and joined her son and daughter.

                Arcann stood there watching them for a moment before leaving the family to themselves, and headed out of the hangar to go spend time with his own.

Chapter Text

                “You like him, huh?” Theron said absentmindedly as he poked at a datapad. He was stripped down to a pair of sweats and was lounging on the bed he shared with Kara as he finished up some work before calling it a night. The family reunion had gone well, both of Kara’s sons had gotten to spend some time with their grandmother before she had excused herself for ‘personal’ reasons, and had spent much of the day with either Blue or Kara while she came and went from her responsibilities.

                “What? I like who?” Kara asked, as she sat down next to him. She raised her eyebrow in question, not getting where her lover was going.

                “Arcann.” He glanced up at her, “I saw you two in the hanger earlier. And you’ve been acting different around him, more than usual. So… you like him.”

                “Theron.” Kara looked at him seriously as she scooted to her side of the bed, “I don’t…” she sighed, “Ok maybe I do like him. Maybe. But I’m not going to do anything. I love you, I’m not going to cheat on you.”

                “I know that.” Theron put the datapad down on a side table, “And I love you too.” He took her hand and looked her square in the eye. “And I’m saying you should go for it.” He gave her a smirk, the one that had won her heart time and time again.

                “What?” She asked again. “Go for- Theron are you telling me to go and ask Arcann out?”

                “Pretty much,” He shrugged, “well, maybe not a date, since I don’t think I’ve even had a chance to take you on one yet, but yeah.”

                “What am I supposed to do, go up to him and say ‘hey Arcann, you’re cute so…’” She made a double pistols gesture with her hands, “’Let’s bang, ok?’ Theron I don’t think that’s a good idea.” She looked at him incredulously, “Stop laughing, I’m serious, that’s a terrible idea.”

                Theron shook his head and shrugged, still laughing, “That’s pretty much how you got me.” She narrowed her eyes at him. “Alright, alright. Look, I know how you are, we’ve been together long enough.” He gave her a smile, “I just know you’ve thought of it, or will think of it, and not want to act on it because of me. So I want to give you the go ahead that if you want to get it out of your system and see how things go from there.”

                “I see, so either he rejects me and it’s awkward working alongside him, or he doesn’t and I’m conflicted with my own feelings?”

                “Or option three.” Theron grinned, “He goes for it, and we can come to some kind of arrangement for the three of us.”

                “So, you want to share me?” Kara asked, crossing her arms across her chest, “Or am I looking at this wrong.”

                 Theron ran his hand through his hair, “It’s not like that, but it is? Look, I know you like him, and I’m pretty sure he feels the same. And I’ll admit he’s a good guy and attractive, so I thought maybe we could try seeing how the three of us work?” Theron shrugged, “Honestly that sounded better in my head, but, here’s the thing, I love you and I want to be by your side every moment but I can’t. Sometimes you’ll be out there on a different planet while I’m back here on base waiting for you to check in. But I know he can be there when I can’t, so I thought… I just thought it’d be better if I knew that he’d be there for you as much as I would be.”

                Kara smiled and pulled him close, kissing him.

                “Alright, that sounded worse, just ignore that last bit.” He smiled at her as she leaned forward to kiss him again.

                “It sounded fine, Theron. I’ll talk to him tomorrow and see how he feels about it.”

                “Sounds like a plan.” Theron said, yawning and laying back on the bed, holding Kara close.

                “Tired already? Guess my boys had you running around more than I thought.” She laughed, laying her head on his chest.

                He glanced down at her, “I could be convinced to stay up later.” He grinned at her.

                “Hmmm. You could?” She rolled over to straddle his hips, leaning down to kiss him, “That convincing enough?”

                “It’s a start.” He laughed, and pulled her down for another kiss.

Chapter Text

                He tossed and turned in bed, muttering unintelligibly before sitting up swiftly, eyes wide. Taking in the room, Trey found nothing out of the ordinary. Sighing heavily, he fell back onto the bed, rubbing his face with both hands.

                Another nightmare.

                Rolling over, he sat back up before pushing himself to his feet. Trey plodded over to the door and headed to the refresher to wash up. Turning on the light and taking a moment to take in his bedraggled appearance. Shaking his head he went about his morning routine.

                After so many years of being a pirate, and later a Sith, he thought he would be used to the nightmares. But everytime a new one would surface it would still catch him off-guard. This one wasn’t entirely new, he dreamt of when he and his sister were children. Happy and playing in their luxurious home, surrounded by all the toys that they could ever want and then some, loving parents, and overly-doting servants. Their parents were both powerful and well-known Sith Lords, his father was even a member of the Dark Council, giving their kids a life of love, luxury and high expectations. And then everything shifted. Normally the dream would continue how it went in reality, progressing to when his parents were killed and he was kidnapped.

                But this time it was different, he was standing in a lush field, surrounded by soldiers, the black and red of the armor marking them as Imperial.  He turned, taking in the fighting, his eyes tracking to where the enemy was surrounded in a small hold-out. The soldiers in the hold-out were all dressed in the traditional Republic uniforms, aside from two or three forms who were not. A flash of a purple lightsaber caught his attention, a pair of sabers flying out and cutting a path through the Imperials. The black clad form of a woman jumped out catching the blades in mid motion, sweeping the blades gracefully and cutting down a handful of soldiers. Even with the rebreather she wore, Trey immediately recognized her as his sister.

                One of the surviving soldiers charged at her, attempting to take the sith by surprise, but was struck down by a flurry of blaster bolts. A man ran up to stand back to back with the woman, shouting something to her. Trey didn’t recognize the man, but he was clearly a soldier, both by the full suit of heavy armor he wore and the cannon that he swung around as if it weighed nothing. And it probably did weigh nothing to him, the man was huge, towering over the woman he fought alongside.

                They fought side by side, but were slowly being pushed back. A pair of turquoise lightsabers were thrown into the mix, a small girl in Jedi garb assisting in the fight. But even with the added fighter, the republic soldiers were dying fast. First the small Jedi fell, pulling the attention of both Nora and the large soldier. An enraged scream escaped the pair of them, and his sister charged at her enemies in a frenzy, cutting down any she could reach. But even with the strength of her emotions, the Sith fell shortly after, quickly followed by the soldier she had fought alongside, as he charged in to back her up.

                The imperials overwhelmed the remaining Republic soldiers, something that Trey should’ve been proud of, but seeing his sister, his twin, die right before his eyes, sickened him and caused him to jolt awake.

                Trey sighed, drying his face and hands as he headed to the small kitchen on the ship. It wasn’t his ship, and for that he was glad. The place was a mess, covered in spare clothes and weaponry of all types. It was spacious, but still felt cluttered, the owner using the ship more for storage and transportation rather than an actual living space.

                As soon as he entered the room he found the owner, a bounty hunter of high rapport that had fallen off the radar after the Eternal Empire invaded. The champion of the great hunt. Or champions as it were.

                “Rough night?” Koren asked, picking at his food lazily. His dark hair was all over the place, and Trey would’ve thought he hadn’t cleaned up yet if he didn’t look like that on a constant basis. The hunter yawned, giving up on his breakfast, leaning back and stretching, his black tank ridding up slightly to show off his tattoos.

                Trey shook his head, “Nothing out of the ordinary.” He took a seat next to the other hunter and Koren’s current crewmate and fellow champion.

                “Another nightmare then.” Shey stated, brushing her long white hair. Trey fixed her with a glare, “That’s what I thought.” She said, smiling, her blue eyes sparkling clearly entertained by his annoyance.

                “Not exactly.” He grumbled, taking the leftover food from Koren, “It’s hard to explain.”

                “What happened?” Koren asked. When the sith didn’t reply, he changed the question. “Alright… Where were you in it?”

                Shey looked at him questioningly but didn’t speak, instead letting Trey reply.

                “What does it matter?” He asked, annoyance clear in his voice. While he got along well with both hunters, he didn’t like being questioned about his personal life. Not that the death of his wife had helped with his temper.

                “You force users can see the future right?” Koren gestured in the air vaguely, “Maybe it was a warning or something.”

                Trey glared at him, but he had to admit that it was a possibility. “Alderaan.” He thought back to the dream, pulling any memory of the landscape he could, “I’m pretty sure it was Alderaan.”

                “Then that’s where we’ll go.” Koren pushed himself to his feet, heading out of the room to plot the jump.

                “Thank you Kor.” Trey said, joining the hunter in the cockpit and leaving Shey to finish her meal. “I’ll pay you back for this favor.”

                Koren shook his head, half distracted as he punched in the coordinates and sent his ship into hyperspace. “Don’t worry about it, I still owe you a few favors. Although I wouldn’t turn down a kiss.” He turned to look at the sith, giving him a wink.

                Trey shook his head, “Sorry, all I can promise is credits.” He grinned at his friend. “Nice try though.”

                Koren laughed, “One day you’ll fall for my charms.” He grinned proudly as he stood up. “Go gear up, we’ll be there in a couple hours, and I’d prefer to be ready for anything, especially since we’re going because of your dream.” He patted Trey on the back, nodding at the man before leaving him alone in the room.

                Trey headed to his room, pulling out his gear and prepping his weapons. After checking and double checking his gear, he took a deep breath as he felt the ship decelerate. Time to see if his dream was a warning of the future or not. He closed his eyes, preparing himself a moment, reigning in his emotions as best he could, and pulled on his long coat, clipping the straps in place. Pulling up the hood, he put on his mask and headed out the door, ready to face whatever Alderaan would throw at him.

Chapter Text

                Kara closed her eyes a moment, planning what she would say. She wasn’t used to talking about her feelings with others, since just about everyone she had slept with had either been a onetime deal, or Theron. And just about everything to do with her relationship with Theron seemed to come naturally, there was no awkward crush stage, wondering if the other felt the same as them. It just happened.

                So this was completely new territory for her. Winging it was out of the question, she wanted to see if he was interested before she put her foot in her mouth on accident. Theron had assured her that she would be fine, but aside from him, the only other relationship she had actually been in was with Darmas, and aside from getting Connor out of it, that whole situation ended up a disaster.

                Shaking her head, she decided worrying about what could happen would just make things more difficult. First she had to find Arcann, something that was proving difficult. Lana had told her that he was training alongside the other force users, but when she had arrived at the training grounds Sana-Rae had said that he had left to find Senya.

                Tracking down Senya had been much easier, but the knight claimed that she hadn’t seen him since eating that morning. Huffing in annoyance, Kara thanked her before leaving and taking the elevator up from the war room.

                It was a beautiful day, hardly a cloud in the sky. Walking out onto the balcony, she took a deep breath, enjoying the fresh air after having spent much of the morning in the war room.  It was a nice feeling, and she wasn’t the only one who decided to take a walk on the balcony. The repairs had progressed quickly, and she spotted a good amount of alliance soldiers catching up by the railings or leaning against the wall reviewing their orders for the day. Many of them were older members, former Republic and Imperial soldiers who had joined up when the Alliance had initially formed, but now Kara was able to pick out some new recruits, a few of them clearly former Knights. She smiled at that, so many people of varying backgrounds working together seamlessly to help the galaxy.

                Her attention was drawn to a large panel on the wall that faced out towards the Gravestone. Her smile faded slightly as she took in the monument that she had requested. It was a solid black slab that had the names of the people who had died during the fight against the Eternal Empire. Walking over to check out the finished monument, Kara found the man she had been looking for.

                Arcann’s eyes scanned the names on the wall, his face carefully neutral but there was a sadness in his eyes. Kara approached him carefully, trying her best not to surprise him. He didn’t say anything to her as she stood next to him quietly, taking in the work that had been done on the wall. Glancing over at the prince, she noted him having focused on one name in particular.

                Vaylin.

                There had been some complaints when she had proposed that Vaylin’s name be added to the monument, though they had added it nonetheless. It sat there near the bottom in a special place along with Vette. The ones who helped end the war once and for all.

                A choked laugh escaped Arcann as he read the letters etched into the wall. “I don’t know if she would be happy or pissed that her name is listed here.” He looked over to Kara.

                “She was a victim just the same as everyone else in this war. And she helped us stop Valkorion. Her name deserves to be remembered.” Kara said simply, she gave him a small smile. “It was the least I could do for her.”

                “Thank you.” Arcann looked back at the monument, “I’m sure mother will be proud to see her name here as well.”

                “You’re both welcome to take some time if you need it. I know things have been busy with repairs, but if you need time to mourn you’re welcome to it.”

                “I appreciate it, Commander.” He took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. “But I prefer to do things rather than sit around and wallow in my misery.”

                Kara nodded, “If you ever need to talk, I’m here for you. Both of you.” She watched him as he ran through the names again.

                He nodded, but didn’t speak. They stood side by side, in a comfortable silence.

                Kara was glad she decided to wait on trying to figure out what she would say, because now was not the time to try and get a feel on what he felt for her. Now was the time he needed his family by his side. She glanced at him, the sadness in his eyes had faded slightly, but it was still there.

                ‘And I have you.’ His letter had made it clear that he cared about her, at least as a friend. And he had been by her side during the recovery from her injuries. So she decided that she would take a risk.

                She reached over, taking his hand carefully, and gripped it firmly before leaning close so she was leaning on his shoulder. He looked at her, a bit of surprise on his face, but he squeezed her hand in return, a small smile gracing his lips.

                He opened his mouth to say something, but before he could, both of their comms started beeping.

                Kara grabbed hers and pushed the button on it with her free hand, refusing to let go of Arcann. “Lana? Is everything alright?”

                “Commander, good, where are you?” The sith spoke quickly, avoiding Kara’s question.

                “On the balcony…” Lana sounded concerned. “What’s wrong?”

                “We received a transmission from Major Jorgan. I think it’d be best if you could come down here to view it.” She paused, “And please bring Arcann with you as well.”

Chapter Text

                “The transmission came in only moments ago, Commander.” Theron said as soon as both Kara and Arcann entered the war room. “The connection was iffy, but we managed to get something from it.”

                “Bad news?” Kara asked, seeing him so jumpy was concerning, and with Lana seeming nervous as well, she could only guess what the topic could be about.

                “From what we could get? It might be.” Koth answered. They opened up a holo message.

                “-This is--- we’ve been--- coordinates attached to --- Alderaan, near House--- Please send backup!” The heavily armored soldier glitched in and out, the message clearly been recorded and sent as quickly and securely they could manage.

                “Was that Mikael?” Kara asked, it was hard to tell with all the armor and the interference with the holo.

                “This was forwarded over to us from Major Jorgan before he headed to the location.” Lana spoke up, closing the holo and bringing up a holo of Alderaan. “He also sent us copies of the coordinates.” She tapped on the datapad in her hand, and an area of Alderaan lit up red, zooming in to focus on the coordinates. “Looks like they’re set up in the Juran Mountains, near House Alde.”

                Kara scrunched up her face at the mention of the house. She earned a few questioning looks, but no one said anything.

                “Alright, then upload the coords to my ship and I’ll head out immediately.” Kara spoke up, already heading down the steps to the hall leading to the military wing and her ship.

                “We’re not letting you go out there alone.” Lana stated matter-of-factly. “Not after last time.”

                “Lana, my injuries are healed, and it’s not like I’m going to run into Trey out there.”

                “But this Mikael may be with his wife,” Senya looked at the map as she spoke, “And you said she’s Trey’s twin, correct?”

                “Yes, but if he wasn’t with her on Nar Shaddaa he won’t be with her there.” Kara sighed, knowing that she wasn’t going to win this battle, “True, they were nearly inseparable after they reunited, but I doubt he’ll be at the camp as well. He isn’t exactly on good terms with the Republic, even if his sister is.”

                “Just take someone with you, Kara.” Theron spoke up, he looked at her seriously, “At least to make us feel better. You really worried us last time.” He paused, “I’d like to know you’re safe. So…” He trailed off, glancing at the others gathered at the holo table with him.

                Kara put her hands up in defeat. “Fine. You win.” She shook her head, “Anyone who wants to go can come with, but I’m still taking my ship.”

                Theron gave her a small smile. She knew how much he worried after she came back to Odessen a bloody mess, and she didn’t want to worry him more, if she could avoid it. She’d give him this win.

                Kara continued down the steps, “I’ll leave in a half hour. The door will be open until then, so don’t rush, alright?”

Chapter Text

                The trip to Alderaan was uneventful, aside from the cramped cockpit of Kara’s freighter. She had offered to bring anyone who wanted to go with, but she hadn’t expected so many to go with her. Nor did she expect most of them to insist on sitting in the cockpit.

                She sighed as the ship dropped out of hyperspace, decelerating smoothly. It still hitched as it hit a slower speed, but that wasn’t anything new. It was an old ship, though she did her best to maintain it, she was nowhere near as great a mechanic as Risha was. But the old girl held together.

                Punching in her docking request, she began to bring the ship down to land at the Republic spaceport. Kara stretched and turned her chair back and forth as the ship entered the atmosphere.

                “We should be on the ground soon,” She called over her shoulder to the various people in the small room, “I’ve got some friends here that offered to give us a ride to Mikael’s camp as soon as we land.”

                “Friends?” Senya questioned.

                Kara glanced up at the Knight as she leaned on her chair, “Some people I met on a job here. They’re good people.”

                “I take it you met quite a few people here during that ‘job’.”

                Laughing, Kara tapped at the keys before her, bringing the ship down as gently as she could. “I met the Supreme Commander here before he got the promotion. It was interesting working with him.” She grinned at that memory, “The one I’m talking about though is Lenn Teraan. He’s a good guy, bit of a flirt, but still good.”

                “You asked for help from an ex?” Theron asked, his voice carefully neutral. “Doesn’t that seem like a strange thing to do?”

                “I don’t think one date would make him an ex,” She eyed him knowingly, “But no, I don’t think it would be strange, him and his sister owe me a debt for fighting on their behalf. I don’t think asking for a ride would be too much to ask for in return.”

                “How long has it been since you’ve been here?” Arcann spoke up. He was lounging in the other chair.

                “It was before Caleb was born, so…” She paused, “maybe 12 years? Give or take a year or two.”

                “And you think they would remember you doing a job for them over a decade ago?”

                “Of course, I already made the arrangements. I happen to make great first impressions and can be pretty unforgettable.” Kara winked at him as she finishing the landing procedures and started to let the ship decompress. Standing up, her and her passengers grabbed their gear and headed off the ship.           

                The space port was busy, people milling about as Kara and her crew made their way through the crowds, the smuggler looking for a familiar face. Not spotting Lenn, she led her friends out of the space port, finding two large speeders waiting, the noble that she had been looking for sitting behind the wheel of one and Bowdaar in the other. Lenn spotted the group as they approached the waiting vehicles, waving them over.

                “Lenn! It’s so good to see you again.” Kara grinned at him.

                “And you as well. You look ravishing as always Captain.” He paused, “Though I suppose it’s Commander now, or… Empress?” He gave her a grin of his own. “Bowdaar caught me up on what has happened since we saw each other last.”

                “Commander is fine,” She shook her head, “I’d hate to cut the pleasantries short, but perhaps it would be best to talk while we travel.”

                “Yes! Of course, you said it was an emergency on the holo.” He gestured for them all to get in the speeders.

                Lana greeted Bowdaar as she seated herself in the seat next to him, the wookie growling his own greeting back, Senya seating herself behind the pair, while Kara took a place next to Lenn with Theron and Arcann behind them.

                “You are the former Emperor correct?” Lenn started the speeder off toward their destination as he started speaking to the other two passengers. “It’s good to meet you.” While he sounds sincere in his words, he also was clearly nervous.

                Arcann nodded. “Likewise. The Commander says you’re a friend of hers?”

                “Yes, she had been hired for a delivery for my sister and myself.” He chuckled, “Between the side jobs you did for us and fighting for us, I still believe we still owe her so much.”

                Kara waved him off, “You didn’t have to pay me back for any of it, it was partially my fault anyway.” She laughed, “How has your sister been? Busy since you got those documents out of the droid?”

                “Very, between reclaiming our family’s fortune and repairing our alliances with the other houses, she’s barely had time to respond to her suitors.”

                “Suitors? Good for her, I bet there’s a good amount considering her charm.” She winked.

                “Yes there are plenty vying for her attention.” He glanced at Kara as she leaned against the door and watched the mountains as they sped along. “As I’m sure you do as well.”

                She glanced at him, an eyebrow raised. “I haven’t noticed any aside from Theron.” She glanced at him, giving him a goofy grin. “Speaking of, are you alright back there? You’ve been quiet.”

                Theron nodded, “Just running through a plan before we meet up with the Major.” He grinned back. “Besides, I’m pretty sure practically all your attention has been on me as well. I’m a lucky guy.”

                Kara laughed, earning a look from Lenn. “I didn’t know you two were together.”

                “For a few years now.” Kara leaned on the side of the speeder, returning her attention to the passing scenery. “The Alliance’s worst kept secret honestly.”

                “Downside of being with a spy.” Theron shrugged.

                “There were rumors going around even in Zakuul.” Arcann added in.

                Kara looked at him, clearly entertained by this. “Really? There was gossip about us floating around between Zakuulan nobles?”

                Arcann eyed her, “It was mostly between the knights. And there were more than just who is the commander sleeping with that was discussed, but yes, there was gossip.”

                She turned her attention away again, a huge grin on her face. “Awesome.”

                From there the conversation turned to recent events around Alderaan for the rest of the journey, but their conversation was cut off as they reached the coordinates they were given, smoke rising up from the center of tents and a line of bodies locked in combat near the edges of the camp.

                A small team of people were standing on a hill a short distance away, clearly wanting to join in the fight, but holding back for the time being. Lenn brought the speeders to the group, getting the attention of their leader. The man ran over to meet Kara as she got of the speeder.

                “Good to see you made it in time Commander.” Aric snapped off a quick salute before turning his attention to the battle nearby. “We’ve been scouting out the area, trying to find some weakness in their ranks.”

                “Any luck?” She asked.

                “Hardly, sir.” Aric shook his head, nodding towards the line of imperials. “They have a sturdy perimeter set up, they’re serious about winning this one.”

                Kara sighed, glancing at her friends as they joined them. “I don’t want to get involved, but it looks like we’re going to have to ruin their day.”

                Aric grinned, “I was hoping you’d say that. My CO is in there, and I refuse to sit by and watch him get killed.”

                Kara returned his grin before turning and addressing the rest. “Looks like we’re joining the party. Lana, I want you Theron and Senya to back up Havoc when they make their push. Arcann, you, Bowdaar and Aric are with me.” She glanced at Lenn. “Lenn, Thank you for the lift, but I think it’d be safest if you went back without us.”

                “Are you sure?” He asked. “I mean, I’m no fighter, but I’m sure there’s something I can do?”

                Kara shook her head. “Unless you want to just hang back until the fight is over to give us a hand with injuries. But I’d rather not put you at risk. I don’t want you to get hurt because of us, and Cedonia would kill me if something happened to you.”

                Lenn nodded, “I’ll stay back, but I’m not leaving, not yet.”

                She sighed, nodding and turning back to Aric. “What do our forces look like?”

                He thought a moment, “Last we checked, we are outnumbered 2 to 1. Though aside from our group about to back them up, the Republic seems to have a handful of force users on their side.”

                “Anyone in particular?” Kara asked.

                Aric shook his head, “None that I could tell from here. We’ve seen the occasional lightsaber, but outside of that we can’t even pick out the Major in that group from here.”

                “And the enemy?”

                “No sith from what we’ve seen, but the soldiers are strong, and are pushing the republic back.”

                Kara looked out towards the fight, thinking a moment, “Alright, then let’s stop wasting time and get in there.”

Chapter Text

                It felt endless. War was something she hated; fighting for force knows what reason. As a Jedi she was taught to end in, and as a Sith she was taught to instigate it. But pointless combat always left a bad taste in her mouth. But even still, Nora refused to back down. While this was a pointless fight between the Republic and the Empire, it wasn’t for her. Her husband and daughter were fighting, and she’d be damned if she wasn’t there by their side.

                A blaster bolt zipped by her head, and she could hear her heavy breathing in the rebreather she was wearing. She didn’t need it to breath, but it did have a certain intimidation factor to it that she wasn’t about to pass up. She swung her lightsabers, spinning and striking at soldiers that were once her allies. Deflecting shots that were meant for Mikael as he followed close behind her, the rhythmic sound of his cannon keeping her grounded as she focused on what she was fighting for.

                She missed the days when all she worried about was traveling the stars with her crew, and keeping off the radar of most of the Sith she had ever met. After defeating and shaming Baras, all she had wanted was to go back to her family, to be with her husband and daughter, and her brother and sister. She longed for peace.

                But peace was hard won, and seemingly harder by the second, she thought as she spotted the team of soldiers on the back hill. Their numbers had grown since she first spotted them. She picked out about twenty from where she stood. She didn’t know if they were allies or enemies, they wore no colors that would indicate which side they were. So she just kept fighting, if they were enemies, she’d kill them, if they weren’t she’d welcome them. That’s all there was to it.

                A glint of light caught her eye and she spotted a speeder heading their way. She sighed, throwing her lightsabers and falling back to stand by her husband’s side. “Looks like we have more company.”

                He glanced in the directions she indicated, his helmet swiveling back and forth between the people on the hill, who split off and started towards the fighting, and the speeder that was heading in. “Think either of them are Havoc?” He asked as he turned his attention back to the fight.

                “I hope so.” She said. Her voice was pained. Mikael wasn’t sure when she had gotten injured, but he knew his wife well enough to know when she was ready to quit and rest. Unfortunately, they had both hit that hours ago.

                “Here.” He pressed the needle of the kolto shot into her arm. “I’m sure they’re here to help, whoever they end up being, I’ll just be happy to take a break.”

                She laughed, “A hot bath and a big fluffy bed just for the two of us?”

                He grinned, chucking the used kolto container at a charging soldier before firing on them. “You got a deal”

Chapter Text

                It felt familiar, looking out on the landscape as they zipped across the fields of Alderaan. Trey had only been here once years ago, but it felt so familiar. Whether that was due to his dream or the emotion that was rolling off of Shey next to him, he wasn’t entirely sure. She had mentioned that she was from Alderaan when they were landing, but she didn’t say much more than that. He didn’t talk with her much, she looked nothing like his daughter, but her name was so similar to his Sheyren, and their personalities were so much alike, he couldn’t help but want to push her for more of her background.

                “You’re from here?” He asked again. His voice sounded foreign even to himself. He still wasn’t used to wearing the mask, but he felt safer wearing it, hiding behind the metal as he quietly grieved. “Were you born here? Being a noble seems to fit actually.”

                She glanced at him, her long hair tucked into the collar of her red jacket to keep it from flying around. “I’m not a noble.” She answered plainly. “And other than that, like I told you before, I don’t know.”

                He raised an eyebrow at her comment, but she couldn’t see. Instead the third of their team spoke up, “She doesn’t know anything from when she was small. Right?” Koren asked loudly, “She was picked up by an old legend, Grey Shen right?”

                Shey nodded, “ And you’re listening to music in your helmet again aren’t you?”

                Koren laughed, the low gravelly sound to his voice distorted by the helmet. “Always am,  if you ever wore your gear you could too y’know.”

                She smirked, “I prefer my coat, thank you.”

                “ So did your ex and your husband.” Koren leaned back, lounging in the back of the speeder. How he could get comfortable in all that armor, Trey could never figure out.

                Trey perked up at that, “I didn’t know you were married.”

                Shey scowled, “Twice, both happily.” She turned the speeder, taking it another direction that brought them to a river. She parked there, pausing to stretch. “Had a daughter with my first husband, but we didn’t work out. Now I’m with Torian.”

                Trey went to speak up but was cut off by Koren, “Torian was part of my crew, a Mandalorian.” Trey could feel him grinning at him. “Not sure who the other guy is, never met him.”

                “And I pray you never do.” She stated as she got out of the speeder to check some things before hopping back in and continuing on. “We didn’t part on bad terms, we’re still close friends. In fact you two are very similar.”

                “Now I really want to meet the guy.” Koren said with a sing-song tone to his voice. “What about you tough guy? Any family aside from your sister.”

                “Some, yes.” Trey looked back out at the fields. “Why?”

                “Same reason you’re asking my dear Shey-shey here. We’ve traveled together for a while but we barely know you. So Trey-trey? You tell me yours, I tell you mine?” Trey could just feel the smug enjoyment radiating off the hunter.

                Sighing he gave in, “Both my parents are gone, but I have a daughter, Sheyren. She’s training to be a Jedi last I saw her.” He paused, trying to keep his voice steady, “I had a wife, but I… lost her to the Eternal Empire.”

                Koren sat up, “I’m sorry.”

                Trey shook his head. “She knew what she was getting into, she was always like that, trying to help, unlike me.” He laughed, “Still don’t know what she saw in me to begin with honestly.”

                “You were together a long time.” Shey spoke up.

                He nodded, “She was a slave my sister saved. A literal ray of sunshine. I just hope she was able to help like she wanted to.”

                “I’m sure she did,” Koren put his hand on the Sith’s shoulder, “And I’m sure she wouldn’t want you to be so down. Mourn her, but don’t keep yourself from continuing on.”

                Trey looked at him, a question forming.

                Koren shook his head, “Lost my brother when I was young. He died protecting me and I made a lot of mistakes trying to avenge him.” He took off his helmet and looked Trey right in the eye. “Don’t make that mistake.”

                Trey nodded.

                Putting his helmet back on, He spoke up again, more cheer in his voice. “Anyway…  We’re going to find your sister right?”

                “Yes, and her husband most likely.” Trey sighed, “And hopefully not get shot in the process.”

                Koren laughed, “I take it the old brother in law doesn’t like you?”

                “He’s a Republic trooper. A medic, sure, but a soldier none the less.” Trey shrugged, “I’m happy for her, but I’m not crazy about her marrying the enemy. That’s it otherwise.” He turned his attention back on Koren. “Now what about you?”

                “What about me?” The hunter asked. Trey cocked his head to the side, “Oh fine, my family, yes. Well I mention the dead older brother, so not counting him, I have ten other siblings.” Koren scooted down in the seats he was lounging in, “Two of them are identical to me, which is why I got this tattoo. I’m not a part of a set to be used interchangeably, I’m me. So I went and became something different than them.”

                “A bounty hunter?”

                “Mostly was going for ‘not a Jedi’.” Koren huffed, “My brothers, they joined the Jedi temple that was near our home after our big brother died, wanted to make our parents proud since the three of us were born force sensitive. Not me though, I wanted justice for our blood, ended up leaving, and here we are.”

                “You’re a force user?” Trey asked, his curiosity piqued.

                “Not officially, I wasn’t trained, so don’t expect me to be doing any fancy flips or shoot lightning out of my fingers, You can have all that fun Trey. I can make stuff float on accident if I get mad though, that’s about it.” He shrugged. “Other than that, I thought I had a girlfriend once here on Ald, but she was just using me to make her dad mad.” He chuckled at the memory, “Dated a nice guy some years back, he was a spy if I remember right, but a job ended up pulling me away before we got too serious. I miss him sometimes.” He pushed himself up so he was leaning on his arms, Trey could hear a little bit of music coming from his helmet. “That’s it. Been all work since then.”

                “And your parents?” Trey asked.

                “Alive last I checked in, hopefully not having more kids. I’m happy being the middle child of twelve, I don’t want more siblings.” He chuckled, “I send them money time to time, and I’ve been meaning to visit, but I haven’t had a chance in a while.”

                “You worry for them.”

                “Just like you worry for your sister.” He paused, thinking.

                Trey left him to his thoughts, and took in the area as they sped by. Some bits feeling more familiar than others. They must be getting close.

                Koren started speaking again, more awkward than the nonchalant ramble about his large family. “I just.” He sighed, rubbing the back of his helmet. He looked up at the Sith and goes, “I’ll visit them after this job I think. I just didn’t want to disappoint them since I didn’t end up how they wanted.”

                Trey nodded, “I don’t think any of us end up being how our parents want us.” He glances at Shey, who’s been keeping her eyes trained straight ahead, “You’re doing what you can to make the world a better place. You might not’ve become a Jedi to do it, but you’re helping. I think they’re proud of you.”

                Koren smiled, “And I’m sure your sister is proud of you.”

                Trey laughed, shaking his head. “That’s to be decided. I did try and kill her best friend after all.”

                “Well we’re about to find out.” Shey said as they crested the hill. “We’re here.”

Chapter Text

                Hours of fighting had taken its toll on Nora and Mikael. Their strength was flagging and their backup was slowly being whittled down. The group that she had spotted on the hill had disappeared sometime during the combat, and she had lost sight of the speeder as well. A flash of a turquoise lightsaber flying past caught her attention, and the young jedi that went leaping after them. Her daughter shouldn’t be this far out. She had told her to stay in the back where it was safer.

                “Lyra!” She shouted, turning and chasing after her daughter, and leaving her husband to his own defenses for a time.

                A grunt of pain was her only reply as the Jedi was knocked back and fell to the ground, the brown tunic she favored caked with mud. Fear lanced through Nora as she saw her daughter fall, and she charged to her daughter’s side, cutting down a handful of unlucky soldiers that got in her way. She heard her husband catch up to her as she knelt down to check for injuries.

                “I’m fine.” She winced, “Just took a bad hit. They’ve got a Sith in there.”

                Nora grimaced and then turned her attention toward the direction her daughter had been thrown from, narrowing her grey eyes dangerously. “Mik, take her back and patch her up.”

                He looked down at his wife and she could feel his surprise and immediate refusal before he spoke. “Not a chance. I told you I’m with you no matter what”

                She stood up, giving him a sad smile. Her rebreather was gone, the device having been destroyed by a lucky hit from one of the enemy troops. “I’ll be fine love. Take her back and try and find out what happened to Aric.” He went to refuse again but she ran off before he could.

                He shook his head, “May the Force keep you safe.” He mumbled as he turned to help his daughter up and navigate through the throngs of people back to camp.

                She ran into the Sith in question sooner than she had planned, his red lightsaber was lit and he shot at her with a blaster as soon as he spotted her.

                “Well, if it isn’t the Emperor’s Wrath.” He sneered, dropping the blaster and flourishing his lightsaber. “I do believe you’re on the wrong side my dear.”

                Nora glared at him, bringing both of her blades up and standing at the ready.

                The Sith tsked, “My, how you have fallen, what would Empress Acina think.

                “I don’t serve Acina.” Nora stood still, waiting for him to make the first strike.

                It didn’t take long for him to do so, the Sith brought the blade up and charged forward, using the force to propel him. Nora reacted on instinct and deflected the strike with one of her lightsabers and brought the other around to strike at his side. Kicking her leg, the Sith leapt back a short distance before charging back in. Nora crouched, her leg hurt where he had kicked her and she was exhausted. She doubted she would last in a lengthy fight.

                When the sith brought his blade down to hit her, she rolled out of the way at the last second, using part of her blade and her gauntlet to direct the strike down and to the side as she moved. Getting back to her feet she lunged at him, catching him in the shoulder and across the stomach. He grunted in pain, stumbling slightly but got back to his feet in less than a heartbeat.

                “I can see why you were chosen.” He grinned, clearly enjoying the pain he had to’ve been in. “But you’re slow. Are you tired already?”

                Nora growled, and charged him again, bringing her lightsabers around and striking at him again. He managed to deflect one blade but the other bit into his leg. He pushed back, skidding away and leaping forward once more, catching her in mid movement. Nora dodged his strike, but bumped into an Imperial that was trying his best not to get mixed up the fight. The Sith caught the soldier and Nora in a sweep, knocking both to the ground with the Force.

                “That’s all?” He asked, gripping his hand and forcing the pair into the dirt. She could hear the crack of bone and a whimper of pain from the soldier beneath her. Gritting her teeth she pushed back with the Force, attempting to knock the Sith off balance and to save both herself and the soldier. Her efforts were met with a stronger push at her and a sick laugh from her enemy. Tears pricked at her eyes as she felt her ribs strain.

                And then suddenly the pressure was gone. She rolled off the poor soldier and coughed as she was able to breathe normally once more, chocking out an “are you okay?” to the man at her side.

                He didn’t move at first, but then he gave a shaky nod and replied. “Still alive.”

                She pushed herself up, and looked toward the Sith to see what had interrupted him. He stood there, with a lightsaber through his heart. The golden blade going out a moment later and a man in white armor stepping around the corpse. She squinted, he was familiar but she couldn’t place him.

                “Nora!” She heard someone call and turned to see Kara run to her. “Are you alright? Oh, you look terrible.”       

                “Kara?” She asked, her voice coming back to her. She earned a small smile from the smuggler before she was pulled into a hug.

                “I’m so glad, I thought I wouldn’t make it in time.” Kara stood up, and checked on the soldier that was still on the ground next to them. The other man came over to, and squatted down by her side.

                “He’s wounded, but it shouldn’t kill him.” He spoke quietly, and Nora realized that a majority of the people that were fighting around her were gone.

                “We’ll bring him back to camp and patch him up.” Kara replied, “Let’s get him and Nora on their feet.”

                He nodded, “Major Jorgan isn’t going to be happy.” He smirked a little at that as he stood up and helped Kara to her feet before helping the wounded soldier.

                “True, but I’m the one in charge, Arcann, I’m not going to leave him behind.”

                Arcann just shrugged, “I’m not saying you shouldn’t leave him.” He slung the injured man’s arm over his shoulder, “Just should probably get him out of here before those three in the speeder catch up.”

                Kara blanched, “You don’t need to remind me, I didn’t forget about them.” She helped Nora up, “Let’s get out of here. Bowdaar should be nearby still.” She glanced over at Nora, a smile on her face, “It’s so good to see you again, sis.”

                “And you as well.” Nora replied. “Though I am surprised to see you here. How did you find us?”

                “Mikael sent a distress out and Aric forwarded it over to us.” She watched the man in front of her as they made their way.

                “And who’s your friend? You called him Arcann. Like Emperor Arcann?”

                “That’s him.” Kara grinned. “It’s a long story.”

                “I saw the broadcast, but..” Nora trailed off.

                “You’re not the only one who doesn’t trust me.” Arcann spoke up.

                “Oh hush, Koth is coming around, and so is the rest of the Alliance.” Kara scowled at him.

                “I meant no offense.” Nora looked away.

                “It’s alright.” He said, “I’m working on proving that I’ve changed. I knew it wouldn’t be easy.”

                Kara looked at him sadly, “Is this because of Caleb and Connor?” He didn’t reply. She sighed, “They’ll come around. Koro said they’re like that with everyone. Just watch, they’ll meet Nora and hide too.”

                “What?” Nora looked at her sister, “I’m their Aunt, why would they hide.”

                Kara grinned, “Well you are a big bad Sith.” This earned a chuckle from Arcann.

                Nora huffed, wincing at the strain on her ribs, “I guess I’ll just have to go back to Odessen with you and meet them won’t I.”

                “I guess so.”

                The soldier at Arcann’s side spoke up, “What will you do with me?” He sounded so young.

                “Depends,” Arcann replied, “We’ll get you patched up and then it’s the Commander’s call.”

                “Commander?” The soldier asked, surprised.

                “You’ll be free to do what you want. You can go back to the Empire or you can stay with us in the Alliance.” Kara replied smoothly.

                “You’d let me join? Even though we were just fighting you?”

                Kara shrugged, “If you want.” She let him think it over, and then saw him nod.

                “Alright.” He said quietly.

                They looked up as they heard a roar from Bowdaar, the soldier jolting slightly in surprise. The wookie rushed over to pick up Nora as soon as he saw them, relieving his friend of her burden and reuniting with another friend in the process.

                “I missed you too big guy.” Nora laughed a little, “But go easy on me alright.” He growled in reply and kept pace with Arcann and Kara as they helped the soldier the rest of the way to the Republic camp.

Chapter Text

                “You have got to be kidding me.” Koren muttered as he hopped out of the speeder. They were on the edge of the Imperial lines, watching as Havoc Squad charged in, backed up by Lana, Senya and Theron. “Look at that, they have two Jedi and they think they can take the place by force.”

                Shey leaned on his shoulder, “Are they trying to get themselves killed?”

                “I doubt it.” Trey walked past them, heading toward the fight, “I recognize Lana in there, so they have the Alliance backing them. And us as well.” He pulled his lightsabers from his belt, igniting the them as he charged in. The pure white of the blades catching the attention of some nearby soldiers as he shoved his way through.

                “I was afraid you’d say that.” Koren grumbled, pulling his twin blasters free and chasing after the Sith, Shey hot on his heels.

                Fighting through the surprised soldiers was easy enough, between Shey’s flamethrower and Trey’s focused charge through the ranks, Koren felt like he was unneeded for this, just following along and picking of stragglers as he kept pace with his team.

                “Lana!” Trey shoved his lightsaber in the air, getting her attention and making it clear he was an ally.

                “Cresh? What are you doing here?” Lana asked, surprise evident in her voice as she threw back a handful of soldiers.

                “Oh, you know, he’s just seeing the sights.” Koren replied sarcastically. He shot down two soldiers before tossing a med pack to one of Havoc’s. He glanced Theron’s way, but kept quiet otherwise.

                Trey shot him a glare before responding to Lana’s question, “We were here on our own business, saw you charging in and thought you could use a hand.”

                “Well I’m glad you did.” Theron said, “We’re just working our way to the Republic camp. You give us a hand and maybe we can help you with what you’re here for.”

                Trey nodded. “Deal.” He threw his lightsabers cutting down a few more soldiers before leaping in, catching the blades in mid motion.

                 “Always on the move…” Koren sighed before chasing after him, shooting anyone who got too close.

                The team moved quickly and efficiently, carving a path as they went. To their left they saw a fight break out between two Sith, but before they could move in to help Senya spotted Kara and Arcann move in. Soon enough the Imperials were on the run, retreating from the fight.

                Seeing the fight was over, Lana escorted them to the Republic camp, waving down Major Jorgan as they went.

                “A decisive victory, Major. Congratulations.” Senya smiled at him.

                “Thanks to your efforts.” He replied, giving her a smile of his own. “The Commander is already speaking with Major Hawke. I’ll take you to them.”

                Lana nodded her thanks as she followed the Cathar through the camp, Trey and the two bounty hunters close behind, and backed up by Theron and Senya.

                “This guy is one of Lana’s contacts right?” Theron whispered to Senya.

                “Yes, Though this is the first time I’ve met him in person.” She glanced his way, “You don’t trust him.”

                “He’s just a bit smaller than I figured he’d be.” Theron sighed. “But, no, I don’t trust him. The timing just seemed too perfect.”

                Koren fell back to walk in pace with them, “And you think he got the transmission from your Major and decided to help?” He took off his helmet as he spoke, “Because you’d be very wrong if that’s what you thought.”

                Theron glared at him, before his eyebrows shot up in surprise, “Koren?”

                “In the flesh.” Koren spread his arms wide, “Missed you too spy-boy. What’s it been, ten? Fifteen years?”

                “A friend of yours?” Senya asked.

                “An ex.” Theron replied. “What are you doing here Kor?”

                “Working.” He grinned, “You don’t need to sound so upset at seeing me. I’m not here to cause trouble.”

                Theron scoffed, “If I thought you were I would’ve left as soon as I recognized you.” He looked over at him, “The armor is new.”

                “Looks good don’t it?” Koren laughed, “I still wear that coat you got me, but I like this better when I’m working. I can crank my music and ignore everything else.”

                Theron nodded, a smile on his face, “I’m surprised it’s still in one piece.”

                “Hey, I take good care of my stuff.” Koren crossed his arms, feigning insult, “Especially if I care about it.”

                “Are you still using the same ship?” Theron asked flatly.

                Koren looked at him surprised, his grin turning sly, “Oh, why do you ask?” He paused, his smile dropping, “Wait, that’s rude.” Theron grinned, “It’s in peak condition, I promise you.”

                “Uh huh.” Theron shook his head.

                “It is.”

                “I’ll have to take your word for it.” Theron laughed.

                “I could show you if you’re that curious.” Koren moved over, putting his arm around the other man, “Y’know, for old times’ sake.”

                Theron shook his head. “I’ll have to pass.”

                Koren shrugged, releasing him, and bumping his hip with his own, causing the spy to stumble slightly. Trey glanced back at them, and Shey rose an eyebrow in question. Koren grinned at them before turning his attention back to Theron.

                “Found anyone while I’ve been away?” He asked, “Or still married to your work?”

                “The Commander.” Theron replied, giving him a proud smile, “We’ve been together for a while now.

                “Oh, now that’s a good one. Is she nice? I’ve only heard about her, but I don’t think I’ve ever met her.”

                “Honestly? She’s amazing.  She seems to attract far too much trouble, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

                Koren gave him a sad smile, “Sounds like you really love her.”

                Theron nodded, “I do.” He looked over at Koren, slapping him on the back, “What about you? You’ve never been one to sit on your hands when it comes to relationships. Anyone special?”

