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Mika sat almost mesmerized as she watched Qui-Gon remove his clothing. Bathing in the lake was nothing new to her, she had done it literally for centuries with lots of different people as well as by herself. But somehow, this time was different. She actually felt nervous, like it was the first time. "Oh, uh, thank you," she smiled. "One does tend to learn a few things in 2700 years. I do make mistakes... however.."

Jinn gave her a grin, noticing her nervousness. As for himself, it had been well over two decades since he had undressed in front of a woman. The opportunity simply had not arisen. He tried to hide his own feeling of "what if" as he removed his tunic and tossed it on a rock.

Qui-Gon Jinn was in remarkably good shape for his 45 years; his muscle tone was firm, and his stomach the quintessential "washboard". His arms were broad and muscular. He presented the physical form of a well-muscled man of 25, yet his face and eyes showed the wisdom and caring of a man nearly twice that age.

He watched Mika watching him as he disrobed, until he was standing in front of her in only the boxer-shorts like under garments he wore beneath his robes.

Smiling, Mika could have sworn she saw him blush.

It had definitely been a while.

Taking a deep breath, Mika managed to pry her eyes away long enough to begin removing her own clothes. She stood and slowly removed the belt from around her waist, dropping it to the ground. Then, using the oldest trick in the female trade - anywhere in the universe - she turned her back to the tall Jedi and lifted her hair out of the way. "Could you, um, ..." she blushingly indicated the zipper in the back of her jumpsuit.

"Of course." and Qui-Gon began to lower the zipper. As the zipper made it's way slowly down her back, Jinn couldn't help but notice the small, intricately patterned, almost leaf like markings on her back; each covered with a delicate velveteen fuzz of tiny hairs.

Almost absentmindedly, Qui-Gon rubbed his thumb over one as it passed under the zipper.

Mika gasped and suppressed a shiver as he brushed over her highly sensitive spots.

"I'm sorry... I didn't hurt you did I ?" Jinn asked with genuine concern in his voice.

Mika tried desperately to control her racing hearts and her breath which had become short and rapid. "No, not at all. It's just that, well, my spots are... um, sensitive," she giggled nervously.

"Well, I promise I'll be more careful in the future." replied Jinn, yet he let another finger escape his control to trace the edge of a spot or two.

"You.... you don't ... have... to..." she gasped, leaning her head back, her eyes closed and smiling softly. She didn't know how much longer she could hold out. This man was just too intoxicating, and he seemed to know all the right buttons to push with her.

To her surprise the Jedi leaned his head down and kissed her lightly on the forehead. "So... shall we... bathe ?" he asked, bringing his strong hands up to her neck and massaging gently.

Mika's knees felt weak, but she fought to retain her composure. Slowly, so as not to interrupt what he was doing, she slid her arms out of the sleeveless jumpsuit top and let it fall. She then leaned over slightly and peeled off the rest of the way, one leg at a time until she stood wearing nothing but a smile and a few nervously excited goose bumps.

Qui-Gon's lips were at her ear as he whispered "You.... you are the loveliest creature I've ever seen."

Mika turned, her hands trembling as she placed them on his strong forearms. "Hmmm, you must have never looked in a mirror then..." she smiled gently.

Jinn's eyes met hers as he looked down. He couldn't believe what he was feeling. It was a mix of emotions no Jedi master could explain away. It wasn't a disturbance in the Force, or anything like that. He felt it within himself. And himself alone.

Soon two strong fingers were resting under the little Ecturian's chin, gently lifting her head upwards as he lowered his so their lips could meet.

In all her 2700 years plus, Mika had never known a moment like this one. Her body felt like it had been shot through with electricity, every hair standing on end. Her spots tingled as did her tiny toes. She trembled as they kissed. Then she giggled. "Your beard, it tickles," she said quietly.

Qui-Gon stroked her face gently. "I'd wager it doesn't compare with the tingling.. inside. I feel like.. like a boy again."

She looked up at him, their eyes meeting. "You... you feel the tingling too?" she whispered in amazement.

