Dearest Esmeralda

A/N : After spending a lot of energy on Pem's POV, and of course on Sailing Little Boats, Luke and Aubé are pounding me over the head to give you the 'revised' version of their 'first date' from"And Vega Lights My Way".

PS, Louie Tell Han to stop laughing at us…

**

Cause somewhere in the cloudy skies of Paris
we were part of some artists design
Dearest Esmeralda, you are magic
In the gray around me how you shine - Words and music by Bill Danoff

Once Upon a Time…

**

He was nervous, and he had no idea why.

She's going to be your first… student, Luke thought, idly moving the an empty wine glass closer to the plate, fully aware that in a few moments he'd most likely move it back. I just wanted to talk to her in a more… private setting. Someplace where they could actually talk without a hundred curious eyes staring down at them, watching their every move, listening to every word they said. Waiting for some scrap of information, some scrap of potential scandal. Anything for the holo-cams that incessantly had dogged his steps since he had arrived on the Core. Women (and not a few men too, he had noted with a wry, hard smile) had been throwing themselves at his feet since the fleet's return from Endor, but only Aubé 'Nails' Canaille had been one of the few people outside of his closed in circle that had treated him as nothing more than a man and perhaps a teacher.

Yeah, Kid, Han's voice echoed traitorously through his mind. I'm sure 'Nails' could teach you a thing or two…

Luke had brushed off the dig with his usual (perhaps forced this time) grace, but had accepted Han's suggestion of what might make a suitable meal. Something other than re-heated ration bars and recycled water for a change. Han had suggested the restaurant that had sent over the meal and the wine when Luke had mentioned offhandedly that he wanted to talk to Aubé – Lieutenant Canaille – in a more intimate setting. After all, her parents were Jedi, (former Jedi, he had corrected himself) and in the short time he had been teaching her, or at least, attempting to teach her the very basics of elementary lightsaber moves, he found that more and more, he just had wanted to talk to her without the curious stares. Without an audience, just… her.

He had talked to her mother, the self admitted Healer, and her son the Jedi Healer in training, (her father, the Corellian Emissary, had been harder to pin down) and as much as his mind and very heart burned with curiosity, once again, he found himself just wanting to talk to her… alone

He moved the glass back.

But you kissed her.

It was a distraction tactic, that's all.

But you kissed her…

With a wave of his hand the soft sounds of soft music began to emit from tastefully hidden speakers. Music from the lost world of Alderaan, and gentle strains from his own childhood – at least two hours worth from his own estimation. Maybe more. Enough to play through the meal, and provide background to fill any uncomfortable silences that should arise.

Nothing more.

He was sure of it.

Absently, he moved the glass back just as the door chime announced the arrival of his guest.

**

She was wearing a simple green shiff dress that was elegant in it's simplicity, and as on the night of the Grand Celebration Ball, face paint delicately – if inexpertly – applied. Her wrap was held tightly over her shoulders, and she stood there, strangely shy and evidently nervous. Brown eyes met blue, and for instant, Luke was seized to kiss her once again, but this time, he resisted.

"Commander…" she said shyly. "I hope I'm not too early…"

"Of course not," Luke smiled and took her wrap, unsuccessfully suppressing a shiver as his fingertips brushed her shoulders.

She turn to him wide eyed. "Are you cold?" she asked. "I thought it was hot as blazes in here!" she lowered here eyes, embarrassed. "I'm sorry, Commander," she said softly. "I forgot, this would be cold for you!"

"I'm fine," Luke replied, gesturing to the table. "And please, Nails, it's just Luke…"

"Aubé," she murmured, taking the offered seat. "When I hear 'Nails', I think there's an Imperial on my tail…"

"Ay-yu-bay," Luke echoed, rolling the word around, savoring it. "It's an unusual name… not Corellian?"

She smiled at him. "No. From Dathomir, I think – my grandmother was from there."

Luke raised an eyebrow as he pushed in her chair. "I thought Jedi had forbidden attachment in the Old Order?"

"Corellian Jedi had no such compunctions," Aubé replied absently. "From what I understand, my grandfather was a Corellian Jedi with a roving eye. When my grandmother became pregnant, he brought her back to the Temple because she'd become an outcast form her own tribe. My mother knew her for part of her childhood."

