Title: A Frivolous Holiday Author: Annia Piet Characters: Owen Lars, Beru Lars, Luke Skywalker, Mara Jade Skywalker, Finn Timeframe: 10 BBY, roughly 17 years ABY Categorization: Legends AU Genre: Family drama? Notes: Written for the LM June/July challenge. A/N: Written for the Luke and Mara Index June/July Challenge. The challenge was: you must write a story where Luke and Mara are celebrating a GFFA holiday for fathers. You must include 1) A child (any age) 2) The quote "No, I am your father" 3) Sand Bonus points if you can include this expression (the infamous "the Grand Master Thinks You Are A Moron" gif). TFA Spoiler warning: A character from TFA is used in this story, including some speculation on his background. None of it is based on any actual spoilers – in fact I think it a rather unlikely scenario, it just happened to fit this scenario well – but if you’re super paranoid you have been warned! A Frivolous Holiday Owen Lars did not believe in frivolous holidays. The life of a moisture farmer was hard and there was always work to be done, no matter the time of the year. Beru Lars knew he humoured her in her insistence on celebrating the more prominent ones – the turning of the year, the celebration of life days – as they made her happy, and always featured her delicious cakes. But he would not tolerate the more frivolous ones, created he was certain just to make money for peddlers of cheap gifts. They had not the money to spare on such things, he told he regularly, and he had not the time or patience either. Knowing her husbands views on such things, Beru Lars had never raised the idea of celebrating Father’s Day with young Luke. It was an off-world tradition brought in in recent years by better-off settlers in the cities. She forgot what the elaborate term for it was in the core worlds, but native Tatooiners, whose culture was so firmly centered around family, had embraced the concept whilst swiftly changing the name to something more practical that laid out the celebration’s purpose more directly. Owen had expressed his contempt for the idea to her privately in that short, blunt style of his. Knowing him so long, she knew the pain that lay under his surly words. The years of trying, the child they had lost. Then the choice they had faced, after Ben Kenobi had revealed the truth of what had happened to Luke’s father to them, the realization of the danger they faced, and that huge row that sent the old Jedi scurrying off into the desert. The decision to give up any last hopes of having a child of their own, a sibling for Luke, because of the danger that child would face just from association. Somehow Owen had never truly got over that dream of a child of his own flesh and blood, for all the joy that Luke’s bright personality brought them every day. But Owen was not a man who could express those feelings well, even to her. How he might react if Luke presented him with some silly Father’s Day token, she didn’t want to risk. So she never even mentioned the idea with the boy. But of course, even in their quiet, isolated lives, widely celebrated traditions such as Father’s Day couldn’t be avoided forever. At the age of six, Luke started attending the small school in Anchorhead, and there he met other children, and idea’s his Uncle wouldn’t necessarily approve of. He became friendly with an older boy, Biggs, whose large family, the Darklighters, enthusiastically embraced the off-world tradition. Beru waited with a certain amount of tenseness for the day when Luke would ask her about it. But of course, Luke being Luke, he never asked. He just charged in head first. Beru was preparing their evening meal when she heard the familiar whine of a landspeeder drawing up outside. A distant, young voice said goodbye to Biggs and his father, who was kind enough to give Luke a lift back each day, saving Owen and Beru precious time needed for maintenance on the farm. Hearing light feet running down the steps, she turned from the dough she had been kneading to greet the usual explosion of energy as her boy burst into the kitchen. “Aunt Beru! Guess what, guess what?” A rough satchel was thrown from the small boy’s hands onto the table as her rushed past to reach her. Beru opened her arms to give him their usual welcoming hug. He looked up at her with bright eyes and a huge smile, and her heart was warmed in a way the harsh suns of Tatooine never could. Then she noticed he was brandishing something in one hand. “What’s this?” she asked. He stepped back and held it out to her proudly. The thing was made up of bits of metal inexpertly glued together to make some kind of pot, with bits of paper and material and other oddments haphazardly attached all over it. Beru’s heart sank. “For me?” she asked more in hope than in expectation. “No, no, for Uncle Owen!” he blurted out in excitement, followed by a quick rush of other words; “Biggs told me all about it, it’s a special day today to tell