Moments in the Temple
Dr. Qwi Xux tried to take a nap in the damp, stone-lined room. The Jedi had done a good job of renovating the Temple rooms, making them habitable, but the cold mists that impregnated the stone filled the room with moisture.
She and her bodyguard, General Wedge Antilles of the New Republic, had arrived on Yavin IV with supplies and a new recruit for Luke Skywalker's newly established Jedi Temple.
While there, the General had hoped to catch up with Corran Horn, one of his former Rogues, and a New Republic hero. She'd expected a cocky, swaggering man in a flightsuit, much like that handsome Wes Janson or Commander Celchu back on Coruscant. Instead, a man, calling Skywalker "Master," and wearing simple work clothing presented himself to the General. He was addressed as Kieran Halcyon.
She tossed a bit between her sheets, then decided that it wasn't going to do her any good to try and sleep. She'd showered and refreshed herself, but just couldn't take that nap she'd thought she'd needed.
Qwi had to admit that this man - this "Kieran Halcyon" - was sort of intriguing. Corran Horn was a galactic hero, and just about everyone knew his name and what he had suffered and accomplished in freeing Imperial City from the influence of Ysanne Isard and the Imperial governing bodies. Yet now, he chose to lead a humble life with the Jedi and to mask his identity.
She'd never thought of doing such a thing. She was responsible for the engineering and design of the Death Stars, the World Devastators, the Sun Crusher - any number of projects that were used, to her horror, as weapons of mass destruction. She'd honestly felt shattered when she was given evidence for their real purpose. But even then, it never occurred to her to hide behind a false identity. She was who she was, and hiding from herself would not change anything.
So why was Corran Horn now Kieran Halcyon? And what was he hiding from?
She was dressed now, and thought she'd go see General Antilles, a thought that made her smile. The two were inseparable, by order, but she sensed that he would stay with her even if not ordered to do so. She felt it strange that she was so sad when he wasn't with her. She'd never felt that way about a stranger, and she had inklings of what it might mean. But mostly, she felt awfully confused.
Anyway, they would be leaving that evening, after the supplies were unloaded and the necessary returnables placed on the cargo carrier. No need to nap, really. The shower was enough to get the kinks of deep space travel out of her body.
The dress she now wore had made the General's eyes light up before, and she looked forward to seeing his expression again.
Qwi moved out of her room and walked softly toward where the General was billeted. Before she could cause press on the door chime, she heard voices. For a moment, she felt betrayed, but then she realized that the second voice belonged to Kieran. She stood very still, her ear pressed to the gap in the doorway.
"Oh no, you like her."
"You're supposed to be her bodyguard and you're falling for her."
Qwi gasped. She felt a thrill run through her - it wasn't her imagination! General Antilles did like her! And Kieran had noticed!
"You'd like her if you'd spend more time around her."
"Don't do it, Wedge, don't do it."
She was shocked to hear Kieran's admonition. Her heart was full one moment, but now her mind was numb. Why didn't Kieran like her? Why would he say such an awful thing?
She felt tears welling up in her eyes, and slipped back down the hall before the audible sobs started. Kieran had warned General Antilles to not succumb to the feelings they were experiencing. Maybe Kieran was just prejudiced against former Imperials. As Corran Horn, he'd worked with CorSec, hunting down criminals and quietly opposing Imperial rule. As a member of Rogue Squadron, he'd killed Isard and took Coruscant back from the Empire. So, he must hate all Imperials, past and present. That bigot!
Lying on the bed face-down, sobbing into her hands, she didn't hear when someone entered her room. She started when the felt a hand on her shoulder. Looking toward it, she found herself looking straight at Kieran Halcyon's bright green eyes.
She started to back away, to try and stand up, but he held her down.
"I'm sorry. I realized that you were outside the door, but my love for Wedge outweighed my concerns for you. That's not right, and I'm very sorry." Kieran said the words to her softly, his voice filled with concern.
Qwi blinked at him. "But you still don't think General Antilles should fall for me - is that how you put it?" She didn't mean to sound so bitter.
Kieran put his arm around her shoulders, pressing closer against her slim body, "He's in love with someone else, he just doesn't know it yet. It would be a shame for him to fall for you, and for him to realize later his mistake. That wouldn't benefit either of you."
