Dreams can take many forms. Some come at night, cutting to the bone, hot as ice – sweat, fear, desire, loss, a nightmare of passions leaving you drained and renewed or…not. Others come in a light doze, fanciful and free, playing on mind like a violist plucking strings, sans bow; ending with a start or a slow blink. Those that come during the day can be the strangest of all, waking dreams, hold elements of both; a heady mix of reality skewed slightly off center, the lens both too sharp and unfocused. The more you question, the more you ask “is this a dream?”, the more the answer slips away.
The spaceport on Nar Shaddaa was busy as usual – a bustle of commerce, both legal and illicit, convenient but not an idyllic spot for saying goodbye. Lil shouldered her way through the crowd and her dream, ignoring both with the same outward stoicism, feeling Neb at her back, with all the emotions that now spawned carefully and pharmacologically held in check. He guided her a few times to a turn with a soft word or gentle squeeze on her shoulder, and she in turn grabbed his hand and bit off his middle finger.
“Next right, batat,” he murmured close to her ear, the taste of blood fading on her lips.
“I know,” she replied distantly, sidestepping a viper as she turned and headed between two arguing purebloods toward the dark temple, reveling as it pulled her soul into its depths.
“You’re sure you didn’t want to take…”
“She’s yours, Neb. You bought her, after all. Just keep the engines tuned and make sure the fuel mix is a bit hot, she runs better that way.” She stopped abruptly, turning to face him, eyes intense. “You never much liked your new ship anyway,” she quipped, a ghost of a smile on her face. “Besides, I left you a surprise on board.”
“I’m afraid to ask,” he replied, running a finger along her jawline.
“I’ve named her BVee, only this one talks back. In my voice.” She flashed her eyes and wrinkled her nose at him, a familiar expression, a flashback to old times. Good times. Sane times.
He stared at her a moment before laughing. “I’m half tempted to set its autopilot to that volcano you sent my first ship into…”
“Do it, and I’ll track you down and kill you.” Which she did, in graphic detail, fucking him to death on the tarmac before turning away to continue on to their dock. His own smile faltered as he saw her eyes shift again, growing distant, a stark reminder of why they were there. Why this was necessary.
They continued in silence, up the lift to the docking area. It wasn’t the comforting silence of friends, of lovers, of Tir, but an awkward void filled with unspoken apologies and hopes. The door finally hissed open…and there she was.
Da’ciana looked nothing like her sister. A mane of blue gray hair pulled back to reveal cybernetic eyes, soulless things that masked the woman beneath. This was one reason Neb had questioned her so carefully, even after blood tests proved their tie. Blood ties, but blood can turn. He’d sensed no such thing, however, only a deep concern and caring, and a subtle humor edged in sadness and regret – something he could relate to. Lil stepped slowly toward the other woman, blinking, restrained briefly by his hand on her shoulder which he released with an effort.
The name triggered…something. Tentative steps became a race into the other woman’s arms, sobs wracking her lithe frame. The tableau held for a full minute until Daci gently extracted herself, looking over her shoulder at Neb.
“I’ll prep the ship,” she offered with a small smile. “Thank you, Lord Stryfe. In all my years of searching, I never thought I’d be saying that to a Sith in the end. Life does indeed enjoy moments of irony to keep us honest.” She planted a kiss on Lil’s cheek before turning away and heading up the ramp. He watched her go the lowered his eyes to Llilyth, standing with her arms wrapped around herself, staring at the deck.
“Don’t. Don’t say it.” Her voice was soft yet steady. She turned. Raised her eyes. Spoke.
“I know. I know, Neb. It’s crazy, and I’m crazy. There’s no use denying it, your eyes speak the truth…I’m still sane enough to see that.” A casual, wry smile and small shrug. “It’s been quite a ride, hasn’t it?”
“That is has.” He made no move, stood waiting, hoping.
“Remember Tattoine, the raid on the Genosians?”
“And that time on your desk…when Jaz’mina walked in. I can still picture her boots.”
“You’re lucky you couldn’t see her face.”
“I love you.”
The silence that followed wasn’t the awkward kind, nor was it the comforting familiar kind. She moved quickly to fill the void.
“I know…Tir. It’s stupid. No…I don’t mean that, I mean…the idea of it wasn’t, just having to use that…word, all because I couldn’t…everyone who’d used it had either been lying or died, or left, or…something, and then…Daci, here, it all kind of…I donno, it was kind of a duh moment, crazy right? Just because I…”
Blue lips ended her ramble as he pulled her into a desperate hug, ending only when the physical requirement for oxygen became overwhelming.
“I’m sorry…” she whispered, panting, forehead resting on his chest.
“I’m not,” he replied, fingers clenched in her flyaway hair. She laughed ruefully at that, lifting her head and kissing him back.
She widened her eyes slightly, planting a frown on her face. “Better? You are a hard man to satisfy…”
It was his turn to laugh, followed by another kiss. She stepped back, hand on his cheek, then turned away and headed up the ramp. Long goodbyes had never been her thing. Besides, the future awaited her in the place it had all begun.
“What a bunch of trite bullshit that is…” she thought with a roll of her eyes. The ship door hissed open, and she stepped inside, turning back to give him one last crooked grin.
And then she was gone.