Some people believe that sleeping is the best medicine. And perhaps those people were correct. But is it really the best medicine when a nightmare repeats itself nonstop in a constant loop, shrouding you in its claws and leaving you with no way to escape?
The faint constant beeps first found her, tugging at the claws that held her captive. Then joined the murmurers and whisperers, beckoning to open those incredibly heavy eyes. To wiggle her toes, stretch her legs, and move her hands. They gave off a bright feeling, like a ray of sunlight piercing through a stormy sky, guiding the way back home. But then cold hands touched skin, skin that warmed up, glowing until it felt like it was smoldering. The voices and beeps became louder as the skin became unbearably hot. A scream, no, a beg for help, attempted to reach those whispers. But there was no sound.
They were right. Why try to fight those claws, when sleep was harmless compared to the flames?
Then a new sensation hit her, one that wasn't caused by her nightmares or her own body. It was a wave of sadness, frustration, and anger that washed over her like a pitch-black ocean, pulling her under and drowning her. It was vicious. However, after a new battle against the waves, a realization struck. These are the feelings of others. And recognition came soon after; it came from the same person who had brought hope not long before. But not all of them; some of the anguish and rage felt like electricity snaking through the air. And it belonged to somebody else.
That's why. Others were in pain as well. Plus, the beeping was getting obnoxiously loud and somebody had shut it up.
The half-Sephi groaned, finally gaining the strength to open her eyes. Which she quickly regretted thanks to the blinding light that shone into them. It took her a few seconds and a lot of heavy blinking to get used to that harsh light. But when she did, she was greeted by the sight of a medical bay. The source of the obnoxious beeping was the first thing she noticed, a monitor with wires connected to her chest. Egh.
Normally she was the nurse or the doctor, not the patient hooked up with hires and wrapped in a blanket like a fragile doll.
The medical droids had tried to insist that he needed to rest but he had been able to override them with some of the exceptions he knew were built into medical droids of that exact type. He knew what they were and he knew how to tell them to shut up and shut down without a single access hatch being required. In the end they were useful enough for that they were designed for so he left them running for the sake of Clove and Thelian.
Sat upright on the bed he had been given, leaning his back against the wall, Crix eyed the forms of both Thelian and Clove. Padawans dragged into combat above what they had been semi-trained for and asked to perform above and beyond the call of their station. He refused to rest half because of the nightmares he knew would be waiting for him and half because he wanted to watch over them.
Make sure he had made sure at least one of them got out of there. Clove... Clove had been brought back by civilians evacuating and that was the only reason she was back. He might have managed to drag Thelian out of there in the end but Clove was here because of the kindness of a stranger, not because her Jedi Master had anything to do with it.
It burned shamefully in his gut.
"Factory override Seven-Delta-Sixty-Two." he commanded the droid as it tried to approach him with a sedative, "Patient Crix Aran is to be given no sedatives. Begin procedure."
Sat as he was, the droid to his left hand side began to prepare and Crix tugged and tore at his robes to reveal his left shoulder. It was a torn, burned and ragged hole that had gotten progressively worse in the fight and it was needing surgery now. Surgery he would have done under local so he didn't need to rest, didn't need to take his eyes off of Thelian and Clove.
He leaned his head back against the wall.
"I know you're awake, Clove." he called out to her bed softly, "Is Thelian?"
The response from Thelian came was little more than a soft murmur, his hoarse voice barely audible before the shuffling of medical droids and the beeping of countless different monitors and machines. Nevertheless, it was a voice that cut in to answer Crix’s question before Clove had the opportunity.
The Echani had been awake for several minutes by now, silver eyes half-closed and staring up at the sterile white ceiling above. The ringing in his ears hadn’t quite faded by this point, and there was still a dull pain that radiated out from nearly every inch of his body.
He was positioned close to both the Master and apprentice, laying on a bed just to the left of Clove. His tattered and burnt tunic had been removed, and for the moment, there was multiple wires stuck to his chest just like the half-Sephi.
