Jag sat on the lumpy couch in the special lounge area for the Twin Suns squadron, his eyes trained on the steam curling up from his cup of caf.  He was too exhausted to do anything useful, despite the reports that he still needed to read, but he couldn't bring himself to go to bed just yet.  His blood was still hot from the kiss he'd shared with Jaina Solo; their first kiss, and if he had anything to do with it, not their last.  He could still taste her, remember the feel of her in his arms, and the thought curved his lips into a small smile, his eyes tender. 

Getting to that point in their relationship had been an uphill battle, their prior conversations usually turning into a small argument with one or the other leaving in a fit of temper.  Jag knew he was arrogant, but she was not lacking in that department either.  Then, Jaina became even more difficult to understand after the mission on Myrkr that ended in the loss of both her brothers.  He had wanted to be there for her, but didn't know how.  Unlike the Chiss, who took loss stoically, and unlike the human women he knew, who lost themselves in their grief, Jaina lashed out like an angry bantha, her words like the burn of a lightsaber cut.  He'd been at the receiving end of her temper more than once and he had wondered if he'd deluded himself into thinking that something could ever happen between them.  Then, there was today….

Risking her life and Kyp's to save his had cleared up some of Jag's confusion, but he knew things weren't necessarily going to get easier.  With a twisted smile, he wondered if anything concerning Jaina Solo would be easy.  Although, kissing her had been easy, as easy as he thought it would be.  Since he'd first met her, he couldn't stop thinking about her.  It was the desire to be by her side that brought him into this war, leaving the relative safety of his father's house.  Though it was true that the Yuuzhan Vong would eventually find their way into Chiss Territory and fighting them now would benefit them in the long run, protecting Jaina was his primary reason.  She was a very capable pilot, but Jag could not stand the thought of her flying against the Vong without him there.  Together, they were a deadly team; apart, they could be dead.  The thought ran chills down his spine.  Too many had already been lost and Jaina's leadership was needed more than ever.  However, it wasn't the need for her leadership that kept him anchored to her; it was his need for her that did. 

He wanted nothing more than to find her and hold her in his arms again.  For that, he'd find the strength.  The naked pain he'd seen on her face had broken his heart, but he was glad that she'd finally let it go.  He could see that the emotional control she'd exerted on herself was twisting her up like a pretzel and though it didn't affect her flying right then, it would eventually.  He'd watched her with her parents, the only family she had left, and he'd seen the distance she had put between herself and them.  He wondered about her relationship with Kyp, at one point had been worried that Kyp would take the place he wanted, but knew now that Kyp was nothing more than a friend and mentor—maybe not even a friend.  That left Jaina alone when she didn't have to be.  Jag wanted her to understand that he was there for her, to listen or simply to be a shoulder to cry on.       

The doors to the lounge slid open, breaking Jag from his reverie.  Jaina entered, a shy smile curving her lips.  Exhaustion was written all over her face and her stance was a little wilted as she stood uncertainly at the doorway.

"Hi," he said, his voice a little hoarse from misuse.

"Hi," she said.

"I thought you were going to sleep."

"I couldn't…I wanted…"  She lowered her eyes to his cup of caf.  "I just…I…"

He held out a hand.  After a moment's hesitation, she reached out and took it, her eyes meeting his.  Jag felt his heart beat a little faster as he pulled her towards him.  She sat down next to him and he put an arm around her, tucking her to his side, their thighs touching.  She rested her head on his shoulder, tucking it underneath his jaw as if it belonged there.  With his free hand, he reached for hers, twining their fingers together. 

"I'm here for you, Jaina," he whispered.

She tilted her chin up and kissed him, her lips lingering long enough for all his doubts about her feelings concerning him to disappear.  Then, she melted against him, the tension in her body leaving as she sighed.

"Thank you, Jag," she said. 

~*~THE END~*~