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Beyond - Legends Counting Stars (Post-FOTJ, K/J) Completed 8/19/16

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Dantana Skywalker, Jan 25, 2016.

  1. Dantana Skywalker

    Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Apr 7, 2002
    I think I tried one of these before, but didn't get very far. Whoops.

    Title: Counting Stars
    Author: DantanaSkywalker
    Rating: PG
    Timeframe: post-FOTJ
    Characters: Jaina Solo, Kyp Durron, Leia Solo, Han Solo, others
    Genre: angst, romance
    Keywords: angst, romance, K/J
    Summary: Relationships are not easy. Sequel to "Yellow" and "Breakeven".
    Author's Notes: A series of vignettes inspired by prompts. Takes place after "Apocalypse".


    --Prompts--
    Sleep, Love, Pain, Crazy, Glass
    Seduction, Moonlight, Happiness, Tears, Gentle
    Cry, Silence, Sun, Twilight, Tonight
    Secret, Blossom, Nocturnal, Control, Apology
    Crimson, Hope, Alone, Advice, Blankets
    Smirk, Tomorrow, Fly, Elope, Kiss
    Moment, Eternal, Wish, Darkness, Adoration
    Listen, Vow, Heart, Regret, Insomnia
    Embrace, Dark Eyes, Hands, Special, Sacrifice
    Mistake, Stars, Entwined, Grace, Question
    (Note: "Seduction" will not be posted here, as it doesn't fit the board's rating limit.)




    --Cry--

    He's checking his messages one last time before bed, already up way too late from meetings. Jaina Fel has been absent from the last three council meetings, and he's worried. When he sees a communication from Han Solo, marked "urgent", Kyp forgets all thoughts of sleep.

    There isn't much to it, just that the family is on Hapes and Kyp is needed there as fast as he can manage. It's already a few hours old. He's got his boots on before he's even realized he's out of the chair.

    It's 0300 as he shoots a message to Luke that he's leaving and tosses his hastily-packed flightbag into the cockpit of his StealthX. It isn't far from Shedu Maad to Hapes, but it feels like he's got the galaxy to cross.

    Briefly, he wonders why Han summoned him, not Luke. Spends a lot more time wondering if this is about Jaina.

    Then he thinks, "Of course it is. Why else would Han comm me in the middle of the night?"

    Kyp hasn't properly spoken to her since before she got married a little over a year ago. He's resigned himself to being fifty and still single, still stupidly in love with a married woman.

    You're the one that dumped Thelia, he reminds himself.

    But he hadn't loved Lia. Anyway, last he's heard, she's married herself, with a little one on the way. That could have been him, but he couldn't do that to her.

    So now he finds himself running off in the middle of the night, potentially to the rescue of the one woman he can't have, all because he's an idiot who held back when he should have made a move.

    It's a short series of jumps, only a few hours, but getting through the convoluted mess that is the Hapes cluster means he has to pay attention for every step. He's been awake well over a standard day by the time he exits hyperspace and hails Hapes Control for landing clearance.

    He knows Han and Leia are frequent visitors to Hapes, practically living at the palace. The Queen Mother's heir, Allana, is their granddaughter. He can't imagine what's so urgent that Han had to summon him this way, and by this point, he's too tired to run through the possibilities too much.

    Did something happen to Jaina? To Jag?

    Kyp shoves that aside and lands his fighter not far from the Millennium Falcon. He's not exactly surprised to find Han Solo there, the ramp down and sounds of mechanical repair going on inside. Han stands by the ramp with Jaina's droid, Rowdy, wiping his hands on a cloth as he watches Kyp approach.

    "You look like hell, kid," Han says finally.

    "You said it was urgent," Kyp points out. "I haven't slept, and I'm not young enough to pull all-nighters anymore."

    Han's hazel eyes pass over Kyp's greying hair and he shakes his head. "Sometimes I still see you as that obnoxious sixteen-year-old. You should have those of your own by now."

    His friend knows very well why he doesn't. "Han. What was so urgent?"

    A curse sounds from inside the ship, a voice Kyp would know anywhere. Han jerks his head towards it.

    "I tracked down your missing council member," is all Han says.

    Jaina's here, judging from the droid, her curses, and Han's remark. Arching a brow, Kyp pushes past him. He's tired, he's hungry, and he's irritated by whatever game Han is playing.

    Han's voice stops him as he puts a foot down on the ramp. "Oh, and, uh, make sure you got your lightsaber. You might need it."

    Baffled, Kyp checks for the weapon he knows is at his hip. Then he turns and boards the old freighter. Following the creative use of expletives, some of them in tongues he doesn't know, he finds Jaina upside down in the main cabin area, only her legs sticking out of the open hatch in the floor.

    He crouches by the hatch. She hasn't noticed him, too busy yelling at the part she's fixing to hear his approach. In a lull between curses, he speaks.

    "Need help?"

    Jaina yelps and topples head-first into the compartment. Kyp laughs and peers over the edge at her, somewhat cautiously. A wrench nearly hits him in the head and he retreats.