Unlike her, however, the Echani given the medical staff quite a bit of grief by tearing the damned things off half-a-hundred times since arriving at the medbay.
The skin on his chest and upper arms was marked by a spiderweb trail that fanned out across the surface, indicating where the lightning blast from Senin had struck. His left arm, having been broken after being thrown by Raze, was wrapped solidly in a cast that went just above the elbow. Luckily, the most gruesome of his injuries had long-since been addressed – surgery having been performed almost immediately upon entering the medbay. As such, His entire shoulder and arm were tightly wrapped in white gauze, masking the spot that had been operated on - where Aadya had carved her saber through flesh and muscle.
Unlike the two of them, Thelian’s mind purposefully didn’t linger on the battle behind them. He didn’t want to think about anything they had all just been through on Dantooine. He simply wanted to rest until the pain left him, and to push the entire experience behind him. He wanted to shove it into a dark corner of his mind where the thoughts and doubts could do him no harm.
He knew that wasn’t going to happen.
After several moments of silence, Thelian abruptly reached up with his right arm – gripping onto the railing of his hospital bed like a vice. Grunting under his breath, the Padawan attempted to pull his body upwards, adjusting where he was laying. He felt immediate pain lance through his shoulder, but he pressed on anyway – moving until he propped himself somewhat upright in his hospital bed.
The bed likely would've moved on its own with the simple push of a button, but Thelian was completely ignorant to any such details. Once adjusted, the Padawan turned his attention to the two Jedi infront of him – silver eyes flicking between the Zabrak and half-Sephi. He blinked a few times, chewing on the bottom of his lip before speaking.
“How did you get back?” He was very clearly talking to Clove.
Hearing Crix's voice say those words shouldn't have affected her, but it did because a flood of emotions washed over her at once.
The first emotion was pure happiness because it meant Crix was still alive. Clove had a feeling because of their bond, but having it confirmed was a completely different experience. He, like Thelian, made it through Dantooine. He had not died, and she was not alone. So Aadya had lied about something, at the very least. Aadya. As a result of her spectacular failures on Dantooine, her happiness was tainted by shame, shame and disappointment. And that shame transformed into an indescribable sadness she'd never felt before. One that crushed her chest and took away her breath.
All the half-Sephi wanted to do was jump out of bed, run towards Crix—or any other father figure for that matter—jump on his lap and hide against his chest, allowing the world to fade away. But she wouldn't. It didn't seem right to put that burden on Crix. Plus, even if she wanted, she's not going to be able to anyway. Any movement brought back the stinging pain in her skin.
Also, who the hell was Thelian?
A murmur answered her before she could ask. The half-Sephi tilted her head to the side, looking past her own body to the source of the voice. A boy with silver hair and matching silver eyes lay in a bed close to hers, looking as battered as she felt. Clove vaguely remembered him from a crowd where she noticed his silver hair sticking out like a sore thumb, and he stood alongside Crix before all hell broke loose.
There was silence following that. It was an odd relief for it allowed her to concentrate on something else. Because anything was preferable to bursting into tears, which would've happened for sure in a conversation. She used to be able to lose herself in a daydream, but now she couldn't close her eyes for more than a blink. She was terrified of seeing those hollow eyes again. So she did the next best thing: she lifted the blanket and looked over her own body for any wounds, bruises, bandages, or other signs of harm.
She couldn't see her legs clearly unless she sat up, which she didn't want to do right now. She did notice, however, that the majority of her skin was covered in a faint red glow that grew weaker as it got closer to her hands and feet. A strange spider web curved around her left breast, which she identified as the impact point of the lightning that had sent her flying. Her body was riddled with bruises and small cuts, the worst of which was on her arms and hands. Bandages were wrapped around her hands, particularly around her fingertips. There was also a lingering pain in the area of her throat, but she couldn't see what was wrong.
Thelian appeared to be lifting himself upwards and focusing his attention on her. Because she felt his gaze on her a moment before he asked her a question.
Well, now she couldn't avoid conversations.
