One Room Too Small|
Summary: Post-NJO (by about 3 years). Fluffly J/TK ficlet, with hints of J/Z.
Characters: Jacen Solo, Tenel Ka, Jaina Solo, Zekk
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!
Pressing the button on the small black device, his brandy brown eyes narrowed as his sister's voice broke the silence of the cramped quarters he had been given. "Jasa, I hope this message finds you in good health. Zekk and I are currently on Hapes, taking a break from working with the Suns."
There was a pause, and Jacen was sure that if his sister had been standing right in front of him, she would have been biting her lower lip, unsure as to what to say next. For the fifty fifth time, Jacen wondered what the kriff his sister was doing in the Hapes cluster. And with Zekk for that matter.
"The thing is," the voice continued, "we're worried about Tenel Ka. I've tried reaching out to her with the Force to try and figure out what's wrong,, but she's been blocking all my attempts. Zekk says it looks like she might have the Balmorra Flu. It doesn't seem like anything to worry that much over."
A quick laugh, the sound of a hand slapping a clothed body part, and the message ended. He frowned, his brandy brown eyes narrowing towards the comlink. Jaina sounded so casual in the message. But if Tenel Ka was sick?
And so, here he was, sitting on the small cot, his hands nervously running all over the comlink, on his way to the Hapes Cluster. On the last check, the pilot had told him they would pull out of hyperspace within the hour. Jacen could have sworn it had been through gritted teeth. Jacen blinked. So what if he was eager to be planet side? He was worried. About his sister, about Zekk (why was he with Jaina again?), and most of all about Tenel Ka. The Queen Mother. His best friend from his boyhood days at the old Jedi Academy on Yavin Four. His first love and his now….
His now what?
The Jedi ran a finger through his tousled brown hair, wondering when he had let it grow so long. It needed to get cut at some point. He chuckled. If only his mother could see him now. On second thought, perhaps it was perhaps for the best she didn't.
Playing the comlink message once again, Jacen Solo sighed. Did it contain a hidden message? Was Jaina playing a prank? Was Tenel Ka's condition worse than she let on? Why did it stop so suddenly?
It was going to be a long trip to Hapes.
Jaina Solo grinned wickedly at Zekk as she pointed out a specific name on the passenger manifest to her companion. "He's coming," she said with a laugh.
The dark haired Jedi reached over the woman and grabbed the datapad from her hands, earning a small punch in protest. He stepped away quickly, careful to avoid other beings in the crowded spaceport, out of range of Jaina's grasp. He chuckled when she stuck her tongue out at him, reminding him distinctly of the girl he knew growing up on Coruscant. He smiled back at her and then turned his emerald gaze towards the datapad.
"I told you it would work, Jay," Zekk replied.
Jaina nodded, walking towards the other Jedi. She stopped half a meter in front of him, hands folded against her chest as she looked at him seriously. "It's a good thing too. Tenel Ka might not show it, but she really misses the nerf herder."
She paused, biting her lip, suddenly feeling awkward and confused in front of her friend. What in the vapin' nine Corellian hells? she wondered, looking away towards a passing Bothan and human rather than meeting his eyes.
A hand on her shoulder forced her to look up. Zekk had taken an uncomfortable step forward and Jaina tried hard not to step away. "So, after we get Jacen to the palace, I'll go talk with Tenel Ka. You'll deal with your brother, right?"
Jaina nodded, pushing back all previous thoughts and feelings aside. "Right." She laughed. "He'll have no idea what hit him."
The short trip from Hapes Docking Bay 58 had been quiet and uneventful, Jacen mused. His twin had driven the speeder smoothly, not at all at her normally fast and reckless speed. Aside from initial conversation, neither she nor Zekk had spoken much. Once they reached the Hapan Palace, Zekk had quickly excused himself, saying that he had to contact the Twin Suns about something. Jaina had refused to leave her brother's side, however, leading him quickly from the entrance to her rooms, almost as if she was smuggling him in.
