Wedge Antilles clanked down the gangplank of his beat-up, second hand Corellian freighter. The supplies run had taken longer than it should have and his unfortunate ship had a few fresh dings and blaster burns than it had when he had last stopped here for refueling and whatnot.
He also had a few extra dings here and there from the close encounter he had had with two hyperspace-capable TIE Interceptors. The Rebellion, firmly ensconced on Dantooine, called them 'squints'. Wedge always tried to make as many runs to the fledgling freedom movement as he conceivably could while still re-paying Booster Terrik for raising him since his parents had died three years ago. As it was, he had jumped out of hyperspace on his return trip right as two squints were preparing to jump out system. Lacking a co-pilot to take the controls while he ran the guns, he had outrun them as quickly as possible. Now, having gone out of his way to avoid another incidence of the same, he had returned to Boosterís hidden base in desperate need of a trip to the Ďfresher and a long nap.
"Wedge!" A cheerful voice made him look up. Mirax Terrik was running towards him, her pretty face split in a smile, her long dark hair flowing behind her. He had known Mirax since she was a little girl; now she was a responsible sixteen-year-old with a capable expression and a devil of a temper that could put Wedge in his place before he knew what had hit him.
She reached him and hit him rather forcefully on the shoulder in a playful gesture. "Hey, bro." She always called him that when she was being affectionate "see you made it back successfully."
Wedge grinned at her. "Exactly. Always do."
She quirked an eyebrow. "The moment you get cocky is the moment you get caught."
He laughed and grabbed her around the shoulders in a bear hug. "Like you should talk. Youíre Corellian as well."
She squeezed him back. "Itís in the blood, I guess."
Wedge pulled away from her and started walking out of the hangar, debating with himself whether or not he should tell her about what his latest trip had resulted in. Deciding against it, he took her hand in his larger one and they walked out together. "Did you make any rhyscate while I was away?"
She made a face and tossed her black hair. "Right. You nerf-herder, I had my own run." She raised her gray eyes and looked at him with an evil grin. "The difference between you and me, is that Iím now a few thousand credits richer, while youíre not."
Wedge frowned. "If Iím going to smuggle anything to the Rebellion, I might as well do it for free."
"Why?" If there was one area where they disagreed, it was whether or not Wedge was doing a smart thing by smuggling armaments to the struggling freedom movement. Neither Mirax nor her father, Booster, approved of Wedge sticking his neck out for something that they knew would never succeed. They were in enough danger as smugglers as it was; giving precious weapons to the Rebels was a death sentence. Unlike a vacation to Kessel, that was irreversible.
"The chains of oppression, I guess. Morals, maybe." Wedge let go of her hand and stuck his own in the pockets of his tunic.
Mirax laughed at him. "Youíll never make a smuggler. At least not a successful one."
Wedge was serious. He pulled a hand out of his pocket and ran it absently through his hair; he needed a haircut. "I know that."
Mirax, sensing something was wrong, stopped him and put a gentle hand on his arm. He stopped walking, but didnít look at her. He had a feeling that she wouldnít approve of his news. "What did you go and do?"
Wedge didnít look up at her, just kicked at the ferrocrete floor with his worn nerf-hide boot. She was not going to take this well.
"Look at me!" Mirax sounded angry. Wedge glanced up at her through his curtain of too long hair. She was angry; this was not a good thing. Her gray eyes blazed and her mouth was set in a determined line; an expression she had inherited from her father
"Nothing," he lied.
Miraxís mouth got thinner and her eyes blazed. "You canít be thinking of joining them."
Now Wedge was getting angry. There were few times that he had truly been enraged at Mirax and this was fast deteriorating into one of those situations. "Iím eighteen years old, and I can do whatever the fuck I feel like doing."
To Wedgeís surprise, Miraxís anger evaporated. She just looked betrayed. "How can you say such a thing?" she asked him quietly. "How?"
