Anakin resisted the urge to nervously rake a hand through his normally unruly brown hair as he stood in front of Tahiri's door. He glanced down and cursed himself for his lack of preparation. He was wearing nothing more elaborate than a flowing Jedi robe in varying shades of blue. On the other hand, if he dressed up any more than this, he might blow his cover. It was a delicate balance, this game of love. Anakin had to use a Jedi calming technique to stop himself from sweating nervously. He couldn't let Tahiri realize this wasn't just another dinner. It had been six long years since that first kiss on Yag'Dhul. Now, with the Yuuzhan Vong long since driven out of the galaxy, he finally felt the time was right.
The door slid open and Anakin felt as though the wind had been knocked out of him. Tahiri looked simply radiant. Her golden hair was swept away from her face, but otherwise flowing completely free. Though her dress was simple, it matched the jade green color of her eyes perfectly. It was strange, Anakin reflected, that despite her usual awkwardness in a social atmosphere, he considered her perfect in every way.
"You look great," Anakin blurted out. Good job, Anakin. "You look great." Very original.
"My Dummy isn't much of a flatterer," Tahiri noted with a teasing smile. "You look amazing too, Hero Boy."
Anakin almost laughed. She had managed to cram two of her childhood nicknames for him into one sentence. That took talent. She didn?t use them often any more, except for times like this when she was being deliberately playful.
Tahiri suddenly did a double take. "Wow, someone dressed up. Did you actually comb your hair?"
So much for the surprise. Come on, Solo. Get out of this. "Yeah," he replied. "You always look so great. I knew I couldn't match you, but I wanted to at least look partially worthy of being in your presence." Idiot! That was horrible! What are you doing?
To Anakin's relief and shock, a trace of color found its way to Tahiri's cheeks. She reached out to ruffle Anakin's hair in a familiar gesture, but thought better of it. "I love you, Anakin," she said instead.
"I love you too," Anakin replied, kissing her lightly and lingeringly on the lips. All too soon, he pulled away. "We're going to be late. The reservations--"
Tahiri snaked her arms around the back of Anakin's neck, making it clear she wasn't letting go until she was ready to, and kissed him firmly. He blinked in surprise, but responded with equal passion. He didn't break away until his lungs were burning for oxygen. Even then, he didn't move very far. His lips remained mere centimeters from Tahiri's, and her hands were still locked behind his neck. He rested his forehead against hers, and saw that her eyes were as full of love as his heart was.
"What reservations?" Tahiri inquired with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes and a challenging smirk on her face.
Anakin didn't even bother arguing with her. "I'm not that hungry anyway," he allowed.
They wandered the streets of Chandrila aimlessly. The Jedi had made a temporary base of operations on the planet, and would remain there for the foreseeable future. Anakin's uncle was still finalizing plans with the New Republic for a more permanent facility, but Chandrila's gentle plains and small cities were ideal for the Jedi's needs. "It really is beautiful here," Tahiri commented, breaking a long silence.
Anakin nodded in agreement. "This architecture reminds me of old holos my mom showed me of Alderaan. But we should really go to the Silver Sea sometime, it's supposed to be beautiful."
Tahiri quirked up an inquiring brow. "The Silver Sea is supposed to be the most romantic spot on the planet. The place you take someone after you've decided to spend the rest of your lives together." She flashed him a grin. "Is there something you?d like to tell me?"
Yes, Anakin thought. "No," Anakin said.
Tahiri giggled under her breath, then drew Anakin close and kissed him on the forehead. She frowned as she pulled away. "You seem tense. Is something wrong?"
Anakin shook his head to clear it. You're losing her. Pull it together. "Of course not," he assured her soothingly.
After a few hours of just walking hand in hand and enjoying the night atmosphere, the young couple ended up outside the city in one of Chandrila's many grasslands. There was a peace here Anakin couldn't fully describe. For a long while, they just stared up at the stars, Tahiri safely nestled in Anakin's arms.
This is it, Anakin thought to himself. What you've been waiting for. The perfect moment. Forcing himself to remain calm, Anakin closed his eyes and ran through a quick Jedi relaxation technique.
Tahiri obviously picked up on it, and shifted to glance at him. "Anakin? What is it?"
It's okay. You don't have to worry about surprise anymore, Solo. It's now or never. Anakin took one more deep breath and met Tahiri's gaze. "Tahiri, I didn't just bring you here tonight to stare at the stars. I came to give you something."
Tahiri gave Anakin a puzzled expression, but he simply smiled at her. He gently slipped away from her and stood. Tahiri, still puzzled, followed suit. Reaching into his robe, Anakin retrieved a cylinder-shaped case and extended it to Tahiri. "Open it," he encouraged, still smiling.
Tahiri's expression was still one of puzzlement, but she did as he suggested. Her eyes lit up and she gasped audibly after seeing what was in it. A lightsaber. But not any ordinary lightsaber, this saber was constructed out of pure gold with platinum trim. It seemed to shimmer in the starlight, and Tahiri examined it carefully. "Oh Anakin..."
"There's more," Anakin informed her, now positively beaming. "The focusing jewel, I had it specially made. The type of gem isn't very common."
"Here," Anakin said, gently easing the saber out of her hands, "let me show you." He withdrew something from the saber's hilt and hid it in his hand. He handed the saber back to Tahiri, and she carefully clipped it onto her belt.
"Well?" Tahiri prodded. "Are you going to show me?"
?"Sure," Anakin replied, dropping to one knee. Tahiri had to fight to keep her jaw from dropping when he opened his hand to reveal a corusca gem ring. "Tahiri, will you marry me?"
Almost immediately, the shock wore off. Tahiri threw her arms around Anakin, laughing joyfully. "Of course I will!" she replied.
Anakin grinned at her. "You won't mind being called Tahiri Veila Solo from now on?"
"Tahiri Veila Solo?" Tahiri replied. "I was actually thinking about Anakin Veila."
Anakin stared blankly at her for a few moments. "Tell me you're kidding."
Tahiri grinned. "Of course I?m kidding. The look on your face is more than worth it."
"So you won?t mind being a Solo?"
Tahiri kissed him lightly, and was still smiling when she pulled away. "You'll just have to rescue me all the time now. Taking your name is probably the most dangerous thing I?ve ever done, you know."
"You'll be a true Solo the first time you?re kidnapped," Anakin replied with a teasing smile. "And I'll always be there to rescue you."
Tahiri's lips brushed lightly against his. "That's a very comforting thought."
"What, that I'll always be there to rescue you?"
"Just the 'always' part," Tahiri corrected. "Just like I'll always be there to make you better when you?re hurt. And I'll always be there when you do something stupid." Anakin started to protest about that last statement, but Tahiri clamped her lips firmly against his.
That was something Anakin wasn't inclined to protest.
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