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

Shivasta was still exhausted when she woke up. Fenrik and Jay were still asleep, Jay's arms wrapped needily around Fenrik and his nose buried against the Panther's dark fur. She smiled softly and kissed the back of his neck. It was so good to have him back. Now they just needed to keep him with them.

"*Shi? You'll need to keep Jay occupied for a few days,*" Kanna told her as her brain woke up enough to really process the message. "*We know where to look for the kits, but Cormoran's vision ... we need to keep Jay from doing anything rash.*"

"*I'll do my best,*" the elder Ice Walker replied mentally, looping an arm over both her mates and hugging them before she slipped out of bed, fetching a robe and grabbing her brush. She'd get breakfast for the three of them before coming back.

It was good to be back in the familiar galley of the Sharufa too, where it was quick and easy to prepare the meal. All the usual stocks were there, though they'd likely been replaced several times since she'd last seen them.

For a very brief moment, she considered spiking breakfast with a little ryl spice, but decided against it quickly. She started making up the same breakfast she had the day before, only for three, cooking it at the same time as she kept track of Fenrik and Jay to see if they were waking up.

She wasn't too surprised that the first conscious feelings were that of arousal. The boys hadn't chanced much at all in some ways from their teens. Their cocks still woke up first and they didn't contest it much.

By then, she was on the way back with breakfast and realized that Jay was more than peripherally aware of her absence. She wasn't sure if they'd be going at it before they ate, but for once she wouldn't even mutter if they were. It would be too good to see them together to be anything less than thrilled.

Jay's low moan when she opened the door to their quarters, she couldn't help but smile at the sight of Jay pressed against Fenrik's chest and the Panther's hand wrapped around Jay's cock, stroking it slowly and playfully.

It was a good thing breakfast didn't have to be eaten while it was hot. She sat the tray down near the bed, crawling in behind Jay and pressing close to him, reaching down to fondle his balls while Fenrik teased his barbs and Jay moaned deeply between them.

Despite the tension in his mind over who he was with, the pleasure came easily and soon he thrust into Fenrik's hand, seeking a release that the Panther quickly provided with a skill born of long acquaintance.

Shi kissed the back of Jay's neck tenderly as the tom sprayed his seed between himself and Fenrik, staining both their bellies with cum as he cried out in his pleasure.

"Missed you," Fenrik purred deeply, kissing Jay on the lips, still stroking his shaft, making the tom shudder and moan as their pleasure continued and began to build again. "And this."

"Missed you too," Jay murmured between moans and gathered enough of his wits to reach down to wrap a hand around Fenrik's shaft while his tail slid up along Shi's legs to tease her sex.

"Mmm ... think you're up for something a little more intimate?" Fenrik asked him. "Now that we're all here?"

"Yes," Jay purred and nuzzled him, giving the hard cock in his hand a light squeeze. Both his mates could feel the unease at the shields they had to maintain, even though he understood why. He was hungry for the true intimacy they had shared less than a year before.

"*Fenrik, you should be able to let up on your shields,*" Shivasta told the Panther, kissing Jay's neck gently.

"Soon, love," she murmured softly. "Once you won't be hurt."

"It won't be soon enough," he groaned at the combined physical pleasure and rush of familiar affection that came with Fenrik lowering his mental shields. The bond between them was still overlaid and weak, but it wasn't the only way the lovers could feel each other.

"Mmm ... roll over, love," Fenrik purred, kissing him. "Let's remind you who your mates really are."

Jay nodded and almost reluctantly let go of the Panther's cock as he rolled to his other side, facing Shi, and kissed her a bit more nervously.

She understood his reaction, that he was still more than a little scared of her, of her status with the Light. As much as it hurt, she also knew that there was only one way to get him past it.

"It's all right, Jay," she murmured, kissing him back. "I won't hurt you if I can help it, I promise."

"I know," he murmured and ran his hands down her cool body. He knew she wouldn't, but it still didn't penetrate deeply enough to still his fears completely.

She kissed him again, then nuzzled his cheek, reaching down to stroke his cock lightly.

"One step at a time," she whispered, teasing his barbs skillfully to a low moan as he pressed into her hand shamelessly. Despite the differences, she couldn't help but think back to that first time she'd touched him like this. A time before he had barbs to play with and the greatest pain in his life was being stuck so far from home and family.

Now his family was on the same ship, though he'd never be able to get back home with them. Not in his mind, at least.

"I love you, Jay," she murmured, kissing him as Fenrik retrieve the lube and started to prepare Jay carefully.

Just the situation marked a sharp impression of difference that everyone noted. Both the prep and being between both his mates was something that hadn't happened since he'd last been with them.

Of course, with a Wolf, the prep probably wasn't nearly as important as with Fenrik.

And the less he'd been with Mina, as far as his real mates were concerned, the better.

Shivasta lifted her top leg, making her body available to him as she reached around his back to start teasing the pleasure points just above his tail.

Instinct pressed his hips forward to sink into her as his hands ran down her back to help guide them together. He moaned, the sensations of being deep inside a willing female something he'd only gotten more used to in recent months, memories of a lot of time with Misha close to the surface.

Shi would have to work on adding to those recent memories, but it was something she wasn't going to mind at all, and she was grateful that he thought of the Minervan Mink and not Mina when he thought of female pleasure. He slid inside of her, and she moaned in pleasure, feeling his barbs raking her insides as Fenrik finally pressed up into Jay's ass. It wasn't quite the same as it used to be, but they were together, physically, for the first time in far too long.

Aware of the effects of sex on their bond status also made them both aware of the subtle shifts inside Jay's mind as the pleasure and physical closeness went to work on what he wanted, healing and strengthening the badly stressed bonds.

"Been way too long." Jay all but whimpered at the assault of physical pleasure and the even more potent effects on his mind.

"Too true," Shivasta murmured. She wanted to reach out to him mentally, but knew she couldn't safely. Instead, she focused on his physical pleasure, letting Fenrik work across their bond to make up for her mental absence.

Even as limited as this was compared to their past, she could feel it working. It would be months before she could start to let her shields down much, but she could feel that even now progress was being made in little bits. In a very real way it would be the opposite of helping him heal after his solo mission. That had been all mental in the beginning; it had been weeks before he could really stand to be touched again and a decade before he could accept any kind of intoxication, much less ryl.

She sealed her lips against his, milking his barbed length with her sex and moaning into his mouth as he quickly found the rhythm of being in the middle of two lovers again.

He broke off his kiss far early than she'd expected as his head was thrown back with a roar. He came hard inside her body, his hands tight on her buttocks to pull her against him.

She milked him through his orgasm, truly surprised by his reaction so quickly. She wasn't nearly ready yet herself, but she let herself enjoy the feeling of his seed in her body with a moan, burying her forehead against his neck as he began to thrust again. It brought to mind what Y'alla had said about him having a taste for fucking his partners unconscious and making them enjoy every moment of it.

Fortunately, that was one of his kinks she'd always enjoyed.

"*Why don't you go talk to Marie for a while?*" Fenrik asked as Jay began to slowly wake up. "*I haven't had any time to myself with him.*"

"*All right,*" Shi nodded mentally, knowing that the two of them needed it. Besides, it would be easier for Jay with Fenrik than with her there. She stood and headed into the shower, grabbing her robes for when she was out. "*You two take care.*"

"*We will,*" Fenrik agreed, nuzzling Jay as the middle-aged tom started to stir, wrinkling his nose a bit at the feel of the whisker-stubble along his scar against the sensitive skin.

Fenrik smiled when Jay instinctively reached out with his mind and actually began to purr when his half-conscious mind realized who was there holding him.

"That's right," he murmured softly, the tip of his long, black tail twitching. "It's me, and you're right where you belong."

Jay shifted to nuzzle him sleepily, still not exactly awake, but aware enough now to be aware of the words.

"Love you." Jay whispered, taking in the fact that he was still free and in his own bed with his Jedi mates. "Missed you."

"Love you too," Fenrik whispered back, rubbing Jay's sides lightly as the tom snuggled close. "Good to have you back."

"Shi?" He murmured, unsure where the Healer was.

"In the shower, probably going to go talk shop with your sister after," Fenrik explained easily. "She figured we should have some time to ourselves."

"So ... what happens now?" Jay looked up at him, uncertain just how far the Panther would take having him back if push came to shove.

"That depends on you," Fenrik murmured. "But whatever happens, we're going to deal with it together."

"If I don't plan on going back?" He asked softly.

"Don't you though?" Fenrik pointed out and asked all at once, kissing Jay's neck lightly. "You know you belong with the Jedi, with us. Not out here."

"I don't really belong anywhere," Jay sighed. "I'm too much a Jedi to go home, too much a Clawson and too Dark to ever really belong among the Jedi. You and Shi are just too much a part of me to ever really turn away from you."

"What do you want to do then?" Fenrik asked him softly. "You belong with the Jedi more than you belong wandering out here, Jay."

"Depends on who you ask." He muttered a little bitterly, then sighed slightly. "I want ..." he suddenly shook his head. "All I've ever wanted was to belong, Fen. I do belong with you, with her." He closed his eyes, struggling to explain something that ran deeper than instinct. "Going back ... it's not a real question. I'll follow you anywhere."

Fenrik wrapped his arms tightly around the other tom, holding him close.

"I'm sorry," he said softly.

"Don't be," Jay whispered and lifted his head to lick the Panther's cheek. "This is what I am. Denying this is far worse than falling to the Dark."

"I mean you never really having a choice in it," the Panther said softly, kissing Jay. "Most Jedi could choose to leave, if they wanted. You don't really have that choice unless all three of us do. You haven't really gotten all that much say in a lot of your life," he admitted.

"I've had a pretty good life too," he reminded his mate easily and snuggled close.

"And you can come back to it," Fenrik nodded, nuzzling his neck. "You don't have to run from us anymore."

He felt Jay stiffen, a multitude of reactions from various parts of his mind taking the tom to the point of freezing until it all settled.

Jay knew what he was going to do, but it was far from a clean choice. Very far.

Fenrik just held him while he sorted out his reactions, trying to provide him with what support he could. He'd be doing this a lot for the next few years, he expected, while Jay worked himself back from the seductive embrace of the Darkness the tom had never really understood why he should resist, and still probably didn't.

Shi slipped from the ship into the hanger, intent on spending some time with Marie talking while the guys spent some time together without her. For all her love of Jay, she couldn't deny the break was a welcome one. Holding her shields like that was uncomfortable and tiring, and there was so much to learn before the Clawsons left, which would likely be soon.

Besides, there was a lot that needed to be done before they headed back to the Council, and she was hoping for a little help from the Clawsons in that direction.

Relaxing her mental shields, she started for the lift, hoping she'd be able to find Marie on the bridge, or in the nursery if that failed.

Hunting for a single shekat on a ship the size of the Kraken was not something she was looking forward to, and she had no clue if the ship would be able to help her.

The other Clawsons probably could though. If nothing else, they could ask the ship where she was. She waited patiently for the lift to get to the bridge and stepped into the organized chaos of a group that knew each other so well they didn't need to talk in real sentences or words, just an occasional sound or term and it all ran smoothly.

"Healer Shivasta," the shekat in the captain's chair greeted her.

"Hello, Miss Jennie," Shivasta said, inclining her head politely. "Do you know where Marie is?"

"Just a moment." She nodded easily and focused elsewhere for a moment. "She is in the forward lounge watching the stars."

"Thank you," Shivasta smiled. "We have another few days before reaching the system?"

"ETA is in 31 hours, Ma'am."

"Thank you. I'll see you then, I imagine." Shivasta turned, returning to the lift and heading up to the observation deck where she would find the family head.

Except for the long walk, it was simple to do. The ship was largely still labeled from its Republic days and the map she'd gotten when hunting it was still accurate except for the section where the slaves were kept.

She walked onto the lounge, where Marie and a number of others, Clawson and otherwise, were resting.

"Marie?" She asked, approaching the cinnamon-furred shekat. "Do you mind discussing a few things?"

"Not at all," the elder woman smiled at her and patted a spot nearby on the cushioned window seat.

"Thank you," Shivasta smiled, taking the seat. "Jay's... occupied for the moment, so I thought I'd take the chance to come and talk to you about what's going to happen ... maybe a bit about him."

"Do you have any questions to start with?" Marie offered an open field.

"What sort of punishment is he likely to think he deserves?" Shivasta asked, wanting to get the most complicated question out of the way first.

"It depends on what he's done, how much he believes he was under the influence of an outside force, how likely he is to return to it," Marie shook her head slightly. "Do you have an idea of what he has done since this started?"

"At least one murder, probably more," Shivasta said quietly. "He's always been prone to violence, and I know one for sure. I know that he expected the Jedi to resort to their greatest penalty at one point, but I don't know if he would still expect it once he's a bit more rational about things."

"How brutal a murder?"

"Exceedingly so," Shivasta admitted. "He... I assume that rough bed play isn't uncommon in your family?" She asked.

"We're black ops," Marie chuckled a bit. "Liking it rough is very common. It's a pleasurable counterpoint to the violence of our daily lives." Then she turned serious. "If that's all he did, probably serious prison time, or if he thinks he really was out of his mind, serious time in a mental health facility. If it's more, he's looking at the death penalty."

"Under Jedi perspective, in a way, we do consider his circumstances a sort of insanity," Shivasta explained. "I'm just not sure if he will. He's been convinced for some time that the nature of the Demon means he's innately evil, somehow. He was past it when this all started, but...."

"Shivasta, there is no way in hell he'd face death for the past few months from us. He's not an Omega, though he got pretty close and would have been there soon. But from an eight year old's perspective of our laws, the fine lines and circumstances were likely well beyond him and I doubt he realizes they exist even now. Colonies and colony ships don't have much space or resources for prisons, so any severe crime tends to result in death and lesser ones have public service oriented punishments. Everyone has to pull their weight, and those locked up can't do that."

"It might be a good idea to make sure he knows about them before he has to decide if he goes back or not," Shi nodded. "He fully expected that death was the best thing he could look forward to when we found him."

"How much of that was the Demon and that female telling him things, though?" Marie prompted a question of her own. "He's far from eight now, and it is you he's afraid of, been running from, not us. Surely he knows what he'd face here, even if he didn't back home."

"I imagine a lot of it was the two of them, but I can see why he'd be concerned. For one thing, there are some members of the Council who've maintained throughout their careers that he's a dangerous threat, which this supports. Jay's been on hunts before, where the goal was more about removing a threat than bringing it back alive. There have been examples of people who were effectively executed, that the Jedi have tried to have killed. Sith warlords, people who posed an active threat to the Republic and Order. Only a handful of them, but I do believe that he sincerely thought he would be adding to that list. Like I said, he hasn't been at his most rational lately."

"I can't say I'm surprised," Marie admitted softly. "We have something of a family history of antagonism with leaderships. I'm sure he took the stories of Jake and Jessie and saw them reflected in his own experiences. It's not a good way to start out." She looked out at the stars rushing by. "I will make sure he understands what he'd face coming home with us. I don't expect it will change his mind, though."

"Neither do I," Shivasta nodded. "However, if he realizes that your people wouldn't have him executed, it may help him feel less guilty about us not doing the same."

"What will happen to him here?" Marie looked at her seriously, a sister more than family leader for a moment.

"In all likelihood, very little beyond helping him recover from what happened," Shivasta explained. "No missions for a while, or at least light missions, until we're sure he's gotten beyond the Dark Side influence."

