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 [N] Ask Me Nicely - Mara/OC [VIG] 
JayCee
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Joined: 17 Jul 2007
Posts: 573
Location: England, Midlands
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Title: Ask Me Nicely
Rating: N, descriptive sex
Genre: Romance, angst
Timeframe: Just previous to EP IV, ANH
Summary: The story of Mara's first love, first time, as seen in the yet, unwritten, Shadow Dawn, part of the Shadow Series.

Ask Me Nicely

Darius Bartan. He was one of the greatest swordsmen that Mara had ever known, and the first real friend she ever had.

Few outside the Hapans bothered learning the skill of handling a vibrosword. Darius thought of it as a more civilized weapon. The blaster for him lacked a certain amount of sportsmanship in combat. When he joined the Academy he spent his extra training on what was thought of as a useless antique weapon. Soon word of his preference of the sword over the blaster made him a pariah in the eyes of his superiors. But that didn’t stop him and he quickly rose to the rank of captain.

As for his skills with the vibrosword, his talent was whispered about among those who bothered to keep up with such things. It was these whispers that Mara heard.

When she was first brought to the Imperial Palace to begin her training, the Emperor insisted that Mara learn to use the vibrosword. After years of practice, and with the Force as her aid, she had become quite the swordswoman herself. She yearned to test her skills against a worthy opponent. Mara had the power of the Emperor behind her, and so she used her pass codes to amend a few orders in the data system where he was stationed. She had arranged it so that there he was, standing before her, in an empty training hall.

Darius must have been ten or twelve years older than her eighteen. His eyes were the softest beige, almost white, which was a stark contrast to the dark chocolate of his hair. Darius stood tall like a fighter, a warrior. Yes, Darius would make a worthy opponent indeed.

“I bet you’re curious as to why you’re here,” Mara said smugly. It was her power, her position, that got him there to do as she pleased.

“No,” Darius’s voice was strong and exact.

“Really?” Mara said with only a slight hint of surprise.

“Why should I be curious when you’re just going to tell me?” Darius obviously wasn’t impressed with her. Mara would make him reconsider that assessment.

“True enough.” Mara nodded, confident in her own skills. “I ordered you here because they say you are a skilled swordsman.”

“They can say whatever they like. That doesn’t concern me.”

Mara gestured to two practice vibroswords lying against a weapons rack next to her. These swords were shaped like real ones only with blunted edges and the power-packs removed. Mara picked them both up, tossing one to Darius. “It does now. I want you to put your skills to good use.”

Darius caught the sword by its handle.

“Let me guess,” he said dryly, “you’re some Moff’s daughter who has nothing better to do with her life?”

“Something like that.” Mara grinned, if only he knew the truth.

Darius shook his head. “I’m not going to fight a spoiled little girl who’s trying to play solider.”

“Who’s playing?” Mara rushed forward swinging the sword across his mid-section.

With a quick side step and swipe of his sword her attack was deflected. That was okay. She expected that. Feinting an upper attack and she swept her sword in low. Darius jumped back and blocked the strike. Taking up a defensive posture, Darius held his sword across his body. Mara attacked forward twice to test his reflexes. Easily he swept her sword away both times.

Jumping forward into another attack Mara had her sword deflected again. Mara released her left hand from the grip and pummeled Darius across the chest with her fist and elbow. She followed that up with a knee strike to his gut, knocking him back, slightly doubled over in pain.

“I see you’re not exactly adhering to standard swordplay rules.” Darius regained his posture but was breathing heavily from the attack.

“You should have listened to what people say about you,” Mara laughed. “You’re supposed to be a highly skilled combatant.”

“So you thought you’d test me at both at the same time?”

“Why waste valuable time.”

Darius looked her over again, that opinion being reassessed. “Just who are you?”

“Me?” Mara grinned. “I’m harmless.”

“Indeed.” Darius smirked and even Mara’s danger sense couldn’t warn her fast enough to block against Darius’ attack. She had just enough time to bring her sword up to block Darius’s swing. But his swing was only a feint and he put his power behind a kick to Mara’s torso right under their crossed swords.

Mara staggered back. No one takes her that easily. Fending off two attacks she parried his sword low to the left and threw a punch to his face with her right. It was a quick and fast punch that never failed to surprise her victim.

Darius dodged it easily.

In this vulnerable position with her right arm extended over his shoulder, Darius smashed Mara’s left wrist between his knee and the pommel of his sword. Mara fought back a screech of agony but she could no longer hold onto the sword as her hand muscles spasmed.

Mara couldn’t let Darius know about her force abilities. She was going to have to solve this one on her own. Thinking quickly, Mara jabbed the elbow of her right arm down into his shoulder, finding the soft area that would bring him the most pain. He backed off a bit but brought his sword around and slammed the pommel down onto the same soft spot on her shoulder.

Grunting, Mara brought her knee straight up into Darius’ gut. Darius lurched back, bringing his sword down to cut at her mid-section. She double back flipped to get away from the confrontation.

“Not bad,” Darius sidestepped over to Mara’s fallen sword, “but you’ll never win.”

“And why is that?” Mara snapped back at him, her heart pounding now.

“Because,” Darius kicked the vibrosword and it slid towards her, “you’re already dead.”

Later, Mara couldn’t remember what she was thinking at that time, or if she was even thinking at all. Grasping the sword she full on charged at Darius. She was going to teach him a lesson. Two heavy blows and Darius was backing up. Another two blows and she feinted with a down swipe of her blade. She put all her weight behind and double front kick that sent Darius stumbling backwards.

