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Gungan to the left

Shared Losses (G)

By : Jedi Catriona

Archived on: Monday, June 30, 2003

The Rebellion's newest hero wrestles with the ghosts of his past and the uncertainty of the future.

Luke Skywalker stood among the trees at Yavin, listening to the distant music from the celebration drifting towards him with the wind. He sighed heavily and leaned against one of the trees. Tonight he was just not into the music and revelry, still emotionally drained from the previous day's events.

He walked further away from the merriment, stumbling along as tears began to fall. Several low branches pulled and picked at his jacket, as if to call him back to the safety of the base. Luke stopped and rubbed the tears from his eyes, only to have them fill up again. Slowly, he walked a few more feet and sank down to the ground. The tears began to freely spill down his face. Aunt Beru had told him that tears were the body's way of cleansing the heart's pain. He quietly resigned himself to just letting them fall.

He had gone from farm boy to hero in the few seconds it took him to fire that one lucky shot. However, Luke didn't feel lucky. He had merely been performing his duty, and as a result, over a million men had lost their lives. Repeatedly he had reminded himself that this was war. The Alliance would have suffered the same fate if the Death Star had not been destroyed. His one lucky torpedo shot had saved hundreds of other planets from the same fate as Alderaan.

Still, it made no sense to a young man that wanted so desperately to find his path in life. With Ben gone, there was no one left to teach him the ways of the Jedi. Where would he go from here? He had nothing but his rudimentary knowledge of the Force to guide him. His hand felt for the light saber that hung at his side. He would have to trust Ben's words that, "the Force would be with him always." Ben had believed in him, had been willing to train him. Luke could only hope that his blind faith would show him the way.

Luke squared his jaw and tightened his grip on the weapon that had once belonged to his father, a Jedi Knight. A rush of anger surged through the young man. Darth Vader was responsible for his father's death, as well as the deaths of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. "Anger is of the dark side," Ben had told him during their brief training on the Falcon. Luke took a deep breath and tried to let go of his feelings. I must overcome my anger if I am become a Jedi Knight. He took another deep breath and released it slowly. I will overcome my anger. I will become a Jedi Knight.

Luke reflected on how his life had changed so drastically the past few weeks. He had lost all that had mattered to him. Owen and Beru had been the only family he'd known. Their deaths had been devastating, ripping out a massive part of his heart. He hung his head as tears began to reform in his eyes. How many times had he wanted to leave the Lars homestead and never return? How badly he wished he could return now. To hear his uncle gruffly rebuff him for neglecting his duties would be music to his ears. To see his aunt's warm smiling face and feel her arms around him once more would comfort his aching soul. They had loved him, nurtured him, and been there for him every day of his life. Now they were gone, reduced to charred, skeletal remains. Although he realized there was nothing he could have done to prevent it, the guilt that somehow he'd caused their deaths still hung heavily on his heart.

He wiped the tears from his eyes. Owen would have scoffed at his tears; Beru would have gently dried them. Another pain tore through his heart. Luke choked back another sob as he looked through the trees into the Yavin sky. "I'm sorry about what happened to you, and I would do anything if I could have prevented it. Please forgive me. I loved you both..."

"Luke? Who are you talking to?" a voice called from behind him.

Luke stood up quickly and whirled about to see the silhouette of Princess Leia standing with her hands clasped in front of her. As she moved closer to him, the dim moonlight illuminated her face, allowing him to see her soft brown eyes staring at him from beneath her furrowed eyebrows. He felt his muscles tense as she stopped beside him.

"No one. I was j-just talking to m-myself," he stuttered. Her proximity to him caused him to grow more nervous. Why would the Princess of Alderaan have come looking for him? Surely she had better things to do.

"Then why don't you come back to the celebration?" There was a hint of hopefulness in her voice as she swept her arm back towards the temple.

"Not now. I'd rather stay out here a while longer where it's quiet," he said quickly, his edgy feelings caused his voice to sound more brusque than normal. Backing away from her nervously, he turned to look off into the forest.

"I see. I'll leave you to your thoughts," she replied quietly.

Luke mentally chastised himself at his tone of voice. She was trying to be nice, he reminded himself. "No!" he exclaimed, "I'm just being stupid. Please, you don't have to go. I'd actually like some company."

