A Heritage of Power 3: Jay's Story 9.99:
The Price of Survival part 2 of 6

by Fur and Fantasy
NC-17 for M/F, M/M, F/F, M/Herm sex, Violence and a bunch more
full contents and notes located at the bottom of the file

"Well, it seems you've made a fine mess of things." The spirit of Ludo Kressh sounded entirely too pleased with the situation for Tembris' tastes. "What did I tell you? The slow route, steady, take your opportunities as the Force presents them to you. What do you do?"

"Shut up," the Wolf growled, opening his eyes and looking for the shadowy figure of the half-Massassi.

"You're going to loose everything to that Jedi, and his Demon." Kressh continued. "Some people are not worth the difficulty to turn."

"You saw what he is capable of," Tembris pointed out. "Without taking some risks, the Sith will never rise again. Turning his power to our purposes will ensure the fall of the Republic, and of the Jedi."

"Tembris, Tembris," the spirit shook his head. "What he did anyone with a reasonable talent in the Force can do with training. As he said himself, few would think of trying, but most could manage it. His true talent lies with machines, not telekinesis."

"You don't think I'm aware of that, Kressh? Imagine the chaos on Coruscant if they only lost their weather-control. Add loss of defensive shields and rampant loss of machine services? The shining heart of the Republic brought to its knees without firing a shot."

"And the fleets turned on their crews, the Jedi Temple itself turned on its inhabitants." The spirit chuckled with absolute glee. "To think, an entire family like him is out there."

"And in the other room, in a few months," Tembris nodded with a chuckle of his own. "I'm sure you understand now why I feel turning him is worth any price, even my life. After all - you of all people know that death isn't the end for a true Sith."

"None with the will to remain," Kressh nodded slightly. "And those soon to be born will never know any way but the Sith."

"A bargain both I and Clawson's Demon agree to," Tembris nodded. "So, your comments to the contrary aside, I'd say I have the situation well under control."

"Except that Clawson is still very much a Jedi, Janos is quickly turning against you for real, you can't begin to train Mina out of fear of what Clawson will do about it, we are currently holed up in a place of his choosing, he's come very close to challenging you twice already, and when he does, you are not likely to survive it. Oh, and both his mates are still alive too."

"You underestimate me, Kressh," Tembris rumbled dangerously. "When he does challenge me, I will be quite capable of dealing with him. As for Janos, if he turns against me, he will surrender or die. Such is the way of the Sith. Something I'm beginning to feel I understand better than you do."

"True Sith do not surrender." Kressh retorted. "Not even to Death."

"You're right," Tembris growled slightly. "Though I doubt he is a true Sith yet. He lacks the focus and the strength. All he has is anger, but that is something I intend to hone, once the time comes."

"Assuming he still has it when it does," Kressh smirked in his shadows. "Clawson has already done quite a bit to overcome it, somehow. Clawson may be turning from the Jedi, but he is turning one of your apprentices towards them. How long before you lose the other as well?"

"There is something else you're forgetting, Kressh," the ancient Wolf growled, reaching into his vest and closing his hand around the heavy onyx amulet he had worn since first meeting the Sith Spirit.

"And what might that be? That you don't have any idea how to keep the Jedi from bringing all your plans down around your ears? That I know very well. You're no closer to destroying the Order than you were the first time."

That did it. Tembris pulled the amulet out, sliding his hand to the side to expose the ancient Sith runes on its surface as he channeled the power of the Dark Side through them. A bolt of black energy that seemed to devour everything in its path shot out of the center of it, engulfing the Sith Spirit and exposing Kressh to something he hadn't truly felt in centuries.


"No," Tembris growled. "You forget that, eventually, death comes for all, even the Sith." Seeing that his undead mentor's spirit was still clinging to its existence, he channeled another bolt through it. This time, with a silent scream that resonated through the Force, the last of the true Sith Lords was wrenched from existence, returned to the Force he had so long denied.

"I should have done that a long time ago," Tembris muttered as he tucked the amulet back into his shirt and laid back down, returning to his meditation.

Jay stretched out in bed between his mates as he woke up, surprisingly relaxed given the impressive discharge of Dark energy that had occurred so close by only a few hours before.

"What do you think about learning to use your Force talent?" He offered out of nowhere to them both.

"Hmm?" Mina sounded sleepy yet, but he could tell that she was interested; her focus was on him instantly. Janos was a little more honestly waking up yet, though Jay could tell he'd heard.

"You're both strong enough to learn to do a great deal with what you have in natural talent." He gave them a chance to wake up a little more and absorb the offer.

"Are you trying to offer us Jedi training?" Mina asked him.

"Basically," he admitted. "It's what I know, for the most part. I'm offering the practical half of it, not the philosophy. I tend to attract trouble. It would help you survive if you can fight back well."

"Not sure how much of it we're qualified to learn," the Tabby murmured, kissing Jay's cheek. "But I know I'm willing."

"Same here," Janos added, rubbing Jay's chest lightly. "You know I've already got a bit of it down, but I won't turn down more."

"Probably not lightsaber training, definitely not my type, at least not soon. You saw what can happen to even an experienced wielder with a moment of distraction." He twitched his half-missing ear in reminder and tried not to think about why the injury had really happened. "But levitation, body control, telepathy and a score more of the practical skills you should be able to pick up readily and definitely have the raw talent to master."

"We'll work on it then," Mina smiled, reaching across him to trace his still-tender scar lightly, turning his face towards hers for a gentle kiss that was returned with a lingering passion that wasn't as strong as it had been in the days following her heat, but was still honest and present.

"Yes," Janos nuzzled him from behind. "It's hardly a bad use of time, after all."

Mina sighed mentally. She knew the Demon was watching her and her self-studies of what Jay couldn't teach her and Tembris likely wouldn't anytime soon.

"*You teach yourself well.*" It commented shortly before she would have addressed it.

"*I have little choice,*" she explained absently, setting aside the ancient Sith scroll she had stolen years before but never quite understood. "*And much experience in doing so. Not even Tembris appreciates what I'm capable of.*"

"*What if you were strong enough to challenge him in raw Dark power?*" It all but crooned.

"*He has been a Sith Lord for longer than I've been alive,*" she pointed out. "*And was a Jedi Master before that.*" She carefully checked her mental shields; she didn't want Tembris to overhear if he was listening in.

"*But I'm listening.*"

"*You teach yourself well. Do you really need him? I can offer you more power than he has, if you can learn how to use it.*"

"*He has powers, skills, that I don't,*" she pointed out. "*His command of the Dark Side is incredible; I haven't mastered it to nearly that level yet. But with time ... it would be possible. What do you want for this, though?*" She asked suspiciously.

"*He has sent his Master to the Force; he no longer has a great source of knowledge and power he has used since turning to the Sith.*" The Demon countered seductively. "*I want you to stay with Jay, even after the kits are born. I want more litters. You are pure enough in the Dark that just your presence and nature will turn him in time. Time that Tembris will not give us, if he remains.*"

"*What Master?*" Mina asked, looking in the direction it seemed like the Demon's voice came from, though she knew it was inside her mind.

"*Ludo Kressh. A Sith Spirit, the last of the ancient bloodline that founded the Order. He turned Jedi Master Zykell into the Sith Darth Tembris and has been at Tembris' side ever since. Tembris no longer has his support.*"

"*That explains the surge we felt last week,*" Mina murmured, her mind running through various possibilities rapidly. All of them played through to her advantage, especially with the Demon's support. "*When do we move?*" She asked it.

"*After I have turned Janos to our side, unless a perfect opening presents itself first.*" It chuckled softly and extended a mental 'hand' to her; a taste of the power it offered much more freely than any Sith would dare.

It was raw, pure power too. Not the kind gained by training, but the heady rush of what usually only came naturally.

Mina accepted it without reservation, only afterwards remembering that, in the future, she should be careful to make sure she could handle it first.

"*We may have to work without Janos at first,*" Mina cautioned it. "*But he will not support Tembris over us, I'm sure of that.*"

"*That is the important part.*" The creature nodded silently. "*While Jay becoming unstable is the eventual goal, it is best if it is done slowly, and not by the 'death' of a third mate-bond. Do be careful, though. Neither kill was successful in reality. Both his Jedi mates still live, and they are hunting for him even now.*"

"*Further proof that Tembris is weakening,*" Mina grumbled mentally. "*That would not have been allowed a few years ago ....*"

"*They will be dealt with in time.*" It assured her. "*You and Janos hold the active bonds. They will have great difficulty convincing him they are his mates. With the right words beforehand, he may well turn on them.*"

"*Mmm ... how possible would it be to 'remind' him that they were his mates after he turns on them? Too late for it to do any good for them, of course,*" Mina suggested, purring physically.

"*Rather easy,*" the Demon grinned mentally, delighting in the idea. "*This will work very nicely. If we can get him to kill them himself, he will never turn back to the Light, even if he does turn away from the Dark.*"

"*I doubt he could turn away at that point,*" Mina rumbled. "*Doing so would force him to confront what he did. The Dark Side would become something he needs to avoid coping with their deaths at his hands.*"

"*Do not underestimate their ability to accept such pain as their due punishment for their acts.*" The Demon warned her. "*Most have a masochistic streak in them for emotional as well as physical pain.*"

"*It is possible,*" she accepted. The Demon did, after all, know the family better than she did. "*But as you said, it would ensure that he never returned to the Light. That is as useful as any of a number of other things. There are also other possibilities,*" she mused, rubbing her hand over the very slight swell of her belly below the two extra sets of tits that were beginning to swell, ready to feed the large litter inside her.

"*Such as?*" It pressed her, very intent on any ideas she had where the kittens were concerned.

"*Nothing that would harm them,*" she said easily, then continued as she realized the Demon didn't trust her nearly enough to settle for that. "*Just thinking about who would best be targeted for Jay's rage should things not go perfectly.*"

She knew, instinctively, that just thinking such things was dangerous ground around this creature. Whatever else it was, its reactions towards young Clawsons made Jay's protective possessiveness look like abandonment. It was a small price to pay for the power it offered so freely, but she would have to be careful in the future about when she planned for such contingencies.

Before another word was said, it faded into a dim presence in her mind. It was a sensation very similar to what she knew it was like for Jay when he was being left alone.

She would have to watch herself more carefully ... and make sure she managed to keep control. A part of her wondered just what it did to Jay, and that she would likely have to deal with in the future.

Pushing the thought to the side for now, the young Sith set herself to the task of learning to control the power she had now, and how to wield it best.

"I can safely say I've never done something like that before," Janos murmured as he and Jay relaxed on top of the mesa, Tatooine's dual suns beating down on them as they sat, heating their bodies through their fur after a little experimenting with aerial sex.

It was experimenting for Janos as least. He had no doubts that Jay had done this often enough to be comfortable with it.

"It is unusual." Jay chuckled softly and let his eyes drift closed as he enjoyed the heat from the suns in a moment where everything else, all his concerns and the issues in his life, didn't matter for a few minutes.

It was a few minutes that Janos regretted having to end, but he knew this was the only time he'd be able to warn Jay without Tembris or Mina overhearing him.

"Jay?" He asked, double-checking to make sure the tom hadn't dozed off as he reached over to scritch the back of his neck and felt him murr in appreciation as much as heard it. "I'm not sure we can trust Kell ...."

Hell, that was an understatement. Janos knew better than anybody that they couldn't trust him as far as Tembris could throw him. The next part was going to be the hardest to get Jay to accept. "Or Mina."

"I know." Jay whispered, a tone and trickle in the bond that made Janos realize that Jay had known from the moment he'd woken up with her in his bed. "Who are they?"

"Mina's who she says she is, as far as I know," Janos said softly. "Kell ... he's Kell, but that's a cover for Darth Tembris, the Sith Lord."

He felt the shudder pass through his mate; Jay's sick realization that he was really in over his head even more than he'd originally thought.

"And your connection to him?" Jay asked quietly, unconsciously putting a good deal of pressure across the bond and the Force to hear the full truth.

"Same as Mina," Janos said softly. "Used to be at least. I was gunning to be accepted as an apprentice ... just seemed to be the next natural step for me, with what I was doing."

"Has he taught you how to use a lightsaber?" Jay let out a breath, a very private sense of panic giving way to a level of plotting and contingencies that any Sith would be proud of developing.

"He hasn't taught either of us much. I learned to do that on my own," Janos admitted. "Just like everything else I've gotten. He's been working on some of the skills ... but I'll be honest, it's not feeling like as natural a step as I'd thought it was."

"Something that will likely kill you young rarely does." He rolled to his side to rest against the Wolf. "Or maybe you're just not so angry anymore."

"You still haven't seen me in a fight," Janos pointed out with a grim chuckle. "That Twi'lek wouldn't have gotten away alive. Neither would most of the other folks in the cantina," he admitted. "As for killing me young ... I dunno, Tembris is holding up pretty well."

"Some do, most don't." Jay said quietly, then nuzzled him. "Now that the sun is down, why don't you show me what you can do in a fight?"

"I don't have my 'saber with me," he pointed out. "And I don't know that you want to go up against me hand-to-hand. Solo ... it doesn't work as well without somebody to take on," he half-explained.

"You honestly think I can't stop you?" Jay raised an eyebrow at him.

"Without maiming me?" Janos pointed out. "I don't necessarily control things once I get going."

"You're going to need enough self-control to spar with me if I'm going to teach you much of anything combat-related," Jay sighed softly. "Or enough trust in me to stop things without either of us getting hurt."

"Just pointing out the risks, when I'm practicing my unarmed skills," the Wolf said easily, licking his cheek. "Not that I learn all that much when I get like that. Less skill, more blind rage. Put a weapon in my hands and I handle it a bit better. Or if it was a challenge."

"So go get your lightsaber," Jay suggested as he began to stand, pausing for a kiss part way up, "and see what you've managed to teach yourself about it?"

"Works for me," Janos nodded, standing up. "You happen to remember where we left our clothes?" He asked, looking around with a chuckle. Jay didn't even have to motion to guide his eye in the right direction.

"I want you to pay attention to the Force around us when I take us down," Jay told him as they quickly dressed. "Levitation is a difficult skill for many to master, but it is a simple effect."

"Will do," Janos nodded, pulling the rest of his clothes on and moving to the edge with Jay.

It was still heart-wrenching, that first step into the open sky. Nothing in his life could have prepared Janos to trust anything like that. Yet this was the third time he'd done just that, and Jay had never let him be hurt. He could feel it, that the tom couldn't let him be hurt.

As much as a part of him was still screaming that trusting the Jedi was dangerous, he found it easier and easier to do just that. A scant month ago and he wouldn't have even thought of telling Jay what he just had. Now, he was warning Jay about the plan that was in play, and planning on ways to help him avoid it.

As the powerful updrafts of Tatooine's early evenings blew past them, he couldn't help but marvel at how crazy things were just now, and that now was only the beginning.

When his feet touched solid rock again, Janos let out of breath of relief to be under his own propulsion again. He started back onto the Sharufa, heading back into the hold and opening the small crate that held his lightsaber, the hilt not a perfect fit for his hand. As Jay arrived, he realized that there was no way Janos had created it himself, for all that he carried it with the ease of somebody who knew what he was doing with it.

"How'd you get that one?" He asked quietly with a nod towards the weapon.

"A Jedi came after one of my employers when I was freelancing," Janos explained, remarkably at ease with the subject until he remembered who he was talking to. Apparently, he also decided it was too late to stop the explanation. "When the blasterfire was done, there was a lightsaber without an owner, so I trained myself how to use it."

"The Jedi's name?" Jay asked and extended his hand for the weapon, a knot in his stomach for being even this close to the death of a colleague.

"Not sure," Janos shrugged slightly, unholstering it and passing it over, fairly certain he wouldn't be seeing it again, but knowing that it would be better than trying to keep it against Jay's objections. "Some Ferret, going by the name of Oppo Ran. I wasn't exactly worried about his real name when the fighting started."

The tom nodded and closed his eyes as he passed his hand over the weapon, making it disappear in a powerful ripple of Force. He was grateful he did not know the owner. That may well have made the contact unbearable ... and cost everyone on Tatooine their lives. It still left him uneasy about just how to send the weapon back to the Temple with the news in a way he couldn't be traced.

"You can use my ... Fenrik's second spare." Jay said quietly and turned to leave with a subtle motion to follow. "At least until one is built for you."

It still unnerved Janos to know that Jay could do something like that. The thought of what the tom could do to somebody he got ticked off at enough ... and he'd thought that Tembris was bad with being able to use the Force as a weapon directly. This was definitely not the time to bring up other fights he'd had with Jedi over the years, even if Jay probably already knew about most of them, or could. He could feel how unsettled the tom already was, how close to truly snapping in a way not even Tembris wanted.

"All right," the Wolf nodded, following Jay to claim the backup weapon from the sparring chamber. It was sitting with several others; a set of two like Jay wielded, a traditional double-blade made of crystal, and a normal looking single-blade sitting next to an empty place for a weapon of the same size.

Jay took the traditional lightsaber from its resting place and handed it over. It took Janos a startled moment to adjust his hand to the new weight and the incredible sensation of being at one with the weapon.

It was definitely not something he was used to, even after years of practicing with the 'saber he'd just lost.

"What's up with this one?" The Wolf asked, looking over at Jay.

"It is a Master Artisan 'saber." Jay explained. "I made it for him a few months after I finished my training as one. That is what it feels like when you have perfected the creation of a Force-weapon. It will work for you even better than one you make for yourself."

Janos looked at it, testing the weight again, and accepting that the somewhat unsettling feeling was just something he'd get used to.

"I'll keep it in mind," he nodded, stepping back and igniting the blade. "So, what do you want to see?"

"Just fight me, for now." Jay said simply as he dropped into a loose defensive posture and light a single blade, the blacklight in stark contrast to his opponent's brilliant white. "Show me what you can do."

"You asked for it," Janos said easily, moving into an unorthodox offensive flurry that, while not so skilled that Jay couldn't block it easily, was easily on a par with those used by most novice Knights. It was clear that the Wolf had spent long hours working with a lightsaber, and while this specific weapon was one he wasn't comfortable with, he was adapting quickly.

Blow after blow rained down, each with the full strength of the lupine's powerful body behind it. It lacked practically any sign of art or grace, but it was a powerful, punishing technique that would have made most Jedi scowl to see used by one of their own, and very unhappy to see used by an opponent.

It was surprisingly effective too; for all that no Jedi in his right mind would have used it.

It made it damn near the perfect style for a Sith-to-be.

Jay smiled, a dangerous look that set every nerve Janos had on edge, and the Wolf found himself on the receiving end of a fighting style as opposite to his own as he could imagine.

He shifted to the defensive, clearly a weaker skill of his. To the seasoned Jedi, it was obvious that his mate had benefited greatly from the simplest of flawed logic - that the best defense is a good offense.

Still, he tried to hold his own, blocking blows narrowly with potent parries that kept Jay from easily flowing into the next blow, forcing him to recover from the parry first.

Jay could also tell that Janos' frustration with being put into this position was growing ... and that a barely-restrained well of Dark Side energy was coming ever closer to the surface. To judge by what he'd said before, if it hadn't been for the lightsaber, he'd already have a berserk Wolf on his hands.

As it stood, he knew what he needed to.

"*Stop.*" Jay ordered with enough Force to stop the rising tide of rage without truly overpowering Janos' mind.

Janos moved back, blinking as he felt the retreat.

"That's never happened before," he said, clearly uneasy, looking at Jay warily.

"You've never have someone give you a Force Command then." The tom nodded with an easy manner as his lightsaber extinguished and was slid back into its Glovatrix home. "Or at least not one to stop you from fighting."

"Not by the time I reached that point," Janos agreed, extinguishing his own weapon a little uneasily. "Not that I listened to. 'Course, I haven't dealt with Jedi all that often before."

"Certainly not any experienced ones," he nodded slightly and motioned Janos to follow him. "Your style is effective, but only to a point. You haven't crossed lightsabers with anyone who's got more than the basics down, or is any good at Mind Control."

"It's worked for what I've needed it for," Janos said a little defensively. "Mostly dealing with folks who see a lightsaber and back off or try to come at me with something that really isn't suited for it. I have had a few Jedi try the mind control thing, they're just not usually fast enough to get started before it doesn't help."

"You've been lucky, in part." Jay nodded. "Very lucky your name never came up when I was taking field missions. Some Jedi specialize. Mine was hunting, when they let me. With enough work, you may well become good enough to hunt with me."

