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Beyond - Legends "Keep Me Moving", One-Hit Wonder Challenge, YJK - Jaina, Jacen/Tenel Ka, Part II up 2/14!

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Mira_Jade , Feb 3, 2018.

  1. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    "keep me moving (groovin' with some energy)”

    Author
    : Mira_Jade
    Genre: General (Family, Friendship, Humor, Drama - all that jazz)
    Rating: PG
    Time Frame: YJK era - 23 ABY, Legends
    Characters: Jaina Solo, Jacen Solo/Tenel Ka, Ensemble

    Summary: After returning from Hapes, Jacen's determination to do a good thing for their class – and one of their fellow students, in particular – leads to more than one headache for his twin. But Jacen is her brother, and through thick and thin Jaina will support him . . . no matter how embarrassing and ridiculous the cost to herself.


    Author's Notes: So, when I got the Lipps Inc. song “Funky Town” for the One Hit Wonder challenge, at first I had a total and complete flabbergasted muse. I had no idea what to write. But then - then - I had inspiration hit me and now here we are. As an added bonus, this is my practice for the Word Count Race; I'm trying to write more and plot/edit less. :p This was supposed to be a one-shot, but it's long enough to be posted in three parts now. (Yes, that is a familiar song and dance for those who know me well! ;))

    For those familiar with Legends, this is set between Young Jedi Knights: Lightsabers and Darkest Knight – but it's been years since I read the YJK series, and I only used a quick Wook glance to refresh my memory. So, all errors are mine. I tried to keep everything simple and explain the character relationships as best I could in the text, so that, even if you are not familiar with the EU, you can read and enjoy this should you so desire.

    Now, that said, I thank you all for reading and I hope that you enjoy! :)


    Disclaimer: Nothing is mine, but for the words. :)



    OoOoO



    “keep me moving”
    by Mira_Jade


    Though the climate of the hangar was regulated, the heat and humidity of the Yavin jungle managed to somehow whisper into every corner of the Praxeum, even so. Her hair was sticking to her neck and forehead in odd, unruly patterns; it wouldn't just stay in its tie and leave her be. Aggravated, Jaina Solo tossed her head, trying to keep the strands from slipping into her eyes without freeing her hands from her task – it was a rare, special treat when she was allowed to work on her aunt's ship, even for something as routine as a monthly maintenance check, and she wouldn't fail the trust Mara Jade Skywalker had placed in her. Not while the Solo name was on the line.

    And the ship was beautiful, Jaina wistfully acknowledged – she was all sleek lines and graceful curves, hiding a deadly arsenal of firepower without sacrificing its capacity for storage and passages. The Jade Sabre was a remarkable feat of aerodynamics and a marvel of spacecraft engineering, and Jaina loved every square inch of it.

    “Point three past lightspeed,” she breathed under her breath. (Which would have had her father's mouth falling open and saying prove it! if he was there – but he wasn't, so she was safe.) “Point three, Lowie. Isn't that amazing?”

    Lowbacca, from where he was a testing the integrity of the welding on the hull, growled an affirmative – even if his tone carried a rumbling note of amusement to it. She knew exactly what her Wookiee friend was thinking, and she didn't care for his tone at all.

    “I'm not a traitor,” she imperiously tossed her head – again, to try to move her hair out of her face. “I just appreciate art when I see it. It's not my fault that Dad doesn't trust any ship that looks as good as it flies.”

    Lowie rumbled again, and Jaina huffed. “Well, your uncle is biased too. Chewie has been standing by Dad for too long – it's clouded his judgment,” she tilted her nose in the air with a stubborn note of finality. “I will always take the Falcon over any other ship, hands down – you know that. Still . . . you have to admit that this is a gorgeous machine. That's all I want from a guy, I've decided: to build me a ship like this for accepting his proposal. That's true love; all men should be like Uncle Luke.”

    She was losing Lowie there; but then, Wookiees too appreciated fine craftsmanship; they valued practical, solid construction above most anything else, and when that could be combined with their own aesthetics of beauty then all was for the better. They weren't so different, him and her – it's why they got along. In reply, Lowie didn't even bother with actual words. Instead, he shook his head and that was that.

    Jaina was just wedging her torso into one of the aft access hatches – stretching her body so that she could check on the stability of a relay point for the sublight engines. She was almost there – almost – when another clump of hair fell loose and slipped straight down into her eyes. Jaina huffed – of course, but, having neither hand free, she couldn't quite -

    “There – I've got it!” another hand reached in alongside her, and tucked the lock of hair back behind her ear in a single, deft maneuver. “I could hear your frustration on the other side of the Temple, sis – why didn't you just stop and retie your hair?”