With his sword now lowered from his defensive stance, Mara took her chance. Rushing forward she swung her sword. Darius leaned and brought his sword up to block the blow, but he was only holding it with one hand. There was no way he could control the impact of her strike. She had won after all.

Something hit Mara’s leg. Glancing down somehow a chair had gotten between her and Darius. It turned, caught her ankle and twisted it, almost breaking it. The chair moved again and twisted her ankle the other way. Flailing sideways Mara lost grip of her sword as she grabbed the chair to keep herself from falling flat to the ground or breaking a bone.

Finally Mara saw Darius’s hand on the side of the chair, manipulating her body with the object. He pushed the chair away, tripping her ankle loose. Letting go of the chair he reached up and grabbed her by the neck and slammed her down into a sitting position. Mara started to get up but she felt the cold edge of Darius’ sword slide across her throat.

“Now you’re harmless,” Darius whispered into her ear.

Mara bit her lip. “Fine. You win.”

Darius laughed. “You let me win.”

“I what?”

“You let yourself get out of control. You flew after me in a blind fury.” Darius grinned. “You couldn’t see the chair for the sword.”

“Yeah. Real funny.” Mara batted the sword away and stood up, facing her victor.

Darius shrugged and moved the chair back from where he took it. “Well, you’re not that bad. You just need to learn where to focus you energy better.”

“I’m sure I do.” Mara crossed her arms. “How did you know?”

“Well for one you didn’t see the chair coming.”

“No. I mean how did you know I was going to throw that punch earlier? And now that I’m thinking of it, you did a good job warding off my faints too.”

“Oh that? Nothing to it.” His lips parted into a mischievous grin. “You just have to know your enemies next move before they make it.”

“That easy, huh?” Mara smirked.

“No. This easy.” Darius walked up to Mara and gently grabbed her shoulder and upper arm, massaging her slightly. Normally Mara’s next move would be to beat Darius to a consistency of a swamp bog, but she didn’t. “These muscles here will tell you everything you want to know regarding your opponents next move, if you’re willing to listen.”

“I’m willing.” Mara looked into his pale eyes.

“Ask me nicely then.”

“I’m asking.”

***

Darius agreed to give Mara lessons in advanced combat training, after she asked nicely, of course. It didn’t take much for Mara to work the system again and get him a transfer to Imperial Center. This had made him curious, but she played the role of a Moff’s daughter well and he merely shrugged it off.

She was glad he, and no one else, asked questions. Explanations where too complicated.

Instead they talked. Between sessions when they had to catch their breath they would sit next to the mats and chat. Sometimes it was about weapons, other times it was about politics and the Empire. He occasionally let out little tid-bits about his home planet of Latorian, but he wouldn’t tell her why he left. Mostly what they talked about was simply nothing.

It was at that point that Mara realized she had gained a friend, a true friend.

But all they ever did was spend time sparring.

Friends did more, right?

So one day Mara decided she didn’t want to fight, she wanted to go to the Imperial Gardens, and not be on a mission.

“Oh, well,” Darius blinked and started to pick his bag back up. “Have fun then, normal time next week?”

“Yes, normal time, but,” Mara approached him, putting her hand on his shoulder to stop him from leaving, “will you come to the gardens with me?”

“Sure,” he smiled at her.

So they walked the distance, once again chatting about nothing, making comments back and forth about the varying speeders that passed by. She always found herself laughing in his presence.

What was wrong with her?

Mara, her master called to her.

On my way, she replied. “I have to go, sorry.”

“We just got here?”

“I know, but I just remember something,” she lied, disappointment becoming an all too strong emotion when she left his company. “I’ll see you next week.”

He nodded, accepting. “I look forward to it.”

With that she made her way back to the Imperial Palace, not bothering to change. As she entered her master’s throne room she never faltered in her steps. Ascending the stairs she dropped to one knee and waited as she had been drilled to do.

Emperor Palpatine stood at the transparisteel window, gazing out over Imperial Center. “Took your time?”

“I’m sorry, my lord, I was at the Gardens.”

“I know,” he turned towards her. “And how is your friend today?”

Mara froze, having neglected telling her master about the change in her relationship with Darius from instructor to close friend. “He’s… good.”

“Yes. I have a mission for you, requires you to go to Nal Hutta,” her master then filled her in on a rather simple mission, one of a few dozen she had completed for him in the past.

Running the mission specs through her mind she could see it only taking a day to complete, but travel time would mean she might miss her next date with Darius. She found herself annoyed at the thought.

“Hmm,” Palpatine sat back in his throne. “Have you stopped to consider why this disappoints you?”

Mara cursed herself for not shielding better, though there wasn’t much one could hide from her master. “No, my lord.”

“It’s actually very simple,” he said thoughtfully, “you’re a young woman now, well above age, and it was to be expected.”

It took a few minutes before realization of what he just said sunk in. Truth be told, with all her responsibilities she barely noticed the changes that age had brought to her body. It simply meant that she had to adjust her wardrobe and take an extra hyprospray during her quarterly check-ups.

A rather suggestive thought regarding Darius floated to the surface and she quickly squashed it.

“What is expected of me now?” she finally asked.

“I only expect you to do what you have always done,” he replied casually, “continue carrying out your commands and responsibilities as my Hand. Nothing is to come before that.”

“I understand,” she nodded.

“Good,” he spoke and she felts a wash of approval over her. “You are dismissed.”

