Three days later, when the Angel arrived on Dromund Kaas, Anubin called a meeting of the Dark Council. He set it for a week after their arrival, to give himself some time to settle in with Harry and to get his crew's reports in order.
He'd been keeping his information in order as he retrieved it, and he'd attended the Dark Council meetings by holo, so he was still well-caught-up on events in the galaxy. The main focus of this meeting was to get the rest of the Council up to speed with the events on Earth.
"…so I don't believe it wise or necessary to attempt an invasion of Earth. We have limited – though expanded – understanding of their Force-users' knowledge and capabilities, never mind those of the non-Force-users; they're so caught up in themselves that they would hardly be of any use as Imperial citizens; and their society is still very primitive, which would make it difficult to assimilate them. In short, it would be an utter waste of useful resources to conquer them. Best to leave them to rebuild from their war.
"However, their Force-users may make capable Sith, and to that end, I've brought back a child from Earth. I will raise him to be Sith, as an experiment of sorts."
"Will a child raised in the Empire act any differently than an Imperial child?" Darth Mortis mused. "It is a clever thought, Occlus, but it would have been better to take an adult."
"Perhaps. I did intend on recruiting – the boy's parents would have made ideal candidates – but they were killed before I could bring up the subject."
"Very well," Marr said. "Is that all?"
The meeting turned to other urgent topics. When it was over and the Councillors were leaving the council chambers, Marr approached Anubin.
"I wish to meet the child."
Anubin brought Marr to his apartment. Upon stepping in, Anubin was accosted by a worried Ashara.
"Harry won't stop crying. He just started crying all of a sudden,ad he won't stop no matter what I do. I've tried to feed him, I've… Oh. Lord Marr. My apologies, I didn't notice you there."
Marr silently followed Anubin to Harry's room. Anubin picked Harry up and bounced him up and down, successfully quieting the boy. Harry's eyes opened and he looked around, stopping curiously on Marr.
"Ba!" Harry held his hands out to Marr. "Up!"
"Oh, Harry," Anubin began, but fell silent as Marr reached out and lifted Harry out of his arms.
Marr cradled the child on his shoulder, carefully avoiding the spikes there. Harry happily pressed a hand to Marr's mask, which the Sith bore without comment.
"Pa! Up!" Harry raised his arms toward the ceiling, and Marr obliged, lifting him into the air. Harry laughed.
Anubin wished he had a holocam.
Harry began to flap his arms up and down. "No! Da!" He pointed at Anubin. Marr placed Harry back in Anubin's arms.
"Thank you, Marr."
Marr didn't say anything. Instead, he reached out and slid the door shut using the Force.
"Lord Marr…" Anubin murmured, his voice dropping into a lower register.
"You've been after me for some time," Marr replied. "Attempting to court one who is so much your elder is foolish, Occlus."
"One cannot help who they fall in love with."
"You mean…" Anubin's voice was barely a whisper. In answer, Marr reached up and removed his mask.
He looked like a normal man, nothing like the horror the rumors suggested. He was dark-skinned, with thinning grey hair and some wrinkles. He also lacked eyes.
"You're… a Miraluka," Anubin realized.
Anubin reached out as though to touch Marr's face, but thought better of it. Instead, Anubin busied himself with turning and tucking Harry into bed. "You're quite a handsome man, you know."
"I have not been told such before."
"Well, now you have."
Having finished putting Harry in bed, Anubin turned back around to face Marr. The older man had stepped closer in the meantime, and they now stood almost chest to chest.
"May I kiss you?" Anubin asked breathlessly.
Marr leaned forward and answered Anubin's question wordlessly.
They spent some time in Harry's room, sitting on the sofa just talking and kissing – mostly chaste, but speaking of a further fire. Anubin often let Marr take the lead, just to see where he would go.
The subject turned to Earth and Anubin's experiences there, and he recounted some stories of his classes with the group Dumbledore had introduced him to. That subject led to Harry, and what Anubin planned to do with him.
"I may send him to the Academy when he's older. But at the same time, what Mortis said earlier got me thinking. It may be best for him to be educated on Earth, in the ways of his people, first. I may return with him to Earth when he's older."
"That plan has some merit."
"I thought so. I would, of course, have to be on Earth to supervise, or I would have to send one of my crew along with him. Which would be difficult. But he gets nervous when I'm not nearby. I'm hoping it's just because he's a baby yet, but I can't tell."
"It is most likely that it is because he is young."
"Probably. I was thinking, though… since he's so inconsolable when I'm not around, I may have to start bringing him to Council meetings."
"But he's just a baby. He won't disrupt anything yet. If he was older I'd understand, but he'd just sleep during the meetings, I'm sure."
"You cannot bring a baby to a Dark Council meeting, Occlus."
