"Mara, is everything all right?" Jedi Master Luke Skywalker headed towards the main hall of the Jedi Academy when he noticed his friend sitting alone up in one of the children's newly built tree houses near the gardens.
"Leave me alone, Skywalker," Mara barked.
Striding toward the tree, he looked up to see her sitting cross legged with her back leaning against the supporting beam of the fort. "What's going on? I thought you left hours ago."
"I said leave me alone!" Mara's command was followed by a flying tree branch aimed right at his head.
Easily deflecting the branch, Luke stood at the base of the tree with his hands on his hips. "The sun's been down for two hours, Mara. It's going to be getting cold soon."
"What do you care?" she snorted in reply.
Luke sighed and began to climb the wooden ladder until he was at the first landing and able to join her on the platform. "Of course I care. What's gotten into you?"
Mara pulled her legs up close to her body and wrapped her arms around them. "Nothing. I'm just feeling a little…."
"…a little what?" asked Luke, peering into her eyes. She really does have nice eyes, he thought.
"I don't know…unbalanced, maybe. Not myself," she mumbled.
Luke could feel her lack of composure-so uncharacteristic of Mara. "Has something happened?" he asked softly, putting his arm around her shoulder.
That seemed to be her undoing as she melted into his embrace and sobbed. Whoa, thought Luke, this is a whole new side of Mara Jade.
After several minutes, Mara seemed to compose herself and breathed deeply. "You tell anyone about his, Skywalker and I'll….
"….make me regret it severely. I know the drill," Luke laughed wiping some of the tears from her face. She really does have soft skin, he thought.
"It's just that sometimes, I get a little….lonely," she admitted reluctantly, leaning her head on Luke's shoulder.
"I wonder if I'll ever meet someone to share my life with, you know what I mean?"
Luke found himself running his hand gently through Mara's silky hair. "I know exactly what you mean." She really does have the most extraordinary hair, he thought.
Luke heard Mara sigh as she snuggled closer to him. It's been so long since I just held a beautiful woman…and where did that thought come from?! Mara is my friend, a woman friend, a gorgeous woman friend, thought Luke. He looked into Mara's lucid green eyes and felt a lump forming in his throat.
"Luke, is something wrong?" asked Mara lifting her head to look up into his eyes.
"Uh… no," said Luke his voice cracking. Have her lips always been so full?
Mara lifted an eyebrow. "You sure you're all right?"
Luke groaned and let his head fall back until it hit the tree house wall a couple times. "I'll be fine." Taking a deep calming Jedi breath he lifted his head to see Mara was inches from his face.
"You know what I think Luke?" whispered Mara silkily, her eyes heavily lidded.
Get control, get control, get control…"No, uh…what?" replied Luke, hoarsely.
"I think that sometimes, it's okay for a Jedi to lose control." Mara leaned in and kissed Luke lightly on the corner of his mouth.
Luke's heart pounded. He was sure it could be heard by anyone still up this late over in the common room.
"I think that sometimes when two people are alone in the moonlight, it's okay for them to comfort each other.
She lightly tickled Luke's dimple with her lips. "Sometimes, it's just okay to…"
"Aw hang it," Luke cried, grabbing Mara and merging their lips into a smoldering kiss. He moaned, completely losing himself in her tender warmth, until—"umpf!" Luke felt Mara's elbow plunge into his stomach. "Geez Mara, what was that for?"
"That was for assuming you can take advantage of me when I'm in a vulnerable state!" Mara extradited herself from Luke's arms and started down the ladder. When she reached the ground she looked up and gave Luke one of her fiercest looks. "And if you tell anyone about this Skywalker, I'll…"
"…make me regret it severely." Luke watched Mara as she marched towards her ship. "Women," he sighed, rubbing his stomach. "Just when you think you understand them, they go all dark side on you."
A Few Years Later
"Jaina, is everything all right?" Zekk asked as he climbed the rickety ladder up to the old tree house. In the past the fort had been used by the younger students at the academy. It was now all but abandoned, with the exception of Jaina Solo; she often seemed to come here late at night to think.
"Why would you think something is wrong?" she replied, not meeting his eyes, but gazing at the full moon overhead instead.
"Well, for one thing Jacen said you needed my help with something and you rarely ask for help with anything," he responded, making it to the landing and sitting next to his friend.
"Now that you mention it, I do. I am conducting an experiment," she said, looking around cautiously.
"What kind of experiment?" he asked warily. It was true that Zekk had a crush on Jaina, but her adventures often got him into trouble. Still, the opportunity to be with her often out weighed the consequences of her hair-brained schemes.
"Just close your eyes," Jaina instructed, scooting closer to her new found guinea pig.
"Why?" asked Zekk, with a dubious look in his face. "And why are you moving so close?"
"Just do it!" she demanded, grabbing him by the hand and yanking him towards her.
"All right, geez take it easy, Jaina." Zekk closed his eyes slowly fighting the urge to keep one eye open. He sat pensively waiting for something terrible to happen. Instead he felt Jaina's gentle breath on his chin and then something soft touch his mouth… "Are you trying to kiss me?" said Zekk opening his eyes in alarm.
"NO!" she insisted. "Well, yes. I...I need to figure this kissing thing out."
Zekk couldn't believe his luck. "Why didn't you just ask for goodness sake?"
"I didn't know if you had done any kissing before and besides, you might not like the idea of kissing me," she explained logically, her arms folded across her chest.
"Not like the idea of kissing you?" Zekk scooted closer, his heart pounding. Not want to kiss her? Stars! He'd only dreamt about it for more nights than he could remember.
Gazing into her big brown eyes, he placed his arm around her waist. "Now just relax and leave everything to me."
Jaina nodded and closed her eyes as Zekk tentatively meshed his lips with hers, slowly applying pressure. Delighting in her warmth, he drew her even closer and then invitingly opened his lips. He moaned softly as he lost himself in her sweetness, until—"umpf!" Jaina punched him in the stomach and stood up.
"Jaina! What was that for?" he groaned.
"I don't know what you think you're doing Zekk, but that was definitely not a kiss!" hissed Jaina as she climbed down the first rung of the ladder. "Just stay away from me, you hear?"
Zekk watched as Jaina crossed the courtyard and disappeared into the girl's dormitory building. "Women," he sighed, rubbing his stomach, "just when you think you understand them, they go all dark side on you."
After making his nightly rounds about the campus, Luke Skywalker headed out towards the gardens for a moment of solitude. Hearing a scuffle of some kind he turned to see his niece, Jaina stalking towards her dorm room. Not far behind was a groaning Zekk walking slowly toward the main building.
Puzzled, Luke wandered aimlessly for a while until he found himself at the foot of the old tree house. While looking up at the children's fort an overwhelming sense of deja vu flooded his senses. Shaking his head in consternation he finally put the pieces together and reached a decision. First thing tomorrow morning the tree house was coming down.