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- - - - - Lina Maddie #SquadGoals

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#1
Lina Renning

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New Holstice

 

A sprawling city complex covered the surface of New Holstice as far as the eye could see, and at this time of night the streets were neon-lit in a spectrum of glaring color. There was still a fragment of sun left that hadn't disappeared past the horizon yet, leaving streaks of deep reds and pinks through the sky as it sank further. It would surely vanish below the sky within the hour, although it made little difference.

 

Lina Renning would've liked to be watching that sunset - in a meadow, perhaps, sitting comfortably as she watched stars gleam into existence in the sun's absence - but the streets were considerably lacking in meadows and so crowded she had to keep moving without pause to avoid getting trampled, so she could spare the sky only a passing glance as she wove through clustered strangers. A shame, but she didn't have much further to go before she could stop and catch her breath and then perhaps she might-

 

She sprinted for cover and found none, ducking instead near a wall a fraction of a second in time. A deafening boom sounded through the air, enveloping the layered white noise of the city, consuming it entirely. The air shook and there was wind, wind everywhere, thick with ash and broken glass and distress. Cries broke out seconds later before the air could even settle, scream upon scream of confusion and panic and mayhem.

 

And pain. Somewhere in the midst of cinders and chaos, there were people in pain.

 

The space between heartbeats stretched out as Lina waited with her arms over her head for the shaking to stop, counting those agonizing seconds before she could get to her feet. Soon. Surely soon. She achieved nothing crouched against a wall with - had she sprained her ankle? - but she achieved nothing by dying. Her life meant little, but her death meant even less.

 

Finally, achingly, she got to her feet. 

 

"Is anyone uninjured?" Her voice rang out, dry and undertoned with distress - "oh, thank the stars." Clear blue gaze landed on a brunette woman getting to her feet and she sighed heavily. "Do you have any experience with first aid?"

 

Madeline Roux


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#2
Madeline Roux

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With time Madeline had started learning a few new things about herself. For one, she found herself enjoying cities. The bustling streets, skylines ablaze with lights as soon as the sun started to set - leaving behind dazzling lights that rivaled the shine of the stars above, and the buzz of life kept her spirits lifted. She used to be frightened slightly by the sheer size of cities, and combined with her inability to hear anything Madeline tended to avoid wanting to explore places like New Holstice. But as she gained her freedom she found herself in new places almost constantly and the cities began to grow on her.

 

Especially the night life. The way the lights reflected off the buildings, shining brightly in each person’s eyes seemed to hold a different story, and shined just slightly different Madeline thought and it captivated her. Another thing she had learned, was she had a knack for slipping her slim body through the large crowds of people and go practically unnoticed.

 

Madeline was weaving in and out of the crowd, stopping every so often to look through the windows at some shops that had managed to catch her eye when it happened. Ignorantly unaware, she did not hear the boom, nor did she hear the screams that shortly followed. What brought it to her attention was the shaking of the glass, the shoes that were on display seemed to be shaking - an optical illusion caused by the rocking of the glass before it splintered. A large crack started in the top left corner, spidering down into the center. Madeline’s brown eyes followed the crack before her vision focused in on a mirrored image of the people running, shoving each other out of the way behind her.

 

Horrified she turned around, her eyes quickly searching the immediate area for any threats. Before she could focus on anything specific she was shoved roughly to the ground, feet kicking into her ribs as she was knocked out of the way time and time again unable to get her own bearings. The air around Madeline grew thicker, dark grey smoke filling the air and it made it difficult for her to breathe. It only took a few moments before she passed out.

 

Waking up a few minutes later, Madeline was disoriented. Coming to she fumbled to her feet, shoes sliding on loose pieces of concrete and brick. The beautiful city lights and skyline she was admiring only moments before was in disarray. Bodies were littered around her, some crushed under fallen concrete, others struggling to remain conscious, crying out for help. Looking around her eyes landed on a girl. She didn’t look too much younger than Madeline though, small frame shrouded and almost cloaked in the smoke - her grey hair blending in seamlessly.

 

Stumbling closer to the girl, Madeline realized as she got closer that her lips were moving, and she was speaking to her. She only could make out the tail end of what she was trying to say, her mind registering ‘first aid’. Nodding her head quickly she moved closer, hand reaching out towards the girl - slowly, afraid she would scare her away.

 

“I’m in training to become a Healer. Are - are you alright? Is anything wrong?” Her eyes did a quick scan over the girl, not seeing anything outwardly wrong though Madeline knew that situations such as these that they found themselves in could be traumatizing to even the most strong-willed.     

 

Lina Renning


Edited by Madeline Roux, 12 August 2017 - 08:25 PM.

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#3
Lina Renning

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Lina wouldn't - couldn't - deny how terrified she was. Fear radiated from her like a wave; stress lined soft features and flickered behind gunmetal eyes. But she stood upright, fighting to keep her gaze neutral and her voice even, because it didn't matter how much she wanted to curl into a ball and pretend she was elsewhere. There would be time to recover later.

