View Full Version : Wayward Sons

TTony Ath-Thu'ban
Jun 18th, 2016, 04:38:57 PM
A Few Years Ago

Today was the day.

It was a long time coming. Years of wanting. Months of preparation. Meticulous planning and execution, one step at a time. All the good will, all the favours, all the cunning and observation, and it all culminated in this.

He tried not to run. Tried to walk casual. Drew on all the lessons he'd learned, all the wisdom his father had imparted while TTony was pretending not to listen. Hands shoved deep in his pockets. A strolling pace, not a hustling one. Eyes up. Shoulders relaxed. Notice your surroundings. Worst thing you could do when you were up to something was look like you were up to something, and getting all hunched up and floor-staring was totally the wrong thing to do. He tried a little of Dad's bow-legged swagger walk. Felt weird. Probably looked weird. Dial it back.

The corner of his eye spotted movement. He glanced over in that direction; a couple of girls he half recognised from school, looking over at him. He gave them one of those backwards nods, that head tilt thing that Dad always did to show people he'd saw them. One girl blushed, and turned to the other. Both started giggling. A tug of a grin pulled at the corner of TTony's mouth.

Aww, yeah.

The tiny bolster of confidence was enough to carry him back to the tangle of interconnected houses that the Ath-Thu'ban Clan had taken over. Well okay, not clan per se. Not the way that Koine was a clan. Or a... a... what was the name Unclemos used? Kinda sounded like elite a little. Aliit, maybe? Whatever. Not like that, anyway. But it didn't feel right calling it House Ath-Thu'ban either, because it was a group of people, not a stupid building. And family didn't seem right either, no matter how many times Dad did his speech about blood and whatever. It weren't just Mom and Dad and Danny, it weren't just the Uncles, or Gran and Grampam, it was everyone. Family. Friends. Droids. Pets. Those Uncles that you called Uncle even though they weren't really Uncles. Master Cleo. Everyone. Was a whole tribe of people from time to time, and sometimes TTony didn't even know all their names, but they were still part of the Ath-Thu'ban family-adjacent blob. Hyperfamily. More family than family. Whatever.

Either way, he made it back there. Snuck in through the flippy-floppy retro door that hinged open in two halves, the one that opened out onto the kitchen garden. TTony was never really sure if it was called that just because it was next to one of the kitchens, or if it was because it had kitchen stuff in. Like, would it still be a kitchen garden if it had the same stuff in but was over on the other side? Would it still be a kitchen garden if it stayed put but was only flowers and junk? These were life's important questions, but everyone just looked at him weird when he asked them. Everyone but Uncle Atton anyway, he seemed to think the questions were great: but he was spending a lot of time offworld now, doing important Senator business and stuff. It sucked. Super-sucked. And it was why he'd started insisting that people call him TTony after his middle name. Gotta have an Atton on-planet keeping an eye on stuff, you know? Uncle Atton said that if he kept his eyes open, he might get to help out Auntie Em with her spy stuff one day. Uncle Atton said that she was an information breaker and that she sold secrets and stuff; so TTony kept his ears on a swivel - or something like that - like Uncle Atton told him to, and saved up all the juicy secrets so that he could tell them when Uncle Atton got home.

TTony went stealth mode as he ducked into the corridor from the kitchen garden kitchen - their little cluster of linked up houses had way too many kitchens, but Dad said that you needed the right kitchen for the right meal, so whatever - diving into one of the studies as a cleaning droid shuffled past. It was super weird, the way that Home mixed high tech and low tech together. Most of the doors were the swooshy slidey ones, but some of them had handles and hinges; and all the rooms had proper lights and floor heaters and all that stuff, but there were fireplaces and candles and stuff too, and people just used them when they were in the mood. And Dad had a thing called nicknacks, which were supposed to be super rare and super valuable stuff with super tons of super sentimental value and stuff - but to be honest, most of it kinda seemed like junk? - and it was everywhere. Beat up old droids trundling around as well as shiny new ones. That couch and holoprojector in the den where Mom and Dad went for their alone snuggle time that was like, a billion years old, but was from the spaceship they first lived together on or whatever.