"I... Don't—" It was nearly impossible to form words without stifling a cry of agony. Every word was slow and sounded fragmented, raspy and hoarse, and she gave up after the second word.
For a brief moment, the half-Sephi's hand reached for her throat, feeling the bruised skin. Memories flooded to the foreground, and she fought against a new wave of tears. No crying, not now. With a grunt, she decided she had to sit up after all, just as Thelian had done. Unlike him, she was well aware of the buttons on the bed, but she didn't want to embarrass him. So she began to hoist herself up into a sitting position, leaning on the side railing for support while fighting back any moan or groan.
When she came into view of Thelian, she made a motion towards her neck. Then she shrugged, as if to say "I have no idea how I got back." She paused for a moment before pointing to him with a questioning look in her large bloodshot eyes.
Those same questioning eyes then darted towards Crix. She didn't know what had happened to them or how they got home.
Crix wasn't sure how to feel about that, honestly, and that was a rather alarming thought. He had never hidden away from things that were uncomfortable but dealing with the fallout from Dantooine counted as just a little bit beyond simply uncomfortable. Both Padawans were scarred from the battle both mentally and physically and they likely would be for the rest of their lives.
He should probably do his best to give some kind of Jedi Master-y speech about how every failure, every setback, was just a launching pad to push themselves toward greater success! Maybe he should have but he doubted they were the right audience for such a speech and he was by far the worst possible teacher to give it. He ignored the tugging and pulling sensation of the droid working on his shoulder.
He could hear and feel that talking was difficult for Thelian and downright painful for Clove herself. They had been put through the wringer in a way that he simply hadn't, there was no denying it. That they had survived was equal parts commendable and incredible - it spoke well of them, even if none of the older Jedi could take credit for it. Taking a deep breath, Crix closed his eyes ever so slightly as she felt the words brushing against his mind.
"She doesn't know." he answered for Thelian, "Her throat is... damaged."
Crix swallowed thickly.
"Both of you... both of you are suffering from the aftereffects of Sith Lightning and far more damage besides." he spoke quiet, his own voice seemingly shifting to meet the mood, "Raze killed Hannibal."
Clove probably didn't even know who Hannibal was and he doubted that Thelian did either. Considering how well Raze had manipulated the words of the former Councillor, he doubted that either Padawan much cared for the man. Crix's own feelings were a maelstrom when it came to his former Master.
"We were dispatched after that with relative ease but we managed to make it to a ship and flew out. Clove I..." he closed his eyes again, "I felt that you were not there any longer but I didn't know what happened to you. I'm sorry... I failed you as a Master. And Thelian I failed you as someone who should have been there to help you."
He leaned back against the headboard.
"I can make excuses about my own fight or my lack of power compared to Raze but I won't. I failed you both and all I can say is that I am sorry. So sorry... I don't know what I expect you to say or do with that by the way. It just needed to be said."
Thelian asked his question of Clove, silent for a few moments while she answered. Truth be told, the Echani didn’t know the girl whatsoever, aside from the fact that she had been on Dantooine. Even her name had been something Thelian learned only after hearing Crix utter it. He arched a brow, watching as he struggled for a moment to respond.
It didn’t take him long to clearly note the bruises on her throat and the shrug of her shoulders, and Thelian didn’t really need any more elaboration beyond that. He gave the fellow Padawan a curt nod of his head and looked away – his attention gradually captured by Crix.
He blinked a few times as the Zabrak started speaking, going through the process of explaining what Thelian already knew. The Echani briefly glanced down to his bare torso, squinting slightly at the scars that had been left there. “I’ll live.” He declared flatly, almost dismissive of his own injuries.
And then the topic shifted to Hannibal. Almost at once, Thelian’s eyes narrowed slightly and his jaw set into place, silver eyes shifting to lock onto a blank spot on the wall. The Echani didn’t know Hannibal as a person, and now he never would, but he knew of the man. Thelian knew the name of the Jedi Master, and he had personally seen who engaged Raze during the battle.