 

But the woman's words brought her own injuries to the front of her consciousness and she briefly had to appreciate the state she was in. A layer of dust coated her hair, barely noticeable amidst a sheet of grey hair that had tangled in the wind. Eyes stung and her throat felt dry, filled with smoke unbidden. Her right foot seemed strangely twisted, ankle tender and oddly shaped. Broken glass had torn at her jacket and a shard had sliced down her hand, leaving a drop of blood trickling down the back of her wrist.

 

All unimportant. She wasn't in mortal danger, so for now she could push concern beneath the surface.

 

"I - I'll live," she said with a carefully crafted levelness, turning to face the other woman properly. Fairly tall. Older than her by a few years, perhaps more. If not unaffacted, she seemed at least relatively uninjured. And a trainee healer - that was good. Lina only knew as much about first aid as she had picked up over the years and next to nothing about healing, but she was a fast learner when there were lives at risk. Perhaps some of this could be salvaged after all.

 

Eyes swept across the scene, scanning worriedly.

 

Think. Who's in most danger? Who do you need to help first? 

 

"See who's trapped," she decided a moment later, more confident than she felt. Gaze flicked back to the brunette. "See if you can help them get out. Then we'll look at injuries."

 

Madeline Roux


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#4
Madeline Roux

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Madeline could tell the girl was scared, and she would be lying if she were to pretend that she wasn’t as well. It was almost inevitable in situations such as these. The fear radiating off of the both of them, as well as survivors nearby was almost palpable, though Madeline was impressed with how well the girl was handling herself.

 

She was strong, Madeline noted, maybe not all that physically - the girl was small in frame and height, but she was emotionally strong it seemed and that alone reminded Madeline a bit of herself. A soft smile made it’s way to her face as her long, slender fingers laid gently on her shoulder. Squeezing once, Madeline nodded her head - not bothering a response farther than an ‘okay’ before she took off, moving fallen rock out of her way as she went.

 

Sparing a glance back, Madeline couldn’t help her smile growing in size when she saw the girl she had just met helping people close by. Her mind buzzed lightly with the idea of what this girl's potential could be, but only time could tell. Forcing the thought back she focused on the task at hand. It had taken some time, as she was only just beginning to learn how to control the force, but she had managed to shakily lift a large piece of concrete that had landed on a couple - man and woman who seemed to be in their early thirties. Grunting from the force she exerted the concrete slab fell with a distinct boom as it hit the ground; solid ground beneath it concaving from the force and weight.

 

The man’s leg seemed to be broken, and the woman’s arm was bleeding heavily but seemed less injured than her partner. Smiling softly Madeline slowly helped them off the ground, and with the help of the woman they carried the man back to where Madeline had last seen the girl she had met earlier, the one with grey hair and gunmetal eyes.

 

It had become a camp of sorts, where the two had brought back any survivors they had found and there seemed to be small crowd when Madeline came back. After a few more back and forth trips, the small crowd had grown to about twenty.

 

Looking around, Madeline sighed in relief when her eyes connected with gunmetal ones. A familiar face had given her a small sense of relief in the panic and pain. Moving to the girl quickly she stuttered out a quick question.

 

“Should we spread out farther - look further? Or help these people first then continue our search?” It was a good question, if they had managed to help the majority of the people with them, they could have more eyes helping to look, but at the same time people’s lives could be running short on time, somewhere further out.

 

Lina Renning

 

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#5
Lina Renning

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A smile broke through the surface at the woman's touch, small but genuine. It was small comfort knowing she wasn't isolated within this pandemonium but it was a comfort all the same and she was glad for it. A nod back at the brunette and Lina moved gingerly through the rubble, pushing aside debris to make a path as she neared the damage. 

 

Smile flickered away in an instant, replaced by a grim expression of deep concentration. The stranger trapped beneath chunks of duracrete was a child, several years younger then even she at best. Her distress at the younger girl's predicament was palpable, thick like a knife could slice through it. This was unfair, so utterly unfair that if Lina had been the stronger sort it would've brought her to rage. 

 

Instead an overwhelming sense of fear and concern sat in her stomach, making her chest heavy and her throat dry. It took every ounce of her willpower not to show the child lying in quiet pain how it affected her, but she managed somehow to arrange her features into what she only hoped was a comforting expression. 

 

"It's okay," she murmured, fighting to make her voice calming as she struggled against the weight of the duracrete. "It's okay, you'll be okay..." Empty words, a promise she wasn't certain she could keep, but her voice seemed to calm the younger girl to some extent. Another push and she lifted the slab from off her limp frame, tentatively letting it go as it fell in the other direction with a bang. Trying to smile, she offered the girl her hand. "Can you walk?"

