A Piece of Japor Rating: PG
Kidan

One month before the Myrkr Mission.

He gently slips in and out of the crowds of people, briefly looking skywards; he can see Tatoo 1 nearing its zenith, with the second sun still halfway between the horizon and zenith. Satisfied that he still has time before Corran expects him back at the Pulsar Skate, he once more turns his attention to the various wares for sell in this open air market.

His dusty brown over cloak rendering him more like a native than an outlander, Anakin Solo is searching for just the right gift for his girlfriend. He is looking for something that she would appreciate and love, for something that would remind her of him every time she sees it, something which would help her to remember him.

He frowns at that thought, and pushes it from his mind.

Stopping at one booth, he notices the intricate glass puzzles made from sand from the Dune Sea. His ice blue eyes, tracing the intricate curves, he quickly solves the problems which it represents, and with a quick shake of his head goes in search for something that is more Tahiri than a puzzle.

He stops at a second booth, noticing pieces of wood laid out across the table. Keeping a frown from his face, he addresses the vendor. "What are these?"

The vendor smiles at him, "These are pieces of Japor. Once properly cured it is one of the strongest organic materials, it is one of the few trees that can live on Tatooine, and actually it cannot live anywhere else. Yet an interesting trait is that so long as it is uncured, it is also extremely malleable, and easily carved."

Anakin nods his thanks and quickly walks away from the booth, searching for something else. The next booth he comes across is selling pieces of jewelry, some adorned with glass, others with pieces of krayt dragon pearls. Anakin's quickly scans the pieces of jewelry, hoping to see something that catches his eye, but his mind drifts back to the pieces of Japor. He frowns as none of the jewelry seems like something she would wear, especially since the only piece of jewelry he had ever seen her wear was the pendant with her parents' fingerprints on it, which she lost during her captivity.

Leaving that booth, he goes to the next in line which sells various strips of leather, adorned with beads and other trinkets. Looking at the sign, he notices that they are supposedly hand made Tusken bands and belts. Anakin frowns as he cannot remember the Tuskens wearing such things on his visit with them years ago. As his eyes trace the pattern in one of the leather bands for holding hair that is the same green as Tahiri's eyes, Anakin thoughts once more direct him to the snippets of Japor.

A quick glance up at the sun reveals that both suns are almost at their zenith, and Anakin has to be back at the Skate very soon. Anakin's mind is racing, weighing the possibilities, and then finally decides that he will have to go with one of the pieces of Japor.

Returning to that vendor, he quickly scans the available pieces and picks a piece that is about 5 centimeters long and wide, he graces the man with a smile. "I'll take this piece and instructions on how to cure it properly please."

The vendor smiles largely, and the transaction is carried out. Anakin almost balking at how much this small piece of wood costs, but with a quick glance at the sun convinced him that time was of the essence.

Ignoring the man's thanks, Anakin slips his purchase into an inner pocket of his cloak and rushes back to the Pulsar Skate to meet up with Corran and Mirax.

They return to the Errant Venture in the middle of ship's night, and Anakin quickly goes to his room and gets to work on his gift.

* * * * *

Three months after the Myrkr Mission.

Tahiri is walking through the empty corridors of the Errant Venture. This has become a common nighttime routine for her, especially since Anakin died.

Just the thought of his death still hurts and parts of her want to kneel right where she is walking and scream and cry in frustration and pain. Then there is the darker part of her, the part she shies away from, which tells her to embrace the pain, to let it comfort her.

Then she is before her destination. The place she comes every night at this time. Before her is the unassuming door into Anakin's quarters when he lived here on the Venture. She comes here every night, yet she has never entered, at least not since he died.

Like all the other nights, she reaches out to the activator, her hand hovering over the plate, wanting to open it and go inside, afraid to do so.

A quick jab and the door opens with a soft swishing noise.

She stands there and stares into the darkened room, and almost feels like a trespasser or grave robber as she slowly steps into it. The door closes behind her plunging the room into darkness. She reaches out and turns on the lights, blinking in the harsh glare.

She looks around the room, trying her best to not break down and cry once more. Everything put in is place, everything set away properly. A smile tries to come to her face as she realizes just how meticulous her Anakin really is.

Turning towards the wardrobe, she runs her hand along the Jedi tunics and cloaks he has hanging there, and pulls one of the over cloaks off the hanger, wrapping it around her slim form, getting lost in it.

She sits down at his desk, looking over the odds and ends he left on it. The first of her tears escape now, falling to the desktop. She opens a drawer, poking around in the debris of life that drawers always seem to collect, and then does the same with the second drawer.

Sighing, she goes over to his bed, and throws herself on it, burying her head in his pillow. His smell surrounds her and she once more gives into the tears, crying on his bed for what feels like hours.

She is still sniffling lightly as sleep finally claims her.

Hours later she stirs, pressing her hand on the pillow, trying to make it softer. Frowning she lifts her head, and looks around Anakin's room once more. She lifts the pillow and notices a small brown parcel, wrapped tightly with a string. She lifts it, and notices Anakin's neat, precise hand writing on the wrapping, spelling her name.

She opens the package, and pulls out the folded note that lies on the top. A ghost of a smile graces her lips at the feel of the crisp paper, and she thinks that it is like him to find something as arcane as real paper for this note for her. Opening it, she notices the paper is filled with Anakin's neat, precise script, with her name prominently at the top.

Looking back into the package, she pulls out the only other thing in there. Its silver chain sparkles slight in the room's fluorescent lighting, and she looks at the pendent, a small piece of wood, with swirls and swooshes carefully etched and burned onto its surface. Flipping it over, she sees a single strand of hair embedded under a clear layer of sealant.

Fighting tears, she closes her eyes and does a quick calming exercise. Once more in control, she sets the necklace back into the box and lifts the note up to read it.



Tahiri,

On the last supply run with Corran and Mirax we stopped at Tatooine and I decided to get you a present. As I wondered the market looking for the perfect gift, I thought of everything that we've been through together, all the adventures, all the scary things, and all the laughter.

On Tatooine I find this piece of wood, it comes from the Japor tree, and the vendor described it as incredibly strong, yet incredibly soft at the same time. That description reminded me so much of you, that I knew I had to make you something from a piece of it.

As I tried to think of what to make, I remembered your pendent, the one that had your parents' and Slivan's finger prints. I remembered how much it meant to you, it was as much a part of you as the fact that you don't wear shoes. It is one of the things that I wish we had had time to find on our escape from Yavin.

I know that I can't replace it, and that I can't replace your family, but I want to begin our own. Inside the box, you will find a necklace and pendant, and on that pendant is my fingerprint, and genetic print. I know that I can't replace the one you lost, but I hope that this will allow you to start anew.

What I'm trying to say is that I want you to be my wife and my family.

I love you 'Ri.


Tahiri silently folds the note back up, replacing the necklace with it. She then slips the necklace around her neck and once more falls onto the pillow, her tears and sobs overcoming her. The pain of what might have been compounding the pain for what was. And for once, even that dark part of her, the part that still thinks and acts Yuuzhan Vong, is overcome with a pain to great to simply embrace.


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