our dads how much we love them, only I thought I didn’t get to do that, as I have an Uncle instead of a dad, but then we were all told to make some things for our fathers in school, and I asked, and teacher said it doesn’t matter if he’s my uncle, he looks after me so he gets to have presents and things as well, and so I made this!” Beru’s heart sank. How was she going to explain to the boy that Owen wouldn’t want it? Maybe she could get him to save it for another day, give it to his uncle out of context… Luke must have seen the expression cross her face, as he suddenly looked stricken. “Don’t you think he’ll like it? It’s for putting all his bits and bobs in and…” He trailed off, looking dejected. Beru crouched down in front of him. “Look, Luke, it’s just…” And of course at that moment, Owen walked in, wiping machine oil from his face. He glanced at them, as usual not taking in the nuance of the situation. “Good evening, Luke. Did you have a good day at school?” Luke turned to him, hope spreading across his face despite the words a few moments before. It was impossible to keep this boy’s enthusiasm down for long. “Uncle Owen! Happy Fathers Day!” he exclaimed, and held out the stuck together bit of junk to the man. Owen stopped stock still for long moments, just staring at the object. He made no move to take it, and then finally looked up to the ceiling, closed his eyes, took a deep breath and then slumped his head forwards. Still saying nothing, he shock his head slightly, then looked up at his wife. “Beru.” The word came out accusingly, a statement of blame, but typically for the man, he didn’t stay for explanations or apologies, and walked straight back out again. Standing behind him, Beru couldn’t see Luke’s face, but the way his arm, still holding the proffered gift, fell and his shoulders crumbled inwards said it all. “Luke, you mustn’t mind your uncle…” she began, but it was too late. The pot went flying across the kitchen, breaking apart against the refrigeration unit, and Luke ran from the kitchen, obviously sobbing. “Luke!” she called out, not sure whether she was calling him back or rebuking him for the throw, but the boy was already gone. Beru gave a great sigh, turned to the cooker to turn it down, removed her apron, and went to go after them. It crossed her mind briefly to go after her husband, who would be in one of the sheds wallowing in his own self-pity, but she knew her child had to come first. Owen was a grown man, Luke wasn’t. She went to find her boy, and offer what comfort she could. *** She came and found him, of course, but some time later. His Beru had always known how to handle his moods, and leaving him to stew for a while then let the mood dissipate was always wise. Owen’s pragmatic streak could never hold anger for long; there was always too much to be done to waste time sulking. Usually he and Beru could just ride arguments out, knowing in that unspoken way that came from years of marriage who was in the right and who was wrong, and being able to move quickly on with little more than a swift ‘sorry’ before they went to sleep. This time it was too serious for her to leave it, and he knew that. When it came to Luke, and his fathering of him, she took it seriously. He turned from the droid he was working on in the maintenance shed to see his wife quietly standing there, leaning against the doorframe, waiting for his attention. They exchanged a long look. “That was unfair, Owen,” she stated softly. He grunted. A long silence hung there; he knew he wouldn’t get away that easily. “Is he alright?” he added gruffly. “He’s cried it out now.” “It’s not like I said anything harsh to the boy.” “You didn’t need to. He could see it in your look.” “Well then. Not much I can do about that.” Beru shook her head, and he winced inside at her disapproval. “You can’t take your frustrations out on him.” “I’m sorry he didn’t take it well. But I won’t pretend. Not for anyone.” “I know,” she said simply. “And I love you for that, but he’s a boy, and he needs to know he’s loved by a father.” “I’m not his father, though. I won’t pretend I am.” “But you are in every way that matters, Owen. Your honesty, your principles, your sense of duty; these are all the things that are going into making that boy the man he will become. He knows that. He adores you.” Owen shook his head at the over-emotional term, as mild as Beru’s gentle terms made it sound. “He needs to know you think of him like a father, even if you’re technically not. His teachers are right about that.” “I’ve never asked for some stupid day to congratulate me for what I should be doing any way.” “I know you don’t need it, Owen. But maybe he does.” They stared at each other for long moments, more passing between them than could be said with words. “Dinner is nearly ready. Luke is playing round the other side of the storage sheds. Could you go and get him in please?” And she turned and left without waiting for