Fathers and Daughters
John Medkeff and Rebecca Miller
Mikala quietly excused herself and slipped away from the family gathered around the table. They were all chatting amiably over dessert. She hadn't been very hungry. She sighed. If she was going to get cold feet now was not the time. She had told them she would go through with the surgery. She had to show them she trusted them somehow. They had put up with her enough already with her out of control Force tantrums. She was still in a bit of shock her Father hadn't ordered to leave already.
She slipped out into the quiet of the night to get some air. The air was sweet here on Zoron. Much better than the air quality on either Coruscant or Nar Shaadda.
Taras gave Mikala a few minuets alone, and then followed her.
Mikala found a quite spot to sit and look out over the lawn. Nias, Zoron's moon shown down on the gardens making it look almost magical. She shook herself. She was starting to sound like her Grandmother.
"It is a peacefully spot, isn't it?"
Mikala jumped a bit and then smile. "It is."
He sat down next to her. "Nervous about tomorrow?"
She started to lie and then caught herself. "A bit."
"No need to be shy about it. It's quite natural to feel that way about surgery."
She sighed. "I've looked into having done before, but I never had a time when I felt free to be that vulnerable."
"That feeling gets to all of us. We are so used to being tough and in control that we have trouble coping when that changes. I wonder if it's easier for ordinary people."
She smiled a little. "I use to dream about having a 'normal life'." She looked over at him. "Your kids are very lucky to have you and Sandy."
"We try. But I doubt the typical citizen of the Galaxy would call any of us normal."
She chuckled. "Probably not." Her smile softened her features. "But they have parents who really care about them. That's the important part."
"True, and I failed you there out of ignorance of your existence."
Mikala felt something stir inside her and she just shrugged. "That's not your fault." She looked back out over the gardens.
"No. Reality went out of its way to make that impossible."
She stood and wrapped her arms tightly around herself. "You know my apartment on Coruscant isn't that far where you stay there."
"Maybe the Force was trying to lead you home. It fits well with your visions."
Mikala chewed on her lower lip. "I've never felt like I belonged anywhere before, ever. Not even with my Grandmother. She didn't want to have to raise me. She had already raised a child and things weren't easy fore her. We lived on this tiny settlement in the outback of Ord Mandell. Things were hard and my mother only made it harder. She would show up and Grandmother would give her what little we had to try to pay off the men she owed money to and then she'd disappear again." She sighed and looked away. "I know I'm messed up. I know that I don't' know how to fix that. I--" she paused. "If you want me to go after the surgery. I understand."
"No. You are always welcome here."
Mikala looked at him. "Thank you."
"I was on Ord Mandell once. Its not a good place."
"No, you are always welcome here."
Mikala looked at him. "Thank you."
"I was on Ord Mandell once. Its not a good place."
She shrugged. "Some of Coruscant is worse." She sighed deeply and crossed her arms tightly across her chest. "Lord Koross told me that. He said you found Polly there."
"I think it would have been about a year before you left. Odd that I didn't pick up any trace of you."
"It was," she said. "I hid myself from the Force, like my Grandmother taught me to. Like I did when my Mother was angry at me." She gave a short bark of laughter. "I physically ran into you one night." She smiled. "I picked your pocket."
"Really, that child was you. You were out of sight by the time I realized the credstick was gone. That was nicely done."
She smiled shyly. "I've always had quick hands."
"Well I hope the money fed you well for a while."
She smiled sadly. "It helped a the couple I was staying with right then. They had three little ones I took care of for them." She sighed. "Polena did well for herself then. She always said she'd get off Ord Mandell." She shook her head. "You were the Dark Man who took Polena away."
"The Dark Man? Is that what people called me?
"So close," Mikala said shaking her head.
"I believe I reduced the local street crime rate a bit too."
"Yes, so close. You hid to well, and I was following a stronger trace. There is always a jump in power at adolescent."
She shrugged. "That's life."
"Yes, and you were trying to hide."
She nodded and looked away. So close. Things could have been so different. She felt the burn of tears and quickly blinked they away.
"Yes they could have. But we cannot change the past. You grandmother was already dead?"
She looked back at him, realizing he had picked up on her thoughts and then she nodded.
"I suspect she would have know what I was."
"Maybe. She's the one who always said you'd come for me," she said quietly.
"And your mother would have recognized who I was. I take it she was off planet at that time. I never saw her."
She nodded. "She had a job." Mikala sighed. "She had most of the money spent on spice and men before she ever got back."
"Well in the end you found me. All's well that ends well."
She nodded. She was quiet a long moment and then looked over at him. "I know I told you before I didn't have anything that might be of value to you." She took a deep breath. "I've heard about the Jedi the Empire captured."
"Kaliandra Daroa and Octavia Jinn? Do you know about them?"
She nodded. "What if I could get you the reason why they were on Telos?"
"That would be interesting. Off hand I'd say Octavia was a fool to go to Xanatoes' stronghold, but go on."
She looked away and then back at him. "I can provide you with both audio and visual logs of their every movement until they were taken to Vader's ship."
"That's very interesting. But how."
She grimaced. "I had Daroa bugged."
"You did. You really must be one of my children. All of them will me green with envy when they hear about this, but go on."
