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Fandom Star Wars: Rising Tide [closed]

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Star Wars

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
Kylo swallowed, staring at Myka as she laid back on his bed. As the desire to further pin her down into the mattress coursed through him. But no, she had to continue asking him about Ben Solo.

“He was a weak little boy, with too much of the Light in him.” The Light that still tugged on his mind, to pull Kylo away from the Dark that he wanted.

“He had to die so Kylo Ren could be born.” And dead Ben Solo was. Gone was the son of Leia Organa and Han Solo.

Kylo crossed his arms over his chest and stared down at Myka. “Why all the questions about him? Are you interested?” For some unfathomable reason.

~~

Azra chuckled at the list of things Poe suggested for the ship. “Yeah, that sounds about right. The first thing I would like to do with this ship is to upgrade the shielding. With my penchant for getting into trouble, I probably need it.”

Well, there wasn’t no ‘probably.’ She definitely needed it. She wouldn’t tell him how many times she had been shot at before, but he could guess based on how they had first met on Hays Minor.

“We shouldn’t need fuel until after we had left Athulla.” And with it being a Core World, they would have plenty of nearby planets to stop at for the fuel, instead of staying on Athulla.

The planet that still shocked her for being on his list.
 

Lucyfer

Laudandum puellam, ornandum, tollendum.
‘You still have a lot of Light in you, Ren.’ Myka didn’t say that, but she did pull her bottom lip between her teeth for a moment, wondering at his own awareness of that. Wondering how different Ben Solo really was from Kylo Ren. She had a feeling there wasn’t as much difference as Kylo would have liked.

That such a fact was likely the source of much of his anger…and conflict.

“Of course I’m interested,” why wouldn’t she be? Who wasn’t interested in the sad little story of Kylo Ren and Ben Solo? “I know I’m the apprentice, but there’s much to teach you, all the same. And knowing who you’ve been, helps with who you’ll be.” He had been Ben Solo. That was significant.

“How did Ben die?” She would at least continue to ask, until he shut down. “Who is Kylo Ren, to you?” How was he different? What aspirations did he have – what aspirations had Ben, had? Perhaps she was now getting too personal, but that didn’t mean she intended to admit to that, or draw back.

Far from it.

“This was never part of my training,” she added, perhaps thinking to soften her curiosity, or make it seem less…invasive. “I was never anyone. There was nothing to kill.”

~***~

BB-8 couldn’t keep a comment to himself about the pair deserving each other, for how often they got into trouble. And BB-8 deserving a raise for getting Poe, at least, out of trouble. “Take that up with Leia,” Poe said.

BB-8 claimed that he would.

Poe was certain he wouldn’t. Leia tended to intimidate even when she wasn't trying to, and that extended to BB-8 and others. Besides, everyone knew the Resistance wasn't that kind of organization. There was barely a payroll. In fact, he was pretty sure there wasn't a payroll. He hadn't seen an actual paycheck in a couple of years now.

“On Athulla we should be able to get fuel, unless we draw waaaay too much attention to ourselves,” possible, but he was hoping, unlikely. “I’m hoping we can get this to Corellia, if that becomes the case.” Corellia wasn’t exactly a nice planet, but Leia had allies there, so it was a useful one if nothing else.

Poe didn’t much like it.
 

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
Myka had a point. If he were to learn any of the Dark from her to help him further, she may need to learn more of his past, no matter how much he did not wish to talk about it. And maybe the very act of talking more about it would help him.

He sighed and moved to sit on the edge of the bed. “Ben Solo died the day Luke Skywalker betrayed him and tried to kill him.” Of course, the Dark was already encroaching on his mind before that fateful night, but waking up as Luke was about to strike the killing blow?

It only pushed him.

“Kylo Ren is who I am now, an embodiment of my grandfather’s legacy, of whom I aspire to be.” No more Light, just the Dark. No more of his mind tearing him apart. “You were lucky in that regard, that you were never anyone before Darth Vesta. There’s no conflict of personality tugging at you constantly.” Like it did to him.

~~

Azra would not comment on what BB-8 commented. She would not comment on how it was totally wrong that she and Poe deserved each other, and she would not comment on how she couldn’t stop thinking on how nice the idea was.

Nor would she comment on what a droid would do with credits.

“Let’s just go ahead and plan that stop on Corellia.” It was only inevitable. “From what I’ve gathered, we both have a penchant for trouble finding us, so we should go ahead and expect that something will happen that warrants an immediate escape.”

Especially with our curios, or nosy, Azra could be. “This ship will make it from Athulla to Corellia without needing more fuel.” But any planet after Corellia? That she doubted.
 

Lucyfer

Laudandum puellam, ornandum, tollendum.
That Kylo wanted to be Darth Vader made Myka frown, and she twisted herself around, and sat up, bringing her knees underneath herself, “I find it odd you aspire to be the eternal apprentice,” Myka noted, “who never had any aspirations of ruling the galaxy on his own, and gave his entire life over to anger and pain.”

It didn’t sound like a fun way to live, forever enslaved by the one who made them, forever in agony. From his own losses, of course, but also from simply living. “He was never happy,” she said, “Phantasm told me as much. Living was pain. Literally. He was always in pain because of his suit, and he drew power from that, but…,” she shook her head, “he was nothing without the Emperor. And he was always in pain from losing the woman he loved, too.”

It was nothing to aspire towards, in her opinion, “His power might be worth pursuing, but I think you ought to aim for something…well, frankly, happier. Do you really want to live a life of constant agony and guilt? In someone else’s shadow, and unable to make any of the changes you really wanted – not wanting to make any of those changes anymore?”

