driftinginnines: ([ j/tk 2 ])
[personal profile] driftinginnines
Title: Princess
Fandom: Star Wars: Expanded Universe, New Jedi Order: Star By Star
Characters: Ganner Rhysode, Tenel Ka, Jacen Solo
Word Count: 1675
Date Finished: May 28, 2008
Author's Notes: I know Star by Star was already packed with a bunch of stuff as it is but it would've been fun to see little random moments between the different groups the strike team split into. So here is a little thing I ended up writing that related to that.

Princess
Myrkr. The three of them were holed up together in a makeshift area where they could rest. The Jedi Strike Team had split up and Tenel Ka had found herself in a small group with Jacen Solo and Ganner Rhysode. They, as a group, decided they needed to take a break for a bit and found a small alcove out of the way of the path they were on. They were each taking turns scouting around and keeping watch while the other two regained some lost energy.

Jacen Solo was currently out on watch.

Tenel Ka could feel him through their connection, pacing back and forth outside of the entrance, blaster in hand, lightsaber on his belt and senses alert.

She could also feel a throbbing pain across her back. There was a gash down her right shoulder blade and ending in the middle of her back, placed there by a Yuuzhan Vong's amphistaff a few hours earlier. She would've been taking care of it herself, but still without her left arm years after her accident, it was hard to reach for that exact spot. She had to ask Ganner for help applying bacta lotion to it, something she really didn't mind asking for since it was a case where she definitely couldn't take care of the problem herself.

She could sense someone nearby who did mind, though.

"So Princess," Ganner started, as he sat behind her on the flat rock they had covered with thin blankets -- their makeshift bunk. "Are all the women on Hapes as pleasant as you?"

She couldn't help but stifle a chuckle. "I am afraid not. I am afraid most of them are nothing like me." She never really considered herself pleasant, but she figured that compared to most of the females on Hapes, she definitely would fit that adjective better than most.

"Are they at least as good-looking then?"

She could feel his right hand on her skin, rubbing the bacta lotion over the gash in a circular motion. He was very precise with his movements, his fingers never straying from right around the injury.

"I guess..." she murmured, awkwardly. Along with pleasant, good-looking was never something she would've used when asked to describe herself. Determined, sure. Forward, yes. Maybe even aloof sometimes. But good-looking? She felt her lips upturn slightly at the offhanded compliment.

She felt the third member of their group nearby, still outside, but pressed against the spot by the entrance now. She could sense his sudden frustration with the whole situation and... was that envy, as well? Pulling her mind back to the matter at hand, she steeled herself against Ganner's palm, which was now moving down the gash, pushing bacta lotion straight into the tissue. He pulled his hand away. "And that's that. Sorry if that hurt, but we have to make sure it gets anything that's not supposed to be there out."

Tenel Ka nodded.

"And it'll have to be reapplied in about an hour. You should probably get some rest, Princess."

She pulled her tank top back up over her chest and then over her shoulders, where she straightened the straps. Leaving the top half of the jumpsuit around her waist, Tenel Ka turned to look at Ganner, who was rubbing his right hand on the leg of his own jumpsuit to get the excess lotion off and glancing out one of the small holes in the wall of their alcove. She was thankful he was a part of their group. He had been through a lot more than some of the members of the team and she knew that his gruff exterior and straightforward demeanor would help to keep Jacen's mind on the right track.

"Thanks, Ganner."

"No problem."

He forced a smile to her and as she turned over and settled on the rock, tucking her hand under her cheek, she realized it was the first time she'd ever seen Ganner Rhysode crack a smile that hadn't followed a perverted comment or a snide remark. She was asleep within seconds.




Tenel Ka didn't know how long she had been sleeping, but when she pulled her eyes open she saw someone sitting on the rock near their bunk, staring at her. She could feel her face flush slightly, a feeling which she quickly tried to banish from her system. How long had he been sitting there watching her? His lips were thinned and his eyes were still locked on her, even now that she was awake. She could feel a sudden wave of goosebumps along the skin on her bare arms and she found herself shifting awkwardly to a sitting position and stretching before turning her full attention to the man beside her.

"Jacen..." Her voice was low, almost a whisper as she tilted her head and tossed a few of her warrior braids from her shoulder. She was about to continue until he interrupted her.