It didn’t take Thelian more than a half-second to connect that Crix was talking about the idiot cracking jokes in the middle of the fight.The Zabrak Knight appeared to be choked up by the Jedi Master’s death. By comparison, Thelian was entirely unphased by the loss. "Yeah, I saw."
In no small part thanks to Raze, Thelian’s perception of the dead Jedi wasn’t exactly positive, and that wasn’t really a fact that could be corrected at this point. If anything, Thelian felt nothing but frustration for the Jedi Master. Frustration that the bastard had spent time cracking jokes like a moron, only to kill over at the worst possible moment. Not that he cared about Hannibal whatsoever, but Thelian was frustrated because that death resulted in their loss at Dantooine, and it was the reason they all bore some of the injuries that they did.
They had failed at Dantooine. And Thelian unequivocally blamed Hannibal for it.
Thelian was silent for a long while after that, seemingly not paying much attention to the exchange Crix and Clove. Instead, the Echani turned his attention to the tray of bland food that had been left at his bedside. Funnily enough, his jaw was one of the few parts of Thelian’s body that didn’t ache, and he just so happened to be starving. Wordlessly, the Padawan reached for small packet of saltine crackers, slowly starting to munch them down.
His attention only snapped back to the Zabrak when the man started apologizing to him. He couldn’t help but eye the man with an almost confused expression, blinking a few times. Crix claimed that he didn’t know what he expected them to say, and really, neither did Thelian. He still had mixed feelings about the man in general.
The influence of Raze had amplified the Echani’s doubts and worst emotions during the battle, honing in on the way that Crix had ignored him while extending all of that comfort and warmth to Clove. The entire experience had left Thelian with a desperate sense of longing, which gradually turned into nothing but bitterness that burrowed into his core. That simply wasn’t a feeling that the Echani could shake off overnight.
And yet, Crix had come back for him in the end.
Despite his doubts. Despite everything he might’ve assumed or felt for the Zabrak during the battle, Crix had shocked Thelian by taking the time to find him on the battlefield and drag him to safety. The sole reason he was alive at his precise moment was because of that act of kindness, and it was something the Echani still didn't quite understand. Stubbornly, Thelian had made it clear he didn’t want Crix’s help, going so far as to flatly reject it when the man tried to remove him from the battle the first time.
Thelian didn’t want the man’s help, and yet it had been there when he needed it most.
He was silent for a long while after that, his face almost impossible to read. Eventually, those silver eyes flicked away from Crix and focused back onto that particularly interesting section of the wall. “You don’t need to apologize.” Thelian finally spoke, his voice monotone and flat. “Shit happens.” Thelian chewed on the bottom of his lip, pausing for a brief moment before arriving at what he meant to say next.
“..And you drug my ass back to the ship, so..” He shrugged his good shoulder. That was probably about as close to a ‘thank you’ as Crix was going to get from the Padawan.
“Hannibal was the one who failed us.” He said bluntly. "He failed us. And we are here because of it."
Fortunately for her, Thelian noticed her gesture and curtly nodded, and Crix took over and said what she was thinking. Bonds were a unique experience. But, for the time being, it meant she didn't have to speak, which she didn't mind whatsoever.
Clove was well aware of the damage they had survived; it was clear on their bodies as well as in her own memories. But, as bad as the pain was, she wasn't concerned about the physical aspect. It'd heal, and scars are nothing more than the body's natural healing process. That sentiment was echoed by Thelian.
Then the topic shifted, and the mood changed as well. Crix sounded like just saying those words was a challenge in and of itself, and every emotion she felt as a result of their connection was a whirlwind of several at once. It explained the pain she felt coming from him before she had completely awoken.
It didn't take long for her to figure out Hannibal was the Jedi Master who fought alongside Crix and Thelian. That also made him the Jedi Master who had been joking and laughing about the pain and suffering she had to witness. And in all honesty, Clove didn't know how to feel about it. Her only memories of him were terrifying and his laughter had already begun to haunt her, making it difficult to care. But Crix's pain and loss were so clear, so sharp and drowning, that she couldn't help but feel sadness herself. Sadness for a man who indirectly caused these Padawans so much pain.
