Pairing: Theron Shan/f!Jedi Knight
Genre: Fluff, Romance, Humor
Synopsis: Theron probably should have quietly made his exit and left her to finish her exercises in peace. But that would have been the mark of a sensible, mature individual - and no one had ever accused him of being that.
Word Count: 2,845
It was always a little dark no matter where you were in the base on Odessen, as no sunlight found its way to the deep underground caverns. The Force Enclave was always just a little bit darker than most. Theron had decided to chalk it up to mood lighting, meant to help with meditation. Or at least it seemed to help with him when he needed to clear his own mind. He had gotten a few strange looks the first few times he had pulled up one of the meditation cushions that C2-N2 had oh-so-helpfully provided for the Force users, but no one seemed to bat an eye these days.
He'd fallen out of the meditation habit sometime after Zakuul's takeover, after everything in the galaxy seemed just a bit darker and dimmer. A certain tow-headed Jedi had gently urged him to try and pick the practice back up after he had accidentally woken her up one night thrashing in the bed from dreams he'd rather forget. He'd humored her, because that smile she flashed whenever he took her advice tended to light up the dark corners of a room. And also it didn't hurt that she had sat just a little too close for Jedi propriety's sake in his first few attempts to reestablish the old habit.
It was late when he'd gone to the Enclave that evening, sleep chased too far away by a constant circle of thoughts from his endless to-do list. He'd settled into a quiet corner, hoping to quell the endless stream so he could catch a few hours of rest in his room before the next day began anew. He eased into the practiced motions of breathing, mind slowly relaxing into a state of calm as he let the outside world drift away. By the time he opened his eyes, the chronometer had ticked much later, and he found himself alone in the Enclave.
Or almost alone rather.
A lone figure was still running through a series of katas near one of the practice dummies, practice blades swinging in the air with ease. Theron leaned back on his hands, content to watch the as the Alliance Commander spun and twirled, lost in her own world. Her trademark caped armor had been traded out for a much more sensible, if somewhat revealing, workout attire. The dark gray band on her chest covered basic modesty, but still left a wide expanse of skin on display. He may have been intimately familiar with almost every inch of her, but it was still a pleasure to watch the way her muscles contracted with every thrust and parry.
Theron recognized the form as one of the many maneuvers he'd seen her perform out on missions. She dipped, spun, and twirled the practice blades as if performing a graceful dance. With her lightsabers, it was still graceful, but far more deadly. She had apparently been running through her exercises for a while now, as a trickle of sweat ran down her exposed skin, tracing each divot in her abs. He shifted on the ground uncomfortably as a familiar rush of heat washed over him and temporarily shorted out his higher brain functions. He probably should have quietly made his exit, leaving her to finish her exercises in peace. But that would have been the mark of a sensible, mature individual.
No one had ever accused him of being that.
As she hit one particular spot in the practiced motions, he could see a slip in the defenses, her back exposed for a few scant seconds before she hit the next pose in the kata. She cycled through the motions, practice blades twirling around her, until he saw that exposed slip of skin again. It was like she didn't even realize she was leaving herself open to attack like that. What if a Knight of Zakuul burst into the room at that very moment? They might see an opening and get in a lucky blow. And then where would the galaxy be without its stalwart defender? No, that wouldn't do. That wouldn't do at all.
There was definitely not a zing that traveled straight down his spine as he quietly rose from his spot, bare feet barely making a sound as he made his approach. So engrossed in her kata, she didn't show any sign of noticing as he casually scooped up a discarded practice blade from the ground. She hit the second mark, the third. As her feed spread wide, she swiveled into the fourth pose, unsuspecting back exposed to the world — or at least to him.
The practice blade made a sharp sound as it found its mark with her exposed hindquarters. Her graceful poise faltered, eyes going wide as she instinctively swung the blade towards her attacker. Theron had anticipated the move and dropped to the ground, the tip of his pilfered practice blade pointing at her chin.
She stilled, wide blue eyes searching for a moment until they fell on his grinning face, and her normally calm, placid expression scrunched up into an exaggerated expression of indigence.
"What... why did you...?"
She sputtered, trying to come up with the words, and he delicately touched the blade to her exposed neck.
"You leave yourself open on the fourth turn."
"I..." Her cheeks were flaming red now, the blush nearly drowning out the freckles that adorned her face. "You... that's not... proper!"
"No?" He quirked an eyebrow at her.
