By Bernadette M. Crumb

(Takes place on board Luke's ship going home to Yavin from Port Lansing)

The pounding in his head resolved into a pounding on the door to the cabin. 
Turim groaned as he rolled to sit up on the edge of the bunk, and tried to 
pull his muddled thoughts together. Renewed thumping encouraged him to get 
to his feet and unsteadily move to the closed portal. He slapped at the 
release mechanism and leaned heavily on the door frame as it slid open.

"Great stars, man! You look like you fought Darth Vader and lost." The 
Alliance pilot shook her head. "Master Skywalker is coming to see you and 
I figured you'd want to clean up first."

Turim winced at the descriptive phrasing and turned toward the attached 
fresher cubicle. "I didn't lose, I won." As an afterthought, he glanced 
back at the young woman and added, "Thanks for waking me up."

"No problem. But hurry up, Master Skywalker will be here pretty soon."

The door to the fresher sealed between them and Turim groaned again as he 
saw himself in the mirror over the sink. _It ought to be illegal to put 
bright lights and mirrors in front of people when they first wake up._ He 
rummaged through the drawers and found both a depilatory and an antiseptic 
cleanser. Besides an overnight growth of beard, his face was a mottled 
mess of bruises and even some burns from the duel he'd participated in 
before someone had blasted him from behind. How he'd ended up in the care 
of the Alliance once again, he didn't know. But he assumed he'd be told.

As he treated both his injuries and his beard, he concentrated on trying to 
reduced the after stun headache that continued to pound between his 
temples. He was no healer, had never been, so when the attempt didn't 
work, he wasn't terribly surprised. He checked to see if the whisker 
removal was complete and turned back toward the cabin.

His peripheral vision caught his reflection in the mirror and the swirl of 
black fabric enrobing him dragged his attention to his clothing.

Garb provided by Palpatine. Under tunic and outer robes of deepest 
black--cut in the design worn by the Jedi--but the color of the detested 
Sith and their ilk. Rage welled up in him and he began to tear the robes 
off of himself, but the fresher was too narrow to accommodate his broad 
shoulders and his movements.

Shoving the door open, he burst out into the cabin, flinging the outer 
garments away, fumbling at the belt until the buckle released. He grabbed 
up the pale colored sheet from the bed and draped it around him as he 
kicked off the black boots and trousers.

The sound of the door opening startled him and he whirled, to face the 
serene face of Luke Skywalker.

"Master Skywalker." Turim bowed his head in respect.

"Master Turim--"

"NO! Not master!" Turim protested violently. His shout aggravated the 
headache and he dropped heavily to sit on the edge of the bunk. "I don't 
deserve that title after the last two years. I don't even think I'm still 
a Jedi."

"You are always a Jedi, Turim. That part of you doesn't change." Luke sat 
down next to him, glancing at the scattered black clothing. "It's not the 
color you wear that determines that. It's the spark of light that remains 
to fight the darkness." He pushed aside his long brown robe and reached 
for his belt, taking hold of a silver and black cylinder that hung thereon 
next to his own lightsaber. "We grabbed this when we picked you up, but I 
didn't think you'd want it laying around where anyone could get it. We 
disposed of the armor you were wearing." He placed the weapon on Turim's lap.

Turim picked it up and pressed the activation stud. The weirdly glowing 
black blade sprang into life, the hum resonating in his bones and 
throughout the small room. "_He_ changed it. Found a black diamond 
someplace and replaced the focusing crystal with it. _He_ laughed as he 
gave it back to me, you know. _He_ said it was a more fitting color for 
his apprentice." The last word was spat out like a spoiled piece of food, 
and he snapped off the saber, dropping it on the floor at his bare 
feet. "_He_ ridiculed my dedication to the light--used my family to force 
my obedience. And now _he's_ won. Orders to kill Kelsiana and Reena 
probably went out when I didn't return to the Imperial Base. I got away, 
but they're still prisoners somewhere--" He closed his eyes and covered his 
face with his hands as he struggled with the guilt and sorrow. "--but I 
couldn't last much longer against him, Master. I was looking to die 
myself, before I crossed over entirely. Even though it meant Kelsie's 
death--" He choked on his words.

