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Beyond - Legends An Awkward Addition to the Family (Ben/Vestara Multi-Chapter Fic for OTP Challenge #19)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by devilinthedetails, Feb 21, 2021.

  1. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    Title: An Awkward Addition to the Family

    Author: devilinthedetails

    Characters: Ben Skywalker; Vestara Khai; Luke Skywalker; Leia Organa Solo; Han Solo; Allana Solo.

    Genre: Romance; Family; Drama.

    Timeline: Beyond the Saga-Legends. Set years after the Fate of the Jedi series with Ben and Vestara old enough to be married and thinking about having children.

    Summary: Ben and Vestara confront the anxieties and dubious joys of impending parenthood.

    Author's Note: Written for OTP Challenge #19-The Return of Romcom in Space. My randomly selected plot point from Column A was # 6 "A Surprise Announcement," and my randomly selected character type from Column B was #2 Parents. Since this will be a multi-chapter story, it will become more clear in future chapters how I plan to use these plot points and characters.




    Prologue: The Question of Children

    “Vestara.” Ben trailed a finger along his wife’s smooth arm, thinking that he hadn’t felt so nervous about popping a question to her since he knelt before her with a Corusca diamond ring and asked her to marry him, a memory that still shone like a diamond ring in his mind. They were sitting on their balcony watching the stars rise in the Coruscant sky. “Would you ever want children?”

    “Would I ever want children?” Vestara repeated, and despite her languid tone, Ben sensed that she was seeking more time to contemplate his question. He had known her long and deeply enough to recognize that particular trick of hers.

    Proving him right in this, she went on after a moment, “That’s a question I’ve never asked myself. A question I was never encouraged to ask myself when I was raised by the Sith. I was taught only that it would be my duty to find a suitable mate to breed with so as to preserve the proud Khai bloodline. My father always emphasized how I was the only one who could continue our lineage because he didn’t have any other child. A child would’ve been all about pride and ambition, carrying on a legacy, and not about what would make me happy.”

    Ben’s forehead furrowed as he learned of yet another warped Sith perspective on family and life that Vestrara had been raised to regard as utterly normal. “Would a child make you happy, Ves? That’s what I’m asking.”

    “I understand what you’re asking, Ben.” Vestara tilted her head so it rested against his shoulder. “I think a child would make me happy as long as the child doesn’t turn out to be as rude as Allana.”

    “Allana isn’t a child any more.” Ben grinned, imagining how Allana would bristle at being referred to as a child. He nuzzled Vestara’s silken hair with his nose, inhaling its floral scent. “She’s a teenager, and teenagers are contractually obligated to be rude.”

    “Sith teenagers aren’t.” Vestara twisted to catch his lips against hers. “Jedi teenagers apparently are. I’ll never forget how spoiled you were when we met.”

    “I wasn’t spoiled.” Ben managed to argue while kissing his wife and was proud of his multi-tasking abilities.

    “That’s a matter of opinion.” Vestara was teasing him. Ben knew it, but he couldn’t help responding to it in the same way he couldn’t prevent his body from responding with hot desire to her flaming kisses.

    “False.” Ben wondered where he found the breath to lodge this protest. “It’s a matter of fact, and the fact is that I wasn’t spoiled when you met me because I was never spoiled. Just ask my dad.”

    “Your dad might agree with me.” Vestara’s laugh was short, sharp, brilliant, and beautiful as a shooting star.

    “You and Dad are always ganging up on me.” Ben gave a helpless, self-pitying head shake. “Poor me. What is a man to do when his own family unites to turn him into fodder for their jokes?”

    “Do you want a child?” Vestara broke off their kiss to fix Ben with a keen glance.

    “I do.” Ben nodded, thinking that he wanted a child more than he could find the words to explain. A child would be someone he could love and take pride in. Someone he could tease and tell stories. Someone he could teach and go on adventures with (and everything was an adventure with a wide-eyed child tagging along for the ride).

    “Then we’ll have a child together.” Vestara gazed at him with all the dreams and hopes from the bright lights of a thousand skytowers and superskytowers gleaming in her dark eyes. “And we’ll all give each other merry torment for the rest of our lives.”
     
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Lovely start with the teasing and honesty ... They are genuinely affectionate. You really get the sense Ves is able to be someone she never ever thought she could be. :)
     
    Findswoman and devilinthedetails like this.
  3. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 11, 2005
    Nice start devilinthedetails. I enjoyed Ben's lament about his father and wife ganging up on him. If Ben was boiled he was definitely tempered by Family tragedy.

    It's also kind of funny that they were having these thoughts and conversation about a serious matter while kissing and touching.

    I also quite like the idea of Ben going on adventures with his son or daughter as he did with his father.
     
  4. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha As always, thank you so much for your kind comment!:)I'm so glad that you found this epilogue to be a lovely start since I really enjoyed writing it especially after going so long without writing any Ben/Vestara fic. I so much wanted to capture that mix of teasing and honesty that I like to imagine defining their relationship, so it makes me so happy that shone through for you, and you could get a sense of how genuinely affectionate they are for each other. I really think this fic could be a great opportunity to show another side to Ves as a wife and a future mother (not that I want to spoiler anything, of course;)) so it's nice to know that you got a sense that Ves had grown into someone she never thought she could be. It's amazing how much she changed as a result of knowing Ben.

