Zekk faces his inner demons and tells Jaina how he really feels. But is it already too late?
Author: Cerasi J.
Category: Zekk/Jaina romance, angst, drama
Spoilers: YJK books, NJO books
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Feedback: Please! I'm addicted to it! CerasiJ@yahoo.com
Summary: Zekk faces his inner demons and tells Jaina how he really feels. But is it already too late?
Disclaimer: Don't own J/Z, or anything from Star Wars, George Lucas is the man.
Author's Note: This story is set right after New Jedi Order: Vector Prime/, but before /New Jedi Order: Dark Tide 1: Onslaught
At 4:03 A.M. Monday morning Zekk's comm link buzzed him out of a deep, peaceful sleep. He managed to raise his right eyelid halfway to see what all the noise was and cursed softly when he realized it wasn't his alarm going off.
He rolled over and fumbled for the switch to answer it. His hand finally hit it, "Hello?" He left the What the hell do you want? hanging thick in the air.
A familiar voice flooded his dark bedroom, "Zekk? Zekk, its Jacen." Zekk's foggy thoughts fought to wake themselves as he pondered why Jacen would be calling so early. He swallowed and willed his eyes to open long enough to get his buddy off the comm. "Jacen...? Dude, do you know what time it is?"
"Yeah, I know," Jacen's voice broke with emotion, for a fleeting moment Zekk dismissed it as static interference, but when the young Solo spoke again, there was no mistaking the pain in his tone. "I just thought... you'd want to know-..."
Adrenaline found its way into Zekk's bloodstream and he was finally wide awake. He bolted upright in his bed at hearing the fear in his friend's voice. "Jacen, what is it? What's the matter?"
A muffled sob on the other end of the comm was his only reply. "Jacen? Talk to me, Jacen!" Gasping for a fresh breath, Jacen replied, "Jaina..."
Zekk's blood turn to ice in his veins and panic quickly replaced adrenaline, "What's wrong with Jaina?" He demanded as a thousand thoughts, feelings and memories of Jaina flashed through his brain.
To say things had been hard for Jaina and Zekk over the past few months would be the understatement of the year. Only a week after Chewbacca had passed away, Zekk returned home to Courscant, and for Jaina, seeing her old flame after such a traumatic event had been like a breath of fresh air. She'd gone to Zekk for support and a shoulder to cry on. She'd shared her pain with him and he'd never felt more connected to her in his entire life.
The only problem was Zekk's new girlfriend, GalÃ¡ Tyvek.
Jaina, of course, had eventually found out about GalÃ¡. One evening when she showed up to his apartment unexpectedly, baring a home cooked meal for him. When GalÃ¡ answered the door in her nightgown, Jaina simply placed the meal in the blonde woman's hands and muttered something about the take-out had already been paid for and fled with tears in her eyes. Zekk hadn't even been home, he'd been with Peckham that evening at a local watering hole and he heard the whole story from GalÃ¡ later in the evening.
Zekk pulled himself out of his thoughts and promptly remembered the problem at hand. As calmly as he could he asked, "Jacen, please tell me, what happened?" Jacen's sniffles hadn't subsided and the mention of his twin's name sent him into a fresh round of tears, "Jaina," he sobbed again. "W-was in an accident."
All the blood ran from the raven haired man's face and his breath whooshed out of his lungs like Jacen had just slapped him with an iron glove. "Is she... is she...?" Was all he could manage.
Jacen sniffled on the other end of the line, "No, she's not. But she's close." Every ounce of energy drained from Zekk in that one moment, he felt he was on the verge of a breakdown. Clearing his throat to break up the tears, he said, "Jacen, tell me where you are and I'll be right down."
Jacen gave him the address and directions to the emergency trauma center and told him to hurry. Zekk shut off the comm and flopped back onto his bed, trembling, a million thoughts bouncing around in his brain: How could this happen? Why did it have to happen? Why Jaina? Why did it have to happen to his best friend?
After lying there for what seemed like ages, he finally pulled himself to his feet. Numbly, he stumbled around, looking for the lights. Once he found them he set about finding some clothes, but everywhere he looked all the saw was Jaina. The grease of the Falcon smearing the delicate skin on her cheeks and forehead; the bright sun of Yavin IV shining brilliantly off her auburn hair.
He located a black t-shirt and pulled it over his head, still doused in memories of his former flame. He remembered one hot, humid day at the Jedi Academy when they snuck away together, to a private swimming pond. It was the most beautiful place he'd ever seen. A cool, clear tropical waterfall crashed into a crystal pool below. Jaina had stripped down to her under things and dove in, Zekk had merely gaped at the sidelines. She had laughed at him for blushing.
He reached to pull on his boots and told himself he would wake up soon and the moment he did, he would tell Jaina he was sorry for GalÃ¡ and the pain he put her through. He was sorry for all the bad things he'd done and he wanted to make it up to her.
