Day Three
They had quickly bid good night to Wedge and Iella. As secretly as they could they left their friends, hurrying along the deserted passageways to the upper levels of the former Imperial Palace.

When the door to his apartment slipped shut behind them, they attacked each other with a ferocity that would have normally appalled both, but tonight in the dark hall of Skywalker's apartment they did not give it any thought. Lips searched hungrily for lips while hands roamed over curves and angles that were covered with fabric.

They attacked each other's clothes with a viciousness that would have made the Jedi Master bashful if he had squandered a thought on it, but all he could think of was the beautiful woman in his arms whose lips left a burning trail of hot, needing passion on his skin.

Bending his head, he nuzzled his head in the crook of her neck, inhaling her dazzling scent, licking at the soft skin beneath his lips. He heard Mara groan out softly and his hands slowly, tauntingly caressed up and down her ribs. Soft skin beneath callused hand, soft warm, alive and utterly mesmerising.

Luke could not understand what had happened, but ever since they had exchanged the Krissmasna kiss in Wedge's apartment, his blood sang, it churned and boiled in passion for this woman and obviously Mara felt the same. His hands slipped down the soft material of the dress she had been wearing all night. Now the material hissed beneath his fingers as it bunched around Mara's hips exposing creamy, alluring skin that beckoned to be touched.

Softly, almost reverently, he touched her breasts, perfect globes that fit snugly into the palms of his hands, so perfect, it seemed they were solely made for him. He watched with fascination as the rosy tips hardened while he stroked them, feather-like caresses solely to arouse.

"Luuuuu-ke...," Mara whispered, his name the most beautiful song he had ever heard. Their eyes met, an understanding passing between them. Tonight, it said, tonight they would know what it meant to care and make love to each other. As much as they had attacked each other when they had entered Luke's apartment, this moment shifted their existence. Slowly, almost shyly, they bent their heads in unison, nipping, tasting and teasing each other's lips, while hands slowly caressed, discovered and excited.

Mara's hands had found the fasteners of his belt and trousers, and soon she was slipping them off his hips, paying no attention to the clattering sound that was heard when the heavy belt with the light saber cluttered to the floor. A slender leg wrapped around Skywalker's hip, as Mara sidled closer, the warm skin of Skywalker proofing irresistible to her. She felt as if she had been drugged and under any normal circumstances, she would have tried to snap out of it. But this was too real, too comforting, too exiting as to ever wanting it to stop.

Skywalker felt as if he had done a 1000 yards run in record time, his heart thumping wildly against his ribs. Resting his head against her forehead he squeezed his eyes shut and tried to calm his breathing and erratic heart beating.

"Stars, Mara," he choked out when he felt her nimble fingers caressing him. "I need you..."

"I can feel that," Mara's reply was laced with a throaty laugh while her fingers worked their magic on him, tugging pulling, drawing him to full length.

Skywalker tried to see beyond the haze of hot searing passion, and somewhere in the deep recesses of his fogged mind, he knew he wanted this to be different.

"Mara ..." he said again and forced himself to touch her hands and drew them away. "I don't ... not like this ..." Forming coherent words was an effort to him.

He could feel the wave of suppressed anger coming from her, and he immediately latched his lips on hers, kissing her deeply.

*The bedroom, Mara. I don't want to make love to you in the corridor,* he sent her quickly and the anger subsided only to be replaced by another jolt of passion.

"I see," Mara breathed after they came up for much needed air. "It is a good idea ... I need to go to the fresher anyway."

Pulling her dress up over her breasts in a display of bashfulness Mara waited till the Jedi Master had adjusted his trousers again. They stared at each other and they both knew this was their reprieve, the only chance they got to stop the madness, but when Mara held out her hand and Skywalker took it without any hint of hesitation, they knew their fates had been set.

Walking hand in hand they made their way over to the Jedi Master's bedroom. With a last kiss, Luke let her go off to the fresher while he stood almost forlorn in the middle of his bedroom.

After she had kicked off the dress with a foot, Mara watched herself in the mirror of the fresher. Her lips were swollen from too many soft and hard kisses by the Jedi Master. The harsh light showed the soft abrasions that had been left by Skywalker's stubble on her soft skin, and touching them, she could feel how it had felt, how his skin had clung to her own.