    @brodiew Thank you so much for commenting!:)I'm so glad that you found this to be a nice start. Ben's lament about his father and wife ganging up on him definitely made me grin as I wrote it so I'm so happy that was a highlight for you too. I definitely picture Ben and Vestara always wanting to kiss and touch each other even when talking about serious things, haha. It is pretty cool to think of Ben going on adventures with his own child like he had with his father and sort of passing on the legacy in that way. The whole idea of Ben as a father is really interesting to me since normally I think of him as Luke's son, so it would be neat to put him in a different role as father to his own child.




    Morning Sickness

    Vestara had missed her past two cycles. Missing one might have been a fluke, but missing two was a definite pattern that meant something. That was why she was in the refresher, peeing over a strip that would tell her if she was pregnant. A med droid could have determined after a moment’s examination whether she was pregnant, but Vestara somehow didn’t want to receive such news from their detached, impersonal voices. Somehow peeing on a strip was better.

    Not that it was truly necessary. In the Force, she could feel the life growing inside her, a seed planted within her that was starting to stretch out its roots. Yet somehow she needed to read it clearly written on a test strip to believe it.

    After three minutes of jittery waiting and staring at the test strip, not knowing what result she wanted to receive, it glowed pink as the control line.

    That meant that she could state with a ninety-nine percent rate of accuracy (not including the Force sensations of life growing inside her) that she was pregnant with Ben’s child.

    Married to Ben Skywalker and pregnant with his child as her father would’ve wanted. Uniting their bloodlines to produce a Force prodigy.

    She felt overwhelmed and queasy instead of elated during what should have been one of the happiest moments of her life: learning that she was going to bring a new life into the galaxy. There had been many times over the past few days that she had felt nauseous. It might have been morning sickness except that it didn’t have the courtesy to confine its debilitating effects to the morning. It could strike at any hour of day or night, compelling her to make an undignified sprint to the refresher so that she could upchuck her last meal into the toilet. As a consequence of this, her appetite had been meager for the past few days, and she had only picked at her food rather than devouring or craving it ravenously as she had heard some pregnant woman did.

    Like she had every time the nausea had attacked out of nowhere in the past few days, Vestara bent over the toilet and vomited. Her whole body began to tremble like a leaf in a storm, and she felt sobs rise up within her. She didn’t know if it was the pregnancy, the morning sickness, raging hormones, or the memories of her father’s manipulations that made her cry. She just knew that she was weeping in the most miserable place, turning her whole face a splotchy red.

    “Ves?” Ben’s concerned voice came through the door as he gave it a knock. “What’s wrong? Can I come in?”

    Vestara didn’t have a clue how to begin telling him what was wrong when she should have been happy. When she should have wanted a child as much as he did. Uncertain how else to answer, she called only, “The door’s unlocked.”

    These days, Vestara seldom bothered to lock the refresher door in their conapt. What was the point when she only lived with Ben and he always remembered to knock? That was a habit she’d have to change, she thought from what felt like a thousand kilometers outside of herself, once she had a child. From one spiral arm of the galaxy to the other, young children were famous for forgetting their manners when it came to knocking on refresher doors...But that was trivial. Why was she thinking of trivialities at this crucial crossroads in her life? What was wrong with her?

    “Were you sick again?” Ben asked, even though the contents of the toilet made the reply to that obvious as far as Vestara was concerned. More helpfully, he grabbed a towel, soaked it in cool water from the sink, and pressed it gently to her forehead.

    “I’ve been sick a lot these days.” Vestara let herself lean into him for support as he sat beside her on the tile floor. “I’m pregnant. I just took a pregnancy test to confirm it although I’ve felt it in the Force. Apparently, morning sickness comes with the pregnancy territory.”

    “Pregnant,” repeated Ben, cradling her still closer to him. “I thought I sensed that, but I figured I’d wait for you to make your announcement. I didn’t predict that you’d choose to make your announcement in this particular fashion, however.”

    “I didn’t choose to make my announcement this way.” Vestara swiped tears from her eyes with her sleeve. “It just ended up happening in this messy way.”

    “It’s a wonderful way.” Ben seemed to regret teasing her in her vulnerable state. “Any way you tell me that you’re pregnant with our child is a wonderful way.”

    “Will you still think it’s wonderful if our child isn’t strong in the Force?” Vestara hated how her lip quivered.

    “Of course.” Ben beamed at her, radiant and golden as the sun at high noon. “I’ll be happy with any child so long as the child is ours. The value of a life isn’t determined by strength in the Force. It’s determined by courage, compassion, and content of character.”

    “My father wouldn’t have had any use for a child who wasn’t strong in the Force.” Vestrara felt a splitting headache swelling to a crescendo despite the calming cool towel Ben had pressed against her forehead. Her mother hadn’t been strong in the Force and had always been viewed as inferior and expendable. Vestara couldn’t imagine how disappointing her father would’ve found a child who couldn’t manipulate the Force and couldn’t climb in the ranks of the Sith, earning acclaim and prestige for the Khai family. A child who wasn’t strong in the Force was a failure, a loss of status that could never be regained. A child could never truly atone for being so inadequate. Vestara didn’t like to think about that. Not even all these years after her father’s death when she should have been free of him and his hold over her.

    “I know.” Ben’s response was soft as a baby’s unscarred skin. “Just because your father wouldn’t have had any use for a child who wasn’t strong in the Force doesn’t mean that you have to be like him. Every day, you can be different from him. You can choose to think differently from him. To act differently from him. You don’t have to become him.”

    “I choose not to be like him every day.” Vestata’s chin tightened. “It’s hard, though. It makes me sick sometimes.”