    After a minute, she picks herself up and stands, her head barely emerging from the compartment. Sometimes, he forgets how tiny she is. She glares at him, brandy-brown eyes flashing.

    "What are you doing here?"

    Kyp picks up the wrench she threw and holds it out. "You missed the last three council meetings, Master Fel."

    Something goes through her eyes and she snatches the wrench hard enough to hurt. He flexes his fingers, frowning as she goes back to her repair. When a series of clangs erupt from the hole, he asks, "Are you fixing that or trying to beat it into submission?"

    "Go away, Durron," she snarls.

    "If I wanted my head bit off, I'd go play with Allana's nexu," he says mildly. "You ignored Luke's summons. You never do that."

    She tells him in Huttese to perform physiologically impossible acts.

    Kyp rolls his eyes, used to her brand of anger, and sits on the floor.

    After a minute of more bangs and pounding, it stops. He hears the wrench fall to the floor. She's stopped inventing contortions for him to try. In fact, she's stopped speaking at all.

    When he shifts to look down, he sees Jaina sitting on the floor of the compartment, hand pressed to her mouth, tears running down her cheeks. It takes him a second to realise her wedding ring is missing.

    He realizes then that he's been set up.

    Without a thought, he lowers himself over the edge and sits next to her.

    "You wanna talk about it?" he asks gently.

    "No."

    "Okay."

    They sit in silence for a while. Eventually, she stops crying, and it's only then that he dares take her hand, holding it up to examine her bare finger. He doesn't have to say anything, just run his fingertips over the empty space.

    "I don't know why I thought I could make it work," she says, her voice raspy from her tirade against the hyperdrive. "I mean, we broke up twice after we got engaged, and even that took fifteen years of fighting before he asked."

    "When did this happen?"

    "Officially? Yesterday. Unofficially, it's been a few weeks."

    Kyp let his head drop back against the wall. "Uh-huh."

    "I just got tired of it," she whispers. "The bickering, everything. The Moffs Council wants him back. He wanted to move to Bastion."

    "Did he start up with the 'leave the Jedi for me' stuff again?"

    Silently, she nods.

    "I'm sorry. I hoped that when he stepped down, it meant you two had worked that out."

    "I thought we had." She withdraws her hand from his and lets out a shuddering sigh. "But I guess we were just too different. I run hot, he runs cold."

    "For what it's worth, I hope you guys would make it last."

    She snorts. "No, you didn't."

    He tips his head, looking at her directly for the first time since she threw the wrench at his head. "I did. One of us should get that happy ending. You were the more likely candidate anyway. Besides . . ."

    When he stops, she prompts, "What?"

    "Your happiness has always been the more important thing to me. Even if it wasn't with me."

    It's the first time he's ever spoken aloud of his feelings for her, after close to twenty years. It was just always silently acknowledged, after that awkward rooftop picnic on Borleias when she was nineteen.

    She's thirty-six now, her own brief apprentice recently Knighted. He's proud of that fact, even if he didn't have a hand in training Ben Skywalker. He enjoys Jaina's successes. Most of them.

    He doesn't take pleasure in this failure, contrary to what some would think. He hates to see her hurting.

    "So what now?" he asks. "Is it over-over, or is it gonna drag out in an ugly mess . . .?"

    Jaina exhales slowly. "It's over-over. Everything's filed away, all neat and tidy, as of yesterday afternoon. I . . . didn't even tell Mom and Dad about it until last night."

    Then she narrows her eyes, shifting to look at him. "How did you know I was here? To get here from Shedu Maad, you had to leave last night."

    There's no point in lying. It will only make her angry. "I left at 0300. Han said it was urgent."

    She scoops the wrench off the floor and throws it with a frustrated yell. It bounces off the wall, richocets, and narrowly misses her head.

    "That wrench sure likes skulls," he comments, smothering a laugh.

    "ARGH! I'm going to strangle-" Jaina begins to stand, to go yell at her father.

    Kyp gives in to the laugh, grabbing her hand to yank her back. "Jay. He was doing what a father does. He knew you needed a friend. One that, incidentally, is pretty used to taking your abuse. Couldn't be Zekk, obviously, Taryn would probably punch you for throwing a wrench at her husband."

    With an explosive sigh, Jaina drops back down to sit beside him. "You're not my punching bag."

    She leans her head against his shoulder, the first contact she's initiated in years. "I left him," she tells him. "All this time, I've been afraid of people leaving, and I'm the one that walked away."

    "You can't fix something that's fundamentally broken."

    "Do you mean me, or my marriage?"

    "You're not broken, Jaina. You might have been banged up around the edges from time to time, but I've never seen you break."

    "And you've been watching a long time. Creep."

    It's said with humour and a nudge to his side. He gives her one back. She laughs. He gets the feeling, from the slightly surprised expression that comes over her, that she hasn't really laughed in a while.

    "You and Jag tried. You tried long after I would have called it quits, and I'm almost the most stubborn man in existence," Kyp says.

    "You're one to talk about letting go of things," she mutters. Jaina straightens, rubs the bare spot on her finger.

    Kyp gives her another nudge. "I just have a lot more experience at trying too hard."