But that wouldn't make sense, Jacen thought as he sat on the edge of her bed, waiting for her to return from the 'fresher. He wanted to see Tenel Ka, as he had mentioned to his sister multiple times already, but she had simply brushed him off and changed the topic, claiming the Queen Mother was busy and that he'd see her later. For all accounts, Jaina had made it seem as if there was something wrong with the warrior woman in her message. And now she acted so nonchalant, the other Solo swore he would scream.
He stood and began to pace, only to be interrupted mid step by a giggle. He glared at his sister, and her brandy brown gaze met his just as fiercely. A small smile graced her features as she studied him. He felt ridiculous, and suddenly realized that his is what any of the creatures in his old mergene must have felt like when he watched them in their cages.
"Jaina, can we please go see Tenel Ka now?"
"No," she said simply, crossing the room to sit down on the bed.
"But isn't that why you asked me here?"
Jaina shrugged her shoulders. "I never said that. In fact, I don't recall anywhere in that message asking you to come to Hapes."
He frowned, moving back towards the bed to sit next to her. Kriff, could she be difficult when she wanted to be. "Jaya, what's going on?"
She blinked, raising an eyebrow in question. "What are you talking about, brother dear?"
That sealed it. Brother dear? She was up to something. "Jaina," he said, warningly.
"You sound a lot like Dad when you say my name like that," came the quip.
He rolled his eyes, not wanting to get into a squabble with his sister. "Can we please go see Tenel Ka now?"
She stood up, flashing a grin at her brother that definitely reminded him just how much she took after their father. "Sure!"
He bit back a groan. That was too easy.
A push and a shove later, Jacen Solo found himself stumbling backwards into a darkened storage closet. "Ow," he groaned, rubbing the elbow that succeeded in banging into a shelf, causing a stack of flimsi to fall on his foot. Regaining his balance, he rushed back over to the door, only to find it locked. He banged his fist hard, causing him to wince, only to get no response.
"Tenel Ka?" he asked in shock, turning around fast, using the Force to help pinpoint where the sound was coming from. Carefully, he walked over towards the source of the sound. His hands reached out, and he felt a jolt as it came in contact with the smooth feel of his friend's shoulder. Just as quickly as his hand had landed on tanned skin, he pulled it off as if he had been burned. "How did she manage to get you in here too?"
"She?" the Hapan Queen Mother replied in an even tempered voice. "Perhaps you are mistaken. It was Zekk who brought me to this closet."
He frowned, and ran a hand through his brown hair. "They must've been working together."
Before either had a chance to say another word, a muffled sound came through from the comlink clipped to Jacen's belt.
"Jasa, Tenel Ka, now don't get the wrong idea, but we figured it was about time you two stopped playing around with your feelings and do something about it." Jaina flashed a grin at Zekk as she paused for breath. "I figured if working on the hypderdrive of the Falcon was romantic enough for Mom and Dad, a storage closet should work fine for you two."
She winked at Zekk and handed him the comlink. "What Jaina was implying is that you are a lovesick idiot, and personally, I'm sick of you moping around Ossus. I talked to your sister and she agrees."
Jaina snatched the comlink away from her friend before he can continue. "Tenel Ka, Jacen might not admit it, but he's been in love with you since we first met you. And Jacen, Tenel Ka was heartbroken when we had thought you died after Myrkr. Both of you, Zekk and I refuse to let you out until you've worked through this. So good luck."
She flipped the comlink off and smiled. "Think that'll work?"
Zekk chuckled, wrapping his arm around a startled Jaina. "If it doesn't, then your brother is more hopeless than I thought."
Jaina nodded, her senses acutely aware - and preoccupied - by the dark haired Jedi's close proximity. What is going on with me? she wondered, every molecule of her body hyperaware of his presence next to hers. This wasn't supposed to be part of the deal when she and Zekk had agreed to rebuild their fragile friendship months ago. She had thought she had left those sorts of feelings behind with her girlhood.
As if reading her mind, Zekk let go and took a step away from her, causing Jaina to breathe a sigh of relief. Her eyebrows furrowed in confusion as he stepped in front of her, one hand briefly caressing her cheek. "I think we had the right idea with giving them someplace private to work out their issues. What do you say, want to do the same?"
