Thrawn came and went like a tusken in the night. His infrequent returns to the base were cloaked in secrecy and terse conversation. He spent most of his time wrapped up in meetings or down in the subbasement on his projects that he refused to speak about. When we managed to share some time together it wasn’t enough.
“I’m sorry, tekari. I know this is difficult to you.” He said as I rested my forehead against his chest. His hands were warm on the back of my neck as he stroked me.
With a sigh I broke away from him and poured more brandy in my glass. “It is difficult but what’s even more difficult is your attitude.” I said as I took a generous sip of my drink. “Last time you were here you barely said two words to me and this time you can’t wait to...”
“The last time I was here I had much on my mind.” Thrawn interrupted.
“The last time you were here you barely wanted to touch me.” I snapped, annoyed. “You said I distracted you from your mission, that you needed space and time to think! When I asked you to come to bed you pulled away from me as though I were a dirty rebel and you were not wearing your bracelet, the one Navaari made for you.”
Thrawn’s lips tightened slightly and then he drew a deep breath. “I can continue to apologise to you for my behaviour and you can accept that there will be times when this campaign has to take precedence and I will be distant or we can continue to fight and waste what little time we have together.”
I heaved an overly dramatic sigh. “Do you have to be so standoffish when you’re busy? It feels like you try to shut me out completely.”
“It is a little more than just busy, my dear.” He said, “And I have to make sure that I have my mind completely focused on the job at hand. Do you want me to fail? Those dreams of yours, you want them to come true?”
“My dreams? What do they have to do with you being a...an arrogant bastard.”
“I told you I have a plan and that you need to trust me. If that means there are times when I am distant and cold then that is how it must be.” He shrugged out of his uniform jacket and pushed up the sleeve of his undershirt so that I could see the sheen of the metal band around his wrist. I reached out and traced the warm metal with the tips of my fingers.
He nodded slightly, “You should know by now that my feelings for you run deeper than words can express. You really need to learn to trust me. I have this well in hand and these pockets of time we have together will be rare after this night so, really, do you want to fight or do you want to come to bed with me and remind me of what I shall sorely miss while I am off saving the galaxy from itself?”
“So last time was just an act?”
He regarded me for a moment then pulled off this shirt completely. “The last time I was on this base there was a great deal of work to be done.” He took a step towards me. “The last time I was on this base I was dealing with a highly delicate matter concerning the cloning project and as I have asked you to keep your distance from this project you can understand my behaviour.”
“You’re hiding something.” I said, standing my ground as he closed the distance between us.
His smile was sly and feral. “My dear, I am always hiding something that is the nature of my work. Now enough of this verbal fencing, stop wasting precious time in pointless argument and allow me to make up for one set of bad behaviour for another.”
I let him manoeuvre me to the bed. “And after tonight?”
He smirked. “I think I have found a way to keep you occupied.” He peeled off my dress starting with the shoulder straps.
“Wonderful.” I said making a face and then allowed him to make me forget why I was ticked off with him in favour of a more pleasant method of combat.
Much later after enough energy had been spent that I was too tired and too relaxed to fight with him I asked what he had in mind to keep me busy.
He shifted in the bed to lie on his side, his head propped up on his arm then said with a smile. “It will be a surprise.”
I narrowed my eyes at him. “You know how I feel about surprises. Out with it. What is going to keep me so busy I won’t have time to worry about you?”
“Not what who.”
My eyebrow arched in impatience. “Who then?”
“Larsen, Ged Larsen.” And then he smiled because he had just rendered me utterly speechless.