Fandom: Star Wars: Expanded Universe, Legacy of the Force era, post-Sacrifice
Characters: Jacen Solo/Darth Caedus, Tenel Ka, Allana
Word Count: 1835
Date Finished: February 13, 2007
Author's Notes: This is LotF era but post-Sacrifice -- when the one thing Jacen is afraid of finally happens. Also, here is where I insert the MEGA SACRIFICE SPOILERS WARNING.
Allana had never seen her mommy cry before. It came as a shock to the little girl, and she had wanted to chase after her daddy and bring him back, but that wasn't possible anymore. Her daddy was gone.
Eyes glazed over, he stared to the Queen Mother's back as she stood by the window. Her hair was in a copper mess, pinned atop her head, stray waves of molten creeping down her neck, brushing across her shoulders. He let his gaze trail up the curve of her neck to her jawline, recalling the previous night they had spent together.
He had arrived on Hapes for a short visit and their daughter had been asleep, out cold, down the hallway in her own room. She hadn't known he was there for a visit yet -- he had arrived late that night, after she had gone to bed. He spent time with the girl's mother and had crept into the dressing room behind her when she went to change for the evening, shutting the door behind them, the two instantly grabbing at each other and peeling their clothes off. These outbursts had become more frequent with each visit, and each one put them in more danger of being discovered.
It was on the dressing room floor the previous night. It was fast. It was sweaty. And Jacen Solo had loved every moment of it.
He wanted to do that again. He wanted to feel his lips on her neck and her fingernails in his back.
But now was not the time.
"I had a dream last night."
"What was it about?" Jacen snapped out of his trance and stood from the sofa, moving across the room to wrap his arms around her waist. His voice lowered to a whisper, his lips pressed against the soft spot behind her ear. "Was it about us?"
She shifted uncomfortably in his grasp, her back against his chest. "No. It was about a... Darth Caedus." Tilting her head upwards and to the side a bit, she gave him a view of her profile, her jaw set and her eyes narrowed. She was thinking, piecing together parts of some puzzle. Jacen could see it in her expression. "Sound familiar to you?"
He tensed slightly against her, yelling in his head to relax and luckily, before he could respond, he heard a squealing erupt from down the hall of the Queen Mother's quarters.
Quickly letting Tenel Ka go and moving a few paces away from her, he turned to the corridor, hands clamped behind his back. The origin of the sound came careening around the corner and ran straight to him, throwing her tiny arms around his legs.
"Aaaaaalllaaaana!" He responded, mocking her jokingly and sweeping her off her feet into his arms.
Tenel Ka watched as Jacen spoke to Allana, smiling and laughing at her responses. Years seemed to shed off of him; his eyes lit up shades brighter when their daughter talked, his mouth transforming into that lopsided grin Tenel Ka had fallen in love with what seemed like so many eons before. He would glance over to her every now and then, that innocent smile plastered on his face -- like he was still in complete awe that they had a child. She recalled the Jacen from the previous night, the fully grown man with his hungry lips and dark eyes; his calloused hands that scratched across her skin and the way his chest heaved when their bodies were pressed together, his heartbeat always fast and prominent.
It drove part of her mad -- while the other part, much smaller than the first, was afraid. What had he turned into over all those years?
"Jace, I found a aminal in the gardens today! I kept it!"
"Really? What is it?"
"It's a... a...!" Allana looked to her mother for confirmation.
"A vrenfur," Tenel Ka said.
"Yeah! That's it!"
"Well, go get it and let me see it then, kid." Jacen put Allana down and ruffled her hair before she ran off, back down the corridor towards her quarters.
He turned back to Tenel Ka, the smile vanishing from his face as he caught her expression. He knew exactly what she was thinking. He knew he would have to tell her at some point -- and he figured he had waited long enough, especially since his discomfort with hiding it from her was passing through their bond and now manifesting itself in her dreams.
Approaching her, he grabbed her upper arms and drove her backwards into the wall, instantly pressing his lips to hers. She responded, surprised at first, the kiss passionate and filled with the emotion he felt for her. It shifted, slowly but surely, thoughts and images passing through their connection, energy from his lips and hands passing through their skin, racing to her mind.
She saw him murder Nelani Dinn, she saw him talking to Ben, yelling to someone on the bridge of the Anakin Solo. She saw him feverishly trying to keep Aurra Sing away from Allana. She saw him in a casino, talking to a woman. She could hear him taking the name in her mind. Speaking it with those lips she had kissed so many times. Darth Caedus.
Tenel Ka saw him kill Mara Jade Skywalker.
