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Saga Enough - a TESB one-shot vignette [More meta word-vomit 3/7]

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by ThreadSketch, Jun 15, 2014.

  1. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 22, 2013
    Ya gotta graduate from toeing the water to jumping in the deep end eventually.

    Title: Enough
    Author: ThreadSketch
    Timeframe: during TESB, between the Falcon's escape from the Executor and the closing scene aboard the medical frigate
    Characters: (unnamed) Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa
    Genre: angst, introspection
    Summary: One possible way that Luke manages to cope with his Heroic BSOD immediately following Papa Vader's bombshell.

    Disclaimer: This is merely non-compensated playtime with the intellectual property of George Lucas, and purchased property of Disney.

    Author's Notes: The purpose behind this short piece is to provide a reference point that would be picked up again in a later, much, much longer story. I guess this means I'm trying to...establish my own continuity. (*gasp!*) I had originally planned on writing this as a novella-length fic in ordinary third-person, to cover the span of possible events between escaping Bespin and the end of the film, but decided to shorten it severely and use a drastically different writing style in hopes of, frankly, making it more interesting. Perhaps the original version might see the light of day, perhaps not.

    I appreciate any thoughts, observations, and typo or grammatical catches, as this is un-beta'ed. (I'm still conspicuously brandishing the n00b hat.) Without further ado...

    He doesn't believe it.

    He doesn't believe when a familiar roar thunders through the ship, when inertia tosses him and everyone else back into their seats or toward the nearest bulkhead, when the stars flare and stretch to infinity, that they've escaped. He doesn't believe, until the shift to hyperspace instantly hurls them away far enough to rip out the iron talons buried in his brain, that they're free.

    And even then, he knows he'll never be free again. No matter how far he runs, no matter how many light-years he puts between himself and that black spectre, those claws will have left festering wounds that will burn him with the fever of nightmares and poison his heart with a cancer of dread.

    No. I am your father.

    It would be so easy to deny it. The word of a Sith Lord against so many others – others who have fought alongside him, sacrificed themselves for him, drilled wisdom and discipline and humility into him, loved him – should be meaningless. A murderer is a liar at heart, denying all that is good and true in the universe. An enemy only seeks to undermine and manipulate.

    And yet...and yet.

    The Force cannot lie.

    The power that has saved his life and strengthened his hands and mind to wage war, the energy that has renewed him when his body could not take another step, the essence that has connected him to the glorious radiance of all life, can obscure the future and cloud weak minds, but on its own it cannot deceive. It is a revealer of thoughts.

    Search your feelings, you know it to be true.

    He has, and it is.

    Just as his own face has met him within the abyss of a shattered helmet, it is his own self that reflects back from the black pit reaching out to him across that gantry. Blood calls to blood. A liar speaks the truth.

    And that terrible echo, the resonance that vibrates to the tune of his own soul, will not be silenced. He will carry it with him, beneath the hum of his mind and the beat of his heart, when he sleeps and when he wakes, on the most distant base or remote coordinates, in the thick of battle and the moments of idle quiet.

    Until it breaks him.

    His wrist is numb, but it isn't. There isn't an anesthetic in existence that can wipe out that searing agony, not just of superheated plasma slicing through flesh and bone, but of words. Those five words have cut deeper than any blade, and it feels like his soul is leaking out through that wound and the auto-tourniquet sealing it.

    Vaguely he's aware of other words around him, those of a stranger and a beloved. He comprehends them enough to follow them as he's lifted up and walked back to the medical cabin he abandoned. Deep brown eyes, both smoldering with subdued rage and misting with concern, never leave him as small, gentle hands continue their interrupted ministrations. Comfort streams from her lips and alights from her touch, but he doesn't hear her. All he can see are the invisible scars of terror, anguish and sorrow hidden in the faint lines around her eyes, the sharp angles of her face, and the tightness of her mouth, all etched into her by the same one who has just crushed his own identity into his opponent.

