She was upset. She was angry, and she could admit that to herself. Harder to detect was just whom she was angry at. Him, for thinking the way he did? The Jedi Council, for thinking the way they did? Herself, for letting herself get into an emotional position between the two of them? Qui-Gon Jinn, for dying, or the mysterious Sith Lord, for killing him? All of them, perhaps.
It did surprise her, when he came to her.
His ringing her doorbell disrupted her meditation, and on a night when she needed it more than usual. And she acknowledged the probability that it was deliberate on his part.
Unexpected as his visit was, she still knew it was him long before she opened the door. It was half open when she asked him, “You are not yet gone?”
“Merely saying a few goodbyes. May I come in and sit for a moment?”
There didn’t seem to be much harm in allowing him to do so, and if Jocasta was angry, she was also determined to remain detached from her anger, so she stepped aside and allowed him in.
She sensed danger in the ensuing silence, so she asked him where he intended to go. “Back to Serenno. Did you know I can claim a sizeable inheritance there?”
“That is fortunate,” she said coolly.
“You are angry at me.” He had caught her. And she sensed anger in him as well.
Her anger was dull though, and she intended to keep it that way, even as she pointed out, “You know I did not agree with you.”
“But you accepted. Jocasta, you heard me. You listened. Even if you ultimately rejected what I said, you gave it a chance. That was far more than most here would do.”
For a wild moment she thought he was pleading, but of course he wasn’t. He was offended by her apparent change of heart. “That has not changed,” she assured him.
“Then why do you condemn me?”
The accusation shocked her. “What makes you think I go that far?”
“Because I sense from you the exact same reproach I’ve sensed from everyone else. I must say, Jocasta, I expected better.”
His disappointment, very sharp, hurt, perhaps more because Jocasta was unused to guilt. But then she realized what he was saying, and replied, “We do not all condemn you. I refuse to believe that. You are allowing anger to cloud you over.”
“I’ve earned it,” retorted Dooku.
“I won’t deny that, really I won’t, but surely you would prefer to think rationally?”
Her point stopped him; she felt his anger ebb. But he suffered from an excess of pride, which compelled him to say, “Perhaps you think you see things clearer than you do.”
“I don’t,” Jocasta calmly avoided that trap, “neither of us have a clear vision. I will admit it, and now you may do likewise.”
She had to admit, she’d hoped he’d be pleased. He wasn’t. Instead, he scowled and muttered, “I am not in the mood for such games.”
“Then what games are you in the mood for?” she demanded. “Why did you come here? Why are you still in this temple? Who do you really have to say goodbye to? Certainly not anyone on the Council, and indeed, I really can’t think of anyone besides me. And really, even with regards to me, I know you would sooner just go without seeing me than take the trouble of seeking me out to say a goodbye which we be no more than sentimental. There’s some further reason to you seeking me out. If you were going to ask me to come with you, my answer is no.”
“Do you think I would be foolish enough to ask such a thing?”
Silence. Still that feeling of anger, frustrated anger, between them. And from him, a tension she could not quite name.
“Perhaps it is sentiment,” he said at last. “Perhaps I wanted to see you one final time.”
“‘Perhaps,’” repeated Jocasta. “Perhaps nothing. You had a solid reason for coming here. Either that was it or it wasn’t.”
“If you wish for a specific reason,” he declared, standing up, “then perhaps I should do what I did indeed come here to do, more or less anyway, if I could accomplish nothing else.”
“You came here to do something?” She stood up also, resisting the temptation to lay her hand on her lightsaber. It would do her no good anyway; he was hopelessly her superior with a blade.
Yet that mysterious tension was rising again, and then she had an idea what it was.
A moment before his eyes glinted, and with a whispered, “Yes: this,” he pulled her into his arms and kissed her hard.
It didn’t actually surprise her. It may have never been a real danger while they had both remained Jedi, but it was obvious that once Dooku was willing to allow himself to want this, he would probably end up doing so.
At the crush of his embrace, Jocasta could not stop certain feelings from coming up in her either, which had been all too easy to ignore earlier, but she had been overconfident enough that she had let them lie. Now she found herself thrilling at his assault, for an assault it was; he knew he would never do this again and was making the most of being able to do it just once. Her defenses smashed through off-guard, her attempts to divert her mind failing, his lips and tongue easily dominating her thoughts.
By the time he withdrew, she was kissing him back, tongue sliding out of his mouth. His eyes followed its path; she saw the triumph in them.
Her only real choice was to slap him.
He yanked himself away from her as if she’d pulled out her lightsaber. She didn’t think she’d ever felt him so shocked in her life. She wondered what he was so stunned about. Surely he’d known that was what was going to happen?
“Nothing else, then.” He traced his thumb along the red mark her hand had left. It was well within his power to heal it, but he left it there.
“Goodbye,” she said firmly. If he stayed in this room any further he would only damage her worse.
“Yes, goodbye.” And he spun around on his heel and strode out of her life, in far more dramatic a fashion than was called for.
She watched the door close after him, then hastily knelt back down to her meditation, swearing right there and then she’d never let him cross her mind again if she could at all help it.
Ten years later, when she received the news of his turning to the Sith, that didn’t surprise her either.