Dreams and Thoughts- A Writing Journal

This is my blog where I am going to house a lot of my fics and sometimes ideas for new things.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Star Wars: The Depths of the Heart: Pain- NC-17

Pain assaulted him as he felt the slice made across his chest. A hand ran down through the cut to smear the blood along his torso. He turned his head as foul breath teased at his senses. His eyelids slid down to cover the green orbs encased in sunken sockets, thin from wear and strain. Brown eyes floated in front of him, twinkling in merriment and wonder as a single finger reached up to touch the silvered locks that had fallen carelessly across his forehead.

"No!" The word stretched into a blood curdling scream of pain and tears as his skin began to quiver over muscle as a razor sharp tooth was used to cut another path across his chest, the venom leaving a glistening trail of green behind, before disappearing and mingling with the blood that oozed from his wounds.

"I love you… " Words whispered before darkness overcame.

Jaina Solo shot up in bed, panting. Sweat beaded her brow as she looked around frantically, her heart pounding. She reached through the Force and came up empty handed. She quickly slid out of her bed and grabbed a robe. She slid her arms through the sleeves at the same time that she slid her feet into a pair of slippers.

Her door slid open a fraction of a second faster than her body that was hurtling through the opening and down the hallway. She ran as if her life very much depended on what was going on. She ran to the hangar and realization dawned that his ship wouldn’t be there of course, he was no longer with Twin Suns, but his own squadron again, and they were stationed at a different hangar on the planet.

Her feet carried her across the halls, hurrying more and more till she was in a dead run as she ran towards the make shift chambers that housed the new Jedi Council. Maybe there, working late. She slid to a stop as the doors slid open to reveal the quiet, dark room. The silence was mocking and very eerie.

Jaina turned and ran in a new direction. Where she didn't know, but she needed to find what she was looking for. She ran to the barracks, hoping to find him there. She reached out seeking his distinctive signature but didn't find it. She looked around frantically, running from room to room before running towards Wedge's office. Finding it locked and unoccupied, she ran again. Her destination was still uncertain.

Finally reaching a balcony that overlooked a lake on Mon Calamari, she looked around, hoping to find an answer to her question in the distance. The horizon mocked her. The stars winking at her as if saying they knew something she didn't. She wrapped her arms around herself, trembling from the cool air and something deeper. Something darker. Something that tickled at the edge of her mind. Her dream disturbed her, more than any dream should. She backed up, her back connecting with the cool stone of the doorway. She slid to the ground, her knees to her chest as she trembled more and more. Her eyes were blank as she stared ahead. One single word, a name, escaping from her lips in a painful plea.



Jaina rocked herself slowly as she sat in the conference room. Earlier that morning there had been an urgent call from Luke asking for an assembly of the Council and of the Squadron leaders. A few others had come, those specific to the knowledge that one of their own was missing. Leia Organa-Solo watched her daughter worriedly. She could feel the uncertainty, the pain and the edge of insanity that was radiating from her and she wanted to know why.

"Thank you all for assembling," Luke Skywalker said, his voice dull and tired. It was apparent on his face that something was wrong, something that had left him looking far older than he should.

"What's this about, Luke?" Han Solo asked his brother-in-law.

"We received word from the Dozen this morning," Wedge Antilles said, breaking in. "Kyp's gone missing." Luke glanced at his niece as she physically and mentally flinched at the words.

"Any idea where he is?" Jagged Fel asked.

Wedge shook his head. "As everyone knows, Kyp and the Dozen were sent on a reconnaissance mission near Coruscant…" he said.

"You sent them to Coruscant?!" Tahiri Veila and Jaina both said in outrage.

"It was their choice," Luke said softly.

"What sort of choice is that?" Jaina asked. "Why would he do something that stupid to go back there?!"

Leia started to move to her daughter's side when her twin brother, Jacen Solo, reached over and took her hand, sending calming waves through the Force. They had no affect, but her hackles went down slightly.

"Sometime during the mission, Kyp seemed distracted, as if he could sense something was wrong," Wedge said. "According to his second in command, he dove into hyperspace without telling them, and before they could do anything about it. They tried to track him, but since they didn't know his destination, they couldn’t. After trying the most likely places he would go to, they contacted us."

"How long has he been missing?" Jag asked.

"Two weeks," Wedge said aloud as Jaina whispered the words.

"He's in pain," Jaina whispered, her eyes distant, not focusing on anything as she stared at the table in front of her.

Luke frowned. "Jaina?" he asked. He had sensed the pain too, but it was faint, as if out of his grasp.

Jaina was silent. Everyone around her that could sense her feelings and emotions were able to feel the torrents of physical, emotional and mental pain. There were edges of insanity that were closing in on the young woman.

Finally Jaina raised her eyes to look at her uncle. "He's in pain and you are sitting here doing nothing about it!" she snapped.

"We don't know where he is, Jaina, and we just found out…" Wedge said.

"It's because you don't care!" Jaina screamed, rising from her chair. "None of you do!"

Mara Jade-Skywalker watched her niece worriedly. Her dissent into madness was coming faster and faster and it was a frightening sight to see. Jaina's dark eyes were wide and wild as they darted to look at each person.

"I care, Jaina," Tahiri said, softly, hypnotically. Luke watched the young blonde woman, knowing that if anyone understood this small amount of grief and pain that Jaina was feeling, it was her. "Kyp was like an older brother, he looked out for me, he cared when I thought no one else did," Tahiri continued. During her words she had slowly rose to her feet, walking towards the older girl.

Jaina was trembling as she listened to Tahiri. It seemed as if the world closed in around her, and everyone in the room but Tahiri disappeared. "They won't find him," she whispered, tears falling down her cheeks. "He's lost. He's lost to us. To me. Tahiri, he's gone. I can feel it. He's gone."

Tahiri shook her head. "No," she said. "You can still feel him, so he's not gone yet. We'll find him. I promise we'll find him." She reached out to touch Jaina's arm.

Jaina latched onto Tahiri's hand and stepped closer. Her eyes were even wilder and unseeing then they were before. "You have to! You have to find him!" she whispered wildly.

Suddenly her eyes rolled up and into the back of her head and she pitched forward. With a speed he didn't know he had, Jacen was up and around the chairs to catch his sister before she took Tahiri down with her.

Luke ran over to his niece and nephew, as did Tionne. "Get her to medical," Tionne said.

"There's nothing you'll be able to do," Tahiri said.

Luke looked at the younger woman then waved Jacen and Tionne on. "What is going on Tahiri?" he asked softly.

"I want to find him," Tahiri said, determination in her voice.

"We will," Luke said. "Jag's already been given orders to take his fleet and go find him."

Tahiri looked over at Jag. "I am going with," she said firmly.

"I don't…" Jag started.

"Either take me with, or I will sneak on the ship," Tahiri said. "I've done it before, and I'll do it again."

Jag had to squelch the smile that threatened to break out on his face. He raised his eyebrow and looked over at Wedge. The older man nodded. "She'll do it," he said.

Jag sighed and looked at the blonde. "Meet me in the hangar in one hour," he said. Tahiri nodded.

"Tahiri, what happened?" Leia asked again.

"We need to find Kyp," Tahiri said. "That's all there is to it."

"What about Jaina?" Han asked, worry for his daughter apparent in his voice.

"We need to find Kyp. Alive. Or Jaina will be lost to us forever."


Bleary green, pain-filled eyes opened barely. They squinted as the harsh light of the room glared down on him. "Open your eyes, infidel," a hard voice said.

Kyp Durron cracked one eye open as best he could. His vision was blurry, hazed red ever since a particular blow to his face burst a blood vessel in his eye. Cracked lips parted to say something, but a wet sounding moan escaped instead. He grunted as the Vong slammed his head against the wall behind him.

"Keeep Durron," the Warmaster said as he walked in. "Trusted Jeedai, friend of Jaina Solo. You will answer my questions today."

Kyp looked through swollen eyes at the figure before him. "I'll give you permission to cut my tongue out first," he mumbled.

The Warmaster stepped closer. "As much as I would enjoy arranging something such as that," he said. "I'm afraid I need your tongue in tact so you can give me the information I want."

"Not gonna happen," Kyp said.

The Warmaster waved his hand as a few other Vong stepped into the room, each with an amphistaff and a Vong dagger in their belts. "We shall see," he said. He turned his back and stepped up to the door. A sick smile formed on his face as Kyp's screams began to echo throughout the room.


Tahiri gasped slightly. It had been almost three hours since she had boarded the Gambit's Wager, a ship Lando Calrissian had given to them to find Kyp. It was large enough for everyone that was going, and Jag's clawcraft, as well as Shawnkyr's clawcraft. They were going to rendezvous with Kyp's Dozen. They were going to need the added power of their X-wings. Tahiri had been trying to listen in on the tactical discussions of the mission, but had given up on that and was now concentrating on seeking out Kyp's force signature.

Tahiri was trembling slightly in the seat, cowering down to avoid the blow she knew was coming. It was so intense that she felt as if the blows were hitting her. If they were this strong to her, she couldn't begin to fathom what Jaina was dealing with. She understood what was driving her to insanity so quickly. Love does that as well she thought to herself. She had a similar downward spiral after Anakin's death. She finally found the courage to pull herself up and live again. Anakin would have wanted that.

A warm hand closed over one of hers that was clenched in her lap. "Tahiri?" Jag's voice penetrated the fog surrounding her.

Slowly she opened her eyes and gazed into the warm depths of Jag's. She tilted her head. It wasn't the first time she had ever noticed that he was a handsome man. She shook her head a bit to rid herself of those thoughts. "I'm okay," she whispered. She noticed that everyone else that was apart of their make shift crew had left. Probably to sleep.

"You didn't look okay," Jag said, not moving away from her.

"Kyp's hurting again," Tahiri said. "And I am just worried about Jaina. If I sense it so acutely then what is she sensing through their connection?"

"Could he be blocking her?" Jag asked. "I know at one time he would and it was a problem with her…" He remembered that conversation that he had encouraged Jaina to initiate. At a time when he thought his heart was in her hands and he had hers in his. He never thought he could be so wrong. He focused his attention on the beautiful woman in front of him.

"He's in too much pain," Tahiri said. She rose gracefully, her bare feet making light noises on the floor of the ship as she walked. "He can't block himself."

Jag sighed and rose. "I don't understand this, I never did," he said. "How you can sense his emotions. How this is driving Jaina insane."

"We don't understand what we don't have," Tahiri said.

"What?" Jag asked.

Tahiri turned and looked at him. "It's a trait we all have," she said. "We fail to understand what we can't understand because it's not within our capability. And we often fear it."

"You think I'm afraid of the Force?" Jag asked with a frown.

"I think we all fear what we don't have," Tahiri said.

"I'm not afraid of you," Jag said with a raised eyebrow.

Tahiri paused. She wasn't sure what to say next. His statement completely caught her off guard. She watched him walk towards her. It was easy to see the attraction Jaina had for him. He was a very handsome man, a bit stiff at times, but she caught him a few times, especially when dealing with her, when his eyes would dance with some sort of what could only be described as mischief. As he got closer, she felt a small twist in her chest, a flutter in her belly. The same feelings she used to get when… No… No this couldn't be.

"I… I need to meditate," Tahiri finally said. She glanced once more at Jag and practically fled from his presence.

Jag watched her and go and let out a shuddered breath. Something had changed. With him. With her. He had always been in Jaina's presence, but when they had broken things off a few months ago, he had been living in a cloud of self-commiserating. Never noticing, or taking the time to notice things that were around him. Till one day when he had walked into the simulator room to find Jacen and Tahiri battling each other. It was the first time he had seen that amount of life in the young girl that had walked around with a broken heart after the death of the man she loved, Anakin Solo. Jaina and Jacen's younger brother. Instead of seeing the girl, he was looking at a woman. A woman that was very beautiful. He had found her fascinating and at the time had to squelch the sudden desire he had felt. Since then he had avoided her.

Then this happened with Jaina. And here he was. Alone, basically, with the woman that had been haunting his dreams of late. Now was a time to test that ever present Chiss self control he prided himself on. I always did hate tests, he thought to himself.


"Noo," Jaina whimpered in a mewing sound, as she tossed her head back and forth. She was in a Force induced sleep and couldn't wake, but nightmares and the flashes of pain she was obviously feeling still ran rampant through her.

"Luke, can't you do something for her?" Leia asked her brother, her eyes never leaving her daughter.

Luke walked over and put his hands on Leia's shoulders. "I wish I could," he said gently. "But there is nothing I can do. If I could, I would do it immediately. I'd take some of that pain on myself."

"Why is she feeling this?" Leia whispered, a tear falling. "Why so much pain?"

"I think Jaina's feelings for Kyp finally made themselves known," Luke said softly. "And it took this… whatever it is Kyp is going through, for it to surface completely."

"She's in so much pain," Leia said.

"You should go rest," Luke said. "I'll call you if there is any change."

"I can't," Leia whispered. "I just need to be here with her right now."

Luke sighed. "Are you sure?" he asked. Leia nodded. He gently kissed his sister's cheek and exited the medbay. Mara was waiting for him, their son, Ben, in her arms.

"How is Jaina?" Mara asked painfully.

"No change," Luke said. "Leia's in there with her. Worried."

"I know, I can sense her," Mara said, snuggling Ben to her.

Luke touched her cheek then ran a hand across the red-gold hair on his son's head. Ben blinked blue-green eyes at him, such a perfect mixture of Luke's and Mara's. "Jaya hurt, Dada," he said. Luke sighed and leaned forward, kissing Ben's temple. The barely one-year-old baby that had just started talking could even sense the pain his cousin was going through.


Tahiri glanced up at Jag. The lights were dimmed in the cockpit where they both sat. They were in hyperspace, a day away from meeting with Kyp's squadron. "Are you tired?" she asked softly. The dimmed lights were glowing in a haunting yet flattering way across his face. Tahiri was fascinated with his strong features.

"I slept yesterday," Jag said. Tahiri frowned. Jag leaned his head back and glanced at her. "I have insomnia," he said softly.

Tahiri untucked her feet from beneath her and stood. She walked over behind his chair. She rested her tiny hands on his shoulders. Jag stiffened a bit. "What are you doing?" he asked.

Tahiri smiled a bit. "Relax," she said. "I'm not going to use the Force or anything."

"I wasn't thinking you would," Jag mumbled. But the reason her touch made him uncomfortable was not easy for him to reveal to her. In fact he deemed it rather inappropriate to even think what he did about her. She was too young.

"Too young?" Tahiri asked as she began massaging his shoulders. "You forget that we are going to rescue a man that is technically old enough to be the father of the woman who is going insane without him near."