"How's your cut?" He asked, in an attempt to be nonchalant, his hands placed in his lap and his back straight. He looked almost like a humanoid droid with his posture, except with a glaring glitch. His lips curved downward on one side in a lopsided frown. Tenel Ka figured he didn't even realize he was doing that.

"Hurts."

"Oh?" He finally changed the way he was sitting, placing his feet apart from one another and stabbing his elbows onto his knees. He then leaned forward towards her and let his hands dangle between his legs. With a lowered voice and an arched eyebrow, he continued. "I figured that after he rubbed bacta lotion all over it that it would instantly feel better, Princess." The emphasis he put on the nickname Ganner had been using for her was punctuated by a violent waggle of his eyebrows.

She could feel the laugh in her throat and she tried like the Nine Corellian Hells to keep it down but she couldn't. It erupted through her lips in a giggle that she tried to stifle by shifting her right hand to her face. But it was no use, it was definitely audible and he definitely heard it. She knew this because he leaned back and slammed himself into the wall of the alcove, arms crossed stubbornly over his chest.

"Are you jealous of Ganner?"

"No. Of course not," he answered instantly and in a surprisingly stern fashion.

Still attempting to keep a smile from her face, Tenel Ka spun around and grabbed the canister of bacta lotion. She was on the crude bunk, her back now facing Jacen, and the bacta canister was beside her, already open. She said nothing, and Jacen was still silent after his quick response to her question, which she counteracted with a simple action.

Tenel Ka gently shifted the straps of her tank top off of her shoulders and slowly pulled the fabric away from her injury, pushing the shirt down around her stomach and leaving her bare back facing Jacen. She could feel him tense up through the Force -- and she realized his jaw was clenched and his eyes narrowed. He was genuinely put off by this whole situation, which only helped to amuse her even more. She hadn't seen him in so long before the mission to Myrkr that she had almost forgotten how open he could be with his emotions.

"Could you help me with this, please?" She asked quietly.

Those words caused his intensity to shatter, she sensed it through their connection. He wasn't used to her asking for help and she could feel his sudden rush of concern. Mere seconds later he was pulling himself on the rocky bunk behind her and cringing at the cold bacta lotion on his hands.

Ganner had been very professional with the first application, just like a comrade on a battlefield should be. He was quick, efficient and very mechanical with the medical salve. Jacen, on the other hand, was much more meticulous and personal. If it was anyone else, it would've made Tenel Ka feel uncomfortable -- but the way he moved both of his hands across her skin and traced the gash down her back with the medication made her feel at ease, almost relaxed. She could feel his breath on her back as he worked carefully around the cut, making sure to get enough in and around the tissue that it would help, but not so much that it would start to harm.

"There," he whispered. She felt the word more on her neck than she heard with her ears, and turning her head to the point where her chin touched her bare shoulder, she managed to give him a grin.

"Thank you, Jacen."

He was still close to her, his breath still escaping his lips and hitting her neck. Tenel Ka could tell he wanted to vocalize what he had been repeating in his head while he was helping her with the gash.

What if I die on this mission? What if she dies? What if we both die? I should tell her. I should. I love you. That's all you have to say, just say it. Tell her.

Over and over again, different words and phrases, same basic thought. He was so tied up in treating her injury that he hadn't bothered to block his thoughts off from her. She knew exactly what he wanted to say and she wanted him to say it.

Say it.

"You're welcome, Tenel Ka."

He shifted off of the rock and grabbed the bacta canister, turning away from her and shutting it. It took him a couple tries, she noted, because his hands were shaking.

Looking away from him, she pulled her tank top back and shifted, slowly rolling her shoulders until the fabric was as comfortable over her gash as it was going to get. There was an awkward silence that filled the small alcove and Tenel Ka knew Jacen would get rid of it very soon. He was always good at --

"You know you laughed earlier, right? Out loud."

"I know. For once, Jacen Solo made me laugh."

She felt his hand run down her back, over the tight fabric of her tank top, and he let his fingertips linger at the small of her back where a patch of tan skin peeked out from under her shirt. "Get some more rest and I'll wake you up when it's your turn for watch."

She turned her head towards him as he was speaking, her chin coyly touching her shoulder again and when their eyes met, he finished his sentence.

"Princess."
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