A Heritage of Power 3: Jay's Story 9.99:
Epilogue 1: Janos and the Santross

by Fur and Fantasy
full contents and notes located at the bottom of the file

"Y'know, if somebody'd told me I'd be doing this a year ago, I'd have fed them their own teeth," Janos mused as he rested in bed with Y'alla, Misha and Vondra, the white-furred Wolf snuggled closest as their trip around the Core drew to a close. A few more hours, and they'd be in the Corellia sector, ready to end these last few crazy months.

"All of our lives have been turned upside down this year." Vondra murmured, her head on his chest as she relaxed.

"For the better, I think." Misha grinned and nuzzled Vondra's neck.

"For some of us," Janos agreed. "Jay... he kinda got the short end of the stick. But he's still back with his real mates now." He rubbed Vondra's back with one hand, Y'alla's with the other. "Mmm ... almost all over at least. Don't think anybody would have thought I'd be becoming respectable," he chuckled. "Even as much as I have."

"I think you're quite respectable." Vondra nuzzled him. "Even if you are pretty rough around the edges."

"That's a different sort of respectable," he chuckled. "Usually, at least. Here's hoping things go well when we get back to Corellia."

"You don't mind the others staying with me, for now at least?" He asked Vondra with a soft whisper.

"No, I don't." She smiled indulgently up at him. "They don't exactly have anywhere else to go."

"All right," he chuckled, kissing her. "Just not sure if the whole non-monogamous thing went both ways."

"Well, I'd be upset if you started ignoring me in favor of another, but otherwise I don't mind." Vondra nuzzled him.

"That's never going to happen," he chuckled, returning the nuzzle and kissing her. "I wouldn't be here with you now if it was going to."

"Now we should get out of bed and make ourselves presentable, lest Aunt Dymesta get the wrong idea." Vondra nuzzled him affectionately.

"Oh, all right," Janos chuckled, doing a poor job of faking a level of disgruntled he really didn't feel. He did want to make a good impression, after all.

It wasn't every day you met the current matriarch of a pack like the Santross.

Vondra was dressed in her best dress, the soft lavender one that Janos practically drooled over every time she wore it. It was the only thing she had on board that she considered suitable to see her aunt and head of the family-pack in.

It also exemplified her new self-confidence and status as a grown woman despite her youth.

Janos, for his part, was dressed in his Azine best. It wasn't a suit - mercifully. It was, however, the closest he came and still felt comfortable in, expertly tailored to fit his powerful body. For the first time in a long time, he didn't even stow anything in the various locations meant to conceal a blaster or his lightsaber.

"So, ready to come home?" He asked Vondra as they waited at the hatch to the Sharufa, Y'alla and Misha all currently waiting on the ship yet.

"Yes," she smiled and nuzzled him with an affectionate lick before opening the hatch. There to greet them was a perfectly prim and proper male Lynx in traditional butler robes of contrasting black and white. Beyond him lay the great Santross estate and the manor houses of its most powerful members.

"Welcome home, Lady Vondra." He bowed deeply to her in a formal greeting, though the warmth in his voice was honest. "The Lady has arranged for your comfort while you stay. If you and the gentleman would follow me, please."

"Of course, Gennin." She smiled warmly at her lifelong guardian and friend. "It is good to see you made it back."

"The Lady is a very generous and loyal employer." He agreed.

Janos smiled, keeping quiet but polite as he saw Vondra really getting back into her element. He couldn't miss the way she relaxed at the first breath of air here, or the sight of servants she'd known all her life.

He was now all the more glad for the time at the Azine to get used to this. Even if he was to be her no-blood lover, he'd have to get used to these people and their ways, least they decide against him for real.

He kept one ear on the conversation between butler and Lady and the other on the surroundings. The pair was mostly talking shop; who was dead, who was back, who was MIA, who was now in what position in the family and companies.

It was a very effective look at their rank, holdings and structure on the walk to the main mansion. One they both needed, given how much things had likely changed in the past months since the T'surr attack on her kin.

One thing he couldn't help but be surprised at was how short the MIA list was. Only five members of the family were assumed to still be in slavery. That was out of almost thirty that had been captured alive.

