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Can't Stand It

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This is what Y'vonne looks like :)

Dorne left the two cathars standing in shock. Y’vonne had never met someone as rigid as Elara, but she admired the woman’s dedication to rules and order—she may have just found the newest addition to Havoc Squad if Garza would allow it. But first things first, they needed to locate the missing squads if they had any chance at finding Needles and putting a stop to whatever the hell he was doing on this backwater planet in the armpit of the galaxy. Sighing, she rubbed the fur on the back of her neck.

“That was…interesting. I’ve had drill instructors more relaxed than that woman. Not to mention that accent.” Jorgan said suddenly, pulling her out of her own head.

She’d thought the accent was fun...but something was nagging at her.

“Has little Jorgan finally met his dream girl?” She sneered.

Y’vonne clapped her hands over her mouth—she hadn’t meant for those words to come out so condescending; she’d meant for her tone to be light and teasing. Was she jealous? Was that the feeling that had been niggling at the back of her mind moments ago? The two of them had been through quite a lot recently, and she did care about him that was for certain, but jealously wasn’t an emotion she was expecting. Jorgan crossed his arms over his chest, his green and yellow eyes glaring angrily into her yellow ones—he was not at all happy with her or her tone at the moment. He had really nice eyes, she realized with a start.

“Don’t be ridiculous!” Jorgan snapped, before realizing his place as her subordinate. “Uh, Lieutenant I’m sorry I said anything.”

She shook her head. “No, I’m sorry. That was unprofessional and I shouldn’t have said it. What about her accent?”

He rand his hand across the fur on the back of his neck, not understanding what had just happened. He’d known when he met her that she was going to be a handful, especially when he noticed her armor wasn’t full: her thighs, arms, and stomach were always bare and her mini armor skirt didn’t cover nearly as much as he’d like; he didn’t appreciate the fact that he had noticed it at all. He was her subordinate and he needed to act like it. But this was something else entirely.

“It just that the only people I’ve ever met with an accent like that were Imperials.” Aric explained.

As long as she got the job done, Y’vonne didn’t care what her background was. “Oh.”

That was it?

“Guess it’s off to work then. I’ll watch our backs.” Aric replied, shrugging.

Y’vonne nodded slowly, and headed towards the door of the compound, wondering if she was the only one with out of place emotions welling up inside her. She was supposed to be tracking down the Havoc Squad traitors, not dwelling on her inappropriate thoughts and feelings towards Aric Jorgan—plus he just made her so mad sometimes she couldn’t stand it. She climbed up onto her speeder, and patted the seat behind her.

Aric swallowed hard, rolling his eyes. He’d thought he be used to riding behind her on her speeder, seeing as she never let him drive the blasted thing, but he never got used to how close he had to be to wrap his arms around her and hang on tight. He had the whole ride to dwell on what had happened back in the compound, even though he couldn’t wrap his head around it. She’d seemed upset about something; maybe he’d ask her about it in the future…

Chapter Text

Jonas Balkar glanced at her when they entered the back of his furniture shop again. He watched Y’vonne carefully, strands of brown hair had fallen out of her clip that held half of it back in a ponytail, laying gently against the copper, white, and black fur of her face after her dealings with the Migrant Merchants’ Guild. She was breathtakingly beautiful—and he wasn’t the only one who seemed to notice.

Jonas found Aric watching her too as she set her assault cannon on the ground and released her shoulder-length hair; it cascaded over her pointed ears, framing her face briefly before she pulled it back up. Both men cleared their throats at the same time awkwardly looking at the ceiling—anywhere but at her. They were on a mission…someone needed to start talking; why had they been called back here? She didn’t like to quit until the job was done.

“Now, was that fun, or was that fun?” Jonas was trying his hardest to diffuse the tension in the room.

Y’vonne rolled her eyes, slinging the giant gun over her shoulder and hearing the clamps on the back of her armor click it into place. She hadn’t noticed anything odd happening in the room, and all they both could do was thank the stars that she was too preoccupied fixing her hair to make a comment about the atmosphere. She smiled.

Aric nodded. “You definitely picked the right squad for the job. This was right up the lieutenant’s alley.”

“I wasn’t the only one impressed with your moves, either—the alarm pulled in a very interesting audience.” Jonas winked.

She aimed to please.

“If you like what you see, maybe you should do something about it.” She teased.

Y’vonne bit her lower lip flirtatiously. Sometimes she just like to be told she was pretty, and since Jonas Balkar seemed happy to oblige, a little indulgence couldn’t hurt—besides if she could make this neon sign hellhole a little more bearable by flirting, she’d take it. Twirling a lock of brown hair around a pink and grey gloved finger, she hopped up on a table her armor skirt riding up higher than Aric liked. He frowned behind her back, where she couldn’t see.

“Trust me, there’s a reason I’m trying to get all of this boring ‘save the Republic’ business out of the way quickly.” He replied, giving her a once over.

“Get your priorities straight, Balkar, or I’ll straighten them out for you.”

Aric growled and stepped forward, partially blocking her from Balkar’s view; he had no idea what had come over him. Y’vonne reached out and put a gentle hand on his shoulder, making him turn towards her—she had a giant grin on her face; she knew that tone having accidentally unleashed it on him when they were talking about Elara on Taris. He rubbed the fur on the back of neck. What the heck was going on with him lately?

“Jealously doesn’t suit you, Sergeant.” She giggled.

His eyes went wide.

“What? I don’t…I mean…ugh! Am I really the only one who cares about the mission, here?” He stammered.

“Yeah, I’d rather discuss violence against people who aren’t me.” Jonas coughed. “The alarm signal from the arms factory led to a surprising place: a penthouse at the Club Vertica Casino.”

He crossed his arms over his chest with a smug grin on his face.

“And?” Y’vonne pushed.

“And the slicers tell me that the computer systems at the other end of the alarm signal were definitely Imperial. Apparently our friends are overseeing this operation in style.”

“Then let’s go take them out. Jorgan, Let’s move.”

“Yes sir.”

Chapter Text

Her personal holocom beeped loudly.

Y’vonne propped her assault cannon against the nearest wall, before lounging next to it a flirty smile on her face as she pulled the machine out of her armor and pressed the answer key. Aric had to force himself to contain the growl in his throat as she answered it to see Jonas Balkar in blue pixels smirking at her; Niall had headed back to him as soon as they’d finished slicing into the Club Vertica Penthouse Casino security cameras. Could he actually be jealous? When meeting her as a rookie sergeant on Ord Mantell, he’d never expected something like this.

“Hey there, soldier. Niall just made it back and told me how much heat you took on covering for him. You two did great. You’re on the safe list, our tracks are covered, and I’m even tapped into all of the casino’s security cams. Now I can keep an eye on you in there. You look good by the way.” Jonas crossed his arms over his chest as he winked at her.

She bit the right side of her lower lip and twirled a strand of hair around her finger—maybe it was all the exercise she’d been getting recently. “Thanks for noticing; I have been working out lately.”

“Are you kidding me? What is wrong with you people?” He growled.

Y’vonne could feel Aric’s glare boring through the back of her armor. She started to shrug casually—she loved being told she was pretty, and as a Cathar in the Republic army she didn’t hear it as much as she would like, but trying to annoy her subordinate into confessing he was maybe a touch jealous was harder then she’d expected it to be. Luckily Jonas cut in before she had to explain herself, he held up his hands in surrender.

“Hey, hey, no need for any insubordination, we’ll get back to the mission.” He cleared his throat quickly. “You’re walking into a hell of a situation here, Lieutenant. Questioning the Imps about the droid is one thing, but if this comes down to shooting…the Republic can’t afford that risk.”

Y’vonne nodded. “Understood. If anyone starts trouble, it won’t be me.”

Jonas smiled. “That’s all we can ask of you. All right. I won’t hold you any longer. Get up to that penthouse and get us some answers. And don’t get yourself killed doing it. Jonas out.”

“Something about that guy rubs me the wrong way.” He scoffed.

“I don’t know, sir, I think he’s quite right to be upset with all the secrecy…I’m personally grateful that the lieutenant was completely honest with him.” Elara piped up.

She’d been watching this entire exchange quietly, not wanting to butt in; she was the newcomer of the group and even though Y’vonne treated her with complete respect and seemed to trust her to watch her back, Elara wasn’t sure where she stood with the two Cathars yet. Shrugging Y’vonne stowed her personal holo away before, bending to pick up her assault canon and slinging it over her shoulder to click into place. There were two reasons why she’d decided to be completely honest with Balkar: number one, he was doing everything to help them locate the prototype droid M1-4X even if Garza hadn’t been completely honest with him to begin with…and number two burning bridges with the SIS wasn’t the way to get and keep allies. What if they needed a favor later on?

“He’s cute.” She laughed, motioning for the other two members of Havoc Squad to follow.

“That’s your basis for defying orders?” Aric asked.

“That’s one reason. I’ll have you know I defy orders for other reasons as well, Jorgan…like the ‘cyborgs’ that were or weren’t implanted by Krel. I wasn’t going to murder them just because some lunatic said they were cyborgs because I think Krel’s real intent was chaos and discourse; Garza may not think so but, some orders are guidelines.”

No one wanted to argue with her.

Jonas stood watching her carefully, the M1-4X prototype standing behind him. It would take some time for the droid to be fixed and made resistant to any hacking attempts, but in time, and as the newest member of her squad it could be rectified. Elara had retreated to the ship as he approached, and dragged a grumbling Jorgan with her. He’d been torn. Part of him hadn’t wanted to leave the two of them alone, but he also didn’t like seeing them making googly eyes at each other.

“It’s been a pleasure working with you, Lieutenant. Hopefully, the next time we meet will be under more honest circumstances.” Jonas teased.

Y’vonne leaned forward, putting their faces scant inches apart. “Maybe more…private circumstances?” She wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.

“Consider it done. I’ll be in touch.”

He winked at her, before making his way towards the exit, leaving her standing there with Forex, fanning herself slightly with her hand. Damn, that man was attractive…and very receptive to her flirting with him all the time—she couldn’t figure out how the job would’ve gotten done if not for Jorgan and Dorne’s constant prodding. M1-4X saluted her before making his way towards the ship as well, snapping her back from her reverie about maybe breaking a dozen regulations with Balkar before dinner. She could never let Jorgan see her jealous side again after this…

Chapter Text

“It’s just so happens we know someone in the SIS…why don’t you contact Balkar?” Y’vonne replied.

Aric had just told her he was looking into the Deadeyes’, disappearance. He’d been being stonewalled for the last hour, and despite his misgivings about the man from the way his CO flirted with him, Balkar was a technical genius, and quite possibly exactly who Jorgan needed to find and rescue his old squad. Immediately, Jonas had invited them back to Nar Shaddaa—under the premise of having a drink with them—before they’d even left the system. It seemed this information was supposed to be swept under the rug, but he’d grudgingly used Y’vonne’s name to get the man to hear him out; it wasn’t like the two men had parted on the best of terms.

She’d even insisted on going with him; not that he minded her company.

Jonas was lounging on a couch towards the back of the cantina, and stood up as they approached, Y’vonne hugging him briefly; he didn’t have to help them, especially because the higher ups on the SIS food chain didn’t seem to want them to know anything, but Jonas had agreed. Aric really hoped she didn’t feel the need to flirt with him and waste valuable time—but she wouldn’t be her if she didn’t, so he braced himself for the worst. Jonas grinned, but it seemed a little forced.

“You’re early. Haven’t even had time to order us up a round.” He smirked and leaned towards her. “Not that I need a drink to enjoy your company.”

Aric held up a hand, hoping the two of them could keep it in their pants long enough for him to get a location out of his least favorite SIS agent. Y’vonne smiled a little, watching Aric out of the corner of her eye; he could be abrupt and angry almost all the time, making her constantly want to scream, but sometimes he was a big softie…like when he talked about his old squad. She was looking forward to meeting them all. This, however, was Aric’s mission and she was only here to watch his back in case he got in over his head—luckily she was a MedTech, and knew how to get by in the worst conditions. Flirting with Jonas Balkar was just a plus.

“The Deadeyes, Balkar—what do you know?” Aric asked.

“Just because Jonas knows how to talk to a woman, it’s no reason to get upset.” Y’vonne teased.

Why was teasing him about being jealous her favorite past-time? Aric let out a low growl—this woman made him want to throttle her sometimes—despite her being quite possibly the most beautiful woman he’d ever met; she used it to her advantage as much as she could and it drove him nuts. He glared at her, arms crossed over his chest, before taking a deep breath to calm himself and uncross his arms. He let out a low cough to clear his throat.

“Sorry, sir. Just hoping to find the Deadeyes before the Imperials execute them.”

Balkar shrugged. “Fine, fine. I dug up what info I could, but frankly, there isn’t much to report. Far as I can tell, the Deadeyes tried to off some Imperial bigshot. Things went south and they got themselves captured.”

There was a sharp intake of breath from Aric as he stood at her elbow. Y’vonne hoped there was a rescue in the works…the last thing they needed was another incident like Ando Prime, followed by a bunch of defections. She was already tracking down one group of traitors—at least Jek Kardan was in custody, and Needles was KIA on Taris, by Y’vonne herself—she didn’t need to be sent after another…and if it happened to be the Deadeyes, Aric would never forgive her. The two of them had just started to get along and he’d finally stopped calling her green and a rookie.

“What’s the Republic doing to get the Deadeyes back?” She asked.

“Unfortunately, nothing. We’re on the verge of an incident. The Imperials are out for blood so the Republic is distancing itself from the operation.” Jonas lowered his voice harshly, clenching and unclenching his fists. “I shouldn’t even be talking to you about all this. Those boys are on their own.”

“These are Republic soldiers, sir—good men, all of them!” Aric could barely contain his rage.

She turned and put a reassuring hand on his shoulder to calm him. There was no way she was going to leave anyone to a fate like that—Jorgan could count on her to help get them out of there; she didn’t leave people behind. He glanced down into her yellow eyes, and took a deep breath when he saw the determination flashing behind them, and the bright smile she was aiming his way; he felt himself relax under her gentle touch. She had his back, and for that he was eternally grateful.

“If the Republic won’t do anything, then Havoc Squad will.” She squeezed his shoulder affectionately.

Aric released the breath he didn’t realize he’d been holding, as she turned her attention back to Jonas.

“Look, I know this stinks, but my hands are tied on this one.” He stepped closer, his voice barely above a whisper. “I’ve got major players breathing down my neck. Otherwise I’d tell you to investigate that prison the Imperials set up in Shadow Town.”

She winked at him. “Now we’re getting somewhere.”

As much as it annoyed him, Aric knew they wouldn’t have gotten half as far, if she hadn’t been using Balkar’s attraction to her to her advantage—hopefully the attraction was one-sided, but with the way they talked to each other he knew it was a stab in the dark. He didn’t know why he cared so much. He rubbed the back of his neck angrily, biting back the retort he had on the end of his tongue about their flirting; Jonas was giving them exactly what they needed.

“You didn’t hear this from me. Now, rumor has it—and I’m just talking here—that the Imperials built themselves a makeshift prison not too far from here. That’s where they dump any local riffraff that get out of line. Could be they took the Deadeyes there.” He continued.

And if they didn’t, there could be a clue about their other prisons, maybe even a possible clue to the Deadeyes’ whereabouts—Y’vonne appreciated all the help.

“Thanks for the tip, Balkar.”

He shook his head, emphatically.

“I’m just making conversation. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got an alibi to work on.” He leaned in and kissed Y’vonne’s cheek, so he could whisper in her ear and not look suspicious. “Remember—this meeting never happened.”

She nodded.

She left with Aric in tow, expecting him to say something about all the flirting she did whenever she was in Balkar’s presence, but he was eerily quiet, aside from the occasional angry growl she heard escape as he contemplated everything. She let him be. It was obvious this whole debacle was getting under his skin, and the sooner they found a clue—the better off they would both be; hopefully they found the Deadeyes before it was too late.

Aric kicked the bulkhead. They hadn’t found the Deadeyes in the prison, and even though they’d found some coordinates that they’d forwarded to Balkar’s contact in SigInt, a higher up in the SIS had gotten in the way—Senior Agent Zane. Y’vonne had a feeling he was going to be a thorn in their side for the next long while. She sighed and leaned against the door to the armory watching him stomp about in an angry huff; there obviously hadn’t been any word and he was starting to feel impatient again; she understood…the Deadeyes were his family and he just wanted to know they were okay.

“Jorgan, can you please try not to break my ship…do you want to talk about it?”

He hadn’t noticed her standing there, and he suddenly felt embarrassed that she was the one who’d seen him lose control like that; he let out an exasperated sigh as he turned to her. Y’vonne walked into the room, and crossed her arms over her chest as she watched him; Aric shook his head slowly—he really didn’t, and she gave him a tiny nod. She didn’t want to push him—he’d talk when he was ready, and until then, she would just make sure that she had his back.

“Not yet.”

“All right. Just know I’m always ready to listen if and when you want to talk about it.”

