(The following is an RP session that has been modified to flow easier when read. It is a slice-of-life insight into Iradox's family life, and while it seems relatively light-hearted in the beginning, it quickly progress into a more serious tone.)
Iradox found himself in one of the Nova Synthesis’ several hangers, awaiting the arrival of a shuttle carrying Kelly, his wife, home. Virtis, his adopted daughter, stood beside him. Having grown up under harsh conditions prior to her adoption, the small echani often hid between a mask of contempt, and had thus once been reluctant to be seen holding the hand of either of her new parents. Not so now. In fact, as the shuttle finally entered the hanger, Virtis clutched Iradox’s hand a little tighter.
Once the ramp started lowering, a familiar rutian waved at them. She rushed down the ramp and leapt of its surface while it was still two feet above the ground. Iradox caught his wife in an embrace as she reached him. The small echani hesitated before the display, uncertain, but they pulled her in after a few heartbeats.
"I missed you both so much!" exclaimed Kelly.
"We missed you as well." said Iradox.
Iradox kissed his wife with all the passion he had managed to store up during their brief separation. Kelly returned it in kind, but kept it short upon noticing Virtis glancing away with a light flush to her cheek.
“How was Coruscat?”
“Amazing - I loved it!"
R10 strolled down the shuttle, pulling Kelly's luggage – not one but two. "Exclamation: Greetings Master and Mrs. Virtis! Mistress Kelly as accumulated some new belongings for me to carry!”
"Just a few..." Kelly interjected with a sheepish look, prompting both Iradox and Virtis to arc a brown in unison - seemingly an entire week with her father has rubbed off on the small echani.
"It's not much I promise!"
R10 emits a coughing-like-sound. "Interjection: ‘Much’ is a relative term...."
"I'm sorry R10..." said Kelly.
“Objection: Labouring for the mistress is part of my programming!”
"I... I..." Kelly stuttered and started tensing. Noting this, Iradox reached a hand out to brush her cheek. "Shall we venture upstairs?"
The elevator closed, sealing all three of them inside.
“I worry about R10 sometimes...” said Kelly.
Virtis frowned. “Why?”
“He works so hard....”
"You worry about a lot of things, dear. Try and limit it things worth worrying about, less you stress yourself unnecessarily." said Iradox.
"Well, it's not fair that he works so much." She countered.
"He is a droid; they were built to work for organics. They are like slaves in a sense. However, unlike slaves, droids are not fully alive; they are objects designed to think and feel like we program them to."
"He's a person too..."
"He is designed to simulate one, and I have permitted him to develop a personality but not wiping his memory. You can treat him well, that you do so say much about you as a person, but do not trouble yourself over him fulfilling his purpose."
Silence falls between them for a short moment. Then Iradox squeezes Kelly’s hand and says: “You have been missed.”
His words bring a soft smile on Kelly’s lips. "I'm sorry. I'll try not to go away again"
"Good." Virtis muttered before wrapping her arms around Kelly's leg.
"I uhm... I'm sorry?" Kelly muttered
Iradox leaned closer to whisper something into his wife’s ear. "She put on a brave face while you were gone, but I could tell that she was worried."
Kelly gently nodded before gently resting her hands on Virtis’ shoulder, pushing her back before taking a knee in front of the child. Then she proceeded to wrap her arms around the child, taken aback by the fervour with which the child returned her embrace.
"I'm back now..."
A soft blip announced that they have arrived at their destined floor. Kelly let go of Virtis and stood up, knowing from experience that she hated being caught displaying affection in public. However, she froze upon noting the tears in Virtis’ eyes.
“What is wrong?”
The girl blinked and looked away. “Nothing...”
“Nothing I said!”
The sudden outcry almost startled Kelly, causing the former slave to take a step back. A reassuring palm landed on her shoulder. “Give her some space; her emotions are conflicted." sounded Iradox’s voice. Kelly remained hesitated for a moment, studying her adopted daughter. Finally she nodded with a faint sigh.
“Come.” Iradox addressed the girl. “You need to feed Spooky before bed time."
The echani nodded after a while. Then she followed her parents down the corridor to their rooms.
Kelly emitted a shaky sigh and sank down onto the edge of their bed. Iradox rubbed her arms supportively before settling down beside her.
"I really upset Virtis..."
