The Day After
This went through several interations before I was able to finish a version. The first version was supposed to have several more characters and take place over the entire day, kind of encapsulating what I thought the two main characters' life would be like after the end of the game. Like a microcosm of all that would happen to them. It was also meant to be funnier than what I ended up going with with moments of the characters struggling with more intense emotions and the trauma of what happened in the game. But I got to a point where there were about ten different characters all talking to each other at the same time and I realized that it was getting a little out of hand. This current version came from me thinking that after saving the galaxy a person would just want to sleep, maybe sit on the beach for a bit, and not do much else.
The bedsheets were softly familiar against her skin, comforting after too long in a strange and hostile bed, the quiet hum of the ship's air filtration system and other people sleeping telling her that all was as it should be. Although her bunk did seem rather more cramped and warm than she remembered. Bastila’s eyes fluttered open and saw the culprit’s sleeping face close by her own. Sera was drooling into Bastila’s pillow a little, her lips parted slightly, her face peaceful and relaxed. Bastila ran her eyes over her lover’s face, committing every detail to memory, not because there was any particular urgency or that she feared that their time together might be cut short. Simply… because.
She stayed that way for a long while, letting the warmth of her feelings for this woman suffuse her being until the exhaustion left behind by the events of the past few months made her eyes grow heavy. She snuggled closer to her beloved and let sleep overtake her once more.
When she awoke, the Ebon Hawk was still and dark even though several more hours must have passed. Sera stirred next to her, making low sounds of contentment when she realized who was curled up next to her.
“Mmm, this is a nice way to wake up” Sera's voice was low and rough and tinged with sleep. Her short, dark hair was adorably mussed and Bastila’s fingers itched with the desire to run through the soft strands. Sera shifted to face Bastila more fully and the bruising and scorch marks from yesterday’s battle became more apparent in the low light of the sleeping quarters.
“You look like you’ve been in a speeder accident,” Bastila said, giving in to temptation and smoothing Sera’s hair into some semblance of order, trailing her fingers down the back of Sera’s neck, tracing slow patterns against her skin.
Sera laughed. “It’s all part of my rugged charm. Women love the air of dangerous allure that a few bruises give.”
Bastila stifled an amused snort. “Is that what you call it?” She leaned closer, her face scant inches away from her lover. “And how has that worked out for you so far? Your so-called “rugged charm”?”
“I’ve had no complaints.” Sera slid a bandaged hand over Bastila’s hip and came to rest on the curve of her backside. “Interested in taking me for a spin, sweetheart?” she said, flexing her fingers suggestively.
This time Bastila couldn’t stop the laugh that bubbled up to her lips. “What? What does that even mean?”
“You know…” Sera shifted so that Bastila was leaning over her. “Making the association between riding a swoop bike and sex with an attractive stranger.” She slid her hand down and tugged on Bastila’s leg until she obliged and straddled Sera’s hips, the top of her head brushing the support struts above the cramped bunk. “Nothing but you, the open road…” She ran her hands over Bastila’s thighs and rear. “And the power thrumming between your legs.”
“Is that so?” Bastila said, slowly rocking her hips against Sera, heat and pleasure building in her core. “Why aren’t you more naked then?” Bastila purred, raising an imperious eyebrow.
Sera smirked and awkwardly pulled her sleep shirt over her head. Then she ran her fingers through her hair and lay back on the pillow, posing suggestively with her hand behind her head.
“I am at your disposal,” she stated unnecessarily, gesturing at her naked form.
Bastila let out a tiny laugh of delight at the woman arranged so beautifully beneath her. “Idiot,” she murmured before pressing a kiss to her partner’s waiting lips.
Sera shuffled through to the Ebon Hawk’s main hold and looked around at the empty ship. The rest of the crew had clearly gone ...somewhere, leaving the two of them to enjoy the Ebon Hawk in peace and quiet. She peered down the hallway to the cockpit in an attempt to see how late in the day it was without expending the energy to actually walk all the way down there. It seemed to be bright outside, so at least they hadn’t slept the entire day away. Or they had slept multiple days and just managed to awaken during daylight. One or the other.
Collapsing into a convenient chair, she grunted as her rear end hit the thin padding of the seat with a thud. We should get some proper cushions for these things. I don’t know why we haven’t before, she thought, shifting her backside in the hope of finding a comfortable groove. She glanced around the ship’s interior. Updating the lighting in here might not be a bad idea either. Some kind of carpeting for the floor would be also nice, although… She remembered a very wet and muddy Zaalbar traipsing through the ship after they had got caught in a downpour on Kashyyyk. Hmm, maybe something a little easier to clean.