It brought a whole new level of meaning to 'money talks'. The family fortune had bought hunters and lawyers all across Hutt space and paid the price for their kin and tickets home. In a way, it was a crisis they were well prepared to deal with. It had been treated much like they did any kidnapping and random. They paid, and then hired bounty hunters to deal with the people involved. The few million spent buying the family back wasn't even the most expensive event in living memory.

A part of him wondered why they hadn't found Vondra by the time he did. He knew, he really did, that it wasn't a sign that they didn't care about her.

It was just so hard to keep that part of his mind insisting that that was the case under wraps. Paranoia was a harsh mistress.

It was also one that had kept him alive far too often to escape from, even when he did realize that when he got her was the first time she'd been out of T'surr hands since the attack.

He followed the two of them into the manor house, trying not to seem too out-of-place. This place made the Azine look like a two-credit flophouse, sculptures and paintings were everywhere and there wasn't a single thing he saw that wasn't made of the rarest, highest quality material possible.

The credits it had cost to buy back assorted family members clearly hadn't put too big a dent in the Santross family fortunes.

The real dent had been in their numbers, with all those who had died or been so broken they probably were dead now.

"Your room is ready, as always, Lady Vondra." The butler's words drew Janos' attention back to what was being said as a door opened and Vondra walked inside.

Despite his temptation to do otherwise, he didn't move to follow Vondra into her room. Given that losing her virginity to the slavers who'd caught her supposedly made her "damaged goods," he couldn't imagine that the Santross would take kindly to them spending their evenings together. Certainly not officially, likely not at all.

"This way, Sir." Gennin motioned him to follow after the door closed on Vondra's room.

"Thank you," Janos nodded, following, memorizing the layout of the house and the shortest route between his room and Vondra's. It was not a short distance.

Nothing was going to happen to her, not here.

But if something did, he was going to be there before it was finished happening.

He was shown to a set of rooms in what he guessed was the guest wing of the house, while Vondra's was with other family members from the smell of the paths. His area was much less traveled.

He could not, however, fault their treatment of him. These were definitely not the servant's quarters, where someone of his heritage would normally be. It was a gorgeous suite of rooms; entry room, a living room, bedroom and bathroom done in the same fineness and style that was on display throughout the entire mansion.

"If you require anything, do not hesitate to call, Sir." Gennin bowed to him.

"Thank you," Janos said, returning the bow, though not as deeply. As the door closed, he started to look around the room. If Jay had seen him he might have laughed, if he hadn't been busy doing the same thing. Janos wanted to know what his options were if he had to leave quickly.

He'd felt safer on Nar Shaddaa than he did on Corellia. Not many people could say that.

Two hours of investigation had provided the exits and entrances, two of which were less than obvious, a handful of spy devices and the fact that he had been given a very nice place. He was getting ready to shower when he heard a polite knock on the door.

"Yes?" He asked as he opened the door to two very attractive Poodle bitches, both a soft steel grey with large black eyes.

"We are here to assist with your bath and grooming, Sir." One smiled at him with a professional warmth.

"Ah ... thank you," he said, stepping back to let them in, accepting their presence politely for all that the idea of being helped with a bath was a concept he really hadn't been used to since he was about five. At least not when it wasn't really a sex game, and that was not what these two had in mind.

They followed him into the bathroom, and started to help him undress. He'd spotted the more formal clothes in the other room, and figured he'd be changing, so he just made sure he took note of where they put his old things.

To his credit, he'd had the sense not to try and hide a blaster or lightsaber in them tonight. That could have been very awkward to explain, especially the lightsaber. He was sure these two, like everyone else here, would report everything he did to the matriarch and he'd be answering for it if she didn't approve, and probably even if she did.

Formal dinners could be more like interrogations than meals. He just really hoped they wouldn't ask too much about what he'd been up to with Vondra during the months they'd been together since he'd saved her. He suspected they didn't expect it to be anything they would approve of, despite her condition on arrival. Still, it'd be nice not to have to go into any real detail.

He allowed himself to be guided into the large, deep tub, which was more like a deep hot tub than bathtub in size and stood still for the pair, now also naked, as they began to work his fur with shampoo in the most thorough cleaning he could remember.

He was just grateful that he didn't need it too badly. The Sharufa's facilities were pretty good, and he and Vondra had both been pretty thorough before showing up.