Mara stood, bowed, and headed back out of the throne room the way she came. Her first thoughts were on the mission and she readied her ship and gathered her supplies, but that night, once all was in order, she let her mind drift.

***

“You’re improving,” Darius said as his vibrosword was violently repelled from its target.

“Good.” Mara smirked then feinted a knee-kick in favour of throwing her elbow across his chest. “I’d hate for all this to be for nothing.”

Darius grinned, “Oh, I like to think I get something out it.”

Their swords crossed and slide down to the hilts. Mara’s face was inches away from his and for the first time she noticed the distinctive musk that was Darius. It was pure in that it wasn’t complicated by artificial colognes, and it sent a chill up her spine. How could something so mundane affect her so?

“You know,” Mara was starting to feel a little frisky, which was different since she couldn’t remember ever feeling that particular emotion before, “we could make this a little more interesting.”

The swordsman tilted his head slightly at the tone she used. “What did you have in mind?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Mara leaned in a little closer, experiencing feelings she had never felt stir within her before. It had been three months since her talk with Palpatine regarding Darius, and in that time she felt her respect for the swordsman grow into something she couldn’t comprehend, but she let it drive her actions anyway. “I’m sure there is something else you could teach me.”

Darius’ lips twisted into a thoughtful smirk. He started to lean into her and her heart skipped. What as this man doing to her? She was the Emperor’s personal assassin and servant, a deadly and controlled weapon, yet, right now, control was the last thing on her mind.

Darius pulled back, an evil grin on his face. “You have to disarm me first.”

Mara became extremely frustrated and flustered. “Why you!”

“That’s the deal.” Darius positioned his sword defensively across his body.

Mara slowly licked her lips. Two could play at this game. “No, I don’t gamble with such petty stakes.”

“Oh?” He raised an eyebrow. “What would you rather have instead?”

“I… would like… for you… if I win…” Mara’s grin turned wicked, “to tell me why you left Latorin.”

Darius blinked, Mara easily sensing that this wasn’t what he expected. Quickly he recovered and said, “Okay, but if I win, I get a kiss.”

“Just a kiss?” Mara asked innocently.

“Just a kiss.”

“It’s a bet.” On the last syllable of the last word Mara struck out at Darius, feinting her sword high and kicking out with her left leg.

Darius blocked her leg with his own, throwing out his left fist to punch her. Mara blocked with her left hand because her right was to busy controlling her swinging vibrosword. Reaching across her body like that opened a window for Darius and he took it, bringing his knee up into her gut.

Mara let out a gasp and jumped back, regaining her defensive stance. “Not exactly the best way to go about getting a kiss from a lady.”

“Nothing has been standard about you since I met you,” Darius shot back with a smirk.

“Standard and normal are boring.” Mara lunged again, their swords crossing and swinging off to the right. Using the momentum she brought her elbow across his chest.

“Imperial torture techniques are better at getting information than this,” he teased as he pulled back.

“I don’t want to torture you,” Mara grinned as they started to circle each other, “yet.”

Four more times their swords pounded against each other, the strength of Darius’ command on his sword vibrating through the handle of Mara’s. Feinting his attack he brought his sword’s pommel down on her wrist. Mara screeched and dropped her weapon. Looking up to see Darius’ smirking face she wasn’t even close to giving up.

She feinted a punch with her right and slid left as Darius moved to block. Managing to get behind him she wrapped her right arm around his neck. He grabbed her arm and she felt his body shift, ready to throw her over his body. Mara had plenty of options to keep him from achieving his goal, one of which being distracting him from his actions.

With a wicked glean in her eyes that he couldn’t see she leaned into him and caught the lobe of his ear and gently sucked on it. His body shuddered and he made no more moves to throw her off. Slowly she ran her tongue up the ridge of his ear and Mara heard the clank of his vibrosword as it hit the ground. She found it easy to force him onto his knees where she could have effortlessly snapped his neck if she so desired.

“You yield?” she whispered into his ear.

“Stang!” he finally growled after a few moments silence. Through the Force she could feel him berating himself for being so easily manipulated by her feminity.

Mara laughed, “I’ll take that as a yes.”

He grumbled something about her winning, this time, and made no effort to fight the position they were in. Slightly reluctant to let go of him, Mara eventually moved from behind and made her way over to the workout bench where her bag laid. She removed a bottle of water and took a long draft of the cool liquid.

“You don’t fight fair, do you Jade?” Darius came up beside her, grabbing a bottle from his own satchel.

“Only when it suits me.”

His eyes drifted up and down her for a moment, then he gestured to the bench. “Take a seat and I’ll tell you what you want to know.”

“This ought to be good,” she said jovially as she sat down, then frowned when she saw the look on his face.

“When I was thirteen,” he started, sadness causing his handsome features to sag, “my father was beating my mother, as usual.”

“As usual?” the words stumbled out of her mouth and she bit her lip in embarrassment.

Darius gave a slight nod. “My father’s generation subjugated women. It didn’t mean that all of them had beaten their wives, but my father did. Occasionally, he… um, did things… with her, without her permission… from what I understand.”

Mara could feel his pain mixed with shame as he struggled to say in a nice way something that she considered to be one of the greatest crimes a person could commit against another being. She took his hand and gave it a gentle squeeze, urging him to sit down next to her.

As he sat he continued his tail, “Father was beating my mother because of something so stupid and insignificant I can’t even remember what it was anymore. I had gotten fed up with it and went to defend her. I’m not sure what happened next, but my father pushed my mother, there was a crash.”

