A very late Valentine's day story, delayed due to computer restarts, internet connection failures, login errors, and my own procrastination and busy schedule. Hope you enjoy anyway!
I didn't really want to remove "Valentine" from the story, as Saint Valentine (you know, the martyr?) gets so overlooked to begin with, but I needed a Star Wars holiday for Ventress to heap scorn upon.
I do not own these characters, and I make no profit from this work.
((Considering changing my penname, as I have a name that I use on other sites that fits me very well, and would like to bring it here, too. Would that be confusing if I suddenly wasn't crazy4asajj anymore?))
((Oh, and "Italics like this inside quotes" indicate Force-communication.))
Asajj Ventress would freely admit to enjoying undercover missions. Stealth and disguise were things she was a master at, and it was always enjoyable to get away from the day to day activites of life. That was why she was pleased to find a message from Dooku ordering an undercover assignment.
The circumstances of this mission were a bit bizzare, however. She was meeting up with someone from the Republic side to negotiate the surrender of a planet that was more trouble than it was worth to protect. Normally a federation official would be assigned to something like this, but Dooku didn't trust that it might be a Republic trap. So she was being sent instead, since she was better at escapes, and sadly, more expendable, and trustworthy not to talk, even under torture.
Asajj scanned her assignment. The meeting place was on Corausant, in a popular restaurant, so she and the senator she'd meet would be surrounded with people. Her disguise would need to be a good one, and the senator in question had better not be stupid about it either. However, her end would be harder- she had to make sure they weren't evesdropped on, a difficult thing in a restaurant. There were many people in the Federation who weren't excited about the surrender at all. She'd need to establish herself publically as not Asajj Ventress.
That was when the date in Corausant time caught her eye. It was evening, February 14th, better known as HeartSoar day on Corausant. Great. Just great. That meant that the restaurant would be packed with stupid, lovey couples out for dinner. Blabbering lovebird idiots were the last thing she needed around her. Perhaps they'd be so distracted staring mindlessly into eachother's eyes, she'd get this discussion over with quickly, but the thought still made her lip curl into a disgusted sneer.
Her disguise was awful. Well, as a disguise, it was lovely. As a choice of clothing, however, it was awful. She'd donned a silky red gown, with a floor length skirt slit up the sides. Her sabers had to be left behind because of it, and she felt as though she were missing a limb without them strapped to her belt. The dress felt too light on her, as though she weren't entirely dressed. The cloak over her face helped somewhat- the black fabric felt rougher and thicker against her bare arms, much more natural than the dress' fabric.
As she had expected, the restaurant was crowded, but her table was reserved. However, it meant she'd be surrounded by people, making it harder to accomplish her mission. No one recognized her in attire like what she wore, and with a little makeup over the tattoos on her face. The senator was to recognize her based on her attire. No one else would wear a black hooded cloak on HeartSoar day.
A waiter escorted her to her table, and to her surprise, there was already someone seated there. A man in a brown cloak and simple tan garments was paging quietly through the menu. "Here we are." The waiter gestured, and with that left her standing there, surrounded by all the lovebirds at other tables. She slowly sat down across from the man. He looked up from the menu, and the instant their eyes met, she recognized him. Kenobi.
No. No, no, no. She was not going to sit across the table on HeartSoar day of all days with Jedi general Obi-wan Kenobi. Unfortunately, he appeared to have recognized her as well. His eyebrows shot up. "Ah, you must be my blind date."
Oh yes. They needed a cover of some sort, and date worked as well as anything else. Very well, she'd play along, as long as he knew that this date was a date in name only. There would be no flirting whatsoever. Not like you don't flirt with him anyways, dear, a voice in her head whispered. "So I am. Jade. And you are?"
"Ben." Suddenly his Force presense was prying into her mind, trying to make contact. She let him. "I wasn't expecting you. This will make things so much easier."
"How so?" she returned doubtfully.
"We don't have to worry about eavesdropping. We can communicate with the force."
