Heat: 01 Rating: PG
Diana deRiggs

"I see you're in a position of power ... again." Jaina had never felt so awkward talking to a man. What was it about Jagged Fel that made her all stupid?

He nodded without looking at her, grimly. She had that denigrating way of referring to his new pan-galactic position. "All at a cost, Jaina. And you ... you have fulfilled the nickname your uncle gave you?"

Jagged was referring to Sword of the Jedi, the title bestowed to Jaina when she was knighted in the Jedi Order. But truth to be told, no one really understood what that meant at the time.

Mirroring her adversary, Jaina also nodded. "I suppose; there is still doubt that the title's meaning. Killing Darth Caedus ... people seem to think that's what the prophetic nature of the title meant." She pursed her lips. "Not that killing my brother was easy or pleasurable."

Jagged looked away, knowing the turmoil his former paramour suffered for her brothers — both dead. He knew she absorbed the blame for these deaths. That's what drew him to her — her bond to her brothers was as close as the one felt by Jagged to his Chiss brothers and sisters.

Sensing Jagged's discomfort, and acknowledging she didn't want to discuss this topic either, Jaine turned the subject toward more personal questions. "Met anyone new, Jagged?"

Arching an eyebrow, he allowed himself to glance askance at Jaina. "A few. And you?"

Jaina laughed lightly, though ironically. "Zekk is dead. No one, not since then. And Kyp ..."

Jagged tried to return the laugh, but it felt heavy and wet. "Ah ... so no one new, since?"

It was her turn to look away. "I've ... been busy."

The silence between them grew uncomfortable, but Jagged had learned to be comfortable in uncomfortable silences. He had learned in his many years of exile that in negotiations, silence was your friend if you resisted the urge to fill it with chatter. So, he said nothing.

Jaina found that keeping her composure was difficult, especially since Jagged seemed to be accusing her of ...

Well, she wasn't sure what it was, but it sure did feel like an accusation!

"Jagged," at last, Jaina broke the silence, punctuating his name with an embarrassingly trembling sigh. "Shouldn't you be home with ... with whoever ...?"

Again, a grim smile from Jagged. "That's none of your business, Jaina."

Initially and momentarily, Jaina's anger flared. Jagged saw it in her eyes, and was bemused and satisfied.

But in less than a blink of a human eye, she reigned in her feelings and smiled at her adversary. But Jagged had no doubt of her real feelings.

"You're being a little coy, aren't you?" Jaina was trying hard to get the information she'd assumed. No point in pursuing Jagged if he's already committed. I'm not a homewrecking slut! she reminded herself.

Though not strong in the Force, Jagged knew what Jaina was thinking. That flare-up in her eyes was all he needed to see to know that her feelings for him were still alive!


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