She moved in front of him and positioned herself on a fallen log, her white robes flowing gently in the soft breeze. "To tell you the truth, I don't mind getting away, either. I'm not feeling quite like the life of the party at the moment myself."

Luke timidly sat down next to her, trying to calm himself from the anxiousness he always felt when he was near this beautiful young woman. Leia's smile easily unnerved him, her brown eyes raised his spirits each time he gazed into them. Not only did he admire her courageous attitude in the face of despair, but also her spirit and dedication. Looking at her now, seeing the circles under her eyes and a crease across her forehead, he remembered that he wasn't the only one affected by all that had happened in the past few days.

She looked up, caught his stare, and smiled. "So Luke, tell me about yourself."

"There isn't much to tell...."

"Everyone has a story, Luke. Let's hear yours."

They spent over an hour talking in the woods, sharing in each other's plans for the future as well as the painful loss of family each had suffered. He talked of Owen, Beru, Ben and Biggs; she talked of her father, her family, and childhood friends she'd never see again. The personal sharing of experiences eased some of his pain. Finally, Luke had mentioned the awards ceremony, drawing a wince from Leia.

"Luke, I've been meaning to tell you this," she began, laying her slender hand upon his arm. "I..." she paused a bit and he saw her bite her lip. "...We appreciate all that you've done in the name of the Rebellion. I'm only sorry that medal was all we could offer you."

"Really, it's more that I ever could have imagined. I'm just glad to have been of service," he said, smiling gently at her.

"Don't be surprised if you find yourself receiving a promotion. General Dodonna was very impressed with your piloting skills." She laughed slightly. "You should have seen his face when you turned off your targeting computer."

"It wasn't me, Leia, it was the Force," he said with boyish honesty as he smiled back at her.

"Yes, Luke, I know. I'm glad we found you," she said softly. She turned away from Luke and gazed back towards the merriment. "If only..."

"If only what, Leia?"

The young woman shifted uneasily on the log and sighed loudly. When she turned back to answer him, her face had taken on a calm resolve that transcended into her voice.

"If only that ruffian space pirate thought as you did," she said quietly and firmly. She withdrew her hand from Luke's arm and stood up. Rubbing her hands together, she glanced again toward the celebration.

"He did come back," Luke reminded her.

"I know. And I'm thankful that he did," she replied slowly and deliberately.

"I heard him say he would stick around for a while," Luke added, standing up, unsure of where the conversation was going. Wedge had told him that women were complicated beings, and Leia was proving Wedge to be correct.

"He did, did he?" she asked, a certain annoyance filtering into her voice.

Luke stood there confused, watching as Leia nonchalantly reached out to pluck a leaf from a nearby bush. "Maybe he'll join the Rebellion after all.".

She turned back to him and smiled, all traces of annoyance vanishing from her face. "Yes, perhaps he will. I'm glad I came out here, Luke. It gave us an opportunity to talk."

"I'm glad, too," he said, hiding his disappointment with the realization that Han was winning her heart. Even a naive farm boy could see through her fa?ade. As he shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other, Luke gazed past her to the temple.

Leia turned back towards the revelry. "Well, I'd better go back inside. People will start to look for me, and I don't want that impossible nerf-herder leading the charge. Will you be coming back in soon?" she asked as she turned back to him.

"In a few minutes. You go ahead," he replied, feigning another smile.

"Don't be long!" She flashed him a gorgeous grin and was gone.

Luke nodded as Leia turned away from him and headed back to the celebration. Although he did not know much about women, he could tell that Leia was masking her true feelings towards Han with her indignation. Why else would she have become so upset with him? Luke thought back to a passing comment Han had made just shortly after meeting Leia for the first time onboard the Death Star. Han had admitted almost immediately that it was possible he was beginning to like her. Luke chuckled, remembering the comment that Han had made later on the Falcon.

"So, do you think a princess and a guy like me?"

Sighing to himself, Luke thought out loud, "Yes, Han, you have a better chance than I'll ever have."

Suddenly, he heard a twig snap behind him. He turned to see a young woman walking through the thick brush, her face partially hidden by one hand. He ducked behind the tree and peered out, hoping she would continue on the path without seeing him. She was wearing one of the tan suits worn by most of the technicians. As he watched her, she suddenly stopped and leaned against one of the trees. He could hear the faint sobs as she began to cry.

