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No spoilers. Conclusion of Escape from the Manor aka Lessons Learned.  Earlier chapters are here:

1.  A private scene
2.  Escaping the manor
3.  Dancing the stars
4.  Interlude, with violence


Adiira woke in her own bed, feeling vastly improved for the rest. She got up and belted on a warm hooded robe and went to reclaim her armor. She found it lying in two halves on the workbench. Eyes widening, she fingered the cut straps; every fastening and the shoulder harness had been sliced open, and the midsection was dark and stiff with dried blood.

#

Malavai didn’t let himself start limping until he was out of the lieutenant’s field of vision, and by that time he didn’t need to limp quite so badly. That was cathartic, he thought wryly; his head was much clearer now. Cathartic and painful; he winced as bruised muscles protested, and headed directly to the medbay. At least the incident should silence the lieutenant for a time. And I won, he thought with a certain masculine glee.

Pierce hadn’t followed him in; he’d probably opted for the spaceport infirmary. Malavai had his shirt off and was twisted half-around trying to reach the already dark bruises along his spine when he became aware that Adiira was leaning against the doorway, watching him.

“Quinn,” she said. “Are those from the battle?”

He considered his options and settled for a simple “yes”.

“Why didn’t they patch you up at House Thul?” she asked, coming over and taking the jar of kolto from him. She walked around behind him and started smoothing it into the spots he hadn’t been able to reach, hissing in sympathy at the extent of the dark blotches all along his back and ribs.

“We were far more concerned with your injuries, my lord,” he said, leaning into her touch for comfort. She finished spreading the salve over his back and slid her hands gently over his shoulders before taking them away.

Adiira capped the jar and returned it to the storage locker. Moving around in front of him again, she took his hands.

“About that. You said we’d discuss it when we were home. What happened?”

He frowned and fended off returning memory with cold fact: “I believe that the diagnostic unit failed to detect one or more partially broken ribs, my lord. When you leapt into the fray, the damaged bone snapped. The torsion of your sword blow drove the ends into a blood vessel, causing major blood loss. With your permission, I’d like to upgrade our field medical units...”

Adiira interrupted. “No, I mean what really happened... how did you get me out of there?”

She wasn’t going to let it go, and she had the right to understand, to know what he’d done when he’d seen her... seen her lying there, broken...

To his distress he felt his eyes fill with tears. Her hands tightened on his. Looking down and blinking hard, he said lowly: “I thought you had come close to death earlier. But then, when I saw you fall, I was sure I had lost you forever. And I had to reach you...”

He drew a tremulous breath: “...I let the emotion drive me, Adiira, and it was enough to win you free.”

“You did reach me, you know,” she murmured in a wondering tone.

“I did, yes, and brought you off the field,” he confided. “But when I laid you down you weren’t breathing.” His mouth twisted and he shut his eyes hard, remembering his dismay and terror at that moment.

She stepped closer and freed one hand to brush a lock of hair back from his forehead. “Yes,” she said gently, “that’s when you reached me, and brought me back.”

He opened his eyes in confusion at that and found her looking at him intently: “What do you mean?”

She met his eyes. “I knew I was dying,” she said, and then “shh,” softly, when he shuddered. She went on: “I was dying, then… somehow - it’s hard to remember… I was dancing in all the stars, and I heard you calling me: calling me to stay with you. And I saw you bright and beautiful, and I wanted to come to you more than anything.”

Malavai studied her face, wondering at what she’d said. Her description made him think of the Jedi they’d faced together; at the end, they all said the same thing: “There is no death, there is only the Force.” He hadn’t understood that, had thought it a mere platitude. But if it were real, literal?

The thought that she would continue beyond the body’s death, albeit transformed and beyond his grasp - there was a grain of comfort there. Something to set against the fear of loss. He tucked it away to consider more fully later. The thought that she’d come back for him

“Oh, Adiira,” he whispered, and drew her into his arms, burying his face in her hair.

“Malavai,” she said softly. Her hands came up to stroke his hair, seeking to sooth and comfort. Her warm body in his arms was an effective anodyne against grim memory, her voice speaking his name was a cherished promise.

He drew back just far enough to see her face. “Am I to be Malavai to you from now on? That would please me greatly.”

She blushed, and her answering smile lit her face like a sunrise: “Yes, Malavai.”





Date: 2012-04-13 02:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lanna-kitty.livejournal.com
dawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

I like the way this ended up :D

Date: 2012-04-13 03:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] catlinye-maker.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm still not entirely happy with that last line of dialogue (too many 'Malavai's' in close succession) but no good replacement comes to mind.

After all the angst of getting the ending just right, I like it too. :)

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