One Month Only
By Izzy

Ellé might never have properly met Garven Dreis if it hadn’t been for the droid mix-up. Or if Ené hadn’t been so offended by his behavior towards hers. Given how softspoken and gentle Ené was, it must have come as a bit of a shock to him when she’d aggressively waved him away from R2-E9 with a large hydrospanner. He’d asked Losté for an explanation, but she hadn’t wanted to talk to him much.

“Like a pair of crystal snakes, those two,” he’d grumbled to Ellé. “Have you ever noticed that with two of them together threatening one causes the other to attack you? I’d hate to think what the results of being bitten by both would be.” He’d sought her out because he’d wanted someone they’d listened to to say a word to the two pilots, who would have been guilty of insubordination if not for the timing of the incident; it had happened at a point when everyone was being reshuffled and all three were technically the same rank.

Ellé had told him she’d talk to them, but after their conversation Losté and Ené had been the last thing on her mind.

Though she’d done it anyway, and she’d learned from them that “old Dave Dreis”(old! He was younger than both of them!) tended to need to have his astromech repaired a lot, though there were conflicting accounts of whether he had no regard for his droid or it was just old or possibly quirky. Either way, Ené hadn’t wanted to take any chances with Eeenine.

Ellé, on the other hand, took advantage of it. Love often made her a bold creature, and she approached him and offered to repair the droid the next time it broke, offering the old blockade runner’s engines as well as Losté and Ené’s Y-Wings as examples of how things she repaired tended to stay repaired. He’d told her she might find his R2 unit a true challenge. She’d told him she welcomed it. All the while they’d stared at each other, and she’d known that seducing this one would be no trouble at all.

It wasn’t like the affairs she had engaged in with passengers on board their ship, or on planets where they stayed for a week at most. She was constantly stationed at on Yavin during that month, so he came and went on missions, and each time he returned Ellé felt as if she was going crazy with passion, and every time he left she felt she was going even crazier with fear. Even in those days, years ago now, when she’d done her best to see Nick Rostu again, she at least hadn’t been forced to sit around and wait. All the former handmaidens besides Losté and Ené suffered from itchy feet that month, but Ellé’s were the itchiest.

Nor had she ever known this level of pure wildness. The times they made it back to his or her quarters were the less common ones. Ellé had never before thought she’d be caught dead having sex in a public ‘fresher, but it happened. More appealing were interludes in undeveloped corners of the ancient temple in which the base was located, especially ones where the foliage had crept in and not been cleared out. Lying amid the tangles of vine and stone, not caring about the discomfort, entwining herself with her Dave, she could drive away the metal and cold space that had been her life for so long that now the stone and vines which were reminiscent of her homeworld were now what felt foreign.

They exercised just enough prudence to avoid getting caught. As for birth control, all too often Ellé found herself reminding herself that she was thirty-nine years of age, and Naboo women lost their fertility after thirty-five quickly.

So she felt she had the right to be surprised, despite it all, when three days before the Battle of Yavin, she missed her period.

Those were hectic, panic-filled days. Word of the existence of the Death Star slipped out of someone’s confidence and spread throughout the base, and they all knew what the battle station’s first target would be, if the Imperials found them. Then the destruction of Alderaan provoked outrage and fear throughout the galaxy. She was with Dave when she got the news of that, the two of them arguing over his R2 unit, of all things. If she hadn’t already known she’d remember his face, and his astromech droid, to her dying day, that would have made sure she did.

The base was on constant alert, everything had to be ready to launch an attack or attempt an evacuation immediately, and all in all, there was no time to seek out Yané to see if she really was pregnant, and certainly no time to think about what she would do about it if she was, before Ellé found herself doing last-minute checks on two Y-Wings and one X-Wing before they flew into the most desperate battle any of the three of them had seen yet, which, though noone admitted it out loud, in all likelihood would result in the deaths of everyone involved and the end of the Rebel Alliance.

As one of the commanders in the upcoming battle, Dave went around to exchange words with most of the pilots in his particular squadron, so Ellé did Losté and Ené’s ships and droids first, finishing with his X-Wing just as he arrived there, having just left the company of Biggs Darklighter and one young blond newcomer who looked oddly familiar to Ellé for some reason. So she asked for his name and received it: Luke Skywalker.

“I served with his father in the Clone Wars,” Dave commented. “Very impressive young man, he was.”

But all Ellé could think of in that moment was Padmé Amidala, her belly swollen, pale and voiceless as death as she said her final goodbyes to her handmaidens. The old protocol droid her husband had given her had told Ellé and Motée that she had stayed up half the night, and what she’d done in the early morning they still didn’t know, because the Senator hadn’t wanted to hear him talk about it and had cut the droid the off. When asked if she’d heard from Anakin Skywalker, she’d only replied, “With every minute I believe more and more that I’ve lost him,” and then she’d truly sounded as if her world had been destroyed.

But she wouldn’t tell him about the pregnancy now. There was too little point to it, this late in the game, especially when she had no certainty of it.

“Do you think there’s a chance we can win this?” she finally asked her lover full out.

He looked at her the same way Motée used to, as if he’d stepped beyond her, and replied, “We *have* to. Therefore there has to be.”

Then he’d taken her chin in his hand and looked at her so sadly and tenderly, then kissed her hard. His lips clung to hers for several moments after, and it was wrenching for her to let go. For all their reckless behavior just around the corner from other personnel, they had never so much as kissed in the presence of other people before then. Was he so convinced of his own doom, even in the case of the rebels winning?

He pulled away, and Ellé kept her gaze on the floor of the shuttle bay as she climbed down from the X-Wing. When he’d kissed her, she’d known without a doubt that he truly wasn’t coming back.