Saturday, January 18, 2014

Always (Songfic)

Author's notes: 
  • Okay, so we were driving to work and this came on the playlist and I went OMG THIS IS ABOUT VACY! I just made one small change…
  • Here's the youtube video I like best for this. Cue it up and listen as you read!
  • I'm in the process of moving this from FFN because it violates their terms of service and I'm not sure that I want to revise it to make it fit. While I *could* make this a separate story that isn't interdependent with the lyrics (or perhaps even several stories, one for each section), that's kind of not what I want to do with it. The story isn't the point, not in and of itself. This is more ... analyzing the lyrics, but doing so using fiction rather than direct exposition.
  • Feel free to leave feedback either in comments here or over at the stub on FFN. Don't be a stranger!

She can kill with a smile, she can wound with her eyes
She can ruin your faith with her casual lies
And she only reveals what she wants you to see
She hides like a child but she's always a lady to me

Ord Mantell
Corso Riggs looked up as the freighter sailed in – as though dodging cannon blasts was something one did when picking up groceries – and touched lightly down outside the hangar. The YT series was known to be particularly tetchy – they handled well, but the least little nudge the wrong way, and they'd go off-kilter.
The ramp dropped, and a pair of booted feet emerged, tromping down the metal walkway.
Captain Vacy Fiorst put her fists on her hips, taking her first in-person look around Ord Mantell. Her shoulders were back, her eyes flashing. She seemed more annoyed than impressed, and when Skavak went over to greet her it was pretty clear that she didn't give a hill of beans for his smooth talking – even returned his attitude with a bit of her own. Skavak walked off, shaking his head, and Corso grinned to himself.
Later, when he rushed up with the bad news, she didn't whimper or gasp or really so much as bat an eye. "Separatists and cannons?" she asked, summing it up pretty neatly. "Not a problem." Her mouth curled up at the corners and somehow he had to smile back at her, even more so when she shrugged and added, "I enjoy a bit of a ruckus now and again."
He just sort of nodded, because what right did he have to say anything? At least, anything beyond "Well, stay safe, Captain. Hope to see you again soon."
She smiled again, and tossed her head carelessly, her ponytail bobbing with the movement. "I'll be back before you've had a chance to miss me," she smirked.
He decided not to correct her.
Not yet.

She can lead you to love, she can take you or leave you
She can ask for the truth but she'll never believe you
And she'll take what you give her as long it's free
Yeah she steals like a thief but she's always a lady to me

Ria Deleru was beautiful – even out of costume. And while Corso had difficulty respecting somebody who broke their word, he could see how a passionate, free-spirited woman would resist anyone who tried to cling to her and force her into a way of life that didn't fit who she was.
So when Darmas ignored him and poured the charm on for Vacy, Corso clenched his teeth and said nothing (well, mostly). And when she put on something special before they went back, he didn't ask her about it (well, not too much, anyway). And then he'd been near-killed and she'd come back for him… and then gone and stayed with Darmas again.
But after what Arri said, he watched a little closer. And sure, when Darmas' name came up in conversation, Vacy smiled. But Corso thought back to Syreena, and how her eyes shone whenever someone had mentioned Skavak, or the way she'd arranged 'coincidences' where she 'happened' to run into him. And he found he could breathe a little easier.
Still, the best part of Coruscant was leaving it. It didn't hurt one little bit that she'd gotten her ship back, and when they roared out of atmo, she slowed the freighter down and just kind of hovered there for a few moments, looking out at the stars.
And her eyes shone.

Oh she takes care of herself
She can wait if she wants
She's ahead of her time
Oh and she never gives out
And she never gives in
She just changes her mind

Watching the night's last shuttle pass overhead had been discouraging, to say the least. Of course, Vacy wasn't one to say the least when she could toss out a few curses instead. She rattled off a few interesting ones about the shuttle pilot, his parents, and his progeny that Corso wasn't entirely sure were logically feasible.
They snuck further into the pirate camp and found a spot that looked safe in one of the far corners of the compound. Together they lugged over a few crates, creating a makeshift barrier that would provide a little bit of cover should the need arise.
He'd offered to take the first watch, and she settled down behind him – or tried to, tucking her Darmas-bag under her head. But on a concrete slab there really wasn't much of a way to get comfortable, and a "pillow" made up of a bag of lumpy supplies didn't help one bit.
He scooted back, sitting against the wall where he could see through an opening they'd left in their barrier. "Here, try this," he said, and she grumbled that sitting up wasn't going to be any better than lying on a bunch of rocks, but he unlatched his chestguard and motioned her over.
"Ain't safe, Riggs," she scowled, yawning.
He explained that the front part snapped into place, showing her before unlatching it again and setting it next to him. "We have any trouble, I'll be ready before you've finished rubbin' your eyes."
She scoffed at that, but she did lean back against him, and for a moment, he forgot to breathe.
It was hard to resist the impulse to put his arms around her and cradle her against him, or to reach up and run his fingertips along the side of her face. But he reminded himself that she was his captain, but she wasn't his. Not yet.
Sure was nice to feel her heartbeat countering his own, though.

