Summary: Post-NJO slightly angsty songfic.
Characters: Jaina Solo, Zekk
"I didn't think you'd be here," he said, making himself comfortable on the narrow bench. He eyed the remnants of a decades-old blaster bolt behind the young woman, one eyebrow raised curiously at the 'decoration'.
Her eyes met his emerald green ones, the hidden mischief that once shone from them shadowed by lessons learned from harsh realities.
"Just because we became estranged during the war doesn't mean I'd break my promise, Zekk," Jaina snapped.
"Goddess," he replied, chuckling at her old nickname from five years ago, "no need to have a temper. I guess I was just surprised…"
Hope dangles on a string
"Remember when we decided on this?"
"Was it really ten years ago?"
"Yeah," Jaina sighed wistfully, remembering how simple life had been then. "You were going off to be a bounty hunter…"
"…And you didn't want me to leave the Academy." Zekk paused as a small wave of sadness washed over him through the Force, echoing from both himself and his companion. The lives lost could never be replaced, but the time for mourning had passed.
Funny how a simple recollection could change that at times.
"We made a pact: wherever we were, ten years later, we'd meet," Jaina chuckled, forcing the morose mood that had briefly overtaken them behind. "So here we are…"
"But why the kriff did you pick a cantina on Mos Eisley?"
Jaina burst into peals of laughter at Zekk's perplexed expression. "We argued about that, remember? You wanted Dhalbreth Square, but I wanted here. 'Cause of it's importance…Dad met Uncle Luke here, and, I don't know…at fifteen it just seemed fitting…since this is where it all sort of started."
Zekk nodded, moving a strand of his dark hair away from his face. "Life was easier then, wasn't it?"
"Much," was the one word reply.
The shine of it has caught my eye
"How's Fel?" Zekk's question broke the silence that had settled over the two former friends.
"He's doing good. Happy. I think happier than I've seen him since his father died. Being a father himself suits him. He and Tahiri have an adorable little boy."
She smiled softly at the memories; it had become ritual to visit Jag, Tahiri, and their baby boy whenever her diplomatic duties brought her to Coruscant. It was an odd coupling, but it worked. Her fellow ambassador and former love always made her feel at home.
Zekk's heart skipped an unexpected beat. "What happened?"
"He just wasn't scoundrel enough."
Zekk's head jerked up quickly from the drink he nursed in his hands. "What?" he asked, startled.
"You and love," she stated bluntly.
"Oh," Zekk stuttered. He didn't really want to talk about this. He didn't know how to, especially around Jaina. It would be weird, to say the least.
"She…well…there was someone, but it just didn't work out. It couldn't," he finally decided on.
"I'm sorry," she said, sincerely.
"Don't be," Zekk reassured, reaching out to place a hand over hers. They both smiled at the familiar gesture. Jaina looked at him rather shyly, and then withdrew her hand back to her ale. "We were too different."
And I was in love with someone else, he admitted only to himself.
And I am flawed
"…Yeah, Dad finally did succeed in convincing Lowie to take another break from honoring Chewie's life debt to help the Jedi on Ossus with some computer issue for a while. And honestly, I think Dad's just still missing Chewie. He loves Lowie and Waroo, but it's not the same," Jaina finally concluded, giving Zekk a whirlwind update on her family's lives.
"Understandable. What about Jacen?"
The mention of her twin brought a smile to Jaina's face. Her brown eyes lightened, and shone with a love reserved specially for her brother. In that moment, Zekk saw a reflection of the young and eager girl he had befriended on Coruscant a lifetime ago, when he 'accidentally' stole Jacen's chronometer. A brief moment of doubt, a wonder of what if crossed his mind. A feeling of reassurance through the Force pushed it away. He smiled gratefully at Jaina, whispering a thanks through the Jedi connection.
"He's finally at peace with himself," Jaina explained, happily, returning them to their previous train of thought. "Tenel Ka was probably the best thing that ever happened to him, especially after everything he went through with the Vong. It just took him long enough to realize that."
Zekk's mouth quirked into a smile. "I know. I got a holomessage from them the other day…an invite to the ceremony."
Jaina took a sip of her ale. "They're just right together."
"They always have been," Zekk agreed.
"I'm sorry, Jaina," Zekk said, breaking the momentary awkward silence that had settled between the two.
"What the kriff are you sorry for?"
"Not keeping our friendship alive," he replied, ignoring Jaina's sharp and puzzled tone.
Her eyes narrowed, and Zekk felt the urge to continue his thought quickly, not wanting to deal with another sharp-tongued retort.
"I was selfish, and wrong." He gazed up at the ceiling, taking a deep breath before meeting her eyes again. "I shouldn't have abandoned you on Hapes. But I was worried. I knew if…if you had turned all the way, the Jedi would have been forced to stop you, and I… I wouldn't have been able to do my job."
It's always been like that for me, Jay. And then, all those years after the Hapes incident, I couldn't face you. I knew you had moved on from our friendship to ones with Jag, and Kyp…and…" He waved a hand dismissively. "It just didn't seem to matter anymore. I figured our friendship was a thing of the past. So I let it rot away."
Can you forgive me?"
His hopeful emerald eyes peered into Jaina's. She opened her mouth to reply, then closed it just as quickly. It was clear that his confession had caught the Jedi off guard.
"Yeah Zekk, I can," she finally admitted, shrugging her shoulders as if it were no big deal. "But you have to forgive me too. I had no right to alienate you like I did - any of you."
And suddenly, the silence wasn't so awkward any more.
"There's something else I should tell you."
Jaina stared at him pointedly. Suddenly, surprisingly, she could feel him clearly through the Force, much better than she ever had before. She gasped at the feelings rolling off of him, shocked. Common sense told her that Zekk was doing this purposely, using the empathy between Jedi to enforce whatever it was he was going to say next, but it still stunned her he was doing so. She bit her lower lip nervously, knowing what was coming next.
"I never stopped loving you."
Too deep now to ever swim against the current
"Zekk, I don't know what to say. I…" she trailed off, at a complete loss of words.
He smiled dryly, softly. "It's okay. I understand. It's…"
"A lot to take in at once," Jaina finished in with a chuckle. Her brown eyes seemed to be more alive than at any other point in the night. "I wish I could tell you the same right now, but I don't know Zekk." She paused. "I wish I did. But, maybe…you wouldn't be interested in getting a cup of caf tomorrow night, would you?"
Zekk smiled. "Only if I can pick the place." "Deal."