Author's Note: Thanks to Gabri for looking it over and pronouncing it postable (quality-wise and rating-wise). Your feedback on this one is the only reason it's on the net. :)
Please note that this is rated R. If you're not a mature adult, please turn back now and read the other version of this story.
He doesn't know her.
She's beautiful in a strong way – nose a little too long, mouth too wide, jaw too hard. Her eyebrows arch perfectly, highlighting startling green eyes he can see from here. She moves gracefully, like a dancer, except he has the strange feeling she's not. She's wearing a black dress – floor length, rather surprising in this kind of bar, where half the females are taking credits.
Her hair is dark, a vague kind of color that is not really brown, black, or red.
He knows it's kind of odd that he's watching her, but something about her calls to him, calls for his attention, as if he would be a fool not to stare.
She meets his eyes, and nothing stirs in them; then she walks over to his table.
He glances down at the table, wondering what kind of front he's presenting; at the moment, he rather suspects he looks like a drunk. Not that he drinks often, but right now he's drinking like he does. Alcohol usually knocked him off his feet, but not tonight – dirty glasses littered the tiny table.
She doesn't sit opposite to him in the other chair – she takes it, places it where she wants it like a man would, and then delicately sits down. She ignores the empty glasses, and puts an elbow on the table, puts a hand under her chin and smiles at him.
"Hi," Luke manages. The word slurs slightly, not very surprising – to either of them, he would assume.
She smiles. Her other hand creeps over to his, brushing over his knuckles, and it feels somewhat erotic. He shivers when he realizes that she is touching his new hand.
"What's your name?" Luke asks, curious, but not anxiously so.
"I don't think either of us are here to learn names," she replies in a knowing tone, raising a perfectly groomed eyebrow.
Luke fights down the urge to hiccup. "Is that any reason not to?" he asks flippantly. "My name's Luke."
Her eyes flicker down for a moment. "Hello, Luke," she says softly, but he hears it clearly anyway, the words slicing through the noise of the bar. She eyes one of his glasses, takes her hand from his and traces its rim. "So why are you here?"
She smiles again. "I can see that," she remarks, and he flushes slightly, but he's not too embarrassed, a little too drunk for that.
"Drinking my sorrows away, then," Luke amends, having heard the phrase, and feeling it at least somewhat appropriate here and now. People drink together, like he and Han, when having fun – when you drank alone, you did it to drown your sorrows. He knows this in the manner of strange cultural matters so irrefutably known.
"Sorrows?" she asks, looking into his eyes.
For a moment he stiffens – secret, can't tell a secret – then he relaxes. What does it matter, if he gives no details? She doesn't know he's a Rebel. What he had to drink over even another Rebel wouldn't understand. "Family," he said simply.
That startles her. "Not over a . . . friend? Lover?" she asks him. Her eyes dart around briefly at the decidedly disreputable place.
Luke smiles wryly. "Friends hold your heart; family holds your blood."
The nothingness briefly returns to her eyes. "Sounds profound," she said lightly.
Luke lets his gaze wander away. He looks down, and eventually at his wrist; he can see his blood moving, the slight movement from his pulse. He felt suddenly and irreversibly vulnerable. "You can take your heart back, but not your blood," he says, and it makes sense to him, anyway.
A finger gently touches his chin and lifts his head. "But a lover . . ." she says. "A lover takes your heart, the life of your blood?" She lifts an eyebrow, and Luke smiles, admitting silently that she has a point, taking his analogy to its end. "Forget about family," she says. "At least tonight."
He looks into her eyes, and his heart beat increases, wondering if she was implying what he thought she was; feeling naïve and innocent for the first time in weeks, since his new hand, since all that and the utter lack of resolution about any of it. "Okay," he whispers.
"Come with me?" she says with a wicked smile, a sensual smile.
"And what holds your blood?" Luke has to ask, knowing what he wishes to leave behind, and what of her, then?
