Jaina Solo, Jedi Knight, Rogue Squadron pilot, and faux Yuuzhan Vong goddess, was being stared at. Some stares were critical, some questioning, some curious, but most were surprised.
I don't doubt it, Jaina thought to herself. Here she was, arm-in-arm with Jagged Fel, standing just inside Lando Calrissian's quarters, where a party hadbeen in full swing. Apparently, Jaina showing her face was quite unexpected. Figuring that she could unnerve the party-goers even more, she smiled sweetly at those who were staring at her. She gestured airily and everyone immediately went back to their drinks and conversation, ignoring the two pilots in the doorway. Everyone but one man.
Lando wove his way through the crowd, moving steadily towards Jaina and Jag. He stopped a few feet away from them and spread his arms wide. Jaina freed her arm from Jag's and embraced Lando fiercely. After a moment, Lando pulled away and held Jaina at arm's length.
”You seem to get more beautiful every time I see you," Lando said, his dazzling smile in place. He turned to regard Jag. "Can't say the same for your boyfriend though."
Though she fought it, Jaina could feel her cheeks warming. She was about to correct Lando when a thought hit her. She and Jag had been spending a lot of time together and they had shared that kiss. So what were they? Even if they had inadvertently ended up dating, they hadn’t spoken about it and nothing was official. Nothing could be official while Jaina was parading about as Yun-Harla. Goddesses did not form romantic ties to mere mortals.
All of this went through Jaina's mind in less than a second. She decided to play along, appearances be damned. "I don't think his mug'll ever improve," she said glancing sidelong at Jag, her voice serious, but a smile on her lips. She sensed Jag’s annoyance at being the butt of a joke, but he didn't seem to mind too much.
They chit-chatted for a few more minutes, until Lando said that he had other guests to entertain, and excused himself. Jaina grabbed Jag's hand and led him to a makeshift bar in one corner of the room. She got herself some pre-invasion brandy then sat down in a chair not far from the liquor. Jag got himself a drink and sat next to Jaina.
Jaina regarded him out of the corner of her eye. When she had told Lando that his looks would probably never improve, she hadn't been lying. He was roguishly handsome, with deep green eyes and hair a shade lighter than black. The scar leading from his right eyebrow into his hair only made him seem more attractive. The fact that he was tall and mysterious only added to his appeal. And the fact that he was a great kisser was a total non-issue.
Jaina took a sip of her brandy, hoping that her thoughts weren't reflected on her face. She rested her glass on her knee and turned to her companion. She found his gaze already on her, and it unnerved her. She wondered what he was thinking.
"Aren't you a little young to be drinking?" he asked, amusement evident in his voice and eyes.
"No.” Jaina replied. "I've been with Rogue Squadron since the beginning of this war and I've had my fair share, probably more, of liquor. Besides, when have you ever known me to follow the rules?"
Instead of answering, Jag laughed. It was a deep chuckle that Jaina immediately loved. Right then and there, she made it her goal, for the foreseeable future at least, to try and get Jag to laugh more often.
"I can’t seem to recall any specific instance, but I’m sure it’s happened at some point," Jag was saying, his small smile in place. "Of course, though, a goddess can do whatever she pleases, without having to worry about punishment or repercussions."
"I'm not a goddess," she said, for Jag's ears only. "At least not tonight. Tonight, I'm just Jaina Solo, no titles attached. Just plain, old Jaina."
"I could live with that," Jag murmured, some strange emotion in his voice. He downed his liquor and stood quickly. "Would you like more brandy?" he asked. Jaina looked down at her glass. Apparently, during their conversation, she had finished her drink without realizing it. She nodded, and handed it to Jag.
And so the night progressed. The two pilots kept mostly to themselves, and their drink of choice. Every time they ran out, Jag would get them more. By the time most of the revelers had started to wander back to their own quarters, Jaina was more than pleasantly tipsy.
Jag, apparently, could hold his liquor better. He had had just as much to drink as Jaina, but hardly seemed affected.
"Jag, get me some more brandy," Jaina slurred, holding out her glass to her companion. He plucked it from her grasp, but set it on the floor, next to his own. "Now why'd you go and do that?" she asked indignantly.
"You are drunk Jaina," he told her, speaking very clearly. "It's time for you to go to bed." He stood and pulled her up to stand beside him, but she fell back into her chair.
"Whoops! Seems like the ground isn't quite stable in this part of the base," she said, giggling like a little girl.
"C'mon," Jag said, pulling Jaina to her feet again. Before she could fall, he put an arm around her waist. "Let's get you to bed." Jag maneuvered them around fallen partiers and through the door, out into the corridor. He headed towards the living quarters, fairly dragging Jaina beside him. At one point, she slipped from his grasp and fell to the floor, asleep.
The young man sighed and crouched down on his haunches. He pulled Jaina close and stood up, cradling her to his chest. She was very light, lighter than Jag would have expected, and he had no trouble carrying her.
Since she was probably out for the night, Jag decided to take Jaina to his quarters. There was no way he could get into hers without the access code, and the unconscious woman in his arms was the only one who knew it. So it looked like Jaina would spend the night with Jag.
I sure hope her parents don't find out, Jag thought. He remembered the brawl that Han Solo had gotten into on Hapes, so he knew what kind of damage the overprotective father could inflict on him before he knew the truth.
He reached his quarters with no incident. He set Jaina down on the floor beside his door, entered the access code, and opened the door. He then stooped down to retrieve Jaina and entered his quarters, the door shutting behind him.
