Note to Qui-Gon fans though, this story is in cannon with the
JA books and so Master Jinn is not in the picture yet and this
is an Obi-Only story.
Don't worry though, I'm working on a sort-of-sequel and that will
have Qui-Gon in it! :D
Stormy blue-green eyes gazed out from under a close- cut crown of downy ginger hair. Small arms were folded tightly beneath a heavy frown and little legs that could not reach the floor swung back and forth, kicking the rungs of the chair he sat upon.
The child watched the two arguing adults with obvious disapproval.
"This is great Cyndi, just great! What in the hell were you thinking?" the Miith'yn man raged at his younger human companion, balling his hands threateningly.
The teenage girl flinched as if expecting to be struck but did not back down. "Shut up Z'ior," she snapped, her green eyes hard and determined. "And watch your language in front of the kid. Look, Nah'boor didn't say the kid was one of those Jedi brats, I didn't know until I snagged him. All I was told was where and when, and you sure seemed anxious enough to take the Lords' money when they offered us the job!" Cyndi flung back at her boyfriend.
She kept herself from pointing out that she had been against taking the job offer from the highly criminal, highly dangerous spice-syndicate called the "Midnight Lords" in the first place. Getting mixed up with gangs like theirs could be very profitable, but it could also be very deadly.
"What's done, is done, so we're just going to have to make the best of it," the pretty, young redhead sighed at last.
"But to kidnap a Jedi... we'll have Knights crawling all over this place!" Z'ior shook his head. Miith'yn's looked mostly human, except for their patterned orange skin. At twenty-one, he was five years Cyndi's senior.
"Not if we're careful," Cyndi countered. "He was alone; nobody knows what happened, for all they know he wandered out of the play area on his own. And we've only got to hold him until Nah'boor picks him up anyway," the girl glanced at the pouting three-year-old seated on the chair watching them and decided that that was a good thing, the child looked like he could be quite a handful.
"I not go with N'boor," Obi-Wan interjected decidedly, having paid close attention to everything the adults had said. "I go home. Mast'a Embry gonna be really upset with you when she finds out you made me leave the playground. She told me to stay. You'll be in big trouble," the little boy warned. Deciding he had stayed here long enough, and he was going back to the Temple right now, Obi-Wan slid down off the big chair.
Z'ior grabbed the child by the scruff of his shirt, picking Obi-Wan up and roughly depositing the little Initiate back in the chair. "Sit still and shut up brat," he snarled. "You're gonna stay right here until we tell you otherwise, got it?"
Obi-Wan's sensitive spirit recoiled at the unfamiliar affront that the man's anger presented to his tender senses. Momentarily cowed, Obi-Wan nodded sullenly and settled back into the chair.
Cyndi rolled her eyes. "You've got such a way with children Z'ior," she said dryly, surprised that the tyke didn't burst into tears over her companion's harsh handling.
"I don't like the little brat. He's trouble, this whole thing is trouble!" the Miith'yn said irritably.
"I'll agree with you there," Cyndi nodded, a touch of the I-told-you-so that she was keeping under control sneaking into her voice. She was no less displeased than Z'ior to learn that they had just become the kidnappers of a tiny Jedi Initiate, but what were they supposed to do? Put him back? She'd be caught in five minutes, and besides, the Lords would kill them, probably literally. "What do the Lords want with the kid anyway?" she wondered aloud.
"Got me," Z'ior shrugged indifferently, wondering the same thing. "All Nah'boor said was something about having some questions for him. What he hopes to learn from a baby like that is beyond me."
Obi-Wan didn't really know what was wanted of him either, but his small frown deepened. More people wanted to ask him questions? He'd just gotten through answering a ton of questions. Why did everyone seem so interested in him suddenly?
This day had started out looking quite exciting for the tiny Jedi Initiate. Being released from the crèche for any reason was cause for great excitement to the child, and when he learned he was to accompany Master Della Embry out into the city he quickly became the envy of all his friends.
Master Embry was tall and pretty with blue eyes and black hair. She had taken him lunch and talked gently with him. Then she took him to the Security force station and held him on her lap while a large man in a blue uniform with a shiny badge on his shirt asked the young Initiate many questions. The officer let the child play with the badge as he gently coaxed Obi-Wan to remember something that had happened a few days before...
Obi-Wan was puzzled, he didn't understand the questions they had asked him, or rather, he had understood the questions, he had simply not understood the reason behind them.
Still, he had answered as best he could, and the officer seemed happy. Master Embry had been pleased too, and told him that they would go out together again in a few weeks to - to... the child struggled with the unfamiliar word... tes- tisti- testify, that was it.
Obi-Wan wasn't really sure what that meant, but it seemed to mean going out with Master Embry again, so it sounded good to him. Master Embry had a few more things to say to the officer, but they wanted to speak alone, so she let Obi-Wan run off to play in the station's large play area not too far away.
At first he had played with two little bothan children, chasing each other around through the colorful tubes and slides and romping through the clear cages of fist-sized multi-color balls. Obi-Wan enjoyed that. He would use bursts of the energy that he could not yet control, what the Masters at the Temple called the Force, to fling handfuls of the balls up in the air so they rained down on the children like harmless, rainbow hail.
The other children's parents came for them and Obi-Wan was left to play alone. Then... then he couldn't quite remember what happened. He remembered Cyndi; she had met him at the bottom of one of the slides. There was a small bottle in her hand that that she sprayed in his face. For a moment, he thought it smelled kind of sweet, like some of the purple and orange flowers that blossomed in the Temple gardens, then he didn't remember anything else until he woke up in the girl's arms on their way here.
"I wanna go home!" Obi-Wan stayed on the chair, but started kicking the lower rungs violently with his small heels. "I wanna go home, I wanna go home!" he chanted, not quite whining, but very near.
"I said SHUT UP!" Z'ior snapped, rounding on the child and slapping him in irritated, anxious annoyance.
Obi-Wan clamed up immediately, his small eyes going very wide. Nobody had ever struck him in anger before, not in his entire life. Tears welled up in his innocent turquoise eyes, but he struggled not to let them fall.
"Don't do that Z'ior!" Cyndi reprimanded. "He's just a baby."
"Not a baby," Obi-Wan huffed, his tiny chin trembling as he tried to fold himself into the smallest bundle possible, pulling his knees up to his chest and clasping his tiny arms around them protectively.
"'Course you're not," the teenage girl soothed gently, running a hand over the little Jedi's downy head. "You're a big boy, right?" she smiled at him. "Don't worry, it's okay, we're not going to hurt you," she said, casting a pointed glare at Z'ior.