"Hunting what?" Janos asked him.

"Darksiders mostly, sometimes terentatek and other such beasts." He answered as they stepped inside their quarters. "They tend not to send me when they want to make sure whatever it is comes back alive."

"If it's some sort of beast, I'm already good enough to help you as is," Janos pointed out, following Jay into the showers. It was clearly something he took some pride in. "Might not be the best lightsaber fighter out there, but I am one of the best hunters."

"Want to go hunting for fresh meat with me, then?" Jay glanced over his shoulder before letting the loose, sandy-tan clothing he wore now slip off his well-toned body and to the floor. "It's not lightsaber work, but it's a good workout."

"Something to do too," Janos nodded, stripping down himself while Jay set the water temperature. "Dewbacks are a bit big, but anything smaller than that should make a good few meals for us, even with a ship full of carnivores."

"Quite true," he nodded and stepped under the shower of water. A shiver passed through his body as the warmth of the liquid seeped into his fur and skin with the arousal that typically followed.

"You never run out of steam, do you?" Janos asked with a chuckle, climbing in behind Jay and running a hand down his chest from behind, cupping the older feline's balls in a bit of foreplay that was already feeling normal.

"Eventually," he murmured and leaned back, his legs spreading apart in welcome of the attention. "But not easily."

"No wonder you prefer two mates," the Wolf rumbled, licking the sweat from Jay's fur. "Need 'em to keep up with you. Though I'm willing to try."

"You've done pretty well so far," he snickered and pressed back, rubbing his ass and tail against his mate's groin. "Though I really prefer males. It feels so good to be full."

"Mmm ... I'm not about to complain about you liking it that way," Janos rumbled, nipping his shoulder as his sheath started to fill out. "I happen to like filling you."

A soft rumble of pleasure came from Jay before he twisted and knelt to nuzzle his mate, coaxing the hard flesh from it's home with an eager mouth and skilled tongue he took care to only use the back of.

"Mmm ... you can use the front too," Janos moaned pleasantly, reaching down to rub Jay's ears and the back of his head, taking some care to watch out for the scarred one. "Damn you're good at this," he rumbled, the tip of his cock quickly emerging from his sheath to even more attention. It wasn't long before Jay had him panting, leaned forward to brace against the shower wall with on hand while the other continued to play in Jay's long hair and the still-whole ear.

Just a few moments later, his howl echoed through the shower as his cock spasmed, shooting his cum into Jay's mouth as his knot throbbed just outside the Kat's mouth. The sound went up a couple notches in intensity as the Kat closed his hand around the knot's base and squeezed gently as he hummed happily and swallowed everything Janos had to offer.

Moments later, and the Wolf was panting heavily, his tongue lolling along the side of his muzzle before he pulled Jay up and kissed him, the flavor of his cum heavy on the older Kat's breath.

"'Against your back, or face-to-face?" He asked him.

"Face to face," he grinned and slid one leg up to hook around the Wolf's hip before claiming another kiss. "Fuck me hard, handsome."

"With pleasure," Janos growled lustily, pressing his cock up into Jay's ass with a groan that was quickly muffled by the older tom's shoulder as he bit down on it, a bit more roughly than he usually did. He could feel it, across their bond, that it was nothing close to how rough the feline received his from previous male mate, or how easily the pain mixed with the pleasure for him.

And he knew, deep inside, that he was going to find out just whose appetite for pain was stronger before he was finished.

Essani sighed and took a deep breath to settle herself in the holonet chamber with Master Zraii. She set the controls to put them in contact with the Gurath, Kalrass and Independence to get an update from the Jedi hunting for her former Padawan. There hadn't been an ounce of good news in the two months since his capture, and she was sure her fur was going to be permanently darkened before there was any at this rate.

"Greetings, Masters." Master Miya said respectfully as the holonet conference began between the three Masters and two Knights spread out in space and the two at the Temple. Just her tone warned there was going to be precious little good news this week either.

Just like last week and every week since the hunt began.

One of the additional receivers flickered on, revealing Jenna and Kanna on the Independence; they hadn't quite made it to the rendezvous point yet, but they were will there.

"Sorry we're late, Masters," Kanna said, bowing. "We ran into an ion storm on the way to the rendezvous, the hyperdrive cut out for the duration."

"Understandable," Master Zraii said easily, translating for Essani as well as speaking for hirself. "Is there any news?"

"Jay is still with the Light," Fenrik began with the little good news they had. After the terrifying couple of hours a month before when he was sure that his mate had gone over to the Dark Side, that had become the opening question to answer. "I still can not get a lock on his location, but he has not moved far in recent weeks. If he stays put a few more weeks, we will have it down to what planet he's on."

"*That is good news,*" Essani said, waiting for the message to be relayed. "*On both fronts.*"

"All indicators still say that he's in the Rim," Doruth said. "We've checked all the worlds that were top priorities and in the general range, but no luck, so we'll be moving to priority two worlds until Fenrik can get a fix."

"Is there any news about Master Shivasta yet?" Kanna asked. "She would be able to help us narrow things down as well, if she has recovered yet."

"*They don't think it will be long, but she hasn't regained consciousness yet. Most of the poison is out of her system, but waking her up early would undo all her progress.*"

"Understood, Master." Jenna inclined her head. Whoever had set this up had done their research well.

"Have there been any further messages from him?" Fenrik asked quietly, his weariness from the hunt and worrying about his mate beginning to show.

"*No,*" Master Essani admitted. "*He seems to be hiding out from us intentionally now.*"

"That'll make things more difficult," Doruth observed with a frown. "Especially if he decides to interfere with Fenrik's bond. Master Zraii, was there any luck with the trace on the message we did have?"

"Very little of use," shi answered. "It came from the Falleen system. I doubt it is where he is, however. The markers indicate the ship was still in hyperspace when the transmission was made. Our best hope right now is that he stays where he is long enough for you to find him."

"Agreed," Fenrik nodded. "The Falleen system is too strongly in line with the Republic and the Jedi; we'd know by now if he was there."

"But it gives us a place to focus," Doruth murmured, looking away from the transmitter. "We have several high priority systems in the area; Tatooine, Geonosis, Ryloth, several others along the Corellian Run. I think we'll want to focus there for a bit; getting between the systems will be faster for a bit too."

"If he is in that area, I may have a better shot at tracing him." Fenrik added with a nod. "The closer I can come, the more likely I'll be to get more than a vague sense of direction."

"Then that's where we'll be headed," Doruth nodded. "Unless there are any objections, I'll take the Ryloth system, Fenrik can start out in the Geonosis system, and Jenna and Kanna, why don't the two of you start in the Rodia system? If they took Jay there, we're looking at a very short fuse on things that might set him off before we find him."

"If he's on Rodia, we'd know about it by now." Fenrik pointed out respectfully to his former Master. "I seriously doubt they wouldn't report someone doing serious population damage with a lightsaber. Besides, Jay's not Dark yet. He wouldn't go there if he had a choice. Tatooine is much more likely."

"And we wouldn't have heard about it yet," Doruth agreed. "It's practically next to the Geonosis system ... why don't the three of you handle both of them?" He asked, clearly meaning Fenrik, Jenna, and Kanna. "Only a handful of habitable worlds between them, shouldn't take long either way."

"Yes, Master." Fenrik agreed easily.

"Works for us." Kanna nodded.

"A little off topic, Master Essani, but how is Syleece doing?" Jenna asked now that the decisions were made.

"*Well, all things considered,*" Essani said. "*Don't worry; the Council has agreed that, under the circumstances, the two of you don't need to worry about your potential Padawans while you're on this mission.*"

"Thank you, Masters." Both Knights bowed in unison.

"Is there anything else, Master Essani?" Master Miya asked now that all the family business was out of the way.

"*Only the update on the Council business that has already been transmitted to the Gurath for your review, Master Miya,*" Essani said, shaking her head slightly. "*Hopefully the new direction for the search will be successful.*"

"Yes," the Caracal nodded seriously after Master Zraii had relayed the words. "It will be good when this mess is settled. We will contact you next week, unless there is important news before then."

"*Very well,*" Essani nodded. "*Force be with you all.*"

Tembris frowned as he sensed the Force being used in the Sharufa's training rooms. He pulled himself up and into his chair, starting to float out to see what was going on. He'd seen Jay and Janos practicing lightsaber combat at least once, and knew they did so two or three times a day as often as not, but this was something more.

He ultimately found Janos, Jay, and Mina working in the training room. Jay was helping them with their body-control skills; Janos was working with an old Jedi tool, the colors shifting with ease. The Wolf was already fairly skilled at handling his body responses, and was able to manipulate the device without much trouble.

As such, Jay was focused more on Mina, who seemed to be working with him on much the same subject matter.

"Well, that took care of the nausea," she murmured.

"That's a good start," he nodded in approval. "You should be able to control your body well enough to make the birth swift and fairly painless by the time it comes at this rate."

"That'll be good," she nodded. "Odds are, we won't be able to hit a hospital. Especially not if we're still on Tatooine," she chuckled slightly. "Don't think there is one on this world."

The Wolf scowled from the door; it seemed his two 'apprentices' were working to get their training from any source available. He shouldn't be surprised at that, any Sith worth the title did, but to have a Jedi, even one who had left the Order, doing it was not something he approved of.

"Oh, that I'm going to manage. It's just not something to do until it's closer." Jay said firmly. "Birth is not something I'm particularly qualified to handle."

Mina shifted a little uncomfortably. "Take this the right way, I think I'll be looking forward to it. The Sharufa's well-stocked, but it isn't really set up for a maternity ward."

"No, we're not." He agreed quietly, the pain of remembering the Healer-mate he'd lost flaring bright again. "We had very different needs when I last overhauled her."

"We can't change what happened, Jay," Mina said softly, reaching over to brush his cheek lightly. "But we can still find the one who killed her."

Tembris had to approve of that; it was good that she still seemed to be working on him. Their plans had changed, with the hiding place. It would be harder to start the next phase of the process of turning him.

But now would be the time to do it.

There was still some resistance to that hunt, something that almost couldn't be from Jedi training. They may not be kill-happy, but they rarely had an issue with finding those responsible for the death of their own.

"When the kittens can be safely left in the care of others." Jay murmured, his priorities clear at least to himself.

"All right," she nodded. "I don't suppose I could talk you into a trip outside before I end up too far along to enjoy it?"

"What do you want to see?" He cocked his head at her.

"Something other than the ship and cave walls, maybe?" She chuckled, leaning over to kiss his cheek lightly. "Starting to feel a little cooped up, and not far enough along to feel like that's how I'm supposed to be yet."

"All right. After the sun sets and it's a little cooler."

"Thanks," she smiled, giving him another light kiss. Tembris nodded slightly from where he was listening; a trip or two without anything serious happening would help lull the Jedi into a feeling of security.

Now, if only they could convince him to give them the leeway to work a bit, continue turning him. The longer they spent sitting here, the more likely the Jedi were to find him. And the less unsettled Jay was, ultimately. They had to keep him unbalanced ....

"*You worry too much, Sith.*" The Demon interrupted his thoughts. "*The more settled and secure he is when she is captured the more of an impact it will make. Jay will never allow himself to be captured by them.*"

"*He may not have a choice,*" Tembris pointed out. "*The Jedi are hunting hard ... including his mate, by the reports.*"

"*Yes, they are hunting. He is hiding. He won't be found until he's willing to be found.*" It told him with the simple confidence of having watched such cycles time and time again with this family.

"*You had best be right. The last thing we need right now is to face a group of Jedi hunters.*"

"*It's not the hunters that are dangerous to our plans. It's the Healers.*" It pointed out. "*As long as the bonds are in place, the plan can still work.*"

"*And as long as the hunters don't come, face us, kill three of us and capture Jay and Mina,*" Tembris pointed out with a slight mental growl. "*How do you think he would find the Healers again, hmm? Of course that won't happen while he's under our control.*"

"*It still requires them to find us, and they won't as long as Jay does not wish to be found.*"

"*Very well,*" Tembris said. He knew the Demon was just going to keep the logic going in circles right now; he also knew that there were ways that Jay could not necessarily block that they could use to find him. "*You're privy to his thoughts; what is he up to in there?*"

"*Primarily he's focused on what you are watching; training his mates to survive around the dangers he attracts. He's also trying to figure out how to return the dead Jedi's lightsaber to the Temple without having it traced.*"

"*He's still clinging to the past too strongly,*" Tembris rumbled disapprovingly. "*You had best be right about how to deal with him,*" the Wolf added, turning to float back to his quarters. He would have to have a few words with Mina when he had the chance later.

"*You have had him barely more than a month.*" The Demon reminded him as he left. "*The Jedi had him for over fifty years, and not even they could break his holding onto his heritage.*"

Healer Cirran snapped out of a light meditative trance with the first soft beep of Master Shivasta's' vitals that was off rhythm. She'd held this vigil for six weeks now, ever since a Padawan Healer had found the Ice Walker apparently dead. Three visits from Master Fenrik or the Knights had come and gone without a change, and now, two days before he was due back, her heart rate was picking up.

And, according to the rapidly shifting vital signs, her body desperately needed oxygen.

The Twi'lek moved quickly, grabbing a medical breather and holding it over Shi's mouth and nose, helping to restore the balance in her body the poison had disrupted. Assorted gauges moved back into the proper ranges, the Jedi Master's breathing speeding up, but becoming steadier.

Her fingers tightened into a fist, giving a sign that she was at least semi-conscious without disrupting Cirran's efforts to help her, or dislodging the IV carrying nutrients to her body.

It was a good sign. She was aware enough to know not to fight back, and that meant that her mind was likely largely intact. Cirran reached out with a bit of Force, searching for any spores that might still be in Shi's system that would make having her wake up now dangerous.

It seemed that whatever she'd done had been enough; the spores were dead, for all that her body was not going to be happy for a while. There was a fair amount of inert matter that would need to be removed naturally.

Shi's bright eyes opened wearily, and she reached over with her other hand to place it gratefully over Cirran's, then took the breather herself for the few moments necessary before her oxygen levels were back to normal.

"Thank you," she said, taking the mask away from her face. "Hope I don't offend you but, who are you?"

"Knight Cirran," the violet Twi'lek looked down at her with a slight smile of relief. "Master Fenrik should be here in the next couple days to see you, though I doubt you will be fit to go anywhere but back to the Temple for some time."

"How long have I been out?" Shivasta asked, not arguing the other point just yet. "Have to get a message to Jay ...."

"Just over six weeks, Healer." Cirran cautioned her. "The Plague is over. Master Fenrik and your Knights are trying to find Knight Clawson."

"Trying to ...." Shi closed her eyes, swallowing hard. "They took him before anybody could get word to him," she murmured.

"Yes," she nodded slightly. "We know who is responsible. We do not know where they are. Master Fenrik knows a great deal more than I do about what is happening."

"I'm just going to have to recover quickly then, aren't I?" Shivasta asked, closing her eyes again, her body clearly still exhausted. "Have to get him back ...."

"Master Shivasta, you must rest." The Knight insisted, ready to use the Force if she had to. "Master Fenrik will be here soon with more information."

"I know, Knight Cirran," Shivasta sighed. "I plan on resting, just now."

"Good," the younger Healer brushed a gentle hand across Shi's forehead with healing energy. "I will not be far, should you need anything."

"Thank you," Shivasta murmured, before dozing off. Even asleep, Cirran could feel the Force around the Master Healer, working to repair her body as quickly as possible.

Shivasta took a deep breath a few hours later, trying to calm herself. She knew Fenrik would have already tried this, but she had to make an effort ... and from here, it was about all she could do. She closed her eyes, not sleeping this time, but focusing on reaching out to try and find Jay across their bond, reaching out towards him telepathically.

It wasn't any more difficult than usual, given the range. She could tell he was still out in the Rim, but as she got closer a second female mind was woven in, blocking her access.

Then the Darkness rushed up. The Demon she'd felt on so many occasions through the bond was now on her, ready to finish what the poison hadn't.

Her body might still have been weak, but her mind wasn't. Before it could launch its full attack, she responded with the Light-side energy Essani had taught her to wield after Yavin 4, holding the thing at bay as it howled in rage and pain but refused to back down.

"*Where is Jay?*" She demanded.

"*He is no longer yours.*" It rumbled back and attacked again.

"*Like hell he isn't,*" Shivasta growled mentally, even as she backed away. She wasn't able to handle this battle just yet. She'd need help ... help that wouldn't be here for a day or more yet. "*This isn't over.*"

"*It will be soon.*" It hissed at her, but did not follow her far. Its power was too tied to Jay's mind for it to reach far past that, not even along a bond.

Shi had to pull back into her own mind, exhausted. But she knew better what they were up against. Jay thought he had a new mate, but only because the Demon had replaced her.

Only decades of Jedi training kept her from wanting to go back and attack it with everything she had. If she kept it far enough out along the bond, she could probably do it too. Instead, she'd wait until the next day, when Fenrik could help. Between the two of them ....

They'd have to see what could be done.

Mina frowned as her hands traced down her body, over the swell her primary breasts, the two extra sets that were half the size and the obvious roundness of her belly and the three or four kits growing inside of her. Jay had been downright cool lately. Given his preference for males, and hers for fems, she couldn't really blame him for preferring Janos.

But it was the sort of change that endangered her position with him. A position she needed to protect.

She looked at herself in the mirror, nude and beginning to show her pregnant state, wondering what it would take to try and repair the damage that had already been done. Whether or not they were going to turn on Tembris, she still needed Jay to want her, to keep her as his mate, if she was going to get what she wanted out of this.

At least her training hadn't suffered for his lack of interest in bed. He was fulfilling his duties as the father of the young she carried as best he could; providing her with a good diet, as much physical care as he was capable of, training in as many skills that didn't endanger the kit's health as she could wrap her mind around.

Still ... for all that he was being a reasonable good parent, and helping to teach her, she was getting increasingly annoyed with the tedium that her life was becoming. Even the occasional trip outside wasn't much to break things up.

Jay, on the other hand, seemed downright content to stay here for a long time. He was not one of those Jedi who liked to travel, apparently, for all he'd gone on many missions all over the galaxy during his life.

It was reaching the point where she was considering trying to bed Markos while Jay and Janos were off playing. He definitely wasn't the sort she'd normally be interested in, but it would be something to do other than practice wielding the power the Demon had given her.

She nearly jumped out of her skin when someone's hands slid down her sides to cup on her belly, pulling her back against a strong, warm body.

"I don't mean to ignore you." Jay whispered softly.

"You've just got Janos instead," Mina murmured, pressing back against him. "After what happened in Anchorhead, I figured it wasn't a good idea to say anything."

"That was very different, Mina." He nuzzled her, though she could feel it took an effort to make himself interested in her enough to respond to the nude and willing body against his loose clothing. "He was trying to take you away. I'm not usually that temperamental."

"I meant after," she murmured, turning to return the nuzzle. "S'pose you weren't really at your best then."

Not for the first time, she wondered if getting Janos involved in this had really been the best idea. It was a moot point, though. It wasn't as simple as just ditching him somewhere. Jay would go find him again, and Force help whatever was between them.

"No, I wasn't." He admitted and kissed his way up her neck. The touch was arousing, even if he was having a bit of difficulty desiring her like he had in those first couple weeks. The more he had time to think, the more she doubted he was as ignorant or helpless as everyone thought he was. There were moments that she was sure he was as devious and manipulative as any Sith. That, combined with his natural honesty, was a bewildering mixture and did nothing to sooth her uneasiness.

She had to figure out a way to reinforce the bond. Fortunately, he seemed receptive to one of the easiest.

She tilted her head to give him access to her neck, reaching back to rub his sides before she started to work his belt off.

"Love me," she murmured to him, kissing his unburned cheek lightly.

He nodded slightly and kissed her exposed throat as one hand slid down to caress her sex, wetting the fur on his fingers with her juices before he slid them up to swirl around her clit with a gentle touch that promised long, slow pleasure.

"Master Fenrik," Healer Cirran greeted the graying Panther with a welcome pleasure in her voice. Despite having gotten the message that his mate was awake, and likely felt it before then, he looked very ragged. Each visit had shown the hunt wore on him a little more. "She is awake, if you would like to see her now."

"Thank you," the Panther nodded, moving into the room. He was on his own right now; everybody else was continuing to hunt for Jay. At least this was good news.

