Author: Lauren J
As soon as the kiss began, it was over. Tara pulled away, her cheeks flushed red. Willow opened her eyes confused, wondering where her Jedi had gone.
"Wha?" Willow asked to no one in particular.
"I'm sorry Willow." Tara stared at the wall. "I-I don't know what came over me." She leaned her head forward and let her hair fall to cover her face.
"Huh?" Willow was thoroughly confused. She had no idea what the blonde goddess in front of her was talking about. One second they were kissing, and the next... What the frilly heck is going on here? "Tara I-" Willow gulped, "Did you... not want to kiss me?"
"NO!" Tara whipped her head back to look at Willow. "I... I did...b-but-"
"Then what's the problem?" Willow asked with a grin. "I want to kiss you. You want to kiss me. We should definitely do it again." Willow began leaning in for another kiss, but Tara pulled away.
"It's more complicated than that." Tara sighed frustrated.
"Why?" Willow asked.
"I have to go." Tara dodged the subject. (If you can dodge a subject, you can dodge a ball.) "Tionne will be needing me about now, the children must be driving her mad, especially after the candy that I gave them."
"Tionne?" Willow watched her hopes of getting to know the beautiful blonde Jedi shatter like Alderaan had so many years ago. "And the children... oh."
"Oh well, I just... you looked so young. I didn't know that you had settled down yet. Not that there's anything wrong with that. No siree. When you find the right person to settle down and have children with, well you just go ahead and do it. Not that you need my blessing, since we only met today."
"Willow." Tara smiled. "Tionne is another Jedi here at the Academy. The children are students. They're training to be Jedi."
"OH! Well. That's great. The kids, they're our future. I'm all aboard with the teaching." Oh snaps. So at least she's not seeing this "Tionne" character, that doesn't mean she's not seeing anyone though. "Sooo... are you seeing anyone?"
"No." Tara blushed.
"Well, then how about you and I go out some time once my ribs are all healed?"
"I would like that very much." Tara glanced down at her wrist and checked her chronometer. "I've got to go Willow. Will you be alright? Do you need anything?"
"Um... you're really going? I'm gonna be here alone?" Willows tough guy façade dropped for a split second as she contemplated being alone in a strange place, on a strange planet. "Sure." Willow recovered. "Not a problem."
Tara smiled sympathetically. "Y-you could come with me, if you wanted?"
"Can't walk too good..." Willow trailed off.
"That's where a hover chair comes in handy." Tara said blandly.
"Hover chair?" Willow blanched. "But what about my reputation?"
"Umm... Floating Throne?" Tara tried.
"Much better!" Willow proclaimed. "Alright let's do this thing!"
"Tara thinks that you're straight you know." Faith said, twirling her fingers in Jaina's hair. The two women rested against a tree trunk, fully clothed after their "naked party in the forest." Jaina lay with her head in Faith's lap.
"Yeah, I know." Jaina sighed. "I've had a crush on her for so long."
Faith arched an eyebrow. "Oh really?"
Jaina laughed. "Then I saw you..."
"It's probably just as well." Faith smirked. "I think that Blondie and Red are really gonna hit if off."
"Tara's pretty shy."
Jaina laughed and sat up. She moved to a crouching position and swung one leg around Faith's waist, effectively straddling her.
"And neither are you it seems." Faith chuckled.
"We're going to need to help them along." Jaina thought out loud.
"I don't know." Faith said. "Red will probably make her intentions known."
"They kissed." Jaina said simply. "Tara freaked. Majorly."
"What? How could you possibly know that?"
"The Force." Jaina said bluntly. She closed her eyes and reached out. "Willow has naughty thoughts doesn't she?"
"So you can feel Willow too? Does that mean you can feel me?"
"Oh yeah. Jaina whispered huskily.
"So what do you think of my thoughts?" Faith whispered.
"Wicked cool." Faith said as she leaned in for another kiss...
"Schutta." Jaina cursed as she fumbled with the folds of her robe. Finally finding her comlink, she answered. "Jaina Solo."
Faith's jaw dropped. I just had sex with Jaina Solo...
Jaina winced when she felt Faith's surprise and sudden anxiety through the Force; but continued on the comlink.
"Jaina?" a masculine voice asked through the tiny communications device.
"Hi Dad." Jaina smiled.
"Your Mother and I are coming for a visit. Mostly business, but we'd love to spend some time with you and Jacen."
"I'm looking forward to your visit." Jaina smiled. "When are you going to be here?"
