Fandom: Star Wars: Expanded Universe, post-Legacy of the Force
Characters: Tenel Ka, Jacen Solo, Allana
Word Count: 2873
Date Finished: November 2009
Author's Notes: I made a fanmix in November or 2009 that had two parts - each with six songs and a small story to go with each song. The first six songs/stories were if Jacen had survived after Legacy of the Force and they all cover small moments between him and Tenel Ka & Allana. Those six are here together.
The last six songs were more in line with what happened in the books and cover Tenel Ka alone after the LotF series. Three of those were slightly longer than the others and have their own uploads (His Storm, A Scoundrel to a Princess & Buried With Time). The other three are in one upload together (Never Fall Away)! HOPEFULLY THAT MADE SENSE. :D
It was the second time she had seen him since his recovery. The first had been when he was in the medbay on Coruscant after the fight with his sister -- after Jaina had brought him back. He had been weak, quiet and it almost seemed like he didn't recognize anyone right away.
This was the second time she had seen him since his recovery, months later. And the first time she had him alone since then.
They were together in his makeshift apartment on Coruscant. It was almost bare, save for the old furniture the building was able to spare for him. He was staying there until he found somewhere permanent to live. He thought about going to the Jedi Academy. He thought about sprucing up the apartment and staying there for good. He thought about living on a ship in space. Many ideas had run through his head, but they weren't anywhere present now. His mind was focused solely on the the Queen Mother.
She was seated across the wobbly table from him and he watched her over a spread of Toydarian takeout. It definitely wasn't like the lavish meals she had on Hapes, but he had a feeling she didn't really mind. Plus, right now it was really all he could afford.
They hadn't said a word to each other since she arrived. He had sent her a message earlier in the day, knowing she would be on Coruscant for some political gathering. The message only asked if she would like to join him for a bite to eat, along with the address. No greeting, no closing. Just the question, the time and the address. She showed up at his door two standard minutes early, much to his surprise. He didn't think she would show at all.
Motioning with a tilt of his head towards the food, Jacen Solo waited until she began to plate her own food before retrieving his own. Her right hand was hovering over the left side of the table, scooping noodles out of a container and dropping them on her plate. He hesitated, shifting his eyes away from her and reached over to the right to grab a roll. He found his hand clasped over hers instead. She apparently had finished getting her noodles and wanted a roll, just like he had.
Her skin felt warm and she didn't pull her hand away like he expected her to. Their eyes locked through the rising steam of the food between them.
"We need to talk," he finally whispered.
Shifting her hand under his, she grabbed his fingers and gave them a hard, almost painful, squeeze. "After dinner."
With a firm nod, he pulled his hand and his eyes away from her and looked down to his plate. Her tone was always hard to read, now especially.
Jacen was quickly reassured when he felt her legs brush up against his under the table. Risking another glance up to her face, he felt comforted to see that there was the slightest shadow of a smile gracing her lips.
"After dinner then."
Her momma had told her to come out onto the balcony of their quarters. It was almost Allana's bedtime but any excuse not to go to sleep made the girl happy. She wandered towards the open doors but instead of her mother's proud silhouette standing alone, she saw two shapes. One was unmistakably her momma... the other one...
Both of them shifted, moving against the night sky when they realized she was there and Allana heard her mother's voice, quiet but firm, as the Queen Mother padded back in from the balcony.
"Allana, someone is here to see us."
She was startled when the other silhouette moved forward into the dim light of the chambers, his face suddenly illuminated. It was a face she recognized all too well -- one that used to scare her. But there was no sneer on it, no smirk like she had remembered. There was a smile. And instead of pale orange eyes, Allana's frightened gaze was met with a warm set of chocolate orbs. There were no frown lines set into his forehead or crinkles around his eyes because he narrowed them too much. This wasn't the man Jedi Jacen had turned into. This was Jedi Jacen. It was daddy.
"The stars are bright tonight, Allana." He held his arms out. His hands. She could see his hands. They weren't covered by those cold, black leather gloves. "You want to come look at them with us?"
Us. Us. She glanced from her mother's face -- which held a restrained, delicate smile -- to her father's. Allana wasn't sure why us sounded so wonderful and right when it referred to her, her momma and her daddy, since she was never with them when they were together and happy, but she didn't hesitate to rush across the carpet into his open arms.
He swept her up and out onto the balcony, her mother joining them, and the three looked up to the night sky. Night was short on Hapes and Allana was never up late enough to see it like this. She gasped at the millions of stars she seemed to see and for a moment, before she was distracted by the sky again, she swore she saw her momma put her head on her father's shoulder. She felt a foreign feeling bubbling up inside of her. For once, Allana knew what it felt like to be content.