Wedge was not a tempestuous person and his flares of temper, though violent, were brief and far-between. "I only mean that I would be dying for a fair cause. In that circumstance, my death would mean something."
She looked at him, the expression on her face tragic. "No," she whispered, "thatís where youíre wrong. You know what youíll be if you join them? Just another casualty - an individual pilot who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when a laser bolt was hurtling through space. Itís not worth it."
He knew that she was feeling pity for him, but right now he was feeling pity for her. She was just so blind. Wedge loved Booster Terrik almost as a son loved his father, but he would be one of the first people to admit that Booster was a selfish person. He could be generous, but he was usually out for profit and, rather like Wedgeís displays of temper, reserved his generosity for special moments. It looked like Mirax had inherited that aspect of her fatherís personality, and Wedge was pained because of it.
"But see," he said and touched her face, "every little bit counts. Remember what your father told us about? - that each credit has the potential to add up to more? Do you remember?"
She closed her eyes and shook her head, a gentle but firm request for Wedge to remove his hand. He did so and stepped back. She opened them again, and he could see the embers of rage smoldering in gray ash. "So your life is only worth a credit? Forgive the pun, but thatís rich." She was working herself into another outburst. "Forgive me for thinking that you were worth more than that."
Wedge wanted to snarl something rude and biting, but he couldnít make himself do that. Not to Mirax. "Am I?" he asked her with a sigh. She opened her mouth to say something, but he cut her off. "No. Iím serious. I have no family, no lover, nothing but my utmost devotion to a cause. I thought that you, of all people, would respect that."
She threw up her hands in exasperation. "You sith-forsaken ass! Where do you get off? My father is your family. He loves you. I love you. Donít do this for some stupid cause that will never pan out into something more!"
He was shocked at her anger; it was so unlike Mirax to say something like this. Wedge just stared at her, his mouth slightly ajar, shaking his head in disbelief. "This is your father talking, not you. This is not something youíd say."
"Well someone needs to say it. Youíre being irrational." She started pacing the hallway, her hands planted on her hips in a childish show of frustration. Wedge watched as she paced up and down, her long legs covering the distance quickly, her muscles contracting and stretching under the material of the dark green tunic she was wearing. She stopped abruptly and turned to glare at him. "I never thought youíd do something so stupid."
Wedgeís eyes narrowed. "Iím being irrational? Thatís funny. Try thinking about the way you come across sometimes; you might change your opinions." He let out a slow, calming breath. Mirax looked shocked. As well she might, he thought savagely. But he didnít say anything out-loud. Instead, he looked down at his booted feet until his heartbeat slowed. When he looked back up, Mirax was leaning against the ferrocrete wall of the hallway, her hands clenched so tightly her knuckles were white. "Now," he said slowly, "Iím going to start packing. Iím leaving tomorrow and Iíd like us to make up before then."
Mirax looked at him. "My fatherís out on a run to Corellia right now. Donít leave until he gets back; he would want to say goodbye." Her voice was flat, emotionless. She crossed her arms over the front of her tunic.
Wedge felt the awkward pause. "Well, Iíll stop by and see you before I leave tomorrow if you want."
She was silent, radiating disapproval.
Wedge kicked at the floor. "Damn it! Fuck whether you want me to or not. Iíll find you regardless."
She glared, her eyes emitting sparks.
"Bloody hell!" Wedge growled and threw his hands up in the air. "I canít believe you!" And with that, he turned and stormed off in the direction of his room. He needed to pack.
Two hours later, Wedgeís anger and frustration had dissipated after a half-hour trip to the Ďfresher. He was feeling considerably refreshed and knew that he smelled remarkably cleaner, which had allowed him to consider Miraxís point-of-view on the subject. He understood her concern, but he simply couldnít agree with her logic. And he didnít really want to think on it, either; sometimes he wasnít sure if his conviction was strong enough.
But he knew that he had to.
