I Can Wait Forever
Part One

Rating: PG

The insistent beeping of his wrist-chrono dragged Jedi Master Kyp Durron up from the depths of his Healing trance. Kyp wasn’t injured, but as with many Jedi, he preferred the trance to long hours of boredom that hyperspace travel almost always entailed. Stretching out with his senses, Kyp smiled slightly when he connected with a familiar presence in the Force, Jaina Solo. It amazed him that even from such a distance, half an hour in realspace from her convoy, he knew she was unhappy. No, he corrected himself. Unhappy didn’t begin to cover the dark swirling tidal waves rippling outward in Force from the young woman.

What happened in the few months he’d been gone? Their parting had been good natured. Once it was announced that Twin Suns squadron was being decommissioned, the veteran pilots were cannibalized to fill out Rogue Squadron’s roster. One by one the pilots of his Dozen had been seduced away to fill empty slots in the other permanent squadrons of the Galactic Alliance. Jaina was offered her pick of any number of squadron slots or commands. As for Kyp, it was a relief to be free of commanding a squadron.

Dealing with people day after day was not one of Kyp’s strong suits, but he’d tolerated it for the sake of fighting the war. With the war in a final clean-up stage, Kyp knew who he was and what he had to do ... First and foremost he was a Jedi Master, one with a counsel seat that had gone empty for far too often. So, he’d gone to Mon Calamari to meet with Cal Omas and the Council.

With time to meditate, Kyp had recharged his physical and mental reserves. Spending time with other Jedi brought home the terrible losses the Jedi Order had suffered at the hands of the Vong. Nearly half the galaxies’ Jedi were dead. Some had been Kyp’s friends; one had been Kyp’s first and only apprentice. The Force felt smaller for their loss. It was this hollowness of the Force called to him during his meditations and pulled him to search for new Jedi candidates.

The war’s upheaval of the galaxy’s billions of people might work to the advantage of the Jedi. There were many refugee camps filled with the homeless. Peoples from every corner of the galaxy were all brought together, which made them good places for a search for Force sensitives. Kyp’s proposal to the Council was met with unanimous approval. In fact, it was decided that teams of Jedi could be sent out to survey the various camps, under the guise of humanitarian aid, and search for potential new Jedi.

The Jedi Master was talking and the other Jedi were listening, and treating him not as a Rogue Jedi to be feared, but as a respected Master. It was refreshing not to have to yell to be heard, and fight for every inch of ground. He’d had several long and surprisingly civil conversations with Luke Skywalker. Mara Jade Skywalker had even seemed less hostile toward him, but he knew that wouldn’t last long. For the first time in his life, Kyp felt as if pieces were falling into place in his life. He was even making slow progress in the Jaina Solo department.

Stretching more of his Force sense out to Jaina, Kyp sent her the Force equivalent of a warm, reassuring hug. What he got back in return was a jolt of surprise, followed quickly by the sense of the young Jedi reining in all of her emotions and locking them way from him. It was akin to someone opening a door to find you on the other side and slamming the door in your face. The pain of it surprised him, like an unexpected kick to the gut.

Jaina must have sensed an echo of his hurt because she reached out now, the momentary surprise passed. She slowly opened a bit of herself to him, and Kyp found himself wishing that she hadn’t. The realization that she’d caused him pain, even unintentionally, made her curious about why it had hurt him. A curious Jaina was not always a good thing. There were things it was better she didn’t think too much about. Subtlety was never one of his strong points, and as always when he dealt with Jaina, weak points were something she seemed to instinctively find and use against her them, and Kyp, too.

Kyp loved her and she loved someone else, so he did the only thing he could for her, he put his feelings into a box and locked them down tight. He had given the Jaina problem some meditation and the future vision the force had sent him and left him shocked and confused. Still, the possibility of Jaina in his future didn’t change the facts. He would never be worthy of her. All he had to do was ask Mara Jade-Skywalker or Leia Organa-Solo. There was nothing he could do that would ever erase who he was and what he’d done. Jaina acted like the past was behind them most of the time, but Kyp knew their partnership and his comfortable place in her life wouldn’t last forever. She was young, a work in progress, constantly changing and fulfilling her potential as a Jedi and a woman. He had to let her go out and live her own life, even if it meant a life without Kyp.

He was twenty minutes from her, but he sent a message, still shouldn’t spit on me, Goddess ... a reference to one of the worst nights of his life. It had been that night he’d had to acknowledge his growing respect for, and attraction to, Jaina Solo. She had stormed away from the hangar that night, locked herself in her room and cried. It took everything he had not to go to her and beg forgiveness. Not to hold her in his arms and say anything to stop the tears, tears of shattered trust that burned his soul like a powerful acid.

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