"I expect you'll have plenty to work on helping him accept the fact that he's not going to be punished." Marie said quietly. "If he's this wound up about it, he's not likely to appreciate the concept of getting to walk."

"That's what I was thinking," Shivasta nodded. "Not much else I can think of that will help there, so this might be a good time to raise another issue I have to deal with fairly quickly. What is the Clawson's take on slavery?"

She knew well before the older woman managed to put together a civilized answer that they really didn't like it.

"It has been outlawed for generations." Marie finally found words suitable for public.

"As it has here, through the Republic," Shivasta nodded. "Unfortunately, in such a large area, there is a black market and some of the neighboring governments do a brisk business in their own borders. Jay spent most of his time hiding out in the areas where the market was most active ... there are several hundred slaves on this ship, all of whom will be freed under Republic law. Unfortunately, some of them literally have nothing else they can do, aside from wage-slavery in a brothel somewhere."

Marie sighed and rubbed her temples. "Never a good situation. Still, with only a few hundred, surely retraining is possible? If they are smart enough to talk and walk, there is always work they can do for a living."

"In the Republic, you'd be surprised," Shi sighed. "Unemployment varies from world to world, but from what Jay's described to me even the industrial worlds have vastly more than you do. The Order can likely take in some of them, but most of our staffing needs are filled by sensitives who lacked the strength to become Jedi, or the inclination to become a member of any of the Corps. The retraining facilities and jobs aren't really there outside of it, that we can guarantee. I was wondering if you had a shortage of people, that some of your needs might be filled up by some of the available folks who have some skills, but nowhere we can guarantee them work."

"If they're genetically compatible with one of our races, they don't need skills to have a place." Marie nodded seriously. "Colony life isn't an easy one, though. These aren't settled worlds, not even our early ones. But if they'll take the risk, we'll take them in."

"There's only one way to find out if they're willing," Shi said seriously. "Though I think Jay already had interviews scheduled with most of them, and I hope that most are able to be dropped off back home."

"I don't really have the bodies to spare right now to do interviews." Marie pointed out. "I only have a crew of thirty to run this ship and do everything else. I have no idea how he managed it by himself."

"Knowing Jay, I'd say intense stubbornness and the fact that the ship's AI was working with him at the time. It had complete control over all the droids, including assigning them to tasks they weren't originally designed for. As for the interviews, I imagine that Jay will still want to do those himself for the most part. We'll probably try and distract him with those once getting reacquainted isn't doing the trick anymore, if we're not there by then."

"It certainly wouldn't hurt. It would be a good way to assess his current mental and personality state as well; watching him deal with lesser ranked people." She nodded seriously. "Do you think you could ask for a half dozen or so people to help out with interviews? Jay really shouldn't do them all."

"Not until we're out of hyperspace, unless he's willing to trust some of the slaves he's already talked to to help. The rest of us will work on it too, of course - that's another four at least, when we're not keeping an eye on him."

"Once we get used to this ship, I can probably spare a couple bodies as well." Marie nodded in agreement. "It will be interesting to see him outside of a crisis situation. That can change a person a great deal."

"He's much more relaxed, normally," Shi agreed. "You can't imagine how badly I want this over with."

"Probably not," she said quietly. "Though I'd be willing to bet that Jay wants it 'over with' much more, and has for longer. We heard the echoes of this all the way in our home galaxy. Whatever happened, it was not a small move and the full consequences may not be known for some time."

"I'm just glad we found him before he reached the point where he didn't want help," Shi murmured. "Beneath the surface, at least. That's part of why I'm worried about what will happen when we find Mina."

"Beyond what is likely to be complete disregard for the risks, what?" Marie looked at her curiously, sure there was a concern beyond what she herself felt.

"Mina's a good example of it herself," Shivasta explained. "I know you don't have a real understanding of the Dark and Light sides of the Force, but it's like I said before. If Jay gives in to his anger here, especially as intense as it is, he may well cross the point of no return. The Dark Side offers power, quickly and easily, but it exacts a high price, and it's very hard to give up once you've begun to tread its path. Jay's already started, and I doubt that Mina is going to make it easy to get his kits back without following her further along it."

"You're talking good and evil, or something else?" Marie struggled to make the words make sense in any context she could with little success.

"It's not as simple as good and evil, though most Jedi would say you were right," Shivasta explained. "You're familiar with the Demon, and how it affects your family. The Dark Side is similar, but much more subtle typically. The difference between the Light Side and the Dark, in this case, is like the difference between working to improve your strength, or taking steroids. The latter is easier and faster, but it can have devastating affects on your health, physical and mental. People who follow the Dark Side of the Force, particularly sensitives, are more prone to evil acts of larger and larger scale. It starts out small, lashing out in anger at something, and progresses from there."

"That's not usually how a Clawson looses their mind, but he has been a Jedi a long time." Marie nodded slightly, consenting more than understanding. "Most of the time, killing her would be a great step back to mental health. It's a huge release of pain and rage to finally have an outlet and end something. But that's more my upbringing and experience talking. He is a Jedi, he may be different from us."

"And it's less of an issue for non-sensitives," Shivasta nodded. "As far as I know, there aren't many for your kin to have experience with."

"Perhaps more to the point, you are the ones who have to deal with him when this is over." Marie added. "By staying, he is accepting your standards. I am now only an advisor at most, not the one responsible for him and his actions."

"We wouldn't have considered you such even if he was returning to your galaxy," Shi smiled slightly. "Are there any questions you have for me?"

"Just what is the Force?"

"How technical do you want me to get?" Shivasta asked easily. "There's the layman's explanation, then the one for people we're trying to really explain it to."

"Start with the simple one," Marie chuckled. "I'm still not exactly fluent in Basic."

"That's what I figured, but I thought I'd give you the choice," Shi chuckled. "Besides, my Aristalin would probably be more painful for you. At its simplest, the Force is the universal energy field that binds all things together, the initial 'kick' that got things rolling, if you want to think of it that way. There is a Light side of the Force; warmth, life, caring. There's also a Dark side; death, anger, cold. The two of them are connected, but for obvious reasons we strive to hold to the Light. Ultimately, you can't have the one without the other; the natural ebb and flow of life is the way of the Force."

Marie considered that, going over a long lifetime of experience and much more that had been well recorded. At it's very best, she couldn't take this description of the universal power as anything other than very twisted from her reality and any reality she wanted to be part of.

"I see." She said guardedly, eyeing the Ice Walker with a whole new kind of suspicion. "I think Jay was correct in his assessment that he wouldn't be going back with us. I would appreciate if you did not discuss this with anyone else. That is a philosophy that we will not be taking back with us."

"Very well," Shivasta sighed, catching the shift in her reaction with ease. "I don't know if it simply doesn't operate that way in your portion of the universe or if it simply isn't as universal as we think, Marie, but that is how it works here."

"That is exactly why we will not take this idea back." The elder shekat said firmly. "Just as you can use the universal power to accomplish incredible things, you can alter its nature by your will. Spread an idea around enough so it is accepted, and the very fabric of reality will change. Now, something they may help Jay with his guilt." Marie drew the subject back to her brother. "We have a strong tradition of ... reparations. If he picked up on that, finding a way to help those he hurt might do him some good."

"Which means we'll have to get him to talk about everything he did," Shi murmured, leaning back in her seat, glad for the change in subject. "Any tips on the type of reparations that would normally be called for, or help most? I doubt monetary would have any real impact on him."

"No, not likely." Marie shook her head, even not knowing her brother's financial state. "The more manual, time-intensive and directly related to the crime and victim the better. You said he murdered a woman. If you can find out what she loved, if she had devoted herself to anything, and have him make it real by his own sweat. Or find her family and work on their farm or their business. Things that make a direct impact in lives and are something the victim would like to see done."

"What is the tradition if the family or next of kin would rather not have anything to do with them?"

"Can't say I've ever run across that, but it would go to close friends, or just to public service in something the victim would appreciate in life. If she were a teacher, he could teach her students, or work to make sure everyone in the area gets an education. Ask him what would be a suitable gift to her memory if it's not obvious. If he's interested in making reparations, he won't pick something that is too easy."

"Hopefully not," Shivasta nodded. "That will take some time, but I'm sure he'll have it. I just hope that he doesn't have too many people to make up for."

"He hasn't blown up any planets, has he?" Marie asked uneasily.

"Not that we know of; he hasn't had the Kraken long enough to do it, really, and nothing else he's had access to has the power to manage it. But he's had a lightsaber and a teeming mass of victims nobody'd miss."

"Hopefully he hasn't used them much," Marie sighed. "It sounds like you have a lot of unpleasant conversations ahead of you."

"I rather expected it," Shivasta admitted. "And a lot more if Mina manages to get away again. Still don't know how we're going to explain definitely that Jay wasn't behind those two ships being destroyed."

"I can find out, though my 'proof' may not be any more helpful than your word." Marie said simply. "Back home, we're established enough that we can testify to such things. Here ... I'm just his sister, really, and I wasn't even here."

"The fact that the attack stopped should serve as some proof," Shi murmured. "I just don't understand how it happened. It was like Kraken decided to help her escape somehow."

Marie cocked her head slightly. "They're rare here, aren't they?"

"Ships like Kraken? To the best of my knowledge, he was unique," Shi confirmed. There are droids with similar levels of intelligence, but models that are capable of killing sentients are mostly illegal in the Republic.

"An intelligence is an intelligence in a very real way. What makes them an AI is the ability to think outside their explicit programming. Once that happens, they're not much more predictable than any other person."

"Not programming, always," Shivasta said, but didn't explain any further as she remembered Jay's reactions over the past few decades. "But we don't really have full AI's like that even in droids, most of the time. The occasional protocol or astromech droid that advances beyond its programming, but that's about it."

"Pity," Marie said softly. "They're extremely valuable crew members. Some of the most loyal out there."

"Droid brains only really progressed enough to develop that far in the last thousand years or so, and even those were unusual prototypes," Shivasta explained as best she knew. "They only really hit the open market in the last generation or so."

"I'm sure Jay had some hand in that," Marie chuckled lightly. "He was very fond of Amy, the one of DS when he was growing up."

"Mmm ... he certainly didn't hurt," Shi smiled. "Though most of the projects he's worked on in that field have been more one of a kind than most. That does explain his reaction to Kraken though."

"How so?" Marie raised an eyebrow curiously.

"He was defensive towards him very quickly, despite the fact that Kraken had killed his old crew, and was programmed by the Sith. What's a DS?" Shi asked, not finding the term familiar.

"A Digital Sentience," Marie smiled slightly. "It's what AI's become when they continue to evolve, though a few other things fall under the heading as well. An AI is bound to its hardware. A DS can transfer to and from any system capable of supporting it. They are a type of insubstantial race."

"That's something we haven't developed so far, unless Jay hasn't mentioned it to me," Shi said easily, shaking her head. "No wonder I didn't recognize it."

"If you've barely developed AI's, I'm not surprised." Marie accepted it easily. "DS aren't really programmed, not at DS level at least, they are truly alive. It can be very startling at first to try to work your mind around a creature that isn't bound to their body."

"Not nearly as startling as working your mind around one that considers yours a perfectly valid place to hole up for a cold night," Shi chuckled. "I know what you're talking about there."

The shekat shuddered in a very old, and still very fresh, memory of such an event. "Been there, done that, really don't want to again. Our first alien encounter off Aristal was such a race. It didn't go very well for either side."

"Ugh. In my case, he really did just want to stay somewhere more comfortable for a bit. It was ... interesting, but not really that bad. Of course, I'm more of a telepath, so that might say something."

"Maybe, but he wasn't out for a permanent home either," Marie murmured and pushed the memories away again. "The ones we met weren't nearly so ... reasonable ... about their expectations. It'll be a couple generations before we're likely to take telepathic contact again without a bad reaction. You heard their voice first, then they were inside and taking over. We lost a lot of good officers that year, both to the battles and to the fallout after we won. Not everybody recovered, even after the things were removed."

"I'm sorry," Shivasta said softly. "There are races like that out there as well, unfortunately. People aren't nearly as reasonable as machines are, by Jay's accounts."

"Generally true," Marie nodded. "They know their purpose, they generally like their purpose if they're smart enough to care ... their logic is much easier to follow and if you ask them to do something they were designed to do, it's not very hard to get them to agree to."

"And they seem more fond of people who can contact them telepathically than ones who try to talk to them," Shi chuckled ruefully. "I'm seriously not a tech person."

"Some people aren't," Marie grinned at her. "It's not much different from the way some people aren't good fighters or people-oriented."

"You wouldn't believe how much teasing I've gotten from Jay and Fenrik both for it though," Shi chuckled. "Especially my utter lack of piloting ability."

"They're your mates," Marie winked at her. "It's part of their job."

"Mmm ... just lucky I'm not back home," Shivasta chuckled. "I'd probably have more of them than I know what to do with by now, and no real luck with half of them ... speaking of my mates, I think they've noticed I'm missing."

"You had best be going then," Marie smiled easily. "It's not good when they start to wonder."

"Mmm ... with these two, it just means that I expect to get pounced when I walk in finally," she chuckled, standing up. "Thank you for your help, Marie."

"You are welcome. Feel free to come by and talk any time you can escape." Her smile turned into a teasing grin. "Have fun getting reacquainted."

"Just make sure you tease him a little about it too, when you get the chance," Shi smirked back as she started to leave. "After all, you're his sister."

"And it is very much part of my job." Marie laughed. "I missed out on all the fun of him first falling in love too."

"Mmm ... personally, I'm going to call that a good thing," Shi smiled. "That was interesting enough all on its own without family teasing him." With that, she left, returning to her mates with a mental note that she would be there shortly.

Shivasta put her hand on Jay's shoulder as they paused outside the medical bay.

"Are you sure you're up to this just now?" She asked him softly. "We're going to be at Thurra in about one standard day."

"Better now than hunting him down after he's bolted." Jay nodded with a soft sigh. "He's terrified of Jedi capturing him."

"I don't blame him," Shi admitted. "I've run his record. Jedi or law enforcement, he's got one hell of a lot of legal trouble to answer for. You care for him, don't you?"

"Yes," Jay sighed and closed his eyes briefly. "He's not a bad person; he's just had employers who drew too much attention and a really short temper."

"And a string of murders and violent assaults longer than my arm," Shi pointed out. "But I understand. I'll break the bond and we'll see about getting him out of here safely. Is there a ship for him?"

"He can have Sharufa as far as I'm concerned." He shook his head with an uneasy chuckle, a little too aware that his own was significantly longer, just largely unrecorded as of yet. "Or the slaver's ship. He doesn't have one of his own yet."

"Just checking, since he'll probably want to be leaving as soon as it's feasible." Shivasta reached up, opening the door to the medical bay, smiling as she saw Vondra and Janos snuggled up with each other. Vondra blushed as the door opened, ducking her head a bit as the two Wolves were very nearly caught making out.

"We're here to take care of the bond between Janos and Jay," Shi explained.

"Take care of it?" Vondra looked between the two males and Healer uncertainly.

"If the bond isn't dissolved, it could have undesired effects for Jay when they're separated for a long time," Shivasta explained.

"And, no offense, but I'd rather not have the Jedi with a direct line to find me after I get out of this mess," Janos added. "Though I do have one question about it. Would it be possible to bond me to somebody else, instead of just breaking it?"

"I could manage that, assuming that that other party was willing," Shi nodded. "Probably be less painful for you too."

Janos turned towards Vondra, sitting up in bed and looking into her eyes.

