Jahara laughed. "Well, well!" she exclaimed. "Guess I can see how you've been spending your recent days... I scarcely recognized you." With a chuckle, she added, "After a few decades apart, it's not unusual to hear that said among friends... however with us, it means a little something different."
Then, she took a step back to examine his new look fully. After a moment of silent observation, she shrugged. "It does make you look younger, I suppose..."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
As they entered the forest together, Aislin was silent and thoughtful, seeming hesitant to speak to Tepe. In truth, she was more uncomfortable around him than she was around Charna, but after the encounters in which she was captured, she had gained a deep respect for him.
"I-I intended to [/i]kill[/i] you," she said finally, her voice low. "You knew that and you still met with me... and when I jumped through a window, careless of my own safety, you protected me." She looked up at him and he could see in her eyes a mixture of fear, respect, and trust.
"Furthermore, you provided the discipline I never knew as a child when I insulted my father," she went on. "And through all of this, I never saw anger or hate in your eyes. Your actions came of love..." Her words trailed off into a thoughtful silence. Finally, she shook her head.
"I don't understand you," she finished. "And I don't understand your wife, your children, or your friends. Now that I've spent even a little time observing all of you, I am nearly positive I shall never understand any of you and I'm okay with that. But I am absolutely positive that, even if I had the ability, I could not end your lives. There's a connection between us... here," She tapped her chest over her heart, "and here," she tapped her head. "I won't harm you because I am incapable of it... in more ways than one."
With a little sigh, Aislin shook her head. "And if I've made any sense whatsoever to you, I've got to give you credit for your interpretation skills... I don't think I made much sense to myself..." This thought amused her and she smiled. But then, a thought struck her.
"But what am I going to do?" she wondered. "I've already returned the initial payment the Sith Dominion dropped in my account for the job... but now, I've got no job and the depreciated reputation of having one job I could not complete..." It was obvious on her face she didn't like that, but it was equally obvious that even regaining her reputation of no failed jobs would not persuade her to change her mind.