Jag moved to his bedside and laid Jaina down on top of the covers. Through trial and error, he got her boots off, and managed to get the blankets out from beneath her to on top of her. Jag gazed down at the sleeping young woman. She looked so peaceful in sleep, even if it was caused by too much alcohol. He turned away with a sigh.
He kicked off his boots and took off his jacket, throwing it on the back of a chair. Standing in the middle of the room half-dressed, Jag tried to figure out where he was going to sleep.
The safest options were an uncomfortable chair or the cold floor, neither of which appealed to him. That left only one other option: the bed. The only problem with that was Jaina herself. If she woke up before he did, she might jump to conclusions, leaving Jag in a tight spot.
I’ll just have to make sure that I’m up before she is, Jag decided as he turn off the lights and climbed under the blankets next to Jaina.
The bed was quite narrow, so he had to wrap his arm around her to keep them both on the bed. Jaina surprised him by burrowing herself deeper under the blankets and into his chest. She sighed in her sleep, sounding quite content. Jag smiled his small, secret smile, the one that he reserved for Jaina alone. If she didn't seem to mind the sleeping arrangements, then Jag needn’t worry. He closed his eyes and was almost immediately asleep.
Jaina awoke to a glaring headache and the worst hangover of her life. She half moaned, half sighed, not wanting to get up. She rolled over and, out of habit, squeezed her eyes shut against the glare of the sun. After a minute, Jaina noticed that she couldn't feel the warmth of the sunlight on her face.
Her eyes shot open only to be greeted by a bare, windowless wall. She wasn’t in her own room. Hangover forgotten, Jaina sat bolt upright in bed, alertness returning in a flash. She heard a veryfamiliar laugh to one side and turned her head quick enough to crick her neck.
Jag was standing in the door to the 'fresher, laughing at Jaina. He looked like he had just gotten out of the shower. He was wearing only black trousers and had a towel draped around his neck. His hair looked slightly damp and more disheveled than normal. Jaina found herself staring and looked away quickly, a blush coloring her cheeks a faint pink.
Jag seemed to notice this and laughed again. He walked over to a small dresser next to the bed, pulled out a shirt, and pulled it over his head. Jaina didn't seem to notice, as her eyes were still fixed on the wall.
"Is this better?" Jag asked, nothing but mild curiosity in his voice. Jaina turned to look at him and nodded mutely.
"Why am I here, and did anything happen between us last night?" Jaina asked quietly and rather quickly.
Jag related to her the events of the previous night. "And, no, nothing happened between us," he added. "Unless you consider sleeping in the same bed as ‘something happening’."
Jaina flopped back on the bed, one arm flung across her eyes. "Thank the Force," she muttered. "I was so wasted, I don't remember anything after the fifth drink. I could have given you a lap dance and not remembered." She peeked around her arm to stare sternly at Jag. "Not that I'm offering."
"Of course not," he replied. "I wouldn't dream of it." He pulled a pair of socks out of the dresser and moved to sit on a chair near the door. He pulled on his socks and was lacing up his right boot when he looked up at Jaina, still lying in his bed. "You want some caf?" he asked of her. When he got no response, he asked, "Jaina? Are you awake?"
"Yeah," she replied. "I just realized how comfortable I am. I don't want to get up. I just want to lay here for a week or so.”
"If you want to get out of here unnoticed, now's the time to do it," Jag told her. "Not a lot of people are up at this hour. Imagine the rumors that would spread if anyone were to see you leaving my quarters this early in the morning. If your father hears, he’ll shoot first and ask questions later."
Jaina snorted as she tried not to laugh. "Yeah, that he would," she said. She sat up and swung her legs around so she was sitting on the edge of the bed. She started to pull on her own boots. "Okay, I'll leave, but you need to promise me something first."
"That we’ll make some time to sit down and talk," she told him. "I'm confused. I don’t know what the deal is between us, but I’d like to know before the rest of the base does."
Jag, who now had both boots on, moved to sit next to Jaina on the edge of the bed. He gently grabbed her chin and turned her head so they were facing one another. "You want to know how I feel about you?" he asked, his face centimeters from Jaina's. She nodded. Wordlessly, Jag leaned forward and closed the gap between them, their lips gently meeting.
The kiss lasted for only a moment before Jag pulled away. Jaina wrapped her arms around Jag’s waist and pressed her cheek against his chest. “You know," she said, her voice slightly muffled by Jag's shirt, "if you were anybody else, I would have slapped you."
Jag gently returned the embrace as he laughed; Jaina heard it rumble through his chest. "I'm a lucky man then, aren't I?" he said, his face buried in her hair.
Jaina pulled away from Jag with a sigh. "I'd better get going. Don't want rumors to start flying," she said with a smile. She stood up, walked to the door. Her hand was hovering over the keypad as she twisted around to face Jag. "Thanks for being there for me, Jag," she told him quietly.
"That's what friends are for," he told her, just as quietly.
"I thought we were more than that?" Jaina asked.
"We were friends first," he explained. "And we'll always befriends. Nothing will change that."
Jaina smiled at him again. "See you at breakfast?" Jag nodded.
Jaina turned and left his quarters. Her mood was considerably lighter than it had been for some time as she headed to her own room. Well, that was certainly interesting, she thought to herself. For just a moment, she felt like a normal nineteen year old woman, not a Jedi-turned-pilot-turned-goddess. It was nice.
Too bad it can’t last. She sighed as she entered her quarters. She had time for a quick shower and then it would be back to the daily grind of being an aloof Goddess.