Guude’s head is down on his desk, half pillowed on one arm, half resting on the cool metal. He’s not asleep. Eyes red-rimmed with exhaustion and what he will always deny as unshed tears, the hand that isn’t nailed to his desk with his face shaking, he probably should be asleep, but he isn’t.
Way, way too much happened last night.
It’s not. This isn’t.
This isn’t the way he thought it’d go. When he’d first started out as a beat cop, starry-eyed and hopeful, he’d thought just a few years and I’ll be able to start the search in full. Then he’d worked his way up to detective, learned that it wasn’t his case because it wasn’t a case and he’d had to use his overtime and every bluff he knew to put together even a rudimentary case file, he’d still held that hope. And then as the years went by he’d let go, one string at a time, because he was a police detective. He could hardly put a childish wish above the service of the people. And if that overtime was only converted into working on every case the department heads were willing to give him, well, Baj only ever raised a disapproving eyebrow (often accompanied by an understanding sigh when he saw dark circles under Guude’s eyes the morning before) and stayed late with him.
He’d only ever thought of triumph or failure, never what might happen if things weren’t as simple as that.
Someone drags their chair over to him and sinks into it with a muffled hum of relief. Beef is briefing Pause at the moment, so the sorry sod who’s elected to deal with the mess that is Guude would be-
“This is not as big of a situation as you’re making it out to be.”
He mumbles something like “fuck off” into his hand, blinking spacily at the distorted colors of his reflection.
“Really. You found him, Guude. You found him.”
It takes a few tries, but he manages to raise his head to meet Baj’s quiet vehemence with raw distress. “But then I lost him. Again. And this time it’s so much worse, I can’t-”
“One step at a time. You found him. He’s alive. You know he’s alive,” Baj says.
“I do not know that. That was true for maybe thirty seconds last night, and now that particular fact’s in question because of me!”
Baj rolls his eyes. “Drama queen. That was a non-fatal shot and you know it. If that idiot friend of his has any sense they’ll have hared off to a hospital. Which Beef should be making calls about between answering Pause’s questions. Possibly before he answers Pause’s questions depending on how worried he is.”
“Yeah, and apparently he’s a criminal now, so the minute we maybe find him is the minute we definitely arrest him! How is this my life?” Guude flops back down to his desk, spent. He hasn’t slept in at least thirty hours and the adrenaline wore off hours ago.
“Our lives,” is the severe rejoinder. “You made this my business the minute you asked me to do those analyses for you when I was in forensics all those years ago. At this point I’m as invested as you are and if you don’t see this through to the end, then I will.”
Guude raises an arm to point in Baj’s vague direction. “Do not. I’m. I’ll be fine. I just need to sort this out.”
“Go finish getting Pause up to speed, he’s probably reached the end of Beef’s knowledge of the situation. It’d do them both good to hear the whole story.” I know you won’t be able to sleep goes unsaid but clearly heard.
Guude doesn’t quite get to standing yet, but he raises his head and takes in a deep breath. That’s right. He’s a detective. Emotional bullshit comes later. After the case. (There is no after to this case.)
Notes: An AU I actually plan to expand upon, which is why it’s purposefully vague on a number of things. Kind of an abrupt end, too. I really couldn’t see how to end the scene with any sort of haste since Guude dealing is a really involved process and isn’t going to get resolved in 600 or so words.
When MC meets Aureylian in the common room with his hair positively drenched in water and a hangdog expression, it’s all she can do not to laugh aloud. As it is, she barely manages to choke out a strangled “good morning” before she has to look determinedly in another direction.
“This is an injustice!” he sputters, voice light with mock outrage.
Oh good, he’s been spending time with Nebris again. She wasn’t going to bring it up, but if he’s going to be dramatic about it she might as well play along. They’ve done this song and dance for years, but it never gets any less entertaining. He moves back into her range of vision, forcing her to press her lips together to stop the smile threatening to take over.
“What happened?” Aurey asks, doing her best to school her expression into something more serious.
“Mhykol’s taken it upon himself to tutor both himself and me in charms. By waking me up with them until I learn the counterspell,” he turns an outrageous pout towards her.
“It… doesn’t seem to be very effective.” She gestures at the drips pittering to the ground.
“Oh, no, it is,” he grouses. “Last week was Avis. I’m very good at vanishing spells now. Do you know anyone who likes feathers? I keep finding them in my bed. Mhykol’s very creative so I’ve got a lot of interesting ones.” MC looks at her hopefully.
She finally gives in to her urge to giggle. “I’m sure I can find some people. And if you have any peacock feathers, I’d be happy to take them off your hands.”
She chuckles her way through a quick Impervius, not missing the way MC watches her wand movements with avid interest, and links their arms to drag him off to the Great Hall for breakfast.
Notes: Avis is a bird-summoning charm, this week Mhykol’s spell is Aguamenti, and Aurey’s Impervius makes the target waterproof.
Recipe for a Star Wars plot:
One (1) Jedi:
I bring balance.
One (1) pilot:
“Look, man, I’m just a little nervous about being in the same system as the scary evil space wizard. You sure you gotta do this? You sure I gotta do this?”
One (1) unexpected addition:
“Listen, this Ilum place’s got to have olive-colored crystals. I just don’t see why you’d stick with plain green when you could have olive!”
A dash of Sith Lord:
“This is justice!”
“It is a measure of how far you’ve Fallen that you can no longer tell the difference between justice and revenge, my old friend.”