Obi-Wan peeped at her over his knees. His glistening eyes were... not afraid, no, she did not see the fear that she would expect in one so young, but his eyes were confused and hurt as if the child could not comprehend what was going on and why he had been ripped out of his safe, secure world and brought here.
Cyndi's young heart went out to the child. "Hey there, it's okay," she tried again to offer comfort, laying her hand on his arm. "My name's Cyndi, what's yours?"
Obi-Wan did not answer, but pressed his lips together stubbornly and pulled further back into the chair.
The child was not angry, but she could tell right away that he had a stubborn streak a kilometer long.
Z'ior just rolled his eyes and threw up his hands. "He's a little brat Cyndi, just let him be."
Cyndi ignored her acidic companion and continued trying to coax Obi-Wan's name out of him. "I want to be your friend," she coerced.
"You took me away," Obi-Wan stated accusingly.
Cyndi shrugged. She couldn't argue that one. "Okay kid, don't tell me your name, but I can't keep calling you 'kid'." For a moment, the sixteen-year-old gazed thoughtfully into Obi-Wan's turbulent eyes. One moment, the child's large eyes looked blue, the next, they looked green.
"Boy, you're a real storm cloud," she shook her head. "Well Stormy, I guess that's what I'll call you until you want to give me something else that you go by." Cyndi waited for a few moments, but the Initiate obviously seemed to consider it too much of a confidence to give his name away to these people who had taken him away without permission and refused to let him go back.
"I hungry," Obi-Wan said petulantly, his face still half-hidden behind his knees.
"Okay Stormy, let's go get you something to eat," Cyndi took his hand and half led, half dragged him out of the chair towards the apartment's small kitchen area.
Z'ior flopped down on the couch to watch holo-flicks while Cyndi tossed a couple of quick-meals in the cooker.
She sat Obi-Wan down with a bowl of soup and a sandwich, but upon tasting the soup Obi-Wan declared that it was too hot and acted as if she had intentionally tried to burn his mouth out. Cyndi tried to keep her patience and tossed a few ice-cubes in his bowl, stirring until they dissolved. She spooned a bite into Obi-Wan's mouth only to have it come right back out again with a disgusted exclamation from the little boy.
"Too cold!" Obi-Wan protested.
Cyndi made a face and swept the bowl away again. "Okay Stormy, I'm gonna heat it up one last time and you'd better not say it's too hot again," she warned, putting the bowl back in the cooker.
Placing it in front of Obi-Wan once more she dropped his spoon back into it. "Eat," she instructed.
Obi-Wan pushed himself back from the table. "Not hungry," he declared. The little Jedi was intentionally being difficult.
Cyndi leveled the little boy with a withering glare. Picking him up and carrying him over to the couch she shoved Z'ior's feet off one end and plopped the child down, placing his soup in front of him on a fold-out table.
"Okay kid, now watch the holo and eat your food like a good little-" Cyndi stopped, noticing what Z'ior was watching.
Clapping her hand over Obi-Wan's eyes she scowled at her boyfriend. "Z'ior, he can't watch this! Put something else on."
Z'ior muttered obscenities under his breath as Cyndi changed the holo to something a little more kid-friendly.
An hour later, Obi-Wan's soup was cold again. Finally, Cyndi had to hand feed the tot to get him to eat.
Afterward, Z'ior made fun of her while she tossed the dishes in the cleaning unit. "Well, that's one thing I never expected to see Cyndi, you making spaceship sounds while spoon-feeding a little brat. You reaching an age when your human maternal instincts kick in or something?" he mocked.
Cyndi rolled her eyes. "Look, we gotta take care of him until we give him to Nah'boor, so give it a rest."
"Speaking of which," Z'ior said, glancing at his chrono, "It's almost time for you to meet his rep down by the space dock. Let him know we have the kid, but he's hot, we don't want to hold him long, got it?"
Cyndi nodded. "Right, I'll be back in a bit. Put Stormy to bed as soon as the show's over okay?"
It was Z'ior's turn to roll his eyes. "Geez Cyndi, I ain't no stupid babysitter!"
Cyndi ignored him and headed for the door.
Obi-Wan looked up when he heard the door close.
"Where Cyn'i?" he asked, slowly nursing the cup of bright blue bubbly the person in question had given him earlier.
"Out," Z'ior said, flopping down on the couch again. "So don't you give me any trouble brat, 'cause I ain't as patient as she is."
Obi-Wan was silent.
Z'ior flipped through the holo channels, looking for something he wanted to watch.
"More please," Obi-Wan said, waving his empty glass. Z'ior ignored him.
Obi-Wan poked the man in the arm. "I thirsty, more please."
"Yeah, yeah, in a minute," Z'ior waved him off. Obi- Wan waited for several minutes.
"More please," he patted Z'ior's arm, trying again to get the older being's attention.
"Oh, go get it yourself," Z'ior said irritably.
Sliding off the couch, Obi-Wan went in to the kitchen to do as his captor suggested, only to find that the cold- keep's handle was too high for him to reach. "I can' reach it," he called.
"Leave me alone!" came the irritated response from the next room.
Pulling a tall stool out from under the counter, Obi- Wan clambered up onto it. Kneeling on the seat of the backless stool enabled the little boy to reach the cold- keep handle.
Once open however, he found that the pitcher of bubbly was on the top shelf, still out of his reach. Standing upright on the stool, he reached for it, grasping the pitcher firmly in both of his little hands. The stool wobbled underneath him.
Now that he had the pitcher, Obi-Wan was suddenly at a loss for how to get down from his lofty perch without using his hands. Taking a step backward he tried to find the top rung of the stool with his right foot. However, as soon as he shifted his weight onto the back of the stool it tilted abruptly, falling and spilling the little Jedi and the contents of the pitcher he was holding all over the kitchen floor. Obi-Wan hit his head on the floor and started crying.
Z'ior came in to see what had caused the loud crash. Swearing loudly at the mess all over the floor he hauled the crying three-year-old up by one arm. "You okay brat?" he snapped dispassionately. "Well, you'd better be, 'cause you're worth too much to me to lose yet."
"I-I fell," Obi-Wan said, his little voice quavering.
"Yeah, I can see that," Z'ior said, making a face at the kitchen floor which was now awash in blue bubbly. "Serves you right for being so dumb, now clean up this mess." He thrust a roll of absorbency sheets towards the child as if the three-year-old was supposed to know what to do with them.
Obi-Wan stared blankly and started to wander out of the kitchen.
"Oh no you don't," Z'ior stopped him. "You're gonna clean this up, so get to it," the Miith'yn ordered.