"I feel it more intently than I've ever felt anything." Jinn replied, a trace of an unnamable accent akin to Earth's Irish showing in his voice. "I hesitate to say why. They call me Master; but there's one area where I am more a novice than any Padawan."

The ancient timelord was virtually speechless. She had never felt anything this strongly before and she was at a loss what to say or do. "Then ... I shall take you as my apprentice..." she said finally, just the hint of a smile playing upon her thick, red lips.

"I'll accept you.. as my teacher..." said Jinn, and his bewhiskered lips were on hers again, a slight flick of tongue in her mouth.

Mika could hardly breathe and her whole body felt as if it were on fire. This was no ordinary attraction or lust. She was falling in love with the Jedi Master. And falling hard. "H.. hadn't we better.. clean up?" she gasped, her voice squeaking with excitement and nervousness.

"Whatever..." another quick kiss, "You wish..."

She slowly backed away, forcing herself to part from him. Then in one swift move she turned and dove into the water, surfacing several yards from the edge of the island.

Qui-Gon followed suit, and leaped gracefully into the water. His diving form was that of a professional diver, and Mika marvelled at the elegance with which he was able to move his large body.

Jinn surfaced surprisingly close to her, a smile on his face, and water dripping from his beard. "I think we've begun a long journey, Mika." he said, "I'm looking forward to seeing it through... with you."

Dripping herself, Mika bought up a tiny hand and wiped the water from his forehead. She smiled innocently. "What journey is that? What are you trying to say, Qui-Gon?

"A journey together, if you're willing." he replied, "Though I ask for nothing from you.. but perhaps the kindness of your hearts. I believe I'm hearing something from mine."

Mika laughed softly, a sound that echoed the sunshine that glistened on the surface of the clear lake. "Are you sure you're not hearing mine? They've been screaming for you for ages now..."

Mika laughed softly, a sound that echoed the sunshine that glistened on the surface of the clear lake. "Are you sure you're not hearing mine? They've been screaming for you for ages now..."

"Surely they couldn't have been screaming very long. But I do hear them." he answered, "I only have one, and it's never really been out in the open if you follow me. But... I think it's making a fair noise for you too." he swam a bit closer to her, wanting so much to touch her, and to caress her lovely face.

She could stand it no more. She moved in until their noses were almost touching. She liked the evenness the water gave to their heights. Mika placed her hands on his strong, broad shoulders and gazed deeply into his eyes. "Let's not play games anymore. I'm not afraid to say it, because it's the truth. I am so sure of it now. Qui-Gon, the reason I went against orders and took history in my hands, the reason I brought you here, were indeed very selfish. Everything I did - do - is because... because I love you." Her breath was shallow and rapid as she awaited his response. She was no longer afraid, for she could sense that he felt much the same for her.

"Love can never be selfish. " Jinn answered, He took her face in his hands and caressed her soft cheeks before kissing her again. When the kiss broke he said softly, "I don't have four hearts, or your lifetime of experiences to tell me how I feel.. but I do know.. that if being in love is anything as I've heard it described... then, I love you as well, I know it... though I've never felt it before."

The beautiful Ecturian wrapped her arms about the massive Jedi and held him tightly. She pressed her soft cheek against his and closed her eyes. How she had ached to hold him and reveal her hearts to him. To comfort him when he spoke of loneliness... and to see that he was never lonely again. All this she whispered into his ear, her warm breath sending chills along his wet, bare skin.

"I don't know if I know how to show you my love, Mika." said Jinn, "It's very different from teaching a young man to use a lightsabre. But I promise.. you're hearts are in no danger of breakage," and he kissed her neck as she nuzzled him.

Mika pulled back and gently placed her hands on his cheeks. She moved her lips until they were almost touching his. "Just ... just let me love you... " she breathed into her kiss.

"Under.... one condition." Jinn replied, sounding almost a bit stern.

"Mmm? What condition?" she whispered hesitantly, almost scared of what he was going to say.

"That you let me return that love," and he took her tightly in his powerful arms, and gave her a kiss to make up for 20 years of celibacy.