"Five standard hours."
"Five standard hours? What's going on that you're getting here so quickly? Yavin 4 is almost on the rim!"
"Well it's nothing dire, but it is important. Where are you?"
"In the jungle with a friend..."
"Then now may not be the time to tell you." Jaina's father teased.
"Dad!" She protested.
"Love you." He said seriously.
"Love you too, Dad." Jaina sighed. She turned to Faith with an apologetic look. "I'm sorry for the interruption... now where were we?"
"SOLO?!" Faith exclaimed. "As in daughter of General Solo and Chief of the New Republic Solo?"
"Wow." Faith stated.
"Yeah." Jaina looked down sadly.
"So this was just a fun fuck, huh?"
"Vader's mask I feel stupid." Faith pushed Jaina off of her.
"What are you saying?" Jaina said, tears coming to her eyes.
"You're like a princess, or some shit like that." Faith yelled. "Why would you want to be with space trash like me? Not to mention the fact that you're a Jedi..."
"What does that have to do with anything?!" Jaina demanded.
"I need to go." Faith said, suddenly standing.
"Faith-" Jaina pleaded. She stood quickly, coming only to Faith's shoulder.
"Why didn't you tell me?!" Faith demanded.
"Does it matter?" Jaina shouted back. "Does it really matter whether my parents are leaders of the New Republic, or what if they were moisture farmers? Why does it matter?" Jaina cried.
Faith's heart was breaking in her chest. What are you doing Faith? You don't need her! You don't need anybody! She tried to reassure herself.
"If I don't care... why should you?" Jaina asked.
"I-... I need to think." Faith stammered. She turned and ran down the path, back towards the Academy. Jaina slumped against the tree, closed her eyes, and let the tears stream down her cheeks.
"So where're my clothes?" Willow asked.
"They weren't clothes. They were tatters." Tara stated simply. "With the blaster bolt singes, and after the savage beating, and the blood... they weren't clothes anymore."
"But don't you have anything other than this?" Willow gestured to her body.
"You don't like Jedi Robes?" Tara asked with an arched eyebrow.
They strolled together through the temple halls. Or rather, Tara strolled, Willow's chair floated beside her.
"Well I just... look... so stupid." Willow blurted out.
"Do you think I look stupid?" Tara said seriously.
"What? NO!" Willow back pedaled. "You look hot. See, it makes you look distinguished, and it really... makes your boobs look good but-"
"Willow." Tara interjected gently. "I was teasing you."
Willow sighed with relief and slumped back in her chair. "You, Tara Maclay, are evil."
"We're here." Tara motioned to a blast door. She walked over and keyed in the code for the door. "Let's go on in." Tara smiled.
Willow gasped as the doors slid apart to reveal the gym and it's occupants within. Young Jedi trainees ran through obstacle courses, practiced with light sabers, and sat in meditation circles. In many places the floors were covered in tumbling mats, especially in the areas where the children were practicing hand to hand combat. The oldest among them couldn't be more than ten years old. Except for a few Trandoshan, but they matured much more slowly than the average alien species.
Sentients of all kinds trained to be Jedi. Bothans, a few Wookies, Ithorians, Humans, Rodians, and many more which Willow had never seen on her extensive travels through out the galaxy.
"Whoah." Willow said.
"Yes." Tara smiled. "It is pretty 'whoah.'" Tara strode in with all of the confidence and certainty that was afforded to a Jedi Knight in the Academy. For the past several months since being knighted, she was more of an instructor than a student. Willow's chair followed Tara, with Willow's eyes darting all around the enormous facility. "Tionne." Tara greeted with a bow.
"Tara!" Tionne greeted. "And this must be the new patient."
"Willow." Willow greeted roughly. This did not go unnoticed by Tara. She's all defensive and shy... that's so cute... Tionne arched an eyebrow.
"Master Kenoc came by. He wants you to help the Padawans with their light saber techniques. Do you have a moment to spare?"
"Of course Tionne." Tara smiled. "Willow?" She turned to her charge. "Would you like to go rest, or stay here?"
"I'd like to watch; if you don't mind." Willow said slowly.
"Excellent." Tara turned briskly on her heel and strode to the Padawans. I wish she wasn't wearing that big robe. Willow grumbled in her brain as her hover chair followed behind Tara. I don't even get to look at her butt! Unbeknownst to Willow, Tara was blushing hotly. Tionne laughed at them, and turned to walk around the gym, checking on the various groups of children.
"Threepio?" Leia called to her golden protocol droid.