She let her mind wander for a moment, slowing her breathing and just enjoying the peaceful stillness around her. How long had it been since she could just sit without worrying that precious seconds were ticking by? Weeks? Longer than that? Stress and near-constant activity, broken up by agonizing stretches of waiting, had caused the recent past to stretch and bloat oddly in her mind, making it difficult to tell how much time had truly passed. Definitely not since Bastila got captured. I’m glad that fucking nightmare is over with…
Turning her senses inward, she focussed on the faint impression of Bastila’s heartbeat next to her own through their bond, slow and steady. No panicky bursts of activity. No frighteningly long pauses between each beat. Just the calm rhythm of a normal day. Distantly, she could hear her partner pacing slowly back and forth in their sleeping quarters. Probably recording in her father’s holocron. Her partner had taken up the practice sometime after they had left Tatooine but preferred the security of recording her thoughts in private. Sera understood and respected that. The reality of their bond was that they got under each other's skin a little too much sometimes and distance as well as each of them having their own lives and interests was good. Even if she wanted nothing more than to never let Bastila out of her sight ever again right now!
Sera leaned back in her chair and pouted in the direction of the women’s sleeping quarters. Maybe I can convince her to sit on my lap while we eat breakfast. She wriggled a little in her seat thinking about Bastila’s weight on her thighs, their bodies pressed close together, Bastila playing with Sera’s hair in that way she seemed to like so much. Perhaps stealing a kiss or two in between bites of their meal. Those gorgeous breasts so close to my face…
“Pervert!” came the yell from the other room, Bastila clearly alerted to the sexual bent of Sera’s thoughts.
“You have no right to judge, sweetheart! Don’t forget!” She wagged her finger in the general direction of their quarters. “I know what goes on in that dirty little mind of yours!”
There were too many walls between them to hear the scornful "Please!" from her partner's lips but she would bet every credit to her name that Bastila was striding around their quarters like a queen surveying her kingdom, probably adding a rude remark about the insolent soldier under her command to her journal entry. Sera felt a delighted grin spreading across her face at the return of their easy banter, warmth and happiness suffusing her body. She opened her mouth to respond and--
What? Sera rolled her head around, trying to isolate where the unexpected noise had come from. Seeming to emanate from the loading ramp, she hauled herself to her feet with a groan and stuck her head down the hallway.
“Bastila, I think one of the other’s must have locked themselves out.”
Not waiting for a reply, she shambled over to the ramp, wincing a little with every step. She was either getting old or yesterday’s battle had been more punishing than she had thought. Could be both…
But when the ramp completed its opening sequence, three unknown faces stared up at her.
“Who the fuck are you supposed to be, then?” The words left her lips faster than her tired brain could process. Not that it matters... Who the fuck are they?
Apparently, her reaction wasn’t quite what they were expecting. One - tall, big muscles, Zabrak? - let out an unimpressed laugh and puffed her chest out in an apparent show of dominance, while another, the shortest of the three and a species that Sera didn’t recognise, ducked her head and gave an embarrassed grin. Finally, the third, a Togruta female in a flowing robe - they’re Jedi? - stepped forward and addressed the one impeding their progress.
“We are seeking the Jedi Bastila Shan.” Her voice was high and melodious and not unlike the chiming of meditation bells. “We were informed by the group of revellers further down the beach that we might find her here.”
Sera followed the young woman’s hand to where it indicated a large column of smoke billowing upwards not far from where the Hawk was parked and if she concentrated, which was difficult, she thought that she could indeed hear the sounds of revelry drifting across the sands.
What the fuck? She straightened and shook her head, in an attempt to clear it. I should have stayed in bed. Today’s getting weird.
“I, uh…” She shook her head again. “Sorry, what exactly is it you want?” she asked, trying not to give too much information away without knowing what they were about.
“I believe she stated our goal quite clearly, friend,” the taller woman menaced, eyes blazing with authoritarian threat.
“It’s alright, Ran.” The one Sera was calling The Leader in her head laid a gentle restraining hand on the Zabrak’s - Ran’s? - arm, stopping her in her tracks. “We wish to speak with Bastila Shan. It is a matter of some urgency.” Sweet though the woman’s voice was, there was a hint of some steely thing in it that was just as threatening, if not more so, as “Ran’s” more overt display.