 

-

 

She wasn't satisfied with the twenty-odd rescued strangers they'd managed to group together, but by now her muscles ached and she wore exhaustion in her stance. Not that she planned to suggest they'd done all they could and to call it a day - Lina would not stop until she couldn't. 

 

But enough that when the woman with wavy hair and dark eyes caught her attention again she was grateful for the pause, comforted by that sliver of interaction that didn't weigh her down with a hopeless sense of despair. Lips turned up, just shy of a smile. Not joy, because there was little joy to be found in a disaster like this. But relief. 

 

"I..." she breathed out, looking around. "How far does the damage go?"

 

Lina had been too occupied before then to spot how the woman didn't seem to notice it when she spoke, to catch how dark brown eyes were fixed on her mouth. But she realised it now with that brief moment of distraction and turned swiftly, facing the brunette fully.

 

"I'm going to see how far the damage goes." Each word was carefully shaped now. "Make sure that these ones aren't in mortal danger, see what you can do to make them more comfortable, then keep going. If anyone is uninjured enough to help, all the better."

 

She had turned as if to go and survey the perimeter of the destruction, then she stopped, facing over her shoulder. "Can I ask your name?"

 

Madeline Roux


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#6
Madeline Roux

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The damage was expansive, spread throughout the main part of the city and slowly teetering out as it went further out. It seemed to be a localized issue - and Madeline was unsure yet if it was an attack of sorts or just an accidental tragedy. Whatever the cause Madeline knew she couldn’t leave the place without thoroughly checking every crevice and making sure that she had helped everyone she possibly could.

 

It wasn’t something she did to improve her image, she couldn’t care less about how people viewed her. Madeline had wanted to help people ever since she was little in any way she possibly could. Finding herself in the situation she was in now only left her heavy hearted in the sense that her heart hurt for all the people around her.

 

Glancing over her shoulder Madeline stared out at the damage for a moment before turning back to meet a pair of eyes watching her. Her eyes were heavy, sadness apparent in them though she tried to mask it with the slight tilt of her lips.

 

“From what I have seen it goes out past the main part of the city.”

 

The air surrounding them was heavy and Madeline could tell that it was affecting the girl in front of her just as much as it was weighing down on her. She had to be strong, if not for herself for the girl in front of her and for all the people around them.

 

When the girl had spoken again she noted how she was forming her words more carefully. Though it wasn’t the time a slight chuckle was brought past her lips, her smile growing a bit wider. It wasn’t often that people had picked up right away on the way she communicated, especially not in stressful situations and it had made her happy that even in a time such as this she had taken the time to make sure Madeline could understand what she was trying to say.

 

Nodding her head at the girls plan Madeline was just about to turn to help the people they had gathered when she saw the girl turn towards her. Raising her eyebrows she watched carefully as the woman spoke before letting out a light laugh - sharp in contrast to her voice it was like a bell dancing lightly through the air.

 

“Madeline. It’s great to meet you… and you are?”

 

Lina Renning

 

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#7
Lina Renning

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"Lina," she offered, and this time her smile reached her eyes. "It's good to meet you." 

 

Every fiber of her being wished she could've met Madeline under different circumstances. In a bar, or at work; how normal people met each other. Lina was never certain if she envied normal people or not, but in that moment she couldn't help wonder how it was to live the kind of life where she might've been introduced to the brunette at a party instead of a disaster zone, couldn't help but wish it true.

 

But she lived the kind of life that brought her to the aftermath of catastrophe. And whatever else, she was glad that she'd met Madeline in the process. 

 

Thoughts were brushed aside with a sigh. Wrong time, wrong place.

 

"Past the main city?" She near whispered the words, a hushed sound that Madeline would surely miss. But Lina was too otherwise absorbed to notice. The damage spread far - too far. People could be dying. People could be dead. She and Madeline could do a great deal, but two was a small number for such vast destruction. They wouldn't be enough.

 

"If you are unharmed," a raised voice called out, addressing anyone who could hear her, "please spread out and try to rescue anyone who's trapped."

 

"Is it safe?"

 

Her eyes, tired and serious, met the gaze of the one asking. A woman, small and wiry, wearing bravery over shakenness. "I don't know."

 

It was all she could offer, but the woman seemed to decide that she could bear danger to save who she could and went on her way with a nod. Others followed. Some hesitated, and truly she couldn't blame them; but it was no great struggle to convince the group to do their part. She exhaled, blinked, as though she were steadying herself. Then slowly, tiredly, she moved to do the same.

 

___________________

 

"Madeline?"

 

Lina spoke uncharacteristically loudly as she returned to the fold. Arms supported a man with dark hair and a stain of red that soaked his side. She'd rescued a good many with broken limbs, who seemed concussed, who couldn't so much as walk by themselves. But he was the first she'd happened upon that she knew was in danger of death.

 

"Shrapnel," she explained once the brunette made her way over. "I don't know if anything vital was pierced, but he's losing blood too fast. I - we need to stop the bleeding, I don't know how."