All other thoughts and memories faded from Mika's mind in that moment. The only thing in her life that mattered right then was this wonderful, strong, handsome, caring man in her arms. She never ever wanted to let go and held him as though she never intended to either. "Just... just promise me..." she whispered, her voice shaky with her intense emotion, "promise me you .... you won't leave me..."

"I promise." he said without hesitation, "Death couldn't keep us from finding each other. I doubt if the Force itself could tear us apart."

With that she kissed him as she had never kissed anyone before. Happy tears streamed down her face to mingle with the lake water as her hearts were full once more... fuller than they had ever been. She knew deep within that it couldn't... wouldn't last forever, but it didn't matter. To her even one moment spent in this man's arms was worth a lifetime of happiness.

When their lips separated, Jinn stared into her eyes. "I will be with you forever... as you will with me." and his hand went to her chest, "In here."

Gently she took his hand and moved it to the left. "And here," then she moved it to the right, "And here," she giggled. Then she brought it to her lips and kissed it. "Hey, you're getting pruny. Maybe we'd better get out of the water before we both end up looking like Master Yoda." She laughed and kissed him again, practically radiating with joy.

"I seriously doubt if either of us will ever be as grizzled as the master." laughed Jinn. To Mika's surprise, he then lifted her naked wet form in his arms, and carried her from the water, up onto the little island, kissing her as he went.

As Qui-Gon set her down, Mika's eyes grew wide with embarrassment as her stomach rumbled its disapproval at having been denied sustenance for so long. "Sorry about that," she giggled, putting her hands on her navel-less tummy.

"I think, my dear, it is time for me to show you my skill with a skillet." said Jinn, "Master Kai Adi Mundi even told me once it surpassed my skill with a sabre."

"Oh, I don't think neither me nor my stomach can wait," she smiled, picking up her kimono and wrapping it around her lithe body, forgoing the other clothing she had brought. She picked up his clothes and handed them to him.

Qui-Gon dried off as best he could and put on the clean clothes he had chosen from her wardrobe. Then he turned to her with a mischievous smile on his face. "You know... you may just be too weak with hunger to make it to your kitchen ... where ever that is."

"Kitchen. Hmmm, now let me think..." Mika looked like she really was trying to remember where the kitchen was. Or if she even had one. "Hmm, I knew I was forgetting something," she teased. Taking his huge hand in hers, the spry little timelord showed no such signs of weakness as she led him up the trail and back into the TARDIS interior. After several 'wrong turns', they finally arrived at her completely stocked gourmet kitchen. "Good thing Miyoki insisted on my adding this. Otherwise I'd have to experience your skills with a replicator. And a poor one at that."

"Miyoki ? Sounds like a Jedi name..." Jinn remarked as he entered the kitchen . It was stocked to the gills. There were big brass pots hanging from the walls on high hooks, and shelf upon shelf of cooking apparel. And of course there was quite a larder.

Food from, literally, all over the universe. From Earth cuisine such as Italian and Mexican, to most of the ingredients for Klingon roteg blood pie.

Qui-Gon took a long look around and finally ended up hovering by a cabinet set up with a cutting board and a butcher's block. "So, what shall it be ?" he asked with a grin.

Mika leaned her elbows upon the centre cooking island and gazed longingly up into his fathomless blue eyes, happy that she no longer had to mask her true feelings. "How about your favourite dish? I want to learn all about you," she smiled broadly.

"All right," Jinn nodded in agreement. "How'd you like to help?"

"Tell me what you need and I'll get it for you."

"Well, I always start meals with a good salad. " Qui-Gon answered, "With a light dressing. And do you have any wine ?"

Mika smiled and stood upright. Motioning with her finger for him to follow, she led him to a small pantry door at one end of the room. She opened it and flipped on the light. "Does this answer your question?" she grinned, folding her arms. It was, of course, a fully stocked wine 'cellar' with bottles of every size and shape and colour imaginable from every corner of the universe and every time period. "What did you have in mind... exactly?"

"Something light, and not to dry. Dry wines aren't al that good in my opinion." he answered smiling, he obviously knew his way around a wine cellar. He entered the racks of bottles, and began taking a quick glance at nearly every one there. "Something light, and a bit fruity." he added.

