August 2005

Disclaimer: It all belongs to George, I'm just playing in his sandbox.

Title: Decisions

Author: JadeMax

Time Frame: Post NJO, Pre DN AU

Summary: First Challenge issued for J/Z Resource thread on Challenge was called "Zekk in a Kilt" challenge

Challenge Requirements:

Post NJO, Zekk has a life dependent on him, his seed ship. However, Zekk can only fly one ship at a time; leaving him with the question of what does he do with The Lightening Rod? Also, how does he handle the new responsibility while Jaina didn't get a seed ship. What are her feelings.

1. Must address what Zekk does with The Lightening Rod now that he has a Seed Partner dependent upon him.

2. Must feature Zekk wearing a kilt.

3. Must have the line "He looks good in a skirt/dress"


"You're kidding me."


Emerald eyes looked at the plaid piece of fabric in front of them with distain. "I won't do it."


"Nope, I won't do it. That's a skirt."

"Actually it's a kilt, but I never knew you to back out on a bet before, Zekk."

Zekk slanted a look at his companion. "A lot has changed since we last really talked, Jacen. I can't believe you caught me on this."

Jacen Solo leaned back on the cargo container where he'd made himself comfortable in the Lightning Rod's cargo hatch. "Let's just say I've gained wisdom and leave it at that."

Zekk caught the glint of amusement in Jacen's eyes and turned his back on his friend in disgust. "Alright, alright, I'll wear the damn skirt. But if your sister sees me in it, I think I might die."

Jacen laughed, reaching up one hand to scratch the thin beard on his jaw to hide his grin. "Nah. You're too tough for that. Besides, who else are you going to give this ship to?"

Zekk turned around briefly. "No one. This is my home, new seedship or not, and I can't let her go. Besides, the seedship is only good for me and I can't really haul cargo or passengers with her; it makes more sense for me to keep them both."

Jacen sighed. "Your new partner will need lots of attention, Zekk. Don't you think you should devote your time to hear and mothball the Lightning Rod for a while, anyway?"

Zekk smirked. "Alright, then you keep her for a couple of years."


"Yes you. It was part of this ridiculous bet, right? So honor it. I'll spend the first two years bonding with my seedship, and you'll take care of this old girl for me. You need a ship; you're not affiliated with the New Republic anymore, not really, so you can't commandeer one. You're traveling all over the galaxy and you're familiar with the controls. Besides, you're a friend and I'd rather see her in the hands of a friend, being useful, than sitting around somewhere collecting dust."

Jacen held up his hands. "Alright, I'll do it. But first..."

Zekk groaned as Jacen motioned to the kilt fabric he held in his hand. "I owe you one, Solo."

"Just put it on, we land in ten."

Zekk sighed before heading to his quarters. He'd lost his bet; he'd honor the terms. He only hoped Jaina didn't see him. The "honor a bet" excuse had pretty much died when he was eleven!

The caf steamed as it splashed into two mugs. The rich, dark color offset the slightly off-white of the cup. Slender fingers curled around the curve of the handle and removed it from the plate.

"It smells wonderful, Aunt Mara."

Mara Jade-Skywalker took the second cup with a smile, settling back into one of the overstuffed chairs in her living room. Across from her was her niece, Jaina Solo, curled up in a similar position to relax. "It's one of the few things I know how to cook." Mara raised her cup in salute.

Jaina grinned, mimicking the gesture. "Touché. I can't believe the war is over."

"I can't believe you're not marrying Jagged Fel."

Jaina's face twisted into a good-natured grimace. "Please don't start that. Jag just wasn't the guy for me."

Mara raised an eyebrow. "You have someone else in mind?"

"Not really."

Mara stared at her, not believing it for a second. "No? Not even a certain Jedi whose hair is the color of fresh caf?"

Jaina dropped her gaze to her cup. "Who?" She tried to ask it innocently, but her voice cracked.

"You know, the one who's been wandering around the base the last two days in nothing but that skirt." Mara needled her niece, enjoying the uncomfortable shift in Jaina's posture. She called on her recall abilities to describe the young man she'd rarely taken more than a passing glance at.