Sera leaned against the frame of the ramp, one hand near the button to close it, unimpressed by the strangers’ posturing and presumptuous attitude. “Okay.”
The smallest of the three, who had seemed to grow increasingly uncomfortable, suddenly smiled delightedly and darted past Sera.
“Okay?” Sera turned and watched in befuddlement as the stranger flung her arms around Bastila, who had obviously joined them while Sera’s attention was focussed elsewhere.
“What? Beqi?” Bastila was looking in confusion at the group gathered at the entrance to the ship.
“Not an enemy, I presume?” Sera asked.
“Bastila, thank the Force!” Sera found herself being elbowed aside by first the muscle-bound bully, then by little Miss “I don’t answer questions”. “This peon didn’t want to let us in to see you.” Ran gestured towards Sera without looking at her.
“It is good to see you in one piece, Bastila. We heard some rather disturbing news about you.” Bastila went pale at the Togruta woman’s words. Sera frowned. How many people know about Bastila’s involvement in yesterday’s battle?
“We heard you'd been captured!” the smaller woman - Beqi? - interrupted. “We were so worried that something bad had happened to you...” She trailed off into sniffles, her head buried in Bastila’s shoulder.
Seeing the trapped look on her partner’s face, Sera stuck her hand in the air to get everyone’s attention.
“Um…” Unfortunately, her brain was still otherwise occupied - I want to get back to my fantasies about my girlfriend, damnit! - and the words didn’t want to come. “Who the fuck…?” she tried valiantly.
Bastila chuckled softly at Sera’s clumsy effort at distraction and extricated herself out of Beqi’s grasp.
“This is Beqi, Ran and Yina. They were my roommates at the Academy before I became a Padawan.” She frowned a little at their presence, obviously as confused as Sera was.
“Are they the ones who taught you how to cheat in a pillow fight?”
Bastila rolled her eyes, an amused smile touching her lips. “Please. You inspired that particular move all on your own.”
Beqi cleared her throat awkwardly. “Uh, Bastila?”
“Oh! Of course.” Sera grinned at the cute blush staining her beloved’s cheeks, receiving a glare for her trouble. Which caused her to grin even harder, naturally. “This is Sera Khan, my, uh… companion.”
That’s certainly one way to put it. Not that Sera minded. It was a little difficult to explain the ins and outs of their relationship and the romantic aspect of it was new and as yet undiscussed between the two of them. It's none of their business anyway.
“Hello. Nice to meet all of you,” Sera said, offering them a friendly wave and a grin.
“Hello,” Beqi squeaked out shyly.
“And what is your purpose here, Sera Khan?” Ran demanded, fixing Sera with a piercing gaze.
Sera sighed. Jedi can be so tiring sometimes. “My purpose is to get some breakfast inside me. I’m going to start hallucinating if I don’t eat something soon.”
“I am also rather famished. A cup of tea would be nice to start with,” Bastila said with a smile.
There was an awkward pause, the weight of scrutiny hanging thickly around Sera.
“I wouldn’t mind a cup,” Beqi said. “Ah! If you’re offering, of course!”
Sera glanced at Bastila for confirmation. Her partner shrugged and nodded. “Might as well get this over with.”
Beqi was keeping up a constant stream of chatter next to her. Bastila was grateful since it kept the other two’s attention off her for the moment, but she was also having trouble keeping up with what seemed to be a day-by-day account of her old roommate’s life from the last time they met several years ago. Especially as her view of the ship’s small kitchenette was far more intriguing.
The faded blue fabric of Sera’s shirt pulled across her shoulders, hinting at the wiry strength hidden beneath. Bastila remembered feeling the power contained in that strong body, her fingers digging into the muscles of Sera’s back, as her lover drove her to ever higher states of bliss. Tugging that dark hair in ecstasy, exposing the soft skin of Sera’s throat to Bastila’s lips and teeth and tongue. Raking her nails down Sera’s torso and feeling her shudder in pleasure beneath Bastila. Painting her skin with the resulting wetness…
Sera turned her head suddenly and their eyes met, heat radiating out of her, melting away reason and perception until nothing existed but them. A slow smile spread across Sera’s face, which quickly turned to alarm and muffled cursing as the breakfast she was cooking caught the pan and started to burn.
Bastila covered her mouth to stifle a laugh. Once the danger had passed, Sera glanced back at Bastila and rolled her eyes at herself, before giving her full attention to their meal, the tips of her ears tinged pink with embarrassment. Adorable idiot.