"Oh, Nonny. Why can't you be here with me? What happened to you?" she cried through her tears. As the sobs came stronger, she thrust her hands into her hair, pulling her light brown tresses from their pins. Slowly, she sank to the ground, her sobs wracking her body.

Luke looked away, not wanting her to see him. She must have lost someone close to her; a husband perhaps, or a lover, or maybe just a friend. Lost forever, just like Uncle Owen, Aunt Beru and...Biggs. Suddenly, he could see his friend's smiling face and hear his voice, "Have I got some stories to tell you!" Lukefelt his chest tighten. Silently, he withdrew to deal with his own anguish and left her to weep in privacy.

Luke walked slowly back towards the temple's ancient throne room. The bright lights and music that were meant to bring happiness only depressed him more. He turned away from the festivities and disappeared into the shadows outside the temple walls. His thoughts kept focusing on his own personal losses. The horror of finding his aunt and uncle's charred bodies was still fresh in his mind. Why?

A few days ago yet another disagreement with his Uncle Owen had occurred. Our last disagreement. Luke's heart sank as he recalled the event.

"You must understand I need you here, Luke," the older man had stated simply.

"But it's a whole 'nother year," Luke had complained.

"Look, it's only one more season."

"Yeah, that' s what you said last year when Biggs and Tank left."

Luke closed his eyes tightly against the memory of how he had stood up and rudely shoved his half-eaten plate of food away. Why did it have to have ended that way? Owen had been a stern, but fair man. If only he had paid more attention to what his uncle had been saying, if only he had tried to understand his uncle's reasoning. Maybe things would have been different. Luke thumped his head back against the temple wall in hopeless frustration at the situation. What's the use? Ben was right. There was nothing I could have done.

After a while when he had composed himself, Luke headed into the temple in search of something to quench his thirst. The solemn atmosphere of the memorial service that had followed the presentation of medals had dissipated into a cheerful, yet dignified environment. Throughout the hall, rebels of all species gathered in groups to discuss the battle, friends they had lost, and family they had left behind. A thrilling Corellian tune filled the air, played by a diverse group of musicians. General Dodonna and a few high-ranking officers stood quietly recounting the battle.

His solitude ended when a slightly inebriated Wedge Antilles found him. Luke was taken aback for a moment, never having seen his fellow pilot anything but sober. But he knew that this night, this night was different...he had even had a drink himself.

"Skywalker, what are you doing over here hiding?" the handsome dark-haired man asked.

"I wasn't!" Luke protested, his eyes widening. He took a step forward and almost fell over.

"Luke!" Wedge reached out to steady his friend. "Take it easy on the Corellian brandy, it's potent stuff. Tonight is a night for fun, not getting sick."

Skywalker scowled and shook his head. "I think I've had enough fun for tonight."

Wedge took the glass out of Luke's hand and sat it back on the table. "Oh no you don't. You're not leaving now, the party's just begun. Come on. Got some girls that want to meet the Rebellion's newest commissioned lieutenant." Wedge arched his eyebrows and looked off to the right side of the room.

"Not now. Maybe in a few minutes," Luke replied, hoping the Corellian would get the hint and leave.

"You sure you're all right, buddy?"

Luke looked at his friend and saw the genuine concern that had replaced the jovial fa?ade. "I'm fine, Wedge. Just need a few minutes to get myself together." Luke smiled as he spoke.

"Well, all right. But don't be too long! The girls will get disappointed and we don't want that, do we?" Wedge winked and raised his glass in a mock salute before turning back to his friends.

Luke casually walked back to the table and picked his drink up. He took another swallow as his eyes followed his friend, noting how easy it was for Wedge to just walk up to anyone and start a conversation. I wish I had that kind of personality.

Wedge walked away realizing that the young man was suffering from more than just the synthehol. He had seen the look many times in his short life. It was always difficult trying to justify killing, even in a war situation. Yesterday, Luke had killed not just a few, but over a million men on the Death Star. If it had not been for Luke, they would all be dead and that battle station would be on course to some other planet. He stopped momentarily and turned and looked back to where he had left Luke standing. Luke had retreated into the shadows. Poor guy. He'll get over it; I did. After all, somebody had to be the one.