                Koren laughed, slinging his arm around the spy once more. He nodded toward Trey, “He’s the only one I’ve been trying for. No luck so far though.”

                “He’s managing to resist your charm?” Theron gave him a look of mock surprise.

                “Oh leave me alone. I can’t win everyone over with a wink and a drink.” Koren laughed, “He’s been so preoccupied with a lot of other things. He’s been trying to find his sister for a while, and he recently lost his wife. I’m not going to push him until he’s ready. I’m not that bad.” He paused, “Though if he asks for a little one on one time, I doubt I’d say no.”

                “Wait? His sister?“ Theron started to ask as they walked into the tent where Kara was speaking with Mikael. Arcann standing close by, just in case.

                “Lana! Theron!” She beamed at them, “I’m glad you both made it through alright.”

                “Same to you Commander, any injuries on your end?” Lana gave Kara a once over as she spoke, checking her for injuries.

                “Aside from the troops here and Nora taking a bad hit, the only casualty we had was Arcann’s tunic.” Kara glanced at him.

                They looked at him as he huffed in annoyance, “Lucky shot from one of the Imperials.”

                Kara laughed, “How bout your team? Anyone hurt?”

                Lana shook her head, “Some minor wounds that have already been patched up. We did pick up some help on the way.” She gestured to Trey. “This is my agent, Cresh. He gave us a hand with the fight.”

                Trey froze, he wasn’t expecting to see Kara here. She clearly didn’t recognize him as she pushed off from the desk and went to greet him. But he didn’t know if she would be able to figure out who he was when he spoke, or if she could feel him through the force.

                “I’m Kara Hawke, commander of the Alliance.” She stuck out her hand.

                He took it, shaking it carefully. He could feel his anger bubble up as she spoke, but he forced it down, “Cresh. As Lana stated, I work as one of her agents.” He gestured behind him. “And this is my current team.”

                “Shey Shen.” Shey introduced, nodding respectfully at Kara. “Champion of the Great Hunt. I believe we’ve met previously.”

                “It’s a pleasure. And it’s good to see you again Shey, Koro is at our base right now with our kids if you’d like to visit when we’re done here. And I’m sure Torian would be glad to see you as well.”

                “That would be a great idea.” She smiled at the smuggler, “I haven’t seen either of them in ages.”

                Koren saluted with his free hand, still leaning on Theron, “Koren Gates at your service. Merc, and fellow Champion.” He grinned, “Theron was just telling me about you.”

                Kara raised an eyebrow at him, “You seem familiar. Weren’t you one of the bounty hunters that Skavak hired?”

                “I knew your name sounded familiar.” Koren grinned, “Glad I backed off on that bounty.”

                “As am I, and you know Theron I take it?”

                 Theron nodded, “It’s a long story.” She seemed to accept that for the time being.

                A soldier rushed in while they were talking shouting reports to the Major.

                “Looks like the Imps are still on the run. We’ll have time for a breather, but I’m not sure for how long.” He sighed, removing his helmet and running his hand through his hair. “Hopefully both Nora and Lyra will be back on their feet by the time they regroup.”

                “Were they badly wounded?” Senya asked.

                Mikael shook his head, “Aside from a few bruises and possibly some cracked ribs. But they did push themselves so I made sure they got some rest.” He paused, breathing heavily. “I’m going to go check on them. Thank you for the assistance, and please make yourselves at home.”

                They nodded, Kara speaking up, “I’d like to visit her if I can.”

                Mikael nodded, “Of course, she’s been worried for you since you disappeared. I’m sure you have a lot to talk about.”

                Trey fidgeted for a second, picking at his sleeves before speaking, “I’ll go with, I’d like to talk to the other force users while I’m here.” He paused, “With your permission of course, Major.”

                “Of course.” Mikael gestured for the two of them to follow him.

Chapter Text

                Nora sighed, stretching her arms and picking at the bacta patches that clung to her skin. She wasn’t that badly wounded, but she knew how worried her husband had been for her so she didn’t talk him down from treating her wounds as much as she likely should’ve. A groan nearby brought her attention to another cot. Lyra shifted, sitting up and wincing, her hand going to her side as she looked around the tent.

                “Relax Hun, we’re back at camp.” Nora pushed herself up, and went over to her bed, “Rest, the fight’s over for now.”

                “Did we win?” Lyra asked. Nora nodded, “Good. That’ll teach them for trying to catch us by surprise.”

                Nora laughed, “So says the Jedi.” Earning a grin from her daughter.

                Lyra tried getting up, but Nora stopped her. “It’s alright mom, I’m alright. I’m the battlemaster of the Jedi,” Lyra huffed, “If I can’t take a few hits what good am I?”

                Nora sighed, “At least wait until your father checks your wounds.”

                Rolling her eyes, Lyra nodded, mouthing ‘Fine’ at her.

                Within moments the entrance to the tent opened, and Mikael stepped in. He saw Nora at Lyra’s cot, and Lyra already half up. He shook his head at them. “Do I have to tie you two down to get you to take a break?”

                Nora smiled at him, getting up and going to him. He pulled her into a hug, being careful not to squeeze her too much.

                Kara quietly cleared her throat and smiled at her sister. “It’s good to see you back on your feet.”

                Nora released her husband and went over to hug Kara. “I still can’t believe you’re actually alive. I thought I was hallucinating.”

                Mikael left them to talk and headed over to check Lyra’s wounds.

                “Did you really think I was that easy to kill?” Kara grinned. “It’s not like that was the first time I was in carbonite either.”

                “You were in carbonite?! What happened to you?” Nora gripped her hands tight.

                “That’s… a long story. I’m more interested in what happened to you. When Lana saved me she said you were missing. Where have you been?”

                Nora shook her head. “Around. I went back to Korriban to help them repair, as well as Tython. Ran into some familiar faces and eventually ended up joining Mik again about a year ago.”

                “Is that why you stopped all contact?” Trey asked as he stood by Kara’s side.

                Nora’s eyebrow went up in question as she answered him, “No. I had to drop off the radar after the Eternal Empire attacked. There was a power struggle with the loss of Darth Marr, and I wanted no part of it. So the best way to avoid anything that may have come back to hurt my family, was to just disappear.” She nodded toward him, “I take it you caught some of that backlash?”

                Trey shook his head. “No, only heard about it.” He paused, debating on what he wanted to do. He wasn’t sure if he should reveal who he was, or if they already knew. Had already sensed who he was. Nora was his twin, and though he loathed to admit it, she was much stronger in the force than he was. And Kara was also a powerful force user, even if she avoided using her talents. So he doubted he could keep his identity secret for long. Not that he even wanted to.

                Sure he had wanted to avoid Kara from finding out who he was, he didn’t know if he’d be able to keep himself from lashing out at her. His heart still hurt from the loss of Vette, and everytime he saw her he had to hold himself back from snapping at her. He had to remind himself that she likely wasn’t at fault. That there wasn’t anything she could’ve done to save his wife. But a small part of him kept the thought alive, what if there was something she could’ve done, but she chose not to. But he kept that at bay for now. Instead he turned his attention back to whether or not he should reveal who he was.

                He was sure that they would figure it out eventually. Would they be angry with him for hiding? Or would they understand his concerns. Understand that the mask and the coat made him feel safe, made him feel stable, like he was in complete control. Let him feel like he didn’t lose the best part of himself to a stupid war. He wasn’t Trey, he wasn’t the pirate turned sith, he wasn’t that kid that lost his family only to get part of it back and then some. And that he didn’t lose it all over again because of some prince and princess who thought they could walk all over the galaxy and take what they wanted.
                Kara wasn’t at fault for that. Neither was Nora or Mikael. Even Arcann was trying to get past the mistakes he made, to fix what he destroyed. So why was he having such a hard time just admitting he made a mistake, that he felt terrible about nearly killing the commander, that he regretted leaving Vette’s side.

                It wasn’t Kara’s fault, if he had just been there at Vette’s side, instead of lurking around the galaxy like some criminal, like what he was before finding his family again. If he had just been brave enough to face the Eternal Empire like Vette had been, she would still be there at his side.

                The girls had been talking while he was lost in thought, giving the man time, though they shot him questioning glances every so often.

                “I’m sorry.” He said suddenly, catching them off guard and pulling them from their conversation. Kara telling his sister everything that had happened since she had been taken captive from what he could tell.

                “For what Cresh?” Kara asked, she was clearly concerned, and though he still was angry at her, he was touched that she would worry for him.

                “For disappearing. For not helping like you did.” He paused, picking at his mask, “Like she did.”

                Nora cocked an eyebrow, “Why would you apologize?”

                “Because. If I.” He stopped, then started again. “If I had just stayed, maybe things would’ve ended different.”

                He took off his mask, flipping back his hood. The dim lighting of the medical tent seemed bright without the filters of the mask. He directed his attention to Kara, “If I had just accepted that what had happened wasn’t your fault, I wouldn’t’ve hurt you.” Trey looked down at his feet. This wasn’t how he had planned to apologize to her. Hell he didn’t even want to apologize, he still felt she deserved it, but just not to the extent that he had gone. He almost killed her because of his grief, he lost control, something that Nora had told him he needed to work on years ago.

                Kara’s eyes widened. “Trey?” She had an inkling that Cresh had been him. He had a similar feeling to him, but she had dismissed it since he was sith and they had just been in a battle. “How?” She put her hand on her left shoulder, gripping the black shirt and brown vest she now favored since her breastplate was broken. “How did you find us?”

                He shrugged, avoiding eye contact. “I had a dream. Nora was in trouble and I came to check it out.” He rubbed his thumb on his mask, distracting himself as he spoke. “I didn’t plan this, if that’s what you’re wondering.”

                Nora glanced between the two of them. “What happened?” She asked.

                Trey looked at her, his almost golden eyes meeting her grey ones for a moment before he look looked toward Kara. “That’s a long story.” He repeated, gesturing for them to sit down.

Chapter Text

                “You tried to kill her??” Nora growled out.  Trey wouldn’t meet his sister’s glare.

                Kara spoke up, “It’s not that big of a deal. He stopped before he went too far.” She reached over to pat him on the shoulder, her hand hovered above the shoulderpad of his coat a moment, as she debated if this would be a bad idea. Deciding that it didn’t matter she brought her hand down, patting him carefully. “Everything’s healed up now.”

                “Except your leg.” Mikael pointed out. Trey shot him a look, but kept quiet.

                “It still works, and that’s what’s important.” Kara waved off anything else they were going to say. “I don’t blame him. I understand. I’m just glad he came around.”

                “I still blame you.” He said. He paused, taking a heavy breath, “but it’s not your fault exclusively, something that I’ve come to realize.” He looked at her with narrowed eyes. He was still sith, even if he left that life behind, “Besides, Vette would be disappointed in me if I ended up killing you, and the last thing I’d want to do is that. Even if she’s dead, she’s still here.” He gripped his coat.

                “She’s one with the Force, and will always be with you.” Nora said, her voice softening. “She also would want you to move on. Don’t hang on to her.”

                Trey sighed, “I know. Sis. You don’t have to tell me.” He nodded toward the door, “It’s part of the reason I’m traveling with the two hunters.” He gave her a small smile, “You’d like them.”

                “Shey was married to my brother for a while.” Kara grinned, “And she’s married to Torian now, they’re both with the Alliance.”

                “She may leave the team to join them then.” He gave her that one, “I wouldn’t be surprised if she did.”

                “You’re welcome to join as well Trey.” She turned to Nora and Mikael, “You all as well. We could use your help repairing and trying to regain some semblance of peace again.”

                “I’ll speak to my men about it, but I wouldn’t be against it.” The soldier nodded, glancing at his wife, “Especially if Nora joins you as well.”

                Nora smiled up at him, taking his hand in hers, “I’d love to help, and to visit everyone again. It’s been a long time since I saw Master Strider again.”

                “I’m sure he misses you, you were the better Padawan.” Kara grinned. “My brother, and sons are there as well. I don’t know if you’ve seen them, but they’re so big now.”

                Nora laughed, “I look forward to seeing them, I’m sure they don’t even remember me.”

                “Only one way to find out.” Kara stood up, heading out of the tent, Trey and Norafollowed after her, Mikael and Lyra close behind. “But first I want to make sure your people are safe.”

                Mikael nodded, “I appreciate it, Commander. We’ve been here for a few weeks, and it’s been quiet. To have this much activity so quickly is concerning.”

Chapter Text

                It had been a week before Kara decided to head back to Odessen. It had been a busy  week, the Imps had made two more pushes to take the camp, but had finally dropped back and hadn’t return in days. Scouts were sent out to check their camp for fortifications, but instead found the camp had been broken down and the enemy was gone. Mikael had his squad stand guard for a few days, expecting a new form of attack, but when nothing happened he called them back, taking volunteers to go with him back to Odessen with the Commander.

                Havoc Squad was the first to leave, with Koren leaving soon after, taking Lana and Theron with him as well as his own team and the imperial soldier they had rescued. Trey hadn’t entirely wanted to go back to the base of the Eternal Alliance, but his sister was going, as was his friends, so he grumbled but tagged along in the end. Mikael and Kara left last, each taking their own ships. Mikael had left a majority of his team behind on Alderaan to hold their position until they received new orders, while a small squad accompanied him, Nora, and Lyra back to Odessen.

                Kara sighed as she settled in the pilot’s seat in her ship. She prepped for take-off, glancing over her shoulder as the door whooshed open, Arcann stepping into the room. She smiled at him, gesturing for him to sit in the copilot seat. “Everyone settled?”

                He nodded, “Bowdaar was raiding the kitchen last I saw him, and Mother is using your room, reading some of the Jedi texts you had in there.” He took his seat, assisting how he could.

                She tsked, “And here I thought I hid those where no one could find them.” She chuckled.

                “They were on your shelf.” He replied flatly.

                “It was a joke.” She glanced at him before returning her attention to the various monitors on the dashboard, flipping various switched and pushing buttons as she warmed the engine. Arcann watched her as she worked with practiced ease, a certain grace to it that she had achieved from years of using the ship. “Something on my face?” When he raised an eyebrow in question she clarified, “You were staring. Is everything alright? I know, you would’ve rather have gone back with Lana wouldn’t you.”

                “Why would I go with her?” He turned his attention to the view out the window as the ship lifted off the ground and headed out of atmo. “It’s not.” He paused, “I’m not uncomfortable if that’s what you are concerned about. I’m more concerned with you feeling unsafe around me.”

                She glanced at him as she punched in the coordinates and put the ship into hyperspace, then she stretched and rotated her chair back and forth before standing up, “This isn’t the first time we’ve been alone together. Besides, I’ve never felt unsafe around you.”

                He huffed, “You don’t need to lie to me. With our history, I wouldn’t be surprised.”

                She went over to stand next to him. “Are you saying you don’t feel safe being alone with me?” She tried to keep the pain out of her voice.

                “No! That’s not.” He turned to look up at her, “I tried to kill you, multiple times, and you still have welcomed me the same as anyone else, and still let me stay even after you stopped Vaylin.”

                “Do you want to leave?” Kara crossed her arms. She didn’t want to keep him there if he didn’t want to stay, she figured he wanted to be there, but if he didn’t…

                He shook his head, “No. I’d like to stay as long as I’m able. But I don’t want to cause you more trouble on top of everything else I’d done.”

                “You haven’t caused trouble since you’ve joined us.”

                “Kara.” He huffed in annoyance, standing to stare down at her. “You have every reason to distrust me. And yet you’ve done nothing but accept me in as if I was there from the beginning.” His use of her first name caught her off guard, and she hadn’t registered that he had stood up until he had continued speaking. “I’m grateful of everything you’ve done to help both my mother and myself, but I don’t want to overstay my welcome.”

“You’ve shown yourself capable, and you haven’t done anything to harm us. I mean, I don’t know what I would’ve done without you against Valkorian or after losing my leg.” She replied, “Why would I make you leave?” She shook her head, “Arcann, I.” She paused, looking away, “I just want you to be happy. I care about you.”

“My happiness shouldn’t matter as much as-“ He stopped, his eyes widening as he registered what she had said. He first thought she had been messing with him, teasing him like she would do with so many others, but the blush covering her face made him think otherwise. “You do? After everything, you would?”

She looked up at him again, “It shouldn’t be that much of a surprise.” She laughed awkwardly, glancing away again. She was nervous, this wasn’t what she had planned, the words had just slipped out, she hadn’t meant to tell him yet. And now she probably looked like she was about to either run or cry, she wasn’t used to the fear of being rejected, hell she wasn’t used to being the one to confess her feelings to begin with. But Theron had told her that she should say something, had assured her that he would be willing to give him a chance as well.

“But what about Theron?” He stepped back, putting some distance between them as he put his thoughts in order. “Aren’t you two still together?”

Kara looked at him sadly, taking his retreat as his sign of rejection. “Yes, and he knows.” She let out another awkward laugh as she sat back down in her seat. “Honestly, he’s the one who told me that I should tell you.” When he looked at her in confusion, “He said that I shouldn’t keep how I feel hidden from you. And that he would be alright with it being the three of us.” She scratched her head, “I mean if you’re alright with it too.”

He raised his eyebrow, she was fidgeting a lot more than he’d ever seen her. She’s always acted differently around him than Lana or Senya, but he never considered that it could’ve been because she cared for him. “I had no idea.” He mumbled. He clasped his hands behind his back and paced the cockpit in thought.

Kara watched him pace, she was beyond nervous and everything was telling her to run, to pass it off as a joke, to not completely ruin the friendship that they had built. She swallowed, the cockpit much too cramped for her at the moment. “You don’t need to give me an answer right away, if you want to think about it first. I know it’s out of the blue.”

He stopped, looking at her. She wasn’t uncomfortable before when he had first walked in, but now she was obviously ready to leave. He nodded, “If that would be alright with you. I’d like that.”

Kara nodded, giving him a half smile, “Then let me know when you get a chance.” She stood up, “I’m… uh… Going to go see what Bowdaar is up to, make sure he didn’t eat all our food y’know.” She stood there for a moment before nodding again and retreating through the door and leaving him to his thoughts.

He sat down, putting his head in his hands and sighing heavily.

Chapter Text

The rest of the flight to Odessen was uneventful. Kara avoided Arcann as best she could, but his insistence to help wherever he could often forced them to be alone in the cockpit together. About an hour into the trip the door opened, Senya entering the room instead of her son. Kara sighed in relief.

Senya glanced at her, taking a seat before speaking up. “Did something happen between you and Arcann?”

Kara glanced at her, before returning her attention back to the dashboard, once again wishing she was somewhere else. “Something like that.”

“Anything I can help with?” Senya looked out the window as the stars streaked by faster than the eye could process as they hurtled through hyperspace. They still had an hour of the trip left.

“No.” Kara replied flatly. She sighed, “There’s nothing you can do short of rewinding time and stopping me before I said something stupid.”

“What did you say to him?” Senya asked. When Kara didn’t reply she changed the subject, “It was good to meet Nora. She’s a nice person. It surprised me that she is a sith, she’s nothing like Lana.”

Grateful for the change in topic, Kara nodded, “We grew up together, she was the closest thing I had to a sibling. The council had asked Dad to teach her when they had taken her in, likely figured that he’d have an easier time with her since we were around the same age, since they had their hands full cleaning up after the war.”

“So you were close?”

“Kind of? We were inseparable for years, I looked up to her. She was stronger and faster than I was, better at the Force.” Kara shrugged, “When she was sent to train under another Master I was lost for a time, I ran away a few years later, and ran into her again on Korriban when I was helping out the Captain I was working for at the time.”

“So you went from Strider to Hawke then?”

Kara nodded, “She hadn’t changed, even surrounded with so many Sith, she was still the same person I had known back when we were little.” She smiled, “She took me in, adopting me as her sister. Her family was a well known noble family back on Ziost, both her parents were powerful Sith. Carrying their name and connection to their only surviving child held a lot of weight in the Empire. It made a lot of work in Imperial space easier for my Captain, and his connections with the SIS made it easier for us in Republic space.”

“What happened?”

Kara looked at her, sighing, “We did well for years, preferred by many people on both sides. But in the end we got some unwanted attention.” She leaned back in her seat, “I was, 20? Was the right hand for the Captain, knew this ship inside and out.” She turned her seat back and forth, staring at the ceiling, “Pirates raided the ship, stole a bunch of the cargo and killed the crew. The Captain had me hide in the vents. I was the only one who survived.” She stopped, leaning forward and clasping her hands together in front of her. “I flew this ship solo for a couple years before I met Corso and Skavak on Ord Mantell, and then things just went from there.”

“I’m sorry.” Senya stood, approaching the smuggler and placing her hand on Kara’s shoulder in a comforting gesture.

“Nothing for you to apologize for. It’s a risk with our line of business.” She sighed, reached up and gripped Senya’s hand. “But thank you. For everything.”

“I’ve done nothing, Commander.”

“You’ve done a lot.” Kara looked at her, “You’ve been here since we started the Alliance, and we couldn’t’ve done it without you, so thank you.”

Senya nodded, “Thank you as well, Commander.”

Kara gave her a small smile. “Thanks for talking with me too, and not… pushing.”

Senya laughed, “I haven’t given up on getting an answer to my first question.” She paused, sitting again, “But I know you would speak with me if it was something I could help with.” She took her lightsaber from her belt, and removed a cloth from her pouch to clean the weapon, “Besides, love can be an awkward thing.”

Kara choked, staring at her in surprise. Senya didn’t speak again, opting to hum innocently as she cleaned. Shaking her head, Kara returned her attention back to the monitors of her ship, sending an approach alert to their base on Odessen, the pair falling into a comfortable silence.

Chapter Text

                Caleb huffed in annoyance at Theron as he followed the spy around. He had been pestering Theron for nearly an hour about everything to do with their trip to Alderaan. But had recently started shadowing the spy after they had received the approach signal from Kara, letting them know they only had a short bit of time before the Commander finally landed and she could take over once more. The other son, Connor, was nowhere to be seen, the blonde having warmed up to Koren almost immediately. The last Theron had seen of him, Connor had been wandering around after the merc wearing his helmet and chattering on about some story that he had read about.

                “When does mom get back” Caleb finally asked for the eighth time.

                “Soon. She just sent the alert, so… 10 minutes?” Theron replied, handing the boy a datapad.

                Caleb looked at the pad, scrolling through the information and scrunching up his nose before running it over to give to Lana. “I’m going to get Connor then, we’ll meet her at her landing pad.”

                Theron nodded as he ran off.

                Caleb charged down the hall, nimbly weaving his way through the crowded halls to the smuggler’s bay. The various mercenaries and smugglers gave him little attention, already used to the kid running through to speak to Hylo or tagging along behind Koro when he came to play sabaac.

                Koren was lounging on one of the couches they had scattered around the large room, while Connor sat on a box, listening to the merc tell him a story. Trey was seated next to him, he had removed his coat and armor, opting to wear a lighter shirt with a small shoulderpad instead.

                Trey chuckled as Koren told the pair of blondes the story of how he had been hired to take out the previous Chancellor. Caleb wasn’t able to hear much until he got closer, catching the tail end of the story.

                “The Chancellor made it out safe, and the Sith didn’t. AND I still got paid.” Koren grinned proudly as Connor excitedly started asking him a million questions.

                Trey put his hand on Connor’s head, ruffling his hair before speaking up, “Impressive. A Sith Lord is a hard target to take out.” He nodded, smiling slightly in approval, “Takes a lot of guts to stand up for your crew like that.”

                Koren’s grin spread further as he leaned back and stretched, “Well, what can I say? I’m the best.”

                Connor grabbed Koren’s helmet, putting it on his head and glanced over at his brother as he approached. “Cal! You missed Kor’s story!”

                Trey snickered at the boy using the nickname, “Looks like he’s already picked that one up from your spyboy.” The comment earning a half-hearted glare from the merc.

                “You’ll have to tell me about it later.” Caleb stood by the crates his brother was sitting on, shifting his weight from foot to foot anxiously, “Dad said Mom’ll be here soon. I was going to-“

                Connor jumped off the crates, the helmet shaking from the movement. “Mom’s back?!” He turned to look at Trey and Koren and back at his brother and then back to the pair debating on if he should go.

                Koren did a shooing motion at him. “Go on, I’m sure you’re mother would love to see you two waiting for her.” Trey nodding in agreement.

                Turning his attention back to his brother, Connor nodded and bolted out of the bay, Caleb following a moment after. The pair ran down the halls, and made a beeline for the Commander’s landing pad. Lana was already there waiting for them. When she saw the boys come running down the bridge she gave them a smile before turning her attention to a datapad in her hand. They stood next to her, nervous energy coming off of them in waves. Lana chuckled, but didn’t speak, leaving the brothers to talk amongst themselves.

                The datapad pinged, and the Sith glanced up into the air, spotting the freighter as it came in for a landing.

                “See? Right on time.” Theron said as he walked up to the kids, giving Lana a nod, and leaning on the handrails. “Was Kor alright with you taking his helmet?”

                Connor nodded, “He said I can use it all day.” He pushed up the piece of armor, grinning proudly at Theron, the sound of music quietly being emitted from the helmet.

                The ship landed in the grass with a soft thud, hissing as it depressurized and the ramp extended.

                “She landed the ship herself this time, that’s a good sign.” Lana observed, the comment earning a glare from Theron, and a sad look from the boys. “Ah. My apologies, I didn’t mean to say that out loud.”

                Theron just shook his head and turned his attention back to the ship. He didn’t blame her, having had a similar thought as he saw the ship fly in.

                After a few moments the door opened and Arcann strode out, making his way quickly towards the base. He cleared the field in moments, having made it to the bridge by the time Kara, Bowdaar and Senya exited out of the ship. They greeted him as he approached, which he returned as he passed. Theron raised an eyebrow at his hasty exit.

                He turned his attention to Kara as she arrived at the bridge. “Well that was odd. I mean he’s not the most social, but he’s not usually so quick to make an exit. Did something happen?”

                Caleb and his brother rushed over to give their mother a hug. Excitedly welcoming her back home.

                Kara returned their greetings and hugging her boys close before answering her lover’s question. “Sort of?” She went to him, Theron meeting her halfway and hugging her tightly. Releasing her he gave her a quick kiss before letting her continue speaking. “I may have let how I feel about him slip while we were on our way back.”

                Theron rubbed the bridge of his nose, “And I take it he didn’t know how to respond so you gave him space.” When Kara nodded he sighed, “Well at least he has plenty of space to think it over.”

                They spoke between themselves for a while, Lana joining in as the conversation shifted to reports that had come in while they had been away. Connor glanced at his brother, tugging on his shirt to get his attention. Caleb glanced at him, raising at eyebrow. “What?”

                “Maybe we should go talk to him.” Connor said, quietly whispering so they wouldn’t interrupt the adult’s conversation.

                “Who? Arcann?” When Connor nodded, Caleb shook his head. “Why?”

                “He looked like he needed someone to talk to.” Connor shifted the helmet on his head absentmindedly as he talked.

                “You heard Dad say he wanted space. Do you really think you should be bothering him?” Caleb shook his head.

                “But don’t you think it’d be better to talk about it? What if he leaves?”

                “I thought you were scared of him?” Caleb crossed his arms.

                “No!” Connor huffed in annoyance. “I mean, I am. But.” He paused, “We could help. Maybe. Give him a chance like Mom wants us to.”

                Caleb shook his head again, “I’m not going with you.” This earned a surprised look from his younger brother. “You want to talk to him, go ahead. But I’m not going.”

                “But.” Connor grabbed his hand, gripping it.

                “I’m staying here with Mom and Dad.” Caleb stared him down, “You can go alone if you really wanna go.” When Connor released his hand and looked away, his face filled with disappointment, Caleb felt bad, he knew how important it was to his brother, the younger boy adored their mother. Both of them did, honestly. Kara’s disappearance had hit them both hard, but where Caleb had been nearly four when she had been taken from them, and had some great memories of traveling space with her, Koro, and the crew, Connor didn’t. Connor had been barely over two years old, and could hardly remember what their mother had looked like without the holo that Theron had kept of her.

                Caleb was grateful to their Dad, to Theron, for raising them alongside their uncle. But it didn’t felt the same until their mother had returned. He still remembered Theron calling them over the holo almost two years ago, telling them that he had a surprise for them. He still remembered Connor starting to cry almost instantly when they saw their mother’s face again after all those years she had been gone. He still remembered Connor saying how much he hated Arcann for taking their mother from them, and how much he wished they could’ve been on Odessen helping instead of on Coruscant with their uncle. And now Connor was set on trying to connect to the person he had claimed to hate. Caleb wanted to tell him that he should go talk to him, that he would be there by his side when he did, the pair having been inseparable for years. But he couldn’t, not yet. He hadn’t told Connor that he had felt the same hatred, he hadn’t let his brother know how much he had missed their mother. He just comforted his brother, telling him to be patient, that they would be with her again soon, that they would be a family again.

                He was pulled from his thoughts as Koro came sprinting out of the base, catching his sister in his arms and spinning her dramatically. Caleb glanced over to where his brother had been standing, finding that Connor was gone.

                He was proud that his brother was starting to stand on his own.

Chapter Text

                He had just wanted to be alone. Something that seemed to be proving difficult for Arcann to do in the large base. He had made his way from the landing pad through to the war room and then up into the main base. The cantina was packed, as usual, so he avoided going in there not wanting to interrupt their fun. He frowned as he passed, already knowing that if he went into the cantina, it would fall silent. Even after having been in the Alliance for months, most of its members still had a hard time adjusting to him being on their side. He didn’t blame them, he still had miles to go before he could be anywhere near deserving of their forgiveness.

                Which brought his thoughts back to his conversation with Kara. When they had been in the cockpit of her ship, that had been the first time they had truly been alone together. Usually there was always someone else there, Theron most often, either in the background when they spoke one on one, or actively a part of their conversation. She had seemed nervous when they had talked, but not afraid, just uncomfortable. Like there had been something on her mind she was trying to keep from talking about.

                Arcann paused as he walked down the hall, glancing back over his shoulder to look the way he had come. He could sense someone there, they were trying to hide their presence from him, but he could tell they were following him. His first thought was that it might be someone trying to assassinate him, he knew there was a good number of people on Odessen who would sell him off to the lowest bidder if they got the chance, but the person tailing him didn’t feel like they were after him to hurt him. So he ignored them for now, continuing on his way.

                He eventually came out to a back balcony that overlooked the forests of the planet, the cool wind blowing gently like the balcony that overlooked the Gravestone. There were no people here, just him and the sprawling forests before him.

                And the person who was still following him.

                “I know you’re there.” He said, keeping his back to the door he had exited from.

                A metallic clang made him turn to look, as a small boy fell over after hitting his head on the doorway. The boy righted himself, sitting crosslegged on the floor, and pulled off the helmet that was clearly much too large for him. He looked up at Arcann, a slight blush on his features, whether it was from embarrassment from being found out, from falling, or from wearing the helmet, Arcann wasn’t sure. Either way, the boy’s golden eyes looked at him seriously before glancing back down sheepishly.

                “Connor?” Arcann asked, turning to face him, “Why were you following me?”

                Connor fidgeted with the helmet, glancing around. Arcann felt bad for the boy, the blonde was clearly uncomfortable being around him. So why had he followed him throughout the base? Connor glanced down the hall, squinting as he tried to find something, but gave up and turned his attention back to Arcann. He looked nervous, but he eventually spoke. “Are you alright?” He asked quietly.

                Arcann raised an eyebrow, confused. “Am I-? You followed me because you were worried about me?”

                Connor nodded, “You looked upset and left so quickly.” He was still speaking quietly so Arcann went over and sat down in front of him. Connor looked up at him for a moment, “Sorry. I shouldn’t’ve followed you. Cal said I shouldn’t bother you. But I didn’t think you should be alone.” He paused, looking down at the helmet in his lap, “I know I hate being alone.” Arcann gave him a small smile, letting the boy talk, “But I have my brother, he helps me. He’s stronger than me, and smarter. And he’s always been there for me. And I have Dad, and Uncle Koro. But you only have your mother and mine.” He was looking at him again. “So I thought I could talk with you, help you out like mom does.”

                Arcann chuckled quietly, earning a confused look from the boy. “I appreciate it. But I’m alright. I just needed to think about some things.”

                “About mom?”

                Arcann hummed at that, but couldn’t deny it. “Yes, that is one of the things.”

                “Do you love her?”

                Arcann looked at him in surprise, “What? No.” He scratched the back of his head. “I don’t know.” He sighed, “She said she cared about me on the ship. And I don’t know why.”

                “I don’t think she’s ever hated anyone. If that’s what you’re worried about.” A third voice brought the pair’s attention to Theron. He gave them an awkward smile and a half wave. “Well, maybe she hated Valkorian. But she never seemed more than extremely annoyed about him usually.” He walked over and sat down by Connor, patting him on the head.

                “How did you know where we were?” Connor asked.

                “Caleb told me you ran off on your own. He didn’t seem too worried, but it’s not like you to leave him for very long.” Theron gave him a grin. “He said that you were being brave.”

                Connor smiled, “I don’t want to be scared of anyone anymore.” He said quietly, glancing at Arcann quickly before glancing away. “And I shouldn’t rely on Cal all the time.”

                “Because you worry about him.” Arcann spoke up. “You know he isn’t as strong as he lets on.”

                Connor nodded, “He protects me when I’m scared, so I want to get stronger so I can protect him too.”

                “I understand.” Arcann sighed, looking out over the forests. “I was like that with my brother too when we were your age.”

                “Thexan, right? Senya told us a little about him.” Theron leaned back, putting his weight on his arms.

                Arcann nodded. “We were inseparable. We did everything together. And I trusted him more than anyone else.”

                “What happened to him?” Connor asked, but the look on Arcann’s face answered his question. “I’m sorry.”

                Arcann shook his head. “I made a mistake. And I regret it more than anything.”

                There was an awkward silence, none of them sure what to say. But eventually Connor spoke up.

                “Do you regret hurting Mom?” He looked at him intently, waiting for the answer.

                Arcann nodded, “Yes.” He couldn’t look at the boy, “She has every reason to hate me, and yet.”

                “Do you care about her?” Theron asked next. His face was serious, and Arcann couldn’t tell if he was daring him to say no.

                “I’m not sure. She has done nothing but show me kindness since the day we met. And I trust her completely, but.”

                Theron nodded, “It’s still too soon. I understand.” He looked up, “Did you know that Koren and I used to be together?”

                The change in subject brought the attention on to him. Connor speaking up first, a hint of excitement in his voice, “Really?”

                Theron nodded, grinning, “Yeah. Years ago, we met when I was on a job back when I was still with the SIS. We hit it off pretty well and were together for a couple years before work took us in opposite directions.” He chuckled, “I never told Kara about it, since I doubted they’d ever meet. Shows what I know right?” He paused. “The first thing she did when they got a chance to talk, the very first thing she asked him was if he had any embarrassing stories about me.”

                “Let me guess. He did.” Arcann gave him a slight smile.

                “Oh absolutely. And he told her everything. It was the worst.” Theron shook his head, “She told me they had met before, before Caleb had been born. He was one of the bounty hunters that was hired to kill her. I’m still not sure why he backed off, he never told me, but she just laughed about it, started chatting with him about Skavak and Rogun like they were old friends. And then there’s Trey. You saw what happened the first time they met, and yet they worked together comfortably on Alderann. ” Theron looked over at Arcann, “She has trusted you and Koren and Trey with the only people she cares about more than her own life, even after everything you all have done to her. To her, the past doesn’t matter, you should know that by now. She wasn’t messing with you, and she’s not one to take her feelings lightly.” Theron pushed himself up and walked over to lean on the railing of the balcony, “She’s been betrayed by people she’s loved, and lost the first one she had given her heart to. And yet she’s still been able to fall in love with me,” He glanced back at Connor and Arcann, “And you.”

                Connor looked over at Arcann, giving him a smile, as the scarred prince huffed in annoyance at the topic coming back around to what he was trying to avoid talking about. “I understand.” He finally said. “You want me to give it some serious thought.”

                “At the very least.”

                Arcann pushed himself up and stood next to Theron, leaning on the railing, Connor following after and mimicking the pair. After a few moments of silence he said, “Just give me some time.”

                Theron nodded, patting the other man on the back before picking up Connor, “As much as you need. Let me know if you want to talk some more.”

                Arcann looked at him, nodding, “I will.”

                “Me too. We can talk more too.” Connor added in, “If you want.”

                “Thank you.” He said as he watched the pair leave, Connor waving at him enthusiastically as they went down the hall. He shook his head as soon as they were out of sight, alone with his thoughts once more. He decided he would talk more with Theron privately when he got the chance, but for the moment he just wanted to enjoy the peace of the balcony he had found, and the comfort that he had people who cared about him.

Chapter Text

                Weeks had passed, and Arcann had made himself busy wherever he could, staying out of the way when it was busy, and generally lending a hand to anyone who was willing to accept his help. In the end, he usually assisted Hylo and her crew or worked by himself in the armory. After Lana, Theron, and Kara had gone to Iokath to check out a tip the Alliance had received, Arcann had unfortunately found himself with little to do.

                Which brought him to the armory, at his favored worktable in the back, modifying a chestplate he had been building for some time now. He had scraps of leather and metal and tools scattered across the table, with a golden chestpiece propped up on a stand. Next to it was Kara’s chestplate that had been badly damaged from her fight with Trey. Since she had opted to use new armor since the fight, Arcann had asked Theron to lend it to him for a time. The spy had seemed confused, but after they had had a private talk, mostly about their conversation with Connor, he had snuck it from the Commander’s quarters without question. Honestly Arcann wouldn’t be surprised if Theron knew why he had wanted it.

                Making Kara a new chestplate hadn’t been the plan, but since joining the Alliance whenever he had tried to stay out of the way, or tried to work off some stress he had started to make the armor piece. That her favored armor had been damaged so close to him finishing his project was lucky, and so he had been working on it whenever he had the time, especially since they had returned from Alderaan. When he was working he had time to think, about what Kara had said to him, and Connor, and Theron. About how so many of the Alliance still would give him distrusting looks when he would pass, but the Commander would always greet him with a smile. How that trust that she showed to him, even after everything that he had done, had made him feel.

                He hummed as he worked, checking measurements of her old chestpiece and comparing them to the new one he was working on, making notes of what needed to be modified. He was so engrossed in his work that he hadn’t realized that he was no longer alone in the armory until a voice spoke up.

                “I didn’t know you sang.” Trey chuckled, leaning in to inspect what Arcann was working on, “Or that you knew how to make armor.”

                Arcann whipped his head around to look at the Sith as Trey picked up the damaged chestplate. The same one he had damaged a little over a month prior. Arcann did his best to hide his surprise as he spoke, “How long have you been here?”

                “About two songs ago.” He picked at a loose piece on the black armor, making a guilty face as the piece popped off and clattered on the table, “Sorry. Didn’t think it would fall off like that.” He put the chestplate down carefully. “Didn’t want to interrupt since you were so focused. It’s a nice change, getting away from Koren for a bit. You’re also a good singer, I feel I need to tip you or something.” He smirked at him before nodding at the armor. “How’d you steal that from the Commander?”

                Arcann narrowed his eyes, picking his words carefully. Trey hadn’t been one to speak to him openly, in fact this was likely the most they had said to each other since the Sith had come to Odessen. “I didn’t steal it. Theron lent it to me.”

                Trey nodded, walking away from the table to inspect some tools on the wall. He didn’t say anything, so Arcann turned his attention back to his work, continuing where he had left off, and leaving Trey to himself. After a while the blonde sat on a nearby empty table, watching as the prince worked. He remained silent for the most part, but would chuckle to himself every so often when Arcann would double check a welding or remeasure a piece.

                After the third bit of laughter from behind him, Arcann finally put the tools he had been holding down and turned his attention to the other man. “What?” He asked, his voice full of annoyance.

                Trey was watching him intently, golden eyes measuring him up. “You’re very careful about this.” He pushed off of the table, returning to stand next to Arcann before continuing. “So I guess the question is, why are you making armor for the commander?” He glanced over as he spoke, raising an eyebrow.

                “The answer isn’t obvious?” Arcann gestured to the broken chestplate, “After the damage you did when you tried to kill her, she needed something new.” He huffed in annoyance before returning his attention to his work.

                Trey waved his hand dismissively, lifting some of the tools off of the table with the Force, including one that Arcann had been reaching for. “That’s not what I meant. I’m not blind, and I haven’t forgotten what I did. I meant why are you, in particular, making it.” He gestured, and moved the tools back to their previous locations, “She’s made no effort to get a replacement, and by how you two have been avoiding each other since I’ve arrived, I’m sure she didn’t ask you to do this. So…” He cocked his head to the side as he leaned on the table, “Why?”

                “I don’t need to explain myself to you.” Arcann grumbled as he went back to work.

                Trey nodded, smiling, “You’re worried about her.” Arcann whipped his head around to look at the Sith again, his eyes wide for a split second before his face returned to a more neutral expression. Trey’s smile spread at the reaction. Bingo. “It’s nothing to be embarrassed about.” He patted the former emperor on the shoulder, “I was the same way with my sister. You know she would get herself hurt over the most ridiculous things, it took everything for Pierce and myself to get her to finally agree to wearing heavier armor.” He shook his head, chuckling, “It clearly didn’t last, considering what she was wearing on Alderaan.” He looked off to the side, the smile fainter, but still there. “I’ve already pushed for her to wear something more armored, and at least I have her husband on my side this time. He’s a surprisingly understanding man for a pub. I don’t approve of their relationship, but they’ve been together for twenty years or so, so I can’t really judge them.” He turned his attention back to Arcann, “You met them right? And their daughter is a sweetheart, not like the Jedi I usually run into. She was telling me about her husband, he’s a doctor or something and-“

                Arcann cut him off. “Is there a reason you’re telling me all this?”

                “You don’t like me do you?” Trey narrowed his eyes at Arcann.

                “We haven’t really spoken much before this.” Arcann eyed him suspiciously, “And we didn’t exactly get off on the best foot after what you did to Kara.”

                “Ooooo. Now there we go.” Trey smirked, “Kara. You know, aside from her brother, Nora and Theron, nobody else calls her by her name, even in private or when she’s not around. It’s always Commander this and Commander that.” He shook his head, “But never just Kara.”

                “She is the commander, that’s normal for people to refer to her by her title, even without her around.”

                “So you were only ever referred to as ‘Emperor’? Never Arcann until you joined the Alliance?” Trey’s question sounded innocent, but it also set off warning bells.

                Arcann didn’t reply at first, being careful with what he said. Trey was up to something, “Not entirely.” He said, “My sister referred to me by name. As did much of the Alliance I assume.”

                Trey stared him down a moment, before sighing in mock defeat, “Alright, I get it.” When Arcann gave him a confused look, he shrugged, “I was just trying to get you to open up, get away and talk to someone I know I have something in common with.” Arcann didn’t respond, already dreading what they shared in common. “Connor has been pestering me all day, telling me how much he liked talking to you, that we might get along since he likes talking to me too. Though he’s really usually talking to Koren.”

                Arcann watched him as he started to ramble again, and when Trey made a face at him he finally replied, “Connor is what we have in common?” when Trey nodded, smirking at his uneasy response. Arcann shook his head and muttered, “I thought you were going to say ‘because we both tried to kill the commander.’”

                Trey barked a laugh, “True, that is something we share, but what I did and what you did aren’t the same.” Arcann shot him a look, but didn’t say anything as Trey continued, “You regret what you did to her. In fact you seem to be doing everything you can to help every person you’ve wronged. But I don’t regret it. Don’t give me that look, she’s the reason my wife is dead. I don’t care if she didn’t strike the killing blow, it’s still her fault.”

                “She did everything in her power to help Vette.” Arcann replied, he could feel his anger bubbling up and did his best to push it back. He wouldn’t blow up here, he was better than that now. “I was by her side, I know how much it hurt her to see Vette die right in front of her.”

                Trey gestured dismissively at him, “Excuses. And don’t try and change my mind. I won’t try and kill her again, I promise, but I still don’t like her, and won’t trust her to be alone with my sister or Koren, understand? I won’t lose another person I care about, I’ve lost enough.” He growled out.

                Arcann huffed in annoyance at him, “She would never do anything to hurt your sister. And don’t blame her for not being able to protect your wife. That’s not her job.”

                Trey glared at him, “Do not. Say. Another. Word.” His voice dripping with rage.