Tears started to gather in his eyes and for the first time in her life she felt true compassion. Until now she never considered how much pain others carried inside of them, how that effected them. She would do anything to rid Darius of his heartache, but she knew that this was something beyond her abilities, both as the Emperor’s Hand and as a Force sensitive.

“She hit her head. There wasn’t even a lot of blood, but when we got her to the med center the doctors worked on her for hours and then told us she was brain dead…” he broke off and she wouldn’t force him to continue.

“I’m sorry,” the words sounded meek to Mara.

“Thank you, but I’ve had enough sympathy for a lifetime.” He smiled at her and ran his hand down her cheek, rubbing a thumb against her jawbone. They sat like that for an eternity. Mara could feel that Darius had long ago dealt with his feelings regarding what happened in his youth, but her presence consoled him unlike anything he had felt from another before. Mara blushed; sometimes having Force abilities wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

“That’s why you left then?” Mara tried to break the spell between them.

He blinked and turned his gaze forward. “Father blamed me for the ‘accident’. He beat me after that. I fought him but he was so much bigger and stronger. When I was old enough, I signed up for the Academy and left without so much as a goodbye.”

“You haven’t talked to him since?”

“No,” he drew in a deep breath and his body stiffened into resolve, “and I won’t.”

Mara couldn’t blame him, a man that cruel didn’t deserve to live and breathe, let alone see those he was supposed to be responsible for and instead let down. A shiver ran up Mara’s spine and thoughts started to form but were quickly pushed to the back of her mind.

“You cold?” Darius put his arm around her and rubbed her far arm with his hand.

“No,” Mara shook her head, trying to clear the haze, “just thinking.”

“You? Thinking? That could be dangerous.”

“I’m always dangerous,” she growled back playfully. The pain in his eyes had receded and was replaced by the same comfort that she was feeling being in his arms. “I’m sorry you lost our bet.”

His eyebrows furrowed together. “You mean that’s the only way I can get a kiss from you? Fight for it?”

“I never make things easy,” she grinned, “it’s more fun that way.”

“I don’t know, Mara,” Darius pulled her tighter against him, “you seem pretty helpless now. Could you really fight me if I tried?”

Mara instinctively licked her lips, “Why don’t you find out?”

He only hesitated slightly before brining his head down to capture her lips with his. It wasn’t like Mara had never been kissed before, but the sensations that ran through her body made her feel as if she had never known a true kiss before in her life. Their hands explored each other, pulling their bodies closer together. At some point she realized she had to breathe and pulled back slightly from him.

They locked gazes and stayed like that for an eternity. A part of her felt that if she let go of him she would die.

“Woah,” he finally breathed.

“Very,” she mumbled back.

Through some form of mutual consent they rested their foreheads together and closed their eyes, holding each other. It didn’t take long before their lips brushed against each other just slightly, but Mara pulled away.

“I only get one kiss?” he asked as he ran one hand down her back.

“Ask me nicely then,” Mara said huskily.

“I’m asking,” he brought his lips to hers again and this time there was a gentleness about it that belied the passion behind it.

Time passed as they sat together on the bench, their lips always managing to come together as their hands timidly explored over their clothing. Normally Mara would have baulked at such violation of her personal space, even when it was part of a mission to get a little close to someone, but she found herself pushing into his hands, greedily partaking of his warmth.

Moments later, Darius’ crono started to beep. With a groan he pulled back and checked it. “Times up, we have to get out of here.”

Mara gently touched her lips, knowing they would be swollen from their making out session. She had never had such feelings for a man before. Her stomach was deep with flutters and an ache had formed in an even deeper core. So wrapped in her own confusion about the matter, she almost didn’t hear his next words.

“I think we need to talk,” he said, “let’s go to a tapcafe or something.”

“Sure,” she answered before even thinking to check if she had other things to do for her master. Luckily, once she thought about it, she was free until he called on her.

Silently they made their way to the tapcafe, both ordering caf and settling across from each other, neither wanting to speak first.

Finally, Darius said, “What happened back there?”

“I don’t know,” she ran an uncertain hand through her hair, “but I want to do it again.”

He slightly choked on his caf. “I was sure you were going to kill me.”

“Why?” she furrowed her brow, suddenly having feelings in her gut that she was having trouble naming.

“Mara,” he reached out over the table and took her hand, “you’re my student, and I’m eleven years your senior, it wasn’t right of me to put you in that position.”

“No,” she shook her head, “we both wanted it, nothing wrong with that.”

Darius sighed, “I care about you Mara, more than I should.”

“That’s a good thing,” she smiled and squeezed his hand that still held hers, “and I care about you too.”

“Do you?” he looked up at her and she saw fear in his eyes, it shocked her. “How much do you care about me?”

“Well, I…” she faltered, searching her feelings. Truly, she cared more about Darius than she had ever cared about any other being… except her master. The Emperor and her service to him is more important thing in her life, nothing came beyond that. “I don’t love you, if that’s what you’re getting at.”

While his features did not change, she could feel his sadness at her declaration. “Then there we have it.”

“Have what?” she shook her head.

“You’re a strong and capable young woman, Mara,” he kept his eyes trained on hers, “but if we continue like this then I will be taking advantage of you and I will not have that.”

“But I want this,” her voiced sounded to young in her ears, “how can be you taking advantage?”

“Trust me,” he pulled his hand from hers, “it is.”