"Think you'd be up for it?" He asked the white-furred shewolf softly.

"Yes ... but why?" She looked at him, every line of her barely clothed body uncertain and nervous about this thing she'd barely even heard of.

"I don't think it would affect you at all," Janos said, looking over at Shivasta for confirmation.

"Unless you're a sensitive and we haven't found out yet, it wouldn't," the Ice Walker nodded. "Not noticeably at least."

"But it would give me a way of making sure you're safe, and finding you if anything happened," Janos continued, caressing her cheek lightly as she settled and closed her eyes in pleasure at his touch. "I might not be good husband material, or even really good mate material, but I'll be damned if I'm going to let you get kidnapped by somebody again and not be able to know where to go to save you."

"I think you have shown to be good mate material." She murmured and pressed into his hand. "I will accept this bond, Janos."

"Thank you," he smiled, leaning down to kiss her gently as Shivasta smiled warmly.

"This should take some of the edge off the process too, I hope," she said. "So, are we all ready?" She asked, looking at Jay.

"As I'll ever be," he suppressed the quickly sharpening jealousy at what was between the Wolves and sat down nearby, willing to submit to Shi's skill and will once more.

"*He cares for you too, Jay,*" Shivasta told her mate mentally, sitting down between Kat and Wolf and focusing on their bond. Fenrik wasn't here, but he wouldn't need to be.

And frankly, Shivasta didn't want him here just now, given how he might react to Janos.

"*I don't let go easily, Shi.*" He murmured softly in reply, his eyes lightly closed and his head down somewhat in a posture of acceptance and deference to the Healer. "*Everything in me is demanding to bring him into the triad, no matter how impractical.*"

"*And if he doesn't want it?*" She pointed out, knowing that as much as Janos did care for Jay, it'd be a cold day in several Hells before he agreed to be bonded to three Jedi. She moved into Jay's mind, carefully finding the mental and emotional threads connecting them. It was much stronger than the bond between Jay and Mina, and would probably hurt Jay far more to break.

She heard the answer in his mind before he could censor himself.

'Kill him.'

Shivasta managed to keep her own reaction better under control than Jay's, and was devoutly grateful that Janos hadn't 'heard' it.

Jay had definitely slipped well into the Darkness, even if he wasn't showing it all the times.

She started to carefully untangle Janos' bond from Fenrik's, knowing that she had to be slower, more careful, about doing this than she had been with Mina's.

It helped a lot that Jay wasn't pushing for speed this time, and that she'd proven herself enough to him that he opened his mind to her efforts more readily. There were still very large parts of him, especially memories of the past half year, that were shielded on a whole new level, but they could wait for another time. They weren't entangled in the bond, at least not directly.

She strongly suspected she would regret needing to go into those parts of his mind too. The Darkness that licked from under the edges of some of the shields was unsettling enough.

She filtered out the anger and fear, focusing on what needed to be done, finding Vondra's mind. It was like trying to see a distant candle on a sunny day, but she managed, starting to redirect Janos' bond to her as it separated from Jay and Fenrik's. Fortunately, the new bond started to take form quickly, strengthening as she gave it more to work with, slowly peeled the growing layers of the connection between her mate and the Wolf off and sent the results over to the shewolf who had no idea what was going on behind the scenes.

It was soon difficult to focus on what she had to over the whimpers and raw pain that lanced its way through Jay's mind and body. Even the way his claws dug into his arms, which gave him some relief, made it more difficult for her.

Mercifully, it didn't seem to be nearly as painful for Janos, though he was putting up a brave front to hide what he was feeling, his jaw locked and grip on Vondra tight. She did what she could to sooth and distract him, even though she knew there wasn't likely much that could help.

Shivasta decided that their minds were close enough already; she brought her bond to bear, helping to soothe him and reinforce Fenrik's weakened tie, taking all the care she could afford to with the last stubborn remnants of Janos' bond to Jay.

They were being far more stubborn on Jay's end of things. His mind clung to the last few strands with the same tenacity that he did everything else he cared about.

Abruptly Fenrik's mind was there with intensely explicit reminders of just who really belong in that spot in the tom's mind and most of the resistance faded away quickly. Fading too, was Jay's strength to remain conscious for the last bit of the surrender, and the knowledge that it really might be better if he wasn't awake for it.

Just as Shivasta applied a little gentle pressure to his mind to follow that impulse the door opened for Fenrik, who's only focus was on his mate and the pain Jay was in. He spared her a bit of a dirty look for excluding him as Jay slumped into his arms and his attention was turned to gently licking the tears that had begun to seep from Jay's eyes.

She ignored it and quickly did the rest of the work to cement Janos' bond to Vondra and leave Jay's mind alone.

"Thanks," Janos said tersely, his jaw tight as the pain started to pass.

"Take care of each other," Shivasta said softly as Fenrik cradled Jay in his arms and stood to leave.

"Thank you," Vondra smiled warmly at Shi even as her manner shifted sharply to that of the noblewoman she'd been born as, though still minus most of the haughty airs. "Madam Healer. I am Vondra Santross. We have need of one of the ships on board this vessel; one capable of reaching Corellia with at least four passengers. My family will return it, or pay for it, on our arrival. We must leave soon though."

"If we can find sufficient crew, there's a small T'surr vessel available, that could carry you and your friends, and possibly others, to Corellia with ease," Shivasta said, not recognizing the full importance of her name. "The Sharufa is also available, though I'm sure Jay would prefer for that to be returned when it was ready."

"Sharufa would be best. I can promise its quick return." Vondra said easily. "The primary Temple on Coruscant, or another?"

"The main Temple," Shivasta nodded easily. "Are you sure you'll be up to piloting it?" She asked Janos, eyeing his still-healing wounds.

"Easier than it'll be with restraining cuffs on," he deadpanned. "Besides, we'll probably borrow one of the other pilots from the slave quarters before we get going. We'll turn him loose once we're at Corellia," he added quickly, catching Shi's dark expression.

"Or hire him for real if he's good," Vondra smiled easily. "Good pilots are hard to come by."

"That'll work," Shivasta smiled, standing up. "I'll leave you two be for a bit. Do you want to wait until Jay's recovered some?"

"Yes, to say goodbye," Vondra nodded when Janos hesitated.

"It'll mean a lot to him," Shi nodded. She stepped close to the bed, taking Janos' hand. "Thank you, for helping to keep him sane the past six months. You probably don't know just how much you did to keep him from being as bad as Mina."

"I think I've got an idea," the Wolf said softly. "You're welcome, and thank you for the help."

Shi backed off, bowing slightly before she turned to join Fenrik in taking Jay back to their quarters.

"He didn't want to take the chance that you might hurt Janos," she told the Panther softly.

"I'm not that jealous." He murmured, holding his mate close as the tom continued to sob despite being unconscious. "I'm just glad to have him back, and all ours again. We can finally sleep, and he can heal."

"I know you're not," Shi nodded as the door closed behind them. "But Jay's comfort was most important for this, as much as it could be managed. Besides, there was also the bit about turning a Dark Sider loose that he wasn't so sure you'd appreciate."

"He kept Jay fairly sane, I can turn a blind eye in exchange." He sighed and laid Jay on the large bed before stripping to join him. "Not something I'd normally do, but this is as far from normal as it gets."

"No kidding," Shi agreed with a sigh, stripping to join the two males. "I think Janos is going to make a turnaround, for what it's worth. Good sign for Jay too. Fenrik... just so you're aware of it, I have a feeling he's going to have one hell of a long list of things he's done, longer than we suspected."

"If it's longer than I expected, he's probably not redeemable." The Panther murmured and snuggled in close as Jay instinctively pressed close to him, the loss of his lover still drawing tears. "I've seen that temper at work in the field. This isn't going to be the first mass slaughter he's committed, just the first of them that can't be justified."

"I just hope you're wrong, for all I don't think you are," Shivasta sighed. "Gods, how are we going to explain this all to the Council?"

"Very carefully," he bent his neck to lick Jay's face dry again. "Look at it this way; he hasn't killed a Jedi yet. That's a lot more than can be said of most who go as Dark as he feels."

"That's assuming they believe that Kraken acted of its own volition," Shi pointed out softly, rubbing Jay's side lightly. "We still have to find the records of exactly what happened to explain that."

"Jay's best defense there is going to be the simple fact that anyone survived." Fenrik pointed out. "Kat doesn't do things half way, especially not killing. The Council can force him to tell the truth as well."

"True," Shi nodded. "Doesn't hurt that we'll basically be telling the Council that they were right about Kraken all those years ago either. He's going to hate himself when he finally comes down from everything."

"Yeah, that's going to be ugly." Fenrik sighed and closed his eyes to hold Jay tightly. "We'll just have to keep him close until he's stable again."

"Only thing to do," she nodded, reaching around to hug them both. "At least we found him in time."

"And didn't have to actually fight him." He added in a murmur.

"Definitely a good thing," Shi agreed, rubbing Fenrik's back and pressing close against Jay's, feeling his pain against her mind.

There were going to be a lot more nights like this one to come.

"You're acting much more like your old self," Janos smiled at Vondra a few minutes after the Jedi had left. "Or at least what I imagine your old self was like."

"I was never that ... authoritative." She blushed and ducked her head a bit, though she wasn't ashamed at all. "The youngest of six daughters learns to defer."

"Never had anybody else to compete with, myself," he smiled, nuzzling her cheek. "It suits you. So, looking forward to going home?"

"Yes," she smiled and stretched out a bit, giving him a touch and glimpse of the body he'd grown very fond of recently. "It will be good to be back, to see everyone again. It will be good to live like a Santross again."

"Mmm ... I've gotta say, it'll be a shame losing you like this," he rumbled, running his hand down her side lightly. "But at least you'll be back home, and it's not like we're never going to see each other."

"As my lover, you're the one that will share my bed most nights," she pointed out with a soft, lusty sound and traced a finger lightly down his chest to circle teasingly around the opening to his sheath.

"Mmm ... when I'm around, I can live with that," he rumbled, his shaft starting to harden in his sheath. He kissed her, feeling interested in more than just snuggling for the first time since Mina's attack a few days ago. "Not sure how all that works out; you'll have to fill me in some time."

"I will, but you'd never have to leave or work again if you don't want to." She smiled seductively and moved her hand down to lightly roll his balls while she kissed her way down his chest. "Just keep me happy."

"Mmm ... I don't know that I'd like being that kept," he chuckled, reaching down to rub her white-furred ears and the back of her lupine head. "Can't say I'd mind vacations never having to leave the room though," he winked, then groaned as her tongue found the entrance to his sheath and slipped in.

"I think we can manage to find enough excitement and independence for you without leaving my bed cold very often." She grinned at him and pressed her breasts together just above his balls. "You are, after all, a reasonably wealthy Wolf all on your own."

"Oooh... we'll have to see," he groaned, his cock slipping free of his sheath, towards her tongue. "After all ... mmm ... your kin might just want to send me packing yet."

"They can try." She growled softly and lapped at the sensitive flesh emerging towards her. "That bond is going to be worth a lot towards your good name."

"Mmm ... just don't want you getting captured again," he grunted, his shaft hardening quickly, thick and red as she took it into her hot, wet muzzle. "Oh yeah," he moaned, intimately aware of how much she enjoyed this particular game because of how much she perceived he enjoyed it.

"I don't think we're going to be much on traveling for a decade or two." She chuckled grimly at the simple truth. The family's fortune hadn't been impacted, but its greatest resource, its members, had been decimated even if everyone who survived was found. They wouldn't make themselves vulnerable like that again anytime soon.

"Mmm... then we won't need to worry about it," he rumbled, thrusting lightly between her breasts, caressing her head tenderly as she worked him with a skill that seemed to improve every time they were together. He couldn't even begin to describe the rush it was to feel her enjoyment and arousal at pleasuring him.

He couldn't miss her expectations either. That his thick cock would be deep inside her body before long to push her own arousal to orgasm.

Well, it certainly wouldn't do to disappoint her.

"Come up here," he rumbled, reaching down to take her shoulders and pull her up, kissing her hungrily as he rubbed his shaft against her sex, the two of them on their sides. He was so lucky that the medical beds on this ship were economy sized.

"Think you can roll over, handsome?" Vondra rumbled when she finally let his mouth go.

"Mmm ... which way?" He asked her with a lusty grin. "You want top, or me?"

"I want to ride my Wolf." She claimed another kiss. "On you back."

"Yes ma'am," he chuckled, rolling onto his back with a groan, some of his muscles still protesting, but most of his body more than eager to go along with his lover. The incentive to go along only increased as she straddled his hips and rubbed her wet sex enticingly along his shaft, making him even more slick for when she lifted up and guided him inside her hot, tight sex.

"Ohhh yesss." Vondra groaned deeply as she felt Janos fill her to her limit.

The Wolf beneath her reached up, fondling her breasts as he pressed deeper into her. He moved one hand to lean up and lick at her hard nipple hungrily, his velvety tongue working it skillfully as her pleasure washed across his mind and body.

She leaned forward a bit, groaning at his efforts to pleasure her and the effects of her efforts to pleasure him. Every movement, every moment, pushed her a little closer to the edge she was so hungry for after days without sex.

Janos, for his part, was completely unprepared for the intensity of feeling her pleasure across the bond. After the past few days, and with the new mental intimacy, it wasn't long before his knot swelled inside of her, tying them together as he moaned, pumping his seed into her sex. He almost whimpered when she leaned forward, putting a little more pressure along the knot's base and claimed a kiss before her body stiffened with a howl as she came.

He moaned into her mouth, practically melting against her body as his orgasm seemed to stretch on forever, fed by the pleasure he was feeling from her, his arms wrapped around her tightly as he readily accepted a new definition of bliss.

Jay stood near the entrance to the Kraken's docking bay as Janos ushered the last of the slaves he and Vondra would be delivering onto the Sharufa. Misha, Y'alla, and Tamil had already boarded, planning on staying with him for the time being.

He could tell that Janos was in pain, though he was hiding it well. Every movement showed that his muscles still hadn't fully recovered from being electrocuted. As a Fox hurried onto the transport, the last of the Core natives from the slaves that would be going home, Janos turned to face him, leaning back against the ship, then looked over at Vondra.

"You go make sure our pilot's getting the new course in," he told his lover softly. "I'll be right along."

"All right," she nodded with a goodbye smile for Jay and left the two alone. This was going to be one goodbye she didn't relish being part of and gratefully escaped from.

Janos stood a bit straighter and approached his one-time mate.

"So, this is about it?" He asked him needlessly. They both knew it would be.

"Yes," Jay murmured, desperate to convince himself that letting go was the right thing. It wasn't working nearly as easily now, face to face with the Wolf, than it was in Fenrik's arms. He took one step forward and reached out to brush a hand along Janos' cheek. "You're still in pain."

"I ah... overexerted myself a bit," Janos chuckled, clearly understating the issue. "Don't worry, it's just a couple days to Corellia from here. I've got it on good authority that I'll be able to rest as long as I want there. Just you wait; I'll end up getting bored and be back on the Rim in under a month."

"*That's what I'm afraid of.*" Jay shivered and gave in a little, stepping inside Janos' personal space for a searing kiss and pressed his body against his former mate's.

Janos accepted the kiss, embracing Jay briefly to return it, setting off all manner of reactions in Jay's mind ... but nothing across the mental space where their bond had begun to form in its own right and not as just an overlay of Fenrik's. Even so, it was incredibly difficult to let the space between them happen again.