    She loves him, and there is nothing else he needs as desperately as her right now.

    She loves him, but she would hate him if she knew.

    And so he will become a liar himself. He understands now why he has been insulated from this awful knowledge, even as every fiber of his being wants to summon the ghost of his mentor or fly back to that repulsive jungle world so that he can scream accusations at both of his teachers. His deceivers. He will be one of them too.

    No one must know. He is urged to rest, but he is so frightened of what will meet him behind his eyelids and what will come out of his mouth when he is not in control. Raving like a lunatic is something he's been told he does well when he's sick and insensible. It's not funny anymore. This time his cries won't earn him sympathetic gazes or affectionate ridicule, but rejection and perhaps even the walls of a holding cell.

    Once death inexplicably refused to take him the first time at the bottom of a city in the clouds, he'd lost his nerve to face it again in the smothering embrace of toxic gases and bone-crushing pressure. Now he wishes he'd simply let go. He should not be here. If he is the spawn of a Dark Lord, he is a danger to himself and all those around him. He should have denied the darkness any chance of claiming him. Every moment more that he lives is another moment of doubt and confusion and horror, crumbling his mind away.

    Anger, fear, aggression – the Dark Side are they.

    If once you start down the Dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny. Consume you it will!

    His blaster is still in its holster, shed and lying on the deck less than a meter away.

    But she will not leave him.

    At last even his own body betrays him, pulling him down into the chasm of sleep, where his fall will continue forever.


    I feel cold...death...

    That place...strong with the Dark Side it is...

    In you must go.

    That rasping breath, in the last place expected –

    - blades clashing, their heat a faint reflection of the stellar flares of vengeance and self-righteousness –

    - a victory too easily won –

    - cold, sightless eyes of blue piercing through the haze –

    What's in there?

    Only what you take with you.

    Black tendrils grow from the wet earth, sown from fear and watered with grief, twisting and grasping as the vines overhead stretch forth, creeping and binding, as serpents descend to strike –

    - the darkness is upon and within, all-encompassing, stifling, choking

    It is the only way.


    Consciousness returns with all the violence of a hull breach. Blind panic makes him forget as he reaches up to tear away phantoms, and he smashes his stump right into his nose before she can grab his arm. Her loud, urgent reassurances are drowned out by his own screaming and gagging and gasping. Air has never seemed so precious. Acid burns the back of his throat, and he has to fight to keep from heaving all over himself.

    Then he's seized in a grasp so tight that the resulting blast of pain jolts the senses back into him. Most of his body has become one massive bruise, and oh, how it hurts to be held that hard, but he clings to her just as fiercely as that antenna, that last lifeline between him and hell.

    In this moment he doesn't know how he will keep going. He doesn't know how he can ever be a Jedi, bereft of his weapon – a weapon whose memory is now tarnished with hypocrisy and betrayal – estranged from his masters, undone by the shattering of dreams and legacies. He doesn't know how he can contain the immensity of this secret that will tinge his world in shades of gray and blood-red where once his purpose shone with sun-drenched clarity; a burden that can scarcely be borne over the weight of death and loss and relentless struggle already pressing upon him each day. He doesn't know how he will live with a permanent reminder of his arrogant stupidity and humiliation, of how narrow the gap is between defeat and destruction.

    But between breaths he reminds himself whose arms are around him. The same arms that were pinned by merciless gauntlets as the world that had shaped and inspired her, with all its life and beauty, was reduced to vapor and rubble before her eyes. The same arms that fight back with deadly accuracy and lead with stoic authority, refusing to hang subdued in the face of overwhelming tragedy. She has persevered through suffering that he can't begin to fathom, and in the gale of affliction she is at times bowed but unbroken. Even in weakness she is strong.

    They are now bound by the kinship of torment, and he is enveloped in understanding. For her sake, he wishes it were not so, and knows that she feels the same for him. But he drinks in her presence, her resilience, like precious water found among the desert wastes.