His hand shifting a little into one of the deep pockets of his oversized jacket, TTony's hand wrapped around one such nicknack. It had taken all his skills, all his training, and all of Uncle Atton's guidance to even find out about it, and to steal - no, borrow - it was a feat worthy of the history books. But he had it now, and feeling it in his fingers, his muscles started to vibrate with giddiness. Today was the day. But he was missing two important components: the rest of his team.

TTony darted out from cover, scampering around the corner into the segment of the buildings designated for Free Range Child Rearing. Basically it was the part of the superhouse that was far enough away from everything else that TTony and Danny could be as noisy as they wanted without disturbing anyone, but close enough to Mom and Dad that like, they could come sort stuff out quickly if Danny started crying or whatever; because obviously TTony was too cool to have ever been the kind of kid who cried at nightmares or spiders or whatever. Autopilot carried him the rest of the way, past the day room and the play room, past the bedroom with the bunk beds that he and his brother had shared when they were small, past their own little refresher room, and right up to the door of Mandan's room - helpfully labelled with a hand scrawled crayon sign identifying it as exactly that. He triggered the swoosh door and stepped inside, a hushed reverence falling over him as he peered through the blind-closed dimness at the barely moving lump of sibling buried under his bedsheets.

Crouching for just a moment, TTony retrieved a discarded shoe, and hurled it in his brother's direction. "Wake up, assbutt," he hissed, in the kind of misguided whisper that wasn't actually quiet at all. "We're going on an adventure."

Danny Ath-Thu'ban
Jun 19th, 2016, 11:14:53 AM
Danny had been told once or twice when he asked why his brother was such a bantha-brain that it was the job of older brothers to pick on their younger ones as much as it was of protecting them or something. Some sort of payment dubbed by the universe because they were simply born first. Of course - that bit of advice either came from people with no brothers or they were the older brother. Danny was alone on Susevi in the younger-brother-squad but that was okay, it just made him that much more stand-outish, special, awesomesauce. Okay so technically Uncle Atton was in the club too, but he hadn't grown up with his sister and brother and he wasn't even on the planet - which sucked a big old wad of chewed up nexu poodoo. Maybe something worse.

Still, being woken up by a - what was that anyway? - twack of some sort, was far from the best way to be woken up. Especially when you were in the middle of dreaming about piloting a giant robot and squishing little towns filled with evil sorts. Giant Robots TTony! Not that his big brother would care about that sort of thing anymore. He was interested in different things nowadays. Like - ugh - girls. Gross.

Mandan - it's Danny, dumbbutt - woke with a bit of a grumble and sat up, his hair more of a wild mess than usual, and glared at his brother. His hands fished around the bed for the thrown object and finally found it. It was... a shoe? Oh no, boogerbreath, you ain't getting this back just yet.

"What sort of adventure?" He asked skeptically.

Him and TTony used to go on all sorts, as recent as last week, but that was before TTony had started getting too old to do the cool stuff anymore. He didn't even want to make mud balls anymore and what sort of lame-o lost interest in that?

TTony Ath-Thu'ban
Jun 19th, 2016, 11:55:16 AM
Oh, Danny.

TTony couldn't help his mouth curling into a grin as his baby brother - emphasis on the baby lately, given how much whining and complaining he kept doing - asked that question. Normally he'd just have rolled his eyes and ughed, before just wandering off and waiting for Danny to scamper along behind him. It was one of the weird things about being a big brother: no matter what TTony did, Danny was always there, clinging to his butt like he was attached by elastic or something. Dad had told him not to take it for granted, warned him that one day the thorn in his side would be gone forever and there'd never be a way to get it back no matter what you tried - but what did he know about annoying brat brothers, anyway?

The worst part though? TTony did kinda miss him, sometimes. Like, not miss him or anything, but there were times when he was out being awesome and cool and stuff, and he'd think of something funny to say - but when he turned to say it, Danny wasn't there to listen. When he found cool stuff, like that time him and some of the other kids from school had gone hiking past the Wall and TTony had found that tree that totally looked like an angry Bothan, none of the other kids cared; but Danny would have thought it was hilarious. But that was growing up, wasn't it? Growing out of all the dumb kid stuff that he and Danny used to do. Wasn't like TTony could have Danny tag along with him when he went and did stuff with the other kids, even if they wanted to. They wouldn't understand. They hadn't heard all of Dad's lectures about family, and how important it was that the two of them stick together. They'd just think TTony was some weirdo who let some dumb baby follow him around everywhere.

