I never knew he had it in him. I really didn't. And if anyone had told me about this five years ago, I would have laughed it off. Probably for days, because this was as likely to happen as me marrying Lando.

I'm not laughing now.

He kicked my butt. Throughly, and with no hesitation whatsoever. I mean, this is Luke Skywalker we're talking about here. You know, the guy who walks around with "Senseless violence is of the dark side" tattooed on his forehead? That guy.

It started out innocently enough. I was on Coruscant with some spare time on my hands; I hadn't had a good workout in ages, so I headed down to the gym in my apartment building. If you know anything about my history with Skywalker, you'd know that the Galaxy has a sense of humor. Today was no exception.

My life is irony built upon irony. One of those cornerstone ironies is this: Skywalker and I live in the same apartment building. Not on purpose, mind you...stupid Force and it's stupid sense of humor. But I digress. Skywalker decided to make an appearance in the middle of my workout, which was fine with me-he's in great shape, and can keep up with anything I throw at him.

Of course, when he spots me, what's the first thing that runs through his insufferable Jedi mind? Not 'Gee, it's good to see you, Mara!', but, 'Gee, Mara, it's been a long time, and wouldn't you like to let me finish your training?'

Frankly, ladies and gentlemen, I got sick of it. He really makes me mad with all that 'let me train you' stuff. I like Skywalker. He's a good guy, and probably my only real friend. But he just has this was of getting under my skin that's...argh!

How did this end? Not how it usually does, certainly. Usually, we spar, he wins, he refuses to gloat, (which really bugs me-what fun's winning if you can't have bragging rights?) I get sick of the Jedi Master and challenge him to hand-to-hand, I win, he gets mad, we go at it again.. By the end of the third or fourth match, my farmboy's back, and not only am I winning, but I'm letting him know it. .After I'm done gloating we usually shower and meet up for lunch and argue through the whole meal. It's great! The farmboy is much more fun than the Jedi Master, let me tell you.

Never-never-has he beat me in hand-to-hand combat. Never.

The first sparring match went as planned. He won, and he was absolutely silent about it. No big deal. I wasn't worried at this point. Life was normal, life was good...or so I thought.

The next match is what got me. At this point, I was on an adrenaline high--I'd been making good use of the Fire's training rooms, and my technique was iimproving. But, as a certain Jedi Master once told an arrogant Sith Lord, overconfidence is a weakness. I, of all people, should know better than to underestimate Skywalker. I mean...argh! Why was I so stupid?

Hormones, that's it. Every woman does it at least once in her life. Blame it on the hormones.

So maybe that's not completely a lie. Skywalker did stop mid-fight to take of his shirt. I mean, really, that's playing dirty! He's my friend and all, but I'm not blind, nor am I stupid. I *know* that Skywalker looks pretty good, and I've *seen* the hoardes of women across the galaxy who would love to get him alone. I know he's got a fan club in every sector of Coruscant and he even told me (in a quite bewildered, very oblivious manner) that an old friend from Tatooine who had never paid him any attention in childhood had recently tried several times to throw herself into his arms. Women like that make me sick, which is exactly one of the reasons why I don't persue a relationship with Skywalker. It always seemed shallow to me before. Luke and I have something deeper than all that lovey-dovey stuff. We're...we're friends, good friends, and I know his boundaries and he knows mine. I've always got his back, and he's saved mine a few times. It's better than all that emotional...complication. Less messy. More reliable.

Nevertheless, my "friend" is still in terribly good shape, and I let myself get distracted, okay? It happens, even to me. ( And I can sense how shocked you are.)

I don't remember much. Just something about very tanned biceps, a drop kick, and lots of stars. It was over quick, really. I guess he wasn't expecting to catch me off guard. Probably didn't even know I was off guard.

So now I'm sitting here with a bruised rear, a sore wrist, and a shirtless Skywalker standing over me with that insufferable look of pity on his face.

"Mara, I'm so sorry! Did I hurt you?" He put an arm around me.

Of course you did. That, farmboy, hurt like hell. I now know why people say there are three tiny bones that make up the inside of the human ear. Why, you ask? Because I can count them.

"Nah. Just a little sore, that's all. Lucky shot, farmboy. You won't have luck on your side next time."

"Jedi don't believe in luck, Mara," He grins, and slips the other arm under my legs, lifts me up... What's that my heart doing?

"Hey, put me down! You might make me regret letting you win."

"You did not!"

"Did so!"

"Did not!"

Ah, life is good, life is normal. All is well on the home front; Jade and Skywalker are at it again. It is, as it should be. Except for the whole being held in the air thing...in his arms, no less...

"I did so. Now put me down!"

"Jedi don't lie, Mara."

"I'm not a Jedi."

"You should b-"

I cover his mouth with my hand. "Don't. Even. Think. About. It."

Another insufferable grin. He set me down. My stomach is now joining my heart in doing that freaky jumping thing. This has got to stop.

"Whatever you say, Miss Jade," he says, muffled through my hand. I let it drop, but he catches it instead and gives it a little squeeze, and his eyes glitter. Flip flop!

"Come on, farmboy, I'm hungry. Whadya say I treat you to a meal that comes from neither the Rogue barracks nor Solo's refrigeration unit?" And while we're at it, let's regulate my heart rate, shall we? Stupid hormones.


"I'll take that as a yes."

So things are back to normal. We fight, we bicker, but I'll never forget that glimmer in his eyes or the strength in his arms when he caught me up in them right after he kicked my butt.