It was the crack of dawn when Edin bolted upright in bed at the sound of an obnoxiously loud rooster. He looked around almost in a comical panic, never having heard that noise before. He already had a pistol in his hand, pausing for a moment before he worked out that it was a god damn rooster. The Firrerreo rubbed his eyes, glanced over to see that creepy cat clock that stared at him with that eerie smile with the eyes still shifting back and forth. This entire room was bizarre and the mothball smell was almost overwhelming to his heightened senses.
The Firrerreo glanced over to look at Amira, taking in sight of her as he replayed the events of the night prior through his mind. The sight of her immediately improved his moody expression. It had been exhilarating and neither of them held back in their passions last night. There were several points during the night when the grumpy guest below them hit the ceiling with a broom. Edin ran his fingers through his disheveled hair, having very little desire to climb out of bed just yet. Their clothing was strewn about all over the floor.
The Firrerreo plopped onto his back into his pillow, gazing up at the ceiling as the stupid rooster continued its agonizing cry. It wasn’t even light outside yet. Edin didn’t release the pistol just yet, finger flirting with the trigger. He wanted nothing more than to shoot the damn thing.
“I could never do farm life..” He muttered in a defeated, half sleepy tone.
On Bandomeer, not a morning passed without the crow of a rooster to accompany daybreak. Eventually, if you lived there long enough, you either learned how to sleep through the sound or you rolled over, pulled the covers tighter, and went back to sleep. Unless Ma happened to be in one of her vigorous, all hands on deck cleaning moods— then no one could go back to sleep. And if you did, she'd come tearing into your room like a blue streak, and you'd spend the rest of the day wishing you had just gotten up in the first place.
"It's not so bad," Amira replied in an especially soft tone, voice still groggy from sleep. One arm slipped over the Firrerreo, long strands of silver hair spread across the pink floral pillows that didn't match the color of the bedsheets. "You seem to like farm girls." She smiled a little at that, blinking a few times as her eyes gradually adjusted. The Tiefling stared at him, yellow eyes still sleepy as they traced his sharp jawline. Her fingers reached for the hand that held the gun, gently tracing his skin but not trying to remove the weapon from his grasp. "I hope you don't plan to shoot me with that thing," she teased. @Sreeya
Edin savored her touch more than he would admit, and he was growing used to that familiar warmth. The Firrerreo turned to face her, gazing at her golden eyes for a moment. He felt her hand against his and he remembered he was still clutching the gun. The Firrerreo chuckled to himself before finally setting the pistol down, freeing his hand up. He idly traced his fingers along her upper arm, as he gazed at her for a moment.
“Is it too sappy if I tell you that you are beautiful?” Edin asked quietly. It was certainly a break from their fiery game, but he wasn’t playing right now. He ignored the dreadful rooster in the background, focusing solely on the vibrant golden eyes he could get lost in. Was she born with them or did they turn like that from Sith corruption? Did he care when they drew him in all the same?
For a moment he forgot about the assassination job. Every Holonet was blasting the news. Normally he would have long since left the planet, but here he was in an ancient inn with a farm girl that rocked his world. Edin’s hand traced from her arm to wrap around her torso to pull her closer to himself. He could have simply upped and left as was his style, but he lingered instead. He wanted to get lost in the silky strands of silver and melt against her warmth and let that rhythmic tick tock of the stupid clock blend into the background.
Daylight had begun to dawn, crisp and clear as soft sunbeams crept through the windowpane, exposing the particles of dust that floated throughout the room. Birds perched on tree limbs just outside of the window began to sing, signaling the start of a new day. Amira laid there smiling from ear to ear for no good reason other than her close proximity to Edin and the warmth he provided. Small electrical jolts shot through the skin beneath his fingers when he touched her arm, the Tiefling almost imperfectively shivering in response.