                Everything instinct in Arcann’s body screamed for him to shut up, to drop this conversation now, to back down. But the part of him that battled with how he felt about Kara couldn’t let this go. That part ending up winning out as he turned to face Trey fully and tried to make himself look more intimidating than he currently felt next to the Sith, “Kara did everything she could to help Vette, she cared about her and treated her as family. More than you did, leaving your own wife for years. If it’s anyone’s fault that she died it’s y-“

                Arcann was cut off in mid sentence as Trey’s fist connected with his face, sending him to the floor. “I told you. Not another word.” Trey sat on him, straddling his stomach as he pulled back and punched him again and again.

                Twisting free, Arcann rolled out from under him, barely dodging another hit, springing to his feet. He could taste blood in his mouth but didn’t have time to worry about what had been cut when Trey recovered and charged at him. He acted as quickly as he could, the rage obvious in the Sith’s eyes, but only managed to block a handful of blows before taking a heavy kick to the stomach that shoved him back a few steps. He had to admit, Trey was good, but he hadn’t really been trying. The thought that Trey wasn’t really trying either popped into his head, but he pushed it back as he finally fought back.

                He recovered from the kick quicker than Trey had expected, so when he charged in it caught the Sith off guard. He closed in on the blonde quickly, punching him in the stomach, and attempting to sweep his legs out from under him. He partially succeeded, the punch causing the Sith to stagger, and the sweep tripping him, but Trey reacted too quickly, rolling as he fell and sprung to his feet.

                “You’re going to have to do better than that lover-boy” Trey taunted.

                “L-lover-boy?” Arcann didn’t know what to make of the nickname.

                Trey chuckled, shifting his weight from foot to foot, and brought his arms up in a lazy ready stance, “You react too quick when it comes to Kara, tough guy. Are you two dating?” He teased.

                Arcann growled, shifting his weight, unsure on how he was supposed to react.

                “Is that it? Really? I came here looking for a fight, not to talk about who you’re banging.” Trey smirked, “Or are you worried I’ll talk?” Trey charged, swinging at Arcann.

                The prince blocked his attack, noting that it was slower than before, the fire having died out, “I thought you came here because of Connor.” He blocked another lazy attack.

                Trey shrugged as he swept his leg out, mimicking the move Arcann had pulled on him moments ago. “I had multiple reasons to come down here.”

                Arcann dodged the attack, then pushed back, swinging at the Sith, his fist made a solid connection with Trey’s jaw, and caused him to stumbled and shake his head. He spat blood out, grinning wildly, his lip was split. “That’s more like it lover-boy. You want to protect your girl right? Show me what you got.”

                Arcann growled as he charged at the Sith, catching Trey and shoving him to the ground. He went to punch him but a new voice made him stop.

                “Enough!” Senya pushed at the men with the Force, separating them. “What are you two doing?!”

                Trey huffed in annoyance, opting to remain silent as Arcann replied, “Mother, we were just talking.”

                “By hitting each other?” Senya crossed her arms, raising an eyebrow at her son.

                “We were talking, but I picked a fight with him.” Trey put his hands up in a placating gesture, “Thought it would be interesting. I was wrong. Won’t do it again.”

                “Trey.” Senya turned her attention to the Sith, “Is now really the time to be picking a fight with your allies? Especially with our current situation?”

                Trey grumbled in reply, and shook his head. He couldn’t make eye contact with her, he felt like his mom had just caught him with his hand in the cookie jar. He hoped looking like he honestly regretted what he did would get him off the hook, and it seemed to have worked as she turned her attention back to Arcann.

                “What do you mean by that?” Arcann asked, his voice full of concern.

                “The commander’s unconscious. Something happened to her on Iokath, Lana won’t give me all the details over holo, but she sounded worried. I don’t think it’s good news.”

                Trey blinked in surprise, and Arcann practically radiated fear, “When did this happen?” he asked quickly.

                Senya thought for a moment, “Almost an hour ago. I’ve been so busy juggling reports that I didn’t get a chance to find you right away.” She paused, concern plain on her face, “I think her brother and sons should be told, but I’ve been waiting for more information before I say anything to them. I’m also unsure how to tell them, honestly.”

                Arcann nodded, “I can talk to them.” He said quietly. Connor was at least willing to talk to him, and he seemed the more skittish of the brothers so he was sure Caleb would be willing to at least hear him out.

                “I’ll go talk to Nora. And I’ll see if I can get Koren to check her out when they get back. He’s a fantastic medic, I’m sure he’ll be able to do something to help.” Trey pushed past Senya, giving them a slow wave as he left the room.

                Senya nodded, turning to face her son as he retreated back to his workbench, wiping blood from his face and focusing on finishing his project. “I’m sure she’ll be alright, Arcann.” She said, approaching him slowly and putting a comforting hand on his shoulder. “She’s strong.”

                Arcann nodded, “I know.” He focused on his work, as Senya left him to return to the war room and wait for Lana to contact her again.

                Alone again he let the fear wash over him, accidently bending the tool he held in his left hand. Slowly releasing it, he let it drop to the table and sighed heavily, shaking his head he retook the measurements and went on with his work, distracting himself at least for a short while, humming as he went.

Chapter Text

                Koren was taking stock in his room. Checking the heat sinks and gas canisters on his blasters, kolto and bacta levels, the works. He moved fluidly throughout the room, going from shelf to shelf, and restocking what he usually brought with him onto the field. It was quiet, and nice, gave him time to think. He hadn’t had a chance to himself in a while, so he was taking advantage of it. It’s not that he didn’t like hanging around Trey, he honestly enjoyed his company, but sometimes he thought the Sith should try and make a few friends on the base so he could have others to talk to. So when Trey had gone off on his own, Koren had taken that as a chance to get some work done without getting distracted.

                He had thrown on a pair of light pants and was wearing an open leather jacket, the one he had gotten from Theron years ago, with his favorite bandana around his neck. He had opted to go without boots for the time being, the feeling of the cool floor on his bare feet felt nice as he wandered back and forth around the room comfortable after being in armor for so long.

                He had his music turned up from a portable speaker that sat on his bed, so when the door slammed open he nearly jumped out of his skin in surprise. He whirled around to see Trey glowering at him in the doorway before stalking into the room and dropping himself onto Koren’s bed in obvious annoyance. Koren closed the door before turning his attention to his friend and noticing the scattered wounds on his face.

                “What the hell happened to you?” Koren asked as he grabbed some kolto, bacta, cotton balls and cold packs. “You’ve only been gone an hour, and you come back all beat up.” He started tending to the Sith’s wounds without a second thought.

                “Went to talk to Arcann.” Trey huffed as he let the merc work. “Ended up fighting him.”

                Koren tsked, “You don’t need to fight everyone you talk to.” He took a cotton ball and soaked it in bacta. “This is going to sting a little.” He warned right before pressing the ball to Trey’s split lip.

                The Sith hissed in pain, closing his eyes, but otherwise remained where he was as Koren wiped down the cut on his mouth and one that was under his eye with bacta before going back to rub some kolto on them a moment after. “I didn’t plan on fighting him.” He paused as Koren put a small patch on a cut on his forehead, giving him a quiet ‘uh-huh’ in reply as if he didn’t believe him. Which was smart, Trey had gone down there fully intending to pick a fight. “He’s tough though, I’ll give him that. Took a good hit to the ribs, still hurts.”

                “Let me see.” Koren gestured for Trey to take off his shirt, already prepping a cold pack.

                “You just want to see me with my shirt off.” Trey teased, earning a glare from the merc.

                “Under any other circumstance I would find that funny, but I am working, I am a medic first, you can’t distract me from that and you know it.” Koren kneeled down, pulling at the Sith’s shirt. “Now let me make sure nothing’s broken.”

                Trey chuckled but complied, pulling his shirt up and tossing it to the side. He grinned at the split second look that flashed across Koren’s face before he had renewed his focus. He wasn’t entirely sure if the merc had reacted because of his attraction to him, or because he was scanning for any injuries that wasn’t the large bruise in the middle of his chest. Not that it mattered, Koren apparently wasn’t lying when he said he couldn’t be distracted. Trey sucked in a breath as he felt the cold pack touch his skin, and bit back a groan of pain as Koren pressed the pack on him.

                “Doesn’t look like they’re broken, just bruised. Hold this here.” Trey complied, putting pressure on the pack as Koren fetched some bandages to hold the pack in place for a while, “You’ll want to keep this on, and I know you won’t just sit and hold it there long enough. Give it about an hour or two before you take it off, and be careful not to do anything strenuous.” Koren moved Trey’s hand, taping the bandage and pack in place, making sure it was secure without being too tight.

                Trey watched him a moment, thinking as the man in front of him rambled on about some medical jargon he probably should listen to. Koren looked up at him, his face deadpan as the realization that the Sith had not been listening registered. The merc went to speak, but before he did, Trey leaned forward and kissed him hard. A muffled sound of surprise came from the merc, but he returned the kiss with the same amount of enthusiasm.

                When they broke away for air, Koren stuck out his tongue and made a face, “You taste like Kolto.”

                Trey chuckled, and kissed him again, “And you said I couldn’t distract you.” He teased earning a half-hearted glare from the merc.

                A cough to the side brought their attention to a newcomer, and the third of their current team, Shey. She sighed in annoyance, but otherwise didn’t seem bothered by their display. “If you two are done, we have ships incoming from Iokath.”

                “The commander?” Trey asked. When Shey nodded he stood, retrieved his shirt and left the room without another word.

                Koren and Shey watched as he left. “Sorry if I ruined the mood.” Shey said after a moment, “Senya asked me to get you in case she needs medical attention.”

                “Was she hurt?” Koren asked, standing and retrieving some supplies.

                Shey shrugged, “From what I hear, she was unconscious but I don’t know the details. Arcann came in to talk to Koro and the kids, and Senya gave only the bare minimum of information about what happened.” Shey shook her head. “Torian’s been pacing the war room since then, and I’ve never seen Koro so jumpy before. I know they’re both worried for her.”

                “She has a lot of people who care about her.” Koren said before he showed her a bag, “Ready for whatever. Wish we had more details so I could make sure I have what I need, but this should cover almost anything.”

                Shey nodded, and the hunters left, heading for the landing pads. They walked in silence for most of the trip, Koren only speaking up when they were almost there.

                “How are the boys?” He asked, glancing over at his partner.

                She shook her head. “They seemed scared. Connor clung onto Arcann in a flash, and Caleb went to stay with his brother. They’re in good hands between him and Koro.”

                Koren gave her a look of disbelief, “He did? Huh.” He paused a moment, glancing back they way they had come, “Damn, I should’ve grabbed my helmet.”

                “To give to Connor?”

                Koren nooded, sighed and continued down the hall, “It seems to help him when he’s nervous. I’ve been trying to make a headset for him so he can use it when I’m not around.”

                Shey chuckled, “You’ve really gotten attached to him, haven’t you.”

                He huffed in mock annoyance, “Have you seen the kid? Of course I have, he’s adorable. Y’know he calls me uncle now. You should’ve seen the look on Trey’s face when he did it too, it was priceless.”

                She smiled at him, “Almost makes you want your own huh?” Shey shook her head at the questioning look from her friend, “I’m just teasing.”

                “You and Torian thinking of having one?” Koren grinned at her, “I’m sure Kyri would love a sibling.”

                She sighed, “Been trying more like, so far no luck.”

                “I’d lend you my lucky jacket, but I don’t think I’d want it back after you’re done. And I really don’t want to lose this.” Koren teased, grabbing the collar of his jacket. Shey gave him a dirty look before the pair burst out laughing.

                They were still chuckling as they came out to the landing area, a small group of people already present, and a few ships scattered around. Lana stood with a group off to one side, and three people stood talking amongst themselves to the other. Koren raised an eyebrow as he recognized two of them, but didn’t approach them just yet.

                Lana strode over to meet them, nodding in greeting. “Good you could make it. The Commander was…” She paused, sighing and rubbing her temple with her hand. “She was electrocuted. She’s up and walking around now, but she was down for a while, Theron and I were worried.”

                “I’d be worried if you two weren’t.” Koren muttered, running through various treatments he could think of for electrocution.

                “How did it happen?” Shey asked.

                Lana shook her head. “Someone did it to her. We’re not sure who just yet, but we’re keeping our options open.” She sighed again, though it seemed more like she was stifling a yawn to Koren. “We’ve already started questioning people who were on planet with us. But we will include everyone in the Alliance. Including you two.”

                Shey nodded, “Understandable.”

                They started reviewing what had happened when a flash of white caught Koren’s eye. He turned to look, finding Arcann hovering by the door, the man clearly unsure whether or not he should join them. Excusing himself, Koren went over to talk to him.

                “Hey man.” Koren greeted with a wave, “She’s not here just-“ He stopped, “Stars, that is a nasty cut.”

                Arcann raised an eyebrow at him and reached up to touch his face where Koren was looking, “Is it that bad?”

                “Yeah. Let me see it.” Koren pulled out some bacta, and dabbed off the blood. “Doesn’t this hurt? It looks like it hurts.” He muttered as he worked, applying some kolto and taping some gauze to the wound. Arcann just stood there, not daring to move, and barely even made a sound. Koren chuckled at that, “Swear, you’re my best patient today. Everyone else has complained about the pain, but not you.”

                “You worked on other people who were injured?” Arcann asked.

                Koren glanced at him, “Oh, uh, yeah. A few.” He hadn’t expected him to respond, “I help out in the med bay when I can, and treated Trey a bit ago. Turn your head a little.” He took some kind of gel from his bag and smeared it across Arcann’s nose, “That should keep it from swelling more. Trey did this to you, huh?” He started turning Arcann’s head, and checked for any other injuries.

                Koren went to take off Arcann’s shirt, but the prince stopped him before he got more than a clip undone, “I’m fine.”

                Koren made a face at him, “Trey’s ribs were badly bruised, I’m just checking to make sure yours aren’t too.” When he tried again, Arcann let him, but refused to remove it fully. “Some bruising, but nothing major.” He dug a cold pack from his bag, activated it, and quickly tapped it in place. “Keep that on for an hour at least.” Arcann nodded, fixing his shirt as they heard another shuttle come in. It still wasn’t the commander’s so they didn’t hurry over just yet. “You shouldn’t wash your face for a few hours, let the kolto sit so you don’t get more scars. You can just toss the pack when you’re done with it, that one’s not reusable so I don’t need it back. And come find me tomorrow so I can check to make sure everything is healing properly, alright?”

                Arcann nodded, “Of course.”

                Koren grinned at him, “Finally someone listens to my instructions today.”

                “Has everyone else ignored you?”

                Koren shrugged, “They usually tune me out, I’m used to that. Getting screamed at by someone’s who was supposed to be unconscious was the most surprising thing to happen.” He grinned, “Next to Trey kissing me. That wasn’t a bad surprise though. Just unexpected.”

                Arcann raised an eyebrow in question, “Why is that surprising?”

                “Because it’s never happened before?” Koren cocked his head to the side, “Why?”

                “He seemed very defensive of you when we… spoke… earlier.” Arcann glanced over at Lana and the others as another ship came in, sending her a questioning look. Lana merely shrugged in reply, and kept talking to the people around her. “I thought you two were together.”

                Koren grinned, “He did? Didn’t think he actually cared about me that much.”  Arcann could feel how proud he was. “No we weren’t, aren’t. I don’t know what we are actually.”

                “You care about him.”

                “Haven’t tried to hide that.” Koren laughed, “So what’s with you trying to connect with everyone?”

                Arcann gave him a confused look, “I haven’t. I’ve mostly spoken with Connor and Theron recently. But no one else more than usual.”

                “Hm.” Koren replied, “Strange. Koro made it sound like you’ve been going around trying to make friends. Not that it’s a bad thing, there’s a lot of great people here. We’ve got a sabaac game planned tomorrow night. Koro invited me, said I could bring anyone I want. I was planning on bringing Trey and Torian. Would you want to come along?”

                Arcann thought about it for a moment, “I don’t know how to play.”

                “I can teach you tonight, give you the rundown of the rules and play a couple hands so you don’t get completely cleaned out. What do you say?”

                “Alright.” Arcann nodded, “It sounds interesting.”

                “I’m sure you’ll have fun.” Koren slapped him on the back.

                “Are you two planning a game night?” Anya asked.

                The sudden appearance of the woman caused the pair to jump in surprise. She smiled at their obvious shock before walking away to speak with Lana, not waiting from them to answer her.

                “I don’t like her.” Koren grumbled, “There’s just something about her that makes me feel uncomfortable.”

                Arcann nodded in agreement, as they watched her speak animatedly with Lana. It was only for a moment, but something about her just struck him as wrong. He couldn’t place it exactly, but he was starting to think Kara had been right about not wanting her mother to come to the base.

Chapter Text

                Trey had left Koren’s room quickly after they had been interrupted. He hadn’t planned to do that. He flushed at the memory, remembering how eagerly Koren had returned his kiss. That wasn’t what he had planned at all.

                Trey growled in annoyance as he made his way through the base. He had originally planned to keep the fact that he had started to care about the merc a secret. He wasn’t entirely sure he was ready to move on from Vette, but after months of traveling with Koren he started having a harder and harder time picturing his life without him there. That idea scared him. What if something happened to him, what if he lost him like he lost everyone else he’s ever cared for? So he planned to keep his feelings secret, and just be friends with him while they traveled together, and then leave when he started to reach the limits of his patience.

                He clearly had less patience than he thought.

                He stopped, looking around and trying to figure out where he was. He was sure he was near the hangar by now. Probably. He debating on going back, heading for his room and try to do… something to work off some stress. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do just yet, he was still wound up from his fight, as well as with what happened with Koren.

                Someone coming down the hall made him freeze, sensing that it was Arcann. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do still, but he knew he didn’t want to see the prince so he bolted down another hallway, and circled around. It was mostly empty, with some storage crates scattered around in both the adjacent rooms and in the hallway itself. A forklift was parked in one room he walked by, the jeep covered in a clear tarp. It took him a while to make his way down the hall, though it did give him some time to relax. He checked a few rooms as he passed, having never been down this way before, but nothing interesting really stood out.

                The sound of a ship landing caught his attention, and he eventually walked out onto the landing pad. He glanced around, spotting Lana talking to a group of people, favoring speaking to a shorter woman with black hair that stood to her right. He was able to spot Koren on the other side speaking to Arcann and Koro and two kids. The merc eventually wandered away to join a group of three people who were speaking amongst themselves, leaving the prince with Kara’s brother and sons. They clearly knew each other based on the excited looks on their faces as they greeted him. He smiled at that, seeing Koren looking happy with them, and… his thoughts hit a wall as he registered how the others looked. “Did he bloody multiply?” He muttered as he started heading over to the group, still caught off guard by the fact that all three men shared the same face. He was so out of it he didn’t recognize the fourth of their group until she shouted at him.

                “DAD!” The girl shouted, pushing her way past the men and charging over to hug Trey.

                He looked at her in surprise as she ran up to him, before holding her close and burying his face into her shoulder, lifting her up in his arms. “Ren! I didn’t know you’d be out here.” He leaned back to look at his daughter before kissing her on the cheek.

                She laughed, “It wasn’t a planned thing. My Masters were on Iokath when we joined up with the Alliance. So we came back as representatives of the Republic.”

                “Your Masters?” Trey asked, glacing at the trio of Korens. They all had different clothes and hair, but all three had the same face. In fact from this far away he wouldn’t’ve been able to tell which was Koren if he didn’t have such a distinct tattoo covering his face.

                “Mmhmm.” Sheyren nodded and wriggled free of her father’s embrace, grabbing his hand and walking him over to meet them. “Dad, these are my Masters.” She gestured to the one to Koren’s left. “This is Battlemaster Kole Gates.” He had his hair cut in a faux-hawk with the sides shaved down and a short rat tail on the back, with multiple piercings in both ears. He wore an engineer’s jumpsuit with a brown vest and armored knee-high boots. “And this is the Barsen’thor Kody Gates.” She gestured to the one to the left of Kole. He had his hair in a generic Jedi like style, complete with the braid, with a deep scar cutting across his right eye and a carefully cared for goatee. He also wore a deep red long-coat with matching pants and boots. Both men shared the same hair color, face, and eyes as Koren, the same gray eyes that had begun to light a fire in him whenever they looked his way. “Masters, this is my father, Trey Hawke.” She finished her introductions.

                Trey nodded at them in polite greeting, attempting to ignore a clearly entertained Koren. “It’s good to meet you, thank you for training my daughter.”

                They returned his nod, Kody speaking up, “It’s been an honor training her, she’s very talented. I’m sure you’re quite proud of her.”

                Trey raised an eyebrow as he spoke, they even had the same voice as Koren. He glanced over at his daughter, eyes sparkling in joy. “I’m always proud of her.” He replied, giving her a smile. She beamed at him, before settling and trying her best to appear as the perfect Jedi. Trey thought it was adorable, she tried so hard to keep a smile from covering her face. He liked it when she smiled, she looked more like her mother than him, her blue eyes and red hair pulled up in a loose ponytail the same as that woman, but she shared his darker skin tone.

                Sheyren looked back at her father, grinning happily, the action pulling slightly on the intersection where the scars that cut across her nose and right eye connected. They were older, and didn’t seem to bother her much anymore, but they served as a reminder of why Trey had finally agreed with his sister about sending her to learn with the Jedi years ago. The reminder of another of his failures. He returned her smile, and turned his attention to Koren as the merc spoke up.

                “Kody and Kole are two of my brothers.” He slung his arm over Kole’s shoulder as he spoke, “The three of us were the middle kids, and probably the biggest trouble makers for our parents.” He laughed, “Since the three of us were identical we’d do all sorts of pranks when we were little. Though being mistaken as someone else all the time did get old fast.”

                “Well at least we won’t be mixed up much anymore.” Kody replied, grinning at his brother and earning a laugh from him. “Although… I did find out about that stunt you pulled on Nar Shaddaa three months ago, Kor.”

                “What stunt?” Koren grinned. “And it’s no problem, anything for my brother.”

                Kody shook his head, “Just don’t know how you managed to convince them you were me. Where did you even get a saberstaff that looks like mine?”

                “Lots of makeup and I made replicas of both of your lightsabers some time ago. Y’know, just in case.” Koren winked at them, “Besides, fair’s fair, after you led them off my trail a month before that, Kole.”

                Kole gave him a look of feigned insult, “I can’t believe you’d think I’d do something like that.” He grinned at them, before the trio burst out laughing.

                Trey watched them chat for a time before finally speaking up, “Do you three always do stuff like that?” It was a little unnerving to have all three of them turn their attention to him simultaneously.

                Koren spoke up first, “Sometimes.” He shrugged, “Jedi bring a lot of attention so I will lead other hunters off their tail every now and then. And being a champion of the great hunt also turns some heads so they do the same for me.”

                “Have to say I’m not a fan of the new armor. It makes it easier to pretend to be you, but it’s so heavy.” Kole grumbled.

                Koren shrugged, “You get used to it. Better than having to deal with blaster burns. Besides-“ The roar of an engine as another ship pulled in and landed cut him off.

                “There’s the commander.” Kody stated. “We’ll have to continue this later.” His brothers nodded at him as Koren broke off from the group and went to join Lana as her and a few others gathered to greet their commander.

                The ship landed carefully and depressurized, the ramp extending as it did so. A quiet whoosh of the door opening was all the warning they had before Kara and Theron exited the ship, followed closely by Elara.

                “I keep telling you, I’m fine.” Kara grumbled.

                “Kara, please, you’ve been through a lot, between Tyth and the sabotage.” Theron shook his head at her, “At least get checked out, just to make sure.”

                “I’ve had worse.”

                “I agree with Agent Shan, Commander. You should stop by the med bay.” Elara added in.

                “See?” Theron gestured at the soldier, “Will you go, please? For me?”

                Kara sighed, “Fine. If it’ll make you feel better.” He smiled at her, and she couldn’t help but return it with her own.

                “Won’t need to go all the way to the med bay.” Koren piped up, “I can check you out here if you’d like, while you go about your debriefing. And let your family know you’re alright, would you?” He gestured behind him towards where Koro and Arcann were standing. “They’ve been worried sick.”

                Kara nodded, “That would be great.” She gave her brother a wave, gesturing for him to come over as she sat on a nearby crate. His group headed her way as Koren pulled out a scanner, and started typing into it before letting the green light it emitted wash over his patient.

                He hummed a little as the device beeped, but nodded as he put it away. “It doesn’t look like there’s any lasting damage, the voltage doesn’t seem to have been high enough for anything too major.”

                “She was unconscious for hours.” Theron said, crossing his arms over his chest, “How is that not major?”

                “She’s still standing for one.” Koren shot back. “You’ll have bruising and muscle aches, put this on wherever it’s too sore.” He handed her a bottle of gel, “It’s better for burns, but it should help all the same. And try to take a warm bath, it’ll help as well. If there’s any swelling let me know, I can get some cold packs for you.”

                “That’s really your treatment?” Koro asked as he approached, allowing his nephews to go to their mother’s side. Arcann joined them as well, but hung further back, staying within earshot, but out of the way.

                “She’s up and moving around without any issues, and the scans didn’t come up with anything wrong internally. So just some tlc and she should be fine. The bath should be good for any muscle aches, the gel is a special mixture I made using kolto and some other special ingredients that’ll help with burns and keep scarring to a minimum. Trust me, I’ve had to keep my crew patched up for years, this stuff works.”

                “It’s alright Koro, I’ll vouch for him.” Theron added. “He’s patched me up a few times as well, he’s one of the best medics I’ve met.”

                “I think you mean the best.” Koren said, smirking, earning a laugh from Kara. “See, she agrees.”

                Theron huffed in mock annoyance before changing the subject. “Anyway, on to that debriefing.”

                Kara sighed, “You mean that mess down on Iokath.”

                “What happened?” Koro asked.

                “Well, you’ve heard of the Zakuulan gods, right?” When Koro nodded, Kara continued. “Looks like they’re real.”

                “What?” Arcann blurted out.

                Kara looked at him, raising an eyebrow before continuing, “When we sided with the Republic on the superweapon debacle, Acina went and woke up Tyth. Who is, apparently, one of the superweapons.”

                When she paused, Theron continued, “The Zakuulan gods are all superweapons, stored on Iokath. We’re still not clear on if they were created by Valkorian, or if he found them. Either way, they’re dangerous and we need to find a way to stop them.”

                “Plus there’s the issue with the traitor.” Lana added. She glanced around at the group gathered, debating on sharing details. Since a majority was family, she decided to be up front about it. Lowering her voice so only those gathered could hear her, she continued. “Someone sabotaged the control consoles while the Commander was plugged in. We need to find out who it was.”

                “And we will.” Theron confirmed, “We’ve already started taking steps on figuring out who did it.” He glanced around, “We’ll have to be careful, and keep an eye on the Commander at all times.”

                “Oh no we won’t.” Kara pushed herself to her feet. “I’m fully capable of taking care of myself.”

                “You almost died.” Theron stared her down.

                “Almost. And now I know someone’s targeting me, it won’t happen again.” She sighed, “Theron this isn’t the first time I’ve been betrayed. I’ll be fine, we need to focus on stopping those superweapons first.”

                Theron narrowed his eyes at her, before sighing and letting the matter drop for now. “Right. On to that then.”

Chapter Text

                Arcann paced his room. The rest of the debriefing had gone as expected; talks on what will happen in the empire with Acina dead, tracking down the traitor, how they’re going to handle the Gods. That one was something Arcann was having a hard time getting a grip on. That his Gods were real, not some cosmic entity that was talked about in quiet reverence or worshiped by zealots, but actual walking talking beings.

                Arcann would be the first to admit that he wasn’t one who believed in the Gods. It’s not that he didn’t believe they existed, he had figured there had to be some truth to the myths, just that they weren’t these all powerful beings that decided the path of fate like so many of his people believed. He supposed he was right in a way, they weren’t cosmic in any way, just machines powerful enough to wipe out an entire planet. Which brought his racing thoughts back to the other issue that arose from Iokath.

                Someone had tried to kill the Commander. Again. He really shouldn’t’ve been surprised, since he himself had tried to take her life more than once, but to hear that it was by someone close to them? The thought that someone would betray her hurt him more than he had expected. That she didn’t even seem fazed at the idea of someone doing so bothered him much more.

                Glancing at the finished armor that he had left on his bed, he stopped his pacing. Grabbing his datapad he sent a message to Kara, finally deciding on his course of action. He asked to speak to her privately, suggesting her personal landing pad. He liked it there, it had a wonderful view of both the forests of Odessen as well as the base and the Gravestone. It was both secluded enough that they wouldn’t have to worry about being listened in on, and public enough that she wouldn’t feel uncomfortable.

                His datapad dinged to alert him of her reply, agreeing to meet him there, and letting him know she’d be free in a half hour. He hadn’t expected such a quick response. Shooting another message her way, he paced around his room again before deciding to just wait for her there. There were worse ways to waste time than to sit in the grass and relax for half an hour.

                Fixing his tunic, he checked himself over in a mirror, inspecting the wounds on his face. The Kolto-mixture was doing it’s job, the swelling had already gone down and there was hardly any bruising. The gauze on his face itched, and it took everything he had to keep from either ripping it off or scratching at it. Unsure how long he was supposed to keep the bandage on, he shot a message over to Koren to check. He hadn’t even looked away from the datapad when it dinged, the reply flashing across the screen.

                ‘Tomorrow. And don’t pick at it.’ He chuckled at that, the merc already aware of why he was asking. The screen lit up again with another message from him, ‘Still on for tonight? Stealing some snacks atm.’ Arcann replied with his confirmation.

                The screen lit up with a third message from the merc, ‘Can’t wait, I’ll bring the cards. Just bring you. XO’ And a fourth message came across before Arcann could reply, ‘The XO is a joke, don’t worry, I know you got the hots for the Commander.’

                He scoffed, shaking his head, he shot back a ‘very funny’ before putting the datapad away and grabbed the chestplate. He left his room, making his way through the halls. People passed, though few of them paid him any mind. Some glanced his way, and a couple nodded to him in greeting as they passed. He nodded back, surprised at the interaction, but taking it as a sign that he was slowly being accepted.

                He spotted Caleb talking animatedly with his brother, the usual serious look on his face replaced with a huge smile as they chatted. Connor waved his hands enthusiastically about something, causing the older boy to start laughing. Glancing over, the pair spotted him as he approached. Connor practically glowed with happiness as he started waving at him, while Caleb’s smile dropped as he watched him.

                “Arcann! Hey!” Connor practically shouted. “What’re you doing? Looking for mom?”

                Arcann shook his head, “I’m supposed to talk with her soon, but I know where we’re supposed to meet up at.”

                “Are you going to play Sabaac with Uncle Koro tomorrow?” Caleb asked. His voice wavered slightly, like he was unsure if he should be asking, but also like he wanted to ask something else as well.

                “Yes. Koren invited me.” Arcann went to scratch at the gauze but stopped himself mid motion, opting to pick at the collar of his tunic instead. Caleb looked put out at his confirmation, “Did you want to play as well?”

                Caleb looked up at him, surprise on his face. “We weren’t invited since we’re too young.”

                “I could play with you, if you’d like. Koren’s going to show me how to play tonight, but I can skip out on tomorrow’s game and play with you two instead.” He wasn’t sure if he was over-stepping here, by offering to play with them. Kara was extremely protective of her sons, but she seemed to trust him with them, so Arcann felt safe to at least ask them if they would like to spend time with him.

                Connor beamed up at him, “Really?? You want to play with us?”

                “It’s just a card game Connor, the one Risha would play with Corso.” Caleb cocked his head to the side. “The one that Guss was showing us how to play.”

                “He wasn’t very good at it. I beat him once.”

                Caleb laughed slightly before turning his attention to Arcann, “Alright.” He stated matter-of-factly. “We’ll play tomorrow after dinner. You should still be able to make Uncle’s game that way.” He smirked, “If you have any credits left that is.”

                Arcann was caught off-guard by that smirk, it wasn’t a look that he knew from the rest of Caleb’s family. He couldn’t help but return it with a smirk of his own though, “Alright, you’re on.”

                Koro entering the room caught the attention of the boys, who bid Arcann farewell as they ran off with their uncle. Alone again, Arcann continued on to the commander’s hangar, greeting Dr. Lokin as he passed.

                The doctor stopped him before he got to the elevator, pointing at his left shoulder, “Don’t forget about your appointment tomorrow.”

                Arcann grumbled in reply, “I know.”

                “And please remind the Commander as well. You both are terrible about keeping up your prosthetics, and after her injury…” Lokin trailed off.

                “I’ll remind her.”

                Lokin nodded, “Just don’t forget.” He turned and left, returning to his work.

                Pressing the button for the elevator, Arcann left the military hangar. It was sunny, as usual, as he strode across the bridge. The shadows cast from the ship and the surrounding hills kept the area shaded well enough, but the sun felt good on his face as he found a nice place to sit. He placed the chestplate on the grass, seating himself next to it and closed his eyes.

                He must of dozed off for a bit, since the next thing he heard was the sound of the elevator from the base startling him awake. Scrambling to his feet, he turned to greet Kara as she walked up to him, a smile on her face.

                “How are you feeling Commander?”

                “Better, was in the bath when you messaged me. Koren was right, it seems to have helped.” She cocked her head to the side, looking at him. “You said you wanted to talk?”

                He nodded, looking down as he collected his thoughts. She seemed nervous, but he knew he shouldn’t put this off much longer. “I had something I wanted to give you, a gift.” He stated, leaning down to pick up the chestplate and handed it to her. “I’ve been working on this since you allowed me to join the Alliance.”

                “Armor?” She took it from him, and ran her hand across the golden metal, “It’s beautiful, I can’t believe you made this for me.” She looked up at him, “Thank you.”

                He watched her a moment as she traced her fingers along the engraving on the collar before he spoke up. “It was the least I could do for you, after everything you have done for me. For my mother.” He paused, thinking, “And after what happened on Iokath and with Trey.” He shook his head. “I was… Everyone was worried for you. If I’m unable to fight by your side I want you to wear this, to protect you when I can’t.”

                Kara couldn’t help but chuckle at that, earning a look from Arcann. “I’m sorry, you just sounded like Theron there. He said something similar to me a night or two before we went to Alderaan.” She gave him an apologetic smile, “I wasn’t laughing at you, I promise.”

                “It would be fair to laugh. I know I sound like a fool.” He shook his head and cut her off before she could speak, “But I’ve been thinking about what you said when we were heading back from Alderaan. About how you... felt about me.”

                “Arcann, if it makes you uncomfortable we don’t have to talk about it. I’d understand if you don’t feel the same.” She shrugged stiffly, as if she was trying to make him feel better, “I know you still have a lot to work through, and something like me confessing to you out of the blue like that couldn’t’ve helped. I just wanted you to know.”

                “It’s not. I’m not.” He stopped, sighing heavily before speaking again, “After everything that I’ve done, to you, the Alliance, the galaxy. That you would say you cared about me. I…” He shook his head. “I do care. About you, I mean. And I’d… I’d like to pursue… this.” He gestured vaguely, “But I don’t want to hurt you, after everything. I’ve done a lot of terrible things, and I have a long way to go before I could even think of deserving someone like you.”

                Kara placed the chestplate on the ground carefully, and closed the distance between them, placing a hand on his arm. He looked down at her, the look in his blue eyes a mixture of worry. She smiled gently at him, “What you deserve is someone a lot better than me. But if you’re willing, I’d like to see how ‘us’ works.”

                He smiled at her, the first real smile she had seen from him since they had met. “You and me and?”

                “And Theron, yes.” Kara chuckled, “I love him. And that’s not going to change. But…” She paused, looking up at him again, “He did happen to say he found you attractive as well.” She winked at him. “So… What do you say?”

                He thought for a moment, “I would like that. ‘Us’.” He smiled, cupping her cheek with his hand. “The three of us.” She grinned at him, leaning forward and resting her hand on his chest. He seemed to fidget a little, but didn’t pull away. “I’m… unsure on how to proceed.”

                “Well, kissing me would be a good start.” She looked up at him expectantly.

                “That I can do.” He said as he leaned down to kiss her, carefully at first, unsure if she would change her mind at the last second or if the feeling of his scars would bother her. But when she leaned into him more he deepened it. He heard her chuckle when he pulled her closer to him, and felt her arms wrap around him. He broke away when the need for air forced him to pull back, and rested his forehead against hers. Her breathless laugh made him grin, “I take it that was alright?”

                She hummed, “If I say yes, will you do that again?” He kissed her again as an answer. A binging sound caught their attention and she sighed. Pulling away, she pulled out her comm., answering it. “What’s on fire this time?”

                Lana’s annoyed look greeted her, “Where have you run off to now, Commander?”

                “I’m at my hangar. I was talking to Arcann before I went to meet up with my boys for dinner.” She tossed an apologetic look his way as she spoke, “Is there something wrong?”

                Lana shook her head, “Nothing that’s an emergency, but one of our shuttles made an unscheduled take off, and after your last stunt…” She trailed off.

                Arcann stepped closer to Kara, so Lana would be able to see him in the holo. “I asked her to meet with me, I apologize if I took her away from her work.”

                Lana raised an eyebrow at him before speaking, “No, it’s alright. I’ll check with Hylo and see if it was anyone she knew. I’ll leave you two be.” She gave them an awkward smile and then the holo disconnected.

                “Well…” Kara pocketed the device and turned her attention back to Arcann.

                “You should get to your sons, I’m sure they’re already waiting for you. I didn’t mean to keep you.”

                Kara smiled at him, leaning up to kiss him gently, “Would you like to join us?” She asked, taking his hand, “It’s nothing overly private, just grabbing some food in the mess hall with my boys, Koro, and Theron.”

                Arcann thought about it a moment before nodding, “As long as I’m not intruding.”

                “You never do.” Her smile spread as she turned and walked back toward the bridge, tugging on his arm for him to follow her. He obliged, catching up to walk side by side with her, hand in hand. She squeezed his hand, and looked up at him lovingly, he leaned down to kiss her again as the elevator doors opened.

                They stepped inside before he spoke again, “Whatever comes our way, we’ll face it together.”

                She smiled at him, “Together.”

Chapter Text

                Kara had sent Arcann a message later that evening while he was playing sabaac with Koren. She was checking her datapad almost an hour later with no reply. She leaned back on the couch, thinking over what had happened, grinning happily at the memory. She hadn’t expected him to actually feel the same and be willing to attempt a relationship of all three of them. She glanced down at the message she had sent, rereading it.

                ‘Arcann, Thank you again for the gift. I’ll take good care of it. I really appreciate it. As for the other, equally wonderful things, you gave me, I wanted to let you know that we can do this by your rules. How fast or slow we take this, who knows and who doesn’t. How open or private you want to keep this. I’ll only tell Theron, and leave the rest up to you to decide. Just know that you’re welcome to come and go in our room as you please. I can set up an area for your things if you want. Just let me know. Sweet dreams.’

                Kara thought that sounded alright. She knew that this is a totally new step for them, so she wants him to be as comfortable as possible. Her first concern now was how her sons would react to him, but they’ve seemed to have begun to opened up to him. Her next concern was how her dad and brother would react. She doubted Koro would have too much of a problem with it, but she couldn’t always predict how he would react. Blue on the other hand, she doubted he would be happy about her relationship. He had begrudgingly accepted her relationship with Theron, after quite a bit complaining and at least one threat towards the spy. Theron had brushed it off well enough, having shrugged and said that it’s nothing he couldn’t handle. But Blue had at least had some respect for Theron before he knew about their relationship, whereas with Arcann he had none. He had been one of those who were vocal about his distrust of the former emperor when he had first joined the Alliance months ago, so for him to now find out his only daughter was in a relationship with him? Kara shook her head at the thought.

                “Relax Kara, he’ll reply when he gets the chance.” Theron said as he sat down next to her, pulling her close and kissing her. “Koren’s showing him how to play Sabaac right? He can be really particular when he’s teaching, so Arcann probably won’t get back to you for a while yet.”

                She sighed, and leaned in to him, resting her head on his shoulder, “I know. That’s not what I was worrying about.” She put down the datapad, and reached over to hold Theron’s hand, rubbing her thumb on it gently.

                “Thinking about how your father is going to react?” When she nodded, Theron huffed a laugh. “That did cross my mind as well.”

                “He really hates him.” Kara murmured, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen Blue not glaring daggers at him.”

                “Well, I guess it’s only natural for Master Strider to be like that. Arcann did take his only daughter away from him for years.”

                Kara chuckled, “And then I end up falling for him on top of it. Dad will definitely not be happy.”

                Theron laughed, “I think ‘not happy’ would be an understatement. I doubt he’d hurt him, might scare him a little. Make sure he’s not just leading you on.”

                Kara hummed, “I just.” She sighed, “I guess I just want them to get along. Koro, at least, I have some confidence that he’ll be alright with it. He never made a big deal about you and I being together.”

                “I did live with him for almost five years before you and I made anything official.” Theron rubbed her arm with his hand, placing a kiss on her head before he got to his feet. “After that long I think he came around to accepting me as family. Plus with your sons…” He shrugged as he walked away, stripping off his shirt and tossing it on a chair.

                Kara watched him with interest, he was trying to distract her, she could tell. And it almost annoyed her that it was working. “I did notice that my boys call you ‘dad’. “ She saw him smirk at that as he undid his pants.

                “I didn’t tell them to, if that’s what you’re wondering. I won’t ask them to stop unless you want them to. I kind of like it, being their dad.” He shimmied out of his pants, pulling them off and tossing them at Kara.

                Kara laughed, catching the clothes and dropping them on the couch. She stood, leaning on the couch with her arms crossed in mock annoyance. “What are you doing?”

                “It’s not obvious?” He grinned, striding up to her and placing his hands on her hips.

                “Trying to be a distraction?”

                “I’m trying to be sexy.” He kissed her before retreating, pulling her hand for her to follow, and seating himself on their bed.

                “You’re always sexy, you don’t even need to try.” She smiled as she followed him, pulling off her own clothes as she went. Her smile dropped as she looked down at him. “I’m sorry, I know I worried you.”

                A flash of concern crossed his face before it was quickly replaced with a sly grin as he pulled her into his arms and fell back on the bed, pulling a surprised gasp from his lover. He kissed her fiercely as he rolled them over so he was propped up on his arms above her. Theron gently cupped her face with one hand, “I’ll always be worried for you, that’s part of being in love with the most important person in the galaxy.” He kissed her, first on the lips and then the jaw and neck, scattering kisses all over until he heard her start laughing.

                “I’m not sure I would go that far.” She smiled at him, reaching up and wrapping her arms around his head and pulled him close enough that she could kiss him.

                “You are to me.”

                Kara looked up at him, seeing the love in his eyes, “And you are to me as well. I love you, Theron.”

                “I love you too.”

Chapter Text

                A quiet sound caused Koren’s eyes to snap open. He groaned as he pushed himself up to a sitting position, yawning dramatically and rubbing his back as he scanned the room. There were snack packages scattered around, with empty bottles mixed in, some alcoholic, some not. The low rumble of quiet snoring brought his attention to the other person in the room, spotting Arcann sleeping on his bed. He swore the former emperor had every blanket Koren owned wrapped tightly around him as he watched him grumble and attempt to roll over.

                Chuckling, the merc pushed himself to his feet, stretching, “Explains why I was on the floor.” He muttered. “Have to let the Commander know he’s a blanket hog.” He searched around his room for a clean shirt.

                Another sound caught his attention, this time recognizing it as a knock at the door. Koren was already on the otherside of the room, and debated on navigating the death trap of bottles and wrappers for half a second before opting to just open the door from where he was. Reaching out carefully with the Force he unlocked and opened the door, the action waking the sleeping prince, who sat up quickly and scanned the room for threats.

                Caleb stood at the door, with a young woman with almost cinnamon brown hair by his side. Koren recognized her though he hadn’t talked with her much since they had first met on Alderaan. “Cal, Lyra. What are you two doing here so early?”

                Caleb huffed, “It’s not that early.”

                Lyra laughed, “We’re helping out in the med bay today. And Agent Shan asked us to bring you your patient list and your datapad that you left in the war room again.” She smiled sunnily, and Koren couldn’t help but wonder how such a sweetheart could be Trey’s niece. “He also said that you have a hard time waking up in the mornings.”

                Koren hummed, “Didn’t think he’d remember that.” He navigated his way across the room, pulling on a shirt and tossing a black tank to Arcann for him to wear for the time being. Taking the datapad, “I’ll head down there after I grab something to eat.”

                Lyra nodded and left, heading back down the hall. Caleb hung back for a moment, eyeing Arcann suspiciously before running after her.

                Koren sighed, dropping himself on the bed, stretching again and started scrolling though his appointments for the day and messages from the night before. “Well, no emergencies just yet.” He mumbled, “Looks like a surgery, and a few post-op check-ups. Speaking of, Ar, you can stop wearing that cold-pack. It stopped being cold hours ago, you don’t need to keep it on after it’s warm.”