That surprises her, he sees it in her eyes. "Duty," she says, "loyalty." She pauses, expression going dark briefly, then smiles. Luke knows, suddenly, that she has her own things to leave behind, except she's still deciding now if she really wants to or not. "Come?" she says, and holds out her hand.
It's completely natural for Luke to take it.
He doesn't know where she takes him; it's dark and private and close by, and that's all that seems to matter to either of them. Everything is rushed and strangely heightened, like he can't believe this is happening to him, but it is and it seems so starkly real. Colors are bright and people faded.
She is the one who pushes him to the bed. She climbs on top of him while he lays dazed, and kisses him roughly. He runs his hands through her hair, along her scalp, and he sees hints of red at the roots, that indefinable color suddenly defined: she has red hair. A fiery spirit.
Something sharp touches his neck. It's a knife.
She's above him, breathing hard, and that nothingness is back in her eyes. He wonders if it's those things she spoke of, duty and loyalty, that are calling to her now; why she has the knife to his neck seems unimportant, and he realizes dimly that it should be important. "Does your blood call?" he whispers, and it seems the right thing to say.
She nods, pressing her lips together, and her body quivers. Then she puts the knife above him, away from him. She kisses him again, and he runs his hands up her strong body – she's strong, he knows that now, not at all delicate – and she bites his neck where she had the knife. He gasps, but the pain is only erotic.
"Let's ignore it," she whispers into his ear.
"Isn't that what you were doing?" she breathes, halting the kiss, meeting his eyes again.
"Yes," he says, and it's the right thing to say; he feels it in the Force. It's true.
She pulls off his shirt. He twitches when she roughly caresses a sore spot, from some fight or another, but that doesn’t stop her. He lifts up her skirt, runs his hands over her thighs. His hands meet at the small of her back, and she lays on top of him in response. He flips them both over, so he's on top, and his hands are everywhere.
He runs them over the wonderful expanse of her back, and she starts to undo his pants, pulling them down. He awkwardly helps her, and she isn't having it, wanting it now.
Then he's next to her, so close, so close, and she pauses and stills. He slows, gentle now, gentle. She bites her lip and he kisses it away. She wraps her legs around him, not passive, demanding.
Luke doesn't give in. He sees no time being wasted. He saw her tentativeness, like his own, and this should be perfect.
The rest is sweet and awkward and smooth like shimmersilk.
Her gasp is more than music, it's like touching the Force and feeling all of that peace and immensity and utter perfection, and then he gasps, and all thoughts fade.
Their breathing is slow and deep. "You have red hair," he whispers into her ear, and she turns her head to look at him, a sensual smile on her lips, but satisfaction in her eyes.
"I was never here," she says back, and it's meaningless to Luke, but it means everything to her.
"And now?" he asks, running his hand over her naked stomach.
A slight crease appears between her eyes, then she laughs, and it's just a laugh but it seems like more. "Now I'm here."
When he wakes, she is gone. She leaves nothing behind but the memory in Luke's mind – and bruises and one bite mark. His head hurts unbelievably, so much so he understands why some always go to the med droid for a hangover; he sure feels like he's dying. Physically, at least. Everything is rushing to him, his drunkenness, the lack of a name for the woman he had slept with. Perhaps he should feel ashamed, as he had been raised to do, but he feels sad instead.
Loyalty and duty, she had said to him. That is her blood, her family – abandoned, in a fashion that he wasn't sure of, for that night, for their night. He thinks of his father, how he ran and had been running, and wonders if she, too, is running. The beautiful woman.
She was right; blood is life, but cannot be without a heart.
What was his father, if not his blood with no heart? Having destroyed and betrayed and killed? And what of the woman's – did her blood have heart and soul?
He hardly knew her, but he misses her. Red hair for a fiery spirit, had gone the tale, and green eyes that had showed so little.
He wishes her well, and hopes that the night before had been as much for her as he had been for him.