Ask  Mandalore Where R U @

Discussion in 'Outer Rim Territories' started by Leandros Solus, May 7, 2019.

  1. Leandros Solus

    Leandros Solus Character

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    Leandros stared at his phone and smiled. He was watching a video of a pack of small dogs repeatedly barrel over and drag down a toddler to play with them and, honestly, it was pretty cute. He knew exactly who would want to see something like this; he copied the link and swiped over to his most-recent conversations and sent it to Raz with the caption, “can we get a dog” in the hopes that it would brighten her day up. He appended the message with a short, ”also i’m coming over don’t shoot when i knock” just to provide her with enough warning of his arrival. Lately, she had been pretty busy doing nothing much in particular and Leandros decided to take a break from his activities to go see her and hang out. The two kept in close communication, obviously, but it had been a few days since he last physically saw her. That needed to be fixed.

    The sun shone overhead, and the weather was, for the most part, rather pleasant. It was supposed to rain later that day, but so far, the clouds in the sky seemed to drift lazily along, occasionally providing respite from the intense glare of the sun. Leandros rode on top of his basilisk, as he often did on Mandalore, mostly for ease of travel and partly just to keep people off of his back when he was on personal business. Few people were dumb enough to mess with a man on a war droid on the way to see his love. His helmet and gear were stowed away in saddlebags on the droid; he only wore his armor, and that was more out of formality and ease of recognition than anything else.

    Leandros checked his phone pretty frequently to see if Raz had opened his text and seen the video yet. They typically had pretty quick response times to each other, often replying within minutes or sometimes even seconds of receiving a text, so he expected a reply some time soon. He idly scrolled through their conversation as his droid lumbered along towards Raz’s home, reading and re-reading different bits and pieces to refresh himself on what they were talking about. It mostly consisted of memes and Raz asking him about his past and such, something he didn’t mind as much now that he felt more comfortable talking about it with her after Raxus.

    He thought nothing of the questions and, more than anything, was glad that she didn’t express that same desire to avenge the cruelties of his youth that she did when he first mentioned it. She was brash and usually went off to do something without really thinking about her own wellbeing, if her outburst on Contruum was anything to go by. It was the Solus in her, in all of them, that made her so fearless and bold. It was why she was the one chosen to lead their people, after all. She had what it took to be the Mand’alor.

    Leandros picked his phone up and checked one final time to see if she responded as he neared her home, excited for her response.

    @Sreeya
     
  2. Raz Solus

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    She knew he wouldn’t approve of this. She knew he would be disgusted, even if it meant correcting a wrong that had happened many years back. It made her wonder who she was. Had she finally crossed a line? Was she any better than the Sith at this point?

    The skies were blood red, the sun beginning to disappear over the horizon. There was a gentle breeze, and a distinct stench in the air that lingered very faintly. She wore no helmet, her hair flowing in the wind, the last rays of the sun bathing her bronzed skin. Raz raised a cigarra to her lips, drawing it in and exhaling a plume of smoke. This wasn’t a habit she often engaged in, not unless something weighed heavily on her mind. Today it wasn’t even helping with that.

    She had set out with a singular purpose, and she decided that no one would get in the way of it. Raz was sitting on a tree stump, ignoring the smell that lingered in the air. She took in another long draw, hearing her comlink beep to indicate someone had contacted her once more. She had made a point not to look, allowing herself to withdraw deep into the confines of her mind.

    Behind her were long trails of smoke. There were remnants of what used to be a small village, the farmhouses razed to the ground. There charred bodies scattered all throughout the fields, the entire village butchered. Behind Raz directly was a frail, old man nailed to a pole. His skin popped and bubbled as he burned, long dead. The old man was flanked on both sides by younger, dead men that were also nailed to poles. They had been killed for longer - allowing their father to observe first.

    Raz sat faced away from the stump, her gaze on the sunset. Smoke plumed from her nostrils as she tried hard not to think about what she had done. She was not Mandalore today, but she was Raz Solus. This was unforgivable for Mandalore, but perhaps could be justified for a singular person. She did not wear her trademark armor - the blood wasn’t on Solus. She wore black armor that had no sigil. She had arrived as a shadow, and they never saw it coming. But they knew why. Before the end, they knew why this happened.

    And for what? The reality of what she had done would horrify Leandros. It went against the values of his god. It went against everything he stood for. She felt filthy. He had told her he loved her. Could he after this? She had done it for him, but was this something he would ever have wanted in a million years? Raz grimaced. She had done it for herself. And it felt good. She knew something had harmed someone she had cared about, and she relished avenging it.

    Raz finally opened the video Leandros had sent, watching the playful toddler and dogs. It had made her smile - very faintly, and with tears beginning to form in her eyes.
     