    To emphasize the bleakness of her last words, Vestara gestured at the vomit in the toilet that she should really have flushed by now. Only she found it difficult to muster the energy. Like memory, pregnancy took a toll on her body.

    “Being a Jedi makes you feel sick?” Ben frowned. She could feel his worry for her in the Force and loved him for it. “Doing good makes you ill?”

    “No.” Vestara shook her head, struggling for words to describe her painful, divided emotions. “Being raised in evil makes me feel sick. Being born a Sith makes me ill. That and pregnancy.”

    “No matter how you were raised, you were never evil, not really.” Ben kissed her hair, and she could feel how much he loved and trusted her. How much he would always love and trust her. A knot of love and trust binding them together forever in the Force even though one of them had been born Jedi and the other Sith. “And you might have been born Sith, but you aren’t Sith any longer. As for pregnancy, well, it only lasts nine months, and then the joys of parenthood begin.”

    “The dubious joys of parenthood.” Vestara wrinkled her nose and finally found the energy to flush away her vomit. “The joys begin with morning sickness. Then they progress to childbirth and poop-filled diapers and crying in the middle of the night…”

    “I can hardly wait to be a father when you put it like that.” Ben chuckled.

    “Patience is a Jedi virtue, isn’t it?” Her nausea fading at last, Vestara shot him a teasing glance. “You’ll just have to be patient, won’t you?”
     
  5. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Vestara's unease and conflicting emotions are understandable.
    Wonderful sweet answer from Ben and the best part is he means it! :)

    “I’ll be happy with any child so long as the child is ours. The value of a life isn’t determined by strength in the Force. It’s determined by courage, compassion, and content of character.”

    So true.

    “No matter how you were raised, you were never evil, not really. And you might have been born Sith, but you aren’t Sith any longer."

    That first part applies to Mara also. Even though she served Palpatine, she was never tainted.
    And the fact that Vestara chooses daily to not be the way she was raised is an act of courage and a victory.

    I loved the teasing here:
    “The joys begin with morning sickness. Then they progress to childbirth and poop-filled diapers and crying in the middle of the night…”
    “I can hardly wait to be a father when you put it like that.” Ben chuckled.
    “Patience is a Jedi virtue, isn’t it?” Her nausea fading at last, Vestara shot him a teasing glance. “You’ll just have to be patient, won’t you?”


    [face_laugh]

    =D=
     
    devilinthedetails likes this.
  6. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha As always, thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my work!:) I definitely understand Vestara's emotions of unease and conflicting emotions. I can imagine that learning one is pregnant comes with a huge variety of emotions by itself, and then with the complicated history of Vestara's Sith past, it becomes even more difficult, but Ben's sweet answer that was all the sweeter because as you say he totally meant it.

    Ben's line about what determines the value of a life was one of my favorite in this chapter, so I'm so happy it was a stand out to you as well.

    I do see quite a bit of echoes of Mara in Vestara in terms of them both serving either the Sith or Palpatine but not really being tainted or corrupted. For someone like Vestara, I definitely think it would take courage and strength every day to choose to live as a Jedi rather than as a Sith like she was raised. So each day is a victory and a triumph when she chooses to serve the Light instead of the Dark.

    Ben and Vestara's teasing brought a smile to my face as I was writing because one of my favorite things about this couple is how they can tease each other like that, so it is awesome to know those last lines got a laugh out of you.

    I hope you'll enjoy this next chapter as much!




    Surprised by Joy

    Ben sat with his wife on the living room sofa. When he glanced around the room, he saw all the changes that would need to be made in preparation for the arrival of their child. Every part of their conapt would need to be baby-proofed. They’d have to get clothes, toys, blankets, and bottles…

    His mind bubbling with a list of everything that had to be done to make ready to welcome their child into the world, it occurred to him that it might be nice to have a special dinner to announce their exciting news to the rest of the family.

    “We should invite everybody to a dinner next week and make our baby announcement there.” He shared this final idea with his wife.

    “Everybody?” Vestara arched an eyebrow.

    “My dad. Aunt Leia, Uncle Han, and Allana.” Ben broke into a broad grin as he warmed to his theme. “Jaina and Jag if they can come, which they probably can’t, but it’d be polite to invite them just to show that we thought of them.”

    Jaina and Jag were probably too busy being Emperor and Empress of the New Empire to find the time to travel to Coruscant for a family dinner on relatively short notice. Not that Ben blamed them. No matter how well-intentioned at the outset, family dinners inevitably collapsed into immensely awkward affairs. It was the nature of family or at least his family.

    “My stomach can’t leave me in peace for a day.” Vestara lifted the mug of steaming yarba tea she was drinking to soothe her irritable digestive tract as if to illustrate this point. “The last thing I want to do is plan or cook a fancy meal that will make me sick.”

    “Don’t worry about that.” Ben leaned over to kiss her temple. “I’ll plan and cook the meal myself. All you’ll have to do is eat it, and I’ll keep it nice and simple so it won’t upset your digestive system, all right?”

    “You’ll plan and cook the meal?” repeated Vestara with a dubiousness Ben didn’t appreciate.

    “Of course I will.” He gave an indignant sniff. “I’m well-skilled in the culinary arts, I’ll have you know.”

    “Sure you are if the sum total of the culinary arts is limited to heating frozen food in the tetrawave.” Vestara snorted, nudging him. Relenting, she added, “But if you want to try to plan and cook a meal for your family, you can go ahead and see if you can impress me.”

    “I will impress you.” With an air of assurance, Ben pulled her close to his chest, savoring the feel of her warm body against his. “I always do. Why else would you have married me?”

