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Bonzo ran back from Fett's room as fast as his feet would carry him.  In spite of being in a daze, he managed to get there without either making a wrong turn or running into a wall.

In spite of it being the middle of the night, he's pounding on the door.  Dooku is a sound enough sleeper just now, but...the noise, if nothing else, wakes him, and within a moment a more-than-slightly peeved Dooku is opening the door.  "What is it?"

Bonzo stands there stone-faced as Dooku opens the door.  He's a bit at a loss for words, and it shows.  He takes a deep breath.  "Fett..."

Dooku can tell that there's a lot of distress within Bonzo within a moment of seeing him; it's entirely possible that he could sense that something was off before he even opened the door, but he can definitely pick it up now.  Lovely.  Just what is he up to this time?  "What did the Mandalorian do to you this time?"  That would be said in almost the tone of a parent tired of dealing with an irritating child.  No, he is not pleased at the first time he's seen Bonzo in a few weeks being at about 4 AM.

Bonzo just looks down at the floor.  "He...he killed Petra."  Bonzo is trembling with a bit too much undirected emotion for his own good now that the adrenaline that was pumping through him as he ran is not coming on nearly as strongly.  "I...I didn't know where else to come."

Dooku is now most definitely wide awake.  He opens the door.  "Come in."  Pause.  "This had better not be a joke, Bonzo."  You're on thin enough ice as it is.

Bonzo steps through the door, and plops down in the nearest chair.  He's just in shock and confusion.  "I can't believe it."  He's not crying; frankly, he doesn't know what he's supposed to do right now.  Cry?  Curse?  Search for a gun and go after Achilles?

"Calm yourself, Bonzo.  I've taught you enough calming exercises, and anyone who's seen you can tell that you're out of sorts."  There's a pause, and Dooku's face slowly softens just a bit.  This is clearly not a joke.

And Bonzo is trying to process it all...and not having much luck.  He calms himself, getting his heart rate back within a more normal range, and then finds himself choking back tears.  "She's gone...I can't believe it..."

And so much for those lectures on attachment...  "Calm down."  A pause, and Dooku produces a box of tissues.  "Hold on.  I'll be back in a moment."  And with that, Dooku slips out of the room and down to the Bar, locking and bolting the door to prevent anyone else from coming in.

Bonzo makes good and ready use of the tissues.  I loved her.  I fell in love and when I told her, she was out of it...she probably never knew.  The reality of what has just happened strikes him hard, fast, and deep now that he's in a position to do more than just fear for his life.  And I should want to kill Fett or Achilles, but...I just feel numb all over.  And in the meantime, he's an emotional wreck.

Dooku returns a few minutes later, a cup of hot tea and a sedative in hand.  "Here.  Drink this."  He hands the tea to Bonzo, and retains the sedative, suspecting that he'll need it before too long.

Bonzo gladly accepts the tea, and nods in thanks, calming back down.

"Talk to me.  What in the Force happened?"  Dooku is still not pleased...but he at least senses that he's needed for the moment.  "And what are you feeling?"

Bonzo looks up.  "I...went into the simulation room, and Fett was there."  Sip.  "He pointed his blaster at me...I was unarmed...and then he shot and stunned Petra while I was standing there.  He...he took us back to his room, tied us up, and then got Achilles."  Sip.

This Achilles is getting to be like something out of a bad holomovie.  "This would be the same one you killed once before and didn't kill the second time?"

Bonzo looks down at the floor.  "Yeah.  He just...seems to be another version of the same person.  Doesn't remember me betraying him and freeing Petra."

"So this is yet another version of him, or an earlier version of one of the two we've run into."  Nothing is out of the realm of possibility here, it would seem.  "And he's hired Boba Fett, and apparently ordered the death of Petra Arkanian."

Bonzo shudders just a bit at that.  "Why couldn't I save her?"  Yes, that's really eating at him.

"Bonzo, you have a problem with attachments."  And there's a deep, deep sigh.  "It always seems to be a problem when one is...older than a certain age when they start training."  Pause.  "Let Petra go, Bonzo.  I don't know why you couldn't save her this time.  There was a reason, but I don't know what it was."

Bonzo doesn't react well to the command to let her go.  He looks at the floor, upset.  "She was my best friend."

Dooku looks Bonzo over for a moment.  "You were in love, weren't you?  You're letting it affect you..."  A sigh.  At least he's not talking about going and killing people this time...  "You need some time to consider this.  Some time to...to absorb it."  And I need to think of some way to keep you from dwelling on it...

Bonzo winces at the accusation.  He doesn't reply because...well, it's true.  He just...looks down at yet another failure.

"Get some rest, Bonzo."  Pause.  "Let me get a cot...I would rather you didn't go off on your own tonight."  Who knows what trouble you'll get into, let alone if you're being followed.

Bonzo nods.  Dooku steps back out, and returns about ten minutes later, Bar-provided cot being carried along.  Bonzo gladly accepts it as a place to sleep...and also takes the sedative Dooku offers him to help him sleep...and within a few minutes of laying down, he's fast asleep.

And Dooku retires a few minutes later.  It's going to be a long day tomorrow...

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

Dooku wakes up before Bonzo; this doesn't surprise him at all, given the night Bonzo clearly had (not to mention the sedative), and it gives him some time to think about what he's going to do about the situation.  He glances over Bonzo and shakes his head.  We need to address your attachment problem...and make sure that you get it under control once and for all.  Pause.  Then, I think we need to pay a little visit to Achilles or Fett.  Fett should know better than this.