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"Oh, then you obviously didn't notice the fact he wasn't wearing a shirt; all those rippling muscles didn't draw your attention at all. Nor that pale skin, so contrasted-"

"Stop!" Jaina placed her cup on the table with a small thud. "I noticed alright! I noticed he hasn't changed the way he wears his hair, and I noticed he's put on muscle. Muscles that ripple when they move, drawing the eye; muscles that don't leave much to the imagination. And that kilt!" Jaina felt her cheeks burning. "That kilt was practically indecent. How could I inot/i notice?"

Mara grinned. "Exactly. How could you not?"

Jaina took a deep breath. "I couldn't."

"He looks good in a dress."

Jaina stared at her aunt and burst out laughing. "He does, doesn't he? Though, I think he needs a tan."

Mara rolled her eyes. "You're telling me that you don't like the way his pasty white skin contrasts with the deep blue and bright yellow of his skirt?"

Jaina blushed. "Too much. Can't we just drop this?"

"Never." Mara took a sip of her caf, staring at her niece for a long moment. "So what are you going to do about it?"

Jaina hung her head, dangling her arms between her knees. "I don't know, aunt Mara! Zekk hasn't even talked to me since Hapes when he ran away from me. I should be angry with him for that, but I'm not. I shouldn't care, but I think I'm just hurt."


"He wouldn't fall for me."

Mara arched an eyebrow. "Fall as in fall in love, or fall as in, follow you to the Darkside. A place, I might add, which you saved him from some years ago."

"He wouldn't go Darkside for me."

Mara placed her cup on the table. "Ever think he couldn't?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, he'd already fallen once. Ever think he knew that going over so willingly a second time would be a one-way ticket? One trip that he knew there's be no coming back from; at least for him?"

Jaina rubbed her forehead. "I hadn't thought of that."

Mara leaned back. "You're too close to the situation. Trust me; your Uncle Luke and I had enough problems with this. You said you haven't you talked to him since Hapes?"

"No." Jaina grimaced. "I've been dallying with Jag. I've been avoiding, ignoring and evading him at every turn. I figured he was doing the same to me."

"Well sithspawn, Jaina! How do you expect to get an answer when you won't even talk to the man?"

"I can't, huh?" Jaina sighed.

Mara rose to her feet and collected both caf cups on the table. "I think we're done here."

Jaina blinked, the not-so-subtle hint sinking into her brain slowly. "Uh, yeah. I think we are. Thanks for the talk and the caf, Aunt Mara. I just remembered I've got someplace to be."

Mara's eyes sparkled with mischief. "With a certain lily white, black haired, skirt clad spacer?"

"One can hope!" Jaina reached the door, before looking back over her shoulder. "And since when do you notice any other man besides uncle Luke?"

Mara grinned. "Since it gets your space monkey. Git. I'm obviously not entertaining enough when compared to the opposite sex."

Jaina returned the grin. "Thanks, aunt Mara. I owe you one."

Mara waved her away, shaking her head as the door slid shut behind Jaina. Her grin stayed. That had turned out better than she'd expected. Now, where had Luke said he would be? She took the dishes into the food prep area and dumped them in the cleaning unit before, going to find her own entertainment with the opposite sex.

Her steps were slow away from her aunt and uncle's rooms. Here, away from the manipulative, even sounding voice and calm sounding plan of her aunt, doubts began to creep in. How could she face him? Just walk right up to him and ask how he was doing?

Jaina stopped in the hall outside the lounge and put her back to the empty corridor's wall. She slid to the floor, resting her forehead on her knees. She felt like a kid again. A kid who was lost in the underbelly of Coruscant and couldn't find her way home.

"Credit for your thoughts."

Her head snapped up. Her first impression was bright colored fabric on a bed of white. It fluttered before her gaze, giving her a completely unexpected view before it disappeared, replaced by a pair of concerned emerald eyes.

Jaina felt her cheeks burning. "You're not... I mean, you're..."

Zekk blinked. "Jaina?"

"You're not wearing anything underneath!"

Zekk felt his face flush and ducked his head. "I think I'll go die of humiliation now."

She grabbed his hand before he could turn; her mouth working before she thought. "Nothing to be humiliated about!"

He blinked again. What had she said? "Pardon."

Jaina's face was red, right to her hairline, mirroring his own. "I mean... Uh... can we start this again?"

Zekk folded the kilt tight around his legs and rose to his feet somewhat slower than he'd crouched, completely having forgotten his stated of un-dress when he'd seen her looking so helpless. Old instincts had kicked in and he'd come running to her rescue. Sort of.

