From Empire to Rogue
That night, as the storm raged, Tycho tossed and turned in bed. He was staying in Marx's room across the hall from Terra. He looked around the room in the dim light and was again struck by the similarities between this one and his own from Alderaan. No wonder Terra had a tendency to think of him as a little brother.
All week, he had thought about going to Terra's room when he couldn't sleep but remained where he was. His reluctance was due in part to his mother's reaction when she had found them together when he was nearly fifteen. His parents were rather alarmed, believing their relationship to be anything but platonic.
Another clap of thunder and flash of lightning convinced him he would not get any sleep so he picked up his pillow and blanket and padded across the hall to Terra's door. A closed door had been a signal to the Celchu family that she was asleep or deep in study and therefore didn't wish to be disturbed but she had always made an exception for Tycho.
"My door will always be open for you," she had told him. Sure enough, she was usually awake whenever he would knock softly and then enter her room. The same was true this time, as well.
Terra had been able to sense his suffering all week and had stopped herself several times from going to his room. She knew that he was trying hard to repress his grief and that her presence would only make matters worse until he was willing to deal with the pain. From difficult experience, she had learned that it had to be his choice; she couldn't force the decision on him. When he was ready, she knew he would come to her.
He stood in the doorway, looking miserable, as she pulled back the coverlet and patted the mattress beside her. He dropped the pillow and blanket and climbed quickly into bed. She spooned behind him as he snuggled down so that his head tucked neatly under her chin. With her arms and blanket wrapped protectively around him, he began to relax and was soon asleep.
She waited patiently for his breathing to even out and then placed a light kiss on the top of his head. "Sleep well, Little Celly," she whispered as she, too, drifted off to sleep.
A short time later, she was awakened by his struggles. Terra spoke reassuringly into his ear and tightened her arms around him. This only made him fight her more so she relaxed her grip and removed her arm, placing a hand lightly on his shoulder as she continued to soothe him with her voice.
He finally awoke with a start and rolled over to face her, eyes haunted. "They're gone," he rasped. "Mom. Dad. Skoloc, My sisters. Nyiestra..." Each name became more difficult as he listed off his family and dearest friends. He finally buried his face in the crook of her neck, crying softly.
Terra tried her best to soothe him, all the while vowing silent revenge against those who had stolen the last of his innocence from him. Tycho had truly believed that, by serving the Empire, he could make much-needed changes from within. Major Fel had encouraged this falsehood; which he himself believed, not understanding that the cancer that needed to be removed was at the very top.
She had to fight her own tears, for his sake as well as that of her mother. At least for now. She missed her father more than she had ever imagined possible; not to mention a family she had come to think of as her own: the Celchu siblings had filled the void left in her life following her older brother's death.
She was beginning to feel helpless because all her family was dying --usually when she was not around to do anything about it. It was no wonder she was reluctant to let Tycho out of her sight; she wanted him close to her so she could protect him.
After a while, Tycho grew quiet and Terra realized he was again asleep. She tried to find the relative peace of sleep herself but it eluded her for some time. Finally, exhausted, she fell into a rather fitful sleep.
Dawn came clear and cold as the last of the clouds moved on. Normally, these were Terra's favorite mornings but not this time. She awoke and carefully climbed out of bed, leaving Tycho in a somewhat relaxed doze.
Knowing he as well as her mother would be up soon, she made her way to the kitchen, closing her door behind her. She started a pot of caf and was pouring herself a cup a short time later when her mother entered.
Kathreene lifted her eyebrows mischievously, "I thought you were Tycho; his door is open and he's not in his room. Your door, however, is still closed." She knew that meant Tycho was in her daughter's room and was enjoying teasing Terra. She had begun to notice over the past week what the two youngsters -- for whatever reasons -- were trying to ignore.
Terra scowled, her mother could be a little too observant at times. "He's in my room because he couldn't sleep last night. And that's all there is to it."
Kathreene chuckled, "I think thou dost protest too much." She quoted to Terra the old Alderaani saying the family had picked up from Callow's father.
Terra stiffened, "Now you are beginning to sound like his parents. I would never take advantage of his age or his pain." She slammed her cup down on the table and left the cabin, the door swinging shut behind her.
"That went well," Kathreene said wryly as she sighed and then followed her daughter outside. She sat, without saying a word, on the glider next to Terra.
Terra sighed heavily, "Sorry. It's just..." She wasn't sure how to put into words what she was feeling.
"Terra, I think you are forgetting some things." At the blank look on Terra's face, Kathreene finished, "You are both adults, now. And no matter how hard you try to hide it, you are hurting just as much as he is." With that reminder, Kathreene stood and walked back inside.
Continued in Part Ten