 

Everything in her eyes, her voice, the lines that had formed across her face unbidden spoke desperation.

 

Madeline Roux


Edited by Lina Renning, 18 August 2017 - 09:25 AM.

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#8
Madeline Roux

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Meeting people under good situations was not a strong point of Madeline’s. It was something her body almost seemed to avoid like two polar sides of a magnet meeting. Not that she hadn’t tried to meet people under good situations - and she had, rarely. But those closest to her Madeline had met in situations such as this. Blood, gore, pain, loss, and destruction - vile things that clouded around her, suffocating and pushing down on her chest until it made her breathless. No, she wasn’t good at meeting people in good situations - but she had met Kana under similar circumstances and they were close now. Madeline could only hope that the same could be said for Lina after this was all said and done.

 

She had seen the way the pain etched it’s way across Lina’s face when she told her how far out the damage had spread, fear and pain mixing together into a feeling Madeline knew all too well. This had reminded her of the situation when she had been broken free from her life as a slave, but on a much larger scale. Madeline remembered feeling scared and helpless, and in so much pain seeing people, both slavers and slaves alike covered in blood - both their own and others. It was the first time she had seen so many lives having been taken, and she wondered momentarily if that was how Lina was feeling.

 

Making a mental promise to herself, she silently promised to help Lina after this situation was over in any way she could.

 

__

 

Madeline had just set a man’s broken leg when Lina had come back. The makeshift campsite for first aid having dwindled greatly - the people well enough to go out and search having done so as soon as they were assured they weren’t in any immediate danger.

 

Patting the man’s shoulder, she gave it a gentle squeeze followed by a smile. “You’ll be just fine.” He was about to respond when he heard the healer-in-training’s name being called from behind her. Gently nudging her, Madeline turned around, at first confused at what the man could possibly me motioning to when she saw her. Quickly standing she brushed her hands on her pants before quickly moving over to Lina, helping her aid the man to a space to lay down. Looking over the man’s wound she paused only for a moment, clearing her mind and trying desperately not to think about how eerily similar this was when her friend Max had died in front of her.

 

Madeline was determined to do everything in her power to help this man and Lina - but first she had to get the shrapnel out. Pressing gently around the wound, she felt around to feel for any hard spots - any indication at all that there was internal bleeding and an organ had been punctured. Thankfully she hadn’t felt anything too startling and with a nod of her head, and a deep breath she looked up to Lina.

 

“I’m going to need your help with this. When I pull the shrapnel out, I need you to immediately apply pressure - as hard as you can. Can you do this?”

 

She didn’t think the girl was incapable, in fact she had thought the opposite, but she recognized the look on her face, and knew mentally it could be very damaging. After a nod from Lina, Madeline nodded once more before looking back at the man.

 

“I need you to stay very still, it will be over in a moment and I will take care of your pain as soon as the shrapnel is out, okay?”

 

A glance back at Lina, a nod of her head in her direction that they could do this, before she began pulling the metal out.

 

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#9
Lina Renning

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Lina had never tried to save a life. But she was a fast learner when there were lives at risk.

 

She helped Madeline lie the man down and turned to listen as she explained the process. It sounded straightforward enough, the kind of thing that read easily on paper. In theory it sounded so easy. And she didn't truly think she was incapable of anything Madeline was asking. It was the idea of what could happen if she failed that lingered in her mind, clouded uncertainty.

 

But she knew it had to be her mind. Madeline wasn't asking for anything difficult. Surely she could do it. He would die if she didn't, but she would. Surely she would. She had to.

 

A nod was all she trusted herself with, so she offered the brunette a nod before she turned her focus on their patient, ordering doubt out of her mind. Jaw locked as she steeled herself, as gunmetal visage trained on the man who lay panting as he wrestled with the pain. Blood was still seeping from his side. Breathe in, breathe out. Then she knelt as Madeline held the shrapnel. 

 

He yelled out in pain as the piece of metal tugged against his skin.

 

"It's okay," Lina muttered even though she knew she couldn't promise it would be, "you'll be fine, you'll be fine but you need to stay calm, you need to stay still, can you do that? It's okay, it'll be okay, I promise..."

 

Force, she wished she could mean it.

 

But she knew what she had to do. Perhaps her reassurances had managed to fool even her - more likely she'd simply decided she wouldn't be what denied him his life - but she was entirely focused, an eerie sort of calm that covered the surface of fear but somehow still steadied her hand. Lina lifted the fabric that covered the wound. Somehow she managed not to flinch as she saw the bloodied scar at his side. Instead she pressed down through sleeves that carefully covered her palms, wary but determinedly firm. 

 

"How long should I wait?" she asked the other woman quietly. "I can stay. You should find others. I don't know how many more there'll be."

