Holding My Last Breath
by: Trickster_Jaina_Fel

Disclaimer: Unfortunately, I'm not the genius(es) that owns the song "Holding My Last Breath" (Evanescence has that honour) or the characters/universe (give you one guess as to who did - yes, George Lucas, however did you know?). Oh woe is me. However shall I get past the disappointment? Please don't sue - I too young to have much money.

Summary: Jaina and Zekk face the one thing they can never beat.

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She had been battling the warrior for what seemed like lifetimes, but she knew it had only been a few moments. Her wandering mind made it seem longer and harder than it was. Or perhaps it was her wandering heart, which was currently hanging on that thin strand that connected her to Zekk.

Their bond was splitting so cruelly, so torturously that there was no doubt in her mind as to what was happening:

Zekk was dying.

Jaina had never been more terrified in her life.

At last she found her opening and with a flash of her lightsaber the 'Vong slumped to the floor, his head several feet from the rest of his body. She never saw the carnage though; she was already sprinting over 'Vong bodies, through passage ways and to the bridge where she had last seen her husband. In her haste, she nearly hurtled over the catwalk's metal railings.

"Zekk!" Her voice rang out in the tomb-like room.

Hold on to me love
You know I can't stay long

Her gaze found him, attempting to stand before he slumped against the wall he had been using as a support. She half-ran, half-tripped down the stairs. She was not aware of how she made her way across the floor to where he was, but foggy images of a bodies that looked like people she had once known - friends, comrades-in-arms, commanding officers and others - flitted in her mind.

When she reached him she dropped to her knees, catching him after another failed attempt to rise. Tears began to clog her vision as the green eyes she had lost herself in for as long as she remembered turned to find hers. "Jaina."

All I wanted to say was I love you and I'm not afraid
Can you hear me?
Can you feel me in your arms?

His voice was soft, unsteady, and the keen light in his eyes was at the same time frighteningly bright and dim. She became aware of sticky blood seeping onto her hands from a chest wound. Though the amphistaff or whatever it had been that took him out had missed his lungs and heart, it hit nearby and the blood was no doubt drowning his organs. The warrior that had caused Zekk's fatal wound lay about two metres away, so bloodied she could not even see what rank he had been.

Meaningless words trickled from her lips in the face of what was happening and though she realized she probably sounded half-hysterical, half-bubble-minded, she couldn't stop. "Zekk…oh Force…my love…"

Holding my last breath
Safe inside myself

He blinked almost sleepily, his hand finding hers. "Hey - Jay, you alright?"

She swallowed, trying to dislodge the lump in her throat. Alright? How could she…how…kriff, would it ever be alright again? "I - I'm okay," she lied.

He nodded vaguely. "Good…that's good…you have such a beautiful smile…I don't like seeing you cry…" None of his sentences seemed to finish and though she could feel the amount of concentration the words were taking him, it felt as if he was drifting farther and farther away from her, like a boat floating out into a storm, never to return.

Are all my thoughts of you
Sweet raptured light
It ends here tonight

"I - " he struggled to find the breath to speak " - Do you remember when we first met?"

Her mind moved sluggishly and her mouth even more so. "Yes." She cleared her throat and forced a strangled smile. "You dropped into my birthday cake."

A grin flew over his features and his gaze sketched away from her, as if seeing it, like a holo, over her shoulder. "I was so scared…I thought those - " he coughed " - bodyguards of your mom were gonna pummel me."

She wiped at her tears absentmindedly with her free hand. "I know. I could see it in your eyes."

His eyes closed and her breath caught; was this it? Was he gone already? NO! "Zekk!" Her voice was hoarse, panicked.

I'll miss the winter
A world of fragile things
Look for me in the white forest
Hiding in a hollow tree (come find me)

One eye opened lethargically, the effort it took displaying itself in the tight lines of his mouth, the feel of his hand clenching hers almost desperately. "What I wouldn't give to go back in time…change everything…" His eyes shot open. "I love you Jaina…always…"

Her lips wouldn't move, wouldn't return the admission she wanted to give. Part of her resisted though. He was leaving her - stars, after everything they had worked past, everything they had gone through, how could he just…leave? Not even when she had thought him lost to the Shadow Academy and the Dark side had she felt this kind of abandonment. The thought appalled her - he was dying and she was selfishly thinking only of how she would get through this - but…oh Force. She had never thought this moment would come so soon after she had found him again.

"I - " she licked her lips, trying to get the words through, wanting him to know how much she loved him, how much she had always loved him. "Zekk, I - " Tears spilled down her cheeks but she was barely aware of them.

I know you hear me
I can taste it in your tears

He was, though; they trailed down her cheek and jaw and then landed on his own pale skin. "Jaina, please, don't cry," he beseeched. His hand reached up, but did not have the strength to touch her and dropped.

"I love you Jaina…always…"

She leaned down, awkwardly, as he was half in her lap, and pressed her lips against his own, her eyes closed tightly, hoping to convey all that she was feeling. Desperation, grief, a sense of anger that their time together had been so short, and an overwhelming love that raced through her, begging to be released and confessed, but too deep for words.

Holding my last breath
Safe inside myself

She could feel him fading still and she poured even more of herself into the kiss, bringing the Force to bear, trying to buy even a few more moments. They had had so little time…

Are all my thoughts of you
Sweet raptured light
It ends here tonight

Then he was gone. The pressure against her mouth slackened and their bond snapped so suddenly, so achingly that she gasped, nearly dropping his head. Her eyes stayed closed as she tried to shut her pain away, tried to ignore the void in the Force that glared unmercifully from where her lover had been. Dimly, she heard a scream…

She awoke with a scream on her lips, and instinctively reached for Zekk's warm body nearby. Her fingers met only air.

Closing your eyes to disappear
You pray dreams will leave you here

A sob tore itself from her mouth and she slammed her hands against her eyes, trying to shove the images away.

It was just a nightmare, she tried to assure herself. The lie mocked her, taunted her from the shadows in her room and heart. It was not a nightmare, it had never been just a nightmare. If only it had been that. But no, it was a memory - a memory of a successful - if one could call it that when she had been the only survivor - mission to destroy a Peace Brigade base, along with the visiting 'Vong warriors.

It was a memory of when she and her husband - married only a few, short, blissful weeks - had been separated by a group of 'Vong warriors. He ran ahead to take care of the control centre, his Sith-spawned limp slowing him however slightly. She had been unable to help him and he had run into trouble.

But still you wake and know the truth
No one's there

One hundred sixty days since he had died - almost half of a year. Time had done nothing to soothe her loss. If anything, it had heightened it, insulting her with the meaningless days, the meaningless victories and losses.

//"I love you Jaina…always…"//

Say goodnight
Don't be afraid
Calling me calling me as you fade to black

She curled into a ball on her bed and burrowed her head in her pillow, weeping quietly.

I love you, too, Zekk…

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