Breathless, she pushed him away, their lips violently breaking apart.
"What... Jacen... I..." Tenel Ka couldn't find the right words to convey her shock. She also figured he could probably feel it radiating through the Force, drifting off of her in waves.
"Love, it's all for the good of the galaxy." His eyes were pleading with her to understand him, and moments after she continued to just stare in shock, her eyebrows furrowed, and he grew stern. "I'm doing it for us. For you. For--"
They could hear Allana squeaking down the hallway towards them, yelling after the vrenfur.
"I'm doing it for her."
Tenel Ka said nothing, her eyes shooting to the corridor Allana was about to emerge from, Jacen spinning towards it as well, a furry little thing jumping out first and scurrying away. Allana arrived mere moments later, chasing it towards Jacen, who effortlessly stooped down and picked the tiny creature up. Their daughter meandered over to him as he knelt down and they began talking back and forth, quite animatedly, about the little ball of fur in his hand.
His back was to her, and the Queen Mother's eyes were lost in his mop of shaggy brown hair. She was still processing everything she had seen.
He had killed Mara Jade Skywalker. A Master, a friend, a mentor.
"So go on and put Stinky back in his cage and I'll be in to tuck you into bed in a couple minutes, alright? I have to talk to your mother."
"Kay!" Allana enclosed the vrenfur in her small hands and rushed back off to her room, yelling on the way. "Night night, Mom!"
Tenel Ka couldn't find her voice to reply, she just let her eyes trail after Jacen's head as he stood, and then to his visage once he turned back around to face her.
He had felt her calculating eyes on his back the whole time he was talking to Allana, the gray storms in them rising. Once his gaze locked with those clouds, he felt himself actually shudder a bit. He knew what was coming, he was dreading it and he would do anything to stop it. Reaching out with his hands, he began to move towards her, prepared to wrap her up in his arms. "Tenel Ka, I--"
She turned away from him.
He stopped cold.
She turned away from him.
Jacen stared at the back of her neck again, letting his eyes run back to her copper curls and then down to her body, over the nightgown-clad curves and tan skin. He had a sinking feeling he would never be this close to her again, he would never be able to kiss those lips again or run his hands over her sides. He could feel his jaw clenching and his muscles tensing.
"I'll take my leave then, Your Highness." He was ready to storm out, his eyes still locked on her back. But he couldn't leave it all like that, so cold and unforgiving. He slowly moved to her and placed a hand on her shoulder, planting a small kiss on her left temple. "I love you, Tenel Ka." He could see tears welling in her eyes from his place beside her, but she didn't dare to look up at him.
Rushing from the Fountain Palace before she lashed out at him, Jacen had stopped in the streets of town and turned back, looking up at the hilltop fortress. The building where the woman he loved and their beautiful daughter were currently residing. He could feel it in his head, he could see it if he shut his eyes. The woman he loved was crying.
And she was. Still in the same spot, on her knees now; slumped over with her right hand covering her face. Shoulders racked with sobs. She had never cried like that before and it was fairly cathartic, but she didn't pay any attention to that -- her mind was too occupied with trying to wrap around the fact that Jacen Solo was the man she had seen in her dreams. The dark-cloaked menace that whispered to her. It was the man she loved, the father of her child, the man who made her laugh, the man she made love to, that clumsy boy who would always try to make her smile...
She felt a growl rumble in her throat as tears continued to pool in her eyes, sliding down her cheeks and dripping onto the carpeting under her.
"Mommy! Where'd Jasa go? He promised--!" Allana stopped mid-sentence as she caught sight of her mother, on her knees, on the floor, eyes red and wet. She padded over as fast as she could manage, her long nightgown getting tangled up on her feet as she moved. She threw her tiny arms around her mother and shook her gently. "Mommy! Are you awright? Where's Jacen?" Allana pressed her forehead to Tenel Ka's, the Queen Mother finally looking into her daughter's eyes. The little girl lowered her voice to a whisper. "Mommy, where'd Daddy go?"
Hearing Allana say Daddy for the first time sent Tenel Ka into another sob, wrapping her right arm around her daughter.
Outside, Jacen Solo could feel the faint commotion in the Palace through the Force, from the Queen Mother and their daughter. He frowned, blinking his eyes against the breeze, before finally shutting them and speaking to the empty streets around him. "Goodnight, Tenel Ka."
One heartbeat. Another.
"Goodnight, Allana," Jacen whispered towards the cold stone of the majestic Fountain Palace, his heart breaking at the fact that he never had a chance to tuck her in like he promised.