"Hi," Shivasta smiled weakly as he stepped into the room, sitting up and holding her arms open for him, moving with just enough care to keep from dislodging the IV Cirran was still insisting she use. She was about one step short of pulling rank on the Knight, but would deal with it through this meeting at least.

The warmth, physical and emotional, that came from Fenrik as he half-sat on the bed to hug her in relief was beyond welcome.

"*It is so good to see you awake, love.*" He murmured across their minds, not quite trusting his voice yet.

"I know," she murmured. "I was worried too." She swallowed, hugging the Panther tightly. "I heard about Jay. Don't know all the details, but I think I know enough of them."

"You already tried to contact him, I'm sure." He couldn't quite keep his voice steady and settled back to set more comfortably on the bed without loosing physical contact with her. "I don't know how it was done, but our mate-bonds have been usurped by two others and the Demon is guarding against anyone from our side contacting him."

"Anyone from contacting him alone," Shivasta said softly. "How long has it been since you've slept, Fenrik?"

"Real sleep? Weeks." He admitted. "Sleep brings nightmares and no rest. It's been more effective to meditate quietly. What little I get from Jay is twisted by the Dark and old nightmares. You've been all but dead. It hasn't been good to sleep lately."

"We'll have to change that after we get going," she murmured. "It's starting to show. Who else is helping hunt?"

"The girls, Doruth and Tes and Master Miya. We've got the Kalrass, Gurath, Independence and Whitecloak between us. They've got Jay and Sharufa. It hasn't been an even match."

"You've got me now," Shi said firmly. "We have to find him, Fenrik, and it'll take both of us to save him when we do."

"I know." He sighed and let his eyes close for a brief moment. "If our bond was in place, I could at least bring him back to the Temple. As it stands, I'd probably have to fight it out. I'm better, but not so much better that I'm at all sure we'd both come out of it alive. You've got the training to get to him when we're close."

"And my bond is still there," she said. "He's not totally lost to us, Fenrik. I almost got to him last night, but the Demon got in the way."

"Do you know how to undo what happened to our bonds?" He looked at her with a quiet kind of desperation. "To have him back, but still theirs ...."

"If I can't do it, one of the mind-healers can," she said certainly. "Whatever happened, my bond at least isn't broken ... the other is just laid in over it. And I think Jay is seriously not happy with the person who 'replaced' me."

"Good," he murmured and leaned forward to rest his forehead against hers. "At least he's still enough of himself to dislike who a Sith would choose for him."

"*Master Shivasta, should I bring in a second bed for Master Fenrik?*" Healer Cirran asked her privately. "*He does not look good.*"

"*He'll sleep once we're in hyperspace,*" Shivasta told the Twi'lek. "*I'll make sure of it.*"

"Think you're up to an attempt to reach him?" She asked the Panther softly. "Or should we do that after the Kalrass is on the way?"

"Yes." He nodded seriously. "The sooner we can reach him, the sooner this will be over."

"All right," she nodded. "I need you to relax though, okay? We'll both try to reach him; I'll need your help with the Demon mostly. If it could, I think it would have killed me for real last night."

"I don't doubt it." Fenrik nodded grimily. "*Just tell me what to do, love.*" He murmured silently

"Give me your lightsaber first," she warned him, holding her hand out for it as he blinked, taken completely by surprise by the request.

"All right," he unlatched it from his belt and handed it over.

"Sorry," she told him. "I just don't want to take the chance that it might be able to trick you into using it. I don't really want to have to heal either of us this soon," she smiled slightly, trying to make it less serious than it really was before setting his lightsaber aside along with hers and closed her eyes to slip into a meditative state.

Fenrik soon joined her in the light meditative state, their minds meeting up along their bond before reaching out together along her bond with Jay.

As they worked their way towards him, Shivasta worked on using their bonds to reinforce each other, blending the two telepathic bonds together to give each other additional strength.

"*Get ready for it,*" she warned him, sensing the Demon ahead.

"*How do I fight this thing?*" He glanced over at her while they still had time.

"*Let me start,*" she warned him. "*After that, your best chance will be to answer Dark with Light. Healing, defensive abilities ... don't try to destroy it, just try to hold it off until we can reach Jay.*"

"*Understood.*" Fenrik nodded and set his mind to focus on defense and pure Light abilities. Two things that were not his strengths, but he was good enough at to distract with.

That was the most important part; one of them would have to keep it from actually getting an attack through, one of them would have to reach Jay. With that, the two Jedi moved along, Shi already calling on the Light, wrapping it around the two of them protectively as they entered the Demon's territory.

It was none too soon. The attack came without warning or any holding back from a creature of pure Dark, focused on Shi as the true danger of the pair.

The Healer worked to keep herself centered, avoiding the temptation to lash out in anger at it.

"*You will let us pass,*" she told it firmly, working with Fenrik to fight for every step of the way.

Its response was in another wave of Dark energy from what seemed to be an endless reserve. As much as it hated the pair, it was even more protective of Jay and keeping them away from him.

"*Fenrik, I'll need your help,*" Shivasta told her mate. The Light side was not weaker than the Dark; she knew that they could reach Jay. "*Help with the shield.*"

He nodded without a word and shifted his focus to put all the effort he could spare on the shield so she could do whatever she was planning. He believed as she did about the strength of the two sides, but he wasn't nearly so convinced that the Demon didn't have greater access to raw power than they did. At least not where they were, so close to Jay's mind.

Able to turn some of her focus away from the shield, she focused her power on driving a spike of Force energy deep into the Demon's being, creating an opening in its being and letting the Light side of the Force flow through her to keep it open while they moved forward, towards the tangled bonds of Jay's new 'mates.'

She began to get a sense of heat, painfully dry and parched, of two eyes staring mercilessly down onto whatever was sheltering her mate. Two eyes ... two suns.

If nothing else, they would be able to narrow down where he might be hiding. The anger and hatred surrounding them now was almost palpable, like trying to wade through quicksand. Shivasta found herself wanting to lash out at the Demon more and more, hating this creature that was causing her mate such pain, and had for decades.

"*We need to leave.*" Fenrik grabbed at her and wrapped his own experience at resisting the Dark Side and it's impulses around them before almost physically pulling her back to her body.

Shivasta swore at herself mentally as she was yanked out of the Demon's reach, biting her lip as her physical body became active again. She wanted to yell at Fenrik for pulling her out; she was certain she could have reached Jay with a bit more time, probably made the Demon regret giving them as much trouble as it had in the process.

But she knew, deep down, that that was exactly what the Demon wanted her to feel.

"Thank you," she said a little shakily, only then realizing that Cirran was watching the two of them with a concerned expression, and that her fingernails were digging into her palms. "Fell right into it, didn't I?" She asked Fenrik softly.

"You've never faced anything like that," he said gently, brushing his hand along her face. "The Dark is difficult to resist because anger is so natural when you are desperate or hurt."

"I have faced it, but that was decades ago," she murmured. "And a different sort of feeling." She sighed, looking up at Knight Cirran. "Sorry to have worried you. We'll be leaving shortly."

"No." The Knight fell back on her rank as a Healer to give her authority over the higher-ranking Jedi. "You are going to Coruscant if you leave here. You are not yet fit for active duty."

"Knight Cirran," Shivasta said firmly. "I have been in hibernation for the past six weeks. The poison, while the reason for it, didn't have me in a coma. The Sith have a Jedi Knight in their hands, and they are working to turn him to their side. Right now, he thinks that the two people who are his primary reason for not turning are both dead.

"They've had him for six weeks. My vitals are fine except for some muscle fatigue. By the time I get back to Coruscant, even that will have been dealt with. But what won't be better is the fact that another two weeks will have passed before I will have managed to report, take care of red tape, and start helping to find him."

"There are three Masters, including a Councilor, two Knights and a Custos on the hunt already. Give them whatever you have found out, if Master Fenrik does not already know." Knight Cirran countered, though it was a last token resistance. More a matter of professional habit that truly expecting to win. She knew the other Healer was basically correct, even if she didn't like it.

"Cirran," Shivasta said, her voice softening. "It's my mate in question here. I might not be fit for combat duty, but I'm going to be with the Master who trained about half the current Knights in combat," she said, nodding towards Fenrik. "I'll be honest. I'd be grateful to find him in time to still not be fit for combat. But I am a Healer. I can fix what's wrong yet, and it doesn't matter if I'm on Coruscant or a shuttle en route to Dagobah."

The violet skinned Twi'lek inclined her head reluctantly. Even if it required her to continue with the pair to do the healing left, she really couldn't argue that Master Shivasta added far more to the odds of success than any danger to her represented. She would be with a top ranked Jedi in combat, and likely with the Jedi who could have been the Combat Master of the Order if he'd wanted to be, and had trained the one she was with too.

It didn't make it any easier to let a patient go before they were completely healed.

Cirran's mind and lekku stilled as she considered something. "You might do well to have a second trained Healer with you."

"The Kalrass isn't set up to handle three people all that comfortably," Shivasta pointed out. "And it might be a long time before you could return to your normal duties."

Cirran caught the look on Fenrik's face, hidden almost as quickly as he realized it was there, and blushed a deep purple. "Perhaps I should trust you two to take care of each other."

"Thank you," Shivasta smiled. "Besides, it's already a ship that'll have one person on board whose idea of skilled piloting it 'trust the computer and start praying,'" she chuckled, turning her wrist over. "So, could I please have my IV removed now?"

"Yes," she nodded and made short work of removing the thick needle and healing the hole it left in Shivasta's soft blue skin.

"Thank you," Shi repeated, standing up and taking a moment to get used to standing with Fenrik's hand on her back for support. "I'll transmit a report on the way," she added. "Good luck."

"Thank you, Master." She inclined her head in respect.

"I'll make sure she actually rests." Fenrik promised. "And I'm sure she'll make sure I do too."

"Just as soon as we're out of realspace," the Ice Walker said seriously. "Force be with you, Knight Cirran," she said, taking Fenrik's hand for a little support as the two of them left for the Kalrass.

"Force be with you, Masters." The Twi'lek said softly, meaning it more than most times she said the traditional farewell.

Janos couldn't even begin to cover how much he enjoyed getting out of the ship and away from Mina, Tembris and the occasionally unbearable tension the two of them created in the space. There were moments that he was sure her fairly obvious pregnancy was the only think that was keeping Mina alive. What Tembris did to keep Jay from tearing him to shreds was beyond him.

Why the Demon continued to tolerate the Sith Lord was also beyond him.

Out here, though, it was all behind them. It was just him, Jay and the soon-to-be-meat they were tracking down.

Janos had to admit; he was seriously beginning to reconsider the whole 'Sith' thing. He had lived with his self-training, and the power available to Tembris ... there were other ways to get it. Tembris might be the shortest route, but there was one glaring flaw with it.

One had to deal with Tembris for the duration of the training.

It didn't help that feeling any that Jay was more willing to actually give training in many very useful skills, rather than only promise them, and was much easier to deal with.

As it was, they were approaching a roaming wraid, the large reptilian beast itself stalking a young bantha that had wandered from its herd.

Janos held stone-still, waiting for the signal to move from his mate. He was surprised how easy it was to slip into the follower role here, something he'd been unable to do willingly for decades with anybody else, even Tembris.

Instead of the silent, nearly motionless signal, Jay grabbed his belly in pain and snarled, the Dark power he was wielding with ever-greater ease and the Light he had for decades, crackled to life around him in a yin-yang storm of pure energy.

Unfortunately, Janos wasn't able to focus on what was wrong, instead having to deal with the fact that the wraid had heard Jay's snarl and was now quite aware of the light show around him. Most creatures would have fled.

Wraids weren't most creatures. Instead, they were ornery, especially when hungry, and had no real compunctions about whether their dinners had two legs or four.

With a loud bellow, the beast whirled around, kicking up sand as it started to charge towards them. Janos was on his feet in an instant, his borrowed lightsaber blazing to life.

"Duck Jay," he warned him quickly, diving out of the way as the creature hurtled towards them ... and spun off to focus on the obvious threat.

He could only be grateful that whatever was wrong hadn't stopped the Kat from hitting the ground without questioning the order. Then his focus was on being grateful that wraids were not lightsaber-resistant like half the critters Jay had told him of hunting.

His first blow carved into the thick neck-plate guarding the creature's vital organs, its teeth biting into his thigh in return. The Wolf snarled in pain, seeing red as he grabbed onto the wraid's plate and started to go berserk.

The next thing he was aware of was the rage vanishing in the blink of an eye, his fur bloody, the wraid quite dead and Jay's hand on his shoulder. It was only with that last piece of information that he realized that his mate had once again used the Force against him to calm him down.

"Mina's been injured." Jay told him, still a bit shaky on his feet, though the Wolf suspected it was more from not hitting Jedi speed and making a dead run for her than from anything real.

Still, to judge by the cracked wraid plate laying in the sand a few feet from the carnage, ripped off by the Wolf's bare hands, it was possible.

"Let's go," he nodded easily. "Where is she?"

"I don't know." He shook his head, shifting uneasily. "I can only trace her. Take it back to the ship, you can't keep up with me."

Janos blinked at the impressive string of curses suddenly being hurled at a Demon that didn't care from part of Jay's mind that didn't care who heard it.

It was about then that he remembered the Demon wasn't letting him communicate with machines.

"Jay, I can keep up, and we've got supplies back at the ship," Janos said easily. "Let's just move. If she's hurt, you might need the backup."

There was a fraction of hesitation, then the Kat nodded and pulled the Force into him, accelerating his steps to the point he wasn't even a blur anymore.

Janos was behind him shortly, the two of them redefining straight-line movement on their way to the cavern the Sharufa was hidden in. The only break was the fraction of a second it took for Jay to pause enough for Janos to catch up with him. He grabbed the Wolf and used the momentum of their run as much as levitation to make it to the small cave opening.

The pair barely paused to grab Markos, injured and still dazed, and hauled him into the Sharufa.

It took less than two minutes, but there was no sign of Mina anywhere. Just Markos with a blaster wound, and Kell catching up with them from the entrance.

"Sand People," he explained quickly as Janos worked to heal the worst of the younger Wolf's injury. "Mina was practicing her levitation; they ambushed her. Markos dropped one of them, but another had a blaster."

Another shot of pain lanced threw Jay's body, making him stumble on his way to the cockpit with a hiss and several low curses as he locked his mind onto his mate's and powered up the ship even as the cavern opening was blown out with a volley from the ship's main guns.

As Jay moved to the cockpit, Janos looked at Kell, scowling darkly as he caught the tail-end of a smug smirk on his face.

"You set this up," he growled.

"Of course I did," the Sith Lord said easily. "When he catches up with them, he'll make you look sedate. And take care of a little pest control. Markos being shot was an unexpected touch, but one that worked."

Janos growled again, his fists tightening, but he knew that any attempt to do what he wanted to just now would result in serious pain.

Another time.

For now, he made sure Markos was fine, then hurried to join Jay in the cockpit as the ship shot from its home in disregard for all sane, much less safe, speeds.

He knew Kell had said the truth. The best the Sand People could hope for right now was that Jay used his lightsabers and not his natural weapons. It'd be much quicker for them.

He could only really pray that Mina wasn't seriously hurt in all this. He didn't even want to think about what Jay would be like if his kits were killed.

Though there was one thing he was sure of. Tembris, and most of Tatooine, would be dead shortly afterwards.

"They won't hurt her badly, Jay," Janos told him, uneasy by the Dark and violence that was flaring higher with every moment in the tom. "It's clear she's pregnant, the Sand People won't be too rough with her."

"Why take her then?" He growled, not even remotely close to thinking clearly.

"It's what they do, Jay," Janos said, sighing and sat in the co-pilot's seat to help him with the piloting over the sandy ground. "If they wanted her dead, they'd have killed her, not taken her with them. Sand People don't do sacrifices, they do slaves. One that's pregnant is too valuable to hurt badly."

One of these days, when the Kat wasn't about to go ballistic, he'd have to ask what the deal with the light/dark show was. He hadn't even heard of anyone else doing it, but it was the easiest way to tell when Jay was too keyed up.

The Sharufa abruptly snapped around, all but turning her on her tail as Jay realized he'd overshot Mina's location.

Janos braced himself, realizing that there was no reasoning with him just now. He quickly prepared himself to take over the ship; Jay probably wasn't going to think about what it would do when he took off. He knew it had an impressive auto-pilot system, one capable of handling basic combat and picking off ground targets, but it had to be turned on to do that.

There was a part of his mind that decided it was a very good thing that the Raider's camp was probably well away from here. If they'd gotten back home, he didn't want to think about what Jay might do.

There were some lines even he wasn't willing to cross, and he was sure Jay would if given the target in this condition.

He grabbed the controls when Jay got up to head for the hatch without even thinking of the auto-pilot. The tom already had both lightsabers lit and it was unlikely he would even notice the blasters being fired at them when he dropped to the ground.

Fortunately, the Sand People weren't good enough shots to pose a serious threat to the Sharufa, not with the weapons they had.

Janos could see Mina, and scowled darkly as he saw her expression, smug to the point of arrogance as Jay started carving through the Raiders. Most of them tried to run, but Jay quickly hunted them down and killed them. A few of the lucky ones made it all of fifty paces before being bisected.

The Wolf knew that his own blood rages were worse, and easier to trigger, but Jay was so much more efficient about what he did that there was a sort of grotesque beauty in it.

Mina, of course, was playing the part of the distraught mate perfectly by the time Jay was with it enough to see what was happening around him.

He felt it, the instant the Kat's mind snapped back to reality. The sick knot in the pit of his stomach as the carnage sank in. Jay would have probably dropped into shock right where he stood if Mina didn't realize the rage was fading and ran up to him.

Her show of half-hysteria, half-fawning gratitude was flawless, at least when the target was so far out of synch with his center.

"*Bring her down.*" Jay managed to ask him along with throwing several more curses towards the Demon that was still stopping him from commanding his ship himself.

Janos did so, fighting several violent impulses towards things he wanted to do first. He was going to kill somebody tonight, that much he was certain of. That, or be killed in the process of trying to.

If it hadn't been for the wraid, he probably would have already boiled over and tried to send Tembris down ahead of the ship.

"Now what?" He growled to himself and bolted towards the hatch when Jay's mind completely lost itself to rage and spilled over to almost knock the Wolf on his ass. He caught the wave of Dark energy and froze for a second to see Tembris, still self-confident and smug, go face to face against Jay, who was at best little more than a Dark-fueled beast right now.

A beast that had the muscle memory and training of a long-lived Jedi warrior.

What Janos didn't know was that this particular development hadn't been in Tembris' plans. Still, it didn't take a genius to figure out what it was that had him pissed off; Mina had tipped him off as to who had set this up.

"*Help kill him.*" The Demon whispered to Janos. "*It's time to be rid of him.*"

Knowing he didn't have the freedom to wait and see what Jay would do, Tembris lashed out first, channeling the raw power of the Dark Side into a blast of lightning that knocked the younger tom back out of the Sharufa. Tembris followed, knowing he would need the extra space to maneuver to stay alive until Jay was calmed back down.

He knew something was wrong almost instantly. Mina looked too gleeful, his chair was suddenly not working right, the Sharufa was maneuvering to bring him in line with her main guns ... and Jay was wrapped in a cloak of Darkness that left him oblivious and unhindered by the damage he'd taken from the lightning.

The tom lunged again, and Tembris had just enough time to pull himself out of the way before he reduced the chair to shreds of duraplast and components.

The gloves were very clearly off.

Tembris pulled himself up to his full height, using the Force to reinforce his normally half-paralyzed legs. It had been years since he'd had to fight like this, but he was more than capable yet.

He reached out through the Force, grabbing Jay and hurling him away. The Sith reached out for Mina next, pulling her to him and wrapping an arm around her throat. Any attack Jay might use, or that the Sharufa might, would kill her as surely as it would him.

"You are going to die after I have those kits out of your belly," he growled to her. "Slowly and very painfully."

"You're making one very large mistake, 'Master,'" Mina sneered back at him, clutching at his arm around her throat. Her eyes glowed red for a moment as she unleashed what few barriers she had on the power the Demon had given her, sinking her claws into his arm as she hurled him back, ripping flesh and fur from his arms and him back against the Sharufa.

And ripping the Force from him.

