Title: Not the Beginning Author: Tarsier Timeframe: ~41 ABY AU (canon through Sacrifice, then Jacen is redeemed shortly after he kills Mara) Characters: Ben, mention of (redeemed) Jacen and (deceased) Luke Genre: songfic, introspection, one-shot Summary: Ben Skywalker struggles to cope with the death of his father. Disclaimer: Based on the lyrics from "Waiting for the End" by Linkin Park. I think it helps to listen to the song while reading. Warning: No character death in the story itself, but takes place during Luke's funeral. Word Count: 975 Notes: This is a continuation of the Chasing Whisperkits timeline, but reading Chasing Whisperkits is not necessary to understand this story. This takes place shortly before the work-in-progress Chase. This is my first real attempt to write Ben, so any comments or critiques are very much appreciated. Thanks for reading! This is not the end This is not the beginning Though the words sound steady Something empty’s within them My cousin Jaina was reading the eulogy. She read it reasonably enough. She talked about what a great man my father was. The words “Jedi” and “hero” came up a lot. But I can’t take her seriously. This was just another performance, yet another turn for her in the spotlight. He was my father; I should have been in charge of the funeral arrangements. Or at least I should have had a say. But, no, Jaina, so-called Sword of the Jedi, had to take over. She would not even grant me a single request. It wasn’t even an unreasonable request. All I wanted was for Jacen Solo, my father’s only living nephew and Jaina’s own twin brother, to be able to attend. Waiting for the end to come Wishing I had strength to stand This is not what I had planned It’s out of my control I look around at the crowded room. Where the Kessel did all these people come from? They’re not close personal friends of my father, I can tell you that much. I bet half of them never even met my father. Jaina finally finished and now an x-wing pilot I barely recognize is speaking. I just want it to be over. I wanted a small service for friends and family. But of course I was overruled and half the galaxy was invited. Apparently my father was a “public figure” and as many people as possible should be able to mourn his death. It’s all political posturing though. The public can hold whatever memorial services they want. They don’t need to be here, now. At least the casket is closed now. I got to come early and see him. Say goodbye to his flesh and blood. It was awful. He looked so old. Weak. It was sort of absurd, really—a Jedi Master stuck in a flimsy wooden box. I shake my head. I don’t want to think about it. Another speaker steps up and I hope he’s the last. As soon as the funeral is over I can visit Jacen. I’m sure they expect me to attend the reception, but I won’t. I just can’t take any more. I need to be away from these people. I need to be near someone who knew my father but has nothing to do with this circus. Jacen knew my father. Maybe even better than I did. Flying at the speed of light Thoughts were spinning in my head So many things were left unsaid It’s hard to let you go All this has probably made me sound cold. Like I don’t care that my father died. But of course I do. I loved my father. It’s just that, I didn’t know him very well. Not until last year anyway. And by then I already knew his time was running short. I knew he wouldn’t last long after my mother died. We spent almost a year traveling together. Flying, and talking, sometimes even laughing. It was fun. But it didn’t make up for the fourteen years I barely saw him. There was a lot of stuff I wanted to say to him. Not all of it nice. But I didn’t tell him my childhood sucked because I knew he did the best he could for me. I knew my childhood was better than most of his adulthood. We talked about smashball and tourist attractions. Not about what it was like to be the one man everybody in the galaxy looked to for salvation when anything bad happened, whether it was a hostile alien invasion or a bloody civil war. Or what it was like to be his son. I know what it takes to move on I know how it feels to lie All I want to do Is trade this life for something new Holding on to what I haven’t got I may never know what it was like to be my father, but I understand Jacen. Most people don’t get it, but I do. I know he made mistakes, and I know he’s better now. I’ve made mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. Even my father –he’d be the first to tell you that. I’ve lied and I’ve cheated and I’ve even been tempted by the Dark Side. That doesn’t mean I’ll spend my whole life being a liar or a cheater or a Sith Lord. I’ve learned from my screw-ups and I’ve moved on. That’s all Jacen wants to do. But his own family won’t let him. I thought it felt right But that right was wrong All caught up in the eye of the storm Trying to figure out what it’s like moving on I don’t even know what kind of things I’ve said I know he regrets what happened. Jacen got caught up in something. Something much bigger than himself. He thought he was doing the right thing, he thought he was saving lives. Then things got out of control. He probably doesn’t even remember half of what he did. I know he would undo it if he could. Sometimes I wonder if that’s what people want – for Jacen to go back in time and undo the bad things. But that’s impossible. Don’t they get that? Sitting in an empty room Trying to forget the past This was never meant to last I wish it wasn’t so Right now Jacen’s locked up in his cell, alone. Meditating, probably. He spends a lot of time meditating these days. I suppose because he has nothing else to do. He wasn’t supposed to be there indefinitely. My father was supposed to sentence him. Everyone expected Jacen to be executed, but my father refused to pass a sentence before he had forgiven Jacen. He died before reaching a decision. So now no one knows what to do. It had been hard enough to get everyone agree to let Grand Master Skywalker be the judge; it seems unlikely they will ever agree again. So Jacen is in limbo, sitting in a cell waiting for a judgment that will never come. So I’m picking up the pieces Now where to begin The hardest part of ending is starting again I think I should be Jacen’s sentencer. This all started with the incident with my mom after all. And who better to take over my father’s responsibility than his one and only son? I would give Jacen a second chance. I’d forget the past and let him start over new. That would be bad enough, going from having the galaxy at your fingertips to having nothing. I know they’ll never let me decide Jacen’s fate. But maybe it’s time I quit letting them tell me what to do. Maybe it’s time I just do what I think is right. Do what I want to do.