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Beyond - Legends Delusions of Grandeur: Threadsketch's flash fics - IT'S ALIIIIIIIVE!!! New ficlet 5/23/15

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by ThreadSketch, Jun 29, 2014.

  1. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 22, 2013
    [Lando] "Well, well, what have we here?" [/Lando] :p

    I promised (for better or worse) to make a thread for my short stand-alone fics, longer than drabbles but trying to stay within the limit of 1000 words or less, hence the term "flash fiction." I'm going to stretch that constraint, obviously, but I'll do my best. Unfortunately the tag is a little misleading - not all of these are in the Beyond category. For now, though, I think more of these will take place after the films, so I went ahead and chose that as my tag rather than Saga, since I can't pick both. They'll be a mixture.

    My initial effort is a Saga post, and for anyone who caught my very first fic here in its own thread, the theme of this ficlet has a lot in common with that one, so I apologize for the redundancy. I thought about not going ahead with this one, but didn't want to erase the dialogue between the characters.

    Moving along!

    Title: Casualties of War
    Timeframe: immediately post-ANH, right after the awards ceremony
    Characters: Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa
    Genre: introspection
    Summary: Victory and losses through the lens of time and booze, and the inexplicable bond between undiscovered siblings.


    Freedom is liberty with a burden, a gift with incalculable cost.

    That realization is dawning on Luke Skywalker as the feast day grows long and the alcohol in his system is turning his thoughts further from the afterglow of triumph and closer to its ramifications. He's already understood the gravity of the accolade the Alliance has bestowed on him, its highest honor still gratefully draped around his neck. The tragic irony, however, hasn't really hit him until now as the suppressed grief of losses incurred on his inaugural adventure into the rest of his life starts seeping out and mingling with the fact that everyone else his pair of proton torpedoes has affected will be experiencing exactly what he's dealing with. A whole lot of everyones.

    Part of him wants to kick himself because, obviously, this is what war is all about, stoopa. Knowing an exact number isn't going to make the medal any less heavy from having oceans of blood forged into its gold. But he wants to anyway. Scorched bones and crumpling robes and starfighter novas are all tumbling through his inebriated brain, and the official announcement of a battle station now floating across the Yavin system as mere molecules is going to send the same horror and numb heat that have seared his heart over the past few days lancing through countless other lives across the galaxy.

    They are still the enemy, but they lived, so many of them, and now they don't. They never talked about this in the briefing, and he knows why.

    Somehow his roving eyes manage to catch hers from such a long distance across the chamber, and the Princess slowly makes her way toward him, already comprehending. The weariness isn't entirely concealed behind her natural beauty and the tasteful makeup enhancing it, but she keeps it aside well.

    He doesn't remember taking the medal off, but then it's in his fidgeting hands as she approaches. It's as bright and round as the suns he's escaped, the suns that'll be baked into him forever whether he likes it or not. He almost loses his nerve when he remembers who he's asking this of, but true to himself heedless of sobriety or drunkeness, he blurts out softly, “How many were on board?”

    Her dark eyes harden, and inside he's shrinking in shame, wondering how he can so hopelessly love someone who makes him feel like such an idiot. It's not the way Camie did it, though.

    Unexpectedly, her fingers close over his around the medal, and for a few precious, awful moments her façade drops to show unimaginable anguish.

    There were nearly two billion on Alderaan.”

    It's not even vengeful for her to say it, although he can still see a spark of that in her wounded gaze. It had to be done. It had to be somebody's job, and it turned out to be his.

    There's no glory in death, but there'll be less of it now, and that's why this medal has been struck and hung. He closes his eyes and nods. His head is still spinning, but somehow her hands on his are keeping him anchored. When their foreheads touch, he's not sure who leaned into who first.

    I'm sorry,” he whispers, regretting blowing the odor of ale into her face. The words are so pathetic against the monolith of genocide. His dirtball of origin is still orbiting its stars and her paradise is gone. He didn't even get to enjoy it himself. But her arms circle him anyway.

    And then she breathes into his ear, “They were your world too, Luke.”

