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Salvaging Something Real (Gray)

Baiko no Kaho

G J E N G Ä N G E R
Character
The moment [member="Gray Raxis"] stumbled away from [member="Kaine Australis"]’ cell in the Sundari Palace, a curious visitor slunk beside him, padding quietly beside the stricken man.

It was [member="Ambrose Mantis"], in his Gurlanin form. Ambrose nudged against Gray’s side, putting his massive shoulder under Gray’s arm and guiding him through the Palace.

“Yasha has a room set for Beth’ika here in the Palace. I’m taking you to your ship, Raxis. Go home to your woman.” Ambrose continued leading Gray through the Palace, saying nothing. The man had been through enough. While Ambrose couldn’t understand the urge to use the Force, he had a new begrudging respect for Gray Raxis.

Enough to see the man out of the place, at least.

“I’ll watch the pups, Raxis. Take time with your wife… our moments with them are… never long enough.” Ambrose grumbled and trotted out of Gray’s ship, hopping down as the gangplank raised and the droid took off.

Vulip was in bed by the time Gray got back to Concordia. Baiko stood at the entrance to their home, in a pale blue dress, silver shawl wrapped around her shoulders and her massive belly.

Ambrose called her. Ambrose the villain called to say her husband was coming home. Spoke of taking it easy on him… of Adara and Yasha and troubles with Kaine Australis. With their serene garden courtyard surrounding the entry way, walled in by security walls made to look effortless and beautiful, Baiko waited.

He would be home, and she would tend him. Decipher fact from fiction as the growing discomfort of Gray’s mind became known to her. Opened with the cessation of distance. Once he landed, Baiko walked forward and opened her arms, taking her lover into an embrace.
 

Gray Raxis

Blind and Broken
Character
Emptiness. That was all Gray could sense right now. That was all Gray felt right now. The halls were void of any other living soul. Silence ruled here outside of the tap tap tap of his boots on stone. He had fled from his Yasha and Adara. He was no better than both of their biological fathers right now. He had failed them.... But that was no surprise. Failure and death. All he ever seemed to find was both. Both his parents had died because he failed to be good enough. His cousin turned on their clan, was declared dar'manda by Gray himself, and then died when Gray was being held captive. His clan needed him to lead them well on Castamere and it had cost over half those he brought with him their lives. Next up for him to fail was Yasha and Adara it seemed....

Gray couldn't even keep his first marriage together. It fell apart. He couldn't say what he needed to say soon enough. After he was captured they told him a mix of truths and lies. He lashed out at Star when he found out which were true. Now he and Baiko are married.... Would he fail her too? She had been through so much already. She had seen one terrible marriage end and lost children already. Could she handle it again? This time it would be even worse. They were bonded through the force and she had chosen him for her echani love bond as well. There was no one after him for her.... He had to push that line of thought out of his mind. It was dangerous if true. He couldn't delve too deep into that darkness or it would consume him. It was already consuming him....

Before Gray knew what was happening, he felt a furry sensation under his arm. Ambrose's voice followed. His words were oddly kind compared to what he usually said. He was being taken home. He was being taken back to his Baiko. That was not good. He couldn't face her right now. She didn't need to see him like this. Weak. Vulnerable. Pathetic. There was no hiding from her. She would know right away just how worthless he was. It was embarrassing for her to see him this way. It scared him that she could see him this way....

Gray didn't speak to Ambrose and he could not bring himself to stop being put back onto his ship. Key had flown him right back home without a word. The chatty, worrisome droid was silent the whole way. What was he going to say when he faced his wife? Was there some way he could get his act together enough to fool her? Could he fool her? He didn't know the answer to any of this. All he knew was that he got ever closer to failing yet again. Failing himself. Failing Baiko....

As the ramp came down, Gray found his feet moving him back down it. Habit. Instinct. That was all this was. He knew that. His mind still racing to find an answer to how he could try to make this somewhat better. He needed to find some way to keep it together and be stronger than beskar. That was the Gray that Baiko knew and loved. There was no way she could love a broken blind man who abandoned his own family when they needed him....

Gray heard her footsteps. His lips parted to speak but no words escaped. He tried again. Nothing. She was going to tell him just how worthless he was. She was going to know how unworthy of her he was and leave him. He just knew it. Here her fated words were going to come.... She embraced him. She embraced Gray. His mind went blank. Empty. That was all Gray was aware of right now. That was all Gray could feel. All he could feel was emptiness... and love. His legs gave out and he dropped to his knees. Sightless eyes buried into his wife as strong arms wrapped around her. Hot tears began to bleed into her clothing. Gray broke down completely.

