About Time Rating: PG

The Challenge: Write a one or two poster fic that tells the story of Ben's and Jysella's first kiss and their acknowledgement of their mutual attraction. Make it either romantic, angsty, humorous or full of action.

Realspace, just off the Ado Spine Hyperspace Lane

The Pulsar Skate drifts through space. Her hull glitters darkly in the sunshine of this dead system's primary. There is a jagged, rent in the Skate's port engine pod; a thin orange substance slowly leaks out from the hole. A second, larger gash stretches from the starboard bow, wrapping around, ending just below the main engine nozzle.

A spider-web of cracks stretch across the transparisteel viewport of the cockpit. The cockpit itself is a mass of charred terminals, and exposed wirings. A thin haze of smoke still hangs in the closed room, revealing that the air recyclers are not working properly.

Jysella Horn limps into the room, one arm hanging limp and useless at her side; her white tunic stained a rust color. She stares around at the charred circuit boards, and drops to her knees, her body hitching slightly in a silent sob.

She struggles to stand back up, and leaves the cockpit, shutting the door behind her, making it airtight in case the viewport decides to go.

Trailing the fingers of her good hand against the bulkhead, she navigates through the darkness of the corridor, heading towards the welcome glow of emergency lighting in the Skate's common room, even though the thin smoke gives everything a creepy feel.

She kneels beside the person she brought on this run. It was supposed to be a safe, simple mission. The Masters swore it would be, and they even hesitated allowing her to bring him. But he is her best friend, her playmate throughout their lives, and she insisted. As she wipes away the blood from Ben Skywalker's forehead, her mind thinks back to her inviting him.

She remembers the incredulity on his face as she asked him.

"You want me to do what?"

She had laughed, even as she replied, "Come on, you know it will be fun. Just a simple milk-run of a mission. First out to Eiattu 6, then over to Indupar and then back here home."

He had hesitated, she insisted.

He paused, she smiled.

Of course he had agreed. There was never really any doubt on that. He could never tell her no.

She bites her lip slightly, sniffling back her tears, as she finishes wiping away the blood. She probes the small gash on his forehead, hoping, praying to the Force, that he wakes from his coma soon.

A whistle, raising and then lowering into a mournful tone draws her attention. She glances at Whistler, a frown on her face. The droid which has been a part of her family her entire life lets out a series of beeps and whistles. A series which Jysella translates without thinking.

It will take the emergency drone a minimum of two days to get to a Hypercom receiver.

She lets out another slight sob. "Two days. Two days is too long. I don't know if Ben can make it that long." She glances around the dying hulk of the Skate. "I'm not sure if I can last that long. If the Skate can last that long."

The droid lets out another mournful tone, even as it twists its head in a circle, indicator lights flashing brightly in the dim light. Jysella sighs again. "I know Whistler; I know. Go see if you can fix the Hypercom. Rip apart anything you need to, to do it."

The droid tootles an affirmative, and rolls away, leaving Jysella once more alone with Ben.

She turns back to him, to find his blue eyes glittering with amusement looking up at her.

A bright smile stretching the half-healed cut on her face, she lunges forward, wrapping herself around him as best she can with him lying on the couch. She can feel his arms rise up and wrap around her, a comforting tightening around her shoulder and backs.

It feels like home.

She pulls back slightly, running her hand through his hair. "Don't do that to me again Ben Skywalker. You had me scared to death."

He grins, a lop-sided slash of the mouth that makes him look more like his uncle than his father. And makes her heart rate increase.

His voice is weak. "Sorry, Jys."

He loosens his arms, sliding them around to her arms, but not letting her go. She leans back into his embrace, placing her head against his chest.

Where to her surprise, she can feel tears welling up in her eyes.

His voice is stronger. "What's wrong?"

"We're going to die. The ship is falling apart. Whistler is trying to repair a Hypercom, but I doubt that he'll be able to do it." She lifts her head to look at him, seeing the confidence shining in his eyes.

"Hey. It can't be all that bad. You brought me remember?"

Jysella hiccups a laugh through her tears.

"Yeah, I get you all alone with me for days on end, and it ends up that we're going to die."

She watches the shock in his eyes, and averts her own, embarrassed at her own admission. Then she feels his hand on her chin, moving her head upwards, so that she's looking him in the eyes once again.

"What? What do you mean?"

She tries to turn her head away again, but he holds her chin tight. "You're a moron Ben Skywalker. Do you know that? A mor-on."

His eyes narrow slightly. "I don't ..."

She slaps her hand on his chest, causing him to flinch and hiss; a pained, sharp intake of breath which causes her to instantly regret it.

"I'm sorry Ben. But you are. I've been throwing myself at you for months, and don't see it. I drag you on this trip, getting us alone together and you're too much of a gentleman to take advantage of me. You'r-mff."

He interrupts her by pushing his lips against hers. She is startled for a second, and then she closes her eyes and begins to enjoy the kiss. With her happy participation, the not quite gentle kiss quickly deepens, until they both have to break it, gasping for breath.

She opens her eyes, feeling her lips stretch into a wide grin. "Well it's about time Skywalker."

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