Vengeance or Virtue Rating: PG

AU where Raaba infected the Jedi with the Emperor's Plague ... An entry for the Crack Pairing Roulette challenge. I got Zekk/Saba and thought it was kind of fun. So I wrote it, and thought I'd ask for more. My next one was Cem Fel/Tendra Calirissian. Again a hard pairing, but I had a good thought for it. I figured that I would get another one, my thinking was that after all, whatever I had sent my way COULDN'T be as hard as Zekk/Saba or Cem/Tendra.

I was wrong. I got Valin/Raaba back. Who is Raaba you ask? Yeah, I had to go look her up as well.

Valin Horn stands at the balcony, watching the sun as it sets, his eyes hard and cold. From behind him he can hear the harsh coughing and hacking of his parents as they are in the final throes of the sickness. He can feel the uncontrolled rage at the Diversity Alliance for releasing this plague on the galaxy, on his parents.

And for once, he doesn't care.

After all, who is there to stop him?

As far as he knows, he and his dying parents and infant sister are the only Jedi left in the galaxy. As he turns to glance once more into the darkened room where his parents lay dying, he wonders if this is how Master Skywalker felt when his teachers died.

Then comes the realization that he has not heard a cough in the past few minutes, and he cautiously steps into the room, keeping himself closed off from the Force as he looks at each of the room's occupants in turn. His mother, father, sister, all laying there on their sick beds, all still, all silent, their faces peaceful for the first time in weeks.

Time seems to stand still for him then, as he feels the setting sun against his back and the tears roll down his face. Wiping away the tears he finally opens himself to the Force and can feel her. He knows that she is sitting at the trunk of one of the trees right outside in the forest, and he wishes to judge her.

He stalks down to her, easily seeing her cinnamon fur standing out in contrast to the purple and blue bark of the tree she has chosen to lean against. For a moment he stands over her watching. The anguish rising up within him as she sits there her head bowed in contrition.

Finally he opens his mouth to speak; he can't help but scream. "Why?"

He can feel her sorrow telegraphing off of her and she raises her head, her brown eyes have tears stuck in the fur around them. [I am sorry human-child. I was tricked.]

"Tricked? Tricked!? Is that what you're calling releasing a disease upon the human population of the galaxy?"

[I am sorry.]

Then Valin does what he never considered doing before. He strikes out in anger, backhanding Raaba across the snout, drawing blood from the shocked wookie. "Sorry doesn't begin to cut it Raaba."

He watches as she heaves a heavy sigh, but does not attack, does not act like a wookie at all. [It is all I have to offer.]

Valin turns away from her to hide his tears. "No it's not." Wiping his eyes with one hand, he spins back towards her and pulls his lightsaber, igniting it, sending a silver-white shaft of energy into the darkening night. Valin watches the saber for a moment, transfixed by the slivers of blue and green that would occasionally writhe up the blade. Then the moment is passed and he focuses on Raaba again, his intent clear in his stance and his eyes.

"There is one other thing you can offer me."

Raaba nods her head. [I won't resist.]

A sneer of hate crosses Valin's face as he lifts his blade and begins to swing it toward Raaba, who calmly sits there watching him, the sorrow of her actions still radiating off of her, her guilt pooling at his feet.

His blade stops centimeters from contact, singeing some of the wookie hair that sticks up from her shoulder, casting that noxious smell into the air. Valin's arms quivers as he struggles against himself, trying his best to remain true to the teachings of his parents and still be able to give into his desire for vengeance for them. Finally he turns off the saber and drops it and himself to his knees as he cries out his grief and pain. As he kneels there in front of her, she leans forward and wraps one of her long arms around him, drawing him into a comforting embrace. Valin struggles against her embrace, crying out to be released, but Raaba continues to hold him.

Finally Valin stops struggling and once more gives into the pain. He begins to sob into the same shoulder that moments ago he tried to house his blade in. Taking comfort in the place he thought he would least likely find it, the female wookie who brought the disease here, who brought this doom to the Jedi and his parents. As he once more opens himself up to the Force, he can feel her sorrow and recognizes it as a reflection of his own.

As his tears finally finish, he looks up at her, and quickly stands up, beginning to walk back into the Jedi Temple.

[Valin, wait.]

Valin turns to see Raaba moving from the spot that she had occupied since bringing the disease here and she begins to walk towards him.

[May I come with you to honor your parents?]

Valin mutely nods his head, and as Raaba catches up to him, they walk back into the temple in silence.

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