As he stood to leave she was stunned to the point where her voice squeaked as she said, “Don’t go.”

“It’s best I do,” he looked down on her sadly, “and no more lessons. You’re well beyond skilled now, there is nothing more I can teach you.”

He turned and as his figured disappeared into the masses, she felt her heart break though not entirely sure from what. All she could do was sit slumped in her chair, words lowly whispered on her lips.

***

It had been over a month since she had seen Darius, or heard any word from him. Of course she kept an eye on his performance as an Imperial Officer, and that had changed none. She wondered if he was missing her as much as she was missing him.

“You seem distracted, young Jade,” her master’s voice floated over to her from where he stood gazing out over the capital.

“I beg your pardon, milord,” she answered, shaking Darius out of her head, “it won’t happen again.”

There was a slight chuckle, “Yes, it will.”

She opened her mouth to argue with her master but knew it was fruitless, he was never wrong on such matters.

“It is one of the blessings of youth,” he said as he turned towards her, “to be able to be distracted from everything that goes on around you.”

“I will not let it interfere with my service to you, my Emperor,” she answered emphatically.

“That,” he came towards her and placed a gentle hand on her shoulder, “I believe, young Jade.”

“Thank you,” she bowed her head and felt his approval.

“And about this distraction,” he commented lightly, “I suggest you deal with it before it becomes even more distracting.”

“Yes, milord,” she answered, realizing she wasn’t entirely sure which part was distracting her more, her growing physical attraction to Darius, or the ache of being separated from him, and the question of why that bothered her so.

***

Finding Darius wasn’t hard, after all, when she got him transferred over to Imperial Centre she made sure he was given the best accommodations as suited his rank. This meant he had a single occupant dormitory with a view of the landscape. A view meant a balcony.

As she slipped through the half opened transparasteel doors, she was met with dry humour from Darius, “You could have came to the front door, and dare I ask how you learned to do that?”

Mara took in the modest surroundings of a bachelor officer who liked his vibroswords. Several models hung from racks on the walls and he had little furniture in the room allowing for a large practice area.

“I couldn’t be sure you’d let me in,” she answered him as she made her way to the sofa to sit, “as for the window, don’t worry, I’m not cheating on you.”

“That wasn’t my concern,” he deadpanned, his face showing every sign of not being happy to see her. He walked over to the doors and slid them shut. “Why are you here?”

“We still have much to talk about,” she answered nonchalantly despite the fluttery feelings that threaten to engulf her at the mere sight of seeing him again.

“No, we don’t,” he turned back to her. “We decided to end this before we got in over our heads.”

“No,” she crossed her arms and tilted her head definitely, “you decided that. I was left sitting at the table.”

“For your own good,” he pointed at her and Mara’s tempter flared.

“I am not a child,” she jumped up out of her seat, “I can make decisions for myself. I don’t need you fathering me!”

“I’m old enough to be your father,” he snapped back.

For a moment she paused, slightly confused. “No you’re not.”

“Close enough,” he responded. “Doesn’t matter, I had to make a responsible choice.”

“By leaving me,” Mara returned. “By rejecting me, like I was unwanted.” She didn’t know where the words came from, but they felt right.

“No,” his features softened. “I wasn’t rejecting you.”

“One kiss then you left me,” she had never cried over anything more serious than life threatening wounds, but she felt her eyes water at these revelations.

“I…” he reached out and gently grabbed her shoulders, “I just didn’t trust myself around you any more.”

“Why,” she shook her head, feeling a few tears escape their cage.

“You are confident and strong willed Mara,” he brushed away some of the moistness on her cheek, “but I know inexperience when I see it. I felt it, in your body language, when we kissed.”

Darius was good at reading the little signs of body movement when it came to combat and judging his opponent’s next move, why should intimate relations be any different? “So you don’t want me because I’m inexperienced, is that it?”

“No,” he still held her, “I do want you, so much, that’s why I had to back off.”

She couldn’t understand it, she was normally the most controlled and stable individual but at this moment she felt like jelly and her brain was in a fog from all the emotions running through her. “I don’t understand.”

“You said so yourself, Mara,” he rubbed his thumb across her cheek again and she revelled in it, “you don’t love me.”

“So?” she leaned into his hand.

“You… you should be with someone you love,” he seemed timid with the words.

“I could love you,” she fought for any angle, “just give us the chance.”

“Could you?” his words were devoid of any hope, he knew her too well.

She bowed her head and admitted defeat, until a sliver of hope made its way through her mental processes, “What about you?”

“What about me?”

Looking straight into his eyes, “Do you love me?”

“No,” he answered, but he had taught her well.

“Why you lying bantha!” she pushed at his shoulders in her anger. “You make all these noble comments about love but deny it yourself! What kind of hypocrite are you!”

“One who is trying to protect you!” he shouted back.

“Protect me!” she spat unbelievingly, throwing out a right fist to punch him, but he easily blocked which is why she used it as a feint and kicked him in the knee.

Darius jumped back from her, in the defensive. “Damn, woman!”

Mara was furious. She had been rejected and patronized by a man she looked up to and desired on more levels than she could comprehend. Part of her wanted to kill him, the other part was still confused at the emotions rushing through her.

In her fury she had neglected all the basic rules of combat and lashed out at him wildly. Easily he deflected and soon he had her pinned face first against the wall, her hands above her head in his vice grip. “Haven’t you remembered anything I’ve taught you?”

She wanted to scream at him, retort in some way, but knew she had no excuses for failing to keep her head in check. Sinking against the wall, relaxing her muscles to show her acquiescence, she sighed, “I’m sorry.”

