Hidden 12 mos ago Post by Nobodyman123
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"Thank the Force that Yoda is okay." said Adam as he approached his master's hut. The old Jedi seemed more bemused than upset at the recent attempts on his life. It was there that Adam saw Kijani. Inspite of the dirt and mud, she looked more beautiful than he had ever seen her.

When she spoke to him, introducing Prince Eskel, she seemed distant to Adam. As if she was trying to keep it professional. Did she even miss me? Adam thought to himself.

Eskel moved to shake Adam's hand. "The ace? I've heard a lot about you." Adam took his hand. All that he knew of the Prince was that he was some sort of philanthropist.

Adam wanted to say something more to Kijani, but decided that it was better for everyone to get down to business. "Right. What the hell happened here?" he began.

"I don't know." said the Prince. "My bodyguards turned on me and then the imperials showed up. These are men I've known since I was a child! Why would they d-" Eskel stopped mid speech, suddenly remembering something. "They said they had 'orders'. The only man who can give them orders is my father..."

Eskel found a nearby log to sit down on and he let the bombshell hit home. "I think my father sent me here as a trap. He wanted to make sure you were here before telling the Empire..."

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Kijani watched fear, confusion and betrayal flit across Prince Eskel’s face in seconds. She wasn't fully sure what to do in the situation. No amount of royal training had a good line for 'your father has joined the empire and betrayed his blood'. "...I'm sorry, Eskel." Was all she could manage after several moments. It would be best to let him process.

Then, her gaze returned to Adam. He looked good. He’d put on muscle, and there was something different about him that she couldn’t quite quantify. “Adam, I… I never thought we’d reunite this way. It really is good to see you.” Were her hands shaking or was that just imagination. “If only we had a few minutes.” Where to even begin a desperately needed conversation?

“Hi Adam I think I fell for you when you weren’t looking. And I sure as stars wasn’t looking.”
“Hi Adam I apologize for everything I said in the past, what I’m saying now, and probably several in the future.”
“Hi Adam I missed the beard.”


Did the Force guide help with romantic issues?

There was very little outside sign of Kijani’s scrambled mind, besides an increased sweating.

“I… would love to talk to you, Adam.” Is what finally decided to come out of her mouth. She side eyed the distraught Eskel. “Privately. Hopefully.” Softly, she laid a shaking hand on his shoulder. She squeezed, as if making sure he wasn’t going to explode into mist and leave her alone. It probably hurt a little. “But first we need a plan, and I have none.” Grouping up had been her entire plan so far – now that was done and she was at a loss.

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Adam gently took Kijani's hand in his own. He was more than a little surprised that she was so... accepting of him returning. He wasn't sure that she would even be glad to see him, but here she was, close enough to touch. And she wanted to speak with him privately no less. Still, he knew that now wasn't the time.

"We have to go back." Eskel said, as if to himself. Adam picked up on it first.

"What do you mean? We just got here." Adam asked, confused.

"I mean we need to go to Naboo." the prince said, taking a deep breath to steel himself. "If it's true, then my father has to answer for this. If you don't want to come with me, then I'll go alone." Adam didn't try to hide his horror at this.

"Eskel, that's suicide. Even if we go with you, what are you hoping to accomplish?"

"If I can't get my father to see reason, then I'll broadcast his crimes to all of Naboo. They're aren't many at home who love the Empire. They could overthrow him and join the Rebels!"

This plan was bold, stupid and insane. But it was more than they had started with. The Jedi looked to both Kijani and Master Yoda. "This is crazy, but I'm out of ideas."


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“You’re right, Adam. This is crazy.” Kijani muttered, turning to Eskel. She fixed him with one of those uncanny golden gazes, eye to eye.

“Prince Eskel, I won’t claim to understand what you’re feeling right now. But – please understand, an uprising is a messy thing. It will not be unanimous. Some people will balk, some people will turn. It will lead to war on your planet. I hope you took our earlier conversation to heart, because if you do this, you will be the one pulling the trigger on it. You will have to be ready to lead, step up and truly fight. This endeavor could see your father dead, or worse, you.”

She sighed faintly, backing down a little. “If you are well and truly prepared for the consequences, then I’m on your side. If this is an impulse decision, then I will not be there.”
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Eskel nodded his head. "You are right. It's time I made a decision, and this is what I want." he said while taking her hand. "I need to hear this from my father's mouth, one way or the other. If he is innocent, then he needs our help. If he's working with the empire behind the backs of his own people, then he shouldn't be king anymore."

With that, the young man started walking away back towards the Naboo cruiser that he had arrived in. "I know how to fly my own ship. It should get use close enough to land. I'm going to make sure it's ready to take off." he said, turning back to say his piece. Once he was finished, he continued through the swamp, sure in his step.