For the first time in decades, the Wolf's eyes showed true fear. He could feel, instinctively, that Mina hadn't totally cut him off from it, but he could feel just as strongly that he wouldn't be able to get past the block she ... the Demon ... had put between he and the Force in time to save himself.

"You set me up," he growled, knowing that the Demon would hear through Mina and Jay. The Sharufa's guns leveled on him ....

"Jay, Mina! We have to go, now!" Janos called from the hatch of the ship as Sharufa rocked from a volley from the incoming ships. "We've got incoming!"

The warning was lost on Jay, who was back in the fray and even further out of control than before. His sole focus was on mauling the old Wolf into fingerling-sized portions as painfully as possible.

"*Stop!*" Janos roared along their bond, focusing every scrap of authority and Force he could call on to make the single command work long enough to grab his mate and dive back into the ship after Mina.

He wasn't sure if it was before or after Jay had reached Tembris, but right now he couldn't afford the time to care.

The Sharufa peeled away from Tatooine, three of the four ships approaching its position peeling off to follow.

"Get him under control," Janos told Mina, hurrying to the cockpit. "I have to get us to hyperspace in time to escape."

A few moments earlier, on the Gurath, Doruth was manning the sensors.

"Don't know how we missed her before, but the Sharufa is definitely down here," he rumbled. "Come on, it looks like we've found them!"

"Everybody got the coordinates?" Tes asked over the com-link the four ships kept open as she veered towards where their target was.

"Affirmative," Fenrik replied. "Shi's trying to reach Jay, but -" He was cut off by what sounded like a cry of pain, the comlink clicking off.

"That obviously didn't work," Doruth rumbled. "We've got life signs down there ... one feline on the ground, a lot of Raiders. The Sharufa's giving chase, it looks like. Shit." He swore under his breath, knowing what was going to happen mere moments before Jay's twin lightsabers blazed down through the night sky and started flashing, occasionally blinking as they passed through a victim.

"Force." Tes breathed, her gaze locked on the slaughter before them. "What could they have done ...."

"Taken one of his new mates," Doruth said. It was the only thing he could conceive of that would drive Jay that far. "Tes, get the weapons systems on line, we might have to disable the Sharufa's engines to stop her." As if on cue, the ship they'd been searching for started to land.

"Everyone down there is Dark." Master Miya informed them from the Whitecloak. "Be careful."

"Getting a lock." Tes nodded to her mate even as all the ships got ready for a fight. Even at four to one, surrender was unlikely and success not a given.

"I'm not surprised, at this point," Doruth murmured, his expression darkening as he felt his own anger start to rise. Even if Jay wasn't a Dark Sider, the way he had slaughtered the Sand People proved that, for now, it was taking its toll on him.

"We need to get down there, now!" Fenrik shouted, bringing the comlink back up. "Jay's snapped, completely." Energy started crackling about the battlefield below as Jay flew back away from the Sharufa, propelled by crackling, violet light.

"Zykell," Doruth growled.

"Oh, he is so not getting away." Tes growled softly and fired a volley on the ship that had just landed. While her aim was true, it wasn't enough damage to actually stop the ship.

"Doruth, Fenrik, you are the only two here that have a real chance of beating him in a fight." Master Miya reminded the two Panthers. "Be ready to jump."

"Yes, Master." Fenrik answered, his voice showing how much he was hoping that wasn't going to be necessary.

Doruth stood, pulling his lightsaber from its belt loop and moving to the door silently as the fight on the ground continued.

"Doruth, the Sharufa's pulling away! Jay's on board," Tes called back.

"Take us down to look for survivors," the Panther told her. "The other ships should go after the Sharufa."

"Understood." Fenrik called back and pealed away with the Independence and Whitecloak to give chase to their actual quarry.

"Right," Tes nodded and set the Gurath down not far from where Sharufa had been moments before.

"Keep the ship ready," Doruth told Tes, opening the hatch and stepping out. He didn't tell her the real reason he wanted to stay behind, for all she probably knew it already.

If Zykell was still alive, he didn't want her anywhere near him. Or to be there to talk him out of what he was going to do to that Wolf.

Sure enough, the ancient Wolf was there. He was battered, his body cut and injured already. He wouldn't live long ... but he'd live long enough. Doruth noted that part of his arm was missing, already buried by the sand nearby.

"Hello, Master." He said, standing over the dying Wolf.

Darth Tembris looked up at him, recognizing his old Padawan.

"Fitting," he chuckled bitterly. "I heard the Jedi found you again."

"And I found them," Doruth nodded, igniting his lightsaber. "What the hell did you do to Jay?"

"The Knight is the one who attacks me, and you ask what I did to him?" Tembris shook his head slightly, pulling himself up into a sitting position with his remaining arm. "I succeeded, Doruth. As I would have done with you. He may have killed me ...." Tembris coughed, blood flecking his muzzle. "But I've killed him in the process. But his death will be far, far slower, and my purposes served."

Doruth's grip tightened around the hilt of his lightsaber. "Oh no you haven't," he growled. "We'll find him, and we'll save him. More than can be said for you."

"I'm already dead, Doruth," Tembris chuckled. "Go ahead and finish the job, if you want. End it. Make sure I die this time; you failed once already. And your failure will end the lives of worlds before it truly ends."

Doruth's hand trembled in rage; Tes could see it from the cockpit. After a moment though, he extinguished the bright blue blade.

"No," he said. "You don't deserve to go that quickly."

With that, the Panther turned and walked back to the Gurath, climbing back up to the cockpit.

"No survivors," he told Tes simply, taking his seat. "Let's catch up with the others."

"We shouldn't leave him with his head still attached." She said quietly, standing herself. "He's survived a lightsaber through the chest once."

"It's up to you," he said softly.

Tes nodded and walked out the hatch, her lightsaber glowing in the night as she cleanly removed the Sith's head and cut the rest of his body into four pieces.

Doruth closed his eyes and took a long, shuddering breath as he tried to center himself. He knew he should have done that himself, finished the job and his former Master's pain at the same time. Instead, he would have cheerfully left him to die slowly.

"Thank you," he murmured, not looking to see if Tes had brought the head with her when she'd returned to the ship. It was her tradition, proof of a kill that had escaped death before, but this time it wasn't one he wanted to see.

She returned a moment later, the head safely stored away in suspension and out of casual sight. She put a hand on his shoulder and squeezed gently. "It is best to not kill in anger, love. Not even a mercy kill. It was the right thing to leave it to me. Now let's go get the one we can save."

"Right," he nodded slightly, pulling the ship up and starting off after the rest of their small fleet. "He was doing so well at playing me again ...."

"It is what they do." Tes murmured and sat down even as a message came in.

"He got away." Fenrik's voice held the utter defeat of being so close, face to face with how desperate the situation was, and having lost track of his mate again. "They got to hyperspace and cloaked."

"Damn it," Doruth swore under his breath. "Tembris is dead," he said more loudly, so the others could hear him. "That's something to our advantage here. We'll have to keep searching."

"You'll have to do it without us," Master Miya said apologetically. "Knights Dyreth and Kanna must to return to their Padawans, and I must to return to the Council."

"We'll be back on the hunt as soon as we can," Kanna said. "Hopefully it won't be necessary."

"Understood." Doruth told the three before their ships split off to go back to Coruscant. "Force be with you."

"We're going to find him." Fenrik gritted his teeth in determination. "We have once, we will again."

"Force be with you, Masters." Kanna spoke softly, her full will behind the simple words. "He will be redeemed."

"He will," Shivasta agreed, putting her hand on Fenrik's shoulder on the Kalrass as the com-link dropped to just the Kalrass and Gurath. "The Demon isn't going to win," she reassured him. "And I think I have an idea where to look next. Let's head for Mantessa."

"Mantessa?" Fenrik glanced at her even as he set the coordinates. "Any reason?"

"He feels safe there, comfortable," Shi explained. "I asked him once; it's where he made his first 'sabers. Where he first felt the living Force on his own. If there's anywhere he'd go to try and sort himself out, it'd be there."

"Right," Fenrik nodded. "You hear that, Master?"

"Yes, it's a good start." The older Panther nodded. "See you there."

"Get us out of here!" Janos shouted up to the Sharufa's cockpit. Markos didn't need to be told twice. The injured Wolf pulled the transport up and punched the engines, roaring up towards the atmosphere.

This was definitely not in his contract, but neither was getting killed by a homicidal Jedi still about one step shy of a battle-rage. He would never have pulled the Kat back on board, but the three Sith had very different priorities, particularly the pair that were still alive.

He cursed under his breath as the Sharufa rocked. He had the best ship of the five in the air, but it wasn't by that great a margin and the others all had Jedi behind the controls.

"Set coordinates for Trianii space." Janos ordered as he grabbed the co-pilot's seat.

"Do you really think she can control him?" Markos looked at him nervously. "He's not exactly her biggest fan."

"Right now, if he kills her, it'll just save me the trouble in a few months," Janos growled. "Besides, she has his kits yet. He'll listen well enough. Just get the coordinates in and let's get moving."

"But Trianii -" A low growl from his co-pilot shut up any objections Markos might had, and he started working with the navicomputer to get the coordinates and turn on the cloaking device.

"All right, here we go." Markos punched them into hyperspace as soon as they were clear of Tatooine's gravity well.

Mina's squeak of stunned pain and a heavy thump against the bulkhead drew both Wolves attention from he controls.

"That doesn't sound good." Markos murmured. Turning to look, he saw what looked like an utterly stunned Jay, and Mina opposite the hall, equally stunned and holding her hand against her jaw, her lip split.

"I'll take care of that," Janos said softly, standing and heading back while Markos made a concerted effort to not be noticed just now. No amount of money was worth this job, and he probably wasn't going to get paid at all now that Darth Tembris was dead at the hands of his own crew.

Janos walked back to Mina, making a quick check to make sure she wasn't seriously hurt before turning to Jay.

"Think you can sit down now?" He asked him. He had to be honest; Mina hadn't gotten half of what she'd deserved. It was still unnerving to see Jay do that to her.

"Y-yeah." He mumbled. A full-body shudder passed threw him before he focused on Mina again. "You might want to stay in one of the other rooms for a while."

"Right," she swallowed, knowing full well it wasn't really a request and it was for her own protection. He was even more shocked that he could strike her than either of them.

"We're headed for Trianii space," Janos explained, helping Jay move to their room where he could break down safely. "We lost the Jedi, and Tembris is wraid-bait. We're in the clear now."

"We're not even close to that." The tom looked at him, real fear in his eyes for the first time since all this had begun. "I hit my own mate. I'm not safe around people."

"Jay, that mate deserved it," Janos said quietly. "You didn't hurt her seriously, and you just got done having a panic attack that led into attacking Tembris. You just need some time to wind down, that's all."

Jay nodded slowly, an acceptance that Janos could tell was more from the mate-bond and the bit of honest trust had build up between them than the fact that he had made any sense.

"I ... I have a friend in the Corporate Sector. I was going to ask him to help with covering us for the birth, but he'd take us in a little longer." Jay swallowed, thinking on his feet as best he could even as he leaned forward and pressed against Janos' broad chest, trying to meld into his mate and not be responsible for a while.

"You sure we can trust him?" Janos asked softly, more than willing to provide a strong body to support him. "The CS isn't exactly renowned for their loyalty."

"I'm worth far more to him in money and corporate power than the Jedi could ever offer for me." He nodded slightly. "I'm still a gifted inventor, and they've never stopped courting me. I can keep him loyal with a few new toys for his R&D section to play with."

"If you're sure, we can change course after hitting Trianii space," Janos offered. "Though we might want to lose Markos before then. He's looking like he'll be glad to get off-ship, even if it is on a Trianii world."

"All right," Jay murmured and closed his eyes, wanting nothing more than to curl up and wait the chaotic reactions in his mind and body out.

"Just rest," Janos murmured and settled them on the bed, scritching Jay's neck lightly until he fell asleep.

Markos poked his head into the room where Janos and Jay were sparring the next day, waiting until he got the Wolf's attention, then Jay's, before he said anything.

"We're coming up on Naboo. You guys sure you really want to change destinations?"

"Yes," Jay nodded as the pair stood down. "It's a better place for you to get off than in CS space. A transport elsewhere will be cheaper."

"Still probably going to have to work for my passage, but I'll take it," Markos nodded. "No offense, but I think I want off this roller coaster before it gets crazy again."

"What was your deal with Kell?" Jay focused on him, his manner utterly neutral.

"Two thousand credits for the job; I was supposed to get paid before leaving Tatooine," Markos said a little guardedly. "'Course, I wasn't supposed to be sticking around much longer than that either."

"You'll have a credstick for that before you leave." Jay told him simply, not the least bit concerned about so little money given what his private accounts looked like after fifty-five years of earning a great deal more than he spent and well-managed investments.

"Thanks," Markos said, clearly surprised to be hearing that. "That'll make things easier. I'll go handle the piloting."

"Thank you," Janos nodded. "He was understating," he told Jay as the other Wolf left. "Think he's a little scared of us just now."

"I can't blame him, after yesterday." Jay pointed out. "Do you know what the actual amount was?"

"More like three-thousand, from what I understood," Janos said easily. "How are you going to get your hands on that sort of money?"

"Fifty-five years of earning much more than I spend." He shrugged. "It's been decades since I really bothered to draw on those accounts to any credible extent. Naboo's a good place to start draining them into less traceable places and forms, since we're not staying."

"Impressive," Janos chuckled. "Sure the Jedi won't be watching for activity on 'em? I mean ... I'll be honest. The last thing I want right now is to get killed. The Jedi catching me is a close second."

"I'm sure they are watching. That's why it's best to do the transfers on worlds on the way and a few random stops to mess up the line of travel." Jay explained, then paused and put a hand on Janos' shoulder. "You won't die, and they won't catch you. I'll see to it."

"Thanks," the Wolf said, his muzzle quirking into a bit of a smile. "Haven't had too many run-ins with them, but I've got enough black marks on my record that I figure one'll probably run into the other, if you know what I mean."

"And end with a field execution," Jay nodded. "It's not that unlikely, depending on who is there. Some hunters are more pragmatic about that party line than others."

"Well, here's hoping the hunters after you aren't," Janos said. "I'll be honest ... Tembris had it coming. Hell, Mina had more coming than the split lip you gave her."

"I'll find out on Naboo. It's good to know who you're dealing with." Jay sidestepped the statement about Mina and any excuse for his behavior the previous day. "The Order's systems aren't that hard to break into when you designed the security system."

"You can't have designed the whole thing," Janos pointed out with a chuckle as they felt the ship lurch out of hyperspace. "Shower before we land?"

"Not the whole thing, but enough of it to know the easiest ways in." He smirked weakly. "And a shower sounds good. Maybe even get clean this time."

"I wouldn't go that far," Janos smirked back. "C'mon, let's go."

"Well, here we are," Janos said as they settled in near the hatchway. "Ready to handle the local settlers?" He asked Jay.

"Better to find out here than where we're actually staying." He nodded seriously and buried all his jitters about it where it wouldn't show. "I don't suppose you can think of a false name to go under?"

"Miklar," Janos chuckled. "Just pick a first name, if you need one. It'll mark you as part of my pack, if that matters, but I think we can live with that."

"Jay's not that uncommon," he smiled fractionally and opened the hatch with a thought, more than a little grateful he had his Gift back. "And I think we can."

"I'll let you handle the bureaucrat," Janos murmured, letting Jay take the lead as an Otter stepped up to the ship. "They tend not to get along with me."

"*Oh, I wonder why,*" the tom snickered between their minds. "Hello," he greeted the Otter, remembering manners he hadn't used in the better part of a decade and usually had let Fenrik handle anyway.

"Greetings, welcome to Naboo," the Otter said, his manner friendly. "What brings you to our settlement?"

"A nice break for the evening from our galley," Jay managed a friendly smile in return and a soft chuckle. "And dropping off a crewmate that doesn't want to continue with us."

"Not importing or exporting anything beyond him then?" The Otter chuckled. "I'm guessing it's not your friend here."

"No, he's still packing," Janos explained.

"Well, there shouldn't be any problems with that," the Otter said easily. "We'll take all the guests we can get, no matter how briefly. If I might ask who you all are then, and you ship? Just for the records," he explained, holding up his datapad in explanation.

"She's Hauthor," he motioned towards the Sharufa. "I'm Jay Miklar," he said the name as smoothly as if he'd had it for years. "Janos Miklar," he nodded towards the Wolf. "Mina might be seen later if she's feeling better, and Markos is the one staying here."

"Both Wolves, Cats, other ... ?" The Otter asked, entering the information quickly.

"Markos is a Wolf, Mina a Cat." Jay elaborated.

"Understood," the Otter nodded. "Are you going to need any maintenance or resupply before you leave?"

"Maintenance, no." Jay shook his head easily. "Supplies depend on what's available. If you've got better than our current stores, we'll definitely be picking up some. Fresh fruit and meat in particular."

"Those we can offer," the Otter nodded. "You'll have to negotiate in the market for them," he pointed out, indicating the direction to go. "Or with the natives, but I wouldn't recommend that. Or having much of anything to do with them, for that matter."

"We'll keep that in mind." Jay nodded. "The market will do quite well for us." He paused thoughtfully. "Any recommendations for a good place to eat dinner? Spicy and carnivore."

"Just about anywhere in the entertainment district," the Otter smiled, shifting his hand slightly. "We may not have much here, but we take pride in doing what we have well. Personally, I prefer Zella's, but I'm fond of seafood, and the nightlife there."

"Thank you," Jay nodded. "What is the docking fee?"

"Fifty credits," the Otter said simply. "If you change your mind about the maintenance, I can put you in touch with some good people to have do the work."

"I'll keep it in mind," Jay nodded and slipped a 50-credit chip from his pocket to give the Otter. The chip was accepted easily, placed into a small pouch at his belt, and the Otter stepped back.

"Enjoy your stay," he smiled. "Naboo welcomes you."

"Hopefully Mina will behave." Jay sighed quietly after the Otter was out of earshot. "Why don't you check out the market offerings while I deal with getting some of my credits available?"

"Will do," Janos nodded. "And I'm sure she will. She did at the dig, remember?"

"True," he nodded. "Just not since." He drew a deep breath and let it go. "I'll catch up to you in the market."

"See you there," Janos nodded, splitting off and heading towards the open-air markets of the settlement.

Markos sat down near the loading ramp for the "Hauthor" after he'd finished packing up his few belongings, waiting for Jay and Janos to return. He might not be getting his full pay, but he wasn't going to turn down what he would be getting.

Besides, there was a reasonable chance it was his own fault he wouldn't be getting the full pay, but he didn't really want to take the chance they'd just get rid of him instead.

"Well, I see you're leaving us," Mina said, stepping out of her room for the first time since Jay had hit her the previous day.

He glanced up and nodded. She was just as violent as the males, and much less nice. Sneaky as hell too. It set his fur on edge to be alone around her.

"Can't say I blame you," she admitted, sitting down on a nearby seat with a sigh. "Things got a little crazy after we set down on Tatooine," she chuckled slightly.

"That's putting it mildly." He acknowledged, realizing that he was going to have to talk to her for a while. "I was due to get off on Tatooine, but here works too."

"Probably better, unless you had a job lined up already back on that dust-ball," she chuckled. "Just do your best to 'forget' where we're heading next, okay? I've got a lot of work to do with him yet, and I've got to do it more slowly now than before."

"Hey, I don't even know where you're stopping next." The Wolf shrugged. "Much less where you're actually headed. Don't want to know either."

"Good," she nodded. "Wasn't sure how much Jay or Janos had told you. Going to have to do something about them," she murmured, glancing at the hatch, her hand resting lightly on her swollen belly. Markos could see the very, very slight grey tipping showing up on the fur around her ears.

So it was true what they said about Sith being aged by what they worked with.

"Mostly they keep changing their minds about where they're going." He said simply. "I expect what little I have been told has already been scrapped for other locations that no one off the ship has heard them consider."

"Probably for the best," she nodded. "If we keep moving, less chance of being caught ...." He recognized her expression as she trailed off; she was scheming something.

If she kept doing that, at this rate, she wouldn't last long enough to have those kittens.

That, or she'd have them ripped from her belly when it was time so the males could kill her. He knew Janos was kept in check mostly by Jay, and Jay was kept in check by those kittens. She'd be lucky to see the day after they were out of her.

How she'd managed to make as many friends as she had on the dig was a complete mystery to him. She'd been a reasonably nice person there; now, like this, she was an irredeemable ikra, and not in the nice way.