Closing her eyes, Mara sighed softly, her head slumping forward slowly. What she was about to do and with the Jedi Master at that, still held her in awe, but the gnawing hunger was too much to resist. Her blood seemed to boil inside her veins and even if she would have battled the strong emotions that coursed through her body and mind, she knew it was all in vain. All their bickering, their quarrels, they brief physical encounters of touching hands, shoulders or the occasional hug, had prepared her for tonight.

Tonight, Mara thought as her head came up again and she quickly stepped out of the underwear and carelessly let it slip down to the floor. Squaring her shoulders and readying herself as if she would have done while going into battle, she turned and put her hand on the opener of the door. Beyond the door, she knew, was Skywalker, waiting, thinking and perhaps as confused as she was.

Luke felt like he had been propelled back to his teenager days, back in the days before the Rebellion when he had bedded a woman for the first time. The same mixture of anticipation and fear was coursing through him and for a brief moment doubts of what was about to happen crossed his mind fleetingly. But the hunger and the irresistible pull of the Force did not give him the time to pay much attention. He needed Mara, every fibre in his body screamed for her. He sat down on the bed and struggled with his boots then his pants followed. He had earlier already carelessly thrown his tunic over a chair nearby, missing it completely. Then he waited.

His head jerked up when he heard the soft mechanism of the refresher door being opened and with baited breath he watched as Mara Jade stepped out of the fresher and pulled the door softly shut.

The two Jedi watched each other silently, Skywalker from the bed and Jade from the door of the refresher. For long moments, Luke simply drank in the sight of the beautiful woman who had been his nemesis for so long. The light from the single lamp that sat beside the bed bathed the woman's skin into a soft glow, her skin shining like alabaster.

Likewise, Mara could not get enough of the sight of the naked Jedi Master. He looked like a farmboy as he sat there, waiting. But no shyness, no bashfulness was showing in his composure or on his face as he sat there, powerful yet slim, legs steadily grounded side by side on the floor, his elbows resting on his knees, while his torso, scattered with old scars, glistened in the soft light.

Luke held out a hand, both plea and offer and Mara had to force herself to set one foot after the other slowly. Her strongest impulse was to fling herself into the arms of this man, but she did not. Tantalisingly slow, she walked over, soft hips swaying, her eyes never leaving the brilliant blue ones of the Jedi.

Setting a knee beside him on the bed, she swung her other leg over his lap until it came to rest on the other side of the bed covering. Green eyes bored into blue, and never breaking the intense look, Mara put her hands on the hot skin of Luke's shoulders and slowly let herself down. Slowly, her head fell back, her long hair brushing Skywalker's legs as she bent backwards, tickling the Jedi Master with its soft silky texture.

Luke's hand left a tantalising trail from her shoulder down to her belly button, tracing faint scars on the soft skin, nestling in places, feeling the texture of her. He could not fathom how much he had longed to be with Mara like this, the closest two human beings with or without the Force could join together. He traced a very prominent scar that ran between the beautiful globes of her breasts, a sign of her dangerous profession before and after the fall of the Empire.

Hips crushed against hips, intensifying the friction as Mara let go of Luke's shoulders, her hands caressing his strong arms that held her in place. She squeezed her eyes shut in pure bliss, trying not to make a sound as she concentrated on the barrage of new, agonisingly exciting emotions rushing through every pore of her existence, almost overwhelming her.

All she could think of was this man, the man she had wanted to kill for such a long time, the man who now made love to her like no other man ever before. She moved her legs slowly, enwrapping them around his slim hips while she used them as leverage to pull herself upright again. This time a tiny sound escaped her lips as she felt the wonderful feelings surging through her body when he came to rest just within reaches of her well-protected core. She wanted to drink in this moment and keep it forever.

Slowly, Luke bent his head and licked at the scar, kissing his way up through the valley of her breasts to her throat. Finding her pulse point on her neck, he lapped softly at it, his teeth only grazing the flickering skin in rhythm with her quickened breathing. He felt giddy, as if he had taken the grandest spice or drunk the most inebriating wine, all because this outstanding woman was in his arms and let him make love to her.

