Disclaimer: It's George's sandbox, I'm simply wrecking the sandcastles.

Title: Chironian Tails

Author: Jade_Max

Genre: Mush, humor

Era: YJKish (25 ABY)

Summary: Lusa receives some interesting advice from a friend with regards to Raynar Thul

Notes: Written for the Orange County Quote Roulette on the TFN boards - thanks to Jedi-Ant for a fun challenge - and encouraging me to write a couple I've rarely touched with a quote that just fits ;)

I chose #1 and received the following quote: "If he touches you any place weird, neigh as loud as you can." - Seth Cohen.


Chironian Tails

"So I... I was wondering if... if you might... might want to..." Raynar Thul stammered as he looked into the beautiful red-gold eyes of the young Chironian woman in front of him. His face was flushed, his hands twisting nervously in the front of his robe as he struggled to get out his question. Thus far he'd been coherent, but only barely.

Lusa cocked her head, stamping one hoof as she regarded the young man in front of her, the velveteen tips of her head knobs barely visible through the fall of her hair.

Raynar was handsome, as far as humans went, with his blond hair and blue eyes that were reminiscent of the holos of a young Master Skywalker. His build had changed over the years she'd known him, going from the softness of privilege to that of a Jedi Knight in training. His robes, a brilliant mishmash of red, purple and yellow, were garish but endearing in a sad and geeky kind of way. In spite of his physical fault - a prosthetic arm - she admitted to finding him very attractive even though he wasn't her species.

A knowing look crossed her features as she regarded him with eyes that contrasted the color of her hair and skin. "Are you trying to ask me to the dance the Masters have arranged, Raynar?"

He nodded eagerly, relief flitting across his features as she took the words from him. It was adorable.

She smiled, tossing her head a little. "I would be honored to have such an escort. It's tomorrow, isn't it?"

He nodded again, unable to find the words to speak, looking shocked that she'd agreed.

Lusa nodded her head and turned to go, leaving him staring after her. She knew because she felt the way his eyes traveled along the muscular proportions of her back legs. She felt invigorated by that look and reared on her hind legs, just to show off her form a little.

His smile was worth it.

She tossed her hair again and took off at a run for the well traveled paths in the woods. She felt like running, jumping and - if she'd been able - clicking her heels together.

Raynar Thul was her age in human years and would mature slower than Chironians in some ways and faster in others. Lusa was only out of her childhood and entering the teen years; Raynar was approaching the status of an adult. It was the price Humans paid for shorter life spans, not that Lusa minded. Raynar and she were well matched as friends and hopefully more, if his decision to ask her to the going away party was any indication.

"Lusa!"

She skidded to a halt, prancing a little before a smile crossed her features. "Jaina."

The oldest of the Solo children swung down from the branches of the trees above and landed in a crouch on the pathway behind her. Jaina straightened with a grin. "Going somewhere?"

Lusa shrugged. "I like to run when I'm happy."

"You were speeding along at quite the clip. Something must have made you pretty happy." Jaina cocked her head to the side with a knowing look on her face. "I bet it has to do with Raynar."

Lusa felt herself color, though the already red tint to her skin would prevent it from becoming overly noticeable. "I'm that obvious?"

Jaina's roguish grin spread across her lips, a mischievous twinkle coming to her eyes. "I had some warning."

"Oh?" Jaina's grin was infectious but Lusa struggled to keep an answering one from her lips. "Did he say something to you?"

"Nah," Jaina fell into step with Lusa and they continued down the pathway. "He's just been as nervous as a jitterbug for the last few days. It's either one of two things. His mother or you. And since his mother's been and gone, I figured it didn't have anything to do with her."

Lusa laughed. "The brilliant deductions of Jaina Solo," her tease was good natured.

Jaina let out a bark of laughter. "Zekk wouldn't agree with you. He thinks I've got the deductive reasoning of a hawkbat."

"Hardly," Lusa returned. "He thinks the world of you."

"He thinks he's better off without any of us."

"You don't really believe that, do you?"

Jaina shrugged, but her hurt was obvious. "Yes and no. How about you - has Raynar said what he wants to do once we all graduate? Will he choose a Master?"

