Stars Know Why|
Summary: Post-NJO (by about 2-3 years). In the middle of a fight, Jaina and Zekk find solace in each other. Songfic type thing.
Characters: Jaina Solo and Zekk. Brief mentions of others.
Author's Note: Thank you MiaTieska for your help with creating and beta'ing this fic. Much appreciated. :D Also, happy birthday -Tenel-Ka-. I tried writing a J/TK fic for ya, but well, it sorta wound up having J/Z tendencies too. Whoops!
So can you stay until we close our eyes
Zekk leans into the wall of the Lightning Rod, a small breath of air escaping his lips. Fingers tightly curled together, he bangs his wrist hard into the wall, swearing at the frustration and aggravation welling up inside of him. As quickly as his hand smashes against the wall, he pulls it back, cursing now at his own stupidity. He blinks his emerald eyes, fighting back the resulting pain.
"Kriff it," Zekk says, loudly and harshly. "Kriff it all."
He takes deep breaths, calming himself down. How many times has it been drilled into his head that anger was of the dark side? How many times has he had to confront those sentiments? Confront his dark past in the process? Nevertheless, it is hard for him to stop the overpowering feelings.
They never should have been assigned to this mission, Zekk decides. It was a mistake to have them work together. A big mistake. They had barely seen, spoken, to each other since Hapes, years ago. Thank the Force they are not the only Jedi onboard, now returning to Ossus after a disastrous mission on the outer rim. Two of their team killed, a couple others injured. They had not expected the Dark Jedi they encountered. It was supposed to have been simple reconnaissance. It was not.
Zekk can see Lowbacca roar at the team of five Jedi, vast approaching the Lightning Rod . He wants to laugh at the Wookiee's actions - raising his arms in the air, shaking his fists, signaling to his friends to hurry - but the scene is too desperate. Blasters echo within the canyon, and the snap hiss of igniting lightsabers can be heard. A bolt singes Zekk's shoulder-length ebony hair. He glances behind him, an attempt to discern where the blaster bolt had originated. No such luck. Zekk disengages his lightsaber, clipping it to his belt in exchange for the blaster he also carries. He fires a few shots, grinning in grim satisfaction as one bolt hits its target.
A female scream distracts him, causing the next round to miss any living being. Without thought, he runs towards the source of shout. Jaina, he realizes, a split second later, sensing her pain through the Force. He runs faster, seeing the brown haired woman sprawled on the sandy ground, her hands reaching towards her right ankle. Another spike of hurt resonates through their connection as she attempts to stand, only to fall back to the ground.
"Need help?" Zekk says in between breaths, nearing his companion.
Jaina looks up at him pointedly annoyed, her brown eyes masked with pain. "Does it look like I need help?"
Zekk rolls his eyes. Ignoring Jaina's comment, he bends down and grabs her by the armpits, helping to lift her up to standing height. She leans against him, and Zekk wraps an arm around her waist, feeling her body tense up as she attempts to put weight on her leg again.
"Don't," he whispers.
"You have a better idea?" she counters, wincing. She hides her discomfort quickly, hardening her face into grim determination. Any signs of the girl she once was fade from Zekk's eyes. At twenty-three years of age, she looks much older than he would have expected. The war with the Vong did that, he thinks. It changed all of us.
Together, they hobble towards the Lightning Rod. Lowie is still waiting impatiently at the Rod's port hatch, roaring something incomprehensible to the two Jedi. A shove through the Force cause Jaina and Zekk to stumble to the ground, meters away from the waiting ship. They fall, limbs tangled up together, hitting the sand hard. Zekk could hear the Wookie shout a warning of an approaching enemy, one of the Dark Jedi, he assumes.
He pushes Jaina off him and she lands roughly on the dirt ground. He mutters an apology, which she ignores, glaring profusely at him. He grimaces. "I guess I deserved that." Her snort is all the answer he needs.
Minutes later, Zekk and Jaina arrive at the Lightning Rod and Lowie barks a command into the comm system to Kyp to take off. Zekk helps Jaina towards an empty cargo box, allowing the woman to brace herself against its side. He then runs to the cockpit, wanting to make sure his ship was still in working order, not hearing the protests coming from the woman he left behind.
He walks down the familiar paths, ignoring the concerned stares of those he passes. He's determined to find the galley. Determined to find his stashed bottle of Corellian whisky. Determined to drink his emotions and feelings away. He passes a doorway - one of the bunks - and pauses briefly to listen inside.
It's Jaina and Kyp. They're talking, but Zekk can't here what.
A sudden surge of jealousy flares up with in him, and Zekk almost considers barging in. But he doesn't. He knows it is pointless. Knows that the past five or so years he and Jaina have spent apart only served to deepen the rift. Sometimes, memories cross his mind. Memories of a time when they were not ever at each other's throats. Memories of a time when Jaina didn't find him an annoyance, when she actually cared. Memories he wishes would just disappear.
But they never do. It disappoints him, sometimes.
