Author: T'Keira Lea
Timeframe: Post-Dark Nest Trilogy
Characters: Jagged Fel, Jaina Solo
Genre: Canon speculation
Keywords: Jaina, Jag, Dark Nest
Notes: Wraiths hibidity dibity challenge for their Commander and Chief
Summary: This is a short story placed at the end of The Swarm War. What happens to Jag after the end of the war?
Disclaimer: Lucasfilm owns all the rights to Star Wars. I don't. No infringement is intended or profit to be made by me.
"Command, the last of the bugs has been cleared from the scope. Twin Suns awaiting new orders."
At the sound of Jaina's voice trickling over his earpiece, which he had kept eternally tuned to her personal frequencies during the past month, Jag had to fight a smile. He managed to conceal it well enough by the time the bridge control officer looked his way.
"Your orders, sir?" the fiery-eyed Chiss asked.
"Tell Ja–Twin Suns to come home." He must have been more tired than he realized. The slip of the tongue was unusual.
"Come home, sir?"
"A human expression," a familiar Chiss voice answered from behind Jag. "Do as you are told, Lieutenant Tanadahl."
The control officer quickly swiveled back to face his station, but not soon enough to hide the hard lines exposing the shame of his rebuke. "Twin Suns Lead, your orders are to come home."
"A girl rarely gets so lucky." Jag could hardly recall hearing such pure, unadulterated happiness in Jaina's voice. Not that he got to hear her voice often these days –
"Colonel Nuruodo reporting to relieve you, sir."
Jag glanced sideways at his Chiss friend, who offered her best officious bow. He leaned forward and said softly, "Am I being admonished like Lieutenant Tanadahl, Colonel?"
"Of course not, Ambassador." Shawnkyr's eyes twinkled like Chandrilan wine pouring from a flask. She was right, though. He wasn't a command officer; in fact, he held no true rank on the bridge. But as always when the fighting became heavy and dangerous, he had assumed a leadership role. Command was where his heart lay.
"Twin Suns on approach vector to Rising Storm. Requesting berth assignments."
No, Jag's heart had made its bed somewhere far more fulfilling than any command he could ever be offered. Suddenly he was very grateful to his dear friend for giving him the opportunity to take his leave, and even more so, he was eager to take it.
Jag stood ramrod stiff, trying his damnedest to look like an ambassador who had just won a war and not a man who couldn't wait to fall into the arms of his lover. "Comm me if there are any problems."
"I most certainly will –" Shawnkyr placed a hand on Jag's back and ushered him to the far side of the bridge, out of earshot. "– not, sir."
Jag arched an eyebrow. "The Granjanjin Resistance has not accounted for all its cells. There is the possibility some pockets of fighting may erupt."
"Duly noted." She had stopped calling him sir, and Jag didn't even care.
He grinned despite himself. "You're the best."
"So I've been told," she said as he walked toward the bridge lift. She might have been saying more, but Jag's thoughts were roaming elsewhere. He only remembered the squad of Chiss military police assigned to protect the Ambassador, as they all stepped into the lift behind him. Desperately he tried to think of something…else for the next few seconds.
"Twin Suns signing off, Control, and heading for the showers."
Heat flushed Jag's features until even his scar felt like it was turning red. No doubt she knew he was still listening, and had added the last part for his private benefit. I'll make her pay for that later, he thought, then quickly banished the notion when ideas for retribution came in the form of adult-eyes-only holovids. Reaching up, he tapped the earpiece to turn it off.
The damage had been done, though, and sweat crept along Jag's hairline as he plowed out of the lift. The security detachment followed discreetly on the way to his stateroom door. Perhaps if he walked fast enough the tiny beads might not make a tell-tale appearance, and he might not make a guant'no banahs of himself in front of his Chiss counterparts. The fact of the matter was Chiss rarely showed stress; it wasn't in their nature. And Jag prided himself in being more Chiss than the Chiss at times. Of course, no Chiss had ever been head over heels in love with a Jedi princess named Jaina Solo, either.
With a curt dismissal, Jag barely acknowledged the leader of his security team before sweeping into his room. He fell against the door as it swished shut behind him and rested his head on the cool duranium. After one deep inhalation, calm filled his body. He could smell her everywhere.
Slowly Jag opened his eyes, taking in the disarray of his stateroom. Clothes were strewn about – a Jedi robe here, sparring attire there – and all he could do was smile at the sight. For all the strife caused by the Granjanjin Resistance, Jag had hardly a complaint. These past few weeks had been some of the best he could ever remember. When Chiss diplomacy efforts had met roadblocks, the Alliance had sent a team of skilled Jedi to aid in the mediation. Not long after the Jedi contingent arrived, Jaina had foregone any pretense that she needed to stay in her own cabin and had take up residence in his stateroom. By the time the talks had broken down, Jaina and Jag were thoroughly entrenched in the most domestic time of their lives.
It had been pure bliss that not even a deadly fortnight of space battle could have diminished.
The chime of an entry recognition code sounded, causing him to jump away from the door. No sooner had he cleared the entryway than Jaina's bedraggled form filled the doorframe. She looked sooty and sweaty, a lot tired and somewhat worse for wear, but she managed to smile up at him.
"So why are you still dressed?" she asked as she slid into the room.
Jaina drew down the zipper of her flightsuit. Jag just stood there and watched. Actually, his hyperdrive-fueled libido wanted him to watch, but he couldn't stop looking into her eyes. They held a look that was more powerful than a dark star falling in on itself. Not powerful, that wasn't the word. Attractive. He was utterly attracted by the tantalizing fire dancing up from the depths of her soul and radiating in the golden flecks of her brown eyes.
"Tuskcat got your tongue, flyboy?" Jaina began shimmying the flightsuit off her shoulder.