"Looks like the boys are on their way back," she murmured, standing up. "Have a good life, Markos."

"I'll do my best," he said politely as she left, then stood up to meet them when they got back.

"I see you're packed," Jay nodded towards the Wolf's bags, and then offered a credstick to him.

"Not too much to get ready," he pointed out, taking the stick. "Bit of friendly advice?" He asked, before he looked at the cred-stick's balance and did a double take when he saw the amount.

"Janos told me you were actually due closer to 3000. The rest is for getting hurt trying to protect my kits." Jay explained quietly.

"Thanks," Markos nodded slightly, still surprised to be getting almost twice what he'd told them earlier that day. It would definitely be easier to get somewhere he could find some work now.

"The advice?" Jay prompted.

"Oh yeah," Markos said. "Sorry. I'd suggest you start looking into a world where you'll be able to find a wet nurse and a doc who's good at C-sections in the next few months," he said. "No offense, but I don't think you want Mina bringing up your kits."

"Already planned." Jay nodded grimly. "Try to avoid working for Sith in the future," he added with a slight smile. "They're crazy. Piloting Jedi will probably get you shot at too."

"That advice I can go with," Markos chuckled slightly. "Nice doing business with you. I could've lived without doing it with Tembris, but nice doing it with you."

"Good luck in the future," Jay inclined his head slightly, then caught Janos' arm and pulled him aside. "Now, dress for dinner."

"Yes sir," Janos chuckled, following Jay into their quarters. "Fortunately, we've got time to try a few times before we go," he winked.

"I don't get this," Shivasta sighed, taking a seat on the Gurath as she, Doruth, Fenrik, and Tes took a break from hunting for Jay on the virtually deserted jungle world of Mantessa. "I was sure he'd come here."

"That might be why he didn't." Tes pointed out quietly. "If he's actively avoiding us now, which he seems to be, going where he wants to is a bad idea."

"At least the reason for all this is dead." Fenrik muttered.

"Now let's just hope he stays that way," Doruth agreed.

"He'd better," Shivasta muttered. "So, we know he's not here. Anybody have an idea where to go next?"

"You two know him better than I do," Doruth said, shaking his head. "Now that Tembris isn't calling the shots, I don't have the inside track on what he's thinking, for all the good it did us when he was."

"Have you two tried the trick that found him on Tatooine?" Tes glanced at the younger pair.

"Not yet," Shi said softly. "When I tried to get through, reaching out to Jay's mind in the state he was in did something to the bond ... it's not quite as strong as it was before. I've been working to fix it, but without him there ...."

"Probably because your Healer nature couldn't cope with a bond to a Darksider." Tes said gently. "Self-preservation at work. Or as a Darksider, he rejected anything so Light-side as you."

"He's not all the way gone yet, Tes," Shi said firmly. "But I think it was something like that. It was like trying to jump into boiling water almost ... he's in so much pain right now ...."

Fenrik reached over and put a comforting hand on her shoulder. "It might be worth trying with me in the lead. I'm not so Light as you, and pain ... it's nothing new to either of us."

"In a bit," she nodded. "We'll have to do a bit of work just to get my mind working on that level again. You'll notice I haven't really being doing too much telepathy since then."

"And you'll have to teach me some of what to do." Fenrik nodded. "It hasn't exactly been my top priority."

"It'll basically be helping me work telepathically until I can get through as easily as I should," she said easily. "If you two don't mind, we should probably start working on it, look for Jay as quickly as we can," she added, looking over at Tes and Doruth.

"Sounds fine to me," Doruth nodded easily. "You can use the meditation chambers to work in; we'll call you when dinner's ready. Think we could all use something decent to eat."

"Yes," Fenrik nodded and stood. "A good meal would be welcome about now."

"We'll see you in a couple hours then," Doruth nodded, standing on his own as the two mates went into the meditation room.

"We should've scanned Tatooine harder," he sighed, shaking his head. "Should've been able to find them there the first time we looked."

"Love, Jay is hiding from us," Tes pointed out. "If it's not a visual sighting, there's no telling what our sensors actually see, and what they're not showing us."

"I know," Doruth admitted. "Still frustrating. If we'd found him that first time, this would all be over. You want to go hunting with me, or stay with the ship? I'll probably be roughing it."

"I think we can both stand to burn off some frustration." She quirked a grin. "You've never been too rough for me."

"It's been a while since then too," he chuckled slightly. "Let's get going."

The evening on Naboo was pleasantly warm for both Kat and Wolf, and neither could complain about the quality of their leisurely dinner at one of the open-air bistros in the entertainment district. They were debating between a movie and just going back to the ship when Jay's head snapped around to focus on a building nearby.

"Dancing," Jay grinned almost gleefully when his ears caught the upbeat dance music coming from one building on the strip.

"You've got to be the weirdest Jedi I've ever run into," Janos chuckled, looking over at the bustling, well-lit building that his lupine ears could hear pulse in time with the lights. "But c'mon, we should be dressed for it."

"I'm n ... " Jay silenced himself, remembering that whether he was a Jedi or not now, it wouldn't have really mattered in his taste in food or entertainment. "You aren't the first to mention that." He shook his head and tried to chuckle and drag his mind out of the dark well of pain and confusion regarding his true status at the moment with the Order.

He really should just call his Master. He could trust her to tell him the truth. Then the pain was too much and he shied away from it, focusing instead on his surroundings.

"Come on, let's just have fun," Janos smiled, leading him into the club where they could both feel the music playing.

Jay was more than willing to go with that; his life was painful enough right now without inviting it in. He drew and let out a deep breath with his eyes closed and let the music fill his consciousness, the beat and rhythm guiding his body as he pulled Janos onto the dance floor and let everything go to the music and motion.

The two of them danced, each occasionally teasing the other with a touch, physical or through the Force. Within a few minutes, they were both well and truly into what they were doing.

"Don't look now," Janos rumbled, brushing against Jay from behind. "But you've got an admirer."

"Mmm, she's pretty enough to be fun too." He purred deep in his chest as his eyes drifted over the seductively dressed Panthress watching them from the bar.

"And I think she has a friend," Janos rumbled, noticing the Wolf near her. She caught his eye and winked at him, earning a grin in response. "Don't know about you, but I could live with a fem who can handle a little rough stuff for a night."

"You and me both." Jay licked his whiskers back. "It's been far too long since I've had a strong feline."

"And no offense, but I could live with a Wolf," Janos rumbled. "So, which one of us tries to get our date back to the ship?" He asked with a wink.

"You can," Jay chuckled softly with a shake of his head. "I feel like being elsewhere for a night."

"No problem," the Wolf chuckled. "We'll trade tomorrow," he winked, shifting to head over towards the bar, Jay not far behind with an eye on the Panthress.

"Hello handsome," she purred, stepping away from her friend to meet him half-way there. "You're new around here."

"Arrived today," he admitted with an appreciative look down her long, powerful body. He made an effort not to think of why her form was so appealing, that it was very close to one now lost, but the thought still crossed his mind briefly and fanned the fire starting to burn deep inside him for the pleasure-pain they'd shared. "Won't be staying too long either."

"Mmm ... long enough to enjoy yourself for a few nights?" She asked, giving him a matching look of appraisal. "Your shipmate seems to think so," she chuckled, nodding towards the two Wolves making their way out of the club.

"At least tonight," he grinned at her. "Long enough for you?"

"Plenty long enough," she grinned back. "'Least as long as I'm not going to have a jealous shipmate after me in the morning?"

"If you do, your friend's doing something wrong," he laughed easily. "He's not that hard to please."

"*That sort of jealous I can live with," she grinned. "Mmm ... so, back to my apartment? Or want to dance a bit more first?"

"Dance," Jay purred and leaned forward a bit to run a hand along her side. "I do like to play a little first."

"Then let's go, handsome," she purred, leaning forward the rest of the way to claim a deep, sensual kiss full of promise before leading him out to the dance-floor, the black leather she was wearing clinging to her curvaceous, muscular body in all the right ways.

It made her a distinct contrast to Jay's loose, colorful, flowing garments as they moved to the music. Her steps more trained on the dance floor, his simply flowing with the music with an instinctive knowledge of how his body moved and how to show it off when he wanted to.

He shifted forward, brushing up against her body for a brief moment that left a much more lasting impression of contact across her breasts that drafted down to her ass and scritched over her thick tail without anyone touching her.

"What the ... " She trailed off, breaking rhythm for a moment before getting back into it. "You're doing that, aren't you?" She whispered, brushing up against Jay again.

"Yes," he quirked a grin. "It gets much more interesting when you aren't moving quite so much."

"That wouldn't be dancing then," she smirked back at him, though she did slow down a bit to let him work. She'd never run into anybody who could do something like this before, but it was an entertaining difference.

"But it could be over at the bar enjoying a drink." He winked at her.

"Mmm ... well, if you're going to be doing this, least you can do is buy this round," she winked back, sliding her tail along his, hooking her tip around it briefly.

"Well, you will be providing the bed, eventually." Jay smiled easily and walked to the bar where the droid tending it already had two drinks ready for them. He leaned against the counter and picked up the dark ale even as he slid a telekinetic hand from her clit along the lips of her sex and then slipped inside before swelling to fill her.

"Oooh ... " She bit her lip briefly, glancing around before taking her own glass and spreading her legs a bit, putting a hand on his thigh as she sipped her drink, not even bothering to wonder how her preference was already ready. "You're a naughty boy," she purred.

"I get much, much more naughty when I can." Jay leaned over and nuzzled her mouth open for a heated kiss even as his movement brushed her fingers along his swelling sheath and full balls.

"Mmm ...." She purred into his mouth, stroking his sheath lightly, moaning softly as he 'finger fucked' her telekinetically. "Y'know, there is a point where we'll get in trouble if this goes far enough."

"Only if we're caught." He rumbled. "But I don't mind heading to your place now."

"Mmm ... after you finish me off," she rumbled, licking his cheek, then his jaw line, moving a bit closer as she flattened her hand to stroke him through his trousers. "Otherwise the drive back could be ... awkward."

"As you wish," he licked his whiskers and focused carefully to add a slender finger to tease her clit, barbs to the invisible dildo working her sex and a smaller shaft of telekinesis to stretch her ass.

She bit her lip again, closing her eyes as she stroked him faster, using his body and the bar to shield what she was doing as her body got hotter and wetter, her scent intense up close to her.

Her attentions and arousal weren't the least bit lost on Jay, though he kept his arousal carefully under control. Enough to give her the enjoyment of feeling him, not so much that he'd loose control of the telekinetic pleasure he was giving her or make a mess of himself.

"So hot," he rumbled throatily in her ear. "So very hot for me."

"Mmm ... don't know how you're doing it, but you're worth being hot for," she purred into his ear, kissing his neck, then biting down on it lightly as she drew in a sharp breath, her body pulsing internally as she came at his attentions.

Despite wanting to keep her going until she couldn't help but scream in pleasure, he slowly let the telekinesis fade as her body began to come down.

"Not all uses of Force are serious," he gave her a wink.

"You are not a Jedi," she chuckled. "Where're you from?"

"Here and there," he said easily and quickly buried how completely the words broke his mood and ignited a smoldering pain he'd thought left behind decades before with comments of the same. That time before he'd proved himself to most of his distracters in the Temple, and more importantly, had proven he was a Jedi to himself. "I never truly settled down."

"Hey, join the club," she smiled softly, kissing him gently and had it returned with a touch of serious heat. "C'mon, let's go somewhere the thinking's about more entertaining things. I've got a pretty well-stocked bar at my place," she winked.

"Sounds good." He rumbled eagerly, everything but the moment and the pleasure to come put out of his mind.

Shivasta sighed, relaxing in the Gurath's meditation chamber after dinner. She and Fenrik had managed to coax her mind into accepting telepathic activity again, and they'd eaten. Now, it was time to try and reach Jay again.

"I can't help but think there's something else at play here," she said as Fenrik sat down in the largely barren room.

"At a minimum, there is the Demon and the two that took our places." He reminded her quietly. "If that's actually all of it, I'll be surprised."

"I know," she nodded. "But Fenrik, you know as well as I do that there'd have to be more to drive him that insane. He couldn't just be dealing with Dark Siders ... they have to have something beyond the mate bond on him."

"You know the only thing that is." He barely whispered, his eyes down. Even trying, he couldn't withhold the visible level of distress.

"And it means we've got a time-limit to catch up," Shivasta nodded. "That or pray to every God there is that after they're born, he'll break loose and come back to us."

"If it's not too late by then," he glanced at her. "I'm not so sure he ever bought into redemption after a certain point. He's not past it yet, but some crimes ...." He just shook his head.

"The Jedi have forgiven worse than anything he's going to do," Shivasta pointed out softly. "We have to try, Fenrik."

"I know, he knows ... I never asked too hard, but I don't think the Council was what he was talking about." He looked at her seriously. "I have no intention to stop trying until he's back with us."

"Good," she nodded. "Because I don't either ... alive or otherwise. We should try and reach him again."

"Before we get too distracted to do it." He nodded and set everything aside but what he needed for this mission. "Ready when you are."

"Right," she nodded, reaching over to take his hands. "Now, let's find him ...."

"Mmm ... I'll have to give you a tour in the morning," Lara purred as she pressed Jay up against the door to the bedroom. "But this is the bedroom, bathroom's the first door on the right." She kissed him hungrily, running her hands along his naked body. They'd undressed on the way from the entrance to here, and she was very hungry to actually feel the body that belonged to the person who'd been teasing her mercilessly on the way home. The lights were on low, showing the leather and bright silks that they'd strewn along the floor on the way to where they were.

"Or when you can walk again," he winked and kissed her back, his hard body rubbing against hers and just as eager. Despite that, his fingers sank into her body first. He rubbed her clit with the heel of his hand while his fingers worked the swollen flesh of her lower lips and spread the slickness of her juices along the path of his hand.

"Mmm ... promises," the Panthress moaned softly, spreading her legs. "Stop teasing me," she growled lightly, nipping at his shoulder and twisted to push him down on the large feather bed.

"I keep my promises." He grinned up at her and slid his hand away. "I'm all yours."

"Mmm ... if I really can't walk in the morning, then you're just going to have to entertain yourself," she purred, leaning down on the bed between his legs to lick at his rigid, barbed shaft hungrily. "With me, of course," she added with a wink.

"Hardly a bad thing," he rumbled and spread his legs a bit further. With a low moan at the attention he stretched his arms over his head and brushed his tail against her wet sex.

"Not at all," she purred, taking his heavy balls into her mouth and suckling them as she teased the tight, furless pucker of his ass with a fingertip.

"Ohh, yeah," Jay shuddered and lifted his knees to give her better access and encourage what she was doing.

Lara grinned, pressing her finger up into his tight body and bathing his balls with her tongue, suckling them before nuzzling her way up his barbed shaft, teasing each barb with her rough tongue while the tom panted and moaned encouragement.

She purred around his cock, the vibrations going straight to his balls as she fingered his ass, rubbing the outside of his thighs with his other hand.

"You like your revenge, don't you?" He rumbled and thrust up lightly into her mouth.

She grinned up at him, her bright yellow eyes twinkling as she suckled his throbbing shaft. She pulled up off his cock, shifting to take it between her full, firm breasts.

"Would you prefer I find something else to do with this?" She asked, purring deeply.

"How about where my fingers were a bit ago?" He grinned down at her, eager to be inside a female he didn't hate.

"Mmm ... in a little bit," she chuckled, moving to suckle his tip. "I want a drink first," she winked.

Jay let his head fall back and shuddered, taking the hint and stopped controlling himself. It would get him what he wanted that much faster, and her pleasure at this felt pretty good too."

She went back to giving him a straight blowjob, taking him into the back of her hot, skilled mouth and suckling him hungrily as her mouth vibrated around his length, her fingers searching for his prostate as she added a second to his stretched ass. She grinned around his cock when she felt the small gland and pressed against it.

"Ohhhh," he moaned deeply and let go completely. His body locked around her fingers as he shot the first thick ribbon of come into her mouth and gave himself over to the pleasure.

Lara drank his seed down hungrily, savoring the flavor of it as it caught in her rough tongue and poured down her gullet. She suckled him until she was sure he was done, then pulled her fingers out of him and shifted to straddle his hips, guiding his cock to her dripping pussy.

"Still want this, handsome?" She asked, purring deeply.

"Oh yeah," he grinned up at her and made a bit more of a display out of his false helplessness at her hands.

"Good," she grinned, then moaned as she pressed down to take him into her sex, leaning back to make a shameless display of her body, and the thick, hard cock moving in and out of her as she started to move herself up and down along it.

It wasn't at all lost on her lover for the night. She could feel him recover quickly inside her, then began to thrust up as she came down, his eyes moving along her body from their groins where their pleasure joined up to her breasts and face that heightened his desire.

"Oooh ... how ... mmm ... kinky are you?" She asked him, moaning as his shaft raked the sensitive flesh inside her with his barbs.

"Pretty kinky," he admitted with a grin. "You?"

"Mmm ... bet I can match you," she grinned down at him. "You top?" She asked him, fluttering the muscles of her sex around his cock.

"Oh, yeah." He groaned as much in response to her actions as her question.

"Mmm ... prove it ... after this," she panted, taking him into her body up to the hilt and leaning forward to kiss him hungrily as her sex worked his cock.

"You asked for it," Jay grinned and reached up to wrap his arms around her, easily rolling her over to her back.

"You bet I did," she grinned back, pulling him down close to her for a fevered kiss as he began to pound into her. "Mmm ... fuck me, handsome. Make me scream."

He didn't show it, not to her at least, but that touched something deep inside and largely forgotten in recent weeks.

"Scream and so much more." He promised throatily and used the Force to pin her hands over her head and her legs spread wide while he used various cords around the room to do a more permanent job of it.

"Mmm ... some proper cuffs are in the drawer," she grinned up at him, still milking his shaft with her sex while he showed her just how much he'd learned about pleasing a female in his lifetime.

"Even better." Jay licked his whickers back and mentally fetched them. He was only half aware he 'asked' them not to open for anyone else as they locked around her wrists.

Lara wasn't aware of that at all, or much else for that matter. She cried out, arching up towards his body as she came around his shaft, the click of the cuffs coming almost exactly at the same time as the pulses of her sex around his shaft.

Jay grinned down at her as she caught her breath. He absolutely relished the freedom of having a female he didn't feel obliged to be gentle with and now had complete freedom to do with as he pleased.

"So, pretty thing," he rumbled and shifted to exemplify his dominance just as he had displayed his submission not too long before. "Just how should I take you? All spread out like this, or all tussled up with your rump in the air?"

"Mmm ... however you want, Master," she grinned up at him. "I'm sure either will be very pleasant."

"Very much so." He grinned and began to pound into her with a focused abandon.

Mina growled slightly as she lay in bed, nude, glaring down at her slightly swollen belly and extra breasts resentfully. For all that the kits were keeping her here, alive, and in the loop, she hated the fact that they were holding her back. Between Jay's protectiveness, his attitude, and the Demon's unwillingness to let her practice using the power it offered, she didn't have anything to do. She pulled her pillow over her head, frowning as she heard Janos' "girlfriend" for the evening howl with pleasure.

This wasn't helping either. She could tell that Jay was right on the edge, but she couldn't do a damned thing about it, and they were out on the town relaxing.

"*You can't do anything because I know him far better than you.*" The Demon answered her thoughts. "*If you would care for a little entertainment and a look at why I am so careful in how he is pushed, you will enjoy his evening a great deal.*"

"If he's just fucking whatever bar-slut he hooked up with, I think I'll pass, I can watch that here," she muttered, her ears perking up slightly as she thought about what he'd said. "*It's going to be more, isn't it?*"

"*If she is as into pain as I believe she is, yes.*" It grinned mentally. "*It will be his first conscious kill.*"

"That should be worth watching," she purred, settling in. "I'll join in."

"*Then settle back and watch, but no more. It will be much more effective if he cannot blame you. Also, his mates are trying to get to him now. Do not challenge them either. I want them to witness this.*"

"I like your sense of humor," she purred, doing as it said. She closed her eyes and reached out across their bond silently.

Jay examined his work, pleased by the effect rendered by the slightly bloody Panthress hanging by her wrists from the ceiling as she slowly came back to consciousness.