    “Why didn't I just stop?” Jaina echoed. Her hands didn't miss a heartbeat, however, and she managed to stretch those last few inches towards the relay. Once she confirmed that the light was blinking green, she double checked the stability of the brackets on the wiring. Everything was looking ship-shape. Triumphant, she then shimmied back out of the access hatch. “When Aunt Mara lets me anywhere near the Sabre, I can't waste a moment for anything as trifle as fixing my hair. I have to savor every moment I can get.”

    Jacen, however, was less than impressed by her logic. Her twin had a way of subtly raising an eyebrow and just staring that was all their mother. But, by then, Jaina was immune to the look. (Mostly.)

    She scowled in reply. “The next time you come back to the Temple covered in sulfuric swamp mud because you just had to rescue that baby Hatchee lizard - ”

    “ - Hat'kii lizard, Jaina! Hat'kii, for the hundredth time - ”

    “ - don't come to me for help,” Jaina huffed, ignoring his interruption. “We're more alike than you would like to admit. But,” she next added, somewhat awkwardly, “thanks for helping me out. I really do appreciate it.”

    “You're welcome,” Jacen grinned, and that was all he needed – his moment's flare of ire passed as quickly as came. Sometimes he was just too easy going – he wouldn't hold on to his end of an argument when all she wanted to do was bicker. But, where they weren't always alike, they certainly managed to compliment each other, at least.

    She shook her head at her twin, and then turned to swipe the controls for the access panel. The hatch slid back into place, and she moved down to the next one. As she did so, Jacen followed her. Curiously, she glanced at him, knowing that she was rightly interpreting his pensive expression and wondering what it was about. Since returning from Hapes – well, since the accident, and the revelation of Tenel Ka's royal heritage, Jaina better knew – Jacen had been broody and lost in thought more often than not, just the same as their Dathomiri friend was. In all honesty, Jaina was trying to hold on to her patience with both of them. She understood Tenel Ka's frustration with adjusting to her newfound handicap, and she really, really understood her struggling with the lopsided weight on her shoulders from her dual heritage. She even understood Jacen's guilt and uncertainty over how to make things better – one sparring session since that initial, disastrous one, wasn't going to wondrously set things to rights. That would take time. But they were both friends, and their ignoring each other to deal with their separate injuries alone was what was frustrating Jaina. She was about ready to knock their heads together – a mechanic's tried and true last resort after every other logical approach failed.

    On top of that, she was tired from dealing with her own burdens – it was difficult, helping her brother and her friend through their own stunted feelings, all the while still having no clue what had happened to Zekk -

    - but that went firmly under the umbrella of things she was not thinking of. Jaina winced – knowing that she was the hydrospanner calling the welding torch hot with Jacen, but still.

    But, this time, her twin surprised her. Apparently, he was done sitting back and passively wallowing in his feelings. He was ready to do something about them.

    “Jaina,” he started seriously – enough so that she felt his determination pulse through their bond and she stopped what she was doing to turn and look at him. Whatever this was, it meant a lot to him. “I have an idea to run past you.”

    “Alright - I'm listening,” Jaina assured him, pausing before opening the next access panel to show him her undivided attention. Her hands twitched as she crossed her arms over her chest, but she would wait.

    “We've been here for three months now,” Jacen started, “and we've already been through a lot.”

    That was certainly the truth, Jaina snorted to think, but did not say.

    “Our class has come a long way – and its a momentous occasion, finishing our lightsabers. The whole thing was kinda ruined because of Tenel Ka's . . . because of me - ” but his throat worked over the rest of his sentence, and he couldn't wholly give it a sound. “Anyway – the joy of finishing our lightsabers was ruined because of the . . . because of the accident. Most of the class is far from home for the first time, too – and that can be hard, so I wanted to do something a little fun for them.”

    “Fun?” Jaina repeated. She felt an ominous nudge through the Force, and fought the urge she had to better brace her weight on the balls of her feet – as if preparing to accept and deflect a blow in the middle of a battle.

    “Yeah, fun,” Jacen gained more confidence to continue. “I was thinking about maybe throwing a party – a dance, to be specific, to celebrate our achievements together. It'll be a good way for everyone to relax for the evening, and maybe even get to know each other a little bit better outside of class. What do you think?”

    “How formal a dance are we talking?” Jaina didn't trust her twin at all. “I've already been laced into star-silk and puffed up like a Chandrillian souffle more times in my life than I care to remember.”