With that thought, Dooku steps down to the Bar...again, locking the door behind him, to get some food.  When he returns, he prods Bonzo slightly.  "Bonzo, it's time to get up."

"Mmm..."

"Bonzo, it's time to get up."  Dooku nudges him again, and Bonzo slowly comes about.

"Master...did last night really happen?"

Dooku just sighs and nods.  "It did.  We need to talk...after you eat something."

Bonzo nods, and eats his breakfast, as does Dooku.  Once they finish, Dooku gestures for Bonzo to sit on the chair in front of his desk.  Dooku then begins lecturing.

"Bonzo, you need to stop allowing yourself to become so attached to people.  It is...it clouds your judgement."

Bonzo is rather taken aback by the bluntness there.  "Master..."

"Bonzo, you have repeatedly let your attachment to Petra affect you...adversely."  He puts a hand on his shoulder.  "I know it can be difficult to let someone go.  If you don't, though, this will eat at you and you..."  Pause.  "Remember how you reacted the last time you saw what Achilles did to her?"

Bonzo swallows hard and looks down at the floor.  "Yeah."  His hand is trembling again.  "I remember."

"Bonzo, you cannot allow yourself to go down that path again.  You know where it leads, and if you do not learn, then you are going to end up down it someday."

He's in no mood to protest.  Bonzo is numb, and he's getting read the Riot Act.  He's mentally out of it, but he knows why.  "You're afraid that I'm going to want revenge?"

"I am concerned for you and for your saftey.  The fact that this Mandalorian keeps after you...he and this Achilles just aren't going away..."

Bonzo looks up.  "I didn't get to tell you everything that happened last night, Master.  Fett...threatened me when he let me go."

"What did he say?"

"There are bounties out on me...and that if I don't come when he orders me to, that he'll kill my friends."

How many friends do you have?  Petra comes to mind...along with a number of Force-sensitives...  "Who could he mean?"

"Anyone else...there's a kid from another world here...and a few others I've crossed paths with in the past.  I'm not sure."  There are any of a number he can think of.  "Maybe even someone back home, if he can get there somehow."

There's an audible groan from Dooku.  This is why we keep the younglings in the Temple most of the time.  So they don't end up with friends who can be used as leverage while they're still this vulnerable.  "Alright.  And the bounties?"  Pause.  "It's probably the same one from before, if I understand the time he's from at all.  Not to mention anything you've acquired back home."

There's another lengthy pause, and then Dooku starts again.  "Bonzo, you're staying with me for a while.  Get your things from your room."

Bonzo is rather taken aback by the change in events.  "Master?"

"I'm not going to let you get taken off to be killed by this Mandalorian, I don't want you going off to kill the Mandalorian, and I do not want you within a parsec of that Achilles if it can be helped.  Is that understood?"

Bonzo looks up, nodding slightly helplessly.

"Bonzo, this is not easy for you.  I know that.  But you need to trust me.  You know how dangerous that Mandalorian can be...I don't want him or Achilles to manipulate you like Achilles did before."  And the hand goes back on Bonzo's shoulder, as Dooku bends over and looks him in the eyes.  "You have been through a lot.  I don't want to see you fall apart because of it."



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



Bonzo is back in the room perhaps an hour later.  His robes, some of his clothes, his armor...everything he can bring is with him.

Most of it goes in the closet, at Dooku's direction.  Bonzo then sits down, thinking to himself.  Now that his head is clearing from the last day, he's dealing with a messy pile of emotions as Dooku excuses himself to do...stuff.

Alright.  I can't go after Fett.  I really can't do anything about Achilles.  I'm stuck on the benches again.

This stinks.

Wandering around the room, he tries to sort out what, precisely, he's feeling now that he's not dead on his feet.

I want to go after Achilles.  No question.  But...Dooku is, for better or worse, right not to let me since I'll probably end up trying to take his head off.  Same if I went after Fett, except that I'd be the dead one at the end of that.

Bonzo kicks at the floor, sighing.  How did I get into this mess again?  That's right.  I decided to start hanging out with the Jedi.

I should have thought about the downside to this job.  Oh well...far too late to turn back from them.  They're...really all I have now.

That thought hits him especially hard.  Petra's...gone.  He'll be alone back home, except for possibly a few friends back in Spain...and maybe a stray Battle Schooler if rolls 20s until Doomsday.  And he looks at the mirror, and ponders himself, what he's thinking, etc...and looks in there intently for a long time, until Dooku walks back in and stands behind him.

"Bonzo, don't let yourself desire revenge.  As much as you want to, don't let yourself."

"I'm not going to let myself this time."  He looks at the floor uneasily.  "At least I hope not."

"Do or do not.  Don't hope...don't try.  Just don't.  If you try, you allow yourself the possibility of failure."  Pause.  "I know you were close, Bonzo.  Even...if you were not in love, this would not be easy.  I don't want you wandering around, but..."  Pause.  "I know you need time to yourself to mourn.  When I know Fett and Achilles are inside, I'll take you outside and make sure that you...have a chance to be by yourself out there safely."

"Thanks."

"Don't mention it...but use this time to prepare yourself for...whatever comes next, and to mourn, but don't let yourself brood."

"Understood."

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July 2010

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