Jaina accepted the hand he reached out for her and pulled herself to her feet. His muscles rippled as he braced himself for her weight and she couldn't help but note he was as well built around the kilt as the glimpse she'd had under it. She swallowed hard, fighting a slightly hysterical laugh. She'd been having enough problems trying to think of how to go about getting him to speak with her again and been given a completely unexpected look! How was she supposed to think straight now?


"Sorry." She coughed as the word came out as a gasp. "Sorry. I'm a little... I wasn't expecting that."

"Me either. Can I buy you a drink to make up for it?"

She turned her gaze to the deck. "I don't drink. Not after what happened to dad."

Zekk patted her shoulder awkwardly. "I understand. How about a fizz pop or a caf, then?"

"Fizz pop?" Her head came up, her eyes lighting. "I haven't had one of those since we were back at your place on..." She cut herself off, the light fading.

"Coruscant." He finished her sentence with a smile. "It's alright; I'm not sad the place it gone. But I know what you mean, it's sure been a while."

Jaina shrugged. "Care to sit talk, or do you have a lot to do with your..." She waved at his attire.

"Kilt?" His grin was amused. "I lost a bet to your brother. Come on, I'll explain when we're seated. Maybe I'll even treat you to one of those fudge things you like so much."


Their awkwardness worked through mostly, they entered the lounge. They seated themselves at a booth in an out of the way corner and settled in across from each other, giggling like school children when the server came to take their order and gave them a strange look.

Jaina waved the server away before turning back to Zekk. "So you lost a bet with Jacen?"

Zekk nodded. "Yeah. We had this deal going that you'd get the seedship, not me. The terms were this." He waved to his kilt. "That, and I've given the Lightning Rod to him for a couple of years until my seedship is old enough to stand long separations without disastrous consequences."

"Oh." Jaina was quiet for a long minute. "Why do you think you got chosen for a seedship?"

He shrugged, leaning back on his bench. "I'm not certain. Could be that with you going back to your old squad, I've got more time than you do."

"I suppose."

He leaned forward, searching her gaze. "Are you alright with this, Jaina?"

She surged. "I suppose I have to be, don't I? I wasn't given a choice in if I was given a partner or not."

"That wasn't what I asked." His smile was faint. "I don't think I like the new diplomatic side of you. It's too contrary to your base nature."

She burst out laughing. "You don't like it? Know what, neither do I." She grinned at him. "Honestly, then? I hate it. I think it sucks that I wasn't given a seedship after all my hard work. I'm jealous of what you're going to have with yours."

"You shouldn't be."

She cocked her head at him. "Why not? I don't even have my own ship, let alone a living ship, who will always be there to respond to my thoughts and feelings. A ship that's more of a companion and friend than a machine."

Zekk sighed. "Jaina, you don't need that in a ship. You've got friends who will never let you down."

"Like you?" Her smile died. "You did let me down, Zekk. You turned your back on me when I needed you most."

"I didn't turn my back on you." His response was soft. "You turned away from me and took a path I couldn't follow. You know what the Darkside did to me when I traveled that road. How could you ask me to go willingly? How could you, Jaina, ask that of me? I would have followed you and it would have destroyed me."

She blinked back sudden tears forming in her gaze. "How could I not ask you, Zekk? You were the one person who's always been here for me when my brothers haven't. You're the one person who might have had an inkling of what I was feeling. I had no one else who cared enough to even consider my pain. And you turned and ran."

Zekk placed his hands on the table, opening his mouth to respond, but snapped it shut as the server placed their drinks on the table. He waited until the server had left before speaking.

"I ran because I knew I couldn't help you. To follow you meant death, either for you or myself. I would have, and still would, give my life willingly for you, Jaina. I know that, which is why I left. I didn't want to end up with a confrontation like the one in front of the Yavin Temple where I wouldn't fight you. I knew that you wouldn't have hesitated to strike me down."

"I would never-"

He held up his hand, cutting her off. "Let me finish. Because of your grief, the driving force behind what sent you to the Darkside, you wouldn't have been able to recognize me as an ally. You would have seen me as a betrayer who wouldn't help you in your quest and my death would have sent you down that path for good. I couldn't allow that; so I left."

She stared at him, amazed at what he'd just revealed. "How are you so sure?"

His gaze was serious. "Search your feelings, Jaina. You know I'm right. Can you honestly tell me that, if you'd come after me with your lightsaber and I'd refused to fight you, you wouldn't have struck me down?"