He pulls open a closet door in the galley, knowing this is where he last put the liquor. It is there, just as he expects it to be. He pulls it out, and unscrews the cap. His life would be so much easier sometimes if he could forget. But some other part of him knows that that would be a lie.
He puts the bottle back.
Cause laughing lovers can overcome their closest demons
"What the kriff were you thinking just leaving me there?" Jaina yells, storming into the cockpit.
Zekk whirls around in the pilot's seat, surprised to see company. Kyp had left minutes before, relinquishing control of the Lightning Rod to Zekk, allowing the other dark haired Jedi to bring the freighter into hyperspace. She glares at him, and he swears he can almost feel her brown eyes penetrating his soul. Her lips are pressed thin in annoyance, her eyebrows furrowed. She hobbles forward, using an old pipe as a brace. She places her free hand on her hip, tapping her foot, waiting for a response
Zekk stands and glances over Jaina's irritated demeanor. He raises an eyebrow in question, confused by this sudden burst of irrationality on her behalf. "What do you mean, I left you there?"
"You know perfectly well. You left me with Lowie in the cargo bay when you know I'm one of the best pilots on this ship. You and Kyp could have used me up here."
Zekk's normally pale face flushed a pale pink with indignation. He stood, agape, his fists clenched at his side, trying to calm down. He couldn't believe her, couldn't believe how self centered, how egocentric she was being. They had just narrowly escaped death - some of their friends hadn't even been that lucky! - and she thought it was okay to come up here and yell at him for leaving her someplace safe when she was injured?
Zekk shook his head in disgust.
"You were injured, Goddess," he finally replied, deliberately drawling out the nickname. "Kyp needed someone up here in a hurry. And helping you with your ankle would have delayed that time.
"I'm sorry that I decided my responsibility to the survivors on our team is more important than your own personally glory quest."
He hadn't meant for the last part to come out sounding so harsh, but it does. Years of pent up anger and frustration, disappointment and loss, fears and love rush together, all at once. The years he spent neglected, the years he had wasted pining for her, the years they had spent as friends all mix together. A twister of emotions warring inside of him. Zekk closes his eyes, willing them to go away. But they don't.
When he opens them again, he sees Jaina staring at him like she would some Sithspawned stranger, her face ashen, her eyes filled with tears. It wasn't just the words that hit her, Zekk realizes, it was the intensity of his feelings, refracted through the Force. All of the sudden, he wants to apologize, wants to make it right between them - as if the past five years never occurred - but he doesn't know how.
"Jaina," he whispers, but she wants nothing to do with it. She rushes out of the room, as fast as she can move using the pipe as a crutch, leaving Zekk standing alone.
We climb a little further
He knocks on her door, hesitantly. Moments pass by too slowly for Zekk, as he waits for her response. Please, Jay, he thinks. He wants a chance to talk, a chance to maybe set things right this time. He hopes he can get this chance; he feels as if he deserves it.
He runs a hand through his off-black hair, smoothing the fastener at the nape of his neck, trying to keep every strand in place. He knocks on the door again, just in case he had knocked too softly the try before. Suddenly, he no longer feels like the twenty-five year old serious Jedi Knight he is, but like the thirteen year old who had broken Jaina's favorite toy, an old model of a Naboo snub fighter that her father had given to her for her tenth birthday. He feels like that boy is coming to ask for his best friend's forgiveness. But the man knows otherwise.
He hears shuffling within the room and he quells down his nerves. The door opens a crack, and a tired looking Jaina Solo peaks out. He sees her rub her eyes with her free hand, stifling a yawn as well. He knows her though - as much as either of them would refuse to admit it - and knows it's not just the lack of sleep that has gotten to her. It's the death. And the hardships of being a Jedi. And a fighter pilot, in her case.
"Can I come in?"
She nods a yes, and Zekk can feel her unsure sentiments through the Force. He pushes the door open wider, just enough to allow him to slip his body in the room. They stand in the center of her small cabin, each studying the other. Her hair is rumpled and unclean, but Zekk still thinks it looks beautiful. That's his problem, he decides. No matter what he does, he can't ever let go of her.
"Look, Goddess," he begins, taking a step closer, his hands moving in their own accord to his words, "I…"
He doesn't get a chance to finish the sentence. Jaina throws himself at him the best she can, considering her ankle, and he instinctively reaches out to catch her. The force of her momentum throws both of them against the wall, and she proceeds to kiss him, hard. He opens himself up fully to the Force, noticing that Jaina has done the same, mutual desire echoing between them. He feels her hands snake into his hair, releasing the dark strands from the clasp, allowing them to fall free to his shoulders. He buries his own hands into her dark brown hair, feeling contentment as they kiss, roughly, sloppily, desperately.
He pulls away from her, looking deep into her brandy-brown eyes, now a shade darker by desire. He can see into her soul through them, can see everything he's feeling through their Force connection. He can feel their hearts beating fast, trying, it seems, to come together in the same rhythm. She bites her lip and Zekk leans in to kiss her again, remembering the last time.
