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#1
Gerwald Lechner

Gerwald Lechner

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Katrine had said there would be times they would not be together because of what he did for the Knights Obsidian, and while Gerwald did not want to believe when she said it, this was one of those times.While she was on Ryloth attending to Mandragora matters, Gerwald had been called away back to where the Knights were headquartered.Geonosis was not an ideal planet for him.Like Tatooine it was hot, desert like, and lacking in trees.Gerwald much preferred to be on Ryloth, and not just because Katrine was there, but that was where the forest was, and the Rycrit.

 

With the training exercises out of the way, Gerwald decided he needed a stiff couple of drinks.The wolf had not been freed nearly enough, and it was protesting.Ger hoped to silence the protest for now in favor of knowing he would be back on Ryloth the next day where he planned to change and run free for a couple of days.His hope was that he would be joined by his white wolf. 

 

His heart was still heavy with how everything had played out with her, and Scherezade.It had been his mistake to keep them both in the dark about the other, and while he wished he could have it all over again, he could not.Lost in how to even try to repair things, his mind occasionally found solace from a bottle of mead or ale.He rarely drank to get drunk, as he hated the feeling of being buzzed.The more attuned with the force he became the more he hated how getting drunk interfered with it.No, he sat at the bar... 

 

That's when he saw HER.  

 

He froze hoping she had not seen him.The last words she had ever said to him were to threaten his life should she see him again.That was certainly not a way to try and fix what damage had been done.He had seen her since, broken, drunk, hanging around a man that some said looked like him, but Gerwald didn't see it.To a degree he was jealous of the man, but Gerwald had made his choice.That choice didn't erase the memories he and Scherezade had made however.  

 

Gerwald slapped credits on the counter.It was crazy.She couldn't kill him, wouldn't really.It was time to call her bluff and have the argument, or whatever, they should have had before she allowed her anger to get the better of her and run off.She had escalated things so quickly it had left Katrine and Gerwald both stunned.Katrine had not gone after her.He still thought she should have.He let out a sigh.  

 

His feet carried him out of the cantina and following her.She had changed.Scherezade had more curves to her.Yes, Gerwald could not help but notice.She was still attractive despite her broken state.Words failed him save for one... 

 

"Scherezade..."

 

Her name.

 

Scherezade deWinter


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#2
Scherezade deWinter

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She hated Geonosis. She hated most planets these days. But now she was needing to come back here at regular intervals to pick up her Hutt crates, since a certain Minister of Science thought that would be better than just mailing the package to... Well, considering she rarely stayed anywhere for more than a night and had no actual residence to speak of, especially with Coruscant being ruined, it sort of made sense. But it didn't mean she had to like it.

She was still not doing better. All the traveling, the missions she was taking again, her regular meetings with people that insisted on being and calling themselves friends despite her protests... She was still not sleeping. She was still not eating. Most of her calories still came from liquor, and the damage was visible on her face in the forms of the eye bags and that sickly hue her skin had taken on. Her clothes had changed as well; the pink shirts she'd always worn traded for black now, the jeans even more shapeless than it had been before. The weapons she carried on herself hadn't changed though. Not yet.

But for all her hatred of Geonosis, there was one thing that was good on it. She could visit it without everything around every corner bringing on memories of Gerwald. In all their time together, he had slithered into every part of her life. Ryloth, Coruscant, Dathomir, ... So many places. Even on Felacat she was not safe from those memories, when her only enemy had been Trandoshans. The same kind that he had risked his life for in order to settle a blood debt. She still couldn't understand it. She still couldn't wrap her mind around it. But at least Geonosis was safe.

Until now.

She had arrived a few hours early and immediately known that Gerwald was on the planet. It was enough to make her want to scream. She always knew when they were on the same planet, it always thudded her senses, hit her in the face like a brick. The only reason she had not turned back and gone off planet immediately was because she knew he was far enough away. Perhaps she could grab her crates, get away. She didn't think he'd come for her. He hadn't in all the other planets the two had ended up being on at the same time, there was no reason for today to be different. Besides, she had told him not to. That terrible night, she had told both him and Katrine that if they approached her outside of a mission, she would kill him. Gerwald had said more than once that she left a trail of death wherever she went. It wasn't really true anymore, not since that horrible night, but... No. There was no reason for today to be different.

But she had shown up too early and was told to wait, so she hit the local bar, tossing a few credit chips to refill a few bottles of liquor. It was the only thing that kept her going these days, served somewhat to take the edge off. She was already working on the second bottle, trying to drown out Gerwald's presence on the planet, when she realized he was moving.

Head shot up, she realized exactly where he was moving to, and how wrong she had been to think he was further away.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

There was too much liquor in her boy for her to be able to move fast enough. She wanted to run, but she could barely even walk in a straight line. She did her best though, and all through it, she could feel Gerwald approaching, coming closer, closing the distance between them.

How could he?! How could she show him her face, the face that had never learned how to conceal any of her emotions? She knew what would happen the second she set eyes on him, fragments of her conversations with Josh rising to the surface of her mind. She wouldn't be able to hide anything. Which left her with only one solution.

He said her name.

Her mind roared at it. Half of it wanted to melt, to run into his arms, to wrap them around her, to feel the safety of the man and the wolf, to hear him say it again and again and again. The other half wanted to break his face for daring to say it at all. If you ever approach me outside of a mission, I will kill you.

You had two people when you entered the Darkness. You will have none when you leave.

A knife slid into her hand and she turned around, her gaze landing directly on his. She hadn't actually seen him, not since that day on the Fortressa. It hurt her to look at him now, to know that she still loved him despite everything, to know it didn't matter and wouldn't ever matter because it never had.

"Gerwald..." she breathed. It was so different. So different saying the name to others and to say his name directly to him. Even her ear caught on to the amount of love that was uttered in that single name, in those two syllables. Every part of her felt right saying it, felt right not screaming it.Every part of her was so wrong.

Her grip on the knife tightened and she bit her lip hard enough to draw blood before she spoke again.

"Between the two of us there is exactly one person who's broken every promise, and that person isn't me," she forced her voice to harden, though she couldn't keep the shake out of it, angling the pointy end of the knife towards him, though she didn't throw it yet. She didn't want to. She never wanted to hurt him. She'd never done anything to hurt him, not until he and Katrine broke her, and even then the hurting had been in the form of leaving. "Go away before I fulfill my last promise to you."

 

 

Gerwald Lechner


Edited by Scherezade deWinter, 16 July 2018 - 04:43 PM.

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#3
Gerwald Lechner

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"And you are not going to kill me, so that makes two of us now..." he said calling her bluff.  

 

He could hear it in her voice.She was still in love with him, and there was no way she could possibly kill him.If no one was going to go after her, or try, Gerwald would.He had to.She rushed off not even willing to hear or listen to what was being said.Gerwald had found out later he had used the words incorrectly.Perhaps had he not been so quick to explain or defend the moments he had shared with Katrine as valid, she would not have run off.What was he supposed to do, continue the lie?Did Scherezade truly want that instead?

 

"You know I'm not going to turn away.Do you really think that because of the choice I made that I somehow do not still care for you?You are destroying yourself, and tired of seeing it... every time I see you, you are another step closer to drinking yourself to death, and for what... some coward of a jerk who kept his feelings for both of you a secret from the other..."

 

It was his way of trying to say it was not worth ruining her life over, not by a long shot, but that is what she was doing.Gerwald shook his head as he remembered what she had said about the darkness.

 

"You mind explaining this thing the darkness told you, and why you chose to believe it over two people who love you..."