She smiled a little. "I planted a couple of my devices on her and Master D'med's Padawan Medenna Larose when Xanatos kidnapped them a while back."
"I knew the Jedi were mad at Xanatos, and it stands to reason that you were part of it. How much were you able to learn?"
"Quite a bit and also some from Jedi Council meetings. Padawan Larose is the Padawan liaison to the Jedi Council."
"A minor council member. That's very useful."
"I can get those files for you," she said.
"I'll have Zeruah compile everything for you and send it here."
"See, your pulling your weight already."
She smiled a little and then sighed deeply. "I'm really not looking forward to tomorrow."
"Look forward to a week later. You'll feel much better."
She gave him a small smile.
"But lets not dwell on tomorrow." He put an arm around her shoulders.
She tensed and then relaxed leaning against him.
"What else is on your mind? I can see it hiding behind your eyes."
She closed her eyes a moment and then sighed. "Am I losing my mind?" she asked him softly.
"Losing your mind? What makes you think that."
"I just--," she sighed. "I've never felt like this before. I've never felt so...lost. I've always known what I was doing. Where I was going. I don't any more."
"No, you're just relaxing for the first time in years. Your not losing your mind any more than everyone else is."
She sighed. "I feel so many thing," she said softly. "I just don't understand it."
"Don't try to understand it. Just experience it for the moment. Clear your mind. Understanding will come when you're not looking."
She closed her eyes and tried to do as he said. She felt herself relaxing and she rested her head on his shoulder. She felt....she felt....safe. She pulled back and looked up at him in confusion.
"Its alright. I think you subconscious may be trying to catch up on missed childhood. Its nothing to worry about."
She nodded and swallowed down the lump in her throat. She hadn't felt anything like this..she had never felt anything like this.
"How are you getting along with your siblings?"
"All right, " she said. "It's a lot to take in."
"I know and they do tend to hold each other very close. Except for Keria and Keiren who don't get along well at all."
She nodded. "Kerien told me that."
"Yes, he's always honest. He feels guilty about not liking her and she resents his lightness."
"Why does she resent his light?"
"I'm not sure. It doesn't seem to bother any of the others. Lin, Iri and Tana just accept it. Lonnie sees only a younger sibling who he must as the eldest protect. I don't think Tiri cares, nor does Kory. Jay seems to feel it means that Keiren needs to be protected from the world and Lar tends to follow Jay's lead."
She nodded, her head spinning a bit trying to keep track of everyone.
"I know that the others have several times made it clear to Keri that they won't exclude Keiren."
"He's a sweet kid."
'The sweetest, but he's a lot stronger than people think."
She nodded. She could see that. "Lightsiders tend to be that way," she said softly, her thoughts going to Daroa and Larose.
"True. Light is not weak. Many Darksiders think it is, but its not."
"Yoda tried to make it mean weak in practice. But those who truly listened to him are now dead."
"Not all of them," she said. "Daroa and her Master follow the old ways."
"I believe that Alida despite what she thinks, teaches an older version of the Jedi than Yoda's."
"Alida just looks like a Yodist because she believes she is and she is monkish by nature."
"My Grandmother was taught by Yoda," she said softly.
"Oh, small world. I was thought by Koross Mathem who was taught by my grandfather Ryalin Kai, who was thought by Count Dooku, who was taught by Yoda."
"Every Sith and Jedi seems to be able to trace his roots to Yoda except Palpatine himself."
She sighed deeply and leaned against him again. "Everything's connected somehow," she said with a small smile.
"It is indeed."
Mikala looked out at the gardens again. "I really have to do this tomorrow, don't I?"
"No, but you should."
"Did Sandy say how long I had to be in bacta?"
"She did. I don't remember what she said. I generally let her worry about the medical details. A day I think it was."
She nodded. "She should probably keep me sedated the whole time. I don't like small places and I tend to panic in them."
"It's always best to sedate people in bacta. If you don't panic you die of boredom."
She gave him a tiny smile. "I punched a hole in a bacta tank once, that's why I'm warning you now."
"I'll tell her. But remember she's had lots of experience with aggressive Force using patients. She nearly broke a tank once herself. That was before I met her."
"Okay," she said, relaxing. She smiled to herself. How often had she dreamed about just sitting out under the stars with her Father's arm around her? She felt her breathing hitch and realized her cheeks were wet.
"You keep worrying that your quirks and past will drive us away. You don't need to. Remember who we are. There is nothing you've done that no else here hasn't. We are just as aggressive as you are. You'll fit right in."
She nodded and something let go inside her and she shoulders started shaking as she started to sob.
He hugged her close and Mikala buried her face against his chest and let go of all she was holding inside. Twenty-eight years of fear, anger, frustrations and pain came pouring out. He just sat there and let her cry. Mikala sobbed until nothing was left but shuddering, hiccupping breaths.
"Do you feel better now?"
She sniffed and pulled away, nodding mutely.
"I think its time you were in bed. You'll need all your strength tomorrow."
"Yes, sir," she said softly. She looked up at him shyly. "Thank you."
He stood up. "Lets go in."
Mikala followed him back into the house. She paused a moment to look out at the garden and the moonlight. If this was a fairy tale, she never wanted to wake up.
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