He gave her a small smile. “Thank you, sir.”

The two of them stood in companionable silence for a few moments.

He couldn’t quite believe that she wasn’t pushing this, and found himself studying her from the corner of his eye, before she approached him and put a gentle hand on his shoulder; it was nice to have someone have his back unconditionally. He swallowed. She was ridiculously close to him, and he found himself thinking about how beautiful she was for what wasn’t the first time—it occurred to him that all the times she and Jonas Balkar teased him about being jealous…he actually was, even though at the time he hadn’t realized what he was feeling. But she’d just ran through an Imperial prison hoping to help him find one tiny lead about the Deadeyes, expecting nothing in return, and even though they hadn’t found anything she was still hopeful.

Y’vonne Vollay had caught his eye in the time they’d been working together.

He cleared his throat. “Had a weapons misfire back in that prison run. Permission to check all ordinance to make sure it won’t happen again?”

A huge grin spread across her face and suddenly Aric found himself worried: she got that same look on her face every time she met up with Balkar and they started teasing him about being jealous of their constant flirting banter with each other. Y’vonne bit her lower lip and twirled a strand of her silky brown hair around the fingers of her right hand—she’d never let a perfect set-up like that go to waste before and she certainly didn’t intend to start now. She removed her hand from his shoulder and winked at him. Aric cocked his head to the side.

“Looking for an excuse to go through my personal effects are we?” She purred.

Aric’s jaw nearly hit the floor and despite the blush creeping across his cheeks, was it really the time? He cleared his throat loudly once more, and rubbed the back of his neck with his hand. Her yellow eyes were sparkling with mischief, a sudden dare flashing behind them—she was trying to rile him up and get under his skin, trying to push him over the line of CO and subordinate…at least he hoped he was reading her right. Two could play at this game; Y’vonne shouldn’t dish it if she couldn’t take it.

“Maybe. Do you have something you don’t want me to see?” He retorted, pitching his voice an octave lower than usual.

Y’vonne shot him a dazzling smile that lit up the room as she rolled her shoulders back. “I may have a few things in my wardrobe that aren’t strictly regulation.”

He snorted with laughter as he shrugged, trying to come off as nonchalant, as he watched her, gauging her reactions carefully before taking one solitary step forward. Hers eyes widened in surprise as she bit her lower lip, hoping he took the invitation. He was close enough to smell the floral perfume she wore, and his eyes darted to where her lip had disappeared under her fangs and back up to her eyes. This was a dangerous line they were toeing—a line they shouldn’t cross, but part of each of them was secretly hoping they would tumble over it together.

Aric smirked at her. “What you wear when you’re off duty is none of my business...unless you make it my business.”

She swayed slightly as she swooned at that tone in his what if she was playing with fire? She’d be the first to admit she was rather attracted to her handsome Cathar subordinate and even if it was classified as fraternization, he seemed to be open to the idea. It was hard for her to not catch him staring at her when they were in the field...she didn’t think he even noticed he was doing it. She smirked right back at him.

“Permission granted, Jorgan. If you need to rifle through my possessions, feel free.” She gave him a wink. “I look forward to a personal debriefing about your success later.”

Aric coughed.

Chapter Text

Finally, Harron Tavus, Jek Kardan, and Fuse were in Republic custody. It was unfortunate the rest of Havoc Squad had been killed, but they’d refused to surrender; Y’vonne had even gotten a promotion out of the whole affair to Captain as well as being able to choose her XO, and returned Jorgan to his rank of Lieutenant. She had never thought it was fair that he’d been blamed for Havoc’s defection, and she’d been hoping for any chance to put him back where he’d been before they met—considering he constantly called it her ‘squad of traitors’, but as of late he seemed even happier since his own promotion; Y’vonne kind of missed constantly wanting to throttle each other, but he’d earned it.

General Garza already had a new mission for them—finish assembling Havoc Squad so that they could destroy the Empire’s new superweapon: The Gauntlet. Which was how they found themselves working alongside the SIS again…and with the SIS came Jonas Balkar; unfortunately for Aric he was the contact Garza had sent them down here to meet. He was lounging on a couch, which seemed to be per the norm for him whenever they crossed paths. Y’vonne was looking forward to shooting more Imperial thugs. Aric rolled his eyes when they entered the Tatooine safe house—even though he was trying to look nonchalant, both he and his Cathar CO knew Jonas was happy to see her.

Even though Y’vonne had been muttering a string of curse words after being sent back to ‘the scorching piece of bantha poodoo,’ and all the other unkind things she’d called it, since they’d left the ship, she had been happy to see him again.

He grinned and stood to embrace her. “Captain, good to see you. It was a big relief to hear that Havoc could make it out for this one. Congratulations on the promotion, by the way. How’s it feel to be so big and important?”

Y’vonne winked at him—she liked being the boss. “I tell people what I want, and they do it. Just the way I like it.”

Aric crossed his arms behind her, barely containing a growl. It was hard to ignore the way these two could barely keep their hands to themselves, but they were here to learn all they could about the Gauntlet, so he bit his tongue—for now. Hopefully Balkar would get to the point soon; Aric had a sudden urge to shoot something. Jonas let out a dramatic sigh and crossed his arms over his chest as he leaned against the edge of a table.

“I knew I should’ve signed up for the army.”

“Any way to skip the flirting and tell us what we’re here for, Balkar?” Aric cut in before Y’vonne had a chance to respond and drag this out longer than necessary.

The longer he was in Jonas’s presence, the more irritable he became.

“You may be jealous…but you’re also right. We need to get moving on this one.” He nodded slowly, before focusing his attention back on Y’vonne. “So, you know you’re extracting an undercover agent who has Intel on the Empire’s new superweapon, code-named ‘Gauntlet.’ The agent’s name is Prellon Garn. He’s done his part, the transport he’s riding just made an emergency landing in the desert under ‘mysterious circumstances’.”

“I’ll find the landing site and pull our man out ASAP.”

“Garn’s ride was an Imperial troop transport, so expect plenty of security as you approach. Once our agent is secure, be sure the scene is clear and make your way back. Good luck.”

Jonas made his way back over to the couch, and Y’vonne turned heel. She and the rest of her squad made their way out of the safe house and into the sands of Tatooine, making her let out another string of curse words as she pulled her helmet down over her face—it was the wrong time for her to be wearing her favorite baby pink and light grey armor, that didn’t cover all of her; she was going to be cleaning sand out of her fur for another week. If she had to come to this planet ever again, she would try her hardest to talk her way out of it.

After trekking out through the desert to the coordinates Jonas had provided, they did find the transport, and it was crawling with Imperial troops just like Jonas had warned them. It was easy to locate their target, out of all the heavily armored troopers, there was only one man in an Imperial Intelligence uniform—he had to be Prellon Garn. It didn’t take too much time for Havoc Squad to wipe out all opposition, having caught the Imps by surprise, and after Prellon rigged an overload they all quickly made their way from the battle grounds. Y’vonne had left her speeder behind which, unfortunately, that left her, Prellon and her squad hoofing it across Tatooine once more.

“Remind me never to come to this sand trap again. I can feel my skin drying out under my fur.”

Elara snorted.

Neither Forex nor Aric were complaining, and one of them was bound to have sand wedged in all his motivators at this point, while the other had fur as well. Y’vonne made her dislike of Tatooine, Hoth and any Hutt-controlled planet well known; referring to Hutta as a ‘slime-infested cesspool’, Quesh as the ‘armpit of the galaxy’, Nar Shaddaa was ‘the neon hellhole’, and Hoth was ‘frozen death’. Tatooine so far had many names: ‘miserable dust ball’, ‘barren wasteland’, and ‘the scorching pit of bantha poodoo’ all of the adjectives were remarkably interchangeable, but at least it served to keep her squad amused while they gunned downed Imperials left and right.

“Welcome back to the loving arms of the Republic, Prellon. It’s good to see you.” Jonas stood to greet them when they returned.

“Good to see you, too, Jonas. Your friend got me out with all limbs intact—guess that means I owe you twenty credits, huh?” Prellon chuckled as he sat down in an armchair.

Y’vonne’s jaw dropped—Jonas had taken a bet on that? At least he was on her side.

Jonas grinned at her as he leaned against a table. “Ah, Captain…you brighten my day, fatten my bank account, and gun down Imps like maimed banthas. Marry me when this war is over.”

A surprised laugh bubbled up from somewhere inside—that was unexpected, no matter how frivolous she knew it was. She rolled her eyes as she leaned against the wall, twirling a strand of brown hair around a gloved finger. Lord help him, Aric knew that look and he really didn’t want to have to deal with this twice in one day…maybe he could make it out of the room before they got into it again.

“We’ll stick to drinks for now. You know how to find me.” She teased.

“Sounds like a plan.” Jonas replied.

“All right, all right. Knock it off, kids—we’ve got business to discuss.” Prellon cleared his throat, and Aric was glad he wasn’t the only one focused on the mission at hand. “The Gauntlet—the Empire’s new superweapon. It’s a massive cannon, built into the frame of an Imperial battle cruiser. But it’s no ordinary cannon. The Gauntlet can fire on ships traveling through hyperspace, where they’re completely helpless! Warships go down in one shot.”

That was definitely a serious threat.

“A weapon that powerful could win the war by itself.” Y’vonne muttered.

“Exactly. We have to move fast to stop this thing. I’ve got a full report ready. Once Jonas gets me to a terminal, I’ll send the details to General Garza.” Prellon nodded.

It sometimes amazed Forex, Elara, and Aric how she could go from shameless flirt to fearless leader in .2 seconds, but she knew when to go into soldier mode, and for that they were all grateful. Flirting with Jonas always made her day, and when Y’vonne was happy, Havoc Squad was happy, which is why Elara and Forex always let it slide…Aric, on the other hand, had a hard time not knocking Balkar down a peg. A fact which was not lost on their CO.

“You’d better head back to Coruscant, Captain. Garza will have Prellon’s report by the time you get there, and I’m sure she’ll want to keep Havoc Squad in the loop.” Balkar told them.

Y’vonne nodded. “I’ll head to Coruscant immediately.”

“Take care, Captain.”

She gave him a little wave and a wink, before heading back to the Thunderclap.

Chapter Text

“I’m going to murder him.” Y’vonne growled, as she talked with Elara. “Tanno Vik is a blight on Havoc Squad’s name—every time he talks I want to shove him into a wall, headfirst.”

Elara giggled. Y’vonne had been pacing around the med bay angrily, trying to figure out why General Garza had decided they needed someone like that on her squad—he’d conned the Balmorrans into thinking he was an upstanding citizen who was trying to help them when all he wanted was to claim their advanced prototype weapons for himself. He’d gotten huffy when she’d given them back, and now he was running a collection scheme from her ship, and she could kill him.

She hopped up on the bio bed.

“What about Lieutenant Jorgan? You two constantly seem to want to strangle each other.”

“Oh that’s completely different.” Y’vonne winked. “Every time Jorgan talks I want to shove him against a wall and kiss him senseless.”

Elara clapped a hand to her mouth. Ever since she’d joined Havoc Squad, she and Y’vonne had spent a lot of time together. The cathar teased that it was because it was nice to have another woman on the squad, but her unwavering acceptance and trust meant the world to Dorne. A call came through on the Elara’s personal holo, and her mouth dropped.

“It’s a call from one Aleksei Dorne—my brother!” She cried.

She put it through to the main holo, not wanting to be accused of anything untoward, even if Y’vonne constantly told her she trusted her implicitly. Aleksei and his team had apparently been disavowed by the Empire when trying to eliminate a target on Nar Shaddaa; he hadn’t known who else to call, so he’d contacted his sister. Without extraction, they were going to die.

“Go save him.”

“Thank you, sir!” Elara fled the med bay.

Aric and Y’vonne were alone on the ship now; Forex was off eliminating a target of opportunity to increase Republic morale, Elara was saving her brother, and Tanno was doing something or another with the collection scheme he was running. Aric caught her as she was walking past the armory, shifting uncomfortably under her gaze.

“Sir. I’m not very good at this, but…thank you for the XO spot. My career took a big hit when Tavus defected. I wasn’t sure it’d ever recover.”

He was having the hardest time looking her in the eye.

Y’vonne flashed him a dazzling smile—he deserved the XO spot; it was nice seeing him happy instead of scowling for a change. Her hand went automatically to his shoulder and for a brief moment she wondered if he hated her touching him and being unprofessional all the time. Maybe part of her was reading his signals wrong? It was too late for her to back down now—they’d come this far and she didn’t intend to change.

“You’ve proven yourself plenty of times in the field, Jorgan. You earned that promotion.”

“Thank you, Sir.” He paused. “I’ll make sure Havoc stays the top squad in the Republic. You can count on it.”

Y’vonne squeezed his shoulder affectionately before winking at him. “See that you do.”

He realized with a start, this wasn’t why he’d dragged her in here as she pushed his shoulder playfully. He’d meant to tell her what had happened after the prison run, but somehow the thank you had fallen from his lips, though having her flash him that smile was always worth the price of admission. He was grinning at her; a laugh bubbled up from somewhere inside as she leaned against the wall…he was obviously happy about something—maybe something that had to do with the Deadeyes?

“Well, the search is officially underway. I transmitted those coordinates we picked up to Balkar’s contact in SigInt. Won’t be long before we find out where the Deadeyes are—” His personal holocom beeped. “—well look at that. That you, Gav?”

The figure that crackled to life was not one she wanted to see—Senior Agent Zane of the SIS.

“You know, you really ought to start encrypting your transmissions. Finding your frequency was child’s play.” Zane sneered.

Y’vonne glared at him—what did he want? “You’ve got five seconds to explain yourself.”

Aric covered a snort of laughter.

“I’ll just leave you with a friendly suggestion: walk away.” Zane’s image fizzled out.

The two of them growled when he was gone; Aric never thought he would miss dealing with Jonas Balkar when they had to work with the SIS. Zane was definitely a thorn in their side and he was looking forward to finding the Deadeyes so they didn’t have to work around the damn man, but for now they were stuck. He stowed his communicator and kicked the wall—she really wished he wouldn’t take his frustrations out on her ship, but his anger was understandable, Zane was not just going to let this die.

“That smug—! Why is he so interested in the Deadeyes? In any case, he knows about Balkar’s contact at SigInt. We’ll have to find someone else to decrypt those coordinates.” Aric sighed, running a hand over the fur on his head.

Why was this so hard? Aric sighed again—this was taking too long and without Balkar’s SigInt contact, they were getting nowhere. They were both tired of Zane always being one step ahead of them, and Y’vonne had an idea to make sure that stopped happening; she was going to find the Deadeyes, and no hyped up SIS agent was going to stop her. She put one hand on her hip and the other on Aric’s shoulder, looking deep into his yellow and green eyes; a large grin spread across her face. He frowned. How could she be smiling at a time like this?

“I’d like to see Zane outmaneuver General Garza.” She said.

He couldn’t stop the smirk that formed even if he wanted to. “Now you’re talking. I’ll bring the general up now.”

He walked past her out of the armory and straight to the holoterminal in the center of the ship, and she followed close behind—taking a moment to look him up and down when he wasn’t looking. Y’vonne nodded in appreciation as the terminal beeped while connecting to General Garza on Coruscant. She’d always thought that was a weird place for the holo to be located, preferring it in the cockpit, but it was a rather large piece of equipment. Garza appeared in blue pixels.

“This is General Garza. What can I do for you, Havoc?” She asked.

“We’ve got a problem, General…” Y’vonne told her, before proceeding to tell everything.

“Hmm. I don’t like you going off mission, Captain.” Garza placed her chin in her hand after she’d heard the whole story. “Then again, I don’t like SIS snoops meddling in military affairs, either. Send me the coordinates. I’ll get our people working on them right away. Just don’t let this interfere with your mission.”

She nodded. “We won’t forget this, General.”

“I’ll let you know if we learn anything. Garza out.”

Aric smiled at her, making her swoon a little as Garza’s image faded.

“There. If Zane manages to one-up Garza, I’ll eat my rifle.” Aric was grateful for everything Y’vonne had just done for him.

“That won’t be necessary, Lieutenant.” She laughed, pushing his shoulder playfully.

As she started to walk away, Aric caught her by the arm without realizing he was doing it; they both looked down at his hand in surprise, before Y’vonne winked at him. He coughed and released her, falling into step beside her and clearing his throat once again in the silence that had fallen between them. She waited patiently—when he was ready to talk he would, but until then she wasn’t going to try to pry anything out of him…this time. Aric took a deep breath.

“I never properly congratulated you on your promotion. You’ve come a long way since Ord Mantell. We should celebrate.” He told her.

Y’vonne smiled and batted her long eyelashes at him seductively, her yellow eyes sparkling. She’d never done that when she was flirting with Jonas, and Aric was hoping that was a good thing, something she reserved only for him; the thought made him scold himself. This was definitely not the time. She put her chin in her hand and stared at him for a moment, before slowly running her hand down his arm—the touching was new too. She wondered if he could cook…

“You could make me dinner.” She teased.