His emerald eyes stared into her brandy brown ones. "To talk?" she asked in a small voice, cursing herself for acting like such a Sithspittin'…girl!
"Among other things," he said softly, taking her hand in his larger one. She looked down at the clasped hand briefly and smiled. Maybe talking wouldn't be such a bad thing after all.
"Sithspawn, Tenel Ka, can you believe that they locked us in here like that?"
Jacen leaned against the door, his arms folded across his chest, a serious expression on his face. He couldn't believe that they had gone and done something like this. He and Jaina were going to have to have a talk when he got out of here. A long one.
The awkward silence was really getting to the Jedi. He moved away from the door to step closer in Tenel Ka's direction. His eyes had adjusted to the darkness of the closet, and could now see shadowy outlines of objects. Between that and the Force, he was able to make his way over to the queen without much of a problem.
He stopped a few paces in front of her, wishing that he could see her cool grey eyes. Not that it would help him figure out what she was feeling right now - the Dathormirian never revealed her emotions, only in rare cases die he ever get to see so much as a smile.
"So…" he continued, not sure what to say next. He figured he had two choices: dance around the topic forever or cut straight to the point. Either way, he didn't think it would be fun.
"Was it true, what she said?" Jacen looked in her direction in shock. Had they really just spoken at the same time?
He nodded, adding in a small "yeah," upon realizing that he might not be able to make out the head nod in the dark.
"Fact," she replied a split second later.
He could feel his heart pounding. It was as if all his dreams were coming true at once. Did she just admit that she was possibly once in love with him? Did that mean that she still could be? Kriff it all, he decided. Maybe Jaya and Zekk had a point there, not that he'd ever admit it.
Jacen flashed the Queen Mother the trademark Solo grin. "Fact, eh?"
He took a step closer, his hands landing on either side of her waist. He could feel the well-toned muscles under the Hapan receiving robe she wore, the jolt of electricity radiating through him again.
"Friend Jacen," Tenel Ka began, her voice as steady as ever. She paused, and Jacen's heart skipped a beat. He felt his breath hitch, but didn't care. He stood there, unmoving, until she uttered her next words: "I am afraid that I am at a loss for words."
"Maybe now is not the time for words," he whispered softly, closing the distance between them. He felt another shiver go down his spine, but he ignored it. "I think Jaina might have said enough for both of us."
He stared into her eyes, pulling her body close to his. Was that the lack of light playing tricks on him or were there tears in her eyes? "Well, Tenel?"
"Fact," she replied softly and confidently, tilting her head up and firmly planting a kiss on the shocked Jacen.
One of his hands snaked up her body and cupped her cheek as he kissed back. So this is what heaven felt like, he realized, the last coherent thought in his head for a long time.
Jaina yawned as she walked down the palace corridor the next morning, ignoring the plants and paintings that aligned the palace walls. She had completely forgotten about her brother and the Queen, and the fact that they were still in the supplies closet where she and Zekk had left them before their, well, she guess she'd call it a date. She smiled at the thought of the other night, and yawned again
She heard her comlink buzz and she picked up the device, flicking it on. "Mornin' sleepyhead," she said, her own voice still tired.
"Good morning yourself," came the reply. "You left before I woke."
"That was because I suddenly realized we had forgotten all about Jacen and Tenel Ka," Jaina explained to Zekk, hoping he wouldn't be too hurt. "Wait, hold on a sec, I'm at the closet door."
Activating the code on the panel next to the door, she smiled to herself as she waited for it to open. Hopefully, all that time spent locked in there together was enough for the two Jedi to work out some sort of arrangement. She peered inside, and gasped, her brandy brown eyes suddenly wide and alert. Quickly turning her back so that it faced the opposite wall, she used the Force to close the still partially opening door as fast as she could.
"Hey Jay? Everything okay?" Zekk asked through the comlink.
Jaina bit her lip, not ready to respond. Out of all the possible scenarios she had pictured a result of this plan, walking in on her brother, half naked and kissing Tenel Ka was not what she imagined. She wanted that image out of her mind. And fast.
"I'm…I'm alright," she finally replied. "Just…remind me never to lock my brother in a closet with Tenel Ka ever again."