"No." Iradox insisted in a quiet but firm voice, causing her to look away – silent but without further protest. His gaze rested on her for a time before he spoke again:
"She has had a tough start to her life... Right now, she has to work through emotion she was once taught to suppress and disregard. It is like how you were taught not to consider yourself a person, and how I was taught that love and compassion was a weakness. You recall how hard it was for me to admit that I loved you, and how being referred to with a title is still difficult for you?”
"It is the same for her. Only she reacts in outbursts because she is a child."
He provided her with what he hoped was a reassuring smile. "The fact that she reacted like this to your absence simply shows how much of a stable pillar you have become in her life."
"I shouldn't have left."
"Of course you should. This is your dream and you need to pursue it. Only, we will arrange it so that you can do so without being apart from Virits for long durations."
"No... I don't want to upset her.”
"You cannot remain by her side all her life."
"I... If she wants me to..."
"You would hamper her like that. Be there when she needs you, but ensure that she has space to learn how to operate without you.”
"I don't know..."
"Kelly," His voice took on an 'as matter of fact' tonality, "you are going to be a physiotherapist; you were not brought into this world with the sole purpose of pleasing others. You want this, and you deserve it. It will work out - we will make sure of that.”
"I don’t want to hurt Virtis..."
"She will be fine. Despite missing you, we have had a lot of fun; I ensured to include her in many of my daily activates. She merely grew emotional upon seeing you."
"Okay..." she acquiesced, although looking far from convinced
A moment of silence follows in which he takes her in. Then he leaned in to kiss her again, properly this time. She returned it, passionately, there being no child to embarrass.
"I have missed you as well.” Iradox said afterwards. “In truth, I have hardly been able to sleep since you left - had to fall back on meditating. I am glad you went there, though."
"Y-you couldn't sleep?" Kelly murmured
"The bed was too empty..."
"No, Kelly; you should not be sorry about people caring about you. It is natural to miss someone once they are not with you, but that does not mean that you have to tie yourself down and never move. That is what a slave would do, and you are not a slave - not anymore."
"I know, I know, but you can't sleep and Virtis... Is... Well..."
"She will be fine." he insisted. "We will find a place for the two of you on Coruscant."
"But then she'll miss you!"
"Not as much. It is a mother she has been missing since her biological mother passed away. Besides, I will be there as often as I am able.”
"I'll miss you..."
"I love you." She said.
Iradox reached out, wrapped his wife in his arms, and clutched her close to his chest. She leaned into him, and they remained like that for time...
“Will Virtis be okay?” She shifted in his grip to look up at him. “Right?”
"She is already calming down.” He noted, being able to sense the echani’s emotional output. “You should go kiss her goodnight."
The door ported before Kelly’s touch, revealing a dim interior filled with the outlining of familiar shapes; a desk; an overused training dummy; and a bed with a sprayed child on it. A pair of golden eyes peeked out from underneath the bed covering – Spooky, Virtis’ spukamas (cat), whom Kelly and Iradox had acquired for their daughter to teach her empathy and responsibility.
“Virtis?” Kelly called out but was greeted by silence. “Can I come in?”
Deciding to interpret that as an affirmation, something she would never have dared presume during her time as a slave, Kelly stepped into the room and settled onto the edge of Virtis’ bed. In response, the girl turns to regard her mother.
"I'm so sorry..."
The child said nothing.
"Please talk to me"
"It's okay mom..." Virtis muttered.
"It's not okay." Kelly insisted.
"Yes it is. I just need to be stronger..."
"No... Virtis that's not what it is"
Silence... Kelly waited for a moment before shuffling forward to wrap her arms around the girl. “I love you"
Virtis leaned into her mother, but said nothing.
"If you don't want me to leave again... I won't"
A long pause followed...
"Was it fun?" said Virtis
"Yes." said Kelly.
"You were in Republic space..."
The girl shifted uncomfortably. “My mother always sai-“ she choked on the words and fell silent for a time. Then, gathering her strength, she tried again: “My other mother always said the Jedi would come take me if I was weak... There are a lot of Jedi in Republic space, and you are not very strong...”
"Even if they did, I'm sure my mother could sort it out. She was a Jedi remember?"
Virtis offered no reply to that, opting to instead clutch at Kelly’s dress – this had been the first time they had been a part for a prolonged time since Virtis’ loneliness had been broken; since Kelly had picked her up.
"Nobody's going to take me away Virtis..."
"Would you stay for a bit?"
"I'll stay as long as you want."