    She reaches up and tugs at one of his silver-streaked black curls. "Yeah, you're really getting up there, aren't you?"

    "I didn't start going grey until I took you as my apprentice. I got my first grey hair at thirty-three. Thirty-three! And it was your fault!"

    "Oh, sure, blame me for lousy genetics." She gives the curl another pull.

    He catches her hand, wraps his around it, holding it away from his hair. Her breath catches, just a little, and he almost misses it.

    Almost.

    There's suddenly too little air in their compartment. Kyp drops her hand as if burned, rattled by what that tiny hitch in her breathing does to him. He'd thought he was over that gut reaction by now, but apparently not. She quickly looks away, so he can't see her face, but if she didn't feel it, too, he'll kiss a Wookiee.

    He clears his throat. "What are you going to do now?"

    She takes a moment to reply. "Well, the first thing I'm doing is dropping 'Fel'. And then . . . I don't know. Pack up his things out of our quarters at the Temple and send them to Bastion."

    "Or burn them."

    Jaina laughs. "Or that."

    "I've got a lighter, if you need one."

    "I will keep that in mind."

    Kyp stands, not without difficulty because they've been sitting there a while and his rear end is numb. He offers Jaina a hand up and she takes it.

    "I'm still going to have a word with Dad about him tricking you into coming here," she says.

    "He did what he needed to do."

    "Yeah, but he didn't need to trick you."

    He touches her shoulder when she turns to adjust the coupling on a bundle of wires. "I don't mind. You know I don't. It's not like he could just tell me what happened."

    She sighs. "Yeah."

    "You okay now? Not going to mangle the hyperdrive more?"

    "I'm good. And Kyp?"

    "Yeah?"

    "Thank you."

    "Any time, Goddess."
     
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  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_dancing] You are spoiling me plum rotten! And I adore it! :D

    Yup, at least they tried but the running hot then cold, together than not, :eek: :rolleyes:

    The K/J equivalent of Luke with anyone but Mara [face_laugh] One of two reasons he didn't work out with Callista :p

    I felt Kyp's sincerity when he said her happiness mattered more to him than anything, even if it was with someone else. [face_love]
     
  3. Dantana Skywalker

    Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Apr 7, 2002
    Thanks! I know, I've been on a huuuuge K/J kick lately. I've got about 1/3 of the 50 here written already. All from what was supposed to be a funny drabble with Jaina teasing Kyp over a yellow speeder.
     
  4. Dantana Skywalker

    Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Apr 7, 2002
    --Pain--

    She moves her quarters from the ones she shared with Jag to another area, and her parents assist. As she packs up Jag's things to send to him on Bastion, she finds herself sitting on the floor, surrounded by boxes, holding her hand. She's cut herself on one of the cartons, and red blood wells up across her palm.

    "He's not even here and he can hurt me," she says to her mother, as Leia fetches the first aid kit. "Why?"

    Leia helps her clean the wound and apply a bacta patch. She's quiet for several long moments, considering her daughter's question. "I don't know," she says finally. "Because you let him? This isn't really him, though, you know that."

    Jaina rubs her thumb over the fabric backing of the patch and sighs. "I know. I loved him. I still love him. And I *know* he loves me. But why did he- Why did I let him hurt me so much? Why did I keep taking him back? It should have been clear early on it wasn't going to work."

    "Because you love him," Leia says. "But sometimes, love isn't enough. Look at Tenel Ka. She and Jacen loved each other, but that wasn't enough. Jacen loved something else more."

    Jaina nods. "And Jag loves the Empire more. I always knew that. I thought I could take second place to it. I mean, my duty to the Jedi . . ."

    "I don't think Jag intentionally hurt you, Jaina. He was just raised very differently than you were."

    "As nice as that is to hear, it doesn't change that he did."

    "I know."

    Jaina heaves a sigh and shoves the rest of Jag's things into the cargo container for him. There's surprisingly little of it. Most of his stuff he kept on the Gilad Pellaeon, his Star Destroyer, and then later on his personal craft after he stepped down as Head of State.

    Her naked ring finger itches, and she scratches idly at the skin.

    "I spent too long on him," she says. "No more. He had seventeen of the best years of my life. He's not getting the rest."
     
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  5. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Super mom/daughter talk. Lots of why didn't Is and I should haves. Very natural/understandable. @};- It's sad to have to admit a thing/non-person who cannot love you back has more of a person's affection than the person they should be committed to. :p

    :eek: No romantic triangle is desirable but when the third part of the triangle is something abstract like the Empire or duty, it must be in a different kind of humiliating category.
     
  6. Dantana Skywalker

    Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Apr 7, 2002
    Yeah. That's why the love triangle with the third inanimate party needs to be polyamorous. [face_laugh]
     
  7. mulberry

    mulberry Jedi Knight star 1

    Registered:
    Sep 20, 2009
    Love this, you made my day posting it.
     
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  8. Dantana Skywalker

    Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Apr 7, 2002
    Glad you like it! There's more coming.
     