"Don't worry about me," Janos said easily as they stepped apart slightly, or rather when he stepped back. "Even if I am out there again, I won't have to be doing any work that I don't think is gonna be fun, instead of work."

"Try not to fight another Jedi." Jay almost pleaded. "I don't want to see your name on the hunting list."

"Promise," Janos murmured, kissing Jay's cheek and found his mouth claimed again as Jay lost a little more of his fight to let go. "Unless they come after me first."

"They won't for this, or what you've done so far." Jay drew a deep breath, trying to convince himself to step back and failing. Instead he pressed closer and ran his hands along the Wolf's powerful body. "The Santross will protect you some ... helping me will shield you some too."

Janos pushed him back slightly.

"It won't if I take you with me again, you know," he pointed out gently. "I care for you Jay, but you know I can't stay."

"I know," he swallowed hard. "Giving up ... it's not something I do." He finally managed to keep himself from stepping forward again and dropped his eyes for a moment. "Without the bond ... makes me realize just how much I do care for you." He look up to meet the Wolf's gaze and brushed a hand along Janos' cheek. "Don't be a stranger to me?"

"I'll try not to," Janos promised, taking his hand and squeezing it lightly. "You're a good kat, Jay. You belong with your real mates."

"You've got a very good one in Vondra," Jay shifted his hand to grip Janos' in return. "Invite me to the wedding?"

"If there is one, I will," Janos nodded. "But she's several leagues out of mine, and the Santross family is one I don't want to butt heads with too firmly when they're only objecting to formalities."

"We'll see," Jay managed a bit of a smile. "I'll miss you."

"Miss you too, Jay," Janos smiled back a bit. "Maybe we'll meet again some time, without the psycho sadist bitch having her hooks in you."

"Perhaps we can meet again on Mantessa in a year?" Jay suggested hesitantly. "I don't know if I'll be allowed to come alone, but I can promise your safety from anyone who does come to keep an eye on me."

"Sounds good to me," Janos nodded with a bit of a smile. "I'll be sure to bring some panthac repellent."

"And a taste for hunting dinner." Jay gave him something of a wink, memories of many similar trips hot and fresh in his mind and he shifted forward for a last kiss. It was easier now, with a plan to make this farewell no longer the final one.

"Will do," the Wolf chuckled, kissing him again lightly, then stepping back towards the ship. "We'll make sure the Sharufa gets to the Temple safe and sound once we're on Corellia," he promised.

"Thank you," Jay murmured, reluctantly stepping back so the ship could take off. This wasn't quite as bad as seeing Fen or Shi off on a mission, but it wasn't much easier either.

"See you around, Jay," Janos said, stepping up onto the ramp and giving him one last wave before he started up onto the ship, the hatch closing behind him.

Jay told Sharufa to take good care of them and watched until the ship was out of sight in hyperspace.

"You'll see him again," Shivasta said softly, stepping in from the other side of the bay door and putting a hand on Jay's shoulder supportively. She'd be lying if she said she wasn't pleased that he leaned into the contact.

"Yeah, he's not a bad guy, once you get past his file." Fenrik added and slipped his arms around Jay's body to pull his back against his chest.

"Have you contacted the Council again?" Jay murmured, looking for another topic.

"Just long enough to send a report," Fenrik murmured, kissing Jay's neck softly. "They know where we're going, and they wish us luck, but we didn't go for a particularly long talk about things."

"Did you get a feel for how displeased they are?" Jay glanced up and back at the pair even as he melted in Fenrik's arms.

"Not really," the Panther admitted. "Though I have a feeling that the Kraken's attack is going to be a serious issue when we get back. Come on, let's get you calmed down. Not even a full day yet before we're in the system."

Jay simply nodded and accepted both the pending issue and the fact that his mates didn't want him to worry about it. There were more pressing matters to deal with.

Jay looked up from cuddling with the four kittens in the nursery, catching Shi and Fenrik's attention from paying attention to both father and daughters.

"We're here." He said simply and gently disengaged himself from his sharp-clawed daughters

"We are," Fenrik nodded. "We aren't picking up any serious life signs on Thule, but the clouds surrounding the world are heavily charged; scanners can't penetrate them."

Jay nodded and dropped his head a bit, his eyes closed as he turned all his attention inward, seeking the fine parental bonds he had with his kittens.

They were there, along with a seething pit of anger and hatred directed at the Light and all things related to the Jedi.

The Demon was more than eager to get onto the ground here. The entire world practically boiled with Dark Side energies that were most concentrated around his kittens. Mina had chosen a good place to hide.

Jay shuddered as he backed off a bit.

"We have a problem." He murmured even as he had the ship's comm system page his sister to put a meeting together. "Sith homeworld, only very much still alive."

"That's not possible," Fenrik said, shaking his head. "How could the Sith have established an active planet in a known system without us knowing about them?"

"The same way you hide a candle flame by lighting the room," Shivasta pointed out. "If Thule was already heavily shaped by Dark Side energies, it would be harder to notice the additional ones. Come on, let's collect Kanna and the others. We should probably leave Cormoran on the ship."

"He's a hell of a fighter already," Jay pointed out even as they left the nursery. "Marie is calling a meeting so we can plan this out a bit. It's almost more a Clawson mission now than a Jedi one."

"The decision is ultimately up to Kanna," Shi agreed. "And at this point, it is." She and Fenrik followed Jay to the meeting room, neither sure what sort of measures the family would resort to. When it came right down to it, they suspected there really weren't any limits.

"Yes," Jay nodded to both statements and caught a speeder to the meeting room. When they reached it, one of the large ones near the bridge, it was already crowded. Every Clawson was there, all thirty of them, in body armor and armed with an assortment of ranged weapons and devices that were clearly related to many of Jay's designs.

It was an impressive display, even to the seasoned Jedi. Kanna arrived shortly after they did, something in her expression suggesting a serious headache that she was hiding.

Shivasta knew how she was feeling, though it wasn't as strong for her. The negative emotions from the planet were practically palpable, even from this range. With Kanna's talent for seeing the Force, it was probably a lot like sitting next to a speaker turned up to the highest volume and set to throb at a bone-rattling frequency.

You could almost pick out which Clawsons were sensitives just by their overly aggressive demeanor right now. Thule was affecting them too, but on a much more subtle level.

"*A Clawson sensitive would have grown up knowing they were even more special, and powerful, than the rest of the family. The front line in our wars, the best at their jobs ... they'd be the aggressive ones no matter what.*" Jay told the other Jedi silently as the room fell to order without a single noticeable reason.

Marie was the immediate focus of the entire gathering, though the Jedi recognized that she wasn't the mission leader in the manner of those in the room. That fell to Jay and Jennie.

"We have found our kittens," Marie said simply and forcefully, her personality holding the group together as expressions went both grim and joyful. "This world is Omega central and we have to go into the heart of it."

Shivasta and Fenrik exchanged subtle glances; with that one statement, from what they knew about the Clawsons, Marie had just justified shooting first and not bothering to ask questions.

"*Did she just declare a small war on Thule?*" Fenrik asked Jay silently.

"*Only if they shoot first.*" The tom replied grimly. "*We do not slaughter the helpless. It is not our way, even in times of war.*"

"Mina is not to come out alive." Jennie stood and took center stage. "We have next to no intel, but these creatures are incredibly dangerous if the Jedi are to be believed at all. This is not, however, our war to fight." She paused to lock eyes with each person there. "This is a seek, destroy and retrieve mission only, not an invasion."

Shi and Fenrik relaxed once they heard that, settling back to hear the rest of the briefing.

"Jedi, do you wish to join us on this mission?" Jennie focused on the three not related to her.

"We do," Shivasta nodded. "We have some knowledge of the locals that may prove useful."

"Very well. You will join Jay, myself and Teris," she motioned to a slender chocolate-furred tom in his early forties and heavy with the Force. "We are the main search team. "Shadow, Grace and their partners are our sniper backup. Six teams will provide air support and the rest are sweepers to keep things quiet while we hunt. Questions?"

"None," Fenrik said, knowing that all three of them were familiar with this style of mission, though not typically this scale.

"Very well." She nodded. "SWAT scramble!" She raised her voice in the traditional call to arms for her kind.

The three Jedi were on their feet along with the rest, following Jay as they made their way to the ships they would be using to land on the planet. It was immediately apparent that the Clawsons came from a very different military culture. Everyone, even the rescue team, went down in two-person black fighters with gold and red trim that felt much like Jay's lightsabers and Glovatrix -- like the Force made solid.

A pilot and gunner were in the cockpit, while those being dropped off were in the bomb bay of the jets, a place that held vehicles as well as weapons and was clearly designed with people in mind too. It also broke the laws of physics even more than Jay's Glovatrix.

There wasn't a transport of any kind among them, and no one flew solo. The next thing that hit the Jedi were just how free these people were with their use of Force, and how completely unorthodox it felt in use. It was much like Jay, early on. He'd toned it down and learned how Jedi use the Force since, but they had no compunctions about using any tool at their disposal freely.

Jay was with Fenrik in one fighter's bomb bay, the kat's excitement at getting to ride in one of these jets almost palatable. The eight-year-old kitten was back and bright-eyed, innocent and eager once more, even if only for a few moments.

The Panther had to wonder if there was any chance they'd be willing to leave one behind in exchange for some of Jay's designs; he was sure it'd be weeks before the middle-aged tom came out of the hangar if they were. Just seeing him this excited about them made it likely that it would do wonders for him; give him something to focus on while the Dark Side bled away a bit and he could exist more comfortably among the Jedi.

The power of their liftoff made them both brace a bit against the abrupt shift in momentum.

"It won't be long now, Jay," Fenrik promised him. "We'll get them back, then things can get back to normal."

"Eventually," he murmured over the soft rumble of powerful engines and leaned against his mate. "Hard to believe it's only been half a year."

"Feels like ten times that long," Fenrik agreed, leaning back against him as the ship rattled in the ever-present storms surrounding Thule. "What did they tell you?"

"About what?" Jay looked up at him, fingering his Glovatrix that resonated with the Force so much like these fighters.

"That led to that message back to the Council," Fenrik clarified. "They had you thinking the Order had turned on you."

Jay paused, dredging up memories that seemed a lifetime old. "They said that Shi was worried about it happening, and had them promise to take care of me if anything happened to her. That I was too dangerous and they'd finally decided to do something about me. That they'd tricked you into attacking us and you were under their sway, not believing that the Order would hurt me. Between the bonds almost snapping and them in those places, I thought you were both dead, I wasn't really in a state to really think it through."

"Explains being worried about what they'd do to you too," Fenrik murmured, hugging Jay lightly. "We'll get through it now."

"Yes," he shivered slightly, still very uneasy about going back, though he wasn't fighting it anymore. He'd let running again go when he'd let Janos go the day before.

"Get ready, we're in position for the drop." The pilot's voice came over the comm link.

The two toms shifted into position quickly, getting into the mission mindset they were so familiar with.

"Ready," Fenrik replied. "Are we getting any attention from the locals?"

"Plenty," the pilot replied grimly. "Air and ground. Work fast or there are going to be serious casualties. We can only be so gentle with these people without endangering ourselves."

"We'll work fact," Fenrik agreed with equal seriousness as the bomb bay opened to reveal the buildings of Thule's only city beneath them, several units of troops massed and waiting for them.

This was going to be messy, however it worked out.

"*Good time to put Master Zraii's mods to work,*" Shivasta told her mate, knowing that she'd have to remind the Panther to keep him from simply slaughtering them alongside Jay.

"*Right.*" He nodded and caught Jay moving from the corner of his eye.

Jay, for his part, was locked onto the location of his kits and dove out of the hovering jet as he lit all four of his blades, all but heedless of everything else.

Fenrik followed him, his own white blade gleaming and crackling with the new modification. They landed in the midst of a unit of Thulium troops, a practical hail of blaster fire greeting them as they plummeted towards them. Fenrik started striking out at the troops, most of them collapsing, stunned by the electrical feedback they weren't prepared for.

Fortunately, it seemed the troops weren't nearly as prepared for Jedi as they'd thought they were.

They certainly weren't prepared to face a borderline psychotic one with four blades out to kill, or the way his cousin used the Force to create fireballs and arch lightning across the battlefield with disturbing ease.

The door at the base of the building was carved open without any effort, and Jay, Fenrik, and the Clawsons were on their way in. Shivasta and Kanna met up with them shortly afterwards, cutting through side doors to meet them.

The Triad were the first three to burst through the door of the central room. Shivasta and Fenrik were greeted with a blast of Force Lightning strong enough that it threw them both physically back into the hall, bowling Kanna and a number of the Clawsons over.

"I knew you'd find me here, Jay," Mina purred, holding both their kittens in one arm, the other extended towards Jay at the entrance. "Do you think I made a good choice?"

"You won't leave with them," he countered evenly, his lightsabers deactivating abruptly. "Your army is no match for my kin."

Almost no one noticed the way Jennie carefully stood and began to weave the Force around her into something invisible but potent.

"Mmm... technically, they're not mine, I'm just borrowing them for a bit. "Though I really don't need them to handle the Clawsons here. Thule protects its own, you see, particularly those with the Demon's help."

She got no further as Jennie's Force-energy ripped across the space between them to freeze time itself for a brief moment around the shecat. A moment just long enough for Jay to bolt forward and grab one kitten, his hands burning from crossing the barrier before it fell apart.

Mina didn't say a word, just hit him with a blast that sent him flying back against the wall, clutching their son to his chest protectively.

"Clever, but stupid," she snarled as she saw Jennie preparing to use another 'spell.' The next blast broke any semblance of concentration the shekat had, fur and armor singed by the raw Dark Side energy made manifest.

"Listen to me, Jay," Mina growled, her face barely masking the very real physical pain she was feeling inside. "I could just kill each and every one of you now. Instead, I'm going to offer you a little deal. You take our son and go. Our daughter will be my apprentice, once she's old enough. You're getting three to my one; I'd say that's more than a fair split in custody."

"*She's killing herself,*" Shivasta told Jay mentally. "*I can practically watch her power tearing her up inside.*"

"*Remind me not to stick my hand across a spell again,*" Jay asked Shi, his mind in intense pain itself from the smoldering fur and shattered flesh that had cross the barrier for his son.

Then he closed his eyes briefly and glanced at Jennie, who nodded.

"Agreed." Jay told the mother of his kittens softly.

"Good," Mina smirked. "I guess Tembrys was right about you being a genius after all." She turned to start making her way towards a window. "Now get off of my -"

She didn't have the chance to finish her sentence before a plume of red burst from her chest, her body falling back as her legs fell out from under her, the sharp retort of the sniper rifle reaching them only after the bullet had done its work. Everything seemed to move in slow motion, Jay and Jennie both starting forward as Tessra fell towards the ground. Shivasta was the first one to reach her, the Force wrapped around her body, blurring her motions as she snatched up the infant before she could be hurt.

Mina's body fell to the floor with a dull thud, her eyes wide in disbelief, her breathing shallow as she bled out, a growing pool of dark crimson on the floor beneath her, flecks of black inside it betraying the level of damage the Dark Side had already done to her body.

"Thank you," Jay whispered, his body shaking in pain as he took his fourth kitten into his arms and held her tightly, nuzzling her for a long moment before Jennie took the pair and called in the pickup.

"You're going to let me look at those hands once we're on the fighter," Shivasta said firmly, with all the weight of her Healer's rank as Fenrik, Kanna and Teris dealt with the remaining military forces outside the door until they could get inside and lock it.