 

Scherezade deWinter


Edited by Gerwald Lechner, 17 July 2018 - 03:54 PM.

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#4
Scherezade deWinter

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"You're tired of seeing it?" she asked, sot first, and then almost screamed, "You're TIRED, of seeing IT?"

Oh Force, how she longed to stab him right there and then. How she wished he hadn't called her bluff. How she wished she didn't still love him, so she could use her beautiful knives right now to carve his eyes out and try to analyze exactly what it was he was tired of seeing.

And there were the words again. Two people that loved her. Scherezade shook her head so hard over it that she could feel her brain going pong-pong-pong inside her skull. It was a lie. There were no two people who loved her.

"Stop. Lying." she almost screamed again, the knife redracting back into her sleeve. She could stab him later.

Right now, she mostly had to make sure his scent didn't reach her. Momentarily, she focused on the wind, making sure she was at the right place. But there was no wind; a surprise breeze would be dangerous. It was the first time she was on this stupidly hot plant and wished there would be no breeze.

"This is the second time you've seen me since I woke up," she corrected him after a pause, "so don't pretend to know or care what I'm doing or how I'm doing or anything."

Okay, that was a sentence. Her voice wasn't even shaking anymore. But she still couldn't keep it out, couldn't keep it all out. She didn't want him to know. She dind't want him to use her again like he had before.

"You don't get to say you care. You don't get to say you love," she found herself saying, the shake back, "not now. Not like this. Not after what you've done. A person who cared would've come to see me while or even after I was quarantined instead of doing my sister. A person who loved me would not have ghosted like that. A person who loved me would not have decided to dump me, act upon it, and choose and love and claim, all while I was fighting for my life and laying in the very same room. A person who loved me would not be working so hard to replace the memories I made with them, with another. A person who loved me would not have betrayed me, abandoned me, done any of that. A person who loved me would not lie, not krak the other person involved next to my near corpse, would not see me come out after a week, cracked all over, and so harshly an intentionally deliver the killing blows one by one."

It wasn't enough. It didn't feel like remotely enough. She wanted to scream at him, to throw things at him, to punch him.

"It's always been Katrine," she said, quoting his own words back at him. She wasn't going to cry. She wasn't. "you used me. I gave you everything I had to give with the exception of exactly two things that I was waiting on time with. An I gave it to you without question, with a heart full of love, under false pretenses. Because it had always. Been. Katrine."

She wanted to leave it there, to send a knife in his direction to distract him before she darted off and went to slam her head into a wall somewhere.

No, she was not going to answer his question about the Darkness. It wasn't his right to ask anymore, not after what he'd done. Neither he or Katrine had the right to. How she felt never mattered; both had made it clear enough. She could love him despite all of that and still not tell him everything, especially not about that.

"So what do you want from me, Gerwald?" she asked, looking at him directly, "what? Is there something you forgot to take? Another thing you think you could've squeezed out of me? Feeling unbalanced and need someone to make you feel manly and lupinley before you could run back to Katrine?"

 

Gerwald Lechner


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#5
Gerwald Lechner

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Gerwald just stood there stunned.Here she was not listening again.He sighed.There was no way he was here to argue with her, and yes, he deserved every word, or most, that she threw at him.What he did not deserve, as the fact she refused to listen.Despite what the changes in her body suggested, Scherezade was a child, and was still acting like one.  

 

"This was a mistake..."

 

He turned and began to walk away, but stopped.

 

"You are wrong about many things, but you will not shut up long enough to listen, and even when it is explained to you, as Katrine did that day, you still refuse to listen to anything but what the darkness has told you.If that is the case, then all you have done is proven that I made the right decision."

 

Was it fair to say, maybe, no, but was it true, perhaps, and most likely.For once he was being direct, and it was an attitude he should have taken.Gerwald decided to turn around.

 

"Despite what I said, Katrine and I did not claim each other while you lay dying.She was not in any mood to touch me after I told her the truth about us.If you think that your sister could do that to you, then you never truly knew her, and I would argue that you never truly loved her.You of all people should also know that neither of us planned on running into each other that night at the fire.Neither of us planned on any of this.I should have said something then, but I didn't."

 

Gerwald began to walk back toward her.

 

"Not like any of it matters now, nor would it have then.You wanted to hear what you wanted to hear, and you still do.And you do not get to dictate whether or not Katrine or I can speak of love, or say that we love you, and you do not get to dictate to me whether I am still allowed to love you now, or whether I truly loved you then.Sober up long enough to see the truth that is right in front of you."

 

You had two people then, and you have two people now, and the only way that changes is if you keep running from the only two people that can ever say they have loved you."

 

Scherezade deWinter


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#6
Scherezade deWinter

Scherezade deWinter

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He was walking away. Of course he was walking away. It was the same story, all over again. He hadn't even answered a single question. All he had come to do was to berate her, try to get information, and leave when she didn't pack it up neatly for him. Then why did her heart hurt so much at seeing him turn around? Why did she want to run to him, to cry, to ask him to hold her again? Because she was stupid. Because she was weak. There were no other reasons.

But then he turned around. For a moment, her stupid heart dared hope. But there were no explanations. Only an attempt to hurt her further. All you have done is proven that I made the right decision. Something inside her cracked again. She hadn't thought it was possible, not with all the cracking and breaking she'd been going through since that horrible night. Her knees felt weak beneath her. Her body was screaming at her to let it drop, to let it fall, but she refused. She was going to stay standing. Shaking, but still standing.

He turned around. He was walking towards her. After a few of his steps, Scherezade began to inch back. She couldn't allow herself for his scent to come near her. She knew what would happen if he did. There was a reason she was too scared to go into that room, to give herself that single night of actual sleep that she could take from that single pillow case she hadn't burned.

"No claiming?" she asked, the surprise all too easy to see on her face. What did he mean, no claiming? He'd said it that night. Choosing, claiming, loving. In that order. It had run so many times in loops inside her head, enough to make her head spin. But confusion made way to anger again when he kept on speaking, when he dared say she'd never loved her sister.

"She would not have been part of what broke me that night if I hadn't loved her," she said, her voice just above a whisper. She had loved Katrine. She still loved Katrine. Well, half of the time. The other half of the time she wanted to send her her mother's head in a basket.

"Stop talking about the Darkness," Scherezade pleaded, "you don't know enough about it to make your assumptions. When I realized I wasn't in it anymore, it was yYou were the one who convinced me it had been right all along." She quickly shut herself up. No. She didn't want to talk about the Darkness. She didn't want to talk about that part at all.

"You could've told me the truth when we ran into each other by the bonfire," she continued, "but you didn't. You never did. We spent so much time together, entire days, entire missions and adventures an moments, and you never said or hinted at anything other than almost towards the end, and even then all you said was that you were drawn. How was I hearing what I wanted to, Gerwald? All I had to go on was on what you told me directly. And even after you told me you were drawn to her, you still kissed me, you still held me, you still spent more time with me. We still..." They still slept together, more than once. And it hadn't been out of boredom, or lack of better things to do. She had seen the effect her words had on him while they were on Coruscant. But maybe... She'd just been wrong. About everything. Like she always was.

Questions. She had more questions.

"And if there was no claiming... Did you or did you not have your love confessions while I was on that bed? Did you or did you not choose, or give words to the choice, while I was fighting for my life?"

 

 

Gerwald Lechner


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#7
Gerwald Lechner

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"Yes, I could have told you sooner, and I should have.No I didn't say anything, and you wouldn't have either after than moment where we split that heart."