Aric held up a hand to stop her as he shook his head.

“You wouldn’t enjoy that. I spent the last ten years living off field rations.” He reached into his pocket. “I got you a little something. Bought the stone off a trader a few years back. Had a Theelin jeweler fit it for me…thought it’d look nice on you.”

It had been burning a hole in his pocket for longer than he cared to admit: he’d picked it up because it had caught his eye; and after meeting her, it made him think of her whenever he looked at it. He’d had it set after her promotion, with the hopes of giving it to her as a gift at some point or another—now he regretted it, but pushed past the embarrassment and handed her the necklace. Her eyes went wide in surprise because she wasn’t expecting her ornery XO to even know where to begin when buying jewelry; depending on the way the light hit it, it was different colors, but the stone itself was a vibrant, half-translucent jade green, set in a teardrop frame. It was quite possibly the most beautiful thing she ever seen, and while she could tease him about it being girly, she couldn’t find the words. She loved it.

“It’s beautiful. Thank you.”

He nodded. “Anytime. I should get back to my duties. Congratulations again, sir.”

She fastened it around her neck as she turned away—never intending to remove it from her person for as long as she lived; there was always room in her wardrobe for jewelry…especially a gift from a cute boy. She flashed him a smile, before making her way out of the armory and up to the cockpit to punch in the coordinates for their next mission. Something told her they were almost done collecting her squad members and she would be ready to take on the Gauntlet before too long. The thought made her giddy.

Chapter Text

“Still no word on the Deadeyes’ location.” Aric growled. “I checked with Garza, but she hasn’t had any luck decrypting those coordinates we sent her. This is taking too long. For all we know, the Imperials have relocated the Deadeyes. That intel could be obsolete.”

Then they would keep on searching. She wasn’t going to let this hiccup stop them from finding those soldiers and bringing them home. Aric put his head in his hands as he sat at the table in the mess; her heart went out to him as she slid into the seat next to him; putting her hand gently on his arm, and giving it an affectionate squeeze. He looked up at her briefly, the scowl on his face faltering as she absently ran her fingers up and down his forearm.

“We can still pick up a new trail if we follow those coordinates.” She reassured him.

He shrugged one shoulder. “I suppose you’re right. I’ll keep monitoring the holo. Maybe something will turn up.”

She shot him a genuine smile, before patting his arm soothingly and standing up—at least he wasn’t taking his anger out on her ship anymore. He kind of missed the feel of her fingers on his arm, he noticed with a start as she sauntered away out of the mess. How was it she knew exactly what to say to make him feel better, no matter the situation? Sighing he headed to bundle up like the rest of the squad—Hoth was next on their agenda, and no one was looking forward to it, even if it meant recruiting the last needed member of Havoc Squad. As he left the mess, he overheard Elara advising Y’vonne to change as well, in her Elara way of doing things.

“Be sure to take all precautions against hypothermia outlined in Service Manual chapter four, Sir.”

Y’vonne sighed. “I know. I know. Can we check and make sure Forex is properly geared for frozen death? We don’t need another stuck motivator like the last two times we were on that miserable dust ball, and I’ll make sure to bundle up too, Sergeant—don’t even worry about it. It’s not like I want to freeze to death—unless Lieutenant Jorgan wants to keep me warm.”

She’d caught him staring, and winked at him. He coughed and ducked around the corner as Elara rolled her eyes, tossing the thermal retention gear at their CO, and Tanno Vik as he stepped up into the middle of the ship; Elara herself already geared up and ready to go. M1-4X had found his way into the middle of the room, and instead of heading to her room to change, Y’vonne made a beeline for the droid wanting to make sure he was ready to take on the frozen tundra and blizzards while they were down there.

She was not looking forward to this planet at all.

“I’m ready for duty, Sir. Havoc Squad will prevail against the Imperial scum down on the planet. I’ll make sure of it.” Forex saluted her.

Y’vonne snorted and rolled her eyes, clapping the droid on the shoulder as she stood up. “I expect nothing less from Republic Special Forces Infantry Unit 326, Forex. There’s a reason Havoc Squad is the best of the best.”

“I just hope we get to blow something up.” Tanno grunted, crossing his arms over his chest as he leaned against the wall.

“If we don’t blow up at least a couple Imperials, no one will be happy.” She replied.

For all his failings, Tanno really was an amazing demolitions expert—he knew his trade, and though sometimes his attitude left much to be desired, she was starting to warm up to him. After bundling up, the five of them made their way off the ship and after taking the orbital shuttle down to Hoth, they trekked out across the frozen tundra to the coordinates General Garza had given them for Yuun and his squad. Y’vonne didn’t run into many Gand, and his way of interpreting the world was fascinating.

“How come you happily do what he wants, and I got punched?” Tanno grumbled, after Yuun had given them the specifics of his mission.

She stared at him in disbelief. He really had to ask?

“You were conning the Balmorrans into believing you were on a top secret, super hush-hush Republic mission, when all you really wanted was their prototype weaponry for yourself and dragging me all over the planet to find you—Sergeant Yuun is at least straightforward about what I’m here for.” Y’vonne chided.

Tanno rolled his eyes and started muttering under his breath. This was one of the times where she was not in the least bit happy about his attitude but Havoc Squad needed him, so she just ground her teeth in frustration as she fell into step with Aric. She actually couldn’t wait to have a full squad—not having gotten to actually enjoy the last one before they defected leaving her and Aric to hold the bag; plus they got to destroy the Empire’s new superweapon in the process. Nothing like a looming Republic victory over the Empire to raise her spirits.

The scrambler device Yuun was building with the pieces of the crashed ships was genius. She’d always felt techie and loved figuring out how everything worked, but apparently the Gand actually saw how everything fit together, in smoke and mist and visions, and she was utterly in awe of his talent. Garza was right that he needed to be on Havoc Squad—it wasn’t that his talents were wasted where he was, it was that Havoc needed him. Next stop: the Gauntlet.

When they all got back to the ship, Sergeant Yuun in tow, Garza officially welcomed him to the squad over the holocall, his transfer going through immediately, before telling them to take a day to get ready. Their assault of the superweapon would go down once they returned from leave. After turning off the holoterminal Y’vonne headed up into the cockpit and saw her mail terminal flashing with unopened mail. She cocked her head to the side before opening it to find a message from sergeant Jaxo—apparently she had a little leave before the Gauntlet as well, and wanted Y’vonne to come down to Coruscant and join her for a girl’s night out before they all returned to duty. She grinned and shot off a reply, happy to have something to do and not spend her time cooped up on the ship.

Chapter Text

“Elara, how would you feel about accompanying me to a Girls’ Night Out?” Y’vonne asked.

The two women had been bonding since Taris when she joined Havoc squad, and there was no way Y’vonne was going to leave her behind—plus she had a feeling Elara didn’t get many chances like this. Jaxo had sent her an email inviting her back to Coruscant and they were on their shore leave, so why not? Elara’s blue eyes lit up in surprise and delight before she nodded enthusiastically.

“I’ve never been to one before, sir. What’s the proper protocol for something like this? Do we bring a gift? What’s the dress code? Should I—” Elara began.

Y’vonne stopped her with a gentle hand on her shoulder. “Elara, sweetie, breathe…first you know you can call me Y’vonne; second we just have to show up; third there is no dress code…though wearing something that shows a little—or a lot—of skin isn’t awful; and finally we just have to have fun. Come on, we get to raid my closet.”

She hadn’t been lying to Aric when she told him that she had a few things in her wardrobe that weren’t strictly regulation…she just didn’t get much opportunity to wear them. She wrapped her fingers around Elara’s wrist, before dragging her friend from the med bay and into her quarters, and sitting her on her bed, rifling through her wardrobe and pulling out several articles of clothing. It took her a minute, but Y’vonne found a deep blue demicot-silk micro-mini skirt and a black zeyd-cloth corset, and a matching pair of thigh high black boots. Elara’s eyes went wide.

“Sir…that seems a little revealing.” She replied, holding up the clothing.

The Cathar let out a giggle, as she reached up to let her hair out of her standard clip. “Kind of the point. Trust me, you’ll look fantastic.”

Sighing, she realized she wasn’t going to win this argument, so she shut the door to the outside, and began to shed her armor pieces, as Y’vonne curled her brown hair. As Elara fastened up the boots, she felt a tug at her bun, and suddenly felt it cascade around her face it was barely past her chin and ramrod straight, but the cathar nodded her approval, before donning a baby pink zeyd-cloth bra, and a matching micro-mini skirt and strappy pink stilettos; she was all of a sudden happy Y’vonne had given her the outfit she did, it showed a lot less than the pink outfit.

Y’vonne had a half-translucent jade green pendant set in a teardrop frame on a gold chain hanging around her neck that depending on the way the light hit it the color changed, Elara had never noticed it before…what she didn’t know was it was the one Aric had bought off a Theelin jeweler years ago, and had set just for her. She opened the door, and ushered Elara out of the room, hooking her arm through hers, and together they headed off the ship laughing and talking together. It was nice to have another girl on the squad.

“Hey there.” Jaxo smiled as she opened the door.

She reached out and pulled Y’vonne into a hug; it had been a long time since they’d seen each other on Coruscant. She noticed that there were two other women in her apartment standing just off to the side, all three of them were dressed scantily to the nines as well, making Y’vonne smile, take a step back and push Elara forward—no one had met her yet, and that needed to be rectified.

“Ava, this is Elara Dorne, the second MedTech of Havoc Squad...I hope you don’t mind me bringing her along.”

“Of course not Yvi. The more the merrier.”

One of the women immediately stood up and saluted the Cathar practically bouncing around the room; she had three jagged scars running parallel down her face over her left eye, and dark brown hair pulled neatly into a bun. “Captain! Corporal Jorda Pell, with the Safecrackers. It’s a real honor to meet you, a real honor!”

Jaxo snorted with laughter as Y’vonne reached out the shake the woman’s hand—she didn’t like to talk about Quesh, or the Hutt-infested slime ball, as she referred to it the whole time Havoc Squad was down there. She seemed to have something bad to say about all Hutt controlled planets…and planets with extreme weather. It made Jorgan chuckle at least. Ava put a calming hand on Jorda’s shoulder before turning back to Y’vonne.

“She’s been here ten minutes and we’ve already heard about your little stunt on Quesh at least ten times. I don’t think you’ll be paying for many drinks tonight.” She teased. “And if Jorda’s not buying them for you, in that outfit some guy will.”

Y’vonne smiled, and put one hand on her hip. “If that’s how it is, I won’t complain. I like free drinks.”

“Fantastic!” Jorda grinned back.

Jaxo looked behind her at the other woman with short cropped black hair, and a long jagged scar running down the right side of her face from forehead to chin and a second one running perpendicular to the first just under her eye. Both new women had certainly impressive scars, and Y’vonne would have to ask later how they got them. She didn’t want to pry too much yet, seeing as they just met and she didn’t even know the second woman’s name yet. Her arms were crossed over her chest in apparent boredom.

“Our other friend here is Keran. She runs with those navy punks, but I’ve forgiven her for it.” Ava teased.

The other woman rolled her eyes, before uncrossing her arms to shake hands. “Keran Vondi, gunnery officer on the Brentaal Star. I don’t think you’ve saved my life yet, but it’s still nice to meet you.”

Y’vonne grasped her hand. “I don’t run into many navy officers. Pleasure to meet you.”

“All right, let’s focus, people. Keran just got a big promotion, you two obviously have a lot to celebrate, and I have a day off for once. Recon shows eight cantinas within taxi range. We’re going to hit them all, and we’re going to hit them hard.” Jaxo explained.

This was just what Havoc Squad needed—a breather. Hooking her arm through Elara’s, Y’vonne nodded happily, it would be a shame to waste all of their outfits by just staying inside, and she couldn’t help thinking this was the best way to spend their last day of shore leave. She couldn’t wait to put everything behind her, even if it was for only one night. She shrugged, trying to come off as nonchalant, but she was excited.

“Let’s move out.”

“First round’s on me!” Jorda cried, as the five woman filed out of Jaxo’s apartment together.

“This is rather exciting, sir!’ Elara whispered.

“Y’vonne, Elara, not sir. Not tonight.” She replied.

None of them could remember making it back to Jaxo’s apartment after their night at the cantinas. They really had hit them hard. Sprawled out on the couch and floors, they’d started talking and telling stories about missions and the craziest things they’d done to get out of tight spots. No one believed Y’vonne had once handled an infiltration where she’d seduced three targets simultaneously—but it had been completely true. Jaxo had just finished up one of her tales recounting one of the events from earlier in the evening, and everyone especially Keran was clutching her stomach in laughter.

“Heh, you are insane, Jaxo, you know that?” She asked.

Jaxo looked over from where she was seated on the couch. “You’re the one who brought them over, not me. If your navy pals can’t drink a sweet little girl like me under the table, that’s their problem. Even Elie over there could hold her own against me.”

Elara blushed. “It was not my intention to imbibe so much.”

“It’s all right, Dorne I’ll make sure we’re fit for duty in the morning, for tonight, just keep enjoying yourself…let your hair down.” Y’vonne teased.

She laughed. “You already did that for me, sir—Y’vonne.”

Jorda suddenly appeared in the doorway, no one had noticed that she had gone…it was probably to use the refresher. After all the alcohol everyone had consumed, that was probably ridiculously necessary. She drunkenly sauntered over to Y’vonne as she leaned against the wall, being able to hold her liquor better than the humans around her and threw her arm around her shoulders in comradery. The Cathar snorted with laughter, probably being the only thing holding her upright at the moment.

“Hey. Hey—you know what? You are amazing. You’re an amazing woman, okay? Just, totally amazing.” She slurred.

“That’s very nice of you to say, Jorda.”

“Tell you what, Jorda. My bed’s over there—why don’t you go lay down for a bit, huh?” Jaxo urged.

“I might sit down, for a minute Y’vonne, I’m feeling rather lightheaded from all the alcohol.” Elara added slowly, lowering herself onto the couch, and slumping over the arm.

Keran stood, and hobbled over to the door. “I’d better call it a night myself. See you, Jaxo. It was great meeting you.”

Y’vonne nodded in her direction, while sitting next to Elara on the couch. “Likewise.”

Jaxo sighed. “I guess you’d probably better get going too, huh? I hope you had a good time. We don’t get nearly enough of them in this line of work.”

She could say that again.

“The army definitely isn’t big on time off.” She agreed.

“When this war’s over, I’m getting a normal job with normal hours on the most boring planet I can find.” Jaxo continued, before laughing disdainfully. “Heh. Who am I kidding? I couldn’t hold a normal job if my life depended on it. You’d better get out while you can—after that many rounds, I could be talking nonsense for hours. I’ll see you around, big shot.”

Someone knocked on the door as Y’vonne reached over and pulled Elara’s hair away from her face checking carefully on her MedTech who was sleeping soundly. They’d definitely overdone it a little bit, but it was nice to see the blond woman let loose, instead of being so rigid all the time. They all seemed a little more sobered up, now that they realized the night was drawing to a close and they’d all have to wake up and return to reality and the war. Jaxo got up slowly before going to answer the door, to see an angry Cathar face she remembered vividly.

“You’re surgent Jergan.” Jaxo giggled as she saw Aric. “Yvi talked about you a lot tonight. I think she likes you.”

Aric pushed on the door, looking for Y’vonne and Elara, Forex right behind him to help him get the two of them home after barhopping with Jaxo and her girls all night. It took him a minute to find them considering they weren’t wearing their armor—but he caught a flash of copper as he scanned the room, his eyes darting back to it. Suddenly he felt hot under the collar, seeing her wearing practically nothing, the necklace he’d given her nestled tantalizingly in her cleavage and her hair down and in curls around her face…Elara was more covered than his CO but was still in a similar state of undress and inebriation.

“Ava, if you don’t shut your mouth I will shoot you.” Y’vonne’s voice was overly loud even to her own ears, as she threatened Jaxo from where she and Elara were collapsed on the couch. “And he’s Lieutenant Jergan now.”

“Come on, Sir…let’s get you home.” Aric sighed, picking her up; she was lighter than he’d expected. “Forex, can you grab Sergeant Dorne?”

“Right away sir!” Forex replied.

Her head was pounding, but at least the pillows under her head were soft—wait where was she? Y’vonne opened her eyes slowly, squinting against the light to make out the figure of Lieutenant Aric Jorgan leaning leisurely against the door frame of her room…unsure as to how she’d made it back to the ship, let alone her room. She sat up carefully and leaned against the headboard of her bed, blankets slipping down to pool in her lap, as Aric approached her, his gaze darting away from her constantly before he handed her a steaming mug of tea. She accepted the cup, gratefully.

“I might’ve overdone it a little last night.” She laughed ruefully; immediately regretting the action, as it made her head throb some more.

“A little?”

“Okay, a lot. But we don’t get much time off…and why can’t you look at me?” She looked down at herself, still wearing her revealing pink outfit from the night before. “Oh, right. So how did we get back here?”

