Between Chapters Two and Three of Legacy of the Force: Revelation…
His door was closed when she got there. She paused outside, took a slow breath, and knocked. Boots thumped, and the door opened.
"Hey," Jaina said. "Can I come in?"
"Sure." Jag stepped aside to let her through, then shut the door behind him. He appraised her. "Ready to go, I guess."
"Nothing to be gained by waiting." She forced herself to smile. "I promised I'd say goodbye before I left…"
"I see you decided to get dressed up all fancy for your audience with a head of state."
She laughed. The nondescript gray flight suit was about as boring as it got. "Military issue might send the wrong signal. I figure the longer I can go without them shooting at me, the better."
"Good idea." He was still standing by the door. He didn't seem to know where to go. Not that she did, either–she was just standing in the middle of his room. "So," he said into the awkward silence, "what's your plan?"
"Fly to Mandalore and ask to see Boba Fett."
Jag chuckled. "It has the virtue of simplicity. And whose brilliant idea was that? Zekk's?"
"Ah. He would have been my next guess."
"I bet." Her palms were sweating. She wiped them on her hips. "Keep an eye on Ben if you can."
"Why? What's he up to now?"
She blew out a slow breath. "He can't quite leave that GAG detective training behind. He's not convinced Alema killed Mara-in fact, he's sure it's Jacen. But he says he'll follow the evidence wherever it leads. So he's going to investigate her murder start to finish, piece by piece."
Jag raised a brow. "That could be…rough."
"Yeah. So watch out for him, okay?"
He took a step forward. Just like that he was only an arm's length away. Just within her reach. "I'll do what I can."
"All right." She looked down at her boots. She really should get going. "So, are you gonna wish me luck?"
"You don't need luck. You have the Force."
"It'll be with you, Jaina. It always is." He flashed a grin. "You sure you don't want to take Threepio with you? I hear those Mandalorians are sticklers for the intricacies of protocol. You wouldn't want to inadvertently offend them."
Without thinking, she slugged him in the arm. "You can be such a pain sometimes."
"No. You're not."
He scowled. "It's that Jedi lie detection. Caught every time."
"So…" She sighed again. "I guess I should be going."
"Okay." He paused. "Just…"
When he didn't continue, she took a step closer. "Just what?"
He looked away, then back into her eyes. "Just don't forget who Fett is. What he is. Mandalore, grandfather, whatever else he might be, he's still a cold-blooded killer. You can't trust him."
"In other words, be careful."
He smiled, faintly. "Well, I know better than to say it to you that way. But yes."
"I'll be careful, Jag," she said, holding his gaze. "I promise."
"You'd better. Because when you're through, I want you back here in one piece."
"One piece. Right. I can do that."
They stood there, looking at each other. She could feel the hesitation boiling off him in the Force. Then, finally, he slid toward her and pulled her into his arms. Instinctively she hugged him in return, wrapping her arms around his back. After a moment he tightened their embrace, but didn't let go.
Holding him close, nestled against him, she suddenly became acutely aware of their physical contact. His hands on the small of her back. His heartbeat. Her fingers on his shirt. Her cheek on his chest. His warmth. Her own pulse, racing.
She realized she didn't want to let go, either.
"Be safe," he whispered.
She squeezed him gently, and ran her hands up his back a little. "I will."
He took a long, deep breath. His chest rose and fell against her. But he said nothing, only ran his hands once a short distance down and up her back.
"I'll come back," she said softly into him.
She raised her face and looked at him. His was only millimeters away. "I said, I'll come back."
He didn't blink. "I'll be waiting."
She stared into his eyes. That…look. It brought back so many-
And then he was kissing her. Gently. Tenderly.
Jaina kissed him back. Somewhere in the deep recesses of her mind, she wondered if she shouldn't be. If she was making a mistake. If this was too soon.
He broke the kiss, his lips lingering a hairsbreadth from hers.
He kissed her again. Hard, this time. Claiming her lips. Plundering her mouth with his tongue. She couldn't breathe.
She whimpered–but not from anxiety.
She crushed him to her, and kissed him with equal fervor. His hands caressed her back; hers caressed his. Her legs went weak, and he pulled her closer, holding her up–without ever breaking their kiss. She embraced him even tighter.
Gasping for air, she finally tore her lips away. He was looking down at her, grinning.
"No," he said quietly. Gently, yet insistently.
He silenced her with another kiss, just for an instant. "Not now. Not today." He gazed deeply into her eyes. "It can wait."
For when she got back? Or for when…for when this was all over?
He leaned down and kissed her on the neck–just behind her jaw, beneath her ear.
Jaina decided she didn't need to know the answer right now. "Oh…"
"Surrender," he whispered.
Jaina gave her hair one last vigorous rub with the damp towel, then gave up. That was as dry as it was going to get. She draped the towel over the back of the chair, then turned back to face the bed.
Jag was still sound asleep. He hadn't noticed when she'd awakened, or when she'd crawled out of bed. Apparently even the sound of the sanisteam hadn't bothered him. She chuckled to herself, and stepped over to the side of the bed. She reached out to rock his shoulder, then drew her hand back.
She didn't need to wake him, not just to say goodbye. Their farewell was best remembered as it was. Not in words.
Stepping quietly on tiptoes, she made her way to the door, opened it, and slipped out into the night. The air was warm, humid. Closing her eyes, she inhaled the deep forest aromas of Endor. This might be her last moment of calm–of peace-for weeks. She savored it.
Then she opened her eyes and started walking toward the landing area, where an X-wing was fueled and prepped for her. The techs would have long given up waiting for her. She only got a few strides, though, before she saw her uncle approaching from the opposite direction. Even before they met halfway, she felt her face flushing.
"Just out for a midnight stroll," Luke said. "And you?"
"Don't worry, Jaina," he said, leaning in conspiratorially, "I won't tell."
She nodded. "Right. Thanks."
He winked, and walked away.
She stood there a moment longer, then strode off at a quick pace toward her waiting starfighter.
"Better work on my subtlety before I get to Mandalore."
Original cover by oldjedinurse. HTML formatting copyright 2008 TheForce.Net LLC.