Disclaimer: Not mine. None of it.

His fingers moved flawlessly over her skin, so gentle, yet passionate; filled with emotions she knew he would never admit. Crimson eyes once so unsettling (now so beautiful to her) held her gaze with an intent so pure and honest, that it made her cheeks warm. In his eyes there were no secrets, in his kiss there were no doubts; only his careful touch held a subtle air of hesitance. Not out of fear, rather respect and the desire to ensure their time together was perfect, not for him, but for her.

This was a side Maris was certain no one had ever seen before. Though she knew he had been with other lovers, she couldn't shake the feeling that this—all of this, was meant for her eyes only. Her lover was not a man who was accustomed to letting down his guard; she wondered if he ever did.

Yet here in her arms she could feel him slowly removing the cool, collected mask he wore so flawlessly, while carefully lowering the walls that no one was ever allowed to cross-save her.

It was incredibly humbling, frightening even, to know that she of all people, had been chosen to witness this part of him.

Maris had always secretly dreamed of experiencing such a moment, but had long since given up the hope that it would ever become a reality. Fiery, swift one night stands and empty passion plays had become a way of life for her. Even her past relationship with Rak paled by comparison to the care and affection she discovered with Mitth'raw'nuruodo. Though she was an experienced lover, in his arms Maris felt as though she were making love for the first time. As they began to lose themselves in one another's embrace, she realized in many ways, that it was.

His dark hair was tousled, his cheeks flushed while a hint of a smile threatened to reveal itself on his lips as his fiery gaze studied her intently. It used to baffle her whenever her colleagues commented that Thrawn was a difficult man to read. To Maris, he wasn't just a man of military, or even their captor; he was an outsider-just like her. He was someone she could relate to; someone who just might understand.

Her fingers moved over his body, while her lips tasted the skin of his collarbone causing him to draw in a sharp breath. Soon his lips were brushing against her ear; whispering words in a language she had yet to fully understand. It didn't matter, the sincerity found in his hushed voice was translation enough.

Shifting slightly, he began to kiss the freckled skin of her right shoulder as all the while his fingers continued their gentle exploration of her petite form. Somewhere in the midst of her scattered thoughts Maris could hear herself murmuring his true name. It was as though he knew what her heart and body desired better than she did. With loving affection, Maris responded in kind allowing her touch to silently express all that could not be said. This time, it was her name he moaned. Their lips met once more and this time there was no denying the unspoken messages found in his passionate kisses.

Lost in her lover's fiery embrace Maris never felt more vulnerable, or more at peace. She knew there would be no turning back now, and for the first time in her life she realized she wouldn't want it any other way.

It was much later when their passions were momentarily sated, permitting her thoughts to return. The man in her arms was now at ease; a hint of a smile graced his azure lips as his eyes remained closed. In silence, Maris studied his resting form, realizing that she had never seen him so at peace. With a shy, but sad smile she began to run her fingers through his dark hair.

As much as she wanted everything to work out, deep down Maris knew that this wouldn't last; it wasn't meant to last. Caressing his cheek, Maris recalled his warning when she first kissed him. She could still see the apology in his eyes, and feel his initial hesitation when he returned her kiss.

He was the first man who ever cared enough to be honest with her, and that alone broke her heart.

That shared kiss had only been a beginning for both of them. Yet now, not even a day later, Maris knew that tonight would be their last. By morning, their destinies would take them down different pathes, and it was uncertain they would ever see each other again. While she didn't like it, the prospect didn't bother her as much as she'd expected. Whether it was his honesty or her practicality that prepared her for the inevitiable, Maris couldn't say. One thing she did know; she would forever cherish their brief time together.

Feeling the slow and steady warmth of his breath against her cheek, she smiled to herself before gently kissing his lips. With a contented sigh, Maris slipped her arms around him before drifting off into blissful dreams of a future where their paths would once more cross.