Mission refused to have one of her last memories with Carth being of her trying to strangle him.
Besides, when the doctors say go home, we give up, it kills the childish hope. Mission glanced at her mug of caffa. She'd been drinking entirely too much of it the past few weeks.
Bastila had been the last to leave. Typical Bastila. Mission supposed Revan may have hung around longer than her bondmate if Revan hadn't vanished without a word three weeks ago like a coward. Ordo and Zaalbar she could forgive. They had clans and villages to look after. Both offered enormous funeral pyres on their own respective planets, but Mission wasn't sure Telosian customs okayed the torching of corpses.
Dustil was upstairs, asleep. The kid looked like hell. A funny thought, really, to think of someone with a year on her as a kid. Mission snorted. He had no right to unsettle her with those dark circles around his eyes and that drawn face.
She found a blanket in the guest room and covered him with it. Idiot was going to get a crick in his neck sleeping on a chair like that, but at least he was sleeping.
The six mugs of caffa churning in her gut assured her that she did not need any sleep.
She told herself that she was just going to peer inside the room real quick. See if anything needed adjusting, anything needed to be refilled, cleaned up. But she felt his dark eyes on her, surprisingly alert.
"You're still awake?" Carth chuckled.
"Hi." Mission glanced down at her feet. "Just checking up on things."
He raised an eyebrow. "Nothing's changed since Jolee set things up. Since Bastila checked up on things, since Dustil checked up on things or since Bastila checked up on things a second or even third time."
Mission grinned sheepishly. "You sure?"
"Cross my heart," Carth replied.
"Is that good or bad?"
He sighed. "You tell me, kid."
"I'm not a kid." She pulled a chair over to his bedside.
"No. I guess you're not." His fingers played with a loose thread on the hem of his blankets.
"Dustil's asleep," Mission said. "I don't think he's got the stomach for caffa I do. He finally exhausted himself, just boom, passed out-"
"Forget Dustil a minute," Carth interrupted. He smiled. "It's good that he's resting, I mean, but you're here now, Mission. What are you doing? It's okay if you sleep, too."
"Hey, I'll sleep when I'm good and ready." The snort was for show. But it felt good.
"Right." He shook his head. "But I'm curious, now. What does staying up all night accomplish? Besides being too exhausted for work in the morning?"
"I get to be with you." Too honest. "Duh."
"Just came to see if everything was alright," she said. "See if you were sleeping or if you needed a drink or if you needed a blanket. Something like that. You think I argue with Bastila about jello and rice pudding for my health?"
"You got jello, then? The green kind?" He laughed. "You don't have to do anything. Just your company's more than enough."
Mission frowned. "Really? You sure?"
"Honest," Carth snorted. "I swear."
"I..." That was always the easy part. I. Me. Me, me, me. To make it about herself. How could he do that to her, to everyone else? How could he be so calm and accepting of everything? Made her want to kill him if he wasn't already going to drop dead.
"You look like you could use some sleep," Carth said.
"No I don't." Mission tried to get angry. She scowled.
Carth raised an eyebrow at her. The jerk geezer looked amused. Damn it, he looked so weary.
She shifted in her seat. "I haven't told you everything about everything, yet."
"About what?" he asked.
"Just, you know." Mission gestured with a hand. "Everything. Anything."
"Of course, everything. And anything, too. Why didn't I see it before?" Carth shot her a look.
She shot him one right back. It wasn't her fault that he made her want to punch him. He also made her want to curl up next to him for the rest of the night and just keep her eyes glued to him. If she kept her eyes frozen on his shape, nothing could change, nothing bad could happen.
Maybe she just wanted to cry. But everyone had enough of that, already.
"My best friend's a Wookiee," Mission said. Her fingers twitched as she smoothed her lekku against her shoulders.
"Okay." Carth's brows furrowed as his head fell back against his pillows. "I think I was aware of that."
She stared at her knees. "I think I like that Zaalbar's a Wookiee."
"Wait a minute. Are you saying?" His nostrils flared. "It's great that you care about him, but Zaalbar's a bit old for you, don't you think?"
"Eww gross!" Mission made a gagging noise. "You disgusting, withered old murglak! I like that he's a Wookiee because they live for hundreds of years not because Wookiees are always naked. Sheesh, what's wrong with you?"
"Hey now, I never said anything about naked." Carth laughed. "Well, I guess you could say that Wookiees are always naked. Because they are. But that's not what I meant."
Mission glowered at him.
"Uh, what are we talking about, again?" he asked.
"Nothing." She wrapped her fingers around his gaunt hand. "Stupid geezer."
"Most humans only live to about eighty," Carth said. "That's just the way it works."
"But you're only-"
"And that's why I'm glad my best friend's a Wookiee," Mission said.
Carth gave her hand a squeeze. "You of all people should know that a ship could just land on Zaalbar tomorrow."
She squeezed back. Maybe a bit too tightly. Mission refused to have one of her last memories with Carth being of her trying to strangle him.
"I don't want you to go," she said. "It's not fair. I haven't told you everything yet, you know?"
"Even if I lived to three thousand, I doubt you could tell me everything," he replied. "I'm not sure I would want to know everything."
Mission cocked her head to one side. "What do you mean?"
"Like those ugly boots." Carth grinned. "I don't ever want to know what possessed you to buy those."
"Ugly boots?" she exclaimed. "This coming from the dork in an orange jacket? What's wrong with- there's nothing wrong with these boots!"
"Hey, hey, the jacket's part of my rakish charm," he snorted. "Those boots are just, well..."
Mission stuck her tongue out. Bindo had liked the boots. Maybe that should've been her first sign.
"Part of your charm, too, I guess," he finished.
She tried to force a smile to her face, the veins that jutted out of his hand didn't want to be rubbed back into his skin by her fingers. "It's okay if you want to get angry and scream. I won't tell."
"I know, thanks," Carth said. "But I don't feel like it."
"I think I always imagined myself dying on a ship somewhere." He settled back against the pillows. "Maybe getting revenge against Saul or some other ridiculous pipe dream."
Mission let go of his hand. "You could still do that," she said. "If you want. I'll just rig you full of explosives, then kick you out of a ship over a Sith base. How's that sound?"
"I don't know about that." Carth smiled. "I think I'm too tired for that kind of madness."
"Tired?" She stood up, brushed herself off. "I should let you get some sleep, then."
"You too," he replied. "Go to bed."
Mission giggled as she started to walk away. "Okay, okay. I'll see you later, geezer."
"No," Carth said. "No you won't, Mission."
Her body betrayed her. Everything inside screamed to run. Wake up, make the nightmare go away, it couldn't be happening, it couldn't be happening, it couldn't be happening.
But her stupid feet wouldn't move towards the door.
Mission found her face buried into his shoulder, her arms thrown clumsily around him. "Jerk, you're not supposed to... duh."
Carth laughed softly. "Love you too, kiddo."
"I know." She swallowed. "Are you going to close your eyes? I just don't want you seeing me looking like a big baby is all."
"Alright," Carth said. "They're closed. Promise."
"Thanks." Mission rubbed at her nose with the heel of her hand as she headed towards the door. "Night."
Eyes closed, he smiled. "Bye."
"Bye-bye." She turned off the light and closed the door.
Dustil was still asleep in his chair. Mission curled up at his feet and nuzzled her head against his calf. If he had anything clever to say about the sleeping arrangements when he woke up, she'd kick him in the teeth. Sometimes a sore neck was an acceptable price to pay for not being left alone with only her thoughts. Dustil was warm and it was easy enough for her eyes to flutter shut.