"I thought you weren't going to use the Force?" he asked, his words coming out in a soft moan as she worked the tight knots out of his neck.

Tahiri grinned. "I didn't have to, you were thinking really loud," she said. "Jag, do you ever relax?" She was massaging a particularly tough spot in his shoulders.

"Occasionally," he said. He pulled away and turned to look at her.

"When?" Tahiri asked. "When the citizens of Hoth start wearing golden bikinis like Leia did on Tatooine?" Jag lowered his head, rubbing at his chin. When he looked up at her again, his eyes were twinkling and a smile was on his face.

"So you can smile," Tahiri said. "I was beginning to think those muscles in your face responsible for that stopped working."

"I smile," Jag said.

"Of course you do," Tahiri retorted. "It happens when the Yuuzhan Vong start dancing the can-can across the room while singing bad Corellian bar songs."

"Don't forget the tutus," Jag returned with a straight face.

Tahiri giggled and flopped in the chair across from him. Jag watched her as he turned to face her. Tahiri swung her legs up and propped her feet on Jag's outstretched knees. He raised his eyebrow at her. "Comfy?"

Tahiri gave him a cheeky grin. "As a matter of fact yes, I am," she said.

Jag glanced down at her bare toes, and grabbed one, lifting her foot a bit. "Considering you never wear shoes, I'm surprised you don't have dirtier feet," he said.

Tahiri gave him an indignant look. "Well of course I can't get my dirty…" she started and faltered as he began massaging her foot. "Um… dirty feet on your clean uniform."

Jag grinned at her. "Who said I minded?" he asked. His hands had ceased their gentle motions on her feet, but still enclosed the one. His eyes were a bright emerald as he studied her.

"Um…" Tahiri started. She straightened slightly. "I think… um… I think I should go meditate."

"You do that a lot," Jag said softly, not releasing her foot.

"Jedi meditate," Tahiri murmured. "I'm a Jedi."

"Mmm, I know," Jag said. "What are you scared of?"

"I'm not scared," Tahiri said.

"I think you are," Jag said. He leaned forward, pulling her towards him slowly. "I'm not someone you have to be afraid of."

Tahiri swallowed convulsively. "I'm not afraid of you," she said.

"Then why are you trying to pull away?" Jag asked with a raised eyebrow.

"I…" Tahiri said, suddenly feeling as if she were way over her head.

"Colonel Fel?" Shawnkyr said, stepping into the cockpit. Tahiri practically flew backwards into the seat, wrenching her foot from Jag's grasp as she turned to look at the control panel of the ship.

Jag watched her a minute before turning to Shawnkyr. "Yes?" he asked.

"The crew wanted to know how much longer?" she asked. "To see how much more rest they should get before we arrive."

"Tell them they probably have about twelve more hours to rest before we should prepare to come out of hyperspace," Jag said.

"Yes sir," Shawnkyr said.

Tahiri rose and headed away. "I'm going to bed," she murmured, passing him.

Jag watched her. "Tahiri?" he said softly.

Tahiri turned to look at him. "Don't," she said gently.

"Don't what?" Jag asked, rising.

Tahiri turned to face him. "Don't try and replace Jaina with me," she said.

"This isn't about Jaina," Jag said, a frown marring his features.

"It may not be in your mind, but I think it is," Tahiri said. "I know you see me as a little girl. That's obvious. Everyone does."

"Don't assume to know what I see and don't see when I look at you," Jag responded.

"Then what do you see when you look at me?" Tahiri asked.

Jag moved closer to her till he was a breath away. Tahiri looked up at him, wondering what he was going to do next. He reached up and traced a gentle finger down one of the fading scars on her cheek. "I see a lovely young woman who has been through far too much pain in her short life," he said. "I see a woman who is stronger than she probably realizes. A woman who lost the man she loved when other thought she was too young to love, and still she lives on."

Jag stepped even closer till his hand gently cupped her face. "I see a woman who lives each day as if it is her last, but still has the wisdom to look ahead to tomorrow knowing she could possibly not wake up," he said. "And I see a woman who is willing to face a fear she never wished to face again, all in the name of a love between two people that don't even realize it is there or that the other needs them so much."

Tahiri swallowed hard. His words had tore a large hole in the crystal chalice she had built around her heart to avoid any form of hurt despite what he said he saw in her. "You really see that?" she asked softly.

Jag traced her cheek with his thumb gently. "That and more," he said softly. He slowly leaned forward, looking as if he were going to consume her lips with his, but he gentle stroke her cheek with a feather light kiss.

"Good night, sweet Tahiri," Jag whispered.

Tahiri watched him. "Good night, Jag," she returned.


Luke sat beside his niece, watching her. Jaina was pale, ghostly white as she lay mostly still. Her head tossed back and forth, her hair sticking to her face. Reaching out with the Force, he felt the pain radiating through her. The pain was deeper, emotional. The pain was a shadow of what Kyp was enduring, but it was striking at the emotional and mental level for Jaina. He could feel her mind slipping away as time grew shorter for Kyp.

"Fight Jaina," Luke whispered. "Kyp will fight to come home to you, but it'll kill him to find you like this."

Mara slowly walked in and watched her husband. The Skywalkers and the Solos had taken a constant vigil at Jaina's side since her collapse. Mara had chosen to care for Ben instead of watching her niece spiral into madness and death. But Ben was mellow, as sorrowful as the rest of the family. He could sense it through the Force. More acutely then when Anakin had died, having been much younger then.

"Ben has felt more sorrow in his young life than a baby his age should," Luke said.

"Get out of my head, Skywalker," Mara said lightly as she walked over. She gently ran her fingers through his hair.

Luke looped an arm around her waist. "I can't tell if she's fighting," he said softly.

"I think it depends solely on Kyp's survival," Mara said. "I think she is fighting for him, but if he rejects her when he returns…"

"He loves her too much," Luke said. "If Kyp had wanted to walk away, he would have when Jaina was with Jag all those months ago." Luke glanced up at her. "You doubt him too much," he said.

Mara started to protest, but Luke was right. And Mara was a hypocrite for it. She condemned Kyp for all he had done, including manipulating and lying to Jaina. But Mara herself had not only done as many horrible things herself, but she had tried many times to kill her husband before they had married. "I know I do," Mara finally said. She looked at Luke. "You do too."

Luke sighed. "I know," he murmured. "I find myself doing it and I realize what a hypocrite I am."

"Like me," Mara murmured. "When did we become so self-righteous?"

"When we forgot as heroes of the New Republic that we are human and have the same faults we did before we were heroes," Luke said.

"Let's hope the next generation of heroes doesn't make the same mistake," Mara said.

Luke didn't answer. His eyes drifted to Jaina, watching her, willing her to come out of the madness she was slipping further in to. He glanced up as Jacen walked in, watching his sister sadly. He walked over and gently touched her forehead. Glancing at his aunt and uncle, Jacen sat down, his fingers trailing along his sister's hair.

"Any news from Colonel Fel and Tahiri?" Mara asked.

"Not yet," Jacen said. "I told Tahiri to contact us through the Force. In case the Vong try and intercept the communication."

Luke nodded. "Probably a good idea," he said. "They'll have enough trouble once they meet up with the Dozen."

Jacen nodded then swallowed hard, his eyes drifting to Jaina's prone form. "I can feel her struggle," he said softly. "She wants to die right now. She doesn't think he'll return and she wants to join him in the Force."

Luke straightened a bit, watching Jacen. The younger man closed his eyes, a shudder passing through him as he reached out to his sister. Their bond was unlike any other. Death hadn't diminished it. And it had been a death. Jacen had been dead to the Force for so long, that his return was miraculous to those that hadn't believed he was alive. Jaina being one of them. But when he had returned, the bond they shared as twins had returned as strong as it had been before Jacen had gone.

"She is strong, Jacen," Luke said, breaking into his nephew's thoughts. "She'll come out of this." Jacen looked at him. He nodded once, though Luke was able to tell that even he was not quite as certain as he made himself out to be.


Voang Shou gazed upon Kyp's face from where he stood near a wall, leaning casually against it as arrogant as any human leader would be while interrogating a prisoner. Rather than standing proud and tall like most Yuuzhan Vong, the man chose to act as smug as a human that had thought he won.

"You are going to talk, Jeedai," Voang said. "And you are going to tell me exactly what I want to know."

Kyp raised his head, peeking through swollen eyes at him. "Go to hell you Sith spawned bastard," he said.

Voang stepped forward and lashed out with the tooth dagger in his hand. Kyp's arms tensed in his binds, his muscles protesting at the sudden pain that slashed into his body. Voang narrowed his eyes as Kyp didn't make a sound. "Strip him completely of his clothing, we'll see how long he can last as we take this interrogation to a new level," he growled. He looked at one of the other warriors. He spoke snappishly in his native tongue. The warrior nodded and headed out of the room.

Voang turned to look at Kyp and walked over. He snatched the man's dark hair and yanked his head up, spitting in his face as he spoke. "You will soon learn what pain is, infidel," he growled. "Pain that would rip any man or woman apart. Pain in which we thrive upon." Kyp felt the trousers covering his lower body from view being ripped away. Realization dawned as Kyp easily felt the new void that entered the room, indicating another had joined them. And he knew what their intentions were…


Jacen watched his sister, wondering what was going on in his sister's head. He reached out hesitantly then paused. Could he really handle stepping into that whirlwind of insanity? Could he handle seeing his sister's loose grip on reality slowly slide out of her grasp?

Jacen leaned his head down, resting his forehead on his hands, one of which was clasping Jaina's. Jasa… Jacen looked up with a frown. It had sounded… like Jaina… A young Jaina… Jaina when she was almost five years old, a time when she had joked that Kyp was going…


Jacen closed his eyes and reached out. Jaya?

Jasa… I'm scared…

Jacen slowly reached towards the voice, finding himself going through a tunnel of light as he descended into Jaina's mind, to find her. Where are you Jaya?

Over here… he promised he'd keep me safe, Jaina sent to him.

Jacen frowned, still stretching to find her. He remembered at that age… Jaina had a nightmare that night. Leia and Han had gone out to dinner, Uncle Luke had been away on some sort of Jedi mission, Chewie had been working on the Falcon. Leia and Han had asked Kyp to baby-sit them. Kyp had promised to Jaina as he soothed away her tears, that he would keep her safe. No monsters or Dark Jedi would hurt her. She was his princess, and always would be.

Jaya, where are you? Jacen questioned again. He paused when he saw the little girl stepped out of a dark area of a desolate corner. She looked up at him and Jacen felt his heart pound. It was a five-year-old version of Jaina. She was wearing the nightgown from that night when Kyp had promised to keep her safe.

"Will he come back and protect me like he promised?" Jaina asked softly. Her tiny fingers were twisting in front of her, in the material of her nightgown.

"Can you still feel him?" Jacen asked softly.

Jaina nodded, the ends of her hair brushing her cheekbones as it bobbed around her face. "He hurts though," she said in a scared voice.

Jacen knelt in front of her. "He's fighting for you," he said. "He wants to come back to you. But you have to do the same."

"Will he protect me?" Jaina asked, her eyes looking up at him.

"He'd die before letting anything happen to you," Jacen said, knowing it was the truth. He had been denying it, not exactly agreeing at the thought that the Jedi Master could feel so strongly for a woman so long, but if would admit it, he had seen it even at this young age that he saw his sister in now, that Kyp was meant to be Jaina's soul and protector.


Kyp opened his eyes groggily, blinking, expecting pain to radiate through his body as it did ever other time he opened his eyes. But it didn't come. He looked around with a frown, rising. He wore a pair of clean black pants, and a white shirt that was unbuttoned and loose. He looked up at the feeling of a familiar presence. Jaina was walking towards him, wearing similar pants, and a loose white shirt, a tank top beneath that. Her brown hair was loose except for a couple of braids wrapped around the crown of her head.

"Kyp?" Jaina questioned. She ran over and jumped into his arms.

Kyp's arms came around her instinctively, holding her tight to him. "Jaina, oh baby," he murmured, his face in her hair.

Jaina pulled back, and cupped his cheeks. "I don't understand," she said softly. "I felt your pain."

Kyp stroked her hair. "Feel," he said. "I've heard of this place. We're on the astral plane."

"The place where spirits go," Jaina said.

Kyp nodded. He stroked her cheek. "Our time here is short," he said.

"No," Jaina said, clinging to him, her arms tight around his waist. "I can't let you go."

"Goddess, listen to me," Kyp said, cupping her face. "You have to stay strong."

"But you are in so much pain," Jaina said, a tear falling.

"Listen to me," Kyp said again. "I am fighting. I'm fighting for you. But you need to do the same. I can feel you falling into insanity, you need to stay strong for me. I want to come back to you, but if I feel you giving up, I can't fight. I need to know I have something worth fighting for."

Jaina tangled her fingers in his shirt. "You have to come back to me," she whispered.

Kyp tipped her head up. His head descended and he captured her lips gently with hers. Jaina's eyes fluttered closed as she let him deepen the kiss. Her arms wrapped around his neck, pulling him closer to her. Kyp gently broke the kiss, leaning his forehead against hers. "I love you," he whispered.

"I love you too," Jaina whispered. Kyp was starting to disappear. "No… Kyp no!" He was gone.


"No!" Tahiri yelled as she sat straight up in the cot she was sleeping on.

Jag hurried over to her and knelt down beside her. He gently touched her cheek, feeling how hot it was to the touch. "Tahiri, what?" he asked.

Tahiri blinked, looking at him. She launched herself into his arms, trembling. Jag frowned, but tightened his arms around her. "I saw them," Tahiri whispered. "Jaina and Kyp. On the astral plane."

"The what?" Jag asked.

Tahiri pulled back a bit, looking at him, her hands on his shoulders. "The astral plane," she said. "It's a place where the spirits go."

"Jedi spirits?" Jag asked.

"All spirits, but Jedi can enter and leave the astral plane when they wish to," Tahiri said. "A non-Force user can channel the astral plane with the help of a Force user. Jaina and Kyp met there."

"Did you hear what was said?" Jag asked.

"Kyp told Jaina she has to fight, he needs something to fight for himself," Tahiri said.

"Are things getting worse?" Jag asked.

Tahiri swallowed hard, her eyes brimming with tears. "Yes," she whispered. "For both of them." Jag didn't know what to say. He pulled her back into his arms, her head fitting against the hollow of his neck where it met his shoulder. Her tiny body curled against his. He rubbed her back, trying to give her some small amount of comfort in the torment she was feeling from her two friends.


