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The Thawing of the Ice Princess

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Jade sighed beside Bastila, shifting in her seat and eyeing the children that were staring at her. She didn't say anything, but the Knight knew what was going through her mind. Jade was obviously restless, just like everyone else on the transport ship to Coruscant, and the group of children giving the one-armed soldier uncomfortable stares was not making the trip any easier on the Jedi pair.

Bastila was busy worrying about their destination, and when Jade gave her a questioning look, the brunette just nodded.

Jade grinned and started distracting the children with little Force tricks. Their uneasy gazes quickly changed to ones full of wonder, and the atmosphere in the ship seemed to become slightly less stuffy.

The sight of Jade playing with the children, even if it was just with "magic tricks," was charming and Bastila found herself watching as Jade levitated a young Twi'lek's headtails and got a burst of giggles from the entire group.

The Knight smiled; letting the soldier entertain seemed to calm everyone on the transport ship, and Jade's own relief at not being stared at filtered through their bond. It had only been a week since the ceremony on the unknown world, and Jade had decided not to get a prosthetic, but still wasn't used to being gawked at because of her missing arm.

Bastila reached into her pocket and wrapped her fingers around the medal she'd brought with her, letting out a sigh. Jade glanced over at her and did a final trick, lifting a child's stuffed toy into the air and making it dance, before settling back in her seat and resting her hand on Bastila's knee.

"You're gonna give yourself an ulcer, calm down." Jade's voice was teasing, yet gentle enough to soothe Bastila's already-frayed nerves. The soldier rubbed slow circles on Bastila's leg, taking hold of her hand a second later. "Everything's gonna be fine."

Bastila wanted to snort but resigned herself to leaning against the older woman's shoulder. "I wish the trip wasn't so long. It's only making it worse."

Jade chuckled softly. "We're nearly there. They just dropped out of hyperspace a few seconds ago."

When Bastila stopped to listen, she realized Jade was right; the drone of the engines had become background noise, but the pitch had changed as they slowed. Her heartbeat quickened and she tightened her fingers around the medal in her pocket.

Jade was right; within the next half hour they had docked at a port on Coruscant and were nearly trampled by the relieved throngs filing off the ship. The soldier took her hand and led Bastila through the crowd, away from the port and to a relatively open area on the walkway. They consulted a map and headed off to catch an airspeeder and travel across the huge city.

Far too soon, they were entering an elevator in a rehabilitation hospital, and Bastila's heart was in her throat. She knew it was pointless to be nervous; the last time she had faced her mother they had been on good terms, but that had been before everything else had happened.

Jade pressed a kiss to her cheek and sent a calming flow through their bond. "I'm right here, Princess."

The Knight swallowed and managed a weak smile. "Thank you for coming with me."

Jade grinned as the doors slid open, and Bastila swallowed her nerves and limped out of the elevator and started looking for the correct room. She found it almost immediately and hesitated outside the door, giving Jade a helpless look before reaching up and pressing the buzzer.

There was movement from inside the apartment-like room, and the door opened. Helena stood there, a stunned look appearing on her face when she realized her caller was Bastila.

Bastila did her best to smile. "Hello, Mother."

The woman glanced between her daughter and Jade, trying to say something, but all she could manage was a few barely-formed syllables.

Bastila fumbled in her pocket and pulled out the Cross of Glory, holding it out to her mother. "I finished my mission, and I thought… I wanted you to…"

Helena interrupted Bastila with a tight hug, startling the Jedi.

Amusement and affection came through her bond with Jade, but Bastila relaxed and hugged her mother back, ignoring the soldier for a moment.

"I had no idea," Helena managed. "I assumed your Council had sent you on some political-and then you all were all over the news, and Darth Malak…" She pulled away and gave Bastila a serious look. "How…?"

Bastila glanced at Jade, who shrugged and gave Helena a nod of greeting. "It's… a long story, Mother."

"I have nothing but time, thanks to the doctors here," Helena replied, a flicker of gratitude in her eyes. "Thank you, Bastila." She released her daughter and stepped back, studying Jade for a moment, then smiling and extending her hand to shake. "Thank you for protecting my daughter."

Jade grinned and shook the older woman's hand. "The protection was mutual, I promise. You can definitely be proud of Bastila."

The Knight felt her ears warm, but Helena looked back at her and nodded.

"I am."

A lump rose in Bastila's throat and she couldn't keep a smile off her face.

"Oh, but what am I doing? Please, come in," Helena remembered, stepping aside and motioning the Jedi into her room. "You both must be exhausted, and I've just made up a special blend of tea, imported from Talravin."

Bastila and Jade were ushered to the sofa and sat together while Helena went to get the tea, and Jade took her hand.

"Told you it'd be fine," the soldier teased, nuzzling her nose against Bastila's cheek.

Bastila smiled and turned her head, catching Jade's mouth in a quick kiss before her mother returned. "Thank you," she breathed, letting a rush of affection flow through their bond, "for everything."

The soldier gave her a warm smile, and Bastila returned it, thanking the Force for bringing Jade into her life, for their survival, and for the opportunity to be with the woman she loved.