After a breather, Crix continued explaining the story; how he and Thelian lost their side of the fight not long after and flew away together.
That stung. A lot.
What, a random civilian or something, rescued her instead of the Jedi? It was enough to bring back Aadya's whispers in her mind. The Jedi had abandoned her.
But, no matter how painful it was, she couldn't bring herself to blame Crix. He did what he had to do; he fought until he has wounded himself and had to flee, and he tried to save anyone he could find along the way. He did the same thing he'd taught her to do: run the fuck away. And it was because of this that he was still alive. Thelian was as well. She would've been envious if Thelian hadn't been so battered, but he was, and she was grateful that Crix had managed to save at least him.
As a result, her pain and anger were focused on no one in particular. And that lack of a target made things even worse.
Thankfully, Thelian was able to say to Crix what she couldn't say audibly. Crix had done nothing wrong and had nothing to apologize for, and she truly believed it. That was until Thelian stated that Hannibal was the reason for their failure, which she did not agree with. Because, while Hannibal's laughter was a factor, the half-Sephi knew she was to blame for a large part of the failure. In terms of her own battle, at least. He hadn't given her any visions she couldn't deal with. He didn't fall back on an unsuccessful coping mechanism. He didn't slam a crate into the face of a child. He didn't take the full blast of a Force Lightning. She did, and he had nothing to do with it. She was simply too weak and too fragile.
If anything, Clove felt as if she was the one who had to apologize. For failing to fight and even failing to fulfill her one responsibility: protecting the civilians during the evacuation. Because innocent people had died.
Clove lowered her eyes and pulled the blanket higher up her body, even though she was seated, until it was covering her chin. If it started to fall down again, she'd damn well hold it in place. She wished to be hidden.
Thelian was talking about his former Master like he was some kind of villain, someone who had screwed them all over in the worst of ways. Someone that neither Thelian or Clove had ever actually had a good memory of - someone they could only attribute their shockingly terrible treatment to and nothing else. What was worse, for Crix, was that he did have those memories. He had memories of Hannibal doing things for him that had earned the man his respect and admiration a million times over. Hans had been the one to teach him and had been the one to bring his mother back.
They were right.
They were right because it hadn't been him who had harmed their chances and tormented them even now - it had been Hannibal. His Master had done what he always had done and it had been perverted, very easily, by their enemy. Then reinforced by the fact that the only person capable of countering such a masterful application of the Force didn't do a damned thing about it. Instead they had all been left to wallow.
Because Hans had let them all down.
Hans had let him down.
"I... you're right."
He breathed it out quietly, a sound that both of the Padawans would be able to hear loud and clear regardless of the actual volume used. Because it would resonate with them both just as it resonated with him. Despite how much he didn't want it to, it did and that stung deeper than he had expected.
"Hannibal could have done more and he didn't. He... he chose not to do more to shield you both and I..." he shook his head, "I'll never be able to forgive that. No matter who he was to me or what he did for me in the past, I can't ever begin to forgive that... that... negligence."
What could he do?
"All I can do is be better than him. Shield you both like I wanted to on Dantooine but couldn't manage. So lets see if I can't help you more now." he closed his eyes for a moment, "We've all come out the other side of this with anger but we're Jedi. Got to work past that and the way we do that is we draw it out like the poison that it is - Thelian, Clove. Tell me what made you the angriest during the fight. What still makes you angry even now."
He couldn't help either of them during the fight as much as he wanted to and he couldn't help either of them anywhere near as much as they deserved in escaping it. But Crix would be damned if he would sit here in a hospital bed and not at least try to help them with the aftermath.
Thelian was silent for a long while after he spoke. The Echani had said what he meant to say and quite frankly would’ve been happy to leave it at that – to change the topic to literally anything else. He simply didn’t enjoy dwelling on the things that caused him pain, andthis topic just to happened to be one of those things.
