Follow-up

Dec. 6th, 2007 01:27 pm
rogueskeptic: (lip touchy)
[personal profile] rogueskeptic
His mother stared back at him for another long, silent moment. Overhead, Hobbie could hear the whine of the repulsorlifts of various craft coming in for a landing at the spaceport. She was quiet long enough that he'd just come to the conclusion that this had been a terrible idea and was about to say something awkward and lame-sounding before making good his escape when she took a step toward him and wrapped her arms around him, hugging him fiercely.

He was shocked enough to drop his bag.

Slowly, gingerly, he slid his arms around her as well. It was strange, she seemed so much smaller than he remembered her being a decade ago. More frail. Even if she was making it a bit hard for him to breathe. He didn't, exactly, mind.

She was huggin him. He was hugging her. And his shirt was wet.

Was she crying?

"Ma," he didn't even notice he'd dropped the more formal term, "you're crushing my ribs..."

The pressure on his midsection loosened, but the older woman didn't let him go. It was as if she was afraid he'd disappear off into the ether again -- and he had been on the verge of doing just that only a minute ago. Her voice was muffled by his chest, but she was talking anyway, "thought you'd never come back. I thought you'd died, Derek." Even though she was muffled, he could hear the regret in her voice, the anguish of a mother who'd lost her only child.

Both of them was paying no attention to the fact that they were both standing on the doorstep looking foolish, holding each other tightly. It was entirely possible Hobbie was doing his damnedest to blink back the sudden moisture that had appeared in his eyes. "I had to go, Ma. I'm sorry." He was carefully rubbing her back in a comforting gesture, a mirror of the way she'd used to do it for him when he'd been very small. Before his father had decided to actually take a hand in his upbringing lest his son 'grow up into a girl' from his mother's coddling him.

His mother looked up at him with wet, red-rimmed eyes and forced a smile. "I know." She didn't like it, but she understood. "But look at us, standing out here like a couple of fools. Come on in, boy, let's get you comfortable."

She was tugging him in but he stood there, looking at the door. "Is anyone else here?"

"Who else would there b-..." She trailed off and realized he wouldn't know and turned to smile back at him again, reassuring. "It's just me now, Derek. He hasn't been here for years." It had happened after she'd heard about the mutiny on the Rand Ecliptic. She'd been told her son had died there, not that he'd been among the mutineers. That had been the last straw for her tolerance of her husband. Only later, when Hobbie's name was attached with the infamous Rogue Squadron did she come to realize he'd defected, not died. By then, she hadn't had any contact with his father in years and she wouldn't have taken him back, anyway.

She continued pulling Hobbie into the little house and he let her do so, picking up his bag and carrying it with him. Things looked more or less the way he remembered them. A little older, a little more worn perhaps just like the outside of the house. Just like his mother. But she'd always kept the place as clean as she could manage and that hadn't changed at all.

What had changed? He no longer felt the urge to hunch his shoulders when he walked in, something of the old feeling of oppression had lifted. He couldn't smell stale beer and old alcohol either. And his mother seemed happier.

There were no family pictures anywhere, but there hadn't been those when he'd lived there so he didn't notice their absence.

Dimly, Hobbie heard his mother talking about things he'd missed since he'd been gone. The changes on Ralltiir -- more than a few of which he'd already heard about --, things that had happened in their family, news of cousins getting married he barely remembered having, what had happened to various neighbors, and all the little news tidbits that made up her life. He was still taking in this feeling he could sense filling his chest. Something that made him want to shout and sob all at the same time. He was home.

Eventually, she seemed to realize he wasn't really paying attention and trailed off, watching her son for a quiet, thoughtful moment. "But enough about me." Her smile was wry, "I want to hear what you've been up to." And maybe there was a tinge of something like pride in her voice, my son, the hero.

So, he ended up sitting down with her and he started to talk. He told her about the academy and he told her about finding the Alliance and what happened after the Rand Ecliptic. He told her about Yavin and the forming of Rogue Squadron, he glossed over the actual battle of Yavin since he hadn't been able to participate and mentioned he'd met his friend, Wes Janson there. He talked about Hoth and he talked about Endor and Bakura and Bretaal and everywhere else. He mentioned friends he'd made and the ones who'd been lost. He talked about training squadrons with Wes and about Coruscant and Thyferra and Adumar and everything. He told her about coming to Terra, even if he didn't mention what a bad idea that was. And finally, hours later after it had grown dark outside, he told her about deciding to come back to Ralltiir.

And when he had nothing else to tell, he told her he planned to stay a while, if she'd let him.

She just nodded.
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Hobbie Klivian

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