“Elara somehow got a message to us with an estimated end time before she was completely soused, and so when the time came and went, Forex and I went off in search of you. I had to carry you back to the ship.” He didn’t mention that he hadn’t expected her fur to be so soft under his fingers.

“I’m sorry you had to see me like that…and well this.” She motioned to her outfit, then paused. “Did I say anything…inappropriate?”

Aric shook his head slightly; glad she couldn’t pick up on the slight blush under his copper fur. In fact, she’d said quite a lot, as he’d carried her back to the ship, with her arms wrapped around his neck to keep herself from falling; she’d told him he smelled good, that he was amazing, and that she was glad he’d come to get her instead of anyone else. The reason for the blush however, was when she’d told him that every time he talked she wanted to shove him against a wall and kiss him senseless. That was going to be his little secret…after all, she was his commanding officer.

“Nothing too awful—you and Jaxo did call me Jergan though, but I assume that was the alcohol talking. That necklace really does suit you, by the way.”

She gave him a bright smile. “Thank you, Jorgan. Now help me up so I can change and help Elara with the hangover she’s bound to have as well.”

“Yes sir.”

“Morning.” Y’vonne handed the blond woman a steaming mug of tea as she drank her own.

Elara was sitting in the mess, head in her hands as the Cathar woman approached her. Smiling gratefully, she accepted the mug, as the other woman plopped down next to her in a chair. They sat in silence for a few moments silently sipping tea, and running their fingers through their unruly and sleep disheveled hair—they’d deal with that obstacle once the throbbing subsided. Curling her fingers around the handle of the mug, blue eyes stared into yellow.

“Sir, I’d like to thank you for inviting me along last night. That was the most fun I’ve ever had—I’ve never really had friends before and I’m ever so glad you accepted me.” She said suddenly.

Y’vonne put a hand on her arm. “You’re very welcome. Now, you saw me at my worst last night and if you don’t start calling me Yvi, I’ll be very put-out. What shall we eat to mop up the toxins in our systems?”

“Eggs…Yvi, you look upset.”

“You remember how I once told you that every time Tanno talks I want to shove him into a wall, headfirst, and every time Jorgan talks I want to shove him against a wall and kiss him senseless? I have a vague recollection of telling Jorgan that last part last night…”

Elara’s hands flew to her mouth in horror. “Did you?”

Y’vonne shrugged. “I don’t know; when I asked he didn’t say anything about it, but I feel like it wasn’t a dream…”

Chapter Text

“Sir, I got the first location of a couple of the Deadeyes decrypted by Garza and her people.” Aric told her, handing the data over.

Y’vonne could feel all the color drain from her face when she realized where they would be headed. She’d hated that place the first time and was not looking forward to going back. She sighed exasperatedly and handed the pad back to Jorgan, shaking her head in angry frustration.

“No. No. No. Jorgan please don’t make me go back to Tatooine. That miserable barren wasteland was the worst experience of my life—I was washing sand out of my fur for a week after the first two times...I nearly murdered Fuse and Prellon on the spot for making me chase them all over that wretched dust ball; please don’t do this to me.”

He placed both his hands on her shoulders and looked deep into her eyes.

“Please. Do it for me...and the Deadeyes. They need you, sir.”

Y’vonne sighed heavily. “Fine. You’re lucky you’re cute.”

She smacked his hands off of her before stomping away in another mini tirade; Jorgan watched her go, pulling on his collar to try and get the blushing to go down. She’d called him cute. Y’vonne emerged from her room wearing a revealing skin tight light grey and baby pink body suit that left little to imagination, her cleavage nearly spilling out the top because she hadn’t been bothered to pull the zipper all the way up. The fabric breathed and hid most of her fur from any sand with gloves and boots to match, but left Aric constantly averting his gaze; why did the little handful constantly wear outfits that made it almost impossible for him not to blatantly stare all the time?

“We doing this or what?” She asked, hands on her hips as she glared at him.

Aric nodded, his mouth dry. “Yeah, let’s go.”

A quick detour at hyperspeed before flying to the Gauntlet wouldn’t hurt anyone…she hoped. It didn’t take long for the two of them to quickly and quietly make their way to the coordinates they’d been forwarded, and dispatch the Imperial guards overlooking the labor camp a couple of the Deadeyes were at. Aric knew Y’vonne was just trying to get off Tatooine as quickly as possible, but it also got them to his old squad faster, and he actually appreciated her speed and effectiveness. Fortunately, they even found his old XO Lieutenant Torve. How lucky could they get to find him on the first try?

They didn’t have much time, and thankfully had contacted Garza on their way—evac was en route. He hated that it had taken so long to find just these two, but Aric knew they didn’t really have the time to spare for him and Torve to catch up with each other…but luckily with his freedom imminent they would have that time later. He just hoped they could find the rest of the squad with this kind of efficiency before they were executed. Just what was Zane’s plan? He had the entire ride back to Anchorhead to contemplate what the SIS was up to…and it also kept his mind off of Y’vonne’s outfit and the fact that he was hugging his CO from behind while they rode her speeder.

“That’s the last of them. We’ll be good to go in just a few seconds.”

Tanno sauntered over to where she’d taken cover and given him covering fire as he set up the explosives in the heart of the gauntlet. Yuun had made it safely back to the group after getting her through the heavily encoded durasteel doors, and Tanno had taken his place so they could blow this place sky high. Her personal holocom beeped twice, alerting her of an incoming transmission, hopefully from Jorgan, to keep her appraised of their status. She wouldn’t say it, but she was more worried about the ones left behind to defend the bridge than she was about herself.

His image appeared in blue pixels.

“Captain—Jorgan here. We’ve got a situation on the bridge. We got the data, but Imperial reinforcements just showed up out of nowhere—a lot more than we can hold off. Are the bombs planted? Can we pull out?” He asked.

Y’vonne nodded—she didn’t want anyone to get hurt, and it was time for everyone to fall back to the ship to make sure that didn’t happen.

“Our objectives are complete. I want you all back aboard the ship on the double.” She ordered.

Hopefully they had enough time to get back unharmed. She’d never forgive herself if anything happened to anyone on her squad—even Vik; the Weequay liked to tread on her last nerve, but she’d never lost someone to hostile action before, and she didn’t intend to start now. Elara’s image replaced Jorgan’s and she nodded at her CO.

“Copy that—let’s go!” The blonde woman told the others with her.

“Understood.” Jorgan replied.

Y’vonne motioned for Tanno to follow her, and the two of them double-timed it through the reinforcements that got in their way, but mostly they focused on getting back to the ship alive. The moment they were through the airlock doors, she saw her squad surrounding a lone figure on the ground. There were no Imperials insight; the face of Aric Jorgan was nowhere in sight either—he was the one on the floor, unconscious.


His name ripped from her throat as she saw him lying in a heap on the ground, having covered Elara and Forex—as well as Sergeant Yuun after he’d fallen back, his part in the assault finished—as they tried to fall back to her ship after the assault on the Gauntlet. She found herself at his side, cradling his head in her lap, not caring if she got in a boatload of trouble for acting like this. He had to be okay. Her heart was in her mouth as she stroked his cheek, when she felt a gentle, reassuring hand on her shoulder.

“I patched him up as best I could. He’ll be all right, sir.” Elara gave her shoulder a gentle squeeze.

Forex picked him up gingerly, and carried him back to the ship, with Y’vonne following close behind, wringing her hands in tormented worry; inside she knew that if Elara told her he would be okay he would be, but she was still ridiculously upset. She accompanied Forex to the Medbay, and after he’d set Aric on the medical bed and left the two of them alone, she stroked his forehead for a moment before leaning down and kissing his cheek. He stirred but didn’t wake. Not that she needed him awake to say something about regulations because of that harmless little kiss…

“You’d better be all right, Jorgan. I’m counting on you…I need you.” She whispered, before leaving the room to contact General Garza on the holo.

Her entire squad deserved a damn medal for this, and apparently Garza agreed as well. She called the rest of them to Coruscant to receive the honors as well as throwing in a promotion to Major for her, Captain for Jorgan, and Lieutenant for the rest of her squad…unfortunately Aric wasn’t even around to accept it. Y’vonne couldn’t concentrate on the proceedings—her mind was back in the medbay with him.

What was this she was feeling?

The moment she could, she flew back to the ship ahead of everyone else to check on Aric—this time he was awake when she entered the medbay, and was sitting propped up on some pillows. She heaved a sigh of relief and felt her knees buckle. He really was going to be okay, and the thought made her smile as she lowered herself onto the edge of his bed. Aric cocked his head to the side; she looked pale—had she really been that worried about him? Dorne had patched him up, and the medics Garza had brought on had cleared him for duty after taking a couple days to rest.

Maybe he could ease her mind. He cleared his throat making Y’vonne roll her eyes…he always did that before he was going to tell her a story, and if he was ready to spin a tale about the Deadeyes, he was going to be just fine. She felt like a huge weight had been lifted off her chest with just that simple action—she ran her fingers absently up and down his arm as she sat next to him. He always knew just what to say and do to make her feel better; it was one of the things that attracted her to him in the first place.

“I ever tell you about the time we were ordered to take out Moff Dalom? Dangerous mark. Wily as a—hang on.” His personal holocom beeped from where she had left it on his bedside table; the man was nothing if not a workaholic. “Incoming transmission. Care to guess who it is?”

If there was one person she didn’t want to deal with while Aric was recovering, it was Zane.

“Major. Senior Agent Zane, here. Apparently I didn’t make myself clear earlier.” He put his hands on his hips and glared at her over the holo. “Or perhaps you thought an unauthorized rescue mission wouldn’t constitute as ‘interfering’?”

There had been no misunderstanding, and it made her smirk.

“We knew exactly what we were doing.” She replied, crossing her arms over her chest.

“Thought so. I understand you’re concerned for your comrades, but you morons are only complicating things.”

Aric growled in the back of his throat—he did not just call her that. “You’re addressing the Commander of Havoc Squad, Zane. You will show her the proper respect.”

Zane rolled his eyes. “Apologies. But this is a delicate operation and your continued involvement will only jeopardize its completion.”

Part of Y’vonne was surprised Zane even cared enough to apologize. She really just wished he would tell them why it was so important for the Deadeyes not to be rescued—he had a card up his sleeve, and was refusing to put it into play. They could’ve been allies, and worked together, but he’d insisted on being a thorn in her side from the get go. This was not the way to get allies and he knew it, but didn’t seem to care. Everyone was expendable to him and it made her sick.

“You know where the other Deadeyes are being held. Tell me.” She was done playing his games.

“Seems to have slipped my mind.” Zane sneered.

“Your operation’s falling apart, Zane. Now either rescue the Deadeyes yourself or get out of our way.” Aric was going to shoot this man the next time he saw him in person—that he could guarantee.

It was the first time he turned in the holo to look at Aric.

“I don’t take orders from grunts. This mission is over when I say it is.”

“I’ve had it with this guy. Permission to cut him off, sir.”

Y’vonne nodded; she wished he would. “Permission granted.”

Zane turned around to look at her, surprise written all over his face as Aric ended the transmission, and nearly chucked the communicator back on the bedside table. That man was seriously courting Aric’s assault rifle at this point, and it wouldn’t end well for either of them. Y’vonne bit her lip. This was not what Aric needed right now—he needed to take it easy for the next couple days, but with what Torve said weighing on his mind about the Deadeyes being split up into different labor camps across the galaxy the mission had just gotten harder.

“Good riddance.” Aric grumbled, settling back onto the pillows. “I can’t tell if he really dropped the ball on this one or if he’s still just lying to us. Either way, the SIS had their chance. Time for Havoc Squad to get the job done right.”

“In due time, Jorgan—right now I want you to rest. You had me really worried there.”

Y’vonne realized she’d been stroking his arm this whole time, and immediately pulled her hand away; he hadn’t said anything about it, she realized with a start. They both glanced down in embarrassment, unable to look the other in the eye. She gave him one last fleeting smile before hopping down off the bio bed, and making her way out of the medbay—how had she let herself lose her composure like that? The fact that he hadn’t stopped her was now weighing heavily on her mind…he should have stopped her, so why hadn’t he? She smiled to herself. Maybe she was finally breaking down his walls…

From: Jonas Balkar

Subject: Congrats

I hear somebody wrecked the Imps’ new toy. Is it tough being the biggest hero in the Republic, or do these things just come naturally?

Seriously though, great work. I can’t imagine where we’d be without you.

Y’vonne had spent the last two days in the medbay, making sure Aric was getting the proper amount of rest and he’d finally been cleared for duty again, just the thought of it making her smile to herself on more than one occasion. She was wandering absently through the ship reading an email from Jonas Balkar—but it just didn’t give her the butterflies it used to. Maybe because she’d caught Aric watching her out of the corner of her eye, often, but she had just spent the last two days almost constantly at his side…

“Sir, may I have a minute?” Aric asked stepping out of the armory.

“Seriously, why are you always in here? Don’t you have other places on the ship you like to hang out? I swear you sleep here.” She teased as she nodded, and stepped into the armory with him. “You wanted to talk?”

Aric nodded slowly, as he started to pace back and forth.

“I did. You’re my commanding officer. When we’re on the field, I’m supposed to be following your lead and watching your back. I’m watching your back, all right…and everything else, too. It’s…unprofessional.” He told her.

Aric put his hands on his hips, frustrated with himself that he had let his thoughts of her get this out of control—the only thing it really did was make him fight harder to keep her safe when they were under fire, not wanting any harm to come to her if he could prevent it. He’d been fighting with these feelings for longer than he cared to admit. Y’vonne felt her face go hot. Had those words really just come out of Aric Jorgan’s mouth? It was finally happening, and she couldn’t be more excited; it had taken months but he was actually admitting that there was something between them. She smirked at him—he needed to get over it.

“You’re a man, Jorgan, I’d be offended if you weren’t sneaking an occasional peek.” She teased.

He glanced away from her, shaking his head.

“I’d like to do more than just peek.” Was swooning still a thing? Because Y’vonne felt a serious swoon coming on as she clutched the doorframe; Aric cleared his throat before continuing. “Look, I don’t know if this thing between us is going anywhere. You’re a remarkable woman—but you’re still my CO. I ever cross a line, go too far, you let me know.”

He hadn’t gone far enough.

“Just shut up and kiss me.” Y’vonne purred, releasing the door frame and taking a step towards him, putting herself within arm’s reach.

It was his turn to smirk.

“Yes, sir.”

He took one solitary step towards her, grabbing her waist and pulling her snug up against his body, glad for the first time that they were both in civilian clothes; that body suit of hers had been tantalizing his mind and the rest of him for hours. Without armor he could feel every inch of her body against his, but he was more distracted by her lips. He’d been longing to kiss her for ages, to taste her on his lips, and so he leaned down the two inches to cover her lips with his, her left hand resting delicately on his right pectoral over his clothes. Why had it taken them so long to do this?

His tongue teased the seam of her lips, and they opened of their own volition, letting it slip inside to collect her flavors—she tasted better than he ever could have imagined, sweet like Alderaanian nectar with a hint of cinnamon; at one point he didn’t know where her breathing ended and his began. Y’vonne was practically purring as they kissed, never wanting to stop. When he released her she stumbled back in surprise; they were both panting from the passion that had been poured into that one kiss. It was going to occupy her dreams for the rest of her life, and she couldn’t wait to do it again.

“Well, I think I’ve said my piece. We’ll talk again. Soon.”

“Oh no, Aric. You’re not getting off that easy; I’ve been wanting that for far too long.” Y’vonne breathed, as she grabbed his collar and pulled him closer to plant her lips against his once more.

It was the first time she’d called him Aric, which made him smile against her lips.

Chapter Text

Y’vonne was relaxing in the cockpit, her legs draped over the arms of her captain’s chair, when she heard footsteps coming up the stairs; she spun the chair around, expecting Elara who was running around filing things for fun and occasionally asking Y’vonne where she wanted something stored. It wasn’t Elara. She arched her eyebrow, and pulled her legs off the arm of her chair as she sat up straight; Aric was leaning against the wall of the cockpit and just took a moment to watch her. He’d been looking for her all over the ship.

“I may have been wrong about you. Takes a lot to lead a squad like Havoc. Wasn’t convinced you had it in you. Thought you were inexperienced, untested. But you’ve got good instincts. Turned out to be a first-class leader.” Aric muttered.

She couldn’t stop the grin from spreading across her face. He hadn’t been entirely wrong, she had been a rookie, but all she’d wanted was his trust, and now that she had it she didn’t want to abuse it. She stood up and approached him, glancing behind him and around the corner to make sure that no one was near, before running her hand up and down his forearm, smiling up at him. Ever since that kiss in the armory, she’d taken every opportunity to touch him and snuggle up close if no one was around. Part of him loved it.

“Thank you. That means a lot coming from you, Jorgan.”

“I just call it like I see it.” He shrugged. “I’ll admit, that business on Ord Mantell still irks me. But it landed me in the most elite squad in the Republic, under one of the finest commanders I’ve served with. So I can’t complain too much.”