    He jerks back, stunned and confused, wanting to shake his head no but thankfully remembering that sudden movements are a bad idea right now. How does she know? How can she say that? But it's true, in a way. Nothing else on that blasted planet meant anything to him except the ones he didn't appreciate until it was too late, and the other who kept his dreams alive in the skies.

    In the end, he's too incoherent and overwhelmed to bother to protest. So they just hold each other, two broken halves making a whole.
     
  2. taramidala

    taramidala Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 18, 1999
    No one ever writes about Luke's guilt over all that killing that he did, and how awful it must have been for him after all the adrenaline wore off. Beautiful. Brava.
     
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  3. ginchy

    ginchy Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 25, 2005
    Powerful and beautiful. I love missing scenes with Luke and Leia.
     
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  4. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 22, 2013
    I think this subject is touched upon sometimes, but not super often, no. We all love the films, and they're essentially fairy tales, so this stuff is glossed over and it's okay, but...yeah. With a character like Luke...he's all gung-ho on being a hero when he's young, but once his brain catches up to the rest of him, he's too considerate not to be affected by something like killing a million people in less than a minute. War is hell, as the saying goes.

    Thanks for stopping by, both of you!
     
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  5. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Very nice!
     
  6. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Thanks for sharing this missing scene. =D= It is very much in character and definitely something I believe Luke will never lose: compassion and a sense of responsibility. [face_thinking] I like the instinctive closeness and consolation he and Leia share. It is great they can give that to one another. Her horrific loss is something that is lightened somewhat through sharing. @};-
     
  7. amidalachick

    amidalachick Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 3, 2003
    I have to agree with taramidala - it's great to see a fic looking at the consequences of being a hero. Can't wait to read more of your work. :)
     
  8. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 22, 2013
    I'd forgotten to mention - Luke's guilt over the deaths of 50,000 Imperial troops and civilians in the Battle of Mindor was enough to drive him to seek out a hostile investigator to see whether he should be charged with war crimes (as well as giving him serious insomnia). Some readers of LSatSOM felt this was rather out of character in terms of self-flagellation. However you want to take that, it just puts this in perspective: this situation was indirect in comparison to the first Death Star. Being directly responsible for the deaths of roughly 1 million people, no matter how necessary it may have been, has got to mess with one's head eventually.

    For her part, I have Leia's sentiments toeing the line between satisfied revenge (because she was personally tortured twice over aboard that thing) and knowing that it's wrong to think of it that way, and feeling sorry that this nice young farmboy, of all people, has to live with this burden. Even through her terrible pain, she doesn't want Luke - or anyone else - to feel as their grief doesn't matter compared to hers. She also doesn't consciously comprehend why she feels an instinctive desire to comfort this person; as some fans point out and even joke about, it's kind of absurd that she bothers to console Luke aboard the Falcon right after Ben is killed when he's barely known the old guy for a few days and her loss is monumental in comparison...but she does it anyway. For all her hard edges, Leia is just as naturally compassionate as Luke is, and it comes out even more around her brother.

    Jedi_Lover, Nyota's Heart, and amidalachick, thank you all for reading and commentary! [face_blush] Hopefully by the weekend I can have another ficlet up.
     
  9. Kahara

    Kahara Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    :( That sounds so right for how Luke's teenage/early adulthood is portrayed; he wasn't really belonging on Tatooine -- and yet the Lars were his parents in pretty much all ways. Biggs was obviously important to him too, and that rarely gets any time, so I'm glad he gets an indirect mention here.

    Also, seconding everyone on how the Death Star's destruction would almost have to have some fallout like this. In the movie, you can almost tell that he's too adrenaline-hyped and too preoccupied with his recent losses to think of it. But once that dies down, yeah -- I think it would be a lot like this. Leia's own thoughts were intriguing and in-character; it's her way to want justice brought down on the Empire, but she knows Luke well enough by now to have mixed feelings that he was the one to do that.
     
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  10. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 22, 2013
    Thanks for the review, Kahara. :) Yeah, it's a bummer that the Luke/Biggs scenes had to be dropped from the film. Yes, they were slow, but poignant and funny and made Biggs' death all the more tragic later. But at least the deleted scenes live on separately. (And there's the fantastic radio drama too.)