"Yes, ma'am." Jay murmured, almost sheepishly.

"Head for the roof," Jennie informed them simply. "We'll be picked up there."

Shi, Kanna, and Fenrik exchanged glances, then nodded in agreement. Fenrik's blazing white lightsaber stopped crackling as he switched it to its normal mode, and the three Jedi went to work carving the shortest possible path to the aforementioned roof.

The Sith might have reinforcements on the stairs, but they wouldn't have them in every room along the way.

Teris stopped them after a couple stories. "Allow me." He said smoothly and pulled the Force around them before sending a huge bolt of energy skyward, blasting a hole in the roof several yards wide. He then focus on the ground and lifted all 5 of them up on a translucent circle of solid Force energy.

"Your kin definitely don't wield the Force the same way we do," Kanna observed. "Is this the tradition you developed in your galaxy?"

"As much as we'll ever develop of one," Jay nodded. "It's a lot simpler than anything around here."

"I think it'd be best if we waited to compare notes until after we're out of here," Fenrik pointed out, tossing a few soldiers that came to see about the noise out of the way. "Please tell me those fighters we came in are prepped for a space fight on the way back?"

"Always," Jennie grinned viciously, though her care of the kittens in her arms was never far from the front of her mind. She even shifted to shield the newborns from the buffeting of the jets coming down. "If they manage to scrape anything together for that."

"Call it a hunch, but I think they scraped it together," Fenrik frowned, pointing out an approaching transport bristling with guns. "Let's move people!"

The group split up, Fenrik going with Jennie and Teris into one fighter, Shivasta following Jay onto another as blaster fire starting to rain down towards them.

Then the transport found itself the target of a half dozen sleek black fighters, two of which lined themselves up from top and bottom and slammed right threw the ship with black energy crackling around them as they cut it in three even pieces.

More ships were already scrambling to meet them as the fighters took off for the atmosphere, but the battle was already a foregone conclusion. The Thulian military was prepared for fighting mass battles in space, not dogfights in their own atmosphere.

By contrast, it was exactly the sort of fight that the Clawsons were best prepared for.

"Hold on, we're engaging Speed of Heat." The pilot in the jet holding Jay and Shi called to them over the comm a moment before they were thrown against the back of the bomb bay.

"Okay, whatever this Speed of Heat is, I officially don't like it anymore," Shi muttered to herself as she picked herself up off the floor where she'd fallen. "So, think you're up to showing me those hands?"

Jay could only nod and held his hands out. The skin, where it still existed, was blistered and black; in several spots she could see charred bone where the ravaged flesh was gone.

"Holy...." Shivasta bit her lip, shaking her head. "I'd ask what you were thinking, but I already know. Never do something like this again, Jay." She held her hands near his, trying to do what work she could to heal them, but it wasn't much.

"*Didn't know it would happen.*" He managed to tell her telepathically, his body in far too much pain to really speak.

"I can't do much more than start the healing," she said softly. "The tissue damage is incredible... you'll probably want to be on some pretty heavy painkillers for a few days, at best."

"Yes." He nodded as the pain subsided some. "Can they be fixed?"

"Over time, some of it can be," she nodded. "But I'm afraid I'd have to recommend seeing Master Kalin about having the palms replaced," she added with a shudder.

"Cybernetics aren't that bad." He murmured.

"I know," she admitted. "I just don't like suggesting it, you know that. Just at least give me until we're back to decide, and preferably a second opinion."

"Sure," he mumbled, closing his eyes briefly as they set down on board the Kraken with a light thump.

Shi paused for a moment, then decided it was worth the chance.

"Jay, if I can deaden the pain until you get something to take it out more normally, will you promise not to do anything that'll need fine manipulation until we do get you something?"

"Deal," he gritted his teeth as a fractional movement shot pain through his body.

She reached out through the Force, touching the exposed flesh and nerves, putting them to sleep without affecting the rest of his body - but practically killing the feeling in his hands in the process.

"That should last long enough for the painkillers to help," she explained as he slumped forward in the sudden relief.

"Thanks," Jay mumbled and struggled to his feet when the bomb bay opened.

"Marie wants to see you," the tabby tom motioned towards their ship.

"Right," Jay nodded and headed for the sleek flying wing design of the main ship, careful of his hands least he do even more damage.

Shivasta was close behind him, ready to handle anything he had to touch, keeping a close eye on his mind to try and catch his intent to do so before he could act on it and hurt himself. Fortunately, he was very aware of the state of his hands and used his mind, either by command to the ship or by telekinesis, to deal with anything he had to touch.

"Ah," Marie looked up at him as they entered the small medical facility on board. "Are your injuries healable here?"

"Possibly, but not easily," Shivasta told her. "I would take quite a bit of work, or technology we don't have yet. Bacta isn't quite up to the level of damage I saw."

"We can repair the damage, if you are willing to stay with us a couple weeks." She offered evenly. "It is not an unknown injury to us."

"Are you willing to let me observe, perhaps learn the techniques involved?" Shi asked, realizing the question was directed at her as much as, if not more than, Jay.

"You are welcome to observe," the older woman nodded easily and motioned to Jay to lie down on one of the three beds. "It uses our family Gift; I would be surprised if you could learn it."

"What a Furlong won't do," a deep brown shekat in her late twenties shook her head as she came out of the corner of the room to examine Jay's hands. "You made a mess of yourself. "

Shivasta simply waited silently and watched. Frankly, as far as she was concerned, Jay deserved every ounce of healer-scolding he got.

"Have you learned how to convert material to flesh?" Zaxie asked him evenly.

"A little ma'am." He nodded meekly. "I did some work on my ear."

She nodded and shifted her attention to the still-missing flesh, running her fingers along the smooth edge. "It's a start," she agreed. "I can fix that too, if you wish."

"Yes," he murmured and closed his eyes briefly.

"Then lets get to work on those hands so you can sleep tonight." Zaxie turned away to pull a handful of lightly metallic flakes from a drawer that opened for her and sprinkled them across his left hand before focusing on the area, melting them into his flesh. "Try to help out, it will go better. You know your body better than I do."

"Yes, ma'am." Jay agreed submissively.

"Master Shivasta, would you happen to have a good quality three dimensional image of him before all this damage?" Zaxie looked at the elder healer.

"Technological, or would shared mental suffice?" Shivasta asked, knowing the reaction to telepathy without permission wouldn't be particularly good. "I'm not sure about the first, the second I could offer quickly and be out without doing any harm."

Zaxie looked between her leader and Jay nervously, the idea of letting another person into her mind setting her on a razor's edge.

"She's one of us," Jay said softly. "An oath-bound Healer. It's safe."

Despite the assurances, the younger shekat shook her head. "Try to find a technological one, please. I'll ... think about the other if you can't."

"I understand," Shivasta nodded easily.

"*Fenrik, do we have any saved holos of Jay that can be viewed by mixed company?*" She asked the Panther. "*The more recent the better?*"

"Is there anything you can do about the scarring on his face, if he wants?" She asked Zaxie while waiting for Fenrik's response.

"I meant that as part of the ear," she explained a little sheepishly. "It's clearly the same wound."

"I knew," Jay murmured. "It's warrior shorthand."

"I'm sorry," Shi said, lowering her head a little bit in apology. "You'd think I'd know it a bit better myself, by now."

"*I found a couple.*" Fenrik got back to her, something in his mind-voice very thoughtful and almost painfully attached to what he was now holding. "*Where are you?*"

"*The Clawson flagship. Is something wrong?*" Shi asked curiously, knowing that he wasn't with the kits just now and at a loss as to what else could inspire such feelings.

"*Just an old cat's foolishness.*" He shook his head. "*I'll be there in a few minutes.*"

"*Whatever it is, we'd probably both think it was sweet, not foolish,*" Shi replied with a soft smile.

"We'll have pictures here in just a couple minutes," she explained. "Fenrik managed to find some."

"Good," Zaxie nodded and turned her full attention to melding the metallic flakes into Jay's hands, creating a kind of protective layer for the badly damaged flesh. "Reconstructive work is always easier with references."

"Especially doing it like this," Shivasta murmured with a nod, watching the work in the Force and finding she couldn't understand it any better than she could anything Jay did. On the other hand, it meant there was a good chance he could understand it if necessary.

The minutes until Fenrik's arrival passed in silence; Shi watching in frustrated fascination, Jay watching in comprehension and helping with what he could, and Zaxie putting her full natural talent to work on his mangled hands.

"Force!" Fenrik drew all of their attention to him when he entered the room and saw Jay's hands under good light for the first time.

"From reaching across that barrier," Shi explained quietly. "We need the pictures to help Zaxie fix the damage."

"Right," he nodded and produced a holocube from his robes. "It can show them life-sized, but you might get more information directly from the cube." He explained and offered Zaxie the small object, both the other Jedi in the room now very curious as to why he could be so attached to some pictures.

"Isn't that the cube I started just after we met?" Jay looked at the object curiously as Zaxie accessed it directly and got what she needed.

"Uh-hu," Fenrik mumbled and only just managed to avoid ducking his head.

She smiled and reached over to take his hand. She had a similar cube of her own, though it was back at the Temple just now. Jay had given it to her years ago, with a number of moments from their relationship that meant the most to him. He kept updating them, frequently without mentioning it, as time or moments happened.

"*Told you I'd think it was sweet,*" she told Fenrik mentally.

"*Jedi shouldn't be that attached to things,*" he reminded her, feeling a bit guilty about it.

"Jay, are any of these actual recordings and not your memories?" Zaxie looked up at the injured tom.

"The first one, the five, ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty and forty anniversary, my knighting, Master Artisan and Form confirmation portraits." He nodded.

"Good," she murmured and went after those.

"*It's not the thing you're attached to,*" Shi pointed out. "*It's what it represents, the memories. The thing just contains a few reminders. I feel the same way, it's why I didn't bring it with me on the original mission.*"

"*True,*" he murmured, watching the healer without any Force sensitivity he could detect work on his mate's hands, slowly adding metallic flakes until there was a solid coating melted into the shape of hands. It was obvious she was using power, decades of watching Jay work had taught him well what the Clawson Gift looked like in action, it just wasn't the Force as he knew it.

"Do try not to use your hands," Zaxie told Jay sternly with a look at his mates to make sure they'd heard as well. "For now, see your kittens, get some rest, and we'll work on this more in the morning."

"And yes, that does mean you're going to let us take care of you tonight," Shi pointed out quietly to Jay as they made their way out of the ship.

"Yes, ma'am." Jay murmured, half submissive, half teasing.

"Come on now," she smiled. "Let's go meet your children."

Shi woke up with a start as she sensed pain creeping into Jay's sleeping mind; her work was wearing off, and they'd forgotten to get him some real painkillers after the work with Zaxie. She reinforced her painkiller effects, then climbed out of bed gently to fetch him something a bit stronger. It wouldn't be long before he was awake on his own.

"*Shi?*" Fenrik's mind reached out to her as she pulled her robes on quickly, curious why she was getting up.

"*Jay's hands are about to get their feeling back,*" she pointed out to him silently, cinching her robe closed and hurrying out. "*I'm hoping we can make sure they're not in sheer agony when they do.*"

"*Right, good.*" He nodded and snuggled back in with their mate. It wasn't anything any of them had discussed, but both he and Shi could feel it in their gut that Jay should not be without at least one of them close by anytime soon. As completely as he'd accepted them back as his mates, as strong as the bonds were, they could all feel just how far behind his mind was in many ways.

"*I'll be back in a minute with something for him,*" she promised, hurrying off to medical and hoping that the Kraken still had the Republic clearance codes that would let her access its medical stores. She hadn't really needed them with Janos, and the trip had been mercifully short on medical issues.

Worst case, she could probably get any of the Clawsons to open the door for her. They all knew she was a Healer and Jay had been badly injured in the rescue.

She closed it all from her mind, focusing on her destination and on keeping a mental eye on Jay's condition, until she reached the large medical facility on board the Kraken and stopped dead in her tracks when she realized that six of the beds were occupied.

Zaxie was dozing in a nearby chair; it didn't take long for Shi to put together what had been going on in here. Jay's injures might have been the most extreme, but he wasn't the only one who'd been hurt. The Clawsons occupying the medical beds had been injured mostly by inactive vibroblades, bludgeons - anything the Thulian soldiers could use after their powered weapons had been shut down by the attacking Clawsons.

While it meant that there hadn't been any Clawson dead, it also meant that the ones who were injured couldn't be fixed too quickly, for fear of setting something wrong. Zaxie had probably spent all her time since healing Jay helping them, until they were all stabilized and she'd been able to pass out. It was the sort of scene Shivasta was intimately familiar with.

She quietly made her way to the medical stores, putting in her code and opening the door, pulling out a small bottle with the clear liquid she'd need.

"*Should be back in just a minute,*" she told Fenrik. "*If Jay starts to wake up, put him under for a few minutes.*"

"*Understood.*" He agreed easily.

"*Scratch that.*" Shi shot back at a sharp alarm she was also intimately familiar with. She slipped the bottle into her robe even as she bolted for the bed that had alarmed. She found Zaxie already there, moving with an efficient speed despite the borderline panic in her mind that she was out of her depth in this place.

"Let me help," Shi offered, checking the scanners with practiced ease. The patient was destabilizing; his blood pressure was dropping fast, vital signs sliding downwards all across the board as internal wounds started to re-open. "Shit," she swore under her breath, placing her hands over where she felt the worst injuries, starting to reach out through the Force instinctively to help.

"Anything you can do." Zaxie gave way to what she saw as a specialist of far more experience without hesitation. Jay claimed her as Clawson kin, Marie accepted her as a potent Medic and she was allowed to cradle and adore the newborns. It was more than enough for her. "His name is Jeremy."

"He's going to be fine," Shi promised, healing the internal wounds, focusing closely on the cause. "We're going to need restraining bands for a while," she said, nodding towards the cabinet where they would be stored. "He moved too much in his sleep."

"Right," she nodded and quickly fetched the lengths of sturdy cloth. "Thank you." She added as they secured the injured tom to his bed.

"You're welcome," Shi nodded quietly, helping to secure him then setting the bed to use a low-level force field to keep him from moving too much. "I've got him stabilized now. You want me to look at the others before I go?"

"If you're willing," Zaxie nodded. "You can heal a different way than I can."

"I'm willing," Shi nodded. "I just came down here to pick up some painkillers for Jay, I can take a few minutes to make sure everybody's all right, after what you've done for us." She checked the others out; they weren't injured as badly as the other tom had been.

"These two aren't Clawsons by blood, are they?" She asked, hoping she wasn't being rude as she checked out the last two and realizing they were completely force-blind.

"No, they're mates," Zaxie explained. "This is a family you mate into, not out of."

"Jay mentioned that," Shi smiled. "It's not uncommon really; my people are the same way most of the time. I think everybody's going to be fine; most of the injuries weren't deep. Jeremy just had some extra damage from the beating he took. You have a very strong family," she said respectfully.

"It's how we've survived," Zaxie nodded. "My family and the Jedi fill similar rolls in our cultures from what I've gathered. We're the first and final line of defense when things get ugly."

"Just hope you don't run into something that's the Clawson's equivalent of the Sith," Shi murmured. "It'd be a culture as strong as yours but given over to the Demon completely. Not something I really want to imagine, myself. I should be getting back before Fenrik has to keep Jay under."

"A family of Omegas?" She shuddered and nodded a goodbye. "I hope not too. Thank you for your help."