Vader had once been quite anti-slavery.

Not so much in the Empire, which gainfully enslaved the wookiees.

~***~

Poe rolled his eyes, smile still there, “Have some optimism, Az.”

BB-8 denied having any optimism. He had been on enough missions with Poe. He thought with their luck, Terex would show up. That wiped the smile off Poe’s face and he wrinkled his nose in disgust. “No. Why would you even say that?”

BB-8 reminded Poe of Terex’s slaves. And that Athulla would be a good place to get slaves. Poe let out a groan. While it was true that Terex pretty much enslaved his enemies’ relatives, it was entirely possible that Terex just wanted slaves now to keep getting by, and he didn’t care where they came from.

“Oh, uh, Terex – First Order agent, slaver, and all around pain in the ass.”

BB-8 added that he had a stupid mustache.

“Yeah—that too.” He sighed, “We probably won’t run into him since he defected from the Order and seems to have gone into hiding, but he does have a serious grudge against me. Like, you’d think I broke up with him or something, that’s how obsessed he is.”
 

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
“Of course I don’t want to be exactly like him.” No, Kylo could still identify Darth Vader’s flaws. Kylo frowned, brows furrowing at Myka. Apparently Phantasm had told her apprentice a bit about Vader, but how much was actually truth, and how much was her Master trying to twist the life and legacy of Vader?

He looked over at the woman next to him. “But what if anger and pain is what I already feel?” Happiness? Wouldn’t that just lead to the Light? And he fought against it so hard already.

“I think I can forgo the physical pain,” he said sardonically. “And that was one of his mistakes. Falling in love.” Love was for fools, for children. Not for those who sought power and control. Love would only distract him.

And he already lived with guilt. Of what exactly, he couldn’t figure out. Or he didn’t want to admit it to himself. His mind already swirled with all the negative emotions Myka just described, and he struggled to control them.

“But I refuse to live in someone else’s shadow.” And that was why Kylo knew Snoke would have to go one day. One day, after his training was fully complete.

~~

BB-8 continued to call out Poe’s bullshit, its pessimism brought on by their continued rotten luck on adventures together. And it mentioned someone Poe seemingly ran into quite often, Terex.

Oh, she knew that name. Though never actually seeing the man before, Azra heard about him several times before, and never in a good light. It seemed his reputation had spread.

She raised her eyebrows in mild surprise. “I know who Terex is.” The realization that her knowing who he was may seem suspicious, so she quickly followed with, “I encountered his name a few times in some of my previous investigations.”

But the fact that the two apparently ran into each other multiple times? “Maybe you did break up with him. How did you manage to get so unlucky that you encountered him several times?”
 

Lucyfer

Laudandum puellam, ornandum, tollendum.
It seemed that Kylo’s idealization of Vader did not extend too terribly far. That would have been worrisome. He acknowledged the flaw of love, and didn’t think he needed to be physically destroyed.

Yet, he lingered on anger, and on pain.

Even as he denied wanting to be in another’s shadow, he lingered on that which would keep him there – anger, and pain.

“Do you know the Sith Code, Ren?” Myka asked, but didn’t wait for an answer. “There’s nothing about anger or pain in it,” there was talk of Passion, but nothing of anger or pain. “It’s passion. Passion can stem from anger and pain, but it stems from so many avenues.”

Now would have been a great time to be able to touch him, but she’d honor her word. She wouldn’t get anywhere if she broke it on a whim. “Do you really want to live your whole life angry, agonizing, and ashamed?”

For she felt shame in him. Guilt.

“It’s that which will take you to the Light, Ren. Being discontent. Such things always lead people to other avenues, other ways of life, even if they’re wrong – I’m sure you know of enough spiceheads who went to spice to find their contentment. Vader’s own dissatisfaction with life led him to betraying the Sith, in the end.”

~***~

Poe was definitely startled to hear that she knew of Terex, and his brows lifted at that. “Oh yeah?” He wasn’t surprised that Terex’s name was getting around, Terex went to a lot of places. He had his hands in a lot, when he was with the Order, but Poe knew how long Terex had been on his trail, too.

And Azra hadn’t been on this that long.

He made a mental note of it, but wrinkled his nose in disgust at the thought of him ever being with Terex, “Look, I like men, but Terex is not my type – even if he were younger.” Terex was needlessly cruel, and just a terrible person, down to his core. Poe knew he’d never like him. He’d never forgive him for all that he’d done, either.

“Long story short, we were hunting the same leads for a while,” Poe said, “Now that Terex has dropped out of the game, we don’t have too much to worry about with the First Order keeping up.” He didn’t disclose what leads.

That was definitely confidential.

Besides, they were mostly waiting on Lor San Tekka, when it came to Luke Skywalker. "Where did you hear of Terex?"
 

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
Myka didn’t allow for Kylo to answer her question before she told him of the Sith Code. He had heard of it once, but the refresher’s course was needed.

Passion. “Passion for what?” he asked. He felt he knew the answer though. Passion for anything, though with the word, his fingers twitched in desire to touch Myka’s bare leg and trace his fingers up. To run over her entire body.

He hadn’t felt that desire for anyone in several years, and even then, he hadn’t acted on it, for the Jedi teachings still had held on in his behaviors.

There was another soft sigh. No, he didn’t want to live his entire life angry, agonizing, and ashamed. Kylo didn’t admit it, but deep down, he knew that was the truth.

“I want to feel at peace with who I am,” he admitted. But therein was the fear, that being at peace would lead him back to the Light, so he fought it. “What would you suggest I do?”

Kylo was curious for more of what Myka had to say.