Jag frowned as he watched Tahiri toss back and forth in the small cot that she had chosen to lie in since they had gone into hyperspace. They were just about to come out of hyperspace to rendezvous with the Dozen. Tahiri had slept mostly during that time, except for their brief time where he had told her what he saw when he looked at her. Since then his words, and hers, haunted his every thought. Tahiri herself was caught up in a flurry of nightmares that kept her trapped in their depths most of the time since then.

Jag leaned his head back a moment. He watched her mostly, his mind working frantically, at times practically demanding he deny everything he would think of. The tiny imp had managed to do the one thing even Jaina Solo couldn't do. She had broken into the crystal chalice that he had erected around his entire being, that he had been taught to erect around himself to protect him from everything that was not essential to what the Chiss and the Empire had taught him since birth. Love… any form of such emotions were frivolous, or that is what he had been taught. While he had been attracted to Jaina, and he had felt the incredibly intensity of physical attraction towards her, even to the point of consummating that attraction, what Tahiri had brought out of him was something so much more. It wasn't enough for him to find her beautiful, or to find himself wanting her as a man would want any woman, it was so, so much more. His eyes were drawn back to the woman before him. He hadn't been lying to her when he said he didn't see her as a little girl, he truly saw her as a woman.

"Colonel?" Shawnkyr said as she walked over to him. "We are preparing to come out of hyperspace."

Jag sighed a bit, rubbing the heels of his hands against his eyes. He gazed at Tahiri one more time before rising to his feet. "All right," he said. He looked at Tahiri again. The need to brush her cheek overcame him, but he didn't. Not with Shawnkyr there. Not when she would analyze every motion the Chiss colonel made. Especially not when she had made interested in him apparent before. He wouldn't give her reason to lash out at Tahiri. He wouldn't give her a reason to ruin a chance at his happiness.

"Has she been sleeping well?" Shawnkyr asked, watching the young girl.

Jag looked and shook his head. "She's allowing her mind to stay open to both Durron and Jaina," he said. "She senses it all." The two turned away to head to the cockpit of the ship.

Tahiri's back arched sharply, and the blood-curdling scream that erupted from the depths of her soul had the two Chiss turning sharply and ducking as if the heavens were folding. By the time that Jag ran over, grasping her arms to pull her out of whatever held her, the rest of the crew was crowded around the doorframe that led into the area, their eyes wide, their faces pale.

"No! Don't touch me!" Tahiri screamed, her eyes shut tightly as she tossed and turned back and forth.

"Tahiri! Wake up!" Jag demanded in the best military voice he could.

"Leave me alone!" Tahiri screamed again.

"Tahiri!" Jag snapped again.

Tahiri's eyes snapped open, full of tears, those that lost their tenuous hold on her lashes spilling onto her cheeks. She blinked rapidly, a sob coming out of her throat. "Force… no," she moaned, folding in on herself.

"Everyone out, now," Jag said. His eyes never left Tahiri. He glanced briefly at Shawnkyr. "Now!"

Shawnkyr snapped out of her state of shock and turned. "You heard the Colonel, out," she said. She ushered the rest of the crew out of the room leaving the couple alone.

Jag turned his attention to Tahiri again. He moved closer to her, cupping her face gently. "Tahiri, what happened?" he asked.

Tahiri was trembling terribly in his arms. Her small hands encircled his wrists. "It's terrible," she whispered, her voice quavering. "What they are doing to him."

"What are they doing?" Jag whispered.

"I… I can't tell you," she said, lowering her eyes.

"Please," Jag said in a plea.

"I can't." Jag sighed, leaning his forehead forward, touching hers. A gasp escaped him when he saw the images that she had just experienced as Kyp had. As Jaina was feeling in her own mind. Jag's first instinct was to flee from Tahiri, at what had just happened. Instead he opened his eyes, and he pulled his head away slightly.

"What just happened?" he asked.

"How… How can that be?" Tahiri asked, reaching up to place two fingers against his forehead, her finger tracing the scar that extended along Jag's forehead into his hairline. "You aren't a Force user."

"What happened?" Jag asked.

Tahiri looked at him. "We have a Force bond," she murmured. "I don't understand how though."

"What does it mean now?" Jag asked.

"I'm not sure," Tahiri said.

Jag sighed and pulled away a bit. "Come on," he said. "We are coming out of hyperspace." Tahiri rose gracefully to her feet, padding barefoot beside him.


Kyp vomited violently in the corner of the cell he was put in very few times. With aching slowness, he crawled on his bleeding knees to the opposite corner before he collapsed to the ground, groaning a bit. He curled into himself, hissing as overused muscles screamed in protest at any motion he made. Blood was dried to his skin in various areas, but his mind is what ached the most. The physical torture to his body was repairable, until they chose to violate him in a way no woman should be violated, let alone a man should be. A groan escaped him as he remembered the feel of the warrior on top of him. He shoved the thought away as his stomach rolled again.

Kyp's stomach groaned as the memories began plaguing him more and more. He wanted to shut them off, but it was almost like he was a child that couldn't reach the light switch because he was just too short. He wanted to shut off any image that Jaina might see of his body being violated like that, but he couldn't find that switch either. Tears pricked behind his eyelids as he felt the anguish even past his own pain as she felt each motion. Each mental scream of his own matched one of hers, and each grew louder and louder. His thoughts began drifting away before unconsciousness overcame him.


Jacen reached out through the Force and gently touched his sister's mind, only to be thrown back, rather violently. "Don't push her," Luke said from the doorway.

"She let me in once," Jacen said. "I just want to help her."

"Something's happened that," Luke said, brushing a hand over Jaina's forehead. "Something I think she thinks she needs to protect."

"She is slipping awake, Uncle Luke, what could she be protecting?" Jacen asked.



"Kyp!" Jaina called. "Kyp where are you!"

"You won't find him," a tiny voice that reminded her of herself said behind her.

Jaina turned and stared. A five-year-old version of herself stood there. "Who are you?" she asked.

"He's protecting you," little Jaina said. "Like he promised."

Jaina walked over and knelt in front of the smaller version of herself. "From what?" she asked.

"They hurt him," little Jaina said. "He doesn't want you to see."

"But I have to find him," Jaina said. "He's hurting and he needs me."

The little girl's eyes flashed. "He doesn't need you! He needs me!" she said, her eyes glowing red. "He promised ME! He said I was his princess! Not you!" She lifted a small hand and sent her older counterpart flying backwards.

Jaina screamed as she flew threw what felt like a wall made of fluff and landed in a bed of feathers. She coughed and blew the feathers from her face, looking around. She tried to rise but found it difficult. "Kyp?" Jaina called out again, struggling to get to the side of the bed she was on, but it seemed so far away.





A snarl sounded through her head like a shrill alarm. A grumble followed and her skin felt like it was crawling. Jedaai…

Jaina's eyes narrowed. "Where is he?" she growled. She looked and watched as the tall being of a Yuuzhan Vong warrior walked out into the "room" that held the feathers. Dragging from a bloodied arm was the younger version of herself. The warrior lifted the child up, dangling her above the ground as if she were a rag doll.

"He shall die, infidel," the warrior said. "Just as you will die with him."

"You sadistic bastard, where is he?!" Jaina roared. The warrior smiled in a way that could only be described as predatory. Like a switch being released, Jaina's memory flooded with the images of Kyp's torture, how he was violated, how he was tormented, how he was humiliated in a way no man or woman should know.

"No!" Jaina screamed, arching out of the feathers and flying into the air in a spiral spin. Blackness swirled around her as it covered her in a shroud. As it dissipated, she was swathed in black robes, her hair pitch black, her eyes black as well. No brown, no white could be seen. The beds of her nails were black, fading as they grew in length. Fire began rising from the bed of feathers, and with each motion of her hand, it seemed to nip at the warrior's heels like dogs held on a leash, or more appropriately, voxyn ready to strike at Jedi.

"You can not save him," the warrior said with a sick grin. He lifted his head a fraction of an inch, tossing the body of little Jaina into the flames, watching them lick and nip at the body. "He is gone."

"We'll see," Dark Jaina growled before thrusting her arm forward, and the flames overtook the warrior.


Luke was thrown across the room as the maelstrom in Jaina's mind released itself. "Uncle Luke!" Jacen cried as he ran over. He knelt beside his fallen uncle and lifted his hand, hissing as he saw something burned into his palm. It was the symbol from Jaina and Kyp's X-wings. Two light sabers blades crossed.

"What happened?" Mara asked as she ran in to the med bay and over to her fallen husband. She had felt a surge through the Force, and then felt Luke's collision with the wall.

"I'm not sure," Jacen said. "Uncle Luke was touching Jaina's forehead when something snapped through the Force. Next thing I know, he's flying across the room."

Mara glanced over at her niece and gasped. Her appearance had changed. Her hair was pitch black, and it seemed as if there was a black mist hovering over her body. She frowned and rose to her feet, walking towards the girl. With a choked gasp she stopped and backpedaled as quickly as she could, falling backwards as she tripped over her husband's feet.

"Aunt Mara?" Jacen asked with a frown. He glanced at Jaina, but saw nothing.

"Darkness surrounds her," Mara said. She put a hand to her throat. "It is practically choking the life from anyone that goes near it."

Jacen frowned and looked again. Jaina looked the same to him. He glanced at his aunt. "I don't see anything, nor do I sense it," he said.

Mara swallowed hard looking at him. She glanced at her niece again, still seeing the black aura surrounding her. "Something is wrong," she whispered. "Something has changed."

"Aunt Mara?" Jacen asked.

"Contact Tahiri and Jag," Mara said. "And do it quickly."

"I doubt they've found Kyp," Jacen said.

"Contact them Jacen!" Mara snapped. "Contact them and tell them they better find him and find him fast!" She turned back to Luke, dismissing her nephew. Jacen rose and hurried out of the med bay, the urgency in his aunt's voice he had never heard before, nor had he seen the look in her eye he had just seen. It made his blood run cold and it frightened him to the very core of his being.


Jacen felt the Hapan Queen's force presence before she even said a word. He turned and felt his heart pound in the way it always did whenever he saw Tenel Ka. She stood before him regally, her head tilted upwards a bit. Standing magnificent in an emerald colored gown, and a silver cloak, a glittering tiara in her red hair, looking every inch the monarch she was. "It's good to see you," he finally said with the smallest of smiles.

Tenel Ka lifted her right arm, the other laying against her side, a reminder of their shared childhood from the lightsaber accident that had taken the lower portion of her left arm. From Jacen's saber. "Come," she said softly.

Jacen swallowed, tears forming in his eyes. He had held them back ever since this had begun, but having the woman he had loved since childhood before him, greeting him with the comfort he needed, he felt his control starting to slip. He walked over and curled his arms around her, feeling her arm come across his back tightly. He nestled his head in the crook of her neck despite their height difference. He had gotten much taller since the last time he had seen her. At one time they matched heights, now he was taller.

"Jacen," Tenel Ka murmured in his ear. She cupped his cheek as she pulled away, looking into his eyes.

"I didn't think you'd come," Jacen said, his eyes guarded.

Tenel Ka reached up and placed a soft kiss to his cheek, her eyes closing. Jacen felt his stomach twist at the feel of her eyelashes brushing his skin. He watched her as she leaned her forehead against his as his head bent. "I felt your pain," Tenel Ka whispered. "I had to come."

"I can feel her losing her grip on sanity," Jacen said. "And I know it's because she has never had the chance to tell Kyp she loves him and she may lose that."

"She is strong, Jacen," Tenel Ka said, her fingers stroking his cheek. "She'll get through this."

Jacen reached a hand up and stroked Tenel Ka's cheek. He swallowed hard a moment, looking deeply into her eyes. "This is a fact," he said with a small smile. He tilted his head at Tenel Ka's wince. "What?"

"A familiar phrase that I rarely use anymore," Tenel Ka said. "Because things aren't always a fact now."

Jacen sighed and pressed a kiss to her forehead, finding comfort in her presence. "Things have changed so much," he murmured. He wondered how much. Life and death had taken their toll on Jacen and Tenel Ka both. From childhood to adulthood things had changed. Jacen spent a great deal of time with Danni Quee since his return and he often found himself drawn to her, but all it had taken was for Tenel Ka to come back into his life and thoughts of Danni were forgotten. But he had died in a sense, and in that time Tenel Ka became the Queen she had never wanted to be. Their lives had taken paths neither had ever anticipated, but they kept coming back to each other.

"The one thing that hasn't changed is how I feel," Tenel Ka said, almost nervously.

"What do you mean?" Jacen asked.

"Losing you, and now knowing this has happened to Jaina, I can not hold back my feelings anymore," Tenel Ka said, pulling away from him. She turned and looked out the window that looked out over a Mon Calamari lake. She glanced over at Jacen. "I love you. I have since we were but young knights studying together. I think I fell in love with you when you demanded my forgiveness for the accident that severed my arm, and I've loved you with my entire being since."

Jacen crossed the floor to her and gently cupped her face with his hands. He lowered his head and pressed a kiss to her lips. Parting them gently, their tongues gently teased the other's before Jacen broke the kiss very slowly. "I love you too," he murmured softly.

A tear slid down Tenel Ka's cheek. A moment of weakness she would never show anyone, but it was one of the many things she could share with Jacen without worries. "I don't wish to ruin this mood, but your sister," she said.

Jacen kissed her forehead. "Is getting worse," he said, his eyes half closed. "And Tahiri is starting to join her."

"We need to go to her then, help her through this, she can not shoulder the burden of something such as this without help," Tenel Ka said.

"I'll tell Aunt Mara," Jacen said.


Shawnkyr watched Jag a moment. She had watched him since she had caught the brief, obviously rather intimate moment between he and Tahiri. While it made her heart ache just a bit, she realized that he wouldn't return her feelings towards him. And perhaps that was for the best. Despite his upbringing, Jag was not a true Chiss. Emotional attachments such as what he felt towards Tahiri was his nature, despite that he rarely showed it. But she brought it out in him. It was refreshing in so many ways, especially to her. She had known Jag quite a long time, and he was always holding back, but the need to let go was under the surface. This tiny imp of a human had brought out what he needed most.

"Coming out of hyperspace," Jag said as he worked the controls. The lines of stars turned into dots as they came out of hyperspace. In front of them was a squadron of X-wings. Kyp's Dozen.

"Transmission coming in," Jag's co-pilot said.

"Gambit's Wager this is Avenger 2," the voice said.

"This is Gambit's Wager, go ahead," Jag said.

"We've managed to track the most recent Vong movements and transmissions, and they are stemming from a nearby planet," the pilot said.

