I just finished reading the Corsucant Nights Trilogy and the novel The Last Jedi. There were two characters that I liked and I wanted to write a missing moment. I only read the books so if these characters are in comics or video games then I won't know anything about that. Based on the books it could be considered canon compliant. Anyway, I am always disappointed that romance is not in the Star Wars novels. This is the first time I wrote about this couple. Hopefully somebody knows who they are and reads this story. ~JL~ ______________________________________________ Jax Pavan was roused out of a deep sleep by a terrifying nightmare. Or at least he hoped it was a nightmare and not a vision of the future. He dreamt he was cradling his friend Laranth Tarak in his arms. The green skinned female Twi’lek was severely injured, bleeding and close to death. He was unsure how she got hurt, but he assumed it had something to do with the hunt for Jedi. Laranth was a member of the Gray Paladins—an offshoot of the Jedi Order that limited their use of the Force and utilized weapons other than lightsabers—but they were on the Empire’s hit list just as much as any Jedi. He woke just as she looked up at him and tried to talk. “Kriff,” he swore as he brought his hand up to his face and realized he had broken out in a cold sweat. He pushed the covers off and sat up in bed. ‘It had to be a dream. It must be a dream,’ he thought as he felt a growing feeling of unease well up within him. He had lost all of his Jedi brethren; he couldn’t bear to lose someone else. ‘I am the last Jedi,’ Jax thought forlornly…and Laranth was possibly the last Gray Paladin. They were reunited in the lower levels of the Black Pit slums of Coruscant three months after Flame Night—the dreadful start of the Jedi purge. For the last eight months they worked with an anti-Imperial group called Whiplash. Their relationship strengthened as they fought the Empire and the darkside together. The two became closer and closer until something passed between them yesterday, a mental caress between two Force-users; it was a bond, a feeling strong, deep and… intimate. There is no passion; there is serenity. What happened? He knew her since they were padawans, but he never saw her as a possible lover or mate. The Jedi attachment rule precluded that thought anyway. He looked at his wall chrono and realized it was close to the time that his group of Whiplash operatives usually woke for breakfast. He rose and got dressed. He needed to talk to Laranth. . . . He stood outside her door anxiously. He brought his hand up to knock but then hesitated. What was he going to say to her? 'Do you think we bonded through the Force?' Then what? If she said yes…what was he going to do? His Jedi training didn’t prepare him for this type of predicament. Attachment and passion were forbidden to the Jedi. It was something drilled into his head since he was a child, but here he was outside his friend’s room wanting to explore the possibility. He turned to leave but Laranth’s door opened. She stood there in a long nightshirt, arms akimbo and looking bemused. Her right lekku gave a twitch of impatience; her left lekku was all but gone, having been shortened by a blaster strike. He could see the white crisscrossing of scar tissue over the green skin of her face and neck, but he never thought her battle injuries detracted from her beauty. “Your churning emotions woke me up.” “Sorry,” Jax blushed profusely as he tried to back away while babbling some excuse for showing up at her room in the early morning. She would have none of his backpedaling. She grabbed the front of his tunic and pulled him into her room, closing the door behind them. “What is it?” Jax sat down in a small chair near her desk. The only other place to sit was her bed and he didn’t want to go there. “I had a dream.” One eyebrow cocked up. “A bad dream?” Jax took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I dreamt that you were severely injured and dying.” “Oh,” she said slowly as she sat down on the corner of her bed. “Was it a dream or a vision?” He looked up at her confused and saddened. “I don’t know.” He thought about it for a moment. “It was probably a dream.” She gave a slight smile. “Good. No problem then.” Jax ran a hand through his dark brown hair. “Another thing bothered me about the dream. As I looked at your battered body I had such a feeling of despair. It was more than losing a comrade. It felt like I lost part of my heart. There was so much emotion in the dream that it got me thinking about what happened between us.” She nodded. “You mean yesterday…the strong connection we felt?” “Yes,” Jax said somewhat relieved that she said it instead of him. “What was that?” She gave him a level look. “It was the Force. It allowed our minds to connect, to see each other…to know each other.” Jax felt torn. “Why would the Force do that? Attachment is not permitted.” She gave a delicate shrug. “For the Jedi. I’m a Gray Paladin. I left the Jedi Order years ago.” He looked at her surprised. “Then you’re not upset?” She gave him a strange look. “Should I be upset that I know you Jax Pavan? Are you troubled that you now know me intimately?” His palms started to sweat. This conversation was becoming uncomfortable. “It could lead to things that are forbidden.” She let out a contentious snort. “By who? We are the last of our kind. The Jedi philosophy and decrees didn’t save the Order from destruction.” He gazed at her intently. “So…what are you suggesting?” She shook her head. “Jax. I’m not suggesting anything. I don’t know why the Force wanted us…closer. All I’m saying is you shouldn’t be agonizing over ‘us’. I’m not planning on tossing you onto the bed and ravishing you.” Jax had to laugh. To be honest he wasn’t sure what he would do if she tried. He was a man after all. He had desires…yearnings that he firmly stamped down on a daily bases. “Thanks.” Now it was her turn to laugh. “Don’t worry, what will be, will be.” She stood and put a hand on his shoulder. He knew it was only a friendly reassuring gesture, but her physical touch stirred something inside him. He brought his hand up to cover hers as he looked at her questioningly. “Tell me something,” he hesitated slightly before continuing. “Did you have someone in your life. A romantic partner?” Her eyes glazed over in thought. “Yes, once. He died shortly after Flame Night. He sacrificed himself for me.” “I’m sorry to hear that.” He dropped his hand away from hers, but she continued to rest her hand on his shoulder. “If you could go back in time would you have done the same thing? Or would you have eschewed attachment and avoided all the pain?” “I would do things differently.” She pulled away from him and averted her eyes. “If I could go back in time I wouldn’t have held back my love for so long because of some archaic and misguided Jedi rule of no attachment taught to me as a child. I would have given him everything, all of me—heart, body and soul—so when the time came for him to join the Force—I would have no regrets. I wouldn’t have left things unsaid. I would have told him ‘I love you’ instead of assuming he knew.” She wiped an uncharacteristic tear from her eyes. “So, yeah…I would do things differently.” The intensity of her words shocked him. In the last eight months she had maintained a somewhat cold and unemotional façade, but now he realized the depth of her emotions. Still, it was hard to break through a lifetime of Jedi conditioning. “I…I never had anyone,” he muttered as he looked down to the floor. He didn’t know why he felt embarrassed by this admission. Most Jedi lived a chaste and monastic lifestyle. Laranth gave him a sad look as she walked up to him and clasped her hands around his and pulled him to a standing position. He looked into her dark green eyes feeling torn. “Was it really worth the pain?” “Yes,” she said, her voice hoarse with emotion. He leaned his head down until his forehead touched hers. “And would you risk your heart again?” She looked up at him. “Yes.” He gave a long pause. “I think it’s worth the risk also,” he whispered as he leaned down and kissed her softly, lovingly as their Force essences swirled together giving them both a heady rush of passion. With Darth Vader, the Emperor and a legion of Sith Inquisitors searching for any surviving Jedi they both could die tomorrow. He faced that fact pragmatically and without fear. If he wasn’t scared to die, then he shouldn’t be afraid to live. He wanted no regrets.