"Don' wanna," Obi-Wan folded his arms in a pout. He did not like Z'ior at all.
Z'ior slapped him, hard. "Don't talk back to me brat! Do as I say!"
Obi-Wan stumbled backward. Sitting down abruptly on the floor amid the spilled bubbly, he started crying again.
"Shut up!" Z'ior shouted, his temper beginning to run dangerously high. "Clean it up!"
"No! I wanna go home!" Obi-Wan cried. "It's not nice ta hit people! You're not nice, I don't like you!"
"You're breaking my heart," Z'ior mocked harshly.
Getting up, Obi-Wan tried to dash past Z'ior and out the kitchen doorway but the Miith'yn snagged the little human by the back of his shirt, swinging him helplessly up into the air.
Obi-Wan kicked and struggled. "Le' me go! I gonna tell the Masters and you be in big trouble! Le' me go!" Obi-Wan was nearly screaming.
Z'ior clapped his hand over the boy's mouth, trying to muffle him. He succeeded, but he also ended up inadvertently covering the child's nose and blocking the little Jedi's ability to breathe.
Struggling desperately, Obi-Wan grabbed the hand that was suffocating him and bit down hard on Z'ior's index finger to make him let go.
Z'ior howled in pain and jerked his hand away.
"Little brat!" he shouted, shaking Obi-Wan roughly and dragging him into the living room. "I'll teach you to bite me!" he threatened angrily, pulling off his belt and yanking the little Jedi across his knees.
It was dark outside by the time Cyndi returned to the dingy little apartment that she and her Miith'yn boyfriend shared.
Z'ior was stretched out on the couch again, watching porno-vids. "Hey, Cyndi, what's the word? When can we dump the brat?" he called to her, taking another swig from the bottle he was drinking out of.
"Tomorrow morning, behind the old warehouse," she answered, heading for the bedroom. Several empty bottles like the one Z'ior was now holding were scattered beside the couch so Cyndi knew it would be best to keep quiet and leave the older man alone as much as possible. Z'ior could be down right nasty when he'd been drinking.
The Miith'yn would be pleased to see the credits their contact had given her, but she knew from experience that it was unwise to interrupt Z'ior in the middle of one of his 'vids when he was drunk, even for good news.
Cyndi didn't notice the tiny, huddled shape in the corner until she almost tripped over him.
Obi-Wan sat with his arms curled around his knees, his shoulders hunched as he faced the corner.
"Stormy!" she said in surprise, kneeling down by him. "You should be in bed, what are you doing over here?" she asked, turning the child towards her.
Obi-Wan's small face was streaked with tears. "Z-Z'or tol' me ta stay h-here," he cried softly.
"How long ago?" Cyndi asked gently, wiping the tears from under his red-rimmed eyes.
"I-I don' know. A long time," Obi-Wan sniffled. It seemed like years, especially in his current condition, but after what Z'ior had done to him, the child was not about to risk incurring the irate Miith'yn's wrath again by disobeying.
Cyndi cast a caustic look in Z'ior's direction, but the Miith'yn was engrossed in his holo and was not paying the slightest bit of attention to either of them.
Scooping the little boy up in her arms, Cyndi carried him into the bedroom. Pulling back the covers, she laid the child on his back and reached for the fastenings of his little tunic.
Obi-Wan whimpered at being laid on his sore backside and rolled onto his stomach.
Cyndi, not knowing what was wrong, rolled him back over so she could reach his tunic ties. "Hold still Stormy, you've gotta get ready for bed."
Obi-Wan obeyed, but tears of pain spilled down the sides of his small face, wetting the pillow. "H-Hurts," he sobbed in a small voice, his breathing hiccupy.
Cyndi looked concerned. "Hurts where Stormy? What hurts?"
"M-my bottom and back," the child breathed between sobs, trying desperately to be brave. "I' stings."
Cyndi's eyebrows knit together as she gently rolled Obi-Wan onto his stomach, pulling his tunic up and pushing his little pants down to get a look the problem area. The teenager clenched her jaw when she got a look at reddened flesh that spanned the area from the little Jedi's mid-back down to his thighs. "Z'ior do this to you?" she asked sadly, placing one hand gently on the child's sore, flaming lower back.
Obi-Wan nodded into the pillow, still crying and hiccuping softly. "Uh, huh. I-I spilt th' juice an'-an' bit his fin'r. I sorry Cyn'i! I-I know I not s'posed ta bite..."
"Shh, shh," she soothed, rubbing his uninjured, upper back gently. "It's not your fault Stormy. It - it's just the way Z'ior is." Cyndi spoke from personal experience.
"N-not right ta hurt people," Obi-Wan cried as Cyndi eased him out of his tunic and spread a clear ointment on his sore back and bottom.
Obi-Wan squirmed and bit his lower lip, but held still for her. Cyndi thought he was quite brave for his age. Gently pulling the little Jedi's pants and undies back up, the young woman shook her head. "I guess that's true, but unfortunately not all of life is right little one," Cyndi's voice was sad. She wanted to flatten Z'ior for spanking Obi-Wan so badly, but she couldn't stop him from doing it any more than she could stop the Miith'yn from beating up on her when he felt like it.
"I'm sorry he hurt you, I'll try not to let it happen again, okay?" she apologized gently.
"'kay," Obi-Wan sniffled. "Cyn'i?"
"I-I wanna go home Cyn'i! Please, please take me home!" Obi-Wan pleaded, turning small, tear-filled eyes towards her.
Cyndi felt her heart wrench. Who could resist the tearful plea in those innocent eyes? "I can't Stormy," she said sadly. "It's too late for that."
Obi-Wan turned his face into the pillow, his tiny shoulders shaking with sobs.
"Oh, Stormy," she cried miserably, "Don't be that way! I would take you back if I could, but - but it's not up to me."
Obi-Wan continued to cry.
"Look, nothing bad's gonna happen. There's this guy, Nah'boor, and he just wants to ask you some questions, and then you'll be going home, okay?" Cyndi lied to him, lied to herself. She didn't really know what Nah'boor's plans were.
Obi-Wan did not answer, so the teenager tucked him in and got up.
"Cyn'i?" Obi-Wan's tiny, tousled head popped up urgently. "Don' go Cyn'i! Stay wi' me," he begged. "Please?"
Cyndi's heart melted. "Okay Stormy, I'll stay with you, but just 'til you fall asleep, okay?
"'kay," the child agreed, scooting over to make room for Cyndi on the bed beside him.
Cyndi lay down partially on top, partially under the covers and Obi-Wan snuggled up to her, resting his head against the girl's shoulder.