“Sorry,” he asked as he released her, “for what?”

“Everything,” a wave of embarrassment came over her, at her stupidity and naivety. She was an assassin, a skilled spy, and she had come in there and failed miserably at… at… what the hell was she doing there anyway? What did she want from this man, truly?

“Mara…” it became apparent he was as much a loss for words as she was.

“I’ll go now,” she mustered up what dignity she had left, standing straight and tall, heading for the balcony.

“Wait,” the word came from behind her, no emotion attached.

She paused, but couldn’t face him, it all hurt to much in places she didn’t even know she could hurt.

“I’m your teacher, Mara,” he said into the void between them, “and for that alone I never should have let myself start feeling more for you than that, but I did. I’ve never met another young woman like you.

“But that’s what you are,” he continued before she could speak, “a young woman, despite the maturity of your skills and mind. I let myself forget that. It was my mistake.”

She turned on him, “It was a mistake to care about me so much?”

“In a way, yes,” he didn’t flinch and she clamped her hands in anger. “When we were kissing, all I could think about was how good it felt and how much I wanted to bury myself in your body.”

Mara flushed at his words, looking away slightly.

“See,” he pointed out, “that’s why I have to back off, or we might end up doing something we both regret. I may have strong feelings for you, but you don’t for me and I will not be responsible for taking something that only a man you love should take.”

“I…” how could she explain to him that she could never love any man, there was no room in her life, her service to her master, for such a flight of fancy, “I don’t know how to love, I don’t think I ever will.”

“Of course you will,” he answered naively.

“I can’t,” she started to cry again, despite herself, “I’m not capable of such things.”

“I don’t believe that,” he walked up to her, determination in his words.

“Believe what you want,” she jerked away from him when he brought his hand up to touch her, “but there are things about me… my situation is… complicated.”

“It doesn’t matter,” he shook his head, “nothing can take away a person’s capability to love except for that person alone.”

She wanted to tell him how wrong he was, but that would mean an instant death mark, so instead she weakly shook her head and started to flee. She got a few feet before she found herself stuck in place by two strong arms, warm arms that made her feel safe, detached from reality.

“You’re in no condition to go anywhere,” he said into her ear, “certainly not out the window.”

“Leave me be,” she said dully, despondently.

“No,” he picked her up in his arms and while she could have fought him she found herself wrapping her arms around his neck, burying her head against him.

Moments later she was lying on his bed, slightly panicked she opened her mouth and tried to sit up, but he hushed her and started to pull the blanket over her. “You’re staying here tonight. I’ll sleep on the sofa.”

“I don’t need a father,” she muttered, slightly annoyed at his patronizing.

“I know,” he smiled and kissed her cheek, “you need a friend though, and that’s what I’m here for.”

Speechless she watched as he tucked her in and pulled away, moving out of the room. Just as he crossed under the threshold of the door, she said, “Darius, you’re the only friend I have.”

He turned back, confused, “I can’t be.”

“I told you,” she shrugged, “I’m complicated.”

After a moment, he said, “That, I do believe. Goodnight, Mara.”

“Goodnight, Darius,” she replied and then he was gone.

Shifting to her side she buried her head into his pillow that was imprinted with his unique sent. She was unsure what tomorrow would bring, but until then she let herself drift off to restful sleep.

***

Mara awoke to the smell of stimtea and at first her body tensed from the unusual surroundings. Remembering what had occurred the night before she sank into the bed in her returning embarrassment. She was Emperor’s Palpatine’s personal assassin and she acted like nothing but a teenage girl from the holodramas she always made fun of.

“Morning,” she heard his voice and looked up to see Darius enter with a steaming mug in his hand. He sat down next to her on the bed and handed it over. “Feeling better?”

“Not really,” she held the mug in her hands to take away a phantom chill. “I was so stupid last night, I don’t know what came over me.”

He smiled at her, “We are all allowed a moment of stupidity in our lives, we are human after all.”

“You mean like falling in love with me,” she said bitterly.

“Yes,” he lowered his eyes sadly and she couldn’t stay mad at him.

“Darius,” she raised her hand to turn his face towards her, “you are special to me, you know that.”

“Mara—”

She cut him off by putting her finger to his lips, “You bore your soul yesterday, let me bear mine today.”

Nodding, he sat silently, willing to listen, so she continued, “I’m nineteen years old and you’re as close to a man as I have ever gotten, emotionally and physically, that has to say something about how dear you are to me.”

A smile tugged on his lips and she brushed his cheek before heading forward, “There are things about me that I can’t tell you, but believe me when I say that I will never have the ability to truly love someone, there is no time or place for it within me.”

“That can’t—”

Cutting him off again, she stared him down, “Just trust me, nothing about me is simple or ordinary.”

“I still don’t believe you’re incapable of love,” he sighed, “but you seem to and that overrules my opinions in the matter.”

That was something, “What I’m trying to say, is that I care about you as deeply as I am capable, the most that I could give to any man. So in a way, I do love you, in the sense that this is as close to love as I can get.”

He shook his head sadly, “You are capable of so much more, Mara, I’ll never believe otherwise.”

Daring words found their way to her lips, “So why don’t you teach me?”

His head snapped up and his eyes blinked rapidly. “What do you mean?”

“Show me your love, Darius,” her hands framed his face, “so that I might find my way to truly love you in return.”

“It wouldn’t be right of me,” he trembled and she knew she had him, she needed him.