  3. Leandros Solus

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    Leandros sat outside of Raz’s home for all of about a minute before just walking in, knowing that she typically kept the door unlocked. His final attempt to see if she had opened his message was met with silence; not even a receipt that she had seen his video. Most people would have put that off as a sign that she had not seen his message because she was busy, or perhaps the message did not go through yet and it was trapped in the void.

    Leandros, unfortunately, was not one of those people.

    He knew when she was purposefully not responding. With the exception of a few hours while they slept, the two of them kept in near-constant communication, even if it was nothing more than sending one-another a picture of the other’s face while they sat around on another planet. Normally Raz responded to his dumb videos because they were intended to provoke a response. Did he care about getting a dog? Well, yes, but he mostly just wanted to talk to Raz a little bit more about…. anything, really. He cared deeply for her, and he knew that she felt the same about him, but that kernel of doubt sat seeded in the back of his mind, keeping him on edge that she didn’t reciprocate his feelings. It was why he wanted to occupy her thoughts – because she occupied his.

    Her home was exactly as she left it; weapons and armor sat scattered about, half-modified at best as she tinkered away with her stuff. On her counter sat a barely touched bowl of vegetarian-friendly snacks, and the television was off. Nothing about the apartment told him that she was home. There were no gunshots from the back, nor were there any sounds of her training elsewhere, which led Leandros to think something was up. He walked around, his mind wondering where she could be, when he noticed that her coffee table had a series of annotated maps on it.

    They were old, perhaps nearly as old as he was, and a pile of notes seemed to suggest that Raz had been doing research on a particular area of Mandalore. As Leandros stood over and looked at the notes, his mind began to put the pieces together, his cordial expression growing more and more into his trademark frown. He knew the area she was looking up – it was a memory he had long since suppressed. It only came out during a moment of passion between the two of them following the death of the Emperor, but it was enough. He knew that the tone of her voice then meant that she wasn’t going to let the issue rest. As he looked through the notes and maps, he knew exactly why Raz was ignoring his messages.

    The droid was too slow for this. Leandros whipped past the countryside on a speeder he had acquired, his eyes watering as the wind buffeted him, his mind set on Raz. She was brash, and he kicked himself for ever letting slip his childhood trauma. Of course, she would try to fix the situation – it was in her blood to do so. Trees slingshot past him as he traversed the terrain, praying that she was still there.

    The smoke made things easy for him even as the sun set and the sky turned an ominous sanguine. Black columns stacked high in the sky and grew ever larger as he approached. The terrain was intimately familiar to him, even despite the years of separation. Memories of his childhood came flooding back as he drove past certain farmsteads, with one in particular standing out to him. All of them were on fire by now, nothing more than ruins from some vengeful spirit. Corpses littered the fields and hounds bayed wistfully in sadness for their lost masters. There were no other signs of life.

    Leandros pressed on, heading for a trio of crucified, burning corpses. The putrid smell of death lingered on the wind no matter where he went, and as he brought his speeder to a stop, he gazed upon the reaper herself. She sat upon a stump facing the sunset, a lit cigarra in her mouth. An elderly man and his two sons crackled and burned on the stakes upon which they were nailed, their faces frozen in the fear of their final moments together.

    Leandros hopped off of his speeder as soon as it halted, taking a step towards Raz from behind, his eyes focused on the familiar visage of the man who had once nailed him to a door all those years ago.

    ”Why?” was all he could utter. His voice was quiet but loud enough to reach his love.
     
  4. Raz Solus

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    She sat for what seemed like hours, still not having responded to Leandros. She thought of how she would face him after this. Raz rehearsed it countless times in her head, and she half decided not to tell him at all. He would never understand it, not when she barely understood it herself. She made up her mind, inhaling deeply and tossing the butt of the cigarra away.

    The skies were more blue now, the light fading away fast. She was so consumed by her thoughts that she didn’t even hear the speeder coming up near her. Raz was rising from the stump to leave when his voice called out. She froze where she stood, her eyes wide with very real fear. She slowly turned to look, seeing Leandros there. Was this her imagination? How did he know to come here? How did he know to stumble upon this today and now?

    Raz was rooted in place, already seeing the expression on his face change into one she had been dreading. There was no way out now, no way away from this. He was here, he knew what happened, and that was it. Raz bit her lip, looking away and unable to meet his gaze, “You...weren’t supposed to see this,” She said weakly. Was that supposed to justify anything?

    “I just saw red...when you told me,” She had more or less ensured he would never tell her anything again. He could never trust her again, “I...I didn’t think. I know it’s not what you wanted. I was angry...angry for what they did. I wanted them to experience the same and I took it too far,” Raz’s voice was weak, and she was fighting to keep the tears at bay, “I’m a monster, Lee. I think I always have been. I have no excuse.”
     
