I Can Wait Forever
Part Five

Rating: PG

Kyp groaned. She was out of uniform. No, that was putting it too mildly. She was trying to give him and all the other middle aged pilots a collective heart attack. It was the only possible explanation for the midnight blue, backless dress Jaina Solo donned for her retirement party.

It wasn’t a surprise party, exactly. General Antilles had long since learned it was impossible to plan something as big as a retirement party without a Jedi sensing it and figuring out what was planned.

Kyp was glad Wedge Antilles had decided to put together this going away party for Jaina, surprise or not. She needed it. Jaina needed to see the positive impact she’d made on the people she’d served with. And how much they’d miss her.

His eyes couldn’t seem to move from where she stood in a crowd of pilots laughing and telling stories. He lifted his glass of whiskey in a salute to her. “You’re all grown up, kid.”

“She’s not the only one, it would seem, who has done some growing up,” Colonel Celchu commented, pushing past Kyp to select a drink from the offerings on the bar.

Years ago, Kyp would have been insulted by a comment like that, but now he just shrugged it off and took a step to the side to make some space at the bar for the Rogue. “Jaina is like looking in a mirror,” Kyp admitted. “Thank the Force she listened even a little to what I had to say, or she would be just like I was before Carrida and after.” The thought made Kyp shudder.

“So ... you really are her Jedi Master.”

Kyp blinked at the older man in surprise. “Where did you hear that?”

Tycho shrugged, and took a sip of his drink to hide a smile, “Rumors.” Tycho’s appraising stare made Kyp uncomfortable.

“Jaina’s a grown woman, and a full fledged Jedi. She doesn’t need a Master, hasn’t for a while.”

Tycho seemed to consider that. “And children no longer need their parents once they’re grown up. You just keep telling yourself that ... I’m sure it will keep you warm at night.” Tycho smirked at the Jedi and disappeared into the crowd.

Kyp shook his head, in disbelief. The man had never spoken a word to him outside mission briefings, and now Tycho Celchu was handing out relationship advice? Kyp turned back to the bar to get another glass, when a hand brushed his arm. He looked over his shoulder and found Jaina smiling up at him.

“Colonel Celchu giving you trouble, Master Durron?”

“Not trouble, no. Just a bit of advice.” Kyp picked up a full glass off the bar and downed it in once gulp, reveling in the burn.

Jaina rolled her eyes. “Do I even want to know?”

“Probably classified.”

“Uh huh.” Jaina took the empty glass from his hand and returned it to the bar. “Well, if you’re done drinking up half the ship’s stock of whiskey, I want to dance.”

Kyp frowned, “With me?”

“No, Kyp, I want to dance Kettch the stuffed Ewok pilot. Of course, I want to dance with you. I think the alcohol has fogged your brain ... ”Kyp allowed Jaina to drag him into the cleared space people were using as a dance floor. The song was slow, sensual, and he bit back a sigh when Jaina wrapped her arms around his neck and laid her cheek against his shoulder. Kyp wrapped his arms around her slender waist and rocked with her to the tempo of the music.

“My brain needs to be fogged, Goddess, so the dress you’re almost wearing doesn’t kill me.”

“You don’t like it?” Jaina pouted, but Kyp could tell it was an act. She knew exactly the effect her dress would have on the males at her party, females seemed to know that sort of thing from a young age. “If your father were here, he’d cover you with my cloak, so all those horny pilots can’t keep staring at your backside.”

“Speaking of horny pilots, I should thank you.”

“What have I done to deserve the Great One’s gratitude?”

Jaina snuggled a little closer. “After you left, there was this swarm of young men around me every time I entered the mess hall or the pilot rec rooms. It never occurred to me that you were doing something to keep them away, until you were gone.”

“Are you sure it wasn’t just my fearsome reputation that kept them away?” Kyp gave one of his trademark scowls. “I would never use my considerable Force powers for something as menial as shooing away annoying young men. It would be beneath me.”

He could feel her shaking with silent laughter. “Come on, Darth Ego, what did you do to them? I ... order you to tell me ... ”

“Well, I did notice young men watching you, but if they got within about ten meters, they always seemed to start scratching all over and wheezing. I have no idea why that would happen; my guess would be they couldn’t handle being so close to a real Goddess.”

“Oh Kyp, that’s evil.”

Kyp grinned. “If I were evil, I would have done it to Jag, too.”

“Jealous?” Jaina smiled.

“Protective. You were like an apprentice to me for a while there. I promised your dad I’d watch out for you.”

She nodded, but her voice was laced with sarcasm. “Right. I’m sure that’s all it was. Speaking of Dad, it’s probably a good thing my dad isn’t here tonight. He’s very observant and he might notice the mark you made on my neck ... ”

“I didn’t!”

Jaina pushed the hair off her left shoulder to show Kyp her neck. There was one half of the midnight blue tie strap that held the bodice of her dress in place, and just above that on the pale, creamy skin of her neck was a small, but clearly visible red mark. “You most certainly did.”

Kyp could feel embarrassment heating his cheeks. The Jedi Master hadn’t left a mark like that on a woman in more than a decade, but Jaina always seemed to make his control slip. He managed to mumble a mostly sincere apology.

Jaina pulled back and looked into his eyes, “Don’t bother being sorry, Kyp, I’m not.”

“Dangerous,” Kyp muttered under his breath. “Really kriffing dangerous ... ” He was carefully rearranging her hair to hide the offending mark when he felt a firm tap on his shoulder. He turned slowly to look.

Gavin Darklighter standing beside them, smiling in a way that made Kyp wonder what the other man was up to. “Excuse me, Master Durron, may I cut in? This may be the last chance I get to dance with Jaina.”

Kyp scowled for a few seconds, then stepped back and let Jaina move into the Rogue Colonel’s arms.

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