"He didn't say," Lusa admitted. "Though I've let him know I intend to stay and continue my Healing instructions with Master Cighal."

"Didn't he say something about joining the medical side of things?"

"He didn't mean it. Raynar's sweet, but he doesn't have the patience to deal with the sick."

Jaina snickered. "Or the stomach."

"True enough," Lusa agreed.

They continued onwards in silence for several moments, Lusa's pace increasing slightly and Jaina speeding up to a jog to keep up. They continued on until they reached a crystal clear blue lake - the site of many of their adventures with their friends. Jaina slanted a look at Lusa. "Wanna go for a swim?"

There was no argument as Lusa veered to the right and leapt. Her powerful haunches bunched once before sending her into a graceful arc to land several meters from the shore.

Jaina took a moment to remove her clothes before wading out to join the Chironian. Lusa wallowed contentedly in water that covered her to her shoulders. Jaina was forced to tread water to reach Lusa's side. "I guess this is what I get for being short, huh?"

Lusa splashed her friend. "Can I ask you something?"

Jaina tossed her head to get her wet hair out of her eyes. "Sure. What's on your mind"

"Are there any rules I need to know about for attending this dance?"

"Nah," Jaina's smile was easy. "Just enjoy yourself. Uncle Luke's got Bith music to play and everybody likes Bith music."

"I don't believe I've ever heard a Bith band," Lusa's admission was almost apologetic. "Are they any good?"

"Just about the best in the galaxy... Of course it's a matter of personal opinion. Zekk's not much for Bith music."

"Really?"

Jaina nodded, swimming back a few yards so she could put her feet on the ground. "He says they sound like someone misaligned his sonic shower."

"That's horrible!"

"But true."

"So he's not coming to the dance?"

Jaina's cheeks colored and she looked away.

"Neither of you are coming to the dance?"

Jaina shrugged, looking uncomfortable. "We decided the Lightning Rod needed some repairs and since he doesn't like Bith music, I volunteered to join him."

"Jaina!"

"It'll be more fun than having to make small talk with everyone about how good the music is."

"Maybe Raynar and I will join you."

"Uh..." Jaina smiled almost sheepishly. "We'd rather you didn't. No offence."

Lusa was quiet for a long moment before she cocked her head at her friend curiously, her shy question belying the confident pose. "Have you... have you kissed him?"

"Sure."

"What's it like?"

Jaina blinked, looking at Lusa's expression and realizing that the Chironian girl was completely serious. "You mean Raynar hasn't-"

Lusa shook her head, knowing her blush was visible. "Not even close. If I don't make the first move, he might never!"

Jaina swam around in a circle, pondering Lusa's question. "I guess... I guess you could say it's like a hug."

"A hug?"

"Yeah, but with lips. You know. Putting your arms around someone and feeling safer than you've ever felt before because you know they'd protect you against everything and anything. It's like being held close so that person can protect you, but you can protect them too."

"That's what a kiss feels like?"

Jaina shrugged, the tips of her ears slowly turning pink. "I guess, kinda. There's more but I can't, I mean I..." she stopped. "You just have to try it and see for yourself."

Lusa swam towards Jaina and then beyond, headed for the bank. The water was cool, nice this time of year, but chilly if one stayed in too long. The sun was just right that it hit their favorite bank and they'd be able to dry and talk.

They settled themselves, Jaina stretching out near her clothes, her hands behind her head as she stared at the clouds. "So, why the sudden interest?"

"I heard Jacen speaking with Tenel Ka about it," Lusa admitted. "It sounded... enjoyable."

"Talking or practicing?"

Lusa shot Jaina a look. "Talking. They spoke of Tenel Ka's appreciation for his technique."

Jaina burst out laughing. "Jacen's technique? Oh brother!"

"She did! She even-"

"Stop!" Jaina help up her hand between giggles. "I don't want to know what my brother and his girlfriend talk about when it comes to that."

"I admit it, I couldn't bring myself to interrupt them to ask my questions," Lusa sighed. "I fear Raynar doesn't like me in that fashion."

"Are you blind? Raynar's as drawn to you as a silk-fly is to flame. He's just shy; it can't be easy with the whole species thing to think about. He may not even know you want him to kiss you."

