Armor
Part Three
by Aggy


I didn’t go back to my sisters’ apartment that night. I couldn’t stand the thought of their sympathetic looks and kind words when I was in this sort of mood. Their concern was a gift, but sometimes I needed to sink into the darkness that occasionally captured my life. Sometimes it was the only way I could grieve.

Instead, I went to the apartment I kept in Coruscant. A decadent little space filled with exotic treasures and momentos from previous heists. After checking to see that none of the security devices had been tampered with, I did a quick investigation of the suite. After all, my life’s work involved sneaking into highly guarded spaces, I KNEW there was no such thing as a perfect security system.

When I was sure the rooms were clear of any occupant other than myself, I put the ruby on the nightstand and stripped out of my body suit. I folded it up and placed in the laundry. I dug through drawers whose contents I barely remembered, and studiously ignoring the nightshirt lay out on the bed. It was one of Wes’ old tunics and the thought of wearing that while he was with HER…

I shivered, wiped away a tear, then began rummaging for something to wear while I slept. Just as I pulled on a faded old shirt that I usually wore when I exercised, a soft chime floated through the suite.

What the hell?

No one knew of this apartment, except Wes. And my neighbors weren’t the chatty sort, especially at 3 a.m.

If it’s Wes I’m going to boot his ass from here to Degobah.

I almost fainted from shock when the door slid open, revealing someone I had thought I would never see again.

But it had to be him, or I had finally gone insane. "Jaster?"

He looked just as I remembered in my fondest memories. Average height, light skin tone, brownish hair, brown eyes. The slight build of a man who was well versed in the more subtle arts of hand to hand combat. Though stripped of his armor, dressed in a plain blue tunic and dark trousers, he did not look the role of the warrior.

He smiled; running a hand through hair turned golden by the subdued glow panels illuminating the hallway. His brown eyes were filled with shy uncertainty. A sudden ache lodged itself in my chest. Wes was my dearest friend, but there was something special between Jaster and me that had never faded. A strange kindred that I could never explain to anyone. I had missed him during the past year.

He seemed oblivious to the sudden wave of emotion that threatened to set me crying. "I…er…I thought you might want to talk with…er…me," he offered rather lamely. Without the armor, Jaster was just a man. Not a legend, just a man with failings and insecurities, and an almost sweet shyness that had always endeared him to me.

Of course, he’d vaporize me if he ever knew I thought of him in such a manner.

Silently, I gestured for him to enter the apartment, knowing how much Jaster…Fett…Jaster? (I was confusing myself) hated being left out in the open. The door slid closed and I leaned against it, staring incredulously at him.

For a year, I had thought Boba Fett had destroyed Jaster Mereel. His mercenary persona finally obliterating the good man that donned the armor during the hunt. I had mourned the loss of one of my dearest friends and found a love that I had ignored for far too long. But Wes had betrayed me, choosing some fling with a brainless blond instead of a commitment with me. And now, when he had hurt me so much that I didn’t know how to grieve, Jaster returned from the dead to support me in my time of need.

Finally concerned by my silence, he took my hand. "Are you all right?"

I shook my head; he grinned wryly as my long brown hair lashed against his hand. "Is that a no or are you trying to think?"

He knew my habits well. He knew I was always shaking my head to clear away confusion as if I could physically rattle it out of my mind. "I’m trying to think." I squinted at him, still not believing my eyes. "Are…how…How did you know about this place. Even my sisters don’t know about it."

He gave me one of his rare smirks. "Do I really have to answer that."

"Duh," I sighed. "You’re Boba Fett. Of course you knew where I’d be. You ALWAYS know where your prey is."

His eyes darkened with concern and he touched my face, carefully tracing the line of my jaw. The touch wasn’t sexual, just a friend giving comfort to another. "You know, you were never prey after that first time."

"After you pulled me out of the slave pit?"

"Yeah."

I smiled. The first real smile since I had discovered Wes with his toy. "I know."

His hand slipped to the back of my neck and he pulled me into an embrace. I wrapped my arms around his waist and trembled. He held me close, letting my cry into the shoulder of his tunic, thoroughly ruining the fabric. He murmured words of comfort in a language long dead; I didn’t understand them, knowing instinctively that they were meant to ease my sorrow. When I finally looked up, gulping for air, he looks almost as miserable as I felt.

"I’m sorry Selina. You deserve better. You really do.” He wiped away a stray tear from my cheek. “You deserve the moon and stars."

