September 2004

Disclaimer: I don't own SW; it all belongs to George and I make no money of this, etc, etc, etc...

Title: Nightmares & Dreams

Author: JadeMax

Characters: Tenel Ka

Genre: Angst

Summary: Tenel Ka strives to find balance after Jacen's death echoes through the Force.

Notes: This takes place during Dark Journey. Leads into my "You Did What!" series - you don't need to read it to understand this story. Inspired by the song "Taking Over Me" by Evanesence.

Nightmares & Dreams

By JadeMax

She lay in bed, unable to sleep, the music of her coronation celebration echoing through the highest reaches of the Fountain Palace as the party carried on well into the night. Yet, it was not what kept her sleepless.

The image of auburn eyes with a rich brown undertone swam in front of her gaze, the ache in the back of her throat and the burning in her eyes tell-tale signs of the pain she was feeling. She closed her eyes, fighting back the tears in the darkness and silence of her bed chambers.

The whisper of the wind coming in through the partially opened window was no comfort. It teased her, playing across her fevered skin as if it was his touch.

Jacen.

Unconsciously she reached out through the Force, fighting to find the part of him that would have merged with the Force.

It wasn't the first time she'd done so. She'd reached for him the second he'd said his goodbyes and found nothing. She'd reached for him the moment she realized that Jaina was dangerously close to the darkside and found nothing. And now, she still found nothing.

Jacen was gone, as if a dream, with no substance left behind except that which she held in her mind.

She choked, turning her head to the side to try and deny the feelings, to deny his death. But she couldn't. Couldn't deny the heart rendering pain which she'd felt when he'd said goodbye. Couldn't deny the emptiness which felt so all-consuming and she couldn't, wouldn't deny the feelings which made them so powerful.

Not now, not here, not in the privacy of her room. The tears came quickly, flooding her eyes only to stream steadily down her cheeks. She let them flow, feeling the need to scream or more, but controlled it. The silent tears spoke volumes.

Gray eyes glittered behind a wall of tears even as they slid down her cheeks, her gaze on the necklace resting on her night-stand. It swam before her eyes, but she couldn't look away.

He'd loved her. Her. Not the Queen, or the princess, but the warrior woman with one arm. The girl who controlled her emotions to a fault because of their danger. The girl who'd fallen for him somewhere along the line. She'd loved him too. All the more so for his acceptance of her as an equal, proven in combat and friendship.

And now, his presence torn away from her, she couldn't help but wonder if he could remember her in the Force or if it had stripped him of his memories. Or this was a test.

She punched her pillow in a rare show of emotion. If this was some old Force creature's idea of a test, she'd tear its eyes out - after listening to its reasons of course. Her thoughts wandered back to her previous idea.

Did Jacen remember her or was he perhaps being locked away so that she could deal with the pain of losing him and be forced to move on?

She closed her eyes, squeezing her hand tightly closed. She didn't want to move on. She and Jacen had been allies, friends, and something more for a long time.

This was worse that losing her hand - it was like losing her heart. She needed it for life, so that she could do all of the things she sought to do. Yet, without it, could she carry on? Would the void in her chest, in her body and soul ever feel like it had been healed? Would she ever feel that unconditional acceptance again?

No. She knew she wouldn't. Jacen had been her first, her only, love. She knew that as surely as if it had been branded on her forehead.

Jacen was her other half, the chaos in her well-ordered life.

She opened her eyes as she felt herself starting to drift, forcing herself back under control and wiping the moisture from her face.

She wouldn't think of him anymore.

Self-indulgence was for other, weaker, people. People who needed to feel like they had a purpose. A place for grief and to make it justified. Grief didn't need to be justified, did it?

Jacen would argue it did.

She grimaced, rolling over. Hadn't she just sworn not to think of him?

She focused instead on her training, thinking ahead to the next day when Jaina and Kyp would be leaving with Jag. Going back to the New Republic bases to help set up the next trap for the Yuuzhan Vong.