  5. Leandros Solus

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    Leandros was at a loss for words for some time now, not taking his eyes off the shepherd’s crackling, burning body. He had been nailed to it just like he had nailed Leandros to a door years ago – a punishment for his crimes. The poor man had no idea what would come of the boy he harmed, nor did he expect there to be retribution on such a scale. The sun was dipping below the horizon, but the light of the fires kept the area brightly illuminated with an ominous glow.

    It was a mistake coming here to find her. It was a mistake telling her about his past. Dozens of people had been mercilessly slaughtered because of one story, and it was entirely his fault. He knew Raz would do this, but for some reason he chose not to think about it. All those innocent questions and stories they had shared over time meant more than just idle conversation. Now an old man and his kin were crucified and burned. Dead Mandalorians slain by their Mand’alor.

    Leandros didn’t breathe for a bit, not wanting to smell the scent of burnt flesh. Normally, he didn’t care, but this was different. These were his people, even if they had wronged him before. He walked forward, avoiding looking at Raz. He couldn’t look at her yet, couldn’t see that she was the one who committed such crimes. He wanted to believe it was someone else. Someone he didn’t know was wearing that unmarked armor; not the woman he’d drank and rode banthas with; not the woman he’d killed an Emperor with. Not the woman he’d give his life for if she asked.

    After Raz explained herself, he slowly turned his head and looked at her, his face confused. His heart broke seeing the fear on her face and hearing the weakness in her voice. She cared about him so deeply that she went and razed an entire village because one group of shepherds hurt him when he was little. He was torn; on one hand, she had committed an egregious crime against innocent Mandalorians, but on the other hand he loved her, and he knew she did this out of love. What should he do? What could he do?

    Leandros was quiet still as he walked over to Raz, unsure if he should punch her or hug her and tell her it was okay. He made a split-second decision and pulled her in, embracing her tightly. He rested his chin on top of her head and stared at the sunset, thinking. After a few seconds he finally spoke up, his voice faint. ”Monsters aren’t real,” he said, his eyes tracing the smoke trails that dispersed above them. He wanted to yell at her, to tell her how much of an idiot she was for doing something like this, but he didn’t have the heart. Truth be told, he wasn’t sure how he felt right now. She was berating herself more than he ever could.

    ”I don’t know what you want me to say,” he said again after a while, ”He deserved it. But they,” he said, pushing her away and gesturing towards the village, ”They… didn’t. I-“ he stopped himself, shaking his head. He turned around to face the burning bodies, putting his hands on his hips and sighing. ”This was my fault.”
     
  6. Raz Solus

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    Raz was far away, still withdrawn into her mind and reeling from her own actions. The stench of the burning flesh assailed her nose worse than ever, as if to make a point. It made her physically ill, and she felt as if she would need to vomit any moment now. Raz held it together, closing her eyes and exhaling softly.

    When she opened her eyes again, Leandros had moved closer and pulled her into an embrace. Raz stood stiffly, surprised at the gesture. She buried her face into his chest, and her emotions poured out then. She felt hot tears streaming down her face, wetting the front of his clothing. Raz’s arms trembled slightly as she brought them up to hold him back, relishing the familiar warmth and feel of him. She didn’t deserve it, not after what she did, but she would take it all the same.

    It was bliss while it lasted, but she knew they couldn’t linger like that forever. This was not okay, and it wasn’t something that could be easily forgiven. As she pulled back from him, she wiped her face and followed his line of sight towards the village, “There’s nothing you can tell me that I haven’t told myself already,” She said hoarsely, “I know I did wrong. I know I did something unforgivable and unthinkable,” His words stung her more than any blade could have.

    “Yes, it is your fault,” Raz said bitterly, looking away, “For ever believing I could be someone that could be loved. For thinking I could ever be someone that deserved it. It’s your fault for being foolish enough to think I deserved anything other than being alone. For not seeing that all I do is hurt anything that ever gets close to me. I’m supposed to be Mand’alor, and just that. Nothing more,” She wiped her face once more, shaking her head.

    “I won’t kriffing apologize for this,” Raz looked at him, glaring at him, “I won’t apologize for what I did, because it’s not worth it. It’s unforgivable to begin with. I won’t apologize for who I am, because it took me a long time to accept it for better or worse,” Her jaw tightened, “And I certainly won’t apologize for loving you the way I do. Even if it’s at the cost of losing you," It was the first time she had ever vocally admitted to being in love with him, and it was under the most horrific circumstances.

    Raz paused to look at the burning bodies. She said nothing more and began to walk away and past Leandros. If he didn’t stop her, she would keep going and hop into her speeder and leave the area. She was done trying to be anything other than what she was.
     
