The plan had been perfect: the Rakatan box activated and hungry, the monster weak enough to be caged, and her erstwhile apprentice ready to siphon her own power to fuel Zash’s will.
And then, in Nevrasa’s cruel drawl, which had never picked up the crispness of a proper Imperial accent, the words: “Now, Khem.”
That was when the present had diverged from the plan.
When Zash wakes some time later, and the details of the situation are shared with her, her voice reaches an octave outside the register of her last three bodies.
“For the record,” says Ashara, raising a hand as though she’s still a credulous initiate in the crèche, “I preferred the version of the plan where you died.”
Revel snorts into a fist, but Zash has been trapped with Nevrasa’s crew for some time now. She bears it icily, with detachment to put a Jedi to shame. She can get through this with her dignity. She can find the bloody advantage.
“I simply fail to see what you sought to accomplish,” Zash says, her voice rising again. The words are polite; her tone is less so. “We had a deal.”
“It was a crap deal,” Revel says, “not that I love the big guy.”
“It was perfect,” Zash insists, “and instead, now, we are—”
“Woven, irreversibly, together in the force,” supplies Drellik. He looks chipper. He is the member of her apprentice’s entourage who Zash has historically minded the least, but her feelings on him are rapidly souring.
Irreversible. Ha. Zash means to conduct an independent review. Imminently. Immediately. As soon as she can figure out how to get off this sodding ship along with her ritually-mandated plus-one.
“There is little in the galaxy that is truly impossible,” she says, “and such an indignity cannot be borne for long.” She turns to her apprentice. “Surely, you must wish to be rid of this as well. I had proposed a partnership, but we may well be rid of each other, if the alternative is this.”
Nevrasa has been silent. She remains silent. Dark and cold as any thing Zash has ever loved. Zash would drive a saber through her heart, for this, if it would not kill herself as well.
In the evening, Zash heads to the captain’s quarters. Where else is she to go, with no spare bunks, and the bond thrumming in the force, demanding proximity?
Nevrasa is there awaiting her, still dressed, both her implants and her robes’ clasps gleaming chrome under the cabin lights. Zash brushes past her to sit on the bed with her chin held high. She may be once again imprisoned in an unfamiliar body, but she will not be cowed.
She has always felt a certain pull towards her apprentice. The weight of it sits in the room with them. Zash would term it a hunger were she prone to poetic overstatement. In truth, it is simply power recognizing potential. She had seen a chance in Nevrasa and taken it. She prides herself on her good sense. She has long developed an intuition for recruitment.
This inconvenience will pass. It is temporary. It must.
Nevrasa moves to stand before her. She has, at least, not crossed her arms over her chest in that childish way. Good. Under her stare, Zash feels very warm underneath her robes, though space is cold and the ship is kept chilly. No doubt the feeling of frustration. It has been a very trying day.
“If we are to make the best of the situation,” Zash says, “it would be best were we to ignore it until it can be rectified.” As she speaks, Nevrasa takes a step closer, crowding in, only bare inches from her knees. Zash’s voice rises. “There is no need for further theatrics.”
“Is that what you want,” Nevrasa asks, her voice flat and thoroughly lacking in any sort of deference, “Master?”
She raises a hand and twitches her fingers. The lights in the cabin dim. Mood lighting, Zash thinks. No sooner the thought, then Nevrasa sinks to her knees: all the grace of a trained Sith in her movements, the clumsy neophyte no longer.
So that is how it is to be: the lingering looks finally coming paid. Very well.
Zash is no stranger to pleasure. She has at times even sampled her new bodies before taking them for her own, in much the same manner as this. In those encounters, there had never been any question as to who was in charge. In this, however, there is— a charge. A question. It is foolish to act before learning the landscape. It is foolish to attack before ascertaining the opponent.
Zash looks down at her apprentice, who is knelt between her legs at the edge of the bed without a hint of obeisance. She looks, and considers, and says nothing, but youth is brash and prone to act while the experienced may wait and ponder, so it is Nevrasa who moves first and rashly.
Nevrasa hasn’t bothered to take her gloves off. She hikes up Zash’s robes to bunch around her waist, and her leather-clad thumbs press rudely on her thighs. This body will likely bruise, Zash thinks. Tomorrow, there will be a trail of purplish half-moons between her knees and hips.
Now, Nevrasa wraps one of her hands around the back of Zash’s knee and places the other one above the crook where her leg meets her hip, looking equal parts churlish and smug. Now, Nevrasa leans forward, and breathes out below where her left hand wraps Zash’s hip. The warm air tickles against the new skin, right before she moves up and sinks her teeth into the underside of Zash’s thigh.
