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    1. #1
      Kestrel Dray's Avatar
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      One week after...[x] and three days after...[x]

      "Ah! Chit!"

      Kestrel Dray slid from beneath the belly of her ship and wiped her hands down the front of the coveralls she wore. Kestrel was covered in grease and her clothing stained with what looked to be engine coolant. She pulled the safety goggles onto the top of her head, wisps of dark hair poking out around them. The area around her eyes was clean, framed by a thin film of grime where the goggles had sat moments ago, showing just how dirty she actually was. Her eyes traveled down to blistered fingers and she resisted the urge to suck her bleeding knuckles. Those wires weren't meant to cross paths, obviously.

      Kes glanced her partners way and nodded her head towards the ship. "Water break?"

      She'd asked JJ to help her with a few repairs, but it seemed like he was in more of a chatty mood than normal. Trying to maintain a conversation was pulling her focus away from what she was doing. An electric shock was the result of her distraction. So, a water break to get it all out there. Then she could get back to work on her ship. The trip to Ossus and back had taken its toll, and as much as Kestrel loved her vessel...she sure would like for it to not break down on her so much.

      Leading the way up the ramp, Kes went straight to the galley and opened the conservator to pull out a couple water bottles. She tossed one JJs direction and untwisted the lid from hers.

      "Repeat what you were saying again? I missed that last part."
      Last edited by Kestrel Dray; 11-14-2017 at 08:57 AM.

    2. #2
      Judah Lesan Jr.'s Avatar
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      Ever since Manu brought the teens home things had been better between the two padawans. They had learned what Judah had wanted them to. They were better together. JJ had to admit he was getting nervous though because Judah had been gone, and was still gone. SOMETHING was wrong, but JJ couldn’t know what it was. This made him more talkative than usual.

      Kes hurt herself because of it. JJ let out a curse in old Corellian when she did. He knew it was his fault. That’s why he nodded when she asked about a water break. He chuckled at the site of Kes covered in grease with the exception of where the goggles had been. JJ stopped when Kes shot him the look he only knew too well. Every woman came by it naturally.

      ”Water would be great... besides maybe that way we can talk without me getting you electrocuted?”

      JJ had been meaning to ask Kes about something, though he’d been reluctant to bring it up. With all the fighting they had done before he wouldn’t have trusted her answer, and now that they were being nice to each other he didn’t want to wreck that. Still... he wanted to know if she felt about him the same way he was starting to feel about her. JJ had a fool proof plan.


    3. #3
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      "Not being electrocuted would be a plus." Kes responded thoughtfully, closing up the service panel. "I think I found the problem, though. I'm pretty sure it's the inertial compensator, needs replacing." Kes went over to the sink and set down the water bottle to flip on the faucet and wash her hands, making sure to scrub them well, all the while considering the price of the parts she was going to need. Considering that, she started to instead wonder if there was a junkyard somewhere near Yavin VIII where she could scavenge the parts herself. The water turned off, she dried up and meandered back to where JJ was.

      Kes could sense that he was nervous about something, she could feel it in the Force and through their deepening bond. This concerned her, but she had no idea what it was about. If she had to take a guess, then it was likely something to do with the senior Judah's disappearance. Kestrel was worried, but not as much. He seemed a capable Jedi, and if something had happened...then surely they would have felt it in the Force? JJ especially would have noticed something. Right? She'd even heard that some could sense others at great distances, if the connection was strong enough.

      Kestrel leaned back against the wall and crossed her ankles, taking a swig from the bottled water.

      "So, tell me what's been on your mind. You have my full attention JJ! Lay it on me."

    4. #4
      Judah Lesan Jr.'s Avatar
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      "Yeah... I'm sorry about that... distracted as usual I guess."

      JJ had been distracted. Judah wasn't back yet, and things with Kes had been very different. He knew he liked her, nad thought she liked him. His plan was the dumbest thing ever. In his own mind he had it built up as this genious thing, but in reality the best plan would be to just ask her out. She was covered in grease and it was the best time for it. I mean if he liked her now then she knew he'd like her no matter what... right? See that would make sense, but JJ rarely did what made sense. In some ways he was like people used to describe his father... foot and mouth.