[member="Baiko no Kaho"]
 

Baiko no Kaho

G J E N G Ä N G E R
Character
A growing void expanded in Baiko’s mind like a poisonous flower. The mental assault of [member="Gray Raxis"]’ own mind was lightning without thunder, so intimately placed the sound of it only rushed outward, past him and to the ripples of the Force which connected them.

Her Echanar.

Her lover, father of her twins.

Baiko touched her receding belly, relieved that Gray had no sight to see the pale tone of her skin, the exhaustion washed off her face. An utterly broken creature descended, silent as the grave Adara should have occupied.

There was no making him better, not by his strength alone. Gray’s strength had finally failed him, and now Baiko was experiencing his intrinsic self.

Finally, Baiko thought to the wind. Finally her lover was known to her. Finally there was nothing between them but what Baiko had left. His arms cinched further around her than they had a day before. Baiko clucked her tongue and kissed his head, pulling him with her to the bench directly behind. She needed to sit down, to breathe as she held him, and hold him she did.

Baiko pulled Gray onto the bench, cradling his torso into her lap as he sobbed. Gently rocking, Baiko pressed her lips to his temple, humming a lullaby into the air.

“My Gray, holding everybody else on your back, who holds you, eh? Who holds you, my love?” Baiko smiled into his hair, nuzzling her nose near his ear, to whisper.

“I do.”

Through an open window in the side of the house, the sound of a newborn crying filtered into the courtyard. Slipping a hand onto his cheek, Baiko pulled his scarred face closer, and kissed him.

“This too shall pass, Gray. All this fear and uselessness and darkness… it no more belongs to you than water belongs to a shriek-hawk. You are so loved… by me, by Yasha, and by your son and daughter.” Brushing her fingers across his tears, wiping them away, Baiko opened herself to the White Current, creating an illusion of her in Gray’s mind. He often said he didn’t need it, said that he didn’t want to have the temptation of sight. Yet, tonight, if there was one night where Gray ‘saw’ as normal an illusion as possible, it was tonight.

A tired, but elated woman looked down into his ruined eyes, without judgement. She smiled bright and warm, her hair braided back, still damp from the shower she must have taken mere minutes before he arrived. In the sanctity of their temple, Baiko’s kiffar facial tattoos lined her cheeks and chin.

“Gray.” Her smile increased, displaying a dimple in her left cheek. “Do you hear your son? He’s crying to meet his father. Come… come, my love. Leave this ache behind you, it has no place here. Only love exists in this place. Vulip is asleep, Radha is with the children… Come hold your son and daughter, and then hold me. Hold me for hours, without ceasing and I shall banish these pains holding you down.”

In the quiet of Gray and [member="Beth Australis"]’ travels to Mandalore, Baiko no Kaho birthed Gray’s twins. The babes nestled inside, watched over by the midwife, and Baiko’s Echani cousin Radha. It was time for them to meet their father.

It was time to bring Gray into the light.
 

Gray Raxis

Blind and Broken
Character
Everything that Baiko did and said just seemed to pass through Gray like vapors. It was unseen and unheard but he felt it completely. He was laying down on the bench and in her lap now as well. When did that happen? Some words passed by his ears. What did she say? His mind and his body were exhausted beyond belief. The last time he had felt like this was when he was in that cave on Roon. Freshly escaped coping with his new blindness after being tormented for months as Sith or dark jedi or whatever they wanted to be tried to convert him to their ways. He had run on instinct then, and he felt as if he was doing the same now. All he could do was just lay there and be as his love soothed his tattered soul.

Then the vision came. Gray saw his wife for the second time in his life. A soft, affectionate smile crossed his lips as his left hand reached up to touch her cheek. She looked wary, exhausted, and as if she just lost a fight to a rancor. She looked beautiful to him in that moment. It also tugged at his mind. It brought some awareness back to him and finally her words registered. She was speaking of their kids. She was speaking of every embodiment of their love. She wanted him to come hold their newly born twins, but he knew he couldn't right now. It wasn't due to a lack of desire but more that he knew his arms couldn't handle the weight right now.