"Well, he seems determined at least. He's probably right about taking his ship. An X-wing might be a little obvious." Adam said, looking sort of bemused. Yoda, however, looked concerned.

"Into the maw, you are both flying. Very dangerous it will be." said the Jedi Master. "Help you, I will. But go alone, you must. A trap, I sense."
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Kijani looked relieved to hear Yoda would join them, even if not for the direct fighting. “Thank you, Master Yoda, your help will be invaluable. And yeah, I don’t like our odds either, but leaving Eskel alone is out of the question.” She flashed Adam a little smile, her golden eyes lit up.

“So what’s a little more trouble. Nothing 3 Jedi, or maybe two and a half, can’t handle. Bring it on.”

Her father would lock her up if he saw that glittering gaze. There was no arguing with it. It was sort of a “My way or the Space Highway” sort of look. “We can talk strategy as we travel.” She started her tired body at a loose jog in the direction of Eskel’s ship. Hopefully there would be time for a recharge on the way.
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"Two and a half? I'm not that out of practice." said Adam with mock incredulity. Technically, he was out of practice, but he was sure that it would all come back to him relatively quickly.

She smiled at him. That was good, right? That meant she wasn't mad at him for what he said and putting her on the spot. Definitely a good sign. The young Jedi was so thrilled to be with his close friend again that he almost forgot to talk about strategy.

"We don't know what sort of Imperial presence is at the palace, so it might be wise for us to keep our heads down until we know what's going on. Not Eskel, though. They are expecting him, and I'm sure he can make up some horror story for how all of his guards aren't with him. What do you think?"
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Kijani nodded, though she was frowning. “I don’t know exactly how much I can go incognito. Unless you have a mask for me or something, someone is going to recognize this face. There aren’t exactly a lot of 6 foot women with dreadlocks walking around.” She thought deep as she walked, then snapped her fingers. “Maybe I don’t hide at all. Maybe I’m on Eskel’s arm, walking in like I own the place. As if the ridiculous engagement plan actually worked. That way I can make sure Eskel doesn't just get shot immediately. We just have to make sure that Eskel is calm enough to play nice for a while.”

She looked to him for his approval. "Then we sneak you in somehow, and get to the real work. I think that's a pretty solid idea."

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"Sure, I guess." Adam said. "Maybe you can stick me into a cargo crate or something." He meant it a something of a joke, but honestly, it probably was the best plan. Too bad it would be incredibly uncomfortable.

When the trio reached the Naboo cruiser, Eskel immediately stepped into the cockpit, saying nothing. After a moment, Adam could feel the ship thrum to life under his feet. "I guess he wasn't kidding about knowing how to fly."

Adam realized that he was alone with Kijani. "Um... hey. I missed you." he said, sheepishly. He knew how lame this sounded but it was just how he felt.
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Kijani went quiet, hand going to one of her dreadlocks to wind it around a finger. Adam had known her long enough to have spotted this tell, a sign of her nervousness despite any outward appearance.

“I missed you too.” She stared a bit at her shoes, then without warning, tossed her arms around Adam in a tight hug. “Probably more than I should have.”

She inhaled a shaky breath. So, this was nice. He was very warm, and she could feel his heart beating against her ear. The only real problem was that she probably stunk to hell, having been fighting for a solid 15 minutes through swamp muck and sweaty boots.

And perhaps the other problem was that her body had not consulted with her brain about being in Adam’s arms at all, and had made the decision without committee approval. Rather rude of her body, honestly.

She didn’t say anything for several moments, then: “...I smell like Dagobah.” And ever so reluctantly, she pulled back. “Sorry.”
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When Kijani wrapped her arms around Adam, he felt the last of his resolve melt away. He knew he missed her deeply, but now, after this, he knew it ran so much deeper. He needed her, and there was no way in hell that he would ever let her go again.

"It's okay. I'm sure I don't smell much better." he said, returning the hug and completely embracing her. "I'm sorry for dropping that bombshell on you last time we talked. I didn't want to put you on the spot or anything."

He lessened his grip on her and looked directly into her eyes. "If you just want to stay friends, I understand. I won't get in the way if you and Eskel." It hurt to say it, but he cared deeply about her own happiness and didn't want her to feel like she owed him anything more.
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“Well, I appreciate the apology.” Kijani said, very nearly flustered by Adam’s gaze. Only years of etiquette and poise training kept her confused feelings from her face. “As for Eskel and I… we have the potential to be friends. Great friends.” A smile slipped onto her face, but it was about as detached from reality as the royal ‘we’.

