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Title: Binaries (2/3?)
Author: [livejournal.com profile] plazmah
Fandom(s): Star Wars/House
Pairing(s): Cameron/Chase, eventual Cuddy/House.
Rating: PG R.
Summary: After Cameron grudgingly accompanied her master into Coruscant's underworld, a troubling symptom has begun to plague her.
Author's Notes: A long, long time ago, in a galaxy really, really close to us, I abandoned a prompt I claimed in [livejournal.com profile] cuddy_fest because my Muse sucked huge amounts of suck. Thanks to GYWO, I took the fic in not quite the same direction as the prompt and came up with this. I rather like the result. This fic takes place before the movie Attack of the Clones. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] wasabi_girl1 for the beta, I needed it. ;) Previous parts: Chapter 1.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Cameron was making her way through the halls of the Jedi Temple, lost in her own thoughts, when a voice calling her name caught her attention. Turning towards the speaker, she saw Cuddy walking towards her and immediately went on alert. What is she doing here? She's supposed to be on a diplomatic mission with the Thraciorian delegates.

"Distracted, Cameron?" Cuddy quipped, but there was concern underneath her casual demeanor. "I had to say your name three times before you heard me."

"I was... just... mentally planning a project for the Reassignment Council." Cameron scrambled for an explanation. "There are a lot of younglings and initiates to take care of and I told Master Ki-Adi-Mundi that I would be glad to help. What are you doing back so soon?"

"The mission went well, thank the Force." She said with relief. "I just spent the past hour or so debriefing with Master Windu."

"Sounds like it was an interesting experience. You should tell me about it later. Over a meal, my treat. I'll even get you some Citros snow cake."

Unfortunately, Cuddy didn't take the bait, instead crossing her arms with irritation. "You don't look well rested to me; you promised me you'd resolve this issue while I was gone, that I had no reason to worry about you."

"You don't." Cameron insisted. "I've got everything under control."

"The bags under your eyes say otherwise." Cuddy noted, at which point the two of them frowned at each other, stubborn and unwilling to concede to the other. Cameron stood firm, resolute in her conviction. I don't need anyone else's help.

At last, Cuddy sighed and shook her head. "Allison, I know I'm not your master anymore, so you're free to do as you see fit, but my advice to you still stands: see Master Yoda. He's very in tune with the will of the Force, with the flow of past and future. He could give you answers if you're having troubling visions."

"They're not visions." Cameron said adamantly.

"How do you know?"

"I just do."

"You and your unwillingness to face doubt-"

"-It's not unwillingness. I just know. Give me credit for understanding my own mind and how the Force works."

Cuddy examined Cameron, then relented. "Very well, do what you feel is right. But the moment you think there may be something larger at play here, you let me know, understand?"

"Yes, Lisa." Cameron said, eager to let the subject drop.

"Good. So, you mentioned the Reassignment Council. Are you enjoying your position?" Cuddy asked.

"I am. Actually, I'm on my way to discuss some issues with the Jedi Service Corps." Cameron said, apologetic. "So if you don't mind..."

"Of course. We'll talk about your new duties later then. You can leave me a message at my quarters."

"I''ll do that." Cameron replied, bowing slightly and continuing through the Jedi Temple.

- - -

"Don't worry about it, Cameron. I'll take care of this."

Cameron eyed him, unsure. "How?"

Kutner looked up from the report and shrugged at her with a barely concealed grin. "I'll figure something out."

"You know, you're never going to gain more responsibilities within the Jedi Corps if you keep doing things like this."

"You mean by the seat of my pants?" Cameron opened her mouth to reply but Kutner kept talking. "Why would I want any more responsibilities? I'm exactly where I want to be, surrounded by the greatest Jedi masters in the galaxy. I get more responsibilities, they'll ship me out to Ord Mandell, digging through old ruins and creepy graves looking for crusty Jedi artifacts. No thanks."

Cameron could not help but smile. She had always known Jedi Kutner in passing, as they had come to Coruscant within a few years of each other. But it was only after becoming a Jedi Knight and working for the Reassignment Council that she really got to know him. The young man was legendary in the most unfortunate sense. There was nothing sinister about him, nothing that prepossessed him to fall to the dark side of the Force. To put it simply, his personality (no matter how many masters took time to instruct him) could not be molded into that of a respectable Jedi. He was flippant, unprofessional, and adored gratuitous lightsaber duels. Anything to do with lightsabers, really.