Jag glanced back at Tahiri. Tahiri closed her eyes and reached out through the force. He's on a planet, she sent to Jag through this sudden Force bond that they had recently developed, just not sure how.

Jag tilted his head and wondered if he could send anything back to her. Can you tell which planet? He thought to her.

Tahiri smiled a bit. No, just general location, she thought.

"Avenger 2, send is the coordinates of the planet, and we'll follow there, if nothing else we can regroup," Jag said. A click of acknowledgement sounded through the cockpit. Shawnkyr got up and walked to the back to speak to the rest of the crew.

"I'll contact Jacen," Tahiri said. She reached out through the Force, speaking with Jacen while Jag put the coordinates for the planet into the computer.

"Jacen is on his way to meet us," Tahiri said.

Jag turned and looked at her. "Is he bringing reinforcements?" he asked.

Tahiri nodded. "Both Jedi and firepower," she murmured. She looked at him tired and worn. "Tenel Ka is coming with him with Hapan fleets."

"The Queen Mother herself?" Jag asked.

"I think their relationship has finally progressed beyond friendship," Tahiri said.

Jag rose and walked over to her. He gently pulled her to her feet. "And what of us?" he asked softly.

Tahiri looked at him, almost as if confused at the change of direction. "Us?" she asked.

Jag nodded. He ran a gentle hand down her arm to her hand, toying with her fingers a bit. "It's not everyday I form a bond with a Force user," he said with a bit of levity.

"If I could undo it I would," Tahiri said, lowering her head.

Jag shook his head, lifting her chin. "No, don't," he whispered. "I want this. You were right before."

Tahiri frowned. "Before?"

"I was afraid of the Force, because I didn't have it, I didn't understand it," he said. "If this is what it's like in a way, then I wish I did have it." He lifted his hand and caressed the locks of hair that were framing her face. "I can feel you inside of my head, and it's comforting. It's like a lover's touch that I don't want to give up."

"Jag, what are you saying?" Tahiri asked softly.

"I don't know what I am saying," Jag said honestly. His eyes roamed over her face as he lowered his lips to hers. Tahiri's eyes fluttered closed as the kiss deepened ever so slightly. It was different then the kisses she had shared with Anakin before his death. They had been full of shy emotions, just awakening. Jag's kisses were sure, defined almost. A true sign of a man who had done this before, but different at the same time. As if this was new to him as well. The experience was there, but he was unsure of himself. How she would react. Slowly their lips parted.

"Jag," Tahiri murmured.

"Don't regret it please," Jag murmured, sounding as if his heart would break if she tossed him aside. He leaned his forehead against hers as he had done earlier that had created the bond between them.

I don't regret anything, she thought to him as she leaned against him, her arms encircling his waist.

What happens now? Jag thought to her, his arms coming around her as he tucked her closer to his body.

The question of the hour lately. I don't think we can answer it till we get through this alive, she thought to him. Jag nodded, pressing a gentle kiss to her forehead, relishing the feel of her against him as they found a moment of peace in the turmoil.


He waited. Waited for the perfect moment to move. His body tensed as he felt the right moment approaching. With a swiftness that his injuries hid, Kyp lashed out at the warrior that walked into the cell seeking him, to take him to the torture chambers again. The warrior fell, the amphistaff stiffening in Kyp's hands. With cold hard eyes he slammed the staff into an open area of the armor where he could strike the man dead, and he did.

Slipping gracefully out of the cell, he slid along the slime like walls. His dark eyes darted back and forth, searching for the enemy again, expecting someone to turn a corner and take him out. They had put his pants back on, tattered as they were, but scars criss crossed his bare chest that glistened with sweat that was forming from the humidity in the air as well as from the exertion his body was feeling. Pain lanced through his body, but the adrenaline barreling through his veins made him move quickly.

Ducking into a nearby alcove, he heard muttered, angry like words passing between two warriors as they argued over something. Something mundane it appeared as he watched shadows pass him. He looked out a bit, watching them pass, he turned and pulled back quickly as someone started to come around the corner, then paused, moving back. After what seemed like hours, Kyp slipped out of his small alcove. He slid his way down the halls, his eyes darting around again. Light drew his attention and he sprinted for the open doorway, avoiding catching his bare feet on anything. He had to get out, he had to. Jaina needed him, and she was all that mattered.


Jag stroked Tahiri's hair as she slept with her head in his lap. He had urged her to nap briefly after receiving a message from Jacen and Tenel Ka saying they were on their way. While the Dozen had resented it a bit, they wanted to find Kyp, they had grudgingly agreed to wait for the extra help. Till they arrived, Jag wanted Tahiri resting. Since she hadn't been doing much of it since she had Kyp and Jaina both in her mind.

"Kyp!" Tahiri gasped as she sat up. Her blue eyes looked around wildly before they fell on Jag and cleared.

Jag reached up and pushed a few tangled locks of blonde hair from her face. "What is it?" he asked.

"He's escaped, but he's still in danger I think," Tahiri said. "He's alone, he's injured, badly so. And he wants to find Jaina." Jag stroked her cheek with a bit of a frown when the insistent buzzing of the com broke into their thoughts.

"Colonel, Queen Mother Tenel Ka and Knight Solo have arrived," Shawnkyr said, poking her head into the small room.

"Thank you," Jag said, standing. He pulled Tahiri to her feet, but kept one hand clasped within his as they walked together to the cockpit. Tahiri settled herself into a chair as Jag hit the com switch. "Jag here," he said.

"It's good to hear your voice, Colonel Fel," Tenel Ka said.

"And you, Your Majesty," Jag said.

"Anything on Kyp, Jag?" Jacen's voice came across.

"Tahiri can sense him, and is certain he's here," Jag said. "She thinks he's escaped somehow, but he's hurt, how bad we aren't sure."

Tenel Ka glanced at Jacen with a frown on their ship. "What do you think is the best course of action," Jacen said, frowning himself.

"Only a small group of us should go onto the planet," Tahiri broke in, "We'll need the rest in case they release any coralskippers."

"I agree with her," Jag said.

"Rendezvous on planet then at these coordinates," Jacen said, sending coordinates over. Jag then sent them to the current leader of Kyp's Dozen and the plan. He received an acknowledgement that one member of the squad would be joining, the rest would do better to be in their ships surrounding the planet.


Tahiri took a deep breath as they exited the small ship they had taken from the Gambler's Wage. She stepped close to Jag but didn't take his hand, merely finding comfort in his presence. They walked side by side, Shawnkyr and another of Jag's squadron behind them. They met in what appeared to be the center with a couple of Hapan guards, Jacen, Tenel Ka, and the member of Kyp's squadron.

"Tahiri, you look exhausted," Jacen said with a frown.

"I'll be fine," Tahiri murmured.

"Maybe we should join our mind's in a battle meld for this," Tenel Ka suggested.

Tahiri glanced at Jag nervously. "I don't know if that's a good idea," she said.

"Why not?" Jacen asked.

Jag stepped closer and put a comforting hand on her back. "I'll be fine," he said.

"You don't know what it's like, I won't put you through that," Tahiri said, looking up into his face.

"I'm stronger then you think," Jag said.

"This is different, you are still getting used to the link," she said. "Now all of a sudden you'll have two other Force users in your mind able to sense everything. It's bad enough with me."

"Link?" Tenel Ka questioned.

Tahiri took a deep breath and looked at her. "I'm not sure how, but I somehow established a mental link with Jag. He can sense my thoughts, feelings, and I don't know what the battle meld would do to him," she said.

"I thought Colonel Fel was not a Force user?" Tenel Ka stated.

"I'm not," Jag said. "That's why we aren't sure how this happened, but it did. And I think I can handle this. Tahiri," he grasped her arms and turned her towards him, "Don't take me into consideration when doing this…"

"How can you say that?" Tahiri asked, slapping his hands away.

"Listen to me," Jag said.

"No you listen," Tahiri said. "I already lost one man I loved, I'm not going to lose another I could love."

Tenel Ka stepped forward and slid an arm around Tahiri's shoulders. "Come, we must get moving if we are to find Kyp," she said. She led the younger woman away, feeling tension through the Force emanating from her. The others followed them, except for Jag and Jacen.

Jacen stepped closer to him. "I'm afraid to ask what that was about," he said.

"I just want to protect her," Jag said softly. "She needs the battle meld to keep her safe, to share the burden."

"Has it been that bad?" Jacen asked softly.

"I can't stop her nightmares, even sensing them now the way I can," Jag said. "But she won't let me help now." He glanced at Jacen and startled the other man. Instead of looking like the brash, often too-cool Chiss Colonel, he looked like a lost boy that had seen far too much. "Why won't she let me help her?"

"We'll help her," Jacen said, putting a comforting hand on Jag's shoulder. "We'll help her."


"The Jeedai escaped!" a warrior exclaimed to Voang Shou.

The warmaster slowly turned and gazed at the warrior. "Has he?" he said in a lazy manner.

"How could he escape, Voang?" the warrior asked suspiciously.

"What are you attempting to imply, Kreesh?" Voang snarled.

"You let him escape," Kreesh replied. "Didn't you?"

"Perhaps," Voang said, a smug almost-smile crossing his grotesque features.

"Why?" Kreesh demanded. "Why let the infidel go?"

"The hunt is much more satisfactory when we can chase the prey," Voang said.

"Hunt?" Kreesh said.

"Yes," Voang stated and smiled rather cruelly. "Others have entered the atmosphere, have you not noticed? More infidels to join in the hunt. It's only a matter of time before they find the Jeedai."

"And then they shall take him with them," Kreesh said outraged.

"Ah, but you see," Voang said. "While it's only a matter of time before the Jeedai is found, it'll be as much time for the pack of voxyn and warriors I am about to command to catch up, and then we shall have more infidel to sacrifice, and definitely more Jeedai."

"Do not underestimate these, Jeedai," Kreesh said. "They are much more dangerous then you anticipate."

"Perhaps," Voang said. "But they also are very much sentimental fools with a low tolerance for pain."

"This Jeedai proved you wrong, did he not?" Kreesh snarled. "He took the Embrace of Pain willingly, and took a violation by you and others that has broken other men before. He is stronger then you think."

"What we did was not for the physical pain," Voang snarled in return. "But the mental and emotional. He has a connection outside of his body. Another Jeedai, more than one perhaps. How do you think THEY faired with what we did to him?"

"HE is the Jeedai we had! Who cares of the others!" Kreesh demanded.

"HE was a close colleague, perhaps even the mate to Jeedai Jaina Solo, the very twin Jeedai that mocks who we are!" Voang shouted. "How do you think she is reacting now after feeling that?"

"How can you be so sure?"

"Because one of their own was turned and has been keeping very close tabs on what is going on in her mind, and she is losing the battle waging there."


Leia watched her daughter, worried to get even close to her. Han could. Without the Force ability that had often times left him frustrated, especially when the kids would talk amongst themselves in their heads, or left Leia knowing exactly how to find her brother, he was finally thankful it was a power he didn't have. Leia had to watch from afar as her daughter's grip on reality loosened with each passing day, and she couldn't even soothe her. Han could. He could walk into the bubble of black surrounding her and touch her hand, hold it and stroke it, urging her to fight whatever was holding her down.

"How's Luke?" Leia asked as she sensed Mara walk up beside her.

"He's… there, I think," Mara said shakily. "Whatever happened, it took a lot out of him. Ben assures me he's still in his body, but he's not responding at all."

Leia looked at Mara. "Ben assured you?"

"He's strong," Mara said with a sad smile. She looked at Jaina. "I just don't know if he's strong enough to deal with the possibility of losing his father if he can't stay strong himself."

Leia reached over and took Mara's hand in hers. "Luke IS strong, and he'll make it through this." Mara squeezed her hand gently.


"I have to find…" Kyp murmured as he wandered the woods, barefoot. He looked around wildly. He noticed the sun was starting to go down, and a chill was forming in the air. He was hot with fever, and the cool air did nothing to cool him off. He glanced around again, his ears perking at any sound that might pass.

"Jaina, must find Jaina," he murmured as he moved along the path he was on. He paused as he heard a rattle. He glanced down and saw a snake. With quick motions, hindered ever so slightly by his injuries he had picked up the snake and snapped its neck easily. He looked to see if he could find a way to start a fire. The snake was large enough to provide meat for him.

After assuring himself that he was far enough from the Vong camp, he managed to get a small fire going and cooked the snake easily. Probing it with the Force, he found the snake's poison to have diminished enough from cooking it to be safe to eat without causing any damage, even with his injuries. Kyp ate quickly, then snuffed out the fire. While his body screamed for rest, he knew he had to keep moving, or he would be caught again. Once they realized he was gone, they would come looking for him. He intended to not be found. One name was a soft word on his lips as he hurried deeper into the wooded area.


Tenel Ka walked over to the others in the camp. "I can sense him close, almost as if he's in the woods," she said to Jacen. She glanced over to where Tahiri was curled on her side, her head on Jag's thigh. Though things were still tense between them, she found comfort in his close proximity and was taking full advantage of his hovering presence.

"I don't understand it anymore than you do," Jacen said, noticing Tenel Ka's look towards the couple. "They are the last two I ever thought about being together."

"Times like this create things to happen we never thought would," Tenel Ka said. She slipped her hand into his.

Jacen glanced at her and squeezed her hand. "We are going to have to have a long talk when we get back, aren't we?" he asked.

Tenel Ka smiled very softly. "This is a fact," she said, stepping closer. She reached up and gently kissed him. "Till then, we must figure out a way to get to Kyp."

"Why don't you meditate, see if you can find him through the Force?" Jacen suggested. "Jag's looking over Tahiri, I'll have Brock help me keep an eye out and make sure nothing happens upon us."

Tenel Ka nodded. "Be careful," she said.

"Hey, it's me," Jacen said with that cocky Solo grin.

"That's why I said be careful," Tenel Ka said with a smile. She moved past him and informed Brock he was to help keep watch. The other man moved to the opposite side as Jacen, and they kept an eye on things.

"How is she?" Tenel Ka asked, kneeling in front of Jag.

"She finally settled enough to rest," Jag said, worry in his deep green eyes as she looked down at Tahiri.

"She is a strong woman, but sometimes too strong," Tenel Ka said. "I will discuss with her tomorrow about the battle meld, and we will see how it affects you. Perhaps it won't be so bad. You are right, she needs the rest of us to take some pressure off of her."

"Thank you," Jag said sincerely. Tenel Ka gently touched his shoulder. Jag glanced at Tahiri again as Tenel Ka moved away and sat down, curling her legs beneath her to begin meditating to see if she could locate Kyp.


