Santos isn’t really sure what time it is. No doubt it’s unreasonably late, but at this point in time, he doesn’t really care. He has no concept of how long they “fight” with Shard lasted, or how much time he spent making demands with Teemo. At least he had the presence of mind to wash off the dried blood clinging to him. His own blood. He didn’t even get a chance to fight back. A chance to protect her like he promised. He dressed himself in his uniform, instead of his usual fashion. It just seemed more appropriate, given where he was going, what he was going to do.
He stands at the door, trying to muster the strength to knock. Tears are already streaming down his face, regardless of how hard he tries to stay collected. At last, he manages to rap softly on the door of the cramped apartment that had become another home to him.
Usually one of Zet’s parents answers quickly, but Santos has never showed up here with his friend at this hour, and both of them tend to work early. The door opens a crack after a few minutes. For anyone who couldn’t see in the dark it would be hard to tell which Twi’lek it was, but he can see the flash of green that would indicate it’s Zet’s father.
After a moment he pulls it open the rest of the way, blinking sleepily. There’s a small holdout blaster in his right hand, which should come as no surprise in this neighborhood. At least it’s pointed at the floor. “What’s going on?” Yune asks immediately, ushering the Chiss inside so he can get the door closed.
Santos doesn’t even register the holdout blast. Between the heavy blaster pistol and vibroknife he carries at all times, he completely understands the need for protection. He does enter, however, almost as soon as he’s given the chance. He’s relieved that Yune opened the door. Somehow it seems like it would be easier to break the news to him first. Easier, but still a daunting task. He takes a deep breath, sniffling slightly, and tries to find the words to explain how he let their only child get captured and sold to the Black Suns. “I’m sorry,” is the best he could do, “I broke my promise.”
Yune shuts the door and locks it, then reaches to the light panel beside it, turning it on low. He gives a glance towards the back of the small apartment, but his wife hasn’t yet appeared. The elderly Twi’lek can put two and two together. Maybe Santos has dropped in once or twice on his own, but never in uniform and certainly never in tears.
He steps nearer, his face drawn with worry, and touches Santos’ elbow. “Sit down… please. Tell me what happened. Is she…?” He can’t quite bring himself to ask if Zet is still alive or not. Maybe Santos doesn’t even know.
“No.” Santos blurts it out so quickly, so forcefully, it would be clear to anyone that’s he’s trying to convince himself as much as reassure Zet’s father. “I don’t think they would… we’ve had a hunter following us for a few weeks now. Likely longer, at least we’ve known about her for a few weeks.” Seeing the worry on the Twi’lek’s face, Santos pulls him in for a hug. “I’m going to find her, Yune. Whatever it takes I’m going to find her.”
After that small touch, Yune has held himself apart somewhat, closing his eyes and pinching the bridge of his nose as he processes what Santos is telling him. He’s not really expecting the hug, startling, but he puts an arm around the taller man’s shoulders and tightly embraces him in return. “I know.” It sounds like he’s getting choked up now, and after a moment he pulls away to rub at his eyes with the heel of his hand. “She told us it was a big cartel… all we could figure was that it couldn’t be the Hutts.” Zet always only told her parents what she felt they needed to know.
Jirgu appears in the doorway to the bedroom, wrapped in a robe. When she takes in Santos’ appearance she pales immediately, raising her hand to her mouth.
“She didn’t want to worry you.” Santos can understand her not wanting to tell them everything. Her parent’s have fought their own battles in their life.
As Yune pulls away Santos notices Jirgu. He knows enough about non-Chiss by now to know that she hasn’t become pale because of the poor air quality on the moon. He approaches her slowly, stalling, perhaps, hoping he’ll figure out what to say to bring colour back to her skin. He doesn’t, and simply stands in front of her, eyes on the floor like a child who knows they’ve let a parent down.
Jirgu doesn’t even know how to respond. Has she ever even seen Santos without a shit-eating grin plastered across his face? She looks past him at her husband, who meets her eyes and shakes his head.
“I always knew this would happen,” she whispers. “I told her.”
“Jirgu’ri,” Yune begins, but she makes a dismissive gesture to silence him.
“It’s not your fault, Santos. Look at me.” Visibly holding back tears, Jirgu dips her head to try to look into his face. “She did this to herself.”
Santos struggles to meet Jirgu’s gaze, himself holding back tears. “I’m going to find her,” he repeats with a quiet, shaky voice. “They won’t kill her right away… and I know people who can help. I’m going to find her.” He’s a little more resolute that time. A little more sure of himself. There’s nothing else he can do really. He has to find her, even if it means losing himself. He has to.
She was trying not to think too hard about her daughter being killed at all, actually. Jirgu makes a soft sound, covering her mouth, and Yune quickly moves to her side. When he pulls her close to him, she hides her face in his shoulder.
“If anyone can, you will.” Yune tries to take Santos’ hand and give it a reassuring squeeze. “We don’t have much, but our small resources are at your disposal. Do you have somewhere to stay?”
Santos nods his head slightly. “We earned enough while we were away to get back our ship, and made a few friends along the way.” He hates seeing Zet’s parents in anguish. He’s got the support of Callia and Qurzer, but do they have anyone else? “It might be a bit cramped, but you’re welcome to stay there if you want to be around people.”
“Believe me, this is the first place she’ll want to be.” Yune doesn’t need to worry, Zet always heads straight to her parents when they get to Nar Shaddaa.
Santos slowly makes his way to the door. Yune and Jirgu may need some time together to truly process this, and they both need to start work in a few short hours. He stops before exiting, and looks back at Jirgu. “She’ll be hungry, when this is over. We have a have a small kitchen on the Dash, but no one cooks like you. She’ll appreciate having something waiting for her.”
Jirgu pulls free of Yune, crossing to the refrigeration unit. She pulls out a tightly sealed canister – no doubt last night’s leftovers. She carries this over to Santos before he can excuse himself. “Just hang onto this until you find her,” she says softly, then quickly leans in to give him a tight hug. “Thank you for looking out for her, Santos. Be careful.”
Santos accepts the canister and hug with a weak smile. “Thank you. I know she’ll be grateful for a home cooked meal.” As he pulls away from the hug he places 2000 credits in her hand and folds her fingers around them. “This should help you out until Zet and I can get back to ‘honest’ work.” Before she can object he’s exited the apartment and closed the door behind him.