 

Madeline Roux


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#10
Madeline Roux

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The man’s yell hit her deep in her core. It was filled with pain and she hated that she was the main cause of it, but she knew if she didn’t get this metal out of his side his chances of survival dropped even more. Lithe fingers worked quick and careful, constantly resetting herself and keeping her mind calm - she would be no help if she were to break concentration now.

 

Glancing up quickly she ran her eyes over Lina. The girl was doing remarkably well, calm, cool, and collected on the outside - it was more than Madeline could do when she was in her first situation similar to this. She was calm - if one would consider calm as tears streaming down her face and on the verge of a heartbreaking sob.

 

Soon enough the shrapnel was out of the man’s side and Madeline was quick to move it out of the way so Lina could apply pressure. Lina’s question about how long should she wait was simple enough, but one with a complicated answer. Madeline did not know the man’s history, if his blood ran thinner than most or if he had any certain diseases that could possibly compromise him even further. It was too late to possibly find any of this out and Madeline was not about to interrogate the man in his current state. Instead she opted for the easier option.

 

“I’d give it at least thirty minutes. Check after that, and if he is still bleeding pretty regularly give it an extra fifteen minutes.” She smiled then, a genuine smile that pulled up the corners of her lips exposing two dimples on either side of her cheeks. Hand reaching out she gave Lina’s shoulder a squeeze.

 

“You’re doing incredible. Thank you for all your help.”

 

Madeline paused before she got up, she was tempted to try something she had very little experience with, and was only just starting to learn - but it could help the man.

 

That was all she needed to convince her, readjusting her position before shifting her hand to lay gently, directly over his wound on the towel. Lina watched on curiously and if the situation was any different it would cause Madeline to laugh - she was curious and Madeline could tell she was Force sensitive without her even saying anything. She had decided after all this was over she would ask Lina if she would like to join her and her Master Kana - to learn from her, just as Madeline was.

 

But that was a matter for later time, instead she focused all of her energy into the Force. It was a slow build up but it was rewarded when she felt the sensation of pain stinging into her side - the same place as the man’s wound. He looked bewildered as his pain slowly diminished into a dull ache, increasing the pain in Madeline’s side but she wouldn’t let it get to her, not yet. After a few minutes she was unable to keep the Force going strong enough to completely diminish his pain and she leant back, deep breaths escaping her lips. Her hand moved to her side, clutching it carefully as she smiled at the man, then to Lina.

 

“That should help him at least a bit. I… I’m not very good yet but I took as much of his pain from him as I could.” After a moment she shakily stood, rolling her shoulders and pushing the pain in her side to the back of her mind. It would do her no good to dwell on it, and she could rest later.

 

“I’ll be back in a few minutes - thank you again Lina, truly. Not all would be willing to help as much as you.”

 

Lina Renning

 

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#11
Lina Renning

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Staying calm was excruciating. 

 

Lina knew she was not a brave creature - she was a timid being, far too easy to frighten, far too easily wounded simply from the presence of pain. She was surrounded now by suffering and she couldn't help but soak in it. This was unfair. This was unkind. The injustice of their pain weighed on her and if Lina had been someone else she might have burrowed herself away until she went numb.

 

Her saving grace was distraction. Absorbing pain did far, far less than healing it. For as long as Lina was able to do something to lessen the number of injured, to slow the rate of suffering, she'd put that above everything.

 

The only thing that kept her from buckling was knowing that if she only stayed calm she could help him.

 

But all the same, it hurt. By the time Madeline was done and the cries had subsided she was about ready to fall asleep from the fatigue of trying to stay composed. Her hands fought to avoid shaking. Her mouth was dry, her throat was tight. She hadn't noticed before; Lina had gotten good at forgetting about her own woes when she needed to focus on someone else's. But the brunette was speaking and she realised suddenly how reluctantly words left her lips.

 

She swallowed, forced an answer. "I - I'm glad to. Anything I can do."

 

She wanted to thank her back - for a good many things. For helping her rescue so many injured. For helping her save this one now. But also for keeping her calm. Lina didn't supposed it mattered. That she'd had someone at her side as she went to and fro, a smile through the tearful faces, meant little - but to her it was all the help in the world.

 

But the brunette seemed refocused on the injured man, so Lina diverted her attention.

 

For a few moments she was bewildered and in the dark; then it clicked. Healing. So Madeline could use the Force. Lina was part awe and part immensely curious if she could learn how to do it. Healing through the Force - she could do so much. 

 

She would need to learn anything, first, of course.

Irrelevant for now; no time.

 

"That . . . thank you," she murmured. "Let me know if you need anything else."

 

Madeline Roux


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#12
Madeline Roux

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Her hands were stained a deep crimson, a dark contrast to her lighter toned skin and an image Madeline was sure would haunt her for the time to come. It brought her mind back to the same feeling she had when she had accidently killed a man who had tried to harm her friend. A simple action, based solely on reaction time but it had haunted her even now. Her hands weren’t stained then, but they had been figuratively, and now seeing the actual color staining her hands had Madeline shaking slightly.