"When do you wish to release the voxyn?" the man asked.

"Have you sense any others on the planet as we suspected?" Voang asked.

"Yes, at least three more Jeedai," the man asked.

Voang turned and narrowed his eyes at the man. "This is a test, Jeedai," he said. "Do not fail it, or me."

Cannus Reglia looked through shadowed eyes and a scarred face at the warmaster. "I shall not fail you, warmaster," he said with a bow. He turned on his heel and walked back into the compound that housed the Yuuzhan Vong. He would find a way to take revenge for what happened to his brother. Even if it meant selling his soul to the devil to do so.


Han looked over at Leia as she sat, watching him with their daughter. He never understood certain things about the Force, including this situation that had created a black appearance around Jaina. But he trusted Leia when she said that if she went near Jaina, that she too would be much like Luke. That no Jedi could go near her, not even a Force sensitive. Even Danni Quee, who had come to offer her assistance as a scientist, and young Ben could go nowhere near Jaina. Especially Ben. Han also knew it was tearing Leia apart that she couldn't get near her daughter and try to talk her out of this situation. It wasn't the first time that Han was glad he didn't have the Force, though at times the want of the Force greatly outweighed when he did not want it.

"Come on baby girl," Han whispered to his daughter. "You need to snap out of this." Whatever Han said, Leia watched as lightening rippled around their daughter as if answering in a negative form.


"Jaina," Kyp moaned in the fitful sleep he was finding. He had sworn to himself he would not fall asleep, fully aware that someone or something could come upon him, but his body had demanded the rest. And he had fallen. Now he was plagued by the images of his beloved surrounded by a black mass of torture and pain. And it stemmed from the area of her mind and presence that occupied him. What had he done to her?

Kyp slowly rose as he felt the first rays of sunlight hit him on the remote planet. He blinked and stretched stiff muscles, hearing his joints crack. Pain settled in both of his wrists. Pain he never registered or told anyone about. Pain he had ever since he had crushed pretty much every bone in his body when he had been seventeen years old in order to fit into a message cylinder before ejecting himself from the Sun Crusher before its collision with the Death Star.

Using the Force a bit he suppressed the pain he felt in his wrists knowing that it would get better once he exercised them some during the day. The pain would eventually fade physically, but at the moment it was a welcome distraction to the emotional and mental pain of what he knew he was making Jaina go through. It dawned on him that he needed that physical pain at the moment in order to keep moving to get back to her. He promised himself that he would help her through this, then he would separate himself from her forever so he wouldn't be used as a weapon against her. No matter how much it tore his heart from his chest.

His head came up with a jerk as he heard the shrill roar of some sort of beast. And considering it came from the compound he had recently occupied, and he wasn't far enough from it for his liking, he knew he needed to move fast. Something told him they realized his escape and were sending… Force knows what after him.


Jag raised his head as he too heard the roar. He glanced at Tahiri and felt a hand clench his heart at the pale expression on her face. They were preparing to move out when the roar had sounded.

"Voxyn," Tahiri whispered. Jag looked and knew what that word meant. The voxyn had been the reason behind Anakin Solo's death, and Jaina's slide to the dark side as well as the disappearance and supposed death of Jacen. Now it was here with them.

"I thought we destroyed them all," Tenel Ka said as she and Jacen glanced at each other.

"What is it?" Brock asked.

"It's a creature the Yuuzhan Vong created in order to detect Jedi," Jacen said as he looked over. "A team of Jedi had been sent to Myrkr to kill the queen of the voxyn. My brother's death brought her demise as well."

"Could they have had another queen?" Jag asked.

"Uncertain," Jacen said.

"I think we are dealing with something completely different then just a mere voxyn or something to do with a mere Yuuzhan Vong luring trap," Tahiri said. She closed her eyes stretching out before looking at Tenel Ka and Jacen. "There is another here that is Force sensitive, and I sense his presence with the Yuuzhan Vong."

"I sense it too," Tenel Ka said as she too stretched out through the Force.

"We better get moving," Jacen said, feeling uneasy all of a sudden. "It may take us some time to get off this planet, but I'll feel better once we find Kyp."


Cannus stared at the wall across from him. Lies ran rampant through his mind, and he felt his subconscious trying to push past them to realize his mistakes, but the slave seed that had been implanted into him was firmly set. He lowered his head. He remembered days when he and his brother had played together at their home, always toying with each other. Before they even understood what the Force was, they had used the abilities they had to toss each other in the air, laughing as they did so. Then Luke Skywalker had come in search of Jedi to train, and Miko being the older of the two had left for Yavin, and Cannus was promised to follow later. But later had never come as their parents died and Cannus was left on his own. Miko never came back for him, too busy running around the galaxy with his new Master to follow after. Kyp had trained Miko to knighthood, and after Miko had died.

Cannus wiped sharply at the tears that had fallen as he remembered what the Vong had told him. Kyp had struck Miko down in order to save his own skin. And when questioned of Miko living or not, he was told he was dead. By the time others learned the truth, Miko indeed had died.

He rose and slammed his fist into the wall, feeling the bones break. He cringed at the pain, though he should have been reveling in it. Despite all his attempts, he was too human to ever embrace the pain that came with being a Yuuzhan Vong. His face was not yet mutilated to the point of the other Vong, but it was something he would deal with when the time came.


Kyp ducked under some brush when he heard rustling headed towards him from ahead. He refused to be caught. He thought his ears were deceiving him as he watched a group of people come into the clearing. Even the lightsabers that hung from their belts did nothing to ease what he thought he saw. He was feverish from the pain he was put through and he felt panic more than relief when Jacen and Tenel Ka stepped into the clearing.

The Dathomir woman put the stump of her left arm up to slow Jacen's walking. She looked around as if sensing something. "What is it?" Jacen asked

"I… sense Kyp," she said with a frown, glancing at Jacen.

Jacen was about to say something when Kyp slammed him into. The two men struggled on the ground as Jag, Brock and Tahiri burst into the clearing. "Kyp no!" Tahiri said, prodding Kyp's mind as well with the Force.

Kyp fell back off of Jacen, and looked with wide feverish eyes at the people around him. He knew they were Yuuzhan Vong trying to trick him, until Tahiri had prodded his mind and infiltrated the thoughts. Only one person truly could do that, and he reached out to find Force signatures amongst them all. But he was startled as he felt a slightly stronger one then normal from Jag. He tried to backpedal away, but suddenly the flame of hair and friendly features of Tenel Ka came into view as she knelt in front of him.

"Kyp," she said soothingly. She reached out a gentle hand and touched his too hot skin.

"Your majesty?" Kyp groaned out.

Tenel Ka gave him a small smile. "This is a fact," she said softly.

Kyp latched onto her hand, and forced a smile then winced as his too dry lips cracked. "Never figured it'd take this to be graced by a Queen," he said.

Tahiri knelt beside him with the canteen Jag had given her and touched his lips with a damp rag, giving him water slowly before allowing him to drink from the canteen. "There's a Goddess waiting for you to come home safely," she said.

"Never could say no to a Goddess," Kyp said with a groan after drinking some. "Not sure how fast I'll be."

Jag looked up as a roar split the air again. "We'll find out, I think we have company headed our way," he said.

"It's voxyn Kyp," Tahiri said. "We need to keep moving so it doesn't find us. Force knows how many they have and have released."

"Maybe only one since they don't know you are here," Kyp said as Brock and Jacen helped him stand.

"We've already sensed someone strong in the Force at the compound," Jacen said.

"Then we need to go back and get whoever it is," Kyp said.

"We can't," Tahiri said, she stepped back and looked back the way they came. "We can't go that way either."

Tenel Ka reached out and slammed her force shields down. "More voxyn, they know we are here," she said.

"We need to get moving then," Jag said, pulling his blaster. With Brock supporting Kyp, the other three Jedi pulled their sabers but did not ignite them yet. The gentle hum would help lead their pursuers towards them, and it was something they wouldn't do. All were trained well enough to ignite them when they would need them. And they would need them soon.


Cannus stared at his reflection in the broken glass that surrounded the edge of his window. He traced the patterns of scars that ran along his face and shuddered. Something was eating at him, as if he knew something was wrong, but he couldn't pinpoint just exactly what it was. And it was unnerving him.

"You look troubled, Jeedai," Voang said.

"I'm not a Jedi," Cannus said. "I wasn't chosen. You know my story."

"That I do, that I do," Voang said, stepping beside him.

"Why do you stand beside me as if I am your equal?" Cannus asked. "It is clear you all still see me as an infidel."

"See, that is where you are wrong," Voang said with a sinister smile. "You are so much more than a mere infidel could ever be."

Cannus turned and watched the Yuuzhan Vong. "What are you stating?" he finally asked.

"I am stating that you are a powerful creature, you hold a key that none of us can hold," Voang said. Cannus tried not to shudder as the alien's large claw hand came up to run a talon like appendage down his cheek. "You hold within you the key to our victory." Cannus's unease did not lessen.


"We should return to the compound and get out whatever Force user is there," Tenel Ka said.

"I don't think that's a good idea," Jag pointed out. "Especially with Kyp being injured. He's obviously dehydrated, and his first thought is to find Jaina."

"I agree that is what his first thought is, but what if this Force user is another prisoner?" Tenel Ka asked.

"So we sacrifice six for the life of one?" Brock asked.

"Not all of us have to go," Tenel Ka said.

"Splitting up would probably not be the best idea at the moment," Jacen said. "Somewhere, out in those woods is a voxyn on the loose, looking for us at every waking turn."

"And even un-waking turn," Jag pointed out. "From what you have told me of these things, they'll hunt you down till they find you, no matter if you are awake or not."

"This is a fact," Tenel Ka said.

"Then why are we still here?" Brock. "Why is this even a topic of discussion? We accomplished what we came to do."

"We have not accomplished a thing till we get Kyp on a ship and back to Jaina safely," Jag said.

"My concern is not Jaina Solo, my concern is the leader of my squadron," Brock sneered.

Jacen was about to say something when Jag's hand grasped Brock's throat, causing the man to gurgle a bit, clawing at the Chiss Colonel's hand. "Then I suggest that you start concerning yourself with Jaina Solo," he growled. "Because if anything happens to her, rescuing your squadron leader from this hellish planet will have done no good because he will die without her."

Brock was gasping for air and clawing more insistently at Jag's hand. "Let him go, Jag," Jacen said, his eyes on the Colonel. Jag didn't listen to him. His body relaxed as a small hand closed over his bicep.

"Let him go," Tahiri said softly, looking into Jag's eyes. The man softened and released Brock. He stepped back and looked down at Tahiri.

"Typical Imperial, do everything with violence when it doesn't go your way," Brock growled. "That creature's probably after us cause of that little Vong girl you are bedding." He turned a sneering face at Tahiri. "Everyone knows about her little spawned implant." Brock never had a chance to defend himself as Jag's fist came around so quickly and slammed into Brock's jaw. A satisfying crunch was heard.

"How's that for violence?" Jag snarled, standing over the pilot.

"He's not worth it, Jag," Tahiri said, curling her hands around his arm. "Please, don't."

Jag visibly relaxed and stepped back. He narrowed his eyes and pointed a finger at Brock. "From this moment till we are no longer anywhere near you, you will treat Tahiri with respect," he growled. "She's the one that found Kyp and made sure we knew how to find him. If I see you even breathe wrong in her direction, I'll show you exactly what an Imperial raised man can do to a smart mouthed pilot." He turned and placed a hand on the small of Tahiri's back, walking towards were Kyp was resting fitfully.

Brock tried to rise but Jacen restrained him with the Force. "Word to the wise," he said. "We are here for Kyp and Jaina, we are not here for you at all, remember that as well. And if I hear you say anything against my sister, I'll make sure Kyp hears about it and I'll make sure he can find you to show you exactly what a Jedi Master can do without even touching you." He released the man, and he and Tenel Ka walked away.

Trembling, Brock joined them, but said nothing. If you would have asked any of the people with him, they would have said he looked very much like an animal with its tail between its legs, licking its wounds from the lashing it received.

The group decided it was time for them to start moving, and they urged Kyp to his feet. The force users winced and paused as they heard and felt through the Force the scream. It was coming from the complex.

"Someone else is there, we need to get them out," Kyp said, his throat dry.

"We can't," Brock said. "We already have on injured man, we'd never get in and out without losing that person and possibly more."

Kyp looked at Jacen, Tenel Ka and Tahiri. "Can you help me into a force trance? I can at least force heal the worst of things, or at least suppress them," he said.

Tenel Ka looked worriedly at her friend. "Are you sure?" she asked, stepping forward. She pressed a hand to his chest near one of the worst of his wounds. "You…"

"I need to return to Jaina, I know, but I'd never forgive myself if we didn’t at least try," Kyp said. He looked at Jacen. "We're Jedi, we know what our mandate is."

"This is suicide!" Brock said.

Jacen nodded briefly at Kyp and glanced at Jag. He understood as well and nodded. "Suicide or not, we are going in," he said. He looked at Brock. "I'll take point, you cover our backs."

"What about that thing that's after you?" Brock asked. "Shouldn't I go first?"

"I have a blaster as well as a lightsaber," Jacen said. "One more weapon then you have available, and I'll be able to sense the voxyn before we are near it."

"And you can't do that from behind?" Brock asked.

"Are you that willing to be the first to die?" Jag asked, turning hard green eyes to him.

Brock snapped his mouth shut. "Never thought of it that way," he mumbled. He grabbed his blaster and moved to watch them and take up the rear when they started for the complex.

Tahiri was kneeling in front of Kyp with Tenel Ka as they strengthened his body through the Force. The two women let go, but did not rise. "Are you going to be okay?" Tahiri asked softly.

"I'll be fine enough to get through this," Kyp said. "But I need a saber."

Tahiri reached up and took the saber from her belt. She handed it to him. "Take mine," she said.

"But you'll need it," Kyp protested.

Tahiri clipped something from her belt and showed him. It was almost an exact replica of hers. She ignited the blade, shining such a deep burgundy it seemed black except for the reddish cast around the edges. Far different then the blue blade she had. "I've started training with double sabers," Tahiri explained. "I built this saber so I'd have an extra in case the need for two ever came about."

"We'll have to spar some time once we return," Kyp said with a small smile.

"I'll hold you to that, Master Durron," Tahiri said, returning the smile.

"Let's go," Jacen said, gripping his saber as the group moved towards the compound, a little quicker then when they had moved away from it hours before.