A trap for those that had killed Jacen and Anakin.

Tenel Ka grabbed her pillow and pulled it over her face, pushing down tightly for a couple of moments. Thinking was worse than dreaming in some ways, yet the dreams never stopped and the thinking could be directed.

She pulled the pillow off and threw it across the room, resisting the urge to scream. Enough was enough. Closing her eyes, she pulled another pillow under her head and, with difficulty, blanked her mind. Taking a deep breath she willed herself to go to sleep.

On the verge of falling over, she added the command not to dream.

But it was already too late.

Darkness enveloped her; surrounding her. His voice echoed around her, enfolding and comforting her. The Force was a tangible thing here, green strands of light which curled around her limbs and passed through her torso on their way to the connections.

And there he was. His roguish smile made her heart beat accelerate, his eyes telling her what he was afraid to say, even here. And there, the Force strands weaved around him in a glowing, green body-suit.

They were drawn closer, the strands tightening, shortening between them, and beginning to bind them together. As she watched, they turned yellow in color, and she reached out to touch one.

Jacen laughed, grabbing her hand tightly and pulling her towards him.

The darkness flared, turning bright and he was suddenly torn from her grip.

Jacen! She reached for him, straining to regain his touch, her voice alarmed. The light blinded her as she fought to get to him, only to lose sight. Uncharacteristically, she panicked, terrified to her toes of what she knew would come next. Jacen! No, please, come back!

His voice echoed around her, giving no hint as to his location. Thank you, Tenel Ka. You are the most important person in my life. Never forget that.

Do not do this. She begged, stretching out, only to have the Force strings tighten and restrain her. Jacen! She felt frantic, straining against the Force to find him, only it blocked her every move. She could feel the tears burning in her eyes, feel them on her cheeks, but she couldn't feel him. Jacen! Jacen Solo!

The void which greeted her was chilling and she felt herself being pulled into it, the Force strands dragging her down like a weight. And she fought them. She thrashed, trying to get lose as she knew Jacen's presence suddenly disappeared. A scream rose in her throat, echoing in her head as the sound was torn from her lips, fighting the knowledge that he'd been taken from her once again.

Taken... Stolen...

"You're Majesty!"

Tenel Ka came back to consciousness with a jerk, feeling the weight of several people on her legs and torso. The sudden silence was deafening as she stilled, rigid under their mass.

They released her slowly, their uniforms proclaiming them a part of her contingent of bodyguards. The women looked at her with caution, backing away.

Tenel Ka sat up slowly, feeling the ache in her chest anew, the void where his presence had once been.

He really was gone.

She took a deep breath. "I am fine."

The head of the contingent nodded once, and the rest of the guards disappeared, anxious to be out of the room. The head guard, a woman who was known only by her blue-streaked blonde hair, stayed behind.

"What happened?" Tenel Ka's voice was soft, controlled.

Blue saluted. "We heard a scream, your majesty. When we came to investigate we found you in what appeared to be a seizure-like condition. We felt it prudent to try and keep you from injuring yourself."

"I am fine. Leave me be." Tenel Ka waited until the guard disappeared before closing her eyes.

A nightmare? Or had she experienced something more?

You are the most important person in my life.

His words echoed in her head and she forced herself to listen, wondering if she was perhaps trying to find hope.

Are?

Her brow creased as she slid from the bed, determined to wear herself out with calisthenics. Was it possible he was still alive, simply unable, or unwilling, to contact her?

Her heart fluttered at the prospect and she swallowed hard. It was possible. Jacen was a strong Jedi and stronger than most. If anyone could resist the Yuuzhan Vong and survive, he could.

Something in her wondered if she was grasping at straws, the empty feeling belying the sudden glimmer of hope. Her heart thought it knew Jacen was dead. She only hoped she could prove it wrong eventually. The nightmares, the grief and the episodes, so uncommon to her character, would otherwise never stop. And that was unacceptable.

Fin

Author's Note: Any and all replies are always welcome, thanks for reading!

JadeMax