"Maybe," she said as she took a deep, savoring breath, yellow eyes memorizing every line of his face as they stared at one another. Amira's cheeks glowed, one hand reaching up to stroke his cheek. "But I'd like to hear you say it anyway," she revealed. She had thrived on attention ever since she was a child, and nothing made her happier. She wanted to hear exactly what Edin thought of her, appearance or otherwise. The Tiefling's tale escaped the sheets, curling behind the sharpshooter to brush aside a strand of dark hair that hung over his face. As she patiently waited for him to continue, she tried to scoot closer to him. Inadvertently, her horns caught on the pillow and tore its cover. For a second or two she laid there completely still, a little embarrassed, before breaking into a silly grin. "Oops," she giggled. @Sreeya
Edin had to smile when she used her tail to brush aside some of his hair. Her tail was definitely a very expressive part of her, and he learned that more and more with time spent. He embraced her close, surprised at his own tender actions. Edin paused for a moment, genuine surprise on his face when he heard that laugh from her.
“Did you just…giggle?” He blurted out, unable to hide the amused smile. It was enough to make him laugh before he leaned in to playfully kiss her again. Seeing these different sides of her certainly drew him in more than he ever would have expected. His normal style was to tap it and then be on his way. He mentally explained to himself that he was hanging around only because she promised to plant evidence. Yup, that was it.
Edin slowly drew back from the bed, stretching and yawning to reveal his razor sharp fangs. He ruffled up his hair before standing at the foot of the bed. He didn’t bother putting his clothes on, his slim but athletic frame on display. Edin tilted his head to look at her, “I’m gonna shower. Feel free to join me unless I wore you out too much,” He playfully winked at her.
The Firrerreo walked into the refresher expecting to see a modern shower, but instead he came across a strange contraption. Edin’s face scrunched up in confusion as he stood in the bathroom staring at it.
The Tiefling had the distinct feeling that Edin wasn't going to let her live that moment down. Neither would the receptionist, if she found out that her precious handstitched pillow cover had been ripped. Amira rolled her eyes, nevertheless relishing in the unexpected kiss the Firrerreo planted on her lips."What? Never heard a girl giggle before?" A single finger moved to caress his nose, tracing the length of it— the gesture tender and intimate. "I find that very hard to believe." Strands of silver hair spilled over her shoulders as she sat up, tangled locks framing her face as she stifled a yawn. "Sith giggle too, you know," she chuckled, slipping out from under the sheets and running a hand over her left arm— still sore thanks to that two hundred pound oaf. He could have at least tried to distribute the weight rather than barreling into her like a bull at the gate with a heifer on the other side. "We're not all tall, dark, and brooding."
Amira followed Edin into the refresher, unable to contain the laughter that followed his outburst. "You really are a city boy, aren't you?" she grinned, purposely brushing against his arm as she moved past him. "This is a clawfoot bathtub." Yellow eyes swept over the tub before she reached in, turning both handles to start the water. "The feet used to be made out of iron, to keep the water warmer longer. Now I s'pose they're just for decoration."
Kneeling down beside the porcelain tub, she ran a hand idly through the water to check its temperature. She grinned at the Firrerreo, still standing in the doorway like a lost puppy. There was an unmistakable warmth in her eyes as she stared at him. "And to confuse the likes of you, I imagine. Come on. The water's just right."@Sreeya
“Never heard a Sith Empress giggle before,” He said with a smile before making his way over to the refresher.
Her explanation of a ‘claw foot tub’ didn’t do much to alleviate his concerns. He was used to automated showers that took five seconds and had blowers to dry his hair. Edin watched curiously as she turned some faucets and began to fill the tub. Naturally his eyes were on her as she worked, tilting his head and shamelessly thinking she was going to bend over to check the water. Nope, she politely knelt down by the tub instead.
“Huh?” He blurted, shaken out of his thoughts as she mentioned the water being right, “Like.. get in?” He blinked a few times before stepping forward. He trusted her judgment of water temperature and eased in, the water coming up to his chest. Edin placed his hands on either side of the tub, groaning softly in satisfaction.