    I personally know what it's like to grow up a self-absorbed misfit who only came to appreciate things from the past in painful hindsight, so it's easy for me to bring out that aspect of Luke's character. He's a nice guy, but he's got his flaws too. It was unfair that his "friends" belittled him, but he was also your typical teenage boy with his head up his rear. Getting catapulted into the Galactic Civil War is what started bringing out his better traits - aka, making a man out of him.

    It's because of those aforementioned flaws that the Battle of Yavin can temporarily go to his head - of course he'd be thinking, "I'm officially awesome now! Suck on that, Fixer and Camie!" :p But it wears off quickly, because he's not a jerk to the core. Someone on Tumblr pointed out that Luke pulls the same Rage Face that his father Anakin did at Shmi's death when he looks back up from his aunt and uncle's corpses. In that instant he wants payback; he wants revenge on the Empire for what it did to his guardians. But again, Luke isn't a carbon copy of his demented dad. He has a greater inner stability that balances out those rage tendencies. Padme is his mom, BUT...Aunt Beru was his practical mother, and she and Owen are real salt-of-the-earth type folk. The majority of Luke's compassionate nature had to have come from Beru's patient nurturing, and this tends to be forgotten.

    Yeah, I figure Leia would think, "Man...we have so many other seasoned pilots, and this woobie over here is the one who winds up making the shot." The short time she's spent with him has already shown her that he's a total greenhorn and a caring person - not the best combination for somebody who has to slaughter that many people in one go. So she knows they're now both officially messed up in their own ways.
     
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  11. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 22, 2013
    I promised I'd have a new ficlet up by the weekend, and I hath delivered! Although this turned out to be twice as long as I thought it would be (4 pages in my OpenOffice doc instead of 2).

    It's...not my best by far. But I wanted to quit twiddling with it for fear of overworking it, so here it be, for better or worse. I wonder if anyone will pick up the slightly illogical factor about the entire story; if so, feel free to point it out and I'll do my handwaving explanation of it. :p If not, I'll just keep mum, and hopefully suspension of disbelief won't be too difficult for anyone.

    Title: Fathers and Sons, or, A Lesson in Love
    Timeframe: vaguely post-NJO
    Characters: Luke & Ben Skywalker, a smidgen of Mara
    Genre: family fluff (wait, wha? What is this madness?!! [face_laugh])
    Summary: A little roughhousing leads to an impromptu heart-to-heart.

    Disclaimer: Characters and situations, aside from the original composition here, are the property of Disney/Lucasfilm.

    *Edit: Blergh, I apologize for any issues with the font formatting. Hopefully I won't give anyone eye strain.




    RAAWWRRR!”

    Oh no, the rancor!”

    Clawed arms and slavering jaws reached down to pounce upon the stunned Jedi–

    and a yowling, red-headed boy landed on his crouching father, who had just done a rather uncanny impression of C-3PO's prim falsetto. Luke Skywalker fell back onto the floor with an exaggerated grunt that broke into hearty laughter as he let his young son tackle him. Ben's enthusiastic efforts to imitate the terrifying roar of a blood-thirsty rancor were nowhere near the true sound, but managed to be just as ear-splitting in close proximity.

    Little arms wrapped around Luke's waist, squeezing. “Gotcha!

    Ohh! I don't have my lightsaber! What am I gonna do?” He squirmed, feigning helplessness in the “rancor's” mighty grasp.

    Use da Force!”

    Hey, you're the monster, you're not supposed to be helping me out!”

    Ben giggled. “Maybe I'mma nice monster.”

    Really? Well, then I don't need to use the Force for nice monsters...I have a special power just for that.”

    Whazzat?”

    The power of...tickles!