The warmth fled her chest when she realized that the chatter next to her had ceased. Beqi was staring at her, mouth open, shock and disbelief plain on her face. Bastila glanced quickly towards Ran and Yina but they seemed to be engrossed in their own conversation and hadn’t noticed anything untoward. Not yet anyway.
There was a moment’s silence between them. Bastila could feel Beqi shifting in her seat next to her, clearly searching for something to say. She herself sat frozen in her seat, caught between defending and denying her feelings for the remarkable woman whose body still bore the marks of defending Bastila from her own worst impulses. Her world had been overturned so thoroughly in the past few months that she no longer knew how to act.
“So, uh…” Beqi leaned in and lowered her voice. “How did you two meet?”
That is not a complicated story at all!
“Well. There was a battle and I saved Sera's life. We met again some months later and the Jedi Council decided that we should take care of some business. Together.”
She smiled at the confusion on Beqi’s face.
“We’ve been travelling together for quite some time now.”
“And that's how the two of you got…” Beqi wiggled her finger back and forth between Bastila and Sera. “You know…”
Bastila blinked. “Well, it’s just…” How do you explain what it feels like to be stripped of all defences and have another person welded to your soul?
“So what’s the deal with this character hanging around you, pretending to be a vicious guard dog?” Ran asked, sparing Bastila from having to explain to a Jedi how falling in love worked.
“She is technically the captain of this ship. She had every right to refuse you entry,” she answered dryly.
“Jedi are respected for their fairness and reliability by all law-abiding citizens in the Republic. The fact that your companion responded to a simple enquiry in such a recalcitrant manner speaks to disturbing lack of trust and respect for authority on her part,” Yina chimed in.
“Yes, well…” Bastila blinked. It was odd experiencing it from the other end. How Jedi treated civilians when they wanted something. “She didn’t know who you were! You could have been lying or you could have been Dark Jedi. We only just defeated Darth Malak yesterday. Do you really think that all those bounties on our heads have just mysteriously evaporated? You could have been someone out for revenge!”
Yina narrowed her eyes ever so slightly. “And why would anyone wish to seek revenge against you, Bastila?” she said in that serene voice of her’s, face a placid Jedi mask.
“Wait! You have a bounty on your head?!”
“Beqi, every Jedi involved in the war effort has a price on their head.” Bastila pointed at her. “You have a price on your head.”
Ran waved all that away. “This is all besides the point. Why are you being watched over by some civilian that looks like she’s been chewed up and spat out by a rancor?”
They all looked over at Sera, who waved at them sheepishly.
“I had to start over. I promise breakfast won’t take much longer,” she said before turning back to her pan.
“She doesn’t look that bad,” Bastila said unconvincingly.
“Does she not know how to fight?” Ran asked incredulously. “I mean, how do you even end up with that many injuries?” She laughed as if it were the funniest that had happened all month.
She glared at her former roommate. “You wade through an army of grenadiers and Sith apprentices and Masters to rescue someone who wants nothing more than to kill you, that’s how!” With that, she stomped away from the table and joined her lover in the small kitchen.
“Needed a moment?” Sera enquired softly.
Bastila let out a frustrated breath. “How does a person get to be so arrogant and presumptuous that you believe you have the right to judge someone based on how they were when you first met them?”
Sera chuckled. “Just say the word and I’ll kick them out of here.”
“They might resist. They seem quite determined to be here.”
“That's too fucking bad for them. Back at the bar, we used to--” She trailed off as realization washed over her, sweeping away the foundations of her reality. There hadn't been a bar and she’d never worked in one. It was a fantasy, created by her own mind for reasons unknown.
“I, uh…” The breath seemed frozen in her lungs, heavy and unmoving. She inhaled deeply, trying to dispel the leaden ice in her chest. “I forgot.” She laughed at herself. “I forgot it wasn't real.”
She felt Bastila’s arms encircling her in a tight embrace. The room behind them fell silent and she could feel the eyes of their guests boring into them.
“They can see us, you know,” she said quietly.
Bastila pressed a kiss to her cheek. “I don’t care. I didn’t spend weeks in the clutches of a maniac to bow to the delicate sensibilities of a few Jedi,” she whispered fiercely.
Sera felt the sincerity behind the words pulsating through the connection between them, the intensity like the sun on her face after a long night, warm and strong. Slipping her arm around Bastila’s waist, she pulled her partner closer.
“Thanks, love.” They stood like that for a moment, letting the Force flow freely between them, warmed by each other’s presence.
“Wanna eat before I burn breakfast again?” Sera whispered in Bastila’s ear.