  9. Dantana Skywalker

    Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Apr 7, 2002
    --Insomnia--

    She isn't surprised to find him in the Temple's food-prep area, in the middle of the night, with a mug of hot chocolate. Well, the chocolate surprises her, at least.

    There's a small eating area near the kitchens where those who are eating between the main meals can sit and grab something to eat, and it's at one of the tables in that room where she finds Kyp.

    It's been a month since her divorce. She can't sleep.

    He remarks on it as she sits down with her own mug.

    "My room feels a little . . . empty," she confesses softly. "I'm still not used to sleeping alone."

    His green eyes search her face, then go back to his mug. "I know the feeling."

    She remembers now that he'd had someone, before Darth Caedus. He had, according to her aunt and uncle--before Mara had died--had his hair long for the woman. What was her name? Right. Thelia. But after Jacen died, before that mess with Abeloth, Kyp had shorn his hair almost to his scalp. She'd commented once that she didn't like the look on him, and now it was back to the way she was used to, black-and-silver curls reaching to his collar.

    Jaina knows why she has that power, and it makes her feel guilty and uncomfortable sometimes.

    "I thought the insomnia went away," she says. "When I got out of that depression."

    "You feeling depressed now?"

    "Little bit."

    He takes a sip of his chocolate. When he sets the mug down, she can tell it's an almost bitter chocolate, not quite as dark as caf. Her own is sweetened almost too much, which is funny because she takes her caf black.

    "You know, I don't think I've really had a decent night's sleep since I was sixteen," she says. "I'm conditioned to wake at the slightest thing. It drove Jag nuts."

    He smirks. "I don't think I have, either."

    "Since I was sixteen?" she quips.

    Those green eyes rake over her, a smart remark clearly on his tongue. The heat there makes her flush. He apparently thinks better of whatever he was going to say and murmurs, "No, since I was. I still dream about Carida."

    "I dream about Jacen," she whispers.

    Kyp huffs a breath, says, "To killing our brothers."

    It's wry, sad, and as he holds out his mug, Jaina clinks hers against it, because she knows the feeling.

    They sit in silence for a while. When Jaina's chocolate runs out, she spins the mug in her hands for a few moment, then stands.

    "Well . . . Good night."

    He salutes her with his mug, a silent farewell, and goes back to brooding.

    She sighs as the transparisteel door slides shut behind her.
     
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  10. Falcon

    Falcon Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 7, 2002
    ohh I like this so far, more soon :)
     
  11. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Excellent use of the prompt of insomnia. I can only imagine they would each suffer from that!

    "I dream about Jacen," she whispers.

    Kyp huffs a breath, says, "To killing our brothers."

    It's wry, sad, and as he holds out his mug, Jaina clinks hers against it, because she knows the feeling.


    Ouch!

    =D=

    There's a great deal of grief/empathy running throughout between them. @};- It connects them, their sorta common histories.
     
  12. Dantana Skywalker

    Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Apr 7, 2002
    --Crazy--

    “So, question.”

    Jaina drops into her chair in the Master’s Circle, conveniently next to Kyp’s. They're early for the meeting, and he's involved with his datapad.

    He drags his eyes from the screen, which appears to show a report on the latest efforts to locate the Sith. “What?”

    “If you grew up on Kessel, which is near the Maw, why didn't you go barvy?”

    Kyp stares at her with one eyebrow lifted, not responding.

    “Okay, okay, stupid question. You were too far away, and you're Kyp Durron. Been there, done that on the Dark Side possession.”

    He snorts softly and turns off the datapad. “I never felt the pull. And the brief time I was in the Maw, if Abeloth tried… Again, I didn't feel it. I was sixteen by then, anyway.”

    She leans her elbows on the arm of the chair. “Speaking of Kessel, we’ve had to go there about six times in the last four years, but no one sent you. You probably know it best.”

    “They asked. I refused.” He wedges the datapad between his leg and the side of the chair. “I intend to never go back there, and Luke respects that. So does Han.”

    “Okay. I get that.”

    “I'd only want to go back for my parents, but I'm not even sure which grave they're in.”

    She reaches out, lightly touches his arm. “I'm sorry.”

    He gives her a faint smile.

    The doors open and the other masters begin filing in. Kyp picks up his datapad. Then he leans back over and stage-whispers, “Besides, everyone knows I'm already crazy.”
     
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  13. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Excellent bit of candor mixed with teasing. Kyp can "laugh" at himself which is healthier than stuffing it. :p I was/still am quite intrigued by Jag's reserved nature and more than a little happy that Jaina could get beyond that. :D But Kyp - seeing how upfront he is - it does really seem that would be more familiar and comfy to her because her family's more or less that way in how they relate to each other. Then they got sidetracked & nothing romantic between them was allowed to happen. Now, opportunity comes 'round again.
     
  14. Dantana Skywalker

    Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Apr 7, 2002
    Kyp is snarky, that's just the way he is. Especially with Jaina. XD

    I don't know if you saw, but I posted a "prequel" to this that takes place after "Yellow".
     
  15. Dantana Skywalker

    Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Apr 7, 2002
    --Blossom--

    Shedu Maad is mostly temperate, but it doesn't have the climate control stations that Coruscant does, so it actually gets seasons. It's spring where the Jedi Temple is, and there are flowers everywhere.

