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Through a Mirror Darkly (SW fanfic. AU. Vader. Padme. Obi-Wan) - Chapter 11 - moonspinner
Through a Mirror Darkly (SW fanfic. AU. Vader. Padme. Obi-Wan) - Chapter 11
Chapter 11. Prize, the End [1]
The perfect job had turned into the perfect nightmare.
Jango cursed himself for a fool. He should have been more alert for a last-minute escape attempt from a Guardian. He should have anticipated that, after knowing they were close to landing, she wouldn’t have eaten the last drugged protein bar.
His carefully honed perception had sensed the sudden tenseness of her body before she attacked him. That was what saved his life.
Her hands had already slipped onto the little skin that showed at the trunk of his neck and unlatched his helmet. He had no doubt that a few seconds later and her deft fingers would have found that weak point at the base of every man’s skull – that weak point where unconsciousness could be induced by a very small amount of pressure. What the Guardian would have done with his unconscious body, Jango had no intention of finding out.
He snatched her hands, clenching his fists painfully round her small fingers and she threw back her head and bit him in his neck.
Yowling, Jango threw her off, completely horrified. She smashed into the pilot’s seat, breaking her fall slightly by grabbing the console. His hand was reaching for his blaster when she pounced again, knocking him down with the weight of her body and going for his helmet. He swiped her face with the blaster in his hand, throwing her off his body with a cry. Before she could stand again, he trained the blaster at her, cursing himself that it was still set to kill. But he didn’t dare take the blaster – or his eyes – off this one to change the setting.
“Don’t move!” he snarled from his open mouth. She had knocked off his helmet.
She got to her feet slowly, holding her hand to her mouth. There was blood on her fingers.
“I said, don’t move!” he yelled, horrified. He had no idea why the Sith Lord wanted this Guardian but he clearly recalled the instructions he had been given:
“…alive and unharmed…”
She smiled grimly. Her mouth was bleeding where the blaster had smashed into her face.
“Don’t be foolish, Jango. You’re not going to shoot your bounty,” she said. Her voice was harsh, he could tell that she was in a great deal of pain.
But she came closer.
“Good point.” He pointed the blaster at her with one hand and threw his helmet at her with the other.
She dodged the helmet but it was a mere distraction. And it worked. He was on top of her, tackling her to the ground. A brief scuffle ensued as they rolled over the deck floor. Tools fell from their ledges as they banged against the wall.
She was a small creature, almost waif-like, but her hands were strong and she fought with nails and teeth, unerringly going for the jugular. If she had been fighting an amateur street urchin, she would have fared very well. But Jango was an entirely different cup of caf and finally with one powerful move, he smashed his open fist into her temple – no need injuring her more than he already had – and she fell back, dazed.
Quicker than he would normally have done, he had her on her back, and straddled over her as he tied her wrists firmly to each other with the binders he pulled from his utility belt.
“Get off me!” she screamed.
A bit late in the day to play the lady, Jango thought silently as he dragged her to her feet with the binders.
She snarled. Literally. Her teeth snapped in the direction of his face and her binded fists tried to swipe him. He pushed her violently in front of him, marching her to the door.
“Behave yourself. I may not kill you but I can harm you,” he snapped.
“I don’t know what Sabé ever saw in you,” she hissed.
He threw her hard against the wall. An angry aim that sent her against the ledges. Her already aching body shuddered from the impact and she cried out in pain.
He waited for her to turn around and she did so, gasping. She stood, slumped against the wall, her face bruised and bloody, her eyes unforgiving.
His blaster was trained between her eyes.
“Hurt, didn’t it?” she said softly.
“Don’t move an inch if you don’t want me to stun you.” He warned. He walked to the security keypad by the hatchway and started punching the lock code.
“She must have had a heart attack when you turned up like a bad penny. I remember when she met you back in the university. Did she tell you that you were her one true love?”
Jango’s left fist – the one holding the blaster to her face – clenched fiercely. The right hand was halfway through punching the security lock on the hatchway.
“What a joke,” she continued relentlessly. “We used to laugh about it together in school. The Mandalorian vagabond in love with a Naboo academic. I think she found you quaint in her own little way.”
“Shut up,” he warned.
“But in the end, even water finds its own level. Someone like you never had a chance with someone like her.”
He fired the blaster. She was already spinning away from the shot, anticipating just when his rage would snap. The laser struck the console and it sparked. (Neither of them noticed this).
“Oh dear, it does hurt!” she said, laughing in gasps from where she crouched behind the pilot’s chair.
He fired the blaster again and she dodged once more. She was goading him and he knew it but if he didn’t shut her up soon, he’d wind up killing her. He stalked after her, catching her by her arm when she tried to dodge again.
“Shut up or I’ll… Aaaaaargh!”
He screamed as, still with her back to him, bending through a clearly painful angle, she struck him with her binded wrists. There was something in one of her fists, something sharp that cut his face. He yowled for the second time that day, and instinctively, he sent his elbow into face. She went down cold, once and for all.
(The spark had ignited against one of the damaged console buttons. A small thread of fire was now running along the console.)
He staggered back, suddenly feeling unaccountably weak. He raised a gloved hand to his chin and brought out blood. He stared at the woman at his feet, blinking rapidly out of strangely dimming eyes to see what she had struck him with. She had fallen on her side and there was something glinting in her right hand.
He leaned over to see and fell on both knees.
(On its merry path of destruction along the control buttons of Jango’s ship, the fire was halted by an obstruction. A tool that had fallen during the bounty hunter’s scuffle with his bounty. It was a small lube canister, used for oiling the gears in the trap-door ladder mechanism. A utilitarian piece of extreme flammability that would have normally been kept in cargo if the owner of the ship did not engage in unscrupulous activities)
Jango crawled towards to the woman, on all fours now. He could smell something burning but it seemed far away, apart from him. Besides, he didn’t have the strength to turn around. Suddenly the most important thing in Jango’s life right now was to know exactly what his last bounty had struck him with.
(The small fire hovered around the canister, as if unable to make up its mind what to do about this obstruction.)
He stared at the needle in her hand, one of those long hair-pins he had pulled from her head.
Then the canister exploded.

[1] This is not the end of the story, just the end of this theme.


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