He smiled down at her. It also didn’t hurt that she was funny, loyal, caring, gorgeous, and all around a good person. He started when he realized her hand was on the back of his neck and she was pulling his lips down two inches to meet hers as they stood together in the cockpit; Y’vonne had been super touchy-feeling since having to track the World Razer all over Belsavis…the brush with almost imminent destruction while burying the Burning Way in lava, seemed to make her realize how mortal she really was and she’d been trying to make the most of every moment they had together. The kiss was brief—what with Elara whistling as she bustled about downstairs, enjoying her filing—but that didn’t stop her from pressing every inch of her body against his.

This was also a perk of his transfer.

He took a deep breath when she released him, stumbling backwards a step in surprise—the exact reverse of that first kiss they’d shared in the armory; it had been Aric taken by surprise this time. He smirked at her before making his way over to the ship intercom and turning it on. Y’vonne cocked her head to one side, crossing her arms over her chest as she leaned against the door frame just watching him; he was ridiculously handsome, and she couldn’t keep her eyes off of him.

“Attention all Havoc personnel. I’m instating some mandatory downtime, effective immediately. So…get out, have fun. That’s an order. There. Thought a little R & R might do the squad some good. I also figured a little alone time would do us some good.”

At first she hadn’t been sure he even knew what R & R meant, being the workaholic that he was, but the look he was giving her made her swoon slightly from where she stood against the wall. Was he finally going to join her in her bed? She just hoped he knew what he was asking for; sometimes she was a little hard to handle—especially since the last time she’d done this she was seducing three targets simultaneously. She wanted to tell him to meet her in her quarters in five minutes with his body armor…but something told her that should wait for a little while, but she liked that kind of initiative.

“You think we should ‘rest and relax’ together?” She giggled.

When they first met he would’ve said something about fraternization; after he became her XO there would’ve been another try about regulations, but after that first kiss he could only think about taking more. They finally had a moment and Aric intended to take full advantage of it. Y’vonne snuck kisses often enough, when no one was looking, but the best ones were when they were alone: he’d wrap his arm around her waist, pull her against him, hard, and just take the time to memorize the feel of her lips against his.

“Something like that.” He replied.

She smiled at him, as she took a step forward, closing the space between them; he leaned down two inches to seal her lips with his, before settling his hands on her hips. She broke away from him far too soon for his liking, linking her fingers with his and pulling him along behind her. They made it to her room without incident and when she’d closed the door behind them, she found herself pressed up against it in seconds flat, with Aric raining kisses on her face and neck. He’d been thinking about this for far longer than he cared to admit.

“Aric…” She hissed. “Your hands…”

“They’re on your waist.” He drew back shocked.

“Exactly. Put them some place useful.” Y’vonne teased.

“Yes, sir.”

She gave him a wicked grin before wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling his lips back to hers. He swallowed her contented sigh as his fingers worked at all the fastenings, clasps and clips on her armor; she reciprocated the favor, undressing him ridiculously fast with a skill he would never have thought possible. She’d barely stepped out of her armor before her legs were clamped around his waist, using her fingers to push herself off the wall. Aric stumbled backwards in surprise, breaking the dance their tongues were engaged in; Y’vonne looked down at him seductively through half lidded eyes as he fell onto her bed.

She ran her fingers through his copper fur slowly, drawing a shudder and a response from where she was straddling his hips. Aric let out a low growl before grabbing her and flipping them over, so she was eclipsed by his body his fingers traipsing through the silky copper fur on her sides. She was beautiful. Y’vonne squirmed beneath him for a second, before arching up against him; he smirked and bent to claim her neck as he held her hips down against the mattress making her glare at him.

They were going to do this right or not at all.

Her hands found their way around his torso, claws finding purchase in the fur at his shoulder blades making him hiss quietly as he grazed her neck gently with his fangs; they dug into his back as his lips skimmed lower…past her collarbone and he took one hardened nipple into his mouth making her hips arch again. His name fell from her lips on a shuddering breath and he couldn’t figure out why that made him feel so triumphant; relationships had always been where things had gotten messy for him, which is why he’d always dived headfirst into work…but now it felt like everything had been pulling him towards this moment.

His hands stilled in their jaunt through her silken copper fur, and he took a moment to watch her—her brown hair had come out of the clip she normally wore it in and some obstinate strands were framing her face and her yellow eyes were sparkling as she watched him, panting; he’d never seen anything more beautiful in his entire life. Aric’s breath hitched when she smiled up at him. He bent and claimed her lips with his, swallowing her laugh while they kissed as she brought her hands back around his torso and then she began to run her fingers back and forth through the fur on his chest, arching an eyebrow at him in a silent dare. He was too tense, and this was the only way she could think of to help him relax.

He let out a low growl as he shuddered in pleasure at her touch.

Y’vonne reached up and drew her hand down his jawline slowly, before gently pulling his face back down to kiss his lips again—she could sense his hesitation; it had obviously been a while for both of them, but that was okay: they could find their way back into the groove of things…together. Finally having her in his arms was a miracle in itself; he ran his hands over every last inch of her before he kissed her navel grazing her belly with his tongue. She purred under his touch, and squirmed slightly to readjust herself underneath him arching her back just a little, as he nipped her hip bones lightly with his fangs.

“Please…” Her voice was quiet with ill-contained lust.

“Whatever you want.”

She loved how he had made her relinquish her iron grip on control the moment they’d entered her bedroom—it was tough being on top all the time. His arm and chest muscles rippled slightly making her bite her lower lip in anticipation as he wrapped one arm around her back, his mouth going dry as he pulled her naked body almost completely snug against him, his other hand was who knew where; her eyes were glued to his flexing muscles. He slipped his hand between her legs and used his thumb to part her folds, finding her already slick and very ready for him.

She gasped making him grin up at her, as he skated a finger back and forth across her swollen clit, all the while watching the different expressions flicker across her face. He loomed up over her and claimed her lips with his, swallowing her wordless cry as he moved his finger faster, knocking her into orgasm. The coil that and been building inside her finally snapped and she collapsed back onto the mattress. She lay there under him trying to catch her breath.

She bit her lower lip before she started to kiss and lick every muscle she could reach. Her lips found his in another heated, passionate kiss that left them both breathless. Aric positioned himself between her thighs using his to widen the ‘V’ of her legs, and put the head of his erection at her slick entrance—he never stopped kissing her, as the fingers of her right hand clutched at his shoulder again; he drew his hand down her arm, tracing little patterns in her fur with his fingers and then he slipped both hands between their bodies to cup her breasts gently, making her sigh against his mouth.

“Are you sure you’re okay with this, Y’vonne?” Aric whispered.

She smirked up at him, loving the sound of her name on his tongue. “Of course I’m okay with this, Aric…you think I’d let it get this far if I wasn’t? Though if you make me wait any longer, I can’t be held accountable for my actions…”

He rolled his eyes as he smiled down at her, entering her slowly and pausing once he was fully inside her, watching as a myriad of emotions flickered across her face again, making him smile softly. She gently drew her hand down his jaw once more, before arching up and kissing him, opening her lips against his mouth and letting his tongue slip inside and fight hers in a war for dominance. Not stopping the dance their tongues were engaged in, he drew himself out of her slowly and swallowed her gasp as he thrust forward…hard. Claws scraped down his back once more, drawing a hiss from him as he thrust again, her legs hooked behind his thighs.

His lips left hers and trailed along her jawline, down her neck before they clamped over her pulse point sucking hard, making her whimper and buck her hips against him; he groaned against the fur on her neck, inhaling her scent deeply. She was intoxicating. He was getting close to the edge and from the sound of her breathing she was too, so he picked up the speed of his thrusts as his lips traveled lower, closing over her rosy nipple, and then switching to its twin. She screamed as the orgasm hit her, her claws digging into his back. His lips claimed hers again, as he came right behind her. He growled.

He collapsed on top of her, panting—she was also having a hard time getting her breath back, and while it would be easier for her if he rolled off of her, he didn’t want to pull out of her yet; her fingers released his back as her arms fell limply from around him. The welts and crescent moons she’d left on his back were probably going to smart in the morning, but if anything he wanted her to leave more. Reluctantly, he pushed himself up, and after pulling out rolled off of her onto his back panting heavily—for a moment the two of them just lay there in a comfortable silence, huffing quietly. She was purring, he realized with a start, as he leaned over her and pushed a strand of hair out of her face, tucking it behind her pointed ear; her eyes opened with the action.

“Well. That was…productive. Very relaxing.” He rolled his shoulders, as his fingers traipsed up and down her leg. “I’ll have to schedule more R & R time for the squad. A lot more.”

“Aric, you’re purring.” She giggled, rolling her shoulders as she draped the leg he was stroking over his hips.

“So are you, Yvi.” He couldn’t help chuckling as well.

“Am I? I guess I’m ridiculously content. Why did it take so long to get you into my bed?” She twirled the fur on his chest around her fingers, as she grinned at him.

“Regulations?” He tried.

Y’vonne let out an unladylike snort. “So what’ll it take to get you to call me Yvi instead of sir when we’re on duty?”

Aric picked her up and turned over from his side onto his back and lowered her onto him. “I’d be happy to discuss my terms.”

Chapter Text

“I’m on the maintenance level!” Jaxo cried.

“Lose one life to save hundreds? That’s not much of a choice.” Aric muttered.

Y’vonne had no qualms about what to do. Saving one life and condemning three hundred was a massacre, but she couldn’t in good faith kill Jaxo either. She slung her assault cannon over her shoulder and stared at the engineer who’d thrown in his lot with them and presented the choice of venting the service level of the A-77 prison. She’d already made her choice, and only had minutes in which to execute this with the utmost precision.

“Yuun, Elara I want you to help the prisoners. Vik, Jorgan, Forex, cover their escape and help protect the ship.” She ordered, her squad nodding and heading out to follow her orders.

Splitting up had worked on the Gauntlet, and she was going to make it work here.

Aric stayed behind for a minute. “Sir what are you going to do?”

“I’ve got a friend in need, and I intend to do everything I can to make sure we save everyone. Buy me as much time as you can, we’ve got less than ten minutes, and I need them all.”

He nodded and watched her as she jumped into the maintenance shaft, hoping and praying she would be all right and make it in time. No one really had much time to waste, and as they evacuated the Republic POWs, Y’vonne made it to Jaxo in time, getting her up, before the level was vented. Both woman breathed a collective sigh of relief, Jaxo pulling her friend into a hug when they finally had a moment. They stood there like that for a moment.

“What did I do to deserve a friend like you?”

“I think you were just in the right place at the right time.” She pulled out her personal holocommunicator. “Jorgan how’s it looking?”

“Real good sir, we even had time to spare after evacuating the prisoners and venting the maintenance level; we’re also free of Imps down here. Did you get Jaxo?” He grinned when she moved the holo to see Jaxo standing beside her in blue pixels. “We’ll meet you back at the Thunderclap? Garza wanted a word.”

“Of course, Captain.” She nodded.

Ava’s eyebrows shot up her forehead as the call ended. “Captain? He’s really come a long way since we first met on Coruscant, huh?”

Y’vonne slung her arm around Jaxo’s shoulders as they started to walk together. “Aric’s worked hard to get where he is and I couldn’t be more proud.”

Aric let out an exasperated sigh as he leaned against the holoterminal, his arms resting against the cool durasteel. It wasn’t quite the same catching up over the holo, but they were in the middle of trying to stop General Rakton’s push across the galaxy, with no time for a social call—at least Torve was alive to catch up with. He was hoping they found the other Deadeyes soon…if it took too much longer it might end up being too late to be of any use. Y’vonne wandered through the ship, heading towards the bridge humming quietly to herself and absently twirling a strand of hair around one of her fingers—she’d been doing that quite a lot lately and he had a feeling he was to blame. Not that he minded in the slightest…if he could make her even half as happy as she made him, he’d be ecstatic.

“Just got off the holo with Torve. He asked me to thank you for getting him out of that labor camp.” He said as he caught up to her. “He’s starting to see the danger the other Deadeyes are in. Anxious for us to find them.”

Maybe Torve could help them.

“We could use him when we rescue the rest of the Deadeyes.”

A soft smile played across her lips—spending time with Aric since he’d stopped dancing around his feelings always made her day brighter, even if they were on their way to deal with the Senate on Coruscant to face allegations of Havoc Squad being reckless and wasting precious resources. After making sure that no one was around, he reached out and took her hand in his, interlacing their fingers together, and bringing her hand up to his lips to kiss the back of it. He never would’ve thought of himself as a romantic, but apparently meeting her had brought that out in him…part of it was also that he loved that she’d used the word ‘when’ instead of ‘if’.

“SIS already has him tied up in debriefs.” Aric shrugged, growling a little. “Pretty much exchanged one cell for another. It was a mistake to trust a snake like Zane, but Torve’s heart was in the right place. I just hope this mistake doesn’t get any of those men killed.”

She hoped so too.

When they touched down on Coruscant, Y’vonne grabbed Yuun and together they headed off, the ship, not wanting to crowd her hearing too much, with every member of Havoc. She hadn’t seen him since he’d gone off on one of his findsman quests for enlightenment, and that was a shame; she loved listening to the fascinating way he saw the world in smoke and mist, symbols and signals. He’d even been ecstatic when she’d explained to another Gand on Voss that the way he spoke wasn’t odd, because she had a findsman of her own.

She cocked her head to the side when she realized that both General Garza and Jonas Balkar had been waiting for her to disembark. She didn’t even feel the need to flirt with Balkar anymore, not since she’d spent the night with Aric in her bed—besides it probably wasn’t a good time, seeing as her hearing had been important enough for Garza to come meet her in the spaceport. She saluted, and stood quickly at attention.

“General Garza—I hadn’t expected you here. Or Agent Balkar.” She said.

“The Senate situation is more complicated than I could explain via holo. I couldn’t be certain my office wasn’t being monitored.” That wasn’t good at all…things were that tense? “What I said before was accurate. The senate has called a hearing to investigate the actions of Special Forces, Havoc Squad specifically. But what I couldn’t say was that the Senator behind these proceedings is actually an undercover agent for the Empire. The entire hearing is a sham.”

Y’vonne let out a low whistle; that didn’t really seem possible.

“How could the Empire possibly get an agent elected to the Senate?”

“They didn’t. They just bought someone who was already in place.” Jonas clarified, handing her a datapad. “We have the evidence right here. His name’s Zian; he represents a tiny little rock in the middle of some very profitable trade lanes.”

“With the help of Imperial Intelligence, Senator Zian has slowly gained influence; now he’s turning that influence against us.” Garza explained.

Balkar crossed his arms over his chest in disgust. “It’s just another shot from dear old General Rakton. Zian gets Havoc suspended. Rakton gets the break he needs to turn the war back his way.”

Y’vonne skimmed the information quietly. She really hoped that the evidence on the datapad was enough. It was going to be hard enough to convince everyone that he was in the Empire’s pocket if they had overwhelming evidence, but with this measly amount she certainly had her work cut out for her. She sighed, and ran a hand through her hair in frustration, before crossing her arms over her chest—if she could just head back to the ship and not deal with this right now, she would.

“We’re going to have a hard time convincing anyone of this.” She breathed.

“We’ve also got holorecordings of meetings between Zian and Imperial agents, bank records of the bribes he’s gotten—plenty of proof.” He looked ridiculously smug.

It almost made her miss the days where she didn’t let a minute pass without flirting with him.

“I want you to attend the hearing just as the Senate has asked. We can’t risk him getting away. Go and conduct yourself respectfully. When it’s your turn to speak, present the evidence the SIS has gathered. The Senate will have to investigate, and we’ll be free to resume operations.” Garza ordered.

Y’vonne nodded; it sounded like they had all their bases covered.

“I’ll get this cleared up in no time.”

“Remember: Senator Zian will do his best to paint you as a loose cannon. Don’t do anything to prove him right. I’ll be waiting in my office. Report back to me as soon as the hearing is complete. Dismissed.”

She saluted as Jonas winked at her.

“Have fun, Major.” He smirked.

Garza was sufficiently impressed with how the hearing had turned out, as well as how quickly Major Vollay had gotten through it. She’d done everything right; sitting quietly through the Senator’s long winded rant about the dangers of Special Forces and all of its top secret missions, and how it was wasted funding, no matter how many times she wanted to just say that he was a liar and leave the room. The moment Supreme Chancellor Suresh had turned the floor over to her to defend herself against the claims, Y’vonne had accused Zian of being an Imperial spy and a traitor. Just as Garza had hoped, the hearing was closed so that the evidence could be reviewed.

They were finally ready to take Rakton down once and for all, on the planet of Corellia.

Or so she thought until she made it back to the ship, and Aric caught her as she stowed her gear in her locker. He was downright giddy. She closed her eyes and breathed a sigh of relief: had they finally found the Deadeyes? She would be so happy to have those men home and put the troubles and irritations of dealing with Senior Agent Zane behind them.