                Arcann perked up at the nickname, raising an eyebrow, “Ar?” He picked at the tape that held the pack on, removing it carefully. His chest was still bruised from his fight with Trey, but it didn’t feel too sore anymore.

                “Yeah. You’re name’s kinda long so figured Ar was a good way to shorten it. Like how everyone calls me Kor.” He grinned.

                “My name’s not that long.”

                “It’s just something friends do, man.” Koren opened one of the messages, scanning it before closing it again and resuming scrolling. “If it makes you that uncomfortable I’ll stop.”

                “We’re friends?” Arcann asked. He had pulled on the shirt he was given and dug around for his own datapad, finding it half buried under all the blankets.

                “We got drunk, played sabacc all night, and shared a bed. I think that would make us friends, yeah.” He paused, “Wouldn’t do something like that with just anyone.” He opened another message, “Speaking of friends, your girlfriend sent me a note to say thank you and that she’s feeling a lot better.” He gave him a knowing grin.

                A slight blush covered Arcann’s face as he turned his full attention to his own messages.

                “And judging by that look she sent you one as well, though I’m sure it’s not for her health update.” Koren chuckled and stood up, retrieving his boots and picking up some of the trash that was strewn about.

                “She said she wants to do things how I want to.” Arcann spoke up after a moment.

                Koren raised an eyebrow, “That’s good right?” When Arcann nodded he continued, “Good, she’s respecting your personal limits. Part of what makes her such a good commander I guess.” He chuckled, tossing Arcann’s boots and his clothes to him. “Might want to get that cleaned before you wear it, I’m pretty sure that stain is just ale, but can’t be too careful. Beside’s that tank suits you.”

                Arcann glanced down at the shirt as he strapped his boots on. It was black and had a graphic on it, depicting what looked like a Nexu grinning. He shot Koren a glare, opting to keep his comments to himself as he stood up and helped clean up. He used the force to gather much of the trash in a pile and pushed it into a bag. Koren grinned, picking up the last bits and wiping his hands on his pants. “Alright, let’s get something to eat.”

                The pair left the room, Arcann let Koren ramble on about various topics for a bit, sabacc tips, patients that he’s worked with, some comments about Theron. After a time he finally spoke up. “Why don’t you use the Force that often?” he asked.

                Koren stopped walking, watching the other man as he debated on how to reply. After a few awkward moments he sighed, “You’ve killed people using the Force before.” He continued, already knowing the answer. “Breaking someone’s neck with the flick of a wrist, ripping off someone’s arms with a gesture. Being able to wreck havoc and destroy so many lives with but a thought. How did it make you feel? Powerful? Unbeatable?”

                Arcann narrowed his eyes, “It.” He paused, thinking of how to reply, “It differed from battle to battle. Some was necessary for my own survival and others.” He trailed off, recalling his fight against Kara on Asylum and his fight against Thexan in the Spire. He shook his head.

                “I lost my older brother when I was little.” Koren continued, “I looked up to him, wanted to be just like him when I grew up, he was my hero. But one day we were jumped by a mugger when we were out getting a gift for one of my sisters, I think it was for her birthday.” He sighed, “It was so long ago now.” He paused, collecting his thoughts. “He was shot in the heart, trying to protect me. And I-. I wasn’t strong enough to do anything but stand there and cry until he died and his murderer escaped.         

                “My family? They just accepted it. They were upset, he was important to all of us, kept us in line when we’d argue and keep us from fighting too much, but they just let him go. Just like that. But I couldn’t. My brothers, Kody and Kole, they went to join the Jedi, saying they wanted to help the people in our area, make sure something like that wouldn’t happen again. But not me. I couldn’t let go, couldn’t accept it. I left, traveled around looking for the man who had killed him. I used the little control of the Force that I had to get my way, to get the answers I wanted.” He paused, his eyes shining with barely held back tears. Arcann didn’t dare stop him. Koren laughed, the sound sad, before continuing, “I got stronger and stronger, and eventually I found him holed up in some slum. I hurt him, twisted his body and beat him until he was begging me to let him go. I had already killed so many of his friends, and he knew it too. I held his life in my hands and I took it from him, letting him die slowly, bleeding out on the floor like he had done to my brother.

                “I thought I’d be content, my brother could rest, he was avenged. But I just felt sick. I had caused so much destruction in a single focus, I ruined lives. They all had families, people who cared for them, but I hadn’t cared. I only cared about what they had taken from me and I.” He stopped, running his hand through his hair, “I left. I ran and ran, and I disappeared. I had already dropped all contact with my family at that point, I didn’t want them to get hurt, so it wasn’t hard to just drop off the radar. I decided to make amends, stopped using the Force entirely, signed on as a republic soldier for a while, got trained as a medic when they saw how lousy of a shot I was.Went AWOL after a few battles, I didn’t want to see anymore deaths, lose anyone else. So I kept myself distant, became a bounty hunter, and moved around a lot. Debated on settling down a couple times, met a girl on Alderaan who I thought was nice. She used me to piss off her dad so I left, met Theron on Nar Shaddaa sometime after. Things went so well with him, I fell in deep. But my fear of losing him drove me to take a job with another hunter I had met. Theron and I ended up breaking up, going our separate ways since things were picking up with the SIS again. And I was on my own again, eventually I met Shey and we’ve been traveling together since.”

                He shifted uneasily, clearing his throat. “Braden, the hunter I had signed on with, was who introduced us. He was killed by another hunter in an underhanded move. When I found him dead, I almost lost it again, almost made the same mistakes, and I just couldn’t let myself do that again. I was part of a team then, Shey and Mako, they kept me grounded, kept me from running off and destroying myself again. I got back in contact with my family, got close to my brothers again. Got my life back on track.” He looked up, meeting Arcann’s gaze, “Just.” He sighed, “I can use the Force for little things, or if I’m pretending to be one of my brothers. But I can’t use it to fight, not anymore. I’ve never had the best control so it’s not like I could heal with it like some can, but I can at least move stuff around and open doors and that’s all I need.”

                “I’m sorry.” Arcann said. He stood there awkwardly, not sure what he could say that would make him feel better.

                “Don’t be. It’s not your fault.” Koren shook his head, laughing a little, “The only people I’ve ever told that story to was Theron, Shey and my brothers. So please don’t spread it around, it might scare my patients if they knew.”

                “I won’t tell anyone.”

                Koren nodded. “Thank you. And I’m sorry, for going off like that, I just.” He scratched his head. “I don’t want to see others make my mistakes. It’s why I’ve been so hard on Trey I guess.” He glanced around, realizing that he had just spilled his heart out in a, thankfully, empty hall. “We should probably get to the mess hall.” He started to walk, gesturing for Arcann to follow.

                Arcann hung back a moment before hurrying after him. When he caught up he walked along side him quietly before speaking up. “Kor. Can I tell you about my brother? About Thexan?”

                Koren glanced at him, a small smile on his face at the use of the nickname, “Of course.”

Chapter Text

                The mess hall was busy as usual, but Koren had managed to find a table for them to sit and eat at. It had started as just them, but a shout was the only warning the pair had before Connor sprinted over to them.

                “Uncle Kor! Papa! Good morning!” Connor skidded to a halt, quickly climbing into a chair next to them, practically brimming with energy.

                “Papa?” Arcann asked confused, earning a snorted laugh from Koren.

                “Did you have fun playing cards last night? We’re still playing today right?” If Connor could talk any faster Arcann would be surprised. “Caleb said you might try and skip out, but you won’t right? You promised and Knights don’t break promises. At least that’s what Senya said. Oh! She said good morning too, I saw her a bit ago.”

                “Planning on putting those Sabaac skills to good use, Papa?” Koren asked, leaning on one arm, smirking, “Can I play too? I would hate to miss seeing you lose to a couple of kids.”

                Arcann glared at him, before turning his attention back to Connor. “I’m still going to play.” Connor brightened at the confirmation, “But why are you calling me Papa?”

                Connor cocked his head to the side, “Because, you and Mom are together.”

                Arcann shushed him, trying to keep him from shouting it for the whole room to hear, “She told you?” He could understand her wanting to tell her sons about their relationship, but it hurt a little to think that she wouldn’t’ve told him ahead of time.

                Connor shook his head quickly, “Nope. I saw when I was sleeping. You and mom were talking and you kissed her, promised you’d be together forever.” He leaned back and forth in his chair thinking, “Or something like that. When I told Caleb about it he said dreams are hard to figure out sometimes, but I know what I saw. So.”

                “Now you’re calling him Papa.” Koren finished, stifling a laugh. “Gotta say, wasn’t expecting you to be a dad so quickly into the relationship but I guess you have two sons now.”

                “But why papa?” Arcann asked. He knew Connor was Force sensitive, so for him to have picked up their relationship wouldn’t be a surprise, but so quickly? It did explain the strange look Caleb had given him earlier.

                Connor eyed him before replying matter-of-factly. “Theron’s already my Dad, and I can’t call you both that.”

                “Well that’s that. Papa Arcann.” Koren started laughing, covering his face with his hands as the glare Arcann shot him made him laugh harder.

                Connor watched their exchange, not sure why it was so funny, but didn’t comment. Instead he went back to address Koren’s previous question. “Did you want to play with us too? It’d be even more fun.”

                “Sure, Con, I’d love to.” He replied, trying to get his laughter under control. “Gives me a chance to give your papa some pointers before he gets taken to the cleaners.” Another glare from Arcann made him start laughing again, but the appearance of Senya made them all quiet down. “Morning Senya.”

                “Good morning mother.” Arcann greeted.

                “Good morning.” Senya held her own food tray and took a seat next to her son, “I take it I’ve missed something funny.” She smiled at them.

                Koren could never get used to how serene she always sounded. “Nothing major, was just teasing Ar about how bad he is at sabacc.”

                “I didn’t think I did that bad.”

                “You lost every hand. And you have some really obvious tells.” Koren crossed his arms. “You also tried to read my cards using the Force at least three times. By the way, that won’t work on the rest of the guys tonight. Gault is especially good at blocking that move.”

                Arcann grumbled in reply. “I didn’t plan on trying.”

                “I’m just warning you ahead of time. He constantly cheats, and the last time I tried to read him, he just pictured some really kinky sex of him and Hylo and I wasn’t able to look her in the eye for a week. It was bad.” Senya made a sound of disproval, and nodded towards Connor. “Ah. Yea. Uh. Just, don’t try reading Gault’s mind, that’s all I’m trying to say. It’s never a good idea.” He patted Connor on the head, “Promise me you’ll never try reading Gault’s mind, Con.”

                “I promise.” Connor paused, “I don’t really like him much. He’s creepy.”

                “That’s for the best.” Koren turned his attention back to his food, eating quickly as his comm started going off. He choked, swallowing what he could before answering it. A man dressed as a nurse looked worried and explained an emergency, asking for him to come down and help. Koren excused himself, ruffling Connor’s hair as he rushed to the med bay. Stopping for half a second to greet one of his brothers as they walked into the room.

                “He works too hard sometimes.” Senya said as they continued eating, Arcann claiming the remnants of Koren’s breakfast as his, and letting Connor take his pick from both trays. “You two spent some time together last night, correct? Is he getting enough rest?”

                Arcann raised an eyebrow at her concern. “As far as I was able to tell.” She nodded, smiling slightly. “You know he’s with Trey right?”

                “That’s not why I was.” Senya paused, looking down at her food, “I was just asking since I see him in the med bay a lot. Not for any other reason.”

                Arcann hummed in reply.

                “Hey, Papa.” Connor grabbed his hand, pulling his attention back to the blonde. “Can you show me how to use a lightsaber sometime? I’ve asked mom but she’s been so busy. And I’ve seen holos of you fighting and.” He was grinning excitedly.

                “Sure, as long as your mother is alright with it.” He nodded toward Senya, “Though I’m sure your grandfather or Senya would be a better choice.”

                Connor shook his head, “No. Grampa’s way of fighting doesn’t look as fun. And he’s been busy with Auntie Lana since she got back anyway.” He paused, “They’re trying to figure out who hurt mom, so I don’t want to bother them.” He stood up, taking Koren’s empty food tray. “I’ll go ask.” He ran off, putting the tray away and leaving the mess hall.

                “I don’t think I’ve seen him so energetic before.” Senya looked at him with a sly smile, “But… Papa?”

                “Don’t ask.”

Chapter Text

                Kara grumbled at the report on her datapad. She paced the war room, reading it as she walked. The uprisings were fairly under control, but that Port Nowhere was still occupied bothered her. Putting the datapad down on the larger of the two terminals that took up the room, she grabbed her personal datapad that was nearby, hoping that there might something of good news on there.

                A message from Dr. Lokin to remind her of her appointment later, a reply from Koren, a handful of messages from Theron, one from her father, two from Jace, and an encrypted message from an unnamed sender. She ignored the message from Lokin, already knowing it was in regards to her leg and the events on Iokath, and instead opened and replied to the ones from Koren and Theron.

                As she was typing a reply the sound of the elevator on the far side of the room made her glance up. Senya, Arcann, and Lana strode over after the lift stopped moving. She smiled at them, greeting them. “Good Morning.” They each greeted her in return as she turned her attention back to her messages.

                “You shouldn’t be working so early, Commander.” Senya spoke up. “You need your rest.”

                Kara waved off her concern, “I’m fine, I don’t do well with having nothing to do. Besides I’m just reading my messages.”

                “Even still.” Senya sighed. “At least eat something while you read them.”

                She opened one of the messages from Jace. “I don’t eat breakfast, and I already did some meditation with Theron and Koro. Thank you for the concern.”

                “Kara…” Senya crossed her arms.

                “I’m fine Mom.” Kara replied in annoyance, rolling her eyes, earning a laugh from Lana. “I’m more concerned with what Connor was asking a little bit ago.” She turned her attention to Arcann, “You’re going to teach him how to use a lightsaber? Arcann are you sure you want to do that?”

                He nodded, “He seems to be interested in learning, and I was his age when I was trained.”

                She hummed in thought, but nodded and turned her attention back to continue reading her message. “Just be careful. If he gets hurt…”

                Arcann strode over to stand by her, “I won’t show him anything too dangerous. You can trust me.”

                She smirked, glancing at him “I know.”

                Lana glanced between the two of them before they each went about their own responsibilities and reviewed their messages. They were all joined by Koth and T7, and eventually Theron as they worked. Kara studiously ignored the encrypted message, instead replying to Lokin’s message first and the one from Blue before reading the other one from Jace instead.

                Both messages from Jace were to the point, the first was sent soon after she had left Iokath, thanking her for her assistance against the Empire and was entirely professional. The second was sent much later that night and was much more personal. An inquiry to her health after her injury, asking for updates on Theron, and an offer for drinks if they get a chance to meet without a war going on.

                It had been years since she had seen him in person, the last time being on Alderaan before Caleb was born, and before either of them had such responsibilities. But he really hadn’t changed much over the years, something that she was grateful for. She had an easy time working with him then, and she had an even easier time working with him now. Unfortunately she also still had an easy time flirting with the soldier, something she had done a couple times by habit in front of Theron.

                She hadn’t known Jace was Theron’s father until after their relationship had become official when they had reunited on Odessen. And since neither talked about their previous relationships more than necessary, she hadn’t had a chance to tell Theron that she had known Jace outside of just working with him once on Alderaan, and for him on Makeb. Or that she had had a one night stand with him soon after stopping the Voidwolf. And now? Now would be a little awkward to bring that up. She would keep that knowledge to herself for the time being and hope Jace wouldn’t say anything to Theron about it either. At least until she found a good time to tell him, if such a time existed.

                She glared at the encrypted message, debating on reading it, but a ding to alert her of a new message made her ignore it again. The new message was from Hylo titled ‘Unhappy Returns’. Raising an eyebrow she opened it, and the massage made the other eyebrow shoot up as well. “He’s still alive?” She muttered before putting the pad down and covering her face with her hands and closing her eyes and sighing in thought.

                “What’s wrong?” Theron asked, placing a hand on her arm.

                “Hylo sent me a message. I guess one of her men in Nar Shaddaa has been hearing from Skavak. Asking around about me.”

                “The smuggler? The one that stole your ship?”

                Kara nodded, “And Caleb’s father. Yes.” She rubbed the back of her neck with both hands, “I should probably go, see what he wants. If he’s going through all this trouble to find me, might as well hear him out.”

                “And if he tries killing you again?” Lana asked.

                “We’ll figure that out when we get there.”

                “I’ll go with you.” Arcann spoke up.

                Theron eyed him before nodding, “Good idea. You might need the muscle.” He grinned, kissing her before she could protest. “I’ll keep my ears open, see if there’s anything mentioning him, I’ll send it your way. Just be careful. Both of you.”

                She nodded, “We’ll be fine. It’s probably just a false alarm.”

                “All the same.”

                She kissed him again before turning and motioning for Arcann to follow. The pair headed out to the hangar and boarded her ship in relative silence. Although Arcann had reached over to grab Kara’s hand as soon as they had gotten onto the elevator to her landing pad. She prepped the ship, and brought them out to the vast open space above Odessen before the freighter hit the hyperlanes with no problems.

                “What will you do when you see him?” Arcann asked.

                Kara shrugged, “I’m not sure. I’ll see what he wants, accommodate him how I can if needed. The usual BS.”

                He chuckled, “The plight of a leader.”

                “It’s the hardest part of the job, honestly.” She laughed too. Kara would be the first to admit that she liked this, the comfortable familiarity that she had built with Arcann. It had hurt to lose that when she had told him how she felt about him. But now she could feel it again, and it made her smile.

                She sighed as she watched the stars fly by, letting her arms hang down on the sides of the chair. The feeling of cold metal made her glance over, seeing Arcann had reached over to grab her hand with his left. “Not such a fun job to go on. Having to keep me out of trouble.” She grinned as she gripped his hand.

                “I couldn’t ask for a better assignment.” He smirked at her, “Gives us a chance to be alone.”

                “I like the sound of that too.” She looked at him thoughtfully, “That’s a cute shirt by the way. Though you don’t seem the type to own something like that.” She laughed as he shook his head.

                “It’s Koren’s. He lent it to me since I didn’t have anything else this morning.”

                “That explains it.” She was obviously entertained. “I wonder how many of those he has.”

                “Too many, I’m sure.”

                They spent the rest of the trip to the smuggler’s moon chatting about various topics, some of her adventures on Nar Shaddaa from before they had met, what it was like learning from Koren, Theron being overprotective after the traitor had attacked,but nothing too personal. They kept that for another time, when they could just sit and talk.

                Kara dropped the ship out of hyperspace and sent in her docking request, parking her freighter in its designated location. Again, she couldn’t help but marvel at how little had changed.

                The message from Hylo had said that Skavak would be at the cantina on the promenade so that’s where they headed first. She scanned the crowds of people for him, but couldn’t spot anyone who looked remotely close to him. But at the bar they found a small model of her ship.

                Kara picked it up, turning it in her hands, “The Ik’aad? It’s even got the same dings.” There were coordinates on the back. “Great, he’s taking us on an egg hunt. Guess this is our next stop.”

                The trip was quick enough, the coordinates were still on the promenade, just a floor up. Sitting at a closed shop were two more familiar items.

                “A head in a jar?” Arcann asked, narrowing his eyes at it.

                “It was one of the things I delivered. I’m fairly sure that’s the fake Skavak turned in right before I showed up. And this.” She picked up a gem that was on the counter. “Was a fake ruby that he had used to trick the Empire into trading with him. I think I had them in storage on my ship before I was gone. I hadn’t thought to check to see if they were still there.”

                “There’s another set of coordinates on the head.”

                Kara grumbled and entered them into her datapad. “Another stop then. I swear I’m going to shoot him in the leg whether or not he’s here to pick a fight. At least it’s the casino this time.”

                The pair took a speeder up to one of the two casinos that floated high in the air near the promenade. They made their way through the crowds, a few people looked at them with barely concealed surprise, likely due to recognizing one or both of them as they passed. Nobody bothered them, something Kara was grateful of, the last thing they needed was someone picking a fight because they were drunk and thought it’d be a good idea to try and fight the former emperor turned Alliance advisor or the Commander of the Alliance herself.

                Walking past the bar she glanced over at it, before nudging Arcann. When he looked over at her she grinned and gestured to the bar, “After this, want to grab a drink? My treat.” She winked at him.

                He chuckled at that, “Sounds good. It would be nice to just sit before going back to Odessen.”

                “I agree.”

                They went up the steps leading to a backroom where there were plenty more patrons scattered around. A chill made Kara pull her gun, holding it up and ready to fire if needed, Arcann unclipped his lightsaber, but he didn’t ignite the blade for the time being. Scanning the crowd, Kara once again couldn’t find Skavak. A sound made her turn, and she kept her gun steady, pointing it at the person who had approached, but the familiar faces in front of her made her lower the weapon.

                “Corso? Risha?” She said, before putting her gun away.

                “In the flesh, Captain.” Risha smiled at her, looking every bit the stuck up princess that she remembered. Corso practically beamed at her next to Risha’s side.

                “Friends of yours?” Arcann asked, putting his lightsaber back on his belt.

                “Yeah, they were part of my crew before...” She answered before she turned her attention back to the pair before them. “I can’t believe you two, using Skavak’s name to trick me into coming out here. I thought.” She paused, shaking her head, “Why didn’t you come to me directly.”

                “We couldn’t be sure it was really you. We’ve been in hiding for a while since the war on Dubrillion took a turn for the worst.” Risha shook her head. “They kill Rineld, so I dropped off the radar with Corso.”

                “We’ve been using Skavak’s name to steer clear of pursuit and make some credits, and then after Vaylin attacked Dubrillion...” Corso continued.

                “So now I’ve lost my throne before I even had a chance to retake it. Likely for the best, politics never really came well to me.” Risha shrugged. “I miss Rineld, I won’t lie, but at least what’s left of our people aren’t under control of some inept leader any longer.”

                “But now we’re free to do what we want now without hiding. If you need a crew, or?” Corso asked.

                Kara grinned, “There’s always room on my ship for the two of you. I’m sure Bowdaar and Gus will love to see you guys again.”

                They returned her smile with ones of their own before Corso spoke up, “If I could have a moment, Captain?”

                “Sure. Everything alright?” She asked, as he led her away to speak with her privately, leaving Arcann alone with Risha.

                The scarred prince fiddled with his shirt, not for the first time regretting not changing into his armor, stained or not. He was still wearing the tanktop Koren had lent him with a leather jacket that Kara had had on her ship. Based on the fit, he was fairly certain it was one of Theron’s. He did his best to keep to himself, avoiding initiating a conversation with Risha, but after a minute or two she eventually spoke up.

                “Have you been working with the Captain for a while?” She asked.

                “Yes.” He answered simply. He watched Kara speaking to Corso. It was good that she was able to reunite with some of her friends, being surrounded by so many unfamiliar people on Odessen couldn’t’ve been good for her, and she looked happy to see them.

                “You know you look familiar.” Risha said, following his line of sight for a moment before scanning the crowds. Arcann didn’t take it as a desire to leave, but rather a habit from being on the run for so long. “Have we met before, or?”

                “I don’t believe we have. Not in person at least. My name’s Arcann.” He introduced. He glanced at her as she made a familiar sound of recognition of his name.

                “Ah yes. The Emperor, Arcann.” She narrowed her eyes at him, “You’re hard to recognize without the mask. And with the new clothes.” She gave him a haughty smirk, “A Hello Nexu shirt doesn’t exactly suit you.”

                He gave her a half hearted glare. “It belongs to a friend of mine.”

                “Hm.” She turned her attention away from him. She seemed like she was going to say more but just let it go for the time being.

                Arcann turned his attention back to watching his Commander talk with Corso. They appeared to have been catching up at first, but now she looked almost uncomfortable as he spoke. When Corso took her hands he could feel his eye twitch and his blood pressure spike in annoyance. He kept his face as neutral as he could manage, but he didn’t relax until he saw her pull her hands away suddenly. A feeling of smug satisfaction at the look of rejection that crossed Corso’s face before it was quickly replaced by a sad smile.

                Whether or not she had been with Corso previously hadn’t initially crossed Arcann’s mind, he knew that she had had a good handful of lovers in the past, but that had been in the past. All that mattered is that she was with him and Theron. But the thought she might get swept off her feet by a former flame gnawed at him. That he might lose her so soon after their relationship had begun. He was so wrapped up in his thoughts he hadn’t noticed that they had rejoined their group until Kara had put her hand on his arm.

                She looked up at him, concern plain on her face, “Are you alright?”

                He looked down at her in surprise before giving her a smile, “Fine. Was just thinking.”

                “Hmmm, anything in particular?” She had grabbed one of his hands, gripping it firmly in hers as she gave him a sly smile, likely already knowing what he was thinking, and trying to distract him from it.

                He glanced up toward Corso a moment, “Just wondering what you were like before we met.”

                “Oh, now that is a topic for another time. I did promise you a drink after all.” She grinned before turning her attention back to her friends, “Let’s get something to drink before we head home, and I’ll give you guys the rundown of everything that’s happened while you were gone. How does that sound?”

                “Sound perfect, Captain.” Corso started for the door, with Risha, Kara and Arcann right behind him.

Chapter Text

                Kara sighed as she stretched on her bed. They had just taken off from the Nar Shaddaa spaceport a short while ago after having a small party at the casino. Now, she was sprawled out in her quarters on her ship, and while she normally preferred to fly herself, she had to admit it was nice to not have to worry about the return trip. So she had left Risha in charge and went to try and take a quick nap. Unfortunately sleep was eluding her, so she just lay there, feeling the ship hurtle through hyperspace, the pleasant buzz from all the drinks she had had made it feel better than usual. It had been a while since she had done this. The sound of the door opening made her sit up slightly in annoyance, but laid back down and closed her eyes after seeing it was just Arcann sneaking into the room.

                He sat on the edge of the bed, and removed his boots before speaking, “Are you feeling alright?”

                She turned her head to look at him as he watched her with a usual serious expression on his face. “I’m fine.” She smiled at him, “How are you?”

                He chuckled at that, and pulled off his borrowed jacket, dropping it on top of his boots before pulling himself fully onto the bed. “Are you disappointed that it wasn’t Skavak?” He asked.

                “You didn’t answer my question.” She watched him as he settled himself on the bed before she pushed herself closer so she could cuddle up to his side.

                He looked at her, uncertainty flashing across his face for a moment before he wrapped one arm around her and held her close. “I’m fine.” She settled her head on his chest, and while it wasn’t uncomfortable or a bad feeling, it was different. A casual intimacy he hadn’t experienced before. He rubbed her shoulder with the arm he held her with before continuing, “You don’t need to answer if you don’t want to.”

                “mm.” She closed her eyes, wrapping her arms around him as she thought. “I am, a little disappointed, yes.” She paused letting out a heavy sigh, “When I heard he was looking for me I had thought he had somehow survived and… Well, I just thought it was a good thing. He wasn’t a good person, and I know that better than anyone, but he didn’t deserve to die for it.”

                “He was that bad?”

                “He lied to me and stole my ship the first time we met, so it wasn’t a good start. And he was a liar, and a cheat. And he had a trail of ex-girlfriends miles long, all vying for his attention that he ignored constantly. And he tried to get me killed a handful of times, so, pretty bad.” She smiled, “But it was fun, chasing him around the galaxy trying to outsmart him as we hunted down the Drayen treasure. And I honestly miss that.” She paused, “I guess I just miss him. As dumb as that sounds, I regret having killed him.”

                “That’s not dumb.” He sighed, “You just care about everyone, it’s not a bad thing. It’s part of why I care about you.”

                “Thank you.” Kara laughed, leaning up to kiss his jaw, “And. Well, I still think it’s a little dumb. But, he is Caleb’s father, so maybe that’s just warping my opinion.”

                Arcann glanced at her, “He was that good?”

                Kara sat up, looking at him with a look of mock surprise. “’That good?’ Are you asking me if I only wanted to save him because he was a good lay?”

                Sitting up as well, he gave her a look, raising an eyebrow as he waited for her answer.

                “Alright, fine.” She crossed her arms in feigned annoyance, “Maybe that’s a little bit of the reason. He was pretty good.” Arcann smirked at her as her face reddened at the confirmation, “Okay, maybe a little better than pretty good. Maybe the best so far…” She mumbled the last.

                A look of surprise flashed across his face before the smirk returned and he leaned forward to kiss her. “Good to know that there’s a rank I’m going to have to take from him.” She pulled back and gave him a look that was a mixture confusion and daring. He grinned at her, clearly entertained, even though it annoyed him somewhat that she had been with enough people prior to meeting him to even be able to rank them. He couldn’t blame her, she was a beautiful woman, and if she had chose to spend her free time until now hopping from one bed to the next that was her choice. But he would admit he was a little irked that he had had a lot of competition until now.

                She swatted at his shoulder, her face completely red, “It’s not a ranking system!” She huffed.

                “Who’s second? Theron?” He grabbed her around the waist, hauling her onto his lap so he could hold her close.

                “Just how drunk are you?”

                “Not very.” He leaned his head on her shoulder, kissing it through the fabric of her shirt.

                “You’re a terrible liar you know.” She held him, debating on if she should talk about this with him. She had never discussed this with Theron, or anyone else for that matter. Nobody really needed to know, it was her own choice who she had slept with in the past. It wasn’t as if she ranked them, and even if she did decided to rank them from best to worst that would be for her own personal pleasure. “It’s not like I wrote it all down or anything.”

                “So it’s not drawn out as a chart with hearts on it, titled “List of guys I’ve f-“

                She pushed him down, cutting him off. “Stop that, it’s weird! You’ve been spending too much time with Koren, you’re starting to sound like him!”

                He chuckled, hugging her close.”I’ll stop” He kissed her cheek. “I just want to know everything. About you, your adventures, the people you’ve met, the places you’ve been to. Even your previous partners.”  He closed his eyes, humming in thought. “All those experiences made you who you are, and I want to know about it all. Everything that made you into the woman I know.”

                Kara sighed, “It’s not all excitement and adventure. I lost a lot of people along the way, some I’m still trying to find and others I’ll never get back. Some were good, some were bad. I don’t want to make you listen to my entire sob story.”

                “Even if I ask nicely?” He smirked at her before kissing her.

                She shook her head, “You and Theron, thinking that kissing me will get me to do what you want.” When he kissed her again, this time with a gentleness that surprised her she finally admitted defeat. “Fine, where do you want me to start?”

                 “At the beginning.”

                She gave him a serious look before smiling at him. “We still have at least an hour left of the trip home, let’s see how much I can cover until then.” She snuggled in close to him, beginning to speak. “I was raised by my dad on Rishi…”

Chapter Text

                Torian paced the bridge of the landing pad as he and Koro waited for the Commander’s ship to land. Koro watched him, his dark hair tied back to keep it out of his face. He heard an annoyed huff to his side, glancing over at his daughter.

                “They’ll be here soon, Kyri. You don’t have to wait with us.” He said, watching her as she fixed her pale blonde hair, a nervous habit she seemed to have picked up from him.

                She glanced at him before looking away and narrowing her eyes at the empty landing pad. “Mom asked me to stay with you, and that’s what I’ll do.” She said flatly.

                “You’re sounding like a Jedi.” He teased, pushing her shoulder in a friendly manner.

                “Perhaps that’s because they were training me until recently.” She huffed.

                “You don’t need to worry so much.”

                “But if Grandmom did something…” She trailed off, her almost golden eyes looked down at the ground. That she failed to share either his or Shey’s eye color always surprised him. Genetics, huh.

                Koro sighed, “Anya didn’t go with them, and while I’m not sure where she is right now, your auntie can take care of herself. Plus she has Arcann with her.”

                “You don’t trust him though.”

                Torian glanced their way and stopped pacing but kept quiet.

                “No I don’t, and for good reason.” Koro shrugged, “But my sister and Theron seem to trust him, so I’ll trust them. And I’ll be sure to stick around in case that trust is misplaced and I need to do clean up.”

                Torian barked a laugh, grinning, “I’ll help.”

                Koro nodded his way, giving him a grin. The sound of engines approaching caused the trio to turn their attention to the ship as it came in for a landing. It settled in its usual place and depressurized. A few moments later the door opened and three people walked out.

                “Risha!” Koro shouted, jogging to meet them halfway. “And Corso too, how are you?”

                “Good.” Risha gave him a smile, “It’s good to see you again, it’s been a long time.”

                “It has. Last time I saw you two was right after I met up with Lana, what? Four, five, years ago now?” He grinned and turned his attention to his sister, “Welcome home. Where’s our blue eyed prince?”

                She shook her head, “Sleeping in my quarters last I saw. We all got some drinks while we were at the cantina, and I think he had one too many.”

                “He’s not a nasty drunk is he?”

                Kara laughed, “No, he’s not. Unlike someone I know.” She gave him a look.

                “So I strip when I get plastered. It’s not that bad.”

                “And hit on everyone who gives you the tiniest bit of attention.” She shook her head again, laughing, “But, no, he just got talkative. That’s it.”

                “Too bad, was hoping for something more entertaining for game night tonight.” Torian piped in, crossing his arms as he stood next to Koro. “Su cuy'gar Vod. You look like you had fun.”

                Kara gave him a smile returning his greeting, while Koro raised an eyebrow at them. The door to the ship opened again and Arcann walked out.

                “He doesn’t look that drunk.”

                “You’re usually stable on your feet too.”

                “Touche.” Koro grinned before striding over to talk to the scarred prince.

                Kara sighed before turning her attention back to her friends. “Let’s go in and find Bowdaar, I’m sure he missed you guys. My boys as well.” She smiled at them as they went inside.

                Kyri hung back for a moment, watching her father, but followed after them when Torian called for her.

                Koro watched them go in before focusing on Arcann, “So. Did you have a good time?” he asked, his voice unusually sweet.

                Arcann eyed him suspiciously. He was wearing Theron’s coat again, and had it partially zipped up. He debated on how he was supposed to answer, but ended up settling for a simple, “Yes.”

                Koro nodded, slinging his arm around him in a friendly manner, waving to his sister when she turned to look back at them before getting on the elevator. “Good to hear. I hope you didn’t drink too much, I heard you were asleep in my sister’s room. I take it you’re feeling better.” He grinned in a way that should’ve been kind but set off a warning to Arcann.

                Arcann gave him a blank face, “The commander gave me something to help sober up, when I went to thank her for it I must have fallen asleep.”

                Koro hummed, not believing his lie but also not calling him out on it. “Ah, yeah, I know that stuff, works really fast. Just don’t rely on it too much, it’ll make you sick if you’re not careful.” He gripped the other man’s shoulder, giving him an awkward side hug. “But that’s not what I came over here to talk to you about.” He released him, the almost cruel grin still plastered on my face. “It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these, so hopefully this comes across the right way.” He cocked his head to the side, looking at the ship before turning his attention back on Arcann, “I don’t know what your relationship is with my sister. And honestly it’s not really my business. But if you do anything to hurt her, I’ll make sure that’s the last mistake you have to worry about. Understand?”

                Arcann stared him down, slightly taken aback. “Are you threatening me?” When Koro narrowed his eyes, Arcann couldn’t help but think that the smuggler didn’t look nearly this threatening with his usual visor on.

                Koro took a step closer, gripping the upper part of Arcann’s right arm, and from this distance the prince could clearly make out the flecks of gold that were mixed into the almost pure blue of his eyes as they sized him up. “I absolutely am. And just as a heads up, if anything happens to Kara, I’m the least of your worries. The worst I can do is shoot you and make you unwelcome anywhere in the galaxy. Which is something  I don’t think I’d need to try very hard to do, honestly. But her father, Blue.” He huffed a laugh, “There would be no saving you. He may be a Jedi, but I’m sure even you realize how important Kara is to him. And how brutal he can be if you give him the right reason.”

                Arcann watched him carefully, “You have nothing to fear from me.”

                Koro patted him on the back, “I’ve never been afraid of you. And don’t worry, you guys can keep being friends. I won’t stop you just cause I don’t like you.” He turned and started walking back to the base. When Arcann didn’t immediately follow he gestured for him to. Koro watched him for a moment, slightly impressed that he hadn’t risen to his bait. He had been meaning to talk with him since they had first met, but he never had a chance to speak with him one on one until now. At least not without seeking him out, and he wasn’t that desperate. “Anyway, I heard you’re joining us for Sabacc tonight.”

Chapter Text

                He dreamed. Dreamed of the night after his father had finally been defeated. Eliminated completely. Indo had quickly thrown together a party to celebrate the Alliance's victory against Vaylin and saving the galaxy from the rampaging fleet.

                It was a grand event, but a solemn one as well. Gone were the usual armor, replaced with formal garb of various fashions. A majority favored black gowns and suits, with a few wearing color, all that coincided with the various culture’s respect for the fallen. Even Kara had switched out her usual  chestplate and miniskirt in exchange for a black longcoat and slacks trimmed in gold, nearly matching him that night.

                The commander had given a speech, retelling memorable experiences of Vette and  other friends she had lost before thanking everyone present for their support and handing the mic over to anyone who wished to speak. Arcann had watched from the sidelines, staying out of the way, and listened as the many people went to speak. Eventually Senya had gone up, recalling her memories of Vette and a few friends that had been lost in the battle. She had paused after the last of her friends was eulogized, taking a moment to compose herself before she had given a quick recollection of Vaylin, of her when she was young, before she had left. He had watched, seeing various reactions from the crowd, many appeared annoyed that she would bring up the now defeated enemy, but most looked on with empathy, understanding her loss.

                After the last had given their speeches food was presented and the party began. Music thumped through him, as he watched his mother dance with Lokin. Kara and Theron spun by, nearly tripping over each other, but clearly having a great time even with their none to graceful dancing. He had seen Lana had snuck out at some point, but Arcann kept to himself otherwise, speaking only when spoken to, and avoiding contact with others as much as he could. The song changed and Senya joined him, chatting with him, trying to make him more comfortable. He was grateful for the attempt, but he didn't belong, something that the various glares sent his way reminded him again and again.

                Kara had approached him sometime after, Theron having taken a break to get a drink and some fresh air most likely. She had asked him to dance, something he had shot down immediately, claiming that others were surely seeking her attention. But she had refused to budge, bowing formally as she reached out her hand towards him as she asked again, this time giving him a wink. Arcann had shaken his head before finally agreeing, taking her hand and leading her to the dance floor.

                Their dance was graceful, surprising him at first before he realized her dance with Theron had been purposefully clumsy, the pair had been goofing around without a care. While with him it felt more formal, as if she didn't want to embarrass him by messing around. Even still she smiled brightly at him, her green eyes sparkling in entertainment as she made comments about the other dancers. They didn't break apart until the song ended, and he had released her hand quickly, thanked her for the dance and retreated to his place on the wall. He had missed the look of sadness she gave him when he retreated, only catching it now in the memory of the night. He had been a fool to leave so quickly, but at the time it had made sense. It wasn't his place. Besides, she had had Theron to distract her quickly enough.

                He watched on as the memory continued before it faded and he awoke and grumbled at the flash of pain that lanced through his side, either from sleeping at an odd angle, or from the hangover that was making itself known to him. The feeling of a hand gripping his side, and the warmth of another body pressed close to him made his eyes snap open. Confusion coursed through him as he tried to figure out where he was, memory of the night before a blur. He glanced to his side, finding Koren fast asleep, one arm slung over him and he had himself pressed as close as possible to Arcann. Trey was at Koren's back, sleeping soundly next to the merc, with the rest of the party scattered throughout the room. Most were passed out on their backs, except for Mikael who was still sitting in his seat in nothing but his boxers, snoring surprisingly quietly considering the soldier's size, and Theron who had excused himself from the game early, claiming he had had a date planned with the commander that he couldn't miss.

                Torian and Koro were sprawled on a couch, the mando having lost all his armor except for his chest plate while the smuggler was the only one left with all his clothes on. Gault being the only exception, the devoronian was half on the game table, with a few hands of cards scattered around him. Pierce was leaning on a wall with Koth next to him, both were left in an undershirt and boots, and as Koren shifted, snuggling closer, Arcann noticed that they weren't much better. Trey and Koren still wore their  shirts and pants, with the merc slightly better off by still wearing his boots. While Arcann was down to just his pants. One step away from being the loser if Mikael hadn't lost that last hand.

                He couldn't help but thank his luck, and Koren's teaching. He opted to thank him by not throwing the sleeping man off of him. The physical contact still made him uncomfortable even after being around both Koren and Kara for so long, both of which seemed to prefer to show their affection through physical means rather than verbal, something that the former emperor was still getting used to. So he just lay there for a while, thinking. Something he would try and do whenever he got a moment to himself. It was always difficult to get a moments peace as emperor, and now as an advisor he wasn't in a much better position to just stop and think.

                He must have been making faces, since the next thing he heard was Koren laughing. "Anything in particular on your mind?" He grinned tiredly as he yawned and tried to wake Trey.

                Arcann shook his head.

                Koren nodded, "The usual stuff then."

                When the sith refused to move Koren abandoned his conversation to turn his full attention on Trey as he attempted to get the other man to wake up. Free from his hold, Arcann pushed himself to his feet and went searching for his clothes. Well, Koren’s clothes, he had still been wearing the borrowed shirt and jacket from earlier, so the only thing that was his to find were his boots. He found them buried in their pile of lost clothes. The game had started with just drinking and credits, but soon into the game Koro had changed the betting to clothes, claiming it would give them more of a reason to win. Embarrassment aside, it had equaled the footing for Arcann, who had very little money of his own currently. He pulled his boots on and left the room before anyone could stop him, opting to let Koren get his shirt back when he went looking for his own things.

                He strode down the hall, ignoring the various looks he received as he strode purposefully towards his room to find something to wear. He couldn’t fault them, it was likely a strange sight to see him power walking down the hall with no shirt on. As he passed the commander’s quarters her door whooshed open, and she stepped out, letting the door close behind her as she fixed her shirt. Glancing up, she raised an eyebrow at him, giving him a smile before looking him up and down.

                “Well, good morning to you.” She grinned, stepping closer, “Not the way you were planning to wake up I assume.”

                Arcann shook his head, “I didn’t win as much as I had hoped.”

                “Well no complaints from me.” She kissed him on the cheek before gesturing to the door behind her. “Let’s get you something to wear. I’m sure you don’t like everyone staring.”

                He shrugged, “They tend to stare anyway.” He paused, debating on if he should add the first thought that popped into his head. Deciding to throw caution to the wind, he continued, “Are you jealous?”

                “Maybe a little.” She winked at him before pressing the lock, opening the door and leading him inside. “C’mon. Theron’s still sleeping, and I’m sure he’s got a spare shirt around here somewhere.” She started digging around the nearest closet, picking through spare shirts, most obviously hers.

                “It’s not necessary. My quarters aren’t too far from here.” She shot him a look and he shut up, opting to take a seat on the couch while he waited. He glanced around the room, it had been a while since he had been in here, the last time was soon before they had gone to Zakuul to claim the throne. Theron had gone to Coruscant and Lana had gone to Dromund Kaas to do some damage control while Koth tried to scramble the fleet. It felt so long ago now, and so much had changed since then. He spotted the armor he had made her, on a stand next to her desk and the fake ruby that they had picked up in Nar Shaddaa rested on a small cushion nearby. Outside of that, very little in the room appeared to have changed.

                Theron had woken up while she was digging for something she approved of, and he had strode over to her side, distracting her momentarily before turning his attention to Arcann.

                “Sorry I had to leave so early. Who ended up losing last night?” He asked as he stood next to the couch, chatting with him as if this was a normal everyday occurrence.

                “Mikael.”  He glanced back at Kara as she pulled out a black shirt with white detailing, showing it to him and asking if he’d be alright with it. He got up to see it up close, “It’s perfect, thank you.” He pulled on the shirt, hiding a smile when he caught Kara watching him.

                Theron chuckled, “So you managed to win a few hands?”

                “A couple. Koro won in the end.”

                “He managed to beat Gault?” Kara chimed in, letting out an impressed whistle. “Leave it to an information broker, they know how to play their cards.” She went and put everything in the closet back to how it had been prior to her digging. Theron left for the refresher, grabbing a quick shower while he had the chance.

                “You know another broker?”

                Kara hummed, “Darmas. I think I told you about him the other day. Connor’s father.”

                “The Imperial spy.”

                “That’s the one!” Kara chuckled, but there wasn’t any feeling to it. “He was great at cards, I never could beat him at Sabacc.”

                “That’s a surprise.” Arcann watched her as she closed the closet and headed down the stairs, “Too bad you weren’t there, I’m sure you would’ve won.” He joined her, walking by her side through the room.

                This time when Kara laughed it was genuine, “You overestimate me. I’m terrible at cards and I have a horrible Sabacc face.” She reached for the lock but he stopped her, grabbing her hand and leaning down to kiss her. She froze at first, surprised, but returned the kiss almost immediately.

