"You're killing me with that one, beautiful." He tangled his fingers in her hair. "He hates me now, doesn't he?" Morgana looked up at him and smirked. "Of course he does. He's twelve."
She was in her garden again. She must have seen the uniform laid out on their bed.
Blonde hair was pulled up in a haphazard ponytail and he watched her back for a while as she pruned her roses, tried to think of what he could say to make things better. Instead, he only managed to stare at the exact spot where the small of her back fell into the hem of her long, grass stained skirt.
"How long you going to stand there slack jawed, handsome?" Morgana didn't look up from her flowers.
"Well, as long as it takes, I suppose." Carth chuckled. "I'm not sure what to say, yet. You look angry, Mo."
"Angry?" She looked over her shoulder at him and smirked. "I'm not angry. I just came out here to calm down a bit. Am I radiating calm yet?"
He coughed. "That's what I was afraid of." He walked over and kneeled down beside her and her roses. "Look, Mo, we need to talk."
"You know why I like to come out here, don't you?" she asked. "It's nice to just work, yes, but you have total and complete control over what happens to the roses. A power trip, I suppose. It's soothing, peaceful."
"It's only another six months."
Morgana had a tight smile as she took her pruning shears and primly hacked off the head of a rose. "I knew you were going to say that."
"You know what I'm going to say next, too, I bet," he murmured.
"Dustil got into a fist fight at school two days ago," she said abruptly as she pulled her head away from him. "When I asked him about it, he said that he didn't start it, that he finished it."
"Well, I didn't teach him that." Carth's tone was indignant and he immediately regretted the words that were already too far out of his mouth.
"No." Morgana frowned. "No, I guess you didn't." Her hands worked the shears mechanically, but she had stopped paying attention to the roses.
Carth sighed. "You know I want to be here, but do we really need to go over this again?"
"You're just one man, Carth." She dropped the shears by her knee. "How wanted, how needed can one man possibly be to the entire Republic?"
He ran a thumb over her bottom lip. "Well, you still need me, don't you?"
"Yes." She caught his hand in her own. "I do. And so does Dustil. That's why I'm upset."
"I wish I could, I want to-"
"Then do it." Morgana's gray eyes were clear. "Don't go back. Stay here, with us. Dustil's got a break coming up, I could take some time off from work, we could go somewhere and do absolutely nothing."
"You've got dirt on your cheek," Carth said.
She laughed softly. "Like that matters."
He pulled her into him. "Six months. I promise."
"I thought you said that after the Mandalorian Wars you were done." She rested her forehead against his shoulder.
"I thought I was," Carth said. "But things came up and no one's happy about it, but-"
"If you even say Saul Karath I will personally chase that man down to his office, his home, until I find him and make him regret everything he's ever done since birth."
"No!" He kissed her temple. "Saul's there of course, Mo, but it was my decision. Revan and Malak fell. Do you really think I can just sit back while they ruin the galaxy?"
Morgana scowled. "Frack Revan. Frack Malak." Her face softened. "I want you to stay. I can't help it. The Republic won't fall apart without Carth Onasi."
"I know, Mo." Carth sighed. "It's just that I can't feel like I'm sitting back and letting Revan conquer us. It's just crazy is what it is."
"You keep flying out to people shooting at you, any other profession and they'd call that crazy." Her brows furrowed. "One of these days, you're not going to come back."
The corner of his mouth crooked up. "Hey, I'm still here, aren't I?"
"Yes, you're still here, with a shrapnel scar across your shoulder." Morgana poked the old war wound. "Burn scars on your thigh and a bum ankle that I'm not supposed to let the guys know about."
"You're not really worried about that, are you?" Carth's grin was instantly replaced with a serious expression after one glance from Morgana. He coughed. "Joke. A bad joke, apparently. I'm going to try and unbury myself now.
"I know you worry. I do too. But I have to do it."
"I know." She wrapped her arms around the small of his back and nuzzled her face into his neck. "I take it, there's no convincing you otherwise? I'm not going to be the one to tell Dustil."