Purple ignites into sickly yellow fire as two Sith-red ‘saber blades crash into his own green one. The Dark Side surges with its insidious fire, but Pak has whirled to the side and let off an instinctive Force push before even the sparks connect. Nebris—or the man who once answered to that name—anticipates the move and is already out of the way and swinging one of his lightsabers in an overhand strike while the other aims for his ribs.
Block. Dodge. He trained for this. Ne- Darth Avaritus fought by his side for ten years, they know each other’s ‘saber styles like they know their own, and Pak’s Niman will not work here because of that. He has to think, to integrate the other Forms he drilled over and over and over again until they were as natural (if not as inborn) as his preferred Form.
Passion, yet serenity.
Avaritus’ next strike is deflected with swirl of Soresu, delicately collecting both blades to the side as Pak finishes cycling his blade. He doesn’t enjoy the slight widening of Avaritus’ glittering yellow eyes, that is not the Jedi way.
But he might, in a purely academic sense, appreciate that he still has the ability to surprise a man who has always been a prodigy.
He doesn’t let Avaritus pull back to regroup, channeling his momentum into a Makashi strike that scrapes by the man’s cheek as he makes a desperate leap back. The smell of singed hair fills the air, but Pak pays it no mind as he sinks into the Force. He reaches out with his off-hand and pulls it towards his body to channel a Force pull, lightsaber already in position to stab. Avaritus jerks his ‘sabers up to knock Pak’s aside but, Pak lets himself smile at the untrained flare-up of Force presence, Arkas chooses this instant to make himself known in a flurry of blaster bolts.
Of course, if Pak can sense him then Avaritus can too, but if Arkas is here then Guude is high in the air above them, lining up a shot somewhere out of sight and hearing.
The bolts slice through the space Avaritus has barely vacated—though caught off guard and outnumbered he’s still a terrifying opponent.
To be honest, Pak doesn’t know if a pilot, an untrained Force-sensitive, and a single, former Jedi Knight are enough to defeat him. Guude is their last ace in the hole, and every moment Avaritus isn’t dead is another he’s using to adapt to his circumstance. Already he’s thrown Arkas into a tree, wrestling against Arkas’ death-grip on his blaster as Pak lets the Force guide him into a darting stab, which is parried with brutal strength into the ground.
The Force is choked in Darkness, but Pak is here, he is a blaster bolt in the night, all leashed energy and searing light. And then there is the small sun which makes up Arkas, a solar flare of pulsing power, and Guude, above them, the candle of legend, unable to be extinguished by any wind. Pak (or the Force, or both of them, they are one in the same) lines his ‘saber up with the twisted black hole of energy and pulls-
I am the balance.
Notes: I started reading Star Wars fanfic and fell in love with lightsaber forms. Here’s a description of the ones used here. Pak’s original focus was Form VI, Niman, which he trained in as a padawan and used almost exclusively until Nebris Fell. It’s a practical, well-rounded form with no particular advantages or weaknesses. It doesn’t involve very complex bladework, but highly encourages the use of Force abilities in combat (like Force pushes and pulls to put your opponent in the way of your blade). It’s often used by Jedi who want to focus on things other than combat. After Nebris Fell, Pak drilled heavily in two other forms, the first being Form III, Soresu, which is a highly defensive form. Soresu prizes economy of movement and lots of build up of momentum in the arms and blade. There’s lots of lightsaber spinning and it comes with a bonus of being able to deflect baster bolts really well. That said, there’s very little offensive power to it (this was Obi-Wan Kenobi’s preferred form in his later years). He also started on Form II, Makashi, which is meant for lightsaber duels. It looks a lot like fencing, tbh. By combining Makashi and Soresu, he neatly deals with the weaknesses of the two forms, the lack of offensive moves in Soresu are supplemented by Makashi’s offense, while Makashi’s weakness against ranged attacks and strength-based opponents are countered by Soresu’s blaster bolt deflection and ability to build up momentum with the spinning. I didn’t get into Nebris’ combat style because I was starting to run low on shortness, but he uses a hybrid of Form IV, Ataru, and one of the Form V disciplines, Djem So, both adapted for use with two ‘sabers (using two lightsabers is known as Jar’kai). Both are very aggressive forms, but Ataru is styled more towards acrobatics (Yoda uses Ataru so he can actually reach his opponents), and Djem So is strength-based and focused on using the enemy’s strikes against them. Once he started to Fall, he also incorporated some Form VII, Juyo, which is also extremely aggressive and some Jedi believed that it got way too close to the Dark side.
Whew, that was a lot of words. But LIGHTSABER FORMS. (Also, Ilum is the planet where most modern Jedi get the crystals which are a key component of their lightsabers. Ilum crystals come in blue or green.)
Random snippets of backstory: Pak left the Jedi Order after he realized they weren’t going to let him go after Darth Avaritus personally, but he still considers himself a Jedi because he continues to follow Jedi philosophies. In order to do that, he’s ended up following the old Jedi Code more than the new one, which has put him under some distress in the past while he figured himself out. Guude’s copilot is a droid designated B-00 (affectionately nicknamed Boo). Arkas stowed away on Guude’s ship, when Guude and Pakratt found him, he convinced them to let him stay in exchange for acting as the ship’s mechanic. Pak starts teaching him some meditations in order to control his Force-presence but it’s a… work in progress. Guude’s got some mighty nice tech on his ship. He’s not a smuggler, but he’s got some interesting connections.