Terra stood in the doorway to her cabin, watching Tycho sleep. The lights from the corridor bathing him a soft silver and she could almost pretend his was a young boy again. That he was indeed still her Little Celly.
The only immediately apparent evidence of his years at the Academy was the darker color of his hair. All the cadets had their heads shaved when they first arrived and Tycho's youthful blond had been replaced by light brown as it grew back since he didn't get the chance to spend much time in the sun while in the pilot training program.
She knew there were other clues but chose to ignore them since acknowledging them would also mean acknowledging the fact that he had grown up. His small frame had finally reached its full height just before he left Alderaan, making it necessary for her to look up to meet his sky blue gaze. And the rigors of cadet training regiments had added considerable muscle tone and definition. All signs that he was more a man than a boy.
She smiled as she remembered the conversation they had had when he was thirteen. He was frustrated about being shorter than his friends. "Give yourself time," she had told him. "You should enjoy your youth, not try to rush through it."
When he had scowled at this, she reminded him that even though he was the shortest, he was by far the most agile and close to, if not the, strongest. She had seen him pin boys bigger than himself when wrestling. Of course, the fact that he really didn't fight fair could have had something to do with that.
He moaned softly, the nightmares tormenting him even through the sedatives in his system. Terra moved quietly to sit on the edge of the bed, stroking his hair. It was a gesture she had unconsciously picked up from his mother and he relaxed slightly as he began to breathe evenly again.
She shook her head. He was only a handful of years younger than she. Why was it so difficult for her to admit that he had grown up? She could accept her own adulthood, why not his? Could it be because he was not much older than her brother Marx was when he had been killed?
She still saw so much of Marx in Tycho. They both had the same fire and determination to make a difference. It had gotten Marx killed and she still blamed herself even though she knew she would not have been able to do anything even if she had been there.
She remembered her father's words when he had met Tycho. "He is destined for great things but it will not be an easy path for him. It will be full of darkness and pain. But also great happiness." Terra had promised herself then and there that she would do what she could to protect her young friend, even if it meant giving her own life.
With her Force sensitivity she would know if he were in trouble. The mental link she shared with family and close friends like Tycho allowed her the abilities of the Trackers of old, even if she wasn't strong enough to ever be a full Jedi like her father and brother.
That link, while usually a blessing, was also a curse. She had seen, with great clarity, Marx's death as well as feeling her father's passing when Alderaan had been destroyed not to mention Tycho's torment and guilt over the past several weeks.
She looked down and was surprised to see Tycho watching her with concern. She had been so wrapped up in her own memories and pain that she had not realized he was awake.
He reached up to wipe the tears from her face. "What's wrong?" he asked softly.
Terra thought about what to tell him; there was so much. So she just told him the most relevant at the moment. "Dad was at a medical conference on Alderaan," she replied.
He didn't know what to say; he simply sat up and wrapped her in his arms, drawing her down to lie beside him much as she had always done for him. The last several weeks had taken their toll on her emotionally and she had finally reached her limit. He held her as she cried herself to sleep and then he, too, joined her in an exhausted slumber.
Continued in Part Four