      They were near a sink so when Kes cleaned up, JJ did also. He watied for her, and then when they were done he grabbed his water. She wanted to know what was bothering him, and he could tell before she said anything. Part of JJ wanted to chalk up his confusing feelings to the bond they were developing, but he knew it was beyond that. The thought that they had been in danger and he could have lost her on the last mission was enough to let him know that things were about more than their bond. Still, like an idiot he stuck to his plan.

      "So... do you think I'm attractive? I mean I'm seventeen and well... just trying to figure out why I don't have a girlfriend and all... am I ugly... you can be honest with me. Do you suppose like.... Emma.... would say I'm ugly?"

    5. #5
      Kestrel Dray's Avatar
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      She shrugged at the apology. "It's just a singe, no biggie."

      Kestrel had just taken a drink when he posed his question and she quite nearly spewed her water all over the place, but somehow managed to choke it down. Her brow arched.

      JJ was asking if she thought he was attractive? And if she thought Emma would think he was?

      Why Emma?

      Why not Emma?

      That girl was as beautiful as a love-sung lullaby! Often seemed to know what to say, seemed to be the most at ease in social settings. While Kes...wellll. She glanced briefly at her hands, gloves and coveralls caked in grime and grease. She knew she was a walking disaster, even on her good days.

      Kestrel was a mechanic, and a Jedi, she didn’t gussy up often - well, more like...not at all. And she wasn’t exactly elegant, or wise with her choice of words.

      The question then surfaced another issue, because she found herself feeling stupidly self conscious about the way she appeared to him. Not only that, but a part of her wanted him to notice her instead. She was emotionally aware enough to know that her feelings towards him had changed after Coyerti, but too stubborn to openly admit it.

      ...Maybe if she did her hair like Emma, and smelled as lovely as she did, would he...notice?

      She hurriedly gulped the internal conflict down, another revelation revealed.

      The emotion startled her...here she was, comparing herself to her own friend! Over what? A simple question?

      How idiotic. Jealousy was not a becoming trait to nurture.

      The truth was that she could see no reason why Emma would not be interested in someone like JJ. He was handsome, and his company was enjoyable (now that they weren’t bickering all the time, she enjoyed it), even his quirks could be weirdly attractive.

      Kes pressed her shoulder into the wall she was leaning against and scrunched her lips to one side, fidgeting with the lid of her bottle, twisting and untwisting it repeatedly.

      “Ugly? Far from it. I think she would say you're attractive. Why are you asking me, though? If you like her, then approach her. You do like her, right? Why else would you ask me? That’s why you don’t have a girlfriend yet. Be assertive! And decisive. Because I think Rik might be interested in her, too.”

    6. #6
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      ”Well I mean I don’t know...” JJ said quickly realizing his plan seemed to backfire. If it had shaken her, Kes was doing a good job of hiding. All the Jedi knew was he had to quickly backtrack before Kes marched him down to Emma’s quarters and made him ask her out. The last thing Judah needed was to be stuck asking the wrong girl out and possibly saying yes.

      “I’m just asking... cuz um.... well... I don’t know. I mean I might like someone else, but you know hypothetically I’m just saying.”

      At least she didn’t think he was ugly. That would have crushed him. Of course the question itself was a vain thing. Though JJ figured the best way to turn this all around was to throw the question on Kes. Maybe he should ask her if she was interested in anyone.

      Maybe if they weren’t partners this wouldn’t be so complicated. There was a potential moral issue in regards to Jedi ethics here. His dad never seemed to care about that. He’d heard the stories about the young Jedi Knight who made a pass at everyone of his students. JJ was not going to be that way one bit.

      ”I mean hypothetically is there anyone you like?”