 

It wasn't an excuse, but he knew, that moment, while for her it had been sooner than that, regardless it was that moment that had told them both their could have been something between them.There HAD been something in that moment.Both had felt it, and it was why Gerwald refused to say that he didn't love her, or that he never could have said it.Just because his choice was Katrine, and that he had known that from the beginning did not mean that there had been nothing with Scherezade.It did make her right though, and it did make Gerwald a heel.Something he was failing so miserably at trying to rectify.

 

This wasn't going to lead anywhere, not while this was becoming a big fight.Maybe they needed to fight before they could come to some kind of something.Gerwald didn't even know what he wanted, other than to try and at least get Scherezade to go and see Katrine.He didn't have to be present for that, nor should he.What he had done was not worth destroying the other relationship.

 

"I didn't tell her either, Scherezade.You are so angry with her as well, but she didn't know.I can understand you wanting to be angry with me, hell, I can understand you wanting to never see me again, but her... that I do not understand.I know it hurt you to hurt her, and if it didn't... then I stand by assertion.

 

Did they make love confessions while Scherezade was fighting for her life?

 

"Being faced with mortality has a way of bringing those things about.If you must know, I could not let you lie on that bed without being honest about everything.Whether you were fighting for your life or not... that should make no difference.You would have been angry and hurt either way..."

 

But no... we did not claim each other while you were on that bed.Katrine made her offer on Ryloth.Before the last mission.

 

Scherezade deWinter


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#8
Scherezade deWinter

Scherezade deWinter

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"You're wrong," Scherezade sighed. Standing was becoming harder. She could feel her knees shaking beneath her clothes, and she knew if she kept standing it would only be a matter of time before they gave way. She didn't want to fall flat on the floor, not in front of Gerwald, not now, not ever. Thankfully, the capital of the CIS had plenty of benches. Scherezade sat herself on the one that just happened to be a foot away from her. "I loved you after you shared the prey's heart with me. But I was not in love with you. I loved you as a person who didn't shun me or mock me at that moment, I loved you as a person that the moment showed me I could trust, when there had been no one else besides Katrine before that. At that moment, I loved you as a friend with a special bond. If you had said something at that moment, it would have been fine. If you had said something later, when we were on my ship, it would have been fine. If I had someone else, you would have known that. Maybe not before the first kiss, but definitely before the first time we..." Made love? Too heavy. Slept together? Too light. There was no embarrassment about what they had done on that ship, but she didn't know which words to give it. "Especially when there was a second attempt, since the first one got botched. You could have told me on Orcus, you could have told me on Dathomir, you could have told me before we left for Coruscant. You could have told me during all those hours spent traveling. Force, Gerwald, you could have told me when I told you that I love you. My heart would have broken at that point, I would probably have cried, but I would have healed, because I was not just coming out years inside the Darkness. There was a reason I told you in that moment that if you didn't, if you didn't love me back, I would still take you back to Ryloth and not leave you stranded. I didn't fall in love with you because you gave me half the heart's prey. I fell in love with you over time, during our adventures, during... During our long conversations. I fell in love with you over the course of time spent together, of choices made, both apart and together, of being unaware that there was anyone else, over getting to know you inside and out. In all our time together, I never once lied to you. I never withheld any information from you. I can't even shut the krak up around you even when I know I should be getting up and leaving right now."

Was she still angry? Yes, but it was not bubbling as it had moments ago. Her face was wet, her inability to control her crying had been entirely lost when she left the Darkness. But there was more than anger swirling inside of her. There was confusion, there was pain, so much pain that it would have looked a storming ocean if it had been tangible, and still... Love. She hated herself for being unable to stop it, for even as long as it had been since that night, not having an inch of pain or feel of betrayal become easier, despite everything.

She wiped her face on the back of her hand, hoping for a few minutes of dry cheeks. It didn't help though.

He didn't understand... He didn't understand why she was angry with Katrine either. How could he not understand? In all their time together, he had never shown to be dense. She wasn't really sure he was being dense now, just...

"I thought I had been years in the Darkness," she said quietly. Thank the Force, her tears had stopped. She had told him earlier not to ask about it, but there was absolutely no way she could explain anything without referring to what had happened there."I saw you both in it... She tortured me in there. The visions I saw... She'd claimed you, and it was one sided. I don't know if you were you or if you were you under an unwanted claim effect. And it wasn't a single one time event. It was years for me. I had... I had to kill you, inside the Darkness, Gerwald. And I knew those first times that it wasn't really you, I knew at first that it wasn't even really Katrine. And I still couldn't kill the visions of you in there. Not for a long time. And I was so scared... I thought time passed outside of the Darkness the same way it had inside of it. And the visions told me that as well. That I would come out a hundred years later, a thousand years later. That everyone would have moved on by then and I would be alone again. There were other forms of torture in there as well. But I... I somehow both broke and held it together at the same time. Because I made you a promise, on Coruscant. I promised you that I would find my way back to you. And I held on to that promise, even while I was killing visions of you, even while I had to learn how to grow stone over my heart so that I would be able to.

 

Your scent pulled me out of the Darkness when I was in there, for a few seconds. I don't know why it didn't more. Maybe because you never came close to the bed after that, maybe because the Darkness found a way to block you out, I don't know. But I held on to that promise to get through. I held on to it even when I managed to grab pieces of the Darkness and make a sword, when I was killing other visions, monsters, fears... You... I held on to it all the way to the end, when I gave up on myself. It was years, Gerwald. Years. So many years, before I stabbed my own heart with the Sword of Darkness. And I woke up, and I saw the two of you embracing, and I thought I was in the Darkness still. That was why I tried to kill Katrine. And then the only thing that pulled me back was when you stepped closer and I had your scent again. Your scent, that the more we spent time together, the more protected me. The first night you slept in my bed, I felt safe, safest I'd ever felt. I thought it was because I wasn't sleeping alone, but when we split for missions and my sheets still held your scent, I could still sleep, sleep like a normal person, until the scent ran out. And then every time we shared the bed, and every time your arms were around me, or I was pressing my body against yours, it just got stronger and stronger. You were my shield. You gave me reprieves from the pull of the Darkness. You gave me the strength I needed to face it when we were apart. And I don't understand how when..."

No. She couldn't finish that sentence. Not now. She was rambling, had become side tracked. Gerwald had been the only person she could talk so much around, talk so much with. She had to find a way to stop it, make it stop, make herself stop talking.

"When I came out of the Darkness, I was cracked. I think that I would've been able to see the cracking lines, if I'd looked. It had been years, and suddenly your scent was there, and for a moment... For a moment, I dared hope. I dared hope for the first time in years that things were going to be okay, because I kept my promise, because I fought, because I came out of the Darkness even after what you and Katrine and my parents and others did to me in there. But it wasn't. I wasn't out for five minutes when you delivered the killing blow. Because it had always been Katrine. And she knew. Maybe you didn't tell her at first, but she knew. Because you told me, loved and chosen and claimed, while I was in the Darkness. Even if there was no actual claiming ceremony, the meaning behind those three words is clear as day. And she knew I was in love with you because you told her and she apparently refused to touch you, but when I woke up you were touching, when I woke up you'd traded your I love you's, and she knew, she knew that you hadn't told me. You want to say it doesn't matter whether I was fighting for my life or not? It does. Because I would never have done that had the roles been reversed. I would never had dared to do that to someone who was supposed to be my sister. I would have never betrayed her like that. I would have told you to keep quiet and wait until she was back, until she was herself, until you'd talked to her and then come to me as a man free of expectations of the heart from others. And you can choose not to believe me if you want to, but that would have been exactly how it would've gone down if it was reversed. You have a brother. Can you imagine going to the brink of death only to come out and learning that him and the woman you loved were suddenly together? Is it really so hard for you to understand?"