Heaving a sigh, he reached over to the chest next to his bed and took the holo of his mother, father, and sister. Even though they had not been killed by the Empire, he knew that he would go ahead with his plans for their sakes, wherever the great unknown had taken them. This was what they would have wanted him to do.
Opening one of the drawers, he reached in for his few pieces of clothing. He would miss Booster and his crew, most of all Mirax. Sometimes he didnít know how he made it through the week without a playful jab from her or even an angry retort; both appeared with equal frequency.
This thought made him crack a grin. He was going on as if heíd never see her again, but he had a feeling he would. Call it gut instinct, but he knew all the same.
There was a beep. He placed the black tunic in his hands into his bag and said, "Come in."
The door slid open with a hiss. Mirax stood in the doorway, her pretty face outlined by the light from the hall. Seeing her, Wedge got annoyed again. With great effort, he avoided making a sarcastic comment that would only enrage her again and send her on her way. Besides, she looked kind of cute standing there with an apologetic look on her face.
"Is your father back yet?" he asked, making sure to keep some measure of detachment in his voice.
She looked worried. "No."
Wedge shrugged. "I would like an opportunity to talk to him before I go." He placed another folded tunic in his bag.
She started to look frustrated. "May I come in?"
"It doesnít normally suit you to ask before you do something."
Mirax let out a long suffering sigh, but stamped into the room, closing the door behind her. "Look," she said, all hint of penance out of her voice, "Iím sorry. Letís just agree to disagree."
"Whatever." He knew that this nonchalant attitude was making her squirm. Mirax was many things, but patient was hardly one of them. With an effort, he tempered the smirk that came to his lips and put another tunic into the bag on his bed.
Mirax, who must have been having a hell of a time restraining herself, stormed over from the door to the bed with an irritated, "Oh, Iíll do it." She snatched the next tunic from his hands and proceeded to re-fold it.
Wedge put his hands up in defeat and laughed. "Okay."
She put the folded tunic on the bed and picked up the case. "Hasnít anyone ever taught you how to allow for maximum storage space?" He just looked at her. "Apparently not."
"Well, your father did show me how to get the largest amount of illegal goods into the smallest space once."
"Thatís a start," she replied, picking through the pile of clothes that now littered Wedgeís bed.
"You could show me. Iíll need to know where Iím going; the Rebellion moves so often."
Wedge glanced over at her. She was staring intently at the task at hand and was avoiding looking at him. Still, he knew her well enough to know that the set of her shoulders indicated that she was trying desperately hard not to say something cutting. That hurt, but he was pleased that the urge wasnít strong enough to make her self-control completely useless.
There was an awkward pause. Mirax broke it by digging into the pile of clothing and pulling out a pair of Wedgeís boxer shorts. She quirked and eyebrow and turned to look curiously at them. "Dancing nagas; I didnít realize you had such impeccable taste."
Wedge turned bright red and made a grab for the shorts. She evaded him. "Those were a gift," he offered lamely.
The eyebrow remained in its raised position. "The embarrassing things always are," she said, holding them up to the light and giving them a once over. Wedge took this opportunity to snatch them out of her hands and shove them into his bag.
Mirax grinned mischievously and leaned over the mess on the bed with a look of intense concentration. "I wonder what other little tidbits you might have hidden in here that can be auctioned off for great amounts of credits when you become a famous hero."
Wedge dove for the pile, trying desperately to keep her from locating his pair of starship pajamas, figuring that Mirax would be able to find all sorts of creative ways to torment him with those.
She elbowed him out of the way as he tried to get at his clothes. He doubled up and grunted as her very bony elbows hit him full-hard in the stomach. "Damn it, Mirax!" he winded. "That actually hurt!"
She gave a triumphant laugh. "Good. Now, letís see what else you can offer."
Wedge, still doubled up, made a grab at her knees, causing her to let out a shriek of surprise as she tumbled into him. Her blaster dug into his shoulder and her long black hair tickled his nose as he suddenly found himself crushed beneath her.
