First Kiss: Variations On A Theme
First Kiss, Found Again
Tatooine, 18 BBY
The expression on Obi-Wan's face was one Aala wasn't entirely sure how to interpret.
He was upset. Extremely upset.
But what did 'upset' mean for a calm Jedi Master...the kind of which she was accustomed to? Or did he even still consider himself a Jedi Master? She knew by his reaction in the hangar that he was not happy about Jace, and she understood, but it was unfounded, and the man she'd known before had never doubted her decisions or where she placed her trust.
Aala risked another glance in his direction as she stepped up into the old landspeeder he was using and settled at his side. The features of his face were tense, his mouth drawn in a tight line, brow furrowed. One hand lifted restlessly to scrub at his bearded jaw.
Was he angry? He kind of looked angry...
Aala swallowed, suddenly overwhelmed with an unsettling feeling in the pit of her stomach that maybe...maybe she didn't know this man.
Tatooine was unforgiving, and he had spent more than a year here alone. The time that had passed since she'd last seen him was irretrievable. Perhaps, after everything, he was just a different person.
But then the speeder shuttered. The panel light flickered out as the engine died and Obi-Wan hit the controls with his fist. The noise made Aala jump and he turned to her, chagrined.
The wry curve to his lips and the familiar, if tiny, glint of humor in his blue eyes made her heart swell with relief. When he spoke, the tone was dry, but the sound was one she knew.
"I've never had much luck with borrowed transportation."
Obi-Wan hit the button again and the speeder spluttered to life.
"But you always find a way." Aala offered him a small smile and though he didn't quite return it, Obi-Wan met her eyes and nodded once. It was enough, for now. In silence, he guided the speeder out of Mos Eisley toward the Jundland Wastes.
Aala had no sense of how long they had traveled - her mind, her heart, her nerves all a jumble - but soon enough they pulled up to a small dwelling built to blend into the rocky desert surroundings.
No words were spoken, but Aala followed him from where he had left the speeder out of sight - as much as he could make it - to the door of his home. He gestured for her to enter, and she did, coming to stand in the middle of the darkened room.
He followed, the door closed behind him, and still he didn't say a word.
The beat of her heart lifted and Aala took a breath, willing her thoughts to calm. Everything about him felt...sheltered, completely closed off as if he'd put up a giant stone wall between them.
Why was this so hard? More than anything, she wanted, needed to reach him, but she had no idea how. Silence stretched between them.
All this time, all this way...
So she did the only thing she could think of.
His name was no more than a whisper, tripping off her lips. "Obi-Wan..."
A deep sigh escaped him, his shoulders slumping with the weight of the galaxy, but he took a step toward her before lifting his head to meet her gaze.
"Ben," he said, his voice low and he shook his head. "It's Ben, now."
So he was a different person.
But he was still the man she loved. Aala took a deep breath; looking into his eyes now, she saw his heart, his good heart, and even cast in the shadow of these dark times it still took the same shape - the heart of a loving, giving man.
Without a single speck of doubt, Aala knew then that she could love Ben as much as she had loved Obi-Wan. After all, what could be better than a fresh start?
Something must have shown in her own eyes, or perhaps her emotions in the Force, because Obi-Wan - Ben - took another step so he was standing right before her and his hand lifted to press against her cheek, his skin rough but so welcomed. The heaviness of long-held sorrow seemed to lift just a little from the depths of his blue-grey eyes, and he gave another quiet sigh.
"You found me," he murmured.
Aala leaned forward and pressed a gentle, lingering kiss to the very corner of his mouth.
"I will always find you."
AN: So, while I was writing Aala and Obi-Wan's first kiss...this idea gripped me and would not let go - I had to write Aala's first kiss with Ben, as well :) If you've read 'Fallen' and 'The Fear You Won't Fall' you'll know I haven't quite gotten to this point yet, but I think everyone could guess this is where we were headed ;) And if you haven't read them...please do! You might like :) Thanks for reading ~Ashley
From laloga: This marks the end of the "first kiss" challenge. If you enjoyed these stories, be sure to check out the authors' other works, and let them know now with a review! ;)
Thanks for reading! May the Force be with you! :)