Images ran rampantly through Jaina's mind. The darkness that surrounded her kept her levitated and caught in the web of lies and insanity. Her black eyes darted, trying to catch the images as they passed before her in a colorful array of mockery.

"You can not save him," a cruel voice said.

Dark Jaina's head whipped around, searching for the voice. She found it in the mutilated form of her younger self. It rose from the fiery depth from which it was tossed by the image of the warrior that had released this darker part of her mind.

"I will save him," she said.

Young Jaina tilted her head, the appendage rolling on shoulders too burnt to even hold it up with strength. "Do you think he'll still want you?" the voice questioned. "Now that you've slid into this path again? And deeper than before?"

"You don't know what you are talking about," Dark Jaina growled, the flames rising as her emotions did.

Young Jaina rose higher and began circling her older, darker counterpart. "Don't I?" she asked as she swirled around. "I know what you fear. I am you remember? I know you fear this fall again, and look where you are. I know you fear that he'll leave you because he didn't fall again, and he'll find you weak."

Dark Jaina narrowed her black eyes. "Shut up," she whispered.

"He'll find you weak," Young Jaina said.

"Shut up," Dark Jaina said, louder this time.

"He'll find you weak!" Young Jaina said then giggled maniacally.

"Shut up," Dark Jaina said, her hands clenching into fists, the long black nails digging into her palms, creating cuts, blood running from her hands.

"He'll find you weak!!" Young Jaina yelled.

A banshee like scream escaped Dark Jaina's throat as she sent black lightening into the younger version of herself. She continued to scream as the pain she was inflicting on herself consumed her as well. Finally she collapsed, still floating. Her body shuddered from the residual pain that she had done to herself. "I… said… shut… up," she murmured.

"Do you think I'll just go away?" the voice of her younger self said, but she couldn't see her. "I'm always with you, mocking you, using your worst fears against you at every turn. Reminding you of what you shall never have."

For the first time since she felt what Kyp had gone through, her black eyes faded to the brandy-brown. "He loves me, he'll come to me, he'll save me," she mumbled, tears starting to fall.

"He'll scorn you, leave you, find another more willing, more deserving, less dark," the voice said. "He'll find someone that deserves his love."

Jaina shook her head, tears falling still. "I'm his princess, he'll save me," she whispered.

"He'll hate you."

"He'll save me."

"He'll hate you."





Jaina's head jerked up, her eyes completely black and flash again. Darkness snapped and crackled around her. "NO!"


Kyp winced as they paused to walk. Jacen did the same where he stood. He kept his lightsaber up, in case they were ambushed as he glanced back to Kyp. Kyp raised pain-filled dark eyes to look at Jacen. He nodded silently, letting him know he had felt the disturbance from Jaina as well.

Jag crouched down as he heard a noise heading towards them. Everyone followed suit, though Jacen stood a bit taller to gain some sort of visual of what they were facing. He narrowed his eyes when he saw how close they had managed to get to the complex as they had walked along for what had seemed like hours. Jacen pulled back to talk to them.

"I see a human, I believe, in the complex, it was hard to tell," Jacen said. He closed his eyes and reached out through the Force with just enough to brush the man's presence.

"The signature is familiar," Kyp said, frowning.

"Any idea who it is?" Tahiri asked.

Kyp shook his head. "While it seems familiar to me, it's elusive. Almost like I know who it is but it's been awhile since I've seen that person," he said.

"Regardless of who it is, you said he or she has the Force, which means that I am sure they can sense us," Jag said. He jerked his head towards Brock who stood behind a ways, keeping an eye on things around the clearing. "I'm sure his hostility towards what happened is like a red beacon to a Force user."

"Understatement," Tenel Ka said. "We might as well be glowing yellow with bright pink polka-dots giving away our location."

Jacen looked at her with a stunned grin. "You just made a joke," he said.

"Despite what many think, including you my love, I am not humorless," Tenel Ka said.

"Oh I know you have a sense of humor, love," Jacen said. "It's just a bit twisted and sometimes hard to see."

"As enlightening as this conversation is, and as good as it feels to have the levity, I think we better get this mission over with," Tahiri said. "Before the yellow, bright pink polka-dot thing comes to reality because of Brock's problem with us."

Kyp narrowed his eyes and looked at Tahiri. "Brock?" he questioned. "What the sith is he doing here?"

"Your second-in-command sent him with us on behalf of your squadron," Tahiri said.

Kyp's jaw clenched. "Shortly before I jumped into hyperspace and was captured, I had basically fired Brock with the promise of sending him to Wedge for treasonous acts against the Galactic Alliance."

Jacen frowned. "Why?"

"He's a member of the Peace Brigade. He had every intention of turning every Jedi he could find over to the Yuuzhan Vong."


Danni Quee peaked her head inside the infirmary where the Solos and Skywalkers had taken up residence to watch over Jaina and now Luke, who lay still unconscious from the blast he had received from his niece.

"Leia?" Danni asked as she walked over to the older woman.

Leia looked up. "Oh, hi Danni," she said with a tired smile. "What brings you here?"

"I just wanted to see how Jaina and Master Skywalker were," Danni said. "And I thought maybe I could help somehow?"

"I don't know what there is to do," Leia said honestly. "No Force user can get anywhere near Jaina, and there is nothing a non-Force user can do."

Danni chewed on her lower lip and sighed. "Is there anything I can do you or your husband?" she asked.

"No, thank you," Leia said with a said smile. "Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done at all. We want our daughter back, and we just don't know anymore if it is going to happen."

Danni frowned. It was unusual to hear Leia so down trodden. This was the woman that had never given up on Jacen being alive when everyone else thought he was dead. I suppose though, insanity is different then death, at least with death you can doubt, but when you watched your daughter turn insane, there was little one could do to realize hope, she thought to herself.

Han walked over to Leia. "Honey, I'm going to go get something to eat, do you want to join me?" he asked.

"Someone needs to stay with Jaina," Leia said, looking up at him.

"I can stay with her," Danni said.

Leia raised her eyebrow. "Are you sure?" she asked.

Danni nodded. "I don't mind," she said. "If I can't do anything else, I can at least do that."

"Thank you, Danni," Leia said as she rose. She slipped her arm through Han's and let him lead her out of the room.

Danni walked over and sat down in the closest chair she could without being too close to the dark bubble surrounding Jaina. She leaned back and watched the younger woman, wondering what sorts of things were going on in her head. She tilted her head as Jaina's head moved back and forth slowly. As Jaina's face turned towards her, her black eyes snapped open, staring at Danni, noticing her presence.


What do we do? Tenel Ka asked Jacen, forming a telepathic link between the Jedi. Jag could hear the words through the link he had with Tahiri. He looked questioningly at the blonde.

Just think what you want to say, they should be able to hear you, Tahiri thought to him.

Kyp frowned. Did I miss something? He questioned.

Somehow Jag and Tahiri are telepathically linked. We still haven't figured out how that happened yet, Jacen stated.

Does it really matter right now? Tahiri questioned. We had and have more important things to think about.

Touché, Jacen thought.

Back to the matter at hand, and Tenel Ka's question, what do we do? Jag thought. We pretty much have a traitor amongst us, but it would be dangerous if we let on to the fact that we know.

I'd like to know why he was sent to help rescue Kyp, Jacen thought.

Easy answer, Kyp thought. I was the only one that knew he was a peace brigader. A few of my other squad members had family members killed by the peace brigade, and the others are Jedi. It would have been like handing a Gungan to a rancor.

Okay so we know now, what do we do? Tenel Ka asked. He shall start to suspect something after awhile, especially as Kyp becomes more and more coherent.

Perhaps he'll think I was out of it enough to lack the memory of who he is? Kyp suggested.

I think that's too much wishful thinking, Jag said. He may act like an idiot, but I doubt he has the word flashing above his head in bright neon letters.

When did you garner a sense of humor? Kyp asked amused.

Blame the sprite, Jag said, indicating Tahiri.

I'll "sprite" you Fel if you don't watch it, Tahiri growled. She tried not to shiver with pleasure as she felt the mental caress Jag sent to her. Life was interesting when dealing with Jag having this ability.

"Is there a problem?" Brock whispered harshly from where he was.

"Just gathering a game plan," Jacen said, looking over.

"Could you gather quicker?" Brock said. "They'll be on us if we don't hurry."

Jacen sent a mental still when Kyp growled through the Force at the man's words. "Just keep watch," Jacen said.

If he makes one wrong move, I want dibs, Kyp said.

I get second dibs for his comment about Tahiri, Jag said.

You already handled his comment about me, Tahiri said.

Not enough, Jag said.

Someone is going to have to tell me this story once we get out of here, Kyp said.

Jacen looked towards the compound and rose slightly. "Kyp, you and Jag stay here, move in after Tenel Ka, Tahiri and I," he said.

"No way, I'm going in too," Kyp said.

"Just listen, all right?" Jacen said. "You are still dealing with your injuries, you can't go in saber blazing."

Jag put a hand on Kyp's arm. "We all go in," he said. "Circle the compound then go in."

"And that'll work?" Tenel Ka asked.

"Not entirely sure, but it'll keep Kyp pacified," Jag said with a slight grin.

"This isn't a game, Jag," Tahiri said.

"I know it's not, but I feel better keeping us all together," Jag said. For two reasons at least. One being the whole not trusting Brock thing.

"And?" Jacen prodded.

"I just feel better knowing we can all cover each other's backs when we go in together," Jag said.

Is this about needing to protect me? Tahiri asked him silently, closing off the others.

Jag shook his head. This is about protecting us all. Think about it if you were in Jaina's position. Two of her closest friends, three if you count me, the man she loves and her twin brother are all here. If she loses any of us, especially Kyp, she's lost forever. You even said that.

Tahiri pursed her lips. You are using my words against me, she thought.

"Not against, just making a point," Jag said softly.

Tahiri nodded. She didn't stop looking at him as she spoke to the others. "We all go in," she said.

"Someone's really gonna have to clue me in once we get out of here," Kyp mumbled.

Jacen grinned. "Let's go," he said. The people all rose and made there way down towards the compound.


"What in the…?" Han demanded as he ran into the infirmary. He looked around as if he couldn't believe what he was seeing.

"Han what…" Leia asked as she skidded to a stop behind him. Her eyes widened.

Han pulled out his com link and clicked it. "Attention Mon Calamari base," he said over the com. He turned on his heel and left the infirmary. "Be on alert for Lt. Commander Jaina Solo, possibly in company of Danni Quee."

"Where could she have gone?" Leia asked, swallowing hard. "She was practically comatose."

"I don't know, princess, but I do know that if she is up and moving on her own, which it looks like she is, she is very, very dangerous."


The team knew it was far too easy that they were able to get to the complex without so much of a hint that they were there. Once the entered the area immediately surrounding the complex, alarms began to blare and shouts of the Yuuzhan Vong were heard. The snap hiss of four lightsabers igniting was heard in the clearing as they hurried around the complex and slipped into an opening in the wall.

"Split up," Jacen said. "The faster we can find this force user the faster we can get out of here."

"Watch your backs," Kyp said. "Whoever is leading this group of the Yuuzhan Vong doesn't think like them."

Tenel Ka frowned. "What do you mean?" he asked.

"It's almost like he's renegade," Kyp said. "He thinks like a human."

Jacen cursed softly and switched over telepathically. With the added dealing of the traitor amongst us… he let the thought trail off.

"Kyp, stick with Jag and I," Tahiri said. "Tenel Ka and Jacen…" She looked almost for permission that they handle Brock.

Jacen nodded. "Brock'll come with us," he said.

"Don't I get a say?" Brock said.

"No," Jag said, pinning him with a look. It's best he not be near me anyway, Jag thought as he narrowed his eyes at Brock.

We can handle him, Tenel Ka said. The group branched off, Tenel Ka, Jacen and Brock heading towards the left, while Jag, Tahiri and Kyp went to the right.

Tahiri reached out through the force and felt that they were moving away from the Force presence, but she felt an emptiness in the Force closer to them. She lifted her lightsaber slightly in a ready position. She sent a vision to the other two men with her before all hell broke loose.


"Hurry," Jacen said as he rushed towards where they felt Cannus's force presence.

"They're in trouble," Tenel Ka said.

Brock rolled his eyes, his face hidden away from the two Jedi. He looked at the chronometer on his wrist, which also held a small homing beacon. All he had to do was hit it once and instantly the entire compound would know where he and the two Jedi where, and since he knew what direction the other Jedi had gone…

"What are you doing?" Jacen asked in a voice that burned with suppressed anger.

"Nothing," Brock said. He lifted his arm and showed him. "Just looking at my chronometer."

"Why? Somewhere special you have to be?" Jacen growled, his eyes flashing.

"What the Sith is your problem, Solo?" Brock asked. "Ever since earlier you've treated me as if I'm the scum of the universe."

"That only mildly describes my opinion of you," Jacen said.

"Stop it," Tenel Ka said, stepping between the two men. "We don't have time for this."

"Listen to your little jungle queen, Solo, she has a point," Brock said with a sneer. Faster then he could blink, Brock found his ears ringing and his head throbbing as Tenel Ka slammed his head into the wall with enough force to prove her own point, but not to knock him out or kill him. She'd leave that for Kyp to do.

Jacen walked over to the door and slowly opened it, pocking his head inside. He swiftly fell into what he often called his Vong sense as he felt the Force presence inside the room tensing. He was able to duck and turn, shifting his leg just enough to take Cannus down as the other man tried to tackle him.

Tenel Ka came into the room and force held Cannus to the ground when he tried to tackle Jacen. He struggled against the Force hold and tried to disengage Tenel Ka from holding him with his own Force ability, but a trained Jedi knight was much stronger than an untrained Force sensitive.

Jacen flipped to his feet and walked over. He was struck instantly by the resemblance this man had to Miko Reglia. He narrowed his eyes at him. "Who are you?" he asked.

"They call me Currsto Rie," Cannus growled.

"You aren't Yuuzhan Vong," Jacen said. "What is your name?"

"They call me Currsto Rie," Cannus said.

"He is going to fight us," Tenel Ka said.

Jacen stepped closer. "I can solve that," he said. He put his blaster on stun and shot Cannus.

"Jacen!" Tenel Ka said, astonished.

Kneeling down, Jacen tied a strap around Cannus's hands then rose. He used the Force to lift Cannus into the air. "Let's go," he said. He left the room, Tenel Ka behind them. Brock stumbled but followed. He paused a moment and flicked the small receiver on his wrist and a sick smile crossed his features. He would satisfy his own mandate, even if it meant he lost his life at the same time.