Oh, the way she'd scream before he let her down.

"Mmm ... this is new," she murmured, realizing that she was dangling there, barely able to reach the floor with her feet. "How long was I out?"

"Long enough to clean us up and put you there," he chuckled and ran his hand down her stomach and abs to slip between her spread and bound legs. He unsheathed one claw to circle her slick, hard clit.

"Oooh ... mmm, you are a creative one," she purred deeply, shifting a bit to support her weight a little better and spreading her legs even further than he'd put them.

"I hope you have a taste for a bit of pain," he rumbled and caught the hood of her clit with his claw. While not quite piercing the swollen, nerve-rich flesh, it was a sharp spike of pain that shot up her body with a pleasurable lightning. Her breath caught, and she twitched up away from it even as he heard a familiar, pleasured moan come up out of her.

"I do," she nodded and felt the pleasure ghost across her mind again as he knelt between her legs and spread her lower lips with his claws as his tongue went to work on her opening, encouraging the slick juices to wet her flesh again with an occasional pause to nip her clit hard enough between sharp teeth to draw a whimpering gasp.

"Oh yes," she hissed, pressing up towards his face, her arousal and pleasure filling her scent as her juices dribbled down Jay's chin.

"On your knees," he shifted forward to stand behind her and used a touch of Force to shift the sturdy leather straps to change her position. He didn't wait for any response; he could feel her surprise at the movement and her growing excitement at her helplessness and what he was doing to her.

He knelt as well, his jaws tight on her scruff as he pulled her down and thrust up into her ass as hard.

He relished the feel and sound of her scream, her ass clenching down around his shaft, instinctively trying to force it out as pain and pleasure streamed through her body. The Panthress hadn't been expecting that at all, but Jay could feel the pleasure in her mind as she gave herself over entirely to his pleasure.

He kept his jaws tight on her scruff, shuddering in ecstasy as drops of blood oozed onto his tongue. He continued to fuck her ass with the stamina built up from pleasuring two Jedi mates to exhaustion over the past few decades and reached forward, drawing his claws across her full breasts to color them a gleaming red.

She whimpered in pain, screwing her eyes shut as she savored the feeling of blood trickling down her dark fur. It occurred to her that she'd have to clean up in the morning, but it would be worth it; she hadn't been able to find somebody who really enjoyed this in years.

"Oooh, cut me, Master," she panted, clenching her ass around his cock, a little blood trickling out around the iron-hard shaft as his barbs raked shallow cuts in her body.

Jay cried out around her scruff and sank his claws deep into her breasts as he came hard, his seed mixing with her blood in her ass. His final thrusts were hard enough to lift her knees from the ground and his mind completely surrendering to the pleasure of his body and the even more intense pleasure of her pain.

Lara gurgled, the loose flesh of her scruff pulling tight around her throat as he claws her breasts roughly and fucked her raw. She squeezed her eyes shut, tears streaming down her cheeks from the pain that she was enjoying so much. A tiny part of her mind was concerned that this complete stranger was being given so much control, but the rest of her was just too turned on to care.

She took a deep breath when he loosened his pull on her scruff a bit, but most of it escaped in a scream as his claws dug deep into her flesh on their way from her breasts to her sex, where he spread the swollen lips of her labia, drawing blood even as the cool air rushing in exemplified how empty her sex was and how full her ass was when he began to thrust again.

Her juices practically poured out of her along with the blood dripping from the engorged flesh he slit. He'd been right about pushing her limits; she'd never gone much farther than this with anybody before. Still, as her moans and cries of pain filled the room, there was no denying that she was more turned on than she had been in years.

It was intoxicating to the tom using her. He'd never dreamed it could be like this. He'd taken punishment often enough, but he'd never really dominated or bloodied any of his mates like this unless they needed it enough to ask for it.

He felt her come with a scream that was as much pain as pleasure and her consciousness began to slip away again as her body was pushed to it's limits.

A rush of domination surged from deep inside him.

"*You will remain conscious.*" He rumbled between their minds, more Force behind the order than he'd used in decades.

It was enough to overcome her body's natural desire to shut down and stop the pain.

For a while, her mind was glad for it ... but as his claws worked through more of her body, and he kept fucking her hard and raw, he could feel the increasing fear in her mind and scent. He pierced her clit from one side to the other with one of them, and her scream echoed through the room.

"Stop!" She cried out, her comfort zone well and truly left behind as she felt just how much damage was starting to be done.

"No complaints!" Jay snarled, forcing her to comply. "*Enjoy it.*"

"Yes, Master," she whimpered, crying out as a patch of fur was torn roughly from the back of her neck, leaving a raw, oozing patch of flesh there. Her body responded eagerly, following his order as terror filled her scent and real tears ran down her cheeks, replacing the pleasured ones from before.

"*I think I have an opening,*" Shivasta told Fenrik after what felt like hours of trying to get through to their missing mate. The Demon hadn't been fighting as hard as it had before, but it had held them back all the same.

"*Let's go then,*" Fenrik focused his efforts on the small chink in the Demon's defenses and quickly burst threw close to Jay's mind, Shivasta right behind him.

"*I don't know if I can say anything to him,*" she told Fenrik. "*But I think we can see where he is ....*"

"*That's a lot more info ....*" his mind-voice went dry as they were hit by Jay's perceptions.

Pain. Terror. Panic. A Force-commanded pleasure at her body being torn apart.

But it was coming from the Panther under him.

Jay ... was turned on beyond all measure.

"*What the hell is ....*" Shi was stunned for a moment, but recovered quickly, trying to reach out to Jay desperately before it was too late.

"*Sadism taken too far.*" Fenrik supplied in a less stunned but much sicker tone. "*What we don't do.*"

"*Jay!*" Shi focused on her mate, forming a single thought-command that might buy enough time for him to come to his senses. "*Stop!*"

Both Jedi reeled as the command bounced back at them.

"*It wants us here,*" Shi realized, recovering from having the brunt of her telepathic ability turned back against her. "*We'll have to break through to him again ....*"

"*Don't forget we'll have to break out of here too.*" Fenrik warned her even as he tried to keep his dinner down at the all too familiar feel of a sentient mind dieing.

Only this time it was very slow going and more brutal than most of his close encounters. Even as Shi worked to reach their mate, he focused his attention on getting them out alive. The Demon was using its power to hold them to watch this, just as it usually did to keep them away.

"So, think they'll be done soon?" Doruth asked Tes as the two of them waited in another room on the Gurath, relaxing after dinner some hours before and waiting for some indication of the best direction to head.

"If not, we might want to check on them." She glanced towards the meditation chamber uneasily.

"I'm sure if anything's -" Doruth stopped, a pained expression crossing his face as he felt rage, disgust, and a sort of panicked, desperate fear wash over him from the meditation chamber.

"In there, now!" He managed to get out between locked teeth, getting to his feet and starting to move towards the sealed door even as his mate was at a dead run. For once, her weaker Force-talent was an advantage in muting the reactions too strong even for the experienced Jedi inside to control.

Doruth had his lightsaber out, ready to cut his way in when she finally got the override to work.

It was just in time too. As the door slid open, Shivasta bolted from the room, nearly knocking them down as she made her way to the nearest bathroom.

"You help her, I'll take Fenrik," Doruth told Tes as they heard the sounds of the Ice Walker retching in the other room.

"Right," she nodded, already after the other female. Even if just holding her shoulders and offering a bit of help washing her mouth out was all she could offer right now.

Whatever had gone down, they were likely lucky to be back with their minds largely intact right now.

"He killed her," Shivasta managed to croak once she was a bit better settled, her body still trembling terribly in the older she-wolf's gentle embrace.

"Killed who?" Tes asked quietly, fairly sure it couldn't be the Darksider female who was with him.

"I don't know," Shi said, realizing how stupid it sounded. "Jay ... he was with some woman ... I could feel it," she shuddered, putting a hand to her throat, the back of it still burning from her response.

Tes swallowed as she pieced together what the Healer had witnessed from the inside of her own mate. "He's gone very far over then." She rested the side of her face lightly against Shi's in a touch of support the Ice Walker could feel more than recognize. "I'm sorry you had to witness that."

"He ... it couldn't have been him," Shi murmured, trying to deny what she knew, her instincts warring with each other. "Couldn't have been something he was just doing ...."

Tes didn't try to argue with her. She just held the cool woman and let her break down enough to pull herself together again. Right now she needed to get Shi to calm down and as much back to center as possible. Force only knew what Doruth was facing with his former Padawan in the other room, but it couldn't be good. No one was snarling, no raised voices, no thumps of wrestling, no lightsabers ... everything that fifty years and more of knowing the pair screamed that things were so wrong they might just not be fixable.

"He enjoyed it," Shi whispered, her eyes haunted. "I don't think he knew what he was doing, but ...."

"It takes a very sick soul to enjoy killing like that." Tes nodded and tried to just provide support. "But even the sickest soul can be healed."

"I know that," Shi nodded slightly. "I just ... seeing that ... it's not Jay. It was him, but ... it wasn't."

"It's what the Dark Side can do to a person." Tes reminded her gently. "It warps them, takes things they can control normally and takes them too far. It's why we mustn't fall to it. It's why the Council doesn't really punish those who want to return to the Light. It's what too few are taught among the Jedi."

"Have to get him back from them," Shi said, managing to bring her mind back to the important issue at hand. "I couldn't stop him ... the Demon let us close enough to watch, but wouldn't let us reach him. We know where to find him though ... I think."

"And you know that rescuing him won't be a simple matter of showing yourselves now." Tes added. "Where should we head?"

"I know," she nodded. "But finding him, catching him ... if we can't, there's no use. I think it's Naboo ... but the world's not quite as unique as Tatooine," she admitted.

"It'll be easy to find out if he was there at least." Tes said quietly. "A death like that will be noticed by the local authorities. I doubt they'll catch him, but they'll know if what you saw happened there."

"You might be underestimating Jay's ability to cover things up," Shi warned her. "Could well turn into a missing person, rather than a homicide, if he gets his bearings enough to think things through."

"True," she admitted. "We can only hope that he is not that accustomed to what he's doing yet."

"If he is, I'd know," Shivasta shuddered. "She was so scared," she murmured, closing her eyes at the memory of the Panthress' pain.

"Facing death ... it terrifies most people. Facing a death like that is beyond what most can conceive of." Tes nodded. "At least it's over for her now."

"I hope so," Shi nodded. "I don't think she would've had the will or power to keep going afterwards." She stood a little shakily, removing the evidence of her reaction to watching her mate murder his lover with the push of a button.

She only wished removing the memory could be that easy.

She had the skills, but she needed to remember he was this Dark already, for when they caught up with him.

Across the corridor, Fenrik was sitting quietly, almost managing a meditative posture as Doruth watched him in growing concern. It wasn't natural for either of them to meditate like that when badly shaken.

"Are you going to be okay?" The older Panther asked him quietly, as uneasy as Tes about the silence involved. While Fenrik's composure wasn't all that settled, he had managed to keep his dinner down.

"Eventually," he nodded and looked up at his former Master. "Jay ... killed a bedmate while we were watching. Got off on it in a big way."

"On his own, or couldn't you tell?" Doruth asked him, understanding Shi's reaction entirely now.

And beginning to understand Fenrik's.

"Very much on his own," the Panther shuddered slightly. "I don't think he started with the intent tonight, but what happened ... it was all him. It was a Panthress too."

"It wasn't your fault, Fenrik," Doruth pointed out.

"I know," he let out a sigh. "I did a great deal to encourage that kink of his, though. That this was his first unprompted and unhelpful act of the Dark Side says something for what I helped create. Everything before this was to protect someone. There was a reason for it that wasn't Dark. This ... this is what I nurtured in him that he chose to take too far."

"You're not the only one who encouraged it," Doruth pointed out. "I'm not privy to all the details about your love life, but I know that Shi enjoyed it too, to an extent. And if he's sleeping with Sith, you can be damned sure they're not exactly loving and gentle themselves."

"I'd rather you didn't remind Shi of that," Fenrik glanced uneasily towards the door she'd bolted out of not long before. "She's going to have enough trouble without thinking she could have had a hand in it."

"I won't," Doruth agreed. "Think she's having a hard time accepting that this can be happening to Jay ... can't really blame her," he admitted. "But you and I both know that just enjoying the rough play doesn't lead to this sort of thing. He's starting to break down ... but it's not just because of what he enjoys. The anger and hate are starting to get to him."

"That's the weirdest part," he admitted. "With all his fears and issues, it's hating someone he's bound to that's really getting to him. I expected it to be fear of loosing one of us, maybe rage against Navik, or something like that, not something no one thought could happen. Of all the ways any of us guessed this might happen, this isn't anything close. I didn't even know you could do that to a life bond."

"What Jedi would?" Doruth asked, sitting on a bench near the door. "Even when we form bonds like that, nobody'd dream of trying to replace one. It'd be like a child finger-painting on an original masterpiece. Unfortunately, it seems to be a way of giving a Dark Sider a direct line to the most vulnerable part of Jay's mind."

"Shi says it takes an incredibly powerful telepath to pull that off, and he was fighting it. Might even still be fighting them, slipping to the Dark or not. He really doesn't care for at least one of them."

"Probably that ... thing in his head," Doruth nodded. "Were you able to get a bead on where he is at least?"

"Maybe," Fenrik let out a deep breath. "Naboo. It won't be for long though, and if we don't catch him, our next clue is going to be trail of bodies." He shuddered slightly.

"Only if Jay gets used to it," Doruth said, trying to be supportive. "But you're right, we have to move. It's not a short trip to Naboo, so you and Shi recover while Tes and I get us there. We'll slave-circuit the Kalrass for the trip."

"All right," he nodded and stood slowly, not at all interested in arguing about it. The mate he had on board was going to need all the attention he could offer. As disturbing as it was, he'd thought about it, and encountered worse. She wasn't nearly as prepared for this experience as he was, if you could call him prepared.

This hunt had suddenly become a lot more disturbing.

Jay yawned as he woke up late the next morning, his stomach rumbling. Hungry. That much he was able to recognize. He wasn't really awake yet, or all that close to waking up, but the scent of blood and sex in the air were both working on him already.

He rolled over, nuzzling the source of both scents lightly, and started to lick at one of the bare patches of flesh on the lifeless Panthress' shoulder, stripping blood-caked fur from the skin and exposing fresh wounds. Remarkably little fresh blood seeped out, most of what had been in her already in various places around the room, her body, and that of her killer.

He sank his teeth into the freshly exposed flesh, biting down and ripping a mouthful from her shoulder, functioning on nothing more than instinct.

Eat, then sex.

The priorities didn't stop him from rubbing his groin against her cool leg while he filled his belly from her upper arm, encouraging the arousal already there so he'd be ready when he wasn't hungry anymore.

He swallowed the last bite of salty meat, a distant part of his mind musing that it tasted a bit like nerf-meat as his shaft hardened the rest of the way against her somewhat stiff thigh.

He'd have to hunt up another sex-thing soon, but this body was whole enough to sate him for now. Its stiffness and cool temperature made an interesting sensation as he sank into her body, her legs locked in the widespread and slightly unnatural angle they'd been in when he'd torn her throat out some hours before. The legs were broken, but the tightening of her muscles in early rigor mortis held them in place for him.

He started to thrust faster, noting mentally that it was much more satisfying when the plaything could plead, moan, and beg. A deep purr escaped his throat at the memories of how she had sounded when she was begging him, towards the end, when he'd been forced to focus more on keeping her conscious than keeping her from pleading with him.

In the very back of his mind, something felt sick at the memories, but it wasn't nearly enough to stop the quickly building pleasure that he wasn't interested in holding back or the explosive roar as his hot seed shot into her body, heating the flesh around it.

He rested against her with a purr, rubbing his pelvis against her torn, nearly-shredded pussy lips as his seed quickly cooled and pooled in Lara's lifeless body.

It was all the pause the uneasy feeling in the back of his mind needed to hit the forefront and take over.

Jay shuddered, too shocked for a long moment to do anything but stare at the partially eaten body below him and try to grasp just what he'd done -- not just in killing her, but since.

A low sound escaped his throat as he desperately scrambled off of her and out of the bed. Not even his well-trained body kept him from hitting the floor hard and broke any chance he had to get to the bathroom before throwing up what he'd just eaten. His mind screamed in a vaguely coherent plea for help as he grabbed his Glovatrixes and was out the door where instinct took over again.

These, though, were instincts perfected on Nar Shaddaa.

Mind control and escape paths he had long forgotten he even kept track of hit the forefront of his mind to guide him back to his home -- his ship -- and keep anyone from noticing his passing.

Fenrik's eyes snapped open, his attempt to meditate quietly shattered by a plea for help accompanied by a set of images and sensations that he could barely grasp.

The first, the taste of his own kind, had him on his feet and all his control focused on keeping what little was in his stomach down until he could get to a bathroom ... and not the closest one that Shi would need.

As he ran, he couldn't shut out the rest. The feel of a dead body around 'his' cock, the pleasure of that one last violation.

Of realizing what 'he'd' just done.

He knew, instinctively, that was he felt wasn't really him. Still, knowing that Jay had done it didn't help much. At least he also knew that Jay was still sane enough to be as disgusted as he was just now.

As he finished losing his light breakfast, he felt Shi's hand on his back gently, her mind reaching out to help soothe his.

It was a contact he welcomed and used to reach out to the older pair preparing the ships for take off.

"*Naboo. Definitely Naboo.*" Fenrik focused on reaching out to Doruth. "*We have to get there before he leaves.*"

"You saw the same thing I did?" Shi asked him softly, kneeling next to him and offering him a glass of lightly citrus-flavored water to rinse his mouth out with.

"Yes," he shuddered. "It's good, I think, that Master Essani isn't bonded to him anymore. That's going to be one event I want to downplay in the report as much as we can."

"One sentence," she nodded. "No details, unless requested. Are you going to be okay?"

"Yes," he nodded and stood with a tight jaw, the only sign of just how much effort it took him not to show how sick he still was at the images still in his mind. "We'll be ready to leave in a few minutes. Even if we don't get there in time, we have some work to do to protect the Order from public fallout."

"Only if they realize a Jedi did it," Shi pointed out. "What he did ... I could give any of a dozen ways it could have been done by anybody with the proper knowledge. At least he didn't use his lightsaber for it."

"True," he murmured and finished off the lightly flavored water before walking out of the bathroom to head for the cockpit. "Lets just hope the Sith with him don't do anything like that."

"If they do, it'd justify calling out a larger hunt," Shi pointed out as she followed him. "Not sure if that's a better thing or not, but it would be more eyes. At least the Republic doesn't have an organized defense force besides the Jedi to send after him. We'll just have to hope bounty hunters aren't brought to bear."

"If they are, the death toll is going to be that much higher." Fenrik shook his head and sat down in the pilot's seat to set their course so they could take off the moment Doruth and Tes were finished slave-circuiting the Kalrass. "At least two Sith, one unknown, and Jay are on that ship. It won't be easy for anyone to take them, not even with the four of us and two ships."

"Not to bring them in alive," Shi agreed quietly. "I just hope Jay's willing to accept capture when we find him. I heard about the message the Council got; doesn't make any real sense. They must have had one heck of a cover story."

"And a lot of notes on how to make Jay believe it." He closed his eyes briefly. "How are you handling this so well?"

"What?" She asked. "Jay missing, or what we saw this morning?"

"This morning." He glanced up at her.

Shi closed her eyes for a moment, still able to see what had happened when she thought about it.

"What he did ... it was sick," she admitted. "But it was a body, not a person, he was doing it to. The body barely matters, once the spirit is gone. It's part of being a Healer, and a Walker."

"Not quite how most Panthers see it." He nodded in understanding of her way of thinking. "I saw it more as how far he's gone in just two months. That ... I can see how last night happened. This morning ... it's just so far from anything I ever thought could happen ...." His voice drifted off a bit as the hatch closed.

"Ready to go." Doruth called to them as he walked forward to join the distressed pair.

"Then let's go," Shi nodded, squeezing Fenrik's shoulder softly. "*I didn't either,*" she told her mate as the Gurath lifted off. "*But it's less of a sin to me than what happened last night. This morning was illness ... that I can fix. Trust me to fix him, when we find him.*"

"*And somehow we'll fix the rest too.*" He gritted his teeth and guided the two ships far enough into space to make the jump to hyperspace.

