Becoming An Adult Rating: PG

Red & Dead Challenge: Write a one-post story (up to five separate scenes) in which Mara, Anakin and Jaina are the three main characters, and their relationship with each other serves as the fulcrum of the narrative. Must include the lines: "You expect me to be impressed?" and "Don't pretend you didn't know!"

Jaina leaned against the bulkhead of the Jade Shadow, her eyes dark, and a scowl on her face, as she watches her Master and her little brother duel. The hum of the sabers, followed by the occasional crackle when they actually connect, soothes her nerves, calms her thoughts. Which is good, because everything else about the situation does the opposite to her thoughts and nerves.

She doesn't want to see what she is seeing.

There are some things that should never be.

Of course, part of growing up, of becoming an adult, of becoming a Jedi Knight, is seeing those things which you never want to notice.

The first of those things for Jaina Solo is the fact that her Master, her mentor, her aunt, has replaced her.

With her brother.

A flip, a lunge, a parry, a thrust.

The blindingly fast movements of two Force empowered individuals. It is a mosaic of blurred lights and harsh sounds. Jaina's eyes narrow slightly, as the duo's sabers slam into each other, their bodies centimeters apart.

She feels like an intruder, an interloper. The tension in the room is worse than when she was around that pilot back on Ithor. It's not the bad type of tension, such as when Master Horn and Master Durron show up at her father's house on the same night. It's the other type of tension, the one she felt with the pilot, the tension she felt from Jacen when Jacen rescued that scientist.

It is a tension that is equal parts lust and self-control.

That is the second of those things which Jaina wishes to never see, that tension between her Aunt Mara, and her little brother. It is an underlying aspect of everything the two of them do together.

And if Jaina is brutally honest with herself, if she would ever truly admit such a thing to herself, she wonders if her aunt has betrayed her uncle.

How can she not wonder that, when she feels as if her Master has replaced her with her brother? She has to wonder if she is not worthy enough to be Mara's apprentice, or does Anakin just have something to offer Mara which Jaina herself cannot. She wonders if her Aunt could, would, replace her uncle with her brother.

The crackling of interlocked sabers once more intrudes on Jaina's awareness, as she looks around, and finds the pair of them. She notes that Anakin is on one knee, with Mara standing over him, forcing him down at an odd angle, overpowering him.

She lets a small curl twist her lips, as the uncharitable thought of Mara accidentally wounding him slices through her brain.

Then Anakin is spinning, and Mara is on the ground. With flair, Anakin pounces, straddling her legs, and slipping his saber next to her throat.

"Kill point."

Mara smiles and her eyes flash with amusement. "You expect me to be impressed?"

Jaina snorts at Anakin's sudden discomfiture, attracting the pair's attention. She can feel her annoyance flare, as Anakin suddenly jumps up, and turns away from her, barely acknowledging her presence. "Hey, sis."

Jaina walks over and helps Mara up, looking her up and down. "You know, we haven't sparred in months. If I didn't know better, I'd think you didn't want me as your apprentice anymore."

Mara quirks an eyebrow. "Then shall we?"

"But you just had a duel."

Mara barks a laugh. "Afraid you'd lose to me?"

"No. Fine, we'll duel." Then Jaina slips out of her robe, throwing it to the side, and ignites her saber.

Mara steps forward, her blade held unlit and at her side and she starts to bow. Jaina doesn't give her a chance; she just pushes forward, her blade slicing in towards Mara.

With the crackle of released energy, Jaina's blade is halted against Mara's. Mara smirks for a second, before speaking. "That's not playing nice."

Then Mara pushes the blade away and goes on the offensive. Jaina falls back under the onslaught, unable to find a way to turn the tide, unable to once more gain the upper hand.

Their blades lock, each struggling to overpower the other. Mara's voice intrudes on Jaina's single mindedness. "So, what is really bothering you?"

"You and Anakin."

The quizzical look that crosses Mara's face irks Jaina, and she slips out of the lock, dumping her aunt to the floor. Before she can get her saber over the older woman for the point, Mara is back on her feet, and once more attacking, pushing Jaina backwards.

"What about me and Anakin?"

Jaina takes a second to glance around, ensuring that Anakin has left the room. "You know!"

"No. I don't know."

"He loves you."

"Of course he loves me, I'm his aunt."

Jaina barks a harsh, bitter laugh. "No, Aunt Mara, he's IN love with you."

Mara's jaw goes slack, her mouth forming a silent 'O' as she steps back and away from Jaina.

For her part, Jaina frowns at the older woman. "Don't tell me you didn't know. The tension in here could have been cut with a knife."

Jaina watches as Mara's mouth works, as her mind tries to wrap itself around the proton torpedo that Jaina just slammed into her. Jaina can feel her own mouth tighten down into a thin line as she extinguishes her saber.

Then without another word, she spins from Mara, and walks out. Her heart crushing, breaking at the fact that Mara never denies it.

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