The In-Laws: Part Three
Millenium Falcon, Csilla-In Transit
Csilla was as forbidding as its people. Jaina shivered as she looked outside the windows of the Falcon, at the ice fields below and the snow capped mountains surrounding them. Jag stood next to her, his shoulder brushing against hers and his expression as cold as the weather outside. The closer they got to his home, the more quiet he became and the more forbidding his expression. Jaina turned and met her twin's eyes as he came to stand on Jag's other side.
"You must be happy to be home," Jacen said easily, his hands tucked into the sleeves of his Jedi robe. "It's been a while since you were back, hasn't it?"
"It has," Jag said, not looking at either of the twins. "And I am happy to be home."
"You say that with the same expression you would have used had you said you wanted to die," Jaina said wryly.
Jag looked down at her, a corner of his mouth reluctantly quirking upwards. "I'm just not looking forward to what my father has to say, that's all."
Jaina patted her shiny brown hair, arranged into a neat bun by her mother's skillful hands. Leia had wanted to do a more elaborate hairdo, but Jaina had her limits. She'd seen what her mother could do. Jag followed the movement of her hand with his eyes.
"You look nice," he said.
Jaina glanced at her brother as if to say, that's the best I'm going to get out of him, and she smiled. "Thanks. I'm doing my best to put down the 'scruffy rebel pilot' reputation that's been following me around."
Jag laughed outright at that and he put an arm around her. "Look over there, over the ridge," he said. "You'll be seeing the compound in a few seconds."
He gave her an arch look, playing the part of the arrogant fighter jockey. "We don't do things small around here."
"And he's not lying," Jacen said, keeping his eyes on the horizon. "There's the Fel Compound."
"Wow," Jaina breathed, pressing her nose against the glass of the porthole.
"Nice digs, Kid," Han said over the intercom. "Come up here and say hi to your parents."
Jag seemed to gather himself together before leaving the rec room. Jacen went to stand next to his sister.
"Let the games begin," he said with not a bit of amusement in his voice.
In the cockpit, Jag felt the weight of Leia's and Han's stares. He sat at the navigation console and put on the earpiece as his father stared up at him.
"Father," he said with a small nod.
"Jagged," Soontir said. "Lead them to docking bay 3. I'll be there to meet you."
Jag turned to the Solos and found Leia's observant brown eyes focused on him. He wasn't even going to try to put up a façade when she had clearly heard the short and uncomfortable exchange between him and his father. She did smile gently at him and he acknowledged her with a nod, which seemed to be the only gesture he was able to make the closer they got to his home.
"What are the coordinates?" Han asked, unaware of the exchange behind him.
Jag gave him the coordinates and went up behind Leia's seat, resting his hands on the back of the chair. No matter his feelings, he always loved this part about returning home. The Fel Compound filled the viewscreen as the Millennium Falcon got closer and Jag didn't blink as the faint rays of light caught the ice that had frozen on the compound's steel surface. Half of his home was built into the side of the mountain and the part that was showing was impressive in its size. Two towers flanked the main body of the compound which was a simple rectangular shape but the corners and edges of the structure was blurred by the snow and ice covering it. Soontir Fel had known what he was doing when he'd retreated to the mountains of Csilla and if someone looking for the Fels did not know where to look, it would be easy to miss the Compound. Jag always saw his home as a secret that few knew about and he was proud of that fact. Memories of his childhood, of his family, filled his thoughts as his eyes took in the one place he'd always called home.
The Millennium Falcon touched down on the docking bay's polished floors and Soontir was more worried about the floor than he was about the vehicle. Legendary though it was, the Falcon was older than his oldest son and looked it. Han Solo must be some kind of miracle worker to be able to get that thing off the ground at all, hyperspace voyages notwithstanding.
"Wow," Cem said at Soontir's side.
Soontir glanced sideways at his son. Like his siblings before him, Cem was making a mark for himself at the Academy but he was more mischievous than Jag and his green eyes always seemed to be sparkling with some kind of unholy glee. They were sparkling now as he regarded the Millennium Falcon and the people disembarking from it.
"Jag!" Wyn yelled, forgetting all that her father told her about acting properly and running towards her brother.
Jag dropped the duffel he'd been carrying as Wyn threw herself into his arms, nearly knocking him over with her welcome. Syal was right on her daughter's heels and she reached up to draw her tall son into her arms and Soontir was sure that she was close to tears. Cem looked at his father, a blond eyebrow arched in question. Sighing, Soontir conceded defeat and nodded his permission. Cem joined the rest of the family in greeting Jag, patting his brother on the back boisterously. Moving much slower, Soontir started towards them.