Cyndi only meant to stay until Obi-Wan was asleep, but soon, she ended up dozing off as well.
It was morning when Cyndi woke up but the sound of the holo-vid still going in the other room told her that Z'ior must have fallen asleep on the couch as he often did.
During the night, Obi-Wan had worked his way over until now, instead of lying beside her, he was lying on top of her. His little head rested on her breast, rising and falling gently as she breathed. The young Initiate's sturdy little body was light, but very warm as he lay with his tummy to hers and she could feel his peaceful breathing as his tiny chest rose and fell against her ribs. placed her hand gently on the side of Obi-Wan's small head. His downy ginger hair felt like glimmer-silk beneath her fingers. Obi-Wan's little hand, cradled in her armpit, twitched gently in response to her touch, but he did not awaken. The child was so tiny, so perfect and fragile looking...
Cyndi's heart ached strangely and she wondered if Z'ior were right. Maybe it was her maternal instincts that were making her feel this way. She had never felt a love so pure as this before, never even imagined something like it existed. Lying here, with the child like this, made her feel so right.
She thought that for the first time she understood what it felt like to be a mother, or at least, a big sister. This little being that was sleeping so gently on her stomach looked to her with wide-eyed acceptance, turned to her for comfort, depended on her... the ache in her chest turned painful. She was not Obi-Wan's mother, or his big sister; she was the kidnapper who had taken him away from where he was loved and wanted and brought him to a place where he was abused and mistreated. To top it all off, this morning she was going to take this precious little boy and leave him with a man that she knew was a criminal and a kingpin for the dangerous spice-syndicate known as the Lords, and who knew what purpose they had in store for the child.
Cyndi hated herself at that moment, but it was beyond her power to change. Z'ior would never let her back out of the deal, and Nah'boor would doubtless track them both down and kill them if they did.
"Cyndi!" Z'ior's slurred voice snapped from the other room and Cyndi jerked, her peace shattered.
Obi-Wan stirred and whimpered softly.
Gently rolling the child off of her, Cyndi settled the little Jedi tummy down on the bed and rubbed the sleep out of her eyes.
"Cyndi!" the demanding call came again and Cyndi hurried out of the bedroom to find Z'ior struggling to get up off the kitchen floor. He had stumbled into the kitchen with a monstrous hangover, looking for a drink and some medication to make his head feel a little smaller.
Unfortunately he had totally forgotten that yesterday's little juice accident was still all over the kitchen floor and had ended up flat on his back.
Cyndi helped him up and pulled his pills out of the cabinet for him.
"Why didn't you clean this up last night, or make that little brat do it? I could have broke my neck!" Z'ior snapped, his hangover making him dangerous.
"I'll get it now Zee," Cyndi said quietly, knowing better than to cross the Miith'yn when he was like this.
Z'ior nodded and stumbled off to take a shower.
Cyndi was scrubbing the now sticky bubbly off the floor when Z'ior reappeared, clutching her handbag in one hand and looking furious. Hauling her up to her feet without preamble the Miith'yn slapped her.
"Thievin' little tramp!" he spat at her angrily and Cyndi tried to figure out what in the galaxy he was talking about.
"What-?" she backed up in the face of his rage, bumping against the kitchen counter.
"Don't you act innocent with me Cyndi Jancy!" he shouted, pulling a fist full of credits out of her handbag. "They paid you half our fee last night, and you didn't tell me!" Grabbing the front of her shirt he slapped her again, so hard he brought tears to her eyes. "No, you just waltzed in here like nothin' happened, dirty little back- stabber!" What he had been doing going through Cyndi's things in the first place he didn't mention.
Dragging his young girlfriend out of the kitchen by her hair Z'ior threw Cyndi against the wall. "Thought you were pretty smart huh? Thought you could double-cross me after all we've been through together!" Z'ior laid into her with his fists.
"Z'ior, please!" Cyndi begged. "I wasn't trying to hide anything from you, I swear! I-I didn't want to interrupt you while you were watching your show, and-and then I fell asleep, I-I wasn't going to hide it from you! Please! Please stop!" she sobbed as he continued to slap her around.
"A likely story!" Z'ior raged, striking Cyndi so hard he knocked her to the floor.
"Stop it!" a small, but authoritative voice from the bedroom doorway demanded.
Looking over, Cyndi saw Obi-Wan standing in the doorway, one of the bed sheets trailing behind him. The child still looked bright-eyed and bushy-tailed from just waking up, but a disapproving frown wrinkled his small features and his eyes flashed. "Stop it!" Obi-Wan demanded again, making his way to Cyndi's side. "No hurt Cyn'i! No!"
"Stormy, don't!" Cyndi urged, trying to push the child away before he got in the path of Z'ior's anger as well.
The three-year-old ignored her, standing protectively in front of the fallen teenager. "No hurt Cyn'i," he repeated defiantly to Z'ior.
Snarling angrily, Z'ior lashed out, aiming a hard kick for Cyndi's midsection. At the last moment, Obi-Wan got in-between them, catching the blow instead. Z'ior's boot caught the tiny Initiate in the chest and abdomen. The impact knocked the child backward, slamming him against the wall. Obi-Wan crumpled to the ground like a rag doll and Cyndi screamed. "Stormy!"
Scrambling over to the child, Cyndi scooped him up into her arms, terror clutching at her heart. "Stormy! Stormy honey, are you okay?!" For an instant, her heart stopped beating as saw the glazed, glassy look in Obi-Wan's wide eyes. For a moment, she thought he was dead. Then Obi-Wan coughed and his face contorted into a mask of pain.
Holding the sobbing child close Cyndi rocked him back and forth. "You shouldn't have done that sweetie," she murmured softly.
When she turned back to Z'ior there was a fire in Cyndi's green eyes that the Miith'yn had never seen before.
"You could have killed him!" she shouted furiously. "Just think how much that would have pleased Nah'boor!" she added, knowing that would hit Z'ior closer to home than the thought that he had very nearly snuffed this precious little life out of existence with one blow.
"Cyndi..." Z'ior wasn't sure what to say, Cyndi had never turned on him this way before.
"Stay away from us!" Cyndi snapped, her eyes threatening. "I didn't try to steal nothin' from you! But if you touch Stormy again, so help me Z'ior, you'll pay for it!"
Z'ior actually backed down, looking a little confused. "Hey, hey Cyndi, calm down honey..." he held his hands out in a placating gesture. "Okay, if you say it's a mistake, it's a mistake. Now come on, we've got to get this kid over to the warehouse."