                When they broke apart she grinned at him, “Y’know, I could really get used to that.” She pressed the lock, stepping out into the hall, with Arcann by her side.

Chapter Text

                They had gone weeks without any information. Lana and Theron had questioned most of those that had been on Iokath with them when their commander had been attacked, but so far neither had had any luck rooting out the traitor. Things went business as usual aside from that. Small teams were sent to deal with some of the uprisings. Koren, Trey, and Arcann went to deal with the one on Makeb, while Nora, Mikael, and Shey went to handle the one on Coruscant. Kara took Theron and Senya to take care of Port Nowhere personally.

                Senya had pushed for Kara to stay behind, but she had insisted, claiming that it was one of the two good things she had gotten from Darmas, she wasn’t going to lose it to a bunch of pirates. Eventually they had caved, and had gone along with their commander, watching her back as best they could while Lana worked with Blue and Koro to continue their search for the traitor. The uprisings themselves were easily dealt with, with Kara proudly confirming that Port Nowhere was back under her control where it belonged, and had Hylo keep a team stationed on the port as a secondary base.

                No news had been discovered while they were away, and while Kara was disappointed that they still had no idea who had attacked her, she was also insistent that Lana and her team shouldn’t push themselves so much. What use was the name of the assailant if they were all too overworked to actually do anything about it. So instead they just bided their time while checking alibis and keeping an eye out for any unusual movements that could be connected.

                It wasn’t all bad, near the end of those weeks Kara had managed to convince Arcann to move a few of his things into their room. Mostly clothes that she had bought him, but he had added a small collection of trinkets that he had to the set up on Kara’s desk, including the glass orb she had given him months ago. Their relationship had stayed under the radar of most of those on Odessen, something that the prince seemed happy about. Kara insisted that she didn’t mind people knowing, but he was adamant that he didn’t want her, or Theron’s, reputation to be ruined because of him. So they continued to keep it private, with only Koren, Trey, and Kara’s sons in the know.

                Arcann felt bad about keeping his relationship a secret from his mother, but he was sure it was best for the time being. There would be a good time to tell her when things had calmed down again and they didn’t have to worry about the traitor. The fewer who knew, the less likely the traitor would know about another weakness for them to strike.

                Theron on the otherhand seemed constantly distracted. He worked late into the night, and was usually up before either Kara or Arcann. Kara had voiced her concern, but the spy had insisted that he couldn’t rest knowing that she was in danger. So she had made him promise that he would at least take breaks throughout the day, something he agreed to as long as she promised to keep either himself or Arcann by her side where ever she went. It annoyed her to have to have either of them constantly by her side, she cared about them both greatly, but for them to all but shadow her all day until they found the traitor annoyed her more than it comforted her. But in the end she had agreed, if only to make sure he would keep his own promise.

                Anya was one that they were concerned about. She had been missing since they had returned from Iokath. Some of Hylo’s crew had reported her taking a shuttle and leaving, but there had been nothing since. No sightings, no anything. And while that worried Kara, it also comforted her to know that the woman wouldn’t be involved in the coming conflict between the Empire and the Republic. It wasn’t that she was worried for her mother, but that she was still suspicious of her, and the less involved she was, the better in her eyes.

                Kara sighed as she watched Connor going through some exercises with Arcann. He had been a quick learner, and kept Arcann on his toes.  There had been a few close calls where Connor had almost been injured, but so far he had been fine. Senya also watched from the sidelines, a small smile on her face as she watched her son instruct the boy on how to stand and hold the blade correctly for each stance. Kara was glad that she had a chance to see him work with Connor.

                The sound of her holo beeping drew her attention away, as she got to her feet and stepped out to answer the call.

                “Theron, what’s up?”

                “Are you busy?” He asked, smiling at her as he shifted his weight from leg to leg.

                “Was just watching Connor train.” She smiled back. “Finally taking a break?”

                He nodded, “Thought we could grab some lunch, just the two of us.”

                “Of course, I’ll meet you in the mess hall.” She blew a kiss at the holo, earning a laugh from her lover.

                “See you soon.” He winked at her as he disconnected the call.

                Pocketing the holo, Kara poked her head in the training room just in time to see Connor take a wild swing with the practice saber and catch Arcann in the shin, nearly knocking the scarred man to his knees. She winced sympathetically as she saw him wince in obvious pain, she’d have to remember to ice that for him later. Connor held the blade close to him rambling apologies as the prince shushed him and stretched his legs to show he was fine.

                “Hey! I’m going to grab some lunch with Theron.” She called to them, “Want me to grab you guys anything?”

                Senya shook her head, “I’m good, thank you.”

                Connor turned his attention to his mom, grinning, “I want one of those rolls. The one that Uncle Kor got last time.”

                Kara nodded, “Sure thing. Want anything Arcann?”

                He shook his head, but after a moment he answered, “No. But I’ll walk you there.” He turned his attention back to Connor, “Do the stretches from this morning and then take a break. We’ll keep going after a snack break.” Connor nodded and ran over to put his practice saber away, Senya going over to assist him with his stretches.

                Kara smiled as Arcann strode up to her and followed her out the door. As soon as they were alone he stopped her, pulling her to him and kissed her passionately. She returned the kiss, wrapping her arms around him in the process, chuckling when they broke apart for air.

                “How long have you been waiting to do that?” She grinned at him when he leaned forward to steal another kiss.

                “All morning.” He moved to kiss her jaw as he held her close, “It’s been so busy, we haven’t had a chance to just…” He kissed her again.

                She laughed, pushing him away gently, “I know what you mean, only time we’ve had a chance to be alone is when we’re sleeping. And that’s no fun. “She winked at him, “But Theron’s waiting for me.”

                He released her, “Then you shouldn’t keep him waiting. He’s had less time with you than I have lately. I can bring back Connor’s roll and some water, so take some time and try to get him to relax.”

                She smiled at him and took his hand, “I’ll be sure he does.” They walked together to the mess hall, only letting go when they finally started running into other people. When they got to the mess hall they grabbed a couple of the rolls that Connor asked for, and a few bottles of water as well as a small lunch for Kara. After they had gathered all their food they found Theron poking at a datapad in one of the private backrooms. He looked out of it, but perked up when he saw them enter, a smile spreading on his face as he got to his feet.

                “There you are, was about to send out a search team.” He joked, first kissing Kara on the cheek and then after a moment’s hesitation he gave Arcann a quick hug. A small bit of affection, that had taken them some time to get comfortable with. They weren’t as close as Kara was to each of them, but they were getting there. Theron had admitted that while he had found Arcann attractive enough to attempt a relationship of the three of them, he still didn’t entirely trust him, something that Kara couldn’t fault him for. But he tried, and that was something she was grateful for, though she could do without their occasional argument over sleeping arrangements since they all started sharing a bed.

                “Sorry, I wanted to check if Connor wanted anything before I came over.” She smiled at him.

                “Uh huh.” He nodded towards Arcann, “And he didn’t distract you at all on the way.” He chuckled at the slight blush on her face, “It’s fine, gave me a chance to check my messages. Arcann, you can stay if you want.”

                Arcann glanced at the two of them before speaking up, “I’ll head back, Connor will want this before it gets cold. And I don’t want him sitting for too long, he still has half of the workout left.”

                Theron nodded. “Alright. Just don’t push the kid too hard.”

                “I won’t” He gave Kara a quick kiss and left the room, heading back to the training room with their snacks.

                Kara glanced at Theron’s food tray. “You already ate.” She said sadly.

                “Nah, that’s pretty much all I grabbed, not really hungry.” He sat down, stretching as he did so, “Just was looking for a distraction.” He smirked at her as he pulled off his jacket and tossed it to the end of the lounger.

                She returned his smirk with one of her own. “I think I can help with that.” She strode over to stand in front of him, her legs on either side of his. He reached up, grabbing the loops of her belt and pulled her down so she was sitting in his lap. Removing one hand from her hip he grabbed the back of her head and kissed her.

                “I love you.” He kissed her jaw, neck, shoulder, and continued his way down.

                “I love you too.” She sighed, slipping one hand under his shirt and unclipping his belt with the other. “Always.”

Chapter Text

                Nora couldn’t stop grinning. She strode through the halls of Odessen, lighter on her feet than she had been in ages. Things were going well, aside from the whole traitor business that worried her to no end. The Alliance was working smoothly with the Republic with little conflict, and her brother was back and from his happy greetings that morning, his relationship with Koren had progressed the night prior. And as a responsible sister she of course teased him for it for as long as possible.

                But that’s not what was making her so happy at the moment. She had sensed during her morning meditation that she was pregnant. Mikael and her had been trying for a while now, and finally all that effort had paid off. She couldn’t wait to tell her husband the news.

                Walking into the military hangar she found her husband running drills with those of Havoc that were on planet, as well as a handful of Alliance soldiers. Caleb and Lyra ran with them, her daughter already used to the drills while the boy was a step behind, mimicking the others as best he could. Mikael had told her that Caleb had asked to join for their workouts since Connor had begun his training, and Nora couldn’t help but find it sweet that the kid wanted to start training for the future.

                Striding up to the group she easily joined the runners as they circled the cleared landing area, weaving her way through til she jogged by her husband’s side. He glanced at her, a smile on his face and his hair sticking up at odd angles. She couldn’t help but chuckle at his bedhead that he clearly opted to ignore until after their morning routines, there were no missions for the day so they had time.

                “Good morning, love.” He greeted, not breaking stride as they turned the corner and continued the run.

                “Good morning.” She returned, giving him a loving smile, “Are you busy after this?”

                He shook his head, “No. Just planning to grab a shower, but you’re welcome to join me.” He winked at her, earning a laugh from his wife.

                “I was hoping we could talk in private, actually.”

                “About anything in particular?” He asked, that she sounded nervous was making him nervous. He didn’t think it was anything bad, but his wife was never nervous, she was tougher than half the Republic military put together and then some.

                She just smiled sweetly at him, “It’s a secret, sweetheart.”

                He chuckled. “Now I’m nervous.” He teased. “But this was the last of the drills anyway, give me a minute.”

                She nodded as they slowed to a walk, circling the bay one more time before coming to a stop. She stepped to the side as he gave various orders and sent those under his command to their stations and dismissed everyone else. After he was done he hurried to his wife’s side and they walked back to their quarters, chatting about various things from that morning, while she easily dodged his questions about what she wanted to talk about. It wasn’t until they were in their room that she finally brought their conversation back to why she sought him out.

                “Sit.” She instructed.

                He crossed his arms over his chest, raising an eyebrow at the shorter woman. “Is this talk going to lead to something naughty?” He teased, “Because I’d like to know beforehand so I can hit the refresher first.”

                She laughed, shaking her head, “Just sit.” When he did so she smiled at him, striding up to him and placing her hands gently on his neck, leaning down to kiss him while he was shorter than she was at the moment, playing with the strands of hair on the back of his neck. “I love you.”

                “I love you too, but you’re stalling.” He placed his hands on her hips, gripping them firmly.

                She sighed, “I suppose I am.” She bit her lip, “But I did have some news, and I guess I’m just nervous about it is all.”

                “You know you can tell me anything.” He smiled lovingly at her.

                “I know.” She kissed him again before speaking, “Mik. I’m pregnant.”

                He immediately stood up, his face lighting up. “Really?” When she nodded he leaned down and kissed her passionately, “That’s wonderful news. How far along?”

                “From what I can sense? A month or two at most.” He hugged her tightly, and she looped her arms around his neck, returning his embrace in earnest.

                “Amazing. After so many tries…” He released her and placed a hand on her stomach, grinning excitedly. Nora placed her hands over his griping him as she watched him. “Perhaps they’ll be a good omen for the future.”

                “I’m sure they will.”

Chapter Text

                Sleep had eluded her for what felt like hours, but finally Kara had managed to get to sleep snuggled close to Arcann’s left side. He had fallen asleep quickly and during her many attempts to will herself to sleep Theron had joined them, practically passing out as soon as he had hit the bed.

                But now she was startled awake by Arcann sitting up suddenly, breathing heavily in what she suspected was fear. He looked around in a panic, Kara sitting up and shushing him.

                “It’s alright Arcann. It was just a dream.” He seemed to calm a bit, though the look in his eyes was still wild. “Do you want to talk about it?”

                He shook his head, “No. It’s fine.”

                She watched him as he got his breathing under control before asking quietly, “Was it about Thexan?”

                He froze at that, the room silent aside from Theron’s snoring. He didn’t reply, though the look of guilt that flashed across his face confirmed that she had likely been right. Instead he carefully removed Theron’s arm from his waist and scooted to the end of the bed. Kara watched him as he stood and pulled on clothes, “I’m going to get some air.”

                She nodded, thought for a second, and then got up too. “I’ll join you.” She smiled at him as she pulled a shirt on, opting to remain pant and shoeless.

                “I will be fine on my own. You should get some rest.”

                She stood next to him, “I honestly can’t sleep. I think a walk will do some good.”

                He nodded, deciding it wasn’t worth the effort to talk her out of it, and left the room with her by his side. Aside from HK standing guard at the door to their quarters, the halls were empty. Even still they kept as quiet as possible as they made their way to the large balcony overlooking the Gravestone. Their relationship was still secret so if someone caught them wandering the halls half dressed it might raise suspicion. Or the members of the Alliance would figure it for what it was, two people getting a breather rather than a secret tryst.

                It was cool out, the balcony lit by small lights along the wall and railing. The memorial wall was dimly lit as well, not bright enough to illuminate the area but enough that it could be legible even at night.

                Kara took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. “You know… I’m not usually a big fan of nature of this scale, but I have to admit this place is wonderful.

                “You prefer the city I take it.”

                She shrugged, “To an extent. I’m not crazy about Nar Shaddaa, it’s too much chaos, too loud, too bright. But I do like Coruscant and Zakuul. It’s orderly enough and has lots of interesting people. But I’m more about places like Manaan I suppose.”

                “I don’t believe I’ve been there. Though I’ve heard about it from Lana and Theron before.”

                Kara smiled, “That’s where Theron and I first met Lana years ago. That wasn’t too great of a time visiting, I nearly drowned. So… Not fun. But the planet itself is beautiful. Ocean as far as the eye can see.” She closed her eyes, enjoying the breeze.

                “You’ll have to take me there sometime. I’d like to see it.” He stood next to her, watching the trees in the distance.

                “You’ll love it. We’ll go when we get a chance after this traitor business is taken care of.” She glanced up at him.

                “Is that why you couldn’t sleep?” He asked.

                Kara cocked her head to the side, debating on how to reply. “Yes and no. That there’s a traitor among us is concerning, yes, but I’m more worried about what Iokath will mean for the Alliance. Choosing to ally with the Republic over the Empire will likely earn us some enemies. And between that and Theron working himself half to death… I suppose I just can’t relax.” She sighed. “It’s a stupid reason to lose sleep.”

                “It’s not stupid. You have a lot to worry about.” He paused, reaching over to take her hand in his. “Just don’t forget the people you have by your side.”

                She gripped his hand, leaning into him. “I know.” She said quietly, “I’m just worried Theron is going to push himself too far. And between Zakuulan super Gods and the traitor. I feel I can’t let my guard down much less ask him to take a break.” She shook her head.

                “I’m concerned about that as well.”

                “Which part? The traitor or that your Gods are real?”

                “Both. As well as Theron pushing himself too far.” He shrugged. “I can’t help but feel there is more going on than we know. That waking Tyth and the rest of my Gods is just a distraction to keep us from finding the traitor. Or perhaps the other way around.”

                “Or a really bad coincidence.” Kara sighed. “Either way they all need to be stopped, and there’s not nearly enough time in the day to deal with that and the uprisings on top of it.” She shook her head.

                Arcann turned to face her, “But you’ll figure it out. After all, you always do.”

                She chuckled, “You have more faith in me than I do.”

                He leaned down to kiss her gently, “Because I’ve seen what you are capable of.”

                “Yeah, you know me, Commander of the Eternal Alliance by day and God killer by night.” She rolled her eyes, her voice dripping with sarcasm.

                This earned a smile from her lover. “But first you need to get some sleep.”

                “Yeah. I hear you. But so do you.” She leaned up to kiss him before turning and heading back for the elevator. “Don’t stay up too late.”

                “I won’t”

Chapter Text

                Caleb followed after Theron from terminal to terminal, holding a short stack of datapads in his arms. He had requested to help, learning from observation only took him so far, and he wanted to learn from experience instead. That his dad let him help out pleased him to no end, even with the half-hearted complaints that Koth would mutter as he went about his own tasks.

                His mother was still asleep along with Arcann and likely Connor as well, the younger son having crawled into bed with them when Theron had insisted they get more sleep. Caleb couldn’t help but marvel at how well his dad knew his mom’s habits, or what was out of habit for her. Staying up late and sleeping in weren’t all that unusual for her, but for her to wander the halls was, and that Theron had noticed it impressed the boy. Though Theron not deciding to stay as well bothered him, the concern was short lived as he was distracted soon enough.

                So he decided to try and fill in for his mother in the meantime. Senya helped him log messages for Kara to check later, and Theron showed him the ropes, Caleb picking it up quickly. After a couple hours Kara joined them, giving Theron a kiss and thanking him before hugging Caleb and giving him a kiss on the cheek.

                “Thanks so much for helping out Caleb.” She kissed his cheek again, earning a laugh from her son. “You’re growing up too fast. Already able to help out with the day to day.” She hugged him tight.

                “Mooom!” Caleb couldn’t help but laugh harder before returning the hug, “Love you.”

                “I love you too my little star.” She grinned at him proudly as she released him. Turning back to her lover, she took a datapad he handed her and started going through her messages.

                A shriek was the only warning that the boy had before his younger brother barreled into him. “Morning Cal!” Connor greeted him excitedly, his blonde hair a complete mess.

                “Morning Con.” Caleb returned.

                Connor went to greet Lana, Koth, and Senya before excitedly describing a dream he had to Theron. Caleb shook his head, that his brother could greet him that enthusiastically the day after the boys had gotten into a major argument, the older son had no idea, but he was grateful for his brother’s enthusiasm nonetheless.

                Grabbing a datapad he read through it quickly before heading down the hall to deliver it to Sana-Rae. A few of the soldiers greeted him as he went, him giving his own in return. Dropping off the datapad he was given another by the mystic, the voss asking him to bring it to Theron.

                Returning to the war room he found that Senya, Koth, and Connor had all left, and Trey had joined them and was going over something with Lana while Theron and Kara chatted on the other side of the terminal.

                “These things take time, Kara. But I promise you that I’ll find the traitor soon.” He sounded tired, and from what Caleb had been able to tell, he likely was exhausted.

                “I know, love. Just…” She paused, knowing how he would reply. “Promise you won’t push yourself. I want to find the traitor, but not at the expense of your health.”

                He smiled gratefully at her before sneaking a kiss and whispering something in her ear.

                “Oh don’t be all doom and gloom Theron.” Lana grinned as she turned her attention to the pair.

                “Oh no, did Gault spike the caf again?” Theron replied sarcastically, giving his friend a smirk.

                “Even better.” She laughed quietly. “We found something, a location of the traitor.”

                “Where at?” Kara spoke up, her face lighting up in obvious relief. Finally all this would be taken care of and they could go back to more important things. Like the remaining Gods.

                “Umbara.” Trey held up a datapad, “There’s a signal coming from a train there that matches up.”

                “And with the train’s cargo being adegan crystals…”

                “It’d be a perfect place to strike.” He grinned proudly.

                “Sounds like we should check it out. Theron, Lana, you two come with me. Trey you hold down the base until we get back.”

                Trey gave her a mock salute, “You got it boss.” Before he turned his attention back to his datapad.

                Caleb watched his mom and dad leave with Lana as he went over to the farther of the two terminals. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” He said quietly as he placed the datapad down for Theron to look at when they got back.

Chapter Text

                She couldn't believe it. Just couldn't wrap her head around it at all. Theron, her Theron. The man she loved and trusted more than anyone else, tried to kill her. Kara paced the room gripping and ungripping her hands as she did so. Everything hurt, her head, her body, her heart.

                Lana had left her to her thoughts after they had sent the message of Theron's betrayal out, giving her commander some space. But the last thing Kara wanted at the moment was space. She wanted answers, she wanted Theron to tell her the truth, because there was no way that hadn't been a lie. She wanted to wake up and find out this was just some nightmare and he was asleep in bed next to her like usual and not off somewhere in the galaxy after having tried to kill her.

                She wasn't sure to do, so she kept pacing until she turned and left the room, her emotions plain on her face. Grief. Anger. Doubt. Betrayal.

                She wanted to scream, or cry, or just track him down and punch him in the face. But none of that would help right now and the last just wasn't possible at the moment. Again, this happened again. First Darmas and now Theron, she huffed as she hit the call button on the elevator. Can't trust anyone can you, much less a spy. She kept up her grumbling as she stepped onto the elevator before taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, reigning in her emotions, putting up a mask that everything was alright. That she had everything under control.

                What a joke.

                As soon as she stepped off the lift all eyes were on her, the looks on their faces made it clear that Lana had already briefed them all on what had happened. Arcann stepped around the terminal, but stopped to stand next to it, concern clear on his face. It took everything she had to not go straight to him at the moment, to just bury her face in his chest and just cry it out for a bit. To just feel something solid, to know that he wasn't going to go anywhere.

                Instead she strode over and stood next to him, at least taking this small bit til they could be alone. She gave him a pained look before turning her attention to everyone else in the room, Senya, Koth and Lana stood in their usual places and T7 rolled back and forth between the two terminals that took up the room, connecting to one for a moment before going back, beeping sadly as it did so.

                "Commander, if you need some time I can handle this." Lana gave her a sad look.

                "I'm fine Lana. Let's get this over with." The last thing Kara wanted right now was pity. He made his choice and now she had to deal with it.

                Lana eyed her, debating on making her leave before turning her attention to her datapad and resuming the debrief.

                Kara zoned out through most of it, answering questions when prompted but otherwise just running through her thoughts on her own. Arcann had reached over at some point, taking her hand and gripping it. She returned the squeeze but still kept her attention elsewhere. It didn’t add up, things were going well as far as she could tell, and he had shown no signs to prove otherwise. How long had he been planning this? All those hours he spent working late were for this? How long had he lied to her?

                Her thoughts hit a wall at the last bit to cross her mind. Caleb and Connor would be heartbroken to hear what happened.

                “Are you sure you’re alright Commander?” Koth asked, raising an eyebrow. “You look like you’re gonna be sick.”

                She looked up at him, “I need to tell my boys.”

                “Commander, you don’t need to. I can explain what happened.” Lana offered.

                Kara shook her head, “No. I need to do it. Theron was their dad, they need to know and I can’t ask someone else to do it.”

                “I can go with you, at least for Connor.” Arcann offered.

                “I appreciate it. But I think it'd be best if I go alone right now.” She gave him a sad smile and he nodded in understanding.

                “They should be in the smuggler bay with Koren,” Koth said, “Think they were playing sabaac with Koro and Mikael.”

                “We’re pretty much done here, go ahead.” Lana shut off the holo.

                “Thank you.” She gave her friend a sad smile and left the terminal and headed down the halls to the smuggler bay. Like Koth had said they were playing some kind of card game with Koren, but from what she could tell it definitely wasn’t sabaac. Whatever it was, both boys appeared to be having a great time based on the large smiles that covered their faces and just how animated they both were. Kara swallowed, this was going to be harder than she thought.

                Approaching the area they had taken over for their game she greeted Koren before speaking directly to her sons. “Caleb, Connor. If you have a minute I.” She paused, she was beyond scared of how they would react to the news. “There’s something I need to talk to you two about.”

                They looked at her, the smiles from a moment ago vanishing. Koren spoke up, “Is everything alright?”

                Kara shook her head. “It’s… No. Not really.” She sighed, “I just need to speak to my boys about… something.”

                “Family business?”

                Kara looked down, thinking, “Of a sort.” She was having a hard time keeping herself composed at the moment. Perhaps it was a bad idea to talk to them right now. “You’re welcome to hear as well, I just think it would be better to speak elsewhere.”

                Koren smirked, “Good to know you think of me as family.” He stood when the boys did, his smirk fading as he caught the look that flashed across her face. Instead of saying anything he just followed after her as she lead them to a side room away from the crowd.

                When they were alone he finally spoke again. “What’s wrong?”

                Kara’s eyes snapped up to his and it broke his heart to see the defeat that was in them. She took a deep breath before speaking, “Theron is…” She paused not entirely sure what to say. How would she even begin to explain this? They were smart kids, but would they understand? “Theron left. He decided to leave the Alliance, to leave… us.” She grit her teeth, she was really bad at this.

                “What did he do?” Koren’s voice was practically a growl, dangerous, but she wasn’t sure if that was supposed to be directed to her or Theron just yet. Both of her boys just listened quietly, understanding clear on their faces, Connor’s eyes already tearing up while Caleb stared at the floor his expression unreadable at the moment, but she could tell he was hurt.

                “That’s probably not something to talk about here.”

                Koren stared her down, repeating his question. “What did he do?” The sound of something sliding caught her attention but she ignored it.

                Kara swallowed and looked away, “He lured us to Umbara, to a train there. He revealed himself as the one who had attacked me on Iokath. And he crashed the train.”

                Koren gripped his hands, anger on his face. “That can’t be right.” He growled out. “Theron wouldn’t…” He practically snarled, shaking his head. A cracking sound came from a nearby bench and a decorative vase set slid from a shelf crashing onto the floor causing the boys to jump in surprise. A handful of small items in the room flew across the room or shattered where they had sat. Koren’s eyes widened when one came particularly close to his head.

                “Koren?” Kara spoke carefully, a look of guilt flashed across his face before he closed his eyes and covered his face with his hands.

                He took a few deep breaths trying to settle down, “It can’t be.” He sounded hurt, as hurt as she felt. “He’s not someone who would do that. There has to be a reason.”

                “I’m sure there’s an explanation. I really don’t know what it could be just yet. But please.” She placed her hand on his arm, Connor rushing to him and hugging onto his side, crying. It broke her heart to see her friend and her son in this state, but what broke it more was to see the look of utter betrayal on Caleb’s face as he stormed out of the room.

Chapter Text

                That could've gone better, Kara thought to herself as she sipped at her drink. She wasn't entirely sure what kind it was, she had asked the bartender to surprise her when she ordered, but it was sweet and strong. And right now that's what she needed, if only to just get her mind off of everything for a few minutes at least.

                "Kor wasn't kidding. I don't think I've ever seen you drink." Trey let out a whistle. She shot him a glare which he returned before continuing. "For what it's worth, I understand how hard it is to have a friend betray you. But this isn't the way to deal with it."

                "If you don't mind Trey, I'd like to drink in peace."

                "Hey hey. I didn't mean you should stop. But drinking alone in a place like this isn't going to help." He held out his hand. "C’mon. I know a good place to deal with this sort of thing."

                Kara cocked an eyebrow at him. "And where exactly are you taking me?" She was skeptical but at the moment she figured it couldn't be worse than drinking alone.

                "Don't you trust me?"

                "No. Not really."

                "That's fair. But this will help, I'm sure of it." He shook his hand at her urging her to take it. "Well?"

                She sighed, taking his hand. "Alright. What did you have in mind?"

                "It's a surprise." Trey led her off to her ship and with her permission punched in the coordinates and took off.

                They didn't speak much during the trip, neither keen on initiating an in-depth conversation, so they kept it simple. How Koren was handling the news, how Caleb and Connor were. She had known it would be difficult for them to handle, but she hadn't expected Caleb to close himself off like that. But she understood, so she gave him space to process it and come to terms with it on his own, and should he want someone to talk to shed be there for him. For both of them.

                The ship hit atmo on a familiar moon, Kara's eyebrows furrowing as recognition hit, "Nar Shadda? Really?"

                "Too obvious?" He teased, "But yeah, this is probably the best place to go if you just want to be a nobody. There's a cantina here I used to frequent when I lived here a few years ago. Has the best drinks in the sector and the best music."

                "Nothing like taking me back to the place you cut off my leg to get my mind off of betrayal..." Her voice was tinged with annoyance but the look that flashed across his face made her feel guilty. "Sorry."

                "No. Don't apologize. You deserve to think worse of me honestly. But I'm not lying about the cantina. C’mon." He stood and left the cabin as the ship depressurized. "It's not far from here."

                She followed after him silently, sitting behind him and holding tight to his waist when he rented a speeder to take them to the cantina he was bragging about.

                The outside of the building in question wasn't anything to call home about, but she could already hear the steady beat of music coming from the open doors. Following after the sith, he lead her inside and through the throngs of people to the bar, immediately ordering a set of drinks.

                She glanced around at the people. There was a wide variety of races from all over the galaxy gathered together, dancing and drinking and generally having a good time. Imperial and republic mingled and she spotted what looked to be a sith pureblood dancing with human, the insignia on her hip clearly marking the human as Jedi.

                Trey handed Kara a drink. "Here." He clinked his glass with hers. "To good friends and to forget the bad ones." He smirked downing the drink quickly and coughing before signaling for another, Kara following his lead. "Been a while since I've had something this strong. No offense but Odessen doesn't have the best selection." He gave her a lopsided grin.

                She returned the smile with one of her own. "You'll have to take that up with Hylo. She's the one in charge of imports."

                Trey barked a laugh. "No thank you. I'll deal with the mediocre drinks than complain to her." She laughed at that. "There we go, loosening up already."

                Kara shook her head at him before ordering another. "Perhaps it's because you were right. This is a nice place. Thank you."

                "No problem Kara." He patted her on the back. "I'm gonna mingle a bit. Enjoy yourself."

                She nodded her thanks and turned her attention to her drink.

                The night went by quickly and they both made friends as they went. Free drinks weren't difficult for either to get. Kara grumbled at a particularly forward man, the sound catching Trey’s attention.

                "C’mon beautiful. Let's go somewhere quiet." He gripped her shoulder firmly, refusing to let go when she rolled her shoulder attempting to get him to let go.

                "No thanks." Her words were slurred, and her head swam. "I've got someone already who is leagues better than you." She shot him a glare.

                "But you don't even know me yet, sweetheart. Give me a chance." He moved his hand lower and grabbed at her butt. "I don't bite."

                Trey slammed his hand on the bar in front of the man, fixing him with a feral grin. "Oh but I do 'sweetheart'."

                The man turned to the sith glaring at him angrily. "Back off man. You're not invited."

                Trey unhooked his lightsaber from his belt, he didn't ignite the blade but he held it close to the man’s throat, thumb hovering over the trigger. "Unfortunately your invitation has been revoked. Thanks for attending." He cocked his head, his movements sluggish. "Kar. Let's get outta here."

                Kara nodded scooting out of her seat and walking with him to the door. "You know I could've handled him."

                "I'm sure you could've." She held up the lightsaber in her hand. "Ah. Already had that out too huh?" He barked a laugh before the pair both started laughing, leaning on each other as they went to get a taxi. They fell in the speeder, letting the droid take them safely to the spaceport where they stumbled through the empty port to her ship.

                "Gonna have to sleep this off before we can go home." She mistyped the entry code three times before Seetwo opened the door for them instead.

                "Good idea. Sleep. Yeah. That's a good plan."

-

                When Kara awoke hours later it was to a splitting headache. She glanced around, glad she had at least made it to her own bed. There were clothes everywhere and she sighed, rubbing her face. Rolling over she found she wasn't alone in her bed.

                Trey snored quietly next to her and she sat up quickly. Covering her mouth as the vertigo made her stomach flip. She glanced around the room as soon as it settled. Both of their clothes were strewn about, tossed without a care and by the tear on his shirt, also in a hurry.

                "Oh no."

                Trey swung his arm over smacking her side. "Shuuuush." He groaned. "You're too loud."

                "Trey don't be an ass and wake up."

                He cracked his eyes open, glaring at her a moment before they snapped open and he sat up. He groaned at the movement. "Oh bad idea."

                "You don't say."

                "You're naked."

                "So are you." She pointed out.

                "So I am." He groaned again burying his face in his hands "Did we bang? I can't remember anything past that guy getting all grabby with you."

                Kara laid back down and closed her eyes straining to remember anything from last night. But all she got was a stronger headache. "I can't either." She huffed at the chunk of memory she couldn't place. Neither of them could remember what had happened but the familiar ache in her muscles were enough of a sign for her. "But I think we did." She glanced at him as he laid back down as well. "I'm never drinking with you again."

                He smirked, "I'll forget this happened if you want to too." He pulled the blanket up to cover them both, wanting to ignore the fact they were both buck naked.

                "Deal." She lifted her arm and swung it over by him. "Friends?"

                He took her hand. "Sure. Friends." He groaned again. "Think we can sleep this off a bit before going back?"

                "Hope so. I don't think I can move right now if I wanted to."

                He chuckled. "Me neither." He rolled over burying his face in her shoulder. "Good night then."

                She closed her eyes and hoped that at least the nausea would be better when they had to get up and head back to Odessen.

Chapter Text

                They had arrived home on Odessen without incident. Though they did go their separate ways quickly and went back to their respective quarters to either change into something clean, or in Trey’s case something without a large rip in it. She doubted that he’d let her forget that bit of their drunken mistakes.

                Stepping into her room she found it just the way she left it. The bed was neatly made, the clothes put away, her tchotchkes where she left them. Everything just as if nothing had happened to tear her heart apart. She took a deep breath before walking across the room to the refresher and tossing her clothes in a small hamper in the corner.

                After showering she put on a loose fitting tank and sweats, opting to dress comfortably. After drying her hair she tied it up in its usual pony, the hair tie she had gotten from Tyr still holding strong after so many years. She stared at herself in the mirror for a few moments, noticing bruises and small cuts mixed in with the scars and freckles that were scattered on her arms. The scar on her shoulder from her fight with Trey was healing slowly, and she couldn’t help but chuckle sadly at the hickey next to it. She still couldn’t remember what had happened between them the night before, but she knew that that had been fading, the mark having been from Theron originally. It was almost ironic.

                Shaking her head she sniffed, keeping herself from crying from willpower alone. She wasn’t about to start crying about him alone in the bathroom. Not going to do that ever again. Stepping out she went to the closet to try and find something to wear over the tank, if only to keep warm. Inside was mostly Theron’s clothes, ones he had brought with him when he joined the Alliance, others ones she had bought him when on Zakuul. But all of them just brought back the memory of the look on his face when he shot the window out on the train, when he had detonated the tracks. When-

                She growled in annoyance, pulling some of the clothes out and tossing them onto the floor. He wouldn’t need them anyway, he made his choice, and now she had to suffer it. Why should she hold onto this? She knew she was overreacting, that she had started crying, but who cares she was alone and this was her space.

                A hand on her arm caused her to stop tossing Theron’s things on the ground. She turned to see Arcann watching her carefully, concern plain on his face. He didn’t say anything, but she could tell he was worried.

                “It’s not like he needs them.” She muttered, turning away and dropping the shirt she had in her hand. She stepped away, moving away from him. “He’s not coming back.”

                She sounded so hurt, her eyes red and her cheeks streaked with tears. Arcann took a step toward her, “It’ll be alright.”

                She fixed him with a glare, “How do you know that?” She swung her arms out, gesturing vaguely around them, “He’s gone. He left me, just like everyone else has. Just like you’ll do eventually too.”

                He shook his head, “No.”

                “That’s what people do, they leave. My crew, Darmas, Theron.” She huffed, “And I get stuck picking up the pieces.”

                “Kara.” He reached out taking her hands, “I’m not going to leave, I promise.”

                “You can’t promise that. Things change, you don’t know the future.”

                He pulled her close to him, holding her in his arms, “But I know me. And there’s nothing that’ll make me leave you.”

                She returned the hug, burying her face in his chest, “Please… Stay.” He kissed the side of her head and let her hold tight as she sobbed.

                “I’m here.” He stated simply.

                They stood there until she stopped crying. She had a death grip on his tunic the entire time and when she finally released him she had to flex her fingers a few times. “I’m sorry.” She sniffed and rubbed her face with the heel of her hand. “You probably don’t need to see me like this.”

                He shook his head leaning down to kiss her on the cheek. “Don’t apologize.” He stepped away and started picking up the clothes that she had tossed onto the floor. “I’ll clean this up. You should go get something to eat.”

                “No, I’m fine, I’ll-“ She started but he cut her off.

                “For me.” He fixed her with a stare and she caved.

                “Alright. I’ll get something. I should talk to Lana about updating our security anyway.”

                He handed a shirt to her, it was black with gold detailing along the collar. One that she had bought Theron for his birthday earlier that year. “No.”

                She took the shirt from him, “No?”

                “Don’t work, not today. And don’t throw this all away, not yet.”

                She stared at the shirt in her hands a moment before pulling it on over her tanktop. It still smelled strongly of the spy it belonged to. She looked back up at Arcann. “And what am I supposed to do instead?”

                He shrugged, “Relax, spend time with your family.”

                “What if I’d rather spend it with you?”

                He smiled at her, “Then we can.” He kissed her, “I’ll meet you in the mess hall after I get cleaned up, promise.”

                She nodded, pulling on her boots. “Don’t take too long.” He nodded and she left the room.

                When she was gone he let out a heavy sigh before picking up the rest of the clothes she had pulled out of the closet, hanging it back up. “I hope you know what you’re doing Theron…”

Chapter Text

                   The sound of ceramic on metal made Lana snap her head up from the datapad she was glaring at. She stared at the cup that was placed on the terminal in front of her for a moment, the steam from the liquid drifting up slowly, before turning her attention to the one who put it there. “What’s this?”

              Koro sipped at his own cup full of his own special blend of caf, as he leaned on the terminal, crossing one leg over the other as he did so. “It’s tea. You need to take a break.” He gave her a smile, watching her carefully. He wasn’t wearing his visor or most of his gear, opting for a pair of sweatpants and nothing else and had his hair tied back. Lana gave him a once over, her eyes drifting slowly over the cybernetics attached above his left eye and on either side of his jaw, before drifting down to take in the rest of him at her leisure. The action made his smile spread into a grin. “Like what you see?” He teased.

              Her eyes shot back up to his as she huffed in annoyance and turned her attention back to her datapad. “Don’t be ridiculous.” She ignored the cup of tea, moving it over slightly to hook up her datapad and bring up the holo on the terminal.

              “No no.” Koro put down his cup and pushed off from the terminal. “Break time. It’s late and you should be done for the day.” He took the pad from her, disconnected it and put it behind him.

              Glaring at him, she made a grab for the pad, “There’s too much to do, and we’re shorthanded enough as it is.” He pushed it out of her reach, and when she made a second grab for the device, this time with the Force he grabbed her wrists and brought them in front of him, sliding his hands down to hold hers. She didn’t pull away, but still grumbled in tired annoyance. “Must you get in the way?”

              “I must, yes.” He sighed, “You need a break, Lana. You’re pushing yourself too hard, and my sister is worried, as are everyone else. Including me.”

              “And here I thought the only ones you cared for were your family?” She raised an eyebrow at him.

              Koro chuckled, bringing her hands up and kissing her knuckles, “You’re as important to me as family, if not more.” He dropped her hands and grabbed her cup of tea, handing it back to her. “Here.”

              She watched him a moment, not saying anything in reply. Taking the cup she sipped at it, humming at the flavor. “Thank you.”

              “Not sure if that’s the kind you usually drink, I had to sneak some of Kyri’s while Torian was distracting her.” He grabbed his own cup and took a gulp.

              “It’s good.” She would give him that one at least. “And it’s not nice to flirt like that.”

              “Flirt?” He gave her a mock gasp of shock. “I would never flirt in such a terrible way to a lady as sophisticated as yourself.”

              “Sophisticated, huh?” She smiled behind her cup.

              “Oh yes, with your hair golder than the largest bank full of credits and your eyes more bright than the brightest stars.” He reached for her, holding his hand out for her, “My dear, you make the  Force dance when you fight, the breeze move you as you spin your blade, the tides rise when you-“

              She put her hand over his mouth, “Enough.” She said, laughing. “I get the idea, even if your comparisons are poorly worded.”

              He took her hand and kissed it again. “What can I say, I’m at a loss for words when I’m around you.” He gave her a soft smile before leaning down and kissing her cheek. “Get some rest, Lana. I’ll take care of the rest of the messages.”

              She shook her head. “I need to do this.”

              “No. This isn’t on you alone.” He took her datapad and brought up the information she had been going through. “Theron was my friend too, practically my brother. I lived with him for years while Kara was gone. He’s my responsibility as much as he’s yours.” He turned his attention back to her. “So please, get some rest, if not for me. Do it for Kara.”

              Lana sighed, she had been caught off guard at his sudden shift back to work, but she knew he was right. The commander had already pushed for her to get rest only a couple hours prior to Koro arriving, and his insistence meant that she had to’ve looked as tired as she felt. “I need to-“ She started to repeat.

              “To get a bath and a good night’s sleep. That’s all.” He pulled his visor out of his back pocket and put it on, syncing it with his cybernetics and the datapad. “I can finish this, just-.” He stared her down, and Lana couldn’t help but miss the blue of his eyes that was now hidden again like it usually was during the day. “Please.”

              Lana nodded, “Alright. I’ll get some sleep, but…” She grabbed his shoulder and pulled him down to kiss him gently on the lips. “You need take your own advice.”

              He grinned, kissing her back, “If it means I get to look forward to more of that, I will. Promise.”

              “Don’t push your luck.” She smiled  at him, taking her cup of tea and striding away. “Good night, Koro.”

              “Night, Lana. Sweet dreams.” He watched her leave, only turning his attention back to the datapad after she had left. Putting it down he went over to the terminal Theron favored and dug around until he found Theron’s personal datapad he had stashed away. He synched his cybernetics with the pad, running a decryption program and side stepping a half dozen firewalls that tried to shut down his cybernetics. After a few minutes he heard a quiet beep in his ear to let him know he had full access. “Alright little brother, time to find out what you’re hiding.” He said as he scrolled through the information on the screen, running it through a handful of code decryptions that he had managed to swipe from the SIS and Lana’s datapad. He ran across letters to Kara, some that had never been sent while she had been in carbonite and others more recent, letters to Satele, to Jace, to the Director of the SIS, someone named Teff’ith and various other friends he had made over the years, even a handful to Arcann.

              After that he found schematics of the ships of the fleet and of the now destroyed star fortresses, a collection of images including a large number of shots of Kara naked that Koro really wished he hadn’t seen, notes from missions, details for ways to improve things around Odessen, a note with various names jotted down with one circled and a check mark next to it, and then Koro hit the goldmine. He grinned as he ran across what looked like some juicy info, though the grin faded quickly as he started decrypting the details and a pain lanced through his head and his cybernetics shut down, the pain intensified and his vision blurred. “Shit.” Was all he managed as he tried to disconnect from the device, his efforts moments too late as he was shut out of the datapad and collapsed, blacking out as he hit the ground.

Chapter Text

              When Koro awoke it was to a pounding headache. He groaned, bringing his hand up to his head and rubbing at the fried implant above his eye.

              “Don’t move around so much.” A voice to his right spoke up and he felt his arm get pulled down.

              “Shey?” He groaned, blinking before screwing his eyes shut. “Where am I?”

              “The med bay. I take it you can’t see?”

              “Not really, everything’s blurry.” He grumbled. “Been a while since my implants fried. Not used to it.” He sighed. “How long was I out?”

              “About six days. Arcann found you passed out with a datapad on your face, and when he couldn’t wake you he brought you here.” She paused. “What happened?”

              Koro groaned again at that, “I really don’t want to owe him one….” He rubbed his face again, earning a grumble from the hunter, but she didn’t try to stop him. “I was trying to see if there was anything useful on Theron’s datapad. Must’ve tripped a failsafe and it took out my implants.”

              “Did you manage to get anything?”

              “Aside from a killer headache and desperate need to forget seeing all his personal pictures of Kara? Not that I can remember.” He closed his eyes, attempting to will away his headache.

              “Personal pictures?” Shey asked, concerned.

              “Let’s just say he really really loved her, and no man should ever see stuff like that of their sister.” He pushed himself up, wincing at the pain that spiked through him, Shey steadied him and helped him get to a comfortable position. “I can check my datapad, see if I managed to get anything before my connection was cut. Just need to get it and-“ He stopped as a pair of glasses were pressed into his hand, putting them on he looked over at Shey, chuckling as she handed him his datapad. “Thank you.”

              “No problem.” She grinned, “I figured you’d need them.”

              “You know me too well.” He booted up his datapad and started going through the information he had managed to get before he blacked out.

              She leaned back, letting him work but still keeping an eye on him so he wouldn’t push himself too much. “Your habits haven’t changed even after all these years. You’re still just as stubborn.”