All was forgotten, Callista, his sister, his ongoing doubts that he was not made to be a Jedi Master, all seemed inconsequent while in the arms of this beautiful, compassionate woman. He gasped when he felt Mara's hands in his hair, yanking him almost painfully upwards.

Still, they did not speak as eyes, green and deep like the forests of Yavin, locked onto sea-blue eyes. For long moments, both Jedi stilled, holding their breaths as they looked deeply into each other's eyes. Their Force bond deepened, extending amongst them as if it had become a living being itself.

*Make love to me, Luke,* Mara whispered inside his mind. *Make love to me like you mean it, like there is no tomorrow and this is real.*

A pain deeper than he had ever felt of experiencing ran through him and her earlier words came back to him in a rush. I do not know how to love, maybe never will or have. Perhaps I'm incapable of feeling love and that is why the Emperor chose me to become his Hand.

Skywalker was determined to show her that she was capable of that and much much more. Drawing her even closer to himself he slung an arm around her tiny waist and both gasped when skin touched skin in the most intimate way and when the woman let herself sink down inch by delicious inch, both shuddered involuntarily.

Communicating without words or the Force, they knew they met as equals in the most intimate possible way, and when their bonding was complete they stilled, breathing deeply as if they both wanted to take in this moment, to never let go again. They both realised that on this plane of existence, in this raw, rapturous and animalistic way, they were true equals, both in their physical bonding and in the Force.

Staring into each other's eyes, the realisation struck them both and with a groan that tore away from both their mouths, they started to move in unison.

Mara gasped softly when Luke's first thrust settled him even more deeply inside her soft core and both groaned at the increased friction between them. In unison their mouths sought each other, and when his tongue delved deeply inside the warm hollow of her mouth, all Luke could do was groan. Although he had only tasted her minutes before, she tasted like the sweetest wine, like the best dessert he had ever eaten in his life.

Slowly, with his precious cargo in his arms, he slipped down onto the bed, cool sheets surrounding them as he moved them sideways, facing each other. Mara sensed that he wanted to make it perfect for her, drawing it out to give her as much pleasure as possible, but she needed no dallying. She wanted it all from the Jedi Master and she wanted it right now. Attacking his lips again, she moved herself beneath him with a little help from the Force.

Without breaking their intimate contact, they moved in unison, two bodies fused together in the most intimate way possible, two bodies - one mind as their barriers to the Force lessened and their Force senses touched. They both gasped when their united passion flowed through them, feeding their need for each other even more. Tendril after tendril of their Force senses joined, like an intricate pattern as their bodies moved and worked their way up towards their climax.

Mara's arms slipped softly off Luke's back, lazily caressing his flanks, while she basked in the sensations that still rolled through her in the aftermath of their passion. She could still feel Skywalker shivering and with a gentleness she had never thought she could feel, she put a kiss on the Jedi Master's temple.

Her heart was still racing, drumming in perfect accord with Skywalker's as she lay beneath him. Carefully, Mara moved her hand and cupped Luke's face, slowly caressing his temple and sweaty brow.

"Am I too heavy?" Luke asked in a muffled voice and struggled to raise his head, his breath caught in his throat when he looked down at Mara Jade. She looked totally ravished and never in his life he had seen her as radiant and beautiful as this. Green eyes normally only bristling with an inner fire at him when he had annoyed her, shone brightly and her smile was genuine and almost blinded him.

"No," Mara whispered and as if to enforce her response, she lazily squeezed her legs together that were still wrapped around Luke's waist. "You are not too heavy."

Shifting slightly, Skywalker propped himself up on his elbows either side of her head, careful not to catch her hair beneath his weight. Even now after they had made love the hunger he had felt before had returned, more subdued this time but it was still there, on the fringes of his perception.

Looking down on the beautiful woman, he had to smile. Making love to each other had been a revelation, not only to him but also to Mara. They were still closely attuned and their Force bond was stronger than ever, it seemed as if it had a life of its own.

Bending his head, he captured her lips that were already swollen from the innumerous kisses they had exchanged and yet he yearned for more. During their love making when their Force bond had come fully into life, he had felt as if a whole X-Wing load of worries and doubts had been lifted off him.