Zash isn’t expecting it. Her spine jerks into a curve, toes bracing against the floor. She keeps the noise in but moves a hand down to yank at Nevrasa’s hair and pull her inches up.
The bite went deep. There’s a trickle of blood smeared on Nevrasa’s lips, spotting her teeth when she bares them in a smile.
She holds Zash’s gaze and moves her other hand. She rubs the crease of Zash’s thigh, long, soothing pets up and nails-in scratches down. Every pass demands Zash’s focus but she won’t look down.
After a moment, Nevrasa’s eyebrows knit, and her mouth closes to a line. She leans closer, still no higher than Zash’s belly, and curls her fingertips to cup Zash gently through her underclothes, then leaves it there, unmoving. Zash isn’t panting, not quite, but her breathing has picked up all the same, and on every exhale she bumps lightly against Nevrasa’s palm in a mockery of friction.
“If you are not going to act,” Zash says imperiously, with all the experience of a woman who has ruined many women in beds much nicer than this one, “then perhaps I may finally sleep.”
Between her legs, Nevrasa’s facade cracks. Which is to say: one of her eyebrows quirks. A good try, Zash thinks, but her apprentice will need more experience to—
But Nevrasa is rubbing her through the fabric now, forefinger catching at the lip ever so slightly, thumb moving horizontally over her clit. Muted and heightened through fabric, even as the fabric dampens. She maintains eye contact all the while, eyes brilliant in a still face, and Zash loses her train of thought and licks along her own lower lip as the heat in this— in her body rushes down and pools under Nevrasa’s fingers.
Her underclothes are— they’ve gotten wet, they stick to Zash. Each body responds differently— this body is very responsive. That’s the explanation for this. The tingle in her breasts even though they’ve been paid no attention. The sweat at the back of her knees and neck.
Zash modulates her breathing, or tries. She wets her bottom lip with her tongue and Nevrasa’s eyes drag along her face with it. There’s something— something there in her eyes, but Zash doesn’t have the time to properly study and catalogue it, because she ceases that infernal rubbing just long enough to pull Zash’s underclothes down to her knees, spreads Zash’s lips with her thumbs— still in those gloves— and then leans in and presses her lips to fasten over her clit.
This time, Zash’s throat betrays her: an awful, breathy sound. She clamps down on it quickly, but it’s too late. She cannot see Nevrasa’s face, but she can feel her smile rubbing against her, can sense the smugness of it as she licks and laps and sucks.
She feels it in her belly when Nevrasa moves her thumbs down, from framing her mouth to spreading her labia, the pads of them dipping into her cunt. They don’t— go deep, just rub against her walls, leather getting wet and catching at the skin. Zash is— Zash is burning, where her robes cover, where her robes don’t cover, as though the air is filled with fire, as though the climate systems on the ship have broken down, or they’re flying into a star, or, or—
Zash rolls her hips. Can’t help it. She’s pressed her lips together in a tight line but the body betrays, it always betrays. Her left hip pushes up and Nevrasa moves one of her hands to push it back down, a strong palm anchoring it down. That’s not where Zash wants it, but she’s distracted, because the hand still between her legs is pushing two slick fingers inside of her, littlest finger scratching against where her thigh still throbs, and Nevrasa is suckling like she’s at a teat, and the first orgasm slams into Zash like force lightning ripping down her spine.
She’s trembling when it ends, still just as hot everywhere, but it clears Zash’s head just enough to remember who she is, and what she’s done, and the tools at her disposal. Between Zash’s legs, Nevrasa has lifted her head and removed her hands. Her entire body is held stony and still, but Zash catches the gleam in her eyes.
But Zash is a Sith Lord. She knows how to work a situation to her advantage.
After Nevrasa finally loses the damned gloves, now fit only for the garbage disposal, and thrusts four fingers into Zash as she strokes a saber-calloused thumb down the center of her clit—
After she moves her mouth down to lick in between her fingers and brings Zash to her third climax—
After Zash returns the favor, and gets her well-deserved revenge paid and with interest—
After all that and more, Nevrasa crawls her way up the bed to put her head in line with Zash’s.
And Zash admits, not half so grumpily as she intends, “I suppose this is not a wholly unfortunate arrangement.”
She is not done speaking, but Nevrasa must judge her done, for she leans forward to seal their lips together, each of their mouths musky with the other’s taste, and Zash speaks no more sense that night.