              He laughed, “Careful, Torian will get jealous.” He hummed as he scrolled through the data, “Speaking of, where’s lover boy at?”

              “Shadowing the commander last I saw. She’s nearly been on the war path since you collapsed, it’s taking everything Arcann or Trey can manage to keep her from tracking Theron down and decking him.” She paused, “They have hardly left her side, and Trey seems to have taken it upon himself to be her bodyguard. Ironic.”

              “Worst people to keep her calm. Good thing she’s got as much patience as a Jedi…” He trailed off as the last of what Shey had said finally registered. Snapping his head up he stared her down, “Trey is doing what now?”

              Shey laughed, “He’s recently gotten new armor and assigned himself as the commander’s bodyguard. She doesn’t seem to mind, they’ve been getting along without any issue as far as I’ve seen.”

              Koro shook his head and turned his attention back to his datapad, “That’s probably the strangest thing that happened while I was out, huh.”

              “Aside from you moaning my husband’s name in your sleep, sure.”

              Koro laughed, wincing from the pain from the action, “Hey. That’s not that strange, Torian is a handsome man, and I happen to really like him and his fancy hair.”

              Shey laughed, “Should I be worried you’re going to try and steal my Torian from me?”

              “Hmmmm.”

              “You’re not denying it!” She grinned, “Oh what a sad day this is, my husband has left me for my ex-husband. What will I tell my daughter?”

              “That I really love soft silky hair?” He gave her a smirk before they both started laughing. “Ow, alright, stop making me laugh, it seriously hurts.”

              “Sorry.” She looked at him apologetically, “Is it from the implants?”

              He nodded, “Yea, it’s-“ He stopped mid sentence and smacked the datapad, “Damnit. Everything after the Odessen upgrades weren’t captured.” He huffed in annoyance. “All that work for nothing.”

              “It wasn’t nothing.” Shey took the datapad from him, placing it on a nearby table.

              “How wasn’t it? I got nothing from all that except a lot of credits going to fixing these.” He gestured angrily at his head. “I’m charging Theron for the repairs by the way. No way I’m paying for it after all the pain he’s put Kara through.” He snarled, turning and pushing himself from the bed.

              “Wait, you shouldn’t be walking ye-“

              “Don’t.” He glared at her, “I’m not going to stay here and wait to be cleared. I need to finish my work.”

              “With what? You’re cybernetics are down and your visor is broken.”

              “I don’t know. But I need to get back into Theron’s datapad. He’s not the one that shut me out.” He yanked off the light pants that they had put him in while he was unconscious, not caring if she saw him naked. It’s not like it would be the first time anyway, they had a daughter together after all. Grabbing the change of clothes that were on the side table in the small room he got dressed.

              She watched him, confused, “If it wasn’t a counter program Theron left, who did it?”

              “I’m not sure. But it felt different. I’ve had Theron slice into my cybernetics before…”

              “What?! Why?”

              Koro shrugged, sitting down to pull on his boots. His head was still pounding, but he couldn’t just sit there and do nothing. “We were bored and the boys were asleep, it was a few years ago and we were both curious to see if he could do it or not.” He stood back up, Shey joining him and placing a hand at his back to steady him. “His slicing had a unique feel to it, it’s hard to explain. But this was different, it felt like I was shut out by something completely different. It’s not Theron. And I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not just yet.”

              He shook his head, closing his eyes a moment to let the pain subside before leaving the room. He wasn’t entirely ready for the talking to he was sure to get from both Kara and Lana, but he had to double check something, so even if he’d get an earful for it, it would hopefully be worth it.

Chapter Text

    “Huh. Glasses really don’t suit you.” Trey said as he walked into the war room.

    Koro glanced up from his datapad to glare at him before placing the device on the terminal he was working at.

    The sith laughed, leaning on the terminal before continuing. “Or maybe I’m just not used to seeing you without your visor. I mean, I didn’t even know you had blue eyes til now.”

    Koro scoffed, “What do you want?”

    “At the moment? Nothing.” He shrugged, “Just was checking in, Kor’s been so busy I figured I could at least check on one of his patients.”

    "Well, my implants are still down and my visor is still fried, but I don’t need them to function. Just dealing with the headache from the disconnect and working through other methods. Though between Kara, Shey, and now you, I’m never going to get any work done.” Koro huffed in annoyance before rubbing his head and then tying back his hair.

    “Well you should be safe from your sister for a while at least. Arcann’s keeping her distracted well enough right now.” Trey grabbed another datapad, logging himself in and started going through his messages. When the smuggler grumbled in reply, he couldn’t help but chuckle, “Don’t like that Kara and Arcann are a thing, huh?”

    Koro glanced at him again, “A thing? What are you talking about?”

    “That they’re together? Y’know, dating.” When the look on Koro’s face shifted from confusion to realization to anger he couldn’t help but feel bad for his commander at the moment. “Ah, you didn’t know. I thought she would’ve told you or you would’ve figured it out on your own by now. Theron was a part of it to, at least until he went rogue.”

    “No. I didn’t know.” He replied flatly, quickly shooting a message over to his sister. “I don’t normally keep tabs on Kara. I’d rather not know what she’s up to most of the time, same with Theron. I’m not surprised she didn’t tell me about them, she knows I don’t like him. But what I am surprised at is that she told you.”

    Trey shook his head, “Koren told me. And Arcann told him. They’ve gotten to be pretty close friends from what I can tell. But Kor sucks at keeping secrets from me, so he told me right away.”

    Koro huffed in annoyance, rubbing the bridge of his nose before deciding to change the subject. It wasn’t that he wasn’t annoyed about his sister not sharing such information with him, or that he didn’t figure it out himself considering how the former emperor had been practically glued to her side since Theron’s betrayal. It was more that he would rather find out the truth from Kara herself, or through his usual snooping, than from the sith he was speaking to now. He gestured to Trey’s gear. “What’s with the new armor? Got sick of the sweater?”

    “More or less. It got ripped after some bar hopping. Decided it was time for something new anyway.” He shrugged, “Heavier armor just feels like it fits with being a bodyguard. And the swords were something I had been working on for a while.” He put a hand on the pommel of one of the pair of warblades that hung on either side of his hips. The runes along the blades pulsed a soft white light at the contact before dimming again. “Should be good enough to stand against a lightsaber.”

    “Should?”

    “Haven’t had a chance to test them in combat yet. I still have my lightsabers on me. Just… Doesn’t feel right using them anymore.” Trey shrugged and turned his attention back to his datapad, opting to end the conversation there rather than continue it and reveal the real reason behind the change.

    Koro got the hint and nodded in reply before turning his attention back to his own datapad. Reports from Lana, some encrypted ones from his contacts in the SIS, updates on possible sightings of Theron. Nothing concrete as of yet, but that there were sighting was something he could work with.

    Kurana had sent over a list of possible defectors from the Empire that was seeking asylum in the Alliance, the list including a handful of names that he recognized. Jonas sent over his condolences for Theron’s actions, as well as some information that the spy thought may help track down his former ally. Not that Koro needed it, living with Theron for five years gave him a pretty good idea of how the agent worked, which was another reason he was having a hard time believing that Theron had actually betrayed them. None of it added up, it was completely out of character for him, and that on top of the program that had corrupted his cybernetics, Koro was sure there was more going on here.

    But he couldn’t say anything. If Theron was trying to find or take out a threat to the commander, and this was the only way to do it, then telling people his suspicions would jeopardize the mission Theron may’ve taken on. But if he really was a traitor, if he really did believe the Alliance had become corrupted, why wouldn’t he have said something. So he would just have to work, dig through any information he could get his hands on, and learn the truth. And until then he’d keep his mouth shut.

Chapter Text

    Arcann lay there attempting to fall asleep for what felt like hours. The subtle glow from a clock and the comfortable soreness in his muscles reminded him that it had only been a few minutes since he had awoken from a nightmare.

    He would’ve just gotten up, paced around or something to just tire himself out like he usually did when dreams about Thexan woke him but Kara cuddled up to his side made him stay put. She grumbled, burying her face into his shoulder and then sighed in contentment. He rubbed her shoulder gently tracing circles on her skin and enjoying the feel of her so close to him. He couldn't help but wonder how he was lucky enough to earn her affection.

    Only a little over a year ago, maybe two at most, they had been enemies. He especially had wanted nothing more than to see her imprisoned in carbonite once more. Not that it was anything that she had done in particular, but the threat his father had posed while in her head, and that Valkorion could convince even the most pacifist Jedi into doing his bidding, that was what had threatened him the most. Kara had been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and because of it he had tried numerous times to either kill her or have her imprisoned once again. And now he lay with her, asleep in his arms after they had slept together for the first time, just content.

    He lay there, staring at the ceiling, realizing that there was nothing that would stand in his way if she was ever threatened, that he would stop at nothing to protect her. A dedication he hadn’t felt in years, not since Thexan’s death, not since he had given himself over to the monster he feared most. And now he-

    His spiraling thoughts were stopped at the edge when he felt Kara kiss his jaw. He glanced down at her, she was clearly half asleep, but there was worry in her eyes.

    “Can’t sleep?” She asked quietly.

    He hummed in reply, taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly. She yawned and laid her head on his chest, her ear over his heart.

    “I’m here if you want to talk about it.” She traced the scars that were scattered on his chest, her fingertips ghosting over them gently as she ran her hand up to his shoulder. When he didn’t reply she let the matter drop. They lay there in silence for a time, just comfortable in each other’s presence. A hard earned comfort that neither were willing to let go of.

    Arcann took her hand in his, lacing their fingers together and brought her hand up to kiss her knuckles. Laughing Kara pushed herself up so she was hovering over him, she was more awake now, but was still clearly exhausted.

    “You should go back to sleep.” He said as he released her hand and reached up to brush some of her hair back behind her ear. This was the first time he had seen her with her hair down, and stars she was beautiful. He had always thought that, but there was something different about her at this moment, when they were laying together, just the two of them. No responsibilities, no hurry, just them. He would admit that it felt emptier without Theron there with them, but at least right now he wanted to keep this moment to himself. Selfish, he supposed, Theron loved her, had loved her, far more than he had, and for a much longer time. But the spy had hurt her, so Arcann felt it was right he could be a little selfish at the moment.

    She smiled at him, leaning down to kiss him. “Can’t.” She kissed him again, this time more insistently, urging him to take control and push this further. But he held back pulling back first to look at her. “Don’t stop.” She whined in annoyance. When he didn’t try to kiss her again she sat up, so she was resting on her knees and sighed.

    “Kara…”

    “I know.” She gave him a sad smile. “I know. I just keep thinking, keep running through Iokath. Umbara. in my mind and I.” She shook her head. “I can’t.. I don't want to keep thinking about it but I just...”

    He sat up too, reaching out to take her hand in his once more. “It’s not your fault.”

    “I know.” She repeated, sighing. “It’s just bothering me so damn much. Why would he. Why would Theron of all people do this? To the Alliance, to you and Lana. To me? After everything, why wouldn’t he say something. And I can’t stop trying to figure out what I missed, what I did wrong. And the more I try to figure out why the less sense it makes.”

    He pulled her to him so she was sitting on his lap. She hugged onto him, almost desperate for the contact, for the confirmation that he wasn’t going to go anywhere, that he wouldn’t abandon her or betray her like Theron apparently had, like Darmas had.

    “I just want things to go back to how they were.”

    “They will. It will take time, but I’ll be by your side through this.” She leaned back so she could look at him, searching to make sure he wasn’t lying. He kissed her gently. “We’ll get him back, even if I have to drag him home myself.”

    She chuckled, “I don’t think he’d like that much.” She teased, her voice still sounded sad, but not nearly as heartbroken as it had prior. She kissed him again, more passionate that his had been, but less desperate than her previous one. “Thank you.”

    He gave her a smile before flopping back down on the bed, pulling her with him. She laughed, a genuine heartfelt laugh before snuggling in and kissing his neck. Arcann couldn’t help but thank his luck that he had managed to distract her from Theron for at least the moment. He couldn’t replace him, that he knew full well, but he could at least keep her head on straight when they were alone. He could keep her from trying to drink her troubled thoughts away again, from making foolish mistakes again.

    Koren had told him what had happened when she and Trey had gone drinking. It had hurt more than he had expected to hear that she hadn’t turned to him first, had made him jealous that she hadn’t taken him to bed to distract herself from the betrayal. But after having some time to think it through, he was also grateful that she hadn’t. He loved her, he realized that more and more as time passed, but if it had been him that she had drunkenly slept with it likely would’ve destroyed their relationship rather than helped it. It didn’t stop him from nearly punching Trey the moment he saw him, but from what he had heard from the sith, neither had any idea what had really happened anyway. A small light at the end of that tunnel he supposed, he had seen her drunk once before at the party after Valkorion’s defeat, and while she had hit on nearly anyone within arms length from her and tried dragging Khomo to a backroom at least once, she had never actually done anything. Even Theron had later admitted that she had stripped and fell asleep as soon as she had yanked his shirt off for him.

    So the likelihood of anything having actually happened between Trey and Kara was slim at best. A small comfort, and one that he chose to take as truth, because the fact of the matter was, she was in his arms in their bed. And that didn’t take her being drunk to manage. She chose him to be with, and that was something he could take pride in. She was his, and more importantly, he was hers.

    She kissed his jaw again, pulling him once more from his thoughts. “Go to sleep love.” She sounded tired, and he couldn’t help but notice the nickname she let slip. He grinned at that, and then kissed her. She seemed surprised at first but returned it as he wrapped his arms around her and rolled over so she was laying under him.

    He looked at her with a wild look in his eyes, the look pulling a laugh from her. “I have better ideas.”

    She hummed in reply, running her hands down his sides. “And what ideas are those?” She asked innocently, smiling up at him clearly once more awake.

    “I think it’d be easier to show you.”

Chapter Text

    “Of all planets you could look for Theron on, why would you pick Ilum?” Trey asked standing knee deep in snow and looking out across the expanse of glittering white that covered the planet. He wore a heavy coat with a fur collar and hat and snow mask to keep himself warm, his warblades sticking out from underneath the cape that acted as an extra, removable, insulation.

    “Adegan crystals.” Kara said plainly, she wore one of Koren’s parkas, the hunter having opted to skip out on this lead due to it being much too cold for his tastes, sending his warmest coat in his place. A bland excuse, but an honest one. “The planet has plenty of them scattered around in the caves, this would be a good place to check first considering what was on that train on Umbara.”

    The pair glanced down as the other two members of their team trudged their way up the snow covered hill to join them. Kurana picked her way carefully, her armored boots barely even slipping as she approached them. “No luck. There were members of the empire who were searching for crystals recently, but none that stood out or looked event remotely close to Theron.” She sighed, her voice sounding just as disinterested as it did the first time Kara had spoken to her months ago. She wore her usual dark armored long coat with her hair braided back as if she was as unaffected by the cold as she was uninterested in being on the planet.

    Arcann on the other hand seemed more than annoyed as he forced his way up step by step. He wore another of Koren’s parkas with the hood up and snow mask and goggles to cover his face. Even with it covered it was clear that he wanted to be anywhere other than out in the cold any longer. “We weren’t able to get any supplies at the fort either.” He practically growled out, whether due to his aggravation with the soldiers at the fort he and Kurana had questioned, or from the weather, the Commander couldn’t tell, but she couldn’t fault him for it.

    “No luck on our end either. There was hardly even a sighting of an Alliance ship in the past few weeks, much less Theron himself.” Kara shook her head, it had been a long day and all of them were exhausted.

    “Then I’ll let Niko know we’re heading back to the ship?” Kurana worded it like a question, but had already stepped away and opened her comm to let her husband know that they would be returning soon.

    Kara had been iffy about Lana’s suggestion of working with the Darth, but it had been worthwhile in the end. She was a former member of the dark council, and even though she had lost her chair when the council had been upturned after Acina had taken charge she still had numerous connections that proved to be invaluable for the Alliance, and for Lana especially. And her husband was an added bonus, Andronikos proved to be resourceful and seemed to agree with his wife’s plan to openly join the Alliance even with Kara’s obvious support of the Republic. It had been unexpected, but both had made it clear that they wished to remain neutral and free from the conflicts between the two factions.

Returning to her ship they were greeted with the final member of Kurana’s current crew. Adrien, another Sith like Kurana, though his saberstaff was attached to his forearm instead of hanging from his belt like Kurana’s did. Where Kurana sounded disinterested, Adrien looked it instead, he was leaning on an iso droid when they approached, pushing off it when he spotted the group enter the airlock. He gave Kurana a lopsided grin before speaking, “Unloaded the supplies already, and ships been refueled so we’re good to go.”

“Good job.” She returned his smile and reached up to ruffle his blue hair as she passed him and entered the ship.

He scoffed at the action “Don’t treat me like a kid.” He followed behind her, his droid practically on his heels until they entered the comm room, veering off down the hall and going to another room by itself, it’s role of bodyguard complete for the time being.

    “I would never.” She teased him as she went to greet her husband, closing the door to the cockpit as soon as she cleared it.

    He shook his head before turning his attention to the rest of the team. “It’ll be awhile before we get back to Odessen, you don’t need to keep your coats on, we have heat.”

    Kara chuckled at that, obliging and hanging hers on the couch that dominated the far wall, Trey and Arcann doing the same a moment after.

    Dropping himself on the couch and sprawling out on it Trey turned his attention to the other Sith. “You’re hair’s blue.”

    “Yes, it is.” Adrien smirked at him, clearly entertained even though he still had a mostly deadpan expression on his face. The smirk so minimal that it didn’t even pull at the branding scar that went across and under his left eye. “Your point?”

    “No point, just rare to see anyone take time to dye their hair in the middle of a war.” Trey shrugged. “At least off of Nar Shaddaa anyway.”

    Kara chuckled, turning her attention to her pack that she had brought with, pulling out a datapad and checking her messages while they were in hyperspace. Arcann took a seat next to Trey, propping one leg up so his ankle rested on his opposite knee. Once comfortable he also started checking his messages, work never ending even though none of them were on Odessen at the moment.

    “It’s not dyed.” Adrien’s smirk was still there, but this time it actually pulled a little at his scar, nearly an actual smile, but still a sassy one. When Trey raised an eyebrow at his comment he continued. “I’m -” A loud bang from the cockpit made the group glance at the door, and then what sounded like heavy armor being dropped on metal followed. “Anyway.” Adrien’s smirk had vanished, replaced with a look of tired annoyance as they all had quickly pieced together exactly what the Sith and her pirate were doing in there. “As I was saying before somebody decided they couldn’t keep it in their pants until I took over the controls.” He spoke the last bit loudly and smacked his fist on the wall that separated the comm room and the cockpit. “It’s my actual hair color. I’m Chiss.”

    Kara sat down next to Arcann, leaning on the prince as he put his arm over her shoulder. A little bit of affection they could play off if questioned, but since Trey was already aware of the relationship, neither were concerned.

    “You don’t have red eyes.” Trey pointed out, “Or blue skin.”

    “I’m only half, my father was human.” He shrugged. “Took after him for the most part, only my hair ended up like my mother.” He pointed at his scar, “She was a servant to my father, he fell in love with her and took her as his mistress and then they had me. Lucky lucky me.” He chuckled. “I mean his wife didn’t approve. She kicked me out after she poisoned my mother, I think, and dad died of a broken heart. And that’s why I have this scar and that’s why I’m here.”

    “I wasn’t expecting a whole story as an answer. But you have my condolences.” Trey shook his head.

    Adrien shrugged, “And I wasn’t expecting to be asked about my hair, so figured I’d get it all out before you asked about anything else. I’m Adrien Hart by the way.” He stuck out his hand.

    Trey took it, shaking it almost awkwardly. “Trey Hawke.” He already didn’t like this Sith, he was a little too… chatty for his tastes. And not Koren’s kind of chatty. Koren was cute when he went off on a tangent about a subject, Adrien just struck him as annoying.

    “Kara Hawke.” Kara introduced, leaning past Arcann to shake his hand as well. She gave him a smile. “It’s good to work with you, Kurana mentioned you’ve been a team for a while now.”

    “Yes. For a few years, eight or nine I believe. It was just me and Fiver until then, missed having someone to talk to who actually replies. Fiver isn’t much big on chatting.” He chuckled at his joke, then reached to shake Arcann’s hand as well.

    Taking his hand and shaking it Arcann nodded, “Arcann Hawke.”

    “Really?” Trey groaned. “Are you two going to be doing that bit?”

    Adrien looked between them, almost excitedly waiting for an explanation.

    “What bit? I’ve gone by Hawke for years.” Kara rose an eyebrow in question.

    “I know, but I mean you two specifically. Being all cutesy, it doesn’t suit you. Or him especially.” Trey huffed, rolling his eyes, “Adrien, his name’s just Arcann. No last name. If he has one it’d be Tirall anyway, not Hawke.”

    “I hardly deserve to carry the Tirall name.” Arcann replied, his voice calm, “It would’ve suited Thexan better than I. And it didn’t feel right to introduce myself as ‘just Arcann’.”

    “Then ‘Former Eternal Emperor Arcann’. or ‘Formerly Murderous Bastard Arcann But Now Slightly Less So’ would do. Just not Hawke. I don’t want to share my name with you of all people. I’m already stuck sharing it with Kara.” He stuck his arms out to emphasize exactly how done he was with the idea of sharing his name with the Commander. “But that was Nora’s decision so there’s nothing I can do about that.”

    “Are you saying you have a problem with me?” Arcann asked, he crossed his arms, staring down the sith with defiance clear on his face.

    Kara put her hand on his shoulder, giving him a look that made him back down a little, though that didn’t stop him from glaring down Trey. “Guys. Don’t.”

    “A little fistfight isn’t going to hurt anyone Kara. I’ve been itching for a rematch.” Trey hopped to his feet, “One on one, like we did in the workshop. Though this time Senya won’t be stopping us.”

    “Huh, I think I’m gonna have to bet on Trey winning this one.” Adrien muttered, eying them both with interest.

    “Trey-” Kara started but was cut off when the door to the cockpit opened, Kurana stepping out.

    She still had her pants and a light shirt on, but her hair was undone from her braid and hung loose, and she wore no boots. Behind her was a shirtless and obviously proud Andronikos. She glared at them, making it clear that she would take no arguments, “There will be no fighting on my ship. Either get along or find someplace away from each other.”

    “Yes ma’am.” Adrien snapped off a clumsy bow and hurried around them into the cockpit, complaining about the mess they left as he closed the door behind him.

    “Am I understood?” She asked those who remained.

    Arcann nodded, leaning back onto the couch once more, replying with a simple, “Yes.” before returning his attention to his datapad and Kara.

    Trey huffed, but also replied “Yes.” and went to dig through his stuff to work on his gear maintenance.

    “Good.” Nodding, Kurana strode past them to her quarters, Andronikos right behind her, slapping her butt playfully as he closed the door behind them, leaving the trio to themselves for the rest of the trip back home to Odessen.

Chapter Text

    Kara scrolled through the archived holos on her datapad, finding the ones from the most recent backup. Specifically the ones from the night she went out with Trey. There were security cameras scattered all throughout the ship, at least one in each room that were constantly monitoring the ship. Tyr had showed her the security setup back when she first boarded the freighter, explaining that it was to safeguard against stowaways and thieves.

    “It’s how I knew you snuck on board.” The smuggler had smirked at that as he showed her how the holos would auto archive and how to access them. Like everything else the crew, and especially Tyr, had shown her, she memorized it as best she could.

    She hadn’t thought of checking it after her night out drinking, but after weeks of no memory of the night returning she couldn’t go without finding out the truth. So here she was sitting cross legged on the floor in a crop top and shorts scrolling through a datapad in the back of the ship.

    She didn’t know the exact hour, so she had to go through the 3hr chunks from that night on Nar Shaddaa. So engrossed in it she didn’t realize that she was no longer alone until she heard someone behind her speak.

    “Any reason why you’re hiding in your ship?”

    She whirled around to look at who spoke, wide eyed in surprise and nearly dropped her datapad, “Stars Arcann! What are you doing here?”

    He raised an eyebrow at her reaction and shrugged. “Connor’s afternoon training is done and he ran off to find Caleb so I came looking for you.” He squatted down next to her, eying the datapad in her hand as she returned her attention to her task. “What are you doing?”

    “Trying to figure something out.” She sped up the holo, slowing it when two figures stumbled down the hall of the ship.

    “Trying to find out what happened with Trey?”

    Kara glanced over at him with a look of surprise, a look of guilt following it immediately after.

    “Koren told me.” He sat down and leaned on the wall of the ship. “He said it’s been bothering Trey, I assume it’s been bothering you as well.”

    “Yes.” Kara said quietly. After a moment of silence she continued. “I’m sorry I didn’t say anything to you. I just.” She sighed, pausing the holo and putting the datapad down on her lap. “I would never do something like that to you Arcann.” She looked at him, regret plain on her face, “I don’t usually drink that much because I can get… crazy. And usually I can stop myself but every time I thought of what happened, with Theron, and I just. I wanted to forget to just not care anymore for a little while. And instead I.” She picked up the datapad and started the holo again. “I don’t remember anything, and I thought I might if I gave it time, but I didn’t. And I didn’t want to hurt you.”

    He sighed. “I know. I don’t like it.” When she sigh of defeat he couldn’t help but chuckle before continuing, “But I understand.”

    “I’m still sorry.” She leaned against him, she still felt terrible about not saying anything to him for so long, but she just couldn’t until she knew for sure what had happened. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Here we go.” The figures on the holo stumbled through the hall, managing the get into Kara’s quarters. “Not a good start.” she muttered.

    The holo kept playing, the small image of Trey cracking some joke that neither could hear, but the image of Kara found hilarious. He had hugged her, holding her close before she escaped his grip and seated herself on the bed gesturing at him. Both figures spoke while they stripped, the words couldn’t be heard but their posture was flirty, teasing. Trey struggled with his shirt before getting fed up and just ripping it and tossing it without a care before climbing on the bed. He passed out before getting much further than halfway on the bed, his legs hanging off the end. The image of Kara laughed, crawling over to him to drag him the rest of the way on the bed before covering them both with a blanket and snuggling in close. Aside from rolling over to get more comfortable, neither moved from that point on, sleeping soundly until both had awoken in a panic with no idea what had happened.

    “Nothing happened.” Kara and Arcann both said at the same time, the smuggler letting out a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding.

    “Oh thank the Force. Nothing happened.” She repeated, sending a copy of the holo to Trey. She put the datapad down. She laughed before leaning over and kissing Arcann. “I’m so sorry. But I’m just so.” She kissed him again. “Glad.”

    He gave her a half smile, rubbing her arm affectionately, “Good.” She kissed him again. When she pulled away he continued, “Promise you won’t keep me in the dark if something like this happens again.”

    She looked down, “I will. I just was scared. What if something had happened, I just didn’t-”

    He cut her off, “I know.” He stood, pulling her up with him. “We should get back to the base.”

    Kara chuckled, “Before Lana tracks us down you mean.” She kissed his cheek, “Thank you. For understanding, and for everything really.”

    “I haven’t done anything.” He said as they left the ship. “If anything I haven’t been there when you needed me most. None of this would’ve happened if I had been with you instead.”

    “I don’t want you to have to worry about my heartbreak.” When he shot her a look she continued, “I’m not going to try to drink it away again, I promise. One close call with Trey is enough for me.”

    He grumbled, raising an eyebrow at her as they walked.

    “Don’t make that face, I told you before this isn’t the first time I’ve been betrayed by someone I loved.” She sighed, “At least this time I’m not alone in this.”

    “We’ll find him.”

    “So you’ve promised.”

    “And I don’t break my promises.”

    “I know.” She looked at him when they stepped onto the elevator to take them into the base. As soon as the lift started to move she leaned over and hugged him. “I know.” She repeated as he returned her hug, letting her bury her face in his tunic, savoring the moment they had to themselves before returning to the rest of the base.

Chapter Text

“Rana, are you sure this is a good plan?” Andronikos asked as he and Kurana made their way from their ship into the Alliance base. He shot glares at anyone who looked their way. “Helping them here and there is one thing but joining the Alliance is another. They did side with the Republic.”

“During a battle where they weren’t given much wiggle room.” She glanced at him, “Political repercussions aside, I don’t blame her for choosing the Republic. It was Theron’s father they would have had to fight against after all.”

“I get your point.” He sighed heavily, “I’m just saying that it doesn’t sit well with me. Not that what I think matters, you’re the boss.”

“And I value your opinions, Niko. But I’ve made my intent to remain neutral clear, we’ll only be working with the Alliance and that’s all. Besides, I trust the Commander on her decision…” They walked through the door into the war room, “It’s not the first time she’s done something questionable that worked out in the long run.” She glance between the two terminals from Lana who was focused on the work in front of her to Arcann who’s back was to them, his attention on the terminal in the corner and the astromech that was plugged into it.

Lana looked up from her datapad as she heard the inquisitor enter. “Imperius, welcome.” She gave her a tired smile as she set down the datapad. “Any news?”

Kurana shrugged, giving her a lopsided grin as she handed over a card. “Picked up some interesting intel from various sources in Kaas city. Nothing concrete, but interesting nonetheless.”

Lana took the card, plugging it into the terminal and bringing up the information that was stored on it. Troop movements, orders from the newly appointed Emperor Vowrawn, gossip pertaining to the now late Empress.

Andronikos leaned on the terminal yawning dramatically, clearly letting his wife know he would’ve rather waited for her on the ship. She glanced at him and raised an eyebrow before huffing a laugh and glancing around the room. “I can’t help but notice the Commander is absent.”

“We had a lead on Theron, she’s in route to investigate it. Just waiting on her call.” Lana spoke distractedly as she went through and copied the information she had been given. “We should be hearing from her any moment now.”

The droid scooted over, beeping at Lana to get her attention as he plugged himself into her terminal.

“There we are now.” Lana pressed a button and started speaking to her Commander as Kurana strode away, giving her friend some privacy.

Walking over to the other terminal she leaned on it similarly as Andronikos had, and gave Arcann a once over. “Left behind this time I take it.”

“My skills weren’t needed for this.” He stated plainly. He focused on going through various datapads that were scattered on the terminal, scrolling through the information on one before putting it down and picking up another.

“But you’re not just sitting and waiting for her to call in. That’s a surprise considering how… close you two seemed last time we spoke.”

He glanced at her, narrowing his eyes slightly before turning his attention back to the task at hand. “I don’t see how that would be important. She can take care of herself with or without me by her side.”

“And that you’re not with her annoys you it seems.” She smiled slyly at him.

Arcann put the datapad down with more force than he had meant as he turned his full attention on her, glaring as he towered over the smaller Sith. “Is there a point to this?”

She shrugged, not threatened by his display in the least. “Should there be?” She teased, smiling at him. She made sure she spoke loud enough that only he could hear her as she continued, “I am just saying, there’s nothing wrong with being annoyed that she didn’t take you along. I know I’ve been on that ship a few times.” She glanced at Andronikos as he poked at some of the buttons on the other terminal earning a glare from Lana as he did so. It was clear he was doing it just to annoy the Sith when he continued to push them after she told him to stop. Kurana smiled softly at him before turning her attention back to the prince. “That you have that much faith in her speaks volumes.”

“I think she’s proven herself my better many times over.” He muttered as he turned his attention back to the datapads. “She doesn’t need me by her side at every moment.”

“No, I suppose she doesn’t. As long as you’re there for her during the times she truly does. She isn’t nearly as strong as she lets on, trust me.” She pushed off the terminal and went back to her husband’s side, wrapping an arm around his waist as he did the same with her. He leaned down to kiss her, whispering something into her ear and earning a chuckle in reply.

Arcann watched her before huffing in annoyance and grabbing a handful of the datapads and leaving the room and heading to the smuggler’s bay. He found Koro quicker than he expected, the broker sprawled on one of the couches, he still wore his glasses and had his hair tied back in a messy tail. He was so focused on a datapad in his hand that he didn’t even realize Arcann was there until the sound of datapads being dropped on the table startled him.

Sitting up fully he eyed the other man as he dropped himself on the couch next to him and grabbed the datapad off the top of the stack. Koro raised an eyebrow before lounging back and returning to his work. “All right I’ll bite, who pissed you off this time?”

Arcann shot him a glare before speaking, “Who says I’m pissed?”

Koro shrugged, “People in good moods don’t usually slam datapads onto tables. And Kara ain’t here so you two didn’t get into a fight…”

“Lana’s friend.” He stated plainly.

“Which one? The mirialan Jedi that’s been hanging around recently? or that stunning Sith with the gray hair?”

“The Sith. Kurana.”

“Ah yeah. She does that to people. She’s gorgeous so she can be as rude to me as she likes.” He chuckled. “I mean have you seen her?”

“I haven’t noticed.” He answered flatly, focusing on his work instead.

“That right? Makes sense since you seem to only have eyes for my sister. ” He watched him, waiting for the prince to react. Arcann’s head shot up and his eyes widened as what Koro had said sunk in. “Yeah, I know about you two.”

“Who told you?” Arcann practically hissed. He was panicking, the idea that Koro could’ve figured it out on his own crossed his mind, but they had been so careful. They had tried to be anyway. And now the concern that Koro would talk ran through his head, he had been the one who insisted they keep it secret, his fear that she would lose her support if the Alliance found out about them overriding the part of him that wanted to show off that he was her lover. That she chose to be with him. And now Koro had found out.

“Trey told me. He-”

“That bastard.” Arcann growled.

Koro’s eyebrows shot up as he looked at him before laughing. “Wow. That’s just. Wow.” He kept laughing as Arcann shot a look at him. “Oh man, now I feel bad. You just looked so pissed, like you were ready to go track him down and give him what for, and he didn’t even mean to out you two.”

“What do you mean?”

Koro was still laughing as he answered. “He thought I already knew, thought Kara had told me.” He took a breath letting it out in a sigh, reigning in his humor to the point that he just stared down the man next to him with a serious look. “You know I don’t like you. I’ve done my best to make that much clear to you.”

“You have. And threatened to ruin my life a couple times now.” The sudden change caught him off guard but he did his best to hide that fact.

“Yes I have.” Koro shook his head, “So allow me to reiterate, if you even think of breaking Kara’s heart there’ll be a blaster bolt in between your eyes before you leave the room.”

“And Theron’s?”

“Oh, I heard he’s involved in this too, or was involved at any rate.” Koro sighed, this time it sounded more out of exhaustion rather than an attempt at reigning back humor. “I still don’t know what’s up with him and all…” He gestured vaguely. “This that’s going on. But yeah. Whenever he comes to his senses and gets back here where he belongs, that will apply to him as well. If he hurts her or you hurt him, either way. I won’t hold back.”

“As much as I don’t like hearing you threaten the people I care about...” Kara’s voice caused them both to glance up. She looked tired and was covered in dirt. She gave them both a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes. “Thank you, Koro.”

“How long have you been back?” Koro asked.

“Just a few minutes.” She glanced between them at the stack of datapads. “Any luck?”

Koro shook his head, “Not much, took a while to crack it without my implants, but so far nothing except naughty pictures you sent him.” When Arcann snatched the datapad he was holding from him he chuckled in mock humor, “Of course you want to see them.” He turned his attention back to his sister, “Otherwise nothing outside of some encrypted messages and holos to an unnamed person. And before you ask, he wore a mask and hood and filtered his voice in the holos so I couldn’t ID him. How about on your end?”

“Saw him but couldn’t stop him. But it’s a step.” Kara sighed heavily, “Thank you for trying so hard. Please take a break when you can alright?”

“Of course.” He nodded. “I’ll try and drag Lana away from the terminal while I’m at it.”

“Good.” She smiled, this time seeming more genuine, “Then if you don’t mind, I’d like to borrow Arcann for a bit.”

Arcann glanced at her, standing quickly and practically vaulting over the couch to stand by her side earning a laugh from her.

“Of course.” Koro repeated more flatly, clearly unimpressed at Arcann’s quick reaction at her not so subtle request. He knew exactly what she wanted from him at the moment and he really didn’t want that image in his head ever.

“How was he?” Arcann asked as they left the room.

“Oh you know, the usual Theron. Nice new coat, not so nice haircut.” She sighed.

“That bad?”

“Mhmm.” She hummed as they walked before she steered him into their quarters. “I can give you the full details, but first I could really use a shower. And something else if you’re feeling up to it.” She gave him a sly smile as she stripped off her coat and tossed it on the couch before toeing off her boots.

Arcann paused a moment watching her as she stripped before sneaking into the refresher. She poked her head out to look at him before beckoning for him to follow. He grinned, stipping as well as he followed after.

A shower sounded fantastic right now.

Chapter Text

“Theron.”

He could hear her call out to him, her voice pleading, desperate. But he kept his back to her, forcing himself to keep from facing her, from facing this choice that he was making.

“Theron, please.”

It broke his heart to hear her, he knew how this had to’ve looked, that he was betraying her, abandoning her, and that’s how it needed to be. Another sobbed out please finally made him turn, to look at her and see the pain replaced with anger, at him, at what he’d done to her.

“Kara. I.” He couldn’t come up with the words. This was something that had to be done, no matter the cost. He knew she would understand when she knew the truth, but he couldn’t tell her, even in his dreams he couldn’t. “I wish there was another way.”

She scoffed, shouting at him, blaming him for all that’s gone wrong, the war, Acina’s death, anything and everything he could think of, his memory of the last time they spoke warping and pushing further. His fault.

He knew it too. If she had chosen to ally with the Empire like she had during their push to stop Vaylin’s bloody campaign he likely would’ve lost his father as well. The thought of him bringing up a memory of Jace alongside the woman he loved. Others appeared alongside them, Arcann, Lana, Satele, everyone he’s ever cared for shouting his sins at him, blame on top of blame before he finally closed his eyes angrily and shouted in return.

“Enough!”

The sound of his voice, as pained and broken as Kara’s echoed through the memory of the wreckage of the train he crashed. Silence followed, and after a moment he finally opened his eyes to be met with a near empty car, the only one remaining was Kara once again. She watched him quietly, carefully, guarded, heartbroken. Her eyes flicked this way and that, taking in his appearance, the worn coat he took to wearing since his favored coat reminded him too much of what he was abandoning, his worn out face lack of sleep obvious even in his dream. His shorn hair, self cut and poorly done at that, but there had been no time to clean it up, and there was no way he would trust Vinn or anyone else in the order with anything sharp near his neck.

He knew he looked terrible, and he felt terrible. But when their eyes met his heart broke more at the look, pleading, hopeful, blame-filled, broken. It took everything he had to not run to her then. But… it was his dream, he should be able to do that shouldn’t he?

“Why?”

“I had no other choice.” He took a tentative step toward her, reaching out. To hell with his pride, with the mission, with everything, this was his dream he wasn’t going to let her walk away again. He took another step and another.

“You should’ve come home.”

“I can’t.” He advanced, attempting to close the distance between them. “I know this isn’t real, but I- I still can’t. Not yet.” He reached for her hand but she pulled back before he could take it, crossing her arms across her chest, closing herself off from him, from fixing this.

“I can’t watch you do this, Theron.”

She took a step back, turning from him, walking out of the car, the door whooshing shut behind her. He rushed after her, calling for her to stop, to come back. Prying open the door he chased after her, the snow of Copero whipping past him stinging his face. He could see her ahead of him, climbing aboard a shuttle, assisted up by Arcann who wrapped his arm around her protectively.

He stood below as the shuttle took off, calling for her to wait. Their roles reversed from their encounter a few weeks prior. But she just turned from him, closing the door and leaving him standing in the snow watching the ship leave him behind, alone.

Abandoned.

Again.

The hiss of a lightsaber behind him caught his attention and he turned, drawing his blasters as he prepared to face the threat. A flash of gold was all he saw.

-

Panting, Theron sat up quickly, closing his eyes he buried his head in his hands groaning as he ran through a meditation exercise to reign in his panic.

“Nightmare?” A voice to his side said.

Theron glanced over at Vinn, who stared at him with an eyebrow raised. Shrugging Theron pushed himself to his feet. “Something like that. You’re worried?”

“No.” The knight stated flatly turning his attention back to the panels in front of him as he steered the ship through the debris of a second destroyed freighter that week. “Making sure you’re awake since you have work to do.”

“Right. So I don’t screw up raiding the computers on this ship.” He nodded toward the ship as they docked with it.

Vinn glared at him, pushing himself to his feet and retrieving his polesaber. Tapping the spy on his chest with it he stared him down. “The information on this ship is vital. I will not allow you to make mistakes.” He pushed past him opening the doors of their shuttle. “Move.” He ordered.

“Yes sir.” Theron sighed, nodding as he followed him through the docking tube into the destroyed ship. They were nearing completion of Vinn’s ‘project’ and Theron was running out of time.

Chapter Text

    Koren sighed, stretching as he headed to a sink in the corner of the medbay to wash the blood off of his hands. He was finally done treating his last patient for the day, stitches on the leg from a training accident. Again.

    Washing off, he couldn't help but chuckle as Caleb mimicked him, washing his already clean hands and drying them off before picking up a datapad and following after Koren as he left the room.

    Since Theron had left, Caleb had taken to shadowing Koren or Mikael when they were on Odessen. The merc was flattered that the kid would want to work with him, though he was concerned for the true reasoning behind it.

    Caleb had taken Theron's betrayal the hardest out of everyone. While both Kara and Connor had taken it hard, for obvious reasons, the eldest of the Commander’s sons had been absolutely crushed at the news and had closed himself off from everyone he was close to. It had taken weeks to get him to even smile again, and that was only managed thanks to Connor taking a (purposefully) close hit to Arcann’s groin while they were training. He rarely spoke to anyone outside of his immediate family and had now only recently started opening up to his mother and Connor again.

    Koren on the other hand seemed to have temporarily taken the spy’s place as ‘dad’ to the boy. Caleb following him around constantly, insisting on helping even if he wasn’t allowed in when surgeries were taking place. Koren had voiced his concerns with Kara, but in the end was willing to accept his new role as well as he could. Connor seemed to still view him as ‘uncle Kor’ but even he seemed to be more and more clingy with Arcann compared to before Theron’s betrayal. Kara too seemed more distant, less talkative than she had been prior, less bubbly. She had more or less returned to her usual self in recent days, but every so often...

    Speaking of the commander, Koren thought as he rounded the corner and spotted the familiar head of blonde hair in the field below. She was in some loungewear, one of Arcann’s shirts and some light pants, and was currently sparring with the owner of said shirt while Connor sat in the grass and observed from a safe distance.

    Practice saber in hand she shifted her weight to dodge a strike as Arcann lunged at her, dancing away before bolting in and bringing her blade down at his shoulder. He blocked it, twisting his grip to redirect the strike so it only hit the ground. Turning he took a wide step toward her, grabbing her arm and bumping her hip with his own, knocking her off balance. She recovered quickly, taking three quick steps before bringing the blade to a ready stance and winking at him playfully before resuming her attack.

    She swung at him, each blow blocked or parried as she did the same with any strike he attempted on her. An even match from what Koren could tell from the balcony, he and Caleb headed down the steps to join Connor who cheerily greeted them before turning his attention back to his mother’s sparring session.

    Swinging her blade in a short sweep, Arcann caught the blade with his own, and turned and swung down, knocking the practice saber from her hand. As soon as the blade left her hand Kara squatted and swung her leg out, knocking him off balance before springing to her feet and pouncing on him, knocking him flat on his back, and laying on top of him.

    “I win.” She grinned, leaning over to kiss his nose. He growled in annoyance at the action, but didn’t make any effort to move until she attempted to continue the teasing. “Hmm, now what should I do..” She brought her hand up but before she could get very far Arcann pushed up and twisted, flipping them over and reversing their positions.

    “I win.” He said smugly before cutting off anything she was about to say by kissing her hard. She hummed, returning the kiss and wrapping her arms around his neck.

    Koren cleared his throat causing the pair to stop and look at him, Arcann sending a half hearted glare at his friend. “Don’t forget you have an audience.” He gave them a tired smile nodding the the boys who’s eyes he was now covering.

    Kara chuckled and pushed for Arcann to sit up, to which he reluctantly obliged, standing and helping her to her feet as well.

    “Are you two all done for the day?” She asked Koren as Arcann wandered away with Connor to work on the boy’s training a bit more for the day, Caleb trailing behind them to watch his brother.

    “Yup, as long as there’s no more emergencies.” He sighed in exhaustion, “Three of my scheduled patients had to be pushed back a few hours because there were some ‘unplanned’ surgeries that I had to attend to.” He air-quoted as he said unplanned and shook his head.

    “How is Sam’s leg?”

    “Attached, but he’s not going to be taking part in any more sparring matches against Trey for a good while.” He gave her a look before continuing, “Thank you for stopping them before they went too far.”

