Not on Your Life pt 4

Courtney Kraft and Armand Banooni

Psylocke's eyes slowly opened as she came to. She blinked several times, trying to regain focus. She swallowed several times, to moisten her dry mouth. All her wounds were dressed. There was an IV in her arm, and Lon was sitting across from her. They were still in the woods and there was a small fire going.

He waited till she was aware and threw a canteen by her.

Psylocke scowled, still slightly dazed. "What the hell are you doing?"

"You're not that out of it are you? What does it look like?"

She picked up the canteen, opened it, and sniffed the contents. "Looks like you just saved my life." She took a long drink from the canteen. "So what do you want?"

Lon shook his head, smiling sadly.

"Come on. You must want something from me."

"I did once. Not anymore. I realize you don't give. You just take."

Psylocke cast him a lopsided grin. "You really do think I'm a bitch, don't you? However, I'm not the type to forget debts. I owe you one, and believe it or not...I plan to honor that." She took another drink.

Lon seemed to have a thought. "You owe me your life now."

Psylocke shrugged. "It's a heavy debt to pay."

"Many schools of thought dictate that itís mine to do with as I please."

Psylocke shifted casually on her uninjured side and made herself a little more comfortable. Her wounds still hurt, but she already felt stronger. She ran a finger lightly over the IV. "I don't think I'm gonna like where this is going."

"That has nothing to do with it. You're life is mine now. Do you deny this?"

Psylocke sighed heavily, having that creeping sensation that saying yes would mean disaster, but it was too difficult to deny. "I don't know if I would call it 'yours.' One would think," she added carefully, "that this meant I owe you a life saving in return...or at least a big favor." She raised her eyebrows.

"That's what you really believe?" He looked her dead in the eyes.

Her eyes narrowed. "I hate it that you know me so well," she growled playfully.

"I paid attention. That's how I knew Jennifer's touch wasn't yours at your apartment that night."

Psylockeís playful expression dropped. "What? How do you know Jennifer?"

"Not important. Your life is mine you acknowledge this?"

Psylocke rolled her eyes. "Fine! I acknowledge it. Force knows I have enough problems as is."

"What are your problems?"

"Not important," she tossed right back, mocking him.

"So you never found out that Jennifer pretended to be you? Tried to seduce me, planning to kill me after?"

Psylocke's eyes widened. She tried to sit up suddenly, but pain surged through her side. "Ow...no. Crazy bitch tried to kill me when I came home from those arena battles on Tattooine, but I..." she looked away from him, slightly sickened as she remembered her former roommate's actions leading up to her attack. "...I never knew."

"Yeah well she must have gotten away from the authorities the way I left her."

Her expression darkened as her thoughts traveled back to the previous hour. Slowly, she looked back up at him. "Left her how?" she said slowly, and suspiciously.

"Needed to know where you were. Hung her in a noose till she talked. She got a scream out and someone called the authorities. I Needed the cops to hold her so I called them saying she told me about the other women she killed, then poured some pills and alcohol down her throat, and left her there for them."

Psylocke just stared at him for a long moment until she realized her mouth was hanging open, and shut it. "I...whoa...that's um...I never thought you'd...uh...you'd do something like that."

"Right. You don't know me like you think."

"Heh...I guess I don't," Psylocke admitted. "So you really would have killed me today..."

"I'll let you wonder about that one. Now about your debt. Your life is mine to do with as I please by your own admission."

"Damn..." She rested her head in her palm.

"Anything to say before I tell you what I want from you?"

"Do I get to sleep on it first?"

"No. I don't tell you now, you're liable to try and escape me with the thought that I never told you so you're free till I do."

"I'm not like that," Psylocke retorted. "I'm not going to run away. I told you I would honor a life debt," she said bravely, even though her gut was telling her that she might be making a fatal mistake.

"What is there to sleep on then?"

Psylocke shrugged futilely. "I hate you," she said half-heartedly.

"I know you do." Lon said with no trace of doubt in his voice.

She rolled onto her back and relaxed, waiting for her sentence to be delivered.

"Since you won't follow another path any other way I'm going to have to put your feet on it myself. To honor your life debt to me...you will report to Yavin. Once there, you will find a Master or one will be assigned to you. You will learn, practice, and live your life in the Jedi way."

Psylocke's mouth dropped in shock. She sat up, and blinked in amazement several times. "Oh you've got to be kidding me! What kind of a life debt is that?! I'm not cut out to be a Jedi. I'm hardly pure...well, except for one thing...but that's not important! I mean...what are you, stupid?"

"Yes. I am. Itís a proven fact. I mean I trusted you, right? More than once even. I'm not kidding you and thatís my decision."

"Are you looking to get your ass kicked? Are you trying to get me killed? Just stop and think about this for a moment. Do you know what the Emperor would do to us, and letís not forget your friends, if I do this?"

"Tell me one thing he'd do differently that he wouldn't do already?"

"He'd send people after me, for one," she explained. "To Yavin. And he'd kill anyone who tried to get in his way of taking me back. Seriously Lon, you need to think about this first."

"They're Jedi. They'll be happy to have you. Do you think I'm not serious? Didn't they try to get you to join on their own?"

"They--" she started, anger surfacing again, but she bit her tongue. "You wouldn't understand." She rubbed her face. "You would be putting all of them at risk, and me...not that you care if the Emperor executes me for treason or not."

"You could always change your identity if you wish."

"That won't make a difference, Lon. You're not looking at the big picture here. My Master can sense me. He could just as easily reach out, touch my mind, and know where I am. So you may as well just shoot me now and forget the whole thing, cause all you're offering me is a delayed, slower death."

"You were almost dead when I found you so imagine this a rebirth. Anyways, I think a life in the Empire is about the same as dying slowly. Tell me, how is it you're here all alone on a backwater planet?"

"Ugh! It was awful. My pilot ditched me here. We were having life support systems problems, so we made an emergency landing. I went out to find some firewood. I was about to head back for my lightsaber, when he just took off! That son of a bitch just left me!"

"How unfortunate then for them and you I guess that I claimed you. Might as well get some sleep. It'll build your strength. You'll have to tough it out till your ride gets here."

"Pshya... She frowned at the night sky. "I still hate you, you know."

"And you will for a long time to come. Until you learn how to let go of that hate."

Psylocke paused as a breeze brushed over her skin. "I already have." She glanced up at Lon with a slight smile, "Just don't tell the Emperor that, okay?"

"He and I don't talk as much as we used to... so you're safe."

Psylocke's smile faded and her gaze returned to the sky. "No...I'm not," she said with a heavy tone. "And you've just put all the Jedi at risk too."

"Then you and the Jedi need each other. It'll be a mutually beneficial relationship."

"Or mutually fatal." She closed her eyes and made herself as comfortable as she could. "You don't get a kiss goodnight."

"I'll live."

*But will I?* Psylocke wondered.

"By the way, my ship is rigged to accept only my voice commands right now. Just in case."

"I couldn't pilot a ship to save my life anyway," she muttered.

"Something you might look into."

"Maybe someday."


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