He made a mental note to try and avoid thinking about her too much as they started cleaning his nether regions, his body beginning to tingle in the expected ways, the Wolf putting all his will into not responding to it. He half suspected that wouldn't even blink if he got hard, but he was just as sure they wouldn't help him out with it. It was a situation to avoid if he could.

Gratefully, they finished his sheath, balls and ass quickly despite being quite thorough.

"If you would move into the shallow end, Sir." The one who'd spoken before asked him politely.

He did so, water dripping from his fur, a part of him wondering just what the Santross did with all the servants to take care of everything. A part of him knew very well that they had a number of large businesses to run, but the practical part of him pointed out that if they didn't even bother to really bathe themselves....

Still, the skilled hands were nice, and he could see how it could be appealing to have these two lovely creatures working over you every day. Especially if you could take advantage of them instead of convincing your cock not to respond to the stimulation.

He wrenched his thoughts onto more pleasant diversions than what the two steel-gray Poodles might be like in a situation that wasn't going to happen, focusing instead on trying to remember what he could of his history that might be favorable.

Except for his combat record, not too much that hadn't happened recently, and that wasn't necessarily going to be too helpful. It wasn't that he was trying to convince the Santross that he was more than he was ... he just wanted to try and cherry-pick the information so he came across as more than a hot-headed mercenary who'd gotten mixed up in events that he was still trying to sort out.

Definitely don't mention Sith, do mention that he'd worked with Jedi recently. It might be a bit of a stretch, but it wasn't a lie either. Towards the end, he was definitely on their side and done well enough that they'd let him go with one of their prize ships, trusting him to return it.

If Jay was still alive and not locked up somewhere or in hiding, he could even confirm that much. The Healer ... Shivasta ... would probably be willing to as well.

Just really hope they didn't have anybody who could run his name through the Bounty Hunter's Guild databases. He hadn't pissed off the Jedi enough to become a target, but the Guild had at least one low-priority contract out on him that he knew of, and an up-to-date list of reasons he'd be a profitable target.

Mostly reasons that various crime lords and shady mercantile families wanted identifiable body parts. When he stopped to think about it, it didn't take long to remember the list of planets that wanted to ask him a few questions about assorted crimes that had happened there.

Fortunately, Corellia wasn't one of them ... didn't have close contact with any of them either, from what he remembered. Maybe it would be a good idea to stick around here for a while.

"Thank you," he said automatically as the Poodles finished cleaning his legs and stood to walk with him to the dryer cubical not far away. One took a detour to pick of an assortment of brushes and bottles before joining them.

Again he stood still and let them do what they wanted, grooming his thick fur into a perfect fluffy sleekness that would make him look his absolute best. Every inch of him was worked over under the blowers, bringing to mind the grooming Jay had giving him once. For the tom, it had been an act of affection and social bonding as well as very pleasurable. These two had no feelings for him, but they were very well trained in their duties and did a better job.

He'd never look more presentable than he would after all this fuss, he had to give them that much as he looked at himself in the full length mirror.

"Any suggestions for what to wear to dinner?" He asked them, figuring they probably had some.

"Of course, Sir." One smiled at him easily even as she shooed her companion off to get the formal robes. "Would you like your scars covered?"

"Is anybody likely to mind them?" He asked seriously. "They usually work in my favor in my circles."

"No Sir." She told him the truth easily.

"Then don't worry about it," he said, shaking his head. "Not of one of 'em anybody's going to see is something I'm ashamed of."

"Thank you," he said, helping them to help him dress. "Can I ask a question?"

"Of course, Sir." She nodded easily and honestly.

"Is your partner just the quiet type?" He asked, looking over at the other Poodle, hoping he wasn't overstepping some social boundary.

"At work, yes Sir." She nodded. "The family found it too disturbing when we finished each other's sentences, so we came to an agreement that I would be the one to talk at work. She's very chatty off duty."

"All right," he chuckled, realizing what the situation was. These twins were much nicer than the last pair he'd run into, fortunately. "I was just curious."

He looked at himself in the mirror as they finished dressing him. As usual, he thought he looked ridiculous, but it was what formal clothing consisted of in the Core.

At least he was more likely to live through the meal than on the Rim, even if they didn't like him too much right now.

