Summary: Post-NJO, Christmasy fic. Written for the Holiday Challenge on the JC.
Characters: Jaina Solo, Zekk, brief mention of others
The tauntaun decided to follow. She did not want to be responsible for the loss of her two passengers. The boy with the long ebony hair had taken the lead, pulling gently on the girl's mitten clad hand. She neighed, trying to get the boy's attention, but he ignored her. The tauntaun, if she had more humanoid features, would have frowned at this point. He wasn't like the three other children, the girl and her two brothers, whom had occupied most of the tauntaun's attention through out the morning. He was rash, and more impulsive, wearing a thicker skin but a thinner coat than the other three. And he chose to ignore her.
She flicked her head as more snowflakes continued to accumulate in her fur. She wished the two would return to the fight of snow the other children were having. Closer to the habitats, where there was warmth and shelter for the younglings not used to the weather of a tauntaun. She should not have let them wander away so easily. But being able to run through the snow had enthralled the tauntaun. She had enjoyed it too much to notice where the boy was leading her.
They stopped. The tauntaun craned her head, curious as to their next move. The boy reached into the snow, no, more like dived in, similar to some aerials she had seen the native Coruscanti hawkbats do late in the night. His legs stuck out, and the girl laughed, hands covering her face in joy. The tauntaun blinked as the boy's feet wiggled up and down, pushing him further into the snowdrift. She neighed, worried, but neither child took heed.
Raising a hoof to move closer to the two children, she paused as a dark haired head covered in white peaked out from the snowy mound, spraying snow over the giggling girl. The tauntaun watched as the girl wiped it from her eyes. Seconds later, a fist with a bulky, oddly shaped object in its clutch emerged from the snow as well. The girl gasped, and waded her way into the snow to help the boy out. The tauntaun flicked a stray snowflake off of her horn, stamping a hoof to ensure that the two children knew she was still there. She noticed the girl look back briefly, before turning all her attention back to the boy.
With a small grin, he passed it over to the girl, who smiled broadly. Whatever that odd shaped object was, it made them laugh with delight. The tauntaun cocked her head. She would never understand human younglings.
He stepped through the doorway into the quiet and dark house. The door automatically closed behind him, the panel sliding into the perpendicular wall with a quiet hiss. He walked over to a nearby shelf, flicking on a small glowlamp to cast a lazy glow around the room. He smiled, the emerald gaze focusing on the female figure snuggled on half the couch. Her knees were folded to her chest, and her head rested on one arm, her long brown hair spread like a halo. In the other hand she clutched a toy X-wing; the sight of that toy made him chuckle.
He shrugged off his coat, a few stray raindrops splattering on the floor as he threw it down next to the shelves. A stack of holomessages sat on the shelf, catching his attention. The dark haired Jedi carefully placed the brown parcel he was carrying on the ledge, picking up the holomessages in its place. He fingered through them quietly as not to wake the sleeping figure on couch. One from Jacen and Tenel Ka, another from Jay and Lea, and more from various other family and friends, all Fete Day messages. He smiled, it felt nice to be a part of a family.
Speaking of… He placed the holomessages back and picked up the package, tucking it under his left arm. He walked over towards the couch, pushing back a stray strand of the ebony hair. Placing the parcel on the parallel table, he bent down on his knees, carefully removing the toy from the woman's hand. She mumbled something in her sleep, causing the sides of his mouth to curl upwards.
"Shh, it's okay," he whispered, stroking her silky hair gently.
Through the Force, he projected feelings of warmth and security, and unconditional love. Reaching out further, he could feel two small sleeping bodies in adjacent rooms. He brushed their Force presences with their own, sending them a loving caress to let them know he was home. She must have sensed it, he realized, as he watched her stir, her brandy brown eyes blinking slowly awake.
Even after four years of marriage, he was still in awe. Especially whenever he got to see her wake from her slumber. He watched, absorbing every moment, impressing it into his memory as if it were his last. She blinked once more, and lifted her free hand to rub the sleep out of her eyes, slightly rearranging herself on the couch. He stood from his place on the floor, still watching her as she yawned slightly.
"When did you get back?" she asked sleepily. He could feel the joy radiating off of her, causing him to flash her a grin, the one she always claimed made him look more 'scoundrel than normal.'
"Just a few moments ago, love," he replied softly, sitting beside her on the couch, rearranging her so that she sat in his lap, her head leaning against his chest.
"We missed you," she murmured, shuffling her legs to make herself more comfortable. She craned her head up to give him a deep kiss, pouring as much emotion as she possibly could into their Force connection. "I missed you," she added, breaking the kiss.
He nodded. "At least you got the easy part, Goddess." He leaned in to kiss her again, only to be rebuked.
