The Wedding: Part One
"What do you mean Jag can't come out?" Jaina demanded, her hands on her hips and her eyes narrowed as she regarded her brother.
Jacen wanted to take a step back and get some distance between himself and his definitely annoyed sister. The look on Jaina's face was more than a little reminiscent of their mother's when she was in one of her more…loud moods. Jacen fixed a smile on his face and hoped that it would help her calm down. However, from the flash in her normally warm brown eyes, whatever she saw on his face only made Jaina's temper spike more.
"He's…uh…not in there," Jacen fumbled, wanting to kick himself the second the words were out of his mouth.
"Jacen!" Jaina exclaimed, throwing her arms up. "I just saw you come out of his room! What were you doing there if he wasn't there? And I heard his voice…"
"I was talking to him on the comlink," Jacen said, grasping at the lie like a falling man would reach for a dangling rope. "He wanted me to pick something up for him because he's busy…uh…busy with travel preparations for his parents. He just wants to, er, make sure that all the diplomatic stuff is right."
Jaina still didn't look as if she believed him but Jacen thanked his lucky stars that she was too exhausted to push it and didn't bother reaching out with him through the Force. Jacen put an arm around her as they walked down the corridor and she leaned heavily against him, stifling a yawn.
"You know, getting some sleep can't hurt," he said easily.
"No kidding," she said, rubbing her eyes. "But it seems like my To-Do list isn't getting any shorter no matter how much stuff I give other people to do."
"You need me to do anything," Jacen offered, though he was hesitant. His hands were full with what she'd already given to do and with what Jag was supposed to do. Still, it wouldn't seem right for him not to offer and he did feel sorry for her. Jaina just wanted her wedding day to be perfect and he would never take that away from her.
"No, no. I mean, it's not too bad and you've got stuff to do anyway. Just concentrate on that and don't screw up. We'll be fine I think."
Jacen smiled wryly, thinking of the ring he'd just seen Jag working on. "It'll be perfect, Jaina. You'll see."
Jag let out the breath he didn't realize he'd been holding when he heard Jaina and Jacen's footsteps echo down the corridor. With an energy he didn't feel, he moved back to his desk, worktable really, and went back to the delicate metalwork that was necessary for Jaina's ring. He'd logged in nearly forty hours on it and it was halfway done. Being the perfectionist that he was, he kept on improving on the design and going back to add a few bends here and there. Jacen had been impressed when he saw it and that buoyed Jag's weary spirits. He'd only gotten four hours sleep the night before and three the night before that…he couldn't even remember if he slept the night before. He was getting sick of being in his room all day, but he just kept reminding himself that he was doing this for the woman he loved, and he was able to keep going.
A tired smile curved his lips as he thought of Jaina's reaction when he gave the ring to her. He wanted to make her happy and he hoped that she would like it…
A touch of anxiety stilled his fingers. His green eyes seemed to darken as he wondered whether she would like it. Swallowing hard, he looked down at the half-finished ring, turning it slowly with his fingers so that the light from his lamp caught it at different angles. The reflection sparkled in his eyes and cast shadows on the walls, holding his attention with ease. Despite his worries, he was proud of his work and told himself that she would love it. Her own brother, the other person in her life who knew her as well as Jag himself, said that she would and Jag hung onto that thought. Jacen had been a big help and Jag knew that he owed the other man a big favor for covering his back.
Sighing, he picked up his tools and replaced the ring in the stand that he'd rigged for it so that he could work on it with both hands. His comlink beeped before he could start working again and he turned it on, knowing full well who was calling him.
"I owe you lots, Brother," he said, a smile in his voice.
"If she slices me in half in order to get to you, I'm going to come back from the dead and haunt you, Jag," Jacen said, his own voice ragged.
Jag laughed. "Thank you, Jacen."
Jacen sighed audibly. "You're welcome, Jag, and get back to work. You've still got a good way to go."
Turning off the comlink, Jag squared his shoulders and gave his task the same intense focus that he had during a dogfight. Holding his tools with the same assurance he held the controls of his clawcraft, he got back to work.
The day of the wedding came too soon. Jag had finished the ring two days before and had gotten enough rest so that he wouldn't look like a zombie when he and Jaina promised each other forever, but the knot of apprehension in his gut that had formed the day he put his tools down only tightened with each passing second. The question of whether or not she would like it circled in his mind like a carousel. He'd only shown Jacen the ring but he was tempted to ask Leia and his mother what they thought but he stopped himself from taking that step, mostly because he was afraid of what they would say. If they didn't like it, there was no way he could change the design now and the closer the day he was to give it to her came, the more wound up he got.
He nearly jumped a foot in the air and with dismay, Jag saw that he'd ripped a button from his uniform. His younger sister Wyn laughed uproariously as he stared down at the button helplessly. He was so focused on her that he didn't see his father careful hide a smile behind his hand and his mother shake her head at him.
"Did you really have to yell?" he said tightly, glaring at her.
"Now, Jag," his mother chided, taking the button from him and deftly sewing it back on. "You're just tense. Don't worry, everything will go according to plan."
"Not with the Solos," Jag said as he finished buttoning his jacket. "The only thing about them you can be sure about is that nothing ever goes according to plan."
"Rebels," Soontir Fel muttered, but he said it with a wry smile.
"You look wonderful, Jagged," Syal Antilles Fel said. She brushed at imaginary lint on his shoulders and he could see the tell-tale shimmer in her eyes.
"Thanks, Mom," he said, hugging her.
"If someone had told me the day you were born that you were going to bring the Solos and the Skywalkers into our family, I would have…" Soontir's voice faded as he couldn't come up with a proper analogy. "Well, I wouldn't have believed it, that's for sure."
"New times, Dad," Jag said. "Everybody ready?"
Wyn grinned up at him, threading a thin arm through his. "We've been ready, Jag. Are you?"
He fought the urge to rub his knuckles across the top of her head for it would ruin her hairdo. "What makes you think I'm not?"
She threw him an arch look in a way that only a girl her age could. "I scared the crap out of you without even trying. You're about as ready as…"
Whatever she had to say was forgotten as Jacen opened the door. Cleanly shaven and his hair tamed for the day, it was clear he'd inherited his father's more rakish features but softened with his mother's wise gaze. It was clear that Wyn had a bit of a crush on him and her attention embarrassed him—as well as amused everyone else. She smiled at him and he cleared his throat, fixing his eyes on Jag.
"Ready when you are," he said.
"Let's go," Jag said easily.
"You look nice, Jacen," Wyn said, fluttering her eyelashes at him.
Jag rolled his eyes and put a hand over her face. She slapped at his arm but continued to smile sweetly at an uncomfortable Jacen. Jag forgot his worries for a moment as he fought the urge to burst out laughing but then Jacen held out his hand, a brown eyebrow arched. He didn't have to say anything for Jag to know what it was exactly he wanted. Though his hands were steady, Jag's darting eyes betrayed his nervousness. He put the velvet bag that had been sitting in his pants pocket into Jacen's waiting palm. Jacen looked down at the black bag and then straight into Jag's eyes. He didn't say a word but Jag knew what he was thinking as clearly as if Jacen had spoken directly into his head.
Everything was going to be just fine.