Bastila laughed, her voice happy and relaxed. “It’s an idea.”
Gathering the items, with some difficulty due to Sera’s bandaged hand, they transported the thankfully unburnt breakfast to the stonily silent table and tucked in, uncaring of the hard stares and uncomfortable shifting of their guests.
Beqi cleared her throat nervously. “So, Sera. How did you two me--”
“Nobody cares about that!” Ran thrust her finger towards where the two of them had come from. “What the hell was that?”
Sera stopped with a forkful of food partway to her mouth. “Breakfast,” she said helpfully.
“Don’t play that game with me, you reprobate! If you think we’ll let some outsider just come in off the street and corru--”
“Really, Ran. It's like you've never seen two adults kiss before,” Bastila told her former friend, back regally straight, taking delicate bites of her breakfast as if she personally had never had any problems with the idea of kissing other consenting adults. Sera let out a lovelorn sigh. She's so fucking gorgeous. I have no idea how other people go about their daily business without constantly getting the urge to worship at her feet. Breakfast and guests forgotten, Sera rested her chin on her hand and gazed at her love in wonderment and affection.
“Bastila, that's not even… How can you… Argh!”
“So you admit it,” Yina interjected. “That you’re involved with this…” Her eyes roamed over Sera’s form, apparently finding little of value. “Individual?”
Bastila’s composure slipped, her eyes darting back and forth guiltily, cheeks tinged pink from embarrassment. “Um, well, I…” Her eyes met Sera’s, warmth flowing between them. “I suppose I am,” she said, all trace of shame gone from her countenance. Beautiful. Bastila blushed, a soft smile lighting her face, obviously having heard Sera’s thoughts.
Yina frowned. “You don’t even bother to conceal it? Your indiscretion with this civilian?”
“Um.” Beqi raised her hand. “Not that it makes it any better but isn’t Sera a Jedi? She doesn’t feel like an untrained Force-sensitive…”
The three of them turned and glared at Sera, who managed to tear her attention away from the vision sitting next to her - so pretty! I’m the luckiest bastard in the galaxy! - and face their scrutiny with innocently blinking eyes.
“Why isn’t it any better if I’m a Jedi? Isn’t it better to, you know, keep things in the family, so to speak?” Sera said, making unnecessary hand gestures as she did so.
“If you were a properly trained Jedi you would know what a foolish question that is,” Yina said, her eyes narrowing with suspicion.
“Maybe I just like challenging conventional wisdom.”
Bastila rested her hand on top of Sera’s. “Sera was only inducted into the Jedi Order to aid in the war effort at my suggestion. She has no reason to think or act like a normal Jedi and…” Bastila took a deep breath. “...that has been of great value to us.” She interlaced her fingers with Sera’s, stroking the back of her hand with her thumb. “Things would not have turned out as well as they did if she had been a more conventional Jedi.” Her voice was shaking by the time she finished.
“You got her into the Order?” Ran’s face was scrunched up in confusion.
“Sera showed exceptional ability on Taris and I believed that her talents were wasted as a foot soldier. I put forward my recommendation to the Council on Dantooine and they made the final decision after much deliberation. Anything that happened afterwards was, well…” She glanced in Sera’s direction. “Well, it was rather unexpected, to be honest.”
“I am not sure if you can be trusted to give accurate information with regards to anything involving the Jedi Order,” Yina said gravely.
Bastila rolled her eyes. “I still have a higher security clearance than you do, Yina.”
“Do traitors get to keep their security clearance?” Yina’s eyes were hard and unforgiving in her sweet and placid face.
“Okay.” Sera could feel temper rising within her, mixing with her exhaustion and the headache brought on by hunger to make a potentially dangerous combination. “You can go now.”
“I’m not sure why we should leave a traitor to the Republic and the Jedi to simply go about her business. No, we will not go.” Yina was resolute but Beqi merely sat looking incredibly uncomfortable and even Ran looked bewildered at her friend’s apparent willingness to escalate the situation.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake...” Sera buried her head in her hands and groaned. Why are Jedi like this?
“Brave of you to face us with so little backup.” Sera could feel the anger and darkness seething within her beloved like a maelstrom of razor blades, the willingness to lash out building.
“No, please!” She laid a gentle hand on Bastila’s arm, feeling the tension in her tightly knotted muscles. “Please, there’s no need for that. Look.” She turned to the stony-faced Jedi. “What do you even want here? We’re just trying to enjoy some rest after several very long months. What can we do to make you go away?”