Cyndi took Obi-Wan into the bedroom again to dress him. The little boy was still crying as she ran her hand gently over his small ribcage. The child looked so fragile, she desperately hoped that Z'ior's vicious blow had not broken any of the tiny ribs or ruptured anything inside. She couldn't find anything visibly wrong, so she gently pulled his tunic back on him.
"You 'kay Cyn'i?" Obi-Wan asked between hitching breaths as he tried to bring his sobbing under control.
Cyndi laughed. He was concerned about her? "I'm fine Stormy," she assured. "How about you?"
"I 'kay," Obi-Wan nodded shakily, as if he were not really sure. "My tummy hurts," he said, rubbing his stomach unhappily.
"I know it does Stormy," she said softly. "I'm sorry, but... thanks," she smiled at him warmly. "Nobody's ever tried to stand up for me before, not even myself."
"Don' let him hurt you Cyn'i," Obi-Wan shook his hand, reaching up and wiping the tears from her cheeks with his small palms. "You big, not little like me, you can stop him, you don' have to let him hurt you."
Cyndi used to think differently, but now... she wondered. She had stood up to Z'ior for Obi-Wan's sake and he had backed down, and she felt incredibly good because of it. Maybe the child was right. Maybe, just maybe, she didn't have to take abuse from Z'ior and people like him.
"Maybe you're right Stormy, maybe you're right," she said softly.
"Cyndi!" Cyndi heard Z'ior call impatiently from the other room.
"Coming," she said, picking Obi-Wan up and carrying him out perched on her right hip.
They took Z'ior's speeder the abandoned warehouse where they were supposed to meet their contractor. Obi-Wan clung to Cyndi as they climbed out of the speeder.
"Some'in' wrong Cyn'i," he whispered. "Some'in' bad here," the little Jedi shook his head, registering instincts and insights he did not yet know the meaning or origin of.
A large black hover-car waited for them. The moment they appeared, a tall Twi'Lek man stepped out of the hover- car, followed by two large whiphids toting blasters. It didn't take a genius to figure out that the Twi'Lek in the dark blue robes was Nah'boor. Around his neck hung a pendent of dull, metallic obsidian, dotted with tiny fire- gems, resembling stars. The crest of the Midnight Lords.
Obi-Wan took one look at Nah'boor and hid behind Cyndi's legs, clutching her pants and burying his face against the back of her calves. There was something evil about the man and Obi-Wan knew it.
Z'ior picked Obi-Wan up and the Initiate squealed in protest. "Cyn'i," he cried plaintively. "Bad man, don't wanna go wit' bad man! Don' make me go wit' him Cyn'i!" Obi-Wan pleaded.
Cyndi resisted the urge to cry. "Shh Stormy, it's okay, it'll be okay," she tried to assure, unconvincingly. The little Jedi clung to Cyndi, wide-eyed and scared, but Z'ior pried his tiny fingers loose and carried him to the waiting Twi'Lek.
Obi-Wan squirmed in the Miith'yn's arms.
Nah'boor grinned at the frowning child. "You don't like me little one?" the Twi'Lek's yellow eyes regarded the human child's half-frightened face. "Nasty habit of your kind I've heard, being able to see too much about people."
Nah'boor's pasty face was cold and hard. "It's too bad really. You're just much too observant for your own good," Nah'boor shook his head, making his plump head-tails sway gently. "Put him in the backseat," the spice-dealer gestured and one of his whiphid henchmen took Obi-Wan from Z'ior.
Z'ior grinned, albeit, somewhat nervously. "Good luck with him, the kid's a little brat." The Miith'yn rubbed his finger, still sore from Obi-Wan's bite the night before.
Nah'boor's pale lips parted in a predatory smile. "Don't worry, I have a feeling he won't be giving us any trouble." The big Twi'Lek pulled out his purse.
"Hey, um, you know, you didn't tell us the kid was a Jedi," Z'ior angled, his greed overcoming his nervousness. "That's high risk, you know..."
"You'll be compensated," Nah'boor said flatly, pulling a large stack of credits out of his money-pouch. "You did a competent job," the Lord commented as he sorted carelessly through the pile of dactaries. "The Security Force has no idea where the child disappeared to."
Cyndi supposed she should take pride in her handiwork, but she did not.
"There's another small matter you could take care of for us, if you're interested," Nah'boor said, waving the credits slightly in front of them.
"Yeah, sure, what'd ya want?" Z'ior agreed eagerly.
Cyndi didn't like it. She wanted to have nothing more to do with the Midnight Lords. It was not as if she were unaccustomed to crime, unfortunately. The teenager had been a small time crook since she was eleven and ran away from her abusive father to live a life on the streets.
Since then she had been a thief, a smuggler and a lot of other things she wasn't terribly proud of; she had also gone through a succession of boyfriends, all of whom treated her more or less the way Z'ior did. Perhaps because she did not realize that the relationships and the abuse were neither healthy, nor normal. Yet in all her time on the streets, Cyndi had never become hooked up in a gang before. She had had friends who were and she saw what it did to them. Most of them were dead now.
"My associate will fill you in on the details," Nah'boor said, handing the dactaries over and gesturing to one of the whiphids.
While Z'ior greedily counted the credits, Cyndi tried not to look at the backseat of the hover-car. Through the darkened windows she could just see Obi-Wan, his little face and hands pushed against the glass. He looked so darn helpless...
"What's so important about a little kid like that?" Cyndi asked, just as Nah'boor turned to leave. The price the Lords were paying them was incredible.
"Cyndi," Z'ior hissed. "It's none of our business."
"Hey," Cyndi huffed, folding her arms. "I'm the one who risked my neck to get him, I'd like to know," she said with a cockiness that she did not feel. She turned back to Nah'boor again. "I'm interested in what a three-year-old could know that would make a big group like the Lords want him so badly."
Z'ior stared at her as if she were crazy and Cyndi wondered too late if that had been a wise thing to say. It was only that she wanted so much to be sure that Obi-Wan would be all right...
Nah'boor however, just smiled and cupped Cyndi's chin in one of his cold, pale hands. "You have a great deal of spunk human, I like that," he smiled in a manner that said he liked other things about her as well.
The sixteen-year-old did not flinch away from his gaze.
"Maybe one of these days you'll find a place in the Lords," he said, stroking her cheek. "I could put in a word for you..."
"You didn't answer my question," Cyndi pointed out, intentionally not returning the Twi'Lek's interest in her.
Nah'boor gave a faint smile and withdrew his hand. "It's nothing very important my dear," he said as if disinterested.
"Yeah, that's why you paid a small fortune to have Stormy kidnapped. That's why you knew exactly where he was going to be and when..." Cyndi thought sarcastically, but she knew she had better not push her luck with the cartel honcho.