Wedge paused for a moment in thought, then began searching the room with his eyes. Finally, he found who he was looking for. Standing in the midst of the giggling mass he noticed one young woman that caused his heart to skip a beat. Control yourself, Antilles! Wedge had met Treya Antaris only a few months ago during a small victory celebration over the obtainment of some valuable repulsordrive units.

Treya came from an affluent Alderaanian family, as did the other four women in the group. They were all dressed in tan jumpsuits and wore their long hair braided with black ribbons intertwined into the tresses, symbolizing grief over Alderaan's destruction. Bright blue melcharliz firestone earrings dangled from their earlobes. Wedge laughed to himself, thankful that even in this time of war, women still found time to revel in their femininity.

He moved closer in an attempt to get her attention, which at the time was engaged in a rapid conversation with the other women. I'll stand here forever at this rate. Wedge cleared his throat and the discussion quickly ended as five pairs of female eyes turned towards him. He turned to the woman with the golden brown hair and asked, "Can I drag you away for a minute?" Rather than waiting for an answer, Wedge reached out and grabbed Treya's arm, pulling her away from the group.

"Wow, you're usually not quite that direct, Wedge," Treya said, her blue-green eyes dancing about his face.

Despite her smile, Wedge could see by her red swollen eyes that she had been crying. Her brother Jonathan was still missing. The Rebel unit he was assigned to had not yet made it to the Yavin base and was feared lost.

"Are you doing all right?" he asked gently, peering into her eyes.

She smiled back at him and placed her other hand on his arm. "There's been no news still. But, I'll be fine. Thank you for asking. Now what was it that you wanted?"

"Treya, I've got a favor to ask." He raised his eyebrows hopefully. "I've got someone I'd like you to meet."

Her face soured immediately. "Oh, Wedge, not another "lonely friend " of yours. You seem determined to make Davin jealous."

"Not at all. It's just that he's had too much to drink and I don't want him to do something foolish. Please, Treya? As a favor to me?" He tried to sound as sincere as he possibly could, not wanting to sound too desperate.

"Why? Who is he?" she asked suspiciously while crossing her arms in front of her.

"He's standing over there against the wall behind the refreshments table." He motioned with his head in the direction of the table.

She looked to where he had indicated and looked back at him in surprise. "Wedge, that's Lieutenant Skywalker!" she said.

"I know. Would you check on him?" Wedge smiled hopefully.

"Wedge, there are dozens of women here that would gladly spend the evening with the Alliance's greatest hero. Go find one of them to keep him company." Treya started to turn to go back to the group, but Wedge tugged on her arm again.

"I don't want some of these women getting their hands on him. Plus, he can hardly stand up. You know how that Corellian brandy can affect someone that's not used to drinking it. With all he's been through, he doesn't need to deal with some female trying to take advantage of him," Wedge pleaded.

She looked back at where Skywalker was leaning against the wall and sighed. "He does look pretty pathetic. Did you try talking to him?"

"Yes, I did, but with no luck. Look, Treya, just check on him. Maybe slip him something that will knock him out."

"Wedge! I can't do that. If Lieutenant Skywalker wants to drink himself into a stupor, that's his problem."

Wedge could see by her stern expression that he was getting nowhere. He glanced back at his friend, who was still leaning against the wall, sipping on his drink. Hearing the young woman sigh, he returned his attention to her. "He's just a green kid. And he's never killed anyone before, much less however many thousands were on that Death Star. He's hurting inside."

She tilted her head towards the back wall and watched the young man for a few moments. "All right, I'll talk to him," she said finally.

Wedge smiled and offered her his arm. "Good, let me introduce you."

"I don't think so, Wedge. He'd think you put me up to it and I know how fragile that male ego is," she said, turning him around and facing him back towards the group. "You haven't talked to all the women here yet, have you?" With that she gave him a little shove.

Luke was staring down into his empty glass when he heard a feminine voice gently call out to him.

"Lieutenant Skywalker."

"Yes?" He answered with a jump, bumping his head against the wall. He turned to see an attractive woman younger than himself standing a few feet away, staring at him. She smiled as his eyes met hers. Her high cheekbones and turned up nose gave her an aristocratic air, yet her blue-green eyes were friendly and welcoming.