    “Temporary insanity,” she answered in her acerbic manner that Ben knew was her strange manner of saying that she loved him as flesh did bone or the heart did blood. “That’s what I’d plead before a court anyway.”

    “You won’t have to plead insanity to admit you like my dinner,” he promised her, spinning her hair around his finger and admiring its shimmersilk smoothness. “I’ll go with all baby-themed foods.”

    “Baby-themed foods?” Vestara took a sip of her tea. “Is that foods that don’t require chewing?”

    “No.” Ben shook his head. “It’s foods with baby in their name. Baby rancor ribs. Baby vegetables. Stuff like that.”

    “Sounds like quite an expansive menu.” Vestara chuckled. “What with all of two things on it.”

    “It’ll grow.” Ben gazed at her with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes. “Once I do some research on the Holonet and put all the investigative techniques I learned working for the Coruscant Security Force to good use.”

    Over the next few days, Ben was true to his word, throwing himself into preparations for the family dinner where he and Vestara would make their surprise announcement. He sent out invitations to his dad. To Uncle Han, Aunt Leia, and Allana. To Jaina and Jag. His dad, of course, would come, and, much as he had expected, Aunt Leia responded on behalf of Uncle Han and Allana to confirm all three of them would be in attendance at next week’s dinner. Also, as he had anticipated, Jaina and Jag replied with their regrets that they wouldn’t be able to come.

    The Holonet, however, had surprised and disappointed him with the sparsity of suggestions for baby-themed foods it had to offer. Despite his best research efforts, Ben found the ideas limited to various baby vegetables that could be steamed as sidedishes, other baby vegetables that could be chopped into a salad, and the baby rancor ribs he had mentioned to Vestara himself. It was sad to realize that his imagination alone had brainstormed essentially the same options as the entire Holonet, which sometimes seemed to contain all of the knowledge in the universe. In this case, the universe apparently was very uncreative when it came to inventing baby-themed foods…

    Ben felt his excitement at having a child continue to mount as he prepared for the dinner he and Vestara would host, but also increasingly anxious. Not about the dinner, which would be a fiasco like dinners always were with his family (that wasn’t a question, and so there was no uncertainty to frighten him). About the ultimate unknown: what fatherhood would be like and what kind of dad he would actually turn out to be.

    This filled him with a sudden, strong need to seek out his own father for wisdom and guidance. Whipping out his comlink, he typed a message to his dad: You free to go on a walk?

    A moment later, his comlink screen glowed with Dad’s reply: Sure. Where?

    Ben paused. He hadn’t gotten as far as deciding where. On impulse, he responded with the first notion that crossed his mind: The rooftop gardens of the Temple if that’s okay?

    As he sent this message, Ben had an oddly regressive feeling as if he were still a teenager asking his dad’s permission to go out somewhere. Only he hadn’t always asked permission when he was a teenager, had he? No, often he had just gone running off on his own adventures, and the consequences could launch themselves into black holes for all he cared.

    His comlink buzzed again, and Ben bent his head to read: Of course. Be there in ten minutes or less.

    Great. See you soon. Ben typed back and then hurried to get ready to leave, calling out to Vestara, who was busy working on some project of her own in the next room, that he was going out for a walk.

    Before he closed the conapt door, he had just enough time to hear her shout back for him to have a good time.

    Less than ten minutes later, Ben was strolling with his dad along the pebbled paths of the Temple’s rooftop gardens. Branches laden with green leaves and rainbows of flowers stretched over their heads, shading them from the afternoon sun filtering through Coruscant’s gray sky. The air was redolent with the scent of herbs that made Ben’s stomach growl.

    The rooftop gardens of the Temple were used to grow many of the herbs and vegetables used in the kitchens because the Jedi stove to be as independent and self-sustaining as possible. Obviously, Ben and his dad were walking through a patch devoted to growing some of the Temple’s herbs if the aroma in the air was any indication, and Ben trusted his nose as wily Uncle Han had taught him to do.

    After their routine greetings, silence fell between the two of them save for the sounds of their boots crunching against the pebbled path, and then Ben burst out because he could stand the quiet no more, “Dad, Vestara is pregnant.”

    “Vestara is pregnant!” Dad stopped walking to fold Ben into a hug that threatened to crack his ribcage. “That’s excellent news! I’m so happy for you and her, and I’m going to be a grandfather!”

    “You sound delighted with something that officially puts you in the ‘old’ category.” Ben rubbed at his ribs as his father released him and was relieved to discover that none of them felt fractured. Then, he posed as casually as he could the question that was burning his lips and mind like acid, “Were you this happy when you found out Mom was pregnant with me?”

    “I was very happy when I learned your mom was pregnant with you.” There was something sad about Dad’s smile now as there often was when the conversation turned to Mom. Even all these years after her death, Dad mourned and missed her as did Ben. “She had a disease that made us both think she would never bear a child. I was prepared to surrender that hope of ever having a child--to be stoic about it--and then I was so surprised by joy when she told me she was pregnant with you. Learning she was pregnant with you was one of the happiest moments of my life, Ben.”

    “Finding out Vestara was pregnant was one of the happiest moments of my life, too, and we were trying…” Ben trailed off, even his ears flushing sunburn pink. Thinking this had to rank in the top ten most uncomfortable conversations he’d ever had with his dad, he floundered on after an awkward fake cough, “Anyway, I was so excited about the pregnancy, and I still am, but then I got to worrying that I might not exactly be Father of the Year material if you know what I mean. And that got me scared even if I’m over-the-moon thrilled at the same time because emotions are nasty, confusing, and downright contradictory things. So, yeah, that’s the long and short of it, I suppose.”

