“Dammit, Atton! Will you stay down?”
Her voice was low and warm, wrapped around him like honey. That's what he'd first noticed about her – her voice. Despite the underwear.
He liked how she used his name, so familiar even after such a brief acquaintance. He chuckled regardless of the line of fire that sheared through his side – remnant heat from an assassin’s vibroblade. Heh, brief …
He’d known she’d be trouble right from the start. The underwear might have been his first clue.
He grinned at her, his arm clamped to his side. “Nuh-uh, sweetheart. Layin’ down to die just isn’t my style.”
Atton noticed the way she flinched at ‘sweetheart' and filed it away for later. He reeled off another series of blaster rounds and grunted with satisfaction as yet another sithspawn pile of mynock droppings fell, and he turned to the next … aim, fire, aim, fire … ignore the pain, stay alert… aim, fire …
it was all reflex. As long as he kept moving, they couldn’t use him against her.
No need to think. Which, unfortunately, meant that his mind had time to watch her.
She fought like a Mandalorian – no quarter, no retreat, no mercy. Actually, no, that wasn’t quite right. No Mandalorian ever looked that good in a mining uniform … or without it.
He had been sitting in that damned energy cage, playing pazaak in his head and laying wagers with himself on how long he could survive without eating his own arm. If an entire population of a colony of miners were going to disappear, they should at least have the courtesy to release their prisoners first.
Precious seconds of patented, save-Atton's-ass charm were wasted as he fumbled to collect his jaw from the floor when she strode into the prison block – wearing nothing but skin-tight, thread-bare, Republic-issue undergarments. She skidded to a halt when she spied him, frozen, mouth hanging only slightly wider than his eyes, in his tiny cell. By the time he'd recovered enough to adopt his usual casual pose, carefully not leaning on the crackling surface of the cage, a dull, crimson flush had already begun to creep up her neck.
To be perfectly honest he’d seen a lot of women in a lot less. Not like she was his type anyway. If he could be said to have a type, it would be ‘temporary.’ But he leaned towards the light, graceful shapes of Echani women – certainly not this solid, six-foot form, with tightly bound blonde hair and blue eyes that bored into his skull.
In later days, he blamed it all on hunger – or, perhaps, some sort of electro-neural effect of too much time spent in the cage. Either way …
“Nice outfit. What, you guys change regulation mining uniforms while I’ve been in here?”
… it had been a bad start.
The rising blush cooled so fast, he decided he imagined it. In a flash, her blue eyes were cold and commanding. “Keep your eyes up here if you want them to remain in your skull.”
How could she sound so calm and lethal and intoxicating all at once? He shook his head clear.
“Who are you?”
“Err…Atton. Atton Rand. Pardon me if I don’t shake hands. These fields only cause minor electrical burns.”
Her eyes wouldn’t release him. “What’s going on here? Why are you in this force cage?”
Dammit. Focus! She kept asking him ridiculous questions about ancient history – about Revan and Malak, about the Jedi civil war. Focus. Flip the two for 19. Stand. Win. Flip the seven. Flip the five for 12.
He answered as best he could, all the while trying to find his mental bearings.
He couldn’t look away and it irritated him. “I’m not saying that being interrogated by a half-naked you isn’t a personal fantasy of mine, but maybe we could all get out of here?”
He waited for the blush to return, but it never did. She simply became colder, her gaze unwavering. But he knew it wasn’t truth. He could feel the waves of uncertainty and panic that rolled off of her and…disappointment?
“C’mon,” he wheedled. “I can help you. I know I can.”
And, dammit, he was going to be useful … aim, fire, aim, fire … flip the +/-3 for 19 … aim, fire …
He sighed as the last assassin dropped – and clamped his teeth around a groan as his neurons decided that now would be a good time to realize that there were some new openings in his hide. He locked his knees and pressed his back against the Harbinger’s cold walls and tried to look bored.
Yeah, that’s gonna hurt in just a mi … ok …now
He could have sworn he hadn’t spoken aloud, but her head snapped around to face him as if he’d screamed.
Right, Jedi. Wouldn’t do to forget that fact.
He let the pain of his injuries flood his neural pathways, along with all of the fear and anger – and a good bit of the lust – that he’d stored up over the last couple of hours.
The very fact that her voice made him want to obey forced him to remain on his feet.