She swatted at him with the arm that wasnít pinned between them and the bed. "Wedge Antilles! What the hell did you do that for?"
Grunting, he wrapped his arms around her in a bear hug that kept her immobile. She cried out again in frustration. "Damn you, Antilles!" She kneed him in the leg, unable to reach his groin given her position against the side of his body.
Wedge laughed at her. "Arenít you a wildcat. Going to claw my eyes out?"
Her eyes narrowed as she glared down at him. Wedge could feel the entire length of her pressed up against him. This may have been Mirax, but she was a woman now and her breasts were pressed up against his chest. He willed himself to behave.
"You better bet your ass that when I get free, Iím going to do a hell of a lot more than claw your eyes out. You forget, with Booster Terrik as my father, I have full access to some of the rarest weapons in this galaxy." She smiled and shifted a little, making Wedge bite back a groan as the top of her leg rubbed against the inside of his thigh. "How would you like to be eviscerated by an ancient Sith weapon?"
He willed himself to think of cold showers and a naked Emperor Palpatine; namely the least erotic things he could think of. Not much was working and it was only a matter of time before Mirax realized that something that hadnít been there before was pressing against the top of her leg. Hell, Wedge thought wryly, she might have noticed already.
Aloud, he said, "But your daddy doesnít allow you to play with the dangerous weapons. Only the toy ones. Nothing too sharp for his little girl."
He looked up at her and saw her mouth lift in a mischievous grin. Under normal circumstances, Wedge expected her to have thrown a curse at him that would have rivaled those used by rival Corellian smugglers in its potency, followed up by a quick kick to whatever softspot was convenient. As it was, she did neither. She shifted again, rubbing her leg against the bulge that was growing in his trousers. Wedge tried desperately not to allow hormones to rage out of control. The little vixen knows exactly what sheís doing, he thought to himself. Gods do I want her. And then another thought occurred to him. If Booster ever finds out that Iím lusting after his little girl, heíll kill me!
That thought woke him right up. "Did you do that on purpose?" he asked her, knowing full well that she had.
She feigned a look of innocence; she was so close that Wedge could feel her breath on the side of his cheek. "What are you talking about?"
Wedge was angry. "You know full well what Iím talking about." He frowned. "Get off of me."
"I canít. Youíre still holding me to you." He was. Turning red, he let go of her and she pushed herself off of him, making sure that her pelvis pressed into him. He caught his breath and suppressed another groan. Afterwards, he lay there a minute, trying to regain control of his body, which was, unfortunately, not paying attention. He sat up and looked at her. Mirax had thrown herself onto his bed and was looking quite comfortable sprawled across his pillows, her black hair lying disheveled over the white sheets. One shoulder was bare and she unselfconsciously reached up to cover it again. Wedgeís groin, still not quite recovered, went into over-drive.
He moaned and walked over to the uncomfortable nerf chair in the corner, which was as far away from her as he could be in his cramped quarters. Sitting down, he turned to look at her and then decided that that was probably a bad idea. Facing the wall, he said, "Do you have any idea what youíre doing?"
She laughed. "Of course. Look, Wedge, Iím sorry if I made you mad; it was only a joke."
Wedge shook his head. "When are you going to grow up?" The question was rhetorical and delivered quietly, but she still heard it.
Her eyes darkened dangerously. "You know that you want me."
Angry, he whirled on her. "Have you ever thought about the consequences of your actions? Do you know what your father would say?"
She looked particularly sexy with the red flush of rage that dotted her white cheeks, but Wedge couldnít think of that; he was too angry. But, so was she. "Who gives a fuck about my father?" she yelled at him. "He has nothing to do with this! This is between you and me."
"It has everything to do with your father! You silly little girl, donít you get it? Donít you know what your father would do to me if he found out that I was fantasizing about his baby? Do you? Think really fucking hard!"