    Allana, Jaina's niece, has come to formally train at the academy now that she's ten, almost eleven. She and her nexu, Anji, play in the garden that one of the Ithorian Jedi cultivates. The large, dangerous feline rolls on her back and lets Allana rub her belly, growling and purring as the girl's fingers dig into her fur. Jaina would be alarmed at Allana owning such a pet if the incredibly smart nexu wasn't fiercely protective of the girl, as if Allana were her cub.

    Jaina sits with them, effectively babysitting the Chume'da. While there is relative peace in the galaxy, some idiot is always threatening the heir to the Hapan throne. Allana is never alone, something Jaina would find irritating.

    She watches the two play, the pale-furred nexu and the red-haired child, and wonders if, someday, she'll have any of her own. She had planned to have children with Jag, but that had not happened. Now she's divorced, something she definitely had never planned on.

    Anji notices some birds and stalks off into the flowers to hunt them. Allana is distracted by some bright flowers, and she plucks a few, plopping down on the ground to weave a crown out of them.

    There's a footfall on the path, and Kyp appears around the corner, dressed in dark robes. Allana looks up from the crown and yelps, "Master Durron!"

    She stands, crown in hand, and runs over to him. Jaina is a little bemused when the girl hugs the Jedi Master. She's just plain amused when Allana insists he wear the crown she just made.

    Covering her mouth with her hand to hide her smile, Jaina grins as her niece carefully rests the pink and orange flowers on Kyp's head. When he glances her way, Jaina stops hiding the grin.

    "What do you think, Master Solo?" he asks as he and the girl come over to Jaina's bench. "Should we incorporate this into the official Jedi uniform?"

    She laughs. "Oh, I dunno. Might be difficult to keep on your head while dueling."

    Anji slinks through the flowers, sneaking up on Kyp, and headbutts him in the back of the legs. The broad feline head is wider than Kyp's shoulders, so it's no surprise that the impact, unexpected and unseen, makes his legs buckle.

    Kyp stumbles and only lands on the bench because Jaina grabs his arm. The crown falls from his head and lands on the ground. Anji crouches, four large eyes squeezed shut in feline amusement, tail weaving to show she wants to play.

    Allana says, "Bad Anji!" She picks up the fallen flower crown. The petals are bent now, and her eyes fill with tears.

    Kyp reaches out, takes the crown, and puts it back on his head. Allana immediately perks up and lets Anji drag her off into the flowers.

    "You need kids of your own," Jaina remarks, reached up to straighten one mangled blossom.

    "I might be too old for that," he says.

    "If Mom and Dad can do it at sixty, I think you could manage at fifty."

    He shrugs, eyes fixed on Allana and Anji. "Maybe. That would require a mother for them, though."

    She can't argue that. A thought occurs to her, and she ducks her head. He needs a mother for children. She needs a father for them.

    She's not about to suggest, two months out of a disastrous marriage, that they have them together. But the thought is there, and she suddenly can't make it go away.

    Her brown eyes slide up, to the crown on his head. "I'm not sure pink is your colour," she says.

    "Oh, shut up."
     
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  16. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

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    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_laugh] Great use of Blossom. Nice bit of teasing. Yup, too soon to do anything about it--having kids together, but the idea is there--to savor. [face_dancing]
     
  17. Dantana Skywalker

    Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Apr 7, 2002
    Kyp always makes her think things she probably shouldn't. ;)


    -------------------------------------------

    --Smirk--

    They've just been to see one of Jaina's oldest friends for his help on a technical matter. Lowbacca, a Wookiee and the nephew of Chewbacca, spent most of the time they were there subtly eyeing Kyp.

    “I always feel really short next to Lowie,” Kyp grumbles.

    Jaina glances up. He's average height, a few centimetres shorter than Jag--more than a few shorter than Han or either of her brothers had been. “I think your height is fine. Lowie is nearly two and a quarter meters. Everyone is taller than me except Tekli.”

    “And the five-year-olds.”

    She pretends to punch him in the stomach. “At least you're taller than Corran.”

    He smirks, catching the fist she just hit him with. The smirk does funny things to her stomach, things that she’d hoped would have stopped by now. Seventeen years, though, and it still does.

    She looks away.

    Seventeen years, and she's as confused as ever.
     
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  18. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

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    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_laugh] Loved the teasing. Nope, the smirk will still make her have butterflies - even 17 more years from now. [face_love] :* !!
     
  19. Dantana Skywalker

    Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Apr 7, 2002
    Probably!
     
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  20. Dantana Skywalker

    Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Apr 7, 2002
    --Regret--

    Luke decides that, since Allana's training is unusual and technically outside the regular structure of the academy, that she's to be Jaina's apprentice. Jaina knows it's to give her something to do in Jag's absence, but she doesn't mind spending time with her bright, adorable niece.

    She's composing a message on her datapad to Tenel Ka, Allana's mother, when the door to her office slides open and the girl herself comes in, followed by her nexu. Even if the door had been locked, Jaina's made sure that Allana has the codes to it and to her quarters. Allana technically lives with Jaina's parents, but Jaina's considered taking over and having the girl move in with her to give Han and Leia some freedom.

