I do not own Star Wars , nor any of the characters, save any OCs that I may introduce... It belongs to George Lucas.
This work contains spoilers for the New Jedi Order series.
Wes Janson walked into the Skywalker apartment with an extra spring in his step. He couldn’t wait to tell Luke about what he’d just done to Hobbie. It was just too priceless. He slipped inside, only to find an unlikely sight... Tahiri Veila sat in a rocking chair, feeding Ben from a bottle.
As she saw Wes walk in, Tahiri made a shushing motion. Ben had fallen asleep. Tahiri was putting the bottle aside and putting Ben to bed. For a brief second, Wes considered waking the baby just to annoy her, but he was a prankster, not a jerk... so he did not. He simply walked in silently and sat in another chair...
When Tahiri returned, she sat back down and questioned him. "Why are you here, Wes?"
Wes smirked, "I could ask you the same thing."
All he received was a menacing glare. "I’m babysitting Ben while Luke and Mara go out to dinner. Now what are you doing."
"I wanted to tell Luke about the latest prank I pulled..."
She groaned. "Who got it this time...?"
"The person who would least expect it. Hobbs."
"What did you do?"
"Nuh uh... That would be telling."
"You Wraiths and ex-Wraiths are all the same."
"We are not, Auntie..."
Tahiri smiled at the purposeful use of the nickname Auntie. It was a running joke among the Wraiths that Tahiri should always be referred to as Auntie Tahiri, because of her legendary (and largely fictional) storytelling abilities. It all went back to that mission to Coruscant. That was when it came back to her...
"You know... I still remember that mission to Coruscant, so well. I remember, when we landed Luke was scared stiff. He was hanging upside down from a tree, upside down yelling ‘I’ve fallen and I can’t get up’ at the top of his lungs. Mara got him down. Then Luke comes to me and asks me if I’m okay. What he never seemed to realize is what a great ride those personal landing vehicles were... Face got me one for my last lifeday, actually."
Wes watched Tahiri in silence. It was refreshing to hear her talk and express herself. She had been silent and withdrawn for far too long.
A knock came at the door. When Tahiri did not open the door immediately the knocking grew louder. She opened the door to find a livid Hobbie on the other side, wearing an Ewok costume. "Where is JANSON!?!"
Tahiri glared fiercely at Hobbie, a dangerous light entering her eyes. Hobbie stopped in his tracks. "Wes is inside with me. You can come in. But if you raise your voice again and risk waking Ben then I promise you, I will remove you from the premises. And I won’t be gentle."
Hobbie nodded, looking very nervous all of the sudden. Tahiri Veila might not be a Jedi Master yet, but she was not to be trifled with lightly.
"Then come in."
Hobbie crossed immediately and growled in a loud whisper. "Janson. You did this to me. Now you get me out of it."
Wes was the picture of childlike innocence. "Nice costume, Hobbie. I don’t know anything about me doing something to you, but I presume you can get out of that thing yourself."
Hobbie’s face grew still angrier and raised his voice a little louder. "I would if you hadn’t used a super-adhesive to attach it to my skin while I slept."
Wes just shook his head. "I didn’t do it, Hobbs."
Hobbie growled in fury and yelled, "Yes you did, Janson!!!"
Ben started crying and Tahiri’s eyes shifted. Hobbie was lifted from the ground and planted outside the door by Tahiri’s telekinetic abilities. "I warned you, Hobbie. You’re out of here. And if you must know, Wes was with me all morning, so he couldn’t have pulled the prank. Now, I want you to go to Wedge immediately and repeat the following: "I, Derek Klivian, am a bumbling moron who woke Ben and annoyed Tahiri, and so I ask for kitchen duty as penance, Sir."
Hobbie’s jaw dropped and he looked as if he were about to object, but Tahiri’s flashing eyes silenced him. "And if you don’t do that, I’ll make sure that Wes broadcasts the most humiliating holo he has of you over the holonet." Hobbie fled. He would do as he was ordered...
Tahiri returned to find Wes cradling and rocking Ben. Wes had just gotten him calmed down and was placing Ben back in the crib. He turned to Tahiri. "Why did you lie to him?"
Tahiri smiled wanly. "Because he yelled. Hobbie needs to learn how to take a joke. So I engineered things so he couldn’t blame anyone but fate for the prank. Then I made sure that he’d have to humiliate himself, so that he would know that his tantrum was responsible for getting him in worse trouble. Next time, I bet you he’ll whisper, even if his temper goes into a full supernova...
Wes snickered. "Yeah." Suddenly, he grew serious. "Tahiri, can I ask you a personal question?"
Tahiri’s face bore the marks of indecision. "Okay, but only if it’s meant seriously."
Wes nodded. "It is. How do you know if you’re in love? I know you’ve been there."
Tahiri’s eyes welled with unshed tears as she nodded in acknowledgment."
Wes began to leave. "I’m sorry to bring it up. I’ll, um, leave you alone Tahiri."
