A Child's Father Rating: PG
Diana deRiggs & DorianGrey

"A child needs a father, Tyria! Please, take him back!"

Tyria Sarkin flipped her blonde hair away from her face, her skin blotched with anger. "Shalla, if you say that once more, I swear, combat arts expert or not, I will smack you stupid!"

The shorter woman lowered her head, but not her eyes. "Tyria, you had a child with a very attractive, restless man. What's more, he's in Intelligence, sex is part and parcel of the job! What made you think he could risk fidelity?"

"I don't care! He promised ... that's how he convinced me to marry him when I discovered I had fallen pregnant," Tyria was feeling hysterical, but also too furious to succumb to it. "A child does not need a lying, cheating father, Shalla!"

"Tyria, what are you doing?" Shalla's dark eyes watched her former roommate as Tyria snapped open a bedsheet.

"I don't want his tainted ass back," Tyria pulled double armfuls of men's clothes from the closet, hangers and all, "I'm helping him pack!" She threw shoes, jackets, data pads, dishes, cutlery, and many over random things into the center of the sheet.

"That's too big for him to carry out," protested Shalla, wondering what she could possibly say to calm her friend.

"I'm not requiring him to fetch it. I said I don't want him back. Help me here, unless you want Doran's mother to throw out her back, Shalla." The infuriated blonde pulled the corners of the sheet together and was tying them together into knots.

Shalla figured that helping her friend would help calm her. "Where are we taking this?" She was following Tyria, carrying the bottom part of the bulky parcel.

Tyria activated the window control and defenestrated the sheet-tied bundle and its contents. Shocked, Shalla lunged to the window and watched the pale thing fall down onto a platform, many stories below. It tumbled a bit in the Coruscant crosswinds, then puffed open as it hit the ground. "Tyria! You just destroyed and lost all of Kell's belongings!"

Exhausted, Tyria sat down with her face in her hands and sobbed. "The bastard deserves it! He is fucking someone else, and I can't deal with it — he knew that. Why would he do this to me and Doran??"

Shalla shifted uncomfortably. "Where's the baby, Tyria?"

Taking a large breath, her friend breathed out jaggedly. "I asked Runt to look after him while I was out with Elassar."

"Ah ... Elassar was the narc, then," Shalla nodded, "that makes sense. He never could keep a personal secret."

Tyria was sniffling, "He com'd me, he was weeping, 'I have to tell you ... you have to come with me to the nightclub bazaar, at the night market. It's Kell and Dia.' So I called Runt to look after Doran and left with Elassar. He was right — Kell drove up in a late model speeder with that Twi'lek, both dressed to the nines!" Her anger was rising again as she described the event to Shalla, and she spat out Dia's race.

"Are you sur—" Shalla hesitantly started.

"Of course, I'm sure! He was snogging the slut! His hands were all over her! You should have seen the look on his face when he spotted me!" Tears were flowing, but she wasn't yet sobbing. "I grabbed that bitch by her lekku and I pulled as hard as I could — you know how sensitive their brain tails are — and she let out the most satisfying shriek!"

Shalla's eyes grew wide, "You hurt Dia?"

"Of course, I punched that cow in the gut and gave her a black eye ... though I should have just done that to Kell. I know his weak spots. I should have killed him!" Tyria was panting with rage now. "I beat the shit out of the slut! It felt so good, too!"

"Um ... then what?" Shalla's brow wrinkled in concern.

"Then I came home ... and you were here." Tyria furrowed her brow, too.. "Shalla, what were you doing here?"

The other woman shrugged. "Elassar."

Raising one eyebrow, Tyria stood up and put her hands on his hips, "What did he tell you?"

Shrugging again, Shalla looked away, "That you and Kell were splitting up, and that you were going to kill him. I came because I was hoping to avoid bloodshed. And to talk to you about what a father means to a child ..."

Tyria sniffed haughtily, "No child needs a cheating monster as a father. He has me — a mother is more important than a father. I'm the one who's been doing all the care for the baby. Kell does nothing but play with him — anyone can play with a baby!"

"But Tyria," asked Shalla, "what if something happens to you? Sure, the war is mostly over, but we get threats all the time, and what's to say another war won't break out? Doran's parents are both in the military, they could be called for anything, he could be orphaned ..."

"I was orphaned, Shalla," retorted Tyria. "It sucked. Don't lecture me on the need for parents. You didn't have parents either, none of us really did."

Shalla looked pensive, "So, why did you marry him? Why not just have the baby and roll the dice? For that matter, why keep it after birthing it? Dump it at the orphanage, like all of those billions of kids were with the wars?"