"Yes?" The prissy, and probably gay, droid called back.
"Can you pull up the file again on Willow Rosenberg?"
"Of course, but I'll need R2-D2's assistance."
"Thank you Threepio." Leia rubbed her temples and sighed. As Chief of State she was usually not involved in problems like smuggling, and spice running, and gambling. Slaving was not unheard of in the galaxy either. But for some reason, the little training that she had in the Force insisted that she look into this personally. Nuurba the Hutt's operation had been growing larger recently, trading in dancing girls, spice, weapons, but this was nothing unusual. Leia sighed, exasperated she returned to watching the stars, which were just straight lines in the cockpit.
"Something troubling you, Princess?" Han had never lost the habit of calling her "Princess." For all the years that they had been married, and for all the trouble that they had over the years, he never stopped calling her that. She didn't know if it was a punishment or a blessing.
"It's this whole situation." Leia sighed. "This isn't my JOB Han. I should be back on Coruscant meeting with the Ambassador from Kashyk. I should be running the Senate. I should be DISPATCHING a ship to go and get to the bottom of this. There's so much to do!"
"But..." Han prompted.
"I can feel it." Leia whispered. "This is what I need to do."
"Now, I know that I don't know a whole lot about this "Force" business. But you, Luke, Jaina, AND Jacen swear by it. You can't ALL be crazy. I mean, I've seen things. Weird things that can't be explained any other way than the Force. So if it's telling you something, you should do it." Han struggled with the words he was looking. He wasn't a politician like his wife. Heck, he wasn't even a general. He was just a clever scoundrel. No proper military training. He had been in the right place at the wrong time. Sucked into the Rebel Alliance by chance. Okay, not chance, he was sucked in by Obi Wan Kenobi and his green little protégé Luke.
"I have the file." C-3PO announced.
"Dweeeeet, breeep beep!" R2-D2 protested.
"Yes, you looked it up, but I am delivering it."
"Whooooot beep, bop boop."
"R2-D2, such language is not appropriate in front of-"
"Gimme the disk, Goldenrod." Han barked, snatching the disk out of the droid's hand.
"Thank you Threepio," Leia smiled graciously. "And thank you Artoo."
The droids shuffled off, to whatever it is that droids do when they have free time. They moved to the general crew area of the Millenium Falcon. As Han popped in the disk a holo-projection of Willow appeared just above the main control panel. Leia immediately started laughing.
"What?" Han looked at his wife like she was insane.
"She dresses just like you used to."
"I knew there was a reason I liked her so much." Han grinned.
A tiny blue willow stood tapping her foot impatiently inches above the control panel. She wore tight blue pants, with a yellow stripe down the side, tucked into worn brown leather boots, a white shirt and gray jacket topped off the ensemble. Her red shoulder length hair fell into her eyes, and she flipped it off nonchalantly. She wore two belts around her waist, one slung low on her left hip, a blaster holster hung there. "Are we done?" The blue woman asked annoyed, her image flickered away and the whole thing began again.
"Spunky, just like me." Han grinned.
"It's the pants." Leia muttered. "It HAS to be the pants.
"I thought you LIKED my pants." Han protested.
"Sure I do. But I like hers better." Leia stuck her tongue out him.
Han hit a button, and a screen full of information about Willow replaced her projection. "Well you're in luck. File says she prefers the company of women." He said with a lecherous grin at his wife.
"Han!" She scolded, slapping him on the wrist. "IF I was ever to enjoy the company of a woman, YOU wouldn't be invited." With that she got up and walked to the back of the cabin. "How long until we reach Yavin 4?"
"About two standard hours." He grinned.
"Meet you in the cabin." She smirked and walked out of the cockpit.
"That woman is going to be the death of me." Han muttered.
Willow stared at Tara fascinated, as she shucked off her robe. Tara's tight fitting brown cloth pants hugged her thighs, and her fitted tunic accentuated her breasts. The robe puddled on the floor, forgotten for the moment. Her worn brown boots ended just below her knees, and Willow watched her as she tied her long blonde hair back into a ponytail. That was when Willow saw what she had been curious to see since she arrived, Tara's light saber. It hung off her brown belt, and swayed as she walked to the group of small children.
"Padawans." She called to them. Willow watched them turn to see Tara. They deactivated their tiny light sabers and scampered to gather around Tara.
"Yes, Tara." They chorused.
"Master Kenoc has asked me to work on light saber techniques with all of you. Would you mind terribly if I joined you in your training."