"We will show you to the dinning room now, please." The Poodle who spoke said after she and her twin were dressed and all combed out.

"Thank you, Miss...?" He trailed off, leaving it up to her if she was going to introduce herself or not.

"Elle, Sir." She giggled slightly and blushed under her steel gray skin and fur.

"Emma, Sir." The normally silent one spoke up in a voice that matched her sister as well as her body did.

"If you would follow us, Sir, it is right this way." Elle motioned him out of the room and look the lead with her twin back into the main section of the house.

It wasn't long before his sharp nose picked up on the delicacies on offer not far away.

He was more grateful now than ever before that he'd had employers who weren't Hutts who expected him to attend meals. He had some idea how to behave there, though usually as a guard rather than a guest.

"You look good," Vondra's soft, almost seductive voice snapped his attention to where the young shewolf was approaching from.

"Thanks," he smiled at her, definitely glad to see her. "And you look great," he added, looking up and down her body. She did too. Her clothing here was much less sensual, less enticing than what she had arrived in, but it still showed off her incredible silver-white fur that really shone after the attention it had received.

"Thank you," she blushed lightly. "Perhaps after dinner I can show you the gardens."

"I'd like that, if you can arrange it," he smiled, reaching over to take her hand, squeezing it lightly. "Home agrees with you."

"It's home." She said simply, a little unsure what home wouldn't be good.

"Long story," he said, shaking his head. "So, will it look bad if we come in together?"

"Not as long as we're proper about it." She smiled slightly, a mischievous glint in her eyes.

"And just what would the line between propriety and impropriety be?" He asked with a chuckle.

"We're bordering on it now," she smiled fractionally and squeezed his hand.

"Just let me know if I come too close," he said, releasing her hand reluctantly as they started towards the dining hall.

"I will," she agreed just as reluctantly. "It's pretty simple. Don't touch. At least not in front of family."

"Just be glad I didn't greet you the way I wanted to then," he chuckled. "Any idea what we're up for?"

"Dinner." She said simply. "We eat, we talk, serious questions will probably wait until after dessert when everyone retires to the library for drinks."

"How untoward is it to go for drinks that aren't alcoholic?" He asked her softly. Not that he was planning on getting drunk, far from it. He dearly wanted to avoid any chance of that happening.

"It'll be a ... surprise, I'm sure." She nodded, her voice as soft as his. "It's usually just a glass of Sidan Branda to wind down with. No one gets drunk."

"I can handle that," he said easily. Hell, he probably wouldn't even feel it; the Branda was good, but not up to his tolerances. "Just really want to make as good an impression as I can."

"You will, love." Vondra smiled warmly at him, then quickly composed herself to face her family for the first time in almost a year as the twins opened the grand double doors to the dinning room set to serve several score at three tables. Tables that were nearly full of white Wolves in fine formal garb that turned to look at the newcomers.

Janos, for his part, did his damnedest not to look like he felt - like a nerf calf tossed into a pit of rancors, hoping that if he held still he wouldn't be noticed.

"Welcome, Lady Vondra, Mr. Miklar." A powerful built male Wolf with light gray fur greeted with a deep bow. "Your seats are this way."

"Thank you, Jenron." Vondra smiled warmly at him in as much of a greeting as she was allowed here.

Janos followed his lover and the servant to the seats reserved for them, two empty places at the main table next to the family matriarch. He was out of place visibly as well as mentally here; he stood out like an ink blot on a white page, the only grey Wolf sitting amidst the white ones on this half of the table.

At least he was dressed and groomed to their standard. There were a handful of other fur colors in the room; grey, black, tri-tones ... even a Red Wolf. But they were scattered about and stood out a bit less. They all had years here and had been accepted into the Santross family-pack.

He glanced at Vondra when he heard her gasp, her gaze locked on door they had come through moments before.

He looked over at whatever had gotten her attention, and saw an attractive, older, white-furred Wolf-bitch stepping in, her own eyes locked on Vondra.

'Mother' he sensed across the bond between them, a thought and impression that Vondra didn't even really know he was privy to.

He felt her tense, the desire to rush up and hug the mother she thought dead battling with being proper at a large family dinner.