Since no master had ever chosen him as an apprentice, he was in charge of organizing the various sections of the Jedi Corps, which meant they worked together quite frequently. And when he was not busy with that, he taught Padawans how to construct lightsabers; he had the meticulous task down to an art.

"Oh, I forgot to tell you." Kutner continued with seriousness. "After that meeting we had a couple days ago, Offee was totally checking out my hot bod."

Right, he's a notorious flirt as well. Cameron rolled her eyes half-heartedly. Despite his bad habits, she knew why he hadn't been sent away from the Jedi Temple for his behaviour. As long he was on the inside, out of the sights of important diplomats and government officials who would make a fuss or embarrass the Council, he had a heart of gold that was hard for any Jedi to ignore.

"What? I've totally got a hot bod." Kutner repeated when he noticed her lack of conviction. "So would you, if you didn't look like a Tyresian molebat."

"Like a... why do I look like a molebat?" Cameron asked with confusion.

"Those circles under the eyes, the pasty skin. You coming down with something?" Kutner asked curiously. "I could set up a session with someone on the MedCorps if you're-"

"No, I'm fine." Cameron cut him off with a forced smile. "Thanks for taking care of that report for me, Kutner." She bowed slightly and after he bowed back she took off without another word.

- - -

As she made her way through the hallways of the Jedi Temple, Cameron took solace in the fact that she had not been lying to Cuddy; she wasn't having nightmares. There was nothing traumatic or painful about the dreams she was having. But, from her perspective, they were troubling.

The fact of the matter was... ever since their last outing to the Southern Underground, Cameron couldn't stop thinking about Chase.

Returning to the Jedi Temple that day, after the Council had put her through the Trials and conferred upon her the title of Jedi Knight, she found herself replaying every little interaction she had ever shared with him, examining her memories from every angle, puzzling over how she had never realized he was attracted to her. Her strength was empathy, after all. It bothered her that his feelings had blind-sided her. He had eluded her keen observations somehow.

Soon after that day, the dreams started. She willed her subconscious into a state of calmness, into a sort of transcendent detachment, but no matter how hard she tried, he was in her thoughts throughout the day. And at night, she had dreams where she and Chase, well...

He was an attractive man, after all.

But distractions were dangerous to a Jedi, and Cameron knew this as well as any other Jedi. She was determined to leave overcome this stumbling block in her emotions. She would cast these stray thoughts aside and emerge even more dedicated and focused than before. She was certain of it.

- - -

The settings sometimes change but the situation always is the same. Always ends the same, at least.

This time, she's making her way through the empty hallways of the Jedi Temple. It's night and she can't hear anything except the sound of her feet against the cool floor. She's naked, except for the brocade she has wrapped around her body. She doesn't know where it came from or what its purpose is, but it's gorgeous azure and indigo, flecked with gold.

She walks through the abandoned passages until she reaches her room. Opening the door, she walks in and realizes that someone has left the light on. Because there's someone sitting on her bed, in a similar state of undress. The moment his eyes make contact with hers, it's like they're stuck in a tidal lock. He moves towards her as she drops the brocade to the floor and nothing in the entire universe can stop them. There's no need for words, or maybe there is, since she vaguely remembers someone said something about one of them being beautiful.

The very sight of him fills her with anticipation and the touch of his skin against hers brings a sigh of pleasure to her lips. His mouth is all over her, flying from her lips to her shoulder, down to the curve of her breast, lower still to her navel and hips, before returning to her lips. His cock throbs between them and things become much more frantic as he rocks against her, moaning into her mouth, desperate for some kind of release. Finally, he takes her from behind and she's reduced to a litany of entreaties. More, yes, right there, like that, oh yes. And then when they are spent, they do it all over again. She watches his face as she strokes him to the brink, his eyes hazy and lips parted in ecstasy...

... Cameron woke up, surprised to find her breathing calm and even, her skin cool to the touch. Like any other innocuous dream, it was merely a trick of the unconscious mind with no ties to reality. Except for the part that these dreams were affecting her reality. And the fact that being attuned with the Force meant that dreams were more than just neurons firing without rhyme or reason. The images drifted through her mind and she felt her heart race.

What I need right now is another distraction, to cancel this one out. So she got out of bed and dressed, heading down to one of the training chambers to practice with her lightsaber.