    Which meant, Ben realized with some relief, that he could cease shoving his foot into his mouth.

    “You don’t have to be Father of the Year material to be a good parent.” Dad squeezed his shoulder. “You just have to try your best from day to day.”

    “If you say so.” Ben couldn’t keep the skepticism out of his tone because that sounded very short to be the secret to good parenting.

    “Trust in the Force.” Dad gave his shoulder another squeeze. “Listen to what it tells you, and it will guide you. That’s what I did when I was raising you, and, by all accounts, you turned out all right, didn’t you?”

    “Rumor has it I did but we both know how notoriously unreliable rumor can be.” Ben couldn’t resist a cheeky remark, because he just wouldn’t have been himself if he could. “Trust in the Force, listen to what it tells you, and it’ll guide you. It’s that simple, huh? What’s the Force telling you now?”

    “That you’ll make a good father.” Dad chuckled. “Despite your unfortunate tendency toward impudence.”

    “I suppose I blundered into that one.” Ben grinned impishly at his father.

    “I suppose you did.” Dad’s chuckle swelled into a full-fledged laugh that made Ben’s heart lighten for an instant before another embarrassing concern occurred to him.

    “Oh, and by the way, Dad.” Ben sought for an off-hand voice even as he felt chagrin spark in him. “Vestara’s pregnancy was going to be a surprise announcement at our family dinner, so if you could just act really astonished and as if you never heard a word about it when you make the announcement, that’d be great.”

    “No problem.” Dad’s eyes sparkled at him. “Astonishment and as if I never heard a word about the pregnancy will be my watchwords at the dinner.”

    “Wonderful.” Ben gave a satisfied nod. “That’s at least one thing that won’t go horribly wrong at the family dinner then.”
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2021
  7. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_laugh] I loved the chat about baby themed foods and the entire son/father talk was adorable with snark and warmth. I adore that Luke and Mara were surprised by joy; that was my favorite part of the NJO series. [face_love] Ben's feelings about parenthood are understandable & Luke's assurances doubtless seem simplistic :p LOL on the family dinners always becoming "fiascos." :eek:
     
    devilinthedetails likes this.
  8. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha As always, thank you so much for commenting! :) I'm so glad that you enjoyed the chat about the baby-themed foods, which we will see more of next chapter, and that you found the entire father and son talk to be adorable with snark and warmth. The combination of stark and warmth in Luke and Ben's discussion was exactly what I wanted to achieve. And I do love the idea of Luke and Mara being so surprised by the joy of Mara's pregnancy with Ben. It really is so heartwarming that Mara was able to get pregnant when they hadn't thought that was a possibility. I can definitely understand Ben's feelings of worry about parenthood and why Luke's assurances seem simplistic, but I do like to imagine that Ben will make a great father when his own child is born. After all, he had a great example of how to be a dad with Luke. And I think family dinners being fiascos is all part of the fun of writing about this family because I'm an evil author, haha[face_laugh]

    Now, without any further ado, I'm happy to present the final chapter of this story:




    A Family Announcement and Dinner

    Ben, who had spent an insanely long time researching vegetables that came in baby varieties that could be chopped up into salads and roasted as sidedishes to accompany his main dish of baby rancor ribs, refused to let Vestrara help him prepare for the dinner they were hosting for his uncle Han, aunt Leia, the ever-annoying Allana, and of course Vestara’s father-in-law, Luke. Jaina and Jag had declined to attend the dinner, pleading state obligations to the Imperial Remnant.

    Ben did, however, consent to allowing her to lay the table for dinner. That was why Vestara was putting out plates and cutlery when the door chimed a notification that their first set of guests had arrived.

    Vestara, folding a final napkin and placing a fork over it, hurried to the door and hit the button that would slide the door up to admit their visitors. As the door rose, she saw Han, Leia, and Allana.

    Allana was decked out in a black dress that stopped just above her knees and what Vestara thought was a little too much dark eyeshadow and red lip gloss in a style Vestara understood from the bright holo advertisements across Coruscant was the latest style for humanoid teenagers. Her primary accessory was a scowl that suggested she would rather have been doing anything else but attending a family dinner.

    Han was wearing clean, casual clothing, but his graying brown hair was scruffy as ever. Almost as if he didn’t want to risk looking too respectable because then his family might forget his smuggler past.

    The real attention-stealer, though, was Leia. She was elegant in a rippling purple gown and her braids were coiled in a crown above her head. In her hands, she held a bouquet of honeybloom flowers that she extended to Vestara with a gracious “Thank you for inviting us to dinner.”

    “Thank you for coming.” Vestara leaned forward to plant a quick peck on Leia’s cheek, which Leia returned, and in the process, she inhaled the light, sweet aroma of the perfume Leia must have spritzed on her neck and wrists.

    Not wanting the beautiful honeyblosssoms to wither, Vestara disappeared into the kitchen to cut their tips, fill a glass vase with water from the sink, and then arrange the honeyblossoms inside the vase. Emerging from the kitchen where her husband busied himself with the last details of dinner, she set the sparkling vase with its gloriously bright honeyblossoms in pride of place at the center of the table for everyone to admire.

    “The flowers are lovely.” Vestara gave the smile she knew couldn’t help but show the harshness of the scar on her face and the proof of surviving pain it represented. “Thank you for them.”