Not today though. Today was something so phenomenally cool, so vitally important, that TTony couldn't not bring Danny along. Okay, so partly it was because Danny wouldn't believe him if he wasn't there to see it with his own dumb eyes, but it was more than that. Wouldn't be right if TTony did it on his own; this was a them thing. And maybe, just maybe, when all the other kids found out about the part that Danny had played in all of this, maybe it'd make him seem cool enough that they'd let him tag along every now and again. Or not. Whatever.

TTony's hand emerged from his jacket pocket, and performed the gesture that he'd been practising for like, ten straight minutes to make sure it looked cool. Was a good thing too, because at first it had been really awkward trying to grip on to the string and stuff, and he'd dropped it a few times before he'd figured out the whole hooking it round his finger thing. With a flourish he let his hand fall open, something metallic dropping and dangling in the air underneath. It looked weird, all spiky bits of metal of different lengths sticking out like an upside down Byblos skyline, attached to a sort of hexagon triangle with the points cut off type bit of duraplast. It looked like nothing - unless you knew what it was. And oh boy did TTony and his brother know what it was.

Was a right of passage, sort of. Or at least, it was something that had happened to TTony, and then to Danny to keep things fair. He didn't really remember it much when it happened to him, because he was still teeny-small enough to sit on Dad's lap back then; but he remembered Danny's turn. Remembered how fudgin' cold it was when Dad had dragged them out to the beat up shed on the edge of town at like, ass o' clock in the morning. Remembered not knowing what was going on until they got there, and then being confused; and then that feeling when Dad told him to hop up in the turret. See, Dad had this ship, right? Not the ship he used to live on, way smaller than that. Was a something-wing, a bomber from back on the old Republic days, and like, Dad really liked it or something. But he never used it, like, ever. It just sat there under some grimy old tarp, waiting until the sixteenth of never when it might actually need to be used to protect the planet or something. As if the Ring Defenders and the Koines didn't already have that more than covered.

It was like, selfish, you know? Dad had taken them up there a few times when Danny was small, flown them around so that they could see home from up above. Took them into space even. Kinda promised that one day he might even take them to a whole different planet, but then Danny had got too big to sit on Dad's lap and have him still fly, and it wasn't like you could cram the both of them in the turret in the back. Dad still took Danny up there sometimes, but maybe TTony just was too grown up for that now; or maybe it was just Dad liking Danny best, same as usual. TTony totally did not care, at all, but like - it used to be a them thing. It used to be something that he and Danny could talk about afterwards, some awesomeness they'd both shared in; something that Dad had taken away forever.

So yeah. Screw you, Dad. You wanna leave your ship to rust or whatever? Fine. TTony would do what his Dad was too much of a jerk to do. He'd flown simulators at school. Unclemos had even let him take the stick one time when he'd been "babysitting" - which for Unclemos apparently meant "an intensive crash course in Mandalorian warrior training", aka the most awesome weekend ever. Some clunky, slow, dumb old bomber? Easy biz, like Bantha squiz.

"A space adventure, Lieutenant Mandan," TTony explained, a half-way impression of the announcer guy from the show they'd watched as kids creeping out from behind his broad grin. "The Republic Rangers need our assistance, and there's only one way on this stupid planet to get there."

Danny Ath-Thu'ban
Jun 22nd, 2016, 12:08:29 AM
Now he was paying attention. The Republic Rangers were everything awesome; dad said so and considering how often dad was right about things there was no way he was wrong about that. Okay yeah, the quality of the footage wasn't quite up to standard to today's stuff, but dad had told him to respect the classics and if there was one thing that Ttony and Danny both knew it was that the Republic Rangers would always kick <strike>ass</strike> errr... butt.

Still, what Ttony was claiming was mighty high up there in things of impossibles. Of course Danny wasn't some laser-brained dumbhead that thought that the actual Republic Rangers needed their help, but pair that sacred calling upon with what Ttony had in his hand and just....

"No way."

Danny slid out of bed, leaving the shoe-of-leverage behind and stared at his brother.

"No way did dad give you that."

He kept an eye on Ttony even as pajamas were shrugged off and day-old clothing was tugged on in it's place. It took some effort but he sure feared that if he looked away Ttony and the adventure would be gone and like heck he was going to miss out on this one!