~~

Azra chuckled at Poe’s disgust. “I kid, I kid.” It was entertaining to tease him, given the reaction she pulled from Poe. But she wouldn’t blame him for that disgust.

From his reputation, Terex was a vile, disgusting, cruel man who will probably never know love.

Her interest piqued at his mention of hunting leads. Leads for what exactly? She wanted to ask him about that, before he changed the subject back to her.

Azra mentally cursed herself and Poe when he asked her about Terex. Where she heard of him from. She shrugged, “I hear of a lot of people. I’m not exactly afraid to visit seedy establishments if necessary.” And that much was true. “I like to get into trouble, remember?”
 

Lucyfer

Laudandum puellam, ornandum, tollendum.
‘Anything.’

It was, indeed, the answer, although Kylo’s emotions were obvious. The word was a heavy one, layered with particular meanings. She was half-tempted to remind him she hadn’t forbade him from touching – but she didn’t.

This was diving towards a serious route, and she knew better than to disrupt that, lest she break his focus entirely on something that would actually be good for him.

“It all goes together – to find peace with yourself, you embrace your passions, your wants. It’s a bit reflective, and it was hard, even for me, to figure out what I wanted, and not what Phantasm wanted for me, what the Sith would want…but once you know, then you can truly flourish. Then, your chains are broken, and you are set free.”

As the Sith code promised.

“But it will take time, and soul searching, and learning when to act on whims.” Not just acting on them, “Learning to avoid the whims that will be detrimental to the future you want.” As Palpatine had done.

~***~

‘Uh huh.’ Poe wasn’t quite buying it. Azra’s response was way too vague for him to buy it, really. Yeah, she probably did hear about a lot of people, but he’d expected something to stick out that she could pinpoint – otherwise, wouldn’t Terex’s name have just gotten lost like the hundreds of other First Order officers.

“Getting in trouble doesn’t always mean finding useful info,” Poe still spoke playfully, teasing, “but seriously, what have you heard of him?”

BB-8 teased, wondering if Poe was now being the obsessed one.

“No! I just want to know if it’s anything more recent, or where else this guy has been. Might be places worth looking into – probably plenty of people pissed off who’d want to join the Resistance, right?” Poe asked.

BB-8 couldn’t argue with that. The droid would want to join the Resistance after meeting Terex, that was for sure. Thankfully, he was already with them, when he met Terex for the first time, so that wasn’t an issue at all.
 

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
To find what he wanted. What his passions were.

What were his passions? Kylo knew to fully rid himself of the Light, to live up to Vader’s legacy, would be redundant at that point. She knew this. He had said it several times.

So what else did he want?

He wanted to kiss the woman next to him. He wanted to indulge in the pleasures of the flesh, something that had been drilled into his mind to not desire as a Jedi, and something his mind wouldn’t quite let go of.

He also wanted to see Snoke gone, but that would require careful planning. He needed more power.

Something else he wanted.

“To act on whims?” Kylo repeated, looking Myka in her eyes. Not a second later, his bare hand reached out to rest on her bare leg, right above her knee. Stars, her skin is so soft.

~~

Poe wasn’t leaving the subject of her knowledge of Terex, but even BB-8 joined in on teasing him and Terex’s seemingly obsessive nature with the pilot.

Unable to resist a bit more teasing, Azra leaned over, closer to Poe. As she spoke, her voice lowered, “I heard that he wants revenge on an ex-boyfriend of his, one with ridiculous hair.”

She burst into laughter as she stood up from the co-pilot’s chair, and walked away from the cockpit. Her fingers began to unzip the outer jacket she still had on to shield herself from Hays Minor’s climate. “It’s been quite some time since I heard his name.” That much was true.

The jacket was laid across the back of a chair. “It wouldn’t be anything new, or even relatively new. Or is it you just want to visit these places in hopes to see him again?” The teasing smile pulled at her lips once more.
 

Lucyfer

Laudandum puellam, ornandum, tollendum.
“Mmmm!” Myka had been agreeing with Kylo on the whims – and her hum pitched up when she felt his hand on her leg. Not displeased, but rather, surprised. He had been so resistant when he sat on the couch. Perhaps just resistant to being touched, not on his terms. But this was his terms. More or less. It was definitely agreeable to her, but she would try not to seem that smug.

That was a challenge in itself.

She let her eyes close a moment to take in solely the sensation of the calloused hand. “Rather like that, yes,” she agreed, opening her eyes slowly, a lazy smile crossing her lips. Quite pleased, as her Master might have said, like a loth-cat who stole the cream. “You’re rather lucky I want you to touch me.”

Far more than he was…but she would encourage progress.

“How else do we find out who we are, if we do not act on moments?” She dared to lean forward, but still kept her hands to herself. One she slid over her other leg, pushing fabric away. “You never know if you like a food, if you do not try it. Never know if you want something, until you try it, never find your passions if you hide from them….” It was all true, of course.

All lessons he needed to learn…and she didn’t mind if he learned it from gentle touches over the harsh ones. Not that a rough touch wasn’t agreeable now and then. Still, benevolent was preferable. She did not aspire to be as hated as Snoke. No…she rather liked her gentle rule and loyal followers…would rather Kylo see her as more benevolent. Would rather be more benevolent, to him.

~***~

Poe let out a groan as Azra leaned in and commented on Terex and an ex-boyfriend. “You’re lying!” He called after her as she got up for some reason. As curious as he was about the matter of Terex and where she heard him from, he didn’t really want to endure more teasing. Sure, it was all in good fun, but it put terrible images into his head.

He glanced back to see she seemed to just be making herself more comfortable, pulling off her jacket. Good view. He turned in his seat, since they were well within lightspeed at that point. There was nothing he really needed to do, and the view within the ship was better than the view outside.