“Outstanding news, sir. We’ve got a positive fix on the Deadeyes’ location. Garza’s people just finished decrypting the coordinates we sent them. The data points to an Imperial outpost on Hoth. Another labor camp, most likely.” He couldn’t stop grinning if he tried.

A shadow passed over her face: first Tatooine then Hoth? Zane must really hate her.

“What are we waiting for? Let’s get down there and bring those soldiers home.” She smiled.

“Right behind you, sir. Once we get those men out of there, we can put all this craziness behind us. I just hope we’re not too late.”

She hoped that too…

She’d barely had time to change into her thermal retention gear, before he was pushing her out the door with unbridled enthusiasm at finally having found the Deadeyes. Even if it was a mask for his worry, it was cute to see him so happy. Y’vonne rolled her eyes and just went with it; the two of them finding their way on her speeder to the coordinates they’d been forwarded by Garza’s people, and dispatching a cadre of Imperial guards when they finally reached their destination. It was sad really—Havoc Squad was unmatched.

“Berix, Hal—you two still breathing?” Aric asked of the two men they found huddling near each other for warmth.

“Ugh…more or less. Didn’t expect to see you here, sir.” The man addressed as Berix replied.

Y’vonne pulled her knapsack off her speeder and pulled out some extra gear she’d had the forethought to grab before Aric got her completely off the ship—if she almost froze on Hoth with a layer of fur as protection, she’d only imagined what everyone else felt. She smiled at Hal, as she handed him a set of thermal retention gear, and helped him to bundle into it, seeing as he was shivering so hard, his fingers were almost useless, before moving on to help Berix. There had to be more than two of them. She glanced around; this was the last set of coordinates, Aric had said, so where were the rest of the Deadeyes?

“Nor I.” Zane emerged from somewhere, making the two Cathar growl in their throats. “Care to tell me what you two are doing here?”

Wasn’t it obvious?

“We’re rescuing the Deadeyes. Play nice and maybe we’ll let you tag along.”

Aric was mildly surprised; if Y’vonne was at all shocked about them finding Zane in the labor camp, she was doing an amazing job not showing it. She didn’t even offer him any gear, stowing it back in her slightly less bulbous pack—the man had gotten on her last nerve…if he’d known where the Deadeyes were being held all along, and not shared his intel, she certainly wasn’t going to help him. It was no skin off her nose; she’d given him plenty of chances to offer his assistance so good men didn’t end up being sent home in body bags, but he’d refused to take her up on her offer…and now he’d been caught too.

Zane shrugged. “Maybe I don’t want to be rescued. Don’t you get it? This operation was never about rescuing POWs. We’ve been after one thing—Dusk 9.”

“Impossible. That place is just a myth.” Aric crossed his arms over his chest.

“Is it? We’ll never know now, thanks to you two.”

Her mission had always been the safety of the Deadeyes—Zane’s possibly mythical prison location was not worth their lives. He’d kept them all in the dark just to locate something that may or may not even be real, and she had to hope it was all worth it. Y’vonne didn’t like leaving anyone behind, and the fact that he could do it so callously, made her want to punch him—nothing was worth sacrificing her integrity.

“If that’s true, then you lied to the Deadeyes about their mission’s real objective.” She hissed.

“Of course.” Zane replied. “We could hardly expect a bunch of grunts to keep their mouths shut. Next to the Emperor’s location, Dusk 9 is the Empire’s best-kept secret. Hundreds of black ops projects are born there.”

“It’s also a prison, according to the rumors. The things that supposedly go on there…too horrible to be real.” Aric muttered.

“We’re more interested in the intel hoarded there. We seeded thousands of bugged soldiers into the Imperial penal system, hoping for a bite.”

Y’vonne pinched the bridge of her nose—dear lord he’d done this to thousands of people already? Sending them on fake missions with fake objectives and promising them rescues that never came…and the only reason she knew now, was because he’d chosen Aric’s old squad as his next patsies. If she didn’t have Garza, and the SIS, and the Senate breathing down her neck already, Zane would’ve become a stain in the snow. Instead she just ground her teeth together in horror and frustration.

“Why so many soldiers?” She asked.

Zane rolled his eyes like the answer was obvious. “To improve our odds, naturally. The more soldiers we seed, the better our chances of someone winding up at Dusk 9. We were using the wrong bait. The brass at Dusk 9 weren’t interested in common soldiers—but how could they resist an SIS agent? So I bugged myself, staged a bogus rescue operation, and let myself be captured. I was awaiting transfer when you two geniuses showed up.”

Their arrival changed nothing—it was common knowledge in the galaxy by now that she hated his guts…

“You can still go on with your mission.”

“You don’t think the Imperials will be just a teensy bit suspicious that you rescued the Deadeyes, yet conveniently left me behind?”

She put her hands on her hips. “It’s not implausible, since I really don’t like you…”

“Now I have no choice but to abort my mission and try again somewhere else.”

“Oh cry me a freaking river—” She began.

“—Sir, we can deal with Zane later. Let’s just find the rest of the squad and get out of here.” Aric interrupted.

“Jorgan…sir…they’re dead. The cold—they didn’t make it.” Berix piped up.

Y’vonne paled as Aric’s eyes widened in horror at the news. They had been too late, and she didn’t know what she was going to do to help Aric through this; the Deadeyes had been his family for a long time there, and this was going to destroy him. She took a deep breath and moved closer to him, ready to stop him from doing anything stupid should the need arise—she could tell just by looking at him that this was probably not going to end well.

“What? Trace, Koplin—they’re gone? But I thought—Zane!” He growled, rounding on the man behind it all.

He was in trouble now, and she might not be able to talk Aric down…

“Now you’ve done it…” She mumbled.

“What? It’s not my fault they weren’t properly insulated.”

Zane shrugged nonchalantly setting Aric off even more—she shook her head and put her face in her hands, as Aric pulled his blaster pistol off his belt pointing it at Zane’s head. His eyes widened in surprise. Maybe he had gone about this the wrong way, but he’d only realized that as he stared down the barrel into the yellow and green eyes of a very angry cathar, whom he probably should’ve tried to befriend instead of brushing this whole thing under the rug. His only saving grace at this moment was that Y’vonne didn’t want her lover to become a killer—it would be the biggest mistake of his career…maybe even his life. She edged closer, while Aric’s attention was on Zane; he really needed to wipe that smug, self-satisfied smirk off his face before Aric really did pull the trigger.

“You killed them. You promised them a rescue that never came. And now they’re dead for it. How many other soldiers have died for you, huh? A hundred? A thousand?” He growled low in his throat.

“You can’t kill me, Jorgan. Too many witnesses.”

“Far as we’re concerned, sir, the Imperials killed him.” Berix told him.

She wished they wouldn’t encourage this.

Zane glanced at the two men in surprise. “What? Wait, you can’t just—! Major! Do something!”

Y’vonne put a gentle hand on Aric’s arm, feeling how tense he was and the lock of his muscles; he was hesitating…maybe he didn’t really want to do this, like she didn’t want him to. She didn’t care about everyone watching, and brought her free hand down his jaw, forcing him to look into her eyes, hoping what he read in them would make him lower his gun. She understood how he felt but killing Zane wasn’t going to bring those men back. All she needed was for Jorgan to trust that she had his back, and that Zane was going to be made to answer for his heinous crimes.

“Put the gun down, Jorgan. Zane has a lot to answer for, but this isn’t the way.” Her voice was soft and comforting.

He stared into her yellow eyes for a moment, before lowering his gun; this man was not worth his career…

“Fine. He’s not worth it, anyway.” Aric grumbled.

“Much obliged. As for you…you think you can pull a blaster on me and walk away? I’ll see you in prison for that.” Zane sneered.

Y’vonne stepped in front of Aric and glared at him—no he wouldn’t. “You’ll have every soldier in the Republic gunning for you if this gets out. Do I make myself clear?”

“I…right. Consider my lips sealed.” Zane cowered.

“Let’s get these men back to their squad. I’ll call for an evac.” Aric told her.

This time they got to wait with the Deadeyes as they were waiting for an extraction, unlike before when they’d had to run off to do an assault on the Gauntlet. Part of her had been hoping they could leave Zane here, but that wouldn’t be the right thing to do and she knew it. Berix and Hal made an offhand comment about the two of them being together because of the way she’d talked him down, making Aric blush under his fur. Part of him wished that she had felt the need to keep up appearances, but her touch was the only reason he had calmed down. He’d been far too willing to pull that trigger.

They saw them off onto the evac shuttle with a smile and a wave.

“They’re off, sir. Mission accomplished.”

She couldn’t be more proud of him. “I know it was hard, but you did the right thing.”

“Honestly, I’d rather not talk about it right now, sir. Let’s just get out of here.” It was hard to look her in the eye.

She shrugged as she nodded. She got it; she really did, and he could take all the time in the world to make peace with her decision. She’d wanted to pull on blaster on Zane on multiple occasions, but she’d never acted on the impulse…then again he hadn’t endangered anyone she was close to like Aric was with the Deadeyes, she just hoped that he wouldn’t hate her for stopping him. When he wanted to talk about it, he’d talk, and she would be there to listen when he was ready, no strings attached.

She motioned for him to get on the speeder to pilot it—something she’d never done before, and he gaped at her as she grinned before snuggling up behind him; somehow she knew the exact right things to say and do to make him feel better. It didn’t take long. The moment they got back to the ship, Aric realized he was being unfair to her, and pulled her into the armory. Besides her quarters it was the one place on the ship where he felt he got any kind of privacy. He rubbed the back of his neck embarrassedly.

“Sir, I’d like to apologize for my behavior earlier. When I heard about Trace and Koplin…I just lost it. Would have done something stupid if you hadn’t stopped me.” He stared at the ground.

She hoped he was okay.

“You feeling better now?” She asked, putting a gentle hand on his shoulder and giving it a reassuring squeeze.

He glanced up as he shook his head and met her eyes. “I don’t feel like killing anyone, if that’s what you’re asking. I’d have been no better than Zane if I’d pulled that trigger. I’d just be another thug doing whatever it took to get his way.”

She stepped forward and took his hand in her own—he was so much better than that.

“You’re a good soldier, Jorgan. Don’t forget that.”

Aric gave her a small smile. “Thank you, sir. There’s always going to be men like Zane calling the shots in the Republic. Can’t kill all of them. Better to work with the system than against it.”

He was going to go far. The thought made her smile as she interlaced her fingers with his, glad he wasn’t going to let this incident change him. She loved that about him; no matter how much life knocked him down, he seemed to have an uncanny ability to bounce back harder and stronger than ever. She cocked her head to the side. Love. Was that what she was feeling every time they were near each other? She shrugged it off.

“The Republic needs more soldiers like you. You’ll make it to the top someday.”

“Don’t know that I’ll ever trust the brass again. But I trust you, sir.” He brought her hand up to his lips and kissed her fingers. “You kept me from making the biggest mistake of my life. I won’t forget that.”

Chapter Text

Y’vonne stretched as she made her way into the mess in the middle of the night; she’d left Aric fast asleep in her bed and after dressing quietly, she’d proceeded to kiss his cheek and leave the room. Jorgan didn’t get enough sleep as it was, so who was she to wake him? She almost collided with Elara, who was clutching a blue mug in her hands and was on her way out. Was she after a midnight snack as well? Y’vonne cocked her head to the side as she sniffed the air.

“Is that warm milk I smell?”

Elara nodded slowly.

“I was bringing it to Captain Jorgan...for the past three weeks he hasn’t been sleeping in the crew quarters, so I thought he might have a case of insomnia...and warm milk always helps me sleep.”

Y’vonne smiled. “You are by far the sweetest thing that ever lived and I’m sorry I worried you. Jorgan hasn’t been sleeping in the crew quarters because he’s been bunking with me.”

She ran her fingers through her hair absently as Elara’s cheeks went pink and she nearly dropped the mug in surprise. She knew they were friends now, but was that really something one should blurt out so casually? It was definitely something no one else should hear about: Major Y’vonne Vollay was sleeping with her XO Captain Aric Jorgan...command would have a field day. Y’vonne opened the mini fridge and frowned.

“If that’s the last of the milk, may I have it?” She blushed slightly.

She used to hate that cat-like quality about herself...but Aric had it too, so she wasn’t as embarrassed about it anymore. Elara handed it towards her, nodding slowly. Grinning, Y’vonne took it and added two teaspoons of Alderaanian nectar into it, and a dash of cinnamon, stirring it slowly as Aric walked in—she was surprised to see him up, he’d been sleeping so soundly not fifteen minutes before. She winked at him as he sniffed the air.

“Is that warm milk I smell?” He asked.

Y’vonne let out an unladylike snort. “I’m afraid it’s the last of it and it’s mine. You get nothing.”

“Is that so?”

Aric stalked across the mess to where she was leaning against the counter, oblivious to Elara, and pulled her against him, pressing his lips to hers. She purred slightly in his embrace; he pushed the mug across the counter out of her reach as Elara turned beet red—this was not what she’d expected tonight. She emitted one squeak before excusing herself from the room. Aric pulled away from the kiss and pressed his forehead to hers.

“Was that Dorne?”

“Yes, but its fine: she knows.” Y’vonne giggled, trying to get to the mug without moving around the counter. “She thought you hadn’t been sleeping for the past little while and wanted to give you some warm milk to help with your insomnia; but then I explained that you haven’t been in the crew quarters because you’ve been bunking with me. So she gave it to me.”

Aric drew a finger down her jawline. “So what I’m hearing is that this milk actually belongs to me.”

She rolled her eyes.

“Fine, have it, but you might not like it...I’ve already doctored it up to my liking.”

Y’vonne placed her hand over his free one, drawing little circles on the back of it. He took a sip, cautiously, relaxing as the sweetness of the nectar rolled over his tongue, the cinnamon giving it a bit of a spicy kick...he might never drink plain milk again and it was all her fault. That must’ve been her drink of choice, seeing as how every time they kissed those were the two prominent flavors that lingered on her lips. He drank half of it, and handed the mug back to her; there was no reason they couldn’t share since it was the last of the milk until they could stop somewhere. She smiled up at him, took the cup, and downed the contents as fast as she could without choking, before dragging him from the mess and back into her quarters; she pushed him backwards until he collapsed on her bed and straddled his hips.

“You might not sleep anymore tonight.” She purred.

“If that’s the way it is, Yvi, I don’t mind.” He whispered hoarsely, pulling her head down to kiss her lips.

Y’vonne woke to Aric absently drawing an intricate design on her stomach with his finger; he was on his side propped up on one elbow, just watching her as she slept peacefully. His eyes met hers when they opened, and the grin on his face was quite possibly the most adorable thing she’d ever seen—considering when they’d met she was pretty sure he didn’t know how to smile. She reached over and pulled his head down to kiss his lips; what a nice way to greet the day. She was pretty sure if she could spend the rest of her life on shore leave with Aric in her bed she would; it was as if the entire war didn’t exist, and she wished it could stay that way forever.

But until Rakton was stopped, that was impossible.

Aric’s hand stilled for a moment, as he gazed into her yellow eyes. “I’m only going to say this once, so listen up. Being a soldier isn’t just what I do—it’s who I am. And I’m good at it. But when it comes to women, relationships…that’s where things get messy for me.”

She rolled her eyes as she pushed his shoulder playfully. It wasn’t very surprising, in all honesty considering how they met, and how he used to talk with her, but he was getting better; she knew how he felt though—they were soldiers, never knowing when a mission would be their last, and with the way they’d been worked lately, she was still baffled at how they managed to make so much time for each other. What they had must’ve been something special indeed. Y’vonne stroked her hand down his jaw, caressing him with her fingers.

“I can think of a few reasons why that might be…” She teased.

“Very funny.” Aric growled and rolled on top of her, eclipsing her body with his. “Point is, I like you. A lot. I’ve never met a woman who got me the way you seem to.”

Her smirk made his heart palpitate a little; he hoped she was going to let him get all the way through this…it was embarrassing enough baring his soul to her, let alone doing it completely naked. She pulled him down for another kiss. She was absolutely in love—she knew that now—and waking up with him made her feel like the luckiest woman in the galaxy…those other woman who had let him slip through their fingers were all wrong; he was a catch.

“You’re a good man, Jorgan. I’m lucky to have found you.”

“Glad you think so. I’ve given up a lot for the Republic, and I’ll keep on giving as long as I can. But for all the rules and regulations telling me otherwise, you’re the one thing I’ll never give up.” He muttered, before burying his face in her neck and inhaling her scent deeply.

She wasn’t going anywhere.

“It’ll take an army to pry me away from you.” She purred.

“Likewise.” He grinned wolfishly down at her before capturing her lips in a rough kiss. “All right, I think that’s enough heartfelt sentiment for one day. Let’s get back out there and bag us some Imperials.”

Even without using those three words, he’d just confessed to being in love with her.

Y’vonne laughed and hooked her legs behind his thighs; he wasn’t going anywhere, not for a while—he couldn’t rile her up and tell her all those fabulously romantic things while expecting to leave her bed immediately afterwards. He cocked his head to the side. She giggled and braced a foot against the mattress, using it as support to flip them over so she was on top of him, her hair falling down in a curtain around her face. Aric had even tried to spoil the mood by talking shop, but it had the opposite effect than he was expecting; he was a workaholic but she loved him for it anyways. She kissed his chest.