There were scars Tenel Ka didn't recognize on his arms, on his back, his legs. There was a small one over his left eyebrow and a long thin one at the small of his back. He could feel her muted shock as her eyes took them in for the first time. Sprawled out on her bed under the sheets what seemed like so long ago, they used to joke about how they knew each other's bodies all too well.
His was almost foreign to her now. He was waiting for her to comment, to make some observation or statement about the scars. But no.
She just leaned closer to him and lifted her right hand to his arm, where her fingertips gently shifted across a healed gash that was present on his skin. There was no comment, just the silent promise that she would soon know him - physically and mentally - as well as she used to.
Jacen finally managed to look into her eyes for the first time since he entered her quarters that night. He had felt awkward and out of place in that bed, like he didn't deserve to be under those covers next to her ever again. But when he caught her gaze and felt her fingers move up to trace his lips, he realized he was right where he should be. Without a second thought, he kissed her fingertips, then hoped afterwards that she wouldn't recoil. She didn't. Her palm trailed down his neck, where her arm slipped around his shoulders. He felt her pull herself to him and absently responded by finally wrapping his arms around her waist for the first time in what seemed like forever. He was where he belonged.
I missed you.
I missed you too.
He was home.
"And then we saw a nexu and gizka and gilderns and they were flying all around and it was so much fun! Mama, you have to go with us sometime!"
Tenel Ka watched her daughter run around the main hall of the Jedi Academy, her arms out to her sides like a pair of gildern wings. She went in circles around her feet and then circles around the feet of her chaperone that day, her father, Jacen Solo. He had taken her early that morning to the newly reopened Coruscant Zoo.
"What else did you see?"
Allana stopped behind her father, grabbing handfuls of the fabric that made up his pants, and peeked around his side, widening her eyes towards Tenel Ka. "We went in the reptilia house."
"Oh?" Tenel Ka let her gaze drift from her daughter to Jacen Solo, who had a comforting crooked grin on his face.
"Daddy showed me the crystal snakes in their cages and he told about how he kept some as pets when he was little. He said you knew them."
"I did. I remember them all."
"Mama, can we get a crystal snake for a pet?"
Tenel Ka instantly noted the way Jacen's face lit up at their daughter's question. He was trying to hide his excitement at the prospect and wasn't doing a very good job of it. Jacen was never good at hiding positive emotions when he was younger and it almost surprised Tenel Ka to see him now, so many years and heartaches and wars later, trying to keep a childish grin from his face. She suddenly had to push a burst of strong emotions away from her.
"We will see, Allana." Tenel Ka reached around Jacen and tugged gently at her daughter's wrist, motioning down the west corridor of the Academy. "Grandma and Grandpa told me they wanted to see you earlier. They wanted to hear about your trip to the zoo."
Without another word, Allana rushed off down the corridor as fast as she could, skipping every few steps. Tenel Ka watched her dodge students and teachers before turning to Jacen with raised eyebrows.
"Did you put her up to asking that?"
"Of course not!" Jacen looked shocked at the accusation, thinning his lips and snaking his right arm around Tenel Ka's shoulders. He began to lead her towards the cafeteria. "Although, I think it would teach Allana some responsibility and all that. You know, learning how to take care of things..."
"So can w-- she get one?" He squeezed her shoulder at his verbal slip-up. "I mean, can we get one for her?"
Despite all they had been through together, and apart during the reign of Darth Caedus, Tenel Ka felt like she was fourteen again. "On occasion I think you, Jacen Solo, never bothered to grow up."
"I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about, Your Worship."
"Of course not."
It was a relief to have him back. It was comforting. She was happy. And the smile that crossed her face showed it.
Looking at the chrono that sat on the nightstand, the green glow showed her that there was a rough forty-five minutes before she had to wake up and start pushing through her daily routine. Training, ruling, decision-making, meetings, all the things that came with being the Queen Mother of Hapes. It was never what she wanted, but it was now something she didn't mind since she had her family by her side.
Allana had woken her up early because of a nightmare. She usually woke her father up when it came to those, but this time she had specifically gone to her mother.
And it had only been because the nightmare had been about her father.
Tenel Ka reassured her that the man her father once was had vanished for good and Allana never had to worry about that again. The little girl seemed alright with her mother's words and was put fully at ease when Tenel Ka shifted and pulled Allana up onto the bed to show her. Jacen Solo was sprawled out on the other side of the bed, his head tilted back and his arm and leg hanging off the side. The part that really made Allana giggle though was the fact that her father's mouth was hanging wide open and he was snoring.