  7. Leandros Solus

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    Leandros watched the fires burn as Raz spoke, but his mind was a million miles elsewhere. He knew that no matter what he could say to her about what she had done, none of it mattered because she had already done it herself. She could rationalize it every which way she could, but at the end of the day she knew what she had done. He felt tears begin to well up in his eyes and blinked them back, shaking his head. He wouldn’t let her see him like that. Not yet.

    She caught him off guard when she agreed with his opinion on whom to blame. Leandros turned and looked at her again right as she looked away, confusion on his face once again. He felt rooted to the ground as she spoke, each accusation stabbing him deeper in the heart. Even despite everything they had done together, everything he had told her about how he felt, she still thought of herself as unable to be loved. That she was just his leader and nothing more. None of that was true; he wouldn’t let her delude herself into thinking that. He remembered all of their moments together and the things they said and knew that she was lying to herself, pitying herself where she shouldn’t. He opened his mouth to retort but was silenced when he met her glare.


    His brows furrowed as she retreated back into her shell. He was about to walk over and shut her up when suddenly she admitted her love for him. He was taken aback, his expression softening almost immediately. His mouth hung open slightly for a moment before he closed it, his mind racing. So far, he had been the only one to be so forthright about his feelings for her. He had been the only one to tell her he loved her, even when she never said it back, in the hopes of one day getting her to admit it. Now here, of all places, she chose to say it. Here, in front of the dead and burning villagers, did she finally tell him how she truly felt.

    Whatever anger he felt was replaced by worry. Immense and overbearing, it clouded his thoughts like the smoke from the village, a wicked haze filling his mind with darkness. She began to walk away, moving past Leandros to return to her speeder. Instinctively, he reached out and grabbed her arm right as she approached him, halting her movement and forcing her to face him. ”No,” he said defiantly, ”I won’t let you walk away. After everything we’ve done, that’s your answer? Run away from me?” His jaw tightened and he exhaled slowly, closing his eyes for a moment.

    ”What about Concord Dawn? What about Raxus? What about sitting by that lake here on Mandalore? Did none of that mean anything to you? Despite everything, why are you so determined to hate yourself? What have you done to deserve that?” His voice was a mixture of barely-contained rage, fear, and concern, and he couldn’t help it. He relaxed his grip on her arm, looking into her eyes. ”You’re not just Mand’alor. Not to me. You’re Raz Lily Solus, the stubborn woman who saved me, who avenged me. I’ve done nothing to deserve you, but I-“ he paused and choked on his words, blinking back tears again as he looked at the ground. ”I don’t want to lose you,” he said, shaking his head, ”I can’t lose you. Not like this.” There was palpable fear in his voice, the thought of losing her being too much for him to bear.

    ”Please,” he pleaded, bringing his gaze back up to her eyes, ”I won't let you leave.”
     
  8. Raz Solus

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    Raz was dead set on the speeder in the distance, but he abruptly halted her. She jerked to a stop, but she didn’t pull away from him. Her mind was still reeling and swirling with a mixture of thoughts and concerns. She didn’t look at him immediately as he spoke, her gaze on the ground instead. She had no tears then, just a mixture of hard emotions that put up her walls again.

    A badger never ran, and she had been doing just that. He was bringing some truth to light she didn’t want to face. She wanted nothing more than to yank her arm from his grip and continue on her way. However, she knew she couldn’t bear the thought of leaving when he was actively trying to stop her. Raz slowly turned to look at him as he rattled off all the events in their past.

    She could sense the emotions in his voice and see it in his eyes. It broke her inside, but she was unable to bring out her own words. Raz chewed on her lip, swallowing heavily as he finished speaking. He expressed the very same fears that she had, and they were around losing one another.

    “I am what I am, Lee,” She said at last, “How can you be with someone you can’t trust? You will never know what measures I will take with any information you give me. Can you truly be with me if you have to measure your words? I want you to be able to tell me anything, but can you truly do that when I…” She gestured to the village again, “I will always destroy anything that threatens you. Always. That’s who I am, and that will never change. This isn’t my kriffing veganism that I’m asking you to accept, this is so much more. It’s something that clashes against your very values.”

    Raz didn’t pull away from him, but she didn’t move any closer either, “It’s my rage that has made me a force to be reckoned with for our enemies, and it’s my rage that threatens to destroy us. How can you love me through this?”
     
  9. Leandros Solus

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    Leandros knew that he called her out for running away. The Solus blood running through their veins made it nearly impossible to stand down from a confrontation, even when defeat was in sight. They were simply too damn stubborn to quit. That’s why he knew she would remain here until this matter was settled, just as he would. He kept his gaze focused intensely on her face as she rebuked him. She questioned how much he valued trust and expressed concern that he would never be able to trust her again with secrets. Trust was why he was here, but not because she lost his. Trust was the one of the reasons why Leandros knew he could confront her about this rather than let it fester.

