A/N – This takes place during the era of "And Vega Lights my Way", and supersedes the events, tweaking the timeline a bit.
They had reached that one point in their relationship – the place where the initial bloom, and joy of discovery was still a new novelty, and yet things had decidedly progressed between them.
He had given her the pass code to his apartment.
Make yourself at home, Aubé, I'll be there a little later this evening, Force willing. Luke had told her earlier in the day. Maybe we can have supper ' in' tonight…"
* * *
She wandered into the kitchenette (oddly enough, one of the few rooms in the small apartment she was fairly unfamiliar with) and opened the cooling unit. To her chagrin, but not to her surprise, the only thing that she found inside was a small cooler of water, and several containers of various, take out food.
Typical bachelor fare.
A quick glance at the chrono told her that she would have more than enough time to actually create a real meal, and unlike Luke himself, she could easily navigate the newly opened markets of the capitol, but she hesitated. Would he appreciate the gesture? Consider it too forward? But what was the alternative? A mish mash of left-overs and concentrates, or perhaps delivery from one of the local restaurants, yet again? In frustration, Aubé ran her fingers through her short curly hair.
The Force ain't gonna help me now, she thought with a sigh as she closed the cooler door with a little more force than was necessary. I guess this is the first real test of our relationship… Let's see if I can handle a bunch of utensils as well as I can handle a lightsaber…
The first thing Luke noticed when he arrived at the apartment was the unmistakable smell if fresh cooking. Not reheated rations, but freshly prepared meats and vegetables, and even… fresh bread?
"I hope you're hungry, Luke," a warm familiar voice called from the kitchen, and what started as a curious smile broadened, itself into a grin.
A flack jacket had been tossed casually over one of the chairs, and Aubé stood in front of his small stove, immersed in the simple act of cooking. Turning only slightly to cast a glance over her shoulder, she cocked an eyebrow at him.
"What? Ya didn't think a Corellian girl could cook?" she asked, turning back to the pot she was stirring. "You command types don't get around much, do you?"
"It's not that," Luke replied wryly, straddling the chair to watch her. "I just was wondering where you found fresh rations, vegetables and the like. Well, that and how nice my singlet looks with your bloodstripes…"
Tapping a spoon on the edge of the pot, she rounded on him playfully. "I could take it off ya know, but I thought you'd like to have last meal first!"
Luke laughed, even as the colour flew through his cheeks. "Of course we can – I mean, have last meal first!"
"Suit yourself," Aubé said with a wink, dishing up a serving and placing it on the table.
As he turned around, Luke took another deep inhale, savoring the scents. "Goddess Aubé! Where did you find holis greens? And cura roots?" Eagar to start enjoying the meal, he barely managed to rise as she sat down across from him. "I haven't seen either of them since I can't remember when!"
Aubé shrugged as she poured out the wine. "You know that my father is one of the Emissaries from Corellia? Well, they have a small garden up on the roof, and I called in a couple… favors I guess you could say."
This elicited another bout of laughter from Luke. "What is it about you Corellians?" he asked, his blue eyes dancing with bemusement. "Han's always been a big proponent of what he called 'off line requisitions' as well…" Almost as an afterthought, he took another forkful of food and added, "oh! Next week my sister is hosting a small dinner party. Nothing major, just herself and Han, Lando… and a few others. Do you need some credits for a new outfit?"
Mild blue eyes met anxious brown ones. "I asked if you needed some credits for a new outfit," Luke repeated easily. "I've got to get something too, I guess…"
"Small dinner?" Aubé squeaked. "With General Solo and Madam Chief of State…"
"Who also happens to be my sister Leia, Bé," Luke interrupted her gently, but Aubé was not to be dissuaded so easily.
"Yeah, like everyone's casually related to the newly elected Head of the Galaxy," Aubé snapped suddenly. "And everyone just happens to be friends with galaxy famous generals and their compatriots! Luke, it's an entirely different world then what I'm used to!"
"What's the big deal, Aubé?" Luke sighed wearily. "You used to go out drinking with Han and the rest, and you said yourself that you grew up attending these kind of sorties all the time!" He reached across the table, gently taking her hand in his own. "What's different? What's changed?"
"Everything and nothing," Aubé choked, tears blossoming in her eyes. "I mean… before… I mean…"
Of course he knew what was being said, and had a good idea where it had originated, but had no idea how to stop it, or even if he could. Instead, he only nodded. "I've heard, Bé," he said softly. "And I can't tell you how sorry I am…"
The tears began to fall freely now, as the hateful words fell off her tongue. "The Whore of Corellia" she spat. "That's the mildest one I've heard, and this is supposedly from friends! It's like I've grown a third eye in the middle of my forehead, and claimed to be the daughter of the Emperor! I'm asked on a regular basis whether you use the Force when we're 'doing it'! They revert to silly euphemisms for sex as if by not asking directly – "
"Say, Yes, he does," Luke said suddenly. "And leave it at that, Bé."
Struck speechless, Aubé just stared at Luke as he smiled at her.
"Just say yes," Like repeated firmly, squeezing her hand with one and taking another bite with the other. "This is really good, Bé – we should have it more often."
She only continued to stare at him, her mouth open in shock and Luke cast his eyes up from his plate briefly. "I thought you said we should finish last meal first," he deadpanned. "But if you insist…"
Aubé found her voice at last. "Luke, how could you?" she gasped. "I mean –"
"Bé," Luke sighed and rose, placing his fork down on the plate. "We've been through this before, you knew that this kind of unwanted attention would be part and parcel of being involved with me…"
"I did," she admitted. "I just didn't think it would be so hard! And how people that I thought I knew would act so differently!"
Luke walked around, standing behind her. With a heavy sigh Aubé lowered her head as Luke began to massage her shoulders, the carefully prepared dinner forgotten. "You should have seen it when I pulled out my lightsaber for the first time," he murmured. "It was right after Yavin…"
"I thought I was the first one to see your lightsaber," Aube grunted as Luke found a particularly hard knot. "But you were saying…"
"Yeah, Wedge was the first, and Leia…" he sighed. "She grew up knowing about Obi-Wan and the Jedi Knights. Me, I was just a farm boy –"
"A very talented farm boy," Aubé amended as a fingertip brushed the underside of her jaw. "So what happened?"
Luke shrugged. "It didn't take long for me to figure out who my real friends were. You know, the ones I lived with, fought with…"
"But they didn't – "
"Didn't they?" Luke sighed, his fingertips lightly caressing her ears. "Some people said that they just wanted to touch me…" He shivered at the memory. "They said that my touch could heal all ills – acted like I was some kind of messiah. It happened so quickly..."
Aubé leaned her head back into his belly, her eyes closed as Luke's arms crossed themselves companionably under her breasts. "What did you do then?"
Luke leaned in, resting his chin in the crook of her shoulder. "The only think I could do, Bé," he whispered. "I took refuge in those closest to me."
She nuzzled his cheek affectionately. "The very people I'm… afraid of I guess, right?"
"Yep," came the answer. "Got it in one. You'll make a great Jedi Master yet, my friend."
"My friend," Aubé echoed, sighing contentedly. "You know, right now that's good enough for me…"