Unexpected
Part 2
Rating: PG
Thrawn McEwok

For a long, long moment, no-one spoke.

"Uhh," Ysanne said, stepping forward, and offering a handshake and a smile. "Iím sorry. This is probably no easier for you than it is for me."

"You could say that," the Emperor's Hand replied, clasping her hand firmly and experimenting with a tight smile. "I don't remember having a daughter."

"I, ah ..." Ysanne stalled. Unexpected heat burned in her cheeks. This wasn't how they'd practised it. "Uhh ..."

"It's okay," Luke Skywalker said, offering her an encouraging expression, giving her palm a gentle grip. "In your own time, Ysanne."

"Thanks." She blinked back at him, and tried to find the words.

"Allow me to explain," Tremayne said smoothly, stepping in behind her. "Emperor's Hand: when you were imprisoned as a traitor in Imperial Year Twenty-Nine ..."

"Not an experience I like to remember, thank you."

"Nevertheless," he murmured. "You were pregnant, after your liason with Master Skywalker, and you believed the child to have been terminated during the interrogation process ..."

"Mara?" Skywalker asked, glancing at his wife — fast as a whip.

Ysanne watched, numb and abstracted, seeing the sudden stiffening in the woman's spine, the way her expression went blank with shock, and the sudden widening of her big green eyes. She looked if someone had just jazzed her with a neural probe.

Some abstracted part of Ysanne's brain reminded her that this woman was her biological mother.

"Terminated?" Mara echoed. "No, n-no. I'd have remembered." Her gaze flickered from her to Tremayne, then back again. "Is this some kind of sick joke? Because I might just kill you for this, Tremayne."

Ysanne glanced at her Master. This really wasn't going the way they'd planned it.

"Sir?" she asked.

"It's okay," he soothed. "Emperor's Hand? Am I to understand that you were unaware that you were carrying Skywalker's child?"

"Don't call me that," Mara snapped. "And no. I didn't. No."

"Then you have my apologies." His nod was flawless, as was his expression in the Force — as usual, Ysanne couldn't tell if he was lying or not. "It appears ... that our records were inaccurate. The child was ... removed, and brought to term via surrogate."

He gestured at her — more weakly than she'd ever seen from him.

Luke stared at Mara.

Mara glared at her.

"If there's a problem," Ysanne said, feeling a sudden urgency to fill the awkward space. "I'm happy to submit to a full spectrum of identity tests, from the physicians and specialists of your choice."

"That's okay," Skywalker said, his eyes making a quiet pass around her. A faint smile grazed his lips. "Ysanne." He seemed to have already recognized that she was his daughter, just like she had always known who her parents were. "In time, yes, but ... that can wait."

"Thank you," she nodded. "Father. I, ah, hope that'll seem less awkward soon."

"So do I." He glanced at Mara, whose eyes shone coldly at her and Tremayne, but who seemed to have retreated into her own private space, physically and in the Force. "Mara?"

"What? Oh, yes. Of course." She embraced her daughter with a wary glance, then shivered slightly. "Should we go somewhere that's not so cold?"


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