"If you really must know, the child had the misfortune of seeing something he shouldn't have, now, if you'll excuse me?" the Twi'Lek mock-bowed and retreated towards the hover-car.
"What in the Cryion blazes did you think you were doing asking him all those question Cyndi?" Z'ior breathed after Nah'boor moved away. Z'ior was disgruntled, irritated, and a little more frightened than he would like to admit. "When the Lords are involved, you want to know as little as possible. You don't wanna get on these guys' bad side Cyndi."
Cyndi tucked a few strands of copper hair behind her ear. "I was just curious," she said flippantly, although inside, her heart was turning over and over like a restless Hopi. "What do you suppose they're gonna do with Stormy now, after Nah'boor finds out whatever he wants to know?" The teenager was desperately denying to herself what commonsense was telling her.
"Geez Cyndi, the brat's a witness, you snagged him from the Security Force station yourself for cryin' out loud and they didn't have him down there for a social visit! What do you think they're gonna do with him?" Z'ior said dispassionately, tucking the credits away, deep inside an inner pocket.
Cyndi's heart wrenched, unable to deny the truth anymore. She had just handed over a helpless baby to face death at the hands of a group of cold-blooded executioners. Cyndi couldn't stand herself. All she could see were Obi- Wan's shifting blue-green eyes looking up at her, awash with tears, but so trusting...
The teenager wished this had never happened. If the Midnight Lords had wanted the boy dead, why couldn't Nah'boor have just hired someone to kill the young Jedi and get it over? Why have him kidnapped? Why give her time to fall in love with the little boy...?
The whiphid that Nah'boor had indicated earlier now came forward to talk to Z'ior and Cyndi about the other job that his boss had mentioned.
Nah'boor settled his large frame onto the hover-car's backseat, next to the tiny Jedi child.
Obi-Wan shrank away from the Twi'Lek, pressing himself against the door. "Le' me go home," the little boy said warily. "Please, take me home."
"In good time, in good time," Nah'boor said casually. "We have some things to talk about first. Like what you told the Security Officers yesterday."
"You wanna know 'bout the man tha' ran through the garden too, don' you?" the child said, folding his arms and drawing his knees up in what anyone who knew him recognized as his stubborn, suspicious posture.
"That's right, you're a smart boy," the man complimented, but even a little child like Obi-Wan could tell that the Twi'Lek didn't really mean it.
If that was really what all this was about, then Obi- Wan wished that he had stayed indoors after the rain last week, like everyone else. But the adventurous little Initiate had ventured out when the crèche Master wasn't watching and gone for a stroll in the rain drenched Temple gardens. There had been great puddles for splashing in and lots of squirmies and creepers, whom the torrential rain had driven above ground, to examine.
The child had been busily engaged in studying a huge, hairy creeper on an Azili bush when someone jumped over the garden wall, close by him. Obi-Wan had been so shocked at the rude intrusion that he simply stood and stared as the man dashed across the garden and jumped heedlessly over the wall again.
Obi-Wan was inadvertently staring at the heavy pendant around Nah'boor's neck.
"You like this?" the Twi'Lek asked, holding the chain out a little so that the pendant rocked gently, making the fire-stones glitter like the stars they represented. "You recognize it, don't you?" Nah'boor's eyes narrowed. "The man you saw in the garden was wearing one, wasn't he?"
Obi-Wan nodded slowly, suspiciously.
"He was carrying something too child. He took it into the garden with him, but he didn't have it when we caught up with him on the other side. Where did he hide it, hm? Do you remember boy, when he entered the garden, what did he do?"
"He jumped th' wall an' ran 'cross the garden," Obi- Wan said sullenly. "He trampled Mast'a Thr'own's 'Zili plants," the child frowned disapprovingly. "Mast'a Thr'own wasn't at all happy..." Obi-Wan trailed off, finding the soft fabric that the seats were covered in incredibly interesting.
"Then what did he do?" Nah'boor asked with attempted patience.
"Then he jumped over th' other wall," Obi-Wan said plainly, idly walking his fingers up the back of the seat.
"I mean between the two. What did he do in the garden before he jumped over the other wall?" the Twi'Lek's scanty patience was running out fast. The hover-car's engine started up.
Obi-Wan's little mouth tightened and he regarded the syndicate leader stubbornly with the same turbulent eyes that had given Cyndi cause to knick-name him "Stormy".
"I don' remember," the child said carelessly. It wasn't quite true. Obi-Wan did remember, but something, something deep down inside was telling him that this man was evil and that he should not tell him what he wanted to know.
Nah'boor grabbed Obi-Wan's little wrists, jerking the child up and forcing the small boy to look at him. "This is not a game little one," the Twi'Lek threatened. "Don't think to toy with me. You remember, and you're going to tell me! Think child! Before he jumped over the wall again, he must have stopped, paused for a moment somewhere. All I want to know is where. Then you're free to go home. You do want to go home, don't you little one?" a malicious smile tugged at Nah'boor's lips as he saw the doubt and longing that flittered across the child's face.
Yes, Obi-Wan did want to go back to the Temple very badly. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad to tell the big man with the tentacles on his head what he wanted to know...
Tears of indecision welled up in the tiny Jedi's big eyes. He didn't want to do the wrong thing, but he didn't know what was right!
Cyndi was only half-listening to the conversation as the whiphid explained to she and Z'ior what the Lords wanted them to do next. Although he never said so, it was obviously a spice pick-up.
However, the young woman's attention was still held by the hover-car a few meters away, or rather, by the thought of it's tiny occupant in the backseat. "I'm so sorry Stormy!" she thought, dangerously near tears. "I never wanted it to work out this way..."
But sorry wasn't enough, not near enough. This was all her fault! She should have never taken him, and could not live with herself if she let this happen now.
Never again would she be able to get a night's rest in which she did not see the specter of Obi-Wan's innocent eyes hanging in the darkness before her, or feel the phantom weight of his little body sleeping on her stomach. She couldn't let him die; he had barely begun to live!
The thought came to her that she should find a Security Officer and tell them everything, but Cyndi quickly dismissed it. She had no idea where Nah'boor intended to take Obi-Wan, and by the time the Security could find them, it would be too late for the child.
No, she was going to have to do something now, on her own, if she wanted to save Obi-Wan. Cyndi realized that all she would probably accomplish was getting herself killed as well, but that was better than living with the knowledge of the horrific thing she had done.
The hover-car's engine sprung to life as the whiphid wrapped up his conversation with them. Cyndi knew she was going to have to do something fast.