"Not a tuskcat exact-"
The rest went unsaid. No taunting dialogue. No teasing. No foreplay. Jaina crashed into Jag, his clothes ripping off seemingly of their own accord. She was kissing him, everywhere and nowhere. His hands danced across her body, burned by the sensation of touch. She was on fire. Ablaze with passion for him alone.
Then he was falling onto the plane of his bed. Their lips were locked in a kiss. Jaina on top, her forehead knocked into his, her teeth pierced his lip. Jag chuckled despite the pain as he placed a palm to his forehead. He could feel her mirth as her ribs vibrated against his.
In a swift roll Jag reversed their positions, so Jaina rested beneath him. "Are you all-"
Chiss didn't scream, but Jag tried. No sound escaped his lips as a face of clacking mandibles eased toward him. He tried to push her away, the creature. She wasn't Jaina. Not Jaina. This wasn't Jaina, he kept reminding himself. But the creature didn't seem to care he wanted no part of her game; she kept coming. Unavoidable. He feared she might devour him if he didn't –
Jag awoke with a start. Dream or not, his hands still swatted at the unseen enemy. He fought to breathe in rapid gasps, but the effort brought so much pain his body froze.
From one nightmare to another. He wasn't sure which was worse – his quick death at the hands of some insectoid queen his imagination had concocted from his remembrance of Jaina, or his slow impending starvation once the emergency rations ran out.
Jag surveyed his surroundings. A cold rain pelted everything not hidden within the craggy ridges of the deep ravine. The acidic drops pinged off the single crumpled wing of his battered clawcraft that was now his paltry makeshift shelter. A safe haven no more, the other remnants of his fighter had landed all across the ravine system that stretched from the Trachak Valley to the Rigor Rift. Worst of all, the winds carried a nauseating smell of putrefying chitin and spoiling remains of flesh and bug guts, an ever present reminder of the war that had been waged across Tenupe for the past few months.
The war was over now. He was pretty sure of that. The heavens had been silent and the distant rumble of cannon fire had ceased days back. For a time, he had made out the familiar whine of Chiss craft passing overhead in a standard search and rescue pattern, but he had also known from the start that their reconnaissance equipment would be no match for the rocky terrain pocked with ore deposits. If they were going to find him, it would have to be on foot. His hope of that had run out about the same time his food reserves had. Now, two weeks after the crash, he had only two ounces of drinkable water left and no chance of getting more. The rain was so contaminated it would turn his insides to mush, and his shattered ankle made it impossible to search for viable alternatives.
This was an unworthy end; he should have let the Millennium Falcon blow him from the sky.
Finding himself on the trail toward desperation and despondency, Jag took comfort in the fact that he believed the Chiss had won. If nothing else, his efforts hadn't been for naught. But a little voice of fear or exhaustion – it didn't truly matter which – still sometimes whispered, Maybe the bugs won.
Just maybe, he pondered, the Killiks had won. Perhaps his Chiss brethren had stopped searching because they were all absorbed into the hive. Possibly there was a bug or two still out there, looking for another Chiss victim to feed its young. Out of habit he reached for his blaster, which had lain at his side since he crawled to this position propped against a rock. If there was one end Jag had no desire to meet…
He couldn't even bring himself to think it. He started to shut his eyes and press out the thought when a sudden movement of a silhouette against the ravine wall caught his eye. Focusing on the spot, Jag scooted to a more hidden position, deeper in the shadow of the clawcraft wing. His fingers flipped off the safety while his heart wound up to pulse dehydrated blood through his veins. He was in no position to fight – but he could still try to shoot. As long as he saved enough charge in the power pack for one final shot.
With a heave he leveled the blaster along a rock and took careful aim.
Immediately his hand began to shake, and his weary eyes closed even though he willed them not to. When he forced his eyes open again a hazy form was emerging from the dim recesses of the ravine.
"Stop right there," he croaked.
The figure paused and raised its arms – pincers? – defensively. "It's all right, Jag."
His blaster suddenly felt heavy, and Jag blinked again.
It was closer now. "I won't hurt you."
He fought against the ever-increasing weight of his blaster. "Stop, I said."
It kept coming. "Jag, it's me."
Even with two hands the blaster trembled. He couldn't bring himself to pull the trigger, though. "Stop!"
It finally did as he asked, so close he could see two legs but not the head hidden by the clawcraft wing. Then it began to kneel –
"Jai-na?" As the familiar face came into view, Jag dropped the blaster.
"Well, you're a mess," she said with a forced smile, crawling under the shelter towards him.
He tried to scoot his body away, but only managed to stir a sharp protest from his ribs and broken ankle. "Ktah!"
Her eyes appraised him critically. "You can say that again."
He grimaced, a little from the pain, a lot because it was so easy to accept her. "Go away," he finally grunted.
Dropping to a knee, she started to rummage through her pack. "Not a chance, flyboy. It took a lot of doing to find you –"
"Don't call me that."
She glanced up, her brown eyes wary. "I'm sorry, Jag."
"Probably not more than I am."
Jaina turned her attention back to the contents of her pack and eventually withdrew a water bottle. "I bet you need some of this."
He snatched it and took a long swig. The water tasted so good.
"So what did you have left? A couple ounces?"
He met her tentative gaze. She knew him too well. Jag tipped his head in acknowledgement before taking another drink. His hand was quivering by the time he finished, and the water spilled down side of his face. Extending her hand to wipe the corner of his mouth, Jaina smiled tenderly. It was something she had done a hundred times before; it had been their game. She acted out of ingrained habit.
Jaina's smile faded the instant she felt the barrel of his blaster pressing into her jaw.
"Don't touch me again, Jaina, or I will kill you."