    "Hi, sweetie," she says, setting the datapad aside as Allana hops into the chair on the other side of Jaina's desk. "What's up?"

    "I was thinking," the girl begins, and her small face is serious.

    "About what?"

    "When Grandma and Grandpa went to help Uncle Lando, you and Uncle Jag went with. But he didn't come back." The girl's grey eyes search Jaina's face. "Uncle Jag, I mean. And you've been really sad."

    Jaina sighs and stands, motioning for her niece to follow her over to the sofa. "Come here, Allana."

    She realises that Allana is almost as tall now as she is. It brings to mind Kyp's remark that only the academy's five-year-old students are shorter than Jaina. And while Allana looks a lot like her mother, Jaina can see so much of Jacen in her.

    The three of them--adult, child, large predatory feline--pile onto the sofa. Allana snuggles up to Jaina, and Anji makes a few growly noises, then sprawls across the two of them, her massive head mostly on Allana's lap. Jaina has to smile. Jacen would have loved this.

    "You're sad," Allana states, and Anji's head lifts, all four eyes blinking at Jaina.

    "Just remembering your dad. He would have loved having a pet nexu."

    Allana's small hands dig into Anji's fur, and the nexu relaxes with a huff.

    "Where's Uncle Jag?" the child asks. "You're not in the quarters you had with him, and his things aren't here. Did . . . he die?"

    "No, sweetheart, Jag didn't die. He, um . . . You know how he was with the Empire, and he left them to live with us for a while?"

    "Yeah. He was the Head of State."

    Jaina nods and smooths her hand over the red-gold hair on Allana's head. "Well, he got offered a job by the Empire, and it conflicted with my being a Jedi."

    "Being a Jedi is important," Allana says indignantly. "What job is more important than that?"

    "Whatever they were offering," Jaina laughs softly. "We talked for a while and decided that, while we love each other, we couldn't be together. So Jag and I aren't married anymore."

    It was a huge simplification of the tension, the arguments, and the last screaming match they'd had. Jaina wasn't sure how her marriage had collapsed so swiftly and suddenly, but it had been like a long, slow, unnoticed leak in a reactor core that had abruptly gone critical.

    She slides her hand along Anji's side, avoiding the blunted spines on the feline's back. "He's gone back to where he's needed, and I'm here."

    Allana frowns. The nexu, so attuned to her owner's emotions, looks at the girl, then cranes her broad, flat head to look at Jaina. Jaina sends Anji soothing thoughts.

    "It makes you sad. Are you going to start drinking?"

    Jaina's brows nearly meet her hairline. "What? Why would you think that?"

    Her niece looks down at the nexu, as if she's sharing something she shouldn't. "When you and Uncle Jag . . . Is he still Uncle Jag?"

    "Not technically, but I don't mind if you call him that."

    "Okay. Um. When you and Uncle Jag got married, and you went on your honeymoon, Master Durron got really, really sad, and- and he was drunk a lot. I'm probably not supposed to know that, but he and Grandpa went away in the Falcon for a week, and left me and Grandma with Mom. Grandma wouldn't talk about it, but Mom said . . . that Master Durron had his heart broken."

    Jaina closes her eyes, guilt washing over her. She knows part of that is her fault. She let Jag talk her into talking Kyp into heading the honour guard at the wedding. She'd thought it was a bad idea, but Jag always seemed to get his way. He had ever since that kriffing picnic on Borleias. Making Kyp participate in her wedding to someone else had been phenomenally stupid.

    Knowing that Kyp got that depressed makes her stomach hurt. Her friend isn't the type to retreat and drown his sorrows, he's the confront-the-problem-and-punch-it type, with the sole exception of their very awkward, nebulous relationship.

    Sensing Jaina's upset, Anji jumps down and begins stalking the office, looking for the threat. Allana immediately starts calming the nexu, while Jaina gets a stranglehold on her emotions and shoves them into a little box for the moment, until the danger of being mauled by a stressed nexu has passed. She minimises her Force-presence, and the feline finally sprawls on the floor.

    She shouldn't be surprised to learn that Kyp hurt that badly. Despite his denials and pretense over the years, she knows he loves her. Having to participate when she married someone else must have been like a vibroshiv to the gut.

    "He's happier now, though," Allana says, drawing Jaina out of her stomach-burbling reverie. "I guess since Uncle Jag left."

    The girl frowns. "Who broke Master Durron's heart?"

    Jaina sighs. "I'm afraid I did, sweetie."

    Allana is a smart girl, and catches on quickly. It's been her mother's policy, and thus that of Han and Leia, to not shield Allana from anything except the ugliest things, and even then only on a direct visual. Allana is the Chume'da, the heir to the throne of the Hapes Consortium. Her childhood has never been and never will be as innocent as it should be.

    So when she speaks, Jaina isn't surprised by the inquiry.

    "Master Durron loves you?"