His brother!

"I read the reports on the Stewjon mission," she found herself quickly adding, "I hope Alwine is doing better now that she and Varick are no longer there."

She sighed, and for the first time since their meeting had begun, took another drink from her bottle.

"There is a difference..." Scherezade continued, "there is a difference between being angry and hurt, and between... Between being broken. You didn't break my heart, Gerwald. You broke me. As did Katrine. And her involvement in it, not what you did, but what she did on her part... She would not have done any of that if I had been her blood sister. There would have been none of that once she found out, if I was her blood sister. I love her, I love her to death, I love her even with the memories of her version in the Darkness, but she is not my sister, and apparently never was. Because like with you, it had been a lie, and I was too stupid and too trusting to see it at any point until it suddenly was much too late, and I still love you both despite knowing it had all been a lie, and I hate it, and it feels like it's killing me, and even now, after the time it's been since that horrible night, I don't love you any less, and I don't love her any less, and I don't hurt any less."

She wanted to add that... No. Not now. If Gerwald decided to up and run away again after all she had said, she would scream it after him. But otherwise, there was a matter she was going to wait with, at least for a little while, before she spoke about it.

Scherezade sighed, burying her face in her hands. She hated this. She hated being like this. She hated the fact that she just wanted to be that young woman again, the one who had been so free and hungry for adventure, who could dance like nobody was watching, who knew where to find little pleasures in everything, who looked at everything around her with big curious eyes. But she didn't exist anymore. She had shattered, and her pieces were left on the floor of Katrine's ship.

"What do you mean, 'made her offer'?" she suddenly asked, realizing he had finished his own words with that statement. What offers were supposed to be made?

 

 

Gerwald Lechner


Edited by Scherezade deWinter, 22 July 2018 - 03:08 AM.

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#9
Gerwald Lechner

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Gerwald couldn’t say anything. It was clear after all that had been said there was nothing he could say, and nothing he could do.

”I didn’t... I didn’t know...” he said of his scent and what it was for her.

As for everything else there was no fight in him.

”Scherezade I can’t... I can’t take back what happened, and I can’t change it. And no amount of apology feels enough. Maybe trying to talk to you was a mistake... but...”

Gerwald was speechless, something he didn’t know he could be. So speechless her last question was lost.

Scherezade deWinter

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#10
Scherezade deWinter

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No, he hadn't known about the scent. Because she'd never told him. And there were reasons for that, just as there were reasons for her not having told him that she wanted him by his side if she were to rule Endelaan, just as she had not told him that she had found a way to... Nevermind. It didn't matter. Scherezade had not told him those things for a variety of reasons that boiled down into one. How could she have told him, and then spend the rest of the time wondering if telling him that might have affected the reasons he was around her? She loved him. She was stupid to love him, she knew that. But there were things that even while stupidly loving him, she would never do to him. It was why she had put protections in place when Darth Tacitus sought to use her pain to weaponize her against Gerwald (and Katrine). It was why...

She sighed.

"Everything that has to do with me is a mistake," she finally said when Gerwald mentioned that talking to her a mistake. If earlier she had managed to grasp a silver of stability while talking, it was gone now, the breakage all too easy to hear in her voice. She was the girl who'd broken out of the pebble, only to get each and every single thing wrong since then, whether it was about trusting, about training, about... About existing.

No, He couldn't take it back. He couldn't change it. The window for apologies to have any effect had long since passed. She had been wrong to trust him, to be with him, to... To love him. She was still wrong about it, even though she couldn't change it. And it didn't matter, just as it had never mattered. It had always been Katrine.

"But what?"

 

 

Gerwald Lechner


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#11
Gerwald Lechner

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”Oh that’s not true and you know it...”

Gerwald stopped. There was nothing he could say to her to convince herself otherwise. Just because she had made some mistakes didn’t mean every part of her life was a mistake, or that she was one. Gerwald had made mistakes to, and he was trying to rectify them all. This... it was a mistake because this wasn’t a conversation either of them could emotionally handle. All Gerwald could do was apologize, but it only came with what he had done wrong.

Maybe it wasn’t a mistake, maybe it needed distance and time. Ger didn’t really know.

He shrugged his shoulders.

”But... I had to talk to you. You weren’t wrong you know... about what you said to me that day. What I did... I was going to break one of you, and I’m sorry for that. I’m sorry I said nothing, I’m sorry that I put you in this position, I’m sorry that I didn’t stop things before you fell in love with, and I’m sorry for loving you back... knowing that... I’m just sorry...”

Scherezade deWinter

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#12
Scherezade deWinter

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But it was true. Everything always led to that conclusion. Even those who had tried to convince her otherwise had then turned around and shown her that she was right. Even Gerwald had tried to convince her so hard that she was not inferior, that the CIS could suck it, and then he'd ghosted on her. And she had ever been the fool to believe it was a mistake on his end that would easily be fixed once he was back.

And he was wrong again. He wasn't going to break one of them. Katrine would never had been broken over something like that. She was the strong one, the one who'd risen into position, the... The superior choice. Who could ever love a raven when they had a dove? Scherezade had admitted as such to Josh. She didn't want to say it out loud again.

He'd said she hadn't been wrong about what she said. "Which of the things I said are you referring to?" she asked weakly. She had said so much... All she had to do was open her mouth and a vomit of words came out when she was around him. Up until Corucant, it had been a pleasant kind of vomit, the one you didn't really call a vomit at all. But since she'd come out of the Darkness, it had become different. Everything was different.

And then he said words she'd never thought anymore that she would hear from him. Words she had been praying to hear when then the were on Coruscant. Words she'd been praying to hear when she came out of the Darkness. Loving you back. But... But it had come with a "sorry" before that.

The look of confusion was all too easy to see on her face. She wanted to grab her bottle and take another swig, but her hand would not obey her will.

"What do you mean, you loved me back?" she whispered, unable to look at him. If... If he loved her back, why had things played out that way? If he loved her back, how could it have always been Katrine? If he loved... Did he mean it in a past tense? Was it a form of speech? Geonosis was spinning and she could feel it down to her core. Her hands were gripping the bench, knuckles turning bone white. She didn't understand it. She didn't understand any of it. She didn't understand it on that terrible night, and she didn't understand it even more now.

 

Gerwald Lechner


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#13
Gerwald Lechner

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Gerwald simply sighed.  She didn’t understand, and he wasn’t sure that he did either.  What was said was said though, and all he could do was try and help her understand it.

 

“Is it so wrong for me to sit here and admit that both of you each have my love?  Look we have well established I shoukd have said something way sooner, but that night... if I would have admitted that I did love you back, you still would have ran off.  There is only one thing I could have done, and while you might think it’s not so, there is only one thing I could have done to keep from running off as you did, and that would have been to reject Katrine.”

 

He wasn’t saying it to state the obvious, even though the way Scherezade’s mind work she likely could list well over 200 ways things could have turned out.  Gerwald simply wanted Sherezade to think about what her actions had done in the way she chose to respond.

 

“The way you reacted... it leaves no room for me to think otherwise.  And if I had rejected her, and she disowned you for it, how would that have made you feel? Would have been so overjoyed in your victory that you wouldn’t care, or would that have broken you too?  I don’t have to ask because I know.”