    He kept his hand on her arm as she spoke, following her gesture towards the village and then back at her while she went on. He knew she would destroy anything that attempted to harm him, and he knew he would do the same if given the opportunity. His eyes flicked to her cybernetic arm for a moment and that same rage began to boil back inside his core. They should be out there fighting Sith, not having this talk.

    ”Why do you think I’m not angry?” he blurted out rhetorically, fixing his hard gaze on her face again. ”Do you remember when Dan died and we got the news? I was ready to throw myself into oblivion with you for him and you backed down because you knew we wouldn’t be coming back. You know what I feel whenever I look at that?” he said, gesturing towards her prosthetic, ”I feel nothing but hate. I want nothing more than to carve a bloody swathe through Sith space just because some dead bastard hurt you because I love you. I can love you despite… this,” he said, gesturing towards the village, ”Because I’d be a hypocrite to say that I wouldn’t do the exact same thing for you. I love you because you’re a fire that can’t be put out.”

    He realized that his grip on her arm had grown tighter again as he spoke and he let go, letting his hand fall to his side. ”We told each other we would be there for each other for eternity. You know how long an eternity is?” he asked, cocking his head slightly, ”Way kriffing longer than either of us will be alive. No number of burned villages can get in the way of that. If I ever lost you,” he said, looking back at the fires in the distance, ”…I don’t know what I’d do. I’d burn hundreds, thousands of worlds just for you. Billions would die because my feelings for you would impel me to do so.” He turned back towards Raz, shaking his head. ”The only mistake you made was not responding to that stupid video,” he said, his voice softer now, ”Because that’s when I knew you were out doing something dumb.”

    He forced a small smile that quickly faded. ”We can figure this,” he gestured towards the village again, ”Out together. I just need you to quit being so karking stubborn about it and work with me.”
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
  10. Raz Solus

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    Raz stood in stunned silence as he spoke, her eyes growing wide. She had expected an entirely different answer, but he instead revealed how he was just as stubborn and passionate about those he cared about. She knew nothing could forgive what she had done, and nothing could justify it, but she felt slightly better that he didn’t think her a complete monster. If she had been gifted with the Force, would this have made her a Sith?

    She had to smile faintly at his comment about the video she never responded to. It was true - they communicated almost nonstop, and her not replying meant something was off. He knew her better than anyone at this point, and he knew she would be off doing something he wouldn’t approve of. Raz made a point not to look at the bodies, the skies blue now as the sun completely disappeared over the horizon.

    “You really did sign up for the most difficult woman you could find,” Raz sighed, turning to face him. She gently eased her arm out of his grip, raising both her arms to place her hands on his shoulders. Raz met his gaze, the pain clear in her eyes, “I always want to present the best version of myself to you, but I keep failing at it. I know it’s nothing you demand of me, but I…” She had thought after Val, all of her past had washed away. However, there were plenty of demons still left behind, and it wouldn’t be easy to move past the chaos and battles she had been in.

    “You won’t lose me as long as you’ll have me,” Raz said after a moment of silence, “I love you, Leandros...and I never want to stop,” She whispered quietly, leaning in to capture his lips with hers. The burden of today weighed heavily on her, but she felt a faint reprieve just from the subtle gesture. For a moment, she forgot all about it, and leaned into him and focused on the emotions she felt for him.
     
  11. Leandros Solus

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    Leandros felt his heart stop as he finished speaking and waited for Raz’s response, uncertain if she would listen. She was an emotional wildcard as far as he was concerned, though he seemed to be getting the hang of how she operated, no matter how complicated she was. His lips curled into a smile and his expression softened as she put her hands on his shoulders. ”I like a challenge,” he said in response, smirking slightly and allowing her to continue.

    She set impossibly high standards for herself which he found adorable, even if she pictured it entirely differently. Leandros was a pretty simple man, when it was all said and done; he liked his women feisty and with a pretty face. Luckily for him, Raz was a package bundle with those features and far, far more. For a time, he thought he would live alone. Now not a day went by where he didn’t thank the gods for his good fortune. Even as Raz spoke, he looked at her and thought about just how lucky he was.

    Bit crazy, though. She did, after all, just burn down a village for him.

    A moment of silence passed by between them during which Leandros simply smiled at her. Her reassuring words lifted his heart and it only rose higher with her next sentence. Before he could respond, she leaned forward and locked lips with him again. An electric feeling pulsed through his body, same as before, only this time it felt… different, somehow. Perhaps finally hearing that she loved him was all he needed to hear to change things. It felt natural coming out of her mouth, and he imagined this was how she had to have felt the first time he told her those same three words. It would be difficult to forgive her for what she had done today, but these things took time, no matter how long. He did have an eternity, after all.