    In this moment, her strength is enough.
  2. Cael-Fenton

    Cael-Fenton Jedi Master star 3

    Jun 22, 2006
    That's incredible =D=

    The illumination of his relationship with Leia by the bitter light of his knowledge of his paternity; his mixed feelings of betrayal and almost-understanding towards Obi-Wan and really nailed it.
  3. taramidala

    taramidala Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 18, 1999
    Brilliant! I'm actually, honestly, speechless. Powerful, powerful writing here. Nice jump! =D=
  4. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 22, 2013
    Thank you, both. [face_blush] This is the only complete fic I currently have, and after seeing this Tumblr post, I decided to go ahead and polish it up for posting here.

    I have to confess, this is Stover-inspired, however pale and forced an imitation it is. I felt his "This is..." style of passages for the ROTS novelization would work well for what I was trying to convey here. I didn't want to do a blatant rip-off, but definitely went in that direction. In any case, I wanted the story to hammer across the paranoia and despair of Luke briefly going to the brink of madness. (I included a reference to an AU fic I posted here under another username years ago, but I'll keep mum on where it's located in here for now.)

    On a side note, in my dreams Stover would write new versions of all the OT novelizations, and my mind would be gleefully blown. :p [/fangirling]

    Leia is one tough cookie (partially as per her character and partially due to the general lack of exploring the larger implications of things in the SW films), so I figured she would be an anchor and an inspiration of hope for Luke when he's at his lowest point. If she can survive losing her entire planet, he realizes he can get through this too, somehow.
  5. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Kessel Run Champion star 8 VIP - Game Winner

    Aug 31, 2004
    Bravo on the introspection and inner struggle/grappling. =D= You have Luke's shattered reaction and Leia's resilience superbly shown here. I will be looking forward to any future offerings in the OT or any and all Ep7 speculations. ;)
  6. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 22, 2013
    Nah, I'm steering clear of Ep7 territory. [face_whistling] It just hasn't stoked anything for me yet. Frankly, it's still quite surreal, especially since I took a years-long hiatus off Star Wars. This whole thing with Disney and the sequel trilogy is kind of in the "pigs grew wings" category for me. :eek: I'm still ambivalent about them.

    Thanks for enjoying the read!
    Gemma likes this.
  7. ginchy

    ginchy Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 25, 2005
    I really loved this. You have a way with words, so that even simple sentences convey so much. I love the lines about Luke understanding why the knowledge was kept from him, even as he wants to berate those who kept it from him. And how he'll now become like them, keeping the dark secret. This was powerful and so well written that I can't wait to read more from you.
  8. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 22, 2013
    Thank you! :) Because this is a stronger piece, and over 1000 words, I wanted to keep it on its own, but I plan on starting a second thread for my "flash fiction" [fics longer than drabbles but shorter than short stories]. Introspection and dialogue are my strengths; action, intrigue, and technical know-how are my weaknesses. Thus it's very difficult for me to craft long fics (I only have one ridiculously long fic in the works that's actually hung around the back of my brain for years now and was prematurely started on the old JC boards back in 2004). But that leaves me with interesting scenes that are left to languish on my hard drive or in my thoughts without a larger story to craft around them. I've seen drabble/ficlet threads before, so I assume it's okay for me to make one...? :confused:

    Anyhoo. I have the habit of being too verbose or florid, so trying to convey heavy material in a concise way is a real challenge for me. This is probably still too...purple. But I'm glad you still found this compelling.