    7. #7
      Kestrel Dray's Avatar
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      He might like someone else? This was all just hypothetical? More importantly...just how many girls did JJ know? And why were there so many ‘ums’ and ‘I don’t knows’ in that sentence? Kestrel’s brow remained arched, peering skeptically into JJ’s blue eyes. Was that tension and nervousness she detected? Not often did she see him acting flustered. Headstrong, feet-first Judah? Whatever this was, it was clear he was out of his element. Her lips quirked up on one side, it would be a lie to pretend she wasn’t a little bit amused.

      There was a second when she found herself being tempted to try and reach into the Force for better clarity on the matter, for understanding. That was part of being a good partner, was being able to understand the other. But doing so just didn’t feel right, she wasn’t going to invade his personal boundaries. Instead, the dark-haired padawan found herself rocking on her heels, trying to figure out where he was going with all of this, paid attention, listened.

      When he asked if she liked anyone, again, ‘hypothetically’, Kestrel felt herself blushing. For once she could honestly say she was thankful for the filth, it would mute the heat on her face and make it less noticeable. The last thing she wanted was for him to have something to poke at her about.

      “So, you don't like Emma then? Who's the mystery girl, if it's not Emma?”
      The blush was gone and she’d rebounded quickly. “Cause you either you do or you don’t. There is no hypothetical? I’m not really an expert or anything, but I thought that’s how it goes...you know...Hypothetically.” Kes bit her lip to prevent a cheeky grin from forming before admitting, “There is someone I’ve noticed, but I’m not sure a grease monkey who douses herself in fuel like it's perfume, would really be his type."

    8. #8
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      ”Right fine... it’s not Emma... you know exactly.”

      JJ admitted that much because Kes wasn’t allowing him to be hypothetical. She wanted him to come right out and say who it was he liked. Sure he could do that and make everything all weird and awkward between them. JJ took in a deep breath and let out a long sigh.

      “Right so no hypothetical....”

      JJ continued to let it go, but it was out there now so that wasn’t happening. He wasn’t going to be able to let it go when Kes wanted to know.

      He rocked on his heels a bit. JJ wasn’t the Casanova his father had been in the past, and certainly didn’t know how to say things in a way that sounded nice.

      “Right, okay, out with it...”

      JJ just looked at Kes for a moment. She probably thought the hit to his head on their last mission caused more damage than they originally thought.

      ”Right, so she’s got the most amazing dark hair... it’s long, but she rarely lets hang loose. She’s pretty, but doesn’t really think she is... oh and she’s always pulling at her sleeve or glove to cover up this arm she’s not to keen on people seeing...”

      He just looked at Kes and waited for her to get what he was trying to say.

    9. #9
      Kestrel Dray's Avatar
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      There was a swirl of emotions that Kestrel could feel as JJ was trying to build up to telling her who it was he liked. Kestrel didn’t quite understand why the revelation of it was taking him so long. She’d always let him know he could talk to her if he wanted to, even before, when they had been arguing and bickering all the time. Since then, the relationship between them was greatly improved, more honest now than it had been before. And with everything that happened on Coyerti, surviving what could have been a near death experience for them both, telling her about a girl should have been a walk in the park.

      When JJ relented, Kestrel drew in a breath. It was weird. A small part of her didn’t want to know, didn’t want to hear about the girl he liked in the event that it confirmed how he only saw her as a friend, but on the same token wanted to know. Besides, that was just it. JJ was her friend, her partner, and it wasn’t about her. Personal feelings aside.

      “Good! Finally. And you know you can trust me with your secret, I won’t tell anyone. Promise.”


      It had taken a second for what he was telling her to fully sink in, and had Kes looking bewildered and left her speechless. She unconsciously began tugging at the glove covering her mechno-arm. Her face burned hot and she felt a fluttering in her stomach like it was flipping over itself. Judah had told her during their mission that he had found her pretty, but she was dismissive of him then. For a number of reasons. This time was different. He...liked her. Not just saying she was pretty, and it wasn't in a friendly way. But he like-liked her.

      Kestrel knew she needed to respond, to say something! But she wasn’t sure what, or how!