"Leia and I never knew our mother," Luke said with a touch of sadness as he dished up the first helping of food. "I don't know who any of my family really were. I was raised by my aunt and uncle on a moisture farm on Tatooine."

"I'm sorry," Aubé murmured, and then she gasped. "Oh! Spicey blue fish and flat bread! My favorite! How did you know?"

"A friend," Luke replied with a grin as he poured the wine. "And you shouldn't be, I was actually pretty happy growing up, even if I did grow up pretty sheltered."

"You and me both," Aubé said sadly. "I mean, how would you feel if out of nowhere your parents tell you they've lead a secret life, and you're not who you think you are?"

"Pretty upset I think," Luke said evenly. He sat down across from her and raised his glass. "What should we drink too?"

"How about, to the moment?" Aubé said softly. "After all, for many of us, that's all we ever have…"

Luke met her eyes, so warm and soft and inviting, and smiled. "The Moment…"

**

As the meal wound down and the bottle of wine emptied, Luke and Aubé became more at ease with each other's company and conversation. Deeper matters of the Force gave way to lighter topics, including inevitably, who had paired off with whom.

"How about you Aubé?" Luke asked with a twinkle in his eye. Earlier over the meal, they had playfully touched hands, and alternately fed each other small pieces of sweet cake. Now with her fingers gently and fully entwined in his, Luke pressed the question again. "How many hearts have you broken?"

Aubé lowered her eyes, blushing. "Not as many as you might think," she giggled. "If the Mynocks had fooled around as much as we fought, we could have lost the whole war! Turn about is fair play! How many hearts have you broken, Luke?"

"None," Luke replied softly. "Every woman who's ever designed to look at me only sees 'Luke Skywalker, Hero'. In fact, other than my sister, you're the first woman in a long time who just sees me… as a man…"

A heavy silence fell between them, and the only sound Luke could hear was the pounding of his heart, thrumming in his chest. Had he gone too far? The wine had loosened his tongue too much perhaps, and in that terrible instant, he thought he had lost the last link to the Jedi forever, and perhaps so much more.

Then it came, soft as a prayer. Her reply.

Yes, you're right… I do…

The music abruptly shifted, and Luke wondered absently if he had reprogrammed the console without thinking, when a slow Alderaanian a waltz began to play. He seized on the moment without thinking.

"Would you care to dance?"

Aubé nodded, and they made their way to the middle of the room and fell into an easy embrace and began to sway gently to the music.

"You dance very nicely," Aubé murmured, laying her head against his chest and closing her eyes. "Maybe you should reconsider the whole 'Jedi Master' business and run away and join the Naboo circus…"

Luke pulled her closer, brushing his fingertips up her back to touch the back of her neck. "Is that an offer?" he replied softly. "I would have to have a partner after all…"

With her eyes still closed, Aubé tilted her head up ever so slightly. "A partner…" she echoed. "A partner… yes…"

Luke closed his eyes and leaned in closer. "Yes…"

"Yes…" She could feel his lips a hairsbreadth from her own. "Yes…"

Yes…

He cradled the back of her head as the kissed deepened, and she sighed his name into his mouth. That was all the answer he needed.

His free hand reached down to caress her rear through the soft shimmersilk, and she wrapped her leg around his thigh, drawing them closer still. She gently encouraged him to kiss her lower, across the breast bone while she gently tugged at his shirt, pulling it free from the constraints of his trousers. Once it was free, she pushed her hand underneath it, entangling her fingers in the small hairs on his chest. He moaned softly, pulling her hips closer to his and pushing the hem of the dress to her thigh. He buried his chin in the hollow of her cleavage, as far as the dress would allow without tearing the delicate fabric even as she found, and had begun to undo the fastening on his own shirt.

"Fastener… in the back…" she gasped, but Luke needed no further instruction. He pulled away only long enough to discard his shirt, and set to work.

Her dress fell to the floor soon after. She cried out softly as his mouth found her breast, even as she struggled with his belt. First one side, then the other as his left hand pressed her closer and his right hand kneaded the back of her thigh and her rear.

Now it was Luke's turn to cry out softly as her own hand began to explore the front of his trousers. He wanted to take hold of it, and place it where he wanted it to go, he needed it to go, but instead, began to explore on his own. His finger gently teased the edge of her underwear, caressing the soft curve of her buttock.

