Heat: 04 Rating: PG-13
Diana deRiggs

They ate the next course in silence, though it wasn't as uncomfortable a silence as once might assume. Rather, they both had some things to think about and they let their thoughts occupy their attention.

Unable to figure out if Jagged was hoping to humiliate Jaina, or hoping to rekindle something between them, she decided she needed some air. Exasperated at knowing that on this level of Coruscant, there was no real atmosphere to be breathed, Jaina still felt that a walk would help her clear her head.

As was common in more formal dinners, there was a break between the main meal and dessert. This was normally occupied by speeches and various entertainments. Jaina discretely excused herself and hurried out of the room, hugging an dimly lit wall, so as not to draw too much attention. She didn't think anyone would notice; Jagged had barely even acknowledged her at the table.

Once out in the corridor, she headed toward the refreshers, hoping there was a divan or a sick-room where she could lie down and try to sort out the turmoil in her head.

What was he playing at? Why was Jagged being warm one moment, then aloof and chilly the next? He was scolding, yet complimentary. Anyone seeing them together would think they had had a good conversation and some conflicting but amicable rapport. Or, so Jaina thought.

Would anyone see the turmoil in me?

She'd told Jagged that she had grown tired of him; well, both him and Zekk. They'd moved against each other due to jealousy over Jaina. After her aunt, Mara Jade, had died, she'd decided she'd had it with men. She'd even gone so far as to have several torrid but unsatisfying affairs with women and other species. At least, she learned that she actually craved men ...

Jaina pushed open the wall controls to admit her into the refresher. Many formal banquet facilities not only offered gender-separated rooms, but also by species types. She knew that Ithorian women did not use refreshers, since their bodies were able to retain moisture for months at a time. But as in Home One, the Mon Calmari mother-ship, environmentally controlled facilities were offered in many public buildings so that all species could have some level of comfort in private moments. Therefore facilities were prepared for the bulky species to have a place to lie down or adjust other aspects of themselves.

Jaina knew there were be large seats and that the room would likely be empty. In any case, if an Ithorian woman came in, the soothingly dim lights would make it difficult for the metabolically slower species members to see her, and Jaina would be able to scoot out quickly before she was noticed.

As expected, there was no one in the and Jaina lay on a divan behind a privacy wall and stretched out her body. Closing her eyes, she willed herself to breath in the cooling, misty, jungle-simulated air and relax.

She felt herself drifting in her thoughts as the hum of the condensers and air blowers cycled on and off to maintain the room's humidity and temperature. In the dim simulated jungle-intensity lights, Jaina dozed ... and dreamt.

She saw Jagged in the jungle, after her mother had shot his ship down over Tenupe. Like the Imperial TIE pilot, Qorl, who'd been crash-landed on Yavin 4, Jagged scrounged to survive. She saw him exhausted, trying to make a bed so he could get some meaningful rest. As he lay on a crude mattress of bracken and moss, she saw his thoughts ... betrayal ... sorrow ... anger. But underneath it all, like an underground stream, his hold on sanity was anchored for his love of Jaina ...

Touched by his passion for her, she reached for his cheek. He turned to her and she felt her lips press to his, comforting him in his dire moment. He reached up to stroke her hair ...

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