"Won't it look strange if two people are sitting at a table staring at eachother instead of conversing?"
"Oh. I suppose so. We'll keep the alias up outside. I have reason to believe that someone is watching us." He said abruptly, "So, have you been here before?" The spoken words surprised her, but she responded smoothly.
"No, this is my first time venturing in here. Although I can't say I'm enjoying the HeartSoar crowd." A young couple a few tables away was kissing passionately, oblivious to everyone around them.
"You're not too fond of the holiday?"
"No. Who was it that set us up again?" The conversation was choppy and awkward between them.
"My friend, Anakin." He responded smoothly, then realized what he'd said. "Anakin Secura."
"Clever… just slap another obviously Jedi name in there. I'm not impressed Kenobi."
"My bad. But you did sort of put me on the spot there, my dear."
"Keep the sweet names for Jade, Jedi, or I swear I will-"
"I'm not telling you Kenobi. But it most likely involves your death."
"You've been threatening to kill me for the past five years, darling. At this point it's lost some of its meaning. And since when do you object to my names for you, my dear?"
"Since we are not in battle and are sitting in a restaurant on HeartSoar day. It makes a difference."
"On the contrary, darling. Today is a perfect day for banter."
Asajj suddenly realized that 'jade' and 'Ben' were sitting silently again. "I get the strangest feeling that we've met before. Do you feel it?"
"Yes. You do seem very familiar. We must have met once and don't remember it now."
At that moment, the waiter arrived to take their order, but once he left, conversation lagged again. "So you don't like this holiday?" Obi-wan asked, grasping to make fake conversation with 'Jade'.
"No." Asajj spat out without thinking. "No I don't."
"Jade doesn't like it? Or you don't like it?"
"Both. It's a day for celebrating idiotic lovebirds."
"that's a shame." Obi-wan said aloud. "I was hoping you and I could spend a bit more of it together. We have a lot to talk about."
"Yes..." "And a surrender to work out, Negotiator."
"Don't worry, I haven't forgotten the main purpose of this mission, darling."
The two of them managed to work out the requested deal through Force contact, flirting shamelessly the entire time. Asajj was slowly easing into her normal mode of conversation with the Jedi: teasing and flirtatious and playful. The conversation between 'Ben' and 'Jade' however, was nowhere near as smooth.
The two of them had ordered only drinks, and the deal went quickly, so they were nearly finished with the disguise. To her own astonishment, Asajj was finding the mission rather… pleasant. It wasn't like she hadn't thought about conversation and mind flirting with Obi-wan Kenobi, on the contrary, it was often a favorite fantasy of hers- a very secret one. She would never let on to liking his sweet words, or his compassionate ways, and definitely not his looks. He was all trim and compact muscle- something the women of her home world would scorn.
"So, about HeartSoar day," he said aloud as they drained the last of their drinks. "Don't you think it can be sort of fun?"
"I suppose. But our… date could have been any day and still gone the same."
"That is true, but all the same, I…" suddenly he stopped. "There's someone watching us. Behind you, three tables over."
She glanced in the direction he mentioned. Sure enough, a man was sitting alone, casually sipping something and staring at the two of them. "Think he knows who we are?"
"That or he thinks you're attractive."
Asajj let out an audible snort that she covered awkwardly with a cough. "If those are our only options, then we're definitely being watched, and he definitely knows who we are."
"I wouldn't say that, my dear, but I hear there's a lot of people on your end of things who don't want us to work anything out. If that man discovers who we are, he could easily confirm the deal before it's finished. If he gets people too worked up, we won't be able to settle it at all."
"I know. I say we leave this place and see if he follows us. If he does, we know he's onto us."
"Right." Obi-wan sent back. "And if he doesn't?"
"Then he just happens to be staring at us like we hold the answer to the galaxy's problems."
"Or he likes your dress. Just saying."
"If I were not undercover as your date, I would hurt you for such a comment."
