Love and Marriage Rating: PG-13
Diana deRiggs

"Hobbie, please go away. I'm in no mood for teasing today! And make sure you tell Wes to get his bu—"

"Wedge, I'm not teasing!" Hobbie Klivian was annoyed at the accusation, "When have I ever teased anyone about a topic like this one?? Why, that's ... that's indecent! A rotten thing to joke about!"

He and Wes Janson were the squadron jokers, but Wedge had to admit that the two had never kidded before about this topic. Still, he was wary. "Okay, Hobbie ... start from the beginning. But wait till Tycho gets here."

"The witness is here!" Just at that moment, Colonel Tycho Celchu walked into the small office. "Start the deposition!" Tycho knew that Wedge needed another reliable, sane person in the room when Hobbie or Wes were playing tattletale on each other, but he always looked forward to the tales they wove. Some of their fabricated explanations were more creative than a holomovie and Tycho quite enjoyed them.

Hobbie made a face at him, "It's not like that, Tycho! Sheesh, I'm perfectly serious! Wes got married!"

Tycho dribbled his caf past it's rim and it poured down his neck. "What??" He was sputtering.

Wedge nodded, "See Hobbie? I'm not the only one who doesn't believe you."

Hobbie shook his head vigorously, "No, no, no! Look, he's not even assigned KP or piquet duty this week! I'm telling you, he met the whore of his dreams and made an honest woman out of her!"

Tycho was still trying to inhale without liquid obstructions interfering with his windpipe, and coughed as he said, "So ... do we know this girl ... um, she's a woman, right?"

Hobbie wrinkled his nose in distaste, "Not sure, actually. I think she's part shark. I hate her. She says I'm a malatrope."

Wedge laughed, "Not to mention a slob and a bad influence!"

"Can I go now?" Hobbie was feeling offended.

"Wait, wait," Tycho wasn't finished, "is it love? Or is it something else?"

Hobbie continued to look wounded, "Are you saying my buddy Wes is incapable of love?"

"Yes," said Wedge and Tycho, as one voice.

Hobbie shrugged, "Yeah, well when you're right, you're right. I don't know why he married her. He met her like a week ago, a pick-up at some tapcaf, you know the kind ... um, maybe you don't ... well, never mind, I'm sure you can imagine it. Next thing I know, there's a note on his pillow saying he's eloped to Segav'sal and he'll be back for his stuff in a week. He asked me to let you know why he's gone. The end. Now can I go?"

Not waiting for a formal dismissal, Hobbie let himself out, though he did enjoy the astonished looks on his commanding officers' faces.

When the door closed, Wedge had activated access to public and military marriage records in the past 24 hours. It didn't take long to find Wes Janson's name. "Tych, according to the record, he married someone named Ada Ven about ten hours ago ... why do I feel sick?"

Tycho giggled, "Wonder if she's related to the X.O.?" He we referring to Nawara Ven, the Rogue Squadron executive office, who was a Twi'lek. "You have to admit, Wes marrying a Twi'lek might make sense if she's a former sexslave ..." He laughed louder.

"Tycho! This is serious! Wes got married!"

Tycho sobered up a bit, "I know — the bastard! No chance for humliating bachelor parties! No drunken hazing or short arm inspection! No meeting the woman who'd managed to ensnare our favorite permanent bachelor!"

"You have a point," Wedge was feeling a bit better knowing that Tycho felt cheated too, "but hey! We can have a party and embarass him anyway, can't we? And even better, he's already married and thus can't blame us for him not showing up at the altar after a drunken party with the boys. And we won't have to take him home, we'll just call her!" Wedge had a glint in his eye, "Oh, this can be good! Payback's a bitch, Janson!" He cackled.

Tycho's eyebrows shot up, "You are a very mean commander, Wedge. But yes, let's do it!"

And plans were made for the day of the newly married Janson couple's return from their honeymoon!

* * * * *

"Shh! Wedge, I have to talk to you!" Hobbie was gesturing to his commanding officer.

"Hobbie, why are you whispering? I have no time to talk, we're getting stuff ready for Wes and Ada's 'welcome to the married life' party!"

"Wedge, this is about Wes and Ada!" He grabbed the cases of lomin out of Wedge's arms and put them down, then dragged Wedge to a maintenance closet so they could talk alone.

"There's not much room in here, Hobb—"

"It's over, Wedge."

"What's over? The party? No way, not have what Wes had done to us in the pas—"

"I mean the Janson marriage — it's over! Wes came home this morning by himself! He was crying! I left him with some Whyren's, but I need to get back before he pickles himself. So, no party, okay? I'm sorry, Wedge!"

Hobbie opened the door and ran down the corrider. Wedge hollered after him, "What do you mean 'no pary'??? What are we supposed to do with all this ale and food??? Hobbie, get back here!!"

Tycho poked his head out into the hallway at the sound of Wedge's yelling, "No party??? Dammit, I knew I should've taken Face's bet!"

"You knew?? Why didn't you say anything?" Wedge was quite put out.

Tycho shrugged, "It's Wes ... Mister 'So little time, so many females, so many species, and what if they invent another one before I know for sure?' I assume he was drunk or something when he committed the act and had the thing annulled."