Janos blinked as he woke up, flashes of Jay's surroundings running through his mind. He rumbled deeply, rolling over on top of his date from the night before and nipping her shoulder before interpreting what was going on and what it would mean.

"Wake up," he ordered her simply, ignoring his morning wood and rolling the rest of the way out of bed, starting to dress. "Date's over. Credchip by the door should cover the dress I tore," he added, pulling one out of his pocket and setting it on the dresser as he finished dressing. "Grab a vest to cover up on your way out, I've got plenty." With one last look over the naked, desirable, yet extremely confused form in his bed, he started out towards the cockpit.

If they weren't going to be on the run, he might've considered trying to sedate her, bring her along to play with. But with one body already being left behind, they really didn't need the sort of manhunt a kidnapping might cause. He wasn't completely sure Jay wouldn't object either. The tom was rapidly loosing his attachment to the Light, but he had the oddest triggers sometimes that didn't always have a much to do with normal morals.

Besides, it wasn't like there weren't other fems in the galaxy. Hell, with Jay's bankroll, they could make their way to some comfy world in Hutt space and pick up a few slave-girls. He wasn't sure exactly how much the tom had access to, but he'd seen enough in their shopping trip to make a Hutt faint and knew that was just what Jay considered pocket money now that the Order wasn't paying for everything.

He made his way up to the cockpit, getting ready to leave as Tara, his 'girlfriend,' pulled on some clothes and started making her way out with a confused expression when Mina sauntered out of her room with a sly smile, wearing a suit of fairly comfortable clothes that complemented her lightly pregnant figure.

"Leaving so soon?" She asked with a purr.

"Guess so," Tara said with a glanced towards the cockpit. "Weird. Figured he'd be up for a little fun this morning." She shrugged a bit, reaching in to grab the credchip she'd almost forgotten.

"We got a call just before you woke up; we have to get going," Mina explained apologetically, stepping forward more. The shewolf frowned a bit, stepping back into the room. There was something about the Cat's manner that unsettled her.

"I should be going myself then," she said, hoping Mina would step out of the way.

"Mmm ... you should," Mina agreed with a purr. "But you should know something first. Your girlfriend, who went off with my mate?"

"Yes?" Tara asked cautiously, glancing around the room as if she was hoping she could find a blaster. Janos had taken his with him though ... the only weapon left in the room was one she couldn't see.

But Mina knew where it was.

"She's dead now," the tabby purred, a sadistic smile spreading across her lips.

"What?" The Wolf asked, her fur bristling. "You're lying ... get out of my way, I just want to get off this ship!"

"After you enjoy the show," Mina grinned, reaching out telepathically to grab her victim's mind and drag it into her vision of what Jay had left behind of her friend. She drank deeply of the terror that poured off of her mind, enjoying her soon-to-be victim's sick realization that she had been telling the truth, and that they had both found the wrong people to be interested in for the night's fun.

It was the last thing the Wolf would ever realize.

While she was still trapped in Mina's telepathic nightmare, the tabby reached out, gripping one of Jay's spare lightsabers with the Force and pulled it out of its hiding place. The blacklight blade ignited as it flew towards the woman calling it ....

And through the Wolf between the two of them.

Tara looked down in disbelief, the beam of burning light impaling her cleanly through the heart. Mina held it in place as her body fell, purring madly at the display made by the blade cutting through her. Returning Jay's lightsaber to its hiding place without even touching it, she started to work on moving the body, the Force making the process easier as she hauled the much larger female towards the hatch Jay would be coming through shortly.

In the cockpit, Janos heard the sound of the one-sided fight and scowled as he kept working on the launch sequence for the Sharufa and getting launch permissions sorted out so they wouldn't be pursued right away.

"Damned bitch," he muttered. "You just had to get in on the act, didn't you?"

He heard the hatch open, close and then open a few moments later. Mina walked quietly away from the front of the ship as it closed behind her. Jay would be there too soon and far too rattled for her to be visible. She may be crazy-Dark, but she wasn't actively suicidal, and she was keeping tabs on their mate's progress.

Force-speed or not, it still took him several minutes to make it from the residential sector to the spaceport. Enough time for Janos to finish completing the launch procedures and be ready to meet him when he got back.

"*We're going to have a talk about 'subtlety' later,*" he told Mina.

"*That would be a first,*" she purred mentally. "*Tembris' attack dog lecturing me about subtlety.*"

Janos growled to himself as he waited for Jay. She was not going to live any longer than she had to. At least Jay was very unlikely to disagree with that idea, bond or no bond. Once those kits were out of her, Jay hated her even more than he did.

Then his attention was on the bundle of completely freaked out muscle and fur that burst though the briefly open hatch. He couldn't help but notice that while Jay hadn't bothered to dress, he had not only grabbed his weapons, but had put both bracers on.

He grabbed hold of Jay, trying to provide some sort of support as his lupine senses were filled with the smells of blood, violence, and sex.

"*Safe now,*" he told Jay. "*We'll be gone before anybody knows.*"

He just hoped Mina'd hidden Tara's body well enough.

He felt Jay allow himself to collapse across their bond a moment before the tom sank against his body with a bit of a whimper.

This was a moment that reinforced Janos' appreciation of what the mate-bond gave him. Anyone else would be impossible to deal with. Once he told Jay it was safe, the tom let him take over and trusted him to make things work out.

It was a heady feeling after witnessing what the tom was capable of.

He helped Jay into bed in one of the spare rooms, where the smell of sex and Tara's fear wouldn't be a problem while he went to make some tulass tea to help sedate him for the trip.

"I'm going to get us out of here fast," he told Jay as he gave him the cup of tea. "Drink that, and brace yourself."

Jay nodded and cupped the mug in both hands to drink it quickly. His eyes closed with a sigh of relaxation as Janos left the room to deal with getting them away from the easy reach of any authorities.

The Wolf hurried, trying not to look like he was in a rush. Fortunately, after years of smuggling and mercenary work, he knew how to get out of somewhere without the authorities realizing just how devoutly grateful he was to leave them behind.

Naboo was even easier than most. He didn't have to do anything that involved dealing with a person; just send the launch codes to the light defensive weapons, and be on his way.

Once the ship was out of the atmosphere, and into hyperspace from there, he leaned back in his chair with a deep sigh.

Toydaria may not be the best world for the long term, but it was Hutt and it was definitely not Jedi-friendly. It would work for a while. They had the money to make any needed bribes and the training to deal with what bribes didn't.

He so needed breakfast before dealing with Mina. He could still hear her purring in a twisted pleasure at that kill. It's not like he cared about the shewolf, but Mina really needed to be gotten under control about the timing of her fun. This one could have really gotten them in trouble.

He went back to get himself something to eat, pausing for a moment to check on Jay mentally. Asleep already; good. Twitching in sedated nightmares was fine, as long as it was sleeping nightmares and not the kind that woke him up.

While he cooked, he heard Mina pad out, and instinctively looked back to make sure she wasn't armed, his hand on the hilt of his lightsaber.

"Don't worry, Janos," she purred. "I'm just interested in the same thing you are."

"I'm a really beginning to doubt that." He glared at her with flattened ears. "Killing that girl when there is no time to hide the body well was stupid."

"I was referring to breakfast," she said simply, moving to start making some tea. "As for the girl, was it any more stupid than just leaving her be? Besides, I want them to find her without too much trouble."

"Great, now the Jedi will have reason to send real forces against us, and bounty hunters, before we have a place to stay." He snorted and slid the pan of scrambled eggs, cheese and meat onto a plate and sat down, pouring a large glass of deep red-orange juice telekinetically.

"No, now the Jedi will have to explain a mutilated, sodomized snuff-victim showing up, and the perps using lightsabers," she pointed out. "You know better than I do that the Jedi suffer every time a Dark Jedi commits a crime. Something this gruesome? They'll have Senators arguing about it.

"Besides, what would she have done when she went home? Found her home a crime scene, her friend murdered and partly eaten?" Mina shrugged. "While it has some entertainment value, my method is more merciful, and I got to experience her reaction rather than just guess at it."

"You're forgetting one thing about that setup." He pointed out evenly. "We've got Jedi on our tail already that'll be explaining how they're hunting a couple Sith before the news even gets off world."

"And if it's blamed on the Sith instead? Then any other Sith out there get to become the focus of a galaxy-wide crusade to wipe out the 'scum.' Less competition. Either way, I win - and, as long as we stick to safe worlds, not even the Jedi will find us."

"The Jedi I'm not all that worried about. They want us alive after all. Now everybody but those four ships are going to be after us dead. Maybe you don't care about survival anymore now that you're turning gray, but I'm not that far gone yet."

"You worry too much, Janos," Mina chuckled, patting his shoulder condescendingly, jerking it away a fraction of a second before he crushed it in his jaws and finished preparing her own light breakfast of tea and fruit. "There is no 'everybody' beyond the Jedi and bounty hunters. But the Jedi don't do bounty hunters, and they'll convince the Naboo government not to put up a bounty. The Jedi want us alive, and the Republic wouldn't care enough to send anybody after us if we'd killed half the settlement, and done what Jay did to each one of them."

"Somebody on this ship has to pay attention to the future." He pointed out with a shrug.

"Oh I am," she purred, taking a seat and sipping her tea. "I'll admit, there are some ways it could backfire. But even most of the backfires work out in our favor. Besides, we were already going to have Jedi and bounty hunters after us. Do you really think anybody on Naboo is going to suspect one of the locals of doing that?"

"So what are you going to do about Jay when he no longer has kittens to keep his opinion of you in check?" Janos raised a questioning eyebrow at her.

"That would be telling," she smirked slightly. "Though your concern is touching ... or would be, if it was real concern."

"Hardly concern," he smirked at her. "Just curiosity about how you intend to survive in four months. You know as well as I do how much he hates you."

"A lot can change in four months, Janos," she smirked back, getting that twinkle in her eye he was beginning to recognize as her scheming. "Quite a lot. Especially when you'd like to be having a nervous breakdown because you're starting to get kinkier than you're comfortable with."

"True," he admitted. It would be something to watch out for too. He seriously doubted Jay had any idea what was happening until it was far too late. The Kat was slipping, but he still had pretty good self-control and anything that would freak him out as bad as this would surely still trigger it.

"I don't see why you're all that concerned, Janos," she shrugged slightly. "Or are you forgetting that you're the one who wanted to do this least of all?"

"Still don't think it was a bright idea," he muttered. "That Kat's trouble, and we're up to our ears in it now."

"And do you think we'd have been any better off if Tembris was still running the show?" She pointed out. "Just get us somewhere in Hutt space. We'll be fine there; it's not like anybody's going to care, or like the Jedi will be able to find us. And it will give me time to work."

"Toydaria," he told her simply and made quick work of finishing his breakfast, went to check on the controls one last time and then headed back to see about getting the smells and blood off Jay before the tom woke up for real.

"It's a start," Mina murmured to herself, finishing her own food before going off to meditate on how best to take advantage of this.

Jay's slowly waking brain called on his nose first, making it twitch.

No blood.

No sex.

No fear.

No decay.

Very familiar scents. Janos was in bed holding him.

An ear twitched next as Sharufa greeted him.

He slowly cracked on eye open and looked around without moving.

He was home, safe ... as much as he could be either, at least. It was quiet, as it usually was on the ship when it wasn't on a planet somewhere. Janos nuzzled his shoulder lightly, a gentle, reassuring touch and Jay reached back to rub the Wolf's hip in reply.

"No trouble?" Jay mumbled, still not completely coherent.

"Not anymore," Janos nodded slightly. "We got off the planet before anybody knew what happened."

"Good," he let out a soft sound and closed his eyes again. "Don't need any more trouble."

"Not really," Janos agreed, looking back over his shoulder at Mina pointedly before returning to nuzzle Jay's shoulder lightly. "You going to be okay?"

"Eventually," he murmured and began to relax in the Wolf's strong arms. "Can't believe I did that." He shuddered.

"Don't worry about it," Janos told him easily, rubbing his chest. "It happens sometimes."

He felt Jay's conflicting reaction. Acceptance and agreement that it did happen and he wasn't trying to do that, but at the same time it was so far outside acceptable behavior that the tom couldn't really accept that it wasn't something to worry about.

A tiny corner of Jay's mind growled that they were Sith and this was normal for Sith and not him.

It was a voice that was quickly shut up by the part that insisted these were his mates and he'd have to adapt. That he hadn't been Sith, but maybe he was now.

"You're not the first person to do it, Jay, and you won't be the last," Janos pointed out, scratching his chest lightly. "Don't beat yourself up about it too much."

Jay nodded, still a bit reluctant to do so, but the alternative was more than he wanted to deal with. Maybe if Shi was here, but these mates ... they wanted him to accept, and it was hard not to go along and not think too hard about what had happened.

"We are we headed?" Jay asked quietly and snuggled back against the Wolf's solid body.

"Toydaria," Janos said easily. "Not as well-known as Nar Shaddaa, and money goes a long way there. Not as easy for a Jedi to hide either. Good place to hole up until we've got things sorted out."

"Nar Shaddaa has too many Jedi." Jay murmured with a nod for Janos' choice. "Fenrik, Doruth and Tes are all very familiar with it. Not all Hutt worlds are safe from Jedi, despite their claims."

"But one where anybody who isn't a native sticks out, we can find out if anybody's after us damned fast," Janos nodded, nuzzling Jay's shoulder lightly. "I've hidden out there often enough to know my way around too."

"We'll figure it out," he murmured and rolled around in Janos' arms to kiss him soundly, his hands moving along the Wolf's sides.

"Mmm ... for now, no need to worry about it," Janos rumbled, returning the kiss and rolling up on top of him as the kiss deepened and became a little needy.

"*Take me,*" Jay whispered between their minds, a taste of familiar violence well beyond what the Wolf usually indulged in clear with the request.

"I can do that," he rumbled, nipping Jay's shoulder and running his hands down his sides as he started to rub against the tom's thigh. Mina made her way out of the room, recognizing that she wasn't particularly welcome just now. This was a guy thing, a warrior thing, for the tom, and she was neither in his mind.

And clearly resenting it, at least to Janos' mind, though he was pretty sure she hid it from Jay.

It was her own damn fault too. She could have been his first choice, she had been with him first, but she'd done too many stupid things. Things that were simply too Dark or self-centered for a given moment in Jay's turning.

He just hoped she wouldn't figure out some way to change that fact.

For now, he was going to enjoy the tom beneath him, begging him for the pain and punishment he could give him.

Fenrik settled himself rather forcefully before stepping into the holonet chamber on the Gurath to join his three hunting mates. He was fervently glad that Master Essani wouldn't be able to feel his reactions right now. He could only hope that by the time he stood before the Council again that he was more centered than now. And that what he'd told the authorities on Naboo about hunting Sith wasn't as accurate as he had them believing.

Shi put her hand on his shoulder for a moment, squeezing it reassuringly before they settled down to report as the scanners started working and transmitting back to Coruscant, Masters Zraii and Essani becoming visible immediately.

"We understand the news isn't particularly reassuring," the Verpine said on behalf of both the Masters.

"No, Master Zraii." Fenrik answered with a bow to the pair. "We traced Jay to Naboo, but did not arrive in time to capture him. The past two days have been spent guiding the authorities to believing that Sith are solely responsible for what happened, and not a Dark Jedi. They left two dead behind, murdered, and the pilot that was with them on Tatooine.

"Markos is a mercenary pilot not a Dark Sider. While he didn't know where they were headed, he did give us a fair amount of information on who was involved and Jay's current mental condition.

"The female in the new mate-bond is Mina. She's a Cat, and roughly two months pregnant. She's not only Dark, but very sick in the mind. She is the truly dangerous one now that Darth Tembris is dead and likely the one who will now be actively trying to turn Jay. She is also hated by both Jay and Janos. Both have said that the kits are what keep her alive. Or more accurately, Janos isn't willing to find out if his bond is enough to protect him from Jay if he does kill Mina while she's pregnant.

"The male of the new mate-bond is Janos Miklar, a Wolf. While he is Dark, it is not nearly to the extent as Mina. Janos seems more interested in survival than the worst parts of the Dark Side. He has formed a stronger bond with Jay since the false-bond was created, which makes him more dangerous to us. Jay is more likely to turn quickly by the acceptance of Dark behavior that Janos does than the outright manipulation of Mina.

"Jay seems to be on a path more akin to Janos' than Mina. Much to Markos' surprise, Jay paid him what he was owed and a bonus for the trouble of the trip and being injured. Jay advised him not to work for Sith, because they're crazy, or Jedi, because they'll get him shot at too. This was a few hours before Jay killed on Naboo, and the day before the second kill by lightsaber."

"Not by Jay," Shivasta added, picking up on the question before it was asked. "There were indicators that his lightsaber was used, but the evidence strongly suggested it was used by somebody else, probably not holding it. Based on what I know about the victim and people involved, I suspect it was Mina. There was no reason for anybody else to have killed her."

"There's something else, isn't there?" Master Zraii asked after a brief moment.

"The first body was mutilated when it was found," Shivasta explained, hoping to downplay it. "The worst post-mortem. It wasn't typical of Jay's kills, but we have evidence that it was performed by him. Fortunately, when he realized what had happened, he was horrified by it; he hasn't turned yet, Masters."

"Not completely, at least." Master Zraii nodded fractionally. "Was there any indication how Jay obtained the money to pay Markos?"

"From his savings." Fenrik answered. "Remains of the small stipend the Order gave him for his useful inventions when he was a Padawan. Withdrawals from it may enable us to trace him. It is becoming very dangerous to try to reach him telepathically. The Demon is stronger than we thought and trapped us near Jay's mind for several hours once already. We will have to be very careful about when we try again."

"The accounts could be frozen," Zraii offered. "Force them into the open."

"It would force them into, quite likely, violent activity as long as they were on a civilized world," Doruth pointed out. "And eliminate a means of tracking them. As long as they stay underground, they won't resort to mercenary work or piracy."

"It's true, Master Zraii." Shi added. "Jay has developed a strong ... nesting instinct, for lack of a better description ... now that he's about to be a father. If we allow him access to the money, he will continue to focus on finding a safe place to raise his family. In Sith society, he may be the lowest ranking member there, but he has the skill and power to have things his way when push comes to shove. He does not want to remain on the run. He will settle down soon, if we can convince him that we're not one step behind him."

"Master Shivasta, do you have any idea how long it will be before the kits are born?"

"Four months before they are born, another three at least, likely closer to a year, before he'll want to start moving with them again." She answered. "There is another factor here too. His heritage is of a very territorial family. He's shown some traits of that even after most of his life with us. Once he's settled down, he's much more likely to dig in and fight to defend his territory and family than to run again, unless one of his mates convinces him otherwise."

"What will the effect on your ability to bring him back to us alive be?" Zraii asked for Essani.

"Very little, Masters." Fenrik responded. "We have two likely chances to capture him alive; by sneaking up on him and knocking him out, or by Shi knocking him out while he fights me. The second has been the most likely method since we realized our bonds had been usurped. If he's unwilling to run, it makes it easier to catch up with him. The rest is much as expected. We knew he'd be protective of his new mates as soon as we knew of them."

"The complication this brings is that we will have to capture all his kits before he regains consciousness." Shi added. "But if it's possible for him to trust anybody to bring them in safely, it would be us."

"All the same, it would be best if you found him before they were born. Just be certain you bring his mates as well ... it sounds like we'll need to have a good number of mind healers ready for when everybody comes back."

"It would be best," Shi nodded. "Even if we manage to talk him into coming back with us, the false-bonds and his actions have made a mess of his mind. It will be a difficult operation at best to put things in a state where he can begin to deal with what he has done."

"Given the recent escalation, the Council is debating assigning more Jedi to the hunt," Zraii said. "What would the effect be if they were forced to harm his 'mates' in the course of recovering him? Sith aren't exactly renowned for being taken alive."

"If it kills his kits, or is likely to .... " Shi paused, trying to find the words for how he'd reacted on Tatooine to a much less direct threat by a much less Dark Jay. "I'm not sure anything could control him. If they've already been born, it would likely be similar in effect to killing one side of any bond. It may be mitigated if we gain control of it back, but this is something we know very little about."

"If others are assigned, I recommend those who have the skills, like Shi, to disable without serious injury. Whether by Healer-based or mind-based." Fenrik added quietly. "He is as unlikely to surrender as the Sith he is with by now."