Jag was too busy fighting a Yuuzhan Vong warrior that was insisting on smashing an amphistaff into his head to see how Tahiri was faring. He worried for her, but he knew she could handle herself as well. Any Jedi that trained using double sabers was a force to be reckoned with.

"Sith spit!" Kyp hissed as he felt his arm give out as an amphistaff slashed across his arm, cutting the muscle. Blood began to flow down his arm, even through the Force trance Tahiri and Tenel Ka had helped him enter, he felt his energy starting to wan. He looked up as Jacen rounded the corner, something behind him. Or someone.

"Gar!" Jag said as he smashed into a back wall as the warrior he was fighting sent him flying with his amphistaff. A groan escaped him as he felt the fangs of the staff pierce his upper bicep. Tenel Ka raced forward and pulled him back and was thrown halfway across the room when a fist connected with her jaw. Cannus's body fell as Jacen's concentration broke and he tried to fight Brock, who had punched Tenel Ka. He found the muzzle of a blaster in his face.

"You will never win this," Brock growled. "There are already more warriors headed towards us." A gurgle escaped his throat. Jacen looked down to see a burgundy almost black blade through Brock's stomach. The other man's eyes widened and he fell forward, the stench of burnt flesh emanating as he fell and the saber pulled from his body.

"Maybe not," Kyp said breathlessly. "But you won't be apart of it if we don't."

Jacen looked up and frowned. "Tahiri," he said. Kyp turned and looked wary.

Three warriors, each advancing, surrounded Tahiri. What she did next amazed them. She turned quickly and held her hand out, pulling her second saber from Kyp's hand into her own and immediately igniting it. Before Jacen or Kyp could do anything she began to spin and whirl into attack, blocking any shots made at her with both sabers. The petite girl was a whirl of blonde curls, blue and burgundy light as it reflected dangerously off her face, revealing a grim determination.

It seemed in slow motion as she continued to defend herself against the attack and soon two Vong went down as she stabbed one saber each into the cracks of their armor near the armpits. The third advanced, trying to intimidate her. He brought his amphistaff up and down to strike her. Tahiri brought her blue blade up to stop the strike, at the same time she whirled her burgundy blade around and separated the alien's head from his shoulders. She spun around as she heard the hiss of an amphistaff. A stunned gasp escaped her throat as the end of the amphistaff sliced through the fleshy area along her side and came out of her back.

"No!" Jag cried as he tried to stand, hissing in pain.

"You shall not win Jeedai," a voice said from somewhere around them. "You shall never know victory, not here, not ever."

"Show yourself!" Jacen growled, igniting his saber.

A cruel laugh sounded. "Until another battle, Jeedai," the voice said.

"You said we'd never win! Come out and fight us," Jacen growled.

"I prefer the hunt to the kill," the voice said. Then silence descended.

"They can't possibly be letting us just go," Kyp gasped out.

Jacen whipped around as he heard the roar of a voxyn nearby. He ran over to Tenel Ka and helped her rise. "Are you going to be okay?" he asked. He felt her steel herself through the Force.

"I shall make it," she said. She hurried over to where Kyp and Jag where. She helped the Chiss stand. Once he was on his feet he was heading towards Tahiri.

"Tahiri," he said, kneeling beside her, worry evident on his features. He reached for the amphistaff still in her side.

"Don't take it out," Tahiri whimpered. "Not yet."

"We need to get moving, that voxyn is headed our way," Jag said with a gentle touch to her forehead.

A tear slid down Tahiri's cheek as she nodded. "I'll tell you when," she said. She closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths. Jag wrapped his hand gently around the staff. Now. Jag pulled it out sharply, feeling his heart clench at the sharp intake of breath.

Jag gathered her into his arms, ignoring the pain in his own as he lifted her and rose to his feet. "Come on, baby," he whispered. "We're going home."

"You're hurt," Tahiri mumbled into his neck.

"I'll manage," Jag said.


"Get that ship ready to fly," Jag shouted at Shawnkyr and the other member of his squadron. They had left them with the ships to cover them if need be, or to report their failure to the others as well as central command.

"Colonel," the squad member confirmed. He hurried onto the ship to power the engines.

"Shawnkyr, you are in charge of the squadron when we go back up," Jag said. "I'll be flying on the Hapan cruiser with Tahiri, she's hurt."

"As are you Colonel," Shawnkyr said. "We'll cover the Hapan cruiser, and inform Master Durron's squadron that he's onboard the cruiser." Jag nodded. He carried Tahiri to the Hapan flight ship that would take them up to the larger ship.


"How is he?" Jacen asked as he looked in on Kyp who was lying in the medical bay of the Hapan ship. He had been put into bacta once the majority of his injuries where taken care of.

"He'll have to have more bacta treatments when we return to Mon Calamari," Tenel Ka said. "But he'll live."

"Good," Jacen said. "Jaina's going to need him." Tenel Ka nodded, but she had a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach.


Jag knocked softly on Tahiri's door. After she was released from the medical bay, she had retreated to her room and hadn't been seen since. Jag's shoulder was bandaged and the poison had been extracted from his system. Tahiri opened the door and looked up at him. "Hi," she said in a tiny voice.

"Hi," Jag said, watching her. "May I come in?"

Tahiri nodded and stepped aside to let him enter the room. He stepped in and looked around. "I'm sorry for not staying to see how you were," Tahiri said, looking as if she was trying to find something to talk about. It seemed as if she were pulling away and sliding into herself.

"Don't," Jag said as he walked over.

Tahiri turned, her eyes wide. "Don't what?" she questioned.

"Don't pull away, not now, not when I've been in your head and your heart," Jag said as he watched her.

"You haven't been in my heart," Tahiri tried to protest, but not with much effort.

"Haven't I?" he asked, capturing her hand lightly. He tugged her closer to him. "Tahiri…"

"I told you I don't want you to replace Jaina with me," Tahiri said, suddenly very much afraid of the man in front of her.

Jag tugged her hand up to touch where his heart lay. His shirt was unbuttoned a bit and she felt the warmth of his skin and how wildly his heart beat beneath her palm. "Jaina never made my heart do this," he whispered. He tugged her waist till their bodies touched from hip to knee. "Nor did she make my body respond as quickly as this."

Tahiri swallowed. "Jag," she whispered only to have her words caught off by his lips on hers. The kiss was anything but chaste. Filled with passion and want, it was still gentle, almost hesitant in a way. Waiting for her to move them further. With a gentle sigh, she opened her lips beneath his. His hands wandered ever so lightly, pulling his hand back when he felt the slight whimper escape her as his hand found the still tender patch of skin along her side from her injury.

"I'm sorry," Jag whispered. Tahiri shook her head and wound her arms around his neck, drawing his lips back to hers. They kissed even deeper this time, and Tahiri felt her leg wind around his, pressing their bodies closer.

Jag pulled back a little. "I won't push you," he murmured softly, running a gentle thumb over her full lower lip.

"You aren't," Tahiri reassured him. "I want this. I'm tired of holding back."

Her encouragement was all Jag needed as his lips descended on hers again. He lifted her gently into his arms and walked over to the bed, softly laying her down on the soft comforter. He kissed her neck softly and began to lave attention along her shapely throat before brushing tender kisses along her jawline.

Tahiri's hands shook lightly as she began to unbutton Jag's shirt. As his skin was revealed to her, she leaned forward, gasping a little in pain as the skin at her side stretched. She felt a tear forming at the corner of her eye. She wanted to make love to Jag so much, touch his body, feel his skin beneath her fingertips.

"Shh," Jag whispered as he kissed her softly on the nose. He quickly discarded his shirt and gently rolled them so that she lay on top of him. Tahiri looked down into his face and closed her eyes as he ran gentle fingers through her hair. She leaned down and placed soft, feather like kisses along his collarbone. Her fingers danced along his sides, feeling every curve of muscle. His rougher skin against her stomach made her aware that he had unbuttoned her shirt halfway up. Straddling his waist, they both groaned as the hard length of his erection came into contact with the warmth between her legs. Her smoldering blue eyes locked on his green ones, she crossed her arms to grasp the edges of her shirt. With a small wince, she pulled it off of her. Her full breasts weren't clothed at all and they glowed in the light of her room.

Jag rose so that he was sitting and gently touched on pale breast. Tahiri bit her lip as she watched him. A throaty moan escaped her as he leaned forward and kissed the tip of her breast. "You are so beautiful," he whispered before his lips closed over the taut peak.

Tahiri's hands came up and she massaged his scalp as his tongue did amazing things to her nipple. It felt as though the nerve endings there were directly connected to the nerve endings of her clit. She instinctively began rocking her hips against him, small pants escaping as she felt the sweet friction race through her. Tahiri wasn't a virgin technically. She and Anakin had one sweet night together before he had died. But it had been two young virgins that knew nothing of what they were doing. While it had hurt, but at the same time it had felt good, it was nothing compared to what Jag was doing to her now. With a mere touch to a certain spot here or there and she was a puddle.

"Tahiri," Jag said as he looked up at her.

Tahiri stroked his cheekbones. She nodded once to him, assuring she really wanted this. Jag turned them over and quickly shed his trousers and undergarments. A blush graced Tahiri's cheeks when she saw him naked, and she tried not to stare at the jutting flesh that sprang forth from dark curls. He kneeled on the bed and worked the ties of her drawstring pants. He hooked his fingers into the pants and her panties and pulled them over her hips and down her thighs. He paused and leaned down, pressing a gentle opened mouthed kiss above the patch of blonde curls between her thighs. He pulled the remainder of her clothes off of her and tossed them aside, forgetting about them instantly.

Tahiri ran her fingers along his biceps as he levered himself above her, nudging her thighs apart. He leaned down and kissed her gently. He leaned his forehead against hers. Their eyes locked and Tahiri smiled in reassurance. She reached a hand up and gently ran her fingers along his jawline. Jag pressed a gentle kiss to her lips as he nudged against her, gently sliding the tip of his cock into her moist depths. As she lovingly returned his kiss, he slid completely into her, both moaning into each other's mouths as their bodies began to move together in synchronicity.

Jag rolled very gently and moaned as he felt Tahiri starting to move her hips against his, but she never rose. She continued to kiss him, breaking every once in awhile in a gasp as ripples of pleasure went through her body. Jag was panting as he moved in time to hers, letting the blonde above him set the pace. He wrapped his arms around her back, caressing her skin.

Tahiri gasped and her hands clenched into his biceps, trying to avoid his injury. Her eyes squeezed shut as she felt pleasure starting to snap inside of her. "Let me see you," Jag whispered to her. "I want to see you."

Tahiri opened her eyes and looked down at him. In doing so she let herself open to the Force even more, letting everything she was feeling flow into the link they had. She felt it grow even stronger as she felt his pleasure flowing back on the thread towards her. With a soft cry, she came in a shudder of rippling muscle and flowing juices. Jag soon followed, burying his face into her neck. She felt wetness from tears that had leaked from his tightly closed lids. She stroked the back of his head as he trembled. She felt him moving every once in awhile inside of her before his motions stopped, but he continued to tremble, and she held him.


While Tahiri slept, snuggled back against him, Jag lay awake, watching her. He pushed a lock of hair away from her cheek, tucking it behind her ear. Tahiri let out a content sigh and shifted in her sleep and turned, snuggling against his chest. Her arm wrapped around his stomach and held him.

Jag ran a gentle hand down her bare shoulder and arm, pressing a soft kiss to her head. "I love you," he whispered. He knew in his heart that he meant every single word of it. He had no intentions of ever letting Tahiri go.


"Air command to General Solo," a disembodied voice sounded over Han's com link.

Han took it from his belt, glancing at Leia as she straightened. They sat in Luke and Mara's quarters. Over the past three days since Jaina and Danni had disappeared, Luke had come out of his coma-like state and was recovering well. He sat with Ben in his lap, his head rising as he heard the com transmission.

"Solo here, give me good news," Han said.

"I wish I could give you the good news you wish to have, General, but I wished to inform you that the Queen Mother has returned along with your son, Colonel Fel's ship, and Master Durron's squadron," the voice said.

Leia looked expectant. "Is Master Durron with them?" Han asked, his voice shaking just a bit.

"Uncertain at this time, General," the voice said. "They are preparing to land in the east hangar."

"Thank you," Han said, ending the transmission.

"What are we waiting for?" Luke asked, rising stiffly. Mara took Ben into her arms, letting Luke put his arm around her in both comfort and physical support so his legs would not give out on him. The family left the Skywalker apartment and headed for the east hangar.


"Kyp?" Jacen said through the door. It opened revealing a rather haggard, haunted, but otherwise healed Kyp Durron. Though at close inspection it was easy to see the slight limp he still had from one injury or another, as well as the fading scar that ran from somewhere on his chest up along his throat and ended at the underside of his chin.

"Jacen," Kyp said, a haunted sound to his voice.

"We are preparing to land," Jacen said. He tilted his head. "How are you…"

"I'd rather not discuss it," Kyp said too quickly.

"I'm not asking you to go into specifics," Jacen said. "I'm just worried. We all are. You've kept yourself locked in here since you came out of bacta two days ago."

Kyp sighed and turned and walked over to sit on the bed in his quarters. He looked at Jacen. "I promised Jaina I'd come back to her, but I never thought I would come back to her as half a man," he finally said.

Jacen frowned and walked over. He sat down in a chair in the room. "Half a man?" he questioned. "Kyp, she'll never see you that way."

"I've seen things that a man shouldn't have to see, I've had things done that… well that just shouldn't happen to anyone. Man or woman," Kyp said, his cheeks flushing. "How can she love someone that doesn't even want to have a person touch him?"

"Jaina loves you, Kyp," Jacen said. "She is losing her mind over the mere idea that you won't come back to her at all. She won't care, she will fight every memory with you and hold you when you suddenly think the nightmares are going to consume you."

"You don't get it do you?" Kyp asked angrily. "They raped me Jacen, they…" Kyp turned his head away. His eyes closed, as Jacen felt wave upon wave of agony and fear and embarrassment wash over him. "I'd kill a man for doing that to a woman ever, but what can you do when a man has the same thing happen to him?"

"Find the person responsible and make sure they can never do it again," Jacen said. "Kyp, no one deserves that, and no one should get away with doing it either, no matter who they are."

"I can't stand the mere idea of someone coming near me," Kyp said with a growl. He turned tear filled eyes to the younger man. "She'll want me to hold her, so she knows that I am okay, and the thought of it makes me want to run and hide somewhere."

"She will understand," Jacen reiterated.

"Will she?" Kyp asked, swallowing hard. "I'm not so sure."

"Don't underestimate, Jaina," Jacen said.