Treya stepped closer. "Are you feeling all right?"

"I'm feeling just fine." He nervously rubbed his now throbbing head.

"How much have you had to drink?"

"I'm not sure. Just one glass I think," he answered, looking at the glass in his hand and trying to remember if it was the first one or not.

"Or maybe more?"

"I don't think I would be able to stand up if I'd had any more," he laughed, which caused the pain in his head to intensify. He reached out and placed his hand on his forehead, rubbing his eyes as his vision began to fog.

"Come on. Let's get you some fresh air." She took the drink from his hand and sat it down on the table, then reached out her arm towards him.

"I can make it." Luke nodded his head, wincing at the pain. How can Han drink that stuff? He refused to let her take him by the arm, and instead stood up and tried to steady himself. "Don't worry about me. I'll be fine. " He walked out the door with slow, deliberate steps, determined not to stumble.

Slowly sinking down on the first duracrete bench he came to, Luke closed his eyes and breathed out a sigh of relief. He drank in some of the fresh night air, hoping it would help clear his mind.

"Here, take this."

Luke opened his eyes to see the face of the same woman staring at him. In her hand she held a glass of liquid and a small yellow pill. He closed his eyes again. "Ugh. No more to drink."

"It's just water. And take this; it will help ease your headache." Treya reached out and attempted to open his hand to place the pill in it.

"You're a doctor?"

"Yes I am. Now take this, Lieutenant," she replied sternly, holding the pill in front of his face.

Luke obligingly accepted both the pill and the glass ofwater and gulped down the medicine, staring at her the entire time. "There. I took it. Satisfied?" he retorted firmly as he handed the glass back to her.

"You'll be thanking me for it in the morning."

Her stare made him uneasy and he looked away, feeling very embarrassed. His head was still throbbing and the water must have upset his stomach. He couldn't get sick in front of her, even if she was a doctor. "I gotta go," he said, trying to get up.

"Just sit still and let the medicine take effect." she insisted, placing her hands on his shoulders to hold him in place. "And don't worry about being embarrassed, either."

Luke reached up and rubbed his eyes, giving off a slight moan.

"Not used to drinking?" she asked gently.

"Not this stuff. My head feels like it's gonna split wide open and my whole body just aches."

"The intoxication effects will wear off eventually. Maybe next time you will remember what your body is telling you now."

He scowled and looked up at her. "There won't be a next time. I'm never going to touch that stuff again," he replied, lowering his head and kicking at the ground beneath his feet, the movement causing his head to throb again. He put his hands over his eyes and groaned.

"Clear your mind," she offered.

"Huh?" he said, peering up at her through his fingers.

"Clear your mind. Take a few deep breaths and just let the pain dissipate," she explained softly.

Luke closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths. 'Cleansing breaths,' Ben had called them. How did she know about them? He opened one eye to find her calmly watching him.

"Just close your eyes and breathe," she whispered softly.

He complied, and slowly emptied his mind of everything. As he stretched out with the Force, he felt a strange sensation emanating from somewhere. Dismissing it for now, he concentrated on his headache. A few moments later, he opened his eyes, his headache still there, but now dulled.

"Feel better?"

"How did you know about cleansing breaths?" he asked, his eyes now more alert.

"About what?"

He noted that the strange sensation was gone. Was it his imagination? "Cleansing breaths. They are one of the Jedi forms of self healing," he said, studying her face.

"They are also a basic relaxation technique."

Luke nodded his head. "Whatever you think of them as, they evidently work. I feel much better now."

"Good. I'm glad I could help you," she replied, rising from the bench.

"Don't go, at least not until you tell me your name." He began to think more clearly as the fog lifted from his mind.

"Treya Antaris," she answered.

"Please, call me Luke."

She sat back down on the bench. "Where are you from, Luke?"

"A worthless little dust bowl on the outer rim," he replied, distastefully picking at a stain on his jacket sleeve. He looked up at her and saw her questioning look. "Tatooine."

She folded her hands in her lap. "Sounds like a real fun place."

Luke glared at her, then saw her impish grin and began to chuckle. "No. I hated it. I always wanted to get away, but I never knew I'd end up here," he said, looking out into the forest. "Where are you from?"