    “I wanted to bring a bottle of wine,” grumbled Han, who always enjoyed anything alcoholic in Vestara’s experience. “Sadly, I was overruled by my tyrant of a wife.”

    Vestara was rather glad that Leia had triumphed in this minor marital dispute between Han and Leia since if she had refused to imbibe fine wine brought as a gift it might arouse suspicion and spoil the surprise of her pregnancy before she and Ben were prepared to make their grand announcement.

    She was spared the necessity of responding to Han’s words, which had garnered him a sharp elbow in the ribcage from his maligned wife, by the second chime of the door, which must herald the arrival of Luke.

    Again, Vestara pressed the button to lift the door to reveal that it was indeed her father-in-law standing at the threshold.

    “Vestara.” Luke opened his arms to her, and she let himself be taken into his hug, even going so far as to return the embrace, though a part of this easy hugging still felt unnatural and strange to her because her own father had very rarely embarrassed her. Selfishness and desire was common as breathing among the Sith but not affection or gentleness. It still felt odd but wonderful to be in a family where affection and gentleness predominated. “Good to see you.”

    “You’re just in time for dinner, Dad.” Ben emerged from the kitchen, juggling an overflowing salad bowl, a plate of roasted vegetables, a platter of baby rancor ribs, and a pitcher of iced mei-mei tea between his two hands. This juggling operation was aided and abetted by the Force. Vestara could feel it.

    Continuing to draw on the Force, Ben managed not to drop or break anything as he placed all the components of their dinner on the table.

    They sat around the table. Since their family wasn’t one to stand on ceremony, they each served themselves, filling their plates, bowls, and cups with as much salad, vegetables, baby rancor ribs, and iced mei-mei tea as they wished, which in the case of Han and Ben was enough to feed a full-grown, adult rancor.

    Once they had engaged in the sort of pleasant small talk that sparked subtle eye rolls from the obviously unimpressed Allana for ten minutes or so, Ben seemed to decide it was time to make their important announcement.

    “So, um, has anyone noticed a theme for the dinner?” he asked with a distinct lack of social grace that made Vestara want to squeeze his fingers under the table in a combination of reassurance and rebuke.

    “I haven’t noticed a theme.” Han sucked at the succulent sweet-and-smoky sauce that coated the baby rancor ribs. “I have noticed that the ribs are delicious, though.”

    “Should we have noticed a theme?” Allana arched an eyebrow. “Doesn’t seem like there is one.”

    “Be nice, Allana.” Leia’s reprimand had a weary edge to it that suggested she, too, was tired of Allana’s endless teenage attitude. “Ben wouldn’t have asked us if we’d noticed a theme if there wasn’t one.”

    “Maybe he was just trying to trick us,” muttered Allana, glowering as she speared a roasted vegetable with her fork.

    Ignoring Allan’s muttering, Leia turned her focus to Ben. “I’m afraid I can’t guess the theme either.”

    “The theme is baby.” Ben spoke as though he were a detective who couldn’t believe that others had missed the many clues available to them to observe if they were keen-eyed as him. “All the vegetables in the salad are baby vegetables. So are all the roasted vegetables, and, in the crowning glory, the meat is baby rancor ribs.”

    “Why would the theme be baby?” Allana scoffed. “That’s stupid and not even fashionable.”

    “I think I know why.” Leia’s gaze flicked to Vestara, who felt her cheeks flush and her eyes drop to the napkin resting in her lap. Why she should feel suddenly embarrassed to be pregnant and to have Leia guess that she was going to be a mother, she couldn’t fathom, but she was. Her feelings didn’t always make sense. In fact, they often didn’t, being as confusing to her as they were to anyone else she tried to explain them to because all the emotions associated with love and family were such a jumble to her. She blamed that on her childhood among the Sith, but maybe things were as muddled for everybody.

    “Vestara and I are pregnant.” Ben burst out with the news as if he couldn’t bear to hold it inside him any longer. Apparently worried this might sound as if he was carrying a child in his womb, he added, tripping over his tongue, “Well, I don’t mean I’m pregnant, but Vestara is, and I’m the father.”

    “They know what you mean.” Vestara patted her husband’s napkin-clad knee. “You can stop babbling now.”

    “A baby! What a wonderful surprise!” Luke’s overjoyed exclamation was a bit too earnest for Vestara to believe this was his first time hearing she was pregnant. No doubt, her husband hadn’t been able to keep her pregnancy a secret from his father and had told him the news before the formal, family dinner announcement, and now Luke was attempting rather unsuccessfully to feign genuine surprise. Jedi, Vestara thought for the thousandth time, were rubbish at lying about anything compared to the Sith who were schooled in treachery from birth.

    “This is magnificent news!” Leia beamed at Vestara. “If you ever need comfort and advice from someone who has been pregnant and a mother, please call me at any time, and I’ll be there for you.”

    The offer was sincere, and, to Vestara’s astonishment, she found that she appreciated it greatly. Her pregnancy had proven to be more difficult, more exhausting, and sometimes more lonely-feeling than she had thought it would be. When the baby emerged from the womb, the trails would likely increase rather than stopping because that was the wearisome joy motherhood seemed to promise. It would be good to have Leia to confide in and consult for guidance when she needed it. Leia was steady and strong, a woman and mother Vestara could admire and strive to emulate.

    “My congratulations.” Han’s lips twitched wryly. “Or should I say my condolences instead. I hope the two of you enjoy your last few months free of little rascals of your own. Children are nothing but trouble.”

    “But you must like trouble,” his wife pointed out. “After all, you get into it all the time.”