    Leandros pulled her in closer, wrapping his arms around her waist, and gave into the kiss. After a few seconds of passionate embrace, he pulled away, still tasting her lips on his. He gave her a heavy-lidded stare and then looked off to the side at the dying fires. ”You pick the least-romantic spots, you know that?” he quipped, laughing softly. Frankly, it was weird to be kissing his Mand’alor at the site of an atrocity, but nobody was around to see them anyways. ”The sun’s going down. We should… probably head home. I left all of my stuff at your house anyways.” He looked back at her and placed his forehead against hers, rubbing his nose alongside hers in an eskimo kiss. ”I’m serious about the dog thing, by the way,” he added, trying to lighten her mood. Gods know they both needed it after today.
     
  12. Raz Solus

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    Raz felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders as he kissed her and pulled her close. He had the uncanny ability to make her feel as if everything were all right. She forgot about all the things that bothered her, all her duties, all those nagging things that kept her up at night. Raz smiled at him as he quipped about her choice in spots. The very first time they had been intimate had been in some run down, shoddy shack that served as a temporary hideaway. Now they were kissing next to a burned down village.

    “Yeah… have we even gone on a proper date?” Raz shook her head. They were terrible at this. Raz was possibly the least romantic person she knew, which posed more difficulties for Leandros. He was definitely the more sensitive of the two, but even he had an uphill battle with her. Raz stepped back from him, looking back at the smoke that began to die down.

    “I want to bury them before I leave,” Raz muttered quietly, her intonation somber. She couldn’t take back what she did, but she could give the people some measure of dignity. Raz stepped forth and began by taking down the bodies that had been nailed up. It was a gruesome process, but she was determined to see it through.

    “And yes, I’ve been noticing you’re leaving more and more of your things at my place,” Raz quirked an eyebrow as she continued to dig into the dirt to make graves, “You’ve left a stack of clothes and even an extra toothbrush,” She remarked as she continued to work. She hadn’t really thought about it, but now it lingered on her mind. When they had downtime, she spent almost all of her free time with him. It was surreal for her, especially as she was normally a loner.

    “Any dog would have to get along with Bubbles,” She muttered quietly, referring to her albino dire badger that was delightfully useless and lazy.
     
  13. Leandros Solus

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    Leandros shrugged in response to Raz’s question, quirking an eyebrow and looking off into space to think. ”Well, we blew up the Emperor that one time,” he said, thinking about the things they had done together, ”Rode banthas drunk… raced our basilisks…” he continued, his voice trailing off as he fondly recalled their times together. After a while he shook his head and smiled, ”But no dinner or movie dates. We’re bad at this.” Granted, every moment they spent together he had a blast, but they were certainly the absolute worst two people at dating. Even now they were about to deal with Raz’s issue of burning down a village. If she burned something down every time she was pissed off, he had to make sure to start wearing fireproof pants. Calling her a challenge was an understatement, but he figured that he of all people was up to the task. After all, he may be a hopeless romantic and awkwardly sweet, he was still a Solus at heart and that meant being a stubborn bastard until the end.

    Leandros turned his head and followed Raz’s gaze towards the men she killed. He nodded gravely in agreement, firmly stating ”They deserve it,” as he went to join her. Though one of the men was being punished for a past crime, he still should be afforded to rest with his sons and join the Manda. No Mandalorian worth his salt deserved to be denied that, even simple shepherds. He set about helping her take down the bodies, taking care not to get in her way so that she could find peace in doing it herself.

    ”I like to be prepared,” he said as he dug a grave of his own, shrugging listlessly, ”I don’t think you’d wanna share toothbrushes, and the clothes are in case you pull me into another lake.” He smiled and looked up at her for a moment before returning to work. Digging the grave took little effort as he let his mind wander and think about their budding relationship and how far they had come since his first visit to her home. It was weird to think about, especially considering he’d never thought much about it before then. Even though they were digging graves for dead men, he still enjoyed the time spent with her. It was certainly a unique date, to say the least.

    ”Think about it,” he said, not catching what she said about Bubbles, ”A dog for the house. Then you got two cute things to come home to and cuddle. Dire badger, dog, what could go wrong? It’d give Bubbles a friend.” After some time he finished his grave and tossed the shovel to the side and walked over to pick up one of the bodies to gently set him down in it. He began to shovel dirt back on top of it, his eyes adjusting to the decreasing light.
     
  14. Raz Solus

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    This was just another example of how Leandros was by her side through everything. He had been there through her darkest times, and this was one of them. He had been there when she took up the mantle of Mand’alor, when she had been forced to kill Wyatt and when she despaired over the loss of Dan. He was even there when her relationship with Valentine crumbled and fell apart. She realized she was simply standing there staring at him for a moment before she shook her head and returned to digging.