“Damn…this is nice..” He said, tilting his head back. He angled his head to the side to look at her, “You coming in or are you going to fan me and feed me grapes? I wouldn't mind either..” Edin said with a grin. This vaguely reminded him of some of the fancier crime bosses that raved about their baths. Now he could see why.
"Maybe you're not as charming as you give yourself credit for then," she quipped, still grinning ear to ear. No matter what she might have said, the Firrerreo definitely had something going for him, otherwise they wouldn't be staying in this ancient inn that had the decorating style of some sort of sick and twisted conglomeration of her Great Aunt Tessie's and Great Aunt Gertrude's antique collection. The Tiefling watched Edin as he leaned back and settled into the porcelain tub, his muscles visibly relaxing beneath the warm water. Exactly what her left arm needed—a good, hot soak. Amira stepped into the tub, but she didn't immediately slip into the water. Instead, she placed both hands on either side of the tub to support her weight and leaned down over the Firrerreo. Silver hair slipped over her shoulders, dangling near his face. Yellow eyes stared into blue, unblinking. "In your dreams, sharpshooter," she hummed against his ear, smiling as her tail slipped into the water. Amira's days following a man halfway across the galaxy, forever at his beck and call every waking hour of the day were over. Behind her.
There was a soft rattle at the door. "Breakfast is ready, dearies!" a small, squeaky voice announced from the other side. When there was no immediate answer, she knocked again. "On the house! Come on down and join us!"
Without ever lifting a finger, Amira reached into the other room with the Force and turned on the old transistor radio that sat atop the bedside table. The fast tempo of a mandolin and flat-top guitar drowned out the woman's voice, but a final "Well, I never!" was still audible as she stormed away. Amira's mother would have chastised her for her manners and rude behavior, but Ma wasn't here right now. Thankfully.
Her attention returned to Edin, the Tiefling's lips hovering inches from his face. "Where were we?"@Sreeya
Edin couldn’t help but stare at her as she leaned over, her movements graceful and sensual. The Firrerreo focused on her eyes and the way her hair fell around her face. However, he had already seen all of her, and he didn’t mind his gaze shamelessly drifting lower to take in sight of her. He was about to lean in when he heard the voice outside of the refresher. His jaw tightened and he sharply gazed towards the door, almost considering getting out. His blasters were still out there and he was always protective of them.
However, the music blared and he heard the woman curse before storming off. Edin stared in that direction for a long moment before glancing at Amira and realizing she had done it, “Shit, I was beginning to think this place was haunted,” He said with a chuckle before focusing back on her. Edin flashed her a grin when she asked where they were.
Without a word, he reached a hand and grasped the back of her head to pull her into a kiss. However, he didn’t stop there, wrapping his other arm around her to yank her right into the tub and collapse against him. Edin couldn’t help but laugh, knowing she would be caught by surprise from the gesture. The Firrerreo tugged her close, smiling at her.
“I believe you were about to show me all the benefits of a…claw foot tub..”
Sunlight poured through the moss colored curtains that hung across the window, each ray forming a pattern that glistened against the small pool of water that had gathered on the cracked ceramic tiles of the refresher. Amira stepped out of the tub, toes curling into the ugly shag rug that matched the hue of the curtains. It looked like something had curled up and died in it half a century ago, back when it was still in style. If it had ever been in style. She reached for the nearest towel, drying herself off before turning to face Edin again.
"Have I convinced you of the benefits of a clawfoot tub?" she asked, her eyes sparkling under the light. A fresh towel in hand, she ran the fabric through his dark hair, gently massaging the scalp with her fingertips. The Firrerreo's hairdo would undoubtedly be a mess after that, but she had enjoyed his morning hair and was looking forward to seeing it again. Nothing a comb or a few swipes of his hand couldn't fix. "I warn you that if you say no, I reserve the right to try and convince you again one of these days." Hopefully, 'one of these days' would come sooner rather than later, because Amira was getting used to having him around. As the towel was drawn away and placed into his hands so he could finish the job himself, the Tiefling's gaze softened. There was still a sense of that game of cat and mouse they'd been playing with one another ever since Takodana, but the honesty behind her words was unmistakable as she admitted, "I'm glad you didn't walk away this time." It was spoken quietly, barely above a whisper, before she leaned up and planted a brief but tender kiss against his lips.
