YOU GET ME-a Jacen/Tahiri fic

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~``` Chapter 1-

Jacen was back from the dead it seemed. Tahiri had felt his death on board the stolen Yuuzhan Vong ship all those months ago just like all of the other Jedi had including Jacen's own twin sister. But now, he had returned and the whole station was buzzing with excitement.

Tahiri fought back the flash of anger she felt as the thought entered her mind for the millionth time since Myrkr. Why did Anakin have to die? And now knowing Jacen was still alive the wound was ripped back open. Why couldn't it have been him instead of Anakin?

She clenched her fists and blinked back the angry tears. This train of thinking would take her to places she shouldn't go. Her feelings would be easily sensed by the family full of Jedi she was to dine with in only ten minutes. Master Skywalker would most likely be the first to pick up on any anger, but then there was Leia, Jaina, Mara, not to mention Jacen himself. Would he know how much she despised him?

Trying to clear her mind, she quickly combed out her blond hair and splashed a bit of cold water on her face.

"Time to face the music," she muttered to her reflection in the mirror.

As she made her way to the Solo family's private quarters she felt a twinge of guilt. Tahiri knew it was of the Dark side to have such ambivalence toward Jacen. He was not the one to kill Anakin. That had been the Yuuzhan Vong, and she had more experience than she wanted with them. And as she pondered that thought, she realized that Jacen was now the only other person beside herself with such close contact with the Vong who had lived to tell about it.

All too soon, she was standing at the Solo's door. It had become a second home to her. a second family. After Anakin's death, they had welcomed her into their fold with open arms and warm hearts. Never had she felt more a part of something than now. She pushed the buzzer and in a brief moment, it was opened, and she was enveloped in a huge wookie-style hug by Han Solo.

"Tahiri!" he exclaimed as he squeezed her so tightly that her bare feet left the floor. She'd never seen Han Solo so happy. "We've been waiting on you, kid." He let her go and the air rushed back into her lungs. She forced a smile and looked up into his rugged face shining with joy. "Isn't it great? Jacen's back!"

She nodded silently and peeked around to say hello to Leia and the Skywalkers who were already seated at the dining table. Luke was holding Ben on his lap trying desperately to get the boy to eat something green and leafy.

"Hi, Tahiri," the Jedi master offered casually. It still surprised her how the legendary man managed to remain so unassuming. He never held his status over anyone's head, even a lowly orphan from Tatooine like her.

"Having trouble, Master Skywalker?" she asked with a chuckle. She slid into a chair across from him and grabbed Ben's chubby little hand. "Hi, handsome boy," she said and the baby grinned widely revealing his few tiny teeth. Luke seized the opportunity and shoved the food into his son's mouth. The Jedi allowed himself a moment of triumph, which instantly disappeared once Ben got a taste of the stuff and spat it out right onto his father's shirt.

"Sorry!" Tahiri offered while she wrinkled up her nose. "You could always use the Force," she suggested teasingly.

"Don't think I'm not tempted," Luke answered as he wiped off the mess.

Tahiri surveyed the room and noticed that Jaina and Jacen were missing. As if reading her thoughts, Leia announced, "The twins will be here in just a moment. Jaina went to get Jacen." Tahiri couldn't ignore the looks of utter relief and delight that were present on everyone's faces. It was a palpable presence in the room, and she hoped she'd be able to convince everyone she felt the same.

Just then, the doors swished open, and Tahiri froze in her chair. She couldn't seem to turn around to see who had entered, and she didn't need to. Jaina Solo's voice told her all she needed to know.

"We're back and we're hungry!" Jaina had her arm wrapped through her brother's and led him over to the table. "Hey, Mom, Jace told me he's missed your cooking."

Leia ran to greet her son and wrapped her arm through Jacen's other arm nearly beaming her love for him.

"It must have been pretty bad then," came a sarcastic aside from Han. Leia's head snapped around and she glared sharply at her husband.

"Han!" "Daddy!" Jaina added.

"What?" he asked innocently. "I'm just trying to keep things light."

"It's okay, Mom," Jacen assured her with a pat on her hand. "And it's true. I have missed your cooking--- but not as much as I missed you." He smiled and leaned down to place a kiss on his mother's forehead. She wrapped her arms around her son and hugged him as if she'd never let him go again. "Hey, when did you get so short?"