    It used to be much easier for me to write when SW was still fresh in my mind; now I've had to relearn all the lingo and (well, now Legends) EU. [face_relieved]Even my style has changed. Most of my old stuff is pretty cringe-inducing, but there are passages here and there that sound much better than what I produce now. Oh well!
    ginchy likes this.
  9. furrylittlebantha

    furrylittlebantha Jedi Master star 3

    Dec 2, 2005
    Lyrical, powerful take on an iconic moment. Writers are drawn to this scene with good reason, but it is very hard to do right. You did it right. :) I found an interesting relationship between the style and the content. You use a lot of parallelism/repetition as rhetorical device - this imparts a flowing, musical rhythm but also pairs nicely with the core concept of the vig of Luke and Leia in parallel - together, similar, kin in more way than one. :) Excellent work!
  10. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 22, 2013
    I appreciate the deep review! (I think your review sounds better than the fic, lol. :p) Yes, I wanted a repetitive feel to the story to emphasize the way that Luke's fear, anger, and grief were wearing him down almost to the point of a complete mental collapse, much like a battering ram striking against a door.

    The truth is that the entire purpose of this little fic is to establish Luke's nightmare, because it winds up being featured in the climax of my aforementioned ridiculously long fic. In this continuity, the nightmare becomes a recurring one over the next year, eventually turning into a waking vision. However, I still wanted to do justice to the writing I'd need to sandwich around it, so I tried hard to make it a unique and worthwhile read.

    The kinship mentioned here is the tragic relationship Luke and Leia now have as being mutually tortured by Vader - she on the Death Star and now he on Bespin. At this moment he's so out of it that the more significant implications of Leia actually hearing and responding to his mental call haven't quite registered in his brain yet. (This is also why there's no mention of Han whatsoever; his absence on the ship hasn't fully hit him either.) But because Luke is instead preoccupied with how in the worlds he's going to deal with this epic craziness, he realizes that Vader's already done even more horrendous things to Leia, personally, and she's still here with her head on straight. A Tumblr post elaborating on a quote from George Lucas himself discussed how Leia is arguably a bigger influence on Luke than Han - she's strong and poised and brilliant while he's an awkward farmer from the sticks, and he admires and craves the maturity that she already has, in spite of their identical ages. Even though I was already composing this fic, reading that just gave me even more of a push to finish it.
  11. K'Tai qel Letta-Tanku

    K'Tai qel Letta-Tanku Jedi Grand Master star 3

    Apr 18, 2000
    Very nice! I can see the Stover influence. It works really well in this context.
  12. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 22, 2013
    And given that I'm not Stover, I figured it was best to keep it short before it got really overdone. Like, a dollar-store version of Stover. :p[face_laugh]
  13. Cael-Fenton

    Cael-Fenton Jedi Master star 3

    Jun 22, 2006
    I didn't pick up the Stover influence the first time I read this, but now you've pointed it out: I really prefer this to what I have read of Stover (only the RotS novelisation eight years ago). I think Stover overdoes Stover :p

    You're right, this style won't work for something longer (which is why I haven't picked up the RotS book again, and why I skimmed it the first time!) but you used it to great effect here, I thought.
    aleja2 and Nyota's Heart like this.
  14. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 22, 2013
    Somehow, this needs to become a meme. [face_laugh]

    Yeah, I'm sure there are plenty of folks out there who dislike the gimmick of his writing style, but I do love how he manages to pretty much punch you in the face with the drama (and absurdist humor) of the situations. RotS the novel and RotS the movie are so utterly different; one often leaves you cringing at the cheese and the other leaves you stunned, captivated, rolling in laughter, and possibly a weepy mess by the end. At least it did for me and many other fans. Of course it's totally cool if you're not keen on him. :)

    If you've never read Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, I do highly recommend that, at least. You might not wind up loving it either, but it's free of the quirky tense switches and reads more like a regular SW novel...although, the meta is strong with this one. [face_mischief]

    Thank you for still enjoying my fic! I'm glad I wound up trimming it down as much as possible then.
  15. Findswoman

    Findswoman Fanfic and Pancakes and Waffles Mod (in Pink) star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    I enjoyed this—it's like a prose poem! Nice job fleshing out a momentous moment that goes by all too quickly in the movie. :)
  16. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 22, 2013
    Thank you! That's our job as fanficcers: to milk all the offscreen Wangst we can. :p

    (Well, not exactly, but there's plenty of us who do it...present company included.)
  17. Kahara

    Kahara FFoF Hostess Extraordinaire star 4 VIP - Game Host

    Mar 3, 2001
    Really liked the phrasing there! Captures a lot of the fascination that the Luke-and-Vader storyline had for me in the films; it's not just that Vader isn't what he seems, it's that the Jedi aren't what they seem. From here on out, Luke has to choose whether to walk apart from his training or trust in it, and the choice is perhaps never so simple again.