    “Oh, just semi-formal,” Jacen assured her. “Unless,” he hedged, “you think - ”

    “ - do I think that a formal dance may be like the Hapan court we just left behind?” Jaina raised a withering brow to comment. Her brother wasn't as slick as he thought he was. “I think that you may be reminding Tenel Ka of the wrong side of her heritage, Jace.”

    “But she does have two sides to her heritage,” Jacen didn't agree. “And this one she didn't even want to share with us until she was forced to! I know . . . I know what she is giving up to stay here and learn the ways of the Force; I know what she's giving up to stay with us. I just want to do something that may feel like home for her . . . both of her homes.”

    That was kind of Jacen, Jaina thought even as she fought the urge to sigh. His reasoning was sweet and idealistic and so, so hopelessly naïve – it was everything about him that she hoped he would never lose. In the end, she couldn't tell him no - not outright. Instead, she was bound to help his plan not to end up as a complete disaster.

    “Fine,” she gave a dramatic exhale as she turned back to the access panel. “But I am not wearing a dress.”



    .

    .

    She was, most certainly, wearing a dress.

    Somehow, Raynar Thul had told his mother about Jacen's plan to host a dance, and then his mother had told her mother through the Alderaanian survivors' grapevine, and then her mother called her aunt, and now here she was in Mara Jade's closet going over the selections Leia had approved for the evening.

    “No, not the red,” Leia Organa Solo found a moment out of her busy schedule to weigh in with her opinions though comm-call. She was multitasking like the true politician and mother of three she was: eating her lunch and leafing through datacards while glancing up at the screen every few moments to see their progress. Of course: the opportunity to play dress-up was what finally got her her mother's undivided attention. Of course.

    “What's wrong with the red, Mom?” Jaina fought to keep her tone polite to say. She'd already been chastised for disrespect twice.

    “You're right, Leia,” Mara crinkled her nose – completely ignoring her borderline sass in order to speak over her head. “It sends the wrong message.”

    “How does a color send a message?” Jaina did not understand - not at all. “It's a color.”

    “Your wardrobe always sends a message, dear,” Leia patiently intoned, a knowing smile quirking the corners of her mouth. But that still didn't explain anything.

    “Which is why I should just go to this stupid thing dressed as I'm always dressed,” Jaina didn't see what all of the fuss was about. “That sends a message - the message that I am still me.”

    “Wearing your grease-stained coveralls is definitely not the message you want to send, sweetheart,” Mara pointed out before her mother could. “Trust us on that one.”

    “Exactly,” Leia punctuated her aunt's words, before clearly turning to address Mara again. “Now, if not the red, there is a nice shade of burgundy I see back there . . .”

    “Oh, yes,” Mara's eyes lit up in appreciation. “I know exactly the one you are talking about. It's in Kuati satin – from last year's Kantanova Spring Collection, but it's classic enough to still stand out, even if it's from last season.”

    “Very nice,” Leia approved. “I have a few of Kantanova's gowns myself, and they never go out of style.”

    Jaina blinked, and then stared between the two, swearing that she recognized neither of them. Sure, her aunt was one of the most beautiful women that Jaina had ever met – it was intimidating, almost, when she herself was fighting oily hair and her teenage completion even when she was trying – and her mother was, well, her mother. Few could outclass Leia Organa, and none could look better while trying to hold the galaxy together through sheer grit and stubborn determination alone. But, still, this was a side to both women that she rarely ever witnessed.

    Jaina bit her lip and looked down at her – indeed grease-stained – pants, wishing that this whole thing could just be over. For a long moment her aunt was lost in the – frankly terrifying – depths of her closet, before she emerged with the burgundy dress in question.

    “One of Kantanova's best,” Mara praised, and held the dress up so that Jaina could see. “You know its an advanced civilization when they can design both ship engines and formal gowns with such grace and acumen.”

    “All the while contributing such finely honed back-stabbers to the political arena,” Leia added lightly. “But at least they look good in the process.”

    “I don't know either of you,” finally, Jaina bluntly admitted aloud. “And I'm not wearing that. It's too . . .”

    Clingy; delicate; feminine. It would definitely be the most grown-up dress she had ever worn, and she didn't quite feel equal to the task. Especially not in a gown from Mara Jade's own closet. She was sure that it was altered to fit a few curves that she didn't quite have. Not yet.

    “It's not . . . it's just not me,” Jaina tried to explain, in the simplest way she knew how, without letting either her mother or her aunt down.