As such, the Echani returned to staring off into space after he finish speaking, seemingly giving more attention to the packet of crackers he was munching than to either of his peers. While he didn’t make any indication that he was listening, the Echani was fully aware of everything that Crix said.
He couldn’t help but be slightly surprised by the words – fully expecting to hear the Zabrak start posthumously stroking Hannibal’s ego, and potential berate him for his harsh comments. Thelian was fully prepared to fire back in any such event, but instead kept his mouth shut for the time being – listening as Crix tried to
He blinked a few times. “What made me angry?” Thelian finally spoke, breaking his silence by muttering. He squinted at the wall for a moment before turning his attention back to Crix and Clove, silver eyes flicking between them. “Alright.” The Echani tossed the packet of crackers back onto the tray and forced himself to sit up a bit more in the bed. He crossed his arms over his chest.
“Why am I angry? I’m angry because we fuckin’ lost.” He declared flatly, a bit of venom lacing his words. “We lost Dantooine. Civilians died because we lost. Jedi died because we lost. And the reason we lost? Is not because we were weaker or less prepared, but because of repeated fuck-ups on our own side that cost us everything."
“I’m angry because the only Jedi Master on the field, the guy that everyone in this room ‘ought to look to as some kind..” He raised his arms dramatic, “Shining, paragon of an example, acted like a complete and utter moron during the fight. He spent more time cracking jokes about our enemies, making dramatic speeches, and giving half-assed rallying cries than actually getting shit done.”
He shook his head. “Worst of all, he proceeded to get himself killed and thus put both mine,” He pointed at Crix, “And your life in harms way. Fuck only know why that Sith Lord didn’t bash us against a boulder right then and there, but it certainly wasn’t because of anything our glorious Jedi Master did.”
His attention then flicked over to Clove, regarding the half-Sephi. “I’m angry because when I assumed you were going to actually engaged that Firrerreo Sith like an enemy, you proceeded make comments about her hair like you were meeting your bestie at the salon.” There wasn’t much from Clove’s fight that Thelian actually caught sight of, but that comment was one. “I don’t actually know what happened to you after that, but apparently you dropped off the face of Dantooine after that and let that Acolyte get away with limbs still attached.”
He tilted his head back, looking away from Clove. “You dropped the ball, and I nearly got turned into an Induparan Shish-kebab having to deal with that bitch.”
Thelian then turned his attention to Crix. “I'm angry at you for spending more time trying to comfort her rather than teaching her how to handle her shit on the battlefield." He shrugged his shoulder. "Other than that, I honestly don’t have much to be angry at you for, considering you actually dealt with the fucker who may as well have been your evil twin. Except you didn’t actually finish the job, and so while we’re running with our tails tucked between our legs, he’s still breathing.”
The Echani snapped his gaze back to that blank spot on the wall, exhaling sharply through his nose. “That’s it, really. Poison drawn out.” He then proceeded to snatch up the packet of crackers on the tray, glaring daggers at the wall as he shoved them into his mouth one by one.
Crix's words surprised her as well, but that was because she hadn't realized the implications of Hannibal's position on the battlefield until her Master explained it to her. Hannibal had the ability to protect them but chose not to. And it hurt.
The silence that followed Crix's words was deafening and unsettling. As if nobody dared to reply back to him. That is, until Crix asked about their anger.
What exactly was she angry about? Obviously, a lot of things, but what specifically? But she couldn't think about it because the silver-eyed boy stared at both of them, venom dripping from his eyes and his words. He was directing a wave of rage at Hannibal, one that she could understand with her new perspective. But then the venom turned personal, and Thelian locked his gaze on her.
He was blaming her for attempting to use Form Zero before the fight had even begun, which was ridiculous. Unless there is no other option, a Jedi should always try to diffuse the situation before grabbing a lightsaber.
But then he revealed new information, a new blame she was unaware of; after crawling away, the Sith woman returned to the group and instead fought Thelian. While anger and shame bubbled through her body and flared her nostrils, blood began to crawl to her cheeks, forcing them to become a combination of purple and pink hues.