    Ben shrieked with glee as Luke sat up and deployed a merciless barrage of tickling. As they wrestled, a tiny hand shot out to blindly grip his right wrist, twisting with just the precise amount of pressure–

    The access port to Luke's prosthetic hand sprang open, startling Ben and drawing Luke's mirth to a halt with an involuntary squawk of surprise. His concern was less for damage to the internal mechanisms than accidentally hurting Ben; the edges of the panels were blunt and smoothed over by synthflesh, but hard enough to bruise. He quickly closed them, but his son's focus remained transfixed upon the spot. In the Force the boy radiated a tangle of shock, wonder, and–most painfully–fear at this seemingly illogical sight.

    At the forefront of the nightmares of his older age, his own child being afraid of him was one of Luke's most profound anxieties.

    It's okay, Ben,” he soothed. “I'm sorry I scared y–“

    You hava droid arm?”

    Ah, not exac–”

    Ben's eyes grew even wider and his voice dropped to a whisper. “Daddy, are you a droid?

    As comically absurd as the question was, it still hit Luke like a punch to the gut. “No! No, Ben–“

    His son scrambled back toward him and pressed his head against Luke's chest, right over his heart. “You don't go whirr like Artoo.”

    No, I don't. I'm not a droid, buddy.” He finally allowed himself to chuckle and stroked Ben's hair with his left hand, then stretched out his legs and pulled him up onto his lap. “And it's not my whole arm; it's just my hand. It stops right there below what you saw.”

    Being considered a droid didn't offend him as it would most others. However unnerving or mundane their existence and employment was to the majority of galactic citizenry, the fact was that Luke considered two droids to be extended members of his family, and he was quite happily indifferent to anyone's opinion of his sanity on the matter. What triggered the knots of anguish in his stomach and the dull throb of old spiritual wounds was something far more personal.

    He's more machine now than man...twisted and evil.

    Ben's fingers were idly tracing the lines and contours of its palm and wrist. “Looks real.”

    Yeah, it does, doesn't it?”

    Now...fulfill your destiny, and take your father's place at my side!

    Deceptively soft synthflesh hid the same servos and wires that powered both this hand and his father's grotesque limbs. That excruciating epiphany had become their salvation. Luke breathed deeply and let his eyes drift shut as he rested his chin on his son's head, the memories washing over him.

    He was snapped back to reality when he felt Ben's arms encircling his neck. Of course the child would sense it all. Chagrined, Luke carefully withdrew his inner turmoil behind his mental shields, not wanting to overwhelm him, but he savored the comfort that came from being able to share the same intimacy of soul as he did with his wife and sister. He hugged Ben in return and kissed the crown of his head.

    Even before Ben could open his mouth and ask, his curiosity and concern were already singing out, and Luke pondered his potential replies with great care. He could never lie to his son. Ever. But Ben was far too young to hear all the tragic details that had shaped his family. The distant, long-forgiven ache of subterfuge from Obi-Wan and Yoda slipped along tender recollections of Aunt Beru's bedtime stories. In the depths of the Force, Kenobi was probably shaking his head with that droll little smile of his.

    Luke sighed and thought, with a warm, wry dread, of what Mara would think of all this when she returned. His imagination vividly conjured her patented eye roll. Stang, Skywalker, I'd never think you'd need to childproof yourself.

    I got hurt a long time ago, and it wasn't like getting a cut that you can put a bacta patch on. I lost my whole hand, and the medics gave me this one to replace it, so I could still do all the things I can do. A lot of people get hurt or sick and they have special parts like this to help them heal and move around again. Remember that whenever you see someone who looks or sounds different, you respect them and treat them just as you would anyone else, okay?”

    Ben nodded, his hair fluffing from the friction against Luke's chest. “How'd it get lost?”

    I...I went to fight a bad man. He had taken my friends and I wanted to rescue them. He had a lightsaber just like me, and he was very powerful. I wasn't...” His throat tightened, and he swallowed down the gall. “He was stronger than me, much stronger and smarter, so even though we fought for a long while, eventually he hit me right here with his lightsaber, and my hand was gone.” He tipped Ben's face upwards to catch his gaze. “That's why Mommy and I have told you how dangerous they are. I know they look very shiny and pretty, but if we're not careful, they can hurt you very badly.”

    That's why you don' want me playin' with them?”