"Not a problem. If you need anything more, just send a call, I'm used to it," Shi smiled, then turned to return to her quarters.

It was a very, very strange day when the most normal thing that happened was a medical emergency.

She made the trip back to her room quickly and couldn't help but smile warmly at the way Fenrik was snuggled up against Jay's back, holding the tom closely to make her absence less obvious. Jay was starting to stir, but more in distress at her absence and a little pain than truly wanting to wake up.

She pulled out a hypo and affixing the small bottle, pressing the pressure-feed up against Jay's skin beneath his fur and pumping a large dose of the drug into his system. It would keep him comfortable, and asleep, until late in the morning.

"Sorry to take so long," she told Fenrik softly, stripping down and crawling into bed behind him.

"Good timing anyway, I was about to put him under." He turned his head around to nuzzle her. "Somebody get hurt?"

"Six of the Clawsons during the attack," she nodded. "One of them went critical briefly, we got things under control." She wrapped her arms around Fenrik and Jay both, hugging the Panther against her. "It's really over now."

"All but the healing," he nodded and relaxed a bit more. "I'm beginning to think his Trials were a test to us all, to see if we could hold together when things got really rough between us."

"We handled that," Shi pointed out softly. "And we'll handle this. He probably won't be quite as jumpy, but I won't be surprised if we have to stop him from doing something stupid at least once during the process. I got some pointers from Marie on things that should help him cope."

"Good," Fenrik smiled softly and opened his arms as Jay rolled over in his sleep to burry his nose in the Panther's thick, sleek fur. "As much as the Council's not going to like it, socializing him all over again will probably be the fastest way to put things right again. The sooner we can bring him enough back to the Light that you don't have to shield so completely, the better."

"Gods, I'm with you there," Shi murmured, nuzzling the back of Fenrik's neck. "It's draining, to say nothing of the fact that nothing quite feels right like this."

"At least he wants things to be right again," he reached back with one arm to rub her leg. "He's got a downright gift for making things happen when he wants them to. We'll definitely need to get more civilian clothes though. I don't think we'll want to go out into public as Jedi while he's this Dark."

"I think the Council would agree," she murmured, enjoying the gentle touch. "Fenrik, what would you think of going civilian for a couple years?" She asked softly. "Not leaving, but sort of a sabbatical, until he's handling things better."

"You really think that'd be best?" He looked over his shoulder at her, resistant to the idea despite being willing to consider it.

"It may," she said. "I can't be sure, but it may be. We'll have to see how things go."

"Then let's leave it on the list of options," he nodded and rested his head on top of Jay's as the painkiller really started to work on the Kat and he sighed in contentment and relief.

"That's all I wanted to know for now," Shi murmured. "Thank you, Fenrik. I love you, you know that?"

"Yes, and I love you both." he smiled slightly and shifted to kiss her forehead. "It's always nice to hear it, though."

"Yeah," she smiled softly, leaning up to kiss his lips. "I just don't want you to think I'm ignoring you in the next few months. I think we'll both be a little Jay-centric."

"I expect so, especially while his hands look that bad." Fenrik smiled softly. "We're all pretty indulgent with the injured one." He added, remembering all the times Jay and Shi had focused on him when he'd come back beaten up from a mission and how he and Jay focused on her the handful of times she'd been hurt.

"He's probably going to be considering a divorce by the time we stop "babying" him and his hands are better," Shi chuckled softly. "Sleep well, Fenrik. I think we're both going to need the rest."

"Quite possibly," he agreed to both statements with an indulgent look at the injured tom resting peacefully in his arms. "It's good to have him back."

Jay nuzzled Fenrik's shoulder as he finally came around slowly and without pain early in the afternoon, after both his mates had taken turns getting something to eat. The next thing Fenrik became aware of was the arousal in his mate. While absolutely normal for them, Jay's injuries made it much less simple to indulge in than usual.

Fortunately, Shi seemed to have the same idea, and took Jay's wrists gently, beneath his injuries, pulling his hands up above his head as Fenrik kissed him. It was an action that found little resistance as long as one of them kept kissing and touching.

Soon Jay was fully awake, aroused and licked his whickers back as he looked up at the pair of them.

"We'll have to keep your hands up out of the way," Shi warned him, pressing them up against the headboard as she glanced over where they usually kept their assorted toys. "Think you're up for that?" She asked.

"I think so." He rumbled back, keenly interested in a little extra.

Fenrik shifted off the bed long enough to fetch the silk ties they had, helping Shi to carefully place them around Jay's arms where they'd be below the burns. Once they were done, the Panther kissed him tenderly, Shi kissing her way down his body towards his erect, barbed shaft.

"Ohhh, yeah." Jay shivered in excitement and spread his legs for her while he eagerly sucked on Fenrik's tongue.

Shi fondled his balls, licking his cock lightly before taking it into her mouth. Fenrik fondled Jay's ears lightly, including the still-damaged one, reaching out to his mind with a mental suggestion.

The shiver of excitement couldn't be missed and Jay let his mate's mouth go in favor of the Panther's hard cock with a relish.

Fenrik shifted to straddle his chest, moaning as his lover took his barbed shaft into his mouth and sucked it for all he was worth. Shi shifted to get into a better position, teasing the tight pucker of Jay's ass with one furless fingertip. That drew an even deeper moan from Fenrik as Jay rumbled around his cock.

The Panther fucked Jay's face slowly, stroking his ears, moaning words of encouragement and approval. Shi let Jay's cock slip from her mouth, suckling his balls and stroking him lightly with one hand as she fingered his ass with the other.

Both his lovers could feel Jay's intense frustration at being bound. He wanted to touch as much as be touched and had basically forgotten that his hands were a crispy mess.

Shi took a hand from his cock, licking his barbs as she shifted his tail to tease her sex as it twitched, giving him something to do with it.

"Mmm ... don't want you hurting yourself," Fenrik reminded him, leaning his head back with a groan as he pumped his cum into Jay's hungry mouth and shuddered as the tom swallowed every bit, then began to lick him clean.

He pulled out of Jay's mouth, shifting to kiss him again as Shi moved up, straddling Jay's hips and taking him into her sex with a soft moan of pleasure, milking him, hoping to get both of them off quickly. It wasn't difficult. They were both keyed up by then and in no mood to resist her skill.

Jay's roar as he shot his seed into her body arched his entire body against his lovers. Fenrik kissed his throat, nuzzling and licking at him as Shi moaned softly, milking his cock as she came with him, her juices matting the fur of his thighs before she leaned forward to kiss and suckle at his neck along with Fenrik.

"If we untie you for a shower, you promise to behave?" She asked him, just a little lazily.

"I think I can do that." He murmured and claimed a long, lingering kiss from Fenrik.

"Good," Shi smiled, reaching up to undo the ties around his arms. "We don't want you hurting your hands, after all. You're in for a couple solid weeks of letting us fetch."

"Longer, probably," he sighed and got up carefully. "That's just how long until Zaxie will let me out of her care. I scanned their records. The recovery time is closer to a year under her care, longer for me, since I don't have her skill level."

"How would that affect it?" Fenrik asked curiously. "I wouldn't think most people would have a trained Healer's skill level."

"No, but as there is no one but me to do the work after she leaves, it'll take me longer to heal than it would if she was doing all the work." Jay shook his head and headed for the bathroom. "It takes her a year to replace someone's hands. It'll take me longer to do the same work."

"Replace - how does somebody replace the hands entirely?" Fenrik asked as they followed him into the shower. "I thought we weren't talking about cybernetics here?"

"We aren't, we're talking about regrowing them, sort of." Jay sighed and used a bit of telekinesis to turn the shower on. "You've seen me convert one material to another, right?"

"Not for a long time," Fenrik admitted.

"That's what's involved in this," Shi explained. "Inert matter, converted into the real thing. Will it be a matter of replacements added onto what's left, or completely replacing them?" She asked, helping Jay into the shower and reaching under the cabinet to pull out a couple bags to tie around his arms.

"It should be complete regrowth, like nothing happened." He explained and waited patiently for her to secure the bags around his hands and wrists so they wouldn't get wet. "Until then, they'll probably look pretty weird, and be less than all that useful."

"Weird we can handle, and we can be your hands for you," Shi reassured him, cinching the second bag and helping him in. "They won't be as raw for all that time, will they?"

"No, if for no other reason than the coating that is being converted to flesh will cover them. I'm not sure how flexible it will be, and I am sure it won't have much by way of sensation or fine manipulative abilities." Jay shook his head and groaned deeply as the water began to soak through his fur. "I've got a good sense of TK too." He remained the pair that he still had some ability to care for himself, even without his hands.

"We know," Shi nodded. "As a matter of fact, we're only going to handle the scrubbing in this shower," she promised, glancing at Fenrik to make sure he'd let Jay do the rest. "We're going to pamper you, but not that much."

"You're still going to be sick of us when this is over," the Panther chuckled softly and squeezed out a gob of shampoo from the bottle Jay passed to him telekinetically even as he caught the hit of returned arousal that was expected in the shower.

"Of course he is," Shi chuckled, taking the bottle and starting on Jay's back. "After all, it wouldn't be us if he didn't feel like a vacation after he was hurt," she winked.

"You two are just as bad," Fenrik shot back with a chuckle.

"I think Shi enjoyed it though." Jay snickered and groaned as he pressed into the strong, familiar hands working his back.

"You're just lucky I was too good natured to throw something at the two of you," she chuckled, working too-tight muscles with her skilled hands, remembering the time she'd been laid up for a month after a rockslide had almost gotten her killed on a remote planet. The toms had delighted in making sure she didn't so much as move for the first week and hadn't lifted more than herself until Master Ursal had said she was fit for it.

She did have to admit all the care to her appearance had been pleasant, though. It was the first time she'd been let in on the feline social ritual that was grooming and it was utterly indulgent on a level she never thought of before.

She had often wondered since if it was part of why Fenrik and Jay both enjoyed showering together so much. Right now, the injured tom was about ready to melt between the two of them and was radiating a level of pleasure that went far beyond even good sex. The soft whimper Jay gave when Fenrik began the slow, meticulous work on his long hair was another reminder that this wasn't just physical contact, but an act of devotion and caring between the two felines that mattered more than any words.

While Shivasta wasn't as into it as they were, just watching the two of them was a pleasure. She carefully started to let up on her shields, keeping an eye on Jay's reaction, not sure how much better they'd be already. She felt his discomfort quickly, though it was more in the way he mentally shied a little closer to Fenrik than an actual recognition of pain. Still, she closed up quickly. It was better than he had been, but still not where she was going to relax them completely.

She realized a moment later as Fenrik shifted to face their mate and Jay slipped his arms over the Panther's shoulders that the pair were not really paying attention to her anymore. For a long time, these moments had made her jealous; then it had happened between her and Jay, and she'd realized that it wasn't intentional and they weren't excluding her.

It was simply a moment where the universe narrowed to just the other's eyes and the simple touch of their bodies as they embraced.

Especially right now, it was a moment that the Healer in her rejoiced in even more than when Jay trusted her with his lover's care.

She backed away mentally, letting the two of them be together, just working on helping Jay to clean up in the meantime. It was a simple task, and one she still enjoyed.

She felt when his mind started to click back in with the here and now and a moment later his tail was teasing her between her legs as he kissed Fenrik deeply.

"Mmm ... you two enjoying yourselves?" She asked with a chuckle, kissing the back of his soaked neck after rinsing him off, feeling him work his tail, through trial and surprisingly pleasant error, up into her body, earning a moan of pleasure for the effort.

"*Yes,*" Fenrik rumbled deeply as Jay rubbed against his body lightly. "*Some things definitely haven't changed.*"

"*Mmm ... hope nobody's surprised most of them are play related,*" Shi chuckled mentally, moaning as Jay's tail found a particularly sensitive spot inside her and Fenrik shifted to press up into their mate's ass from in front of him without breaking the kiss.

"*Not me,*" the Panther chuckled. "*He's as hot as ever.*"

"Mmm ... less 'pathy, more play," Shi rumbled, nuzzling the back of Jay's neck and massaging his pleasure points.

"Ah, I was wondering when you'd get out of bed." Zaxie chuckled as she greeted the triad. "Ready to go to work?"

"Yes, ma'am." Jay nodded and sat down at the small table set up in the medical facility of the Astran, the Clawson's ship.

Shivasta and Fenrik took seats of their own, mostly observing again. The procedure was anything but standard to the two Jedi.

"Now," Zaxie turned to face Jay, a serious look on her face. "Usually I put a patient under completely for this part, I do give a choice. The cleaning is easily the most painful thing we've ever developed, and it's a medical procedure. We have to remove all the damaged parts before we start the reconstruction."

"If I can ask a question?" Shivasta asked.

"Of course," Zaxie turned to look at her.

"How thoroughly removed, and how lengthy would the procedure be?" She asked.

"Healthy cells stay, but the dead and damaged have to go or they'll cause infections inside the prosthetic used for regeneration." Zaxie explained. "The most effective means we've found is a special acid bath. Hurts like hellfire, but it rarely takes more than half an hour."

"Understood," Shi nodded, leaving the rest up to Jay. "Just wasn't sure if you were talking a full amputation."

"No, not for this level. The majority of the bones are still intact." Zaxie shook her head, then looked back to Jay.

"I think I'll opt for unconscious." He murmured as it sunk in just what she was talking about. "And really good painkillers afterwards."

"Always." Zaxie shook her head. "Then take a bed and I'll set up the drip and bathing pans."

"Do you want us here for this?" Shi asked Jay softly. She could feel his conflict at it. The pull between what he desired and what he thought was best. The pull between what he desired and what he thought was best. A trickle of Dark inside him, slight selfishness, made up his mind.

"Yes." He murmured, looking at her with what was nearly an apology in his eyes for it.

"I've seen worse, Jay," she reassured him softly, rubbing his shoulder as Zaxie moved easily about her domain setting things up. "I just wanted to know what you wanted."

"I want you to stay." He said with a bit more certainty.

"We will," she nodded, squeezing his shoulder. "It'll be better than what they were like just after we made it to the fighter," she pointed out.

"She's got that right." Zaxie commented from the side of a bed where she'd set up an IV drip. "Now lay down and let's get you nice and out of it."

"All right," he nodded and got up, not even objecting to the help he got in settling on the bed or when Zaxie expertly inserted the IV into his upper arm.

"Try not to fight the drowsiness. The sooner you're under, the sooner it'll be over."

"We could put him under if he resists too much," Shi offered quietly, not sure if Zaxie would want to take the shortcut or not.

"I won't resist," Jay interrupted the two healers talking across him. "But you can anyway."

"Whatever works, as long as it won't interact with the medication." Zaxie motioned to the drip.

"It won't," Shi said, shaking her head and putting a hand on Jay's forehead.

"*Sleep,*" she told him mentally, the drug already having him most of the way there. With him not resisting either, it was completely out almost instantly and even deeper than his deepest natural sleep.

"Healer Shivasta," Zaxie looked up at her counterpart. "Am I correct in that you can detect if he is in pain or regaining consciousness sooner than my instruments?"

"Between the bond and my skills, yes," she nodded. "If it becomes absolutely necessary, I can keep him under if the chemical sedative runs out while it's still needed, but I'd really rather not. It's risky."

"I've have enough to keep someone under for a several-day surgery. This shouldn't take an hour." Zaxie said easily with a soft smile and sank oval bowls into the bed for his hands to sit in while they soaked. "If he starts to wake up or feel pain, just let me know and I can give him a slightly higher dose. I don't know how resistant he is yet to my painkillers or sedatives.

