Project Echo: Part 2
Rating: PG
Gillian F. Taylor

Iella was reading a story aloud when she heard the sound of the apartment door opening. Syal heard it too, and wriggled off her mother's lap, toddling determinedly to the door of the living room. Wedge entered and paused, looking around. Iella sighed inwardly: Wedge had always kept his quarters very tidy when he lived alone, but even reasonably tidy seemed a challenge when there was a small child about.

"Da, Da, Da," Syal greeted him, the volume increasing with each repetition. She held her arms up expectantly.

Wedge looked down at her, then bent to pick her up, settling her rather heavily against his hip. Syal threw her arms around his neck and kissed his cheek, babbling happily at him. Iella followed their daughter, slipping one arm around Wedge's waist and giving him a kiss. She felt a slight hesitation before his lips pressed back against hers, as though she'd surprised him. When she released him, he was looking at her with wonder in his eyes.

"Are you all right?" she asked, flicking her long hair back over her shoulder.

"Yes." He looked endearingly awkward. "You're so beautiful."

"I know," she answered, her eyes sparkling. "You're a very lucky man."

"Da !" yelled Syal, pulling on her father's hair.

Wedge flinched, and for a moment Iella saw the conditioned battle reflexes take over. All softness vanished from his face, his eyes becoming fierce with absolute concentration as he turned his head towards Syal. A moment later, he had suppressed his fighting instinct, and had visibly relaxed, managing a small smile for his startled daughter.

"Sorry." The apology was for both of them. "I've got a headache."

"There's painkillers in the bathroom cabinet," Iella said, reaching out to take Syal. "Would you like me to brew you some caf?"

"Yes, please," Wedge said, passing his daughter to her mother. He gently touched Syal's fair hair and smiled at her. "I think I will get the painkillers."

Iella put Syal down on the sofa and gave her the holobook she'd been reading from earlier. Looking up before turning to the kitchen, she saw Wedge heading for the corridor that led to the bedrooms and bathroom. He seemed to be moving a little less certainly than usual, which suggested to Iella that his headache was worse than he admitted to. Which was typical of Wedge, who hated to make a fuss about his health. Shaking her head at his stubbornness, she went to make the caf, and start the evening meal.

* * * * *

"Has the headache gone?" she asked later, as they settled into bed together. Wedge had seemed a little preoccupied all evening, less relaxed than he usually was when he got home.

Wedge blinked at her then smiled. "Yes; I'm fine thanks."

Iella hitched herself closer to him and reached over to rub between his shoulderblades. He often carried a lot of tension there and the rubbing soothed him. They were lying face to face, just a few inches apart. Iella gazed into his eyes, fascinated as always by the slight green tint to the brown iris'. The green colour wasn't obvious except in strong light, or from close range.

"How's the restructuring of Rogue Squadron going?" Iella asked, guessing that rebuilding the unit might be what was causing his stress.

"It's on schedule," Wedge replied. "Being back feels rather like starting over again."

Iella could feel him starting to relax now, his muscles becoming looser. She slid her hand down to the small of his back and smiled.

"You don't have a headache now, and I don't have a headache, so…" She pulled herself against him and kissed him.

Wedge responded slowly, a little tentative at first, then he let her deepen the kiss. When they broke apart, Iella slid her hand up and down his spine and listened to his soft sound of surprised delight. His eyes lit up with fierce pleasure and he wrapped his arms tightly around her as he kissed her again, harder this time. Iella was breathless when he finally broke the kiss. Wedge seemed suddenly intense and she was reminded of the way he had been on that memorable night on Adumar. Playfulness was replaced by a sudden rush of hot desire through her body and Iella willingly yielded to Wedge's vigorous, almost rough, lovemaking.

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