“Come on, seriously. Or is this some top-secret First Order thing, too?” He teased back.

BB-8 didn’t seem pleased with that thought. Who could know Terex and not immediately join them?

“Well, there was Phasma, Malarus, I assume Hux and Kylo Ren knew of him….” Poe knew the list could go on. BB-8 pointed out none of them even liked him. “Yeah, but, they did stay with the Order, and supported him, for a while.”

Which was terribly unfortunate. It did nothing for how the First Order looked in Poe’s eyes.
 

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
Kylo picked up on the rise in Myka’s pitch when his hand touched her skin, and a shot of desire coursed through his entire body. And her bodily reactions did not escape his notice, even though he wasn’t entirely sure of what to make of them.

You’re rather lucky I want you to touch me.

He swallowed, fingers momentarily tightening around her leg before he loosened them, but didn’t let go. Not yet. His eyes did shift downward as her leg shifted, revealing more of her skin.

“I’ve been told my entire life of how I am supposed to act and what I’m supposed to resist.” His hand left her leg and Kylo stood up, but he didn’t walk away from the bed. Instead, he turned and looked down at Myka.

Kylo didn’t know how to proceed.

“What should I do now?” Maybe not just in the moment, but in his training. What should be his next act.

~~

Azra shrugged. “Maybe it is more top-secret First Order stuff.” With her jacket now off, she moved back to the co-pilot’s seat, positioning it so she saw more of the inside of the ship rather than the viewport, like Poe.

“One rogue soldier won’t be reason enough for people to defect from something they’ve been a part of for most of their lives.” It was hard to leave when it was all someone knew. Azra understood, and for her, it was years of slowly coming to the realizations of what the First Order may be doing that caused her to want to seek out the truth.

She was still conflicted, but if what Poe said about Athulla proved to be true, that may be the final answer she needed.

Azra did want to ask if the rumors surrounding Terex’s brain cybernetic were true, but she didn’t know how far that particular one would’ve spread. If Poe would know of it.

So she kept it to herself.

“How did you two somehow first run into each other?”
 

Lucyfer

Laudandum puellam, ornandum, tollendum.
A squeeze, a complaint of a former life – and then Kylo was moving away. Myka very much wanted to grab his arm and keep it where it was. Or move it elsewhere. She was not pleased with him moving away, and she hardly hid it in her expression. She was not used to this. Rejection was one thing, of course. She’d faced that.

Rejection was straightforward.

This boy was not rejecting her. His exalted position within the Order made it difficult to simply direct him in the way she was accustomed to with the novice – as was her desire to wrap the First Order into her control and her command. Whims were wonderful things, but not when they challenged long term goals.

“I have numerous ideas of what you could be doing, and none of them involve you standing away from me,” Myka wasn’t going to hide her pout or complaint, though. He could at least appreciate that she openly desired him, even if he had no idea what to do about that.

She adjusted position, unfolding her legs so they hung over the edge of the bed. So she could lean back on her arms and look up at him. “Discerning what you should do is not an answer that comes quickly, if you mean the long-term,” which, likely, he did. “You have to get to know yourself. Yes, yes, you want to put an end to your Light, you want to kill Snoke, you aspire to be as powerful as Lord Vader.”

She sighed. “But you have to understand why. You have to be able to answer all the questions – why do you want to get rid of your Light? Why does it hinder you? Why do you cling to it? Why is it hard to let go?” She shut her eyes. “Why, why, why – a toddler’s questions to understanding the world, and the way to understand yourself, to break yourself down, until you can actually make the small steps, to achieve the large steps, without destroying yourself…because sometimes what we think we want, isn’t true…and then it’s too late to do anything about it.”

She had seen it in Phantasm. The woman thought she knew what she wanted, when she took a child…and fell prey to a maternal instinct, and a maternal calling, that damned her instead.

“But really you should be asking yourself why you don’t have a hand in my hair, and lips on mine.”

~***~

Poe wasn’t going to get any answers out of Azra on Terex. That was becoming obvious. He wasn’t sure if he wanted it to be top secret Order stuff, or not, though. He wasn’t sure he wanted to know that Terex was involved in even more foul things with the Order, beyond what Poe already knew about his atrocities. He was certain that Terex was…but he already knew enough.

None of it was good.

“As I said – same missions,” Poe said.

He also wasn’t offering anything more, because he couldn’t talk about Luke, “I can’t really say any more than that. Not even to some people in the Resistance,” he added, “we have our own secrets,” this was among them.

He hoped she wouldn’t take offense. He wasn’t trying to upset – and she had at least seen him divulge plenty, and connect people to the Resistance. “I do a bit more than act as Poster Boy for the Resistance,” he winked, “but maybe General Organa will think to fill you in. You know, when you come over to our side.”

He said it as if it were a certain thing, when they both knew that, right now, it wasn’t. But Poe had to hope. He always had to hope. “But we crossed paths a lot,” he added. “On plenty of worlds. I know him as a slaver and a master manipulator, who seemed to know more than even the First Order wanted him knowing. Got him into trouble with them, too. Oh, and he was also some sort of Crime Lord after the Empire fell. Lord Terex.”

BB-8 scoffed. Terex was no lord.

“Yeah, I know.” But he knew how to get power. Poe was certain they hadn’t seen the last of him. "And if someone as terrible as him finds the First Order to be too terrible? That's saying something."
 

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
Color flushed into Kylo’s face with Myka’s suggestion. He knew exactly what she was hinting at, and his desire to obey and give in to what they both want was strong.

Something still held him back though, but he didn’t know what, and he was annoyed by that.