"He sounds like a tauntaun," she hissed.
"He does." Tenel Ka brushed Allana's hair back from her forehead and kissed her temple. "You have nothing to worry about, Allana. I promise. And he promises too, I know he does. He is Jedi Jacen again. And he is and always will be your father. That man you knew before is gone for good."
This all put Allana in a better mood and she crawled out of her mother's lap and over to Jacen, where she kissed his nose and crawled over him, jumping to the floor and padding back to her room down the hall. Tenel Ka watched Jacen stir slowly from the mild commotion and turn on his side to face her. His eyes were still closed, but his snoring had trailed off a bit.
Forty-three minutes now until Tenel Ka was officially supposed to be awake. She spent a few of those thinking about Allana's dream and then decided she wouldn't be able to go back to sleep. Sliding off of the bed, she paused when her feet hit the floor.
"Where do you think you're going, Highnessssss?" The last letter was drawn out in a still half-asleep hiss.
Turning her head, Tenel Ka rested her chin against her shoulder and peered behind her. Jacen was awake now, his head propped in his hand. His eyes were heavy-lidded and his hair was a crooked nest on his head.
"To take a shower."
"Come back to bed," he said.
"Allana had a nightmare about you... about Caedus," she blurted. Tenel Ka didn't know if Allana would tell her father about it or not, but she figured he should know either way. She turned away from him and stood, hearing him rustle around in bed behind her. As she paced around the bed, planning to head to the refresher, she slowed when she realized that he had gotten out from under the sheets and was standing now.
He stopped her with his hands on her shoulders, pulling her close to him. They stood like that for a few moments before he whispered into the halo of copper at the top of her head. "I'm gonna go tuck Allana back in." His voice lowered to an even quieter volume after that, his lips shifting closer to her ear. "Should I meet you in the shower after that?"
Jacen felt her tense in his arms before she pushed out of them and looked up to him, shrugging slightly. As she shifted past him, Tenel Ka began pulling at the ties of her nightgown and stopped at the refresher door, glancing back at him. "If you must."
"Come on, Majesty, of course I must." With a lopsided grin, Jacen turned and meandered down the long hallway to their daughter's room.
"Come on, come on! B'fore the boat catches us!" The little girl squealed and patted her father's back frantically. Between giggles, she looked behind her and grabbed handfuls of the now drenched shirt the man had on.
He picked his head up out of the shallow water, where he had been shuffling around on his stomach along the bottom of the stone fountain, and flipped his damp hair out of his eyes, water flying above them and raining back down. "How close are they?!"
"Too close!" Allana jumped off of him and waded into the water, shifting to the middle of the fountain. "We have to do something!"
Standing up, the water only reaching the middle of his shins, Jacen Solo widened his eyes and looked behind his daughter. "We better hurry, they're still coming."
"What do we do now?"
He crouched down in a dramatic fashion, herding her onto his back. "We run." Waiting for her to get a good grip on his shoulders, Jacen latched his arms under her knees and stood up, stepping out of the fountain and bolting down the northern corridor, both of them leaving a prominent trail of water along the plush carpet behind them.
Preparing to turn a corner, Jacen stopped short, drops of water flying from the tips of his matted hair into the face of the Queen Mother of Hapes. One sat daintily on her cheekbone yet she didn't even seem to notice it. She was too busy trying to piece together what was happening.
"I could hear your voices echoing all the way..." Tenel Ka trailed off as she looked them both up and down before moving her gaze behind them along the water trail. "What...?"
"We went for a swim, Your Majesty." Jacen said. He motioned back behind him with his chin, his hands busy keeping Allana from sliding off of his back.
"In the... in the fountain?" Tenel Ka found her eyes moving between the fountain down the hall behind them, her daughter's beaming face and the faint tinge of pink in Jacen's cheeks. She hadn't seen him blush in years. She couldn't remember exactly when, but she knew it had been years -- it had definitely been before Caedus.
"There's pirates in there, Mama!"
"Yeah," Jacen grinned, nodding in agreement with their daughter. "Fountain pirates!"
Water fixtures were a staple of the Fountain Palace, they were decoration and they were all over the place. Tenel Ka figured it was about time someone got an actual use out of them.
"What are we waiting for then? They need to be banished." Tenel Ka kicked her sandals off where she stood and then dashed past them towards the fountain, leaving them both to exchange a surprised glance and a wide smile before following the Queen Mother into the water.