"Given what news has already begun to trickle out about Sith on Naboo, we have to show some activity," Zraii pointed out. "But we will keep it in mind. Do either of you know anything that's likely to work well as a sedative with him? Our medical records have some suggestions, but not extensive ones."

"He reacts like most felines to most substances." Shi answered. "I have not come across anything that is particularly effective or ineffective on him. So nibrathin, qkwasin-twiasa, abin and cutoth juice should all work very well."

"We'll send out a few more teams with proper sedatives and knockout-based gear," the Verpine nodded. "We all want him back alive, of course. When you have an idea where to look next, let us know."

"Yes, Masters." Fenrik bowed to them before the transmission ended. He looked over at Shi. "They're going to head to Hutt space after this. Easy to hide and we are definitely not welcome anywhere."

"We'll just have to figure out which world then," she said easily. "And sort out covers. Doruth? Think we could get a little help with that?" She asked, looking over at the older Panther.

"Smugglers are the easiest." He actually chuckled softly. "We've got a good couple ships for that, and the three of us all have the skills for it."

"Or just use my family name." Tes added with a slight smirk. "We're very much still out there and doing business. One of my cousins may even end up spotting them."

"Then let's get to work fixing everything up together," Fenrik nodded, standing to leave the transmission chamber. "We want to be sure we've all got our stories straight."

Jay sniffed critically as he stepped out of the Sharufa after they landed at one of Toydaria's strictly controlled starports. Satisfied that the place didn't smell like it was on a planet renowned for its muck-lakes, he continued down the ramp, Janos close behind with Mina.

"Told you Toydaria didn't always smell like a swamp," the Wolf reassured him. "If we stick to the better parts of town, it's better than the Coruscani slums by light-years."

"Which makes it better than where I grew up." Jay nodded and cast his gaze across the surprisingly busy starport and his mind much farther to gather all he could about this place and who ruled it.

It was a Hutt world, as he knew ... but, unlike most worlds in Hutt-space, it didn't seem to be completely dominated by the Hutts. What he found slightly unnerving was the way most of the Toydarians, buzzing through the air about their business, were almost completely blank to his probing mind. At least their technology wasn't as difficult to deal with.

"So, you're the latest arrivals, eh?" One of them asked, flying over, his wings working busily to maneuver his bulbous blue body through the air, his hooked snout twitching slightly as he reviewed his datapad. "Lucky you; last ones to make it in this shift. So, who's the captain?"

"That would be me," Jay claimed the ranking post before either of his companions could consider it.

"Okay, we can take care of business then," the Toydarian said easily, buzzing up higher so he could look Jay in the eyes. "We got lots of paperwork that'll need to be filed. Name of your ship first?"

"Tattid." Jay supplied and leaned back against the ship's hull, quietly calculating whether it was worth the bribe to skip this. It would just be a couple peggats according to the computers - the equivalent of barely a hundred Republic credits - to cover the docking fee and get the paperwork covered.

Frankly, given the amount of paperwork that could be required of somebody on any Hutt world if they didn't, it wouldn't be much worse than a nuisance charge.

"That's all you really need, I expect." Jay shifted his hand slightly to show the Hutt coin. He really wasn't in a mood for this, especially not for a world they wouldn't be on more than a few days.

"Well ... there is a bit more, but it's mostly technicalities," the Toydarian agreed, taking the coins between long, nimble fingers and slipping them into a pocket of his vest. "Enjoy your stay; if you'll need supplies or maintenance, there are stores just outside the landing zone, and the rail cars to the next city leave practically any time you need them."

"Thank you," Jay nodded slightly, then turned to his mates as the native flew off. "Shall we get the supplies end of this done so we can leave whenever needed?" He asked, though it wasn't really a question. He had his pattern and it wasn't really worth challenging him about it.

"Sure thing," Janos nodded, he and Mina following Jay across the starport to one of the many exists to the city beyond.

"See what I mean?" Janos asked Jay as the two of them relaxed with Mina in one of Toydaria's better-established restaurants. The Wolf's eyes roamed over the dancers up front without any reservation as the food was brought out to them; steaming, spicy, and heavy on the local meats. "For the rep it gets, this planet has some very, very nice benefits if you don't stick to the slums."

He reached out, snagging a piece of dark leg-meat from the central tray, and started to eat.

"Not bad prices either," Jay admitted and claimed his own share and ate with a bit more refined manners that such places brought out in him without thinking about it. Just a bit more than required for the establishment, to be fair, but not enough to make them noticeable. For all he wasn't interested the way Janos was, he appreciated the attractive dancers and the lack of Bith music. It was good entertainment for not being a major theater.

"Nope," Janos agreed, glancing at Mina as she ate her own meal, a little less spicy than the one the others were having and noticeably light on the alcohol thanks to Jay's insistence.

"I can live with it," she agreed with a smile. "Things are going to be fine here, until we figure out where to go next."

"Ambrintha," Jay supplied easily. "At least before you're four months along."

"The world with your friend?" She asked him. "CS?"

"Yes," he nodded and sipped a lightly fermented juice. "At least while you and the kits should be under a good specialist's care, there isn't a better choice. It's also an excellent world to pick up the kind of hired help we'll need for the first couple years. Clawson kits are a handful." He smiled almost indulgently with a distinct hint of nostalgia.

"Gonna be funny, heading there without having to sneak in past the port authorities," Janos chuckled. "It's been a while since I've seen a Corporate world when I was supposed to be there."

"Are you sure it's a good idea to go back into Republic territory?" Mina asked Jay. "They might not officially be part of the Republic, but they don't complain about Jedi presence the way the worlds around here do."

"Ambrintha isn't exactly a normal CS world," he chuckled softly. "It's where all the corporate big-wigs live. Jedi don't go there, unless they're soon to no longer be Jedi."

"Or looking to get involved in politics and shut down the people who shouldn't be in charge," Janos nodded. "The sort of people who usually signed my checks," he chuckled.

"We'll just have to work on getting you better taste in employers," Jay snickered.

"Hey, at least I haven't worked for Hutts in a while," Janos pointed out, his mood shifting quickly. "I'm a mercenary; taste in employers doesn't have anything to do with how many zeroes they offer you."

He knew even before he'd finished that he'd completely lost Jay, Mina understood him perfectly and she found it far too amusing.

"It does have something to do with how likely you are to survive them." Jay said quietly, his manner quickly subdued. Not quite submissive, but definitely not aggressive or amused. "Like it or not, your hide's not the only one on the line anymore."

"Yeah, I know," Janos agreed, winding down a bit. "But it's not like I've been taking incredible chances all that often. I can take care of myself, Jay. And the people around me, when I have to."

Both Sith caught the not-so-sure look in Jay's eyes, but the tom nodded. "Besides, you don't need to do merc work anymore."

"Don't need to," Janos agreed. "Might still take a job or two for the hell of it, but the money isn't going to push it."

It wasn't hard to miss that Jay didn't like it, but at the same time it seemed to be a middle ground he'd accept without arguing when it came up for real.

Then Jay cocked his head slightly. "What kind of merc work did you do, anyway?"

"Guard work, smash and grab, wetwork ... just about anything, especially if it took muscle and not too much thought," he said easily. "The violent stuff is something I've always had a gift for."

"We would have never guessed," Mina quipped from his other side.

"As if you're all calmness." Jay shot back across the Wolf.

"As if any of us are," Mina purred, sensing he was close to another violent outburst. "After all, I'm not the one who slaughtered an entire band of Sand People."

"Because you couldn't stay where you belonged." He growled, his ears flat and oblivious to the uneasy glances a few patrons were sending their way.

"Which wouldn't have been an issue if you'd been there," she shot back, not nearly as angry.

Janos bristled a bit, sensing that he might have to break the two of them up soon.

"*I was doing my job." Jay growled low in his throat. "All you had to do was stay put. You're too stupid to even follow common sense in your own survival."

"Oh, so wanting to do something other than sit in a cave for six months is stupid?" She asked him. "I was out for less than a minute when they got me, and they wouldn't have if I hadn't been set up."

Janos snapped his head to face Jay as he actually heard something inside the tom snap and was just in time to see him leave his seat for a lunge faster than the Wolf thought was physically possible, even for a Jedi. He was already moving when Jay's greater mass slammed Mina out of her seat and to the ground with his claws and jaws already digging into her flesh.

"*You won't just kill her, Jay,*" Janos told him mentally, pulling him back as he realized that he really was trying to kill Mina.

And that only the barest restraint kept her from responding just as violently as Jay twisted in the Wolf's grasp, trying to get loose and back into the fray.

Janos shifted his grip to the other hand to hold Jay up by the scruff, counting on the predatory reflex to go fairly still to keep him under control while he glared Mina down.

"*You,*" he growled at Mina, "*know better than to bait him like that.*"

"*He's the one who made it personal,*" she pointed out simply, dusting herself off as she got back up.

Janos just shook his head and made a mental note not to stop Jay the next time she asked for it. It'd be easier just to buy some shecat to have his kits and deal with his breakdown from killing this litter than put up with Mina any more.

Hell, it wasn't a half-bad idea first opening he got anyway.

"Put me down." Jay glared at the big Wolf. His tail was lashing, but he wasn't out to kill anymore. Janos put him down, still grumbling mentally about Mina.

"We should probably call it a night," he said, looking around at the surrounding crowd, mostly Toydarians but with the occasional Wolf or other off-worlder. One in particular seemed to be paying close attention, but she looked away quickly when he met her eyes.

Just a beta, watching the proceedings like all betas did.

"Yeah, before she decides to try talking again." Jay growled with another glare at her.

"*Don't even think about it.*" Janos hit her hard mentally with more will than she expected. Her half-formed quip died in her throat as he led them out after dropping enough coins on the table to cover the bill.

Jay slowly opened his eyes and opened the door to the meditation chamber with a thought to admit Mina several hours later.

"Jay?" Mina looked in, her tone and expression softer than he was used to from the tabby. "Up for talking a bit?"

"Yes," he looked at her, still wary and a little on edge.

"I wanted to apologize," she said softly, stepping into the room and letting it close behind her.

"All right," he was still wary, for all it was easy to spot that the words surprised him, and he was a little more focused on her now.

"What happened in the restaurant ... I shouldn't have pushed you like that," she admitted. "Shouldn't have done a lot of things, but that's the most recent one. I should've just let it rest, but ... it's not so easy to do that, these days."

"I'm noticing," he nodded slightly, his eyes drifting to her belly even though he was speaking of his own temper. "I never thought I could attack the mother of my kits."

"You stopped," she pointed out. "And I've deserved it, lately ... ever since Tembris pushed me into this ...." she let her voice drift off at his growl, though the anger was directly safely away from her. "We can't change what happened, but we can try to make things better. Try to be the mates our bond expects and our kits deserve."

She could feel be was still cautious of her and her intentions; he didn't trust her or like her, and it was a reaction she deserved and would have to work on, but he was also buying her words. He wanted to believe her.

"What do you suggest?" He finally asked.

"One day at a time?" She offered. "Maybe start with spending a night together, maybe just the two of us?" She reached out, caressing his unscarred cheek lightly and smiled when he leaned into it slightly. "A gentle night, help you get past what happened on Naboo?"

"I don't think Janos will mind a night out," he smiled slightly and nuzzled her hand. Part of him was still uneasy, but this was want he wanted.

"I don't think he will either," Mina smiled, drawing him close for a gentle kiss.

It was what she wanted too ... and needed. To undo the damage between the two of them, while she still had some sort of hold.

"Maybe we should find a more comfortable room?" She suggested.

"Yes," he murmured and stood to draw her close for another kiss and a gentle exploration of her sides before he let her go to choose the room.

She went to her room, a little farther from the meditation room than his own was, and opened the door before turning back to look at him with a sort of uncertain invitation and found him just as uncertain. It was a familiar situation they both remembered from their youth. That first date that made it to the bedroom.

Decades after it for both of them, but they were each just as nervous.

Or at least seemed to be just as nervous.

"Come on," she smiled softly and extended a hand in invitation as she stepped back into the sparsely decorated room. "I trust you."

That seemed to do it. He took her hand and followed her inside before drawing her gently against his body as she realized part of what had him uncertain; they'd never actually had a gentle night together and he hadn't had a gentle night since he'd lost his Jedi mates.

She reached up to kiss him tenderly, closing her eyes and reaching out across their bond carefully to touch his mind with gentle affection, running her hands along his body. It was exciting, in it's way, to have him so completely fooled that he accepted her this way. It was exactly what she wanted out of tonight.

He kissed her back, catching himself a couple times from giving into the aggression that he'd become accustomed to with sex, before he slowly moved down along the side of her neck while he slowly began to open her simple tunic.

She purred softly, arching her neck for him as she worked to undo his own outfit, her hands slipping up under his clothes to run her fingers through his fur. He was warm and under his fur was hard muscle that gave a little as he relaxed.

She moaned softly as her shirt fell open and drifted to the floor, exposing all six full, slightly tender breasts to his hands and mouth.

"Bed?" She asked him, nibbling the edge of his whole of his ear lightly and helped the rest of their clothes slide to the floor with her hands and a bit of telekinesis.

He nodded and turned to step back towards the bed not quite big enough to two to draw her down on top of him gently for another kiss while his hands explored her back and a light telekinetic touch teased her sex.

She returned the touches, both with her hands and the Force, teasing his sheath and balls, pressing up against his ass as she licked at his furless nipples lightly and enjoyed the way he fell into her desires, and the difficulty he was having holding back the more violent impulses. He may not be able to accept the pleasure of torture or killing yet, but he was turning very well for how long she'd had him and he'd enjoyed it while he was doing it.

Just that was worth this, and it wasn't as if he was a poor lover either way. She could already taste how successful this approach was with him. It was dangerous to a point; it was the submissive that he had a taste for violence against, but it was also that submissive behavior on her part that held his protective nature locked on her and that was a very valuable thing.

She'd just have to find a way to make sure the violence was trained on a different submissive, one she could afford to have badly injured or killed. It may be good to work on him about getting a slave or three. Not only could she have female attention when she wanted it, but it would give them all convenient subjects for their kinks.

She nuzzled his chest lightly, reaching down to fondle his balls and coax his shaft to hardness. It wasn't a difficult task, or an unpleasant one. For all she could feel how he had to work on remembering what to do to be a gentle lover, he managed it. His hands didn't squeeze her tender breasts too much, and his touch elsewhere was just for her pleasure.

She kissed him gently, purring as she nuzzled his cheek.

"Ready?" She asked him, rubbing her pussy-lips against his shaft as he stroked her back and sides.

"Yes," he murmured into her mouth, a deep rumble in his chest for memories of intense pleasure from such beginnings.

Mina shifted, taking him into her body with a deep rumble and moan of pleasure.

"Oh yes," she groaned, tightening her body around his shaft. At least she didn't have to fake enjoying his attentions. It made it so much easier to keep a close mental eye on how he was reacting.

For now at least, he was enjoying the simple pleasure of being inside a willing female as he thrust up, his hands on her hips but not really controlling her.

She purred and rumbled deep in her chest, kissing him and milking his length with her pussy.

"So good," she murmured softly, echoing what she could feel from him as much as her own body as he pulled her against his chest with one arm across her back and the other hand on her ass to help the timing of their motions. She moaned and whimpered slightly as the pleasure of her actions built in him to the point that every thrust and squeeze was that much closer to an orgasm he was very eager for.

Mina rowled lustily, her body spasming around his as her eyes squeezed shut in pleasure. Her insides clenched down around his cock, working his barbs hard even after he roared and thrust up hard to flood her body with his seed.

She felt it pool in her body, her own juices oozing out, trickling down Jay's shaft as she continued to move up and down along it.

"Mmm ... want to try something a bit easier on the back?" She asked him, smiling as their orgasms passed.

"Anything you want," he murmured with a slightly loopy smile as she pulled of his cock with a low groan and shiver of pleasure.

"You get to be on top this time then," she smiled, laying against him and kissing him as she rolled the both of them to their sides, raising her top leg invitingly.

It took him a second to realize what she wanted, but once he did he continued to his knees, one of each side of her lower leg, and leaned forward to kiss her as he pressed into her slick body again.

"Oh yeah," she moaned, taking him deeply into her body, his hips pressing up against her pussy as he began to fuck her eagerly. "So good, Jay," she purred, hooking her upper leg around his back and rubbing him with her calf.

"Yes," he lowered his head and hissed after a subtle shift that rubbed him up against a bit of rough skin inside her body that sent shock waves through her. He set his arms to either side of her, bracing himself over her as the pace picked up.

"Fuck yes," she moaned, chewing her lower lip and squeezing his cock tightly with her body as he continued to rub that electric spot. "Take me, Jay."

It was a contest from there between his desire to remain in the position that brought them both such pleasure and the instincts that wanted to be against her back with his jaws around her scruff. The desire to remain as they were won out as the pleasure built for them until Jay threw his head back with a roar and poured his come into her again.

"Nnngh ... fuck," Mina moaned, coming around him again, reaching up and turning to kiss him hungrily as each of their pleasure echoed and reinforced the other's for a high that left them weak and twitching every time either moved.

"Nice start," Jay murmured and began to thrust again even as he caught his breath and shifted to lift one hand to gently knead her breasts.

"Much better than fighting," she agreed, purring deeply and pressing into his hand.

"Yes," he shifted forward enough to claim a kiss. "Much better."

Go to Part 1         Part 2         Part 3         Part 4         Part 5         Part 6        

A Heritage of Power 3: Jay's Story 9.99: The Price of Survival part 2 of 6

NC-17 for M/F, M/M, F/F, M/Herm sex, Violence and a bunch more
Het Level is HighHet Smut Level is Medium
Slash Level is Slash Smut Level is High
Femslash Level is LowFemslash Smut Level is Low
Herm Level is LowHerm Smut Level is Very Low

207 KB, Story is Complete, Series is Finished
Written August 15, 2005 by Rauhnee Ranshanka and Karl Wolfemann

Setting: Star Wars (Furry)

Primary Races: Cheetah, Feline, Ice Walker, Kat, Kushiban, Panther

Contents: Furry. Herm. Het (M/F). Slash (M/M). Femslash (F/F). Cannibalism, DarkFic, Genocide (Attempted), Mass Murder, Necrophilia, Rape (M on F), Rape (M on M), Rape Recovery, Relationship (Established), Sex (BDSM), Sex (BDSM), Slavery (Legal), Snuff (M on F), Torture, Torture (Sexual), Violence (Graphic)

Pairings: Doruth Parn/Tes Ramaris, Jay Clawson/Shivasta Stormwarden/Fenrik Aren, Jay Clawson/ Mina Callan/Janos Miklar, Various others. A lot of various others.

Notes: Thank you to Shane Nelson of http://www.ShaylaThePinkMouse.com for coming up with such an interesting character and race that he did with Shayla. No, she's not in here, nor any of his other characters, but some ideas are.

We have fun chatting on occasion. This came up when discussing what Doruth and Tes are up to when Shi and Jay are at the dig. Tes wanted more cubs, Doruth is remembering Nasim and Abayomi and the thought of litters of 4-6 like them that have followed in the years since ....

K: More accurately, he's saying something about preferring the idea of being sent out to track down Zykell and finish him bare-handed to the idea of trying to raise another litter like Nasim and Abayomi at this age (80, for reference). ^^()
R: ~giggle~ There were worse litters. Later ones had 4 or even 6 cubs as bad as that pair.
K: ~chuckles~ Doruth does ~have~ ears left, right? :-P
R: Of course, unless he refused to have the tears healed ;)
K: ~chuckles~ I just have this mental image of assorted Jedi hanging around the water cooler.
"Yeah, lost my hand fighting a Sith."
"The Emperor took off half my face."
"A Hutt got hold of me. You do not ~want~ to know what needed replacing afterwards."
"So Doruth, what's the story behind your ears? Nasty run-in with a Dug? Your old Master show up and try torturing you?"
"Fifty years of raising kits with my mate."
~dead silence and sympathetic looks all around~

Blurb: It's everyone's worst nightmare come true and it's not about to go easily for anyone concerned; Jedi, Sith, Darksiders, Clawsons or the universe at large. This is also the end of Jay's Story.

Disclaimer: All things taken directly from the sources listed under 'Fandoms' belong to the owners of those shows. No harm is intended and we're definitely not making any money. Now, the things we created are ours, and if you see 'Non-FanFic' up there, it's probably all ours.

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