Regulation… he thought absently, even as she slipped her hand into the band of his trousers at last. Shimmersilk outside, Rebellion issues underneath…Oh by the Gods…

"My… my…" he gasped, unable to get the words out. "Won't be able to walk if we don't…"

She had begun to stroke him, and he could no longer speak, much less move. "This first," she whispered in his ear, even as he latched back on to her breast. "Better this way… I promise… if it's your first time…"

He couldn't think, he could barely breathe. He had spent many nights alone doing what she was doing for him, but it was never like this, nothing could ever be…

Let go… she whispered. Harder, faster now. Let go…

Barely able to control himself, Luke went to his knees as he exploded with sensation, pulling her down with him. Oh Goddess! OH Goddess!

A few moments later, she slipped out of his grasp. "If you want to go on, I'll be waiting for you," she gasped huskily. "On your bed, if you'll have me…"

"I'm coming, right behind you," Luke croaked, rising to shaky knees.

"I thought you all ready had!" came the reply lightly from his bedroom. She had already pulled away the covers and was lying there waiting for him.

In nothing but heels and those regulation panties. Luke realized, already feeling his body reacting as he removed the last of his own clothing. Thank the stars laundry droids don't ask questions…

As he stood there for a moment, Aubé arched an appreciative eyebrow. "Do all Jedi have such quick recovery skills?" she asked wryly.

Climbing on top of her, Luke grinned. "Only those raised on a planet with two suns," he whispered, nibbling her ear. He began to rock himself gently, eliciting little moans and gasps from her. He cupped her breast and kissed her tenderly.

"Tell me…" he said softly, caressing her breast again. "Tell me…"

"I want you," she moaned closing her eyes and rocking her own body against his. "Luke, I want you… please…"

"How badly?" he murmured, lowering himself to kiss her breast and belly, enjoying the shift in control as she writhed beneath him. With infinite gentleness, he removed the last barrier between them and slung them carelessly aside. As soon as he had repositioned himself above her she stopped and wrapped her legs around his. "Aubé, tell me how badly…"

"Luke… take me," she moaned as he kissed her. "I… I need to feel you inside of me… just take me…"

Slowly he entered her, and with gentle encouragement, withdrew and entered again until he had entered her fully, and they began a delicious rocking, finding their own rhythm. Soon he was setting a new pace, feeling her through the Force, intuitively finding things that would take her to the very edge and back again. She cried out, begging for release, finally understanding that while they had started with he as the innocent, now once again their roles had reversed and the Master was teaching the acolyte.

She cried out her release, her first, her second and the last, barely conscious of the fact that he too was at last lost in the throws of completion.

She collapsed on top of him only marginally aware that they had changed physical positions at least once, whimpering.

He ran his fingers through her sweaty hair, and kissed her lightly on the fore-head.

He wanted ask her if she even knew how long they had been away, and if she thought they had been missed, but she was already asleep.

It doesn't matter, Luke pushed through an ever dwindling consciousness. We can wake in an hour, and I'll just apologize to Leia and tell her that our supper ran a little late… No… big… concern…

**

"Yes, I understand, Leia, I overslept, OK?" Luke snapped with more irritation than he intended. "I'll be there in 20 minutes… "

"She's pretty hot, huh?" Aubé sighed, rubbing a towel over her shower wet locks. "At least my parents have gone to the Ambassador Hotel for the night, and hopefully my nosey brother has already gone to bed – he hasn't felt well since they got here to the Core…"

"She'll be all right," Luke sighed, tucking in his fresh shirt. "Ambassador Koenig's goodwill is important to Leia, and the New Republic. His daughter's probably already found her company of choice, and if not, it's only going to be supper… again… or maybe first meal." He grimaced at the thought.

"Only supper?" Aubé echoed, arching her eyebrow, but before she could say another word, Luke pulled her into an embrace and kissed her tenderly. "Only food." he said firmly.

"All right," Aubé sighed agreeably, settling into his arms for one last embrace. "I'll see you tomorrow then…"

"An hour after mid-meal, at the gym." Luke finished for her. "I'll see you then…" and with a last kiss, she was gone while Luke stared out over the vast city planet, and at the ruins of the Jedi Temple.