The contest only lasted a moment and Vondra was on her feet, rushing into an embrace that was returned with all the fierce protective love a devoted mother had to offer. He could feel the tearful words as Vondra heard and uttered them, but not what they were.

He took a moment to covertly glance around at the reactions and was pleased that everyone seemed to be pleased at the exchange. The family matriarch, Vondra's mother's older sister, was smiling indulgently at the pair as the greeting broke up and Vondra's mother dabbed the tears from her daughter's face and walked with her to their seats, Vondra's mother sitting on the other side from Janos.

"Mother, this is Janos Miklar; the one who rescued me. Janos, my mother, Tessra Santross." Vondra introduced them.

"A pleasure to meet you, Lady Santross," Janos said, standing and bowing politely to mild approval from various family members.

"I thank you for rescuing and returning my youngest daughter." Tessra inclined her head in return.

"Once I found out who she was, I felt rather obligated to," he admitted. "I'm just glad I found her before somebody else did."

"Do you remember who you acquired her from?" Tessra looked at him steadily, a deadly intent behind the question.

"Mother, that is not dinner conversation." Vondra interrupted quickly, decidedly uncomfortable with the topic. "I'm home, leave the rest for later, please."

"Very well," she nodded slightly and relaxed as the first course of sweet, thick soup was delivered by a small army of servants so everyone had a bowl within a minute or so.

Janos waited until the others had started to eat before doing so himself, recognizing that he was a guest, and making sure he didn't do anything that would seem to be a challenge to his hosts. He was on his best behavior, manners developed through talking with Vondra, and observing people of similar class at their own formal meals and dinners.

It was a moment he was also glad that all here were Wolves. The basics of their social structure and manners, the subtle things often missed, were things he knew just by living.

"So where are you from, Janos?" The expected questions began from a female across the table and to the left.

"Dark side of Roon, actually," he admitted. No use trying to lie about it to them. At least he probably wouldn't get the usual response from the Santross; he knew some of their business interests traded with the supposedly inaccessible planet.

It did raise a few eyebrows, however.

"Where is the rest of your pack?" Dymesta asked conversationally.

No matter how much he didn't like it, it was an incredibly legitimate question. Wolves rarely lived alone, and he was as far as they could tell.

On the other hand, when he thought about it, it explained a lot about why he'd let Tembris talk him into the whole mess with Jay and the Sith.

"My family-pack died on Roon or in the Cloak," he said, telling the truth. As long as they didn't ask for how on all of them, that was safe enough. "The other packs I've been a part of ... I have a military background; when a mission goes poorly, the pack doesn't always stay together."

That earned him a slight nod and the conversation drifted elsewhere for a while as everyone enjoyed the rich appetizer.

"Why did you not simply accept our bounty on returning my daughter?" Tessra asked pointedly.

Well, it was really only a matter of time before somebody asked.

"I've grown to care for her, Lady Santross," he said, keeping his voice steady as he looked at the older shewolf and felt her glare back, not satisfied with the answer at all.

He really, really wished there was a better way to say it in public.

"He loves me, Mother." Vondra spoke up, her voice soft and deferential. "We have a life-bond."

"A what?" Tessra growled darkly, her ears flat as everyone stared at the pair.

He could sense Vondra's surprise at the response - and how badly she wanted to crawl under the table just now.

"A life-bond," he said, clearly serious. "I'm not asking a mate's privilege or status, Lady Santross, I know I don't rate it." Not in their eyes at least. "But I do care for her, deeply, and given everything that's happened before and since I met her we both thought it was prudent at worst."

He could all but feel the question boiling to the surface, whether he'd slept with her yet, the certainty that he had, and if Vondra had truly agreed to this.

Tessra controlled herself after a tense moment, though she was definitely very upset.

"We will speak more of this later, Janos." She promised before making the effort to return to the meal.

Well, it could have gone worse. It probably would have ended in bloodshed if it had, but it could have gone worse.

"So what do you do for a living?" Someone else asked as the tension subsided and a course of lightly grilled red meat arrived.

"Used to do mercenary work," he explained, knowing it wasn't making his case all that much better. "Bodyguard, soldier, similar work. Now, probably back off a couple steps from doing it myself."

"It's quite a change to go from soldier to CO." A male commented.

Even without knowing for sure, Janos picked up on the subtle body language and manners that spoke of military service.