Her eyes grew from smoldering to cold. "Donít call me a silly little girl. You have no idea what youíre getting yourself into."
"Bull!" Wedge shouted at her. "And you are being a silly little girl! If you donít want me to call you one, stop acting like one."
Her voice came out in a hiss. "I am not a silly little girl. Iíve grown up among men in a manís world, a manís profession. I was forced at a very young age to decide what I want, and I want you. There is nothing that I do not know about you people." The last word was delivered with a sneer that seemed to relegate men to a separate species. "So donít give me that Ďyouíre a little girlí bull shit. You want me and I want you. Iím old enough to know what I want and, in the scheme of things, Iím older than you. Not the other way around."
She was livid. Standing up, she sauntered slowly over to the nerf chair and leaned over him so that, had he so chosen, he could have looked down the front of her tunic. Wedge forced himself to look into her face. Her voice was a whisper. "Do you want me?" She reached one hand up to the shoulder of her shirt - the same one she had pulled over earlier - and yanked it down. This time, the material ripped a little and her whole shoulder was bared. Wedgeís mouth went dry.
She dropped to her knees and planted the palms of both hands on his trouser legs. Slowly, achingly slow, she started to slide her hand up. Wedge was beginning to panic as he felt his body betray him again and his penis harden. He fought the urge to close his eyes as her hand moved further and further up, kneading, caressing the inside of his thigh. He was throbbing, needing, wanting. Wantwantwantwant. He felt his eyes close just as her fingertips softly brushed the bulge. As the rough material shifted against him, he groaned.
"Scream for me," she whispered, her voice throaty. She pushed down harder on his erection.
"Oh!" he shouted, unable to stop himself, even though he knew that he was supposed to stop this.
He felt her other hand slide up to his waist while her first one kneaded his balls through the material, just enough to make him want more, but not enough to make him come. Her second hand shifted past the waste band of his trousers and that of his boxers until her fingernails passed lightly over his highly-sensitized abdomen. "Gods!"
"Do you like that?" she asked, her voice similar to the hookers that Wedge occasionally had erotic dreams about.
"What about this?" and she reached and took him in her hand.
As she ran her hand over him, he felt himself grow ever harder and his self-control slip further and further out of his grasp. Godgodgodgodfuckfuck. She hadnít been lying when she had told him that she had had experience. He wanted her so bad, Booster be damned. He wanted to feel her writhe beneath him, feel her around him. But he didnít love her.
That was the thought that jerked him back. He loved her, but he wasnít in love with her and he couldnít do this.
"No!" he pulled himself away, wrenching his legs up onto the seat of his chair so that she was forced to remove her hand.
She just looked puzzled. "What?"
"I donít love you!"
Now she looked hurt, but Wedge didnít much care; he was on a roll. "I mean, I love you, but Iím not in love with you. And I canít do this Iím sorry." The words came out so quickly he wasnít sure if they made any sense at all.
To his surprise, she let out a laugh. "Arenít we the arrogant one?" She shook her head. "I donít love you; not like that, anyway."
Wedge, finally feeling a bit calmer, leaned forward. "Then why are you trying to do - " he didnít know what to call what she was doing.
She looked a bit angry. "Fuck you? Because youíre going away to die for a stupid cause and I love you so much and I know that Iím never going to see you again and because I know that you want me and I want you because Iím sixteen, horny as hell, and unable to show it as the bossí kid." She shook her black head and rocked back on her toes. "So, maybe youíre the one who doesnít understand. Not me."
Wedge felt distraught. "Sex wonít make me stay."
She looked very sad and Wedge was reminded that as much as she looked like a woman, she was only a girl. Confused, distraught, and very lonely. Booster tried to keep her company, but he was a smuggler and his trips took him away from Mirax for long periods of time. Wedge realized with a shook that he was the only real friend she had. His heart ripped in half with the realization.