    That's right.”

    But when I'm big like you I can?”

    Yes,” Luke smiled and released a puff of amusement. “If you want to learn, we'll teach you soon. But yes, when you're a little bigger.” Vanity was well nigh meaningless to him now, but it was still humorously refreshing to have someone consider a man of his stature as big.

    How'd you get away from tha bad man?”

    Join me, and together we can rule the galaxy as father and son!

    Artificial fingers curled into a loose fist. “He didn't just hurt my hand...he hurt me with his words. He said something I thought was terrible, and I was very scared and angry. The thing is...he was angry too, but he was sad at the same time.”

    Why?”

    Because I said no. He...wanted me to be just like him. But I knew I couldn't do that. I was up on a very high place, and I just jumped. I just wanted to get away from him, and if that was the only way I could do it, I didn't care. He didn't do anything to stop me. I didn't know why for a long time, but then I realized it was because he was sad.”

    Ben cocked his head, the little cogs in his brain turning. “Was he lonely? 'Cuz he wanted you to be like him?”

    ...Yeah, kind of.”

    He makes you sad too.”

    Luke closed his eyes again and clenched his jaw, but he couldn't prevent the hot pressure building up behind his eyes. Holding it all back wasn't really necessary when Ben could already perceive it. “Yeah, he does. He always will, but it's all right now. It's just...hard to think about it.” After so many years, he rarely cried at the recollection of Bespin, even after his fiercest night terrors, but in Ben's presence the scars reopened and flared afresh in a way he hadn't felt since his youth.

    If he din' wanna be lonely, he shoulda not been so mean. Cuttin' Daddy's hand...” Ben shook his head and did a rather superb job of replicating his mother's look of annoyance. Grateful laughter escaped Luke through the tears.

    No, he shouldn't have. It was definitely wrong. We were both...really confused back then.”

    Is tha bad man still aroun'?” A shiver of nervousness flashed across Ben's spirit.

    No, he's not.” And this was one of those numerous times when he wished that Anakin Skywalker was not so far away beyond his reach. As always, Luke had to settle for casting out his love across the immeasurable ocean of the Force. Someday, Father. Not too soon now, I hope. But someday.

    He liked to believe that Father had been close by the day Ben was born.

    I needed to face him one last time. I tried to talk to him first so that we wouldn't have to fight, but he refused to listen. This time he said something even worse, so that I hated him, even more than before. I finally beat him and I just wanted to destroy him.” Luke held up his prosthetic hand in Ben's sight again. “He'd lost his arms and his legs many years before, so they were all like this. He'd cut my hand off, so I did it right back to him. But then...I saw how I was...changing. No matter how much I didn't want to, I was turning into him. I was just as angry and evil as he was. It was like waking up from a bad dream.

    So I put my lightsaber down and stopped fighting him. And because I did that, I was in great danger from someone even more powerful and evil than he was. Then he chose to save my life.” Luke's voice dwindled to a hoarse whisper. “We didn't hate each other anymore.”

    Why'd he go 'way then?”

    Now go...my son. Leave me...

    No! You're coming with me. I'll not leave you here, I've got to save you!

    You already have, Luke...

    He was hurt very badly, and he only had a little while left to live. But we were able to say goodbye.”

    Ben nuzzled his head into the curve of Luke's shoulder and hugged him again. “I'm sorry I made you cry, Daddy.”

    No, buddy, don't be sorry. It's not your fault. It's good that we talked about this. I would have told you all about this someday; it just came a little early.” He sniffed and, without thinking, wiped his face on his sleeve.

    Ew. Mommy says dat's gross.”

    Luke blinked, then grinned. “You're right. Or rather, Mommy's right. I'll go clean up in a minute. But listen.” He stared intently into his son's eyes, letting the weight of his next words impress themselves upon the boy's mind through the Force like a gentle brand. He wanted him to remember this moment for the rest of his life. “Your mother and I have had to fight a lot of bad people for a very long time, so that we can keep you and our family and the whole galaxy safe. Soon we'll start teaching you how to defend yourself and others so that you can keep yourself safe and protect others who need help. But don't ever forget this, Ben. It's always better to show love and kindness to those who hate you, because in the end you may make a friend instead.”