Virtis tugged herself in against her new mother. Spooky peeked out from her cave, wishing to join in on the cuddling. Kelly smiled at both of them, and stayed for at least ten minutes after her daughter’s respiration grow both slow and heavy.
Iradox is seated before their hearth when Kelly exits, his utter robe discarded, and a glass of wine in hand.
“I could felt her distress fading."
"She was worried the Jedi were going to take me..."
This prompted Iradox to glance up, a frown adorning his bow. "Children grow up with frightening tales about the Jedi within the Empire."
Iradox shifted on the small couch to make room for Kelly, and she settled down beside him.
"I think she's okay now."
She leaned into him and he wrapped a hand around her waist. Before them the flames shifted, humming with that soft crackling sound controlled fire makes.
"So... are you going to share your experiences?" he prompted.
"Well... What do you want to know?"
“Begin with the highlights; the things you found the most difficult, strange, and exciting."
"Well... I kind of froze up when they were doing the introductions, because I didn't quite know what to say."
"You told us over the holo that you managed." He pointed out.
"Yes, but I froze for a bit first, and then just went with the truth."
"How much did you tell them?"
"That I used to be a slave before someone bought and freed me."
"And when people pried for details?"
"I just tried to avoid it."
Iradox rested his chin on her forehead. "What else?"
"One of the teachers was really nice about it. They even offered to help me keep up."
"You are probably going to need it... We can hire extra help as well."
"I will do my best, and if I can do a proper study course there, hopefully that teacher will help."
"Coruscant it is..." Iradox muttered to himself.
"Nothing - we will make it work. It is just... being there, in the heart of the Republic, increases the chance of being discovered. How do you think they would react upon finding 'Darth Iradox' in their capital? I will need to put some pre-emptive measures in place..."
"It's okay... I don't mind it here."
"We are not having this discussion; I asked what you wanted to do, and you settled on that education."
"I know, but it’s okay."
He plants a kiss at the base of her lekku, causing a slight quiver.
"Would you even like Coruscant?"
"I think I would, actually." Iradox says in wake of a thoughtful pause. “It is a hive of depravity on its lower levels, but unlike Nar Shaddaa where that is the case all-over, there is a sense of earnest happiness and energy to the place. Very unlike the strictness and fear that permeates Dromund Kaas... Not to mention, the fact that the lower levels are there, will make it easier for me to locate a hunting ground. Being trapped on a ship all the time... It is not very convenient for an Anzat.”
"Oh... I didn't realise you struggled here?"
"I have it sorted..."
"What do you mean?"
"Do not ask questions you would rather not know the answer too."
"I want to know." she insisted.
Iradox emitted a faint sigh before relenting. "I have to feed, so I do; I always keep at least five victims secured in a stasis onboard the Drexl, and I make sure to restock whenever I leave the Nova. If I cannot, I send R10.”
"Oh..." There was a moment of hesitation. “I suppose that makes sense...
"It's fine.” She insisted. “It's good to know."
"I do not relish it, you know. Truth be told, if I could pick again, I would have settled on another body..."
"Yes..." He hesitated momentarily. "I did not anticipate leaving the Sith, nor carrying about killing people. Now I find that I regret the necessity to feed."
"Do you... want to find another one..?"
A long pause follows.
"Dying is... dangerous and very painful." said Iradox.
"When I transferred my essence, my old body dissolved into living Force energy; I died and was reborn in this vessel."
"Oh... I didn't know it works like that."
"I have considered changing again, if I am honest. However, I do not want to risk it."
"One mistake is all it takes."
"Once the essence is free of the body it rapidly dissolves; it is the natural state of affairs to become one with the Force without a body to sustain you. When transferring, the only thing preventing such an outcome is the living Force energy that anchors your consciousness to the physical realm. Without it, you fade."
"I don't really understand..." said Kelly.
"You know what it is like being under water for very long?" said Iradox.
"Imagine being submerged in an underwater grotto with your breath rapidly draining, leaving you to search for a way up before you drown."
"It sounds awful..."
"It is... But I found it a better option than the alternative."
"Than dying knowing that you made all the wrong choices in life - that you wasted it."
Kelly fell silent at that, and Iradox did nothing to reinvigorate the conversation. For a time they sat together at the hearth, digesting what had been said while enjoying each other’s company.
"I love you too." Iradox said after a while, prompting a faint smile from his wife. "I like hearing you say it."
"I know... shall we go to bed? Now that you are back, I might finally be able to sleep."
They did so.