“Catch!”, she tossed the small creature in her arms at Brandyn, mystified, when it turned into a fluffy ball and giggled at being thrown. They were on a mission to help bring modern conveniences and perhaps a little law to the otherwise lawless Gorse. The toxic waste had produced some horrible things. And some very interesting lifeforms. “I think she likes you, B.”

After a quick juggle dance, where Brandyn pushed his tongue against the inside of his bottom lip, he said, “Whoa! I think she likes freefall.”

“Can you be serious for just a moment?”
He said, repeating her words from earlier in the day. He wasn’t looking at Cybelle though but was cooing at the fluffball and scratching under what he hoped was its chin.

“I can be serious... Seriously.”

The tongue- and-cheek wasn't missed as she walked through the low purplish grass that had a wild bioluminescence. This planet was so scarred but still...Nature found a way to make it pretty. “And seriously...I want twelve of them.”

Brandyn’ face froze as he followed along and he glanced up at her. “Perhaps we will negotiate the exact number?” He said, before looking at the fluff, “my opening number is zero.” As much as it was cute, he was also fine with it staying exactly where it was.

“Zero?”, she shifted to the side and let her shoulder bump his. “We need noise in the house.”

A few more ofc the fluff balls rolled over, colorful and cute, and yipped at their heels. “I'll counter with...A bakers dozen? I think we could handle it.”

Brandyn blinked. Were they talking about something else? Having a conversation about something else, only disguising it in the words of a conversation about fluffy pets? “We?” Brandyn said, head tilting with curiosity, “you do know…we…have separate abodes.”

It was true that they were barely apart over night, but they had not officially moved to a communal living situation. “So…you get 13…I get 0?”

Cybelle gave a long suffering sigh and combined it with a playful side eye. “We don't have to live separately...”

“And no, Mister. We are having 13 and we'll raise them together.”

Brandyn stopped in his tracks. His head seemed to bounce off an invisible wall before rebounding forward. “Say what now?” Brandyn said, stunned, “that’s a pretty big step…and we aren’t even…”

He felt his cheeks redden for a moment. “13 is too many. 1, maybe.”

Cybelle picked up one of the furry fluff balls and smooshed it's cheeks. “But... How can you say no to something so cute?”

His red cheeks and stumbling made her smile. It was rare that she could catch him so off guard. “Let's.... Move in together. If you like that... Maybe we can have a pet. Or two.”

Or 13.

“Ah,” he paused, stammering for a while, “OK.”

It took him half a moment to realize that he may have accidentally agreed to both at the same time. “Wait…no…I mean…yes…Cybelle…we are barely at our home’s as it is…we can’t have a pet...but yes…I would live under the same roof as you officially…but I can’t do pets…”

He looked down at the furball in his hands. It was awfully cute. But it was not the fluff that made him change his mind. It was her eyes.

“OK. Two. Only two. And we will have to organize a minder for them while we are away. I am not traveling with them…is that OK? And…what does that make us? Living together and everything?”

Cybelle rewarded his agreement with a soft smile that was all for him. Secretive, whispering, but tender all the same. She turned and curled her finger in the front of his shirt and leaned up on her tiptoes to nuzzle her nose lightly against his. “What do you want us to be?”

“We have a lot of houses—A lot of places to sleep...I want us to have a home of our own.”

Again, Brandyn flushed red. He scrunched his nose in response to the nuzzling. Now? Was now the time?

Yesterday was.

Last week was.

Now definitely was.

Brandyn dropped to one knee. He didn’t have the ring on him. But now was the time.

“Cybelle Elyance…”

Her head was filled with how cute Bran was when he turned red, so much so, that she didn’t realize what he was doing at first. Her head would tilt curiously until dawning hit her quite suddenly and she dropped the fluffy critter. It bounced away unhappily and her hands came up to cover her mouth to hide an impossible giddiness. Was he?

Was he really...? No? Yes? Maybe?
Her mind was singing so loudly, buzzing, that he could probably hear it through the Force. She wanted to answer the question but it was better to wait for it. Wait, until he asked. Maybe...She was looking too far into it? He was probably just being silly and she'd been catching the tail end of way too many holo-dramas...Maybe she was taking too much of a leap? Yeah, okay. She breathed. It didn't calm her heart at all.

His eyes lost focus for a moment, following the fluff ball, but he was quickly back to Cybelle. He wanted to remember this moment. He smiled, awkwardly.

“...when I was fifteen years old, an unnamed sibling caught me writing Cybelle Sal-Soren in the sand…what they didn’t know, as they teased me mercilessly…was that I had done so for years when no one was looking. Others have sought to convince you that you were not good enough for me…but I have known the truth…it is I that had to earn…you. Now, I know…I never can. But I ask anyway, hoping that you would forgive me my shortcomings each day…till death do us part. It might mean you have to have three last names…knowing our families…”

He laughed nervously. If he stopped speaking she might say no.

“ real last name is E’Eeverwest Sal-Soren…but you know that…”

She knows what you are asking Brandyn. Spit it out.

“...will you marry me?”

Her eyes shimmered for a long moment... Just watching, reading, and following every emotion and expression that flickered over his face. Imagining him writing her name with his was enough to pull her into the memory of realizing what he meant to her. Not, just a friend. Not, just someone that wanted to learn how to be a Jedi. Earn her? He thought he had to... Earn her?

The question “popped” sent her surging forward to wrap her arms around his neck. The usually reserved young woman was bursting with so much emotion that she could barely breathe. Her cheek pressed up against his and nuzzled, pulling herself as close as possible, while trying to find the words. She could be so terrible at that.

“Why...Why would three last names bother me?”

He was almost knocked backward, but maintained his ground. He grinned. It felt like a yes. It was a yes, right? “I don’t…”

Pushing away from the embrace, Brandyn started foraging. “I don’t know…I just thought…I don’t know…” He found it.

Pulling at the central stem of a plant, Brandyn presented a long stem with a small flower. He folded it on itself, bent the stem, and crimped it with his fingers. “I have a ring back on the ship…I didn't realize that now would be the time…but I have this…”

He presented her with a small ring-like flower. “ did say, yes…didn’t you?”

She wasn’t sure what he was looking for... It had never occurred to her that a ring might be a requirement—The words were enough. Cybelle wanted to laugh, cry, and hug him until the strangely purple sun came up. “I love you...Of course, it’s a yes...A thousand times. A million times, yes, Brandyn...”

Cybelle let him slip the flower band around her finger and she held her hand close to her chest.

As if it were the most precious thing anyone had given her. The auburn-haired woman rest back on her haunches and seemed to be just...Overwhelmed with happiness. She leaned back into him with a bouncing and infectious happiness, curling close. Oh, he was stuck with her now. “..Mrs. Brandyn Sal-Soren...”

“I could get used to that.”

He held her for Shiraya knew how long. It seemed neither wished to part with the moment, nor the one another. “We…we were on a mission…weren’t we?”

Cybelle jumped and her eyes widened just slightly. They were expected at the next village pretty soon and it had completely slipped her mind. “Mission. Yes, oh my gosh.”, she murmured and slowly unentwined from him. Still grinning. Even in such a priceless moment it would seem that duty called. As always...They were Jedi first.

She kissed his cheek and took off through the fields like the wind.

“Catch me if you can!”

Brandyn hesitated for a moment, and then realizing she meant it, took off after her. He smiled, safe in the realization that he had already caught her.