My Pillar, My Beacon

Chapter 2

She finally talked herself into standing, it was probably foolish, but she was filthy and needed to pee. Bad. And she'd prefer to get as much of that sort of intimate care done before he came back. He'd obviously been forced to do too much of it already, but that was something she just needed to blank out. That was fine, blanking things out had always been a gift that Sarah possessed in spades. So many things were missing from her memories that she had long since taken the ability to forget as just part of her makeup. She was left with feelings, gut reactions to things. Although she could not remember ever waking up in bed with a man before, which should mean that she hadn't...ever... that internal knowledge laughed at that idea. She'd been with a man, or men, before. Somehow she knew that, understood that, even if she couldn't remember how, why, where or when. Ordinarily, that should mean some sort of trauma, but finding him in bed with her had definitely not spawned any sort of trauma induced reaction. She had been comforted by him, not terrified.

She relieved herself, trembling in the cold, and cleaned up as best she could, scraping her hair into a tail at the nape of her neck. When that was done, she came back to the small bed and wrapped one of the emergency blankets around her shoulders while she studied the med screen readout. Her first cynical thought had been that he had harshly rationed the med pacs that should have come with the screen, wisely giving her only enough to pull her through. She would hardly blame him, but the unit denied that. He'd used everything at his disposal, in a timely manner. She had just been that badly off.

He was gone for less than an hour, warily moving through the door as if he expected her to shoot him down. He grinned when he caught sight of her, sitting upright, and still wide awake, and it definitely seemed that the earnest look was his permanent mode. It seemed odd, her soul whispered that she had once had a taste for less wholesome sorts, but she saw no reason to hold that against him. There were many worse things to be trapped with than what certainly seemed to be a truly nice guy.

A waft of smell preceded him and she blinked. He smelled like food. Hot food. Not field rations...and she was suddenly famished. "I have food." He noted unnecessarily, and she nodded expectantly. She knew that. "I want you to start with the soup. If you can hold that down, we'll try something more substantial. And I got blankets, too."

And she loved him completely and fully in that moment, taking the cup of soup from him and peeling off the lid to take a deep smell of the contents while he pulled the emergency blanket from her shoulders and replaced it gently with a heavy, fuzzy blanket. It smelled not quite right, but she was willing to let it go. She was an easy sort to manage, happy with a cup of what could only be gizka soup and a blanket that smelled of its last owner. "It's good." She mumbled through a mouthful, and he smiled reassuringly. She would have lied in a heartbeat to make him feel better, even if the soup had been horrible, but it wasn't and it was good to not have to lie.

"You're looking much better." He noted, relief obvious in his voice. "Good, because we really need to get our bearings here."

Of course. Taris was under Sith control, and had both Carth Onasi and Bastila Shan down on it. To lose those two would be a blow that the Republic couldn't afford. Sarah was a nothing in this, just another Republic grunt, but the Republic's finest pilot and her best practitioner of the Force gifted battle meditation... without them, the Fleet might as well just hang it all up and surrender. "I'm good." She stated. She had to be, there simply wasn't any time to not be. He'd already wasted so much time taking care of her...when the smartest thing would have been to leave her. She was unimportant in the larger scheme of things, but he hadn't. She'd make it worth his time and effort, however she could. "We need to find Bastila." Hopefully, Bastila was alive to get off of Taris. Both she and Onasi needed to be off of this world as quickly as possible. Too damned valuable to be here. And, well, Sarah didn't want to be here, either. As a commonplace Republic soldier, her death would probably at least be quick and relatively painless...there was nothing to gain by drawing it out. But Carth, his death would be long, painful, drawn out and filmed for all the Republic to see. Hardly something that a hero of the Republic, what she now realized was probably just a really nice guy, deserved. And Bastila would not have the luxury of death.

No, the only answer was that Sarah needed to suck it up and do what needed to be done. Now. She stood, setting her balance to accept her weight.

"No." Carth disputed, and she glanced over at him. He was eating something off of a stick, and his pose made it very obvious that he was going nowhere, fast. "We've waited this long. It only makes sense to wait a little bit longer. A hard wind would knock you over like this. Eat. Sleep. And we'll move out in the morning."

"Finding Bastila, and getting the two of you off of Taris is much more important."

And he did an earnest and completely stubborn look quite well, pointedly relaxing. It was obvious, she wasn't going to move him. He was much larger than she was, and he outranked her by a hell of a lot. If he was determined to stay put, then he was staying put, and by extension she was staying put. "Does this place not have a heater?" She asked, and he shrugged.

"No." He answered, "That's not just an excuse to share the bed with you. The unit looks like it was cannibalized a long time ago...it's a miracle we have water and lights from what I can see. We're not in the best of neighborhoods."

"Probably the best." A bad neighborhood was one not completely under the sway of the Sith occupation. They had more of a chance to hide that way. His response was to merely offer her one of the sticks, and she eyed it thoughtfully. The question really wasn't what it was, but how well her stomach would handle it. She decided it was worth the risk, and accepted it, sitting next to him while she slowly ate. Her belly full, it was all too easy to let her lids fall, and she slipped back into a deep sleep.


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