Luke laid a comforting hand on his shoulder before bending to pick up the 
saber. "I'll be right back. There's someone you need to see. And," he 
added, "I'll send in some more appropriate clothing." He dropped the saber 
on the mattress and left the cabin.

Turim didn't uncover his face, or even look up as the door opened again, 
several minutes later. He could hear Luke's voice speaking softly from the 
corridor beyond but didn't put forth the effort to hear the words. The 
door hissed closed again and light footsteps crossed the deckplates to 
pause in front of him.

"Turim?" The voice was hesitant and hopeful. And belovedly familiar,

He squeezed his eyelids shut as his name echoed in his ears. _I'm 
hallucinating. I want to hear her so badly, any female sounds like her._

"Oh, Turim, what have they done to you?" The soft thump of folded fabric 
hit the floor and cool hands grasped his and pulled them away from his 
face, lifting his features to the light. Lips gently pressed a kiss on the 
burn across his left cheekbone, fingers riffling through his curly 
hair. "It's been so long!"

He remained voluntarily blind for another few moments, then, hardly daring 
to hope, he looked up into the face of the woman standing before 
him. "Kelsie." The word was a sob as he took his wife into his arms, 
pressing his battered face against the breast of the blue shipsuit she 
wore. "How did you escape? I thought--"

She snuggled her own face into his curly hair, inhaling the very scent of 
him, leaning into him. "I've been free for two years, darling. Trying to 
find out where you were and how to get to you to rescue you. When _he_ 
sent you from here last year before the Alliance forces arrived, I'd almost 
lost hope. We had planned to rescue you then, but--" She kissed his crown 
and continued. "I'm sorry you got stunned, dearest, but from the back you 
looked so much like Vader, that's who I thought you were at first in that 
awful armor."

Turim looked into her green eyes, bemused. "_You_ were the one who stunned 
me?" He laughed. "Oh, Kelsie." His brown eyes filled with tears. "_He_ 
told me you would die if I rebelled--if I didn't obey--if I didn't guard 
Prince Trinian. If only I'd realized it was you--" He pulled her down to 
sit across his lap his arms tight around her.

He rocked back and forth as two years of grief and fear for his loved ones 
vented, soaking Kelsiana's jumpsuit with his tears. When they were spent, 
he kept her on his lap and sniffed a few times.

Kelsie reached down and grabbed the bundle she'd dropped when she'd seen 
him. "I'm glad I had the forethought to bring a change of clothing for me, 
too," she said lightly. But her face was likewise wet and she wiped her 
eyes with the back of her wrist before leaning in to kiss him 
hungrily. "Oh, great stars, Turim, I've worried about you and missed you 
so much!"

The initial kiss led to more, and the clothing was once again forgotten as 
husband and wife lost themselves in each other.

Later, tangled in the sheet Turim had been wearing, he asked hesitantly 
after Reena. "_He_ threatened to make her into a Sith."

"No, _he_ never will. She's safe at the Academy. One of the other Masters 
has been fostering her while I trained and prepared to rescue you. She's 
the image of you--and has your strength with the Force they tell me." She 
snuggled up against his side and yawned. "I'll show you her holos 
later. After you rest and we can get a healer to deal with those burns and 

"They don't hurt enough to mention. Not like my heart did when I thought 
I'd caused your death." Turim hugged her tight, still feeling guilty. He 
kissed her hair and realized she was asleep. He snuggled as close as he 
could and closed his eyes.

For the first time in two years, he slept without nightmares, wrapped in a 
protective sphere of love and concern, generated by the Jedi on board 
enroute to Yavin and the Academy there.

In his own cabin, Luke Skywalker monitored the efforts of his people, 
strengthening the shield that was to keep Palpatine from realizing just 
where his former, reluctant apprentice was. He ensured Turim's privacy, 
keeping his reservations about the big man's state of mind to himself.

There would be time enough when they got to Yavin to see just how far the 
Jedi had been corrupted by the Dark. Then he would have to determine if 
Turim was safe to again teach the young students he loved so much. Time 
enough, then, to make the hard decisions that he had to make about Turim's 

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