She should have left him alive.Instead of striking him upside with the butt of the Gun of Command, she should have use the weapon for its intended purpose. She should have made him forget her, forget the agony theyâ€™d called a relationship that spanned a decade and change. Maybe she could have made him forget the Sith, forget his anger and aggression and mold him into what sheâ€™d always wanted him to be.
If she had done all that, sheâ€™d be sitting here on the edge of her bed regretting letting him live. Instead she was taken back to the way sheâ€™d relished his hands against his neck, the way the light dimmed from his eyes. It made her sick, but it wasnâ€™t guilt that sheâ€™d felt. It was sentiment, the beast that plagued her and kept her pining after him for so long. All sheâ€™d ever wanted was affection from a man who could not give it to her.
Sometimes it happened like this. Whether it began as a nightmare or she woke with a start, the thoughts would come rushing back like water breaking through a dam.
Joza was pacing now, looking for something to distract her. After years of struggle sheâ€™d built a comfortable life. A busy life, full of meetings and distractions. She always needed to be somewhere, something always needed to be done and she would find rest in the few moments in between. At night she was typically too tired to let the darkness that lurked in the periphery of her mind take over, but tonight it had leaked in.
She knelt by the nightstand, clambering with unsteady hands to unlock the bottommost drawer. There, nested in a handful of trinkets that paled in comparison, was the Gun of Command.
It hadnâ€™t been touched since sheâ€™d stashed it away, and suddenly she was keenly aware of her own breathing. Had it become labored? She had no measure, but it was the only sound in the room and it made her stomach twist into knots. A tentative finger ran along the length of the weapon, lingering at the smattering of dried blood on the handle before wrapping her hand around it.
The fatigue in her legs became more evident as she rose, a mix of anxiety and exhaustion. Part of her wanted to cry out in frustrationâ€”why now, why now?â€”but she held as even as she could, aware that it would do her no favors. Still that didnâ€™t stop her from edging out onto the small balcony in her night dress.
The permacrete was damp with a steady drizzle, silent and soft and wholly unwelcome. Joza liked noise, sheâ€™d grown up in the heart of a busy city, sandwiched into a building with dozens of others trying to make their way in Indigo District. She liked the smoke and the shouting and the women calling out on corners try to drum up business. She liked the smell of cheap, greasy food and the tacky neon lights that never let darkness fall on the city even in the dead of night. She liked them not because they were nice things, but familiar things.
She didnâ€™t mind the rain so much as the dark and the silence, furrowing her brow as she placed one hand on the railing and peered down to try and see the garden below. There was nothing but a void beneath and all around her, and perhaps if she were in a better mood she would have appreciated the dry symbolism.
Resting her elbows on the railing, she cradled the gun and looked down to it as if sheâ€™d find some sort of comfort there. What sheâ€™d chased for all those years was the memory of how theyâ€™d first met before things had gone sour. She should have left then and she should have left many times after that, but sheâ€™d been banking on the hope that the rough patch would end and they could go back to being happy.
Love conquers all, right? Even if they were Jedi and Sith, they could make it work. It was exciting and romantic, something out of the holodramas she used to watch religiously. Her finger smoothed along the trigger, vaguely wondering if it would work. Remembering was tough.
Unbeknownst to her, Haytham had left her a parting gift upon his death. The Sith Lordâ€™s consciousness laid dormant within the recess of the mind of the woman he loved. It have given rise to an increased number of headaches, night terrors and the very occasional violent outburst. Sometime she didnâ€™t feel like herself but there were a thousand factors that could contribute to that, none of which she spared the time to address because that would mean confronting the uncomfortable.
A distant cry broke the cloud of dark thoughts like a lone ray of light and she straightened out, head whipping around back towards the door.
Their child was awake.
The gun nearly slipped from her hand and into the alleged garden below but sheâ€™d caught it in timeâ€”it would do no good to crush the plants Solan had kindly given to her when sheâ€™d moved in. Heâ€™d been a good friend and it caused her to reflect, for a stark moment, on the few friends she had left. Most had either died, disappeared or seeped themselves so much in the Dark Side that they werenâ€™t even a remnant of who they once were.
Pain rippled across her brow for a split second and she brought the heel of her palm up to rub at her forehead, wincing as the sensation ebbed away. She loved their child more than anything in the galaxy, and it was because of that sheâ€™d cut ties with the father. Her fear of him ruining this, ruining this child was so strong that sheâ€™d taken his life. She acknowledged the lust for revenge, but it was mostly an afterthought. She did what she had to do to look after her son as any mother would.
Stepping back into her room she grimaced upon realizing that she was tracking in water. The shirt had begun to soak through and her damp hair had become frizzy, something that would normally cause her to bristle. She caught a glance of herself in the dresser mirror on the way to Alanâ€™s room.
Eyes still green, even in the dim light.She didnâ€™t want him at first but had kept him out of a sense of responsibility. Motherhood had changed her, made her more resilient and driven to make something of herself and provide for her child. It had not been easy, but it was a far cry from dancing on the pole or shying around the temple, feeling like an ornament brought back from someoneâ€™s vacation.
Half way the hall, she paused. Her gaze slid down to the Gun of Command still clutched in her right hand and she sighed. Returning to her room, she replaced it back into the drawer and slid it closed, locking it for what she hoped would be a long time.
Normally sheâ€™d let the baby cry it out, but heâ€™d been wailing away for a few minutes so she went to check on him. A bad dream, maybe? Or could he feel his motherâ€™s distress? The thought disturbed her. Though she sensed it within him, Alan had yet to show any Force ability or empath traits.
Tiny hands clutched at the edge of the crib, a distraught toddler standing up in his bed with tears streaking down his face. He cried louder when his mother entered the room, extending both hands toward her. Joza couldnâ€™t help but smile at least a little, leaning down and picking up the baby with a grunt. He sniffled, quieting down as she gently bounced and rocked him back and forth with his head against her chest. After a few minutes of soothing his head shifted upwards, watery grey eyes staring up at her.
Her heart thudded once quickly and she murmured soft words of love to him, readjusting the child in her arms before heading back to her room.
He had his fatherâ€™s eyes but that did not make her resent her son in any way. Sheâ€™d loved a man with those eyes once. It was a twisted, abusive relationship based on possession and a need to be loved that had brought a child into the galaxy. However grisly, the journey had shaped her more than anything.
At the end of the day, what had been done was done. There was no room for regret.