- - -

It was dawn by the time she made her way to her favourite training room, the biggest one with the holographic sparring simulators. With a press of a button the doors hissed open and instead of the structured walls of the training chamber that she had expected to see, she was greeted by a sweltering desert. Meaning someone was already inside.

There was a sound to her left and she turned to see a padawan standing there with his back to her, clipping his lightsaber back to his belt.

"What are you doing up so early?" Skywalker asked, not bothering to look at Cameron.

"Training, of course." She replied coolly. It was customary for padawans to show deference to a fully trained Jedi Knight like Cameron, but Skywalker did no such thing. Typical; no respect for those he perceives to be beneath him.

He turned around, rubbing at a grimy mark on his cheek and still not looking at her. "What do you need to train for? It's not like you're going to take part in combat any time soon."

"I need to keep all my skills at peak performance, now that I'm a Jedi Knight." A part of Cameron relished in rubbing that particular point in. Skywalker was forever pointing out that she was (in Kutner's words) 'a touchy-feely Jedi' rather than a fighter like himself. Before, when they were both padawans, it may have bothered her a bit, that her strengths in the Force were not equally distributed. But she knew how unique she was, with her exceptional skills in dealing with the emotions, feelings, and minds of all kinds of creatures.

And besides, being a Knight meant that the Council agreed that she was a strong Jedi. Who cared what petty games Skywalker tried to play with her ego?

Cameron continued, feeling slightly smug. "Aren't you going to congratulate me on my recent Knighthood?"

He finally looked at her, his face a mask of blank cheer while she felt his annoyance simmering beneath the surface. He thinks he should be a Knight, not me. He thinks he's better than every single padawan and Knight here.

"Sure. Congratulations, Alli. I'm sure master Cuddy is glad that you're not tagging along with her any more."

"That's a very disrespectful thing to say, Ani." Cameron frowned, knowing with absolute certainty that despite their differences, her partnership with Cuddy worked, in a strange sort of way. Also, she hated when he called her that, a throwback taunt from a fight they had gotten into as younglings.

At the sound of his nickname, she felt a strange mixture of annoyance and nostalgia from Skywalker, who brushed past her tiredly. "I apologize, Cameron. Good luck with your training."

- - -

"They're arguing again." Kenobi said, tilting his head slightly as if he were literally listening to their words through the Force.

"They're always arguing." Cuddy replied as they slowly meandered down the hallway, the rising sun casting a warm glow through the windows. "She can be difficult sometimes."

"As is Anakin, of course. But at least she argues with you because she cares. Besides, Cameron channels her emotions well, cooperative when she needs to be and decisive when the situation calls for it. She makes a good emissary and will be an excellent Jedi Consular in the future." Kenobi pointed out. "You should take her on your next mission. Anakin on the other hand-"

"-He's unlike anyone the Temple has ever seen, that's bound to cause a little friction." Cuddy countered. "The others are either intimidated by him or are competitive enough to challenge his skills."

Kenobi digested her words, thinking of the glint in Anakin's eye when he had a chance to exert his full potential, which happened quite often. "Mostly competitive, I would say."

"Don't worry, he has one of the most able Jedi Masters in the galaxy to teach him." Cuddy said, placing a kind hand on his shoulder. "He will bring balance to the Force."

- - -

"Okay kids, welcome to Lightsaber 101. Or as I like to call it, 'Pay Attention To Me Or You Might Be Sliced In Half' class."

Nervous laughs fluttered through the room and Cameron couldn't help but smile as she walked through the doorway. Kutner was in charge of the classroom, in his element, instructing a few younglings on the basics of lightsaber construction.

"Now, you won't actually be able to make your lightsaber, until you're a padawan and your master takes you to the ice caverns of Ilum. But that doesn't mean I can't give you guys a head start on how a lightsaber works." When he saw that Cameron was standing at the door, he levitated a handful of lightsabers in front of each youngling. "See if you can figure out how to take apart the practice sabers in front of you while I talk to Cameron."

"Sorry, didn't mean to interrupt your lesson." Cameron apologized. "Just wanted to let you know that I've set up the next ExplorCorp team heading to Mycroft. They received their assignments this afternoon."

"Awesome, that takes a wampa off my back. Thanks." Kutner smiled appreciatively.

"It's the least I could do after you took care of my last report." Cameron reiterated. "By the way, do you want to have our next meal together? I have a sudden craving for Bivoli tempari."