His old verbal play off my name. I smiled weakly. "I don’t want the moon and stars, I just want to be loved."

He kissed my forehead gently, "I know, dear. I want you to find that love."

We never mentioned how we had both hoped that that love would be found in him. I knew he loved me, but not in the way I needed. Or the way he thought I needed. It was a difficult truth to realize, but one I had come to grips with long ago.

That unspoken regret hung uncomfortably in the air, beginning to unravel the kinship between us. I smiled wryly at him. "Anyway, if I wanted the moon and stars I’d just steal them."

He chuckled then held me tighter. I snuggled into him, glad that someone was with me during this trial. "But you can’t steal love, Selina."

Why does he always have to be so damn serious? I was beginning to feel a micrometer better. "I thought I had stolen his heart." I felt the tears beginning again, shivering through my soul. I wondered if I would ever stop crying.

"He has to give you his heart, if the relationship is going to last. You can’t just steal it like…"

I pulled away a little so I could look into his eyes. "Like I stole yours?"

He gave me a sheepish look that I always found so bewildering. Boba Fett, sheepish? It seemed impossible. "Yeah."

It was a strange, honest admission that I had no idea how to answer. Instead I just buried my face into the shoulder of his tunic, allowing myself to be soothed by the presence of a friend I had thought lost forever.

Time passed as it always does. Unwilling to pause for the cares of one broken heart. Slowly, reluctantly, Jaster pulled away. "It’s late, Selina. I should be going."

I was about to agree, then realized how much I feared spending the night alone. "Jas, could you…" My voice trailed off at his questioning look.

"Could I?"

"Could you stay with me? I don’t want to be alone."

He seemed ready to deny my request. That old tightness was creeping through his body. That need for the Mandalorian armor that kept him safe from the world crying out to him like an addiction. Then something akin to a shudder ran through his body. He blinked at me, then smiled.

It was first real smile I had seen from Jaster in over a year. It had a strange affect on me. I had mourned our friendship; sure I had lost it to the hunt that dominated his life. But now, for one night at least, Fett had relinquished control, setting Jaster free to comfort me.

His hand trembled slightly as he touched my cheek. There was no lust in his eyes, no desire to bed me. Just a hunger for simple human contact that his work forced him to deny himself. "All right, Selina. I’ll stay."

I did not take his hand, leading him to my bedroom like an anxious lover. Shyly, I smiled at my old friend. "Come on, Jas, it’s bedtime."

His soft chuckle eased a bit of the ache in my heart. Perhaps I should have felt some guilt at the enjoyment I received from being with Jaster again. After all, Wes’ betrayal was only a few hours old and now I was planning to sleep with my ex boyfriend. But there was more than just the usual broken romance between Jaster and I. Before we parted, passion had been transformed into a desperate friendship that was a comfort to both of us. Whenever one of us hurt, the other was there. After starting my relationship with Wes, I had not drawn on the bounty hunter’s friendship, but now…

He stripped off his shirt, leaving the loose trousers. I went through those drawers again, finding a pair of shorts to wear. I knew that they weren’t needed, that he wouldn’t touch me unless I encouraged him. But they gave a semblance of propriety to the situation.

It was strange how easily we fell into routine. As I slid into a pair of baggy, tattered shorts that had seen far too many cleaning cycles, Jaster turned down the blankets. I found another pillow while he turned off the lights.

I tossed him the pillow, hitting him lightly in the chest as he stood hesitantly beside the bed. Realizing he was too shy to enter my bed first, I crawled under the covers, patting the space beside me in the most unalluring way possible. "I promise not to ravish you."

As he settled down beside me, I rolled onto my side, throwing one arm across his chest. He pretended that I had hit him harder than I had, letting out a mock-startled "Ooof." I threatened to put my cold feet against his back and he instantly quieted.

"G’night…" I choked, almost saying "G’night Wes." I forced myself not to think of what he was doing at that moment. Of who he was doing it with. "G’night, Jaster."

"G’night, Selina."

The unspoken "I love you" that colored his voice would have bothered me if I hadn’t been so exhausted. Or so lonely. Or so hurt. Instead, it gave me comfort. Allowed me to relax enough to sleep. As I drifted into slumber, I prayed that the presence of an old friend would be enough to keep away my nightmares. But somehow, I knew, that even the presence of Boba Fett wasn’t enough…

Finis


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