She was silent, staring at him incredulously. Horror came slowly as she realized that he was right. Had he refused to fight her, she would have struck him down and not thought about it twice.

Zekk could read the dawning realization in her gaze and smiled sadly. "That's why I left, Jaina. I couldn't be the one who would send you down that path for good. I knew you wouldn't understand then. I hope... I hope you can understand now why I did what I did."

An uncomfortable silence fell over them, and Jaina stared into her glass, feeling about two inches tall. The fizz in the glass rose slowly from the bottom before expelling itself on the top.

Much like her feelings. How could she tell him what she'd been thinking now? Especially now that she knew what she would have done had he not taken the road he'd chosen? How could she ask him for anything, even his friendship, knowing what she knew?

"I'll see you later, Jaina."

Her head came up with a start as he slid from the booth and walked away.

She opened her mouth to try and stop him, to try and say something, anything that would get him to stay. But she couldn't. She couldn't ask that of him, not until she sorted through her feelings.

Sorrow was sudden and overwhelming as Zekk disappeared through the door. And Jaina, unable to control the tears, placed her head on the table and let them come.

Zekk returned to the Lightning Rod, Jaina's sorrow almost palatable. She was hurting, far more than she'd been in a long time, and he'd been the cause. He hadn't intended for her to hurt, hadn't intended for her to take the revelation so hard, but she had. He sighed. He'd hated hurting her, but she'd needed to know. And, she had asked.

"What happened?"

Zekk slanted a look at Jacen, but kept walking towards his quarters. "I talked to Jaina."

"And you don't look happy about it. Something go wrong?"

Zekk turned to face his friend, leaning against the wall. "Everything. I'm changing out of this ridiculous outfit."

"You can't."

"I have to, Jacen. That or wear something underneath." He looked pointedly at his friend and turned back to his quarters.

Jacen stared after him and burst out laughing as the door closed in his face.

Dressed in dark pants and a dark shirt, rolling the sleeves up his forearms, Zekk emerged from the Lightning Rod and found Jacen sitting on the ramp waiting for him.

"Feel better?"

"Much." Zekk leaned back against the doorjamb, looking down at the younger man. "I can't believe you had me wearing that thing for two days!"

"You're the one who agreed to it. Besides, I never said you had to flash my sister. That was your own doing."

"Don't remind me." Zekk groaned, lowering himself to the ramp. "I don't know if she'll talk to me after today. I think I exposed some ugly truths she may not yet be ready to face."

"She's talking to you, at least."

"True." Zekk fell silent, examining the raw knuckles of his left hand.

"So what's the problem then?"

Zekk continued to examine his hand. "Did you hear about Hapes?"

"You mean her journey to the Darkside?"

Zekk nodded.

"Yeah, I've heard a little, but not all. Why?"

"Jaina asked me to go to the Darkside with her, before she asked Kyp."

Jacen didn't speak, and Zekk could feel his shock.

"Crazy, isn't it?" Zekk's voice was full of self derision. "She saves me only to ask me to take the very path I've been avoiding ever since that day on Yavin IV. Instead of go with her, of falling willingly into something I knew I could do easily, I turned away from her. I pushed her towards Kyp, a stronger Jedi than I, who would be able to pull himself from the fires of the Darkside. I ran away."

"You protected her." Jacen's voice was firm. You chose. You acted. And you're ashamed of saving your life and hers?"

Zekk smiled wryly. "Perhaps. Though I think I'm ashamed I didn't have the strength to stop her before her plunge. A Jedi should have been able to divert her course, regardless of her grief."

Jacen shrugged. "Maybe or maybe not. There are no certainties on that. I think you did the right thing, Zekk. Yes, it drove her from you and into Jagged Fel's arms, but she's not there anymore. Don't you think maybe these last years since that moment she's had to take the time to find her balance again? I can't sense her as readily as I used to, but recently I find she's been more at peace. She's found something, decided on something, that's been a long time in coming. Give her a chance, she might surprise you."

Zekk found a smile for his friend. "You're not matchmaking are you?"

Jacen grinned. "Never. Tenel Ka and I tried that back at the academy and look how that turned out. No, you're on your own now, I'm just trying to give you the tools to make a decision and act on it."

"Choose and act." Zekk quoted Jacen's oft said phrase. "Can I assume that's something you learned during your disappearance?"