"You—" not even all her anger could have made her vocal cords work, and all that came out was a rough husky mutter. Great.
Clove's bloodshot eyes darted around the tray next to her bed, where she noticed a few of her personal belongings from her leather bag were lying. Her datapad was one of them. Bingo. She leaned towards the tray and grasped the datapad, ignoring the stinging pain in her fingertips that followed. She turned on the device and began tapping on it with whichever finger hurt the least. Soon after, a mechanical voice read out the words.
"I was trying to stall her as long as possible because we were surrounded by evacuating civilians. Fighting while surrounded by innocent people is completely irresponsible and should be avoided. And, while I have no idea what happened after that, I was successful in delaying the Sith until the evacuation ships flew away."
Why was she proving herself to a stranger? A boy who hadn't even seen what happened and judged solely on the basis of a sentence? He admitted that he had no idea what happened after that, so why was he judging in the first place? Wasn't he, of all people, supposed to understand and relate to her? She was unable to stop herself. Her fingers danced across the data-pad as if they were living their own lives.
"And I'm very sorry Crix didn't prepare me for seeing so many bloodied corpses. And, for that matter, Crix has taught me a lot, and if it hadn't been for his teachings, I would have died. All of the civilians who escaped would have died. And I'm truly sorry that that Sith lady came to you afterward. But I did my best to buy as much time as I kriffing could for all of you and the civilians."
There was still Crix's question she had to answer.
Her body turned slightly towards Crix's location, and her eyes lingered over him for a moment before she got back to using that annoying mono-tone mechanical voice.
"I'm angry that no one thought to look to see if there was a Sith flanking the civilians. I'm angry that the only person who could have protected us from Raze's powers chose to laugh instead, leaving us with these terrifying images. I'm angry that, aside from the hope and comfort provided through our bond, I was left on my own and abandoned by the Jedi. Not only during the fight, but also afterwards. 'Hey Clove, I'm sorry to inform you that if it hadn't been for some civilian, you would've died there!' and I can't even blame anyone because you all did what you had to do, it's my own fault."
More and more blood flushed to her cheeks, eventually spreading to her forehead and nose. Sure, she was upset about all of these things. None of them, however, came close to addressing the true source of her shame and anger, the true reason why Thelian's judging words made her feel so deeply insecure.
"I'm angry that I wasn't strong enough to hit that stupid Sith even once, and that she endangering Thelian after because, oh no, 'scary visions!' And I'm furious because I accidentally killed a child."
Clove hunched forward, her shoulder slumped. "That is all." She let go of the datapad and dropped it on top of her thighs while lowering her head. She didn't want to see or, to be honest, even hear anyone. The desire to lock herself away and hide where no one could see her was the only thought left on the foreground now that the anger had simmered and allowed the shame to grow stronger and stronger.
It always sounded counter productive to some people that to be a Jedi meant that, sometimes, you needed to have a big vent. Venting anger was never a fun experience for anyone involved but it was something that he very much believed was required. Was it something that the more old school Jedi would approve of? Probably not but they thought that bottling up all of your anger inside was the best way to stop yourself from falling to the Dark Side so Crix wasn't really a fan of that kind of method. Instead it was time to air some grievances.
And boy... did the air turn thick quick.
The Knight waved away the medical droid as it finished up the stitches on the wound to his shoulder for now. He shrugged his robes back on with a slightly wince but otherwise didn't react other than sitting up slightly straighter as both Thelian and Clove started to vent. Crix nodded to Thelian at the point about Hans putting both of their lives in danger because, well, good point well made really. His own teaching was brought into question and, despite his own beliefs on the value of Clove's training, he could accept why Thelian was angry about it, why he was angry at him for it.
And then Clove unloaded with mechanical assistance.