“Not yet, love. The Imperials will still be there later; right now I wonder if I can make you see stars...” She winked at him.

And she was definitely going to try her hardest…

Aric sighed overdramatically, throwing his arm over his eyes and making her smirk down at him—oh well, there was no better way to spend his free time than with her, no matter what they ended up doing. In the time they’d spent together since they met, he’d fallen irrevocably in love with her and to know that she felt the same was a miracle in itself, especially for someone who never thought he’d find himself in that situation. Y’vonne couldn’t figure out how she’d gotten so lucky to find the one person in the galaxy to love her so completely.

Chapter Text

Shore leave had been nice while it lasted, but it was time to get back down to it; Rakton needed to be stopped and Havoc Squad was the team for the job. They finally touched down on Corellia, and Y’vonne punched in Garza’s holofrequency for the details of her assignment here—as well as side-step the issue of why they’d been so late checking in, the cat-in-the-cream smirk out of place on her face as Aric stepped up behind her, close enough to touch. But they had to keep it professional. Tanno Vik, Elara Dorne, and Yuun congregated behind them, all of them eager to get out there and bag some Imperials. Garza’s image crackled to life in blue pixels, hovering over the holoterminal.

“Major, good. Now that you’ve arrived, we can begin operations in earnest. Imperial forces including General Rakton, have invaded Corellia in full force. Local resistance fighters have barely held them back from total victory. Corellia is the tipping point for the entire war. If the Imperials win here, they could reverse all our hard-fought advances.”

Then Havoc Squad would stop them.

“Corellia won’t fall to the Empire on my watch.”

Garza nodded approvingly. “Your target is the Bastion, one of the main centers for logistics and strategic planning in the entire Republic. Rakton seized the Bastion during the invasion—he’s clearly hoping to use the information inside to plan his next campaign against us. It’s your job to stop him.”

Y’vonne completely understood. Every mission had led up to this, and she was going to take that warmonger down even if it cost her life; she refused to let the Empire win Corellia, and if the vision on Voss was to be believed—and the Voss certainly believed it to be set in stone—she was going to end up being the one to face him. A detail she’d left out of her report. However, she didn’t know if she would live or die after the encounter…at least she knew—or hoped—that she was practically invincible until then; she hadn’t told a soul about what she’d seen in her vision quest, because she didn’t want to cause them any worry, especially Aric.

“Just tell me where to begin, General.”

“The Bastion is one of the most heavily secured fortresses in the galaxy. Your team will need a lot of support to take it. To get the necessary manpower into the field, we’re working with a local resistance leader—a Corellian security officer named Locke.”

“What do we know about this guy, General?”

General Garza chuckled quietly. “A great deal, actually. Before he entered Cor-Sec, Locke served in Special Forces under my command. He’s a dependable soldier, and he knows Corellia very well. We’ll discuss the details once you arrive. We’ve set up our command center in a former cantina, the Gilded Descent.”

If Garza trained this guy she probably didn’t have anything to worry about…except that her straight-laced CO wanted to meet her in a cantina, and she assumed it wasn’t so they could knockback a couple drinks and catch up. Was that really the only place the Republic could find to set up as a base of operations? The rest of the planet under Imperial control? She took a deep breath and nodded. She needed to move out as soon as possible and stop Rakton’s brutal campaign across the galaxy; there wasn’t any time to waste…and to think she’d delayed this by spending extra time in bed with Aric that morning when he’d told her he was in love with her. She’d screwed up big time.

“I’ll move out right away, General.”

“Watch for targets of opportunity, Major. Imperial commando teams are all over the area. See you soon. Garza out.” Her image fizzled out.

She turned to her squad, and they all nodded at her, breaking up to gear up and meet her at the exit to the ship; she took a deep breath as she rested her forehead against the cool metal of the wall. She felt a hand on her shoulder and turned, her yellow eyes staring into Aric’s. She forced a smile—he knew her well enough to know it was fake and drew her into his arms. She’d been a little distant since Voss…something was bothering her, something she’d been trying to cover up with lots of R & R; he wished she knew she didn’t have to carry this burden alone, but she would come to him when she was ready. Y’vonne relaxed into his embrace.

“Promise me you’ll be careful while we’re down there; no unnecessary risks.” Aric cupped her chin and gazed into her eyes before kissing her gently. “I don’t want to lose you to the Imperials, or Rakton.”

Keeping this from him was tearing her apart inside.

“Aric—” Y’vonne began.

“Havoc Squad is prepped and ready to fly, Sir.” Elara told them.

The two of them jumped away from each other, startled and blushing furiously. Havoc Squad didn’t know why they tried to hide it; Y’vonne had told Elara, Yuun had seen the signals in the mist, and Tanno had sensed the sexual tension between them since he’d come on board—not to mention all the times they’d all seen Aric sneaking away from her quarters when he thought no one was around, and the fact that Tanno had caught him singing quietly to himself as he checked their ordinance in the armory after they’d slept together. It was about time they made it official. They all just rolled their eyes, and made their way off the ship, and after meeting Garza and her contact Captain Phaeris in the Gilded Descent Cantina the six of them went to go clear the hangars for ships to land and bring them the reinforcements they were going to need to take down the Bastion’s defenses.

Y’vonne pulled out her personal holocommunicator. “Havoc Squad to General Garza. Objective complete. The hangars are clear.”

“Good work. We’ll get Captain Phaeris and her associates on the move right away.”

Locke rushed into the frame, slightly out of breath. “General! Hey, you’ve got the major on the line, good. We’ve got a serious problem. Imperial troops are firebombing the residential districts. The people still hiding there won’t have a chance. You’ve got to move fast, Major. Take the Imperials out before it’s too late.”

She wasn’t going to leave anyone behind—she was ready to be underway. “I’ll move out right away.”

Garza held up a hand. “Not so fast. We need to consider the overall operation before we act. While the Imperials are wasting time with the residential area, Havoc can slip behind them and eliminate the men guarding their dropships. Once the dropships are secured, Captain Phaeris’s associates can hijack them and bring in more troops for our assault on the Bastion.”

That was not going to fly. They’d worked together for so long, Garza should know she would never chose a military objective when civilian lives were on the line, because she knew that without the citizens of the Republic they wouldn’t have anything to fight for. If they were willing to let innocents die, they were no better than the Empire and might as well let Rakton have his way with Corellia and the rest of the galaxy. They needed to stop the fires.

“It’s more important to save lives than dropships.” She argued.

“We will save more lives by stopping Rakton than by stopping the raid. We need to focus.”

“But those are families’ homes…there’s no telling how many people are still hiding out in there! Look how long it’s taken Coruscant to recover. We can’t let that happen again. Not here.” Locke cried.

Y’vonne didn’t need convincing—she was going to save the civilians no matter what.

“If I can help these people, I have to try.”

He heaved a sigh of relief. “Thank you, Major. Corellia really needs people like you.”

“Return to base when you’ve finished. Garza out.”

She knew she should care that Garza sounded upset, but she didn’t—it was just like Coruscant all over again, with Krel and his ‘cyborgs’; if her better judgement resulted in the saving of an uncountable number of civilian lives, she was going to take the opportunity. Havoc Squad watched her, her undying devotion to saving as many lives as she could, was inspiring and they all trusted her implicitly to make the decision that was best for the Republic, be it an order or not; they would always have her back, and she’d have theirs…it was a nice feeling. Harron Tavus couldn’t have known that by bringing her into Havoc and then subsequently defecting and trying to make her the scapegoat, may have been the best thing he could ever do for the Republic and its people—something he could think about in his lengthy prison sentence.

“Major, Captain Phaeris reports that she and her fellow pilots successfully navigated the Imperial blockade. They’ll rendezvous with our forces shortly.” Garza had barely looked up from the report she was reading to acknowledge Y’vonne’s presence.

She was apparently still mad about Havoc’s CO being willfully disobedient and argumentative. Oh well, she’d get over it eventually when Y’vonne and the rest of Havoc Squad won Corellia back from the Empire. A Republic victory would be just the thing to turn her attitude around, because she wasn’t going to apologize for doing what was right. Locke strode over to them, a large grin on his face.

“I’m getting a dozen holocalls a minute from our people in the residential district. Havoc Squad’s got a few hundred new fans on Corellia.” He told her.

Those people needed to be moved someplace safe, so this didn’t happen again.

“You need to get those people somewhere secure.” She replied.

Locke nodded. “We’re already on it. The Imps won’t get a second shot at any of them.”

That was reassuring.

“General Rakton means to assault the Republic and resistance positions in this sector. He’s deployed a massive infantry force.” Garza informed them. “The main part of Rakton’s force is going to move through a factory in Labor Valley—a great place for an ambush.”

Great for an ambush, especially if he didn’t know Havoc was in the field—they could quite possibly take his entire operation by surprise. While secrecy was not vital to their mission, it’d be nice to get the drop on their enemy every once in a while. She crossed her arms over her chest, and leaned against the edge of a counter; Havoc would do their best to thwart their enemy at every turn, with or without the element of surprise. She sighed.

“Has Rakton found out that we’re here?”

Garza shook her head. “We don’t believe so. This appears to be a standard infantry sweep, not any kind of specialized hunting party.”

“We’ve got three resistance cells hiding out in Labor Valley, all ready and willing to help out. Their coordinates are right here.” Locke handed her a datapad.

“Meet with each cell and tell them that the operation is beginning, then rendezvous with them all on the factory floor. Understood?”

Y’vonne nodded. “I’ll make it happen, General.”

“When you meet each cell, tell them ‘Blazing Spear is go.’ They’ll know what to do.” Locke informed her.

Y’vonne saluted and turned heel, there was no time to waste; she spent the next little while running to the three rather spaced out coordinates of the three resistance cells. When she told them ‘Blazing Spear is go’ they all seemed so happy to be getting out there and doing something to take their planet back. It probably felt good to be doing something instead of keeping their heads down and laying low. She met them at the factory—they only had one shot at this and she was planning on taking point, the more lives she could save in this ambush, the better she’d feel…hopefully Aric wouldn’t be too angry with how reckless she was about to be.

“All right, everybody’s here! Let’s get this party started!” Hendrick addressed the group.

Sherro grinned. “We brought plenty of explosives and plenty of shooters. We’re ready.”

She hoped they weren’t planning on using those explosives…the building was Corellian property and when they succeeded in winning the planet back from the Empire, they’d need this factory for jobs and to help rebuild. Which was why she’d taken point—she’d be the one under heavy fire, but she would be fine and make it out alive to face Rakton; no one else needed to take any unnecessary risks. But first she needed a layout of the land.

“Who knows this factory best?”

Oudon motioned between himself and Hendrick.

“Hendrick and I were both employed here before the invasion began.” He supplied.

“Yeah, I’ve been thinking—we could rig a lot of this equipment to blow. You know, really tear the Imps to shreds!”

“What? Stop and think, Hendrick—if we destroy the place, where will we work when the Imperials are gone?” Oudon asked.

At least one of them saw reason.

“We’re here to wipe these Imps out, and rigging the equipment to blow in their faces is the best way to do it!” Hendrick growled.

Hendrick seemed far too excited to get rid of the Imperials that he wasn’t looking at the big picture. Y’vonne pinched the bridge of her nose. Hopefully she wasn’t going to face any insubordination from the resistance cells when they found out she was going to make them do this the right way instead of the easy way. She shook her head—she wasn’t going to be responsible for wrecking this place.

“Corellia will need to rebuild—you’ll need this place intact.”

Elara grinned. “Consideration for local infrastructure is always preferable.”

“I’m glad you agree.” Oudon said. “Now, let’s get everyone into position. Hendrick? Sherro? All set?”

“We’re ready. Do you have any final orders, Major?” Sherro asked.

Y’vonne clasped her hands behind her back and paced in front of them—she didn’t want to lose any lives, let alone if someone was reckless. They had the element of surprise on their side, and if they played their cards right, they could all make it out of this. As long as everyone kept their heads down, didn’t take any unnecessary risks, and everyone stuck together and to the plan, they would be fine.

“We’re not here to prove anything. Just stay alive and make sure the Imps don’t.”

“That sounds like as good a plan as any.” Oudon replied.

Everyone drew their blasters and ducked behind cover.

“Let’s make ‘em pay!” Hendrick whispered excitedly.

Havoc Squad made their way to the cover closest to where the action would happen, their ambush spot was there to take the heat of each and every one of the resistance fighters. She wasn’t going to lose anyone. The moment they ducked into cover, a troop of Imperials came into view, guns drawn, looking entirely too cautious for an ambush; maybe they’d expected the resistance to try something. Y’vonne pulled her blaster off her hip, her assault cannon unnecessary at the moment for the tight quarters; Hendrick, Sherro, Oudon and their teams began shooting as a few Imperials broke off and headed for Havoc’s cover. She took a deep breath and rolled out of her cover, opening fire. It was over quickly, and no one on her side had gotten hurt.

“We did it! We took ‘em down, every last one of ‘em!” Hendrick cried.

“You see? We did it, and we kept the factory standing—I told you it could be done!” Oudon replied.

Hendrick waved him off. “Yeah, yeah, whatever. That was one for the holovids, boys. Really incredible.”

“Think you guys can make it back to your hideouts?” Y’vonne asked; if she had to escort them back to safety, she would.

“Oh yeah, no sweat, Major.” Hendrick grinned.

Sherro offered her his hand. “We were very fortunate to have you to lead us, Major.”

“We’d better get going, Boys. Gotta clean this place up and clear out before more Imps show up. Thanks again, soldier!”

As her backup meandered around moving bodies and checking equipment, as she pulled her personal holocom off her belt and punching in General Garza’s holofrequency. Aric was just happy Garza hadn’t called them…he didn’t know if he could handle her personal ringtone of him singing a love song in his deep baritone Catharese going off in front of everybody; a gift to his CO from Tanno Vik—though could it really be called a gift, if she’d bought it off the Weequay? Y’vonne had refused to delete the damn thing, and it made him so embarrassed to think of the things he’d done to try and convince her—he felt hot under the collar and rubbed the back of his neck just thinking about it.

“Havoc Squad calling General Garza. Objective Complete. The ambush was a success.”

“Excellent news, Major. Rakton will think twice about sending reinforcements that way again. Locke and I have relocated to a Republic safe house in Axial Park. Report here immediately for new orders. Our forces will be arriving soon, and we need to clear them a safe landing zone.”

“I’m on my way, General.”

“Very good. Garza out.”

Chapter Text

“Major, good. Let’s get straight to it. Captain Phaeris is returning with our forces, and we need to clear them a place to land.” Garza informed her.

Locke nodded. “The best bet here in Axial Park is the Corellian Museum of Starships—they have a big, open-air landing pad that our people can slip right onto.”

“Unfortunately, that landing pad is occupied by a famous Corellian warship, the Lucky Lancer. We need you to deal with it.”

Y’vonne cocked her head to one side. She barely piloted her own top of the line ship, generally leaving it to Aric and Elara since they seemed to enjoy it so much, and they expected her to pilot a relic? And if they didn’t, she wasn’t going to destroy a piece of Corellian history just to clear a landing zone; she’d refused to sabotage the arms factory and she wouldn’t take the easy way out this time either. Destruction of property was not on her agenda. There had to be another way, one that didn’t end up making the Corellian people bitter with their liberator; one that kept local infrastructure intact. That was the only option she would take.

“How exactly do you want me to ‘deal with it,’ General?”

“I’d prefer you simply destroy it, but Locke seems to feel it’s very valuable.” Garza scoffed.

“The Lucky Lancer is the most famous Corellian ship in the galaxy! We can’t just blow it up to clear a parking spot!” Locke protested. “Look, I’ve got volunteers ready and willing to fly the Lancer out and hide it someplace safe. All you have to do is escort them to the museum.”

Y’vonne nodded; an escort mission she could do.

Garza shook her head. “Escort missions are risky and time-consuming. Destroying the ship is a far better option.”

“We need to keep the people’s spirits up. Destroying their history won’t do that.” Y’vonne argued.

“If you feel you can save the ship and still serve our objectives, so be it. But keep it quick.” Garza sighed.

She couldn’t believe how someone so headstrong and willfully disobedient had made it to the top of the Republic’s best of the best special forces squad. She had a mind of her own and that was a dangerous thing. Though she couldn’t argue with Major Vollay’s results—plus her service record was spotless; the fact that she was a born leader, inspiring her squad and civilians to follow her into battle against impossible odds worked in her favor. Soldiers like Vollay were rare. Her bleeding heart was going to get her in trouble someday, but for now it was going to serve her well.

Locke grinned. “Thanks, Major. Everyone on Corellia is going to be singing your praises for saving that ship.”

Two pilots entered the room, one rodian and one human and they stood at attention, hands at their sides, backs ramrod straight as Locke paced in front of them.