Leia pushed him away indignantly and stared up giving him a playful swat. "I've always been this height, thank you very much. It's just that you've gotten taller."

And bigger, thought Tahiri. At some point during this little familial exchange, Tahiri had gotten up the courage to turn and face her demons, and what she found had not been what she'd expected. To put it lightly, Jacen Solo was different than the last time she'd seen him. Not only was he taller, but it was evident even underneath his loose Jedi tunic that he was much more muscular. His brown hair was a bit shaggy, curling just a little on the ends. However, what struck her the most were the changes in his face. He wasn't as pale as she thought he would be. In fact, he had very healthy coloring. except for the several scars that she knew hadn't been there before Myrkr. There were two small ones on each cheek, close to the bone, and another one at the corner of his left eye.

As she examined this new Jacen Solo, a strange mix of emotions swept over her. They were two of a kind.

"Hello, Tahiri," he said smiling at her. She jolted and forced herself to stop staring at his forehead. Offering a weak smile, her eyes rested on his. An understanding look passed between them, and she instantly felt more comfortable around him.

"Hi, Jacen. I'm glad you're back."

**Did I just say that?** she wondered. She certainly hadn't intended to say any such thing, but it had escaped her lips before she could think about it. Slinking back into her chair, she suddenly felt very confused.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. We're all glad you're back, Jace," Jaina added. "But that's enough mushy stuff. Can we eat dinner now?" She plopped down beside Tahiri while Jacen moved to take a seat across from his sister and next to Luke.

"Where's Jag tonight?" Mara asked her niece. That got Jacen's attention and he studied his sister from the other side of the table.

"Jag Fel?" he questioned with a raised eyebrow. "What's this?"

Mara, seated on the other side of her husband, leaned forward and peered down to Jacen, a mischievous grin plastered on her face. "Jaina and Jag are becoming an 'item'. Didn't she tell you about it yet?"

"Aunt Mara!"

"No, she didn't. yet," Jacen replied with a grin Tahiri noticed reminded her a lot of his father.

"Oh, great!" Jaina declared.

"Jaina!" Leia admonished from the end of the table.

"It's okay, Mom," Jacen said again. "Really. I actually missed Jaina's complaining."

Tahiri had to giggle at the look of shock on Jaina's face. "Ha-ha. Very funny," Jaina said with a roll of her eyes.

"And what about this whole 'goddess' fiasco? That had to be your idea, Jaya dear," he couldn't resist adding. He shot Tahiri a conspiratorial glance and ended it with a wink.

Han Solo watched the exchange between his children with a sense of utter contentment. For the first time since the war had begun, he felt as if there was hope for his family, and he now considered the barefoot blond sitting at his table one of his own. Her undying devotion to his son had secured her a place in Han's heart. He was only disappointed that Anakin was gone and she wouldn't be able to become a true member of the Solo clan. He'd have to settle for an 'adopted' daughter then, he mused.

"Enough!" Leia announced with a grin. "Let's eat! Luke, would you do the honors, please?"

Luke offered a slight nod as he handed Ben over to Mara and stood to address the small gathering.

"We're here tonight to celebrate life." He turned and laid a hand on Jacen's shoulder. "We had lost hope, and now it's found. Despite our losses, our pain, we are all here together now and for that we are profoundly grateful. Welcome home, Jacen."

Small cheers of "here! here!" sounded from around the table as the family delighted in the return of their son. Then the meal finally began. The menu consisted of delicacies no one had been privileged to since the start of the war, and Tahiri knew that a fortune had to have been shelled out to account for such treats. She was certain that Karrde or Lando Calrissian had helped supply food for the family. The two had been seen at the station earlier in the day.

In spite of the fact that the meal was extremely rare and precious, Tahiri couldn't bring herself to eat much. She took a few bites of this and that, but mostly just managed to push her food from one side of her plate to the other as the conversation rambled on around her. It was apparent that everyone was still a bit unsure of how to act around Jacen. They tried to steer away from any mention of the Vong, which only succeeded in making the evening rather awkward. Several times she ventured a peek at Jacen who was remaining pretty quiet himself. Once or twice she was surprised to find him already looking at her and smiling as if he knew something she didn't.

