Disclaimer: Bioware owns Jade Empire characters and main story lines. I just had some ideas to help flesh out the romance between Wu and Sky. This is my first fanfic; critiques and suggestions are welcome!

This takes place outside of Tien's Landing, after the Pirate's Lair. The characters are currently in the Great Southern Forest, specifically at the Temple of the Forest Shadow. Night is falling, so they're making camp.

Peaceful Moments

Part 1

Wu studied the darkening sky and forest with a sigh. "I think we'll stop here for the night and go after the Forest Shadow in the morning, when we're fresh." She turned to find Sky the only one paying attention to her; Whirlwind and Hou were busy discussing wine and fights in the temple courtyard.

Sky shrugged his shoulders, "Who would have thought that those two would get along so well? They make quite the pair," he said, sounding amused.

Wu's shy smile flitted over her face before turning serious again. "I guess we better get some food started. It's a good thing we scavenged some vegetables and greens along the way."

Wu and Sky turned to one of the small fires burning near the courtyard of the Forest Shadow's temple. Sky dug their small pot out of his pack as Wu grabbed their water flasks for rice. While the water warmed, they cleaned the greens that they had found along the forest pathway. A small spring nearby refilled their water flasks.

As she worked along Sky, Wu stole a brief sidelong glance at him. She was enjoying how well they worked together. In spite of their different fighting styles and their relative newness to each other, Sky quickly adapted to covering her back, doing as good of a job as Dawn Star. Wu also liked Sky's sense of humor, a refreshing change from Zu's criticisms and Dawn Star's need for reassurance. And, Wu admitted to herself, it was nice to be flirted with. Her martial abilities often intimidated other students and villagers in Two Rivers. Jing Woo was one of the few that showed some interest in her, but she had thought of him more as a younger brother. There had been Liu, that young fisherman from the village, but other than him and Jing Woo, no-

Sky broke their companionable silence and Wu's thoughts. "It looks like Whirlwind's been hitting the wine early and hard. Perhaps we should take the first watch and let him sleep some of that off."

Hou looked up at them and a look of horror came over his face. "What are you two-" he rushed over and stood between them and the cooking pots. "I will be doing the cooking. Everyone knows that fighters and thieves can't cook a decent meal if their lives depended on it! Shoo!" Hou waved his hands at them, banishing Sky and Wu to the courtyard. "Let me see if I can salvage any of this…" he muttered, hunched possessively over the pots.

Whirlwind ambled over to Hou. "Those vegetables could use some wine for a sauce," and he began expounding on different dishes that he had added alcohol to, which was pretty much everything that Whirlwind had ever cooked. All his recipes had wine on the side for drinking as well.

Wu shook her head with her slight smile and sat in the courtyard. She began her breathing exercises and concentrated on calming her mind. She took slow, deep breaths in through her nose, filling her lungs, and slowly exhaled through her mouth. She kept her eyes open, focusing on a tree branch across the courtyard. Wu had never been able to keep her posture straight if she closed her eyes, always slowly tipping her head forward and slouching her shoulders. She relaxed her muscles with every breath out.

After a short time, Wu began to "wake" from her meditations. She sat quietly, her hands resting on her knees, enjoying the relaxation and peaceful mind that mediation gave her. Sky had also seated himself near her, although he was working on stretching. "If I had known what Gao had done to your family, I would have waited for you. I should have realized. I'm sorry." She kept her eyes on the trees across the courtyard, feeling too embarrassed to meet his eyes.

Sky paused his stretches in surprise. "Considering that I didn't exactly tell you why I was there, there's no need to apologize. What's important is that those men will never be able to tear another family apart," Sky smiled grimly. "You were also hurt by his actions. Dawn Star told me about your village and school being burnt to the ground."

Wu shook her head. "I mean it when I said that I should have realized. What kind of a valuable thing would slave traders have taken from you? It was obvious; I just didn't pay attention." She met his eyes, "I'm sorry."

Sky faintly smiled at her then, hesitantly, reached out and covered her hand with his. They both sat, quietly mourning those that had to be left in the past, neither of them as alone as they thought they would be.