"I'm guessing you did not choose your attire. It's not very… you."
"Because you know so much about me."
"Enough to know that you do not wear stuff like this. It's not practical."
"Quite correct. Come on, let's head out of the building. See if he follows."
Once out of the restaurant, the two made their way into an abandoned side street and waitied. Asajj had taken the circumstances that presented themselves by bringing Obi-wan's arm up to her waist. "We're leaving a date, Kenobi. Act like it." He'd blushed and nodded, but she definitely felt his arm wrap around her securely. So the Jedi was enjoying this, hm?
Sure enough, the man soon came into view, walking quietly down the street towards them. Seeing them, he stopped and pretended to read a sign plastered to one of the buildings nearby. "Ben, dear, I had a wonderful time with you." she purred, glancing at the follower. "How do we get rid of this guy?"
"Convince him that we really are an innocent HeartSoar day couple."
"And what are we going to do, walk over to him and introduce ourselves and Ben and Jade?"
"No, he'd just get a close look at our faces then, and it's still something we might do undercover. We need to do something that's so out of character for our real selves that he'll become convinced we aren't our real selves."
"And what are you proposing? Whatever it is, tell me quick, because he's coming closer."
Their pursuer was wandering over, getting closer by the second. Obi-wan bit his lip. "I am going to regret this."
"Regret wha-" She didn't finish her question, because 'Ben' kissed 'Jade' very firmly on the mouth. Her first instinct was to jerk away, but his hand was resting on the back of her head, holding her in place.
"Please just hold it, until he's gone. You can kill me later, if you really want to, but now we need to convince that we aren't the people he's looking for, or this whole deal could be… what are you… doing?" Her arm had snaked around him, pulling him closer.
"Obi-wan Kenobi, if we are going to kiss, let's at least make it convincing, hmm?"
"I just didn't know you'd… want to… do anything you don't have to." She didn't answer, just continued to kiss him. Both of them had mostly forgotten about their onlooker. They were no longer kissing to prove they weren'tObi-wan Kenobi and Asajj Ventress. They were kissing because they were Obi-wan Kenobi and Asajj Ventress, and they were both crazy for eachother.
The man following them cursed under his breath. The two weren't working out secret deals between the Federation and Republic, they were yet another Heartsoar day couple, now indulging in a post-date kiss in an alleyway. Great. Now he had to go back in the stupid restaurant and try to find the real deal makers among all the disgusting Heartsoar day commotion. He wondered briefly if Dooku had chosen this day on purpose, to get back at him for the time he'd publically announced the count's age. Probably was revenge, making him sit here among the lovebirds.
"Jade, my dear." He said aloud, looking at her face as best he could with both their hoods in the way, "I wasn't expecting-"
"He's gone." She interrupted. "He went back into the restaurant."
"That's a relief." He pushed his hood back slightly, revealing more of the face she'd come to know so well, though slightly redder than normal. "But honestly, I didn't expect you to kiss me like that."
"And you think I expected you to kiss me out of nowhere like that?"
"You have a point, my dear. Either way, it was lovely working with you, and I will introduce the deal we worked out to the senate."
"I will report back to Dooku, as usual. And Kenobi?"
"I am very much looking forward to our next meeting. You did say I could kill you, remember?"
"Oh yes… I suppose I did. I didn't mean it, if that counts."
"Don't worry, dearest, I won't hold you to it. You're far too entertaining for other purposes."
"Bantering, fighting, that sort of thing."
"And kissing?" His voice was quieter now, as they started walking apart from eachother.
"Yes, kissing too. I hope by that you mean this isn't our last?"
"Trust me my dear…" his voice was barely audible now, as he backed out of the alleyway, pulling his hood back up. "We are definitely doing that again."
He was right about two things, she reflected as she climbed back onto her speeder. The first was that they were most definitely kissing again sometime. The other was that, for the first time in her life, she'd actually enjoyed HeartSoar Day.
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