A Dance in the Trees

A Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic fanfic by Princess Artemis

© S.D. Green 2008, except for the really obvious parts that are © BioWare, Obsidian, and LucasArts

"Bastila, what do you think of a one-night stand—woaaah!" Having a double-bladed lightsaber pulled on him wasn't, to say the least, the reaction Dustil was looking for from Bastila. He had his own out and ready, not ignited yet—of his many faults, stupidity was not among their number, and a near-unrivaled survival instinct kept him prepared.

"What?" Bastila replied, with not a little heat. The two were standing in one of the main thoroughfares of Citadel Station and thus the sudden appearance of a lightsaber wielding Jedi attracted a small crowd of Telosians and Ithorians.

"Bastila...could you...maybe...please extinguish your lightsaber? You're making a scene and you're sure as hell making me nervous," Dustil said. Explanations for words could wait—a lightsaber ready to take his head off could not.

Bastila looked down at her hands and made a startled noise. "I...well, of course." She extinguished her 'saber and quickly hid it in the folds of her knight robes. The threat now neutralized (for the moment), Dustil hooked his own 'saber on a belt loop. Bastila crossed her arms and demanded again, "What did you mean?" The crowd had only increased in number.

"You know..."

"I most certainly do know! Why are you even bringing this up with me?"

"Well, you like it, don't you...damnit Bastila, stop pulling out your lightsaber!"

She hadn't switched it on, but Bastila apparently had decided it was a good idea to use the hilt to punctuate her words. "DUSTIL ONASI, I cannot even believe you think I would ever condone such a thing!"

"Really?" Despite the lightsaber hilt dangerously close to his face, Dustil couldn't help the confused question. "I heard you liked..."

"WHAT?!"

Dustil had his hands in the air, a warding gesture, a suit for peace...but his 'saber hilt was in one hand—somehow his mouth was getting him into serious trouble here. "Father told me. It was Father's idea in the first place."

Bastila's blue-gray eyes narrowed to slits. Very slowly, in that calm tone that made Dustil fearful for his safety, she said, "What was Carth's idea?"

Lowering his hands and slowly shifting his weight, shifting his feet, Dustil told Bastila the truth. "That I take you out for—"

"WHAT?!"

The gathered Telosians and Ithorians were treated to a show as Bastila swung her now-lit double 'saber at Dustil and he dodged by leaping into one of the trees lining the thoroughfare, standing with uncanny ease on a branch high above, his green lightsaber finally ignited.

"Bastila... It's not like it would be a date or anything, it's just one—," Dustil stated, just before he had to make a jump back into the top of another tree to escape Bastila, who had made an impressive jump of her own to reach him.

"Are you suggesting I consort with you..." she growled back, pursuing Dustil from tree to tree to floor to tree to rafter to floor to rafter to tree to floor again, all the while swinging her lightsaber. Sparks flew the few times Dustil parried with his own.

The crowd had opened up quite a bit to allow for the acrobatics, but they were not going anywhere. Several Telosians started cheering on one or the other of the two dueling Force-users.

They continued the lightsaber duel on the ground level, Dustil having finally started an offensive that made it less practical for Bastila to fight back with the fancier jumps. The crowd was no less impressed, however, and watched closely. "I guess this means you don't want to go with me and—," Dustil started to say.

"You...and Carth...you...Gamorrean pig-men!" she said amidst clashing 'sabers, "how could you both think so little of me?!"

"Little of you?" Dustil asked in shock, and no little offense of his own. "We don't think little of you! We thought you liked it! What are you on about?"

"Me? LIKED IT?! How could you bring up a one-night stand!" Bastila swung low, forcing Dustil back into the trees.

Again the duel was characterized by the flashy show of Force physicality as Dustil and Bastila continued fighting in just about every high and low place they could reach. While they both stood toe-to-toe on a branch of one of the trees, 'sabers locked for a moment, Dustil shouted, "What was I supposed to talk about? It's the singer's latest!"

"Singer?" Bastila asked, confused.

The tree decided it was through with the abuse. The branch both stood on chose that moment to end the duel by breaking under them. Force-honed reflexes were not enough to save Bastila and Dustil from tumbling out of the tree and into a heap on the ground. Fortunately, both of their lightsabers had safeties and had shut off as they fell. The crowd waited, breath bated.

The tangle of brown Jedi robes, cream tabards, blue Telosian leather, and black boots said in a masculine voice, "Yes, the singer. The Talravian singer Father told me you liked, Alishen Traj..."

The Jedi portion of the tangle finally resolved itself into a standing Bastila Shan, brushing leaves and grass from her robes. "And...why would Carth suggest anything regarding that? I am hardly interested in the lurid details of a singer's personal life."

The Telosian part of the former heap looked up from his supine vantage-point in the planter. "Personal life? What does his personal life have to do with this? He's only going to be here tonight, for one concert. Father wanted to take you to see him, but since he's not available tonight, he suggested I go with you instead."

"A performance. You were talking about a theatre performance?" Bastila asked.

Dustil nodded.

"Why didn't you say so before? All you asked was for me to accompany you for a one-night stand!"

After the adrenaline rush of an unexpected lightsaber duel, Dustil couldn't help it. He snickered. "Bastila, you didn't know?"

"What ever are you talking about?"

"Traj's newest album is called 'A One-Night Stand' and he's promoting it with 'one-night stand' performances...he is here on Citadel tonight only!" After a moment's pause Dustil's eyes widened. "You actually thought I meant...?"

Bastila crossed her leaf-and-grass-covered arms over her chest, blew a few dislodged hairs from her face, and raised an eyebrow.

"Oh Force, you did!" At that, Dustil completely lost it and started laughing, not even bothering to attempt standing.

Still irritated, Bastila said, "Fine. I will go with you to this 'one-night stand'." And then she kicked Dustil, which just made him laugh harder.

The crowd began applauding.


Author's note:

For the KFM DCC challenge #33: "One Night Stand". I couldn't help it; the dictionary compelled me! Thanks to Jiara for the beta!