    She needn't have worried. Mara hummed critically in the back of her throat, and silently accepted her decision. “It's okay, Jaina. You're still young – you'll find your style before you know it.”

    “That's just the thing!” Jaina vainly tried to explain again. “None of this is my style – I really don't see the point in even trying.”

    “The point is that life calls for different looks for different occasions,” Leia firmly – but gently addressed her with a pointed look. It was an expression that always made Jaina feel like she was acting beneath her age, and she hated it. “It would be insulting to your classmates who do dress up if you weren't to do the same. And not everyone here has the same background as you and Tenel Ka and Raynar. For some, this is their first time experiencing a formal event, and they are enjoying themselves. As both Luke's niece and my daughter and their comrade in arms, it's not just polite, but respectful of you to do the same.”

    There really was no way out of this, wasn't there? And she . . . she thought to understand what her mom was saying. Really she did.

    “I suppose I understand,” she admitted, somewhat reluctantly – before something else her mother said clicked in the back of her mind. “Wait, when did this go from semi-formal to formal? Mom! Jacen said he wouldn't!”

    Yet, once again her complaints went ignored. “How about the Tyray brocade - what do you think of that, Leia?” Mara tried again. “That one is lovely!”

    “It's too heavy for this occasion – she'll look like a Nabooian noblewoman.”

    Mara made a face, but agreed. “The Fedallen flutter-silk, then? The blue will compliment her coloring.”

    Leia tilted her head thoughtfully, and her eyes gleamed. “You know - that just might work.”

    Flutter-silk? Oh, no. “Next time,” Jaina grumbled under her breath, “Jacen should just build a starship for her, and call the whole thing done.”

    “Or buy her a planet,” Mara's voice drifted to them from the back of the closet to tease. “That one's a classic for a reason.”

    “She already has plenty of those,” Jaina pointed out. “Wouldn't that just be redundant?”

    “Yes,” her mother agreed with a fond, almost secret expression softening her features. “But, as you'll find with men - oftentimes, it's the thought that counts.”

    Jaina fought the urge she had to roll her eyes, and didn't believe her for a second.

    “Here we go,” Mara finally emerged – not with one dress, but with four, Jaina despaired to see. “I found just a couple more for you to try on while I was back there. We'll help narrow it down for you, and then let you choose. How does that sound?”

    Jaina – very maturely – swallowed her groan, even if she was powerless to stop herself from flopping back on her aunt's bed and scrubbing the heels of her hands over her eyes. There really would be no escape for her, would there? Inwardly, she resigned herself to the flutter-silk. At least she had slipped the net on the Tyray brocade – she was claiming what small victories she could.

    Jacen, the next time she needed something, owed her – and owed her big.



    ~MJ @};-
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    @Mira_Jade -- I agree with Jaina on the exquisiteness of the Jade Sabre [face_dancing] Sweet to look at; well-armored and fast! Can't ask for better than that! Her and Jacen's dynamic is so wonderfully in character =D=
    Love the entire exchange about fashion [face_mischief] ;) Jaina is exactly the age and temperament not to be all fru-fru :rolleyes: But oh my! I love the small indications we get about Mara's extensive and gorgeous wardrobe - stuff that fits her lovely curves. Oh yes, Farm Boy sure has it made doesn't he? [face_laugh]
    The J/TK undercurrents are spot on as well for just after the "accident". [face_thinking] Jacen is feeling so very guilty and then there's that whole on the brink of something yummy between them LOL that is complicating everything. And Tenel Ka is dealing with her dual heritage. Being from Hapes is already complicated. :p
    Both Dathomir and Hapes are strong matriarchal societies so she has a strong heritage of forthrightness and resolve. :cool:
     
    Mira_Jade and Ewok Poet like this.
  3. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Oh Jacen, Jaina and Tenel Ka! :)
    Nice to see there are still some people who still write these three. Your characterization here is spot on, I especially like the way you write Jaina, her excitment over gettimg to work on the Jade Sabre, her honest, if somewhat recluant, desire to help her brother, her frustration over being forced to wear an elaborate dress.
    Great work. :)
     
  4. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha - I am thrilled to hear that you are enjoying this! There are so many wonderful ladies being wonderful here, and it's refreshing to write them all in a relatively light-hearted situation where their best selves can shine through. [face_love] There are not nearly enough moments like that in canon!