"I don't even know if I can tell her what happened," Kyp said, swallowing hard. "I'm embarrassed enough to know that the medical team knows what happened."

"What happened to you is nothing to be embarrassed about," Jacen said. "Though I know it's not easy to think that. You were tortured in a way that no one should have to face, it's not like you provoked it, and even if you did manage to keep on mouthing off to them because I know how you are, what they did was wrong."

Kyp leaned forward and put his arms on his knees with a sigh. A tear fell and splashed on the back of his hand. "I don't know if I'll be the same again," he whispered.

"Probably not," Jacen said softly. "But it'll make you stronger. And you are going to make it through this. Just by surviving and keeping your promise to Jaina, you've already shown you can make it."

Kyp looked up at him. "Thanks, Jacen," he said softly.


Jag sat in his quarters. He knew they were preparing to land the Hapan cruiser on Mon Calamari, but he had something to take care of first. He punched a few codes and a transmission opened to Chiss space. Soon a man appeared, features very much like his own, sans the scar that ran from above his eyebrow into his hairline. And the man's features were older.

"Jag, my son, how are you?" Baron Soontir Fel said with a smile to his son.

"I am well, Father," Jag said, giving a rare smile. "How are you and Mother?"

"We are both well," Soontir said. "Though we have been worried for you. We heard of Master Durron's disappearance and how you went with the search team to find him. Was everything successful?"

"I can't go into great detail till I am debriefed, but needless to say we did find him alive and we have returned to Mon Calamari," Jag said. "We are preparing to dock as we speak."

"It is good to hear that you made it back safely," Soontir said. "I'm surprised you called now."

"Actually I wanted to inform you and Mother of something," Jag said.

"Oh? And what is that?" Soontir asked.

"I'm getting married," Jag said. His father was stunned to say the least.

"Well," Soontir said, clearing this throat. "Um, this is rather unexpected. When will you be marrying?"

"As soon as I can convince the woman I love to marry me," Jag said with a bit of a grin.

Soontir had to laugh. "Impulse was never something you were known for," he said. "She must be some woman to bring this side of you out."

"She is that," Jag said. "I hope to marry her as soon as possible, and I wish that you and mother could come to see it."

"If you can convince her and wait at least two days before you wed her, your mother and I will fly to Mon Calamari to attend," Soontir said.

"Father?" Jag asked.

"Your mother's wish, and mine as well, is to see our children happy," Soontir said. "And if this woman makes you happy, your mother and I want to be there to share that day with the two of you."

Jag felt his heart warm at his father's words. While he loved both his parents, he often felt as if he were distant from them due to his upbringing and training. Tahiri's influence seemed to be washing over everything in his life without even trying. "I wish for you and mother to come as soon as you can," he said. "Even if I can't convince her to marry me, perhaps the two of you can."

"See you in two days time, son."


Han stood with Leia, grim. Luke and Mara stood beside them, Ben waving at the ships in the hangar as the Hapan cruiser was docking and settling in and the landing ramp lowered. Han stood straighter as Tenel Ka descended the ramp, her right hand wrapped around Jacen's left. She stopped a moment to speak with a few diplomatic officials that met with her. Leia's eyes were drawn to the solitary figure that came down the ramp next, a slight limp as he walked. Jacen pressed a kiss to Tenel Ka's cheek as he walked over to Kyp. Together they both walked towards the Skywalker and Solo families. The two men paused and frowned, not seeing the Falcon in the hangar. They continued to walk over to Luke, Mara, Han and Leia.

"Kyp," Leia said, her throat catching as she stepped forward. She frowned when Kyp stiffened, but he made himself relax to allow her to pull him into a brief hug, but he pulled back right away.

"It's good to see you, Kyp," Mara said warmly.

"Thank you, Master Skywalker," Kyp murmured. Luke frowned.

"Hey Kid," Han said to both Jacen and Kyp.

"Han," Kyp said.

"Dad, where's the Falcon?" Jacen asked.

Han sighed. "We need to talk," he said.


Tahiri sat beside Jag in the same conference room where they had been informed over a week ago that Kyp was missing in action and were Jaina's grip on reality let go. Now, Kyp joined them, but Jaina was gone.

"Four days ago, Jaina was lying in a darkened state of unconsciousness in the medical bay, Luke lay with her in some sort of a coma after touching her when something in her mind snapped," Leia explained.

"Danni Quee came to the med bay to see if we needed anything," Han continued. "Leia and I went to get something to eat, leaving Danni to watch over Jaina. When we returned, both were gone."

"According to all reports," Wedge said, continuing for the Solos when he noticed they were barely holding on to their emotions. "Jaina woke, Force stunned Danni somehow and went to the hangar, leaving a trail of Force persuaded people behind. By the time we were able to figure out what was happening and try to stop her, she had already stolen the Falcon and had taken off. We haven't been able to trace her. She seemed to disable the tracking devices."

"Did all hell break loose or something while we were gone?" Jacen asked. Kyp sat near him, stunned into speechlessness. Jacen was upset enough for all of them it seemed. "We went to rescue one, and another gets lost!"

"Jacen," Luke said.

"Don't, Uncle Luke," Jacen said, his eyes hard. "Considering the state Jaina was in when I left, do you expect me to sit by and think that everything is all right and going smoothly?!"

"Jacen, my love," Tenel Ka said, taking his hand in hers and squeezing it. Jacen's body relaxed instantly.

"Jacen, we don't know what happened or where Jaina went, but we are doing everything we can to find her and Danni before any harm comes to either of them," Wedge said.

"You have to find her," Kyp mumbled. He looked up, looking lost. "We have to find her."

"Kyp, you need to rest," Leia said.

"No, Jaina needs me too much," Kyp said.

Han held his hand up. "Kid, my daughter loves you, I know that, but I'll be damned if I let you die trying to find her only to lose her again, you are going to rest while we try and locate her, then we'll unleash you on the galaxy to find her personally. Only you are going to be able to pull her back from whatever it is that's taken control of her."

"I did it before, I'll do it again," Kyp said.

"I know you will, son, I know you will."


"Who is he?" Wedge asked, looking in at Cannus inside of the cell they had created in the med bay two days earlier when the search team had arrived.

"According to the files we have, his name is Cannus Reglia," the doctor said. She looked at him. "He's Miko Reglia's brother."

Wedge looked. "I'll inform Kyp," he said.

"General Antilles?" a voice said over his com link.

"Go ahead," Wedge said into the com link.

"I have someone here that wants to see you," the voice said.

"I don't have time right now, Lieutenant," Wedge said.

"You better have time for your sister, little brother," Syal Fel said over the com link. The words had barely registered to the doctor before Wedge was flying out of the medical bay.


"Been looking for you," Jag said softly as he walked over to Tahiri. "May I?"

Tahiri looked up at him and smiled. "Of course," she said. Jag sat beside her. "Any word on Jaina?"

"None yet," Jag said. He reached over and took Tahiri's hand, kissing it gently. "I've missed you."

Tahiri blushed lightly. "Really?" she said. "I thought… well I didn't know if…"

Jag leaned over and pressed a kiss to her lips to silence her. "I needed to talk to you," he whispered against her mouth. Tahiri's hand rested softly against his cheek, giving him strength.

"What is it?" Tahiri asked softly.

"I want you to not say anything till I'm done," Jag said. He took a deep breath after she nodded. "I love you, Tahiri Veila. I know it's impulsive and I am not known for impulse, but I love you, and I want to be your husband, I want you to be my wife. I want you to say you'll marry me and let me love you for the rest of our lives and watch children with your bright smile and beautiful features grow up together and have grandchildren bouncing on our knees. I…"

"Jag, Jag," Tahiri said putting a finger to his lips. Jag hadn't realized his eyes were closed till he opened them to see her with tears streaming down her cheeks. "I love you."

"You do?" Jag asked almost hesitantly.

"With all that I am," Tahiri said. "And I will marry you."

Jag gave her a boyish smile. "Tomorrow?" he asked.

Tahiri laughed, leaning her forehead against his. "That soon hmm?" she asked.

"I had wanted sooner, but my parents wanted me to wait," Jag said. "They wanted to be here. They arrived yesterday and they can't wait to meet you."

Tahiri's eyes widened a bit. "You are serious aren't you?" she asked.

"Very," Jag said. She could see in his eyes just how serious he was. "I knew from the moment I almost lost you when that amphistaff hit you that I never wanted to let you go."

"I have nothing to wear," Tahiri said. "And I'd rather not wear a flight suit at our wedding."

"I spoke with Leia and she's made arrangements for a dress and decorations and everything we need," Jag said. "The only thing you need to worry about is being up there with me."

Tahiri felt her throat close a bit as she realized just how much she loved him. And how much he must love her if he went to all that trouble, knowing that the possibility was there that she would say no. "So?" she asked with a soft laugh. "What time is our wedding?"


Kyp walked into the med bay and over to where Cannus was sitting, his elbows on his knees. The younger man looked up, his eyes hard as he stared at Kyp.

"What do you want you murderer?" Cannus growled.

Kyp's eyebrow rose. "Murderer huh?" he asked. "That's rich coming from a man that is essentially responsible for the woman I love being somewhere in space, the possibility of her being dead very high at this point. As well as an innocent woman that did nothing but care for your brother when those you aligned with had killed them."

"Oh so you do remember me," Cannus said. "And I call you a murderer because if it wasn’t for you, Miko would still be alive."

"Don't you dare tell me what would have happened with Miko," Kyp growled. "He was like a brother to me."

"And in having that thought, made him forget about his real brother," Cannus sneered.

"Miko never forgot you Cannus," Kyp said. "He thought you were dead when your home had been annihilated by the Vong."

"He didn't search hard enough to find me, now did he?" Cannus growled.

"Hard to do when you are a prisoner of the Vong and being tortured to death," Kyp said. "So did they tell you that I was the reason Miko was killed? Did they tell you that I sought out to see the man I had trained and cared for as family killed just so I could deal with another loss in my life?"

"They told me what I needed to know," Cannus said.

"They lied to you, Cannus," Kyp said.

"You were supposed to protect him, Durron!" Cannus bellowed. "My brother was entrusted to you!"

"Your brother was a Jedi Knight, Cannus!" Kyp said. "He knew the dangers being a Jedi brought him, and he faced them. He faced them braver then even I think I could ever face anything in my life! And they took that man away from this world! Do you realize how much of a light in people's lives Miko could have been?"

"Of course I do! He was my brother!" Cannus said standing.

"The Vong took that light away Cannus only because they disrespect life and value death and pain," Kyp said. "And you helped them in that quest. The quest they have been trying to engulf this galaxy with. The very quest that took your brother away from you! Do you think that they would have looked past Miko if he hadn't met me or if he hadn't been a Jedi?" Kyp stepped closer to the cell, his eyes burning. "They wiped out at least two races of aliens in this galaxy and you think that they deserved that? That they were Jedi and deserved it?"

Cannus was trembling as he listened to Kyp's words. "You are lying," he whispered.

"Am I?" Kyp asked. "When I am released to go after her, you are coming with me to find Jaina."

"And who plans on making me?" Cannus asked.

"I will," Kyp said. "And when we find her, you are going to have a little talk with the person that was with Miko when he died."

"And who is that?" Cannus growled.

"A woman by the name of Danni Quee."


The wind blew softly. Tahiri looked up, smiling as Jag brushed a tendril of loose hair from her cheek as his uncle performed the ceremony that would make them man and wife. Their closest friends were surrounding them. Tahiri's adopted family in the Solos and Skywalkers, and Soontir and Syal Fel watched as well. Kyp joined them, much to Tahiri's surprise and delight. Tenel Ka sat with Jacen, holding his hand. The two were leaving for the Hapes cluster in the morning, perhaps preparing for a wedding of their own. From there they would also attempt to track Jaina and Danni. Neither women were far from everyone's minds, but tactical strategies on the war and finding the Falcon were put on the backburner for the wedding.

"Do you, Jagged Fel, take Tahiri Veila to be your lawfully wedded wife?" Wedge asked.

Jag smiled softly, squeezing her hand gently. "I do," he said.

"Do you, Tahiri Veila, take Jagged Fel to be your lawfully wedded husband?" Wedge asked.

Tahiri smiled, feeling two soft brushes through the Force. One was the link connecting she and Jag still, the other was Anakin's spirit wishing them the best. "I do," she whispered.

Wedge smiled. "By the power vested in me by the Galactic Alliance, I now pronounce you husband and wife," he said. He looked at his new niece and smiled then looked to his nephew. "You may kiss your bride."

Jag stepped closer, his fingers caressing Tahiri's soft cheek. "I love you," he whispered.

Tahiri smiled, her fingers curling into the lapels of his dress uniform. "I love you too," she whispered. Jag's lips covered hers softly. After a moment they pulled apart.

"Soontir, you have the honors," Wedge said with a grin.

Soontir stood and his chest was a bit puffed with pride. "It is my honor to introduce my son and daughter-in-law, Jagged and Tahiri Fel."


Kyp broke away from the wedding after giving his best to Tahiri and Jag. He had attended so that he could relay his memories of the event to Jaina when they got her back. As thoughts of her came to mind he had to leave before tears started to fall.

He walked down the hall and soon found himself in front of her quarters. He tapped in the security code she had given him once. Stepping in, he looked around. It looked much like it had when she had gone to the meeting almost three weeks earlier about his disappearance. Her bed was made, but he could see where it was a bit rumpled from her sitting on the edge to pull on her boots most likely. The air still smelled faintly of her shampoo, intoxicating him.

Wandering around, Kyp had taken off his jacket and boots, padding into her bedroom finally. He walked over and looked at a data pad that held a picture in it. He lifted it and felt tears forming. He clicked through and had to smile. There were a total of five pictures in it. The first was of him at the age of eighteen holding a two and a half year old Jaina as she pointed at something in the sky to him. The last was a picture taken just about two months earlier at a party Lando had thrown. He and Jaina had been dancing and she was smiling up at him after something he said. He couldn't even remember now what it was he had told her to get that reaction.

Kyp pulled his shirt off, looking down at the scars that still criss-crossed his chest. He ran a finger over the worst. It was fading as he put a bacta ointment on it once a day. It crossed directly over his heart, and he could feel its beat beneath his fingertips. His eyes closed as his thoughts wandered. He began to think what it would feel like if it were Jaina's fingertips on his chest, feeling his heart beating. He began to wonder if she was going to ever be there again to do so. He sighed and lay down, pulling the data pad so that he could continue to look at it. Her scent engulfed him as his head rested on the pillow. A lone tear escaped as a soft plea left his lips.