"You're killing me with that one, beautiful." He tangled his fingers in her hair. "He hates me now, doesn't he?"
Morgana looked up at him and smirked. "Of course he does. He's twelve."
"Does this mean he'll grow out of it or find different, more creative ways of telling me to shove off?" Carth chuckled.
"Hey, you hold the keys to the speeder, handsome," she said. "Give him a few years and he'll recognize that you have demi-god status because of that."
"A demi-god?" Carth raised an eyebrow. "You mean like the one that gets torn to pieces every year for that Creme D'Infame Festival?"
She shrugged. "Well, they get him drunk and sexually sate him before any tearing to pieces occurs. It could be worse."
Carth blinked. "Whoa, lady, just what are you suggesting?"
"I'm just discussing classical mythology with you." Morgana grinned. "Of course, I think there is some Creme D'Infame left over from the last time your brother visited..."
"Hey, if you're planning what I think you are, I'd rather be sober." He glanced over his shoulder. "We do have neighbors, you know."
"Hmm?" She fell back onto the grass, her hip landing centimeters away from the pruning shears. "Your point? I'm tending my flower garden and you're talking about demi-gods. What could possibly be obscene about that?" She reached a hand up, hooked her fingers in the waist of his pants and gave a hard jerk.
Carth toppled forward and crashed down next to her. He winced. "Speeder keys."
"Yeah." He groaned and rolled onto his back.
She laughed softly. "That'll kill a mood." Morgana glanced over at him. "So, when do you leave?"
"One week, standard." He pulled out the speeder keys and rubbed his thigh.
"That's when my father comes into town." She grabbed at the stubble at his chin. "Coincidence? I think not."
Carth took her hand and let it rest on his chest. "That's just a perk."
"You owe me for leaving me alone with that man," Morgana said. "Big time."
"Yeah, I guess I do." He brought her fingers to his lips. "I was saving this as a birthday surprise, but I guess I can tell you now... you really need to wash your hands, Mo."
"I've just been playing with dirt, what do you expect?" She shifted and propped her chin on his chest. "Now about this surprise..."
"I've done some thinking," Carth said. "About you, about Dustil. I'm missing too much. I still can't believe he's twelve. I'm going to home back one of these times and he's going to have more facial hair than I do."
Morgana laughed. "Well, he's only going to be twelve for a year, Carth. He can't help it."
"Real cute," he muttered. "I'm serious."
"So what do I get?" she asked.
"A matching orange jacket," Carth snorted.
"You wouldn't!" Morgana's eyes grew round, horrified.
Carth watched his wife's head bob up and down with his laughter. "No, no, of course not. You don't have to like me anymore, but I do want you to still talk to me occasionally.
She gave him a lazy smile. "Sometimes I think you talk too much."
He grabbed her hands before they could roam and pressed them to his shoulder. "Hey, beautiful, you want this surprise or not?"
"I don't know," she said. "What is it?"
"Inside." Carth pressed her palm against his cheek. "In our bedroom, on your dresser, there's a datapad. In that datapad is a resignation letter, stating that when that six months is up, I'll never put on a uniform again."
She stared at him a long moment as if his words hadn't registered. "Carth?"
"You really mean it, don't you? You're serious?" She traced his jaw line with her fingers.
"Woman, I left it in writing, I better be." He pulled her up to eye level, planted a kiss on her mouth. "Yes, of course I mean it."
"You wonderful..." She kissed him back. "You make me so," another on his chin, "happy. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful..." Morgana cupped his head in her hands and covered him with a barrage of feather light kisses.
"Neighbors," he managed. "Mo, you're killing me. Neighbors!"
"Dustil isn't supposed to be home for another half hour," she murmured between kisses.
Carth sat up and pulled Morgana with him. She brushed dirt from her skirt.
"Just what was it you were doing out here again?" He raised an eyebrow.
Roses were uprooted, some cut in half randomly, their petals spilling over the ground.
Morgana smiled. "It's nice to work. Soothing, peaceful." She tugged on his arm. "Come on, we've still got some time before Dustil gets home."
She walked off towards the house. Carth followed.