She shifted her position again, and Kylo continued to look down at her as she spoke, offering the little help she could give him. This would have to be his journey. He knew that. But dammit, things would be so much easier if he knew what he wanted, aside from the obvious that Myka had stated.

But all of her advice, all of her words, flew from his mind with her last comment. He let out a shuddering breath. There was one thing he wanted to know, and there was an easy way to find out.

Kylo took a step so that he was directly in front of Myka, his knees on either side of his legs, and he bent over her, threading his fingers into her soft strands, as she wanted, before placing his lips on hers in an act of whim.

~~

Azra could understand that Poe couldn’t say more about the missions. She didn’t like it, but she could respect it. Everyone has secrets nowadays.

“When I come over to your side?” She scoffed. “As I mentioned before, I have already chosen a side. My own. It’s the one I can fully trust the most.” Even if she fully rejected the First Order in the future, she doubted she would go to the Resistance and fight against what she grew up in.

But if anyone could be convincing, it was Poe and that damned smile.

Azra had similar feelings with BB-8 over Terex’s self-designated title. “Lord Terex? How pretentious,” she mumbled. “But something I’ve noticed in the galaxy is that many people find many other people terrible. You find the First Order terrible. They find the Resistance terrible. Terex finds them terrible, and vice versa, yada yada you get my point.” She waved her hand in an emphasis.

“Maybe at the end of the day, we’re all just doing what we can to survive in the galaxy, though, granted, Terex is on the extreme end.” Slavery and crime lords weren’t recommended. “Or maybe this galaxy has just made me into a pessimist.”
 

Lucyfer

Laudandum puellam, ornandum, tollendum.
Myka opened her eyes as Kylo stepped forward, and enjoyed the look as he leaned over and wove his fingers into her hair. The tingles it sent across her face and down her neck were pleasant, the heat that followed moreso as she smiled and tilted her head to meet his kiss, to welcome it. To welcome him, and warm him to her.

Tempting as it was to want to devour him, to take his bottom lip into her teeth and draw him down with her, she would not. If he desired a gentle, chaste kiss, she would leave it at that – but she was more than willing to deepen it if he pressed, and meet his passion with her own, match his desire with an equal.

And if he seemed hesitant, or uncertain, she wouldn’t mind taking the lead, either – to feel out the mood, and match it with action.

Though, she did forget her word about not touching him. She didn’t think she could really be blamed for that when he was kissing her, and didn’t think to stop her hand from lifting to the side of his neck, moving strands of hair, and pressing her fingernails lightly into the back of his neck, wanting to keep him near.

Nor did she consider not reaching for his side with her other hand, as she lifted herself just a bit to maintain the pressure in their kiss, and not be a mere recipient.

~***~

“Your own? I thought you were for the people?” Poe teased, but it wasn’t all tease. Being on her own side was terribly selfish. Callous, almost, and he was certain she’d said otherwise before, wanting to be on the side of the people. It was his job to convince her that the side of the people, was the Resistance.

Maybe a difficult job, but he felt up to the task, no matter what. “Yeah, well, I’ll care about the opinion of the First Order when they stop being child-stealing, xenophobic, assholes, or actually have a worthwhile complaint about the Resistance.” Poe wouldn’t be oblivious to issues in his own ranks. At least, he hoped not.

He’d left the New Republic Navy for issues within it. And he knew things weren’t perfect – but he also knew that the Resistance was doing the best job out there with what they had, and they were willing to step up, where others weren’t. “Until then, I don’t care what they think.”

And they probably didn’t care what he thought – or what the Resistance thought. “If you can actually defend their actions, I’d love to hear it though, when this wraps.” He wouldn’t ask for it now. He hadn’t proven what was going on, on Athulla, yet. “I think the galaxy’s made you a pessimist, though – and I hope to fix that.”

To make her see there was hope.

There were good things in the galaxy.

And there were somethings that were, completely, wrong. Indefensibly wrong. And there were people out there who knew that, and were doing something about it. “There’s something to be said for surviving in hard times…but what Terex does? I don’t think you can justify that.”
 

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
Kylo could hardly remember that he told Myka to not touch him either. Not when desire burned through him as a yearning heat, multiplying when her fingernails pressed lightly onto the back of his neck. As her other hand pressed into his side, his own reciprocated to move to her side, grabbing it in a firm grasp.

He pressed into the kiss further, something far beyond the innocent, chaste kiss, for a few more seconds, before he started to pull away.

It wasn’t something he wanted to do, but he was also going down a path that he hadn’t gone down before. Kylo needed to take a step back.

He took deep, shuddering breaths as he pulled away and regretfully let go of Myka. His body wanted to press against hers, closer than they had been. It was almost too much too soon.

Kylo straightened up, but he didn’t step away. “That was…” his words trailed. “Pleasant.”

More than pleasant.

~~

Azra gently nibbled on her lip, her eyes diverting away from Poe for a few seconds. Could Poe fix her pessimism? She doubted that - but that was her pessimism talking, after all.

“If you can get me to change my views, then I may just have to owe you something.” Immediately Azra regretted those words. Poe could ask her for anything, from a kiss to her commitment to the Resistance.

Okay, she wouldn’t object to the kiss.

“But don’t get any funny ideas, flyboy.” Oh yes, that’ll show him. Azra crossed her arms over her chest, her body relaxing in her chair. “But how do you think you’ll turn me into an optimist this week if you’re just showing me nothing but horrible things?”
 

Lucyfer

Laudandum puellam, ornandum, tollendum.
Myka would not get to claim the victory of pulling Kylo down, but there was plenty of victory to be claimed all the same. His desire ran high, as obvious through the Force as it was through his actions, even as he pulled away.