“Speaking of him, let me go tell him the plan. I’ll be back soon.” With that, she let herself detach. It ached. She just wanted to be in his presence longer. For the rest of the trip, at least. For the rest of time, maybe.

It didn’t take her long to find the cockpit. There, she quickly explained the barebones plan that she and Adam had concocted. She also tried to calm Eskel down, as she could sense the anger rolling off of him.

“You’re going to need to be calm by the time we arrive, Prince Eskel. Otherwise, this won’t work at all.”

“I know. And I will be, when the time comes.” He turned and flashed her a smile. His eyes showed no hint of it. “Also, it’s just Eskel now. We’re about to start a rebellion, after all. I think titles may be a bit unnecessary.”

Kijani chuckled softly. “Fair point, Eskel. Adam and I will both be in your corner, no matter what happens.”

“Thank you. I appreciate it. I will need you both.” He exhaled, and Kijani felt some of the anger leave him. That was a relief.

“Good. I am going to borrow your shower.”

“Very well.”

“And your clothes.”

“You... what?”

-

Kijani basked under the hot water in the ship’s grand quarters. The steam and soap were such a deep relief after months and months of swamp. She scrubbed from head to toe, washed her hair twice, and found a perfumed soap that didn’t smell too masculine.

Then she simply soaked. Admittedly, she had missed this the most. The fine clothes and food were one thing, sure, but nothing beat a steaming hot shower. While she was in there, she thought. About what was going to happen next. About what she needed to do. She managed to get out before the water started to get cold.

Wrapped in a thick towel, she perused Eskel’s closet for something that would suit. Most of the clothes were too large, but she managed to put something together with a cream colored shirt that, along with a thick belt, fit her like a dress.

Then she went back to where she had left Adam.

“Does this pass for what a future Queen would look like?”
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When Kijani went to take a shower, Adam suddenly felt self conscious about his own hygiene. He hadn't showered or slept or done much of anything for at least twelve hours at this point. Being with Kijani again was like a shot in the arm, but he figured that it wouldn't hurt to at least wash up a little.

He unzipped his pilot's jumpsuit and stepped out of it. Bright orange wasn't going to do him much good on Naboo, anyway. He kept on a pair of plain slacks under his suit and a white tank top. Maybe he could ask Eskel if he had a spare shirt. Still, he found a nearby sink and tried washing some of the grime off his face

And then, Kijani stepped out and Adam found himself lost for words. In just a few short minutes, she had completely transformed from a Jedi back into royalty.

"Yes." Adam found himself saying before thinking. "I think you'll make quite an impression." Adam glanced down at his own bedraggled state and shrugged. "Do you think Eskel has that in my size?" he joked.
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Kijani smiled and chuckled faintly, swiftly pulling back her locks into a braided style that would have to do. “You’d have to ask him.” She did her best not to look him over. It seemed he hadn’t neglected his physical training. He looked more trim and muscled than he had the last time she’d seen him. His clothes might have been much simpler, but he did look good.

Kijani’s grin faltered as she looked at him. The future weighed on her shoulders like a robe made of rock. “...It occurs to me that we are walking into a heightened situation and we may not get another chance to talk.” Leaning against the wall, she took a deep breath. “Adam… you know me. I look at things from every angle. I don’t do things by halves. I’m far too deliberate for my own good. You’re offering me something that could change my life in ways that I’m sure I can imagine. I need to think on it more. I should think on it more. And yet…” She stood and approached him slowly.

“Yet all I want to do is – is…” She stared him at him, her golden eyes unreadable.

And then she pulled him downward by the front of his tank top and kissed him. Soft and hesitant, her lips lingered gently against his for what felt like a warm eternity, but couldn’t have been for more than a few seconds. She pulled back with shaking hands, and couldn’t look Adam in the eyes.

“I’ve… wanted to do that for a while.”
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Adam could feel Kijani's eyes wander over him and his physique. He couldn't tell if she was admiring him or just trying to find something to say. Still, he hid his blush and listened to her. She was right, of course. There was no way they could know what happened after today. Either they would strike a mighty blow against the Empire and bring a powerful new ally to the Alliance, or they would all be dead. Or perhaps worse.

He listened to her as she approached him, not exactly sure where she was going with this. He knew it was important, but he couldn't read any emotions in her deep, golden eyes.

Then, before he could get a word in, it happened. Kijani, Princess of Alderaan, kissed him. For the first few moments, Adam's mind went into shock. He had imagined this moment happening for so long that his mind couldn't register that it was actually happening. But in that moment, everything was perfect. This amazing woman that Adam had admired for so long felt the same way, and the young Jedi felt like he didn't need an X-wing to fly anymore.