"I'll be right back," she said quietly to Z'ior as the whiphid headed back towards the hover-car.
Before the Miith'yn could stop her, Cyndi walked right up to the big vehicle and knocked on one of the darkly tinted, back windowpanes.
Nah'boor held Obi-Wan's little arms so tight the child's hands were going numb, but the big Twi'Lek smiled because he could see that the little Jedi's will was crumbling. Of course, he had no intention of taking Obi- Wan back to the Jedi Temple, or anywhere else other than perhaps the bottom of a refuse shaft on one of Coruscant's lower levels.
A knock on the window disrupted them and Nah'boor looked up with great annoyance to see that girl again, looking in at them.
"What do you want?" the Twi'Lek snapped harshly as the window lowered with a mechanized whir.
"Sorry," Cyndi said sheepishly. "The kid was playing with one of my earrings on the way over, I think he's still got it," she said, pulling on her naked, right ear and gesturing to the long, dangling pendant that hung from her left.
Nah'boor huffed in irritation. Teenagers! He could have sworn that the girl had both earrings on when he had spoken to her just a few minutes ago.
Before Nah'boor could protest, Cyndi reached in and turned Obi-Wan towards here. "Hey there Stormy, you got my earring still?" she asked, using her search as an excuse to ease the child out of the Twi'Lek's grip.
Obi-Wan looked puzzled. "But Cyn'i..." he started to protest that he had never had her earring, but she cheerfully cut him off.
"Ah, now Stormy, no buts about it, I know you like it, but I've gotta have it back." Cyndi's heart was pumping unevenly and terror at the prospect of what she had decided to do clawed at her, but she was not going to give up now.
Drawing up all the courage she could find, Cyndi's grip on Obi-Wan tightened and she suddenly pulled the child out through the window.
"What is the meaning-?" Nah'boor started to demand, but Cyndi was already halfway inside the deserted warehouse, with Obi-Wan in her arms.
The two whiphid bodyguards sprang out of the car like jack-in-the-boxes and blaster-fire followed Cyndi through the broken door.
The condemned warehouse had been deserted for years and it's empty insides echoed hollowly, making Cyndi's footfalls echo loudly in it's voluminous interior. Seeing no chance for cover and no other way out down here, Cyndi threw herself up the stairs on the right at full tilt, knowing that her pursuers would not be far behind.
Obi-Wan held onto Cyndi tightly, his eyes wide at this new development. He didn't know what to think. The last time Cyndi had taken him somewhere, she had taken him away from Master Embry and his home, but he desperately wanted to get away from the nasty Twi'Lek in the blue robes... The little Jedi decided that for now, the best course of action was to be quiet and hang on tight, there was little else he could do anyway.
The upper level of the rotting warehouse was broken into a series of what had once been offices and executive departments. Reaching the top of the winding stair, Cyndi could hear the whiphids and probably Nah'boor too, clamoring up the stairs behind her, just out of sight.
Swerving to the right to avoid a wild shot that barely missed her head, the teenager tried to lose herself in the maze of broken-down offices. Suddenly, Cyndi found herself face to face with a wall and in a room that had no exit but the one she had come in by. Turning back to run out of the dead end, she saw her pursuers burst into the office just beyond, coming fast.
Quickly slamming the door, she locked it tightly, but knew that would not hold them for long. All they had to do was shoot the handle...
Cyndi's mouth went dry. They were trapped. The room was littered with trash and broken down equipment, but nothing big enough to hide behind. A window in the wall on their left was broken, and big enough for them to fit through, but Cyndi took one look and knew she could never hope to jump safely from this high with Obi-Wan in her arms.
Violent pounding shook the door and a quick blast melted the locking mechanism.
In a desperate last ditch effort, Cyndi slid into a small storage closet, pulling the door shut just as Nah'boor and his two henchmen burst into the room.
Cyndi closed her eyes and sank down the wall behind her until she was crouching in the far corner of the closet with Obi-Wan hugged close on her lap. Of course the Lords would look in here, it was an obvious choice. She was dead and she knew it, but at least she had tried...
Obi-Wan squirmed slightly and seemed as if he might say something. Cyndi pressed a warning finger to his lips.
"Shh, Stormy, shh," she breathed in his ear, so soft that he could almost not hear it. "We've got to be quiet. If those men find us, they will kill us," she hissed as she heard the three men tearing up the huge office out side. Any moment now one of them would spot the nearly hidden closet behind the broken filing shelves.
Obi-Wan's body tightened in her arms and Cyndi regretted frightening the child. "It'll be okay," she lied for his sake. "We've just got to be quiet, like a game of hide-and-seek," she tried to put it in less frightening terms, ones the little boy could understand.
Obi-Wan nodded in comprehension. Hide-and-seek, he knew how to play that, they played that at the Temple all the time. It was one of his favorite games. Of course, sometimes it drove the poor crèche Master crazy because some of the initiates could hide a little too well...
Yet a part of Obi-Wan knew that this was a game they dare not lose. He closed his eyes and Cyndi felt the little Jedi's body go ridged in her arms as he concentrated with all the effort in his three-year-old body.
Suddenly, the door to the closet banged open and Nah'boor's towering figure stood silhouette against the light that poured into the darkened little area, a blaster gripped tightly in his hand.
There was no way out, no escape for the teenager or the little Jedi. "I'm sorry Stormy, I tried," Cyndi thought, her arms tightening around the child on her lap.
Drawing a deep breath, she waited for death to come.
Nah'boor's piercing gaze swept over the inside of the little closet and saw nothing there. Slamming the door in disgust he gestured to the broken window. "She must have jumped from here, it's the only way out," the Twi'Lek concluded. "Get down to street level and start searching, I'll get Vi-dui and his group down here. When you find them, kill the girl, but bring the child back to me. He doesn't die until he answer's my questions. Got me? Than go!"
Cyndi listened in disbelief as the gang members left the room and she heard their footsteps fade away into silence. She couldn't believe it. Nah'boor had looked straight at the huddled pair, but he had not seen them.
"Gone?" Obi-Wan whispered weakly, his tiny, barely trained reserve of strength entirely spent.
"Yes, Stormy, they've gone," Cyndi whispered back, still in a state of shock.
"Good," the child murmured and went totally limp in her arms, his little body shaking with exhaustion. The hide-and-seek skill was one he knew, but the effort he had had to put into it to make both he and Cyndi actually invisible to Nah'boor had almost been beyond his un- tempered abilities, and far beyond the amount of control a child his age could usually exert.