    “So I do.” Han gave a sage nod that was spoiled by the smirk on his face. “That’s why I love my children and grandchildren. Nothing but trouble, all of them.”

    “I’m flattered.” Allana wrinkled her nose before turning an accessing gray stare on Vestrara. “You aren’t showing.”

    “It may take twelve to sixteen weeks for a pregnant human woman to show, Allana,” Leia explained. “And, anyway, we don’t make comments like that because they could make a woman uncomfortable, and pregnancy already makes a woman uncomfortable enough.”

    Uncomfortable. That was the perfect word to describe her morning sickness and the bump that would rise in her belly, Vestara thought.

    And it worked as a description for these awkward but wonderful family dinners and announcements as well where a mixture of love and frustration would naturally and inevitably be felt.

    She couldn’t wait to welcome the next member into this strange family that had opened their hearts and minds to her so long ago when she had still been a Sith.
     
  9. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Delightful wrap-up as everyone is in character; Han bantering, Luke affectionate, Allana snarky, and Leia -- consummately warm and supportive. =D= :D
     
    Findswoman and devilinthedetails like this.
  10. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Glad I caught up with this--so fun and sweet! I don't know these characters well (except from other stories of yours, really), but gosh, do I know the excitement and jumble of feelings that goes with imminent parenthood, and you really capture that! (Han's right--these two had better enjoy their remaining "free time" while they can! :p ) And of course, it's compounded up to eleven by all the Sith and family baggage that Vestara is dealing with on top of it all, plus that bratty Allana! (But I know she's had her rough times, too, and that's probably where some of this is coming from.) Fortunately, Ben's got the same compassion, caring, and joy that we know and love from his dad, and indeed I love the way Luke gets into the joy of it all, too--his walk and chat with Ben was one of my favorite parts. Thanks so much for sharing and being part of the OTP challenge--always love having you on board and seeing what these challenges will bring from you! =D=
     
  11. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    :D

    =D==D=

    [face_whistling]
    Nicely set up for a monumental shift in marital/family dynamics. Awkward but wonderful, indeed!
     
  12. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Thank you so much for being such a loyal reader and reviewer throughout the creation of this story![:D]I'm so glad that you found this to be a delightful wrap up and that you felt everyone was in character for this family dinner. Han's banter was a joy to write as always, Luke being affectionate warmed my heart (I love me some affectionate Luke Skywalker), Allana's snarky behavior seemed to fit her teenaged self well, and being able to show that warm and supportive side of Leia was also awesome. So I am so glad that you enjoyed this conclusion with the family dinner!

    @Findswoman Thank you so much for commenting and for catching up on this multi-chapter story!:) I'm so glad that you found this to be fun and sweet because I was hoping to channel some of that rom-com feeling in that sort of tone and with the focus on a little bit of family drama. I'm so flattered that you felt I captured the jumble of emotions that comes with imminent parenthood because I really wanted this story to be about how Vestara and Ben deal with those crazy and contradictory feelings that can come from the revelation that one is going to be a parent in a matter of months! How exciting, but also how understandably intimidating to welcome a new life into the family! And then with Vestara's history with the Sith and all the family baggage associated with that, things are even more complicated as you say.

    Allana has definitely been through some tough times as you say plus probably has teenage hormones wreaking havoc on her, but I like to think with some time and maturity she'll grow into a less bratty young woman. But for now her bratty side is showing a bit to the distress and frustration of her family.

    Ben is definitely really lucky to have the compassion, caring, and joy coming from his dad, because I think that really is a source of strength and inspiration for him in this story and a good model for the sort of father he would like to be himself, which is wonderful for anyone to have. I really wanted to be able to write about Luke getting involved in the joy of it all too, because I sort of envisioned this story being about two generations of parents: Vestara and Ben with the imminent childbirth, and Luke being Ben's father and still being able to provide guidance and encouragement and a sense of love and joy. And the walk with Ben and his father was a favorite scene of mine as well. Truly it was a treat to be able to write about Luke and Ben being able to have a time together like that. As always, thank you for the challenges that inspire these stories that would never get written otherwise, and for your thoughtful reviews that always brighten my days and put a smile on my face! I truly appreciate them!:D

    @pronker Thank you so much for reading and commenting!:) I couldn't resist the wry line about "at least in his family" so I'm so glad you appreciated that bit. To me, the simple wisdom of "you just have to try your best" is always inspirational and true, so I could resist including that advice in this story about parenting, which can be one of the great joys but also the great challenges of life. And yes I think this birth could represent a big shift in family dynamics. It also makes me so happy that you found the ending awkward but wonderful indeed since that was exactly the tone I was hoping to achieve because it is the feeling I get after watching some of my favorite romantic comedies!
     
  13. amidalachick

    amidalachick Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 3, 2003
    This was so cute and sweet, and topped off with some tender loving family moments! My favorite kind of story. :D

    Great line. I really liked Vestara's uncertainty because it seems like such a natural reaction. I admit I've never been pregnant and have no interest in having children, but I do know with other things, even when it was something I really wanted, there's still always a bit of uncertainty and hesitation when it becomes reality instead of a theoretical possibility. So that part felt very realistic to me.

    And, aww at her and Ben's conversations! They are so sweet together, and I love how supportive Ben is.

    [face_laugh] I literally LOL'd at this line!