The answer came back slowly. "I am...I was...from Alderaan."

He heard her sigh and looked back to see her eyes downcast and her bottom lip trembling. "I'm sorry, Treya. About your home."

She nodded her head "I..." She held her hand up to her lips and cleared her throat.

"No, that's all right - I understand. I have a friend that feels the same way about Alderaan as you do," he said, smiling back at her.

She managed a faint smile. "Princess Leia. Just tonight we were all reminiscing about watching one of her speeches in the Senate when she spoke of our home's beauty and grandeur."

Luke studied her face, noting the now growing smile. He could sense her fierce pride in her home world as she spoke, her eyes staring up through the trees. Leia had the same sense of pride, but she never spoke of Alderaan.

"She seemed to be especially fond of the sunsets. When the atmospheric conditions were right, the clouds would turn crimson and orange, with a tinge of violet, and the rays of the sun would shine through them like golden streamers." Tears began to build up in her eyes.

"I wish I could have seen them. Tatooine sunsets were not anything to look at."

She looked away. "I can't imagine any place that did not have a lovely sunset," she said quietly.

"Well, it exists. Someplace that no one would ever want to visit, let alone live on." He folded his arms across his chest. "Nothing but dust and unbearable heat."

"Why was it so hot?"

"Two suns instead of one. The sunsets there look just like two dreary red balls on a brown horizon."

"Binary suns...there aren't that many systems with them, you know."

"Doesn't make it worth going back to." Luke said, and quickly wished he could take it back. Who was he to complain when she had lost everything? He gritted his teeth as he saw a tear trickle down her cheek. She reached up and wiped it away. She spoke before he could apologize.

"What of your family?" Treya asked, turning back to him.

"They're all dead - killed by stormtroopers," he replied, fidgeting with the buttons on his jacket.

"I'm sorry for your loss," she said, placing her hand on his arm. "Was that why you joined the Rebellion?"

His eyes were fixated on her hand. "Yes. I wanted revenge," he said, jerking one of the buttons so hard it came loose.

"Retaliation won't heal the pain, Luke," she said quietly as she removed her hand. "Only time.

Hate and anger can lead to destruction. It's something we all must overcome."

"I know," Luke replied, remembering similar words spoken to him by Ben. He shifted about uneasily on the bench causing the end of the lightsaber that hung on his belt to rub against the duracrete. The noise attracted the attention of the young woman.

"Where did you get that lightsaber?" she asked with amazement.

"It was my father's." He touched the smooth metal handle, wondering how it must have felt in his father's hand.

"But I thought that all of the Jedi Knights were all eliminated by-"

Luke looked at her and finished her sentence. "-The Empire. It was Darth Vader who murdered my father." The anger was heavy in his voice.

She reached out and touched his arm. "I'm sorry, Luke. Your father must have been a great Jedi for Vader to have had a hand in his death."

"He was. And I intend to become one, too. But I don't know where to start. When Ben died..." he stopped, feeling a pain shoot through his heart.


"Ben Kenobi. He was...a good friend of mine from Tatooine." Luke explained. "You may have known him as Obi-Wan Kenobi," he added, thinking that this name might spark a memory for her.

"General Kenobi." she stated, nodding her head.

"You knew him?" Luke asked.

She laughed. "No, I only know he fought in the Clone Wars. The libraries on Alderaan were full of documents written by historians that lived during that time. Such senseless waste..." She grew quiet and closed her eyes.

Luke nodded his head. "So how did you get here?"

"Several months ago, with a group of other Rebel sympathizers. Alderaan had a huge anti-imperial underground movement. Everyone I knew was involved, including my family." She pulled her hand back and folded her arms about her.

"My uncle wouldn't even talk about it," Luke replied dryly.

"My father and Uncle Verli owned a large space transport manufacturing plant. They furnished the Alliance with transports, fuel, and smuggled supplies. My two oldest brothers, Brelin and Cortin, made most of the arrangements."

"So you have two brothers," Luke said softly, sensitive to the possibility that they had perished when the planet was destroyed.

"Four all together. My middle brother Damerin, left home to join the Alliance a couple of years ago and we haven't heard from him since."