"I see."

"You should tell him. Or maybe show him. Guys are horribly dense that way; I know Zekk certainly was."

Lusa's lips twitched into a half-smile. "Any other words of wisdom?"

"Just remember this: If he touches you any place weird, neigh as loud as you can."

Lusa blinked, shocked.

Jaina collapsed into giggles. "I'm kidding, I'm kidding!" She began to laugh in earnest, clutching her stomach as Lusa caught the joke.

The Chironian girl began to chuckle, shaking her head in disbelief. "I can't believe you just said that!"

"Neither can I." Jaina returned between giggles, curled into a fetal position as she tried to control herself.

It effectively ended their discussion, for every time their eyes met, they would burst back into laughter and have to start from the beginning for control again. Lusa left first and left Jaina to collect herself as she went searching for Raynar.


Lusa found Raynar sitting cross-legged on one of the stones that covered the Temple's rear doorway. His robes were spread out around him, a pool of red, purple and yellow his hands kept trailing over. His head came up as she approached and his face lit up as he acknowledged her presence. "Lusa! I was just thinking about you."

She smiled; it was a promising start. "I hope you weren't thinking I was going to step on your toes tomorrow."

"Never!" He looked affronted. "I'm going to be the luckiest guy with the prettiest date in the whole place."

"Flatterer." She smiled, stopping just below the arch way to look up at him. "Were you thinking deep thoughts?"

He shrugged, looking up and away into the sky. "Not really."

"Raynar."

He looked back. Something she couldn't read flitted across his face to be replaced by an inquiring expression.

Lusa took a deep breath and turned back towards the jungle, looking back over her shoulder at him. "Will you come with me?"

He scrambled down from the archway, slipping near the bottom and landing heavily beside her. His smile was slightly pained. "You never have to ask, Lusa. Just tell me where and I'll be there."

She grinned. "Careful the promises you make, my friend, one day I may take you up on them."

"I hope you do."

She laughed musically and, daringly, reached out to grab his hand. He looked at her, startled, but didn't pull away. His hand captive, she led him away from the Temple and into a nearby grove of trees where they were alone. Not that they weren't alone at the Temple, but the walls had eyes and ears since its reconstruction.

She dropped his hand and turned to face him, her expression somber. "I have a question for you."

"For me?" He sounded pleasantly surprised.

It made her smile. "Yes, for you, silly. I was wondering..." she paused, straightened her shoulders and took a deep breath. "I was wondering if I could kiss you."

His jaw dropped. There was no other way to describe the sudden slackness in his facial muscles. His eyes were wider than she'd ever seen, like large saucers in his face.

Lusa waited silently, wondering if she'd made a mistake. What if he told her no? Would he laugh at her? Turn her down flat and then take back his invitation to the dance? Would it damage their friendship? Would he ever speak to her again?

A chill slid down her spin and she pranced nervously.

Long moments turned into minutes as Raynar started at her with a completely unreadable expression in his gaze. Lusa finally tossed her head.

"Forget it," she told him, feeling the heat crawling into her face. "I'll see you tomorrow."

"Lusa - wait."

She paused in the action of turning to go, casting him a wary look.

He took two steps to her and their lips met. Her eyes widened in surprise and then closed as his arms came about her in a hesitant, but endearing fashion. His lips were warm on hers, just like the hug Jaina had told her about. She kissed him back shyly, wrapping her arms about his waist as she did so.

He pulled back after barely a taste and she opened her eyes in confusion. "Didn't I do it right?"

He laughed softly, his lips meeting hers for a split second, one of his hands lifting to gently brush the hair off her cheek. "More than right. Thank you, Lusa."

She pulled him back to her, resting her head on his shoulder and felt the warmth Jaina had spoken about spread through her system. She felt protected and protective in return. A smile crossed her lips and she sighed contentedly, closing her eyes as Raynar's hand gently caressed her head.

Sometimes you just had to ask for what you really wanted.

fin

Author's Note: A fun challenge with a pairing I've never attempted. As I'm out-of-practice with their characters, I hope I haven't butchered them too horribly. Thanks for a fun challenge, Jedi-Ant!