Beta: A huge thank you to Cariel for beta reading this for me! Also a huge thank you to Knight Ander and Fialleril for their advice and tips on how to make the clones more canon and accurate! You guys rock! =D
Author's Notes: This tale is dedicated to Fialeril who suggested that someone should write some Yané/Jester OTP fic ^^;
The first time he laid eyes on her, it had been at a public gathering. Clones weren't normally chosen for private security. They were more valued on the front lines. However, Jester and Gus were on a brief leave due to wounds inflicted during a Separatist attack. With their wounds now fully healed, he was supposed to return to the front. But word reached their superiors that the Naboo senator required two additional guards and they had been chosen.
As Jester stood poised and silent in his armor, he wondered why his presence was so necessary. More importantly, he wondered if the long-winded meeting would ever end. He didn't see why they were required there, or why they had been ordered to remain in full armor; up to and including the use of their helmets. There was no real threat, certainly not that he could imagine. But he had his orders and if Gus was right, they came straight from the supreme chancellor himself.
'Perhaps this is the threat, death by boredom,' he mused to Gus through the private comm channel that was built into their helmets. The sound of his friend's chuckle caused him to smile in amusement. At least he didn't have to endure this alone.
Glancing around the room, he used the controls of his helmet to scan for any abnormalities. As expected, nothing was found. But when his eyes settled upon the mysterious Naboo handmaidens he noticed something was off. Normally the handmaidens remained in view, but unmoving, like living statues who shadowed the senator. Yet one of the young women's hands was moving slightly. To anyone else, it would appear that she was adjusting the sleeve of her gown. However, Jester was trained in hand signals and recognized the gesture as a variant of one.
Frowning, he continued to study the handmaiden's movements, noting her companion's reaction. He wished he understood the dialect of their signals, if only to learn if they caught something he had missed. They're all part of security, were they not?
His eyes drifted to the young woman's, face hoping to gauge her reaction to her compatriot's response. The hint of an impish smile he saw on the handmaiden's lips was so subtle that Jester wondered if he had just imagined it. Unable to look away, the young clone took a moment to study the handmaiden's delicate features. He was once told that all Naboo handmaidens looked the same. For Jester, this one stood out. He couldn't say what made her so unique, if it was the secrets of her dark eyes or the barely contained smile on her lips.
"Jester, you ogling the women again?"
Jester hissed a curse into his headset demanding that Gus shut up. It was a relief to know that the beautiful maiden couldn't hear his brother's remarks.
"Well it's not like we have anything else to do," he replied with a smirk before adding, "Besides, it's not like they can—" The words caught in his throat as the handmaiden he had been watching suddenly met his gaze. It was as though she could see through his helmet and straight into his eyes. The sound of his brother's laughter told Jester that Gus had witnessed it all.
The rest of the meeting was spent in silent observation. Despite the lack of action, the young soldier found the meeting was a lot shorter than he initially thought. Soon the senators rose from their seats, marking the end of the meeting. In spite of himself, Jester was a little disappointed in the meeting's end. He had yet to learn her name, or even what had amused her.
While Jester saw his chance, his nerve was entirely lost. His friend and brother-in-arms, however, felt otherwise and when the handmaiden's prepared to depart, Gus spoke out.
"Excuse us ladies—"
The second girl, also a petite brunette, looked over to them and smiled. She too was beautiful, but didn't draw Jester's attention the way her colleague did.
"Is something the matter gentlemen?"
The second beauty looked to her sister and gave her a concerned look.
"The senator would not approve," she whispered in warning. Before the other handmaiden had a chance to reply, Jester spoke out.
"Would you ladies care to join us for drinks after duty?" The words escaped him before he even had a chance to register what he was saying. Horrified by his sudden and forward invitation, Jester immediately stammered out an apology.
The first handmaiden smiled to the offer, her dark eyes dancing with mischief. Her compatriot, the beauty who had caught Jester's eye, looked a little more hesitant as though uncertain that she had heard him correctly.
"Gentlemen, we know nothing about you, not even your names or faces. Yet you wish us to join you for drinks?"
Jester was incredibly grateful for the mask that now covered his burning cheeks. "I'm Jester and this is Gus," he stammered out as he gave his brother a deadly glare. He resisted the urge to curse at Gus, whose chuckle echoed into his helmet's comm channel. Had Jester not been so distracted he would have noticed the subtle exchange of signals between the two women.
"It's a pleasure to meet you Jester, you too, Gus. My name is Yané and this is Dormé."
Before Jester or his brother had a chance to speak further, the Naboo senator quietly approached. In soft tones, she spoke to both handmaidens, politely informing them that they were required elsewhere.
With a friendly smile and a bow, Dormé politely excused herself before slipping off after the senator. Yané briefly paused as she met the young clone's hidden gaze. Jester braced himself for the inevitable rejection.
"We'll take you up on your offer but only on one condition—" she began.
Jester didn't hesitate to agree. Gus too, was equally amicable.
"You must promise to reveal the mystery behind your masks."
Flashing a brief, if not charming, grin Yané politely bowed and swiftly departed with Dormé and the senator. Folding his arms, Jester grinned boyishly to himself as he watched the Naboo senator and her maidens leave.
"And you thought I wasn't classy enough for the ladies!" he said proudly to Gus through their comm channel. His friend groaned then laughed as he shook his head.
"Wait 'til they get to know you!" Gus teased back.
"Hey--" Jester began. Suddenly their commander's voice came through their channel, ending friendly banter. Their presence was required back at base and so both men made their departure. Little did Jester know that his unexpected show of bravery was about to change his life forever.