 

Gerwald wasn’t answering her questions, and he knew it.  What point was there to try and explain sometbinfndeep down Scberezade already knew.  Yes he wanted her to understand, but he also knew he could never satisfy what her mind wanted to know.  How could have chosen Katrine over her if he loved her?  If Scherezade searches deep enough, she already knew the answer to that question

as well.  

 

Scherezade deWinter


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#14
Scherezade deWinter

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What did he mean, he loved them both? What did he mean, she still would have run off? How could he accuse her of a reaction that had never happened, that never would have happened? No, if he had chosen her that night, she would have been mostly confused. Maybe not broken, maybe the cracks would have only deepened, but...

"Again with the made the right choice. Are you here to shove it in my face that you made the right choice?" she asked, tearing up, "is that why you didn't stay away like the other times?"

Scherezade wiped her face on the back of her arm again, the wetness continuing to come out of her eyes. "How could you call it a victory? I didn't even know that I was participating in a wager! And by your own admission, neither did Katrine, at least until the time that I was in the Darkness again. And yet you call it a 'victory'."

She rose up again, taking a few steps away. The wind was changing. She had to keep it from sending his scent onto her.

"I'm sorry I wasn't strong enough to react in a calm and senseful manner after what to me were years of torture," she trembled, "I'm sorry that even after explaining this to you, after having explained this to you even on that night, you're still looking to punish me for it. I'm sorry that I thought you knew me well enough to know how ridiculous your accusations of what I would've done if you'd have chosen me are."

"Overjoyed in victory," she repeated his words, the disgust all too visible in her at the mere sound of them.

She groaned, covering her face in her arms. She couldn't breathe. This hurt too much. There wasn't even a conversation. Earlier it had been him who'd accused her of not listening, but now it was him, trying to hurt her with his words, not even answering a single question.

"If you loved us both," she had to ask, "why was I the disposable one? What offer were you talking about? If you loved me at all, how could you abandon me on the Fortressa while you knew I was waiting for you, and then ditch me when we were supposed to get your siblings?" Oh, questions. So many questions. "If it had always been Katrine, how could you even love me at all? And why in the Force do you think that if you'd have chosen me, I'd have come out of the Darkness thinking she had tortured me for years only to learn that wasn't true, be more than happy about it, and then be overjoyed in a victory if she broke and disowned me?"

Her voice shattered with every question. Her mind was spinning, pulling the world along with it. Her knees shook again and she bent them, hugging them, low to the ground while still somehow remaining balanced.

"What do you want from me, Gerwald?" she finally asked, breathing his voice again, wishing she could not.

 

Gerwald Lechner


Edited by Scherezade deWinter, 31 July 2018 - 10:18 AM.

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#15
Gerwald Lechner

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There is nothing in what I just said that says ‘right choice.’ I’ve only said it once...” he retorted. 

 

Was Gerwlad being a jerk, yes, was he right about Scherezade only hearing what she wanted to hear, yes.  She couldn’t see past her own agony to see that Gerwald and Katrine has both been in agony over this as well.  How many times did he have to say they were hurt? What made her pain so much more justifiable than theirs? Why did he have to give an account for the pain he caused, feel guilty over it, while she was allowed to justify hers?

 

Gerwald was only getting angry at her for it all.  Yes, he didn’t understand what the darkness had done, or made her believe, or the fact it felt like years, but he would be damned if he let her wave her response off and defend it after having time to realize it might have been a mistake.  At least he had approached her with the attempt to try and get Katrine her sister back.  Even if he would never be Scherezade’s friend, Katrine needed her sister back. 

 

“I also never said you would have been overjoyed.  I asked if you would be and said I already knew the answer to that.  YOU WOULDN’T BE. That is my point Scherezade.  You would have wept. You would have clung to me.  You would have reached for the one thing you could hold onto that seemed constant. You would have been shattered over the loss of your sister had she disowned you. Are you even sorry? Have you even given it a second thought, or is that why you seem to always have a bottle in your hand.”

 

Gerwald sighed. She asked... what did he want...

 

“I want you to fix this with Katrine.  What I did... if you never forgive me for that I get it.  But I had thought your relationship with her was made of stronger things. I’m not even asking you for me... or even her... I’m asking because there is not a reality that should exist where Scherezade deWinter and Katrine Van-Derveld are not sisters, and where they do not love each other.  And from where I was standing that day, and from what I hear you say now... that’s what you are saying you want.”

 

”How can I love you both, you know the answer to that.  You know why I can, and how I can.  Answer me honestly... had I said something... had I told you... what would you have done?”

 

Scherezade deWinter


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#16
Scherezade deWinter

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She visibly began to shake at the onslaught of his questions. Those horrible questions. How could he? Had he not spent all that time with her? Did he really think she could not be sorry for what had happened, for all of it?

"Do I look like someone who has not given it a second thought?" she asked, her voice shaking as hard as her body, the tears still running down her face, "do I look like someone who is happy with what has happened? Look at me, Gerwald. Look at me and tell me those are questions you even have to guess the answers to."

The bottle in her hand was not the point. Regardless, he had been the one to teach her how to drink, though it had been in such different settings. She had been so happy with him that night, trying to win another silly wager, trying to win him under the table. She had felt her love for him so fiercely that night, stronger than before. Perhaps... Perhaps that is why she had opened her mouth. Her big, stupid mouth. And by opening it, had cemented her feelings. She had been unable to ignore them since that night, since that breath of a moment before she fell asleep in his arms. She had felt it so fiercely even the following morning, while she was throwing her guts out. She'd felt it before, but also in every moment since, and the time spent away from him, of agonizing, had not diminished it. She didn't know why. And she didn't know how something that she felt so powerfully, so harshly enough for it to save her from years of torture, could not be something shared and mutual, could so easily be tossed aside.

Scherezade took a deep breath, forcing herself to calm down. To breathe. To... She didn't know. But she was starting to calm down. The winds had changed, though she had not noticed it. Gerwald always calmed her down, even if that had never been a direct intent.

"I still love her, Gerwald," she finally said, the voice tearing out of her with more pain than was present before, "I love her so much. And I don't know what I'm supposed to do about it. Because I hurt from her end of the actions so much as well. And because I know that if it had been Chloe, and not me, everything would have been different. She would have reacted and behaved differently. And I know that she loves me, but no... Not as a sister. I don't think she lied about it... She probably believes she does. But she does not. And while she has you to clung to, to weep in front of, I have no one, I have nothing. There aren't many things I want more than to have her back as a sister, even if I think I never really was. But I can't.

I don't now how you could love us both. I honestly and truly do not. Because I love you in a way that leaves no place to love another like that. I love you in a way that would annhaliate away any chance of another getting even close in the same way. Because I love you in a way that allows only one, in heart and soul and flesh, in present and and in future. When I understood that I loved you, I couldn't see other people in that way anymore, and I haven't since. I've tried. I can't even bed anyone because my body and mind scream at me that it is the wrong body, that is the wrong scent.

You want an honest answer, Gerwald? Before the Darkess, had I known the depths of it, had I known that it had always been her soon enough, I would have bowed out and gone to lick my wounds somewhere. Had I known before I'd fallen in love with you, I probably would have laughed at it. I want to imagine that I would have told her you're the person to do things with the sister of the woman who was supposed to have always been the one, but I probably wouldn't have out of fear of hurting her. And I would have stayed closed and acted as a shield against you for the fear that you would hurt her on your own for other reasons, as I would have against any other I'd have known her to be in love with. Because I'd always been the weaker between the two of us, but I shielded her whenever I could, even when she was training me."

