Tag was perched on the corner of Indy’s desk when the admiral walked in, juggling an armload of files and her own caf cup. Indy blinked at the other woman a moment, then shook her head.
“You still remember my lock code.”
“You still haven’t changed the overrides,” Tag corrected.
“Should I have?”
The Corellian Jedi smirked. “Ask me when I run out of whisky.”
Indy laughed, setting the pile of files down on an unoccupied area of her desk and settled into her chair, taking a long, slow sip of caf. “So what brings you down to officer country this early in the morning? Did you actually make it home last night?”
“Early? It’s 0900.” Tag turned slightly to face her, solidifying her perch. “Figured I’d come down and see if someone’s son tags along to a debriefing.”
Indy arched a brow at the other woman. “Why would she bring Les? He hasn’t been officially commissioned yet.”
“Yet.” The word dangled, heavy with implication. Indy shook her head.
“I need bodies, Tag.”
“Breathing ones,” the Intelligence officer observed dryly, then smiled briefly. “His continuing to breathe is why I’m here.” Indy’s puzzled look was met by a wry, almost sheepish smile. “Jaq’s a handful, but as a Jedi…I don’t worry about how he’s going to turn out. Les…if half of what your padawan’s told me is true, then he’s going to need some guidance. Who better to help him navigate a new path than someone who’s stared darkness in the face before and walked away alive and mostly intact?”
“Mostly intact,” Indy echoed, almost in a murmur, staring at her life-long friend. “You can’t say that you weren’t scarred by that part of your life.”
Tag shrugged, eyes distant for a moment. “I had good anchors to bring me back to myself. Dalsuna,” her voice hitched. “Jaq…” She stopped a moment, looking down, then took a deep breath and shook her head. “Anyhow. Les is going to need some sort of guidance, and who else would be available to give it to him? You wouldn’t visit him upon anyone else, and if the rumors are true…well. Then the rumors are true and you need me to see to him, rather than anyone else. Don’t you?”
Indy waved off the question as someone tapped on her office door. “Come.”
After a hesitant moment the door opened and Janet stepped in. Her eyes had an alertness that defied the fatigue of a body deprived of sleep, but they held no defense against what she had done, nor any excuse for the one she had done it for. What was done was done, and no one could do anything about it. Les stepped in behind her, suited in his Jedi robe, hiding within the shadow of the hood he’d pulled over his head – something Janet suddenly noticed with alarm. “Take that off,” she said in a stern whisper that was not to be disobeyed. Les raised a hand and swept the hood back, exposing his head to Indy and Tag, and forced his eyes to meet theirs. Janet saluted her friend.
Indy stood and saluted her back, then waved for her to take a seat. “Rumor has it that your trip was…eventful.”
Tag said nothing, watching Les for a few long moments, expression impassive as she studied the boy. The fact that he was still in robes spoke volumes. It was a habit she’d never developed, and one that Nylan, once he’d gotten into it, had been broken of fairly quickly. The service that that effect.
Les grew uncomfortable under her gaze, but tried not to show it.
“Eventful….” Janet considered the word. “Yeah, you could say that. I’m willing to fill in any details you require,” she said, trying hard not to sound so formal. Willing to, not happy to, her eyes told her. I do what I must, let the consequences fall where they may.
Indy nodded slowly. “As long as it’s written up and on my desk by the end of the week, with relevant points illuminated…we’ll call it good, file it away, and never talk about it again.” There was a latent ‘I hope’ to the end of her statement. She glanced at Tag, whose gaze hadn’t wavered. “You could take him to your office, you know.”
Tag tore her gaze away from Les, glancing at Indy. “I suppose I could.” She stood up from her perch on the desk and made her way toward the door. “Come on, Mr. Wyler. You and I need to have a chat.”
Les tensed even as his shoulders sagged, as if he’d known this moment would come and had been dreading it. Unsticking his feet from the floor, he followed Tag to the other room.
“She won’t hurt him,” Indy said to Janet, leaning back in her chair.
Janet managed a knowing smile. “I’m grateful for Tag; Les needs a Jedi to talk to.” A pained expression crossed her face, showing Indy how lost she was with him. “There…is hope for him,” she said in half-statement, half-question.
“Of course there’s hope, Janet. If there wasn’t hope for someone after they’d turned and killed someone….well. There’s hope. I promise.” There’s hope. There’s always hope. Sometimes…that’s all we have left. Her gaze drifted to the door. “I’ll admit, I’m not sure what she has planned.”
Janet gave a nod. “He’s gone off into something I don’t understand – not to say I don’t understand how he must have felt, but something about his eyes; the way he looked, when….” She stopped abruptly and looked away for a moment, to gather her wits. “I trust her. She knows; she’s been there.”
Indy nodded slowly. Most of it was still classified, but at the same time, a lot was common knowledge based on rumors and scuttlebutt. Janet had been part of the inner command circle for long enough that she had been privy to many, many dark secrets. “Aye, she has. And she has too much to lose to ever end up there again.” She smiled weakly. “Well. What am I going to do with you, though, General? Sticking around a while?”
Janet raised her brows. “Yes ma’am. We’re in this for the duration.”
Indy grinned. “Good to hear. I’m out an XO since Kirghy got reassigned. Interested in the job?”
~ Skyy and Erin