an answer. Owen sighed, wiped his hands down on a rag, and stepped out of the maintenance shed. The suns were setting, creating the stunning colours that always privately moved his soul. It was funny, how they were exactly the same every evening, and yet he never tired of their beauty. Much like his Beru. Familiarity hadn’t brewed contempt; quite the opposite. He walked to the storage sheds. The air was already starting to cool, but Luke sat playing in the sand behind the sheds, ignoring the air as he played intently. Owen stopped and watched him quietly for a few moments; his boy, so very different from his adoptive parents, and yet bringing so much joy to their lives. Strange, considering his parentage. But little Luke had always seemed to hold much more of Shmi, Owen’s beloved step-mother, than he did his father. The thought gave Owen some hope for his future. Luke sat with a few figures scattered around him, some kind of action figures from a popular children’s holodrama that Owen had never paid much attention to. The boy held one in each hand, and from the muttering coming from him, these two characters were discussing something quite serious. Owen usually ignored the silly mutterings of Luke’s play, but this time he tuned in and listened instead. “’I’m all alone, I have no family.’” The figure in one hand waggled as he spoke. “No, I am your father.” The figure in the other hand waggled back. Luke pushed the two figures together in some simulacrum of a toy hug. Owen felt a lump in the pit of his stomach. This is what his reaction had put in the boy’s mind. Beru was right. Duty meant he sometimes needed to swallow his blunt reactions. Love meant he needed to swallow his pride. “Hey son,” he spoke aloud. Luke turned round, eyes still puffy from tears. “Dinner’s ready, time to come in.” Luke quietly gathered up his figures and got up. “And what’s this gift you have to show me?” Luke fell in beside him, avoiding looking up at him. “A-aunt Beru says it’s broken now.” “Well, that’s a pity. Good job you and I are good at fixing things, eh?” Luke glanced quickly up at him, eyes full of hope. “How about we sit down together after dinner and see if we can put it back together?” “I’d like that, Uncle Owen.” Owen grunted. They walked a few paces further. “I’m sorry I wasn’t too enthusiastic earlier, Luke. Just a bit tired from working all day. But that pot looks like it’ll be mighty useful once it’s finished. Thank you, son.” Luke smiled up at him, and a look passed between that meant they both knew it was alright again. Owen Lars didn’t like holidays, especially the trivial ones. He knew that those big, artificial outpourings of emotion had nothing on the quiet understanding that could pass without words between people who loved each other. But he was willing to make exceptions, if it made his family happy. *** Luke Skywalker loved holidays, even the trivial ones. His Aunt Beru had had an amazing ability to turn the minimum of resources and the dour countenance of his uncle into the most remarkable sharing of joy and family. Mara, he knew, didn’t quite understand it all, often mocking his enthusiasm, but having missed out on it in her own childhood was more than happy for Luke to show their little family how to do it. Luke would never consider this particular one trivial. The notion of fatherhood had meant so much, in so many different ways, over the course of his life, that Father’s Day had a particular poignancy for him, and also a sense of importance that it be recognized. Of course, here on Coruscant they called it the ‘Celebration of Paternity’, which he felt made it sound so very distant and impersonal. Core World traditions around it tended to be rather pompous as well, and he much preferred Tatooine’s more straight-forward term for it and approach to celebrating it. Instead of going out to the big public ceremonies, Luke much preferred to stay home and find something personal to do with his son. That was how he and his Uncle Owen had always marked the day, and he had many happy memories from those times. And it seemed a fitting tribute to the man who had raised him to turn it into a family tradition. Luke was happily preparing the items for the miniature ‘make your own droid project’ to do together that evening, while Mara was in the kitchen swearing over something she was cooking. (Mara was not the cook of the family for good reasons, and Luke felt it unnecessary for her to go to the effort. Unfortunaely since he’d wistfully told her about Beru’s way with celebration feasts, she’d been insisting on trying to replicate that at each major festival. It never went well, but Luke had learned better than to comment.) Luke heard the front door slide open, and the sound of his son coming through the entrance and rushing past him straight for his room. “Finn?” Mara called from the kitchen, probably feeling the same wave of upset through the Force that Luke had. Luke got up from