    “You mean, ‘thank you for stopping him before he cut off someone else’s leg’.” She teased.

    “Yeah, that too. Did he ever apologize to you for that?”

    Kara shrugged, stretching her legs, “In a way. He didn’t mean to do it, so I can’t really hold it entirely against him.”

    “True, I mean he was only trying to kill you is all.”

    “I just meant it wasn’t personal. And he was able to stop himself.”

    “I know.” Koren slung an arm around her shoulder, giving her a friendly side hug. “Anyway….” He grinned at her, “Things going good with prince charming?”

    Kara smirked at him, “Hmm, looking for any specific details?” She teased.

    “Only the sexiest.” He winked at her before they both started laughing.

    Kara’s holo beeping cut their conversation short as she answered it. “Lana, everything okay?”

    “Just lovely Commander.” The sith replied, her voice just dripping with sarcasm. She gave her friend a small grin before continuing, “Are you busy? I may have a lead on Theron.”

Chapter Text

“This could be a trap.” Senya said while they were running over the plan mid-flight to an abandoned imperial station. The holo image of her glitched a little as she spoke.

“It's worth it if we can find something.” Kara leaned on the wall of the shuttle as Lana took them in to dock with the destroyed station. She picked at her jacket, fixing a loosened clasp. “We've been one step behind for too long. It’d be nice to finally get a chance to catch up.”

“Even still…”

The holo shifted to include the rest of the home base team as Koth spoke up, “We have the fleet ready if there’s any trouble.” He had an almost smug grin on his face as he glanced at the knight. “We can have them in the system just like that.” He snapped his fingers as he said the last, chuckling at the glare Senya sent his way.

“The reports from the probe we sent out found no life signs,” Arcann continued as he pulled up the reports for everyone to see, “And there haven't been any ships in or out of the system for hours.”

“Still, we'll play it safe.” Kara gave them a smile. “Get in, get the data, get out. Quick and easy.”

“If only all our missions were so simple.” Lana said flatly as the ship attached to the docking tube.

“As long as it stays simple.” Kara nodded. “We’ll contact you if there’s any trouble.” She said as she disconnected the call. Turning she followed after Lana as she exited the ship.

The station was dark, only the emergency lights remained lit. As Arcann had said the station appeared to be abandoned, the only signs that there had been any recent inhabitants were some tech that had been left behind; wires, datapads, armor parts, heat sinks, even bits of garbage just strewn about.

They made their way through the station to a terminal that took up a majority of the main room. They activated it, restarting the main power in the station. The sudden return of full power started up a holo recording of a man in armor.

Pressing a button Kara started the recording, listening to the journal entry before speaking up. “Who is he?”

“Vinn Atrius, according to the data. Formerly one of Vaylin’s Horizon Guard.”

Kara hummed, “Well he’s handsome isn’t he.” She glanced around the room as four more terminals booted up. “Think he’s the leader of this group of heralds?”

“Most likely,” Lana replied as they stepped away to see what data the other terminals had. The first terminal they approached had a holorecording of their conversation on Iokath after Kara had awoken from the initial betrayal. Lana let out an annoyed huff, making it clear that she was none-to-happy having been spied on in their base.

The second was the deal between Theron and Vinn that ended up leading to the betrayal on Umbara. A third terminal hidden away in the room between the first two was of Vinn claiming to have found Zildrog, the claim setting the pair of women on edge.

“Just what we need. Another God.” Kara grumbled as they headed over to check the remaining terminals in the room as well as the other side room before continuing through the station.

A fourth recording was of Vinn recruiting a survivor of Arcann’s attacks back when he was still emperor. Kara couldn’t fault the woman for being upset that someone who had razed her planet would appear to have gotten away with it, but to go so far as to join the heralds to get vengeance...

Lana glanced at her commander when they crossed the room to the other terminal. “It’s not your fault that she’s doing this.”

“I know.” Kara stopped and sighed, rubbing her neck before continuing. “Arcann has been trying so hard to make amends to all the people he harmed while he was emperor, but…”

“Nobody outside of the Alliance knows.” Lana finished, nodding.

“Before Theron left, Arcann had been asking for missions to places off planet, I think he wanted to try and get out there and start showing that he’s changed, and to… I dunno, help the people he’s wronged that are outside of my influence.” Kara gave Lana a look before continuing. “And then after Theron… He’s hardly left my side. In fact, I bet he’s pacing the war room right now and driving Koth up the wall.”

Lana chuckled at that. “To be fair I think everything Arcann does drives Koth up the wall.”

“True.”

The smile on both women’s faces dropped as soon as they started the fifth recording. A sith, Darth Mortis, spoke with Vinn, making a demand that he wants Lana left to him after they destroy the fleet. Kara glanced at Lana as the holo ended, noting the look of complete disgust directed to the former dark council member.

“Don’t worry, I’d die before I let them get you.” Kara patted her friend on the shoulder as they stepped away to inspect the room attached to the platform.

“I appreciate it Commander.” She gave her a small smile before narrowing her eyes at her warningly, “But do not make my job harder than it is.”

“Noted.” Kara laughed lightly as they entered the room and started up the final console. A Gemini droid wearing a scarf was the last of Vinn’s recruits. “So their goal is to destroy the fleet.”

“And resurrect Zildrog. But through what means?” Lana murmured. A voice rang through the ship alerting them of the self destruct sequence resuming. “We’ll worry about that later, for now let’s get the data we came here for.” Kara nodded and the pair hurried out of the side room and continued their way through the station.

Striding up to the terminal that took up the majority of the room, Lana sliced into it quickly, pulling the data they had gone there for. The encryption on the string of data made her pause. “That’s strange…” Lana turned to her commander, furrowing her brows in confusion.

“What is it?”

“There’s a familiar encryption method on this.” She looked at the data disc as she spoke, plugging it into her datapad before turning her attention fully on Kara. “We developed it on Rishi, the only ones who know how to decrypt it are me… and Theron.”

Kara smiled, “I knew he didn’t betray us.”

“I’m not sure that’s-” The alert blared throughout the station once more. “We’ll discuss this after we get back to Odessen.”

Nodding in agreement, the pair rushed out of the station, boarded their shuttle and detached with moments to spare before the station self-destructed. Jumping into hyperspace Lana set herself to focusing on decrypting the data they had gathered while Kara contacted Odessen.

“You’re certain it was Vinn?” Senya asked.

“It was him in the holos, and the data on the terminals confirmed it.” Kara shrugged, glancing back at Lana when she heard the sith make a noise of frustration. “Does it sound unlike him to do this?”

“Not entirely.” Senya crossed her arms. “I didn’t know him well, but we did cross paths a few times. He never seemed the type to turn to a cult to get his way. But…”

Kara shrugged, “Maybe he was just getting desperate.”

“Desperate for what exactly? Vengeance for Zakuul?” Lana asked as she seated herself in the spare pilot’s seat. “I’ve sent the data I’ve decrypted to you, but it seems strange. Please double check it for me, we’ll be arriving within the hour.”

Senya nodded, “I’ll send the results back soon.” She then disconnected the holo to do as instructed.

“Well, she seemed to not want to discuss Vinn.” Kara joked. “Do you think we have any chance to get him to surrender?”

“Unlikely, the reports I’ve seen paint him to be the type to fight to the bitter end.”

Kara hummed, “Unfortunate…”

The shuttle dropped out of hyperspace soon after, landing on a side platform. Lana had her nose to her datapad the entire walk to the war room and Kara couldn't help but chuckle at her as they made their way carefully through the crowded hallway. Taking the elevator down, Lana huffed in annoyance as she connected to the terminal and re-reviewed the decrypted data and compared it to Senya’s double check. She worked in silence for a short time, Kara standing by and reviewing her own messages in the meantime.

Lana closed her eyes and sighed before turning her attention to Kara. "I hate to admit it but Theron’s data is good."

Karas attention was piqued at that, "So he sent accurate data?"

"From what I can tell, yes. But I still don't think it's good to trust him. This could be a trap."

"We’ll figure it out when we see him next. But I’m sure he’s helping us, Lana." Kara gave her a smile, "What did you decrypt?"

"Coordinates for Zildrog. I ran the data from the station compared to what  we gathered at Copero and it matches up." She paused a moment before continuing. "Looks like the weapon is stored on Nathema."

The mention of the planet made Kara’s smile drop. "Oh."

"I know how you feel about it, but it's our best shot at stopping the heralds before it’s too late."

"I know, I know. just really? It couldn’t be any other planet, could it? Place is creepy as hell, why did that bastard have to store everything he couldn’t control there..." She huffed in annoyance, "Let’s get going."

Lana nodded and as the pair turned to head back to their shuttle Arcann spoke up. "A moment, Commander."

Kara turned to regard him giving him a smile, "Of course."

"I’ll wait here," Lana replied stepping away to stand by the elevator after Kara nodded her understanding to her. She watched as the pair spoke, unsure as to why he would need to speak to the commander at this exact moment, but letting him have a chance as long as they didn't take too long.

"I’m not sure what you have planned for when you confront Theron, but if you would hear him out at least," Arcann stated.

Kara rose an eyebrow at him before chuckling, "I will. I haven’t given up on him, I have a feeling that he hasn’t truly turned on us. But I want to hear the truth from him first before I decide anything." She paused a moment in thought, "You know, I think you’re the only other person who thinks Theron’s up to something."

"It seems unlike him to act like this with you. I haven’t known him nearly as long as you have, but he’s not the type to just outright turn on you like this."

"I agree." She glanced at Lana who stood with her arms crossed by the elevator, the look on her face making it clear that Kara should wrap up their conversation soon. "I’ll find out soon enough I suppose. "

"Another thing, before you go…" He glanced to the side, shifting his weight nervously, "I’m not sure what you’ll face.” He looked at her with concern in his eyes. “Promise you’ll come back to me."

"I’m not going anywhere Arcann, I promise." She took a step towards him and he leaned down to kiss her, gently but with an almost desperate need for assurance, that no matter what happened she’d come back. She wrapped her arms around him, hugging him close as they ended their kiss.

He smiled down at her before pressing his forehead against hers, "Then go, save the Alliance."

She nodded giving him one more quick kiss before releasing him and joining Lana at the elevator. the Sith gave her friend a look but kept quiet for the moment.

Arcann watched them leave, only turning and heading off to his own responsibilities after the elevator took them out of sight.

Chapter Text

Lana kept glancing Kara’s way the whole flight to Nathema. She said nothing, but the look on her face made it obvious that she desperately wanted to say something. Kara crossed her arms and leaned on the wall of the shuttle as Lana took them down to land on an open area near a cliff, not entirely looking forward to when she finally did bring up what was on her mind.

Finally, after shutting off the engines and checking her gear, she spoke up. "How long?" She asked.

Kara glanced at her as she adjusted the blaster holsters on her belt. "For?"

"You and Arcann." Lana clearly seemed uncomfortable discussing this, but still, she clearly wanted answers to what she had missed.

"Since Iokath." Kara answered, "And before you ask, yes Theron knew. He was the one who suggested I talk to Arcann in the first place. Starting to wonder if that was part of his plan too or not."

"Oh."

"Y’know... I could ask the same of you and Koro." She teased, earning a flustered reaction in reply.

"I don’t know what you’re talking about," Lana stated as simply as she could, clearly embarrassed.

"Mhmm." Kara hummed in disbelief as they exited the shuttle. "I’m not against it. Koro seems so much happier lately as do you."

"He has grown on me, I will admit. "

"He tends to do that." Kara grinned at her. "Does that mean I can call you sis?" She teased.

"I would rather you didn’t."

"Ah, but I would love to have a sister like you" She grinned at her cheerily before glancing around and watching the storm rolling by in the distance. "But we can worry about this another time. I’d like to get this over with before that storm gets here."

"Agreed. Let us be on our way." Lana lead the way, navigating the poorly carved out path to the coordinates she had decrypted on the station.

They ran into a few handfuls of resistance on their way, made up of rogue knights, zealots that had returned after Vaylin’s attack on the planet over a year ago, and skytroopers that had been reprogrammed to fight for the order. And of course some members of the Heralds of Zildrog themselves. Each group was small and spread out enough that Kara and Lana were able to pick them off without alerting any other groups.

Approaching the coordinates they looked around at the rocky ledges and newly overgrown trees.

"Either I overestimated the size of the Zildrog or this isn’t the right place," Kara said as she glanced around.

Lana watched her a moment before looking around as well, Kara seemed jumpy but otherwise alright, The death of Valkorion having somehow healed the planet. Though she was clearly desiring to be off the planet sooner rather than later, the planet had left its effect on her from their previous visit, and since then the smuggler had made it obvious she wouldn’t come back unless they absolutely had to. Such as at this moment.

"This is where the coordinates directed us to…" Lana said as she narrowed her eyes in suspicion.

"Sorry. I needed to bring you here to meet with you first." A voice caused both women to turn and draw their weapons, pointing them at the speaker. Theron put his hands up in a placating gesture as he stepped into sight. "I know you don’t trust me. But I had no other way to warn you."

Kara dropped her arm, putting her blaster back in its holster, while Lana kept her saber pointed straight at the spy a glare on her face. "You."

Kara took a step towards him, blocking Lana from charging at him as she spoke up. "Theron." She gave him a once over before chuckling, "It’s good to see you, but you look terrible."

He sighed, running his hand through his badly chopped hair, "Not in the best of spots I’ll admit but I could use your help. If you’ll hear me out."

"And why would we trust you? After what you did to the commander-" Lana glared at him.

"Lana. please." Kara shot her a look before turning her attention to Theron as the sith finally lowered her weapon. She didn’t shut off the blade, but at least she wasn’t about to charge at Theron for the moment. “They said I was crazy, but I knew you’d come back.”

"Thank you." He gave Kara a tired smile. “I don’t know how you could still put so much trust in me, I have a lot of explaining to do. " He took a breath and then continued. "Soon after Valkorion’s defeat, I started hearing rumors about the ‘Order of Zildrog’ so I started doing some digging, took me months to find them. And by then they had learned the truth about Zildrog, it took everything I had to slow them down enough for the Alliance to catch up. So I joined them, figured it would be easier to do what I needed from the inside. It took a lot to get Vinn to trust me, including having to betray you." He looked at Kara apologetically.

"Why didn't you come to me? Why keep us in the dark?"

"The Gemini droid. I’m not sure how, but she could hear all our conversations. Telling you could’ve tipped her off, there was too much of a risk, and I couldn’t take that chance, not with you being the target. After learning about the gods, the superweapons, I couldn't just sit back and wait. I had to make the betrayal look real.” He took a heavy breath, letting it out slowly. “You can’t imagine how hard it was to put you through that. I swore that I would do anything to protect you. Remember?"

"I remember." Kara just watched him carefully, her face guarded, defensive but hopeful that she was right in agreeing to listen to him.

"Leaving you on Umbara was the hardest thing I could do, but if anything had happened to you, if they had succeeded... I just couldn’t… you mean everything to me."

While Kara was still annoyed that he would do something like this, she knew he had been doing his best with the options he had at the time. And now, thanks to him, they had a final superweapon to deal with before Vinn had a chance to wake it up and use it against them. She was grateful for that at least, even if they had a lot to discuss once the danger was over.

She sighed before speaking up, "Just answer me this. Urging Arcann and I together. Starting a relationship with the three of us. Was that part of your plan as well?"

Theron debated on what to say. "Initially, maybe." He answered. "I saw the way you would look at each other. I knew he would rather die than see you get hurt, so yes, partly because I knew eventually I’d have to leave to deal with this.” He gestured vaguely at their surroundings. “I know you don’t need anyone to protect you, but no matter how this had gone down it would’ve involved you ending up alone, with me leaving one way or another and I didn’t want that. As I got to know him I knew I could entrust you with him, that he would be able to be there when I couldn’t… And I came to see what made you fall for him.” He scratched the back of his head. “I’ll admit that spending as much time together as we did, I may have started to feel the same.”

“So you used him, to cover for you while you infiltrated the Order.” Lana continued, she had put her lightsaber away while he had been speaking, but she kept one hand on her hip near the hilt for the time being. Just in case. “Did you tell him about your plan?” She sounded annoyed that it was possible that Arcann had been the only one in the know, the one who had been their enemy for nearly six years, and not her who had been his friend and ally for much longer.

“No. I never told anyone.” He glanced down, unable to meet her gaze, “I did this on my own, the less people who knew the better. It was safer that way”

“Theron…” Kara started but Lana interrupted her before she could continue.

“Fine, then what are we up against?” Lana asked.

“They found Zildrog in one of the Emperor’s vaults here on Nathema. They nearly finished with their final preparations. Once they finish and activate Zildrog, it’s over, we’re done.” He shook his head. “I did my best to stall them, but even with that, we don’t have much time. I set up blind spots throughout the vault, we should be able to get through mostly undetected.”

“And we’re supposed to just take your word for it? How do you expect us to trust you just like that?” Lana crossed her arms and stared him down.

“I believe him Lana, and I hope you can at least trust my judgment.” Kara gave her an almost pleading look.

Lana sighed, “You know I do, Commander. Let’s… Let’s just go, finish this before it’s too late.”

“Good idea.” Kara gave her a grateful smile before turning her attention back to Theron. “Lead the way.”

Theron nodded, turning and leading them along a path he had taken to reach them initially. They ran into a few more groups of the order, as well as wildlife and escaped experiments. Lana had taken a hit from one particularly large monster, but Theron had patched her up with some top of the line med kit he had stashed away in his long coat while Kara lured the creature away, managing to use one of the scattered devices to electrocute it while it was underground and finish it off.

Jogging over to her friends she knelt by them as Theron finished treating the wound. “Are you alright?”

“Fine Commander.” Lana shot Theron a look as he stood and dusted himself off before reaching over to offer her his hand. She batted it away and pushed herself to her feet, huffing in annoyance as she walked ahead, insistent on getting the job done as soon as possible. Theron watched her but didn’t say anything, instead, he offered his hand to Kara, helping her back to her feet as she gave him an apologetic look as they followed her.

“She’ll come around eventually.” She said.

“I know, I spent enough time with her when we were hiding out on Rishi to know.” He sighed as they picked up their pace. “But she’s not the one I’m worried about.”

Kara rose an eyebrow at him.

“What I did to you is-”

“Later.” Kara fixed him with a look, “We have more important things to worry about than me.”

Theron had to give her that one, even if every bone in his body screamed at him to take her in his arms, let her know that he still loved her, that he had never stopped, that she was the only thing that kept him going these months he had been gone. But she was right, they didn’t have time for a heart to heart. So he just nodded and continued on their way to the vault, and hoped that they would survive long enough that he could tell her just how much he loved her even if it would be the last time he could tell her. The thought she might tell him that they were done, that she wouldn’t take him back after all this flitted through his mind, but when he saw the look of determination on her face as they hurried their way through the abandoned camps, and the concerned glances she would send his way, he squashed it down. Even if she ended up rejecting him, telling him she had moved on in his absence he’d understand, at least she was safe. And that was enough for him.

Walking across an open courtyard to the doors to the vault, a holoprojector turned on as they approached. An image of a woman appeared, short hair messy but she held herself with confidence. Kara raised an eyebrow at her, confusion on her face as the woman went on about how Kara had killed her father before threatening her directly.

At the mention of the Voidwolf a look of realization crossed the commander’s face before she gave her the most sarcastic look Theron had seen in months. “Ah, you sound just like the Voidwolf, absolutely crazy.”

The woman scoffed at her, “I hope you enjoy my welcoming party.” She gave a shit-eating grin as she disconnected the call and the doors to the vault swung open and a gigantic droid pounced out, charging across the courtyard before skidding to a halt and facing them down. The next few moments were a panic-fueled fight. The giant mech hit hard and could take even harder hits.

Lana did her best to keep the thing distracted while Kara took potshots at it, knocking out the drones that hovered around the perimeter whenever possible. The pair would fall back to defend Theron when the droid enhanced its shields and started blasting lasers at random, the spy taking the chance to patch up any wounds he could before they jumped back into the fight.

Cursing, Kara holstered her blasters as she noticed them starting to overheat. Drawing her lightsabers instead she jumped into the fray, aiming for any openings in the metal plating that covered the droid. Flashes of gold and red being the only thing Theron could see of the pair as they hammered the machine from varying angles while he took over his Commander’s role and started taking pot shots at anything that moved that wasn’t wearing red or black.

Finally, after hit after hit, the droid slowed, creaking and groaning loudly as it collapsed, wires sparking as it lost power and shut down before the trio. A hiss escaped it as Kara approached carefully, shoving it with her foot. When it didn’t react and the last of the lights dimmed she shut off her sabers, putting them back into their hidden clips on the inside of her jacket.

“Well that was-” She jumped in surprise when the droid creaked, all three turning to watch it shift and collapse fully on its side. “Interesting.” She finished.

“That’s one way to put it.” Theron nodded towards the vault. “C’mon, I’ll get the doors open.”

The three of them rushed to the door, Theron inserting a spike into the console as he sliced into it, tapping at the buttons of the keypad before the doors creaked open and they all went inside.

The place was falling apart, but they did their best to hurry through, taking out any resistance in their way. The ground shaking set them on edge, Theron growling out, “Looks like Zildrog’s waking up from his nap.”

“How much time do we have?” Kara asked as they picked up their pace.

“Not much.”

They could see the end of the hall just ahead, taking out the last of the order that stood in their way. The group was desperate to keep Kara, Theron, and Lana from getting past them, but a well-placed pulse detonation sent most of them tumbling off the walkway, while Lana and Theron picked off those that remained. The way clear, the trio charged ahead, running down the stone stairs to find Vinn and Gemini standing before a large console.

Running in, Theron pulled his blaster, “Hey!” He shouted as he fired at Vinn, catching the knight in the chest and knocking him out. “Been wanting to do that a long time.”

Before they could get to Gemini next, she pressed a button on the console, pulling up a shield that encased the three of them, “Organics fight so hard for their survival, but you’re too late.” She gestured to the large containers that were connected to the console, “The thrones have been filled, and Zildrog has been summoned.” In each container sat the recruits that Kara had seen in the holos back on the station.

“What happened to them?” Kara asked, glaring at the droid as it strode up to them. While the face was unreadable, the smuggler was sure she would’ve had a smug grin plastered across it if she had been human.

“They served their purpose. Fuel for Zildrog.” The droid continued, “First he’ll destroy the shackles…”

Gemini kept talking, prattling on about what Zildrog would do, while Kara took in the room. Glancing at the containers, the tubes connecting them to the large console, Vinn laying on the floor by Gemini’s feet, back to the droid herself, and then to the console as it lit up, a humanoid face forming out of holographic data.

“Stop this.” Kara said, “Innocents don’t need to die.”

Gemini scoffed, turning and walking back to the console to regard the superweapon. “Give me a target. Let me feed.” The holo of Zildrog glitched in and out as it’s features changed to rage.

“Execute formation 2995.” Gemini tapped on her wrist, sending a signal out.

“What-” Lana started to ask when Kara’s comm started beeping.

Pressing the button to answer, Hylo’s voice rang out. “Commander? Things okay over there? Because they sure aren’t over here.”

Chapter Text

Hylo watched as the Gravestone took off by itself, the bay glowing eerily. She was getting frantic calls from those on board as they were taken off planet without warning. She ordered for them to get to safety as she watched a holo of the ship approach the fleet that was in system. A moment later it fired on the ships destroying them in clusters and sending scrap metal spinning off in space.

“All this time, Zildrog was-” She heard Lana say quietly before the Commander cut her off.

“Hylo.” There was fear in the smuggler’s voice, and honestly, if she hadn’t been worried Hylo likely wouldn’t’ve stuck around to listen to whatever she was about to say. “Get everyone off Odessen. As many as you can. Now!”

“That’s a tall order, but I’ll do what I can.”

“And please make sure my sons are safe.” She could hear Kara say before the comm crackled and cut out.

Hylo cursed as she tried to reconnect to no avail. Giving up on getting a signal through she turned and ran off shouting evacuation orders as she tried to track down the Commander’s family. She found the boys with Koren as they were leaving the smuggler’s bay, confusion clear on their faces.

“Hylo!” Koren jogged over, weaving his way through the rushing crowds to speak to her, both Caleb and Connor hot on his heels. “What’s going on?”

“From what I can gather? The Gravestone’s Zildrog and he ain’t too happy with us.” She gestured over her shoulder, shoving her thumb towards the military hangar, “The Commander’s given an evacuation order,  she wants as many ships out of range of that beast before it fires, asked me to get her boys out of here quick.”

Koren cursed, “Trey’s working with Blue, should be able to get them easy. I think Senya’s with them too.”

“And Koro?”

“No idea, he’s like a ghost sometimes, you know him. Same with Arcann, I have no idea where he went after the Commander left.”

Connor watched them speak, keeping quiet for the most part, before finally speaking up. “Papa’s on Mom’s ship. I think Uncle’s with them, he was earlier at least.”

Koren looked down at him, grinning and then ruffling his hair. “Good job Con. You and Cal go to your mom’s ship, I’ll meet you there soon, alright?”

Connor nodded before bolting off, Caleb right behind him. They made their way through the crowds, banking down the hall and taking the elevator down to the bridge leading to the Ik’aad’s landing bay. Caleb watched his brother carefully before speaking up.

“Mom and Dad’ll be alright.” He said. “And so will we.” Connor looked at him, his face a mix of worry and determination, the kolto patch on his left cheek was peeling a little and Caleb could see the gash peak out. He reached over, carefully pressing it back in place. “And keep that on, Koren said it’ll scar if you don’t keep it on right.”

“I know. I’m being careful.”

“Uh huh. And how did you get that cut on your face again?”

Connor pouted but said nothing as the lift stopped and the pair bolted for the ship.

Glancing up they could see the explosions popping across the sky as the Gravestone fired again and again on the nearby fleet. Not wasting any time they ran up the ramp and punched in the codes to get on the ship, rushing inside as soon as the door whooshed open. Running to the right they found Arcann arguing with Koro as they played Dejarik, distracted from whatever had brought them onto the ship initially. As soon as the boys entered the room they dropped what they were doing to focus on them.

“What’s wrong?” Koro asked.

“The Gravestone.” Connor pointed up at the ceiling of the ship. “Mom wants everyone to leave.”

“What happened with the Gravestone?”

“Zildrog,” Caleb replied before heading down the hall to the cockpit, set on following his instructions even if he had to fly the ship himself.

“What?” Arcann asked as he followed after the brunette, “What are you talking about?”

“Mom told Hylo, the Gravestone’s Zildrog.” He started pressing buttons to warm the ship, Arcann taking over when he saw what the boy was doing. A light flicked on and off indicating the door opening for a moment. Footsteps pounded down the hall and Trey burst into the room, his daughter right behind him. “Hey!” Caleb shouted as Trey picked him up and moved him out of the seat, taking it once it was free and finishing the prep before taking off.

Caleb tried to force his way back in, not wanting to be pushed to the side when there was something he could do, but Sheyren held him back. “It’s alright, father has it under control, as does Arcann.” She urged the boy out of the cockpit, nodding back towards her father when he thanked her.

When they entered the holo-room Caleb found his brother pacing while Senya tried her best to get him to settle down. He had peeled off the Kolto patch almost entirely, the fabric hanging on to his jaw by one edge. After a few steps, he ended up just yanking it off and tossing it on the game table as he passed it. Koren was sprawled on the couch watching him pace, clearly having given up on trying to get him to stop, Senya was seated next to him, typing away on a datapad. Caleb debated on leaving his brother to his worried pacing, but when the blonde started picking at the wound on his face he stepped him, catching his hands by the wrists and forcing him to stop.

“Relax.” He said as calmly as he could manage. He saw Koro walk in and lean on the wall, watching them carefully. Caleb made sure Connor was looking at him when he continued. “Mom will be fine, she’ll stop this, and she’ll bring Dad home. Everything will work out. Alright?”

Connor looked at him, watching his face, before nodding. “Alright.” This was the first time Caleb had spoken to him like this since their Dad had left. It had been months, and it was more of a comfort to see his brother start acting like himself again than it was to hear him say that things would be fine. Connor hadn’t told him, but his brother closing himself off so much terrified him. He wasn’t used to Caleb being anything other than that steady presence by his side no matter what, the person that would stare down whatever scared Connor and send it packing. Caleb couldn’t use the force, but he didn’t need to, he didn’t rely on it and he was stronger for it, even as young as they were Connor knew that Caleb would be fine no matter what he faced in the future. Unlike himself, who paced around the room instead of trying to help, worsening his own injury that he had done to himself on accident.

He sighed, striding over to Koren before plopping himself down on the hunter’s lap. Koren wrapped his arms around him, hugging him close.

“I’ll get you a new patch in a minute, alright.”

“It’s fine,” Connor said quietly, settling down as much as possible as Caleb sat down next to them.

Koren chuckled but didn’t try to talk him out of it. There was too much else going on to have him worry over whether or not the cut would scar. He was happy enough the kid stopped picking at it for the time being. He looked down at him, before starting to hum. He would be the first to admit he wasn’t the best at singing, but if it would distract him for at least a little while then that was enough for him.

The wound on Connor’s cheek wasn’t the worst he’d ever seen, the hunter had been in a few war zones over the years, and between the wounded there and Arcann’s criss-cross of scars that spread in a burst from his left shoulder, this was tame. Though he was sure Kara would throw a fit when she saw what had happened.

It was accidental and self-inflicted. Koren had wandered in on them playing around in the training center of the base. Connor had swiped Arcann’s lightsaber when he had been focused on assisting the Commander and Lana while they were in the abandoned station earlier that day. From the panicked explanation in between sobs as Koren had done his best to patch up the wound on site, Connor had wanted to show off a new move to Caleb, likely in hopes of cheering him up a little in the process. Things had gone fine, but the boy was used to a training saber, not a lightsaber, so when he went to shift stances he brought the blade up too quickly, the metal of the hilt slipping from his grip, and the blade caught him in the jaw. And now he had a lengthy gash cutting up from his jaw nearly to his nose.

The pain didn’t seem to be bothering him much at the moment, between the anesthetic that was mixed in with the kolto, and the talking to he had gotten from Arcann had distracted him enough from the pain. Connor had been so upset when it had happened, and when Arcann had seen him just after seeing the Commander off to her trip to Nathema, the boy had promptly burst into renewed tears with stuttered apologies. At any other time, the hunter would’ve found the look on his friend’s face hilarious, a mix of fear, anger, worry, all coming together for the most father like talking to Connor had likely gotten in his life.

If Arcann could get past his personal fear of ending up like his own father, Koren was certain the prince would end up being a good dad, at least based on that interaction alone. He would know, considering the scares his brothers had given their parents time and again when they were growing up.

He looked down at him, tightening his grip when the sound of explosions rocked the ship. He reached out with his other arm, hugging Caleb close as well. “It’s going to be alright.” He whispered to them, over and over. As much for himself as for them. He hated this, sitting in the middle of danger and waiting to be saved. He trusted Arcann and Trey to keep from getting them blown up, but still being unable to do anything else other than try and keep the boys calm was stressing him out as much as the constant shake of the ship around them.

And then suddenly it was quiet. He could still hear the engines roaring, and the mumbles from his charges, but the explosions had stopped so completely it was unnerving. He pushed himself to his feet, letting Connor slide down to the ground as he stood and went to the cockpit, both boys right behind him.

As soon as he stepped into the cockpit he could see nothing of the fleet, every ship had been obliterated, only pieces of scrap remained, floating by slowly between them and the now quiet Gravestone.

“What’s going on?” He asked, gripping the seat Trey was sitting in, his warblades propped up on the console next to him.

“It stopped firing,” Arcann answered. As he spoke the glow on the Gravestone pulsed before explosions spread throughout the ship, destroying it from the inside out. Hitting the comm Arcann hailed Hylo. “What happened?”

Hylo spoke up quickly, the comm glitching in and out as she did. “The Commander won, I’m heading to get her now.”

“Is she alright? Any injuries?” Koren asked quickly.

“A couple- I’m-  meet at-” The comm cut out, the interference from the destruction weakening the signal as her shuttle jumped systems.

“A couple?” Connor repeated quietly, worry clear on his face.

“I’m sure your mom’s alright,” Arcann said, his voice carefully calm as to not scare the boy more than he already was. “She’s strong and she knows you two are waiting for her.”

“Exactly.” Koren patted them on the tops of their heads.

“She promised she would come back,” Arcann continued.

“And mom never breaks her promises.” Caleb finished.

“Let’s go back and wait for her,” Trey spoke up, tapping on the console as he turned the ship around and brought it back to Odessen.

Chapter Text

Hylo brought the ship down to land on one of the platforms that were scattered around the Odessen base, she glanced back at Kara who was glued to Theron’s side, keeping her hand pressed carefully on the quick bandage job they had done to keep him stable. Even still he had been unconscious the entire trip, and you wouldn’t need the Force to be able to sense how worried the Commander was for him. Lana kept a death grip on Vinn’s shoulder, keeping him on his knees on the hard metal floor of the shuttle. Kara had insisted on treating his wounds as well, but they had little supplies so Theron had gotten priority.

Vinn glared at the Commander as he knelt nearby, fuming at what he considered the biggest insult, being her prisoner.

“Lana…” Kara glanced over at them. “Please let him sit in a seat, he doesn’t need to kneel the whole way.”

“After what he did he’s lucky his legs are still attached.” Lana huffed.

“Is he going to be able to stand after being like that for so long?” She asked, turning her attention to Vinn she asked him instead, “Are you alright? You can sit in a seat if you’d like.”

“I don’t need your pity.” He growled at her. “Or was beating me and taking me as your prisoner not enough?”

“Vinn. I never wanted to fight, I’ve done nothing but try and help your people. But there’s only so much that I can do, I don’t have control over Zakuul.”

“So says the ‘Empress’.”

Kara sighed, her gaze shifting back to Theron as he groaned in pain. “I’m hardly an Empress. I never accepted the title officially. Only temporarily until your own people could take over. I didn’t live on Zakuul, I have no place in its politics”

“The coronation cere-”

“Indo’s plan.” She said as she cut him off. “A formal passing of the throne and the fleet to me as requested by the former Emperor. I had no say in the actual ruling of your planet for the short time I held the title.”

“So you claim, but you didn’t see my people suffering due to your war,” Vinn growled, pushing himself up before wincing in pain as Lana shoved him back down.

“Lana!” Kara shot a glare at her, “Let him stand, or he won’t be able to walk off the shuttle on his own.”

“I’d be fine dragging him,” Lana stated flatly before sighing at the glare her commander shot her way. “Alright. Get to your feet.”

Vinn shot his own glare at the Sith as he did as he was told, stretching his legs carefully, the muscles sore after having been stuck in the same position for so long.

“I had no desire to fight your people, Vinn. It was a war I had wanted no part in either, but I would never sit back and watch as my friends and family suffer due to a tyrant. I’m sure you understand.” Kara glanced at the door as it opened and a med team rushed in taking Theron from the makeshift cot he was laying in and hurrying him carefully to the med bay. Koren gave her a wave as he followed after them, and she was glad that he would be looking after the spy. If anyone could make sure he healed up well it would be him. Another group led by Sheyren ushered Vinn out of the shuttle with an armed escort by her side. “Have his wounds looked after as well.”

“Of course. Any other injuries?” The Jedi asked as she gave her commander a once over.

“Only some bruising, nothing majo-” Kara was cut off as a pair of small forms hurtled themselves at her and clung to her while shouting. “Boys, it’s alright. I’m fine.”

Sheyren chuckled at the display, her eyebrows shooting up in surprise when Arcann pushed his way past them to pull the Commander into a tight embrace kissing her quickly before burying his face in the collar of her coat.

“Don’t worry me like that again.” He muttered as she returned his embrace.

“I won’t.” She chuckled as her boys hugged onto her once more.

Smiling at them, Sheyren turned to regard Vinn and her team, “Let’s give them some space shall we?” She steered them away just as Koro came sprinting in, hugging Lana and spinning her dramatically as he welcomed her back in his own excitable way.

Vinn glared at the redhead as they made their way through the base. “And you are?”

“My name’s Sheyren.” She smiled at him, “My friends call me Ren. I’m just your escort for the moment until we get you patched up, Commander’s orders.”

“I take it you don’t want to help me.” He huffed a laugh.

“Actually, I do. I heard a rundown of what had happened from Lana when they were briefing our med expert on injured.” She paused. “I respect what you were trying to do. But, it was a bit extreme.”

“Respect and agreement are separate things in your book…”

“Absolutely.” Her smile devolved into a smirk. “I don’t agree with your course of action, but your desire to help your people no matter the cost? That’s admirable.” She led them to a small med bay that had a team of med techs scurrying about treating minor wounds from the people who had abandoned ship when the Gravestone took off. “What you did to the Commander though? You’re lucky to be alive right now.”

He grumbled, wincing as he took a seat and one of the techs came over to treat his wounds. “What she did to us-”

“Was fight against Arcann and try and help the people he had hurt.”

“Something that wouldn’t’ve had to happen if she hadn’t killed Valkorion.” He shot back.

“That she did after he killed an entire planet’s worth of people, brainwashed her father as well as my cousin, abused his own family, and pitted the Empire and Republic against each other for years.” She countered.

He glared at her at that. “He never did things like that to his people.” He turned the glare to the med tech as they unlatched his armor to treat a wound that was under the plating. “He treated us well, helped us thrive, and your Commander destroyed it all.”

She nodded, “Something that may well’ve happened eventually. The Empire were his people before Zakuul and he abandoned them. He tortured his own blood. There’s no saying that he wouldn’t’ve done that to the rest of Zakuul one day as well.”

“That’s-” Vinn quieted. “That’s a good point. But even still my people are suffering because of the Alliance.”

“Something that the Commander has done as much as she could to stop.” She sat down next to him, sighing, “I’ve made so many trips to Zakuul since I’ve joined the Alliance, both before Theron’s betrayal and after. Relief efforts, repairs from the fleet’s attacks, general assistance wherever we could help. But Zakuul isn’t the only place that was hit bad during Arcann and Vaylin’s reign, and he’s doing what he can to help your people as well, his people.”

“I-” He closed his eyes. “I need some time to think on this.”

“I can suggest to the Commander to have you work helping Zakuul if you’d like. I’m not sure what she planned to do with you just yet, but it.” She stopped as he looked at her. “And now I’m overstepping.”

“No. I… Why would you try and help me?” He looked at her, his expression guarded.

“You think this is a trick.” She hummed at the twitch on his eyebrow. He did. “I understand how you feel, wanting to protect something at whatever cost. As does the Commander I’m sure. So let us help you how we can. You might find the Alliance isn’t nearly as terrible as you thought.” She smirked at him as she stood, the guard returning to take him to his cell for the time being.

“Sheyren, than-”

“Just Ren is fine.” She smiled at him sweetly.

His lips twitched at that, a hint of a smile on his face, “Then, Ren, Thank you. I will think it over since I have little else I’ll be able to do for the time being.”

“I’ll see what I can do. I hope you heal quickly.” She bowed, exiting the room, the gold accents on her white jacket catching the light as the door opened and she retrieved her polesaber, as well as his, taking them both with her as she left him to the soldiers of the Alliance to take him to a temporary holding cell until the Commander decided what to do with him.

Chapter Text

It wasn’t until a week later that Theron was stable enough on his feet that Koren let him walk around the base without assistance. He had spent most of that time in and out of consciousness anyway so it wasn’t like he was strapped to a bed against his will. Every time he’d wake up he’d find either Kara or Arcann asleep in a chair next to his bed or leaning on the bed itself. He wasn’t sure how often they had actually visited him, he was sure they both had enough on their plates. With the destruction of the fleet and the war between the Empire and Republic ramping up, they likely had little time to worry about his recovery. But even still he would find one or both of them by his side, even after everything that had happened.

But now he was cleared to do as he wanted again, and that meant he had to talk to Kara. What he did to her was near unforgivable, he knew he could hardly forgive himself for what he had done. It was a betrayal of all the trust they had built in their years together, a reminder of similar experiences in the past for her, and a realization that he was absolutely terrified of losing her.

He walked into the military bay, it was empty save the woman he had been looking for and Lana. Walking up the ramp he couldn’t help but chuckle as he approached them. “Oh like you’ve ever taken a break in your life.” He teased, catching himself at the ease of familiarity between him and Lana. A familiarity that appeared to be one-sided at the moment judging by the glare she shot him. Kara, on the other hand, greeted him with a smile.

“Theron.” She grinned at him happily.

“I.” He started, taking a breath. “It’s been a while since I was in here, it’s good to be back.” He looked around the room, before turning his attention back on Kara and Lana, the glare still obvious on the Sith’s face. “Look. I know I put you through hell. I was reckless and stupid, and it almost cost us everything. I probably don’t deserve the trust you showed me.” He sighed, staring down at his feet and scratching at the back of his head and the hair that was just starting to grow back in.

Kara crossed her arms but kept silent, letting him get this out. He needed it, she knew what had happened bothered him, and hell, it bothered her too. But she understood, and so she waited to hear what he had to say.

“But I did it to protect you and the Alliance, and if you’ll have me, I’ll work hard to earn back my place here by your side.” He continued. “What do you say? Are we still a team?” He stuck out his hand, hopeful, but still worried. What would he do if she said no? He gave up everything to join the Alliance, he doubted he could go back to the SIS after this. He was sure the Director was having a much easier time without all his antics as it was.

Kara took his hand in hers, gripping it firmly, “You risked everything for us, of course you have a place here.”

Theron chuckled, “I. Thank you, I don’t know what I would’ve done if you said no.”

Lana looked between the two of them a moment before excusing herself, letting them have some privacy to discuss more personal matters. Theron sighed as he watched her leave.

“Kara, I-”

“Not here, c’mon.” She led him to her landing area, private and spacious so they could discuss this in a place that was more comfortable. Though she would admit that the elevator ride down was extremely awkward.

At least the weather was nice.

They strode through the open area, Kara giving Theron a chance to collect his thoughts.

“Every night since I left, I’ve had this same nightmare.” He started, coming to a stop and turning to face her. “You’re walking away and no matter how fast I run, I can’t catch up." He took a heavy breath and let it out slowly. "Leaving you there on Umbara. It destroyed me. I don’t think I’ll ever forgive myself for what I did.”

“I won’t pretend it didn’t hurt, Theron.”

“I know, after Darmas. And with the boys.” He shook his head. “I don’t deserve you, but… Can you give your idiot spy boyfriend one more chance?”

“Theron.” Kara gave him a pained half-smile before chuckling at the look on his face. So much told her to walk away, that if she stayed he might do it again, leave her again, betray her again. She opted to ignore that voice because she knew deep down it was wrong, it was just her fear of going through the loss of someone she loved again, of losing him . “You don’t need another chance, I’ll always love you.”

He sighed, grinning, “Thank the stars.” He took her hand in his, rubbing his thumb against her gloved knuckles, “I’ll spend the rest of my life showing you how much I love you.”

She returned his grin, the smile spreading as he said the last, “Theron Shan~.” Her tone was teasing, more open and friendly than it had been even moments prior. “That sounded an awful lot like a marriage proposal.”

“W-What? I didn’t… I mean, if you really… do you?” He sounded panicked, nervous, like he had been put on the spot with this.

“Hmm.” She hummed debating on if she should push this, see what he would say. It wasn’t like it meant all that much to her whether or not they were married, she loved him and he loved her, if they shared a last name and a form on the net said they were legally together didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. “You’ll never know if you don’t ask.” She replied as she decided to just go for it. Worst case he’d panic and she could just claim to be joking and they’d go back to the way they were before.

He turned away from her, thinking for a moment, and she wondered if maybe she had pushed too far. She went to laugh it off, claim she was teasing, but then he spoke up.

“Y’know what, throwing caution to the wind here.” He turned back to her, “Will you.. uh, you know…” he gestured vaguely as he spoke.

“This is really difficult for you isn’t it…” Kara said, “It’s al-”

“Just marry me.” He said as he cut her off, “Please.”

Kara hummed in thought, jokingly dragging it out a little. After everything he had put her through over the past few months the least she could do was push him out of his comfort zone a little bit. Grinning she finally answered. “When you put it that way, I have to say yes.”  She stepped to him, embracing him and kissing him, the first time since they had been apart. Months of emotion, of love and trust, just bubbling back up in that kiss. He deepened it, tightening his grip on her as if afraid he’d wake up and find out this was just another dream. Breaking apart for air they both chuckled, as they leaned their foreheads against each other. Hugging her tight in his arms he hefted her up, spinning her around in a circle before losing his balance and dropping them both in the grass.

They lay there laughing, just enjoying the moment, before Kara pushed herself up to lean over and kiss him again. He grinned at her.

“I can’t believe it. A new chapter... together.” He cupped her face, rubbing his thumb on her cheek. “Things might change, and I don’t know what the future holds, but we’ll face it together.”