Luke began to speak, but stopped when he heard her draw a deep, painful breath. He sensed her anguish as she began to speak in a low, trembling voice.

"Jonathan and I left together with a group of friends from the university. We used to talk about what it would be like once we got here, and for the most part, it was what we had expected. I remember being so frightened that we would be caught and how he would put his arms around me and reassure me that things would be all right." She pursed her lips and looked away for a moment, before continuing. "It may seem funny, but with him gone, I'm not afraid for myself anymore. Just afraid for him, that he won't come back. I had no idea I'd never see him again. I miss him so much..."

Luke began to feel ashamed as he stared at the young woman sitting beside him with her head bowed, hands cupping her face. She had lost everything - home, family, and a world she obviously loved. However, she had not been wallowing in her pain, as he had. Nor had any of the other Alderaanians he had observed. Not even Leia. Especially not Leia.

"I'm sorry," was all Luke could say.

"I know he's out there somewhere," she said as she wiped her eyes and stared up into the night sky. "I just wish...." Her voice began to falter as she shook her head. "I'm sorry, Luke. You don't need to hear this."

"It's all right, Treya. My aunt used to say it helps to talk about things."

"My mother used to say the same thing."

Luke could sense her sorrow growing, yet felt useless to do or say anything. A movement in his peripheral vision distracted Luke. He saw a tall man in his mid-twenties standing there watching them.

When the man saw that Luke had seen him, he came forward. "Treya?" he called as he walked towards them.

The woman turned towards the voice and Luke saw her face light up. "Davin!" She immediately rose from the bench and went to him.

"I don't want to intrude..." The man's brown eyes were full of concern, or at least it appeared that way to Luke.

"No intrusion, Dav; we were just sitting here talking," she said taking his hand. "Have you met Lieutenant Skywalker?"

"I have not had the pleasure to meet the illustrious Lieutenant Skywalker," he replied, and then added, "I'm Commander Davin Emberson."

Luke stood and extended his hand. "Lieutenant Luke Skywalker, Sir," he replied nervously. "We were just talking about..."

"Alderaan," Treya interrupted.

Davin nodded his head. "Are you Alderaanian?" he asked Luke.

"No, Sir. I'm from Tatooine," the younger man replied.

"Then we should all be singing the praises of Tatooine for bringing us such an esteemed pilot," Davin said.

"Thank you, Sir," Luke said, observing the older man put his arm about the woman's waist. "I'd better be going. My friends will wonder where I went," Luke replied quickly. He was feeling much better now and could stand without wavering. He also did not want the other man to make more of the situation than it was. "It was nice to meet you, Commander. And thank you for the medication, Doctor," he said to Treya."

"We all have our losses, Luke," Treya said softly. "It's important that we don't let them overwhelm us. Let your friends help you, and you'll be fine." She gave him a small smile. "May the Force be with you."

Luke gave her a slight bow and made a hasty exit.

Davin watched him go. "Is he okay, Treya?"

Treya turned from where she had been watching Luke. "As okay as anyone of us, Davin. He's lost a lot, but he's gained a lot, too. The Force is strong in him."

He hugged her closer. "Now, how would you know that?"

She ducked her head and then raised it almost as quickly, staring up into his face. "I'm a doctor, remember?"

Davin gazed at her quizzically and then nodded. "Sure, Treya." He swung her around in the direction of the party. "Time for some fun, don't you think?"

"My thoughts exactly."

Luke stopped just inside the temple portico to catch his breath and straighten out his uniform. He took a deep breath and shut his eyes tightly as the vision of Owen and Beru's burnt bodies flashed before him. He would remember Treya's words. It was useless to continue to ask why they had to die - or wonder why he had escaped the same fate. Right now, all he knew was that he had rescued a princess and destroyed a murderous space station. Luke rubbed his tired eyes and exhaled slowly.

It was time to go on. If Leia could do it, so could he. Others, like the young doctor he had just spoke with, were able to go on with life despite their own catastrophic losses. So could he. He owed it to Owen and Beru to become the man they had raised him to be. He owed it to Ben, who believed in him. And he owed it to the father he had never known. It was his destiny.