Tyria sucked in her breath, as if her friend had hit her. "How can you say that? Doran ... he's all I have!"

"And how do you think Kell feels about him? He's named for his shamed father, do you think maybe Kell's trying to redeem his father?" Shallow's eyes narrowed. "Sometimes fathers mean more than mothers. Look, you don't even know what was going on ... I'll be you anything that Kell had a reason to be with Dia. No—" she held her finger up to Tyria, "— you don't know. You left the unit when Doran was born, you're out of touch."

She shook her head, "Okay, say I am out of touch. Still, no way is he innocent! For one, there had to be more than smoke for Elassar to feel compelled to tell me, and for another, Kell's reaction when he saw me. If he was innocent, he wouldnt have acted so guilty! I swear, the look in his eyes told me everything!"

Shalla rolled her eyes, "Maybe he's required to act a certain way. So, you're happy to pin him as guilty before he even gets a trial. Sorry, Tyria — you're not acting particularly like the last of the Antarian Rangers — weren't they purported to be good at finding the truth and executing on it?"

Dumbstruck, Tyria managed to sputter, "Oh, and are you going to point out that I'm not Jedi-like either? Skywalker himself rejected me for training, don't you remember that? I'm not any of the stuff I was — and why are you defending Kell? I told you what happened! I'm not the one at fault here!"

"I'm not defending Kell. If he was fucking Dia casually, then he deserves whatever vitriol you give him. I'm talking about Doran — he doesn't deserve to not know his father, just because his parents don't get along ... I'm telling you, fathers are important in this galaxy." Shalla stopped suddenly, as if she was afraid of revealing something.

"Like fun you aren't defending Kell! You're a woman, how can you say that? You're the one who doesn't understand, Shalla — you aren't married, you don't have a baby, your trust wasn't breached. You should be on my side!" Tyria was slightly sensitive in the Force, and it was telling her that Shalla was provoking her for a reason. "Shalla, what are you hiding from me?"

At this level on Coruscant, it wasn't unusual to feel the humidity of the summer rains higher up on the surface, and the open window was letting the atmospheric moisture permeate the air. There was a light breeze swirling. Shalla understood that humidity was a factor in such crimes as murders, and she hoped Tyria wasn't actually contemplating killing her husband. Carefully, Shalla chose her words, "I don't have a mother."

"Of course you do," replied Tyria, suddenly feeling testier. "We all do. Do you mean you didn't know her?"

"No," and Shalla's voice dropped in tone and volume, and she whispered, "I don't have a mother. Just a father. There were just the three of us — father, sister, and me."

"Your sister ... isn't she that instructor who trained Kell?"

Shalla nodded, "Vula — yes ... my father is known by some as Narcassan."

This information surprised Tyria. "The old Senate Intelligence official? The one in that museum? So Myn was right when he said Narcassan looked like you! Wasn't he known as a hand-to-hand combat speciali— oh! He trained you!"

"He raised us, Vula and me, by himself. He didn't trust anyone else, but he didn't want to be alone. So he had us, without a mother. We never knew how he managed it, because we didn't want to hurt my father. He was our whole world."

Tyria stared, mouth agape, as if whatever she was going to say got stuck in her throat. Then she promptly snapped her mouth shut, annoyed. "This has nothing to do with what Kell has done. Doran has me, he doesn't need that jerk."

"You're not hearing me," complained Shalla. "What I mean is that denying Doran his father will just cause him to obsess about him. Even Master Skywalker admits to an obsession with his father, simply because he was denied the truth about him. And what if Doran is Force-sensitive? Won't that affect his perceptions? You talk about your uncertain heritage all the time — why are you creating uncertainty for your child?"

Tyria was crying silently, trying not to sob. "Stop it! I'm not the bad guy here!"

"Tyria, you have a responsibility to society as a whole to have Doran grow up in this galaxy. It's a depraved, uncertain place, but there is no reason he can't have peace within his family, if that's possible. This transgression of Kell's — it's temporary."

Shalla put her hand on Tyria's shoulder, and realized that the blonde woman was shaking. Was it with anger? Or sorrow? Or something else? "I'm sorry, I know this isn't easy. But ... let go your anger. Kell is not the worst man in the universe ... and what he has with you is unique — no one can claim what he can! He has a child with you — Doran is a special being, born of special parents, in non-ideal circumstances ..."

"Okay, okay ... I give up. I'm the bad guy, depriving Doran of a two-timing creep of a father ..." Tyria was giving up her battle against her sobbing, and she was hiccuping these words.

She buried her face in her hands and wailed. "But ... but ... Shalla ... you promise ... you tell Kell that he's the asshole, okay?"

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