"Please teach us Tara!" One little girl jumped up and scampered to Tara, firmly attaching herself to Tara's leg. Willow smiled at this easy exchange between Tara and the group of children. She's really good with kids.
"Thank you." Tara bowed deeply. The children all returned the bow. "Line up!" Tara barked. The group consisted of fifteen children, mostly human. They broke into three rows of five, their little fists clenched by their sides. Willow couldn't help but giggle.
"Ouch." She muttered, holding her ribs.
"Willow?" Tara was at her side in three strides. "Are you ok?"
"Yeah." Willow stammered surprised. "I just... I laughed, and jostled my ribs. Not a big deal." She played it off.
"Ok..." Tara said. "If you need anything call."
"Will do." Willow smiled.
"Alright Padawans." Tara barked. "Shojeei form." She pulled her light saber from her belt and clicked a button. A long white blade shot up from the pommel. The Padawans pulled their own light sabers and ignited them. 15 green blades hummed in the air. Willow would later learn that the light sabers Padawans trained with powered down light sabers. They wouldn't cut, just sting a lot. Tara stood, legs shoulder length apart, she held her light saber right in front of her, slightly angled forward. All the children copied her.
"Kor!" Tara called, swishing her light saber to the right in her right hand, leaving it perpendicular to the ground. "Ite!" The white blade arced over her head back to it's starting position. "Mak!" The blade went left, facing behind her. One little boy swung right knocking his neighbor over, which caused his neighbor to fall over. "Oh no!" Tara cried. "Are you all ok?"
"I'm sorry Vrook!" The little boy said to his neighbor, helping him up.
"Ouch." Vrook rubbed his head. "It's not a problem, Pak... next time just stand next to Angel... ok?"
"Ok." Pak laughed.
"Pak." Tara said slowly.
"Uh oh." Pak looked up at her.
"Have you been practicing your forms?"
"...yes?" He answered sheepishly.
"Hmmm..." Tara decided to let him squirm away this time. "Practice more for next time ok? Because sometimes, when we don't practice, and learn the things we should other people can get hurt... especially with something as delicate as the Force."
"Yes Tara." He said sorrowfully.
"Hey..." Tara's heart went out to the boy as she knelt down beside him. "Don't look so sad. You made a mistake. Just take your practicing more serious from now on, ok?" Tara turned to address the entire group. "Alright, I think you've all had enough for today. Go outside and play. BUT, remember to use the Force. Try and sense what's around you, so you don't accidentally step on some poor forest creatures."
"Yes Tara." They all chorused and took off for the yard. Tara chuckled and turned to walk over to Willow.
"Tara?" Pak asked meekly tugging on her tunic.
"Yes Pak?" Tara got down on her haunches to look the small boy in the eye.
"I... I... u-uh... I don't practice light saber..." the boy looked down at his feet and sniffled. "b-because I'm not good at it. I do better a-at meditating, and levit-tating, and s-sensing inst-st-stead."
"Oh, Pak." Tara scooped the little boy in to her arms and sat on the ground with him. Willow watched from a distance. She couldn't hear what was being said, but she had a pretty good idea. She had never been good with children. More to the fact she had never been around children. She didn't know how to interpret what she was watching, but she did know that it touched her. Tara and Pak sitting on the floor together tugged at her heart, and she was scared. "You know, when I was your age? I wasn't very good at my light saber forms either."
"Nope." Tara shook her head. "I was the worst in my class. I knocked everyone over a couple of times too."
"Really, really. But you know what? I kept practicing, and eventually I got good at it. I'm still not the best. But I know enough to keep myself and the people that I will some day protect safe from danger. It's part of being a Jedi. I didn't want to be a warrior when I was your age either. I just wanted to heal, and meditate. But I'm glad that I can fight if I ever have to. You just keep practicing ok, Pak?"
"Ok. Tara." Pak wiped his eyes. "Will you help me?"
"Of course I will." Tara said kissing him on the forehead. "Now go on. Run and play with the rest of your group. I need to take care of my new patient."
"Is that her?" Pak asked pointing at Willow. Willow waved back sheepishly.
"Yes it is." Tara replied smiling at Willow.
"Are you going to marry her?" Pak asked.
"W-w-wha? Huh?" Tara stared at Pak.
"You love her, and she loves you, right?" Pak asked.
"W-w-we just met today Pak."
"But you will soon." Pak insisted.
"I'm going to go play now." Pak said getting up and heading toward the door.
