It was impossible for Lexa to miss the flash of blonde hair behind the bar. She'd come here to simply catch a moment of downtime while she was on Corellia, hired privately to protect a fleet of ships from smugglers. It wasn't exactly a traditional job for a Jedi, but Lexa didn't mind doing it. Ever since she'd come to realize her gift, she was always willing to help those who weren't as fortunate as her. Her mentor, Anya, had always told her that she couldn't flaunt her powers as such, but she never listened. To be a Jedi was to fight for the greater good, and to Lexa, that meant using the force as a tool to help others.
Which is what drew her to the blonde girl. While mixing drinks with both her hands, other glasses and bottles were floating slowly and precariously towards patrons at the bar, and Lexa could feel the power of the force drawing her closer.
"Can I get you something?" The girl asked brusquely. Lexa shook her head.
"No- it's just.. The way that you're mixing drinks is kind of neat," Lexa said, unsure of how to approach the situation. The girl looked at her warily.
"Are you trying to pick me up or something? That's the first time anyone has tried that one," the girl replied suspiciously, and Lexa couldn't help but feel a bit flustered. Although she hadn't intended to come across as flirtatious, the girl was definitely beautiful.
"No, that's not what I meant," Lexa insisted, and the girl just smiled as she handed off a drink to someone else. The music was loud, so she was confident that their conversation wouldn't be overheard. "You're force-sensitive, aren't you?"
The girl froze in her tracks, and looked at Lexa with round blue eyes. Lexa raised her eyebrows, unsure of what to say.
"They always told me not to use my powers, that it might make me a target," the girl disclosed, her shock wearing down slightly as she spoke. "I told them I wouldn't use my powers and that I didn't want to be a Jedi, and they said they'd leave me in peace as long as I didn't use my powers. But the first time it happened, it was by accident, and I get bigger tips when I use it- please, don't tell."
"Why wouldn't you want to be a Jedi?" Lexa asked, intrigued by her story. She wondered why she'd never heard of this girl.
"I can't leave here," the girl admitted, looking down and wiping her hands on her apron. "I have a family. I can't leave them behind."
Lexa nodded, she too was familiar with the guilt of leaving her family behind.
"So, if someone was to stay here and train you...?"
"Yeah, I'd do it," the girl agreed. "Why, do you know someone?"
"I might," Lexa said, fiddling with the flimsy paper coaster in front of her. "What time does your shift end?"
"About half an hour," the girl replied, her eyes lighting up again. "My name's Clarke, by the way."
"I'm Lexa. I'll make a call and meet you back here in half an hour, okay?" Lexa said, already standing up.
She rushed back to her building where her droid was milling about outside. Her employer had arranged it for her in return for her services.
"I need to make a call to the council," she explained, and the robot beeped in response. They entered the privacy of the tent, and after a couple moments, the council was lit up as a hologram in front of her.
"Hello, Council," Lexa said. "I'm sorry to disturb you at this hour, but I've encountered a force-sensitive human here, and she requires training."
"Clarke," acknowledged one of the more senior members. "I believe I approached her many years ago, and she declined my offer."
"Yes, she told me," Lexa agreed. "But she said, if someone could train her here on Corellia, she would be willing to learn the ways of the Jedi. Please, allow me to teach her, since I'm stationed here anyways for the time being."
"A Padawan is not 'for the time being'," replied the council member. "It is a commitment spanning many years, if necessary. You should know this, Lexa."
"That's not what I meant," Lexa protested. "I'd stay here longer to train her if you'd allow it."
"If she still won't leave now, what's to say she will later?" It was Anya who spoke. Lexa couldn't help but feel a twinge of betrayal as her former mentor argued against her.
"Why does she have to? She has these powers anyways, shouldn't she know how to use them? She could easily be influenced by the dark side, she needs guidance," Lexa insisted. The council members talked among themselves for a couple minutes, and finally came to a decision.
"Very well," said the argumentative council member. "You may train her on Corellia. Report back to us as frequently as you can. When you think she is ready for her lightsabre, bring her here."
"Thank you, sir. May the force be with you," Lexa replied, as the hologram shut off. Her droid looked at her and made a beeping noise. "Stop it, I don't like her more than anyone."
Lexa stood outside the bar and waited for Clarke with her hands clasped behind her back, taking in the whirring sounds of the city. It was so unlike any other planet that she'd been to, and as much as she enjoyed exploring the different surroundings, she missed the trees back home.
"Hey, you're back!" Clarke exclaimed, bringing Lexa back to the present. Her hair was down, unlike when Lexa had seen her before, and she wore a leather jacket and ripped pants. Lexa overlooked the way her heart seemed to tug towards Clarke like a magnet. She was being childish.
"I have good news for you," Lexa replied. "I'm going to be training you in the ways of the Jedi."
"Really?" Clarke asked, grinning. "You don't look like a Jedi."
"Because I'm a girl?" Lexa asked, teasingly. Women were still being integrated into the already-small group of Jedi, most of whom were men. It was dark outside, but Lexa swore she saw Clarke blush a little.