"No!" She managed to get one coherent thought out. "I was practicing—"
"I was only helping."
"That's not helping!"
"It's not?" He asked, eyebrows raising in exaggerated innocence. "What if an enemy burst in here while you were practicing?"
"That's absurd," she said. "You just wanted to mess with me!"
"Maybe." His grin widened further, if that was possible. "What are you going to do about it?"
She narrowed her eyes then, and he rolled away right before the practice blade would have smacked him right between the eyebrows. He swung his own blade around again, attempting to get in one last teasing blow before she rightfully pummeled him into oblivion, but she intercepted with one of her own blades and knocked it from his hand completely.
He let it go as he finished rolling to his feet, immediately bouncing away from the irritated Jedi who turned to face him. The red flush in her cheeks was only starting to fade, deep crease in her brow making it obvious she was displeased at him interrupting her kata. There was a part of him that wanted to say a word similar to "sorry" and then hide until she forgot his break in proper Enclave decorum. But as her chest heaved as she glared at him, a tiny little voice whispered evilly in his ear, telling him that running never solved anything.
He was so going to get his ass kicked. "You missed."
"You know a wise man wouldn't taunt an opponent with the upper-hand."
"You and I both know I've never been very wise." He bounced on the balls of his feet, flashing her a smirk.
"That is quite true." From the twitching corners of her mouth he could tell she was trying to fight down a smile and hold on fast to her righteous indignation, but it was quickly becoming a losing battle. "Have I ever mentioned that you are a very baffling individual?"
"Once or twice." He tip-toed backwards a few feet, towards the open area of the Enclave, motioning with his fingers for her to come for him again.
She arched a delicate brow at him. "You cannot be serious. You're unarmed."
He shrugged one shoulder. "Wouldn't be the first time."
"That wouldn't be very fair of me."
"Well, you could always give me one of your blades, if you really want to be fair."
"Or I could just walk away."
"You could," he gave her a look, one corner of his mouth curling up into a knowing grin, "but you won't."
She narrowed her eyes at his challenging tone, and let the practice blades fall from her hands without any preamble. She rolled her shoulders back and lifted her chin up at him, pressing her lips together tightly to try and keep a reign in on her emotions. It was the way that she shifted her weight to her back leg that let him know her next move, and he managed to leap to the side before she could tackle him. He let his hand graze across the exposed backside once more before he danced out of her immediate range, unable to completely suppress his amusement as her eyes went comically wide again.
"You can always try again."
She huffed out a breath, before leaping in again, this time much faster — very likely tuning into the Force to predict his next movement. He shot up an arm to block her incoming blow, and dodged to the side as she followed it up with a second chop that would have knocked the air out of his stomach. None of the blows would have really hurt him, just knocked a little sense back into him.
He mostly danced around her, taking the defensive as she continued to try and get a blow in. Sweat ran down her cheek in tiny rivulets, which was just as distracting as the way her lips pressed together whenever he just barely managed to escape her strikes. He needed to level the playing field if he wanted any hope of losing out of pure distraction.
He barely rolled out of the way as she let another fist fly, and he flung out a hand at her. "Wait!"
She stopped mid-swing, eyes going a little wide with concern. "What's wrong?"
Theron pulled himself to his feet, only feeling the slightest twinge of guilt at her concerned expression. "I just realized something."
"We are not evenly matched here."
She frowned. "You... just realized this?"
"Yeah," he said lightly. "I'm way too overdressed."
He carefully peeled off his shirt, discreetly keeping one eye on her reaction as he lifted it up and over his head. The flush immediately returned to her cheeks, eyes darting away quickly before looking back at him.
"What are you doing?"
"Evening the playing field."
"I don't know what you're talking about." Her vehement denial would have been more believable if she didn't keep worrying her lip between her teeth and eyes didn't keep drifting down from his face to his now bare chest.
"I'm just following your lead," he smirked.
Her mouth flopped open at that, the pink tinge of her flush turning bright red. "You... you..."
He just bobbed his eyebrows at her. "I'm ready whenever you are."
There was a long pause as she seemed to try and parse his statement, before she took another swipe at his smirking face. There was a bit more force behind the blow this time, as he felt the wind it generated as he barely dodged to the side. He attempted to get in a few jabs himself, and it was a testament to her flustered state that one nearly connected.