      “...You mean…” she gulped. “I mean...are you sure?...Me? It’s not...this isn’t because we almost..or could have...died, on Coyerti and we’re friends?” Essentially she was asking him if he was sure about his own feelings, if he was confused. Maybe she was confused, and there was another girl with a mechno-arm and dark hair? I mean, did he see the way she looked?

      “I’ve been feeling differently towards you too...but I didn’t think that you...” Kestrel looked down, embarrassed. "You think my hair is amazing and that I'm pretty? Really? Even like this?"

      She should stop talking and making everything more awkward.
      Last edited by Kestrel Dray; 12-01-2017 at 03:15 PM.

    10. #10
      Judah Lesan Jr.'s Avatar
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      JJ just shook his head. This exactly why JJ didn’t want to tell her directly. Kes was questioning it like she couldn’t believe it. Hadn’t she been feeling things change between them? It was not just because of what happened on the last mission. JJ had started to recognize the feelings then, but if they were honest the reason they argued was because it was better than the confusion.

      ”Yes, I’m sure,” JJ said. ”I mean we are friends, by we are more than that too. You can feel it in the force, through the bond we share. So we usually avoid just reaching out, but if you’re unsure, go ahead.”

      JJ gave Kes his permission to search his feelings and thoughts. He wasn’t going to reach out to her without permission, but he knew he’d have it if he felt Kes brush agains his aura.

      “And you know I don’t mind the grease. I’ve seen you without it too. Give yourself more credit. You’re pretty you know.”

      His shoulders lifted and went back to place in a small shrug. JJ didn’t know what to do about it. They were both still young, but not too young they couldn’t date. If they weren’t partners it would be a cut and dry issue, but they were. That’s why things were complicated. A sigh followed the shrug.

      “I just don’t know what to do with all this. If we weren’t partners this would be so easy. As it stands... the council wouldn’t like the idea, but...”

      JJ looked Kes in the eyes.

      “I want to anyway...”

    11. #11
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      Kes was coming up on turning sixteen, normal girls her age were noticing boys and dating. Normal girls also had Mother's to help them navigate the waters of the first boy they liked. They were there to offer advice. Kestrel didn't have any moments shared with Magena to draw on, neither did she have an adult female figure she could turn to for advice. She was unequipped with being able to grasp onto her own feelings, let alone know how respond to someone being interested in her. Certainly no one had ever told her she was pretty, until JJ. She’d figured that was because of how scraggly she tended to look, or that it was somehow tied to her crude mechanical arm. For whatever reason, Kes had been largely overlooked through her childhood and earlier teens, and had given up trying to get attention from the people around her, tried to not care if boys looked at her or not, and embraced the non-girly side of herself.

      Of course she was going to question if JJ was sure about his feelings.

      When he said she could reach into their Force bond to be sure, Kes pressed her lips together and raised a brow. “I’m sorry...it’s just that no one has ever acted like they were interested in me,” she tried explaining, “I mean...people have been, but always with the intent to get something from me...like Tavid, whenever he needed something fixed, like that speeder that took off my arm. That’s why...” she shook her head and sighed. “...You’re the first boy that’s ever looked at me differently...in that way.”

      They did have a strengthening bond, Kestrel had felt it during Coyerti and more so whenever they were around each other. So strong, that sometimes they inadvertently were communicating, at a level beyond the need for language. As had been the case earlier, when she discerned his emotions that ended up leading them to this conversation. With all of that in mind, Kes shouldn’t have needed to reach through the Force at all, should have been able to trust what he said. And for the most part, she did. But there was still a small part of her that needed to clear away any shred of doubt.

      Kes reached out to him and felt for his sincerity, searched his emotions, letting down the walls guarding herself as well. It was one of those rare, clear-as-transparisteel moments, when she felt everything he was saying, and that which could not be verbally conveyed. Kestrel found herself turning her face away, feeling the warmth return again.

      How ridiculous! You’re being ridiculous!

      Her head was in the clouds, up until he mentioned the council. That grounded her right back down to reality, quick!