"Ahh, I know what you would like." She rummaged around near the back of the 'cellar' where the temperature was nice and cool. She produced a long, rose-coloured bottle with a curvy neck and blew the dust off of it. "Bajoran spring wine. Light, airy and very fruity. I don't care for the dry stuff myself." Mika smiled as she slipped past his giant form and headed for a cabinet. She produced two beautifully cut crystal glasses and a corkscrew. Carefully she opened the bottle and let it breathe for a minute. "Anything else?" she smiled as he followed her back into the kitchen.

"Well, you make a salad any way you like, and I'll start on the main course." he said, making his own way back into the large restaurant-quality kitchen.

Mika smiled and trotted barefooted over to the humongous refrigerator and seemed to disappear within it. Eventually she emerged with an arm full of fresh salad fixings. Shutting the door with her foot, she then hurried to the counter and plopped everything down before she dropped it in the floor. "Anything here you don't like, just let me know," she smiled at the Jedi, as she began sorting through the varied ingredients. There were three different kinds of leafy lettuce - dark green, red, and an almost yellow variety. There were large, plump tomatoes; asparagus tips; small, round mushroom looking things; raspberry leaves; and even tiny yellow flowers. She pulled a large bowl from the cabinet above her and began preparing the salad.

"It all looks fine to me... and I'm sure much better than the leaves master Yoda uses to spice up his stew." Qui-Gon grinned.

The Jedi himself had busied himself with a dish of pasta. He had several large round noodles boiling. They were hollow, like small tubes. And Jinn was preparing a filling. He was browning meat and chopping up what Mika recognized as the full flavoured Andorian spinach she had stashed away not long ago.

Mika smiled as she began chopping and mixing ingredients and placing them in the bowl in an almost artistic arrangement. "Mmm, smells good," she smiled, looking over at him. Only she continued to wield her sharp knife without paying attention to what she was doing and accidentally cut her finger. "Ow!" she exclaimed, dropping the knife and holding her slightly-wounded hand with her other.

Jinn noticed immediately she was hurt and was soon at her side, holding the injured hand gently in his own. "Are you all right... you should be more careful."

"Oh, I'm just clumsy sometimes," she said. "I bet if you kissed it would make it all better..."

The Jedi gave a crooked smile, "I'll kiss it anyway ... whether it helps or not." and he did, bringing the injured finger slowly to his lips and brushing over his lips with it before giving it a tender kiss.

Then he looked at it, and as if by magic, he watched the cut heal before his eyes.

"I .. I didn't do that ..." he stammered, as if he were unsure of himself.

"Yes you did," she teased, her violet eyes smiling up at him.

"Not with any power I have." Jinn responded, his eyes wide.

"Ok, I guess I'll have to ruin the moment with scientific fact then. It's my self-regenerative cell structure. One of the benefits of being part plant."

"I'll admit," said Jinn, touching her soft little hand to his cheek, "It was nice to think, for a moment, a kiss could have such powers."

She let her hand caress his cheek as he held it, her hearts beginning to race once more. "I don't think it normally heals quite that quickly though," she smiled dreamily.

"Ahhh.. now that does my heart good." he said and she didn't know if he meant her touch, or her words, or both. "As long as you're all right... not even a scratch." he said, and he stopped and gave her a gentle kiss on her full lips.

Mika closed her eyes and savoured the gentle kiss, not wanting to ever remove her lips from his. But an unpleasant odour began to assail her sensitive nostrils. "Mmmm, something's burning," she giggled.

Jinn hurried from her side almost as quickly as he had run there. Luckily it wasn't a major catastrophe. His beef was getting a bit browned, but he tossed a bit of wine on it and stirred it and the burning smell was replaced by an odour not unlike the finest French restaurant.

Mika watched, laughing, then returned to her salad. When she was done she sprinkled the tiny yellow flowers all over the top. "There. I'm done. Need any help?" she asked. She approached him from behind and slipped her arms around his waist, her hands barely touching in the front. She buried her face in his strong, muscular back and breathed in deeply.

"Mmmmm... now that makes it harder for me to concentrate." he said. "You wanna help ? How about grating some of that smoky white cheese and mixing it with the curdled cheese." he was referring to

Provolone and Ricotta cheeses... but coming from where he was from he didn't know their names.