"It is." Jacen was amiable. "It's served me well thus far. If you choose to follow it, it will serve you well, too."

"I think I'll stick by what I already know, thanks." Zekk smiled to take the sting out of his dry tone.

Jacen pushed himself to his feet. "Suit yourself. I'm going to turn in; see you in the morning."

"'night." Zekk stayed sitting where he was on the ramp of the Lightning Rod. Tomorrow morning they'd be leaving. He only hoped by then that Jaina would be able to forgive him the unintentional hurt and they could part on good terms. If not, he had a feeling this would be their last encounter.

And that was something he didn't think he could live with.

Zekk was stripped to the waist, sweat beading on his skin as he lifted another of the cargo crates he and Jacen would be bringing back with them on the return trip of their journey. He adjusted the heavy container in his arms before walking with slow steps to the ramp of the Lightning Rod.

Of all the days the donks had to quit! He shook his head, his ponytail lifting slightly to bring cool air to the nape of his neck and wiping away the sweat. How was it, when the electronic loaders failed, there wasn't a droid to be seen?

He placed his cargo at the top of the ramp, Jacen sliding it across the hold as Zekk went to retrieve another. Zekk wiped a forearm across his brow. A dozen left.

"Use the Force, it's easier you know."

Zekk slanted a look at his friend over his shoulder. "Since when do you use the Force with such abandon?"

Jacen leaned against the hatch's doorframe, grinning. "Since I'm lazy and it helps hard work go faster."

Zekk laughed. "Liar." He turned back, grunting as he picked up the next crate, his muscles straining until he got a comfortable hold on it. "You'll never keep that physique if you keep whimping out, my friend."

"I'm not the ladies man." Jacen reminded him. "Besides, you're enjoying all the attention. Every woman in the hanger must be staring at you with their jaw on the floor."

Zekk ignored the comment and the teasing note in Jacen's voice. Yes, he was aware of the attention, but he didn't like the attention. Not really. The one person he wanted to have pay attention to him wasn't there. He worked his way up the ramp before depositing the crate.

Jacen was staring at him, a solemn look on his face.


Jacen shrugged. "You've gotten serious, old friend. Did the war do that to you?"

"No." Zekk smiled faintly. "You can thank your sister for that. Remind me again why I'm the one hauling your cargo up this ramp?"

Jacen smiled roguishly, looking startlingly like Han for half a second. "Because you're stronger than lil' ole me. Get me another one, we're almost done."

Zekk shook his head, walking back towards the stack of crates. Most of the large ones were now loaded, leaving only one large, several medium sized crates and a couple of small. He crouched to pick up the last of the large ones when a pair of scuffed flight boots stopped beside him, shapely thighs at eye level. He felt his mouth go dry, and knew without looking who was standing beside him.

"Can I help?"

He looked up, his gaze wandering over her uncontrollably, over those muscular, shapely thighs, past her hips to her narrow waist, up to the slightly up-turned tilt of her breasts until they reached her face, settling on the molten brandy that was her gaze. He caught the slight flush on her cheeks and wondered if his perusal had insulted her.

He saw her eyes drop as he slowly stood, feeling her gaze like a brand as it wandered from his face down to the muscles of his chest. Down, along his hips, and caught the blush as she suddenly tore her gaze away, unable to look at him.

"What'd you have in mind, Stix?"

Her gaze was pulled back to his, his soft words alleviating her embarrassment. "Uh... I heard you and Jacen were leaving tomorrow. I thought I might help you guys, since the donks are down."

"Anxious to get rid of me?"


He stared at her, uncertain if he was simply reading her lips, or if he'd actually heard that soft protest. "Say again?"

She took a deep breath. "I don't want you to go. It seems I owe you an apology, Zekk."

"For what?"

"Hapes." She sat on the crate he'd been about to lift, conscious of the fact her brother had made himself scarce since she'd arrived. "I took your turn away from me as something it wasn't. I assumed something about you, something I should know better than to think. For that, I spent the better part of the last years trying to ignore and forget you. I'm sorry I asked you to fall with me to the Darkside. I'm sorry I wasn't strong enough to understand what you were doing at the time. I'm sorry I wasn't strong enough to avoid the Darkside when I thought Anakin and Jacen were dead."