The tears started to flow, despite her gritting determination not to let them. She let him blot the tears with the hem of his sleeve. "But you should let him have the chance. That shouldn't be up to you."
Kieran looked surprised, and hesitated, staring at her. Then a tiny revelation hit him and he found himself laughing, "Yes, I should! You're right! Despite all my years under his command, I worry for him. Since you know who I really am, I can trust you with this secret: my wife is his best friend from childhood. She knows more about him and trusts him more than anyone, knows how capable and brave and good he is, and she still worries about him."
Qwi looked into Kieran's eyes, and was startled at their seriousness. She sighed, "It must be nice to have friends who care so much about you. I never had any. This is very new to me."
Kieran, taken by Qwi's sadness, sighed also. "Don't take it personally, but no one is good enough for our boy, Wedge. I know, intellectually, all about you. Wedge tells me that to know you is to be impressed by you, that your innocence is a refreshing thing to his battle-hardened senses. If you can make Wedge happy, I'd be grateful to you. Even if it's only for a short time."
She caught his meaning. "But what of this other woman, whom you claim is the real love of General Antilles' life?"
The Jedi shrugged, "It will happen. I know it; I can feel it; I even know who she is. But not now. There is time."
Qwi moved to sit up, and this time, Kieran released her. As she stood and rearranged the folds of her dress, Keiran suddenly realized what Wedge might have seen in her.
She was, indeed, freshness and innocence; her movements were like a young girl's, not like that of an evil genius engineer. Wedge believed her when she told him she had no idea her inventions would be used for evil. Her movements, her look, her feel all clearly explained to Kieran why Wedge believed her.
Qwi was sad that this Jedi knew she had no future with General Antilles, just a temporary union, until the "right" woman came into his life. The tears glimmered again as she tidied herself up, and she started to sob again.
And suddenly, she was wrapped in the warmth of a strong embrace. The Jedi held her gently, "I'm sorry to have to hurt you. I have learned from this; it's not my place to interfere with you and Wedge, or with anyone. Go to him, and make him happy. I promise not to meddle, ever again. Thank you, Dr. Xux, for this lesson; and I beg your forgiveness."
Then she felt his lips on her cheek.
Time stopped. Her heart stopped beating. And she slowly, slowly turned her head, to meet his lips with hers.
Odd, he thought, she tastes nothing like I expected; so different from Mirax ... Her lips, though not what a man might call kissable or sensuous, still felt good against his. She kissed him, experimenting for the first time. Little butterfly kisses silently peppered his lips, responding to the feel of his slower, smoother movements.
His hands moved across her back, then gripped her shoulders. Her arms came up, embracing him around the waist. His hands traveled again up her neck, wrapped around her head, and he kissed her more deeply.
She felt his tongue move into her mouth. She was shocked at how good it felt, and how calmly she reciprocated his probing ... she slowed her nervous pace down, and started matching his movements, molding her lips and her body against his. Their breathing ebbed and flowed together, settling into an intense, steady rhythm.
And then they found themselves on opposite sides of the room, panting, staring at one another, wide-eyed in disbelief.
Kieran queried her through the Force, and was relieved that she was not hurt or upset. He retreated quickly.
The door closed behind him, and it was several long minutes before Qwi felt safe to move again. What had come over her? She was in love - and she was sure it was love, now - with her bodyguard, the great and brave General Wedge Antilles. She had never loved anyone in this manner ever before in her life. Yet what was she doing with a man whom she'd met not an hour before? What had come over her?
Feeling weak, she sat on the couch. Kieran had said she would not be the one to share the General's life, in the long run. But that she would make him happy until the right woman came, a long while away.
It's not what she hoped for when she felt herself falling for the General. But she knew it would be enough. The few minutes she'd shared with Kieran Halcyon had taught her this. He left her feeling warm and confident. She felt surprisingly light-headed and happy. And she realized that brief encounters and happiness were much better than holding back and depriving yourself of the experience, even if you knew with absolute certainly that it would end in tears and pain.
Thank you, Jedi Halcyon, for this lesson. She set out to find Wedge.
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