And something else he had noticed.

He loved Mara. Loved her with all his being, perhaps had done so since the first day they had met. Such a thought would certainly have left him fearing for his life before this night, but now, after his mind and soul had acknowledged the fact, he felt renewed. He knew that even if Mara would not return his feelings, she would never let him down.

She would probably pack up and leave Coruscant if she knew, but after a while she would return, as she always does, Luke thought while he kissed the woman in question with all the pent up feelings he had stored away so securely all this time.

Jade groaned when she felt the renewed passion of the Jedi Master both physically and mentally, and she welcomed it. Her body, even though satiated from their fervent love making still craved him and the feeling of him inside her, made her giddy. Stretching out with the Force, she brushed his mind and after that there was no doubt what the beautiful trader craved for when both started to move in the age old rhythm of love.

Mara stretched languorously and pulled the sheets closer to her breasts. She could still not believe what she and Skywalker had done, but the satiated feeling that was lazily washing over her body told her otherwise. They had both rested and napped a few minutes, both enwrapped in their own thoughts and yet beneath the current of their thoughts they had both felt the presence of their Force bond, even stronger than ever before and it had been harder to shield herself from the Jedi Master. She creased her nose when Luke tickled her nose from behind and she made a move to roll onto her back, but Luke's voice held her back.

"Hold still," he ordered softly while his hands moved gently, almost reverently, over her nude back.

"What are you doing?" Mara asked when she felt fluttering touches on her back.

Luke looked up from what he was doing and grinned, his blue eyes bright with mischief.

"Just trying to verify a fair assumption, Jade," he answered. Picking up a few strands of her hair he pulled them gently along her back, straightening them out. When the end of the long tassels reached down over her behind, he grinned. "I thought so," he said and put a soft kiss onto the spot just beneath her rounded fanny. Mara almost jumped, when she felt his lips on the very spot.

"Luke!" she cried out and tried to twist out of his grasp. "That tickles!"

Luke laughed at that and slowly caressed her thighs then moving his hands over the two rounded globes of her behind up to the small of her back. "I didn't know you were ticklish, Mara. This is the night of surprises."

"Yes, a night of surprises ..." Mara murmured and closed her eyes. What a night, Mara thought. I had never thought that making love to Skywalker would be this exhilarating.

"Any qualms yet?" Luke's voice brought her out of her reverie, and she shifted slightly onto her side. Their Force bond still kept them closely attuned and she could feel the apprehension in Luke while he waited for her answer.

"No, you?" She asked, even though she already knew the answer.

"No, it was the best decision I have made in a long time," Luke replied and started to caress her back, slowly massaging the muscles.

Mara sighed softly as Skywalker's hands worked their magic while he massaged her and she could hear the Jedi Master chuckling softly to himself.

"What is so funny?" she asked softly, trying to peer at him from beneath half-closed lids.

"You purr like a Corellian kitten," Luke answered and bent over her, putting a soft kiss onto her ear, while he gave her a back rub.

"Hmmmmmmm," Mara twisted her head around to capture his lips with her own. "I seem to remember I was not the only one purring tonight," she shot back after a long lingering kiss that left Skywalker breathless.

Luke laughed and swatted her behind. "I did not purr," he exclaimed in mock exasperation.

"Oh really?" She asked and propped herself up on her elbows while looking back at him over her shoulder. "And what didn't I understand when a certain Jedi Master almost yelled Marrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrra at the top of his lungs?" She rolled the R in her name in an exaggerated manner and they both had to laugh.

"I didn't?!" Skywalker protested and fell back onto the soft mattress as Mara pushed him back down.

"Oh yes, and you were even louder than that," she retorted quickly and stretched out on his lean body. "I wonder what the neighbours now think about the impeccable Jedi Master ..."

Luke caught her face in his hands and bunched her hair up in them. "They probably think what a lucky Jedi Master I am."

"Oh really?"

"Yes, either that or NRI guards would have already trampled down the door if they had thought you would torture me."

"Stars, Luke," Mara gasped in mocked horror and quirked an eyebrow at him. "Just imagine, the Jedi Master in the throes of passion while NRI officials running in ... what would your sister say if she was ever to find out?"

