The next few days, Hobbie made extra sure to be fully alert during their practice runs, and to stay out of the Captain's way. He seriously dreaded another run in with her. He threw himself into his studies and into his flying, trying to blend himself back in with the other cadets.
He sat in his room, his face buried in his flight mechanics book, when a knock on the door made him and Ty jump out of their seats. Ty bolted for the door and opened it, his jaw dropping when he saw Rogue standing on the other side. "Hit a bunk!"
Both Hobbie and Ty made a dash for the foot of their bunks, standing at perfect attention as their CO entered. She made her way to the center of their room before speaking, "Rest."
They both folded their hands together at the small of their backs and spread their feet apart to shoulder width, their eyes moving curiously to their short Captain.
She turned her back to Hobbie, her hands linked behind her, and looked at Ty. "Would you give us a moment, Zerutal?"
Ty nodded, "Of course, ma'am." He grabbed his books and ducked out of the room, turning towards the library before shutting the door behind him.
Rogue took a seat in Ty's chair and leaned forward on her knees. "Have a seat, Klivian. I'm not here for another dressing down. I'm actually here to compliment you and...and to apologize."
Hobbie sat back down in his chair and spun it to face her. "Apologize for what?"
She sighed heavily and dropped her head, her thick hair falling around her face, covering up her face completely. "I shouldn't have been so hard on you the other day. You're a great pilot, Klivian. Better then your squad mates, and probably better then I am." She looked back up, her face seeming to be paler then usual, the skin around her eyes had a soft blue and hollow look to them.
Hobbie sat up straighter. "There's no reason for you to apologize, I was..."
She cut him off with a snorted laugh. "There is every reason to apologize. I was too hard on you when I should have been trying to help you regain your focus."
Hobbie ran his hands through his hair to hide their nervous shaking and smiled weakly. "Well thank you for the compliment then." His mournful eyes studied her face for a moment, thankful that her eyes were turned towards the floor. "Would you like something to drink? Ty has some imported drinks stashed under the sink." For some reason, he felt that she really shouldn't leave yet. He just had a feeling that he should try to help her this time.
Rogue grinned gently. "Would your roommate approve of you telling me about your unauthorized substances in your room?"
"Probably not. But it's just some kind of fruit juice his family sends him every month."
She nodded once, brushing her hair away from her face. "Sure, why not."
Hobbie jumped up and grabbed two of the bottled juices, quickly handing one to her. "I've had one before and they're really good, but the first drink is always really sweet."
"Thanks." She popped open the bottle and took a long drink, wrinkling her nose severely afterwards. "You're right. Very sweet!" She popped open an eye and started laughing, Hobbie quickly joining in her laughter until the both of were almost falling out of their chairs.
Hobbie smiled openly at his CO, still very nervous at her presence. He'd never seen her this calm, and he was more than sure that no one else had either. To cover up his staring when she looked up, he took a long drink from his bottle, almost emptying his bottle.
Rogue eyed him for a moment then smiled. "Something on your mind, Klivian?" Her voice had a hint of command to it, but most of it was a friendly questioning.
He set his bottle on the desk behind him before looking back to her eyes, his own darting over every aspect of her eyes, trying to learn them from across the room. "Actually, I was just wondering, uh, ma'am, what seems to be troubling you." Hobbie folded his hands in his lap and leaned back in his chair, trying to stop himself from fidgeting nervously.
The corner of her mouth turned up in a small grin. "I'm that obvious, huh?" She shook her head before he could answer. "Well, I guess fair is fair. I was thinking about my family. I got word that my father and little brother were killed in some kind of accident." She looked down at her half empty bottle, and she tried to will her hands to stop shaking.
"Oh, I'm so sorry. What happened?" Hobbie leaned forward, his brow knitting in concern, and a little shock that she was opening up to him, a third year cadet, and her subordinate of all people.
Rogue quirked her eyebrow up in skepticism, "You mean, you're actually concerned?"
"Why wouldn't I be?" Hobbie was a little perplexed by her question, but he skipped over that for now and went back to her family. "Do you know what happened to them?"
She sighed, seeing that she wasn't going to side step this one at all. "I'm sure you've heard about what happened on Ralltiir?" She waited for him to nod. "Well, one of the buildings that was leveled had my father and my little brother in it." Rogue had to squeeze her eyes tightly and shake her head to fight the tears that were forming in her eyes. She spoke again, her voice cracking and making her chin quiver at just the sound of it, "Logan was going to start the Academy next year..." Her chin fell to her chest and her hands came up to cover her face.
Out of reflex, Hobbie left his chair and knelt in front of her, his hands moving to grip her shoulders, squeezing them comfortingly. He shortly realized what he was doing, but didn't try to move away. "Is Ralltiir your homeworld?"
She nodded, dropping her hands to her lap, sniffling softly. One of Hobbie's hands left her shoulder and pulled his handkerchief from his back pocket, offering it to her. She took it gingerly and attempted to smile. "Always the high speed Cadet." Hobbie grinned lopsidedly. "Yeah, Ralltiir is my homeworld." She wiped her eyes and her nose with his handkerchief before balling it up in her hand.