"Pak!" Tara called. Willow could clearly hear this part of the exchange. "How do you know that?"
Pak pointed to his head. "The Force." He smiled, and scampered out the door. Tara shook her head in bewilderment and walked towards Willow. On her way back she picked her robe off of the floor.
"I got the first part." Willow said as soon as Tara was in comfortable range. "He was sad because he didn't do so good at the little drill down... but the second part... That I missed." She said bluntly, looking to Tara for an explanation.
"Oh." Tara blushed. "He... um... well... he said... some things that threw me a little bit off guard. Sometimes I forget that these are not just children. They're strongly in tune with the Force, and they can perceive things that we think have been safely hidden."
"Such as..." Willow prompted.
"It was nothing important." Tara smiled. "Just surprising."
"You're not going to tell me?" Willow pouted.
"Maybe later." Tara smirked. "Come on let's go work on those ribs of yours."
"Huh?" Willow asked puzzled. "They're all set already..."
"Meditation will speed up the healing process though."
"Oh... um... ok."
Faith tore through the forest and back to Willow's ship. Her mind was at war with itself, as she ripped herself apart over Jaina.
She must think... that I'm below her, she's probably laughing about it with her rich parents and brother right now!
You know that she's not. You saw her. She's hurting, she's alone in that forest and you ran out on her.
I'm not good enough for her! Besides, since when do I care? That was just, a fun fuck. It didn't mean anything. I only met her today!
I seem to remember you accusing her of using you as a fun fuck. No matter how hard you try to justify it, you care about her. Now deal with it!
I can't. She's... so far above me.
If you believe that, and let that get in your way when she's willing to overlook everything, then maybe you really don't deserve her!
Faith reached the ship and keyed in the docking codes. She ran in and crumpled to the floor, leaning against a bulk-head. Her body heaved and shook as she cried. She didn't know what to do.
Jaina ran back to the Academy. She came out of the jungle and arrived around the landing pad, by the shuttle garage. The soft earth surrounding the temple was an ideal place for out door practicing and leisure time. Jedi often took their studies out and sat leaning in the shade of the temple. It was also an ideal place to repair broken machinery, close to the tools and repulsor sleds.
"Jaina!" A voice called after the tear streaked girl. A brown haired boy wearing a tan flight suit jogged over to her. His cheeks were smeared with grease, and his hair was rumpled. On his shoulder a small rodent was perched... it chattered away at the boy, occasionally nipping him on the ear lobe. "Ouch! Cut it out!" the boy admonished the creature.
"Jacen!" Jaina cried, falling into her twin's arms. She buried her face in his chest and started crying. No words were necessary. Jacen knew more or less what was going on, the bond they shared in the Force was incredibly strong, even for twins. It probably helped that they also came from a long line of Jedi.
"I've got you." Jacen murmured, stroking his sister's hair. "Hey." He said, holding her away from him and looking in her eyes. "It'll be ok. She cares about you. And liking girls? How'd you hide that one for so long?" He cracked a smile.
In spite of herself Jaina choked on a giggle. Her red eyes searched Jacen's. "How do you know she cares?"
"I can feel it." He replied. "I may not be as good with mechanics as you are, but when it comes to the Living Force, I kick your butt." He grinned.
"Don't I know it." Jaina muttered. "Who's your new friend?" She asked wiping away her tears.
"Sparky." Jacen announced proudly. "Uncle Luke had me trying to fix that swoop bike." He jerked his thumb at a completely dismantled, unorganized swoop bike. Jaina flinched at the state of the bike; her brother had probably completely destroyed it.
"You know that you should just leave the repairs to me right?"
"Well we couldn't find you!" Jacen protested. "Besides I figured out what was wrong with the bike."
"Yeah?" Jaina said, feeling better. "What was it then?"
"Sparky chewed apart the wires in the engine casing."
"Then why's the whole bike torn apart!"
"Well when I got it open he went deeper into the bike." Jacen blushed. "I couldn't coax him out so I had to go deeper."
Jaina groaned. "Where's the hydro-spanner?"
"Right here." Jacen said, reaching into his pocket.
Together they walked over to the bike and began putting it back together. Or rather Jaina started putting it back together. Jacen held Sparky and wondered what the best way to keep his new friend out of trouble would be.
1: Chronometer: watch.
2: Trandoshan: a big lizard. They are natural enemies of Wookies, large tree dwellers of Kashyk. Same as Chewbacca. The bounty hunter Bossk, was a famous Trandoshan.