Cyndi held him close, not daring to move out of the closet until she knew they would no longer be looking for them down in the street. Obi-Wan, worn out by his exertion, fell asleep on her lap and Cyndi remained in the closet for hours. When she finally dared to venture out, the pitch-black of night covered Coruscant.
Sliding along, as silently as a wraith with Obi-Wan in her arms, Cyndi made her way to a Security Force station. She knew she was about to incriminate herself, but she had to get Stormy to someone who could take him home, and besides, with the Midnight Lords after her, she could expect to live about three hours on the streets on her own.
The Officers, at the child's request, allowed Cyndi to stay with Obi-Wan until several of the Masters from the Temple came to pick him up.
"I'm sorry you had to go through so much Stormy, but it's all over now," Cyndi assured. "You're going home."
Obi-Wan smiled beautificlly in a way that Cyndi had not seen since she had kidnapped him. Throwing his tiny arms around Cyndi as if she were the most wonderful person in the world he giggled with joy. "Really Cyn'i? I go home now? Thanks Cyn'i!" A thoughtful look crossed the child's face. "'ou come too Cyn'i?"
Cyndi shook her head. "I- I've got other things I have to take care of," she said, glancing at the officers watching them. "But if I can, I'll visit you. I'll never forget you Stormy."
"I not forget Cyn'i neither," Obi-Wan nodded seriously. "An'... Cyn'i?"
"My name, Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan 'enobi."
"Okay, Obi-Wan," Cyndi smiled.
When two beings wearing tan clothing and dark brown robes came into the room, Cyndi was rewarded with the truly wonderful sight of Obi-Wan's entire face lighting up as he dashed across the room and flung himself into the arms of one of the Jedi crèche Masters.
Master Embry was the second being. Her pretty face was drawn from concern, but it all eased away as she saw that Obi-Wan was all right.
Then Cyndi saw a third Jedi enter, only this one was not much taller than Obi-Wan.
Disattaching himself from Master T'ion's legs, Obi-Wan embraced Master Yoda with the unlimited and unreserved joy that was still natural at the child's age.
The ancient Jedi Master and the three-year-old Initiate could look eye to eye and Cyndi reflected with a barely suppressed grin that if Obi-Wan hugged the venerable Jedi Master any more energetically he would risk lifting the small, green being off the ground.
"Glad to see you, we are," Yoda assured, once he had disengaged himself from Obi-Wan's stranglehold of a hug.
Master Ti'on picked the little Jedi up and carried him out with Master Embry close on their heels. "Bye Cyn'i!" Obi-Wan called happily, waving over the Jedi's shoulders. "Come 'isit me!"
"Bye Stormy!" she called, once more reverting to the name which was more familiar to her. "I will if I can."
Yoda did not leave, but remained behind to talk with the Officers.
Cyndi listened with interest as the whole thing finally started to make sense. Apparently, an operative of the Midnight Lords had turned informer against his own group and made off with a disk that had enough evidence and records on it to put the whole syndicate away for life. However, Nah'boor caught up with him before he could get it to the Security.
There was a chase and the fellow jumped the wall of the Temple Garden in an effort to lose his pursuers. He must have had a dim view of his chance of escape however, because before leaving the garden he had hidden the disk amid the branches of a thickly flowering Mimsa tree. Obi- Wan had been so quiet that the man never realized his movements had been seen. Once outside the garden again, the Lords caught up with him. Security had yet to find his body.
The disk had been retrieved and Yoda turned it over to the Security officers now.
"And this one, happen to her, what will?" the diminutive Jedi inquired, glancing at Cyndi with keen eyes.
"Miss Jancy has agreed to testify against Nah'boor and the other members of the Midnight Lords and she is being afforded full protection. She'll still have to be tried of course, for the child's kidnapping, but I think that things will go well for her, in light of her cooperation and her rescue of the boy," the officer reported.
"Glad to hear it, I am," Yoda nodded. Shuffling over, he laid one wizened hand on Cyndi's arm. "For saving Initiate Kenobi, my thanks you have," he said, his green eyes gentle.
Cyndi smiled hesitantly. "Y-you're welcome," she said softly, she felt like she should call him your Majesty or something, but wasn't sure if that would be at all proper.
Her eyes turned a little wistful. "Actually sir, you could say, it was he who saved me, in so many ways."
Several weeks later, Obi-Wan was taken from the crèche and told he had a visitor.
"Cyn'i!" he cried in delight, running into her arms when he saw her.
"Hey there Stormy!" Cyndi said, swooping the child up and twirling him around playfully.
"I Obi-Wan, not S'ormy!" Obi-Wan said with a bright smile, tugging on Cyndi's shirt collar as she held him in front of her.
"No," Cyndi shook her head, regarding his happy face and boisterous smile. "You aren't stormy any more, are you? Maybe I should call you Twinkle Eyes now!"
The little Jedi made a face. "Noooo, Obi-Wan!" he protested.
"Okay, Obi-Wan, Obi-Wan, Obi-Wan," she repeated, over and over, letting him hold her hands and bounce between them as if she were a jungle gym.
Obi-Wan paused, looking at her thoughtfully. Then he shook his little cinnamon-colored head. "Sounds weird ta have you say it. Better call me S'ormy!"
Cyndi laughed out loud. "Make up your mind!" she teased. Cyndi played with him a little longer before she had to go.
"I came to say goodbye Stormy," she said at last. "I'm being transferred off-planet." Her sentence for Obi- Wan's kidnapping had been very gentle, almost a blessing really. She was being sent to a rehabilitation colony on a pretty little green planet far away from the dust and noise of the city. The sentence was for a year and while there Cyndi would be taught a profession so that when she got out, she would have somewhere other than the streets to go back to. They were even going to match her up with a job when she got out.
Cyndi smiled at the little boy in front of her. Her past was behind her at last and for the first time in her life, she was looking forward to the future.
Nah'boor and almost all of his men had been caught, and the Midnight Lords' operation was all but shut down.
Nobody knew what happened to Z'ior. When Cyndi took off with Obi-Wan, he had run away as fast as he could and for all she knew he was still running. "Good riddance," Cyndi thought.
"You happy Cyn'i?" Obi-Wan inquired, studying her intently.
"Yes, Stormy, I'm very happy," Cyndi nodded.
"Good!" Obi-Wan grinned. "Then I happy too!"
"Goodbye Stormy," Cyndi said, giving the child a kiss on one rosy cheek.
"Bye Cyn'i!" Obi-Wan called after her as she left. "See you again!" the little Jedi said with conviction.
Cyndi smiled at his certainty. "Okay Stormy, see you
later. Bye!" With one last wave, she took her leave and
Obi-Wan went back to the crèche were his friends were
waiting for him.