 

Her emotions were something she tried not to let take too much control too often - they left her feeling drained more often than not especially when they caused to her jump into action before fully assessing a situation. Madeline felt it necessary to feel something - she was after all not a droid (and even then, she knew the droids she had met had more than enough feeling for the both of them, sassy hunks of metal) and found they were what led her to her greatest friends she had now.

 

Madeline was hoping by the end of this, Lina would become one of them.

 

She had seen the look on the girl’s face as she left her, a mix of concentration, worry, and pain - not from an injury on her, but from seeing all the pain surrounding them. It was hard not to feel weighed down by it all, even harder to shake it off and continue on as if it was not as bad as it truly was.

 

Madeline found Lina strong in that regard. The girl no matter how visibly shaken she was, was willing to put all of that aside to help the people in need and to work with Madeline as best she could.

 

Stumbling across a fountain, a statue once standing strong in the center now crumbled in a mess of concrete littered through the remaining water and across the surrounding ground Madeline walked over to it.

 

Dropping to her knees she slowly moved her hands into the water and scrubbed away at her skin until the crimson was replaced with a raw red, blue crystalline water dyed red from the blood. Her eyes watched as it distorted the image of herself - a reflection shimmering back at her of a woman she barely recognized. Her hair was a mess and her face was covered in soot, and an angry red gash covered part of her forehead. It was no longer bleeding and didn’t hurt and Madeline had wondered if the adrenaline of the situation had kept her from feeling the pain of it.

 

Aside from these physical attributes that Madeline knew wasn’t important at a time like this, she looked worn. It had taken a lot out of her to take away that man’s pain, but no matter how worn she felt or looked now she would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

 

She was drawn out of her thoughts at the sound of a distant cry. It sounded young and Madeline was on her feet in seconds. Running towards the sound Madeline couldn’t stop the sob from slipping past her lips at the sight in front of her. A boy, no older than six was trapped under a large piece of concrete. Covered in blood the boy was crying out for what Madeline thought was his mother, who was nowhere in sight. Squatting down she calmly ran her hand through the boy's hair, trying desperately to do anything to help calm him for just a moment.

 

“Hey..hey it’s going to be okay. I can’t lift the concrete myself but I am going to go get help. Please just try and stay awake for me okay? I will be right back.”

 

It pained her to leave the boy reaching out for her as she ran from the sight, but she still too weak from the amount of energy she exerted previously and the pain in her side was slowly growing more steady and she knew she needed help. It took a few minutes but Madeline was back on the campsite before too long, Lina’s name flying past her lips as she called after the woman.

 

“LINA! Please come quick. I need your help!”

 

Lina Renning

 

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#13
Lina Renning

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Slowly, she managed to relax. Not fully - because how could she relax fully when people around her could die? - but enough that she didn't have to fight to keep her hands from shaking, that she didn't have to search so far to find words of comfort. She stayed with the injured man for a while, talking quietly. His name turned out to be Ben, and once he'd decided that he was at least somewhat likely to live through the day he was a very kind soul, extremely courteous, even good company. 

 

Some part of her managed to ease its tension at his relief, his gratefulness, his thanks. To hope that if they had saved Ben, they could save another. And another. Lina was sure that they couldn't save everyone. But maybe together - maybe they could save enough people that it would be alright that she had failed.

 

And then-

"LINA!"

 

Her head snapped up, gaze shooting to the brunette. She knew in less than a second that it was urgent.

 

"Can - can you hold here, maintain the pressure? I'll try and be back soon. I'm sorry. Thank you." She spoke quickly, trying to keep her voice even. To her credit, she only half failed.

 

The moment she was sure Ben wouldn't let himself bleed out without her, she muttered one last apology and promised to return before she near flew across the camp, racing towards Madeline. Silver hair coated with an invisible layer of dust blew into her visage as she stopped in front of the other woman, eyes serious and alert and filled with concern.

 

"What do you need?"

 

Madeline Roux


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#14
Madeline Roux

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Madeline was in tears and out of breath by the time Lina reached her - which wasn’t saying much as the woman had moved towards her very quickly and Madeline was a bit of a mess as it was. Seeing the little boy in such pain and being trapped brought apart the part of Madeline she was trying so hard to quell to be strong in this moment - not for herself but for everyone else.

 

A deep breath in and out had her calming down just enough to get the words out.

 

“There’s a boy… maybe six years old at most. He’s trapped and I can’t get him out myself.”

 

The horror that spread through Lina’s eyes Madeline was sure mirrored her own when she stumbled across the boy. It was tough, and Madeline felt for the girl - she truly did.

 

It wasn’t easy, and Madeline had the fleeting thought that it might never get easier. The only thing they could do was work through it and be there for each other in the end. After an affirmative nod from Lina she led her through the rubble and streets until they made it to the spot the boy was.