There was a lot to unpack there and none of it was any less valid than the anger that Thelian had come out with. The whole point wasn't about who was right to be angry and who wasn't anyway - it was the fact that they were angry in the first place that was important. One thing that he noticed was that although both of the Padawans were angry, particularly at each other, they both recognized what he was trying to do here.
"That anger you feel ain't gonna go away easy." he told them both bluntly, "No Jedi ever did anything worthwhile in the Galaxy without getting some anger in them. And before either of you start jumping down the other's necks about how they other shouldn't be angry about something, I'll tell you now - it doesn't matter if you agree on why you're angry."
He alternated between looking at them both.
"It doesn't matter if you don't like that the other one is angry or that you don't like that you're angry yourself. Because it's there now." he patted his own chest, "I've got some. Alex has got some. We've all got some and now you do too - the thing that makes us Jedi is what you're actually gonna do with it."
Crix pushed himself up out of the bed he had been sat down on, ignoring how the medical droid hovered like it expected him to fall over any second. Instead he moved away from it and pointed at Clove.
"Are you going to let yours sit you in a corner when you know some of it is right? Learn from it. Accept that it makes some damned good points and I'll do everything I can to ensure that next time you're in a fight? You've got what it takes to cut them down." he looked her in the eyes, "The difference between us and the old Jedi who failed is that we don't block it out. We learn from it - but we don't let it take the wheel like the Sith do."
Thelian wasn't his Padawan... he shouldn't really have much place telling Thelian what to do. But he was Crix Aran. Doing things that he really had no business doing had been his MO since before he was actually a Padawan and he wasn't about to stop now. He tugged on Thelian's Padawan braid with the Force.
"You saw a lot of flaws in Jedi Masters and Knights. Saw flaws in Hannibal, in Clove, in me and in yourself - all in crystal clear focus because you got angry about it." he patted his chest, "I'm gonna learn from those flaws that you pointed out. I'm going to make sure that I get that same level of power and respect that Hannibal had and I'm going to use it to make sure that next time? I can do more than just reach out and touch one of your minds; I'm going to be the shield that stop Raze's bullshit as dead as I will one day make him. What are you going to do, Thelian? Are you going to stew in how it made you feel or are you going to use what it showed you to make sure you're never in that position again? To be better than you or I or anyone else was that day? Because if you're going to take those steps I'll be right behind you to kick you up the ass when you slow down."
Taking a deep breath, Crix eyed the lightning scarring on both of them before snapping at the medical droid.
"Droid... fetch the tattoo gun from Hannibal Grayza's ship. None of us can hide from Dantooine, only learn from it, so let's make sure we remember it forever."
Putting his words into action and beginning to listen the anger was a whole different beast, because it meant accepting that the horror she had faced was real. And it was a very painful thing to do. She couldn't deny, however, that he was correct. The anger was a part of it all, and they had to deal with it naturally rather than locking it away.
With it came the sour admission that it didn't matter whether Thelian was angry with her or not. Even if what he was saying was incorrect, he had the right to be angry. And, while she still felt betrayed by his unwillingness to relate to her, he was also going through his own pain and trauma. And holding that against him wasn't very fair.
Didn't make him any less of a dick though.
While chewing on the inside of her cheek and a slight raise of her head, Clove grabbed her datapad off her thighs and began to tap on the screen. "Crix is right." Why did it pronounce Crix so weirdly? "I'm sorry Thelian. I'll try to learn from my flaws."
"And Crix. I'd like that, the preparing for a next fight bit." Because, as much as she didn't want to accept what had happened, she could accept one thing: she needed raining. She needed to improve so that she could deal with Sith the next time they surprised her. It wasn't even about winning; it was about ensuring that her enemies didn't burden any other Jedi. That would be a good place to start.
Her Master's gaze swept over both Padawan's lightning scars before mentioning a tattoo gun and talking about remembering Dantooine forever.
As much as she didn't want to remember, getting a tattoo might not be such a bad idea. It's not as if she could deny what happened. The scar on her chest served as a constant reminder to begin with. So perhaps a tattoo would help, or at the very least jumpstart her acceptance process.