      “I don’t know either...but, I know that what your Dad said is true. We’re better when we’re together, we have proven that.” though she didn’t think that Judah meant that in a way beyond what they could do together as a cohesive team. “...And I think...I want to explore what else that could mean. I want to, too.” she paused and folded her arms, “But...if we ever put each other over the mission...we agree to end things. Being good Jedi needs to be our first priority, always.”

    12. #12
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      "And my dad is Judah, "I used to sleep with my students," Lesan." JJ chuckled. He had learned to embrace the part of his dad's past that most like to bring up despite the fact he never once cheated on Katara. Judah may have never been around, but he was faithful. "It's not like you and I know what we are really doing here, but I can't ignore the fact I like you, and as more than a friend."

      JJ shrugged. It didn't mean they had to do anything about it, but they did need to have it in the open. Things would only get awkward if they didn't open up about it.

      He felt her brush against his aura. There was a part of him that was slightly disappointed she felt the need to, but he burried that. Judah had invited her to do just that, and so he projected the sincerest of feelings. He could feel the tension, the uncertainty, and JJ understood it. All the feelings she had on the matter were his as well.

      "In other words don't draw attention to the fact we are dating by getting the job done?"

      The Corellian smirked. He wanted to know exactly what Kes meant by exploring what this could mean. His back pushed off the wall and closed the distance between them. JJ took her hand in his, the real one because it felt like the right one to grab. Blue eyes looked into the darker hued orbs in Kestre's eyes.

      "Because if you want to date... like be boyfriend and girlfriend... I might want that too."

      Yeah... JJ was no Casanova.

    13. #13
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      “Wow, what a mouthful of a middle name! And here I thought my parents were cruel for leaving me on Tatooine...but I’d wager having to live with that to be marginally worse.” Kestrel poked her tongue out at JJ. The senior Lesan’s past reputation didn’t seem to affect Kes, or cause her to take his advice any less seriously. Who ever that Judah was, was not the mentor she knew presently.

      At him saying they didn’t know what they were doing, she nodded “Of course we don’t...we’re not our parents.” JJ wasn’t the only one with a parent whose reputation preceded him. There were stories about Magena’s escapades which, unfortunately, weren’t difficult to imagine. Even when she’d been toting her and Kena around the galaxy, Kestrel could remember her mother entertaining ‘guests’ whenever fuel or food was low. After the ‘guests’ would leave, they’d suddenly have the means for those things again. She didn’t know at the time what was going on, but she did now.

      “Wait a minute…” her shoulder unlatched from the wall she was leaning against and her posture straightened to a stand, “Are you worried that others might think you’re going to start living up to your Dad’s reputation...because we’re partners and like each other?” And what did that mean others would think about her, if that were the case? Maybe she was reading too much between the lines of what he was saying, but she couldn’t help wonder if that was his meaning with the question of morality involved with his Dads past and the council.

      She was still caught up in agonizing over the details of what he could have meant by that, that she wasn’t present to catch the part where he mentioned something about them dating and drawing attention to themselves. Of course, she quickly began to pay attention when that signature smirk appeared on his face. She knew that smirk, it always followed with him trying to do or say something stupid. He was feeling confident and smug about something.

      Watchful eyes paid attention as he approached and came to stand in front of her. Kestrel wasn’t that much shorter than JJ, but enough that when he was close like this, she still had to look up at him. She found herself shuffling back, slightly uncomfortable with the close proximity, but found she was already as far against the wall as she could get.

      If he tried to kiss her…! If he. Even. dared!

      But his actions weren’t as brazen as she thought, and instead Kestrel noticed his fingers wrapping around hers. The gesture was subtle, and pulled her gaze downward, briefly staring at their hands. Her fingers were stiff at first, but curled around his after a moment or two, once she decided that she kind of liked the feeling and that it was an acceptable amount of contact.