When it stopped, Kijani looked away from him. Was she embarrassed? Afraid of his reaction?

"Yea?" he asked her, tilting her face back to his. "Me too." With that, he kissed her deeply, wrapping her up in his arms.

"If you two are done, we have some things to discuss." said a voice from behind Adam. Moment broken, Adam turned to see Prince Eskel leaning against the bulkhead. His face seemed to Adam as a mix of disappointment and bemusement.
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Kijani felt her heart leap as Adam kissed her back. She leaned into his broad chest, her arms around his neck. She almost felt lightheaded. Though that could have been from not knowing how to breathe suddenly. He loved her. She loved him. For a moment, everything in the universe was perfect.

Unfortunately, that moment was very fragile. Eskel’s voice shattered it like a pane of sugar glass. She pulled away and turned guiltily, Adam’s taste still warm on her lips.

“Oops.” She could feel her face burning. Embarrassment made her flinch slightly, but after a moment of thought, she squared her shoulders and looked him in the face. There would be more than enough questions with her marrying a commoner. She would not being embarrassed that she’d followed her heart. So she simply spoke as if nothing was wrong. Because it wasn’t. “Yes, you’re right, Prince Eskel. We need to put together a battle plan. What can you tell us about the layout of the palace?”
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Eskel led the pair to a small holoterminal near the cockpit, where he pulled up a 3D display of Theed Palace. After showing the serene, beautiful outside, the map began to outline several paths in and around the palace grounds.

"The Royal Palace is very well defended and stands on a cliff face. Thankfully, there are a few passages that only the royal family know about. Like this one..." Eskel pointed at a long pathway that linked outer gardens and the hanger. "My father is expecting me, as well as the princess, but Adam can sneak in and out."

"To do what, exactly?" asked Adam. To be honest, his head was still reeling from kissing Kijani that he was having a hard time paying attention to the prince. He mentally shook his head and regained himself. Whatever Eskel was planning, Adam was sure he was going to have his work cut out for him.

Prince Eskel held up a small datapad. "Take this. I recorded a message while you two were snogging." he said with a smirk. "Was he mad?" Adam asked himself and he took the device.

"While Kijani and I confront my father, take that device to the comm station outside of the palace. You can broadcast my message to all of Naboo. I can only hope that my people will believe my message and rise up against the Empire. After that, maybe you can try contacting the Rebels and tell them what's happening here."
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Kijani focused on the holomap while Eskel laid out the plan. There were so many ins and outs, so many places for an enemy to hide. This could go wrong, very fast. It would rely on a great deal of deception on her and Eskel’s part.

“Adam, keep in mind that we won’t be able to act until that’s in place. We have to make nice and hope against hope that his father doesn’t call our bluff.” That was going to be the trickiest part by far. “If he just up and attacks us, knowing that Eskel’s not supposed to be there, we’ll be in trouble. But – if he acts ignorant of the matter, that’s all we’ll need.” She felt her stomach flutter and twist.

“I have a bad feeling about this.” She sighed. “But it’s the plan we have. If it goes south…” She studied the map once more before tracing a path with her fingertip. “We exit this way and wrap around back to the ship.”
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Adam nodded in agreement. "It won't be the first time we've had to sneak around Imperial troops. I just hope your people listen to your message, Eskel. Once that broadcast goes out, every trooper in the palace is gonna converge of me."

The plan wasn't a great one, but sometimes you had to work with what you had. "If I can't get back to the ship, leave without me. I'm sure there is more than than one way to get off planet." He hated saying it, but he figured he'd put it out there. Adam could finally love Kijani, and there was no way he wanted her to get hurt while waiting for him.

"If there is nothing else to discuss," Eskel began. "I'll take our ship in. We should be entering Naboo's atmosphere in a few minutes." The prince of Naboo left the small holomap and returned to the cockpit, and Adam found himself alone with Kijani once again.

"You better not get hurt, or I will be very upset." he told her. He meant it to sound funny, but Adam found himself meaning every word.
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Kijani did not like the idea of leaving Adam behind. But, she recognized the cold logic and wisdom in it. “I disagree about leaving you. But I’m sure you know what you’re doing and how to escape.” As soon as Eskel left the room, she went to Adam and leaned her head against his chest. She was breathing deep, in an effort to quell her fear. She gently poked him in the chest, smiling a smile that didn’t reach her eyes. Those eyes held sheer worry.

“If you get hurt, you’ll make me mad. I don’t think you’ve ever made me mad. Trust me, you won’t like it.”

Her smile dropped as she ran a hand across her face. “...Come back to me in one piece, my love.”
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