    "He's my best friend," Jaina says, dodging the immediate question. "But we've never been together the way I was with Jag, or even with Zekk."

    Allana pulls a face. "You dated Zekk? Does Taryn know?"

    Jaina chuckles. Zekk, one of her oldest and best friends--and a sort-of former love--is married to Taryn Zel, the cousin of Allana's mother. "Not exactly, but yes, Taryn knows."

    "So you've never dated Master Durron, but he loves you and got hurt when you married Uncle Jag."

    That sums it up really well. "Yeah."

    Allana's grey eyes are intent. "Do you love him?"

    And there's the 60 million credit question.

    "Well . . ." Jaina says slowly, stalling to avoid an answer. Because she knows she cares for Kyp, always has, and the thought of him hurting so much makes her want to cry, all the worse for knowing she caused it. He's been her best friend for years, the one she can always count on.

    She thinks of his smiles, the way he sat with her in silence and let her cry when she left Jag, the support he gave her when she had to kill Jacen.

    And she thinks, but isn't anywhere near ready to say it, that the answer to that oh-so-loaded question is "yes".

    "I'm not sure," she says finally, knowing she can't avoid Allana's question entirely.

    The girl makes an exasperated sound. "Either you do or you don't, Aunt Jaina!"

    Jaina smiles wryly. "Wait 'til you're old enough for boys, and see how long that certainty lasts, young lady."

    Allana's mouth opens to retort, but a low chime sounds, alerting for the class change. Jaina checks her wrist chrono and says, "I think it's time for your lesson with Tionne now."

    Grumpily, Allana gets to her feet. "Okay. But I really think that if he's your best friend, and he loves you, you should love him back."

    Her niece leaves, nexu in tow. Jaina wearily scrubs her hands over her face and sighs.

    "Yeah," Jaina whispers to herself. "But I'm scared to."
     
  21. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh I loved the talk with Allana - her perceptive, insightful observations and questions!

    "Either you do or you don't." Oh the straightforward simplicity. :) :)

    And the clarity of "Yeah but I'm scared to."

    Fantastic! Your Jaina is really superb!

    @};-
     
  22. Dantana Skywalker

    Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Apr 7, 2002
    Thanks! I just checked and I have almost half of my 50 prompts written! :eek:
     
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  23. Dantana Skywalker

    Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Apr 7, 2002
    --Hope--

    He's in the middle of sparring with a YVH droid when he becomes aware he's got an audience. The only living being who’ll willingly spar with Kyp is Jaina. She's the only one who can keep up with him, since Luke is still, over a year out, recovering from the injuries Abeloth gave him.

    But when he reaches out to see who his visitor is--not taking his eyes off the deadly droid--Kyp is surprised that it's two visitors, a human and an animal. The predatory sense from the latter tells him that Allana Djo Solo has come to watch him.

    The red-violet blade of his lightsaber whirls in a blur as he blocks and throws back a flurry of blaster bolts. Allana is safe, behind the reinforced transparisteel window of the sparring room’s observation booth. Kyp scores enough hits on the reinforced droid that it intones, “Time. Match won, Master Durron.”

    He shuts off his lightsaber, telling the droid to put itself away. He's breathing a little hard; he had the droid on its most difficult setting, which was almost, but not quite, enough to give him a run for his money.

    Kyp clips the lightsaber to his belt and finally turns to see Allana watching, small hands pressed to the glass, grey eyes big with awe. Smiling to himself, Kyp picks up a towel as he enters the booth and wipes his face.

    The young princess looks him up and down. “You're really fast,” she says. “As fast as Jaina.”

    He lifts a brow. "Since I'm older, she's as fast as me.”

    The girl laughs. “I mean, I've only seen her fight. Is that why everyone worries about you, Master Durron?”

    Kyp blinks. He tosses the towel into a laundry bin just inside the door and sits straddling one of the benches, pulling a bottle of hydrating fluid to him with the Force. Anji, the nexu, watches it float by. The animal is why he didn't get up for it; he's not stupid enough to put his back to the nexu, even if she's semi-tame.

    He pops the cap, takes a drink, then asks, “Worried about me?”

    Allana nods, then carefully sits down. “Maybe not worried. Maybe…”

    “Afraid?” Kyp asks wryly.

    “A little, yeah. Why would they be? Jaina isn't.”

    He snorts. “There's not a lot your aunt is afraid of.”

    “That's true. Jaina is really brave.” The girl cocks her head, and Kyp can see Jacen Solo in her then, in the shape of her eyes, her mouth. The colouring is her mother's, but the ghost of her father lives on in this child.

    “I don't know that they're afraid,” he says slowly. “Just cautious. I did some things when I was… Wow, only a little older than you, and the others…”

    “Bad things?” she asks. “Things like my daddy?”

    Kyp sighs. “Kind of. Yeah. But your grandpa helped me straighten out.”

    “Grandpa couldn't help my daddy,” Allana says softly.

    It really isn't fair, Kyp thinks, what Jacen Solo did. Especially to this little girl, who will always know that her father, as much as he loved her, was a monster. The poor kid shouldn't have such burdens. She's only ten.