the table just as Mara peered round the kitchen door. “What’s up with him?” she asked. Luke shrugged. “Don’t know. I’ll go and see.” He tapped gently at Finn’s door. “Son?” “Go ‘way!,” came the muffled response. “I’d rather not. I’ve got this whole droid laid out on the dining room table and I really need your help if I’m going to make him before it’s time to lay the table…” The door slid softly open and Luke stepped inside. His son lay on his bed, head buried in cushions. Luke went over and sat down on the bed beside him. “What’s up son? Something bad happen at school?” The boy said nothing, but nodded into his pillow. Luke lay a gentle hand on his back. “Why don’t you tell me about it, eh? Things generally feel a lot less bad once we’ve shared them.” Finn sat slowly up. Trails of shed tears from his large, dark eyes were still evident on his cheeks. Luke put an arm around him comfortingly. “I can’t tell you,” Finn said quietly in a slightly snivelling voice. Luke frowned. “Why not? You can tell me anything, you know that son. No matter how bad it is, or if you’ve done anything wrong, we can always find a way to fix it, right?” “Not this.” Tears started falling down the boys cheeks again. “Why not, son?” “That’s just the thing, Dad. They… they said I’m not your son.” Luke frowned, feeling some anger rising. “Who said that?” “The… the kids at school. Antin and Oyra. They said you weren’t my real father, and that’s why you won’t take me to the big Celebration of Paternity ceremony. They said we’re not allowed, ‘cos we’re not really related.” “Well, that’s a horrible thing to say, and as it happens, it’s not true anyway.” “But you’re not my father. Anyone can see that, just to look at us. Everyone knows.” “It’s no secret you’re adopted, Finn. We’ve always explained that to you. We chose you, you in particular, and that makes you extra special to us.” “But they said it’s not really real, like their families, and that’s why we’re not allowed to go.” “Blast it, but kids can be mean.” Luke pulled his son in closer. “They’re wrong, on all counts. The Celebration of Paternity welcomes all sorts of families, as it happens – adopted parents, step-parents, joint parents – anyone who considers themselves family to each other. And, probably on account of your aunt, we even got named invitations to it, as guests of honour. Would you like to see it?” Finn nodded, and Luke stood up and led him out to the living room. He rifled around in a draw in the side table for the moment, pulled out a bit of flimsiplast and handed it to Finn. Finn looked at the formal invitation curiously, then looked back up at Luke. “Then why aren’t we going?” “Because I didn’t want to, son. I’m really sorry, I should have told you about it before. But these public things are so impersonal, with everyone staring at us. I’d much rather spend the time with you. Look,” Luke took him over to a wall on which were hung a row of family holos and pointed. “Have I ever told you about my Uncle Owen?” “Yeah.” “I never knew my father as a kid, Uncle Owen raised me. He was my real father in every way that matters. Every year on Father’s Day, which is what we call it on Tatooine, we’d make a point of doing something special, together, the two of us. Life was pretty hard on Tatooine, and Owen wasn’t one for flashy gestures. But he made this time for us. And that’s why I like to do that too. To spend time with you, and also to remember him – my real father.” Finn looked confused. “But how can he have been your real father, when you called him uncle?” Luke smiled at the memory of the long gone man. “Owen was one to call a spade a spade. He was technically my uncle – well, step-uncle, properly, but that’s a bit of a mouthful – so that’s how he wanted to be called. But listen Finn.” Luke turned and crouched down, looking Finn straight in his large, dark eyes. “Parenthood isn’t in a name, or in features, or blood. It’s in our hearts. It’s in our love. Your mother and I wanted a child so much, and we chose you, and we couldn’t have chosen better. That’s all that counts.” Finn flashed that smile of his, the one that lit up the room and warmed his heart in a way the harsh suns of Tatooine never could. He put his arms round Luke and held him tight. When at last they disengaged, Luke said “Right, wanna make that droid now?” “Yes!” Finn exclaimed, and rushed to the dining table. Luke felt his wife’s eyes on him and looked up. Mara stood leant against the kitchen doorframe again, a mix of many emotions moving across her face. Luke knew these moments pained her as much as they brought joy. A relationship with a father figure had been stolen away from her so young, and something twisted put in its place. Every day she learned a little more of what she had missed as seeing Luke with Finn taught her. “He’s so very like you,” she observed quietly. Luke walked over to her and placed a gentle kiss on her forehead, then went and joined his son.