    @Anedon - While the EU certainly had its issues, and many of the plot choices from the NJO onwards are admittedly cringe-worthy, these characters themselves are still quintessentially Star Wars to me. I will never be able to wholly give them up, so it's a treat to return to them here, especially when stories featuring them are too few and far between now, you're too right! :( I'm thrilled that you're enjoying this so far, that said, and I hope that you continue to do so! [face_love]


    [:D]


    OoOoO


    II
    “Hey, Jaina, I need your opinion on this!”

    Jaina was still running her hands up and down her arms, as if to assure herself that she was indeed wearing her trusty and true coveralls rather than silk or any exotic variation thereof. Her mother and aunt had moved on to shoes next, shoes, and the arches of her feet still ached from being forced to rest all of her weight on the tips of her toes – heels worked entirely contrarily to how nature intended for her to walk; they were true instruments of evil. She was determined to wear her boots underneath whatever confection of fabric they chose for her to wear if it was the last thing she did.

    Well, at least, in her mind she was. Both women had a look that, when used, made the galaxy-renowned Solo stubbornness whither – not that her father would ever admit to that, but it was true.

    She glowed at her twin, even as she allowed Jacen to pull her into the great hall – which was being draped in streams of glitter-mesh and dotted with strands of floating twinkle lights. It looked like the Hall of the Fae King from her mom's old Alderaanian legends, Jaina thought for just a moment – and, sure enough, Raynar Thul was in the corner directing a few enthusiastic students through decorating the hall just so. The bleached shade of his hair and the obnoxious color of his robes was impossible not to miss. Of course he would be having the time of his life with this whole thing. Him and Jacen both!

    “This is a formal dance now, Jacen?” Jaina hissed before he could even think to start chattering about decorations or food or, Force help her, his own wardrobe. “Formal?”

    “Oh, yeah, about that,” Jacen had the good grace to look sheepish as he rubbed the back of his neck. “You see, when I put the idea past the others, Raynar heard, and then he started talking about the balls the Thuls would host. Kyriel mentioned that she had never dressed up for anything like that before, and then Edda and Liip-li got on board and Uncle Luke overheard - ”

    - of course. That would do it. Jaina exhaled loudly through her nose, even as Jacen gave a helpless shrug. Uncle Luke had a bleeding heart as big as the oceans of Mon Cala were deep, and anything that would further the interests of team bonding he would whole-heartedly support. And, more privately, she knew that he could never turn down an opportunity to dress up and dance – it was the repressed farmboy in him.

    Jaina closed her eyes, pinched her nose, and counted to ten to control her breathing. Alright – alright, she could do this. It was just one night; one night, and then it would be over.

    “If this goes well, Uncle Luke is even thinking about making this an annual thing - ”

    Her eyes flew open, and she glared. Jacen's hands darted up defensively, and - wisely - he backed an entire step away from her.

    “ - hey, I'm just the messenger, Jaya. Don't turn your murder eyes on me.”

    “Jacen!” To her credit, she kept from shrieking his name outright, but she did garner looks from her fellow apprentices for her outburst. Raynar's raised brow said: uncouth heathen without him having to utter a word aloud, and she maliciously planned to bump into him at this formal whatever-it-was when he was holding a cup of punch next to his fancy robes - a very full cup of punch.

    Admittedly, that thought was probably borne by the Skywalker blood in her veins – and not everything good about the Skywalker blood, at that. So, she gathered herself and said just low enough for her brother to hear, “You owe me when this is over, Jace, you know that right?”

    “Of course I do,” Jacen chirped brightly - somehow think that she was appeased. “But, for now – come over here and help me with this. I'm in charge of picking out the music for us to dance to.”

    There was no saving her. So, she put on her best grown-up face, and followed behind her brother. He handed her a datacard, and she scrolled over the list. Most of it she knew, and Jacen had done a good job including a little bit of everything from everyone's cultures. She even saw some songs by the Tobuck Hu Yourg from Kashyyyk, one of Lowie's favourites – and wouldn't that be a sight, everyone dancing and trying to sing along to the growls and woodwinds of the Wookiees' greatest hits? Unwittingly, she smiled.

    “Alright,” she admitted. “I'm impressed. What do you need my help for?”

    “Well, here's the thing,” Jacen's cheeks flushed - her first warning, but he boldly held his course. “There are sixty-three planets in the Hapes Consortium, and I was trying to figure out what they like to listen to. Most of it is very, well, um, stuffy . . . or hard to track down at all. They're not exactly a culture known for sharing. But, what I did manage to find - ”

    He pressed a title, and the datapad started to play the selection. Just a few measures in, Jaina made a face.

    “Yeah, stuffy,” she agreed. “What else do you have?”