 

He cried out in relief when he saw that Madeline had come back and with help. Running to his side she knelt down before him, her hand brushing his hair back softly. “It’ll be okay, alright? I’ve brought help. Just hold on a moment longer.”

 

Turning, her eyes met Lina’s as she continued on, “I’m going to use the Force to lift the duracrete off of him but I can’t hold it long. Can you pull him out of there as soon as I have it up?”

 

Lina Renning

 

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#15
Lina Renning

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Horror took less than a second to etch itself into the lines of her face. Six years old, at most. Part of her, the part that hadn't yet learned to be a Jedi, wished that she could be better at anger. If she had been that person, the injustice of a six-year-old boy in danger of death because of something he couldn't control (and to think, there was a chance that this had been caused by someone and not something) would have her enraged instead of deeply, deeply distressed.

 

But instead the sensation of drowning floated about in the pit of her stomach, and over its surface she nodded and ran after Madeline. Each footstep shook and trembled, but somehow Lina found a line to hold onto and it dragged her to certainty, to stability. 

 

She could do this. She could do this. She had to.

 

Another nod, and she searched deep for words that rode on a shaky breath of air.

"Of course. On three?"

 

"Okay." Madeline didn't look any more ready than she did, but somehow she knew they would both do it anyway.

 

Deep breaths, Lina. "One."

 

"Two."

 

"Three."

 

If her mind hadn't been on the boy and saving his life she would have marveled at how Madeline was lifting the slab so comfortably (Imagine being able to do that. Imagine being able to do more than throw rocks. If only.) but it was and so it stayed in the back of her mind. Instead she was reaching into the shadow that the floating duracrete cast and wrapping slender arms around the child lying in tears and snatching him out of harm's way seconds before the brunette standing next to her dropped her hold and let the chunk of debris fall. 

 

The boy couldn't walk, so Lina walked for him as she and Madeline returned to the camp. 

There wasn't time for great pauses, but she had to ask.

 

"Do you - think you could show me how you lifted the duracrete? Now, I mean?"

 

Madeline Roux


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#16
Madeline Roux

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A person’s strength, to Madeline was not measured in how much they could lift, push, pull, or fight. To her it was laced within their daily actions - a unique mix of that person’s will to keep fighting, to keep pushing through all things thrown at them, how they present themselves towards the public and to her.

 

That was strength - and Lina had a ton of it.

 

Madeline knew just by a passing glance and the few moments they had shared speaking that she was reserved, more quiet. This was something Madeline was all too familiar with as she constantly had to force herself to interact with more people and broaden her horizons. It was all too easy to slip inside her mind and just forget that there was a whole galaxy out there with its’ own problems. She saw herself in Lina, and that included her strength.

 

The scene of the boy trapped under the duracrete was all but heart wrenching and while visibly shaken she had put her own emotional turmoil on the backburner to focus on the safety of this child neither of them knew. Lina could make a mighty fine healer should she ever wish to pursue it.

 

Her strength resounded loudly once more when she had asked Madeline if she would be willing to teach her how she had lifted the duracrete. A smile pulled at her lips following a brief nod. She might just have to introduce this girl to Kana Truden.

 

“After we get him back to camp, you’ve got it.”

 

It wasn’t long after that either, that a woman’s cry of relief followed as they were spotted entering the makeshift camp site with the boy in Lina’s arms. The woman had came tumbling towards them, thanks spilling past her cracked lips as she took her son from Lina’s arms.

 

Madeline was a bit distraught at this. Her mind immediately wondered why this woman didn’t mention her son any sooner especially with him being missing, but she couldn’t fully blame her as so much had happened it was easy to lose someone in the crowds and it could be very likely that he had ran off prior to the destruction.

 

Focusing her mind instead, she gave the woman a small smile in understanding before pulling Lina’s arm gently, leading her away from everyone else and towards a small stack of duracrete and rock.

 

“I’m not too great at this as I am only just really starting to do it myself so I am apologizing ahead of time.” A soft chuckle followed by a roll of her shoulders as she centered herself.

 

“What you want to do is… reach out towards any one of those rocks or duracrete through the Force. Let your mind stretch out as far as you can. This is going to sound a bit silly but you want to exert your will onto it and it should respond and bend to your will. I find for myself it works best to keep complete concentration on it.”

 

Lina Renning

 

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#17
Lina Renning

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"No, no, don't apologize." Her words hurried to keep Madeline from worrying. "I've had so little time to train - I'm always busy with relief work and the rest-" she could have easily talked for hours about her career in relief, gone into detail about the intricacies of what she did and pored over more memorable tales of her work, but she caught herself -"in any case, anything is amazing."

 

She listened with intense care as the brunette's voice carefully handed her instructions. Her attention wanted to divert - to every direction there were people who needed saving, and the sense of impending doom sat at her shoulders - but this was important. If she could lift the duracrete faster, she could save more people. She did, in fact, need more training. And she liked talking with Madeline. So she listened carefully, watched the other woman with blue eyes that were curious amidst the solemnness.