“Right, wrong,” she whispered as she leaned closer, “who is to say when this is between you and me.”

He pressed his lips to hers and she eagerly accepted his tongue as it begged entrance. She wrapped her arms around him, pulling him down onto her. As he started to lay her down to cover her he jerked his head from hers, panting. “I can’t do this, you’ll hate me in the morning.”

“I can’t,” she smirked, “it’s almost the afternoon as it is.”

“Mara,” he groaned disapprovingly.

“Just love me,” she almost begged at her last chance. “For the first time in my life I want to feel loved.”

“You are loved,” he whispered into her ear and both became lost.

True to Mara’s comments, it was the afternoon when the kissing and touching was no longer enough for either of them.

By now they had managed to remove their footwear, belts and Darius’ shirt. She had seen his bare torso before during practice sessions and she knew how well built he was. As he pressed his solid form to hers she burned with exquisite flames.

She needed him, to be with him, to be loved by him, perhaps even more than she needed her Emperor, that realization scaring her and thrilling her. But she buried the thoughts deep, she did not want her masters wrath brought down on the man above her simply because he gave her something her master could never give her.

“If we don’t stop now,” he said horsely, “I’m not sure I will be able to.”

“Did I ask you to stop?” she nibbled on his collarbone, receiving a groan in return.

“Mara,” the word trembled off his lips, “I have to know you want this, truly want this.”

“I don’t want this,” she admitted, “I need this. I need you, and I’ve never needed anyone before.”

I love you,” his gaze pierced her soul, “never forget that.”

“I won’t,” she promised, pulling him down to her for another kiss.

Slowly his hand pushed her blouse up off her middrift, he sat up, straddling her so he could continue his removal of the clothing. She had been used to wearing skimpy clothing before and enduring the hungry gaze of others, but Darius was different. His eyes ranked over her in reverence. “You’re so beautiful, you know that?”

She blushed, her whole body going crimson. He grinned and dipped his head down to brush his lips across her navel, his warm moist tongue doing wonders for the heat that was gathering between her thighs, threatening to destroy her. She arched her back off the bed and he reached under her to undo the clasp of her bra.

Mara could sense his experience as well as he sensed her inexperience. While she was walking on fire, she had to know and risk the burn. “How many lucky women have had the honour of your expertise?”

He paused slightly, then finished removing her bra and laid it over to the side before finally meeting her gaze. “Two women. The second one of which I would still be with had she not been transferred and disappeared out of my life.”

“I’m sorry,” she answered quietly, a fear starting to quell inside her.

“Don’t worry,” he said as he ran his hand down her torso, sending wonderful shivers down her body, “I’ve been over her for some time now, I’m not trying to replace her with you.”

“I wasn’t thinking that,” she lied and blushed.

“Yes,” he leaned over her, brushing his lips between her breasts, one hand taking the hardened pearl of her breast and rubbing his thumb over it as he rolled it between his fingers, “you were.”

Groaning, her hands went to his hair, “You got me.”

“Yes,” his lips moved to the other breast and gently suckled on the nipple, “I do.”

She was lost to his hands, a fog coming over her again, unchecked moans escaping from her throat as he changed hands and his teeth nipped at her other rosy peaks. “Damn, you’re good.”

He chuckled against her and it sent more fire through her veins. “I want your first time to be special, Mara, this is all about you tonight.”

Blushing again, a bad habit she was starting to form, she pulled him and kissed him deeply again, running her hands down his sides and to his well formed rear. His hips ground into hers and she could feel a hot bulge against her, it taking a moment for her mind to register what it was.

Pulling away from her he scooted down the bed so that he straddled her knees. He took the clasps in his fingers and slowly worked her trousers open to reveal the soft but now very moist panties she wore. Slowly he edged off of the bed, pull the garment with him till she was naked to him except for the small scrap of cloth.

As he made his way back onto the bed, he paused, “Damn it, I knew I’d let myself get out of hand.”

“What is it?” Mara asked self-consciously, one hand coming to cover her breasts.

“Protection,” he said flatly, “there are risks to what we are about to do.”

“Oh,” she breathed relief. “Don’t worry about it. I’ve been on repress meds since I was fifteen, and I’m as healthy as you.”

“Fifteen?” he raised one eyebrow.

“Mostly to keep me hormonally balanced,” she shrugged, “I’ve never needed them for anything else… until I met you.”

“I’m honoured,” a small smile came to his lips. “You still want this?”

“Stop now and I just might kill you,” she practically growled.

He chuckled again and she found she loved the sound of it, but nerves settled over her as he leaned down to carefully nudge her legs apart, his lips brushing over her inner thigh sending her breaths into pants.

When he finally reached her womanhood the feel of his hot breath on her moist core was almost too much for her. Before she could stop it, moans of pleasure escaped her throat, along with pleas of more. He chuckled again and she was rewarded with a kiss to the firm skin above the hem of her panties, his fingers sliding under the fabric to pull them down and off, his fingers tracing every piece of sensitive flesh from her hip to her ankle.

His fingers brushed over her damp curls and she shuddered. He traced the seal of her core with one finger and she pushed her hips off the bed shamelessly. She gasped when he parted her folds.

“Trust me, Mara,” he soothed and she instantly relaxed her hips.

Slowly he probed her slickness and the fire inside her came to fever pitch. Once he found her hardened nub she was lost to him. With skilled and rough hands he stroked her and played her body like an instrument. He was unrelenting as she began to dig her nails into the bedding and thrash about the bed.