"Wes. Sit down." It was a command and Wes knew better then to disobey an emotionally upset female. He knew from long experience that the consequences could be dire. "Why did you ask?"
"I didn’t mean to upset you, Tahiri, I..."
"Answer the question, Wes."
He bit his lip, a motion Tahiri recognized from Jaina as a sign that he was preparing to tell her all. "I’ve never been in love. Gods, Tahiri. I’ve had flings, relationships, one-night-stands and a whole assortment of other things. I was even married to Inyri Forge for a year... but I’ve never been in love. I’ve got to know. What is it like, how does it feel, how do you know it’s love. I can’t got to Wedge, or Tycho, or even Luke because they’d laugh it off as a joke. But you won’t. You lost love, but you had it. Had it in a way I’ve never had and I’ve got to know how." Tears were actually flowing from his eyes. In all the years Tahiri had known him, Tahiri had never known Wes to be so serious. But he was now.
Tahiri considered. "Love... Love is a connection deeper then any other, Wes. It goes deeper then physical attraction. For instance, Anakin was physically attracted to Alema Rar, but he never did anything about it because there was nothing there except the physical allure. It would have been empty. Love is wanting to have someone with you for the rest of your life because you couldn’t stand to be without them. It’s not about wanting someone there, it’s not about someone who looks a certain way. It’s about a connection at the spiritual level that you simply can feel, whether you have the Force or not."
Wes’ shoulders slumped. "I was hoping, kind of, that if you described it for me I’d be able to find some time in my past when I felt it, but was too young or shallow to notice. No luck. I should probably just give up on love. It’s a waste of time." He turned to leave, beginning to despair.
Tahiri’s hand on his shoulder stopped him and spun him about. "Don’t ever let me hear you say that, Janson." Despite her obvious anger, Tahiri still managed to keep her voice in a stage whisper. "Love is worth it. Don’t give up. People have been known to find it far later in life then you are. Some people, if they’re really lucky, can find it more then once. You know now what to look for. Keep your eyes peeled."
Janson smiled at her then. It was not the Prankster smile that she’d seen more times then she cared to count. It was not the Mentor smile that he flashed when he occasionally advised her. It was the smile of a close friend. "So... Are you still hopeful?"
She chuckled. "For you or for me?"
He snickered. I really must be more clear. "For you. If you had no hope for me, you wouldn’t work so hard to make sure I had hope for me..."
"Wes... I am sure that I could fall in love again. The only question is should I?"
"Should you? Tahiri... Faithfulness is one thing when a person is alive, but from beyond the grave. No one would ask that of you, at least if they love you. If there is one thing that I do know about love, it’s that if you truly love someone you can let them go."
Her smile was like sunshine on a summer’s day to him. If I were twenty years younger I would consider making a play for her. At this age though, the love I feel for her is more of a father for a daughter. If she does fall in love again, that lucky guy better treat her well...
"Thanks, Wes." She gave him a light peck on the cheek. "See you tomorrow?"
He grinned. "Yeah, Kid. I’ll see you tomorrow..."
The next day the Yellow Aces had a patrol. Wes got there early to make sure the fighters were ready. He then was forced to spend the next five minutes pulling stuffed banthas from his X-wing. When he finally had gotten them cleared out, he found a note taped to his seat.
**Keep your eyes peeled...
You never know when it’ll hit you.
Wes looked up and across the bay, seeing a grinning Tahiri walking with another Jedi towards the X-wings. She wore the impish grin that made her famous, the bare feet that made her more so, and the arm of the other Jedi was perched on her shoulders. Well, well, well. It seems to have hit you, Ri... You better be good to her Zekk. We pranksters can be very good when it comes to getting revenge.
He hopped down from his fighter and almost immediately collided with a woman who was rushing across the hangar. They went down in a heap, landing conveniently on the heap of stuffed banthas. He stood up, shook his head out and then pulled the dazed woman up after him. He suddenly felt himself become dazed. "Ummm... Who are you?"
The woman was obviously entering middle age, but she still looked beautiful to Janson’s eyes. "Captain Elena Kathos. I’m replacing Yellow Ace Five, Sir."
"Ummm... Yes... Very good, Captain. I’m Major Wes Janson, your C.O. You can report to the fighter over there," he said, pointing at one of the X-wings that was painted in the eye-hurting colour-scheme of the Taanab Yellow Aces.
"My... C.O. Oh stars, I’m sorry to have collided like that with you, Sir..."
"Don’t worry about it, Elena. A friend of mine warned me I might be running into you. I just didn’t realize it would be literally. No harm done. And please, call me Wes. I only use my rank when I’m ready to take disciplinary action, or introducing myself to someone."
"Ummm... Okay... Wes." The woman nodded and raced to her fighter.
Wes turned and glared at Tahiri. How do you people do that? he thought at her.
No one was more shocked then he, when he heard her voice in his mind. Yub yub, Wes...
Wes waved to her and then climbed into his fighter. I guess that this proves something. A truly meaningful conversation can only happen between friends...
Yes, I'm disgustingly sappy on occasion.