"It's Anubin. And just you watch me."
"You won't be swayed on this."
"No I won't. You'll see, Harry won't be any bother."
Marr looked him in the eye, which was a fairly uncomfortable experience coming from a man with no eyes. "If he makes any noise during the next Council meeting, he will not be allowed to the next one."
"I knew I could get you to see things my way." Anubin laid a gentle kiss on Marr's cheek. The surprise and vague affection on the older man's face was a beautiful thing.
One month later
Anubin walked into the Dark Council meeting with Harry in a sling across his chest.
Ravage stared at him. "Occlus, you can't bring a baby to a Dark Council meeting!"
"Haven't got a choice," Anubin said absently. "My crew are all gone, besides Khem Val, and he'd be as likely to eat Harry as take care of him. Besides, what harm can he do? He can hardly crawl yet."
"Very well, Occlus," Marr said. "Do not allow the child to distract you."
Two months later
Darth Marr stared at the fretting infant in his cradle. What was he supposed to do? Should he let the child cry, or pick him up and attempt to soothe him?
Marr cursed Anubin. Why did he have to leave Marr alone in his apartment to look after Harry? Marr's understanding of children was very limited, given that he had never cared for one.
Marr suddenly noticed a smell, just as Harry opened his mouth and began to cry in earnest. Marr's already sour mood darkened.
He did the first thing he could think of: he called Anubin on the holo.
Anubin answered on the first ring. "What is it? Is something wrong with Harry?"
"He's soiled himself."
"Oh. That's all?"
At Marr's silence, Anubin made a realization. "Oh. You… Oh. Well… I'm about an hour away, can you manage?"
"Yes you can. I'll guide you through it. First, bring him over to the change table…"
Anubin guided Marr through the process of changing Harry. When it was finished, Harry was happily snuggled into Marr's shoulder, much to Anubin's delight and – secretly – Marr's.
"That is all."
"Alright. I'll be home soon."
One year later
The curtains were on fire.
"Again?" Anubin muttered, heading over to put them out. "Ashara!"
The Togruta poked her head out from her room. "Yes?"
"Where is Harry?"
"In his room."
"And where are your lightsabers? Because the curtains were aflame again, and I know it wasn't me who set them on fire."
"I've been out for the last hour. You sent me to get food while you were at that ribbon-cutting ceremony, remember?"
When there was no answer, Anubin headed for Harry's room, where he found both Andronikos and Harry asleep. At the sound of his entrance, Andronikos stirred.
"What? What's with the look on your face?"
"Someone set the curtains on fire again, and I recall telling you to leave your blasters out of Harry's reach if you're going to fall asleep on him like this."
"I swear, I left them in the cabinet!"
Anubin checked and found the blasters tucked neatly away on the top shelf of the cabinet.
Harry giggled suddenly, reaching out for the blasters. One of them began to float out of the cupboard and into the air.
Anubin jumped up, grabbed the blaster, and placed it back into the cupboard where it belonged.
"Remind me to get a lock for that door," he muttered.
Three months later
Advena watched as the toddler tore through the kitchen, her brother in hot pursuit.
"I don't wanna take a bath!" Harry yelled.
"Too bad! You're taking a bath, or you don't get to see Vowrawn!"
"Harry," Advena said calmly, "What happens when little Advena gets dirty?"
"She takes a bath. But –"
"And what happens when Anubin gets dirty?"
"He takes a bath. But Auntie Vena –"
"And when you get dirty, you have to take a bath. Which means that you should stop now and take your bath."
"But I'm not dirty!"
"Then why are you tracking mud everywhere?"
"That's not me! That's Dad!"
"It isn't. You want to see Grandpa, don't you?"
Harry pouted. "Yeah, but I don't wanna take a bath."
"'Cause… just 'cause!"
"Take a bath, Harry," Advena advised. "They're warm and comfortable, and when you're older you'll wish you'd taken more."
Harry frowned, mulling this over. "Okay. But I want Dad to take a bath too!"
Anubin sighed. "If it'll make you happy, I'll take a bath too."
"Yay!" Harry charged over to the bathroom. Anubin shared a look with Advena.
"My pleasure. But hurry up, we don't want to arrive too late."
Six months later
"No, no, Harry! Not on the painting!"
Harry looked back at Anubin, paintbrush raised in the air ready to come down on a beautiful Voss landscape. "Why?"
"Because… because you're only supposed to be painting on your paper, not on other people's paintings. And I said not to."
"Oh. Can I paint on the wall?"
"I… why do you want to?"
"Because grey is a yucky colour. I want to have all kinds of pretty colours on the walls!"
"Hmm… tell you what. We'll paint the walls in your room instead of these ones. Okay?"
"Okay! What colours can we do?"