Pressure, deep and burning pressure gathered inside of her and she thought she would drown in it. Part of her wanted it over and other wanted it to never stop and her body was caught in the middle of the battle.

All it took was for him to insert one finger, making sure not to break her just yet, and she released her damn of pent up pleasure with a howl as she arched her back off the bed so much she was practically sitting now, until she fell back with a thump of exhaustion.

“Seems like someone enjoyed herself,” she heard him say a bit smugly, but she granted him this, after all, he was good at what he just did.

“Very,” she groaned, pulling sweat stuck hair away from her neck with a limp arm.

“Good,” he said softly and she looked up to see him gazing at her just as softly, warmly.

“What are you staring at?” she asked self consciously.

“You,” he smiled, “you’re so beautiful like this.”

“What,” she found it hard not to smile in return, “all hot and sweaty?”

“Don’t forget glowing,” he replied as he leaned over her to kiss her again, tenderly, lovingly.

They held each other for a few more minutes, Mara acutely aware of his still clothed groin that had to hurt being caged like it was. Daringly she reached down and cupped the bulge in her hand causing Darius to shudder then go ridged.

“I may be inexperienced,” she said, “but I do know that what we did doesn’t exactly constitute sex and that’s not just going to go away easily.”

“I know,” he groaned at her touch, “but it will hurt and you might not enjoy it, plus once we do it there will be no going back.”

“I don’t want to go back,” she whispered into his ear, her hand moving to the clasp of his trousers, slowly undoing them.

“One second,” he said and he scooted down the bed again, finishing undoing his trousers and pulling them off, his member causing his loose briefs to tent so bad Mara wondered if they would rip.

Finally he slid off the cloth and Mara chewed her lip as she gazed at his throbbing shaft. She had no idea if he was small, average or huge as males go, but it looked big and intimidating to her. She had a moment of doubt but squashed it, she wanted Darius to make love to her, to make her a woman, and now was the time.

He crawled back onto the bed, kissing up her body as he did so, caressing her with his tongue and hands. She could fell him getting into position, the tip of hot mass brushing against her.

In a sudden fit of nerves she wrapped her arms around his neck and clutched at him even though nothing had happened yet. He made soothing noises and wrapped his arms around her, holding her just as tight, whispering in her ear, “You ready?”

After a moment she took a deep breath, “Yes.”

Taking a deep breath himself, she felt him probe her, slipping just beyond the folds into the slick core. It burned, but she blocked it out, focusing on the declarations of love that Darius whispered into her ear. He pushed harder and something broke, a pain shooting through her causing her to yell out.

“You okay?” he hand one hand against her cheek, holding her, cradling her.

A few deep breaths and she shook her head, “Yes, it’s fading.”

“See if this feels any better?” he asked then slowly pivoted his hips back and forth, his shaft sliding from her depths then back there.

Mara wasn’t sure if the pain was decreasing or the pleasure increasing, but she didn’t want it to stop, and urged her lover to continue the actions. Soon he set a pace and she found herself thrusting her hips up to meet him, pleasure spiking at every smack of flesh to flesh.

Through what grasp she had on the Force, she could feel Darius holding back as he caressed and pounded her body, probably waiting for her to get as much enjoyment out of this coupling as he was. She felt the same pressure build up within her as before, but the pain and burning kept distracting her.

“Come for me,” she whispered into his ear.

“Not yet,” he grunted, his head buried in her neck, his body trembling.

“Come for me,” she said again, pulling his face up to stare into his eyes that had darkened into both lust and love. “I’ve had my pleasure, now fill me with yours.”

She watched as he fought for control, finally giving into his primal needs, the pace quickening and she shamelessly moaned. With a harsh shout of her name he stilled over her body with one final push and she felt his hot seed pour into her depths.

The next few moments was filled with the sounds of two people trying to catch their breath. His body lay atop hers, the weight constricting but strangely invigorating.

“Mara,” he said again as his shifted his weight up off of her, “I…”

“Thank you,” she cupped his cheek and gave him the most gentle of kisses.

With an exhausted sigh he rolled to his side, bringing her with him to tuck her body against him in a loving embrace. “How do you feel?”

“Sore, and tired,” she admitted, the ache from his welcomed intrusion still burning slightly.

“I’m sorry,” he held her tighter, “that I lost control, I should have waited for you.”

“I asked you to,” she soothed, “or else you would have had a long wait.”

At this point she expected him to retort what could have been construed as an attack on his masculinity, but instead his face became determined, “I wasn’t hurting you, was I?”

“No,” she smiled and rubbed his cheek, “it did hurt, still does, but it will go away and next time it won’t be there.”

“Next time?” he said with strained hope, for which she couldn’t help but laugh.

“I didn’t come looking for a one night’er, Darius,” she told him, though in truth she was unsure what she had come for the in the first place, only knew what she ended up with.

“You didn’t come looking for a boyfriend either,” he retorted, still just as serious.

She tried to say something, but all words fell mute on her lips. Sighing, she tucked her head against and held him as if this was going to be their last moment together like this.

He ran his hands through her hair, “I’ll be your teacher then.”

“My teacher?” she asked as she tilted her head up to meet his eyes.

“I’ll teach you how to love,” he laid his hand over her heart, “then maybe one day you’ll believe me when I say you are capable of it, and we’ll see where that road leads us.”

She didn’t want to dash his hopes, and if she was honest with herself, she didn’t want to dash her own hopes either.

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