AN- Just a weird one-shot, now. (The ideas for a longer story just couldn't make the transition from my head to my computer.) Enjoy!
I hold you in my hands
A little animal
And only some dumb idiot would let you go
But if I'm one thing
Then that's the one thing
I should know
She was a single spot of brightness on a desolate plain, burning in the Force like a star gone nova.
Kyp walked through the ruins of Coruscant, guided not by his sight but by his inner senses. At pure night, few things were visible on the lonely fields; but Jaina stood out clearly in his mind, a lone ray of sunshine in the utter blackness of his thoughts.
He approached her slowly, quietly - but not stealthily. He was too tired to cloak his presence. Besides, she had invited him here – no secretive pretense was required. He merely needed to gather his thoughts and finally make a decision. This jaunt to the former capital was a chance for him to find resolution, one way or another.
He knew that this conversation would effectively seal his fate.
Jaina turned to face him, and in the dim starlight Kyp couldn't make out the expression on her face. Relief that he'd arrived? Sadness that he'd waited so long? Whatever it might have been, the unreadable emotion was quickly replaced by a look of cautious joy as he stepped towards her.
"I haven't seen you in these parts before, stranger," she said with a crooked grin.
The repartee came effortless, snippets from a lost time. "I was looking for a goddess, and heard I'd find one here."
Her smile fell, and she glanced up at the horizon. "You heard wrong. There's no Goddess, just a broken little girl who's been dwelling on the past."
Kyp had no witty rejoinder to that.
He studied her silently. The pale glow from the stars above bathed her skin with silvery light but hid her eyes in shadow. Twisting his neck at different angles, he tried to see into their warm brown depths yet only found darkness. Emptiness. Rather like the large black hole he harbored inside his heart. He forced his hands into his pockets and waited for her to speak.
"They buried him over there," she said, gesturing towards one of Coruscant's many graveyards. The line of white stones seemed endless, stretching infinitely in the space ahead. Old memories came surging to the surface, and he shoved them down, struggling to regain control. A Jedi knew no emotion, after all.
"Uncle Luke found his body about three months ago. I sent you a message asking you to come to the funeral, but you never replied."
Jaina stepped closer, and Kyp sensed the confusion emanating from her thoughts. "Kyp, why? You can't run from responsibility forever."
He pulled his hands back out and let them hang loosely by his side. "I wasn't running from responsibility," he admitted.
She peered up into his face, a strong, questioning gaze that he found difficult to evade. "Then from what?"
Lights glittered in the distance, and Kyp glanced over at them casually, trying to escape the curious look in her eyes. But Jaina was persistent - after several minutes of silence, he turned back towards her and tried to collect his thoughts.
"I didn't want to be reminded of how easily everything can fall apart. I mean, look at your brothers: Anakin was expected to be Luke Skywalker's heir to the Jedi legacy, and Jacen was one of the invincible Solo twins. But one died for freedom, and the other died in the enemy's chains. In a second's flash, half your family was gone."
Kyp shrugged and continued. "That's what I've been trying to avoid all my life: death. Not just physical closure, but a definite, undeniable ending to all I have and all I want. No more missions, no more dreams, no more relationships. And during the War, I didn't want to lose anything. Especially you."
He felt her small arms wrap around his back, and the comforting pressure of her head against his chest. "Kyp, I'm not going anywhere. Every time you've left for who-knows-where, I've always been waiting for you to return. Sometimes, I even had to find you myself."
He returned the embrace and leaned his chin against the top of her head, the silky softness of her hair and her clean, familiar scent both reassuring him and adding salt to his wounds. Jaina loved him so much; he couldn't begin to fathom the extent of her selfless devotion to him.
And he needed her, needed her optimism and obstinate nature. She was the calming element in his life – a strange idea, really. Hadn't he originally been the steady one? Yet after all the horrors they'd dealt with together during the War, he waa the one who couldn't face life alone.
But he had to let her go. It was only right, to spare her any more of the unnecessary pain he had caused her. If either of them had been thinking objectively years ago, they would have terminated this relationship before it could even begin.
"I know. But Jaina, you need to understand that we have to end this."
Her grip loosened, and Kyp could feel her straining to meet his eye. "What? Nothing is wrong with us being together. Everybody – including my parents – says we make an excellent team—"
He nodded silently.
"—And look at Uncle Luke and Aunt Mara! The fact that they worked together so well was what prompted them to get married."
He pulled away abruptly. "Jaina, just because we're great in combat situations does not mean that we are capable of carrying on a loving long-term relationship. We mesh well in battle, yes. But we aren't a good match romantically."
"Of course we are! We get along fine."
"No, we don't."
She threw him a disgusted look. "If you're just going to repeat that argument that the gap in our ages is too great…"
Kyp waved his hand impatiently. "I'm not. As Q9 would say, this is an entirely different thesis statement. Jaina, our personalities just don't match up. When something's troubling me, I brood over it and attempt to come up with a solution myself; you, on the other hand, brood and then take others' advice on the matter. I don't always think before I act, which can be a dangerous trait. And I think that the best way to deal with a problem is to leave civilization for several months until I feel better.
"But that's not the half of it. We've both brushed with the Dark Side, but it didn't affect us the same way. You went all Sith after Myrkr, but took the Skywalker approach and returned to the light. Now you're like a compass always pointing north, and while a little Darkness may shift your direction a tad, you're still generally traveling straight. Not me. My little compass swings here and there, because I've got this annoyingly arrogant side that just can't be humbled."
He looked at the innumerable graves and sighed. "One day, I'll be one of those markers. Probably sooner rather than later. And if we don't part our separate ways, I have the feeling I'll drag you into an early grave. I don't want that to happen to you."
Jaina spun towards him, and her senses wavered with dejection. "Why have you never told me this before?"
Kyp shook his head. "I've tried. But every time I put it off so you wouldn't get hurt."
She set her chin defiantly, a feminine version of her father. "I've felt pain before."
"Not like this," he said softly. "Never like this.