"Easy?" she asked, her brown eyes narrowing. He bit back a groan, instantly regretting his words. She poked him in the ribs, her eyebrows furrowing together in annoyance.
"Do you think it's easy to watch three-year-old Force sensitive twins? Or train so-called hot shot pilots to work together as a squadron? I'd like to see you try. Next time I'll go aide in the Coruscant rebuilding project, and you can stay here and baby sit. 'Kay?"
He grimaced. "Accept my apology?"
He leaned in to kiss her again, and this time she reciprocated the action. He smiled against her lips, happy to finally be home. Apology accepted, she thought towards him, too caught up in the kiss to reply normally. Sithspawn, had he missed this.
A hand snaked into his air, pulling the black strands free from the clasp at the nape of his neck. Moments later, it retracted, and he groaned in disappointment, "Jaina."
She smiled against his chest, her head once again tucked in a more comfortable position. "Yes Zekk?"
He chuckled. "That wasn't fair."
"I'm a Solo, since when do I play by the rules?"
"You have a point there," he replied, wrapping his arms around her. Together, they sat in silence, simply enjoying their reunion. His eyes slowly wandered around the room, settling on the brown package he had left lying on the table.
"Hmm," he thought out loud.
She cocked her head, looking at him inquisitively. "Hmm?"
"Hey, no prying," he replied, sensing her try to worm her way into his thoughts to find out what he was thinking. He blocked her quickly and she kicked him in protest. "That wouldn't be fair, would it?"
"I wasn't prying," she responded. "I was just…"
"…Taking advantage of our connection?" he finished for her. "Uh uh, Jay. Your brother warned me of those tricks before we got married, remember?"
She nodded, a playful frown gracing her features. "Whatever was I thinking leaving you and Jacen alone in a room together?"
He hugged her close to him, not bothering to answer her question. Lazily, he stretched an arm out, using the Force to aid him in maintaining their balance on the couch. His fingers closed around the box, clutching it tight in his fist. He handed it over to his wife, watching a curious delight light her face. "Is this for me?"
"Yeah," he said softly. "I found it while we were working on exploring remnants of Imperial Palace."
"Zekk, you didn't have to," she protested, fingers already unwrapping the brown filimsi off of the box.
"Think of it as a Fete Day gift."
"But I didn't get you anything!"
"You didn't have to. Padmé and Mikhail were enough."
Conversation was forgotten as she carefully finished unwrapping, he continuing to watch her every move. She had lifted her head from its resting place, and he could see a curious expression on her face, filling his heart with a joy. He couldn't wait to see her reaction, and quickly blocked his emotions from seeping through the bond. He didn't want to give it away. Finally, after what seemed like forever, she lifted the lid to the box open, and pulled out a small snow globe.
He breathed in sharply, waiting for her reaction as she fingered the broken toy. A large crack ran through one side of the glass, distorting the view of the Y-wing suspended in nosedive. All the liquid had long since leaked out of the globe, and the glitter gathered on the bottom. The metal base had been scratched and bent to an almost unrecognizable state. The remains of rust still covered parts of the globe.
He turned his study to her face and noticed tears form in her eyes. Reaching out, he wiped them away with one hand, while the other still held her tightly in his lap. She blinked her brandy brown eyes, lifting her head from the snow globe to meet his eyes. Her face was dead serious, and for a moment he was afraid she hated it.
"How did you? I mean, stang Zekk…" she trailed off.
He shrugged his shoulders. "You know me. I've always had a knack for finding things."
She nodded, unable to trust her own voice. "Force, it's…"
He didn't let her finish speaking. "I know you lost a lot of your childhood stuff during the war with the Vong, and when I found this… Well, you remember that vacation I took with your family to the Coruscant poles. And that crazy tauntaun babysitter." He laughed at the memory before gesturing to the snow globe. "Back then, I thought it was luck finding you that snow globe. I wanted to impress you, show you that I was more than a thirteen-year-old street kid."
She laughed, interrupting his train of thought. "You never had to impress me then. You know that."
"I know that now," he answered honestly. "It just took us a while…"
"To reach that point," she finished for him, earning a swat on the arm for picking up on his thoughts.
She looked down at the snow globe in her hands again, her thumb running over the crack in the glass. He smiled, noticing how carefully she treated it, as if it were one of the twins. She treasured it; he knew that without a doubt. He didn't need the Force to tell him so, oft-used mannerisms told him enough.
"Happy Fete Day," he whispered softly, dropping a kiss on her forehead.
She looked up at him, briefly biting her lip. Her brandy brown eyes met his darkened jade ones and a slow smile graced her features. "I love you."