    Jacen seemed to summon his courage, and pressed the next option. A curious mix of synthesized tones greeted her hears, accompanied by a highly pitched female voice, and it was, it was -

    “ - that's from Hapes?” she grimaced, stunned. “It sounds like bad inner-core, pre-Imperial dance music. That can't be Hapan. It's too . . .” Discordant; punctuated; happy.

    “That's what the HoloNet says, at least,” Jacen shrugged to say. “It's from a group called Chume Inc. - they're supposed to be all the rage amongst the younger generation right now.”

    “This is modern music?” Jaina blinked to say. “No way.”

    “Edgy modern music, at that,” Jacen nodded. “Just compare them to what you first heard - all of those harps.” Jacen shuddered. “This is better in comparison, at least.”

    Point taken, but, still . . . “Jacen, you can't play that. Please tell me you're not going to play that.”

    “Why not?” Jacen frowned, the beginnings of petulant defiance coloring his voice. She knew when he was digging in for a battle. “No one's even going to bat an eye at Lowie's music – why would they for this?”

    “Because,” Jaina was going to have to spell this out for her twin, apparently, “they're Wookiees – it's kinda expected that's not going to be everyone's cup of tea. But, this – you'll just embarrass Tenel Ka if you play whatever that was. Is that what you want?”

    “Why wouldn't everyone support her culture, just like they do Lowie's, or Liip-li, or even Raynar's ridiculous Alderaanian waltzes he's insisting I play. I even put your Corellian grunge-rock on there – I had to trade Raynar's asking for a chocolate fountain for that, Jaina. A chocolate fountain. That's tacky in a bad way, isn't it? I told him it's tacky, at least, but he wouldn't hear it.”

    If only the whole night could be Corellian grunge-rock, she thought wistfully. That was a reason to dance she could get behind, no matter what she was forced to wear.

    “Tenel Ka,” Jaina forced herself to ground out patiently – staying on point despite her brother's rambling, “likes Corellian grunge-rock. You wouldn't be going wrong there.”

    “But it's not hers,” Jacen still stubbornly hung on to his decision. “I don't think you understand what I'm trying to do with all of this, do you?”

    Jaina opened her mouth, and then closed it. She didn't want to hurt her brother's feelings – really she didn't. But, at the same time, she wanted to protect him – and that meant protecting him from the mean words and petty gossips that dominated any predominantly teenage population. So, she was determined to -

    - but she was denied her continuing her argument when a reprieve for Jacen arrived from a surprising source.

    “Hey, there you two are!”

    Jacen's eyes lit up at hearing Han Solo's voice, and he turned around to run into the open arms that their father instinctively had waiting for him. “Dad!” he was overjoyed to greet. “I didn't think you'd be here so soon.”

    So soon, really? Jaina's brow furrowed, little understanding what she was seeing.

    “What, did you think I would miss this? No one plans a party like the Solos,” and then – mortifyingly – Han gave a lopsided grin and started to dance in place. Jaina was sure that those hip thrusts had gone out of style a decade ago.

    “Dad,” she glanced around, mortified. If Raynar had seen that . . . “Please don't ever do that again.”

    “Hey, kiddo,” Han rolled his eyes at her flare of parental embarrassment, but opened an arm for her anyway. “It's good to see you too.”

    But Jaina would never not duck into her father's embrace, no matter who saw her. She breathed in deep, and found a tension she hadn't even realized she'd held on too loosen from her limbs as he squeezed briefly, and then she stepped back.

    “What are you here for?” she asked curiously. “I didn't know you were coming – not that you visiting is ever a bad thing,” she quickly amended when her father fixed her with a exaggeratedly wounded expression.

    “My son and heir is trying to impress his first woman,” Han puffed up like an Auxxi peacock to say. “No old man worth their salts would ever miss that. The Solo pride is on the line here.”

    “I am not trying to impress a girl, Dad,” Jacen's cheeks turned red, but he couldn't even meet their eyes to make his denial any believable. “Tenel Ka is just my friend.”

    A moment passed; Han raised a bland, disbelieving brow. “Sorry – he's trying to support a friend,” he rolled his eyes and amended. “My mistake; I stand corrected. And,” he turned back to her while Jacen gathered himself, “Chewie wanted to be here for Lowie – there's some sort of clan grooming ritual that he didn't want to miss out on. Apparently this counts as a serious coming of age occasion for him,” he shrugged.

    In answer, Jaina only blinked. Why was everyone turning this into a much bigger occasion than it actually was? Formal or not, it was still just a dance. Just a stupid, for no good reason dance. There wasn't anything special about it.