    “Your aunt tried,” he says gently. “But sometimes you can't help people, as hard as you try.”

    “I know.”

    Anji puts her big head on Allana’s lap. The child absentmindedly starts petting the feline. Kyp marvels that the girl is completely unafraid of the nexu. He remembers that her father had a crystal snake when he was fourteen. The thing was deadly, but Jacen carried it in his pocket.

    Kyp hasn't spent time with kids since Jaina was one. It occurs to him that it's probably not appropriate to be alone with Allana, but there are security cameras everywhere, and Anji would literally eat him if she thought him a threat.

    “Jaina worries about you,” Allana says. “And she's sad.”

    “She does, huh? What's she sad about?”

    “Being alone. She's been sad since Uncle Jag left. Except when she's with you.”

    Kyp takes another sip from the electrolyte-infused drink. It tastes like gundark sweat, in his opinion, but it works.

    “She says she broke your heart and she feels bad.”

    He chokes, spluttering. Anji rears back and hisses at him.

    “Anji!” Allana scolds.

    Kyp coughs, clears his throat. His eyes water. “Did Jaina say that, in those words, or are you inferring?” His voice is rough, a little strangled. He’d forgotten how forthright children, especially Solo children, can be.

    “She said it,” the girl insists. “So I came to ask if you're going to be her boyfriend.”

    He closes his eyes and pinches the bridge of his nose. “Uh. That choice is not up to me, kid. And it's more complicated than just deciding I'm going to… be her boyfriend.”

    Kyp can't believe he's getting relationship advice from a ten-year-old.

    “She's not married and you're not married. And you love each other. So why is it complicated?”

    Ah, the innocence of youth. But her words give him pause. “Did she says she loves me?” he asks.

    “... Not exactly,” the girl hedges. “But I know she does. She feels happy with you.”

    “She's my friend,” he points out. “If she were miserable around me, we wouldn't be friends, would we?”

    “I guess.” Allana reluctantly stands. “You should talk to her.”

    Head high, the future Queen Mother leaves with her massive protector slinking along behind her. Kyp watches her leave, feeling a bit like he's been hit between the eyes with a shovel.

    “That kid is going to mow down everything in her way,” he mutters.

    He finishes his drink and tosses it in the recycler beside the laundry bin. With a sigh, he stands.

    She's perceptive, he'll give her that. But she isn't right about everything. Jaina doesn't love him. Not the way he wants. And she never will.

    ”You love each other.”

    And yet, he suddenly wonders, what if the kid is right?
     
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  24. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Wonderful talk and yay - Allana set him to thinking maybe perhaps. [face_dancing] Just a teensy nudge. ;)
     
  25. Dantana Skywalker

    Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Apr 7, 2002
    --Alone--

    Kyp's always figured it's his lot in life to be alone. He spent seven years alone on Kessel, and after Carida, he pretty much deserved to be ostracized. Companionship was always temporary until he fell in love with Jaina. After her, he tried desperately to erase his feelings and replace them with someone else. He almost succeeded with Thelia, but ultimately, he couldn't condemn either of them to a life like that.

    He opens his Holonet messages and finds one from her, as if he summoned her just by thinking her name. Kyp idly clicks on it, finds it's a holo of her and her new baby, a blonde-haired and blue-eyed little boy.

    I hope you're doing well, the message reads. Jaster and I welcomed Miko three weeks ago. I hope you don't mind my naming him for your apprentice. I really liked the name, after you told me about him, and I think Miko Reglia should live on somehow, after his brave deeds. I haven't heard from you in a while, and I can understand that. I saw the reports of Jaina Solo's wedding. I can't imagine that was easy for you.

    I'm sorry that things didn't end well between us, but I know now that you made the right choice, even if I was hurt and angry at the time. I loved you, but I'm very happy with Jaster and I know I'm where I'm supposed to be. So thank you for that. Please let me know how you're doing. You still mean a lot to me, Kyp, and I don't like to think that you're alone.

    Kyp scrubs his hands over his face and sighs. Oh, he's as alone as he ever was, and it's somehow harder for knowing that Jaina is single again. She's going to find someone and it's not going to be him, as much as he wants and hopes it to be. Why would she want him? He's too old, too . . . Too much himself. He wouldn't want him, either.

    He'd had the idly hope that he could one day name a son after his apprentice, but since he's past fifty now, the chances of that happening are next to nil. He's not upset that Thelia used the name. Someone should.

    He taps out a quick reply, not up to a longer message.

    I'm doing great. Can't tell you where the Jedi are, but it's quieter than Coruscant. Food isn't as good or as varied, but I deal with it. I'm not seeing anyone at the moment, but I don't have time anyway. Congratulations on Miko's birth. He's a cute kid.

    Kyp spends a good five minutes reading and rereading the message, decides it's not going to get any better, and sends it.

    His intercom chimes. The voice of Luke's assistant, Seha Dorvald, says, "Council meeting in ten minutes, Master Durron."

    "Thank you, Jedi Dorvald," he acknowledges. "I'll be there."

    Taking his finger off the intercom button, he sighs, "It's not like I have anything better to do."
     
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