Then she walked away, tail twirling behind her. "Are you going to be a gentlemen and help me get dressed?" she called from the other room. "Or do you only know how to take clothing off?" She gathered her outfit and placed it on the side of the bed. If he was going to help her, she would stand patiently waiting for him. If not, she would start getting dressed herself. @Sreeya
There was something very affectionate about the way Amira dried off his hair with the towel. While it may have been a casual gesture to her, it left Edin in silence. There was a sudden pounding against his chest that he couldn’t help. When she drew back, she would see him staring almost vacantly at her. There was a warmth to his gaze that hadn’t been there before. His gaze was fixed on hers, a whirlwind of thoughts and words spiraling in his mind, none of which passed his lips. Edin shook his head to snap himself out of it, running his fingers through his hair as he flashed her his usual fanged grin.
“One of these days?” He quipped back, “I may need you to convince me a few more times before we leave here,” Edin flashed her a wink. He paused when she spoke, his quirky smile melting away to a more serious expression. He leaned into the kiss, savoring it each time. It didn’t matter how many times they did this, he grew to love it each time. Edin smiled down at her, “I didn’t like walking away the first time,” He whispered back to her in quiet confession.
The Firrerreo wrapped a towel around his waist, following her out of the refresher and into the room. He couldn’t keep his eyes off her, and she certainly brought attention to herself with the playful sway of her tail. Edin grinned at her, “Only if I get to collect a fee while I do it,” He said as he began to assist her. She would notice he certainly took every opportunity to trace his touch along her skin or explore, his gestures always tender. Edin leaned in behind her, guiding feathery kisses along her shoulder. The entire exchange was slow and intimate, a far cry from where this all began. But he didn’t give it much thought because doing so would likely intimidate him.
The Firrerreo stepped away and dressed himself, packing his blasters discreetly beneath his jacket once more. He gave one last glance at their strange room, filing away the memories, and he stepped out. As promised, breakfast was waiting downstairs, but the woman from earlier was staring daggers at them.
Edin sat at a table, deciding to help himself to some free food. He heard an old Holotv that was mounted on a wall. Even now the coverage about the assassination was playing. The Firrerreo shifted a bit in his seat, glancing around to confirm no one else was nearby. He looked back at Amira, “So…did you still want to try for the evidence planting?” He asked quietly. Admittedly, he had forgotten about the bounty until now, “May have a limited window of opportunity since they’ve begun the investigation already.”
I didn't like walking away the first time. A quiet confession that meant more than she would admit. Eight words burned into her memory— a memory that she would undoubtedly call on time and time again.. This quiet little inn and the moments they had shared here together would fade into the distant past with every day that elapsed, but the Tiefling would never forget the vacant expression in Edin's eyes when she withdrew the towel from his messy hair or the way he ran his fingers through every dark strand.
She'd try to remember every little detail from the past twenty-four hours— the way he leaned into her kiss; that quirky, fanged smile of his; and the dumbstruck look on his face when he saw a clawfoot tub for the first time. Especially the light, feathery kisses he planted along her shoulders while he helped her get dressed— the kind of kisses that made her want to melt into his embrace and never move another muscle. Amira would even remember this ugly little room that had started to grow on her—the moss colored curtains, the roosters, and the black cat clock that hung on the wall.