"It is," he agreed easily, eating slowly. "I've led before, and I plan to start out small. But honestly, I don't need to be in the field anymore unless I want to be, and I'd go stir-crazy doing nothing. Seems the next logical step."

"True," the male nodded in acceptance and understanding.

There was another long, uncomfortable pause that lasted until the fish course was served and tasted.

"How did you acquire my niece?" Dymesta asked him, almost startling the silent table.

"The T'surr who had her at the time had put her up for sale at a Hutt's slave market on Toydaria," he explained softly. "The self-same slaver made the mistake of trying to enslave me, and biting off much more than he could chew in the process."

"The T'surr's fate?" Dymesta pressed him.

"Very thoroughly dead," he said with grim satisfaction. "Deservedly so, I might add."

"Good," she nodded with an equally grim expression. "You have a second bounty coming to you then."

"It isn't necessary," he said, shaking his head slightly, one of many things he'd said lately that he honestly couldn't believe he was saying. "I already collected more than enough from taking out the slaver, and I didn't bring Vondra back for the bounty."

He knew they looked at him with the same kind of disbelief that he felt, only some held a trace of approval along with those who were even more suspicious of him now.

"Why did you bring her back, then?" Dymesta asked levelly.

"She belongs here, with her family, not out on the Rim," he said seriously and was a bit surprised when Vondra reached under the table to squeeze his leg. "She isn't a slave, as much as the T'surr hoped they could prove otherwise."

"Do you intend to stay here?" She asked evenly, her approval now apparent to his senses.

"Possibly, if I'm welcome. At least some of the time; if I do start the business I mentioned before, I'll probably be out on the Rim for a good amount of time when I'm starting out."

That seemed to earn him a bit of surprise, but Dymesta nodded thoughtfully and returned to the meal while the talk turned other things of no importance.

As grateful as Janos was that he wasn't the center of attention for a while, it also made the next five courses and a sweet fruit and cream desert go very slowly. The food was very good and despite eating slowly and drinking the wine in small sips with a great deal of water and juice to spread it out, he was incredibly full when the last plate was taken away.

"Come, Janos," Dymesta said as she stood, signaling the end of the meal. "Join us for drinks in the library.

He noticed that she hadn't phrased it as a request or suggestion. Not that he could have turned her down even if she had. He stood along with the others who were moving, and with Vondra, and followed them out.

He realized a moment later that Vondra was leaving with a group of younger females, laughing and joking and generally fawning over her. It left him to deal with the older adults on his own.

Well, she hadn't been 'asked' to join them after all. And she had other people to catch up with, anyways.

Still, he couldn't shake the feeling that he would rather be marched out to a sarlacc pit. Here was where the dirty questions got asked. The things you don't say at dinner or in polite company.

Still, as the group with him dwindled down to three, the pack matriarch, Vondra's mother and the military male, he had to admit that it was less intimidating than the entire family.

The walk and the great library blew his mind away as he absorbed just how many paper editions they owned in addition to the fine holo system linked to the galactic net. He'd never been much of a reader, but he appreciated the probable value of the collection, particularly given the obvious age and hand-crafting of many of them.

"So, you are in love with my niece," the family matriarch began as the former soldier began to pour four glasses of a rich, dark liquid that smelled of spirits and earthen age.

"I am," he nodded, taking a large round glass as it was offered to him. "And I do realize how awkward that makes things."

"Perhaps," she considered him levelly. "I doubt she fully understands the issues this will raise. Why do you intend to go back to the Rim? You will have the resources of this pack to create your company if we take you in."

"She may not," he admitted. "And it's not just a matter of resources, Lady Santross. You don't just put out a 'help wanted' ad for something like that, not if you want to get a real good company started, especially not if you're looking for Wolves. Most Wolf merc's who aren't already members of an established company are lone-wolves for one reason or another. There's a certain amount of convincing and selection that goes into it, and personal contact works a lot better for that, from their end. I wouldn't be staying there permanently, and I think we can both agree that it would probably be better if the temptation factor wasn't there for Vondra or myself for a while."

"At least two years, until after her honeymoon." Tessra nodded seriously. "You should not be seen together as more than friends or it will hurt her chances for a good mate even more than Fate has already been done."