It was a sweet memory. One that, along with many others, had turned bitter in her mouth. Katrine had been trying to train her and Scherezade had accidently combusted a big rock for the first time in her life. She hadn't thought about her own safety in that moment; she had jumped to shield Katrine's body with her own, not knowing that Katrine had the time to call up a Shield spell to protect them both.

"I don't now how I could ever fix thing with Katrine," she said, "she was part of what broke me. And I have told her horrible things that I sometimes think I meant and sometimes I think I did not. But even if I could ignore that, even if I could forget all of that... How can I be in her life? How can I stand by and watch the two of you create and make moments that... That some of which were mine. That some of which I was planning to make ours? To know that while she was getting everything she wanted, I was standing in the corner like a miserable shadow, like a tortured pet, being the one paying the price for those dreams? I can't do that. I'm not strong enough to do that. I wish I was. I'm so sorry..."

There was no cynicism in her when she said she was sorry. It was not a mock apology. It was the apology of someone who knew the had failed, who knew there was no way to come back from that, to know that whatever they might have had in their hands was nothing but ash and dust.

 

She crouched again, hugging her knees. There was no anger in her anymore, it had all burned out much earlier. There was only the pain and the anguish, knowing that she had lost everything. Katrine might have been unhappy about losing her, but Katrine still had everything else. She had her father, she had both of her brothers now, she had Gerwald, she had her position as Nightmother and leader, she had...

Scherezade looked up at Gerwald through tear filled eyes. She hadn't wanted to do it like that. Not at all. But she was not seeing another way now. Slowly, she stood up straight again, and flicked the lid of her bottle open, taking a long deep drink fro it. It was a weak thing to do. It was a pathetic thing to do. But it was something she needed for what she was about to do.

Placing the bottle back at her belt, she let a single sigh out.

"This is not how I wanted to do it, Gerwald..." she breathed his name, and closed her eyes for a few moments before looking at him, "tell Katrine I found her mother. Her mother claims that she did not abandon her, and that Katrine has a way of finding her whenever she wants to but... I don't know what the truth is. I don't know if there's a misconception, a misunderstanding, something else. Her mother's story and Katrine's story don't match up at all. But if Katrine wants to go to her, if her mother is wrong in saying that she can find her... Tell her that her mother, Curupira Hawk, is on Nelvaan, as the apprentice of Darth Tacitus. Katrine will know this is true, because Katrine has never told me her name.

I tried to make her to come to Ryloth even though... I tried to make her come to meet Katrine. I begged her to. She refused. I was begging her to come with me even when Tacitus' soldiers had their weapons drawn on me..."


Scherezade sighed. An incident that had led to an offer from Lord Tacitus, an offer that came hand in hand with him trying to convince Scherezade how thoroughly she'd been used, and how he wanted to prime her to doing things worse than death to both Katrine and Gerwald.

"I'm sorry I failed at uniting them too..."

 

Gerwald Lechner


Edited by Scherezade deWinter, 04 August 2018 - 01:53 PM.

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#17
Gerwald Lechner

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What was Gerwald supposed to say to everything she just dumped out in answer to his questions.HIs feet wanted to carry him out of situation.The reality was that he should have never tried to go after her when he saw he walking past.He wasn't ever going to be able to fix what he had broken, and the more she talked, the more Gerwald realized that she despite what she was saying, she didn't even want to try.There would be pain there, yes, but Gerwald had never been one to run from pain.Even with the pain he had caused in others, it seemed to be the one thing in life that he could run to.  

 

He sighed.Something that he seemed to be good at lately.  

 

"After what you said that day, how you said, and you wonder why I ask?I know you said what you did out of pain and fear, but you've out of that darkness long enough to know that what you saw there wasn't real.I wish that I could say that I recognize you, but I don't... at all..."

 

It was the truth.The Scherezade that he had loved didn't exist anymore.That much was clear to him.She had embraced something in the darkness that drove her to do what she was doing, and to interpret things the way she was.Maybe this was who she had been all along and Gerwald had just missed it.Either way, it was clear he didn't know what to think or what to do.

 

"You don't know how I could love you both?Then did you ever truly know me?How many months were both you and Katrine both telling me that I and the wolf were one, the same man, yet the reality, is that there are times when it still feels like they are not the same.Regardless of what both of you tell me, there is a duality to who I am.Yes the wolf and the man are one, but they are also their own.What you have to understand, and something that I have learned to understand since being free of my mother, is that the wolf... that is the purest form of who I am.The wolf is the dominant part of who I am, and always will be."

 

Gerwald looked at Scherezade.

 

"Did you know that if we don't change, we go insane.I could be a wolf for months and have nothing to fear, but I cannot do that with my human form.The wolf is who I am at my core."

 

He decided to just leave it as that.There was more to say, but not about this subject.The last thing Gerwald wanted was to fight with her about this.The truth remained that he had loved them both.

 

"I am sorry to hear about how you cannot fix things with Katrine.She is more broken by it than you can possibly know I think.Also, I am not sure it is wise to mention her mother.Her brother Seren... he showed up at the wedding where we saw you.He has rejected her, and blames her for what he has become.This perfect world that you have painted into... it doesn't exist.That's what hurts the most I think.You see things in such an extreme that there doesn't seem to be any room for the gray of reality.I'm not going to justify what I did to either of you in anyway, but... No she doesn't need to know you found her mother.She stepped back into time, and the woman that you met here... that is not mother, not the mother she knows anyway."

 

Gerwald looked away from Scherezade, off in the direction of the space port.He knew that they needed to part ways soon.Another sigh escaped his lips.

 

"I don't ever expect you to forgive me, Scherezade, but I truly am sorry.I'm sorry for what I did, how I did it, and the way I told you about what was going on.There is a lot I have to be sorry for, and there are a lot of relationships I have to repair.It's just sad this is one I don't think that I can.I want you and Katrine to... but... I really should go... this likely isn't helping at all.I just... for both of your sakes... I had to try."

 

Scherezade deWinter


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#18
Scherezade deWinter

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The more he spoke, the more pained her expression became, and still it did not show even a fraction of what went through her. There were so many things to be said, so much she wanted to... And at the same time she wanted him to shut up, to just hold her, the way she had wanted him to do when she came out of the Darkness. But it was clear that wasn't going to happen, just as it hadn't happened then. Another thing to add to the ever growing list of things she wasn't going to get, not now, not ever. He had left her in her breakage. Both her and Katrine had. Would there have been anything that could have been repaired if any of them had come to her sooner? It was a question without an answer. Not an answer now, not an answer ever.

"The visions in the Darkness might not have been real if you stick to the surface level," she said quietly, moving miserably back to the bench, "but the Darkness spoke truth, Gerwald. It told me I had two people when I entered it. I had only you and Katrine. It told me I would have no one when I left. That was true as well. I wanted to bring you and Alwine and Varick to come see Endelaan. The Darkness told me I was too weak to show myself there. This is now true as well. I don't know if I'll ever be able to go to my home planet. You say you don't recognize me. I want to scream at you and stab you for saying that but I can't, because it's true. I don't recognize me. I'm not me. I want to be that girl again, with the big eyes and the hunger for adventure and first times and new things, but I can't find her anywhere. She's gone and I can't... I don't..."

She didn't now how to find herself. She didn't know how to bring the pieces back. They were missing, all of them. How did you come from years of torture like that, when you had nothing? She was close to even losing her ship because of her financial situation, and once that happened... She would be stranded somewhere.