Downstairs in the dining room, a breakfast fit for a king had been spread over an antique harvest table. Amira hadn't seen so much food since Bandomeer, and her stomach involuntarily grumbled at the sight. Thanks to Edin, she had quite the appetite this morning. Mismatched chairs had been pushed flush against the table to allow for more space. Guests crowded around the table ate quietly, a few of them talking amongst themselves over the sound of the television set. Some of them looked like they were regular boarders, while others appeared to be just as out of place as Edin and Amira.
It didn't help that the receptionist from last night was glowering at them from the head of the table, her fork cutting the same pattern through her scrambled eggs over and over. Amira slid into the chair next to Edin, dark fingers reaching for a mulberry muffin to whet her appetite. "Evidence?" she echoed his words, mouth full. Swallowing hard, she added in a hushed tone, the receptionist still watching their every move like a hawk, "Oh, yeah. The evidence. Definitely. I need the credits." That was the truth, and she was unwilling to admit that one night with Edin was all it took for the bounty to completely slip her mind. "Yesterday, in the speeder," she elaborated, yellow eyes darting between Edin and the receptionist, "Some of the guards told me that there's a unit of Republic soldiers here for some kind of joint training program or something. They were complaining about 'em, but I was thinking their presence on the planet is awfully convenient timing for us." Suddenly, and without any warning, the Tiefling threw her fork onto the table and turned on the receptionist at the head of the table. "What's your problem, lady?" she snapped with a sweeping arm gesture, fed up with the pair of beady little eyes that followed her every move. "Never seen a pair of horns before? Since you're so fascinated, I'll let ya see 'em up close and personal! In fact, I know right where you can put 'em!"@Sreeya
Edin listened to her explanation about the soldiers being present and the gears began to turn in his head. The Firrerreo continued eating in silence for a moment as he thought of potential plays they could make. He was shaken out of his thoughts when Amira snapped at the receptionist, his head turning to regard her. The receptionist made an involuntary squeak of terror and quickly disappeared from view. The Firrerreo turned to look at Amira, unable to help the chuckle that escaped him.
“So fiery, babe,” He said playfully as he teasingly reached his foot under the table to brush up against hers, sliding up along her calf but stopping short of going further. Edin gave her a wink as he reached for his drink and downed it. He rose from the table and walked over to check out but the receptionist was still missing. He had paid cash already. He looked around and shrugged, deciding it was one less paper trail to leave behind.
Edin stepped outside and hopped onto his speeder bike, waiting for Amira to get on behind him. He glanced over his shoulder, “Did your boyfriends mention where the soldiers are training by any chance?” The Firrerreo still hadn’t worked out a plan just yet, but he had a feeling they had more options with her Force abilities.
Several boarders looked up from their breakfasts, startled by the Tiefling's sudden outburst. One of them, mouth as full as a gorging chipmunk, shovelled a small quantity of pancakes into his shirt and darted for the front door. The others purposefully avoided eye contact, all of a sudden very interested in the weather outside or the contents of their plates. After a moment or two of silence, chatter and the occasion clatter of one dish against another commenced. Amira's piercing yellow gaze followed the receptionist through the doorway, half tempted to trip her through the force and watch her fall face first on that ugly rug in the reception hall.
Before she could, however, Edin stole her focus. Probably a good thing, too. The Firrerreo was running his foot along her calf, reminding her of the reason she had such a large appetite this morning all over again. As if blatantly teasing her wasn't enough to grab the Tiefling's full attention, he called her babe. Babe. Out loud.
As if it was the most casual word in the world—a word that he just threw around in every day conversation. Back on Takodana, he'd called her 'darlin' when he'd leveled that blaster over her shoulder and shot that criminal, but that meant nothing. Not to someone like him. She knew his type well enough to realize that this must have been out of character for him, but then again, he was full of all kinds of surprises. Maybe she didn't know his type at all. Maybe he was unlike anyone she'd ever met before.