Reaching over, he moved her chin up so that he could look into her gray eyes. "It wonít fix anything," he whispered to her softly, brushing her dark hair away from her pretty face. "And I will come back to you."
The tears welled up in her eyes, but she didnít cry. "I donít know."
Wedge shook his head and got down on the floor so that he was level with her. He let his hands fall into her lap so he could hold hers. "I will. But I donít want to leave without things resolved. That could prove to be a terrible distraction."
She nodded, still looking vulnerable. Heíd rarely seen Mirax so depressed.
"Sex is fun, but it gets in the way of things. I donít want to destroy our friendship." He thought about it for a second. "Come on. Think about it, you call me Ďbroí. Incest is outlawed in most sectors."
She laughed reluctantly. "Well -" she shrugged and smiled up at him. "I guess youíre right."
He affected an air of self-importance. "Of course Iím right! Love among foster siblings doesnít really work; it may function like that in Garik Loran movies, but not in real life."
"You donít look like Garik Loran, anyway."
Wedge pretended to be offended. And she laughed again and swatted him on the shoulder. He grinned at her.
"Mirax, donít sell yourself short. Save it all for the right bloke."
She nodded at him and wiped at her wet eyes. "Guess my viewpointís a bit jaded."
"And youíre only sixteen. Not all guys are as smarmy as some of your fatherís business partners. Youíll find someone real and Iíll be there at the wedding."
Impulsively, she reached over and gave him a huge hug. "Iíll miss you, Wedge," she said into his shoulder.
He wrapped his arms about her fiercely. "Me too. I love you, sis."
They stayed like that for a minute. She pulled away first. "Guess I made a bit of an ass out of myself."
He winked at her. "Just a bit, but if it makes you feel better, you had me at your mercy for a few minutes."
"Good to know that I have what we shall call Ďthe magic touchí."
Wedge cringed. "I donít want details, Mirax." He shuddered. "Save that for whoever you end up with."
She grinned again. "I started a rhyscate for you as a care package. I should go get it before it burns."
"Did you get hold of real Whyrenís?"
She made a face at him. "Of course, you idiot, donít ever accuse Booster of not having the best liquors ready at hand. He had so many bottles that I doubt heíll notice one is missing."
"Of course heíll notice," Wedge said matter-of-factly. "He writes everything of that kind down."
She winked. "Not if I change the numbers on his data pads, he wonít."
Wedge laughed. "Right." He opened his mouth in a big yawn. "I should go to bed. I assume it still has to cool?"
Mirax pushed herself up off of the floor. "Yep. I can get it to you before you leave tomorrow morning."
He stifled another yawn. "Is your father back yet?"
She shook her head and opened the door. "No. Bonehead probably got himself isolated by CorSec. Heíll never learn that they are capable of catching him."
"Thatís Booster, though. Hell, youíve inherited that aspect of his personality."
"Right. Itís a Corellian thing; donít even try to pretend that you donít possess it, too."
"I wonít. Now," and he yawned again, "go save my rhyscate."
She glared at him. "Fine." With that, she turned on her heel and stormed out into the hall.
Wedge pulled himself up with great effort and walked the short distance to the door that Mirax had left open in her wake. It closed with a hiss. He yawned again and stumbled over to the bed where his clothes were still gathered together in a huge mess. "Gods, Mirax," he swore as he tossed his tunics into his bag without any thought to whether they would crease, "you didnít clean up your mess."
But he said it without rancor. Clothes finally returned to the case, he tossed himself on to the bed and, because of a guilt free conscience, fell asleep almost immediately. He knew that he had done the right thing with Mirax and he knew that heíd be doing the right thing when he left for good tomorrow. This was where he could make a difference; this was where he knew he would.
And when Mirax did find the man of her dreams, heíd be there, standing next to Booster, watching as his "little sister" married the man she loved. His gut told him that heíd be there and one of the lessons Booster had taught him that Wedge was fully prepared to take with him, was to follow your instincts. They usually plot the right course.
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