She planted a tender kiss on his back and gave him a squeeze before unattaching herself and starting to work on the cheeses. "You're no fun, you know that?" she teased poutingly.

"Well, now... don't blame me." Jinn responded in mock annoyance, "It was your stomach that started to growl."

The cheeses prepared, Mika handed him the bowl and patted his own tight stomach. "And I suppose Jedi stomachs never growl?" she grinned.

"No..." he answered teasingly, taking a bite of the fresh cheese from the bowl. "You see, if our stomachs growled then our enemies could hear us on the approach." and he added a wink.

Mika rolled her eyes as she swiped a bit of cheese herself and nibbled it gracefully. "Whatever, oh great Jedi warrior," she laughed. She then went to another cabinet and pulled out some fine china dishes and began setting the small yet cosy table just for the two of them. She then dug up some silverware from one of the numerous drawers, holding a piece up to admire it. "This belonged to Napoleon himself. A gift for getting him out of a sticky spot. Unfortunately, he didn't listen to me when I warned him to forget about Waterloo."

"Napoleon ? I'm afraid I'm at a loss there ." offered Jinn. Sometimes Mika forgot just how removed from Earth the Republic was. "Oh, sorry. I forget where I am sometimes," she smiled, placing the silverware neatly on either side of the delicately patterned dishes. She then placed the wine glasses on the table along with the salad and two elegant candles. She moved to another drawer and rummaged until she found some matches. "He was a great military strategist. One of Earth's great leaders. Until his head got bigger than he was... which wasn't very difficult, the short little bugger..." she reminisced. Sometimes she was very much like her friend the Doctor in the way she name-dropped and remembered things.

"I take it ... began Jinn, as he drained his tube-noodles, "This Napoleon was a friend of yours."

"Just an acquaintance. Nothing more." She popped one of the little yellow flowers into her mouth and savoured it as it seemed to melt on her tongue. She carried one over to Qui-Gon and motioned for him to open his mouth.

Jinn shook the last bit of water off his noodles, and set the colander in the sink. Turning he did as she asked.

Carefully, she placed the flower on his tongue. "Now, don't chew it, just let it melt naturally. What do you think?" she smiled.

Qui-Gon closed his mouth slowly and his eyes opened, one eyebrow raised. The flower melted on his mouth like a good quality cotton candy at a carnival. It had sweet nectary taste, very refreshing.

"Good..." he remarked when it had melted away, "Excellent, what is it called ?"

"It's a Ki'i'na'a flower, the only natural plant form native to my home planet." Her voice dropped to a soft hush. "I have been saving them for a special occasion. I.. I can't get any more."

"Why ?" Qui-Gon looked almost sad, "Is the species extinct ?"

"Oh, no. It's just.. well, I can never return. It's no biggie."

"You can never return to your own home ?" the Jedi seemed surprised, "Why.. what did you do?"

"I didn't do anything. I was just ... different. That's all. The scientists who 'made' me didn't count on my personality being different as well as my physiology. So I was basically outcast. That's what mad me become a timelord and ultimately brought me to you." She smiled. "And that's not so bad after all..."

"I think everything happens for a reason." Qui-Gon said, "Who knows... everything you've done in your life could have been just to get you.... to this moment." and as he paused, her kissed her again, lightly, on the ear; and brushed aside a lock of soft dark hair that had fallen into her eyes.

"Maybe you're right. At least I hope you're right," she added, almost a little nervously. "So, are we ready yet?" she asked, trying to change the subject.

"Yes... as soon as I stuff the noodles." he answered, "now... you go sit down, and I'll serve dinner."

Mika sat down and unfolded her napkin in her most ladylike fashion. She smiled as she watched the mighty Jedi putter about her kitchen at home almost as much with a spoon in his hand as he was with a lightsabre. "You really are sweet to go to all this trouble," she said.

"Well... you said you were hungry." Jinn responded, "I intend to take care of you... the best that I can." and as he finished he was sitting across from her.