She’d steal a bite in that, in trying to keep him close, to pull at his bottom lip with her teeth as she let him go. To watch him as he tried to figure out how to breathe again, a mess from so little – while she retained that easy calm. Although, she did almost laugh as he found words. A smile broke across her lips, and she rose.

There was little room between them. He hadn’t stepped back, after all – but she wouldn’t be the one to close the distance. Outside of the kiss, she remembered his words.

He would have to be the one to come to her, and when he was lost, she’d ‘conveniently’ forget.

“It can be among the lessons I have to teach you, Ren.” This ‘pleasant’ thing. She had much more experience in it than he did, which was now painfully obvious. “So that you know, you do not always need to be full of anger.” Even if anger was just as enticing, sometimes – and she wouldn’t take his anger from him.

Far from it. It remained a useful tool, even for her.

She would take herself away, though, stepping to the side, and away, “I do believe I should see my quarters, though?” He had told her, she wasn’t staying there. It was time for him to regret that.

~***~

“If I can make you change your views, you’ll already pay it,” Poe said, not considering asking for something as simple as a kiss. In his experience, he didn’t need to change someone’s views that dramatically to get a kiss. He was pretty sure some of his enemies wouldn’t even mind a kiss without a shift in views. He would – they wouldn’t.

He did chuckle as she continued to try, and fail, at being difficult.

She was with her stance, of course. But…not with too much else. “That’s what I have to figure out, isn’t it?” Poe grinned, “Ideally by seeing the terrible things, your pessimism will crack to the point that you’ll realize you want to change something, because there’s only so much horror anyone can take. And that will be true of your audience.”

Journalists had a certain power, he couldn’t deny that. “And the overflowing reaction to it, against it, could restore some faith in the galaxy. Seeing that people can be pushed to a point where they can’t tolerate all the bad shit going on anymore. Ideally.”

Poe was familiar with encountering apathy. Apathy, in his experience, was the worst enemy the Resistance had, and the best friend of the Order.
 

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
That bite. Oh how Kylo wanted to retaliate and bite her lip the same way. Or go back down and have her bite his again. Or just feel the warmth of her body against his.

You do not always need to be full of anger.

No, he supposed he didn’t. Not when passion was a new option for him, even as his old Jedi teachings remained in the back of his mind.

Oh yes, the room. “You are right.” Kylo backed away from the bed to grab his datapad. “Yes, your room is now ready. Because you’re my guest, your quarters aren’t too far from here.” No, just the next hallway, which may be both a blessing and a curse for Kylo, as his lips still tingled from the kiss.

~~

Hopefully you won’t figure out too much.

Azra lifted her brows at Poe’s insistence that she will change her views that much. She doubted it, but she wouldn’t say that. He could think what he wanted. Besides, she was a journalist. She had to be open to everything.

“You really are passionate about this, aren’t you?” That was obvious enough. One thing Azra has noticed about people on extremes was that they were passionate for their cause. It motivated them through the tough times and to keep fighting.

“That’s nice to see. It is probably one thing that does give me hope that there will be some change in the future.” Poe wouldn't give up. Or, she hoped he wouldn’t give up. To her, he seemed like the type to pursue something he wants. And now he wants to see the Resistance to defeat the First Order.
 

Lucyfer

Laudandum puellam, ornandum, tollendum.
Myka brought her bag back to herself with a pull of the Force, prepared to leave as if nothing had happened. Of course, to her, a kiss wasn’t much at all, but she was well aware of the impact this was likely to leave. Aware of how this would continue to ripple, and how she could use his naivete and near innocence to her advantage.

That she was also close to him, was good.

“I’ll also need to know where to get food, and where to practice physical activities,” she phrased it just so, though the name of that kind of location did actually elude her. She didn’t have that kind of thing back on Korriban, or, well, anywhere she’d lived. It showed, she wasn’t nearly so muscle-bound as Kylo himself. Her tone came mostly from sparring practices and the callisthenic practices.

Weights and those kinds of equipment were fairly foreign to her – but this place didn’t look like it was going to have much in the way of stairs for her to use, or too many sparring opponents, either. Or old ruins to go exploring and beasts to survive – so she’d have to use whatever mundane tools they had.

And they had them, just based on Kylo alone.

She was much stronger in the Force than she was physically.

~***~

“Well, yeah. You kind of have to be passionate to be in a job that doesn’t pay,” Poe laughed. It was true, of course. He didn’t get paid a salary with Leia. He cared enough, though – and, of course, his life was covered. He had a bed to sleep in, clean clothes, and fuel for his ship. Did he want more? Yes.

But that could wait. There was a galaxy to save, after all. Not to mention, he knew the pain Leia was in, losing her brother and her son, as well as her husband going AWOL. She still trudged through all of it, to do what was right. What was necessary. If she could survive that pain, well, he could get by without extra credits.

“Don’t worry. You’ll see, eventually,” Poe wouldn’t give up. He’d seen Azra’s reaction to a few things already. Plus, she knew Suralinda. He had hope this would pay off, eventually.

It wasn’t too much longer that they were above the planet of Athulla, and Poe was descending down into one of its major cities, “So, what do you know of Athulla, anyways?” Poe opted to ask. It was as busy as any Core world – vehicles zipping around below as he moved on towards a hangar for his ship. No one would bother hailing him until he tried to land.
 

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
Physical activities. A seemingly innocent enough statement - she had meant the gym - yet another definition popped into Kylo’s head and disappeared just as quickly. Oh, she knows what she’s doing.

There may be some regrets with Myka’s presence in the First Order.