It was unnerving.

Inevitably, the conversation turned to Jacen. All eyes were glued on him and his mother as she tried to persuade him to go to the med center and be examined.

"I'm all right, Mom. really."

Leia Solo was struggling to keep the tears from her eyes as she looked lovingly upon her oldest son-her only son, now. For so long, he'd been gone, almost a whole year without him. Everyone else was certain he'd died like Anakin, but not her. No, she knew and had known the whole time that he was still out there somewhere. her Jacen. And now he was back.

But he wasn't the same. Anyone who looked at him could tell that much.

"Even so," she managed to choke out through the uncomfortable lump lodged in her throat, "I'd like Cilghal to check you over."

"Mom," he started to protest.

"Just do it--- for your mother?" She was giving him the maternal guilt- trip, something she tried to avoid but was finding all too effective in her older years.

Jacen grinned and sighed, "Okay! Okay! I'll do it for my mother. Politicians.," she heard him teasingly murmur under his breath as he took another bite. At that moment, he sounded just like his father and not at all like a young man who had just gone through a year of hell at the hands of the Yuuzhan Vong. She hadn't yet asked him to share his experience, but the curiosity was eating away at her. Soon, she thought. He'll tell me soon enough when he's ready.

Tahiri found herself sneaking looks at Jacen Solo more often than she'd care to admit. It wasn't that she thought him more attractive than Anakin had been. No, no one could ever compare to her Anakin. He'd been her first and only love. However, something about Jacen and the way he looked at her kept her glancing over and over again. Maybe it was the tattoo, or the fact that he'd been thought dead all this time and was now 'risen' again. Whatever it was made her feel like a fool since he had noticed her staring one too many times. Relief came when the meal was finished and Jacen excused himself for the evening. He only left after being hugged by nearly everyone in the room. everyone except Tahiri. She managed to keep from looking in his direction until the doors closed behind him.

Part of her was disappointed that he had gone--- another part grateful. She stayed a bit longer to help Leia clean up and then headed back to her room.

In the process of opening her door, a strange tingle down her spine caused the hairs on the back of her neck to stand up. She froze and then slowly turned around.

"Hey."

"H-hey," she replied, her heart pounding wildly in her chest at the sight of Jacen standing right in front of her.

"I didn't mean to startle you," he apologized.

"Oh, no, I'm-I'm okay," she said. Jacen cocked his head to the side and studied her closely.

"You're lying," he stated with a grin.

"Maybe just a little," she admitted, crinkling up her nose. An awkward silence slipped between them and Tahiri stared at her bare toes. They were painted bright red today.

"Nice toes."

She laughed at his silly compliment and shifted her weight from foot to foot.

"I won't keep you, Tahiri," Jacen began sounding more serious, "but I just wanted to speak with you for a minute, if you don't mind."

"Sure. .. Okay."

"I saw you looking at me." She simply nodded her affirmation. "I can sense your unease around me, and I think I understand why. I still miss him, too."

Tahiri was stunned to hear him speak so openly of feelings she'd been having all night. Was he reading her mind?

"I wish it was me who died instead of him. I'm still not totally sure of why things happened like they did, but some good has come from all of it. I'd like to sit down with you soon and discuss what I've learned. what I experienced." Jacen had taken her small hand in his own and was softly rubbing her knuckles. It took a moment for Tahiri to realize what he was doing, and once she did, she pulled her hand away.

"Why me? Why not talk to your uncle or your sister or someone? Why would you want to talk to me?" she asked.

"Because you'll understand more than anyone else will. You've been there, Tahiri. No one else knows what it's really like. what they're really like." As she gazed into his brown eyes, she knew he spoke the truth. Someone who hadn't experienced the Vong up close and personal could never truly comprehend how they affected you--- or infected you, she thought snidely.

Slowly, she nodded her head. "Okay," she agreed. "I'll listen to what you have to say."

"That's all I ask," he replied with another Solo smile. "We'll talk soon. Goodnight, Tahiri."

And then he was gone as suddenly as he had appeared. ~~~~~~~~~~~**~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~**~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~**~~~~~~