"You forget that a certain trader would be also caught in the throes of passion, moaning Luke, Luuuuu-ke," Skywalker taunted her, his voice getting higher and higher.

"Oh you ... you ....nerfherder," Mara propped herself up and straddled his hips. "I could still kill you, Farmboy."

"Mmmmmm," Luke made while his hands had found a new target, cupping her breasts.

"Hey, don't change the ... subject," Mara breathed as the now familiar feeling of passion coursed through her in a rush. "I could still do it, you know..."

"Do what?" Luke asked absent-mindedly as he sat up, his mouth immediately latching onto an enticing nipple that seemed to beckon him.

"Ki... Kill you," Mara breathed softly, her hands finding their way up to his head, tousling the fair hair of Skywalker.

"Hmmm, I think this is a much more enjoyable pastime," Luke whispered around the soft firm flesh of her breast. All Mara could do was to agree with him and soon all thoughts about killing Skywalker fled her mind.

The soft twittering of Artoo woke Luke up and it took him a while till his befuddled brain gave him the right information, that Mara was in his arms, Artoo was rolling into his bedroom and everything was all right. He had to grin at that and after planting a soft kiss onto the cheek of the sleeping woman in his arms, he slowly disentangled his limbs from her and stood up. Slipping into a pair of loose workout pants he padded over to Artoo.

"Come on Artoo, let Mara sleep," he said to his mechanical friend and after making sure the astromech followed him, he made his way into the kitchen.

While Skywalker put on the caf he smiled when he heard the questioning whistles from his astromech.

"Yes, Artoo, Mara stayed over night," Luke answered patiently, and after another barrage of whirr and whistles, he bent over the attached data pad on the little rotund droid. He almost gawked when he saw the read out. "What do you mean, Threepio will be delighted to hear your report? He does WHAT?"

Luke stood up and shook his head. "No, Artoo, what Mara and I did is none of your business or Threepio's for that matter. I mean it and I won't give you any details."

He turned away but another set of beeps made him turn back again. "Artoo, I mean it if you tell Threepio or any other droid of last night I have Mara use you for target practice."

Shrill almost frantic beeps were the answer to the threat and Luke grinned. "Serves you right, Artoo," Luke retorted and took a cup of the freshly brewed caf. His stomach grumbled and the Jedi Master decided to prepare breakfast. Quickly he set to work and soon two plates of bachon and toast as well as freshly made Cin'chi juice adorned a heavy tray.

"Artoo, No. I don't think Mara would appreciate it if you asked her about last night. I told you, if Mara knows you wanted to tell Threepio she will use you for target practice," Luke answered after another inquiry from his droid.

Mara was right, my droid needs a psychreport! Luke thought but he saw the joke in it ... he just hoped it wasn't at his expense.

Slowly he made his way over to the bedroom and after telling Artoo to keep quiet, he entered it. Carefully putting the tray down beside her side of the bed, he sat down. A slender leg peeked out of from under the sheets and with soft butterfly caresses he stroked it, his hands moving higher and higher, while his artificial hand stroked some stray curls out of her face.

"Hmmm go away," the sound came muffled from within the tangle of sheets and cushions and Luke had to hide his grin. He knew from different missions that Mara wasn't a morning person and he knew he was playing with his life.

Hmm definitely putting a limb or two at stake, Luke told himself as he bent down. Softly, he put a kiss onto the sensitive spot right behind her ear, blowing air over the wet spot he had left.

*Really?* Luke inquired softly, brushing her mind with his Force sense effortlessly. *You want me to go away? Without breakfast?*

*What breakfast?* Mara replied in his mind and turned onto her back. She still kept her eyes closed but nimble fingers moved over Luke's naked chest and she drew him nearer to herself.

*Not this kind of breakfast, Jade, we've got company,* Luke sent her and chuckled when Mara, fully awake this time, sat up as if a Rancor had bitten her.

"What?" she asked and tried to cover herself with the sheets.

"Artoo is here," Luke grinned when she shot laser bolts at him. "Come on, Jade, it's not as if Leia or half of the NRI were here."