Mika reached for Qui-Gon's big, strong hand, remembering when she had held it in the funeral pavilion. That moment seemed so far removed from where they were now. She gave it a gentle squeeze and smiled. "I want to take care of you too. And not just the hunger of your stomach," she winked.

"I.... I know what you mean." he responded, "I should let you know it has been a while." he calmly stroked her palm with his finger as he was wont to do.

She took a deep breath and gently drew her hand back. "Keep that up, Mr. Jinn, and dinner will get very cold indeed," she grinned.

Qui-Gon continued to rub her hand, "Now... you have a lightsabre, you have to learn how to use it." he said in a teasing voice, "And the first thing you have to learn, my dear... is control." and he rubbed in little circles in her palm...." Now.. surely that isn't a distraction from our dinner."

"Oh, I have excellent control. When I have to...." she opened her hand up further, concentrating on the sensation.

Jinn moved his fingers up her arm slightly, touching her wrist, and then back to her hand. He lifted her hand and drew it across the small dining table. Leaning his large body forward, he kissed her fingertips, one at a time. His eyes locked to her as he did so.

Mika just smiled, and, as if to prove that she could control herself, casually picked up the bottle of wine with her free hand and poured some into each of their glasses. "Wine?" she asked, trying to be suave and cool while inside she was screaming breathlessly with desire.

"Thank you." responded the Jedi, as he released her hand and let it almost glide slowly, back to her plate. He lifted his glass, and held it up for a toast. "To... the loveliest woman... I have ever known." he said, smiling lightly.

Mika held hers up as well and started glancing around as if looking for someone in the room. "Oh? And who might that be?" she teased, her violet eyes glittering in the candlelight.

"The vision I'm lucky enough to share a meal with." Qui-Gon responded, as they clinked glasses, "A meal... and maybe more."

She blushed as she sipped her wine and they began their meal. "This is most excellent," she said between bites. "Perhaps you went into the wrong business," she grinned.

"Perhaps I did." Jinn responded, his mouth partly full of Mika's salad. "Your salad is beyond excellence."

Mika laughed as she reached across the table with her napkin and wiped a bit of dressing from his beard. "I'm sure a Jedi has many hidden talents," she grinned.

"A Jedi has whatever talents they learn or are able to teach themselves." He replied. "It's your abilities that I marvel at."

"My abilities?" she asked, done with her dinner and setting her fork gently across her plate. She picked up her wine glass and drained it, reaching for the bottle. She refilled her glass and moved to do the same to his. "More wine?" she asked, single eyebrow raised. "I just do what I have to to get along," the timelord smiled.

"I've seen you ... in action as it were." answered Jinn, followed by "yes, please" to the wine, "Your skills are equal to anyone who has trained in the Jedi arts for at least a decade. And.. there is.... an aura about you."

She sat the bottle down after refilling his glass and picked hers up, staring absently into the light pink liquid as she swirled it around. Mika then brought her eyes up to meet those of the Jedi. "I consider that a great compliment coming from a Jedi Master. I have had to learn such skills in order to survive. A timelord's life can be dangerous. Well, for those of us who actually get off our butts." She chuckled and took a sip. "An aura though? No one's ever said that before. Is it this Force you keep

referring to? Or something else?"

"No... it's not the Force." Jinn answered, "It's something I feel when we're together. Like a warmth... and I want to be part of it."

Dinner done and cleaning up not even considered, Mika rose and approached him, scooting the table out and perching in his lap. "You mean something like this?" she said softly as she took his face in her tiny hands and kissed him ever so lightly on the lips.

"You are more than a part of it," she whispered. "You are the source."

Qui-Gon didn't bother to respond vocally. He took her and held her close, caressing her hair and her face, before he kissed her deeply, probing her mouth with his tongue, his hand rubbing the hair on the back of her head.

Mika let go of the control she had managed to maintain throughout the entire meal and returned his kiss with a passion she had never felt before. There was something so special about this simple man, something magical. No other thoughts filled her mind as she savoured every detail: the taste of the sweet wine upon his lips, the warmth of his breath, the softness of his hair. She knew then that she could never let this man go .... that her decision to bring him with her had been the right one.

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