      Her head lifted to look on him again at his next words, which also made her eyes widen. “Boyfriend and girlfriend?” she repeated, making sure she heard him right. “I didn’t...mean…” What did you mean then? She knew she was certainly giving him the impression she wanted exactly that, especially when her hand acquiesced to his, the one she was still holding. Even so, she was trying to backpedal. “That...exactly.” she swallowed softly. “I just meant...in a casual way...dating, that seems a little bit...” She couldn’t hold his gaze and had to look down, feeling the air between them thicken. How many times was she going to be embarrassed over trying to be honest with her feelings? “I guess...yeah, that is...that is what I meant…” you should be looking at him while you’re talking, she silently reprimanded herself. Right. Kestrel tried to build up her courage and looked back to his face, “I, um...I uh…” she bit her lip, her muscles tensing, that butterfly feeling returning to try and unnerve her. He was no casanova, true...but she was truly no better with words or actions in that moment. “I do, I want to date you Judah Lesan! Is that...is that ok?”

    14. #14
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      "I don't know... maybe," he answered. "I just know that I don't want to be lumped up with that... Not so much that it will happen. I mean it isn't like I've ever kissed a girl or anything like that before."

      Judah quickly clapped his hand over his mouth. That wasn't supposed to come out. He was 17 and supposed to know enough about what he was doing to keep Kes from being nervous about the while dating thing, right? Either was it was out there now. The look of dread on her face as he got closer was enough to signal that kissing was not on her mind at all. It was going to be enough to even think about being a couple.

      JJ shrugged.

      "Why wouldn't it be okay? We both want to, and as long as it doesn't distract us from our training, I don't see an issue. My dad was married, other Jedi here have married each other. It isn't like the council is telling people they can't do that. If they let people get married, they cannot tell us we can't date."

      That was how JJ saw the world. If it was right for one group it was right for him. If it was wrong for him, then it better not be right for the other group. It wasn't absolute thinking per se, just... equitable thinking. Judah like an equitable world, but he was realizing as he grew older the world did not work that way. Either way, he would fight for it as much as he could. Ideals were not the stuff of life, but they could be, couldn't they?

      "So, I really don't know what I'm supposed to do now... I guess we need to go on a date. Dinner at the Tavern maybe?"

      This was going to be an interesting relationship. Dinner at the tavern? Really? That's what you did with a friend. Though, Kes was his friend, and she would be that before ever being his girlfriend. Maybe the tavern was okay. They likely knew each other's order as it was already. The menu was limited.

    15. #15
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      0 Not allowed!
      JJ seemed embarrassed by what he told her. What he didn’t know, was how much that information put her at ease.

      Kestrel had Zeltron heritage, but so far, all that meant was she had a weird eye colour and a subtle pink pigmentation that made her look like she was in a state of forever blushing.
      She didn’t care he’d never kissed, that suited her just fine...because neither had she.

      “That’s definitely better than the opposite.” Kestrel answered, trying to convey it wasn’t a big deal to her. A fleeting thought made her want to tease him, just a little, but something told her that’d be a bad move. “But, you don’t need to explain, I get it, ya know? People watch me like my skin is about to split open and Magena will step out. Ready to snatch boyfriends and wreck havoc. But, so what! Let people keep their opinions. Actions will speak louder in the long run, anyway.”

      Kestrel shrugged her shoulders.

      “I don’t know. I guess I wasn’t sure if we needed to talk to the council about it, with the whole ‘moral problem’ you mentioned...” saying it outloud made her feel silly, following what JJ said to her. “I just want to do things the right way, not assume it’s right, because it feels right.”

      What it boiled down to, was her mother. Magena acted on whims, did whatever she wanted if it suited her to do it. Some admired traits like that, but Kestrel saw the ugly underbelly that sort of thinking produced. Kestrel wanted to be different, and being different started with caring for the little things, didn’t it?

      Kestrel blinked, considering the dinner proposal, and looked over at the chrono hanging on the wall to check the time.

      The dinner hour was still a few away, good.

      “Okay...yes.” she was done working on her ship until she could get that replacement part, anyway. “I’ll need to wash the grease from my hair, so I’ll meet you later...but it’s a date.”

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