The Solos were watching them with something akin to astonishment, but Leia Organa Solo quickly recovered and she turned her attention to Soontir. She held out a hand as he approached, a genial smile on her face.
"Baron Fel," she said, her low melodious voice at perfect diplomatic pitch. "It is a pleasure to finally meet you."
"Princess Leia," Soontir said, bowing over her hand.
Han came up behind Leia's shoulder and Soontir looked at the man he'd last seen as a rakish teenager at the Imperial Naval Academy. Judging by the crooked smile on Han's face, Soontir doubted he had ventured far from the kid he'd been.
"Nice to see you again, Fel," Han said easily.
"Likewise, Solo," Soontir said, his eyes narrowing.
"Father," Jag said.
Soontir looked away from Han to face his oldest son. Jag was looking at Soontir warily as if expecting to be dressed down right then and there. Despite his misgivings, Soontir was happy to see Jag and allowed some of that pleasure to show on his face as he smiled. Jag visibly relaxed and he took the hand his father offered.
"It's good to have you home, Jagged," Soontir said formally.
"It's good to be home, Father." He reached beside him and pulled to his side the young woman who was hovering nervously behind him. "This is Lieutenant Colonel Jaina Solo…my fiancée."
Jaina stood with her back ramrod straight and her hands clasped in front of her. If Soontir hadn't known she was a decorated pilot who led her own squadron, he would not have been able to guess at it. It was a testament to her upbringing that she exuded nobility and politesse, but Soontir could see the apprehension in her brandy brown eyes but her gaze did not waver as she met his eyes. He appreciated that fact.
"Baron Fel, thank you for having us," she said, her voice reminiscent of her mother's.
Jaina wanted to melt into the floor. Her mother had made the family attend many Republic functions and after the debacle on Hapes, she thought she could handle anything, but under Baron Fel's green gaze, she wanted to run behind her father and hide—or even to just look away but something told her that doing that right now would not win her any points. Looking at him was like looking at Jag's future but Jaina hoped that Jag would not have the same kind of hardness that was on his father's face. The rest of Jag's family were warmer than she expected, especially considering how the head of the household was. Cem was a younger, blonder version of Jag and Jaina was sure he was flirting with her a little bit. Their younger sister Wyn was a firecracker who was familiar enough with Jacen to state that he and Jaina looked nothing alike.
Jaina felt herself relaxing somewhat until formal introductions went around the group and, whether consciously or unconsciously, the two families moved so that they faced each other along an invisible line, Fels vs. Solos. She'd seen the look that had passed between Baron Fel and her father and she wondered what exactly that would mean for later.
Syal played the part of the hostess well and without fuss and bother managed to usher them into the sitting room without losing anybody. Drinks and appetizers were arranged around the room and they were invited to move around in a more relaxed atmosphere. Soft music was being piped into the room though Jaina did not recognize the genre, she did find it pleasant.
"If memory serves, this is the first time you have been on Csilla, save for Jacen of course," Syal said, as she handed Leia a glass.
"Yes, it is," Leia said. "I've been on other ice worlds before, like Hoth, but Csilla is definitely nothing like it."
"How so?" Wyn asked, fixing a curious gaze on Leia.
"Hoth wasn't quite as icy," Leia answered. "Everywhere you looked there was just snow and you usually couldn't leave anything outside for long before it was completely covered with it."
"What were you doing on Hoth?"
Jaina saw her mother's eyes widen imperceptibly as she realized they were treading on slightly sensitive ground. She started to answer when a crash drew everyone's attention to Jag. He picked up a napkin and mopped up the mess as a droid came out from the wall to sweep up the shards of broken glass.
"Sorry," he said, a reddish stain appearing on his cheekbones. "Slipped."
Wanting to laugh out loud, Jaina busied herself with staring at the contents of her glass as Jag poured himself another drink.
"Nice move," she murmured.
"It was my backup plan…now if something else happens, I won't know what to do."
"How was the trip? Not too much trouble, I hope," Soontir was saying as Jaina bit back her laughter.
"It went much smoothly than the last few trips we've taken," Leia said dryly. "Fortunately."
"The Millennium Falcon is something else," Cem piped up.
"She's still good for it," Han said loyally standing up for his ship. "Working on her is very therapeutic, as long as you know what you're doing of course. Nowadays, only Jaina and I can handle her intricate circuitry."
"You work on ships, Jaina?" Syal asked. "You could probably show Jag a thing or two then."
"I could, but then he'll feel the need to fly circles around me just to prove that he can do something," Jaina said.
Cem and Wyn laughed, not used to hearing their brother being put down by someone outside of the family.
"I could get used to you," Cem said to her.