    And alongside the bittersweet memories of Anakin Skywalker came those of Mara Jade, another enemy who was now and forever his second half.

    That'll be a fun tale to tell, he thought mischievously.

    Oh, yes it will, Farmboy.

    He went ramrod still in spite of the fact that she couldn't see him. Yet.

    Your shielding's a mess today. But it's fine. I'll be home soon.

    Daddy?”

    Luke's heart sped up for multiple reasons. “Mommy's on her way home. I'll bet you're getting hungry, aren't you?”

    Mm-hmm.”

    How about we go to the kitchen and make some bantha saddles?”

    Yeah!”

    Aware that the seriousness of the previous minute was rapidly dissolving in the fleeting perception of a four-year-old's attention span, Luke swept Ben up into his arms as he stood and headed out of the room. “I love you, Ben.”

    Love you too, Daddy. And I won' forget.”

    Luke cracked up. Yes, he really was his mother's son.
     
  12. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Ooh, the rough-housing leading to such a touching inner dialogue and external conversation. Loved the smidge of Mara and yup, [face_love] his and her getting together does make for an interesting story [face_laugh]
     
  13. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 22, 2013
    I deliberately passed on the chance for Luke to reply, Stay out of my head, Jade, because she caught him so flat-footed. :p
     
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  14. taramidala

    taramidala Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 18, 1999
    Excellent job in portraying Luke as a father, and all the baggage that came with him re: fathers and sons. He neither talked down to Ben nor oversimplified. It felt true. Equally excellent job in accurately writing a 4 year old!
     
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  15. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 22, 2013
    :D

    I debated with myself over how emotional he should get during this story and was worried that I'd be portraying him as too much of a pushover sop. But I decided that the loss of control is plausible here, because in spite of being middle-aged and having made long strides in getting over the past, fatherhood now makes all the angst over his daddy issues come spewing back out. He's not resentful against Anakin, but having personally missed out on everything that Ben is now getting to experience hurts. A lot. And it's painful knowing that he has to sit down with his kiddo one day and tell him the whole messy enchilada, instead of giving him a normal heritage.

    Heh, I thought I was oversimplifying. :p Luke's not exactly lying to Ben, he's just not naming names yet, which is why he feels the little Kenobi guilt-trip, lol.

    I like to write in dialect; I know many authors keep it intact and their dialogue is still fine, but if I feel that a character's voice or accent wouldn't fully or precisely pronounce certain things, I feel weird making it too correct. I prefer to make it sound as closely as possible to what I think they'd really say. So there was no way I was going to write whole words for a 4 year old, LOL. I wanted Ben to be an intelligent little tyke, but he's still barely out of toddlerhood.

    Many thanks again!
     
  16. ginchy

    ginchy Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 25, 2005
    I have a four year old who is too smart for me to handle, so I'm glad to see Luke in the same boat. [face_love] I love fics with Luke and baby Ben and this is very sweet and well written.
     
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  17. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 22, 2013
    [Obi-Wan] Hello there! [/Obi-Wan] :p

    Despite my qualification of this as a post-NJO fic, I know this is completely inaccurate regarding the books. Ben becoming withdrawn from the Force and not having the best relationship with his parents (I'm not sure about this latter part as I didn't keep up with LOTF and FOTJ, but that's the impression I get) was somewhat understandable due to the circumstances of the war, but, well...depressing. This is my dissatisfaction with the later EU - the glaring lack of hope and relentless onslaught of despair. I mean...this was supposed to be Star Wars, right? Basically Flash Gordon deluxe, right? Y'know, humor and adventure and eventual victory mixed in with the cerebral dark stuff? So yes, I might as well paint this fic as being AU. I don't need the scales tipped too far to the opposite end of the mush spectrum either, but I thought that giving Luke and Mara a child and then spoiling it with so much darkness and estrangement was kind of pointless.

    Okay, rant over, lol. I'm very glad you enjoyed this!
     