    Nice extrapolation of what Luke is thinking in one of the most painful moments of the films. I haven't read much of Stover beyond the quotes that I've seen, but it seems well-suited to the emotional rawness here.

    It was very effective to reference Leia here, and how important she is to Luke in this moment especially. Hadn't thought of it quite this way, but in a lot of ways Leia is to Luke Skywalker what Luke Skywalker is to ... well, lots of people, in-universe and outside -- she's his hero and his inspiration, the person he looks up to as fighting the good fight no matter what. Aww. Best Rebel siblings ever.
  18. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 22, 2013
    Yes. Nailed it. :D

    Thank you for your lovely review! I'm looking forward to the rest of your Padme fic. [face_batting]
    Kahara likes this.
  19. amidalachick

    amidalachick FFoF Hostess Extraordinaire star 5 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 3, 2003
    Powerful lines.

    I love this look into Luke's mind, and Leia as a source of strength and inspiration to him is just so true. I never thought of it like that before, but I love the idea. Awesome fic, and so beautifully written. =D=
  20. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 22, 2013
    And thank you to you too! The way I see the Skywalker twins is that, while Luke has a steadfast perseverance to his character that eventually gets him through his fiery trials, he's more emotionally volatile and sensitive upfront - he wears his heart on his sleeve, and loses his cool far more easily. Leia shields her vulnerability behind multiple walls of ice and vitriol. Even though her temper and tongue are lethal, she can keep it together way better in a situation than Luke, and he's humble enough to realize and accept that. (I mean, goodness, her entire planet is blown up and she's cracking wise in the Death Star detention block, while Luke is all mopey when Ben bites the dust. :p There are even online memes revolving around these absurdly disproportionate emotional responses. Lol, these movies are just so much crazy emo fodder...)
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  21. Dally

    Dally Jedi Master star 4

    Apr 2, 2001
    My goodness, that is beautiful.
  22. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 22, 2013
    Well, hey there, Dally! Glad you liked it, and thanks for the kudos! :)
  23. Cael-Fenton

    Cael-Fenton Jedi Master star 3

    Jun 22, 2006
    *was rereading this vig; randomly barges in with unsolicited opinion* :p

    I always saw that as Alderaan taking longer to sink in because it's so removed from everyday experience that it's kind of incomprehensible, and in her situation (still captive on a battle station) she wasn't allowing herself to think about it, or to let it sink in. Whereas in the past couple of days Luke's already seen his aunt and uncle's charred corpses: very much more emotionally immediate than witnessing a planet blow up.

    And when Ben dies, Luke is alone in the universe at this point. Leia still has people she knows and trusts in the Alliance. People to turn to, people who will share the burden of her loss. For all Luke knows at that point, he has absolutely no one.
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  24. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 22, 2013
    Somebody reread this vig? *is flattered* [face_blush][face_laugh] Well, thanks!

    Yes, that's the explanation I most often see for Leia, and it makes total sense. It's just an inconceivable (yes, I know what that means, Inigo) loss. Luke's is more immediately tangible because it's small-scale and wholly personal, whereas Alderaan is both personal and too large-scale for anyone to even grasp. And thanks for pointing that out about them having or lacking others to lean on, relate to, etc. at that time. Ah, the Woobie is strong with this one... :_|:p
    Cael-Fenton likes this.
  25. Cael-Fenton

    Cael-Fenton Jedi Master star 3

    Jun 22, 2006
    He's just a wibbly little poppet isn't he?! :_|