“You would try to bribe me away from the path of justice?” Yina’s voice was deadly and silky smooth.
“Come on, Yina. This is making me uncomfortable.” Beqi prodded her friend’s shoulder. “Let’s just go and leave them to their breakfast.”
Yina’s steely gaze slid from the two of them and Sera used the momentary distraction to check on Bastila, who was ashen grey and trembling, sweat beading on her forehead.
“I know, baby, but you didn’t,” Sera murmured, holding Bastila’s face gently in her hands.
Bastila clutched onto Sera’s hands as if they were the only thing between her and the Dark Side, making Sera wince a little. “If you hadn’t been here…”
She tried to catch Bastila’s gaze. “But I was. Okay?”
Bastila’s eyes met Sera’s and she finally relaxed her iron grip on her partner’s hands, her breathing slowing and steadying. “Okay… Yes, I’m okay.”
“Um, hey.” Beqi flapped her hand at them to get their attention. “So, we’re going to go.” She addressed Bastila. “Sorry about the…” She gestured with her head towards where the other two were making their way to the still open exit ramp, Yina back to looking like the sweetest, kindest person in the galaxy and Ran looking more than a little shell-shocked behind her. “Not quite sure what that was all about.”
“Thanks, Beqi,” Sera replied for the both of them. “It was good to meet you, even if circumstances weren’t ideal.”
“Yina.” Bastila’s voice stopped them all dead in their tracks. “Don’t ever do that again.”
Sera thought she saw a slight sneer on the woman’s beautiful face before Beqi hustled them out of view and closed the ramp shut behind them.
Bastila dropped her head onto Sera’s chest, pulling her girlfriend’s arms around her. Resting her cheek on top of Bastila’s head, Sera let the adrenaline drain out of her, leaving her more exhausted than when she awoke. At least we’re all in one piece.
Bastila mumbled something into her chest. “I’m sorry, love, I didn’t catch that?”
The younger woman rested her chin on Sera’s chest and scowled up at her. “Why are Jedi like that?”
Sera’s surprised laughter echoed against the metal walls of the Ebon Hawk.
“I don’t know, babe,” she said still chuckling. “They’re not all bad.”
Bastila just grumbled and tucked her head back against Sera’s chest, snuggling against her breasts, not unlike a small animal burrowing into safety. They stayed like that for a long while, Sera picking at the remains of her meal and playing with the strands of hair at the nape of her neck that had escaped Bastila’s loose ponytail with her other hand, enjoying the freedom to touch and be touched.
“You wanna go see what the others are doing?” Sera said finally. “It involves copious amounts of smoke and there’ll be a few large men with big guns that they’re not afraid to use there.”
Bastila sighed. “I can’t quite believe that I would have ever have needed protection from another Jedi,” she muttered. “Alright. It'll be good to enjoy the sun while it's still daylight and I didn't get to enjoy the beach the last time I was here,” she said, shrugging.
They cleaned up the shattered remains of breakfast, Bastila rolling her eyes at Sera shovelling what was left on everyone's plates into her open mouth-- “I'm hungry!”-- before locking the ship and making their way across the shining sand towards the column of smoke in the distance.
There were strong arms around her and her head was resting against something soft and pleasantly scented. Inhaling deeply, there was also the smell of woodsmoke and roasted meat, the hint of alcohol and the smell of the sea underneath it all. Distantly, she could hear the quiet roar of the surf overlaid with the low murmur of chatter and laughter, the occasional addition of answering vibrations from the body beneath her and the tinny sound of some pop song that she vaguely recognized coming from a low-powered speaker. Letting her eyes drift open, she beheld the familiar faces of those that she had gotten to know during their long journey to bring peace to the galaxy, forms lit only by the light of the large fire in the middle of their group, the roasted remains of some animal suspended over the flames. In amongst them were several strangers, mostly Republic soldiers, but she thought she saw a few Jedi as well as one of the native inhabitants of the planet and, was that a Mandalorian? A bottle was being passed between them, a minor argument breaking out when Carth refused to pass the beverage to Mission, the young teenager complaining that she’d never been carded in any of the bars she’d gone into.
A warm chuckle above her drew her attention and she looked up at the face of her protector and current pillow. Sera’s eyes were twinkling in the low light of the fire, face tinged with exhaustion but free from care for the first time in far too long. She lay gazing up at her strong and kind partner for a long moment, eyelids drooping, until she sank once more into unconsciousness, encircled by safety and comfort.