Zekk reached out to place a hand on her shoulder, feeling his fingers curl almost possessively around her flesh, and slid his hand downward in an unintentional caress to grasp her fingers. "I understand."

Jaina shivered, squeezing his hand. "You shouldn't. Why you don't hate me, I don't know. I would hate me if I was you."

"I could never hate the woman I love, Jaina." His smile was soft. "As a child, as a teenager, and now as an adult. Your fire, regardless of how you've changed, has always remained. You're a passionate, honest, decent person. I've always admired you; I couldn't hate you if I tried. Trust me." His smile turned self mocking. "I tried that, all I ended up doing was missing you. You'll always be my friend. I know you don't want my as something more, but I'll always love you."

She stared at him, her mouth open, unable to respond. She had not expected that!

Zekk squeezed her hand and released it, turning to the medium crate next to the crate she was sitting on.

Jaina watched, feeling her emotions reeling, as Zekk crouched and proceeded to pick up another crate and carry it to the Lightning Rod. How could he be so calm telling her that he loved her? How could he simply say it as so much a fact and then continue what he was doing? He'd sent her senses into a tailspin with a touch, rendered her speechless with a word, and continued as if it was an every day thing for him.

How dare he!

Zekk had placed the crate in the open mouth of the cargo bay and was turning to get the next when a human rocket suddenly slammed into him, driving him into the darkness of the hold. He rolled with the impact, as unexpected as it was, to kill the momentum. Once a street rat, always a street rat, he thought wryly. He hit the crates Jacen had stacked inside the hold on the third roll, causing stars to explode in front of his eyes as their momentum was suddenly stopped.

Warm, aggressive lips settled over his, applying pressure and pleasure he'd never experienced. The stars that were exploding suddenly weren't from his impact. He returned the kiss, putting every ounce of his feelings into it. He loved her. He'd loved her since he'd met her or somewhere shortly thereafter. Their kiss turned into something soft, a merging of passions, and his hands swept down her back to settle on her waist.

Her felt her hands in his hair, roughly breaking the band which held it in place and catching the weight of his mane. He would have purred if she hadn't been kissing him, as her fingers combed gently through the off-black mass.

Jaina pulled back sharply looking down at him in the faint light from outside. She was breathing hard, her chest heaving, and her hair wild. A smudge of something from the cargo bay floor was on her cheek, and her flight suit showed new grease marks.

Zekk reached up to grasp her face in his hands. "You are so beautiful."

She smiled softly. "You're not so bad yourself, Jedi. Do you mean it, Zekk?"

"That you're beautiful? Of course! I would never lie to you about something like that!"

"No, I mean about never having stopped loving me."

His smile was only for her. "Never. Not even when you took up with Fel."

She curled close, resting her head on his chest. "I don't know why you do, Zekk, but I'm not letting you take that back."

"I wouldn't want to." It was his turn to stroke her hair, and he felt her press closer, nuzzling his chest. He felt a pleasurable burning sensation as her lips placed a gentle kiss on the bare skin of his chest. "Jaina!"

She grinned, and he could feel it. "I'm going to need a little time to get my head straight, Zekk."

"Take all the time you want." He pushed her away slightly, so he could look her in the eyes. "I'm not asking you for anything, Jay. I love you isn't a way to get you to admit the same. It's a gift; no strings. I'll be here if you need me."

"But, I want there to be strings!" She flushed, visible even in the dull light. "I mean, I know you're not asking anything of me. I wish you would though."

"Like what?"

She grinned, suddenly and slyly. "Is that offer of a co-pilot still open?"

Zekk laughed. "If my seedship doesn't object."

Her face fell. "Oh. I forgot about that."

Zekk hugged her tightly. "There's enough room for two. I'll always want you as a co-pilot Jaina. Always. But I have to warn you, I usually fly a lot of long, solo missions."

"Me too. I'd like it if I could keep you company though." She smiled, returning the hug. "So what if things progress?"

"Then they progress." His smile was easy. "Come on, let's get these crates loaded. Then we can get started on our future."

She pushed to her feet, helping him to his, a smile, a genuine, open, eye-reaching smile on her lips. "The future. Sounds like things are looking up. Almost heavenly."

He daringly smacked her tush, propelling her out the door. "Still think so?"

Jaina yelped, rubbing her backside. "Just try that again when you're wearing that kilt, fly boy, then we'll see what happens!"

Zekk threw his head back and laughed. The future was indeed looking up.