Mara slumped back and hit her face underneath the sheet. "Don't give me a fright like that, Farmboy," came her muffled reply. "I really don't think I could face that sister of yours or any of the NR officials today."

Luke had picked up the tray and sat it onto his knees. "Not even an over-inquisitive droid?"

Mara quirked an eyebrow at the Jedi Master. "What do you mean?"

Soft whistles answered her inquiry and Mara frowned when the little droid rolled forward.

"Artoo, NO!" Luke said and tried to shoo the little droid away but it was too late, Mara had already hooked off the data display and was reading.

"I'll be Kesseled!" Mara exclaimed and Luke inhaled sharply. Here we go!

"I don't believe it, Skywalker," Mara shot him a look that would have seared a hole as big as a star cruiser through the Imperial palace walls. "You ... your droid ... you ... I don't believe it. Squirt here is interested in when we have sex? For Golden Rod's stupid report?"

"I told you, Artoo, Mara gets riled up when she hears about it," Luke said, trying to divert Mara's wrath off him to the rotund droid. It worked ... not.

"Oh no you won't, Skywalker. Who put the droids up to this madness?"

"Don't look at me, Mara, I didn't. I'm as shocked as you and I told Artoo to can it," Luke retorted in a hurt tone.

Mara ignored him while Artoo beeped and whistled. She read column upon column feeling Luke fidgeting beside her on the bed.

"I don't believe it, it seems as if Golden Rod is apparently interested in human mating procedures. And he used Squirt here to help him." Mara growled but patted Artoo's head when he let out a whining whistle. "I know Artoo, you are not to blame for Golden Rod's inquisitiveness."

Luke watched her and had to hide the chuckle that threatened to erupt from deep within. For someone who belittled him every time when he showed such affection towards his astromech, Mara sure had changed her attitude.

"What is it Skywalker?" Mara asked. "What is so funny?"

Luke fell back onto the bed, the tray on his knees firmly in a Force grip while laughter shook him. "You ... you patted .. patted Artoo," Luke hooted.

"I did no such thing, Jedi," Mara snapped and swatted his leg with the data pad. "You must be out of your mind!"

Luke just laughed straight at her face, something he wouldn't have dared yesterday but after last night he felt as if he could do anything, even taunting the deadly Mara Jade and certainly getting away with it.

The pillow landed squarely on his head and for a moment, Luke almost lost the grip on the tray on his knees. Shielding himself, he flung the offending pillow back at her and put the tray out of their reach on the other side of the room with the Force.

"You want a pillow fight, oh great Jade, you will get one!" Luke growled good-naturedly and several pillows from the bed flung themselves at Mara.

Mara Jade snorted and with a swift kick with her legs, she disentangled herself from the sheets and with a pillow in each hand, she advanced slowly towards the grinning Jedi Master.

"No Force use, Jedi Boy," she said as she brought herself within hitting distance. Luke grinned to himself as he ran his eyes appreciatively up and down Mara's slender form. She looked absolutely captivating as she stood in front of him, creamy soft skin all over, shrouded in the most fiery and silky halo of hair he had ever seen. Looking closely, he could detect the telltale marks of a man's whisker burns on her throat as well as several love bites on her neck and shoulders. She looked absolutely ravishing. And she was beautiful.

"If you insist," Luke shot back, laughter evident in his voice.

Ducking the first pillow, Luke caught her around her waist when she swung the second cushion. Shrieking, Mara let go of the useless weapon and held on to his back, as he slung her effortlessly over his shoulder, spinning her around.

"Luke, put me down!!" Mara shrieked, trying to wriggle out of his grasp. "Luke!" she prepared herself to be spun around again when Skywalker suddenly stopped dead in his tracks.

Twisting her head around from her upside down vintage point, she frowned when she didn't see his sister standing in the doorway as she had expected. "Skywalker? What is it?" she asked.

She felt a shudder running through the Jedi Master and then she felt herself being lifted off his shoulder. Coming to stand in front of him, he gripped her shoulders, his thumbs caressing the soft skin.

"You called me Luke," he answered softly.

"So? It is your given name after all, isn't it?" Mara quirked an eyebrow at him.

"Well, you never ... you always," Skywalker was at a loss and shook his head, then turned away from her and turning towards the transparisteel windows, he crossed his arms over his chest.