"Whoever she ends up with should know that she's a stronger woman than she looks," he told the Santross' respectfully. "She's come a long way, and overcome quite a bit, from where she was when I met her."

"Most Santross bitches are," Dymesta chuckled softly. "We are a matriarchy after all."

"She is my baby girl," Tessra added softly. "She will have a good formal mate."

"She deserves one," he nodded. "Certainly better than that Vondrich asshole, if you'll excuse the language."

"I wouldn't wish him on a Tekkrin." Tessra growled with a decisive nod of agreement from the male present.

"Now, back to you." The male brought things back on target. "I'm sure you are aware that you have an impressive list of contracts and bounties out on you, mostly on the Rim, but even the Jedi want to have a chat with you."

"A chat I already had with some of them; they lent me the ship we arrived in." Janos pointed out, trying not to react defensively. "I'm not a crook, I've just had some questionable choices in employers. When you work out on the Rim as a mercenary, even a bodyguard, you're bound to piss somebody off who'll decide to put a contract out for the Guild."

"True enough." He nodded.

"How does Vondra feel about the risk to your life?" Dymesta asked evenly.

"I think she'd prefer that I stay here where it's reasonably safe," he admitted. "She's aware of it, but neither of us has really brought it up."

"That is not going to be acceptable after her wedding." Tessra told him simply. "She has been through enough losses already in her life. I would not see it happen again."

"It's the main reason I'm not going back to my old line of work," he pointed out. "This might sound a little strange, but I've grown to be more concerned about that sort of thing since I met her."

"I would call that a good thing." Dymesta smiled faintly at him and sipped her drink. "Now, to be blunt about this. Is she still a virgin?"

"No," Janos admitted. If they were going to be blunt about it, he wouldn't beat around the bush. "She wasn't by the time I met her; the T'surr had 'prepared' her to be a pleasure slave," he said with a shudder. "That's what I meant, in part, about what she'd overcome."

"Have you been with her?" Tessra asked with a shudder of her own for memories that were still very fresh for her as well.

"I have," he admitted. "For what it's worth, I didn't know who she was at first, and I didn't treat her like a slave even at the time. I believe she'll confirm that."

"Do you care for her enough to not touch her as a lover until after she is married?" Tessra got to the point quickly.

"Until after her first litter was what I'd expected when I came here," he pointed out. "Based on what she told me."

"That would be preferable." Dymesta nodded slightly. "We will make arrangements as quickly as is seemly." She promised with a very personal understanding still fresh despite the decades that had passed for her. "Until then, you are still welcome as a guest in this house."

"Thank you," he said, inclining his head respectfully. "I appreciate your hospitality, and understanding. I do have to explain something; back on the ship, there are two other slaves rescued along with Vondra, a Mink and a Twi'lek who've requested to stay with me. Will there be any trouble bringing them to my quarters while I'm staying here? The ship has to be sent back to Coruscant at first opportunity."

"As long as they can behave reasonably well, they may stay with you." Dymesta made the choice for her household. "Understand they their behavior is your responsibility, just as yours is Vondra's."

"I can arrange for one of our pilots to take it to the Jedi Temple." The male told them. "I've been thinking about bringing Siffith here anyway."

"Very well." Dymesta nodded to him, signaling the male to leave and make the arrangements. "Do you have any personal belongings on board?"

"Some, but I can remove them quickly enough," Janos said easily. "If you like, I can turn the power cells to my weapons over to you for safekeeping. And yes, I can vouch for their behavior. Misha's a little promiscuous, but she can behave well enough when she's told to."

"Minks are at best promiscuous." Dymesta chuckled. "I'm sure she will find willing partners if she cares to. Do retrieve your things, and you may keep the power cells. A sensitive rarely needs such things to be deadly."

"Thank you," he said, standing and bowing politely before finishing the drink he'd left mostly untouched up until then. "I'll make sure they're on their best behavior."

"Good." Dymesta nodded to him in dismissal.

"I will see you take good care of my daughter." Tessra smiled slightly at him, a warm kind of wary approval in her manner for this Wolf she'd normally not even hire as a guard.

Janos took a deep breath as he waited near the entrance to the Santross gardens. He had to fill Vondra in on the conditions of their relationship now ... and he wanted to see her, badly. It was dark, late at night, and Misha and Y'alla had both settled in well.