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  18. amidalachick

    amidalachick Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 3, 2003
    You always write the characters so beautifully, I can hear their voices (or at least Luke, since we've never literally heard Mara or Ben, but you know what I mean, lol)! Such a lovely family moment, and I like how Luke tells the story - without lying, but in a way Ben can understand. Great work.
     
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  19. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 22, 2013
    Thank you, amidalachick. :) Character voices are my #1 concern, so I'm happy to hear that. Generically speaking, Mara is more sarcastic and pragmatic, and I can get away with going straight to that when I have her appear in small doses - Mara is kind of to the EU what Han was to the OT movies, the not-quite-4th-wall-breaking practical wiseacre who would help the audience not take everything too seriously - but I hope I don't pigeonhole her in a larger role, especially as marriage and maturity add even more depth to her.

    I think I've heard a fan or two previously speculate about whether Mara would have had a "British" [Core World] or "American" accent, given that she was raised as an Imperial agent but is a character who becomes one of the heroes later, and the films had the whole British-as-villains/Americans-as-good-guys trope. Personally, I'd find it pretty hilarious if Mara did have a very refined British accent and thus Farmboy winds up with an ultra-classy-sounding lady as a counterpart to his yokel self. :p But I'm assuming that just about everyone, maybe even Tim Zahn himself, considers Mara to have a non-specific accent.

    Yes, the Bunny Multiplyer in me pictures how this conversation would go when Ben is several years older, and he'd be vaguely remembering this story that Luke told him...
     
  20. Kahara

    Kahara Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Oh, nifty. The Skywalker family and it's many tangles are one of my favorite features of the films. I've always been fascinated with fanfic that deals with how the Solo and Skywalker kids are introduced to the weirder and more tragic features of their family history. Maybe it has to do with the fact that the last parts of ROTJ are so fascinating, but seem almost forgotten in profic. I can see them not wanting to break the magic, but that is one powerful story and I feel like the actors did a great job of bringing it to the screen. So this was a treat to read.



    :p Ha! I liked the little bits of humor amid the serious. And it's so easy to picture Luke being really worried that he'll mess this explanation up and warp the kid for life. But he does a great job.
     
  21. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 22, 2013
    Yes, this x 1000. As a huge and unapologetic fan of the family angle, I'm always a little dumbfounded when I encounter other fans who wish the saga didn't revolve around a family, but... *shrug* It doesn't bother me at all. It's a gold mine of rich, compelling, epic storytelling. Thanks for stopping by, Kahara!


    Regular fatherhood is already terrifying - now, fatherhood with all that craziness mixed in? [face_laugh]
     
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  22. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 22, 2013
    Aaaaand...it's time for another fic! This one's a real shorty-short.

    Title: Woven Together
    Timeframe: shortly post-Union
    Characters: Mara Jade
    Genre: introspection
    Summary: A newlywed Mara Jade and...hair accessories. Just...hear me out, 'kay? :p

    Disclaimer: Characters and situations, aside from the original composition here, are the property of Disney/Lucasfilm.

    Author's Note: This story is meant to evoke the original look of Mara from the 90s-era sourcebooks and RPGs; for anyone not familiar with the artwork, you can take a peek here. Before the dark times...before Teh Catsuit... [face_plain]




    This cabin was still unfamiliar to her. Traces of “new ship smell” still lingered, the stateroom's comfortable bed was not conformed to her shape, and she could not quite yet feel her way through the dark of a night cycle without the Force. But these things would come in time.

    She'd thought the anticipation and excitement of the future would start to fade somewhat after the wedding, until she found herself in a hangar bay staring up at a sleek vessel, and the gift of time and restored freedom was the greatest one she'd received in the celebration's wake. Not greater than the one who had given it to her, but...he really did understand her like no one else did now. And she had to admit, not all of it had to have come from those harrowing, beautiful moments in that cloning chamber.

    The Jade Saber would be exiting hyperspace in fifteen minutes. Mara Jade Skywalker deftly braided her hair, coiling up the tail into a loose bun, and reached for another, smaller gift that her husband had revealed shortly before she'd departed. On first glance its shape appeared abstract, just a set of smooth, asymmetrical curves fashioned out of dark, laquered wood. Closer inspection revealed intricate hand-carved details of organic textures and a subtle stain that gave the sculpture definition.