"Did you just call me 'babe?" she questioned, latching on to the Firrerreo's hand so he couldn't escape. She was unable to hide the grin that had spread across her face, yellow eyes as bright and whimsical as a child's on Life Day morning. Outside, the Tiefling straddled his speederbike, this time snaking her arms around his waist and under his shirt. "They're not my boyfriends," she replied, her upturned face resting against his shoulder. Fingernails carefully dug into his skin, her breath warm against the side of his neck as she teased, "But maybe they should be. I'm not sure any one man could handle me."
As soon as the Firrerreo revved the engine, Amira would answer his question. "They mentioned Craggle Rock." A real imaginative name, but country folk called it like they saw it. "Said they were running some war games out there."@Sreeya
Edin simply coughed when she called him out on his use of the terminology. Truthfully, he was surprised at himself for using it. His interactions with Amira had been far more affectionate than his usual history of superficial flirting. He couldn’t place what it was or why it was like this with a Sith of all things - the boogeymen of the galaxy. The Firrerreo flashed her a grin as he felt her hand on his, “And if I did? Why does it get you all excited?” He flashed her a wink.
The Firrerreo was getting rather used to her holding him and he certainly enjoyed her leaning in against his neck. She would see his skin shift slightly in color as his Firrerreo characteristics betrayed him. The nails also elicited a deep rumble that almost sounded like a purr - something she would have heard at times the night before.
“Oh?” He quipped back, “Something tells me you don’t like sharing,” He said with a grin as he started up the speeder bike.
Edin wasn’t exactly familiar with Craggle Rock, but it was nothing he couldn’t pull up on his datapad. After a moment, they were on their way towards the training camp.
The camp in question was a very loosely structured fort. There was a low wooden barrier around the perimeter and soldiers could be seen marching or doing drills. Right away it was obvious some were Republic based on their uniforms. Edin discreetly parked somewhere in the distance.
“So what’s your plan?” He turned to regard her, “If we want to pin it on one of these guys, it needs to be believable he was away during the assassination. That means we find out which soldier isn’t here and is on some rotation and I can plant my rifle in his quarters,” It didn’t sound like a fully baked plan but it was better than nothing. He looked to her to see if she had any alternative or better ideas.
Notwithstanding his surname, Edin Frost was not the archetypal assassin you might expect from a man in his profession. Hitmen were cold and calculating, conditioned to subjugate their emotions rather than be ruled by them. Edin, however, was all smiles. There was another side to him, of course—the measured, nonchalant persona that could topple a Tognath with one shot and level an old-fashioned blaster at a Tiefling without blinking an eye. You didn't make it far in his line of work by smiling at your targets, although if any smile could potentially kill, it was that fanged grin of his.
"Who says I'm excited?" Amira challenged, nestling her face into his neck. The assassin might have been able to conceal all sentiment, however artificial or small, but the Firrerreo was bound to his nature. She smiled against his changing skin. "Seems to me you're the one that's excited. Just listen to that purr." And she wasn't talking about the engine. Craggle Rock lived up to its name—a rocky outcrop that jutted up from the dirt and jagged plains that surrounded it on every side. It was probably a popular site for teenage parties and illicit meetings once upon a time, before the military set up camp and started practicing new tactical maneuvers. The military outpost was situated beneath the outcropping—a crude, wooden military structure that had obviously been put together in a hurry. Tents had been pitched instead of barracks, and firepits had been constructed in lieu of a mess hall. Either the ambassador's anti-Republic sentiment had begun to spread and influence the visiting soldier's living conditions or the idea was to rough it.
"They've got to have a duty roster somewhere," Amira would respond, digesting the Firrerreo's plan. In theory, it was simple and uncomplicated. Just the sort of straightforward thinking Darth Roth would have encouraged but never would have actually employed. "All we need to do is sneak into the camp, locate the duty roster, and plant the rifle." Then convince one of the guards to search said soldier's belongings and sneak back out without being spotted.
The Tiefling's gaze drifted toward Craggle Rock. "Come on, babe," she grinned, tugging on the sleeve of his jacket. She wasn't going to let Edin live that one down anytime soon. @Sreeya