    And I absolutely love the scene with Ben and Luke! You really captured Luke's voice, I could totally hear him. And I love the teasing and banter! Such a great scene. [face_love]

    And then the dinner itself was great too! Love sullen teenager Allana, and of course Han and Leia, who are so perfectly in character even in this brief appearance! I loved Leia's offer of advice and support to Vestara, too. [face_love]

    Such a lovely description!

    And a perfect ending! [face_love]

    Fantastic work and a wonderful response to this challenge! =D=
     
  14. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @amidalachick Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! :) I'm so happy to hear that you found this story so cute and sweet because it was a real pleasure to write. It can really be heart-warming to write these sort of stories celebrating tender, loving family moments, and I can totally understand why those are your favorite sort of stories to read!

    I'm glad that you found Vestara's uncertainty to be a natural reaction to her pregnancy. I think you're right that it's the case of Vestara wanting something very much, but still being nervous when the incredible change is actually upon her. So it is great to hear you found her feelings so realistic.

    The conversations between Ben and Vestara were some of my favorite parts to write. I really wanted to show their sweet side with each other as well as their bantering and to depict Ben as being really supportive of Vestara.

    So flattered to hear that I could make you LOL. It was a real treat to write the scene between Luke and Ben. I really wanted to get Luke's voice right, so it is awesome to hear that you felt I succeeded with that. The teasing and banter between Luke and Ben in the Fate of the Jedi series was one of the highlights of those books for me so it was nice to be able to channel that spirit into their interactions in this story.

    It is wonderful to know that you enjoyed the dinner. Sullen teenage Allana was amusing to write, and it is awesome to hear that you thought Leia and Han were perfectly in character and that you liked seeing Leia offer advice and support to Vestara.

    So glad you liked the description of the flowers in the vase. I really wanted to showcase their beauty!

    And it is so flattering to hear you found the ending perfect. Thank you again for your kind words, which are very much appreciated![:D]
     
  15. Destiny975

    Destiny975 Jedi Knight star 1

    Registered:
    Jan 18, 2021
    This was really sweet. I've never read fate of the jedi, but I still really liked it!
     
  16. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Aw! This was so fun and sweet. I'll admit that I never made it this far in Legends - I tapped out after LotF, but I do very much enjoy seeing Vestara and Ben through the eyes of your stories, [face_love]

    This is just heartbreaking. But there's a strength to Vestara renouncing the tenets of her upbringing to forge her own path; one that she knows is right. And Ben is there to support her every step of the way. [face_love]

    [face_laugh] [face_laugh] I enjoyed their teasing. Plus, your prose was just lovely here.

    Whew. Vestara is unpacking quite a bit here - in more ways than one. But while she is certainly juggling with the worst of her pregnancy symptoms and grappling with her demons, there's just so much life and hope. Isn't that always what SW is all about in the end?

    It's so quintessentially Skywalker that Ben finds out this way. Officially, at least. :p

    There are no truer words than that. [face_love]

    [face_laugh] [face_laugh]!

    I loved Luke and Ben's subsequent conversation. Every word. It was particularly poignant how very present Mara still is with her husband and son, as well. This beautiful space family still just gets to me like no other. [face_love]

    [face_love]!!

    Leia knows what's what. Or, at the very least, she has a good idea. [face_mischief]

    Aw! A beautiful conclusion for a beautiful story!


    This was fantastic from start to finish, and a lovely answer to the challenge! Very well done. [face_love] =D=
     
  17. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @Destiny975 Thank you so much for commenting!:) I'm so glad that you found this piece sweet and that you liked it even though you've never read the Fate of the Jedi books! What a compliment!

    @Mira_Jade As always, thank you so much for your thoughtful comments!:)I'm so happy to hear that you found this story sweet and fun since that was the tone I was hoping to achieve in this tribute to romantic comedies. I can understand tapping out of Legends after the Legacy of the Force books, but I'm so glad that you enjoy reading about Ben and Vestara in my fics. I think Ben and Vestara plus Ben's relationship with Luke was really the best part of the Fate of the Jedi series, which is why I can't resist writing about it.

    My heart did break for poor Vestara not being encouraged to consider her own happiness when it came to the idea of having children, but I do love that Ben was able to encourage her to think about it that way and to consider what she wanted for a change. And it did warm my heart when Vestara realized that she did indeed want to be a mother.

    So glad that you liked the teasing between Ben and Vestara. One of my favorite parts of writing this couple is their teasing. And, of course, I am super flattered that you found my prose beautiful[face_blush]

    Vestara definitely had a ton of emotions to unpack when she had confirmation that she was pregnant. All the confusions and complications of a Sith upbringing plus pregnancy symptoms but I still did want to convey that sense of hope and life that is so Star Wars as you say.

    Yeah, the Skywalkers do seem to have pregnancy discoveries in the most awkward ways[face_laugh]So this just follows the family tradition.

    I think Ben's words were so wise so it's awesome to know they resonated with you as well.

    And I couldn't resist lighting the mood about with some more banter between Ben and Vestara, this time about the dubious joys of parenting[face_laugh]So I'm so glad that you got a laugh out of that section as well.

    Ben and Luke's conversation was a truly moving one for me to write, and I did still want Mara to be there with them in a very real way, so it is amazing to hear that you got that impression of Mara being there because I think that neither her son or her husband will ever forget her, especially when they are together. Her legacy and spirit lives on in them in a very real way.

    Oh, I definitely like to think that Leia at least somewhat knew what was what. Either through her Jedi senses, her diplomatic experience, or both. And poor Han had no idea where this was going:p

    And conclusions are always hard for me so it makes me so proud that you found this one beautiful.

    Thank you again for your kind words and for reading this story![:D]