Kutner looked at Cameron strangely. "That's some heavy stuff."

"Well, I decided to increase my training regimen, so that might have something to do with it."

"Again? What's with all the hologram sparring and mediation lately?"

Cameron shrugged. "No reason. Just keeping my skills honed, that's all."

Kutner crossed his arms across his chest. "Okay, now? I'm definitely going to join you for dinner, just so I can figure out what's up with you."

- - -

The moment Cameron finished her story, Kutner looked her straight in the eye. "I've told you a bazillion times but you never listen; Skywalker's got the hots for you."

Cameron scoffed, sipping at her drink as Kutner scarfed down a mouthful of tempari. "Don't be ridiculous. I have been around him long enough to know that he doesn't harbour anything but annoyance towards me."

"I don't know, he's always so... awkward around you." Kutner narrowed his eyes at Cameron. "Wait, why were you up training at the crack of dawn exactly?"

"Hadn't practiced in a while. I needed it." Cameron replied with a shrug.

"Oh no, don't give me that act. It might work on Master Cuddy, but I'm way nosier than she is." Kutner sat back in his chair and crossed his arms across his chest, gazing at Cameron thoughtfully. "You're a light sleeper, so you try to get as much rest as you can during the night, meaning you wouldn't wake up early unless sleep was actually detrimental instead of relaxing." A smile grazed his features. "How am I doing so far?"

Cameron leaned forward with a resigned sigh. "Fine, I'll tell you what's been bothering me as of late, but you have to promise not to tell anyone. Deal?"

"Deal. What's up?"

"I'm having these... dreams."

"Regular dreams, or are they visions?" Kutner seemed like he was being flippant, but Cameron could sense his seriousness.

"I know they aren't visions because they don't seem to have any link to reality. They don't make much sense. The Jedi Temple is empty, the night lasts forever, and I'm..." She couldn't say the last word out loud. Naked.

Kutner's voice dropped to a whisper. "You're not dead or dying in your dreams, are you?"

"No, nothing of the sort." Cameron toyed with her cup, letting the the images play through her mind, pushing vague emotions and feelings towards Kutner...

Sudden realization swept over Kutner as he picked up on her thoughts. "Wow. And I was under the impression that you were having bad dreams." He looked at her with a cheeky grin. "Cameron, you sly gualaar, who's the lucky guy that's got you all hot and both-"

"Ssssh!" Cameron's eyes went wide, hoping no one in the busy restaurant had heard him. She and Kutner were dressed in their robes and had made no effort to hide the fact that they were Jedi. If the wrong person heard...

"Sorry." Kutner said, amused. "But you have to tell me who it is. Is it Skywalker?"

"What? No." Cameron shook her head. "Why do continue to come back to Skywalker?"

"I don't know, you guys are just so snappy around each other." Kutner shrugged. "I figured it was sexual tension."

Cameron gaped a little. "You know relationships are forbidden for Jedi. How can you entertain the notion that the two of us would even... no. It's not Skywalker. It's not a Jedi, for that matter."

"Really? Hmm." Kutner replied, intrigued. "Well, that makes this a lot harder for me to figure out, considering you've gone on countless diplomatic missions and have met individuals from all over the galaxy."

"It doesn't matter who it is, what matters is that my dreams have become a distraction." Cameron confessed, folding her hands together. "Jedi are supposed to keep their emotions in check. We're supposed to be focused and dedicated. But meditation isn't working for me and training is simply a distraction, not a solution."

"Have you told Master Cuddy about this?"

"Only that the dreams were disturbing my focus. She doesn't know what I have been dreaming about."

Kutner was quiet for a moment. "You already know what you have to do, don't you?"

"Yes." Cameron replied, trying not to think about the decision that lay ahead. "But I'm not sure I want to. Instead, I'm hoping that these dreams will fade away eventually and that I won't have to do it, that I can forget the entire matter and avoid confrontation altogether."

"It's your call, Cameron." Kutner said finally. "You're right when you say that relationships are forbidden for Jedi. It's hard, I know. We all know. But only you can decide which path you have to take."

Cameron nodded. "Thank you, Kutner. I appreciate it."

"No problem. You're one of the most resilient people I know, Cameron. You'll be fine."

"I hope so." Cameron smiled slightly. "Resilient, huh?"

"Yeah." Kutner's grin returned. "You were always good at taking a beating in combat training."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - tbc - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
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