Title: The Quiet Rush Of One Breath Author: Dana (aka DantanaSkywalker) Timeframe: LOTF, AU post-"Invincible" Characters: Jaina Solo, Kyp Durron Genre: angst, romance Keywords: angst, romance, K/J Summary: Jaina learns to let go. Author's Notes: Obviously AU. Just something I wrote ages back and finally decided to post. Title comes from "Holding On And Letting Go" by Ross Copperman. She wasn't used to the silence. Jaina Solo had never been a people person, true. But there had been a layer between her and everyone else ever since . . . ever since Jacen. They pretended it wasn't there, but she noticed the way her family and looked at her when they thought she couldn't see. It had become sort of claustrophobic, really. She'd escaped the awkward family dinner and come out here to the terrace, hoping some actual physical distance would make her feel less muffled. It didn't help the deafening silence in her head, in the place where Jacen had always been. It caught her off-guard still, weeks now since, like a sucker punch to the solar plexus, and then she would think, "I killed my brother." And then she would think, "I deserve this." She leaned her elbows on the railing and rested her forehead in her cupped hands, eyes closed, as she sought to fill the silence with something. "You don't have to be alone, you know." The Force had a nasty sense of humour. Jaina knew that voice. At times, she'd loathed it, and at others, it had been what she'd wanted to hear most. Right now, she wasn't sure what her preferences were. She glanced over at Kyp Durron, who had at times been friend, enemy, teacher, confidante, leader, and once upon a time, almost love. He probably didn't know how close she'd come to giving in to his advances. And since her split with Jag, distance had felt . . . safe. Now, there was too much distance everywhere. "I know," she said, and knew he wasn't referring to her being out here while her family had ryshcake. "I mean, logically. But Uncle Luke said I would be . . ." Kyp propped his elbows on the rail beside her. "He also said Jacen would be a great Jedi Master. So you're the Sword of the Jedi. I'm sure Jag would follow your lead anywhere you went, Sticks." "He would if he weren't head of the Moffs Council." She scoffed a little. "Maybe. I dunno. I've been down that path, and it didn't end so well the first time. Being swept off your feet kind of hurts when they drop you." "Mmm." She studied her old friend. "I see you cut your hair. I think it's even shorter than you had it during the Vong war." He ran his fingers a little sheepishly through his dark curls. "You know, a lot of these grey hairs are your fault. The things you put me through." Jaina laughed. "Ah, you know you love me." His expression sobered, and she mentally gulped. "Yeah, well." She hadn't meant anything by it, but suddenly, she was very aware of him. His green eyes were intense, and a little sad, and she realised that even if he'd had someone back on Coruscant, like she'd heard, his feeings for her were still there. "So . . . you cut your hair," she repeated, just a touch awkwardly. "Any particular reason?" Kyp shrugged. "I only had it that long because I was seeing someone who liked it that way. After we evacuated Coruscant, I sort of figured there was no need to keep it." "Bad break-up?" "No," he said, and he sounded a little surprised himself. "I just realised that I . . . didn't want to ask her to come with when we left. So I broke it off." "That's a good reason," she said, with an edge of dark humour to her voice. "Yeah, apathy towards someone big in your life generally indicates it isn't going to work." Kyp sighed heavily. "Not that I didn't like her, or anything. I just knew that she wasn't . . ." "The one?" He nodded. "Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever find the one." She pushed a stray random pebble off the railing and watched it tumble from sight. Kyp, too, watched the pebble's descent, in silence. "What about you?" she asked him. "Would you . . . follow someone wherever they needed to go, because they had a calling? Give up everything for them?" His gaze met hers, steady and unwavering. "For the right someone. Technically, I could be a council member anywhere." "True." She watched him for a moment. "Do you think you'll keep looking?" "For what?" "You know. The one." Kyp fixed her with a solid green gaze. "Jaina. I've been your friend for . . . a long time. But right now . . . I can't say this as your friend, because your friend would lie and say yes." She had to look away at that, cheeks a little flushed and her heart skipping. He glanced back to the city around them. "Finding them isn't necessarily the hard part," he continued. "Getting them tends to be more difficult. Also, getting over them if you can't get them. I should know, I've been trying for over ten years." Jaina looked at him with just her eyes, keeping her face turned down, head ducked. "I find that if I try for a while at something, and can't do it, I'm not supposed to succeed." There was a long moment of startled silence. He made a vague, non-committal noise, but she felt a frission of surprise in the Force. Jaina knew what he was thinking then, almost as if he'd spoken aloud, and she wondered why she hadn't noticed before how easy reading Kyp Durron was for her. Even after all these years, it took no effort to slip back into the habit of unconsciously finding each other in the Force and opening up. She could explain it away as needing someone accepting of her right now, someone to whom it didn't matter that she'd committed fratricide--even to save the galaxy--and just wanted to be there for her. She could do that, and it might even have been part of the reason. But there was more to it than that, and she'd been thinking about it since he'd come to see her in the med centre while she'd recovered. "Maybe you should stop trying," she heard herself say. "Because I don't know if I should be flattered or offended." He laughed softly. "Flattered, Goddess." At the old nickname, she knew he'd felt it, too, the old connection between them. "I wasn't there for you when the Killik thing happened. I tried being friends, Jaina. It didn't work and I had to stay away because I couldn't make myself stop." He paused and licked his lips, searching for words he'd always thought but had never felt he could share. Now that she'd given him permission, the words wouldn't come. "I tried convincing myself that it was just . . . a crush. For a while, that worked, telling myself I'd just been lonely. But seeing you hurting, knowing you had to do this and there was nothing I could do to help you, I knew I was wrong. And I know that I can't be in your life and not be part of it." The silence following his speech was a little awkward, and it left Jaina floundering for a response. It stretched and stretched until something had to break. "You don't have to be alone," she said. He frowned, wondering why she was repeating his words. The conversation still didn't seem real, and hadn't at all been what he'd intended when he'd followed her outside. "Being alone sucks Hutt slime. I don't even have as much practise as you, because I've been bounced between two men for about fourteen years. Those relationships failed for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that I kept throwing one into solid objects with the Force." He smirked, knowing which one she was referring to. "But they didn't work, whatever the reasons. And they spent so much time fighting over me that neither one supported me in the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life." Jaina paused, considering her words. "I don't want to imply I'm just afraid to be alone. Part of me thinks I should be alone, because I clearly can't make relationships work, romantic or otherwise. Kriff it, I shoved a lightsaber through my own twin's chest. That doesn't speak highly of interpersonal skills, does it?" He just gazed at her, declining comment. She sighed heavily, finally looking at him. "Okay, I am afraid to be alone. But I keep coming back to the thought that I want what my parents have. And it occurs to me, somewhat belatedly, that maybe I don't have that because I pushed away the one I'd find that with." She shortened the space between them, took a deep breath before she blurted, "Want to look with me?" Kyp searched her face, hunting for any sign that she was making herself say it. Uncertainty was written clearly across his features. "Jaina . . . be sure what you're saying." "I am," she said quietly. She stood on her toes and reached for him. After a moment, he let his arms close around her and bent his head. Kyp let her close that final gap, needing her to meet him halfway, after thirteen years. The kiss itself was secondary, really, to the fact that it had happened at long last. And as they kissed, Jaina realised that some silences were good.