Suprise!! It’s a completely random mid-week post, a special treat for you!!
I’ve actually got something super special that I’ve never done for TEP before for ya today, and that is… a fanfiction!! This is a little thing that I wrote shortly after reading Claudia Gray’s Star Wars: Bloodline.
I didn’t care for every single aspect of that book, but one thing that I did absolutely love was how real and alive all of the supporting characters were. Every single one seemed like an independent person, and left me wanting more of their stories so badly!
I’m warning you now, there are huge spoilers for Bloodline past this point, so if this is something that you’ve been intending to read but just haven’t gotten around to yet, I would advise that you bookmark this page for later and return once you’ve read the book itself. But if you have already read it, or haven’t and just don’t care about spoilers, then please, continue on!
My two favorite characters from this book happened to be Greer Sonnel and Joph Seastriker. For those who haven’t read the book yet, these two are a couple of extremely gifted pilots who happen to find themselves working alongside Princess Leia Organa in an epic mission that takes them all over the galaxy. Greer, in another life long, long ago, was a prodigious racing pilot who was mentored by Han Solo, and who now works as Leia’s chief-of-staff. Joph is a member of the New Republic Military’s Precision Air Team (he flies an X-Wing with Luke Skywalker-esque skill.) Greer also suffers from an incurable illness known as “bloodburn” (here’s the Wookieepedia page on it for more information concerning just what it does to her.)
Greer is, in my opinion, the kind of female character who is sorely lacking in many stories. She’s strong but in a realistic way. She can inspire girls, and anyone, really, to hold their heads high and fight for what they believe in no matter what they’re going for, to keep on fighting for life despite the battles that no one else can see. Not to say that strong woman in the style of Sabine Wren, Rey, or even Natasha Romanov, aren’t inspiring, too. But even though I don’t struggle from a chronic illness like she and so many people in our real world do, her battles felt more relatable, because most of us in this reality won’t even get the chance to blow up Stormtroopers, fight Knights of Ren, or take down rogue government officials.
I also really loved the relationship that developed between these two characters over the course of the book. Very quiet, but with the potential to be an amazing, sweet ship that stands strong and persevere no matters the odds against it. But to my astonishment and great sadness, upon a bit of quick internet searching, I found absolutely nothing else to fuel my newborn shipping fire!! No fanart, no headcanons, nothing!! And when I searched for fanfiction, I came up with only a couple of rather insufficient titles.
So, I thought: why not write my own??
Now I had never written a fanfiction before. I really shied away from the idea in the past. It felt somehow wrong to me to take these amazing characters who become living, breathing beings as soon as I open their book, and put their lives and destinies into my very inexperienced and clumsy hands. But when I ran the idea past a couple of good friends, they pushed me to go through with the idea and provided feedback when I sent them the finished product for inspection. Once the fic was done, it was promptly saved to my desktop, where it remained until I felt the oomph to actually put it out into the judgmental internet.
But the other day, I came across a Tweet that made me realize… other people ship this thing, too!!! So with that knowledge, I decided that it was time to go ahead and publish my story. I wanted to do a bit of last-minute clean-up on any rough edges that might be left on it, even getting up the nerve to contact my favorite fanfic writer (Aceofstars16) to see if she’d be willing to give it a final proof, and she so very kindly agreed and gave me some great feedback.
The title of this fic may seem a bit weird at first glance, but I took it from a scene in Lord of the Rings when Sam tells Frodo that, though he cannot take up the burden of the Ring of Power and carry it for his friend, he can carry Frodo up Mount Doom to destroy the Ring in its fires.
So enough stalling. Enough rambling around with details, backstory, and explanations. Here’s what you came for: my very first fanfiction!! This is also posted on my account on Archive of Our Own, so if anyone who reads it here would like to also hop over there and hit that little kudos button, it would mean so much!! 🙂
“But I Can Carry You”
– a fanfiction by Shay
Helping to start a paramilitary splinter group that may or may not be operating outside of the wishes of the New Republic Senate hadn’t been on Joph Seastriker’s “Exciting Things To Do As Soon As I Can Fly” list. And yes, he had certainly had a list like that. All the nights he had kept his eyes glued open, fighting sleep, had been devoted to adding to it. All he wanted to do was fly away, and the days when he could make this dream a reality just couldn’t come fast enough to him.
Ironically, resisting sleep and planning new adventures were quite the opposite of what he was doing right now. Right now, he was lying on his back, staring at the ceiling of the bunker where the pilots’ berths were, wishing that he could sleep. He couldn’t figure out why his eyes had popped open in the middle of the night. But there was no drifting off now, which meant there was also no reason to stay in the room that Joph considered far too stuffy.