Hobbie felt a wave of electricity rush through him and he dropped his other hand to his knee, staring up at her through her curtain of hair. "Mine too." Her eyes angled towards his and she smiled very weakly, wiping her nose again with the wadded handkerchief. "Do you know why the Emperor sent that force to level part of the city?"
She hiccupped and shook her head. "My mother has no idea either. All we can find out is it had something to do with the High Council. It's all enough to make me quit the Academy and go home."
Hobbie looked deeply into her eyes. He knew she was grieving, and he knew that she was also one of the most upstanding cadets in the entire Academy, but this was a sliver of hope that just might help him and the others later on. "Captain.."
"Rogue," she corrected him.
He nodded. "Rogue, I know that this is all very sudden and very painful, but have you ever thought about defecting?"
Her red-rimmed eyes shot to his, boring down into the depths of him. "Are you talking about the Rebellion? Because if you are..."
With a brief moment of uncharacteristic courage, Hobbie stopped her from speaking with two fingers on her lips. "I know the consequences of even talking about it. But I'm also talking about joining a fight against the government that just killed your father and brother, and countless other people on our home world for no reason."
Her sparkling green-brown eyes tried to look down at his fingers, then up into his eyes, the emotion behind her tears not really threatening, more questioning then anything else. She leaned back to clear herself from his reach and smoothed her loose hair back from her face. "Listen, Klivian, the idea of it is nice. To be able to run away, to throw caution to the wind and join a failing cause, but it's just not realistic. There's no future in it." She sighed heavily and leaned back in Ty's chair, looking up at the ceiling.
"What?" She looked back down at him.
"My name. What my friends call me."
"Oh." She looked back up at the ceiling for a long moment. "Hobbie. I like it. It suits you." She dropped her head back down and smiled gratefully at Hobbie. "It's also nice to know that you consider me a friend. Thank you. Friends have been in short order these days." She reached out and patted his shoulder, her hand lingering for a moment before she stood up. "I should be going."
"Yeah. I've got to get back to flight mechanics." Hobbie stood and accompanied Rogue to the door, opening it for her.
She smiled gratefully up at him as she stood in the doorway. "Thank you for listening. I really appreciate it." Hobbie nodded, his own smile very gentle. "I'll see you tomorrow afternoon." She turned from him and started down the hall towards the lift that would take her to her lonely room. Hobbie watched her go with a sort of sad anxiousness. He wasn't sure what he was feeling. It was a sort of tingly hollowness in the pit of his stomach and it seemed to spread a warm blanket over him, making him shiver for a moment as the chills left by way of his scalp. His eyes lost focus and he smiled, his mind replaying their short conversation in his mind as he shut the door and returned to his desk.
"You did what?! She's our CO and a dedicated Imperial before she even left the womb! How could you tell her that?" Ty paced in front of his desk, throwing his arms about like bunches of confetti. His dark eyes full of fire. "The one person you weren't supposed to talk about it to, you went and invited along!" He stopped pacing and ran his trembling hands through his dark auburn hair.
"Relax. It's been almost a week and we're still here, aren't we? If she was going to turn us in, don't you think she would have done it by now?" Hobbie tried to appear relaxed sitting on his bunk, his bare feet dangling over the edge. His legs were hairy and well toned, sticking out of his PT shorts.
"Hobbie's right. If she were going to turn us in, she would have. She's most likely either too scared to come with us, or just content to let us choose our own way." Porkins' words were accented by a soft knocking at the door.
Rogue stood in the hallway, her class uniform on, her Cadet Captain rank shining brightly. She looked down at her fidgeting hands and back up as Ty opened the door for her. His eyes were wide with shock as he looked down at his CO, at his door for the second time. She smiled very uneasily, "Can I come in?" Ty nodded dumbly and moved aside for her. She waved her hand in the air and wrinkled her nose. "Rest before anyone even tries." The four young men nodded, Ty, Biggs and Porkins dumbly, and Hobbie with a slight smile creeping into his eyes. Ty closed the door, still in shock.
"Is there something wrong, Captain?" Biggs stood up from Hobbie's desk chair, motion for her to sit. Rogue took the proffered chair with a friendly smile.
"No, nothing's wrong. I was just hoping to catch you all here. I wanted to talk to you."
Ty pointed at her and started yelling again, "I knew it! She's here to turn us in!" The other three that had to listen to his previous rant just rolled their eyes and groaned. Rogue stared curiously at him.
"I'm not here to turn anyone in." Se bowed her head and folded her hands in her lap. "I'm actually here to ask if I can join you."
Four jaws around the room simultaneously hit the floor, Ty's hardest of all. Hobbie recovered quickly and slid forward to balance on the edge of his bed, smiling down at her. "What made you change your mind?"
She turned slightly and looked up at him, her green-brown eyes connecting with his soft brown ones, the corners of her mouth twitching with a threatening grin. "The words of a homeworld boy did. That and the most recent message from my mother."