And she'll promise you more than the garden of Eden
Then she'll carelessly cut you and laugh while you're bleeding
But she'll bring out the best and the worst you can be
Blame it all on yourself 'cause she's always a lady to me

Nar Shaddaa
"Hey, handsome, can you get this for me? I can't see what I'm doing."
He stepped out of his quarters, and Risha was standing there with her chin tilted up, the ends of her short necklace dangling down unclasped over her… um… oh dear. Corso gulped, focusing on the tiny latch, but his fingers felt like they were in a pair of his heaviest gauntlets. "There you go," he said finally, stepping back. His face burned, and he very carefully looked right at her face rather than down at what she was wearing. Or, well, not wearing, as the case was. "You going out for a bit of fun?"
The curvy mechanic grinned. "You bet. The captain said that when we landed on Nar Shaddaa, the first thing we were gonna do was go out, get drunk, dance until we can't see straight, and then hook up with somebody smokin'." She shrugged. "Can't argue with that. Hopefully we won't even get shot at."
"Shot at?" He frowned. "You want me to go along?"
She rolled her eyes. "Oh, please. A mouse like you would only slow us down." She gave him a once-over, then smiled slowly, eyes narrowing, and stepped toward him.
He stepped back, bumping against the corridor wall.
Risha stepped closer, until she was almost-but-not-quite pressed against him. "Of course, I bet if you asked really, really nicely, all that could happen without leaving the ship," she purred. Her eyes sparkled darkly. "I bet if we worked really hard," she breathed, "we could even make a real man out of you."
"Rish, quit it," said Vacy as she strode up, boots thumping against the metal floor.
Corso breathed a sigh of relief when Risha stepped away, but then nearly choked on it when he saw the Captain's outfit.
Technically it covered a good bit more of her than what Risha was wearing, but it was quite snug. Not only that – it had wide slashes along the legs and across the torso and the back just wasn't there, and through the holes he could see fragments of her tattoo patterns and it kind of got a fellow wondering about just what he wasn't seeing, which really wasn't how he meant to be thinking about her…
Corso clenched his teeth, biting back the protests he knew were liable to get him smacked. "I'll see you when you get back, then," he said tightly.
Risha chuckled and headed down the hall. "Yeah, well, don't wait up, Mouse!" she called over her shoulder.
Vacy sighed. "I'm sorry about her, Riggs," she said. "You can come along with us if you like…"
He reached out and tugged gently on her ponytail. "Nah, Captain," he said with a sigh. "I'd only slow ya down."

Oh she takes care of herself
She can wait if she wants
She's ahead of her time
Oh and she never gives out
And she never gives in
She just changes her mind

He knew that she was beautiful; he could appreciate her bright eyes and the soft curve of her mouth. She was well-proportioned, too, and her skin was smooth and warm.
He just didn't care.
"Sorry," he said after a few minutes of admittedly-pleasant conversation. "You're awful nice, and you're real pretty, but… it… there's kind of someone else. I was thinking maybe I could spend some time with you, maybe… maybe not think about her so much, but…" He sighed, shaking his head. "I'm real sorry. Ain't fair to you, I know."
But the blonde woman just laughed easily. "I don't suppose it's the Mirialan you walked in with?" she asked, one brow arched.
Corso blinked, knowing that his cheeks were going red, like they always did. Was it that obvious? Bowdaar and Risha had come in with them, and while nobody would pair him up with the Wookiee on their first guess (he hoped, at least), Risha wasn't exactly ugly. At least technically.
The woman's expression softened, and she smiled. "And someone told you that she might pay more attention to you if you made her a bit jealous?"
He blushed even more. "Yeah… kinda. Stupid idea, huh?"
She shook her head. "Not at all," she said, moving to sit closer to him. "Why don't you tell me about her?"
He'd been getting nervous, but when she said that, it was like opening an airlock, and everything he'd been holding back for so long flooded through him. He swallowed thickly. "She don't even know how beautiful she is. She's strong, and smart, and she ain't afraid to go in against long odds when that's what's gotta be done."
"Wow," she said when he paused for breath. "I've – I don't think I've ever seen that."
His eyes shone, and his smile was tender. "Not surprising. She's… there ain't anybody in all the galaxy like her."
They talked for hours – Corso didn't really understand why she was so willing to listen, but she seemed genuinely interested, and he sure as anything wasn't going to run out of things to say about Vacy anytime soon.
When she asked him to walk her home, he took her arm and escorted her out through the streets of the city to a small apartment not far away. She unlocked it, and then stretched up, pressing a soft kiss to his cheek. "Thank you, Corso."
That left him more than a bit confused. "For what?"
"Everyone struggles just to get by out here on the Rim," she said. "People get selfish. It's easy to lose your faith." She smiled quietly. "Thank you for showing me that love really is possible." Still smiling, she stepped inside and closed the door.
Corso was still half-smiling to himself, lost in his thoughts as he meandered back into the cantina and joined the rest of the crew.
Risha cleared her throat. "About time you got back, Mouse," she snipped. And then she smirked. "Though it looks like that was time well spent."
He couldn't help it – he blushed.
"C'mon, let's head back to the ship," Vacy said with a scowl. "We've got lots to do tomorrow."

She's frequently kind and she's suddenly cruel
She can do as she pleases she's nobody's fool
And she can't be convicted – she's earned her degree
And the most she will do is throw shadows at you
But she's always a lady to me

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