    “Then – sorry, sweetheart,” Han have her a commiserating look, “but your mother's using me to haul cargo, too. I have a couple gowns for you to try on; shoes too. She's included instructions for them all.”

    “What? Dad, you too?!” Jaina gaped, and made a face. “Weren't there enough options in Mara Jade's closet for her to pick from?”

    “Hey, I'm just following where the better half leads,” Han shrugged. “Don't ask me.”

    Jacen, at least, had the good grace to look sheepish when she glared at him. She scoffed, and heaved a dramatic sigh. “Fine,” she ground out from between her teeth. “I'll try the dresses on – for Mom.”

    “That's all I wanted to hear. And she's sent a tux for you too, junior,” Han turned and elbowed Jacen to say. “Let your dad show you a few moves – you'll be impressing your friend in no time.”

    “Or you'll be scaring her back to Hapes faster than you can say chume'da,” Jaina muttered under her breath, but her rancor was lost as a look passed between father and son – both proud and expectant, by turns. She rolled her eyes, but that too went unseen.

    “There better be some good Corellian grunge-rock on that list, Jacen,” Jaina sighed dramatically before flopping into a chair and picking up a stream of glitter-mesh to toy with. “Otherwise this entire evening will be for nothing.”



    .

    .

    “Friend Jaina, might I have a moment to speak with you?”

    That was one voice that Jaina had – if she was completely honest with herself – been trying to avoid all day. But she was caught, just before she made it back to the Sabre's hangar to blow off some steam while tinkering with just a last few things. It was either ignore Tenel Ka outright, and make it obvious that she was trying to do so, or stand firm and face the music. Regrettably, she went with the latter.

    “Hey,” she turned around and forced her mouth to stretch into something of a smile. “What do you want to talk about?”

    Tenel Ka walked towards her with purpose in her stride. There was a sheen of sweat on her brow, and her sun-darkened skin was rosy from the heat of the jungle. She must have just come in from a run – a long run, Jaina thought, if she was noticeably still marked with exertion. Jaina fought a wince, imagining a couple of things that could inspire her to overextend herself - her brother being key amongst them.

    As they always seemed to do, her eyes fell to the bare stump of Tenel Ka's right arm before guiltily turning away. She really didn't mean to stare – honest she didn't. But, no matter how she fought it, she couldn't completely contain the rude impulse all of the time. It made her a horrible friend, Jaina knew, and she was desperately trying not to.

    “I wish to speak of your brother,” as always, Tenel Ka bypassed pleasantries to get straight to the heart of the matter. She never much saw the point in mincing words; her clear grey eyes were hard with determination, and her jaw was set. “Is he . . .” but she faltered, and bit her lip in an obvious show of uncertainty before beginning again. Jaina found her own emotions sobering as she realized just how much this meant to her friend. “Is he quite well? He has been acting somewhat odd as of late, and though I can begin to understand why, I still . . .”

    It didn't matter that she couldn't quite finish her sentence - that alone was more than Tenel Ka had said aloud about the accident and its aftermath with any sort of personal investment involved in her words. She knew that her friend valued her privacy, and held herself up so strongly - but still, a part of Jaina's heart ached for her, and she formed what a sympathetic expression she could. She wanted to show empathy, not pity; but still, she was more her father than her mother, and such nuisance was hard for her to master even when she wasn't as deeply involved as she was.

    “You know Jacen,” she shrugged, and said as carefully as she could. “He's just . . . trying, as we all are – maybe he's trying too hard, but, in his own way, I think that's all he can do.”

    Tenel Ka made a soft sound in the back of her throat, but she didn't immediately say anything aloud in reply, and Jaina was left to guess at her thoughts – a formidable task, at the best of times.

    “It . . . worries me, though I know it should not; he worries me,” Tenel Ka mumbled, when Jaina had thought that she would let the conversation go. She was pleasantly surprised to the contrary. “Things have been different, as of late. Too different.” Then, more quietly she added, “I wish for them not to be.”

    A moment of silence passed between them, thick with shared feeling. The humming of the Massassi stones seemed louder then; their ancient weight was seemingly close enough to touch. Jaina shuffled her weight on the balls of her feet, and then picked her path.

    “I think that, maybe, Jacen has much the same wish as you – he just wants some normalcy when everything has been the furthest from,” Jaina summoned a grudging expression to quietly agree with her friend. She acknowledged what she said, but did not pause to dwell on it overly much – that would be the last think Tenel Ka wanted, she knew. “Silly dances like this – they're commonplace for most cultures in the galaxy, right?”