"Well, we can go to the paint store and pick five different colours."
One year later
"Grampa!" Harry raced past Anubin into Vowrawn's waiting arms.
"Harry! Hello!" Vowrawn lifted the boy onto his lap, smiling as Anubin approached the duo. "Hello, Occlus."
"Vowrawn. I see you're keeping in trouble's path, as always."
Vowrawn laughed. "Of course. And how's trouble treating you?"
"I manage, somehow."
Harry clued into the conversation. "I am not trouble!"
"Of course not, you're a darling. Come on, we need to get to our seat."
Anubin sat on his throne with Harry sitting on the floor next to him. The Council meeting went as normal until almost the end, when Anubin suddenly realized Harry was no longer next to him. He almost said something, but then he spotted Harry behind Ravage's throne.
Anubin watched as Harry reached out and concentrated. As he did, Ravage's cape rose up and flew over his head, covering his face and causing him to cut off his speech with a frustrated cry.
All of a sudden, Harry was back beside Anubin's seat where he belonged, without apparently having moved. Ravage shoved his cape back over his head and glared around the room.
"Who did that?!"
No one said anything, though several Councillors wore smirks similar to Anubin's.
With a frustrated growl, Ravage gave up on his question and continued his speech. When he wasn't looking, Anubin gave Harry a pat on the head.
One year later
"Dad! Dad!" Anubin woke to the sound of Harry whisper-shouting at him and shaking his arm. The boy had tears dripping down his face.
"What's wrong, Harry?" Anubin sat up and lifted Harry onto his lap, careful not to disturb Marr, who was asleep next to him.
"I had a bad dream! There was a lady with red hair, and… and a scary man, and then there was a flash of green light… I can't remember. But my scar hurts."
"Oh, Harry. You'll be alright." Anubin touched the scar and frowned. He reached out his Force senses.
There was a strange darkness wrapped around Harry. What Anubin had recognized when he first saw Harry as some sort of blight now had a stranglehold on the boy's Force signature. It was pulsing and roiling, apparently in a state of distress – Anubin couldn't tell if it was because of Harry or if it was affecting him.
"Harry, I need you to let me into your mind for a moment."
Harry hesitated. "…Okay, Dad."
Anubin probed deep into Harry's mind, careful not to hurt him. Buried deep was the source of the distress, a presence completely unlike Harry's.
Anubin probed the dark presence carefully. The presence recoiled, them sent a probe back at Anubin's mind with great force but little finesse. Anubin deflected the attack easily.
He retaliated, and suddenly he was reading the presence. It's memories washed over Anubin, a stream of information about Earth that could come in useful. In its surface thoughts, Anubin found Harry's dream, the memory of the night he presence was attached to Harry.
With a frown, Anubin pulled away from the presence and out of Harry's mind. Anubin sighed and carefully rested his forehead on Harry's.
"What is it, Dad?"
"There is… a presence, inside your head."
"Like another person?"
"Precisely. The problem is, I don't know how to get it out without hurting you."
"Is the other person hurting me? Is that why my scar hurts?"
"Yes, it's probably why your scar hurts. Other than that, though, I don't think it's hurting you. It might even be helping you."
Harry frowned. "I don't get it."
"You might be able to draw power from the presence, maybe even without realizing it."
"Oh. So it makes me stronger? Can it make me big and strong like Papa?"
Anubin smiled. "Maybe. It certainly makes your connection to the Force stronger. We'll work on drawing on the presence in meditation."
"Okay." Harry wrapped his arms around Anubin's neck. "Thanks, Dad."
"You're most welcome. Do you want to stay here tonight?"
So Anubin and Harry settled back into sleep, Anubin cradling Harry to his chest like he had when Harry was a baby.
Two months later
Anubin cursed under his breath. Where did Harry go?
It was the night of his annual Life Day party, and he had ordered his son not to wander around the apartment – not to get too far from Anubin, in fact – and yet the first opportunity he had, Harry had slipped away.
Anubin was worried for a good reason. His guests included a large number of Sith lords – mostly those he couldn't risk offending – including members of the Dark Council. And he'd foolishly invited both Ravage and Mortis, and knowing those two, they'd either be duelling or singing by the end of the night, nether of which Anubin wanted Harry to be subjected to.
Anubin was so preoccupied by his worries that he didn't notice Marr's appearance in front of him by Harry's favourite little alcove under the stairs until he'd nearly walked into Marr.
"What are you doing, Occlus?"
"Looking for Harry. Have you seen him around?" He tried to sound casual, but Marr knew him better than that.
"I have not. I will look for him."
Suddenly, Marr looked up. Anubin followed his gaze to see a sprig of mistletoe hanging above them, unsupported but for the power of the Force. Anubin rolled his eyes as he realized who was holding it. He was about to call up the stairs, but them Marr's lips were on his in an unfortunately chaste kiss.