"No, I mean, that's part of it, but I mean, you're missing the cloak and the angry determined, 'I have to save the universe' look," Clarke clarified.
"Ah, right. Well, my cloak is at home, and I'm off duty right now," Lexa explained. "Anyways, we'll start training tomorrow morning, if that works with your schedule."
"Yeah, I only work evenings, and sometimes night shifts," Clarke replied. "So, uh, how does this work?"
"I'm new to this too," Lexa conceded. "But first, we need to build up your strength until you're ready for lightsaber training."
"I'm going to get a lightsaber?" Clarke echoed, her eyes widening. "That's so cool!"
"Not for a while, but yes, eventually," Lexa replied. "Can we meet tomorrow morning at the edge of the city? By the river?"
"I'll be there," Clarke said, smiling as she shoved her hands into her pockets. "I'm glad I met you today, Lexa."
The following morning, Lexa sat on a boulder by the river, her hands folded in her lap as she waited for Clarke to join her. She'd made a point of wearing a cloak- even though it was just a formality and she only wore it on formal occasions, or when she was with more senior Jedi.
"Sorry, I'm late, my mother was fussing," Clarke said, out of breath as she ran down to meet Lexa. "Although, to be fair, you didn't specify a time, you just said morning, at the river. The river that extends miles in both directions."
"And yet you knew exactly when and where to find me," Lexa replied, grinning knowingly. "And that you were late."
"Don't ask me how I knew that, because I don't even know," Clarke insisted as she caught her breath beside Lexa.
"The force," Lexa replied, as if it explained everything. "You're already stronger than you know, Clarke."
Clarke looked up at Lexa with awestruck disbelief, and her face spread into a smile so bright that Lexa couldn't help but smile back a little.
"Now that you're here then, let's get to work," Lexa said, standing up. Clarke gave her a look, but Lexa took no pity on Clarke for being already exhausted. That was a lesson in and of itself. "A strong Jedi is not only strong with the force, but strong on her own. You need to be able to operate without using the force as a crutch- it creates cockiness."
Lexa knew this all too well- the other Padawans in her year had used the force frequently to better themselves outside of school, whether it be in games among themselves, or in competitions unrelated to their training. It was back then that she'd decided to never use the force for personal gain, as much as she could.
"I want you to walk along these rocks," Lexa instructed, gesturing to the slick rocks that lined the river bed. "I know it seems simple, but as you go faster it'll get harder and more dangerous. Some of them are loose, some of them are slippery- you need to know which ones are safe to step on, without using the force. You might want to take your shoes off."
Clarke tossed her shoes away from the river, rolled up her pants, and got to work. She started off slowly, holding her arms out for balance. As she got faster, she started slipping more and more, acquiring more and more bruises and scrapes as the sun climbed higher and higher in the sky. Lexa watched with her hands clasped behind her back and gave small corrections that wouldn't discourage Clarke. She could already tell that the blonde was not only stubborn, but also very proud, and damaging her pride would make her want to give up.
"This is so painful," Clarke whined as she fell for the fourth time, trying to run across the rocks. She could walk briskly without using her arms to balance, but leaning forward and running offset her center of balance.
"Don't lean so far forward," Lexa suggested. "And take your time. You might not figure this out today, and that's fine. You don't need to rush."
Clarke pulled herself to her feet and walked the trail of rocks a couple more times until she felt confident enough to run them. This time, she kept her body perpendicular to the ground, and ran halfway along the rocks until she slowed to a walk.
"Did you see that?!" Clarke exclaimed, overjoyed despite bleeding from several places. "I did it!"
"I told you you could do it," Lexa praised, approaching Clarke and unclasping her hands from behind her back. "We can call it quits for today. You should get those looked at."
Lexa took Clarke's hand and pulled it forward so that she could get a better look at the lacerations along her arm. None were too severe, but it had to be painful. However, that wasn't what she was most concerned about. She was intrigued by the pure energy that seemed to flow from Clarke's soft skin to Lexa's fingertips.
When she met Clarke's eyes, she could tell that Clarke felt the same, and before she could do anything to prevent it, Clarke's lips were on hers. She met the kiss with eager acceptance, after being starved of emotional connection for years. She parted her lips when Clarke tugged on them with her teeth and tangled her hands through Clarke's hair, but she was the first to pull away, much to Clarke's chagrin.
"I'm sorry, Clarke," Lexa said softly, not backing away from Clarke's embrace. In fact, her hands stayed in Clarke's hair. "To be a Jedi is to be alone. You have to stay focused on your training."
"We've hardly even started training," Clarke protested. "I can stay focused, I can separate my feelings-"
"I can't," Lexa argued, which made Clarke quiet again. The blonde untangled herself from Lexa and stepped away awkwardly. "It's not that I don't feel it too, or that I don't want to. It's just not the Jedi way."
"Being here, training me here, that's not really the Jedi way either, is it?" Clarke argued.
"Clarke," Lexa said definitively. "We will not discuss this further today. I'll see you tomorrow morning, same place, same time."