“I can show you where the cafeteria and the gym are after showing you to your room,” he said. The trip to her room wasn’t very long. It was close to his, after all, a fact that caused Kylo to make a mental note to ensure that no one could get through his doors at night. Or maybe the very opposite of that.

Numbers were punched into the keypad, and the door to Myka’s quarters slid open. The room was set up in a way similar to Kylo, but notably smaller with less amenities. Such as the bath he discovered her in earlier. And the color scheme was also similar.

The First Order didn’t care for too many colors.

~~

No pay? Azra couldn’t quite understand that. She didn’t get paid on a normal schedule as she was only a freelancer, but at least she could still expect money. Poe truly had to be passionate to stay in that line of work.

Azra wasn’t greedy with money. She had her basics, and not much more, nor did she crave for anything luxurious. Not having to worry about a deadline in order to avoid not having credits for food? That she would love to have. But this was her life.

It was better than most, and this she recognized. So she never complained.

They arrived on Athulla, and Azra couldn’t distinguish it from any other Core world. It was busy, with various vehicles flying around and buildings that touched the horizon. “Unfortunately, not much,” she admitted. “I haven’t been here before, so I’ve never really bothered to learn much of it. I just assumed it was like any other Core World. Large, busy, destitute on the lower levels and the selfishly rich at the top.”
 

Lucyfer

Laudandum puellam, ornandum, tollendum.
“Gym, that’s it,” Myka had honestly forgotten, but she didn’t regret it, “I haven’t been to a gym before,” a truth, spoken as the door to her room was opened and she stepped into it. It was so barren. So boring.

And she didn’t have a bath. Just a shower. She was likely lucky to even have a refresher attached to her room, but she still pouted at the lack of a bath. Nonetheless, she floated her bag further into the room, and began opening it, pulling things out with the Force to set them about her room.

Clothes towards a closet.

Bedding towards the bed – adding just a hint of color, the same magenta as her lightsaber, in the hue of the blanket and the pillow she brought to rest on the bed. Hygienic items were floated towards the refresher, and her study materials and holocrons found spaces on flat surface.

“I’ve neglected that aspect of my training for too long. I suppose this will be a good time to become accustomed to that part.” Training ought to be holistic. She knew that.

~***~

“It pretty much is like any other Core world,” Poe agreed, “the corruption is just a bit more extreme.” He acknowledged. At least, the scale of it, anyways. He knew where to look, though, and he knew how to show it to Azra. Hopefully, without getting any of them in trouble.

As he reached the hangar, a hailing request did come through, and Poe allowed it, “State your name and business, please.”

“Yeah, uh, this is Morgan Durand,” he mouthed a ‘sorry’ to Azra, but he couldn’t use his actual name here, and he grasped at the nearest name available to him. Durand. “Here with my sister, Azra Durand,” maybe that would make things better? He didn’t know. “We’re just visiting some friends, shouldn’t be here longer than a day.”

There was a moment’s pause, and then directions were given to where they could land the ship and how much it would cost by the day. And they had to pay for a day, minimum, “Right, will do!” Poe would still try to scam the system and not pay for a day, but that was a problem for future Poe.
 

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
“Well I can show you the gym and what’s in it.” Kylo was initially surprised by Myka’s confession, that she hadn’t been to a gym before, but that should hardly have surprised him. Being raised by a Sith, then spending her time on Korriban, those factors wouldn’t exactly lead her to spend time in a gym, not like Kylo and how he spent many years on the ships of the First Order.

He watched her silently put away her things, objects floating about to their designating places in drawers and closets and even on the bed, with a splash of color added by the addition of her blanket and pillow.

The color was nice. Much better than just the simple black it had been.

“If you need, I can show you a few starting moves.” So she could train better. She would train him in what he needed, and he would return the favor. Nothing more.

~~

Azra turned to stare at Poe with a brow raised. Really? Using her own last name? And as siblings? Well, it was better than the alternative. Yes, it was. And it was only to land their ship in a hangar.

As Poe landed the ship, Azra stood back up to slip her jacket back on and ran her hands over the pockets to make sure she still had everything she needed to record any proof of what Poe said, if it was true.

“So, Morgan,” she stressed the alias Poe just came up with, “where are we headed first?” He hadn’t actually told her anything he had planned for this trip, or how he was going to show her the corruption of the planet.

Unless he had access to some top secret files, or could get them to eavesdrop on a meeting, Azra didn’t know what to expect.
 

Lucyfer

Laudandum puellam, ornandum, tollendum.
Myka wondered if it was that hard to figure out how things worked in the gym that she’d need help. She also wondered if it wouldn’t be more beneficial to use this as an opportunity to get to know others in the First Order, rather than Kylo Ren. ‘Would taking the help prevent that?’ She did not need to go at the same times as him, all the time.

There were still plenty to meet, and plenty of opportunities. Like the Silver Trooper, and the one who held some potential in the Force, but was staying just a spark. Barely noticeable. Myka might not have picked them up if she wasn’t looking for it, wasn’t as attuned to the Force as she was.

There were many she still wanted to meet – and she could always play dumb, “That would be helpful. Thank you,” she said. It was something he could do. Something he had mastered. Something that would help to feel useful – which, as this went on, she imagined he might find himself in the terribly uncomfortable position of being the one who didn’t have as much to offer.

Not personally, anyways.

So she could give this to him, as all of her things were finally laid out. “Okay, I’m ready to see where the important things are!”

~***~

“I told ya – a friend,” Poe chuckled, wondering how long it might take for him to recognize being called ‘Morgan’ once they were off the ship. If someone started hollering ‘Morgan’, he might not realize it was for him for a bit. Oh well. “His name is Shriv Suurgav,” Poe added.