Hobbie blushed slightly but maintained their locked gaze until Biggs cleared his throat loudly. "Alright. With the Captain here added, that changes our plans for the better. We can have most of the people holding everyone in the aft cargo hold. That'll leave Captain D'Andrea with a full crew to pilot the ship, and the rest of you to cover the crew and remaining students."
"What?" Biggs looked from Porkins to Rogue's soft expression.
"My name. What my friends call me." She sent a quick smile to Hobbie, then to all the members in the room.
Biggs, Porkins and Hobbie all smiled easily, but Ty had to force his. He still didn't trust her. He was absolutely positive that she would turn them in sooner or later. Biggs nodded and picked up the datapad from Hobbie's desk, setting up the information for Rogue to read over. The information detailing where, how and when they would be staging the mutiny on the Rand Ecliptic. She studied the datapad, memorizing the information easily, learning her part in the grander scheme of things.
One fourth of the student body would be on that ship. All of them, and five teachers doubling as crew would be heading for the moon of a near by planet for field training. Just after dropping out of hyperspace, they, with the help of some of the students, would stage a mutiny and take over the shuttle. The five students in the room were the brains, so to speak, of the entire operation. There were a total of twenty students that had agreed to help them run for the Rebellion. They were going to hold the rest in the aft cargo hold until they could be sent safely back to the Empire. So many tiny details that depended on the durasteel strength and reliability of each of these five people. There was a week left before they were scheduled for field exercises.
"No, you forgot to account for the moon's orbit around the planet. You're going to crash right into it with those coordinates. Try it again, and remember that the moon moves too." Rogue was leaning over Hobbie's shoulder, looking over his coordinates for a hypothetical hyperspace jump for their Astronavigation course. Hobbie sat at her desk, the two of them alone in her private room, trying to concentrate on their homework.
Hobbie tilted his head to the side and looked into her eyes. She rested her hand on his shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze. They had been working together for hours that night, and the night before that, and before that. Neither one of them really needed the help for their classes, but they enjoyed each other's company more and more each night. Hobbie's eyes moved over her ivory face and smiled slightly. "You look better with your hair down."
She took her hand off his shoulder and moved away from the desk. She took a seat on the vacant desk across from hers, her room an exact copy of Hobbie's, only half empty. "You really think so?" He nodded. Their eyes locked for a moment before she shook her head. "Stop gaping and do your homework. You still have to act like a regular student even thought we'll be leaving in a few days." He spun his chair back around and bent slightly over his work again. Her eyes lost focus and she smiled to herself, her hands reaching up and pulling the elastic band out of her hair, letting her dark tresses fall gracefully around her shoulders.
Hobbie turned back around in his seat, intent on asking her a question, but his words caught in his throat when his eyes fell on her loose hair. He smiled softly and blushed almost imperceptibly. "I didn't think you were going to take it seriously." He tossed his stylus over his shoulder to the desk.
"Why wouldn't I? A compliment from a really great guy like you, I think I'd be shocked if I didn't take it seriously." Her eyes avoided his out of embarrassment for a moment, looking back up when she heard him stand up from the chair and close the distance between them.
Hobbie's fingers brushed against her cheek as he tucked the right side of her hair behind her ear. His eyes met hers and they both smiled a little sheepishly, looking away from each other quickly. His fingers trailed down the back of her ear along her hair, flipping the ends between his fingers. "You really are beautiful. I don't know why more guys aren't chasing after you." He tried to keep his voice free of the feelings that tore at his stomach, threatening to make him spew a whole collection of compliments and sweet nothings, something that he was very unskilled at.
She turned her head towards him, leaning forward very slightly. "Thank you, I think." She wasn't sure if she should take that as a genuine, innocent compliment, or as something a nervous young man would say to a girl that makes his knees go weak. She begged whatever gods there were to let it be the latter.
"I mean...well..." His mind fluttered with endless possibilities of what he could and should say to her. His body left his mind to ponder the possibilities and took action. He licked his lips and slowly, his face neared hers, both their lips parting very slightly, their heads tilting gently. Warm lips pressed together as both parties abandoned what little restraint they had left, arms entangling with arms, bodies pressed hotly against another, legs wrapping tightly around hips.
Hobbie lifted her onto the desk, their lips and hands growing more and more desperate as they kissed fiercely and tore at each other's clothing, stripping each other down to the most basic of clothing: none at all. Hobbie took a step back to admire her, Rogue's cheeks turning a deep crimson. She tugged him to her again, their kiss slow this time, both abandoning their homework for some extracurricular activities.
Fireworks exploded, bells and whistles sounded, bodies writhed in pleasure and a little in pain, fingers grasping and exploring everything they could touch. Their lips were warm and swollen, their breath heavy and ragged as Hobbie propped himself up on his arms, hovering over her. He leaned down and kissed her gently, his lips moving from her lips along her cheek to her ear. "That was my first time," he whispered softly, his breath moist against her skin.
She kissed his cheek and earlobe and nodded reluctantly. "Mine too." He took her lips with
his, their tongues warring together.
Continued in Part Three