Fandom: Star Wars: Expanded Universe, New Jedi Order: Star By Star
Characters: Zekk, Jacen Solo
Word Count: 1958
Date Finished: September 22, 2008
Author's Notes: I'm not sure if this would be considered something to tag with Jacen/Zekk because it's not there but it is there. That probably didn't make sense at all, did it?
Not Right Now
"They asleep over there?" A voice sounded calmly through the dark, carrying over to the only other coherent occupant of the chamber.
"Yeah," a pause. "They are. They're out."
"They need it."
That came to his ears in a whisper and Zekk wasn't sure if he was meant to respond or not. It didn't help that the blackness surrounding them obscured everything and made it impossible to see his companion across the sea of sleeping bodies sprawled out ahead of him.
They were all worn out and tired. They hadn't even been on Myrkr long and they'd already lost some of their team.
Pulling an active blue glowrod from his pocket, Zekk muted the light with his hand and raised it in front of him, flooding the chamber in a soft cerulean bath. He saw a pair wide eyes peering at him and then the owner of them raise a hand and motion him across. It took him a good standard minute or two, but very carefully he managed to make his way past everyone who was sleeping and over to the tall crates they were using as a lookout post.
Zekk pulled himself up first, the glowrod becoming bright again as he took his hands away from it and stuck it between his teeth. Once he got to the top of the crates, easily big enough for at least three to keep watch from, he shifted around and looked back below, down roughly ten feet to the floor.
His teammate was hesitating, still crouched beside one of the sleeping bodies. It was Tenel Ka. Zekk could tell by the outline of the body under the thin blanket and the braids that rested on the ground around her head. His companion had a hand at the small of her back and then within seconds he was up on his feet and shifting onto the crates. He managed to pull himself up with no help and then flattened himself on his stomach beside Zekk to peer out the old, rotted viewport to the planetside beyond.
Zekk felt like they were kids again, staring out one of the windows on Yavin IV, shooting their invisible blasters at hordes of stormtroopers, cackling about contrived Academy-wide gossip, digging in the mud for some strange new creature that never bothered to show itself --
"Jacen," Zekk murmured, turning his head to the side to look at his friend.
"Hmm?" Jacen Solo mirrored his action, shifting to look at Zekk with those wide eyes of his.
The diffused lighting that seeped through the viewport from the outside hit Jacen's face in a way that made the already battle-hardened eighteen-year-old look like he should have at that age, young and full of life, with that spark of mischief still present in his eyes. His expression was mildly inquisitive and Zekk noted his body language was surprisingly relaxed for the tense pressure they had been under for the countless previous hours.
To Zekk, he looked like a warm and inviting individual. Something he never felt from Jacen's twin sister.
"I just..." he shook his head and turned back to the viewport. "Nothing."
Zekk could feel Jacen's eyes still on him, lingering for a few more moments before he looked back out the small viewport as well. The horizon seemed quiet.
Stretched out on their stomachs along the top of the crates with their heads propped in their hands, they had to be side-by-side to give them both a good view out of the broken transparisteel. Where their shoulders were brushing together, Zekk could now feel cold air against his left side as the man next to him began shuffling around. He craned his neck again, turning his head and tilted it slightly, almost curiously.
Jacen was on his back now and it took no time at all for him to swipe the blue glowrod away from Zekk and drop it on the brown jumpsuit covering his stomach. Seconds later, his hands were hovering over it, shifting into shapes that threw huge shadow puppets onto the ceiling above them.
Trying to quell the grin that seized his lips, Zekk moved his eyes from the shadow puppets to the puppeteer below.
"What are you, twelve?"
"Sometimes I wish I still was," Jacen muttered.
It had been about eight years since Zekk was twelve and every day since then just seemed to get longer and more difficult. "I know how that feels."
The sour tone in his voice didn't go unnoticed by Solo and the moving shadows on the ceiling behind Zekk slowed and stopped momentarily as Jacen swept his hair across the crate and turned his head to look up at him.
"Wanna talk about it?"
A question so simple, yet so powerful and it sounded so earnest coming from him. Zekk would've never heard that from Jaina. Was Jacen joking?
Zekk's elbows ached and he moved them slightly, but he managed to peer down at Jacen as he did so. His brandy-brown eyes were wide again, in an eager sort of fashion. No, he was serious. Jacen Solo was serious.
He managed to chuckle uncomfortably, shaking his head. "No, that's... it's okay."
Looking back out the viewport, Zekk attempted to get his thoughts under control. Things that Zekk wished he could see in Jaina -- traits, mannerisms, feelings -- they all belonged to Jacen. Her twin brother had them all. He was so damn caring, so emotional, so open-minded when it came to people and the way they worked.