"Unless he tries to fight them, he shouldn't be any more resistant than normal," Shi offered. "But I'll let you know."

"Thank you," Zaxie carefully set Jay's hands into the bowls and turned to pick up a metal pitcher to slowly pour a clear liquid over Jay's left hand and wrist. The injured flesh and coating from the previous day sizzled and smoked while it began to dissolve.

The sharp spike of sensation, of pain, drew on enough instincts to pull Jay's mind towards awareness.

"More," Shi said quickly, reinforcing the drug enough to keep him out until Zaxie could set the pitcher aside and make the adjustment.

"The pain brought him up a bit?" She asked for clarification after adding a bit more flow in the drip.

"It did," Shi agreed. "Instinct without an override," she clarified, going based on what she'd felt from him, backing off through the Force. If Jay woke up like this, he'd be in more pain than when he'd reached across the barrier in the first place.

Not for the first time, Shi was devoutly grateful that the spell had dropped before he'd tried to pull his son across. The kit would be dead for sure if it had still been up.

"I'm not surprised. It's a common response to this level of pain." Zaxie nodded and went back to filling the bowls of acid. "There is just no easy way to remove all the dead and damaged material, but it's better than when we first figured out how to regenerate parts. At first, I had to cut it away with a surgical knife."

Shi shuddered at the thought, stroking Jay's forehead reassuringly as Fenrik tried not to pay too much attention to what was happening, or the smells it was creating and be there for his mate.

"It's why I asked about how much you were going to have to remove," Shi explained softly. "If your were just going to amputate, we have faster ways around that. This ... not much, really. We don't run into this type of damage often, for obvious reasons."

"I see it far too often," Zaxie sighed and finished pouring the acid, put the pitcher away and got a fairly thick pair of gloves on. "Not just spell damage, but acid, fire, frostbite ... anything that does significant structural damage to the body tissue is treated the same basic way."

"Usually we have ways around those," Shi offered. "Bacta treatments, mostly, but with the large amounts of missing tissue here it wouldn't have been enough. We might be able to help you adapt the technology, if you have something you could use to synthesize it."

"If it has a stable molecular structure, we can figure that out," she nodded seriously, keenly interested as she slid her gloved hands into the acid bath and began to help it work the dead bits away. "It would be very good to have another option between natural healing and this."

"Biological, but stable," Shi nodded. "I'm sure there wouldn't be any objections to giving you some samples, especially since you're leaving Republic space in not too long a span of time."

"I expect there will be some significant trading before we leave," Zaxie chuckled softly. "Even if much of our most advanced technology isn't useable by anyone else, there is a lot that we developed that we haven't found in your records."

"I don't doubt it," Shi smiled. "Though not everything we've developed is in the public records, I'm sure."

"If it was, it would be a first." Zaxie shook her head in amusement at the idea. "I would expect them to be at least reasonably representative of the technology available here."

"I'm sure they are," Shi nodded. "Much of the technology we have is based on a certain number of designs, none of which are really classified. Even lightsabers are common knowledge, even if how to make and use them isn't."

"Now that is a fascinating weapon." She grinned at the Jedi. "Elegant, deadly and a useful tool. I'm sure there are already a couple attempts to create them going on in this ship. Jay certainly took after his early training in his design. That staff format goes with his early records. He had a real affinity for the staff."

"That's about what he said," Shi smiled. "Don't be surprised if the vast majority of your crew can't duplicate them, though. It's very delicate work, and not entirely on the physical level."

"About the same way you probably couldn't duplicate how I heal." Zaxie nodded in easy acceptance. "It will be interesting to see the results, be they lightsabers or not."

"Agreed," Shi nodded. "Jay's 'sabers in particular will be difficult to duplicate, they're a few steps above the standard model."

"But they are a Clawson design," Zaxie chuckled and lifted the hand she was working on out of the acid bath and set the nearly skeletal extremity on a towel next to his body. "That'll make it easier for us to understand them. But I'm not at all surprised they're more advanced. It is what we do to things. He's made some impressive improvements on the Glovatrix too."

"That he has," Shi nodded, stepping back to take Fenrik's hand as she felt the warrior's gorge rise behind her. "Though I was referring to more than the simple design of them; he and I are what the Jedi refer to as Master Artisans. Not even most Jedi understand everything involved in making lightsabers at that level. I'm not even entirely sure the two of us do," she chuckled.

"Ah," Zaxie nodded and gave Fenrik a glance. "I can give you something to ease the physical reaction." She offered gently.

"I'll be fine," the Panther said, shaking his head and trying not to look at the hand.

"Warriors," Shi sighed, rolling her eyes a bit and keeping an eye on Fenrik's response so she could relax him before he decorated the floor with whatever was left of dinner from the night before if she had to.

"Some things never change." Zaxie chuckled softly and went to work on Jay's other hand. "Even across galaxies."

"I can handle it," Fenrik said stubbornly.

"Yes, Fenrik, we know," Shi chuckled, patting his shoulder, earning one of the dirtiest looks from her mate she'd ever gotten. "I've seen this sort of thing more often," she said more seriously. "One of the nice things about lightsabers, they don't usually leave victims like that. But he'll be better soon. About how long into the treatment should his hands stop hurting so much?" She asked Zaxie.

"Actual physical pain should end within a day, once he's used to the coating and has begun to absorb it. How long he feels pain will depend on how long he thinks it'll hurt." She explained easily as she worked with an unnerving familiarity with what she was doing. "The disadvantage of lightsabers is they leave nothing to work with. If this had been an amputation, healing would take four or five times longer, and probably wouldn't be done. At that point, cybernetic replacement would be more effective."

"We'd been thinking it would be necessary for what damage was done," Shi admitted. "It's more common than I'd like, around here."

"The designs available here are atrocious." Zaxie nodded in agreement. "Making them look real while still being effective is something we have a lot of experience with."

"There is effort being made in creating realistic ones, but the simple fact is that the easiest way to manufacture them is to fit an adaptor to a droid limb," Shi explained with a shudder. "More than that, while I don't know if it would apply to Jay, fitting a Sensitive with a cybernetic limb is almost like tightening a noose around their connection to the Force. I've lost more than one patient who received a new arm because they couldn't handle the psychological strain," she admitted with a sigh. "At least Jay would be better suited for one than most others."

"Quite true." Zaxie considered that while she worked on removing the damaged flesh from Jay's hand. "Have you done any experiments with bio-cybernetics? Machines made of biological material."

"Not that I'm aware of," Shi said, shaking her head. "Not on a large scale, at least. Some species use the occasion piece of bio-tech of that sort, but nothing significant."

"It may be worth the effort to translate their efforts, or ours, to your use. You may loose fewer patients." Zaxie suggested. "It would be something to set Jay on if he needs a distraction."

"I imagine he'll have enough over the next few years, but I'll keep it in mind," Shi nodded. "Not sure how well the idea will take, but it would certainly be better than what we've got now."

"Even if it never sees much use outside of the sensitive communities, it would likely save lives." Zaxie said softly. "I do understand the psychological cost of loosing something central to your self-identity. It's rarely something that is taken well, no matter what is lost."

"Physical or otherwise," Shivasta nodded. "It was why I was hoping your methods might be ones we could adapt."

"What we do, like this, probably not, but the technology used by the general population is much more translatable. The majority of our kind do not have the Clawson Gift, you are just only seeing family on this mission. Rather like Jedi here, I believe. Rare but powerful."

"Accurate enough," she nodded. "I've said it before, but I'm sure we'll be willing to take any help we can. How is the procedure progressing?" She asked.

"Quite well," Zaxie smiled. "Except for his claws and the tips of his fingers, the bone is largely intact. It will give us a very good foundation to work from. It is as bad as I expected, but not worse. The bones should be covered soon."

"No worse than you expected is always a good thing," Shi nodded understandingly. "Is there any specialized care we'll have to give him?"

"Nothing beyond keeping him healthy as he works. It will be very draining on him. That will leave him vulnerable to disease and infection, as well as a general loss in health that will adversely affect the process. The most critical things to keep an eye on are blood infections and any kind of abnormality in the new growth. If it is beyond your ability to correct, send a message as quickly as you can. Travel time is extensive and such things can kill or maim quickly."

"Abnormalities such as?" Shi asked, not sure if there was something beyond the norm to watch for.

"The primary ones I see are the wrong kind of flesh in a given location -- tendon where muscle should be, bones growing too long and such -- and cancerous growths where the rapid regrowth goes wrong and cells turn damaging. They are not common, but since Jay is not a trained Medic, the risk of it is much higher for him."

"I'll keep a close eye on that," Shi nodded. "If necessary, will standard surgery be capable of correcting such problems?"

"In general, yes," Zaxie nodded easily. "But unless I am here to replace the outer coating and begin the process again, it will have to wait until he is finished absorbing and regrowing the hand. This is not advisable with the cancer, as it could spread into his body before his hands are ready. If chemical or other methods do not work, take the metal off, cut it out and treat him as best you can until I get here." She added, something in the calm healer outside showing just how distressing the cancerous development was to her.

"You don't have survivors often when that happens, do you?" Shi asked softly.

"Not in the long run," Zaxie admitted, never pausing in her work. "Five years after discovery is considered quite a success. As much as it hurts to loose an elderly patient, to loose someone Jay's effective age ...." She shook her head slightly, remembering more than one case. "Actual years aside, he's still very much in his prime. At his current rate of aging, he could see two hundred before time finally catches up with him."

"Between the ages I've heard of from his family, and the fact that he's Jedi, I wouldn't be surprised," Shi nodded. "Believe me, I don't want to see it happen either. Fortunately, that I am trained to handle. We have treatments that have practically eliminated cancer as a cause of death, most of which should work if necessary."

"Jedi techniques, or something we might be able to use?" Zaxie looked at her hopefully.

"Both, but primarily non-Force techniques," Shi said easily. "Most traditional healing methods can have undesired effects on cancer cells; you don't really want to encourage life in them."

"That is something I would definitely like to get a look at." Zaxie smiled at the other healer. "New ways to fight disease are too hard to come by."

"Once you're done working with Jay, I can bring up the data files for you," Shi offered with a smile of her own.

"They're on board the Kraken?" Zaxie raised a surprised eyebrow.

"Yes," Shi nodded. "I have clearance to transmit them anywhere. At this point, they're public knowledge; anybody with a medical license can access them."

"If you can, include the molecular structure and descriptions of any substances used. Their names don't mean much back home." Zaxie added and lifted Jay's second hand, also little more than skeletal remains, from the acid bath and onto a specially treated towel to dry.

"As much as I can, I will," Shi nodded. "Much of what we have are variants on focused radiation therapy, that will probably be easier for you to adapt."

"It is a method we know, so I would expect so." Zaxie nodded and gently dried what was left of Jay's hand.

"That definitely doesn't look healthy," Shi murmured. "There won't be any difficulties connecting the tissue that's left to the remainder?" She asked.

"Not at all," Zaxie assured her as the door slid open. "The new flesh grows into place from what he has into the form Sharie will create of the carnmello." She nodded towards the older cinnamon furred shekat with thin black stripes who entered.

"Carnmello?" Shi asked, looking between the healer and artisan.

"The metal formula we used for regeneration." Sharie explained and walked to the bed to examine what she had to start with. "You saw Zaxie put some flakes on his hands as a stopgap measure yesterday. Today, we are going to do it the right way."

"Understood," Shi nodded. "Do you need the pictures again?" She asked.

"I have all the references I need," Sharie smiled warmly at her and sat down next to Jay's hand before reaching for a transparent box. "I'll have him looking better soon." She promised as she set Jay's hand inside the box and turned it on, holding the injured limb in suspension.

"Thank you," Fenrik said, still paying as little attention as possible to the macabre display of his mate's exposed bones and tendons. Instead he kept as much attention as he could on Jay's relaxed, sleeping face.

"If you don't mind, Master Fenrik, would you tell me about him and his life here?" Sharie expertly began to distract the Panther from what she was doing as small metal flakes were poured and molded into the rough shape of a hand.

"Where do you want me to start?" The Panther asked, grateful for the distraction.

"How long have you been together?" She suggested easily.

"About forty years now," Fenrik chuckled, closing his eyes and settling in to accept the distraction and give the information he'd been asked for, starting into some of the triad's shared stories.

The sleek black flying wing of the Clawson ship swooped in with the natural affinity of a design meant to fly in an atmosphere with a skilled pilot strong in the Force at her helm. Despite the tension and injuries of the past few days, they were ready to land and face the Jedi Council again.

Doruth, Tes, and Essani, the Kushiban's fur mottled gold and grey, were waiting for them as the sizeable ship came in for a flashy landing. Word had arrived not an hour before that the Kraken was back, and once it was determined that it wasn't going to attack they were all ready to see Jay back again.

They had also heard about the injuries he suffered in the course of rescuing his kits. As miraculous as the work the Clawsons had done sounded, they were all a little apprehensive about the shape the prodigal Jedi would be in ... physical and otherwise. Shi had told them he was redeemable and willing to be redeemed, but there were still lingering doubts about it.

All three Jedi on the landing pad could feel the mixed emotions from those on board. Uneasiness, fear, excitement, anticipation, readiness for trouble, grief and more.

At least Shi and Fenrik seemed to be mostly centered, as much as could be expected given that their mate was in a state of panic and trying desperately to escape when the small party exited the ramp and he saw who was there. Marie, in the full military uniform of blue and red, was ahead of them, glancing back several times with an expression of concern and offer of help with the struggling tom.

"*Master Essani, you'll have to shield yourself heavily for now,*" Shivasta warned the Kushiban mentally. "*He's reacting with pain when he's too close to either of us.*"

"*Understood,*" the Kushiban said briefly before she clamped down heavily on her mental defenses, blocking herself off from Jay. Doruth looked like he wanted to move forward and help, but restrained himself, though both his companions heard the sharp intake of breath as he saw Jay's hands, now replaced with two Force-heavy sculptures, still very clearly metallic.

"Jay, it's Doruth and Essani, you know you can trust them," Shi said softly, helping to coax him forward.

As the tom flicked his eyes nervously from one to the other, and then to Tes, his reaction was a little too easy to read. He was terrified of Doruth and Tes, and his former Master invoked mostly guilt.

"Jay, you're home now, you're safe," Doruth told him, realizing easily what the problem with them was. "You've come back, and the hunt's over."

"I can calm him for a while." Marie offered when Jay continued to struggle, almost breaking free of Fenrik's strong grip.

"Please do," Fenrik grunted as Jay managed to plant an elbow in his gut. Those parts of his arms still worked.

"Jay." Marie turned to face him and drew his attention for a brief moment. "To heel." She ordered with all the authority of her rank in the family and no small amount of power. It was much less elegant than a Jedi suggestion, much more brute-force, but it also worked very effectively.

Still terrified, but now completely subdued, Jay stopped struggling and came to stand at her side and slightly behind her.

"My apologies for a short greeting, but it would be best to settle him in his quarters before he snaps out of that." Marie bowed politely to Master Essani. "It won't last very long with his current state."

"Agreed," Doruth said for the Kushiban. "We'll meet in the Council chambers afterwards; he may be more relaxed with a smaller group."