"Dunno about that," Wedge sat on the cases of lomin, "seems he's unhappy about the breakup, so I assume this Ada Ven woman ran off on him."

Tycho laughed, "What sort of woman do you suppose would actually want to be married to the likes of Wes Janson? She's likely a gold-digger."

"No, I said she was a shark!" Hobbie's voice had unexpectedly come down the hall from around the corner, for he had returned, "She's part female, part shark, and she hates me. That's what I said."

"Hobbie," Wedge looked serious, "did you chase her away?"

"Nah, I hate her, too. Didn't like her possessiveness of Wes, it's true, but I didn't want her for myself, if that's what you're thinking." Hobbie shoved Wedge's butt over so he could take a seat on the stack of lomin containers. "But I'm not here to talk about the shark. I'm here to tell you that if you want, I think a party would be a good idea."

"Um ..." Wedge looked confused, "didn't you just tell me that she left Wes?"

"No, I didn't. I said the Janson marriage is over. He kicked her out."

"So why is he crying?" Wedge just had to know ...

"Because of the way it happened. Seems he was bringing her back to the apartment unit, and she made him take her to an eatery of some sort, then gave him a list." Hobbie pulled a can of lomin out from the case beneath him and opened it with a hiss.

"Hobbie, stop, we're on duty." Tycho rubbed his head, "So this list ... it was a nuptual contract?"

"Hmn ... that's a nice way to put it, though shitty ransom demands might be a more accurate term." Hobbie put the lomin down, but was careful not to kick it over. "This was a list of things she expected him to provide in their so-called relationship. She had another list of things she would provide."

"That's not different from many normal marriage contracts," mused Wedge.

"Yeah, but that contract doesn't normally have specifics like a certain model speeder for her exclusive use; money for tickets back to her home system every three weeks to see her family; co-signing of all accounts and property, as well as setting up an account for her exclusive use; sex a maximum of twice a day, and any deviation from this would result in a 100-credit charge ... anything beyond missionary position would entail other charges, per attached price sheet ... I could go on, but I think you're sufficiently intelligent to understand the gist of the list. Hey, I made a rhyme!" Hobbie looked quite pleased with himself.

The other two men looked astonished again. "That's awful! What a man-eating b—"

"Shark." Hobbie said this firmly. "I said shark."

Wedge shook his head, "Tycho, you were right about the gold-digging ... poor Wes! Where is he now?"

Hobbie took a sip of the open lomin again. "Poor nimcompooped tyke is all worn out, what with having to run around to the records office to make sure the marriage is over, never to return. He's all worn out from the negotiations and notarizing and now he's napping!"

"He went to a lawyer for the divorce? But I thought it'd be simpler ..." Wedge just couldn't absorb the facts presented to him.

Hobbie rolled his eyes, "Because they were already married, she has ... um, rights to some of his stuff."

Tycho groaned, "You're kidding! What did it cost him to ditch her??"

"Let's see ... what didn't it cost him?" Hobbie counted off on his fingers, as if fearful he'd forget something. "Transport home to her nesting grounds, plus paying for shipping her stuff back to her ... half his credits, or half his pension — wise boy opted for credits — as payment for 'services' already rendered, she kept all the gifts and jewelry he bought for her ... and a bunch of stuff in the apartment, including MY toaster and MY music consoles! Or half-mine, but I didn't want her to stay and fight, so I let it go. Some towels, dishes, cups, a couple of gornt roasts in the freezer, my underarm deodorant ..."

Wedge just couldn't understand, "How ... how could she have rights to YOUR stuff, too??"

Hobbie shrugged, "She'd done her homework, that's for sure. Knew what he and I owned together and wanted her share of his half."

Wedge was really stunned, "And he let her get away with that?? That's .. that's ..."

"Shark behavior, I know." Hobbie picked up the lomin again, "I tell ya, it's all due to signing that piece of flimsi and putting on a metal band around your finger. Oh yeah, and I'm paying for Wes's tattoo removal because he's broke now, and I can't stand the idea of him walking around the apartment buck-nekkid with 'Ava, my Ava, my precious hunnybunny' on his pasty ass while he moans about how screwed his life is!"

"Wow, he's in a really bad way. I can see why he'd need a party to cheer him up." Tycho was aghast — this woman was more horrible than he ever imagined any gold-digger would be!

Hobbie belched, finishing up the lomin in his cup. "Yeah, and we can call it, 'Wes is a whoring dumb-ass but we love him anyway' party. Or 'See what happens when you think love or marriage are related, you idiot?'"

Wedge had started to get quite depressed on Wes's behalf, but this idea brightened up his mood and put the mischievious glint back in his eye. "Hey, let's do as we planned for the wedding party, complete with gifts! We can give Wes money and stuff to re-supply the stuff his ex-wife took away!"

Hobbie laughed, "Great idea! Can we wait for another few hours? The shark is still on-planet and I want to make sure she's actually on the ship when it leaves. But I need a little time because I need to make sure the Wraiths can get to the ship and leave a gift from me ..."

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