Tides of Passion

Disclaimer: The Star Wars universe and all therein (all the way down to the itsy-bitsy midichlorians) is property of George Lucas. Aayla Secura created by John Ostrander and Jan Duursema. This work of fiction is for entertainment purposes only; no copyright infringement is intended.

Author's Notes: This fic is based on the original short story "Tides of Terror" by Milton Freewater, Jr. as featured in the comic magazine "Star Wars Tales" #14. It is also inspired by a now-vanished fanfic of basically the same premise but with an OC replacing Kit (credit would be given if I could actually remember anything more than that). Aayla may also be less than her usual composed self, but it's hard to get your mush on when you're dealing with two upstanding members of the Jedi Order. I'm not a writer, nor do I pretend to be, and this is my first fic of any sort. Please be kind, I have a fragile ego :)

Chapter 1: Reflections on a Kiss

"Force, this feels so good," Jedi Master Kit Fisto murmured as he stood under the showerhead in his private refresher. He was a Nautolan, and as an amphibious species he was accustomed to operating on both land and water, but he always felt so much better in the latter. Maybe that was why he had volunteered for the assignment here on Kamino to train the new Army of the Republic. And perhaps that was why the Council granted his request. They knew of his aquatic prowess and wisely considered him the best suited for instructing the clones in underwater combat exercises.

The warm water streamed over the Jedi's head tentacles and down his back, washing away the tension of the battle that took place only hours before. One of Sayn Ta's disgruntled technicians had been secretly working for the Separatists to develop and release a nano-virus engineered to kill the Republic's clone soldiers. Had she succeeded, the Republic's defenses would have been crippled; but he and Aayla Secura, a young Twi'lek Jedi who had just joined the Kamino assignment a short time earlier, had uncovered the plot before any significant damage could be done. Their pursuit of the Kaminoan ended in a fierce battle atop a landing platform where the traitor accidentally injected herself with her own virus and killed herself. Thankfully, enough of the virus remained for the cloners to develop a vaccine. It had been a close call. Had they been a few minutes slower, the traitor would have escaped. But it had been a harrowing experience for his fellow Jedi.

The Kaminoan's personal starship was already lifting off by the time they had fought their way through the squad of Super Battle Droids guarding her flank. He managed to disable her craft with a carefully aimed throw of his lightsaber, but as he rolled with the impact of the explosion, he heard Aayla's cry behind him. He turned in time to see the last droid toppling off the platform and taking her with it. He immediately leapt in after her, knowing how deep and tumultuous the water was beneath them and that even Jedi wouldn't be able to hold their breath long enough to fight their way to the surface before drowning.

His superior swimming ability allowed him to catch up to Aayla even as the droid's bulk pulled her like an anchor deeper into the murky depths. Her eyes were filled with alarm, as she apparently had not enough time to fill her lungs before she was pulled beneath the waves. Thankfully, he was able to wrench the droid's manipulator open in short time, but they were already too far beneath the surface. Even if they could swim back at top speed, Aayla's lungs would surely rupture from the rapid change in pressure.

Aayla spoke to him through the Force, telling him she didn't think she would be able to make it, but he told her to calm herself and that he would breath for her. He had pressed his lips to hers and breathed fresh oxygen from his own lungs, taken in through his gills, giving her enough air to sustain herself for the swim up.

Kit's large black eyes narrowed at the memory. Aayla had wrapped her arms tightly around his shoulders as he breathed life into her. Clearly, she was not in control of her faculties considering the circumstances so her actions were no fault of her own. Even so, he could still taste the sweetness of her lips and remember the not unpleasant crush of her body against his.

These are dangerous thoughts, Kit told himself. Dwelling on such things was not becoming of a Jedi, even for one as unorthodox as himself.

He had been working with Aayla for nearly a month, the training operation established shortly after the Battle of Geonosis. She was a very good Jedi by his estimation: intelligent, knowledgeable about the Force, skilled with a lightsaber, and quite empathic. And personally he found her very engaging, particularly her impish sense of humor. It was a trait that he appreciated though rarely found amongst his fellow Masters. In the past several weeks, he had found himself looking forward to the time they spent together.

Dangerous thoughts, indeed.

Kit turned into the pulsing water, adjusting the controls so that it struck his yellow-green skin like thousands of tiny needles as he repeated the Jedi Code over and over again in his mind.

There is no emotion. There is peace...

If only that were so.

Aayla tossed and turned in her bed, unable to even get past the first line of the Code. Her mind was racing, repeating the events on the landing platform over and over again in her brain. She had nearly died a scant few hours ago when that Separatist droid grabbed onto her as the shockwave of the damaged cruiser knocked them off the platform. It had happened so suddenly that she had reflexively cried out to Master Fisto instead of taking in air needed to sustain her beneath the water until she could free herself. Worse yet, she had dropped her lightsaber in the process. And once she was under, panic had set in, despite all of her training. If Master Fisto hadn't dived in after her...

The young Jedi sat up, unable to keep her body from shaking. She went to her refresher and poured herself a glass of water, downing it quickly. Leaning against the counter, she looked up into her mirror.

There was no Jedi serenity about her at the moment. Her lekku were tense and her usually smooth brow was lined with worry. Both those emotions were readily apparent in the pale blue-violet eyes staring back at her. She sighed, rubbing her hands over her face and then smoothing down her Cyrene silk chemise. It was probably the most expensive item in her wardrobe, the rich black fabric of the highest quality and its cut very flattering for her figure. Such an article of clothing was an indulgence, she knew, but even Jedi were allowed the occasional luxury.

She noticed her right wrist was ringed in purple where the Super Battle Droid had clamped its manipulator around it. She rubbed the bruise gingerly as the memory of the droid pulling her into the black water entered her thoughts again, threatening to overwhelm her mind in anxiety. Aayla slowed her breathing and tried to center herself once more.

Unbidden, Aayla's mind brought forth an image of Kit. As they had both been assigned to the Temple on Coruscant, they had met on occasion, but only now had gotten to know each other better. His generally stoic manner, coupled with his reputation as one of the Order's greatest swordmasters, cut him as a rather intimidating figure, almost as intimidating as Master Windu. But here on Kamino, during their conversations that didn't revolve around training the clones, he had shown her another side to his personality. Beneath his self-possessiveness was someone who loved life. He had an easy laugh and appreciated and took pleasure in the smallest of things. She had even learned that he could read Lekku, an ability she'd rarely seen in a non-Twi'lek. She felt drawn to him, intrigued; and at times felt an un-Jedi like giddiness when she was around him.

Her mind's eye shifted again to the image of him cutting through the water to reach her. She remembered vividly how soft his lips felt pressed against hers, how good they felt and how her body instinctively reacted as his strong arms held her safely in his embrace.

Her thoughts disturbed her greatly, but now she knew what it was that plagued her so. It was not the possibility of her death, for she had faced death many times. It was that intimate physical contact and the warm, intoxicating sensations it generated in her that lay at the heart of the matter. She had already attempted meditating but to no avail, and simply trying to sleep it off didn't help, either. She was half a mind to drag her R4 unit out of its recharge socket and practice her moving meditation on it, but it seemed pointless.

Enough, she decided, I'll never be able to sleep until I've dealt with this. Without a second thought, she wrapped a robe around herself and left her quarters.