Or at least he assumed that Misha jumping Y'alla and making out with her within thirty seconds of getting in the door qualified. He was just glad he didn't only have the Minervan Mink, or he'd never get out of the bedroom.

"I thought you would never get those two settled in." Vondra's voice was light with amusement as she stood from a fine wooden bench and walked gracefully to meet him. The formal dress of dinner had been replaced by one no less fine but much more relaxed and light.

He was glad to see she'd changed; it made the fact that he'd done so too feel more natural. Of course, he really didn't think that the robes would have worked too well out here.

"Just be glad Misha took 'no' for an answer," he chuckled, taking her hand and squeezing it lightly before they started to move into the gardens. "So, how'd it go once you abandoned me to your elders?" He teased lightly.

"I was a pup again," she smiled fondly for memories that weren't from long before she'd been captured. "It was a nice break. Everyone fussing over me. A lot of questions about you too."

"Oh dear," he chuckled. "I hope they didn't decide that it was in your best interests for me to disappear quietly in the middle of the night?"

"Janos, it was a dozen teenaged girls talking about boys." She rolled her eyes and laughed easily as she led him into the formal garden. "That kind of thought is left for the adults."

"Are you kidding?" He laughed. "I remember what happened the last time a pack of teenagers decided they didn't like somebody I knew. Though the good news is that your mother and aunt seem to have accepted me, albeit I think grudgingly."

"Probably after extracting a promise not to touch me until I'm married." She grumbled slightly, though it wasn't ruining her good mood at having him alone again.

"Well, that depends on the type of touching," he smiled, squeezing her hand lightly. "But close enough," he admitted. "And preferably not until after you've had your first litter. But your mother did say she'd work on making arrangements as quick as she could."

"That's still a long time." Vondra murmured. "Even hurrying it'll take at least a couple years. One for arranging the marriage and one for planning the wedding, then another six months to a year for the honeymoon. They weren't even looking for a mate for me yet when the attack happened."

"I know," he admitted as they found a relatively private corner and he drew her into a hug. "But it's better than never, and a hell of a lot better than you not being home."

"Yes," she murmured and relaxed against his broad chest. "It's a very long time to me, though. You'll be busy out on the Rim. I'm going to be here with little to do but remember what you're like."

"Not much else we can do," he pointed out gently, rubbing her back. "And once you're married and we establish that your husband doesn't hate my guts, we just have to be careful and discreet. By then, I ought to be able to settle down a bit better too."

"I would like that," she murmured and reached up to nuzzle his neck. "We can have a little fun while you're here too."

"Mmm... depending on the type of fun you mean," he rumbled softly, returning the nuzzle. "Love you," he said with a soft whisper.

"What my folks don't know, we won't get in trouble for." She licked the underside of his jaw and pressed close with the knowledge of exactly how to turn him on without touching anything obvious.

"We're going to need somewhere a lot more private than this for that," he pointed out, moving back slightly. "And as much as I want you just now, I think we both know that the first night isn't a good time to take a chance. They'll be watching us like hawks."

"Before you leave?" She looked up at him hungrily. "Something to remember."

"If we get the chance while it's still reasonable to stay here," he said softly, kissing her tenderly. "But we need to behave until then, get 'em to back off a bit."

"All right," she stepped back slightly. "I do think you'll enjoy the gardens, though. These formal ones aren't the only ones."

"Why don't we take the tour then," he smiled, giving her a quick nuzzle before they worked their way out of their niche and into the main corridors of the gardens for a slow, leisurely and completely acceptable walk of some of the many great gardens the Santross maintained.

A Heritage of Power 3: Jay's Story 9.99: Epilogue 1: Janos and the Santross

Het Level is Low
Slash Level is
Femslash Level is None
Herm Level is None

42 KB, Story is Complete, Series is in Progress
Written August 20, 2005 by Rauhnee Ranshanka and Karl Wolfemann

Setting: Star Wars (Furry)

Primary Races: Wolf

Contents: Furry. Het (M/F). Relationship (Established)

Pairings: Janos Miklar/Vondra Santross

Blurb: Four months after leaving the Kraken, Janos and Vondra have finally dropped off the last former slave and are headed to Corellia to meet her family.

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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