Mara watched the strong back, the muscles that moved effortlessly beneath the softly tanned skin. Skin that she had lavished with kisses the night before. Now she felt timid to move over to him and touch him. His voice had held so much emotion and she was afraid that Skywalker would misunderstand their being together. She did not harbour any deeper feelings for the Jedi Master, she would not - could not - allow that.

"Farmboy," even to her the nick name sounded hollow to her ears when she reached out a hand and placed it squarely on his back, a tingle running through her, beginning in her palm and then travelling all the way through her body right to her heart and her woman's core. Shuddering, she stepped closer and encircled her arms around his waist, putting her cheek against his bare back.

Feeling him shiver and then placing his hands onto her joined hands in front of him, she could feel the pensive Force tendril he sent her. She reached out likewise and their Force senses brushed each other. She could feel the emotions turning inside him in a whirlwind. She could feel his desire to deepen their relationship, his latent hungering for her, the love ... She shivered.

"You know there can't be more between us," she whispered against his skin and she felt him shudder again. "We are what we are and if you are honest to yourself, we are just friends. Last night was just an exception to the rule ... because we both felt lonely on Krissmasna."

She felt him sigh, then he moved and drew her into his arms.

"I know Mara," Skywalker answered and kissed the top of her head. "You just caught me by surprise, that's all. But you know I like you calling my name instead of calling me names. That's what friends should do ... even," he blushed when she looked up at him. "Even if we are friends who happen to make love to each other."

"It can't happen again, you know that ..." Mara said lamely, trying to ignore the tugging at her heart. She knew it would only end up in tears. Over the years, she had gotten a very good insight into the man that was Skywalker and he deserved a woman who loved him deeply, who would respect what he was, a farmboy turned Jedi Master with a still childlike joy at the core of him. A woman that helped him over all his sometimes illogical insecurities, helped him stay grounded and who could haul butt.

She frowned when her inner voice taunted, Now you are describing yourself, Mara Jade.. The young trader shivered at that and she tried to shut out the voice.

Skywalker had felt the shiver and misinterpreted it differently, stepping back from her he walked over to the earlier discarded breakfast tray.

"I thought we could still have breakfast ... if that is okay with you?" he asked, his blue eyes roaming over her naked figure with a mixture of longing and desire.

"Sure, give me a minute in the fresher ... Luke," Mara replied with a shaky smile and grabbing the first thing she could lay her hand on, she disappeared behind the fresher door.

Luke chuckled to himself, then straightened the sheets on the bed before putting the tray onto it. "Hey, Jade, you really like my black tunics, don't you?" he inquired and grinned when he heard her snort.

"Getting smart, Jedi Boy?" Mara inquired from behind and when he turned to look at her he gawked open mouthed. He doubted that he would ever wear one of his tunics again without having such a visual as that of Mara wearing one of them with ample cleavage showing in the front.

"Nice ... nice outfit," Skywalker muttered, trying to look anywhere but her.

Mara grinned, then put one hand on her waist, letting the hem of the tunic run even higher on her thigh while the movement jarred her ample bosom that flashed between the two black and grey piped fronts of the tunic.

"You think so?" she asked coyly, grinning at her friend's reaction that came clearly over the Force bond they shared.

"Ja-Jade," Skywalker breathed softly and held up his hands. "You know you look stunning in whatever you wear ..." Or not wear, he silently added.

Mara resolutely slung the tunic tightly around herself, then came over to him.

"Let's have breakfast, Farmboy," she said while she settled herself opposite him. Despite the awkwardness of the situation, they passed breakfast with companionable banter and both had settled into the changed situation with ease.

While Luke was telling Mara what his plans were with the Jedi Academy, she watched him over the rim of her caf cup. She had to admit that he was good looking, not dashing or handsome like some holo actors, but to her he was a comfortable and welcomed sight. He had not bothered to don a shirt or tank top so his muscles were in prominent display and again Mara was reminded that she had kissed and caressed the very skin and the very muscles only a few hours before.

She could still feel his hands on her body, as they had aroused her with ease and expertise she had not thought the Jedi Master capable of. But then she had never felt so attuned to any other being like she had felt to him.