As he walked out the door, he told himself that when he woke up he would tell Jaina how much he loved her.
But the time he got to the trauma center, he still hadn't woken up. As he went inside and looked around at the sterile, white walls, he didn't wake up. When a nurse directed him to the waiting area and he saw Han, Leia, Jacen and Anakin sitting there with teary eyes and heavy hearts he finally realized this was no dream. His own heart cracked in two and it ached for the family seated before him. Zekk looked away to hide his tears.
Jacen finally stood and walked toward him. Zekk embraced the younger man tightly and asked quietly, "How is she?" Jacen grasped his friend's shoulders, as if to steady him and his red eyes filled up again, "The doctors said if she makes it through the afternoon she might... have a 50/50 chance."
Zekk stood there, staring into Jacen's now dull looking brown eyes, pale and shaking and wondering how in the hell this could have happened. He worked up the nerve to put his question into words. "Do you know how it happened?"
"We don't know," Jacen replied, finally dropping his arms from Zekk's shoulders. "We got a call about an hour ago saying that she was in an accident, that's all we know." Zekk nodded, and quickly swiped a hand through his messy hair to distract himself from the moisture building up behind his eyes.
Leia rose and came to stand beside Jacen; she slipped an arm around her son, protectively. "Thank you for coming, Zekk." Always the diplomat, she gave him a hint of a smile. Zekk reached out and impulsively embraced her as well, "Is there anything I can do for you? Anything at all?"
Leia squeezed Zekk hard with her thanks and whispered, "Pray." He couldn't choke back the tears any longer, and with wetness streaming down his cheeks, he asked, "Can I see her?" Jacen shook his head violently, his shoulders shaking, "You don't want to see her! She's bloody and messed up! She looks... unhuman!"
"But I want to see her!" Zekk protested. Jacen turned away, marching over to sit with his father and brother. He knew it must be harder for Jacen, being a twin and all. Leia watched her son carefully and spoke up when he was out of ear shot, "The doctors might let you see her in a little while. I know you and Jaina are close." Zekk brushed a hand over his face, wiping the wetness away. He knew the doctors were doing everything in their power right now and he had to be tolerant of them.
But he couldn't help the little node in his brain that was screaming, "What if there isn't 'a little bit'? She's slipping away, what if this is it? What if I never get to say I'm sorry?"
Finally responding to Leia's statement he said, "Yes... she's my best friend. She will always be my best friend, no matter what happens." Leia managed a watery smile and she reached into the pocket of her robes. She placed a small leather bound book in his hands.
At Zekk's curious expression, she explained, "It's Jaina's journal, she... gave it to me for safe keeping many years ago. I guess she kept this when she was at the Academy... She told me if anything ever happened to her I should give it to you." Shocked and humbled, Zekk accepted the worn manuscript. He pondered briefly for a moment why she would give it to him and not Jacen, but he swiftly stuck those thoughts from his mind.
He slipped it into his own coat pocket and nodded at Leia, "Thank you for thinking of me." She returned his nod, "Of course." A heavy silence fell between them and Zekk could sense Leia's need to be with her family. As gracefully as he could he excused himself to go find some coffee.
He made his way out of the dreary trauma center and into a town square. It was surprisingly busy for so early in the morning. The sun wasn't even fully overhead yet. He wove through crowds of dignitaries and senators to a little bench in front of a large water fountain. He sat down and pulled out Jaina's little book. He flipped it over in his rough, calloused hands, learning every inch of the cover, every fold of the well oiled leather.
Part of him wanted to open it and read every word, every feeling, every private conversation Jaina had ever written, but part of him felt as if he were her little brother sneaking into her room and reading her diary. He stared at the book, debating what to do with it.
A little voice within him taunted, Well, if Jaina wanted you to have it, she must have wanted you to read it...
He shoved the book back in his pocket in defiance to his twisted thoughts. He would keep it safe for her, and when she got better he would give it back to her. Simple as that. He glanced off to the east, toward the sunrise, a cool breeze rustling his long hair. He brushed it out of his face, wondering if he was time to get it cut. The long hair was part of his past, the past where he didn't think he was good enough for Jaina. The past where he hurt her.
When she woke up and was better, he would make it up to her. He would make her see how much he loved her and wanted to be with her. He just had to. Crystal tears shimmered in his jade colored eyes and streaked down his pale face when he thought of all the chances he had to tell her. He had always loved her, but was to afraid to tell her for fear it would ruin their wonderful friendship.
But/, he wondered, /what if their friendship was already in tatters because of the whole GalÃ¡ thing?
Zekk stood and decided he needed to take a long walk to clear the demons of the past from his head. By now, the sun was up and a brand new day was starting. As he walked, he prayed Jaina would live though this bright and sunny day so he could give her the love he desperately hid from her for so many years.
To Be Continued...