Fandom: Star Wars: Expanded Universe, post-Legacy of the Force
Characters: Tenel Ka, Jacen Solo
Word Count: 1456
Date Finished: October 22, 2009
Author's Notes: Have you noticed that my stories with them seem to get more and more depressing after LotF was over, hahah I NEED TO WRITE MORE HAPPY FOR THEM BECAUSE I MISS THEM. :|
Every morning now she came out here to be alone. She came out here to think.
She would wake early, as the suns were brightening, slip on a pair of sandals and pass the guards along the hallways of the Fountain Palace. She would emerge into the cool morning air, sweep her eyes over the capital city below and take the path around the stone palace, through the forest to the water. The sandals would come off and she would cross as careful as ever, slowly seeking out the rocks under the surface until she glided across the water to the grove.
Some mornings she could still hear him.
Her eyes would snap open and she would peer around her. There was nothing. There never was.
She would be seated on the stone bench in the small clearing, her legs pulled under her and her muscles tense. She didn't know what it felt like to relax anymore.
Tenel Ka hadn't felt calm since Jacen Solo died.
Sometimes when she came out here she would just sit and listen to the lapping of the water around her, outside the walls of vines. Sometimes she would cry quietly. Sometimes she sprawled out across the bench and stared at the sky.
Today she found herself on the ground in the grove, laying with her head on her right arm and her ivory nightgown against the soft grass. The scent of the blades drifted over her and into her system; it was sweet and, for some strange reason, heavy. A shock shot through her mind, telling her that this wasn't right; she was open, she was vulnerable.
But that shock failed to penetrate the dreamlike state she had already fallen into and her body seemed to be closing up on itself. Her knees were drawn to her chest and her eyes drifted shut.
Turning her head towards the entrance of the grove, she felt a smile try to creep its way across her face at the sight of him. He was silhouetted against the setting suns and as he stepped into the shield of vines surrounding them, she could see he was dressed in pale gray. His eyes were bright and his hair was mussed -- that lopsided grin of his was threatening to cross his face, she could see it.
"You made it."
"Of course I did." His bare feet padded through the grass and he stopped in front of her, kneeling in front of where she sat on the stone bench. "I slipped a couple times in the water, but I managed to find the rocks. I mean, I'm not completely drenched, yeah?"
She wasn't speaking of him finding his way to the grove; she actually wasn't sure what exactly she was speaking of, but that didn't matter now. What mattered now was that they were together. Their time together was always so short, so furtive. A small chat in the main hall of the palace surrounded by people, a brief meeting in the hangar in the middle of the usual staff -- a stolen moment in the Queen Mother's wardrobe; lips locked and bodies together against a row of extravagant gowns she never liked to wear.
Leaning forward, she wrapped her right arm around him and buried her head in his neck. She felt him stand under her and she stood with him.
"I have missed you," she murmured into his skin. It was warm and soft, it was alive.
I've missed you too.
He shot the thought back to her through their bond in the Force since his lips were too busy seeking out hers at that moment. There was a hunger from him that she hadn't sensed in a good while. The longer she thought about it, the more she realized she felt the same. As his lips moved from hers and traveled to her neck, she released a heavy breath into his ear that she hadn't even known she hadn't been holding.
She figured that must have been what sent Jacen Solo over the edge at that exact moment, as he pulled her away from the stone bench and pressed her back into the thick wall of greenery. She could feel her hair getting tangled in the vines behind her and her cheeks brushing against the turquoise flowers as he drifted fingertips across her jaw line, shifting her head to the side to gain better access to the skin of her neck and shoulders.
Pale gray covered ivory as Tenel Ka grabbed a handful of his shirt and pulled him against her before moving her fingers from his clothing to his hair. He had an arm around her waist and a hand at her shoulder, fingertips gently prodding the strap of her nightgown to fall from where it sat. His breath was hot, his skin was warm and his lips were moist... but wasn't he gone?
In a moment of weakness, a little something she only ever revealed around him, she whispered in his ear. "Stay with me."
His lips instantly stopped their furious work on a soft spot above her collarbone, and he pulled his head back to stare into her eyes. He opened his mouth to speak but he said nothing. And with no warning, he leaned forward and kissed the smooth skin below her ear. She could feel him against her, breathing, his chest against hers. She could feel his hands drifting down her sides; she could feel him drawing in air to speak...
"Your Majesty... I..."
Gray eyes shot open, seeing the world ahead of her on its side. After a few moments, Tenel Ka shifted, pushing herself to a sitting position. She had left a faint outline of her sleeping form in the grass and from the suns overhead, she noted that her small nap had only lasted a mere few minutes.
But she felt years older.
Stumbling to her feet, she reached out to grab at one of the latticed vine walls around her, clenching her fingers around the wire inside to keep her steady. After rubbing the sleep out of her eyes she blinked repeatedly and managed to amble to the waters edge before collapsing to her knees. Bending over and closing her eyes, Tenel Ka scooped up a handful of the cool liquid and splashed her face.
As the water slid down her cheeks and dripped from her chin, Tenel Ka took a few deep breaths and opened her eyes, staring down at her reflection. The first thing that caught her eye were the copper waves of tangled hair that hung around her face -- she reached up to pick a couple of leaves from the strands, and that was when the mark on her collarbone caught her eye. It was a vaguely rounded discoloration that sat along the top edge of the bone and her breath hitched in her throat when she remembered that was where Jacen's lips had been.
Quickly spinning her focus around, her eyes locked on a spot in the grove. What she figured she would see was only on the ground next to one certain area of the wall of vines -- there was a small smattering of turquoise petals and bright viridian leaves in the grass. Back to her reflection she went, her eyes not able to leave the mark on her skin. When she brushed her fingers against it, a warmth seemed to spread over her body.
How... how did he...
Tenel Ka heard a soft whistle and looking up and out towards the lake, she saw a figure in black standing on the water. From the placement, she could tell that it was on the path of rocks. But the more she looked at it, she realized it didn't even need the rocks. It was almost transparent.
Shifting slightly, the hood of the cloak was thrown back and she saw his face. His eyes were pale, changing from a brown to what seemed like an orange-yellow. They were fading. The tips of his hair brushed his cheeks and a darker shadow of his lopsided grin had stolen his lips.
Moments passed as she stared at him and she watched as the disgusting smirk vanished from his face and his eyes seemed to sink into that familiar brandy shade. He lifted a hand to his lips and did the last thing Tenel Ka ever expected.
He blew her a kiss.
A shudder racked her body, she blinked and whatever she had seen was gone.
He was gone.
The fingers of her right hand absently moved to her collarbone, lightly gliding over the discoloration he had left with his lips.
He was gone, wasn't he?