When they broke apart, Anubin laughed and touched Marr's cheek before pulling his mask back down.
"Good enough for you?" Anubin called up the stairs.
Two heads poked out over the banister. "You getting a room would be better, but this will do," Advena said merrily.
"I thought it was cute!" Harry chimed in.
Anubin couldn't help but laugh.
One year later
The holo-image of Harry and Marr flickered in and out before finally dying. Anubin scowled at the holocom, almost throwing it away, before thinking better of it and placing it back into his belt.
"Apologies, my lord," came the orbital team's voice in his ear. "We'll work on getting communications back."
"Do hurry up with it. I want Marr back." And Harry, he didn't add.
"Of course. In the meantime, keep heading for the skyhook. We need it to do most anything on this rock."
A short while later, Anubin and Advena cleared the skyhook and sent the all-clear to the orbital team. Shortly after that, they heard the sound of ships docking in the docking ring, and they headed up to the docking level to meet their team.
As soon as he stepped out of the turbolift, Anubin was accosted by a worried-looking Harry. "Dad! I was so worried – we lost contact, and I thought you'd been attacked – Papa said it was just the atmosphere messing with communications – but I'm glad you're okay!"
"I'm just fine," Anubin said, pulling Harry into a hug. "No attack could ever stop me from getting back to you, understand?"
Harry nodded solemnly, then his face broke out into a grin. "You should have seen Papa when the comm went dead! He was so mad! He didn't do anything really, he just kind of stomped around and said they gotta get you back on the comm – but it was kriffin' scary!"
Anubin frowned. "Where did you learn that word?"
Harry looked at the floor and mumbled something indistinct.
"What was that?"
"Uncle 'Dronikos says it a lot."
"Is that so? Remind me to give him a good stern talking to when I return. But first, where is Marr?"
"He's back on the orbital station. He said it was probably better for him not to come down. I think he's just scared of Auntie Vena."
"Even I'm scared of Vena."
Harry laughed. Advena stuck her tongue out at her brother's back.
"You should go back up and join him, Harry." Before Harry could protest, Anubin continued. "It's dangerous down here. I have a bad feeling about this planet. And Marr will miss you if you come along with me."
"Okay," Harry muttered. "But you gotta comm me whenever you come back to this skyhook, deal?"
"Deal." The two shook on it, before Anubin continued towards the speeder post and Harry towards the orbital shuttle.
Three months later
"You can't come with me on this mission. Corellia is an active war zone, and besides that, Dark Councillors have been killed there in the past few months."
"But Auntie Jaesa gets to go! And she's not that much older than me!"
"Jaesa is well over twenty years older than you are. Besides that, she's Advena's apprentice, and she has had extensive lightsaber training."
At Harry's frown, Anubin sighed. "Tell you what. When you're old enough to have built your own lightsaber and chosen a Form, I'll bring you on a mission. Alright?"
"Okay. But you better keep that promise!"
"I will. Be good for Ashara. I'll be back soon."
One year later
Anubin watched as the parts came together in the air before Harry. The boy himself had his eyes closed, concentrating hard on fitting the lightsaber parts together properly.
When Harry began to move one of the parts into the wrong position, Anubin forced himself to say nothing. If he said anything now, the boy would lose his focus and drop the parts, possibly damaging one of them. Fortunately, Harry noticed on his own and corrected it before continuing.
Slowly, the lightsaber hilt came together, each part fitting together perfectly. The crystal, a bright teal gem that Marr had brought for Harry from a planet on the front lines, went in last before Harry closed the casing.
Harry plucked the lightsaber from the air and gingerly, holding the hilt away from him at arm's length, activated it. The blade sprung to life with a satisfying snap-hiss. Harry carefully waved it around a little, then stood and assumed the stance of the basic Shii-Cho Form. He slashed out with the blade, then turned to Anubin with a grin.
"It works! I built my own lightsaber, and it works!"
"Yes. And I am very proud of you, Harry."
Harry deactivated his blade and threw himself at Anubin for a hug. Anubin obliged, lifting the boy up into the air.
"Soon enough, you'll be too big for me to lift anymore. You'll be as big as me before we know it!"
"I bet Papa will still be able to pick me up, though."
"Papa can pick us both up at the same time, of course he'll be able to pick you up."
Anubin let go of Harry, and he dropped to the floor with a laugh. "Hey Dad. Guess what."
"What is it?"
"Now that I've built a lightsaber, you have to take me on a mission!"
"Do I? I don't recall having promised that…"
Harry punched Anubin's arm. "Dad!"
"Kidding. I'll take you on the next mission, but there'll be a few rules."