Getting himself sat up slowly, Gray tried to find his words. It seemed even his tongue and his throat were exhausted. It took him a bit but finally he said in a hushed voice, " Tomorrow my love. I don't have the strength left in me to lift that much pure love right now. Let's go rest together and then we can show them just how much they mean to us. And tonight. Tonight we can just be together as we sleep." He tried to chuckle, but nothing came out of him. After a brief pause he added, " That is all I've ever wanted you know. To have someone to just be together with." With that he laid his hand on top of her's and gently squeezed. He wasn't feeling so empty.

[member="Baiko no Kaho"]
 

Baiko no Kaho

G J E N G Ä N G E R
Character
Her husband was an unmitigated mess. It was in this state of exhaustion and relative horror which brought [member="Gray Raxis"] from the daze to his wife’s arms. Baiko held him with every ounce of strength left in her exhausted bones, rocking as she could, kissing his brow in tender ministrations to the one who gave without receiving so very much of the time.

Her hand eased on his back, as he sat up, clawing at the words which would never come. Bringing herself to standing, Baiko took a moment to breathe, putting her hand on her receding and sore belly.

“Then come, my love. Come help your wife.” If they leaned on each other, they would succeed where others failed. Tonight, it meant leaning shoulders as they went to bed, one last look at their neonates before Baiko slipped, exhausted and worn, but radiant, into their bed.

Holding Gray was like holding the tide, he receded and returned, a clockwork consistency to his affection and the business which brought him both far and near her in cycle. Brushing her fingers across Gray’s hair and cheek, she dragged her thumb along his stubbled chin. She undressed him down to his trousers, content to doff his armour and have only the man beneath. “I love you, Gray. You have me, and I am never leaving you… our children, Gray… they’re gorgeous. Strong, like their father… they were so very strong tonight.”

Her voice dragged off, as she cuddled her face in the space between his collarbone and neck. “I’ve got you. No problem in the universe can get in here, tonight… hold me, love. I did it, hold me.”
 

Gray Raxis

Blind and Broken
Character
She stood. Gray's love, his wife and entire universe, stood up after his barely spoken words. While he had struggled to handle things with their oldest child and granddaughter, she had brought their newest children into the galaxy. Both had the most Mandalorian reasons to be exhausted. They gave everything to their family and now it was time for their reward: each other. A slight smile crossed his lips as he just enjoyed her presence.

Weakly getting to his feet, Gray joined [member="Baiko no Kaho"] . The two leaned on each other as they slowly made their way together to their bed. She rested against his chest as he rested against her. It was a walking embrace. It was both desired and necessary for them. Two parts fitted together that could never be broken when alone would never work. He felt no need for words to express this to her. They were bonded in three ways. Baiko's echani bond with Gray meant he was her one and only. He wasn't echani but it was the same for him. The two were force bonded with each other as well. It was not intentionally done but rather just happened as they shared themselves with each other so fully and deeply. And the two were bound by the Manda as all things were. There was nothing that could separate the two, especially not now.

Their bed eventually was reached. All of Gray's strength was gone from him. He just laid down fully clothed on top of the sheets. The only thing removed was his boots. His arms wrapped around his wife and pulled her in as close as he could. Sleep did not wait long to overtake him....
 

Baiko no Kaho

G J E N G Ä N G E R
Character
Sleep was the only possible reaction to a day coated with the stress and pain of childbearing. Life and resurrection hummed around [member="Gray Raxis"], and his wife, taming their predilections to the necessary exhaustion which enveloped them.

The last of his strength bolstered the dwindling reserves of her own, until finally they rested together atop the sheets. Less than hours ago, their children came to the world, less than hours…

Baiko burned to hold her children, to kiss their squirming faces, but the exhaustion from her husband and her own trials was far too great to bear. Their twins were warm, safe and loved. Radha had everything she needed to cope with their new lives for the few hours before Baiko awoke to feed them.

Baiko slept soundly in her husband’s arms, until the sun peeked through the gossamer curtains she hung with care. Gray didn’t need to worry about light to sleep, and neither did Baiko, who enjoyed the sun bathing her face.

Yet, it was not the light which woke her. Radha brought little Azure and tiny Achani into the room, a nod to their whimpering cries. They were hungry. Baiko slid out from her husband’s arms, and sat further up the bed to feed her children.

All was right in the world. Gray was home, the twins were alright, Vulip rested in her bed… Concordia was pristine, despite what Mandalore held as their extended burden.
 
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