Disclaimer: I do not own Star Wars. Wish I owned Thrawn, he'd Pwn...Something that bt me and would not let go.

Hope you all like it. Dedicated to Larissa, who wrote smut just for me..xxx

AfterTaste

Their time was always short, or so it seemed to him. Their meetings were few and far between, after classes, between their lectures, and whatever time they could spare afterwards. Aloud, it seemed like plenty, but physically, he wanted, needed more.

Even now, listening to her speak calmly on the formation of the Chiss Ascendancy, standing beside a relief of the event, he could feel his hands shake with denied feeling. Concealing them carefully, he returned his attention to her confident voice, letting her Cheunh words wash over him like a caress.

She never seemed to notice his desperation; only the small twitch of blue lips made him aware she'd heard his speech. She was the embodiment of all the Chiss held as sacred, crisp, cool efficiency and ruthless determination to high-minded ideals.

But there was also the suppressed creativity Chiss ought not to admit, that she indulged ever so infrequently, allowing a few flickerings of emotion through her smooth blue mask of passiveness. He found that quality attractive, and though she did not divulge much of it, merely the threat of seeing a smile split her lips was enough to keep the fire in his veins.

And such blue mask he had not desired so much as hers, the epitome of classical looks, well kept body and flickering almond eyes. It felt so unnatural to want anything so badly, to obey an urge so very primeval and based on illogical reasoning.

Though no matter how he tried, he could not stop himself. Like so many of the illegal substances banned for cadets, addiction seemed to have set in, and even as he struggled to bury it deep within all of his other banished feelings, it crept back into his mind, returning to haunt him in his dreams and at unguarded moments.

"Cadet 3458, would you like to share what is distracting you?" He looked at her, standing there in her sparkling white uniform, their eyes deadlocked. He respectfully rose to his feet. "Perhaps it is so important you need not attend your lecture."

He grimaced inwardly; how he hated the designations they'd received their first day at the academy. The reasoning that no-one could accuse the hierarchy of favouring the students who belonged to the higher families if names were not known was sound, but it de-personalised everything.

How he longed to hear her call him by his true name. It had been so long; yet not so long that could not recall every exquisite sensation, every sweet taste and texture and touch.

"No, general, it is not important enough for me to leave. Forgive my rudeness" He bowed his head in supplication. No one looked at him but her, red eyes burning intensely. He could not guess what emotion gave it the intensity, but he felt a prickle of excitement nonetheless.

Perhaps their coupling could be seen as immoral; He was her student after all, and eager to learn all he could from her. Much more than Political Theory had been taught since their rather scandalous affair had begun, it was much deeper than any physical need could be rationalised.

"You will remain behind when I am finished, and we will discuss your future at this Academy." He nodded in response, and sank back down to his seat, attempting to return his attention to the matter in hand.

The Centre of Government stood proud; visible from orbit, it was considered by many the jewel of Csilla. Standing in the entrance to the immense private library and gallery of Chiss Culture, she felt it was more the information that gave such weight to the title rather than the building.

The building itself was basic, having withstood glaciers for unknown centuries, devoid of any character and beauty the original architect may have intended. There was nothing to distinguish it as Chiss, and nothing to make it stand out.

Footsteps behind her bought her back to the present, and without turning, she spoke to the person as he so deserved in the presence of his fellow cadets.

"You seemed very distracted today, 3458." She waited for a response; when none came she turned to face him. "I trust it is not something that will affect you during the coming months."

He remained composed; to anything but the untrained eye, at least. She had noticed a slight trembling in his hands, quickly disguised as he placed them behind his back. A number of his fellow students still lingered, either in small discussion groups, or looking closer at the building around them.

"No, General. Merely a trivial annoyance that I hope to rectify in the coming hours."

She smiled inwardly at his audacity; yes, Thrawn certainly did have a way with words and aggravation. His dalliance with toeing the line and dicing with those who could potentially ruin him was also a dangerous habit that would end with his flame burning too brightly, too quickly.

She had seen literally hundreds of cadets pass through the academy in her time as a general of the Expansionary Defence Fleet, and none of them had shown the potential Thrawn had. The real mystery was why he had not been given the resources to qualify earlier. Not that it mattered anymore.