    It was a pair of vines, twisting and looping, joined at each end in infinity. An accompanying stick secured the hair slide over her braid, engraved with the Qom Jha proverb that had inspired its design.

    Hair slides had been her one of her rare indulgences; in spite of her years in the Imperial Court, jewelry held no special appeal for her, and could be a liability in some combat scenarios. Mara had once quipped to her then-fiancé that she'd be saving him a great deal of creds, though he'd grinned and replied that questionably-legal weapons and ship upgrades cost a great deal more. Her elbow had just provoked laughter.

    But she was still a woman, and she preferred her hair to be out of the way most of the time. She had a small collection of them, but obviously none would be as favored as this one.

    There were times, more frequent now, that she would ponder just how much of her tastes and personality were truly hers, and what had been shaped by her upbringing. Often she would conclude to herself that speculation was pointless; the past was gone and irretrievable. But this new relationship – not only with a man, but with openness itself – sometimes quenched her pragmatism, and she was slowly learning to be at peace with occasional wonder and questions. Perhaps here, in this uncharted territory, more of herself would start to emerge, revealed in the light – in his light.

    Her lips quirked upwards at her own reflection. Insufferable man. He was wearing off on her already.

    It was corny, elegant, and practical. Luke knew the bauble would always trigger a smile from her. In a crowded room or alone as she was now, it would be just another little private joke between them, another cherished and complex memory.

    As much as she was relishing being back in flight and in action, Mara was already looking forward to her return voyage.
     
  23. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Exquisite! The gifts of the Saber and the comb set and its personal/relationship significance. Mara's musings are wonderfully in character and full of wonder at the uncharted territory/vistas of openness and loving and being loved [face_dancing]

    You have selected one of my most favorite missing moments for L/M. =D=

    :D
     
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  24. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 22, 2013
    As shallow as this is, the inspiration for this ficlet came from reading various other fics where Luke gives Mara various pieces of jewelry - often a necklace - with some more believable than others. Now, of course, I'd want to strike a balance between Mara having a dislike for frivolous things and yet still having some personality, not being devoid of idiosyncrasies as if she's just a drone. I remembered that old artwork and liked the quirky little things about it: she's technically wearing a brooch on one of her shirts, as well as those little mismatched shoulder pauldrons or armor pieces - and she wears barrettes with hair sticks. (I couldn't bring myself to use the word "barrette," though, LOL. It just didn't feel right.) That really gives a better feel to the idea that Mara has been around the galaxy for a while with Karrde and picked up some style - meaning, uniqueness, instead of always being crammed into that uncomfortable-looking and impractical skintight bodysuit. Mara also wears more down-to-earth smuggler/spacer clothing in the other artwork galleries featured on that Blogspot site, and the comic Mara Jade: By the Emperor's Hand also did a good job in "costuming" her.

    I thought it would be a cute throwback to those days to have Luke give her a piece of useful hair decor in lieu of a necklace, bracelet, earrings, etc., because he knows she already wears that kind of stuff, and it would be a funny way of making a reference to their time on Nirauan. You can do a Google Image search for something like "hair barrette stick" to see pictures of what I'd had in mind for her hairpiece, but you can view a couple of especially relevant ones here, here, here, and here.

    Mara's characterization might be a tad...fluffy here, I know. :p I'm chalking it up to the afterglow of marriage and getting, like, the awesomest ship EVAR. After the Falcon, of course, ahem. ;)
     
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  25. taramidala

    taramidala Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 18, 1999
    Aww, I don't think she's that fluffy here. Not at all. She's still the simple, practical girl she always was, just with a dash of sentimentality after all the changes in her life. The hairpiece idea is great and very unique - those examples are lovely. And I miss the pre-catsuit days, too. I always pictured her as both incredibly practical but fashionable. She'd been exposed to enough fine things in her early life to know quality, and I don't see her as being ashamed of it.
     
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