"Which means..." He half mumbled through a shirt as it got caught on his head. Hair and face appeared a moment later after a good strong tug. "You took it."

Danny knew he could never pull off the kind of faces that mom and dad could when they were mad or even just pretend mad at something, but he tried a grump look that he'd learned from Uncle Amos. He wasn't really mad though, not even in the slightest. But this was one of dad's things and Danny knew it would be at least some sort of slight betrayal to at least pretend to not be a bit grumpy in his place.

Just a bit, though. Anything more than a second or two would be entirely stupid right now. This was Awesome with a capital Aurek.

"You are hosed if dad finds out."

Trying to hide his excitement wasn't working out so good. Be cool, Danny. Be cool. Yep, that was how this was gonna have to play out then. A smirk fell across his features - not as impressive as the ones Auntie Em could pull off but Danny had to admit it was darn close - and he fell into one of those positions that everyone said made him look like a mini-dad even more than normal. It was calm, kinda kick butt if he had a blaster at his side sort of thing; the wayward shoe was snatched up and held as if it's importance as a bargaining chip had returned.

"Which is why you need me, huh? Nobody keeps secrets like I do and only you and I know how to keep dad in the dark on this one."

His face broke out into a grin that was far too cocky for his own good, but Ttony knew exactly what it meant. It was the Ath-Thuban way of saying HOLY FRAK YES without actually saying so. The shoe in hand was held out as Danny nodded towards Ttony's hand.

"Guess you'll be needin' this then, eh, Cap'n Atton?"

TTony Ath-Thu'ban
Jun 23rd, 2016, 04:00:14 PM
There were probably more convenient things to have thrown, TTony mused, as he snagged the projectile shoe from the air and set about returning it to his foot. Something from Danny's room; perhaps a shoe of his own. But these were Danny's things. Perhaps it was something he could blame his parents for: some notion instilled in him once his younger brother was born, that the two brothers' belongings were sovereign and sacred, not to be stolen or borrowed without permission. Perhaps it was something from Unclemos or Grampam, some Mandalorian or Jensaarai teaching about forging one's own lightsaber, living within one's own armour, getting cosy with the feel of your own personal blaster in your hand. Whatever the reason, it had to be TTony's own shoe. Had to be something familiar; had to be something he knew the weight of, and the shape of, to be sure that it would land just right.

Equally just right was Danny's observation. Their upbringing had been a strange one: Grampam's Jedi and Jensaarai wisdom mixed with Mom's Nar Shaddaa street smarts and a few Mandalorian notions here and there, sprinkled with dash of second-hand Republic Commando junk that Dad learned from his Dad approximately seventy-three million years ago - or however long it was since Dad was actually young. The one thing they all had in common, though? Unity. Togetherness. You are never alone: not with the Force in your heart, and your brothers by your side. Sure, so everyone had their own wonky definition of brother - brothers in arms, clan-brothers, and all that junk - but Danny was all of them; and he was the most important kind. It wasn't just that Danny could be trusted, it wasn't just that Danny could be relied on to help spin together a convincing lie: Danny was his brother, and if TTony was going to suffer the prospect of facing the most terrifying thing in the universe - otherwise known as angry Dad - there was only one way to do it; only one way to survive.

TTony straightened up - still grinning - a hand reaching to the zip fastener of his jacket, whipping it open with a flourish. The shirt beneath beamed out loud and proud, selected because it was the absolute bluest item of clothing that TTony owned. He wasn't sure why the Blue Ranger was his favourite: maybe he felt a certain kinship, being the forgotten elder son - the original - usurped by the arrival of someone younger and cooler. Maybe it was because of how friggin' cool Scanner's Delta-7 was, with it's stripes, and it's built-in astromech and stuff. Maybe it was just because it made Dad super cranky that he didn't like the dumb Red guy the best, and when he rolled his eyes when Dad told them yet again about how he'd met Ceto Rübezahl for reals one time. Whatever the reason, it didn't matter: what was important was that the Blue guy was the best, and Dad was totally wrong.

"Get your colours on, El Tee," TTony commanded, in his best Scanlan Yahto impression, hands resting heroically on his waist. His eyebrow quirked as he approximated Scanner's trademark winking head nod and smirk. "We don't have much time."