    Her thoughts were far away, and she found the digging to be oddly therapeutic. With each mound of dirt she tossed aside, she chipped away at the poison built up within from her actions. She was covered in sweat by the time they finished burying all the bodies, tossing the dirt back on. The moon was high up in the sky and stars stretched out for miles. With the village gone, there were no sounds, and an eerie silence hung in the air.

    Raz heard his comment about the dog and wiped sweat off her brow. She planted her shovel into the ground, looking up at him. She leaned against the handle, eyeing him curiously. She wasn’t sure if he could make out her expression or not, “Curious,” Raz muttered, “Because I distinctly recall you saying that we should get a dog. Was that a slip up? Because that sounds very different than just me getting one and having two cute things to come home to.”

    She casually walked past him, working to take down the poles where the old man and his sons were pinned, "How can we get a dog if I'm the only one taking care of it?"
     
  15. Leandros Solus

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    Ah, shit.

    There she went, analyzing his words too closely. He was trying to be cute, and then she went and focused on all that we and you and so which is it? stuff. He really ought to start thinking before he spoke. Imagine how much easier things would be if he did that? Hell, imagine if everyone did that; the galaxy would be a lot less violent.

    You know, on second thought, that would be boring as hell.

    After they were done, Leandros stabbed his shovel into the ground and put his weight on it for support, wiping sweat off of his forehead with the back of his dirt-caked hands. He looked at Raz’s face – or, rather, looked in the direction of it. Her features were difficult to make out now that it had grown dark, but he could feel her glare. Gods, she was difficult. ”Did I say you? I meant we,” he backtracked quickly, watching her walk past him and go about her business. Even as she went to take down the poles he just sat there and stared at the ground, shaking his head and wondering what he needed to do to figure this woman out.

    ”I don’t know. Maybe we do like a, uh… week to you, a week to me thing?” He shrugged fruitlessly and walked over to the poles where Raz was, folding his arms over his chest. ”I don’t know how we’d work it out, uh-“ he paused, thought for a moment, then smirked to himself, ”…Unleeeess you wanna make it three cute things to come home to? Then we'd be getting the dog.” He wiggled his eyebrows at her comically, knowing full well that she probably couldn’t see him in the darkness. "Toothbrush is already there and everything.”

    He took a step forward and went to help her take down the poles. It felt kind of weird, but also kind of liberating - like an unsolved piece of his past had finally been laid to rest. Aside from literally, that is.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
  16. Raz Solus

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    Raz crossed her arms and watched with great amusement as he fumbled over his words. First he began with an idea that sounded like divorced parents with joint custody of a child, and then he finally stumbled his way towards what he truly wanted to say. Raz paused, saying nothing for a moment as he continued to take down the poles.

    Was he implying moving in together? Raz hadn’t thought about that yet, even though he practically lived with her at this point. He was at her place almost any nights she was, and they communicated with one another nonstop otherwise. Neither of them had actually discussed the topic, nor did they ever talk about exactly what they were to one another.

    Raz stood there chewing her lip nervously, “How long have you thought about this?” She asked him with her usual blunt tone. Naturally, this was the perfect time to be discussing relationship milestones - while taking down dead bodies and burying a charred village full of people.

    Her heart was racing, and she finished with the burials to keep her mind occupied. Raz was covered in dirt and sweat by the end of it, but she felt much better for going through the effort. She wiped her forehead off and looked at Leandros again, moving closer so she could see him in the dark.

    “You know what you’re signing up for, right?” Raz asked nervously. She was beyond terrified of letting down her walls, and this would be crossing beyond anything she had ever had with anyone before.
     
  17. Leandros Solus

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    Leandros finished taking down the poles, tossing them aside in the grass with a gentle thwump. He swiped his hands together to get the ashes and dirt off of them, then turned his head to look at Raz. Even in the darkness he could feel her gaze boring into him, and he said nothing, knowing full well that his horribly worded proposition likely caught her off guard. Despite his frequent visits to her home and close communication with her, neither of them had actually ever discussed where they wanted to take their relationship to, or what their relationship even was for that matter.

    The two of them stood in the darkness, silent, and waited for the other to speak up, to do something to break the tension. He wringed his hands nervously for a moment, then wiped them against his pants, then balled them into fists a few times before letting them hang limp by his side, waiting for her answer. Eventually she did, and he took a moment to think about his own response.

    ”I think about you a lot,” he finally admitted when she finished with the burials, ”More than I think about a lot of things, actually.” She took a step towards him and he did the same, bridging the gap between them so that they could see each other more clearly. He tenderly wiped away some dirt from her cheek, letting his hand linger there for a few moments. ”So I think that, uh, if we lived together, it’d be…” He fumbled over his words again, finding it difficult to find the right thing to say to her. He inhaled sharply and let out a slow sigh, closing his eyes to focus himself for a moment. ”What I’m trying to say,” he said, opening his eyes to look into hers again, his smile fading away, ”Is that I wanna be closer to you. I think. I don’t know, I just- I just want to be with you.”