She grinned at him, rolling over so she was straddling his hips, and leaned down to lay on his chest. “Together.” She repeated, kissing his jaw. “But right now, we have a lot of catching up to do, don’t we?” She rolled her hips to get the message across.

“Mmm.” He hummed. “I believe I haven’t made it clear just how much I missed you, Mrs. Shan .” He teased, earning a look of excited surprise.

“Kara Shan.” She tested the name and grinned. “Kara and Theron Shan.” She practically giggled at it.

Theron laughed and took the moment her guard was down to reverse their positions, kissing her jaw. “Well, Kara.” He said her name with a tone that sent a pleasant chill down her spine. “Your husband has a few things he’d like to show you.” He accentuated each with a careful popping of the clips of her shirt.

“Is it a new haircut?” She teased, causing him to stop his kisses to give her a mock insulted look. She took her chance before he could say anything to run her hand along his thigh earning a groan instead, “You were saying?”

“I missed you.” He managed to get out as she took her chance to tease him, “So much.”

“I missed you too, love.” She put her hand on his cheek, urging him to bring his face up by her's and kissed him hard as soon as he was in reach. “Don’t leave me again.”

“I won’t. I’m here,” He kissed her again, pouring all the love he could muster into that kiss, making it clear he meant it with every fiber of his being. He was hers. “and I’m never going to leave your side again.”

Chapter Text

“You’re an idiot, you know that.”

Vinn whipped his head around to look at the speaker, glaring at them instead of the spot on the wall across from his cell. He had been in there for three weeks now with few visitors aside from the guards who would stand watch or bring him his meals and on occasion let him walk the halls. The most common were the commander and occasionally the woman who had spoken just now. “Ren.” He stated simply as he spotted her watching him from the doorway, the guards looking anywhere except at her. Behind her was a man in dark armor who glared at him but otherwise kept quiet.

“I was reviewing your service records. Exemplary service as a knight under Valkorion, and then Arcann after that. Volunteered to join the Horizon Guard as soon as Vaylin founded them.” She read from a datapad as she strode over to his cell, “Served faithfully until Vaylin’s death, and then… You join the heralds.” She gave him a look, raising her eyebrow at him, “Seriously?”

He turned to face her fully, sitting crosslegged on the cot, his face completely straight. “You said you’ve been to Zakuul since joining the Alliance, I’m sure you understand why I would.”

“Honestly? I don’t.” She pocketed the datapad, putting her hand up in confusion, “I get your planet was thriving until Valkorion was killed, but-”

“Something that was your Commander’s fault.”

The man who had remained in the doorway snarled at him stepping forward to speak his mind. “Your Emperor was a monster. Or were you and your people seriously too blind to see it.”

“And you are?” Vinn looked at him, clearly disinterested in speaking with him.

“Your nightmare.”

“Dad, please.” She shot him a glare.

“Ren this guy tried to kill Kara, why bother talking to him?” Trey gestured towards him in annoyance.

Sheyren put her hands on her hips, staring her father down over her shoulder. “So did you.” She stated simply before turning her attention back on the knight, sighing in annoyance as Trey growled in frustration before starting to pace. He was trying to distract her, but she wouldn’t let him, there was just something about the knight in front of her that just made her want to talk to him, get him to open up at least a little. So she focused on Vinn, the knight in question, though he hardly looked like a knight without all his armor. The clothes he wore were a comfortable pair of sweats and tshirt, plain and unassuming. But she had read the reports, she knew he could still be a threat even without his armor or polesaber. “Why would you join the Heralds? I don’t get it, of all the groups on Zakuul, why the one that worshiped your planet’s apocalypse? Surely there were other knights that had gone off on their own to help your people, why not find them?”

He narrowed his eyes at her before looking past her at Trey as the Sith stopped his pacing to lean on one of the empty cells, shooting a glare at Saresh before turning his attention back on Vinn. “They had the resources I needed.” He stated, as if that was all the reason he needed. “They had ships, people, tech, connections, and a drive to see Zakuul rise from the ashes to be what it was before.”

“A return to your golden era.”

“Exactly.” He uncrossed his legs before standing up and striding over to the wall, leaning on it as he got as close to her as he could. He glanced up as Trey pushed himself off the the other cell and crossed his arms before returning his attention on the Jedi in front of him. Lowering his voice he continued. “I answered your question, so how about you answer one of mine?” He waited for her reply.

Sheyren nodded, “Go ahead.”

“Why are you carrying my polesaber with you?” He raised his eyebrow at her, an almost smirk on his face.

She glanced to the side, eyeballing the polesaber that was attached to her back with a specialized magnet. “This is mine, actually.” She looked back at him, smiling sweetly, “Though yours is safe I promise. I’ve kept it stored in my quarters so there’s no risk of someone stealing it.”

“Oh.” He paused, thinking before leaning so his forehead was touching the glass. “I suppose I should thank you. And my armor?”

“With the polesaber.”

“Hmm.” He hummed in thought, not moving from his spot before glancing up at her. She watched him carefully, obviously on guard to whatever he might try and there was a part of him that wanted to just catch her off guard, to see how she’d react. “You’re welcome to use it sometime if you’d like.” He said a hint of a teasing tone in his voice.

“Excuse me?” Sheyren asked, confusion at what he meant was clear in her tone.

He pushed off from the glass to stand fully before her, “My armor. You said you’ve been keeping it in your room, to keep it ‘safe’.” He air quoted as he said safe.

“Would you rather I toss it somewhere in the armory for you to never see it again?” She wasn’t entirely sure what he was trying to get at.

“Out of those options, no I’d rather you didn’t. I’d rather not lose something I spent a lot of time making.” He paused cocking his head and giving her a once over, slowly looking at her from her face down and then back up, before staring her down, “But I wouldn’t mind seeing you in it either.”

Sheyren scoffed. “In your dreams.” She turned and stepped away, putting a hand on Trey’s arm as he brought it up to Force choke him for talking to his daughter like that. She glanced back at Vinn, making it a point to look at him on the side her scar cut from her hairline to her jaw. “If you would stop fighting everyone who tries to help you, you might still be able to help your people even from here on Odessen. On the other hand, you keep this up you’ll be real short on friends real quick, Vinn.”

“Is that what you’re supposed to be? A friend who wants to help me?” He crossed his arms, her reaction to his teasing hadn’t been what he had expected, so he decided to drop it, going back to just staring her down.

She sighed, “It’s what I’m trying to be.” She gave him a smile, “Good night Vinn.” She turned her attention back to her father and urged him out of the door, the guards closing it behind her before returning to their place and watching the few prisoners the Alliance had.

Glaring at them, Vinn stepped away from the glass wall of his cell and returned to his cot before laying down on it and closing his eyes, attempting to drown out the offers of power and whatever else that Saresh tried to bribe his loyalty with this time. He already knew she was a liar from her interactions with Zakuul when they first attacked the Republic, no reason to believe her now. Instead he focused his mind on everything that had happened to lead him to this point, his training as a knight before the honor of being a Horizon Guard was granted to him. Fighting the Alliance under service of Arcann and Vaylin, to being their prisoner instead. The Commander likely hated him for what he did to Theron, and yet she spared his life and tried to convince him that she just wanted to help his people.

Granted being prisoner wasn’t great, but he was still alive and he could work with that. And then there was Ren. Twice now she’d openly reached out to him to help him and other times she would come by to just speak with him about general topics, updates on repairs, to discuss his people, what Zakuul was like before the war. It was likely a trap to get him to lower his guard, but what reason would they have to trick him now? Perhaps she really was just trying to help him, but still for what purpose? What reason would make her risk speaking with him? Curiosity? He grumbled, that likely wasn’t it, she seemed too genuinely kind to do anything that would trick him. So why?

After around an hour had passed his datapad dinged, alerting him to a new message. He had been allowed to keep it, the Commander had made it clear that he could get no messages from off base on it so she hadn’t seen the harm in giving him that bit of freedom. It at least gave him something to do instead of stare at the wall all day. But why would it go off now? Sitting up he turned it on to find a message from Ren titled “Proof I wasn’t lying”

Opening it was a message and an attached image. The message was of her explaining that she meant what she said when offering her help but he was more interested in the image. Opening it he found Ren wearing his chestplate, her red hair tied in a loose braid. She clearly looked uncomfortable in it, the chestplate was larger and bulkier than the gold plate he was already used to seeing her wear. And the fact that she would go along with his joked teasing sent an odd feeling through him.

Closing the image he read what was left of the message.

“It’s a bit big on me, but you said you wanted to see me in it. I hope this convinces you I’m serious.”

Shutting off the datapad he laid back down covering his eyes with his arm. He didn’t expect her to do that, not for such a bad joke. But she did.

He tried to keep his thoughts on the fact he was a prisoner of an enemy that he had been convinced didn’t care if he lived or died. But instead that image kept popping into his head, her blue eyes staring him down as she tried to convince him that she just wanted to help, and her red hair in the loose braid as it hung down over his armor that she wore at his joking request. 

“Shit.”

Chapter Text

Trey stretched, twisting as he pulled one arm carefully before switching to stretch the other. He turned and watched the others that were using the training room. On one side Connor watched as Arcann and Koren sparred, the merc using the Force to toss various objects the trio had gathered at the prince before switching to show proper blocking and disarming techniques, Koren’s blue-black blade sparking against Arcann’s gold as they clashed blades, the color marking it as the duplicate of Kole’s that the merc kept on him alongside his other brother’s saberstaff.

Torian sparred with Shey nearby, though the way the pair would delay breaking a block and the look on their faces, the Sith doubted they would be hanging around for much longer. 

Nora watched from the sidelines, rubbing her stomach absentmindedly, frustration clear on her face. She desperately wanted to join in and just vent some frustrations with a lightsaber or two in hand. But with how close to term she was in her pregnancy she couldn’t do much more than cheer the various combatants on, the annoyance of that clear. Mikael hovered nearby, the large man obviously concerned about his wife. The closer and closer to term Nora got, the more and more doting Mikael got. Another frustration on her part. They adored each other, you’d have to be both blind and force-blind to not be able to see how devoted they were. But even still, his hovering would get to her time to time, and Trey would intervene to shoo him away before his sister would hit her breaking point.

A shout of alarm made him turn and look at the commander just as she turned, grabbed her opponent's arm, and flipped them over her shoulder, dropping them to the ground before putting some distance between them and putting her hands up in a ready stance. Andronikos grumbled from his place on the ground, glaring at the smuggler as she grinned at him and flexed her hand at him, gesturing a ‘bring it’ as he rolled over and sprung to his feet to charge at her again. Kurana and Theron chuckled from their seats as they watched their spouses spar, Kara having the obvious upper hand at the moment.

Something that felt like a spark of electricity in the air caused the Sith to return is attention to his current sparring partner as she brought her training staff down at him, striking the padded floor as he dodged the blow. Sheyren growled in annoyance before drawing the staff back into a ready stance as her father took three steps and settled into his own stance. He held no weapon, but the sparring session for the day was for him to practice unarmed versus someone who was not only armed, but skilled as well.

“Don’t go easy on me Ren.” He gave her a goofy grin as he bounced on the balls of his feet, “Got to make this a challenge.”

She huffed out a laugh, returning his grin with one of her own. “I’ll try not to hurt you then, I don’t think Kor needs to patch you up more than once today.”

He barked a laugh, “Maybe I’d like it if he did.” The look on her face at what her father was suggesting made him laugh more, biting it back as she charged at him once more. He dodged four strikes in a row before redirecting the fifth and standing on the staff. “At least I have good taste, Ren.”

“And what do you mean by that?” She narrowed her eyes at him as she shifted and pulled her staff free before turning and hitting him in the side a little harder than she had meant to.

Trey winced, but returned the blow, nearly managing to disarm her. “I’m talking about Vinn.”

“What about him?” She shifted her stance, flipping the staff in her hands before bringing it around to strike at him twice before kicking out her leg in a feigned roll, managing to knock him off balance.

He growled in surprise at the move, but managed to recover before she could strike the winning blow. “You two seem to be getting close, is all. I don’t want you to get hurt.”

“We aren’t ‘close’.” She replied flatly.

“And I’m not dragging Koren out of here in about ten minutes.” He shot back.

She glared at him, “Even still, whoever I choose to be ‘close’ with is none of your business. I can protect myself Dad.” She emphasized ‘dad’ as she said it before lunging at him. He brought his arms up to block, but as he did so she pivoted, turning and bringing the staff around to hit the back of his knees. Not giving him a chance to recover she shifted and brought her leg around in a sweep to knock him fully to the ground. He rolled over onto his back and went to get up and fight back. 

Flipping the staff in her hands she placed her foot on his chest forcing him back down on the ground and pointed the head of her weapon at his throat. “I win.”

He grumbled but dropped his arms, admitting defeat. “You win.” When she removed the weapon from his throat and reached down to help him to his feet he accepted it, gripping her arm tightly. “I know you’re strong, Ren. But that doesn’t change the fact you’re still my little girl. Nothing will change that.”

Sighing, Sheyren nodded, “I know, but I’ll be alright. There’s just something about him, I want to give him a chance to prove himself. Y’know, to the Alliance.”

“Riiiight.” He gave her a grin as he pulled her into a hug, kissing the top of her head. “Whatever happens, I’m here for you. I love you.”

Dropping her staff she hugged him tightly, “Thanks dad. I love you too.”

Chapter Text

“Commander... Shan?”

Kara turned in the chair she was lounging in to look at the speaker. The secretary looked uncomfortable as he stood watching the smuggler shift to push herself to her feet before responding. “That’s me.” She grinned at him proudly.

The secretary, Arlan based on the fine aurebesh lettering that was stitched into his shirt, narrowed his eyes at her before continuing, “The Supreme Commander will speak with you now.” He stepped back, gesturing for her to go through the doors. As soon as she stepped past him he stepped forward and held a hand up. “Only the Commander.”

“Seriously?” Theron asked, furrowing his brows in annoyance. Arcann crossed his arms over his chest as he shifted his weight to make himself appear more intimidating, while Lana just sighed in annoyance. “I’m her husband, I’m going with.”

“I’m sorry sir, but the Supreme Commander requested that only the Commander of the Alliance be allowed in.”

“I’m sure…”

“Please sit down and wait.”

“I’d rather not.” Theron raised an eyebrow in silent question to his wife as she chuckled and shook her head at them. “Look, I know Malcolm, he’ll be fine if I’m there too.” He went to stride past Arlan, who desperately put his arms up to stop him.

“Sir, I must ask you to wait. The Supreme Commander was very specific.”

“Theron it’s alright, I’ll be quick.” Kara gave him a lopsided smile. “Just sit and relax, all of you.” When Theron sighed and nodded she blew him a kiss, chuckling when he made a show of catching it and kissing his own knuckles before winking at her, enjoying the look of annoyance on the secretary's face. Kara smiled softly at them and waved as she left the room.

Striding back over to the couches and chairs that lined the waiting room, he plopped himself down, sighing in mock defeat. Arcann sat next to him, putting an arm on the back of the couch and rubbing his knuckles on Theron’s back in a soothing gesture.

Lana took a seat next to Koro and Senya, who had remained seated the entire time, already expecting to not be allowed to accompany the commander to the meeting that Jace had requested. Waiting until she was done.

-

Kara strode down the short hall to the Supreme Commander’s office, pushing open the door and walking in. Grinning at him as he glanced up from the datapad he was glaring at, she took a seat in one of the chairs in front of his desk, propping up her right leg, letting it swing back and forth as she greeted him. “Good afternoon, sir.”

He couldn’t help but chuckle at that, so used to how rigid and formal a majority of his usual visitors were, it was a nice change of pace. Especially with war on the horizon. “Commander.” He returned, putting his datapad down to give her his full attention. Well as full as he could manage given that his datapad immediately dinged with another message as soon as it left his hands. Sighing he opted to flip it over so the screen was down and watched her carefully.

“So…” She leaned on the chair, smile still plastered on her face. “What’s up?”

He huffed a laugh, normally the informality would be insulting, but from her, it made him relax a bit. Not completely, he did call her here for business after all. “Kara Shan?” He asked, opting to start with a topic that was more curiosity and less business. They could worry about that next. “You and Theron are married now? How long?”

She chuckled, “A couple weeks, we just got back from our honeymoon the other day actually.” She shifted in her seat, slipping her leg down so her foot was on the floor, and bringing her left leg up to balance her ankle on her right knee, leaning on it as she spoke. “We didn’t have a ceremony or anything, I promise, it was a sudden proposal so we kept it small, just the two of us and the kids, y’know.”

“Oh.” He stated, tapping his thumbs together, already cringing at how quickly the conversation deflated. When it was one on one with her, they either only spoke about work or the war, or… His mind drifted back to the last time he had spoken to her on Alderaan, nearly ten years prior. Her rushing to get dressed as her comm started beeping again, her crew paging her for a 5th time trying to find her, the throbbing headache from the hangover still fresh. And…

“Jace?” She asked, concerned, when he looked back up at her she continued, “What did you really ask me to come here for?”

“Ah.” He started, “Yes. The war with the Empire is starting again, the stalemate that Zakuul brought about is fading, quickly and-”

“And you wanted to see who I would be siding with…” She finished, sighing. She crossed her arms as she dropped her leg and leaned back in the chair. “Figured.” All signs of her previous entertainment gone from her expression. “If you must know, I’ve already decided to back the Republic.”

He perked up at that, “Really?” He breathed, relief obvious in the word. With or without the Eternal Fleet, she was an enemy he wished to never face on the battlefield. The Voidhound was well known even in his circles, and with his son by her side… He was grateful that he wouldn’t have to worry about having to face either of them in the coming conflict.

“I made a promise a long time ago, and it’s a promise I intend to keep.” She gave him a sly smile, “Besides, Master Sumalee still owes me some drinks.”

He returned it with one of his own, chuckling a little. “Speaking of drinks…” He started.

Kara shook her head. “I’ll have to pass, Malcolm, I have plans tonight that I just can’t miss.”

“With Theron.”

She hummed, “And the boys. Caleb is especially excited about the show we’re taking him to.” She shifted again, once more relaxed, “Was there anything else you wanted to discuss?”

“No. That’s all.” He thought for a moment, as she stood. “Wait.”

Kara turned and looked at him, raising an eyebrow at him as he stood.

“Ten years ago…” He started walking around his desk to approach her as he spoke, “That night about ten years ago. When we-”

“Jace.” She stated flatly, crossing her arms once more, he face carefully neutral. “I know we didn’t talk about that, but we… I…” She huffed in annoyance, more at herself than him at the moment, “I was in a bad place, and I’m grateful that you were there for me that night, but it wasn’t supposed to be anything other-”

“Than a rebound, I know. You said as much when you dragged me to my apartment that night.” He had a hard time not chuckling at the almost embarrassed pout that she shot his way. “That’s not what I’m asking.”

“Then what is it?”

“Your son, Connor, is he?”

Kara’s eyes widened, “No.” She stated quickly, “No, I don’t think.” The look that flashed across her face almost made him feel bad, he knew she still hurt to think about what her previous boyfriend had done to her. Jace didn’t know who it was, she never mentioned his name, never had a reason to. They were a one night stand, colleagues, allies, not even friends yet. They worked together well on the field, but off of it they weren’t anything. He wasn’t even sure she would consider him a father-in-law now, might be awkward with their history anyway.

“Kara.” He stated, putting a hand on her shoulder.

She glanced at him before shrugging it off, “It doesn’t matter. Theron is his dad, he’s the one who raised him. That’s it. End of story.”

“But if he’s mine.”

Kara shook her head. “And if he’s not, if he is Darmas’s, what then? Wouldn’t it be better to not know than be let down?”

“I don’t want to repeat the same mistake twice.” He answered.

Kara watched him carefully, thinking. This was a mess, all of this. “And what would I tell Theron?” She backed up, putting her hand on the lock for the door. Sighing, “I’ll think on it, that’s all I can promise.” She pressed the button and exited the room, leaving before he had a chance to continue.

She felt terrible leaving like that, but it wasn’t possible anyway. He looked so much like Darmas, there was no way. But if there was even a chance, she had to admit, it was better to know now than let Connor find out the truth on his own when he was an adult and blame them both for lying to him his whole life.

Ok, she thought, maybe that’s a bit extreme. But even still, she knew she’d have to discuss this one day, at least if they find out it is Darmas now it’ll be less awkward in the long run right? She glanced at Theron as she strode into the waiting room, giving him a tired smile as he beamed up at her.

Now or never she supposed, “Theron can I talk to you a minute before we head out?”

“Of course,” He pushed himself to his feet and followed her out into the hall. As soon as they were alone he looked down at her, “Ok, spill. What did he want to talk about?”

She sighed. “The war, mostly, asking who we were siding with.”

“Straight to the point, sounds like him, figure out your allies from your enemies before they can stab you in the back.”

“I’d like to see someone try to tell him that no, they’re siding with the Empire, have a nice day, and not get shot at.” She chuckled awkwardly at that.

“What else?”

“That’s… more difficult.” She sighed again, the even slight humor of the conversation gone in a blink, “He wanted to ask about Connor.”

“What about him?”

“You know I worked with Jace almost ten years ago, on Alderaan, right?”

“Yeah, that was right before you stopped the Voidwolf and saved Corellia single handedly.”

“Right, single handedly.” She chuckled. He took her hand in his waiting patiently for her to continue, “Well I had run into him again after that, for a side job on Alderaan before I went to Ilum, before he was the Supreme Commander. I was in a bad spot after Darmas, and we..” She trailed off.

Theron narrowed his eyes at her. “‘You…’?” He paused when she didn’t continue. “No. You didn’t.” When she looked away and nibbled at her lip nervously, “Really? You slept with my dad? Kara…”

“It was before we met!”

“Still. Really? Couldn’t’ve been anyone else, it had to be Jace ?”

“I was in a bad place after the whole fiasco with the Voidwolf, and Darmas, and I ended up at the bar and…”

“Oh that makes it so much better, you drunkenly slept with him.” He crossed his arms before gesturing with one hand, “Ok, that does actually make it a little better, because I know how you get when you’re drunk.”

Kara hummed, “I’m going to ignore that.” He chuckled at her as she continued, “He wants to know if Connor is actually Darmas’s son or not.”

“Why?” Theron asked before stopping, “Oh. I… Yeah, I get it. After what happened with Satele and him. I guess it would make sense. He sees someone he had a drunken roll around with walking around with a kid that’s old enough to’ve been from that, especially after having already been surprised with a kid, y'know me, thirty something years after breaking up with his ex. Better safe than sorry right.”

“That’s pretty much what he said.”

Theron scowled, “Please don’t tell me I’m sounding like him now.”

Kara laughed, shaking her head, “Never out loud.” She winked at him as he shot her a look of mock insult. Reaching out she let him pull her into a tight hug. “We’re still alright, right?”

“Hm? Yeah, why? Because you slept with Jace? Years before we met?” He huffed, “I mean that does irk me, but you didn’t know.”

“I didn’t know until you told me when we were about to recruit Jorgan. And then it was way too awkward to mention it.”

“And then it got more and more as time passed I’m sure.” He sighed, “Well at least everything’s out in the open now right?”

“Mhmm.” She kissed his jaw, “I loved you too much even back then, I didn’t want something a broken hearted me decided to do to end up breaking us up.”

“Hey, I told you on Iokath, the galaxy will never break us up no matter what it throws at us.”

Kara grinned at him, and kissed him, “Never.”

Chapter Text

"Commander!" Koren shouted as he ran into the war room. "I need a favor. can- uh… isn't that Arcann's shirt?" He asked pointing at Kara as she turned to look at him. 

Glancing down she hummed, "Yeah. Ceetoo and Toovee got into some… thing. So all my clothes are being cleaned."

"Oh. huh. Really? Are you sure it was Ceetoo?"

Kara shrugged, picking at the collar, "He didn’t like how Toovee was cleaning my room and well." She gestured at the white tunic she was wearing currently. “This is the only option I have right now.”

“And… Arcann is what? Wandering the base without a shirt on?”

She chuckled at that, but shook her head, “As much as I wouldn’t mind that, he’s borrowing one of Theron’s shirts. I’m just using this one because it’s the longest and I have no clean pants either. And while I personally wouldn’t mind sitting around naked, I don’t think either Arcann or Theron would like me hanging around in the war room in the buff since I have too much work to do to just sit around in my room all day, no matter how much either of them would want me to.” She smirked at him.

“So you’ve got no…” He shook his head. “Alright that’s more information than I wanted to know right now. I came in here to ask for a favor.” He put his hands together, “Can I borrow the Ik’aad?”

“For…?”

“I have a contact I need to meet, and I don’t want them to recognize me.” He crossed his arms, “I’m going to be posing as Kole, who as you know looks more like a smuggler than a Jedi.”

Kara had to give him that one, between the engineer’s vest, the mohawk, and his piercings, he definitely didn’t look much like a Jedi, much less one of the famed battlemasters.

“So I need a ship to match. Yours is a Corellian freighter, so it’s a perfect cover.”

“You’re not planning to go alone are you?”

Koren shrugged, “That was the plan originally, but I won’t turn down a hand or two if you have someone in mind.”

Kara thought about it a minute before nodding, “Sure, you can borrow her, just be careful, and I’ll send a couple people with you that might help if things go wrong.”

“Thank you! I owe you Commander.” He strode up to her kissing her on the cheek before continuing past her to the elevator to go get ready. Before he hit the button for the lift he called back, “Watch out for Senya, I’m not sure what she’ll say if she sees you wearing her son’s clothes… especially if you’re going commando under there.” He winked at her and hit the button before she could reply, enjoying the look of shock on her face as the lift took him up to the living quarters of the base.

In the time it took him to gear up, cover his tattoo with makeup, clip on fake piercings, match his clothes and hair to that of his one triplet, and get to the Ik’aad’s landing area, the help that Kara had promised was already waiting for him. The help being Arcann, who was dressed in a familiar red coat with a pair of goggles around his neck, and black pants and boots with a heavily geared belt that had one of Kara’s blasters attached to it. He was currently glaring daggers at one of the other two who were there to assist. Vinn returned the prince’s glare with one of his own, with a worn black shirt and pants and a vibrosword on his hip. Ren gripped his arm, likely holding him back from charging at the one he blamed for many of his problems. She was dressed similarly to the former horizon guard, but had a pair of daggers strapped to her back and a blaster on her hip.

When Ren noticed Koren approach she beamed at him and poked Vinn to get his attention, distracting him from his focus of aggression to instead glare at the hunter.

Arcann shot him an apologetic look as he strode away and unlocked the ship.

“The Commander says you could use us for a mission.” Ren spoke cheerily, the grumbling man at her side not even slightly dampening her mood. “We’ll do our best, right Vinn?”

The man in question cocked his head to the side, clearly wishing to be anywhere else, but also likely happy to not be locked in his cell at the moment. When Ren reemphasized the word right he finally replied, “We’ll make sure you don’t get killed.” He stated simply.

That seemed to be enough for the young Jedi, “We’ll do our best.” She repeated as she grinned at him, only moving when Vinn started walking towards the ship, putting a hand on her shoulder to urge her to follow him.

Koren let out a heavy sigh before he trailed after them.

This mission was going to be a disaster.

Chapter Text

Arcann let out a heavy breath as he sat in the cockpit of the Ik’aad, watching the stars streak by. He had tried to talk to Ren and Vinn while Koren was plotting their jump. But just about anything he tried to say was immediately shot down or ignored by Vinn. Ren did her best to try and keep things friendly, but there was only so much she could do to try and keep an argument from happening. 

So instead Arcann retreated. He couldn’t entirely blame the former horizon guard for his hostility, and he was sure he also came across similarly when he had first joined the Alliance. So instead of trying to force a conversation with someone who clearly hated him, something that many in the Alliance still felt for him, he spent the first few hours of the trip in Kara’s quarters, sprawled out on the bed going through some of the holos she had stored there before heading to the cockpit to check how long they would be stuck in the ship together. He had wanted to at least make an attempt to make amends with the man, something he usually had the commander at his side to assist with, but she had enough on her plate currently and had trusted him with assisting Koren with his mission that he had sent him along with her own blasters and Theron’s jacket.

Standing and stretching, he pulled the jacket back on and left the cockpit, heading into the adjacent room that held the holoprojector. If he was lucky nobody would be in there and he could call back to at least give Kara or Senya an update of the trip. It wasn’t because he was lonely, he was never lonely. But this was the first time he had been away from either of them for any length of time since he joined the Alliance, he was sure they were concerned, his one lover more so than his mother he was sure.

Maybe he was just lonely, he thought as he walked into the room, narrowing his eyes at Vinn. On the other hand he was definitely not lucky.

Vinn hadn’t noticed him enter the room yet, or he had and was just ignoring him again. The former horizon guard lounged on the couch, listening to Ren as she was telling him a story. When Vinn glanced over at Arcann for a second before returning his focus on the Jedi next to him, the prince felt his jaw tighten in annoyance. 

Ren glanced at him before stopping mid sentence to smile at him, “Oh, Arcann! How much longer until we’re there?”

“Another hour from the looks of it. Kor still hasn’t said where we’re going though.” Arcann shrugged, trying to appear calmer than he felt at the moment. He wanted to prove that he was a better man, for himself, as well as for Kara and the trust that she’s put in him. The last thing she needed was to hear that he picked a fight with his own team on the first mission he went on without her by his side.

Vinn hummed in thought, obviously wanting to say something but biting his tongue for the moment. A surprise, but a welcome one.

“That’s too bad,” Her smile faltered slightly, “I’m not much for space travel.” She glanced at Vinn when the man grabbed her hand and squeezed it in what Arcann could’ve sworn was done to reassure her. She gave him a smile and returned the squeeze before turning her attention back to Arcann and gestured to the seats that lined the room. “I was just telling Vinn about a mission I did with my masters last year. You’re welcome to join us.”

Arcann debated on turning her down, but the little voice in the back of his head that insisted that he should at least try to be friendly with the other members of the Alliance, even if one of them was technically still a prisoner, made him accept the offer instead. “Thank you.” He said as he took the empty chair that was next to the couch they were using, no need to sit closer to Vinn than necessary.

Ren returned to her story, a mission to take out a group of pirates that had taken over a small village from the sound of it. She almost overly emphasized her masters involvement, and skimmed over nearly any kind of combat she herself had taken part in. Vinn had apparently also picked up on that.

"To take out so many by yourself is impressive, Ren."

She perked at the compliment but appeared almost embarrassed about it as well, "T-thank you. But it was hardly by myself, Master Kody had me shielded and Master Kole had managed to stagger them before I could make a strike."

"Still. Even in the horizon guard we relied on our teammates. To work so fluidly with your masters is no simple task. "

Ren hummed at the compliment and opted to remain silent otherwise. After letting the silence stretch to the point that it nearly became awkward she finally spoke again. “What was it like?”

Vinn raised an eyebrow at her, “What?”

“The Horizon Guard.” She gripped her hands together, rubbing her thumb across her knuckles. “I joined the Alliance after Zakuul was defeated, and my Masters kept us out of the war as best they could so I’ve never had to face any of your people in combat before.”

Arcann looked down, nearly having a white knuckle grip on the armrest of his seat. He didn’t need to see Vinn to know the man was shooting a glare his way.

Vinn thought a moment before answering, “It’s difficult to explain. We were the best of the best of the Knights, given higher risk missions, higher responsibilities, but there was no room for mistakes. One mistake meant your life, either from the enemy or our Empress.” He kept his glare set on Arcann before taking a breath and focusing back on Ren. “Our teams were unbreakable, we knew each other better than we knew ourselves and could fight side by side without having to check our backs, could trust in each other with our lives.”

“Much like me and my masters.”

“Yes.” He nodded, “Our Empress demanded the best and that’s what we delivered, my team especially was practically unbeatable, our captain nearly the right hand to Empress Vaylin herself.” He leaned back on the couch, gripping his hands and ungripping them, “I’m the last of them now.”

“I’m sorry.” Ren said as she reached over to carefully grab his hand, he took it, holding it tight before continuing.

“I was injured from a previous mission was forced to stay behind to recover when they were sent out to apprehend a traitor. He killed them, all but one, and she has yet to wake.” He shot another glare at Arcann who refused to meet his eyes.

“Vinn…” Ren leaned over and put her other hand on top of his, her tone soothing but with an underlying warning to not start a fight.

He looked over at her, grimacing, “I tried for so long to get my revenge, Ren. You can’t ask me to sit in the same room as the one who killed my team, my family, and remain quiet.”

“I didn’t know.” Arcann finally said. “I was alone, I was attacked, I defended myself.” He finally rose his head to meet Vinn’s glare headon, “I did not pick the fight. If they had left me alone I wouldn’t’ve killed them.”

Vinn snarled and shoved himself to his feet, surprising Ren as he did so. “If you hadn’t abandoned your people.” He snapped, rushing the former emperor and grabbing him by the collar of his coat and hauling him to his feet. “You chose your path and ran when things got too tough for you. You abandoned us and joined the enemy you picked the fight with to begin with.”

“I sought to end a war I foolishly started.” Arcann snarled, grabbing Vinn’s wrist with his left and forcing the knight’s hand down, “I realized I was wrong and sought to fix my mistakes.”

“You are a coward.” Vinn shoved him away, twisting his arm out of Arcann’s grip before shifting his weight and punching him, knocking him off balance momentarily. Ren rushed to Vinn, pulling him back before he could charge in.

Arcann rubbed his jaw as he righted himself and stood, staring him down. It took everything he had not to retaliate, Kara’s voice in his head telling him that things like this would happen and he had to be the better man. He took a breath, letting it out slowly, “Feel better?” He asked, keeping his voice as steady as he could manage.

Vinn growled and twisted free of Ren’s grip, launching himself forward. Arcann brought his arms up to defend himself, he wouldn’t start a fight, but he sure as hell wasn’t going to sit back and let himself get hit. Before the punch could connect Vinn froze in mid-motion, the obvious frustration on his face made it clear that he hadn’t stopped himself from completing the attack.

Arcann glanced at the hallway spotting Koren glaring at them both with his hands outstretched toward them. He pulled them in opposite directions, pushing both men apart. “If you two are finished, we're about to exit hyperspace, and I’d rather we not blow our covers before we even land.” He lowered his arms, releasing the force hold he had used on them before trudging his way over to them.

Vinn just glared at him before huffing in annoyance and leaving the room, Ren apologizing as she followed after.

“Hopefully she’ll be able to calm him down, she seems to have a way with him. Kind of like Kara with you.” Koren smirked at that.

“Thank you for stepping in.” Arcann stood there awkwardly as Koren pulled out an ice-pack, cracked it to activate it, and put it on his face, “Are you alright? I didn’t think you could do things like that.”

I can’t, no, but Kole can.” He sighed, “For whatever that’s worth, I can fool myself into playing the part, but in the end I’m not Kole.”

“You’re shaking.” Arcann pressed the icepack on his cheek, letting Koren step away to take a few breaths.

The merc hummed, and started pacing, closing his eyes and taking steady breaths.

“Kor?”

“I’m fine. I’ll be fine.” He sat down, “Fine. Yeah, just fine” He made a strange noise and pushed himself to his feet, “Not fine.” He slapped a hand over his mouth and sprinted down the hall.

Arcann started to follow but when the comm beeped to alert an incoming call and he felt the ship drop out of hyperspace he veered off and headed to the cockpit instead to bring them down to land, hoping his friend was able to make it to the medbay before he puked. He was sure Kara wouldn’t appreciate any of them making a mess in her ship while she was entrusting it to them.

The comm beeped again, as Arcann pressed the button to answer it and send their landing codes.

The woman on the holo greeted him kindly, and was clearly blushing as soon as she saw him as she entered the codes. Letting him know he was cleared to land as she winked at him and disconnected the call. He chuckled as he brought the ship down into atmo, the interaction almost strange compared to his more recent meetings with members of the Alliance, only Kara and more recently Theron, ever reacted to him in that way. Perhaps he was already starting to make strides.

Or he was just that unrecognizable without his armor.

Either way, the flirty greeting helped improve his mood at least a little bit. Maybe this mission wouldn’t end in disaster after all.

Chapter Text

“So…” Ren said as she followed after Koren. “Corellia?”

Koren glanced at her, the merc still looked shaken but was steady on his feet. Though the amount of makeup he had used to cover his tattoo likely hid any signs of impending nausea as well. “It’s just the first stop. I need to pick up something here first.”

“And after?”

“A travelling port, it’s supposed to be stationed in system here for the time being.” Koren shrugged as they exited the spaceport. “This stop shouldn’t take too much time as long as nobody starts any more trouble.”

Vinn grumbled behind them, but both him and Arcann remained silent as they walked. The warning was clearly towards them rather than the bubbly Jedi that slowed her pace to walk next to the former horizon guard.

Opting to ignore them and focus on his goal, Koren kept a steady pace through the familiar streets. It had been years since he was home last, but he still remembered them even with all the damage from the war. He glanced around, remembering some of the better times of his childhood. Lauren lived in that apartment there, he could still remember her making snacks for him and his sister. He couldn’t help but wonder if they ended up together, his sister had the biggest crush on her and she was way too much of a gossip to keep that a secret for long.

The shop on that corner was his favorite bakery, the owner was an old widower who would always give him cookies on his way home. It looked empty now. That one there was where his best friend lived, and there was where-

Koren stopped dead in his tracks, staring at the alleyway they stood in front of. He swallowed hard, this was the first time in years he had been anywhere near this street. And even though years had passed and not even a stain remained to show what happened here, he was immediately hit with the memory.

“Kor?” Ren asked. “Are you alright?”

He felt like he couldn’t breath, couldn’t speak. He just stood there, rooted to the spot. The memory of his brother’s death shoving itself to the forefront of his mind, the pain still as raw and fresh since the day it had happened. The fear, the loss, the anger, as strong as it had been when he felt the warmth leave his brother’s body. He clenched his hands, trying to feel some semblance of reality, to just be able to move again, to say he was fine and to move on. He heard something crack, but it sounded distant, muted.

A hand on his shoulder snapped Koren back to reality as Arcann led him away, urging him further down the road, speaking quietly, nothing sensical, but it was a tether none-the-less. He was grateful, reaching over to grab his arm in a death grip. Stable, safe, his friend understood. He should’ve known this would happen, should’ve expected it, but at least he wasn’t alone.

The man was gone, dead at Koren’s own hands. It wouldn’t happen ever again.

Ren spoke up as they passed, “There’s flowers there.” She smiled softly at them before glancing back at the merc as he and Arcann stopped to look. She walked over to read the tag that was attached. “Garrett Gates, We will always hold you in our hearts.”

A choked laugh escaped him, Koren shook his head when they all looked his way. He gave them a sad smile, “My brother. I was there when it-” He stopped, huffing in annoyance and tightening his grip on Arcann’s arm, thanking his luck that he had grabbed the man’s left, he didn’t even want to think about having to explain to Kara if he managed to bruise up her boyfriend’s arm.

“I’m so sorry.” She stood, returning to their group.

Koren shook his head, “He’s why I became a doctor.”

“Do you want to-?”

“No!” The merc flinched at the sound of his voice, more hostile than he had meant, more desperate than he expected. She didn’t need to finish what she was going to say for him to know that it would be to ask if he’d like to talk about it or to take some time there, neither something he wanted to do at the moment. “No.” He repeated, quieter this time. “I’m.. I’ll be..”

“We can come back after he’s had a chance to relax, Ren.” Arcann interrupted.

“Are you…” Ren trailed off looking from the former emperor to the merc before nodding, “Ok.”

The steady hand on his back helped him focus on his task, on what he had come home to do. He centered on it, nothing good would come from focusing on the past, not right now.

They walked for a while, turning down side road after side road, Koren almost blindly following the planned path, still keeping a death grip on Arcann’s arm. The scarred man at his side said little as they walked, the occasional mention about something they passed, or some nonsense to keep the merc from completely retreating into his own head. Just a steady presence to help keep him afloat as he reigned in his emotions to focus on what they had come here for.

Koren glanced around, spotting a building ahead and recognizing it. “There. That’s where I have to stop first.”

“A cantina?” Vinn asked, making a face.

“One of the contacts I have is there, it was his pick not mine.” He released Arcann’s arm and strode ahead of the group, a new focus helping to distract from what he was thinking about moments prior. “Let’s go.”

As soon as the team entered the building all eyes were on them. Even with the disguises they had to’ve stood out. But even the interest on the newcomers was short lived as they made their way through the bar and the various patrons returned their attention back to whatever they had been doing prior.

Koren led them over to a table where a lone man was sitting, scrolling through a datapad as he sipped at his drink. Putting a hand on the table to get the man’s attention, “Rai?” When the man nodded, Koren gestured for the others to take a seat as he continued, “I’m Theron Shan. I believe you have something for me.”

“Ah yes. Good to finally meet you in person Mr. Shan.” He gestured at the others, “And they are?”

Koren nodded towards Arcann, “My husband, Ray. And our bodyguards, Alya and Cain. Can’t be to careful considering the state of the galaxy.” He didn’t need to look over at them to know Arcann had likely raised an eyebrow at his choice in aliases.

“I’ll give you that.” Rai said as he leaned down to retrieve something from under the table. Pulling out a wrapped box he put it down gently and pushed it towards Koren. “As you ordered. Rare gadget there, I gotta say I’m curious what you need that for, but I feel it’s better if I don’t know.”

“Good instincts.” Koren muttered as he opened the box, inspecting the contents before closing it and removing a bag from his hip and pushing it towards the smuggler. “Here’s the other half of the commission charge.” He stood, the others following suit. “Pleasure doing business with you.” He flashed him a winning smile.

Rai popped open the bag, counting the credits before closing it and nodding towards the group, “Pleasure was all mine. Be sure to keep me in mind for your next job.”

“Will do.” Koren strode out of the building, the others right behind him. It wasn’t until they had made some distance back to the spaceport that Ren finally spoke up.

“What is that?”

Koren hushed her, “Not while we have someone tailing us.”

“What?” Vinn lowered his voice as he glanced around.

“They’ve been following since we left the ship. Pretty sneaky too, but they keep giving themselves away.”

Arcann stopped, cocking his head to the side, finally recognizing the force signature of the one who was following them. A presence he had gotten extremely familiar with having shadowing him after months of spending time with him. He let out a heavy sigh and strode over to a waste bin that was next to a nearby street lamp as the rest of the team stood ready for anything.

“Connor…” Arcann crossed his arms as he spoke, trying his hardest to keep a commanding tone to his voice even though he was internally highly entertained that it took them this long to notice him. His training was apparently paying off. “Come out, we know it’s you.”

The kid in question leaned out from his hiding spot, “Are you mad at me?”

“That’s the commander’s kid, isn’t it?” Vinn asked, crossing his arms in feigned annoyance as he leaned to speak to Ren.

“Yeah.” She answered, confusion clear on her face.

“I’m not mad,” Arcann answered, “But I do want to know why you’re following us. It’s dangerous here Con.”

“I know, but I was asleep on mom’s ship and then when I woke up we were in hyperspace and I haven’t really been in hyperspace before and I didn’t know where we were going and I was going to come out and say something but.” He looked over at Vinn, “but then he walked by and I didn’t know if he was supposed to be there. so I just hid. And then I saw you and Uncle Kor, and so I followed you.” He rambled out quickly. After taking a breath he continued, “I’m sorry, I know I shouldn’t’ve been there, but Cal and I are fighting again and… I’m sorry papa.”

Arcann let out a breath. He wasn’t sure what to do in this situation, he wasn’t around kids often, and aside from their daily training he was never around either of the commander’s sons one on one. He debated tossing the responsibility onto Koren, the merc clearly was comfortable around kids and had already spent a good amount of time babysitting both boys at this point that he would know how to handle this. But a part of him realized that he couldn’t do that, Connor was looking to him as a parental figure, and as much as that terrified him, he would have to step into that role eventually, especially if he planned on his relationship with Kara and Theron being long term.

“Connor, it’s all right.” He tried to sound more soothing, but it came out almost awkward. He was terrible at this but… He kneeled down, putting his hand on the boy’s shoulder to get him to look him in the eye. “It’s fine, I was just worried, and I’m sure your mother is worried sick about you.” He stood keeping his hand where it was, “Let’s get back to the ship, let your mom know you’re alright.”

Connor nodded. “Okay.” He reached up, both arms outstretched, “Can you carry me? I’m tired.”

Arcann huffed a laugh, “Alright.” He picked him up, letting the young boy scramble from his grip as he climbed to sit on his shoulders instead. Once Connor was situated he looked over at the rest of his team, “Kor?”

The merc grinned at him proudly before gesturing down the road. “You heard him, let’s go. I still have one more stop on this trip.”