He was trying like the nine Corellian Hells to keep his thoughts in check, but he knew some of them slipped past his mental wall when he caught Jacen out of the corner of his eye. Solo was resting on his side now, facing Zekk, his left elbow propped up on the crate and the side of his head resting his hand, fingers splayed haphazardly through his mess of brown hair. His right hand was absently drumming the glowrod up and down on the durasteel crates, the sound, surprisingly, was almost silent.
Seconds later the noise stopped and a sea of still, clean blue light washed over them both. It vanished when Zekk felt Jacen lean towards him, covering the glowrod in the folds of his jumpsuit. He was reaching out with his right hand and Zekk felt him brush a lock of black hair behind his ear. His touch was gentle, not that he expected any different at that point, but it mildly shocked him to not feel Jacen's hand pull away after that, but to linger on his neck, skin against skin. The hand that had been resting at the small of Tenel Ka's back earlier was now resting on his neck, and like Jacen's general aura earlier, Zekk didn't hesitate to tell himself that Solo's touch was exactly the same. Warm and inviting.
"I'm here if you ever need to talk."
He had moved closer and that came as a whisper in Zekk's left ear. It finally caused him to turn back to Jacen, the man who he expected to have a sly smile on his face and an arched eyebrow and a sudden air of slight arrogance at his actions. He was so used to that from Jacen's sister.
But no, when he looked over he saw the curious brown eyes and the slightly furrowed brow and an innocent almost naive shadow of a half-smile. He could feel the honesty from him and the desire to rescue Zekk from whatever emotional hole he had dug himself in this time. He wasn't getting all hands-on because he wanted to annoy or tease or hurt, he was doing it because he cared.
And someone caring enough for him to get that close wasn't something Zekk was used to. Force knows Jaina never did. He never knew his parents. And Peckhum wasn't a touchy-feely kind of guy.
Gently moving his elbows out from under him, Zekk quietly placed himself on his side on the crates next to Jacen Solo. He could feel Jacen's breath on his neck; it was deep and slightly fervent, and Zekk could match it to the movement of Jacen's chest.
"But not right now," Zekk finally finished his thought, breathing it into Jacen's ear. "One day."
He could feel Jacen nodding in the dark.
I'll always be here.
The thought echoed loud and clear in Zekk's head and Jacen punctuated it by squeezing Zekk's hand. He was about to pull it away when Zekk blindly grabbed for it and held it in his. It was comforting and familiar. It was something he wanted. He was telling himself, in the dark, that he could pretend he was curled up next to Jaina, but he realized at that point he didn't want that. That didn't matter. The breath he felt on his neck and the rustling of jumpsuit fabric next to him was Jacen Solo. Emotionally alluring, truthful and empathetic Jacen Solo.
"My turn started ten minutes ago, why didn't one of you guys wake me up?"
Zekk sat up quickly, Jacen following suit after rolling over and retrieving the glowrod that he had been laying on. They both murmured a garble of nothings until Jaina's next question quieted them.
"No," Jacen answered simply, tossing a brief and knowing glance to Zekk.
"No." Zekk repeated.
"Alright." She pushed in between them both to settle at the lookout point.
Jaina was already at the viewport watching, the light from the glowrod heavily obscured by her grasp when Jacen made it to the end of the crates to climb down. Zekk shifted so the other could pass by and felt Jacen hesitate, leaning towards him in the dim light. His hand brushed against Zekk's stomach and their cheeks touched as Jacen practically sighed in his ear.
"Talk to me."
As he pulled away, Zekk turned his head with the movement, absently managing to keep their skin touching as long as possible. He could feel his cheeks flushing slightly, his head spinning quickly back to Jaina, who he expected to be looking at him with a disgusted sort of expression.
No. She was concentrating on the planetside. As she did for a good amount of time before tearing her eyes away from the horizon.
She was still sitting by the viewport, legs crossed and back hunched, but now she was periodically moving her eyes between the world outside and Zekk. He could feel Jaina's eyes on him, but he had already pushed her out of his mind for the moment, his own emerald gaze settling on her twin brother. He was already curled up under a blanket and falling asleep below on the hard floor of the chamber.
Perhaps he had been focused on the wrong Solo all his life.
Jacen Solo sat on the bridge of the Anakin Solo in an over sized chair that he was mildly amusing himself with by shifting back and forth. His brandy-browns had dulled to an almost orange and he was toying with spreading news of his recently changed name with the galaxy when the panel on the arm of his chair lit up with an annoying blue glow. There was a new message.
Leaning forward, he readied himself to punch a few keys and watch some most likely useless holorecording from someone who was most likely wasting his time -- then he navigated to the message screen. One new recording. It was blinking.
The subject line read: "Talk to me."
It was from Zekk.
Open-minded, emotional, sensible and inviting Zekk.
He didn't need that right now.
And with a simple swipe of a gloved hand, Darth Caedus' pointer finger met with the delete button.
He didn't need that right now.