“No thanks, sweetheart. If it’s all the same to you, I tend to run better when I’m on my feet.”
“I’ve already told you, my name is Cora. Please use it.”
He was losing track of his thoughts as her capable, scar-rough hands slid under his jacket and down his side.
“I’m sorry … Cora
… I’m not so good with names. I forget my own sometimes.” Or, I try to
His breath hissed as her hands continued to distract him and … “Son of a Sith! Dammit, woman! That hurt!”
Her blue eyes rose from their inspection of his side and met his, utterly implacable. “Of course it does. This slid between the ribs, you fool. You’re bleeding into your lungs.”
“Oh, really?” He grinned around clenched, bloody teeth. “I hadn’t noticed … ow
The floor tilted under him and he reconsidered his earlier decision to stand. It was getting a little difficult to breathe and his jacket seemed ridiculously heavy. He slid down the wall, trying not to look at the crimson stain that marked his passing on the otherwise spotless surface.
The Jedi crouched beside him. Her hands simply would not leave him alone.
She frowned and turned away. She began digging through her packs and pouches, her movements were smooth and unhurried, but he swore he could feel something else … a heartbeat tightly under control, a breath caught somewhere between the chest and throat.
“I had hoped I was wrong.” She watched him, with a slow horror in her eyes. “There are no medpacs left, Atton … and the way back to the medical bay is blocked.”
He closed his eyes let out a small snort of laughter. “Perfect. Just fracking perfect. I’m gonna bleed to death on a ghost ship, docked at a ghost mining operation, with a ghost of a Jedi at my side. The sheer sense of humour is almost enough to make a guy believe in the Force.” His head lolled to the side, but he tried to remain focused on her eyes … he thought they were trying to tell him something … but they were fading.
“Atton! Stay with me, fool!” Why did her voice always demand obedience? “Open your eyes, Atton.”
“…thought I wasn’t s’posed to do too much lookin’”
“Oh, for …” He thought he felt a laugh in her die in infancy, but it was almost enough to please him. “Atton. Just hold on. I think … it’s been a long time …” so long
… “but maybe…”
He felt her hands on him again. Wished he could properly appreciate it – or at least make her blush again. But his own skin seemed so far away. The darkness seemed very cold.
Something bright called to him from the distance – a voice, calm and cool like liquid carbonite – but not. He felt her inside him – her breath, her pulse, her concern. She was looking for something and, out of habit, he hid it, whatever it was.
She wouldn’t go away
. She wouldn’t let him hide. Her voice reverberated through his skull, calling him, caressing his name. He would not let her in.
Her voice changed then, changed direction. It opened up and wrapped around him, sticky like honey. Not one voice, many, from the same throat. Layers and layers of sound – calling his name – cold and electric, yes, but also calm, deep, seductive, vulnerable, warm and sweet. Her voice invaded his veins, forcing his heart to beat.
invaded his body.
She stroked his skin from the inside with gentle fingers and pleasure rushed through him, out of control. A bone-deep shudder of ecstasy spread through him and his next trembling intake of breath ended on a groan.
His eyes snapped open and were met by her blue glaze – sea-deep. She was breathing in time to his gasps, her lips parted and that tempting pink blush creeping over her cheeks. She looked nothing like a Republic general who had ordered the death of thousands.
“I think I did it, Atton!” Did she sound different? He couldn’t concentrate; his heart was still pounding with the aftermath of gratification. He felt whole. He felt … embarrassed
Her hands were still on his body, warm and gentle, slick with his blood.
“It has been so long. And I thought I’d lost you for sure and I had to find another way … Are you ok? Let me see…”
The air hummed with the multi-tonal strands of her voice, whispering through his skull. Her hands pulled at his shirt, lifting it up over the solid, unspoiled flesh of his side. His hands snapped out and circled her wrists, pulling her fingers away from his flesh.
“Yeah, fine,” he bit out, holding her away from him with his hands, with his mind. “Yeah…” He blinked, and breathed in. “Let’s move on.”
The shutters snapped closed over her eyes and she nodded.
As they moved, once again, through the ship’s cold, metal corridors, he very carefully did not look back at the rapidly cooling pool of crimson he’d left behind.
Comments and con-crit are greatly, greatly appreciated! Please, please, if you enjoyed this - or found some way I can improve it - please let me know, in the [FIC] thread