 

"Yeah, that...makes sense," she decided. "Okay, so I..."

 

The words trailed into muttered nothingness, a noise to ground her concentration, and she turned to look towards the debris, honing her attention to the first bit of rock her gaze landed on.

 

Stretch out. Let your mind stretch out. 

Like elastic, she let it stretch.

 

Her focus was wavering. She had to focus. To relax.

 

How could she relax? 

 

Lina thought about the sunset, the hues of purple and red and pink she'd wanted to watch streak the sky before it had filled with ash and despair. A sun that slowly set as the sky coloured, then grew darker. And of warm brown eyes that were trying to comfort.

 

Her mind stretched, and it wrapped around the debris.

 

Relax, Lina. This will turn out fine. You'll save as many people as you can, and then you can sit down somewhere comfortable and watch what's left of the sunset and talk to Madeline about something lighthearted that belongs in a different world from this mess. Talk about shoes, or books. It's fine. You're going to be fine. Lina, relax.

 

Ever so slightly the chunk of rock hovered. Just a few centimetres. Just for a few moments. It dropped then.

 

But Lina smiled.

 

Madeline Roux


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#18
Madeline Roux

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If there was one thing Madeline was sure of, it was that Lina was stronger than she may have believed herself to be. Smart too - the girl had a fire behind her eyes that screamed good. She wanted to help, and would do anything she could to learn - to benefit from her surroundings.

 

Madeline stayed quiet as the girl began to work - concentration evident on her face, small creases appearing on her forehead as her eyebrows furrowed, pupils narrowing in on the debris she was attempting to lift with the Force.

 

The tension in the air was palpable - Lina’s from worry, this was obvious enough to tell. Madeline’s however was from worrying about not having taught the technique right. She was in no way at that point in her life where she could teach someone the kind of knowledge and skills she had hoped to learn one day, and she wasn’t all that confident in what she did know at the moment.  Her mind had always been good at overthinking, taking simple situations and turning them so complex that it left her brain spinning. This was the case here - and it would do neither of them any good if she continued to let herself drown in her own thoughts.

 

So taking what she had learnt from Kana - clearing her mind enough to focus on the task at hand she focused solely on Lina. She could do this - she had the capabilities. It became a mantra, repeated over and over in her head until it happened.

 

The movement was slow, rock lifting a few centimeters off the ground, hovering - a smile appearing on the girl’s face before it fell. A loud clattering rang out from stone meeting stone and Madeline couldn’t help but let out a happy laugh, turning quickly and pulling Lina into a hug.

 

“You did it!” Madeline was grinning - proud of Lina and what she accomplished, and proud of her ability to have taught her something. Even if it was something as small as this. With a nod of her head, Madeline pulled back from the hug, instead starting their walk back towards the camp, back towards what they were originally doing.

 

This moment, Madeline wondered - if it was one that would give both the girls the push in confidence they needed to continue on and finish up their relief efforts, to continue on even further past this moment.

 

She was sure it was, but only time would tell.

 

Lina Renning

 

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#19
Lina Renning

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She started in surprise at the hug, but it wasn't of the unhappy sort. Far from it - getting this right was a breath of joy in the midst of a haze of stress and confusion and the hug heightened it perfectly. In other scenarios she'd have shied from touch - if she'd still been more on edge, perhaps. If she and Madeline had felt more like strangers, perhaps. But between everything that had happened in the short timespan of knowing each other, it couldn't have impacted her happiness if it had tried.

 

Her smile widened and she hugged the smaller woman back.

 

"I guess I did," she replied quietly, but her voice held more joy than the words seemed to have any right to carry.

 

"Now," she murmured as Maddie pulled away, turning to fix blue eyes on the slowly clearing debris, "let's see what's left to do." Somehow, the sentence contained less dread than it would've done ten minutes ago.

.

A while later...

 

"Okay."

 

One last broken piece of rock dragged itself aside at her push, and Lina stood back. She was visibly exhausted, but towards this last chunk of time she'd seemed more optimistic by miles. Tired like she was looking forward to the eventual rest instead of tired like she didn't know how much longer she could go on. 

 

"I think we've done everything we can."

 

This part of the city still lay in ruin, but concrete and shopstands were infinitely more replaceable than life, and life they'd salvaged wherever they could. It had taken their efforts combined with those of everyone still capable, and another who hadn't been seriously injured had called in more official help.

 

A part of her still wanted to do more.

 

But she needed clarity. Times like these called for sense, logic, reason, more than they did a tangled mess of emotion. She knew that she and Maddie had done what they could. She'd done her duty. She'd helped.

And feth it, she deserved a rest.

 

"I bet there's somewhere less-" destroyed. "Somewhere nicer we can sit. I don't know about you, but I'm tired."

 

Madeline Roux


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