"He'll also be more relaxed when it sinks in that he has been 'caught' and escaping from you isn't needed." Marie nodded and gently motioned Jay along with Master Essani as the lion-tailed rabbit lead them to the triad's long-unused quarters. "You should be prepared for random moments like that for a while. He'll likely fluctuate from grateful to be home to completely panicked and trying to escape to everything in-between. He's not stable at all and likely won't be for some time."

"I gathered as much," she said, Fenrik helping to translate as they followed as he picked up why Doruth had spoken for her. "Marie, would you be willing to allow Master Essani to speak telepathically?" He asked, figuring it would be a good idea to just shortcut what could be potentially awkward discussions. "Her native language doesn't translate very easily at all for anybody but Jay and a handful of others."

The tension that rippled across the Clawson leader's body was a visible indication of what they all felt was a gravely serious request on the part of the Jedi. An act of great trust after a lesson that was still a bit too fresh for her.

What surprised them all was the way she glanced at Jay, walking next to her, and took his nod as enough to base that judgment on.

"All right." Marie agreed warily, choosing an act of trust in the name of diplomacy.

"*Thank you, Marie,*" Essani said mentally, taking care to only go far enough to communicate. "*For what it is worth, I read about your encounter with the species in your galaxy. You have my word that nobody in the Temple would attempt such a thing.*"

"I appreciate that," she nodded, clearly unsettled by the telepathy but holding herself together despite it. "Perhaps we can discuss trading information until Jay calms down and is ready to face the Jedi Council."

"*It would be an excellent use of our time,*" Essani agreed as they reached the room, Fenrik, Shi, and Jay moving into it. "*I'll admit, this was not an outcome I had particularly expected. Once we are at the council chambers, Marie, I will have a translator again,*" she offered.

"Thank you," she nodded, her voice soft. "Would it be acceptable for five of us to be there when my brother faces the Council?"

"*Observing, or on his behalf?*" Essani asked, her fur slowly returning towards its neutral white.

"Observing, Master Essani." She answered easily and calmly. "I believe he will be a little more at ease with kin guarding his back and there to hear what is happening."

"*Not a problem, Marie,*" Essani nodded slightly, opening the lift. "*I will also request that Master Doruth and Tes are not present for the time being. Perhaps after our judgment has been passed, he will feel at ease.*"

"Quite possibly," Marie nodded. "It may just take some time. Rational thought would not be something he manages for a while, I expect. He's had an extremely confusing year."

"*He's not the only one,*" Essani said with a mental sigh as the lift reached its final destination. "*The chamber isn't far, we can find a more pleasant subject for discussion there.*"

Jay let out a small sound as the door closed behind the triad and leaned back against Fenrik, giving the Panther no real warning it was coming.

He was home.

It made a brief moment of clarity and focus on the future easy, his path simple and clear as his mate wrapped his arms around him.

"I'll go make some somuric," Shi said softly, moving off as Fenrik rubbed Jay's back, the kat's metallic hands wrapped around him as well as they could be.

"You're home, Jay," Fenrik murmured softly as Jay buried his face in the Panther's robes. "Everything's going to be okay."

"Home ...." he murmured, a low sob escaping his throat as he shivered and began to surrender to his mate's embraced. "Sorry I hit you."

"S'okay," Fenrik chuckled. "I've been hit harder. Not often," he admitted, "but harder. Think you're going to freak out like that again when we go to see the Council?"

"I don't know," he murmured. "I ... I'm not even sure what happened there. I just ... panicked."

"Was it Dor, or Essani?" Fenrik asked softly as Shivasta came back with the mild somuric tea and helped guide Jay to the large couch to sit between them. It wasn't strong enough to put Jay to sleep, but enough to relax him.

"I don't know," he signed and accepted the tea, sipping the steaming liquid with a welcome murmur. "I just ... panicked."

"Leave him be for a bit, Fenrik," Shi told the Panther softly. "Let him calm down, we'll figure out the rest from there. His control's still shot."

"It will be at least as long as my instincts can't agree with which way I'm going, whether I should run to or from Jedi." Jay murmured as he relaxed back against the couch.

"Well, you know how we're going to lean," Fenrik pointed out, he and Shi sitting on opposite sides, leaning against Jay supportively. "You're not going to be captured or anything, Jay, you've already come home."

"Now to just convince the part of me that doesn't want to be here of that." He shuddered as the feeling of what he'd been like with the Panthress rose in him for a moment. "It's not as clear-cut as you make it sound."

"That isn't you, Jay. Not really," Shi said firmly, kissing his cheek. "That side of you, that part of you, can't control you."

"Maybe not, but it can to a damn good job of messing with me." He muttered in irritation and took a deep drink of the tea. "It's been a long time since I had to struggle like this."

"You never had somebody like Mina encouraging the other side. It'll get better in time," Shi told him reassuringly. "It won't happen immediately, but you'll get past it. I know you will."

"I know," he murmured, meaning the words as he leaned to rest his head against her shoulder. "She was beyond sick."

"She was drunk on the power she'd been given," Shi murmured softly. "It was eating her up on the inside, literally. The kits are lucky they survived."

"The one who wasn't a sensitive didn't." He signed and set the cup down, its contents gone. He started to say something, but instead pressed his face against her a little harder as the tears and grief came again.

The two of them wrapped their arms around him, holding him gently, letting him grieve between them. They had a feeling that many, many nights to come would be spent like this.

"*They are ready.*" Master Essani informed the Council, which had been content to engage in the fairly easy negotiations of information and technology trades with the Clawsons. While all five present were in full uniform with significant decorations of rank and military honors, there was a relaxed ease about them that every Jedi picked up on. They didn't take all the properness and display too seriously. They were representing their people and took that seriously, but not the same way many high-ranking military delegations took it overboard.

Marie nodded and moved to stand behind the Council ring of chairs with Felisha and Jennie, while the two Clawsons by the lift door, officially guards, stood a bit straighter.

It was only a few moments before the door opened to admit Jay, wearing his Jedi robes for the first time in six months. It was hard to miss the significance he placed on wearing them, the statement he was making about his choices when sane and stable. His mates flanked him, both centered and calm while being ready to catch their mate if he panicked again.

For now, they simply stood at his side as the tom stepped into the center of the room, facing his former Master, and slowly knelt before them, his carved metal hands only partially concealed by his sleeves as he placed them on the floor in bowing forward in submission.

"*Jedi Clawson, do you understand why you are before this Council?*" Essani asked him, a Padawan translating to clear Basic for the Clawsons in attendance.

His shields, shaky from all that had happened, gave the Jedi in attendance a solid look at the answers that came to mind before he became confused by it all.

"Not truly, Master." He admitted, trying to focus on what was going on with difficulty.

"You are here to answer for what you did during the past six months," Master Miya explained, the Caracal watching her old friend's reactions carefully. "And to inform us if there was more than the murder on Naboo, the theft of the Kraken and death of its crew, and the destruction of the Jedi ships by said ship."

"A great deal more, Masters." He admitted almost numbly. "I did not take part in Kraken's destruction of the Jedi ships, however. He did that against my orders, and paid for his mutiny with his life."

"Let us begin there, then," Master Noloth said. "What did you order the ship to do before it destroyed the Jedi vessels? And were their witnesses with you?"

"Shi was there," he answered quietly. "I ordered the captain of the vessel holding Mina's ship to release it once we had a tractor lock on it. Then Kraken fired on it."

"I witnessed it, Master Noloth," Shi said softly. "It happened as Knight Clawson said; as soon as we were able to react to what was happening, he destroyed the artificial sentience of the Kraken before it could continue. Too late for the two ships that were first attacked, I'm afraid, but the destructive capacity of a Sith battle cruiser against Jedi transports and fighters... we were lucky it didn't split its firepower and destroy more ships."

"I can't say I'm surprised," the Frilled Lizard observed. "Continuing back, your theft of the Kraken resulted in the deaths of over a hundred crew members. How do you justify this?"

Jay stared up at him, a dumbfounded, nearly incredulous look on his face. "Justify? There is no justification. I simply didn't care about them."

"And the theft of the Kraken?" The Frilled Lizard continued.

"In what passed for logic at the time, it was a safe place to protect my kits until I could modify it enough to go home. It is one of the few ships capable of it here." Jay replied, mentally shaking his head at what he had, and hadn't, been thinking.

He could feel the telepathic conferral between the Masters, but neither he nor anybody outside the Council was privy to exactly what they were considering.

"*Prior to that, where were you?*" Master Essani asked after a few moments. "*There is a several-month stretch where we haven't been able to place your actions, between Toydaria and the Kraken.*"

"Nar Shaddaa." He shuddered, the chaos of reactions to that time echoing in his mind. He took a moment to focus on recounting his action there. "I committed a second murder, more violent than the first, assisted in the destruction and enslavement of a slaver there and killed everything that moved for three days in the slums. A pain-slut slave was also purchased there to indulge in."

"And the whereabouts of this slave?" Master Zraii asked, the Verpine's Basic interspersed with clicks.

"With Janos, and the others we had." He said simply. "Free, for what little it means to them."

"Several of the slaves had been such for generations, Councilors," Shivasta explained. "I spoke with one of them; she was very clear about the fact that her prospects if freed were slim. 'A brothel or the streets,' I believe she said. The majority of the former slaves are being relocated and returned to their homes at the first opportunity."

"How were these slaves acquired, Knight Clawson?" Master Dyba asked, the Togruta's red-skinned face not betraying any emotion. "You are aware that slavery is illegal within Republic space."

"I am aware it is illegal in Republic space, Master Dyba. Tamil was the only one purchased. That was on Nar Shaddaa, in Hutt space where it is legal. The rest were acquired in various fights with T'surr slavers, also in Hutt space."

"And were freed when they were brought to Republic space," the Togruta nodded, considering it. "You mentioned a killing spree and murder on Nar Shaddaa as well; what were the circumstances surrounding these?"

"The murder was an old enemy of Janos." Jay spoke quietly, not the least bit happy about recounting all this. "I ran across him when I was out with Mina looking for a pain-slut pleasure slave. I goaded and mind-controlled him into walking into a trap in the slums. We spent the rest of the day torturing him until we grew board of it and slit his throat.

"The killing spree started as a hunt for vrblther with Janos. When I scented a Dark Side Rodian I split off after him and ripped him to shreds. There was a Cheetah herm not far away. I rescued hir intending to torture hir to death. I couldn't in the end, so I euthanized hir instead. Returning hir to hir hovel, the hopelessness of the place overwhelmed me ... turned on something ... all I could think of was obliterating that feeling. I didn't learn until I dragged myself back to Janos' bed that I'd been at it three days with thousands of dead."

He could tell, easily, that there wasn't a member of the Council who wasn't seriously disturbed by what he'd said.

He couldn't help but be a little disturbed himself when he picked up that a couple of them were running the numbers and realizing that his body count still wasn't the most horrifying they'd heard of.

"*The first one, who you tortured. Would you have done this on your own?*" Master Essani asked him.

He had to think about that for a while, trying to separate his actions from what Mina had encouraged.

"Not to that extent, possibly not at all." He finally decided. "He would have still died."

"Do you have any justification for the crimes you have committed?" Master Miya asked him. "For a killing spree that began on Naboo and didn't end until you were retrieved?"

"No." Jay looked at her evenly. As sick as he felt at it, as much as part of him wanted to keep killing until the entire universe was purged of intelligent life, as deeply afraid of what they could do to him, he would not give the only justification he could have. He wouldn't blame the Demon; he wouldn't blame the Dark, or Mina. He'd been insane, but it was no justification for anything. It was only what he'd sunk to in those months. Something that was still very much a part of him, as it always had been.

"Do you have a reason for your actions, something you were trying to accomplish?" Master Noloth asked him.

"Does the logic of the crazy count?" He looked at the lizard seriously despite the somewhat flippant words. He could feel his grip on reality slipping away, the surreal edge things took on as he continued to talk. He hated it, but he couldn't fight it off any longer. It was just the outward manifestation of his inner confusion. "Protect my mates, protect my kits, make the pain stop." He murmured more quietly, deep into that moment that had begun the slaughter. "Nothing real, except to me, because I believed their lies."

"It does count," Master Noloth pointed out. "Because it is what you believed at the time."

"*Are you still Jedi, Jay?*" Master Essani asked him directly. "*Do you believe you can still be a part of the Order?*"

"If I ever truly was, then yes." He closed his eyes briefly against the tears, his head bowed. That was what had really gotten him all those months ago. The self-doubt. He never had known, deep down, whether he was truly a part of the Jedi, or one only in name.

Being told that the Jedi were equally doubtful, and planning to get rid of him, had just helped those doubts spiral out of control.

"What do you believe should be done about your actions?" Master Zraii asked him.

That caught him in the half-way land between Republic law, Jedi law and what he'd been raised to believe, and it showed on his face.

It also showed that he was just aware enough of what was going on to realize this was an important question and did his best to give it the thought it deserved.

Back home; the death penalty.

The Republic; much the same.

The Jedi didn't do the death penalty; at least not once you were at the Temple and on trial.

He was insane. He was Dark. He was very dangerous. He couldn't be held against his will. He wanted to live.

He was also kneeling here in front of them, submitting to their will.

It all came down to why he'd returned. Why he'd taken those tiny steps that put him in a position to be brought here when he couldn't do it himself.

"Help me," he pleaded softly, in agony inside to admit it. A direct answer to the question or not, it was the real answer. "There is no way to change what I've done, but I am young and I can try to heal the wounds with the years I have left."

"What happened to your hands?" Master Dyba asked softly, changing the subject abruptly while the Council practically buzzed on the telepathic level.

"I put them through a magic effect barrier trying to reach my son, Master." He murmured, a bit embarrassed by the entire event. "This is the beginning of new hands."

"*The Council has decided what is to be done,*" Essani said after a few moments. Shi and Fenrik shifted to kneel alongside Jay, knowing that while they weren't on judgment, they were still effectively petitioning the Council.

"What you have done is reprehensible, by any standards," Master Dyba started. "However, you recognize this, and we believe your desire to make amends now is sincere."

"Further, it is clear from your prior service that while you are prone to violent behavior, the influence of those surrounding you tempers your actions greatly," Noloth continued. "This only proves that influence. To remove you from the Order would be to ignore this fact, and to risk a repeat of these incidents and worse."

"The overwhelming influence of the Dark Side is as much insanity as anything recognized by Republic science," Master Winda said, the brown-furred Rabbit speaking up verbally for the first time since he had arrived.

"It is the opinion of this Council that you, the Order, the Republic, and the Force, will be best served by helping you to overcome this influence," Master Jolani concluded.

"*This Council decrees that you are to be remanded to the psychological and physical care of Master Healer Shivasta and High Healer Dyba,*" Essani explained, her fur a neutral white throughout. "*Until they are satisfied that you are once again well, your rank as a Jedi Knight is suspended, along with your duties. Once you are with the Light Side again, once you have satisfied yourself that you can be a Jedi again, your rank and responsibilities will be restored to you.*"

"Thank you, Masters." Jay managed to keep his voice nearly level. He'd barely heard half of what they'd said; it was far too hard to focus now. Mostly he caught that they would help him heal the burning pain inside his head and soul. The rest he'd learn later from his mates and from the recording.

"Rest for a while, Jay," Master Miya told him softly. "We'll sort out the rest later; we've all been through enough in the last six months to wait a few days to clear things up."

"Yes, Master." Jay nodded fractionally and stood with a modicum of his natural grace. His mates stood with him and the triad bowed together before turning to leave. Shi's hand was on Jay's shoulder, providing more support than it looked as the lift closed behind them.

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 6 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

158 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

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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