Scherezade rose with visible difficulty from her seat, coming to stand now a mere few inches from Gerwald. She wanted to touch him. She needed to touch him. She wanted to press her ear to his heart as she had so many times, to take a deep breath. All foolish wants and needs of a stupid little girl.

"Did I ever truly know you?" she asked, "All I ever wanted from yo was for you to love me the way that I love you. I asked you to spend more time as a wolf around me and that I didn't see you alone again after that, so you never did. I-"

Things were beginning to click. Scherezade blinked, and stared at Gerwald. The wolf was the dominant one, then. The purest form. She didn't know there was insanity involved. But by the Force, she didn't care. Was that why she had been tossed aside? Because she was not a Lupine?

"You don't know..." she said with wonder. He didn't. Of course he didn't. Because she had never told him. Because she'd been waiting, waiting for him to be able to say the words. Scherezade hadn't thought about it before now, not about this specific thing, but she knew with an unbreakable certainty that if he had voiced his will on the subject, she would have been more than willing to go through the same procedure that Curupira would in the future. To become a Lupine. But not... Not like this. Not to be alone. And he didn't know that she had cracked the Lupine problem on two different fronts, because again... She had been waiting. For him. Like she waited for him on the Fortressa. Like she'd waited for him for the week after that. Like she'd even spent a few moments on Coruscant waiting, somehow hoping that he would magically show up.

"Her mother is human now," Scherezade whispered, "her mother will be a Lupine in the future. I have tasted and scented her through the Force." Would he understand that it could be done? She didn't know. She didn't even know if it mattered. "I know this is not the mother from the future, but this is the mother she spent a year or two with in this time. And she is where I am telling you she is. If you choose not to tell Katrine about it, the responsibility lays in your hands."

She sighed, closing her eyes. Daring to take a single breath. Not a deep one. His scent still overpowered her. She hated it now, hated that she had come to stand so close to him. What had she hoped for, what had she expected? She needed to step back, but her legs refused to listen.

And now... All he said... For both their sakes. Fix things with Katrine. Not a mention of fixing things for herself. Not a mention of her healing. Only punishing her for not being okay. This was what it all boiled down to, didn't it? It was all her fault, however it got twisted around, still her fault. She'd made a mess of things by not being a Lupine, she'd made a mess of things by randomly meeting Kamon on Coruscant, she'd made a mess of things by being taken for years by the Darkess, and then she'd made a mess of things by not healing quickly enough for Gerwald, who had so easily tossed her aside like a pair of socks. And through all of it, not even once, had he bothered to ask her how she was. It was just to fix things with Katrine. For both of their sake. Nothing about just Scherezade. Because Scherezade didn't exist within the scope of just being Scherezade. It always had to be about Katrine as well.

"What did she offer you?" she asked, "you said earlier... Katrine made an offer. And then didn't answer when I asked about it."

 

Gerwald Lechner


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#19
Gerwald Lechner

Gerwald Lechner

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"The darkness lied to you Scherezade," Gerwald sighed.She refused to listen to any sort of logic.Had they hurt her, yes, but Gerwald and Katrine were there when she woke up.  "You left, you broke ties, you were the one who chose to ignore the fact that we WERE there when you woke up.We were there when you came out of the darkness.Was what I did painful, yes, but we were there because both of us love you.Deny it all you want, but the facts were you cut the chords.You had your reasons, but you were the one that made the darkness right..."

 

It would be a hard truth to hear, but it was.What happened may have drove her to the decision, but there were always more options, more choices.

 

"She wants me to be with her when she rules her people.To my knowledge there are only two Lupine families left, who happen to historically not like each other.I want to fix that.I want to see the Lupines united again.No other Lupine should ever have to be raised without knowing, or being connected to, the great heritage they have.It is not just my future here, Scherezade, but it is the future of an entire species, and to some degree, the galaxy.Did you know I was not in the future she came from?Not a hint or a clue of my existence was there."

 

Gerwald was getting increasingly uncomfortable with the conversation.He already knew that her perspective was going to always be through the lens of her pain, and rightfully so.Could she not see that the first step to healing was by going to her sister instead of running from her.Family meant everything to Gerwald, and he had left his, and was still working at repairing it.He sighed.It was back to that subject.

 

"You and Katrine both told me that I had to go back for my siblings.I was the one that left, and I was going to have to be the one that faced the music on what I had done.You also told me that it is in moments like these, the difficult times, that we find out who we really are, what we do in these situations marks the type of person we are.I'm not asking you to forgive me because I don't ever expect that you can if you cannot forgive your own sister.Family is everything.I've tried to get Katrine to come after you, but then with what you said... she thought you would just think she wasn't letting you go, that she still wanted to control you.You are the only one that can bring any kind of healing to yourself and to Katrine, to the relationship that you both had.Will it be the same?No.My actions were going to break one of you, and it would have damaged your relationship, and that is on me.However, the one relationship that I cannot repair, or even begin to mend is the ONLY one I am asking you to mend."

 

Ger looked at Scherezade.

 

"I don't know what else to say right now, Scherezade.I want to talk about us, what happened, how I hurt you.I want to beg you to forgive me, I want to tell you that you were right, that none of what we did was possible unless I loved you too, but I cannot deal with any of that knowing that you and Katrine are not talking to each other.It's not even about her... it's just... like I said... there can't be any hope for anything else if family can be broken that easily without want to repair."

 

Scherezade deWinter


Edited by Gerwald Lechner, 23 August 2018 - 02:30 PM.

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#20
Scherezade deWinter

Scherezade deWinter

    The Blood Hound

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“The Darkness didn’t lie,” Scherezade sighed, “you think I’d be any less alone if I was still hanging around the two of you? Pretending to smile and not shatter every time I saw you dancing with no music the way we did? Every time I saw her pressing her ear to her your heart the way I did?” She had already seen that on the Fortressa. She knew those would not be the only times. She had hurt so badly that she had broken both her hands in the attempt to make her inner pain turn just physical, and it hadn’t worked. “I was alone the moment you both deemed me disposable.” How could he not understand it? Why did he insist on sticking to the surface level of it? She became alone the moment he and Katrine had finalized the deal between them, and she was the one to pay the price for it all. With them or without them in the same room, she was alone. At least this way she didn’t have to be around and see it all, all the time.

 

And then…

 

Scherezade stumbled back, almost losing her balance. No, it wasn’t the residue of alcohol in her body now. Gerwald didn’t just tell her what Katrine had offered, he went on and on, continued, did he even realize what he was saying? She stare at him in horror, unable to stop the new wave of pain that washed over her with every passing moment.

 

“I was going to offer you to rule Endelaan with me…” she whispered, “I was going to… On Coruscant, when I told you I wanted to invite you and Alwine and Varick to Endelaan. And you told me you just wanted to keep things simple!”

 

She wanted to scream. She wanted to yell. She wanted to throw something, both at him and at herself. Was that it? Was part of why she was disposable because she’d actually listened to him?!