But Theron was more of a sprinter than a marathon runner, and there was no way he was going to stay out of her reach forever — especially since he didn't have the Force to fall back on once he got winded. He finally weaved the wrong way, and felt a leg neatly sweep under his knees. His back met the padded floor of the Enclave in a rush before an elbow lodged quite firmly against his neck. He smacked his open palm against the floor, signaling his admission of defeat to the Jedi pinning him to the ground.
The pressure against his throat eased. "Did you really think that was going to work?"
"No," he croaked.
Her serene expression of smugness faded into the beginnings of a frown. "Why'd you do that if you knew you were going to lose?"
"Depends on your definition of losing" he said huskily, his hands ghosting up to the hips straddling his waist. "How do you know I'm not exactly where I want to be?"
The blush returned to her cheeks ten-fold and she quickly yanked her hands up from where they had been resting on his bare chest. "I don't..."
"Don't what?" There was no hiding the wolfish grin as he watched her fidget above him, suddenly very self-conscious.
"I..." Still unsure of what to do with her hands, she crossed her arms against her chest tightly, unintentionally bringing his attention to her heaving bosom and sending another lick of heat through him. "You're impossible!"
His thumbs slowly traced the curve of her hips. "I don't know what you mean."
She tilted her chin up, refusing to indulge in his amusement. "This is a place meant for calm and contemplation."
"Yeah?" He dropped his voice another octave. "What are you contemplating?"
"Right now? Your lack of decorum for the sanctity of the Enclave."
"You could always give me," one hand delicately traced her exposed abdomen, feeling the way her muscles tensed and then relaxed at his touch, "private lessons in etiquette. Make sure I understand the proper way to do things."
"There's no point." She flicked his forehead, a hint of laughter escaping her affronted facade. "You're a lost cause in that regard."
He caught her hand before she could pull it away, threading their fingers together. "And here I thought you were the champion of lost causes."
She let out a heavy sigh, rolling her eyes up to the rocky ceiling. "Have I mentioned that you're impossible?"
"Maybe." He leveraged himself upright with his elbows, the action knocking her off balance until she was sitting in his lap. "But if you keep saying it maybe it'll sink in."
"What are you doing?"
"Yes you—are." She let out a tiny gasp as he began laying light kisses on her neck, tracing the line of her jaw up to her ear. "You do realize that this is not appropriate behavior for the Enclave."
"Oh yeah," he murmured, words muffled as he kept pressing his lips against her neck, "I'm pretty sure I'm never going to be able to meditate in here ever again after this."
"That's not what I meant." She was trying very hard to maintain her exasperated propriety, but from the flush that was spreading beyond her cheeks, it was clear she was fighting a losing battle.
He gently nipped at the sensitive skin at the hollow of her throat, knowing that from the soft noises that escaped her that she enjoyed it. She didn't always say things in so many words, and he'd gotten good at reading between the lines of what went unsaid. "What did you mean?"
"I..." He pressed a very soft kiss to the same area, causing her to draw in a sharp intake of breath. "You know you're being very distracting."
Apparently her reserve finally broke, as he felt her hand run along his jaw, gently pulling his face up to hers. "I'm starting to think we should take this conversation elsewhere."
Her lips pressed against his, and felt her tongue flick against his before she dove in completely — and finally managed to chase away his teasing grin, as well as the last scrap of rational thought he had. When she finally pulled away, there was a sparkle in her eyes that lit the fire in his gut anew. "Well, I'm sure I'm done in here for the night."
"Me too," he said a little breathlessly.
She rocked back to her feet, and offered him a hand. He took it and she hauled him up with a bit more force than may have been necessary, but was probably very deserved at this point. He dutifully followed as she led the way out of the Enclave, scooping up his shirt on the way.
"I can't believe I'm encouraging your bad behavior," she muttered to herself, fingers twitching against his palm.
"You're right." He sighed dramatically, pivoting on his foot in the opposite direction of their destination and taking a bold step away. "I should go back to my room and think about what I've done."
She stopped his march by giving his hand a firm tug back in the proper direction. "I didn't say that."
"I've done wrong, and I must atone for my actions." His front of feigned regret was fooling absolutely no one.
Her sigh was more than a little on the exasperated side. "Why do I put up with you?"
"I ask myself that question everyday." He shrugged lightly. "Maybe you like me?"
She let out an indignant snort, but he felt her fingers give his a light squeeze. "I suppose I do."
From the fire dancing in her eyes, and the heat slowly rushing through every part of his body, it was clear that Theron wasn't going to get much in the way of rest for tonight. He was more than okay with that.