He slid to the edge of his bunk and left the room lightly, taking care not to disturb his dormmates. No point in them missing out on sleep too. Joph had to grin to himself whenever he thought about all those plans he had made as a kid. He was certainly in the middle of an adventure now, though sometimes he wondered how children never thought they might actually long for sleep and slow days when they were older.
Joph made his way down the hallway and towards the main hanger. He stepped into the huge bay where all the ships were kept, row after row of X-Wings, some A-Wings, and even an antiquated Y-Wing or two. Stopping just inside the shelter, right where the tarmac began, he breathed in the smell of the hangar – that scent of old grease and gears and fuel that seemed to be in his very blood. It was warm out tonight, though there was the slightest of breezes blowing. He mussed a hand through his own hair while gazing up at the stars. D’Qar had lots of bright green grass and rolling hills, unlike his homeworld of Gatalenta. But every planet had stars, and he found he could recognize some of the same pinpricks of light that he had learned by heart as a kid. All those tiny dots that he had vowed to visit as soon as he was old enough to fly away.
As he brought his gaze away from the heavens, something caught his attention. His eyes lit on a bench not far away – and widened as he instantly recognized the feminine figure, lustrous black hair down and streaming over the thin blanket wrapped around her body.
He knew why Greer was out here at this hour, there was no need to question her. She often couldn’t sleep from the fevers and consequent headaches she endured, and it wasn’t unusual to discover her up and about before everyone else due to her sleeplessness.
He contemplated whether he should leave for the slightest moment, but something told him otherwise. Though he had vowed to himself never to pity her, and she had warned him fiercely and on multiple occasions that her health was her own concern, something within him whispered that now was the time to stay. He doubted that she would appreciate the gesture, but unable to leave her alone, he made his way to her side and tentatively sat down on the bench. He released his breath, then chanced a look in her direction – to find her huge dark eyes fixated on him. Now that he was closer, he could see the way her brow was wrinkled and the skin around her eyes scrunched up, her jaw set painfully tight as she rode out the waves of agony pounding against her skull.
She shut her eyes again, the effort of keeping them open and fixated on him too much to keep up for long. She sucked in a deep breath through clenched teeth and released it with something between a sign and a whimper. Though the night was comfortably warm, she was shivering beneath her blanket. He could feel the heat of her fever from the distance at which he sat, and he anxiously checked the back of her hand for the telltale signs of dehydration. He didn’t find them, but her skin fairly burned against his, and she shivered at his touch. He knew better than to ask if she had been keeping up with her treatments lately; she had been dangerously close to toxic levels when he first found out about her condition, and since then, although she had kept up her regular treatments, her fevers had only risen and increased frequency. And besides, he was somehow confident that talking at times like this was the worst thing one could do.
He wished with all his heart that he could do something to relieve her pain. Even if it meant he had to bear some of it with her. Anything that meant she wouldn’t have to carry it all alone.
But that was impossible. So instead, he gave her hand a gentle squeeze and released it, tucking it beneath the blanket. Not that the cloud-light cloth could do anything for her, either way. With fevers as high as hers often ran, it wasn’t worth chancing major consequences in trying to use something thicker to keep her warm. The only hope was that keeping her cool would bring her body temperature down to normal levels, but the blanket gave her something comforting to tighten around herself, something to clench in her hands and dig her nails into through long nights of pain.
Realization hit him that when they were both sitting, he didn’t seem so much shorter than her anymore. In fact, with the way she was hunched down against the back of the bench right now, he was taller.
She gritted her teeth, pressing both hands against her eyes and temples, and seemed almost to whimper – his heart ached for her. Greer Sonnel was so strong, so bold. She was a true daughter of Pamarthe, turning her nose up at fear and weakness and never showing the slightest traces of it herself. Seeing her in such a way, the victim of a war she could not ever truly win –
Joph knew that he wasn’t supposed to cry, he knew that, and he had kept it mostly under control since leaving Gatalenta. The last time he remembered breaking was when he first found out about Greer’s illness – the shock had just been so intense, and the realization that this amazing person next to him was slowly dying had hit him like a cargo freighter at lightspeed.
Joph could almost feel Greer’s struggle for consciousness as she leaned against him, her body all but shaking with the burning fever coursing through it. Tears threatened to fill his eyes as he helplessly slipped her blanket up higher, almost to her chin, and gathered her close.
Eternity seemed to pass as she drifted in and out of consciousness, the blanket snug about her, but he was determined not to let her go until this battle had ended.
Greer’s fever broke, and she drifted off into cool, peaceful sleep. The wet tracks of silent tears glistened across Joph’s face.
In the distance, the sun had begun to tint the edges of the horizon with the glow of embers refusing to be smothered by choking ash.
Have you ever written any fanfiction before, or do you have a favorite character or story that you would like to write one about someday? Would you like to see more fanfiction on The Elven Padawan in the future? Have any feedback or writing tips for Shay? Let us know in the comments below!!