 

“I wanted to offer you to rule Endelaan with me that night,” she was no longer whispering. She couldn’t whisper anymore. The pain bubbled inside of her, she could almost taste it as something more tangible than mere raw emotions, “I was going to make the offer after inviting you to Endelaan, but you said you wanted to keep things simple and when the time was right!” But the time was never going to be right. It was never meant to be right. Because it had always been Katrine. Scherezade was breathing hard now. Too hard. Was she wheezing? She wasn’t sure. She didn’t care. “And I though… I wanted to respect your wishes, to wait for when the time was right. And you know what I feared then, Gerwald? What I truly feared? I feared that if I offered that night and you would say yes, and then once you were there you’d change your mind and somehow feel trapped! That was what I feared! You feeling trapped! So I listened to you, and we changed subjects, but I was still thinking about it, and I knew without a doubt that I wanted you to come and see it anyway, and after you’d made your unbiased opinion about it, I would let you know the offer exists. And then I thought more about it, and I realized that offering to share a crown was one of the easiest things in the ‘verse, but that if you’d love me the way that I loved you, I would give the crown up with a joyful heart and without any regrets. Because I don’t love you as a future king, and I don’t love you for this or other potential, I love you not because of what you are but because of who you are, the man that had just come off from Stewjon and was looking for his way in the galaxy, to learn it, to taste it, to explore it, and I didn’t want that love to come with bribery, and I thought we could do that together, that we could learn and grow together and I even-“

 

NO! She stopped herself there. She was not going to tell him about the plans for the fifth clan. She was not going to tell them she’d already dedicated a huge amount of the forests of Endelaan for them. That she had figured out how, once they had children, they would grow up surrounded by hundreds if not thousands of others who were just like them. She was not. It would be too cruel. He would either want the blueprints, and she would not be able to tell him no, and she’d just be left alone again while he and Katrine gained yet another thing at her expense, or he wouldn’t ask for it at all, and she wouldn’t offer, and she’d be even more hated than she already was.

 

“I was trying to support the relations between your families…” Scherezade whispered again, “I tried to give you pointers on how to handle it that night… There were things I didn’t give you an opinion about because I was worried it’d come off as standing between you when I never wanted that, when I never wanted to keep Lupine away from Lupine…” And it had bit her in the ass. “You really think Katrine would’ve denied any of what you just said you wanted if you didn’t wish to rule with her?” Because Katrine wouldn’t have. Katrine cared about the future of the Lupines. Which was part of why this made no sense. If they had children together… Those children would grow up knowing there was only one Lupine family left, made up of the remains of two. Were both of them so blind that they hadn’t seen it?

 

“I wasn’t in the future she came from either,” she whispered again, “I’m in no one’s future.”

 

“Katrine would not have broken,” she repeated herself from earlier in the conversation, “but if you’re so certain she would have, that both of us would have, you should have just vanished into oblivion altogether. Instead you made me disposable. And now you want me to be the one to go to her, because apparently it’s not enough that I’m the one that ends up with nothing on every direction, I also need to come crawling back, because after you abandoned you siblings, and then had the chance to fetch them because I offered to give you everything you needed for that to happen and all you had to do was just show up, you chose instead to go fruck Katrine and disappear on me entirely, without even leaving a message, now you’re preaching that family is everything? Now? Do you truly think that if I hadn’t said what I’d said that night, we would be sisters in more than cold and dry name? How can you preach about family being everything now after what you’ve done to your siblings, twice? After what you’ve started between me and Katrine? Stop holding me to a higher standard than you hold either yourself or Katrine when all I’m allowed to be is the disposable one!”

 

This time, she did scream, and turn around. “Not even once did you stop to ask if you could help. If there was anything you could do. If I needed something. Not even once, not in this conversation, not when I came out of the Darkness.” She wanted to Force Scream, she wanted to make everything around them shake and break with the strength of the pain that she couldn’t stop from growing inside her. But she couldn’t. Because it’d hurt Gerwald’s ears. Because she was so stupid, and weak, and pathetic.

 

Scherezade turned around, looking at Gerwald. “How can you say you love me when even all through this conversation you never once even referred to me as myself? Everything you’ve said, all of it, always within the scope of either you or Katrine, like I can’t just exist, like-“

 

She paused.

 

Wet eyes blinked, realizing what she had just said.

 

“I just can’t exist…” No, it made sense. It made perfect sense. She had fought for him, fought to keep her promise for him. She’d found a way to give his species the future Katrine never could even though Katrine thought she could rule all the eight or nine existing Lupines as a queen for some reason,  she had been willing to offer him a crown, and a life so long he could choose when enough was enough. She hadn’t been just willing to give him everything, she had given him everything that was possible in the time that they had together, and that everything had extended to the siblings she had never met. She’d endured years of torture in the Darkness and made it back to him, holding on to her promise.

 

And it still wasn’t enough. She was still not good enough. In all of this, not even in the moments after she’d come out of the Darkness, not once had he embraced her, checked if she was okay, or expressed any concern for her. Because she didn’t offer a crown in a race she didn’t know she was a part of, because she couldn’t change into a wolf even though that was something that was easily taken care of, because… Because…

 

“I’m just everyone’s pin cushion, aren’t I?” she asked, though the question wasn’t directed at Gerwald.

 

No speech. No long monologue. A simple truth.

 

Scherezade closed her eyes, letting the last of the tears escape. That was the point, wasn’t it? She couldn’t just exist. Not even the woman who claimed to be her sister or the man who claimed to love her could let her do that. It was staring her right in the face. Because if she could do all she could, if she had so much to give, if all of that didn’t matter outside of the scope of her needing to go beg for forgiveness by the very people who had broken her… The conclusion was staring her right in the face.  

 

Scherezade deWinter had no place in this galaxy.

 

“I was right,” she said at last, “it’s the hard moments that define us. All I ever wanted was for you to love me the way that I love you. Instead I almost died, and it took me years to come back, only to learn that I’m not enough, and that I’m supposed to go back to those who betrayed me because that’s the only way to heal the things that I wasn’t the one to break, merely the first one to accept they were broken.”

 

What else was there left to say? They would not agree. He wouldn’t hug her. He wouldn’t ask if there was anything he could do to make her less miserable. He would still insist on talking to her in the scope of Katrine, still pretend like family suddenly mattered even though he broke his own and has chosen the one who had broken three families herself. But everyone else could be forgiven. For her, there was only punishment for not being sound of mind, for not healing fast enough, for not offering a crown fast enough, for just… For not being good enough, no matter what she tried to do. He would rule with Katrine over the remains of two Lupine families and call himself King or Emperor or whatever, and the person paying the price of blood and pain for that to happen would be Scherezade, while he and Katrine lived and frolicked happily ever after.

 

He was right. She was childish. Childish in her nativity about everything, childish in her unwillingness to run back with her tail between her legs and apologize to those who had broken her, apologize for being broken. Apologize for who she was, even though Gerwald had told her… It didn’t matter anymore.

 

They had both been there when she came out of the Darkness. And they had both broken her after that. They should have just let her die.

 

The tears were running freely down her face now. She wished she could stop them. She wished she could be all tough and cold, and emotionless about it all. But no, she was the stupid childish person, wasn’t she?

 

What else was there left to say?

 

“Goodbye, Gerwald,” she breathed his name. A last time. A final time, before Scherezade deWinter ceased to exist.

 

She wished she could have a last kiss to take with her. Be in his embrace for the last time, surrounded by that smell that meant safety. Just one last time. But he wouldn’t even come near her on his own. Maybe he wasn’t allowed to, now that he was with Katrine. Maybe he simply didn’t care to. It didn’t really matter though, did it?

 

But her legs refused to move. Scherezade sighed. Her stupid legs, thinking there might be a chance. But they’d danced this dance before. This was the part where he said more things to break her further. This was the part where he’d find, whether because he meant to or not, some part of her that hadn’t been throughfully shattered yet, and hit it with a sledgehammer.

 

 

Gerwald Lechner


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