And it has been fantastic, she thought silently while she continued to watch the subject of her thoughts. I should have known he is capable of making sex really special, but he still took me by surprise and spoiled me.

"Mara?" Luke inquired softly. He had detected the soft smile on her face, the intent look she cast him over the rim of her cup but he knew it couldn't have been because of what he had told her of his plans.

"Hmm.. sorry Luke I was ..."

"A day's Hyperjump away, sorry for boring you," just barely Skywalker could keep the hurt out of his voice.

Mara grinned at him, then put the cup on a table nearby and moved the tray out of her way. Slinging her arms around his neck and shoulders, she moved closer.

"Farmboy, I was thinking about you and neglected my split concentration. I'm sorry," she said, brushing her lips over his.

"You were?" Wonderment evident in the Jedi Master's voice.

"Yes, but don't let that get to your head, Farmboy," Mara retorted and kissed him deeply, forgetting her own resolution that they should remain friends.

Both felt the tingle of passion and desire coursing through them and shivered.

*It is still there,* Luke sent her when he drew her into his arms.

*I know, and it scares me, Luke.* Mara replied silently.

"Ssshhhh, Mara, it is alright," Skywalker whispered as he tilted his head and kissed her softly. The moment their lips made contact, Mara Jade knew that she could never pretend that this was not affecting her, that making love to Luke Skywalker left her untouched.

With a groan they fell back onto the bed. Mara knew she should stop this but her body betrayed her reasoning. With renewed passion she kissed the Jedi Master and with this all coherent thought fled her and Skywalker's mind.

Leaning against the door frame to his apartment, Luke crossed his arms over his naked chest and watched Mara silently. They knew that this night of passion was about to end but for the first time he had no qualms about it. In fact, he had not felt as carefree and happy as he did right now. Perhaps he never really had.

After their last love making they had showered and dressed, almost but not quite back to their status of being friends. Hands had still roamed, familiarising themselves with forbidden territory. They had not talked about what would happen now, both too shy, too afraid of what this night would do to their friendship.

Now, Luke smiled down at Mara and took her hand in his, reluctant to let her go and yet knowing that in order to salvage some semblance of their friendship they had to part.

Jade smiled and squeezed his hand briefly as if in understanding. After the intimacy of being lovers they were back to friends, and somehow he was relieved. The intensity with which they had made love had surprised him. It was as if for the short time they had been together the whole universe had shrunk to what was between them. It didn't matter that Mara Jade might never reciprocate his feelings for her. They had done the deed and their friendship was still intact and he knew he would come out of it unscathed.

Where other women had left him heart-broken, Mara Jade had renewed, invigorated him. Bending slightly forward, he brushed his lips over her lush ones and with a delight that bordered almost on insanity, he felt her not drawing back. In fact, she nipped at his lips with the same eagerness he did.

*I really have to get going, Luke* she sent him and he nodded his understanding.

*I know, though I wish we could continue this,* he sent her back.

*Of course we will, after all there is always next year's Krissmasna,* she teased and her green eyes sparkled.

"I hope I don't have to wait this long," Luke replied aloud this time and after a final chaste kiss he let go of her. "Take care, Jade, and free skies."

Mara smiled one of her rare smiles and winked at him. "To you too, Skywalker. See you next Altara? I hear Coruscant is quite deserted during this holiday ..."

"I heard that too," Skywalker shot back and they both almost giggled like children. "I'll see you on Altara Eve then."

"Sure, Skywalker, and I'll bring the wine!" With a final wave, the trader made her way to the turbo lifts. Luke watched the spot where she had disappeared behind long after the doors to the lift had closed, then slowly he turned. He should get going. Today Leia and Han would return from Kashyyk and he still had some things to do. He stretched out his Force sense and almost immediately felt Mara Jade. She was already onboard the Jade's Fire.

"Take care, my love," he whispered, shutting the thought off from her through the Force, before he went back inside his apartment. He was sure he felt the soft ring of laughter following him, but when he checked, he could only feel the cool and collected mind of his friend turned lover.

"Another time," he told himself as the door slipped shut behind him.

The End

Day One | Day Two | Day Three

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