"Walk with me. As I said, we need to discuss your future."

She collected her books together; he took them from her and followed her as she ascended the staircase before them. It was called grand, but as with every other feature within the building, its function disallowed it any beauty or true grandness, except perhaps for its scale.

"What can you determine from this building, 3458?"

She needed to keep their boundaries in check; even as she thought this, she queried exactly why she was leading them to a section of the libraries she knew to be private and empty. There was important information she needed to relay to him, and she could not allow feelings-hormonal response really-to interfere with that.

"Ignoring the entirety of the lesson you just taught, I can determine very little. Basic design, functional, perhaps a race with very little time for extravagance and beauty, militaristic mindset an almost definite." He gave her a piercing look with narrowed glowing eyes. "Is there a point to this?"

"And so you sum up the entirety of our species, Thrawn." She paused; now they were discreetly concealed behind a well-placed shelf, a musty smell of the books between them. She always associated that smell to the pursuit of knowledge; she had spent much of her youth reading books such as these, and usually it calmed her. But not today.

"You sound almost despairing." She took an involuntary step backwards as he broached her personal space by placing hand upon his hip, his head leaning to the side, watching her closely. She admonished herself; how could she let a student of much younger years than her intimidate her in such a way?

"Perhaps I am." She intoned with an air of finality, closing the conversation. Inhaling, she drew on every centimetre of her height, recalling her superiority. It had been most unwise of her to begin such a relationship with a student, and even more unwise of her to have taken the assignment to inform him. "But to more important things-You have an appointment tomorrow. A very important appointment"

He carefully blinked, thick eyelashes twitching with elegance beyond his years. With a liquid grace he was upon her, arm about her waist, the other hand carefully brushing her cheek as they kissed, an undertone of desperation on his side.

"I have a very important appointment right now" The broke apart very slowly, her eyes holding his. She felt another kiss pressed to her forehead, and again despaired at her lack of control. How had she let this come into being? Well-concealed emotions battled it out beneath her impassivity. This was getting far too comfortable on his side; he was acting like they were lovers when they were in fact…

"Please act serious. You are Chiss, not some lower species without a shred of dignity." Their embrace tightened; she pushed him away, physically repelling him from her person, feeling uncomfortable at the question she could not answer.

What exactly were they? She felt like a student again, so unaware of the answer to the question she had been avoiding. An answer she knew she did not want to hear; an answer that was the anti-thesis of the Chiss mindset. But an answer that she could not avoid.

"I would be less of a being if I denied myself what I know I truly want."

She bowed her head, and felt her body being drawn back towards him, wrapped in the strong arms of her student, kisses raining down that she did not resist. Even now, she knew it had to end. For his sake, and for hers. This had to be the last time.

Her hands reached to grasp at his shoulders, stealing a deep, slow kiss, a break in their desperate tempo. As she opened her eyes, she saw the intensity of his gaze in response to her attention, his passion and desire burning as bright as any beacon. Her heart went cold, she gasped into his mouth and broke away, realisation dulling her emotions.

It was the expression he wore when he had received his acceptance to the academy, a commoner in the midst of so many of the Family's purest. It was the expression when he had been named as a potential Valedictorian. It was the look of triumph, of overcoming and possessing something he coveted.

It was not a role she would fulfil.

Again, she pushed him away, straightened her clothing, and drew herself up to her full height. He did not seem confused by this second rejection; or if he did, it was well concealed. She faced him, and spoke in a level voice.

"You're being summoned by the Nuruodo family to be promoted to full private-to be assigned to duty within the week."

He watched her carefully walked past him without as much as a backwards glance, considering at what point it had all changed between them. He supposed at a later date, her manner of addressing him as her student should have been the main hint.

"Then I'll see you tomorrow, Ar'alani?"

She stopped her well measured steps, and her head twitched, as if to look back, and then thought better of it.

"That is not a name by which you have permission to use anymore, 3458. Be prompt tomorrow. They will not distraction as I have."

"Admiral." He inclined his head in supplication, and returned to the role as her inferior, her taste still on his lips as she wandered away from him.