He looked at the lightsaber hanging at his side. The weapon had once belonged to a great Jedi Knight who had requested that it be passed down to his son. Anakin Skywalker, his father, wanted him to have it, wanted him to follow in his footsteps. Luke stood straight as he stared into the night sky. He would become a Jedi. He would make his father and Ben proud. The Force would show him the way.

Original cover by rhonderoo. HTML formatting copyright 2003 TheForce.Net LLC.

Fan Fiction Rating

Current Rating is 7.86 in 76 total ratings.

Reader Comments

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Author: rhonderoo  (signed)
Date posted: 6/30/2003 4:01:59 PM
rhonderoo's Comments:

I loved this story when I read it for the cover Catriona! You have captured Luke and Leia perfectly. Great work!

Author: Erik
Date posted: 6/30/2003 9:26:51 PM
Erik's Comments:

That was a cool fan fic you really captured Luke perfectly.

Author: SoloGirl
Date posted: 7/1/2003 6:41:41 AM
SoloGirl's Comments:

Wow...I'm really impressed! In a year and a half of reading fan fiction, I've read plenty about Leia reflecting on her losses after the Battle of Yavin, but never one about Luke. This one is amazing and you nailed the character perfectly! Congratulations on a great piece of work!

Author: Valeda Kor  (signed)
Date posted: 7/1/2003 8:01:21 AM
Valeda Kor's Comments:

I enjoyed this when I was a beta-reader for the story, and my opinion hasn't changed. A great little vignette, showing a side of the characters that we can imagine, but never see in the movies. Good job.

Author: Emmi
Date posted: 7/1/2003 8:50:54 AM
Emmi's Comments:

Wonderful story, Cat! Luke right on the money, as always.

Author: Jedi Bevo
Date posted: 7/1/2003 11:55:42 AM
Jedi Bevo's Comments:

This is the first time that I have been moved enough by a fanfic to comment. This was great stuff! Frankly it never occurred to me that Luke would feel so much guilt for the deaths of the men on the Death Star. However, it makes perfect sense given the Jedi affinity for "all living things." I'll be sure to keep my eye out for more of your work.

Author: stuee
Date posted: 7/1/2003 11:03:11 PM
stuee's Comments:

A great story. It is very difficult it is try to find your path and you capture it!

Author: Tycalibur  (signed)
Date posted: 7/2/2003 10:32:21 AM
Tycalibur's Comments:

I particularly enjoyed this fiction because it goes to a place relatively unexplored in the SW Universe. Luke going from farmboy to Galactic-Force-To-Be-Reckoned-With in such a short space of time is indeed an important point.

And although I adore the OT, I have always had a serious problem with Luke's lack of reaction to the death of his Aunt and Uncle. I know in the long run, it was not important to the the overall story ANH, but it left one to wonder...just how DID Luke deal with it?

You captured Luke's feelings very well in this piece. Nicely done.


Author: Sheik42
Date posted: 7/2/2003 11:23:51 PM
Sheik42's Comments:

I have read a lot of really crappy fan fiction, but you are not only an excellent writer, you captured the characters well. I find your writing truely inspiring, which is something I rarely find in fan fiction. Congradulations on a job well done!

Author: Blazer
Date posted: 7/3/2003 1:54:46 AM
Blazer's Comments:

I don't usually read Trilogy work, but I couldn't pass this one up! It's so... unique. I loved everything about it and you wrote it with such grace and style. I never thought Luke would feel guilt for his actions and I've certainly never read a fic that spoke of it. Very nice job!


Author: Jedi Catriona  (signed)
Date posted: 7/8/2003 3:40:52 PM
Jedi Catriona's Comments:

This story cried out to be written and thanks to my wonderful beta reader, Valeda Kor, it finally came together. Thank you all so much for your kind words. I'm glad everyone enjoyed it.

Author: Jedi-2B  (signed)
Date posted: 7/11/2003 9:35:32 AM
Jedi-2B's Comments:

Good job capturing Luke's sorrow and guilt. And having the doctor apparently be Force-sensitive was a nice touch.

Author: JediPug1  (signed)
Date posted: 7/15/2003 7:07:51 PM
JediPug1's Comments:

Amazing treatment of my favorite character, Luke. You did a great job capturing his anguish... and his low tolerance for alcohol! Nice job on Leia, too. I loved how you tossed in her growing infatuation with Han Solo. Well done!

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