    “I suppose,” Tenel Ka shrugged. “They are all too common on Hapes, that is a fact.” She made the barest shadow of a put out expression – a full on grimace, for her. “Which I am unfortunately reminded of now. Just today a carrier arrived from home, containing a selection of gowns for me to choose from. I am expected to dress according to my station, and not dishonor my name and title at this event.”

    She looked down, and something forlorn blossomed about her eyes as she gestured to her strong scaled leathers and sturdy Dathomiri boots. Jaina made a face in empathy, and didn't have to search for the proper response in the slightest – she was pretty much certain that Tenel Ka was also going to be wearing flutter-silk, or some version thereof.

    “You too?” Jaina sympathized aloud. “Ouch.”

    “Yes - regrettably so,” Tenel Ka stalwartly recovered herself. “Apparently, your mother told my mother, and then my grandmother found out . . . Ta'a Chume, at least, has trust in Master Skywalker's ability to ensure that I will look presentable enough for the occasion.”

    “Uncle Luke?” even still, Jaina couldn't resist the chance to tease. “Well, I'd say he has a pretty much one-note fashion sense. All of that black, but if that's to your grandmother's taste, then - ”

    “ - that,” Tenel Ka raised a copper red brow to interject, “was a comment worthy of friend Jacen.”

    True. “Yeah, well,” Jaina couldn't help but shrug, “twins.” Solo twins, at that.

    “So I see,” Tenel Ka's voice was droll, but a shadow of amusement shimmered about her mouth, even so. In that moment, Jaina understood why her brother was always trying to get the strong warrior woman to smile; her smile was beautiful.

    Well then - if this truly was Jacen's mission, then she had done enough whining. It was time to go all in; she would make his goals her own, as she always did. She too in a deep breath, and decided to take the plunge.

    “There's only one thing left for us to do then,” she boldly pushed on to say. “Do you like any of your grandmother's choices?”

    “No,” Tenel Ka's reply was short, and succinct. “Not in the slightest.”

    “Well then, it's time that I introduced you to the hallowed closet of one Mara Jade Skywalker,” Jaina linked her arm through her friend's remaining good arm to lead the way. “I think I remembered seeing a few things that would fit you perfectly.”

    If they were going to do this, Jaina resigned herself to her fate, then they were going to do this right.



    ~MJ @};-
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
    Kahara, Findswoman, SiouxFan and 2 others like this.
  5. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Exquisite interaction between Jaina and Jacen about the music selections, full of humor and snark. [face_laugh] With Tenel Ka Jaina is very sympathetic and awkward, doubtless feeling caught in the middle but understanding both sides. Then each of them, her and Tenel, do not want to "dress up fancy" [face_mischief] Even though they would look stunning in fancy gowns and hairstyles. :)
     
  6. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    This was such a nice chapter. :)
    I loved Jainas frustration on how her idea of just a joyfull dance gets more and more out of hand. Especially in contrast to Jacen excitment and eagerness about it. Love the intetactions between the twins, how deeply they care for each other despite all their bickering. Tenel Ka's total awkwardness about these things is also really fun to read.
    Great work, I'm excited for tje next chapter.
     
  7. SiouxFan

    SiouxFan Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2012
    I didn't see this until yesterday, and I'm ashamed of that fact. You've captured the reason why I became such a huge fan of Jaina and Jacen...they complement themselves in a way we never saw with Luke and Leia. This is the way twins are supposed to be, right...having each other's back no matter what?

    Jacen totally know he owes Jaina, and I'd love to see a follow up where he pays up!

    Thanks for this!
     
  8. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Caught up now—what a delightful story and concept! I love the idea of these guys getting ready for something as fun and fluffy (!) as a dance—and how cute the way it all balloons into a Big Formal Affair right under their noses thanks to folks like Raynar Thul (and even a bit Uncle Luke). I especially love Jaina's very in-character misgivings about the Whole Dressing-Up Thing... but I'm sure she'll learn to love it all the same, in her way. The scene with her mom and aunt trying gown after gown on her is so wonderful... what an adorably hilarious clash of three indomitable SkySolo women. :D And with Tenel Ka experiencing something similar from her female family members—probably times about a thousand, given what I know about her background—Jaina now has someone to sympathize with, and someone with whom she can get ready for this event on their own terms. That'll make a galaxy of difference for them both, I'm sure. Absolutely agreed that Jacen owes Jaina, though! :D Looking forward to more—do keep us movin', too. :)
     
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