    He never took his eyes off hers, letting his gaze penetrate deep into her irises. A smile crept up his face again and he tilted his head ever-so-slightly. ”And of course I know what I’m signing up for, that’s why I’m doing it. It’ll be fun, I promise. I’ll even get myself a fridge for non-vegan food.” This was a serious thing for someone like her to consider; someone so fiercely independent, so worried about a repeat of her past. He wanted to calm those fears, to tear down those walls and show her that it was okay, that he was there for her no matter how many villages she burned down for him, even if it was a little weird.
     
  18. Raz Solus

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    Raz was in uncharted waters now, and of course it had to be right after she committed unforgivable crimes. She stood there awkwardly and nervously, and she could tell Leandros was struggling as well. It wasn’t often that he was nervous, but her question had him fumbling over his words. Raz said nothing as he spoke, staring at him with wonder as he finally got the words out.

    She had never lived with a significant other before, and this was a serious step. Raz said nothing for a moment, staring blankly at him and chewing her lip nervously. As she thought about this, she began to pace and walk around. He knew her well enough to know this was a common habit, and this was no different. This was a big change for her, and she had to think it over.

    Raz finally stopped pacing, walking closer to him. She stared at him for a moment, “How long have you been in love with me without ever telling me?” His words had struck a chord with her, and it was as if she had been hit with a ton of bricks. They had always kept a modest distance from one another during the rise of Solus, even though he had been there from the beginning.

    She had known him throughout the alliances formed with the rebellion and the rises and falls of planets they took. He had never said anything during those times. She knew that taking the step to live with her was not one he would take lightly. Raz realized she was putting him on the spot and smiled to ease things.

    Raz stepped forth and put her arms around him, holding him tightly, “This is all new...and a little scary for me..” She muttered quietly against his neck. The nervousness was clear in her voice.
     
  19. Leandros Solus

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    Leandros stood there awkwardly as Raz began to pace around, an action he was all too familiar with. She was making a huge decision in her head, and he knew that he had put her on the spot with his suggestion to move in with her. It was a massive leap for either of them to consider; they both lived alone for so long and spent so much of their time relying on themselves that the idea of living with another person was a radical shock to the system. He wringed his hands again and rubbed them against the side of his pants, fidgeting uncomfortably. Why did he feel so uncomfortable with this silence? He was known for his valor in battle and bravery in the face of the odds, yet here, alone in the dark with her, he felt reduced to a fidgeting mess. He was crossing a boundary he hadn’t crossed before, and that fear of the unknown permeated his body.

    He perked up the instant she stopped pacing, craning his head to look at her through the darkness as she approached. He expected her reply to be related to his suggestion, but she replied with a question that left him in silence for a while. Just how long did he love her before he finally told her how he felt? He thought long and hard but was shaken from his musing when Raz wrapped her arms around him in a warm embrace. He smiled again and put his arms around her in response, resting his chin on top of her head as she spoke against his neck. ”I don’t know what I’m doing either,” he said, rubbing her back idly.

    Leandros exhaled contentedly and stared off into the darkness, lost in thought. ”I loved you for a while, I think. Our duties kept us separate for so long, but I always wanted to make you proud. You were always the forbidden fruit.” He lifted his head and reached up to gently pull hers back so that he could look at her face. ”But the forbidden fruit’s the sweetest, isn’t it?” He stared at her for a moment before he leaned forward to capture his lips with hers, beginning to steer their bodies away from the grave site they were standing beside. It felt weird doing this right next to that.
     
  20. Raz Solus

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    Raz had to laugh at his words, “Forbidden fruit?” She shook her head, “Maybe oblivious fruit more like it…” She had always been clueless about cues. No matter how many hints he dropped, she would always be in the dark. As he met her gaze and pulled back slightly, her hand came up to allow her fingers to trace along the side of his face. As she gazed at him, she couldn’t imagine ever being with anyone else, and that was a tough admission for a loner like her. She had lived a life of solitude and now she was working towards having someone else be a part of her norm.

    As he leaned in to kiss her, she gave into it. Raz wrapped her arms around his shoulders, tilting her head as she closed her eyes. She forgot about their surroundings, though was reminded when she felt Leandros slowly moving to get away from it. Being entirely too lazy, Raz pushed down on his shoulders and sprang up to wrap her legs around his hips, allowing him to simply carry her away from the graves.

    She had no intention of breaking the kiss, and she was rapidly moving away from what happened here. Raz only saw and felt Leandros, and could only think about the next step she would take with him. She held onto him tightly, letting all her worries, responsibilities and guilt melt away.