Shriv had been drawn there by the Corvus, a ship of Meeko that was abandoned. Meeko was dead. Meeko had been the one looking into the so-called Project Resurrection, and he had plans to disrupt what was going on, gathering the information they needed. He had apparently found something, and paid the price for it…but that brought them to Athulla, where they had narrowed it down.

Things were just too busy to get too far.

There was a rumor of something big going on with the First Order. Something Moradi hadn’t figured out yet, either. “C’mon,” he said as he got out of the pilot’s seat and started for the exit of the ship, while pulling his datapad out, “We’ll see if we can pay to get this thing fueled while we’re away,” some hangars offered it. It was more common in the Core.

BB-8 seemed to think that was a good idea, since they might have to leave quickly.
 

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
Kylo only nodded at her thanks. He would show her the basics, and where things were, then he would expect her to know how to get there without his help.

A gut instinct told him she may “accidentally” end up at his quarters quite often, though, and he didn’t know if that would be a good thing or not.

The lingering tingle on his lips told him it would be a great thing.

He nodded. “Alright, I’ll show you where the cafeteria is first. It’s closer.” He led them out of her room and in the direction of the caf, just a few corridors away from where they were. Kylo often tried to not linger too long in the cafeteria, rather preferring to take his food to the comfort of his silent and isolated chambers.

~~

Azra had doubts about this ‘friend’ of Poe’s. The name didn’t sound familiar to her, and she didn’t trust him enough to not drag them into some sort of mess that would end up with blasters pointed in their direction.

But now Azra didn’t have much of a choice.

She followed Poe off the ship. “So you do anticipate things going south?” BB-8 seemed to think so, and Azra had already voiced her opinion on that matter. She pulled her hood up, and her hands stuffed inside the pockets of her jackets.

There was some regret with agreeing to this week-long excursion with Poe. Of course, Azra found herself getting into trouble on her own, but doing so with someone else? She didn’t know what to quite think just yet about that. “I hope every place we visit won’t be like that.”
 

Lucyfer

Laudandum puellam, ornandum, tollendum.
The cafeteria wasn’t far, but it was not what Myka was expecting. For one, she was expecting to be greeted with the smell of food, but instead, it just smelled…sterile. The people there were mostly in those white armor outfits, a few were in black outfits that she assumed meant they ranked higher.

Even if they were less well-armored and protected.

Strange how that worked.

Naturally, a few looked up at them, but Myka ignored that, striding ahead to the options, and then looking back at Kylo, “Is this all you can afford?” She sounded upset. It looked mostly like fancy ration packs and fancy ration goops. “Is there no fresh food?” Were they really all living on rations?

Was she eating better on Korriban?

~***~

“No,” Poe said, though BB-8 denied it, “but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared now, does it?” He asked as they stepped out of the ship and down the ramp, which he quickly had closed up. As expected, they were approached by someone there.

“How long were you intending to be here, Mr. Durand?”

That was weird. Poe shrugged it off, “Just a day or two. Let’s say two, just in case I run over,” he said, realizing he needed to pay, “and can I get her fueled up while I’m away?”

“Yes,” the man agreed, and listed off the price. Poe managed not to wince, and made a note to explain this to Leia as soon as he could, as he offered out his credit chip to cover the cost of stay and estimated fuel, before they were allowed on their way out of the hangar.

That was when he opted to make the call to Shriv.

Thankfully, Shriv didn’t take long in picking up. “Poe? What are you doing here?”

“Hey buddy!” Poe greeted, “You forget I’m going by Morgan now?” He could see the other roll his eyes. “Listen, me and Az are in town for a visit, we wanted to catch up. You got time?”

“Yeah, yeah,” he said, “I’ll send you the coordinates.”

“Could you send us a speeder?”

Shriv scoffed, but agreed, “Where you at?”

Poe offered the location of the hangar, and Shriv nodded, “All right, I’ll have you picked up.”
 

Cleocrypt

Coffeehouse Owner in the Ottoman Empire
Kylo could fathom what Myka was thinking before she even asked it. Fresh food was often found lacking on First Order ships, though they did have it for certain meals, and it was one thing he indulged on whenever he was planetside.

“The standard food we have here has all the nutrients and calories one needs for a meal,” he answered. “There is some fresh food, such as fruit and salad, but nutrient bars and packs are typical fare for the officer and stormtrooper.”

It was what was expected, but since he normally dined alone, Kylo always did his best to find the fresh food and take it back to his quarters for his meal. “Come here around dinner time, and you can normally find more to eat.”

He turned, walking out of the cafeteria. “I can show you the gym next,” he announced. “There’s one just a few more corridors down.” And like the caf, the ship had several gyms. Kylo had memorized how many people go to the gym in particular that’s closest at certain times, for he preferred to be there when there were little to no officers.

Unfortunately, that was near impossible given all the different shifts, but he could still manage to get there when there were only a few people in the gym.

~~

Azra raised one brow. BB-8’s denial wasn’t exactly comforting, but she could only agree that they could at least be prepared for the worst, even if they both could hope they didn’t have to resort to that.

Poe’s wince at the price amount did not go unnoticed by Azra. She felt some semblance of guilt, as she was the reason they were there to begin with, and no doubt there would be other hangars in the coming week that would need credits to dock her ship. I will have to help cover the costs.

“So, this friend of yours,” Azra began after Poe ended the call, “does he just have information? Is he going to show us something more? I would rather not go into this with a blind eye.” She didn’t want any surprises.

She would rather that they found a story instead of becoming the story.
 

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