“Okay, people. The major will escort you to the museum—keep your heads down, follow orders and get the Lancer out of there.”

“Yes, sir!” They saluted

“We’ll hang back and stay out of sight while you clear a path, then catch up inside the museum. Good hunting!” The rodian pilot explained.

After fighting their way through the Imperial blockade, she punched a code into the terminal in front of her, deactivating the force field around the Lucky Lancer, partially surprised at how easy the assault and escort had been. Garza had been worried about time for nothing—though her concerns had been noted, if well-founded, but Havoc Squad wasn’t the best for nothing. The air around them crackled as the pilots deactivated their stealth field generators and let out low whistles as they gazed up at the Lucky Lancer; neither had thought they’d see this piece of their history intact ever again, but somehow Major Vollay had beaten every odd stacked against her and it was amazing to see her in action.

“There she is! Thanks for the cover, Major—we’ll handle things from here.” The human told her.

She wished them luck and a stealthy, uneventful flight.

“Have a safe flight.”

He smirked at her, shrugging nonchalantly. “I don’t know about ‘safe,’ but we’ll be careful. Now let’s see what this baby can do.”

As the two of them walked past her onto the landing pad to board the Lucky Lancer, an Imperial squadron appeared in the doorway, probably alerted when she’d lowered the forcefield. She rolled her shoulders back and slung her assault cannon around and off her back. She was the distraction and cover for them to board and pilot the ship and themselves to safety; this was what she was here for, her escort mission nearly complete. The ship roared to life behind her, but she couldn’t spare a backward glance, her attention focused on the squad firing on her and the rest of Havoc, giving it their all, protecting the ship from harm. When the Imperials were dead, Y’vonne pulled out her holocommunicator and punched in Garza’s frequency.

“Havoc Squad calling General Garza. Operation complete. Lucky Lancer has cleared the landing area.”

“I’m glad to hear it, Major.”

“You’ve done a great thing today. You’ve saved something that could never be replaced. I can see that you’re not just in it to win, you’re in it to win the right way.” Locke was grinning over the holo at her.

It was really nothing; she didn’t need all this pomp and circumstance for doing what she believed to be right.

“I’m just glad I could help.”

“So am I, believe me. Now that you’re getting your backup, I’d say my part is done. Been a pleasure working with you, Major—Rakton doesn’t have a chance.

Y’vonne grinned. “It’s been a pleasure working with you, too.”

“See you around.”

She hoped so. Working with Locke had been amazing; he was a good soldier and it was nice to have a reminder of what she was fighting for, as well as someone who just let her do what she felt was the moral thing to do without questioning her every move. When their assignment was over, maybe she’d find him and have a drink; a toast to celebrate their victory over the Empire and the freeing of Corellia. She could use a break, even if it was just a small one. Locke saluted her before disconnecting his holo from their frequency. He’d earned a chance to relax many times over, and when his home was liberated, hopefully he’d get it…she had to make sure that happened—for everyone, soldier and citizen alike.

“I’m relocating to a Republic safe house in the Drall Library for the final phase of our plan, Major. Before you report here, sweep the area around the museum for any Imperial sensor emplacements. We can’t afford to have our plans discovered now. Garza out.”

Y’vonne nod and terminated the call, heading towards the coordinates Garza forwarded to her, Havoc Squad gunning down any Imperials unlucky enough to cross their path. The loss of life was regrettable, but if carving a path through them to Rakton was the only way, so be it; he was a genocidal maniac and needed to be stopped. Yuun stopped her, a gentle hand on her shoulder as he sensed something amiss in the surrounding atmosphere; a sign in the mist told him there were 3 Imperial sensor arrays tapping into cameras around the outside of the Drall Library, and the six of them split into three groups of two to take the sensors down, before entering the safe house to speak with General Garza.

“Major, good work. Captain Phaeris’s crews have already touched down with the Safecrackers and the Fifty-Third Armored. They’re approaching the Bastion now.” Garza explained, before Y’vonne had taken two steps into the room. “Our strategy has unfolded perfectly. Now it’s time to put the final phase into motion.”

“Havoc Squad is ready for action, General.”

“Before the final assault can begin, you team must complete the final objectives. The first is to block General Rakton’s communications. Once Havoc has placed signal jammers at key locations outside the Bastion walls, we can cut off all comm traffic.”

That could raise any number of alarms…

“If the Empire’s top general drops off comms, they’re going to notice.” Y’vonne muttered.

“Based on the comm traffic we’ve measured so far, we’re confident you’ll have enough time to complete your objectives before anyone notices the blackout. The gate is effectively impervious to frontal assault, so you’ll need to commandeer an Imperial crawler tank and use it to pass through undetected.”

“Consider it done, General.”

“Scouts have spotted a crawler operating at these coordinates with a minimal escort. It’s your best shot.” Garza told her, handing her a datapad with the coordinates. “Once you’ve ridden the crawler through the Bastion gate, you’ll secure the gate controls, then contact me via holo to begin the final assault. Is everything clear?”

Y’vonne nodded. “Plant jammers outside the gate, hijack the crawler, secure the gate controls. Clear.”

“Time is tight—that crawler won’t be in the field forever. Set your jammers and get there as quickly as possible—don’t let anything slow you down.” She saluted the entirety of Havoc. “Dismissed. And good luck.”

Havoc Squad wasted no time hightailing it to the provided coordinates and after making quick work of the guards and patrols of Imperial officers, they hijacked the designated crawler to storm the gates. Part of Y’vonne felt like this was far too easy, and she was holding her breath for something to go wrong, as she hopped out of the tank once they were inside the perimeter, pulling her assault cannon off her back and engaging herself in combat mode. When the last Imperial fell, Elara followed close behind her as the boys—Yuun, Aric, Tanno, and M1-4X stayed back, on high alert to provide cover if the Imperials tried to send reinforcements and catch them in an ambush while their CO tried to hack into the terminal for the gate controls and let their troops inside. She slung her assault cannon onto her back, hearing the familiar sound of it clicking into place, before she turned her attention to the terminal in front of her.

“Havoc calling General Garza. Objective complete. The Bastion gate is secure.”

“Excellent work, Major. Everything we’ve fought so hard to achieve is finally within reach. Our forces will rendezvous with you inside the Bastion shortly. Once they do, the operation will be in your hands. I cannot lead this final push from the outside, Major. I’m counting on you to assess Rakton’s defenses and lead our forces to victory.”

She understood her orders completely. “I won’t let you down, General.”

“Remember, General Rakton is one of the greatest enemies the Republic has ever faced. He is a very dangerous man, both mentally and physically. He plans to use the information in the Bastion’s databanks to command an unstoppable campaign against us. You must not fail.”

“General Rakton won’t defeat me, General.”

Y’vonne prayed she sounded more confident than she felt—the vision on Voss nagging at her, but she had enough practice to not let it show that she was slightly rattled that she knew she’d make it to Rakton, but she didn’t know if anyone else would, as well as if she would survive the encounter. Aric watched her carefully as he waited for her to finish, his attentiveness to her and her moods, seeing the ever so slight droop of her shoulders; they were almost there, but it seemed like it was starting to take its toll and weigh on her shoulders, and he hated seeing it. Being her lover had made him more in tune with her feelings than anyone else, and the moment she had some time, he’d do his best to alleviate her worries.

“The finest military units available are under your command now. Your Republic is counting on you to put them to good use.” Garza raise her right hand to her temple in a salute. “Good luck, Major. Garza out.”

Aric caught her by the hand, and pulled her into a kiss when she disconnected her personal holo from General Garza’s frequency—they’d been caught by Havoc before, and they were here at what could quite possibly be their last stand; few soldiers got a ripe old death. If they did fall, he wanted the final memory of ‘them’ to be the feel of her lips against his; the love and the softness and the urgency. His hand grabbed hers and guided it to his waist as they pressed themselves as close as the armor allowed, without any regard to who saw them this way, as his other hand slid into her hair. Her free hand curled around his neck. Y’vonne smiled into the kiss—she hadn’t realized how much she’d needed this until she’d felt his lips on hers as she realized how scared he was; scared to lose her, and she realized how horrible she felt for keeping her vision from him…she would do everything in her power to not lose anyone and come back alive.

She needed him, and he needed her.

“Don’t leave me alone.” Aric’s voice was hoarse with anguish and worry.

“I won’t.” She promised taking his hand in hers and giving it a gentle squeeze before pressing her forehead to his.

She hoped…

An Imperial squadron stood between Havoc and their reinforcements, but she seemed nonplussed as she walked forward, blaster rifle in hand, dodging incoming blaster fire, and taking out her enemies one by one. When the last one fell, a Republic dropship stopped midair above them, hovering as their reinforcements jumped out, guns at the ready, helping them to push farther inwards. Aric had stayed as close to her as the fighting allowed, not prepared for her to fall due to him not having her back—when this was over there were a few things they needed to talk about, he kissed her quickly in relief at her safety before everyone focused their attention on her. It was nice to have everyone committed and united for the assault, ready to take on Rakton at her order. Though the end fight was hers alone—it was what she trained for, and everything rested on this final battle; the freedom of Corellia, the liberation of its people, and the reclaiming of a historical building. All the squads saluted her.

“Major. Everyone’s assembled and ready for action.” Aric cleared his throat to regain some semblance of decorum.

He took a step away from his CO, surprised he’d lost control of his emotions for a moment, but when he thought about losing her he couldn’t stand it. She gave him a half smile as the Safecrackers—including Jorda Pell—joined them on the battlefield. They looked no worse for wear after their stint on Quesh, being captured by Hutts and everything else they’d been through, and frankly, Y’vonne was happy to see some familiar faces; she and Jorda would have to catch up. So much had happened since Jaxo’s Girl’s Night, and if they made it out alive, she’d make sure they had time to talk about all that had happened.

“Good of you to invite the Safecrackers out for the main event this time, Major.” Lieutenant Coria had a huge grin on his face. “This’ll be the biggest fortress we’ve busted yet.”

“Major, I am Lesher, Commander of the Fifty-Third Armored Platoon.” The advose shook her hand heartily—the stripes on his armor denoting captain status. “We march at your command.”

Since everyone was finally assembled, it was time…finally.

“What’s our intel on Rakton’s defenses?”

There was no sense in going in blind…not when this was the reason they’d been fighting their way across the planet. She wasn’t going to let the operation be blown because she miscalculated and let her vision on Voss lead her; the more lives she could save, the better she’d feel at the end, whether she made it out or not. The Safecrackers had been scouting the area and taking notes when she’d been saving civilians, getting a feel for what they were going to be up against once she got them all inside. Y’vonne wouldn’t let anyone else take point, and maybe lose their lives; at least something good had come from her vision, even if keeping secrets from Aric had left an awful taste in her mouth.

Just one more push, and then no more secrets…

“Heavy, and on full alert. They’re holding position for now, so it’s our move.” Lieutenant Coria told her. “Intel shows three routes to the Bastion’s main complex. Aerial scans confirm—and Rakton has different defenses set up on each route. First approach, we’ve got walkers and war droids. On the second, a full infantry company. And the last one has all the fun toys—mines, turrets, you name it.”

Y’vonne turned, hands behind her back, and the look on her face—determined optimism—was beautiful; Aric’s breath caught in his throat.

“How do you think we should go at this, Captain?”

Two things nearly made him forget himself, but somehow, he kept it composed; the first was his rank—it was still odd to hear it, but after Tavus and his squad of traitors had flushed his career down the refresher he hadn’t thought that his career would ever recover…but thanks to her, he’d finally made captain. And the second thing that made him so happy, was not only was she super professional—which to be frank, still amused him how she could be so flippant and carefree one second to spouting orders the next—but also the fact that this was her big moment and she wanted his opinion. He could kiss her. Her faith in him wasn’t misplaced; she’d made him captain for a reason and he refused to let her down…also the sooner they finished, the sooner he could drag her to bed.

“Ordinarily, the spread of Rakton’s defenses would leave him weak to a combined assault down one approach. But that’s just a ploy. The approaches are far too narrow for walkers and infantry to operate together. We should attack from all three routes simultaneously.”

Y’vonne winked at him; authority suited him.

“The first route, guarded by walkers and war droids, is most dangerous. I suggest matching strength with strength—my armor against theirs.” Lesher suggested, shrugging.

Coria grinned, crossing his arms over his chest. “We could mix it up. My team can handle walkers and war droids—not easy, but doable. Leave Lesher’s walkers to trounce their infantry.”

Y’vonne bit her lip, deep in thought—part of her wondered if she should take on the walkers; Havoc Squad was the best of the best for a reason, and they’d definitely handled worse. But recently, the turrets had been a huge pain and she didn’t want to make anyone else deal with that while also avoiding trip mines, and booby traps, and AA guns. On the other hand, she didn’t want to lose anyone and the decision of who to send where was a tough one. She sighed and ran a hand through her brown hair. In the end, it was best for walker to fight walker…

“Captain Lesher, I want your platoon to take on the Imp armor.”

Lesher nodded. “We will carve through them easily, Major!”

“Route two is all infantry—a full company. They’re dug in and ready to fight. Will Havoc be taking on all of these soldiers, or do you want us to handle it, sir?” Coria asked.

“This part’s on you, Lieutenant.”

“Consider it handled, sir. I guess that leaves the automated defenses for you, Major. Enjoy.” Lieutenant Coria looked relieved to see some action, this time, unlike when they were on Quesh.

“If Rakton’s half the Commander they say, he’ll send speeders full of commandos to flank us as soon as we commit to the assault. We’d better keep most of Havoc back here to cover the main assault forces. We’ll regroup once we’re inside the main complex.” Aric told her.

She shot him a fleeting, flirtatious smile; that man of hers was quite the strategist, always thinking three steps ahead, and there was something irresistible about it. She didn’t want to leave him behind, but if she trusted anyone to protect her flank, it was Aric…besides, they’d meet up inside when it was time to face Rakton, all she could do now was pray that they made it through. Gods, she wanted to shove him against a wall and kiss him senseless, but she was going to make sure there was time for that later; it was time to get to work.

“All right—you all know your jobs, and you know what’s at stake. If we fall here, the entire Republic is on the line. Are we going to let that happen?”

“Sir, no, sir!” Coria replied.

“Move out!” Y’vonne commanded.

Havoc Squad and the rest of their forces saluted her; everything had been pushing them towards this, leading up to the moment when they stopped Rakton and his warmongering, pushed the Empire off Corellia—freeing the citizens and stopping the war once and for all. Ever since she’d begun special forces training, she’d been expecting something like this to happen. Was it wrong to be excited? She’d been a rookie when assigned to Havoc Squad, and Aric hadn’t failed to point it out on multiple occasions; but now he watched her in awe as she stepped up to the plate and took charge. She’d never looked more beautiful, and he didn’t want to leave her, but he could do better staying back and keeping her safe…

He caught her arm as she and Elara started walking away—sighing because he kept doing this, unable to keep his emotions in check, the worry starting to take hold once more. Her lower lip disappeared under her teeth as he pressed his forehead to hers, inhaling a shaky breath as she sighed deeply, just taking a moment to feel his fur against hers. A gloved hand came up to his face, stroking his cheek lovingly as her eyes closed, reveling in his touch. It was hard to tear herself away from him and walk towards danger, but it was something she had to do; something she’d been training for her whole life.

“Hey, I’m going to be fine…if anything happens, I’ll have Elara with me. I’m more worried about you staying behind to cover my flank. Promise me you’ll be safe?”

“I’ll have Forex with me. I’m going to do everything in my power to stay in one piece, and when this is over, we’re going to take leave so we can be together, uninterrupted, and confirm the other is safe and still in one piece.” He muttered, lacing his fingers through hers.

“That sounds heavenly.” Y’vonne whispered as she brought his hand up to kiss the back of his fingers. “Alright, I have to go destroy some automated defenses. Aric, I love you so much, and I’ll see you inside.”

“I love you too, Yvi.”

She kissed him quickly, before pulling away; if she didn’t do that soon, she’d never leave his embrace, making everything they’d done up until that moment for naught, and she refused to let that be the case. Aric watched her go with a pained expression on his face, the same one she wore when she glanced back at him. Gods, this was hard, but this was the last time he was going to let her walk away like that, a secret she wouldn’t share weighing heavily on her shoulders; maybe when this was all over she would finally share it with him.

“You two seem a lot more public with your affections, lately.” Elara teased.

Y’vonne punched her in the arm before pulling her assault cannon off her back, as they made their way through the compound towards their objective, clearing Imperials out of the way while disarming traps.

“Gods Elie, he makes me not want to be a soldier, and that’s all I’ve ever known, because the worry on his face when I do something reckless causes me anguish, but I know he’d never ask me to quit, because I love it, he knows exactly how I feel because he’s the exact same way…though he is way more of a workaholic...I want to broadcast our relationship to all corners of the galaxy. He loves me, and supports me and sings love songs because of the way I make him feel; I couldn’t ask for more.” She sighed, wistfully.

“You two make the cutest couple.” Elara giggled.