They had been en route to Hapes this time, in the Yuuzhan Vong frigate, feeling from the disastrous Myrkr strike team mission. Many lives had been lost there too. Many relationships drastically changed. Including theirs.
He knows she's upset and angry over the loss of her brothers. He knows that she wouldn't want anything to do with him anyway, but that doesn't stop Zekk from searching her out. He had sent her to get some rest hours before. She still hadn't returned.
He finds her in one of the bunks. She has been out of the Jedi trance for minutes now; it seems as if she has been trying to get some actual sleep. Trying but not succeeding. He walks over to her, sitting on the bunk without waiting for her permission. He knows that she doesn't want him here - doesn't want him around at all, but he doesn't care. All Zekk sees is his friend in trouble. And it worries him.
"Don't even skragging try to say anything to make it better, Zekk," she commands before Zekk has a chance to speak. "I don't want to hear it."
He nods, trying to understand, finding himself lacking. He sits and pulls her fragile body closer to his. To his shock, she doesn't fight him. Instead, she tilts her head at an angle, and presses his lips to his. He can taste the salty teardrops mingled in with her sweat and saliva, and that distinct taste that belonged solely to her. He shuffles on the bunk, trying to make himself more comfortable, all without breaking the deepened kiss. She groans and he smiles, feeling alive for the first time in ages.
Hands roam, exploring and discovering. Before Zekk realizes, she has stripped him of his coveralls, of her own jumpsuit as well. Flesh meets flesh, bodies intertwine, and he sinks into oblivion. They let the Force guide their actions, seeking solace in each other's warmth. It's hot, sweaty, sticky, awkward, but Sithspawn, is it amazing, Zekk thinks.
He doesn't want the moment to end, but it does, all too soon. They dress and Jaina curls up beside him, falling into a deep, content sleep, snuggling in his arms. He feels her moments peace through the Force, and smiles. But Zekk knows he has to leave though, he can't stay here. Waking up will be something else entirely, something he knows neither of them will want to face right now.
So, he gently disengages her soft body from his arms, and stands from the bunk, very quietly and carefully. He leans over, brushing a stray strand of her brown hair from her forehead. He kisses her lips gently, no frantic hurried rush needed now, whispering against them "I love you, Jay."
Then, he leaves.
It is just like the last time they let the crystal snake out of its cage, he thinks, using the term he and Jacen had crudely joked about a few months ago. They have crossed the room, crashing on to the bunk in a thud. Clothes fly, hands reach towards familiar places, only the sounds of their murmurs, pants, and curses are heard.
It's sweet torture and happy agony all at the same time. It's still frenzied and desperate, but slower all at the same time - savoring. The Force still guides their movements, but he knows they are also relying on the memories from last time. Memories that he knows will never fade away, no matter how hard he tries.
He swears he sees stars. Zekk knows that if the rest of the galaxy were to go kriffing mad, right this very moment, he wouldn't care. He wouldn't lift one Sithspawned finger to help. He wishes this moment will last forever. He knows, like last time, it won't. Together, they reach euphoria.
She curls up in his arms like last time, and he holds her gently. He wants to talk, wants to say all the things he meant to say. Wants to relearn who she is now, wants her to do the same. He knows that it's a lot he's asking, but he doesn't care.
He doesn't know if he can survive another encounter like this.
He wakes up and rolls over to his side. His eyes closed, he reaches an arm out, wanting to the girl, the woman, of his dreams. Zekk's arm falls flat onto the cot. She's gone. He knows he should have expected this. It shouldn't be a surprise, but it is. He blinks his emerald green eyes opened, and notices the indent in the bunk where her body had laid. It's still warm. She must have left recently. If he had just woken up a few minutes earlier. If he had just.
But he knows better than that. In another time, in another place, perhaps. Perhaps if this war never came, perhaps if they had never grown up, she wouldn't have left. Perhaps he would have stayed.
He sits up in the bunk, still half tangled in the sheets. He reaches for his pants, dangling there at the edge of the cot, and stands up, pulling them on. He briefly wonders where she disappeared to, why she didn't stay. He can't feel her through the Force like he did last night. She's blocking him again.
Zekk groans. He knows he should have known better. But he doesn't care. He runs a hand through his ebony hair, frowning. He's angry at himself now, disappointed that he caved in that easily. His fingers curl into a fist again, and he sighs. Self pity is not what he needs right now.
The door creaking open causes him to look up, suddenly. Jaina peaks her head in, looking uncertain. Scared, even. He watches her studying him, biting her lip in nervousness. Her long brown hair has been hastily braided back and Zekk knows she hasn't been up much longer than he has. She blinks, her eyes suddenly alert and alive, but still masking the layer of cautiousness.
He watches and she takes a step forward. He meets her in the middle of the room, and suddenly, their roles are reversed. She looks up at him, brandy-brown eyes searching into emerald counterparts.
"Can we talk?"
So can you stay until we close our eyes