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Beyond - Legends Two Worlds Colliding and Conjoining (Ben/Vestara Multichapter for OTP Challenge #13)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by devilinthedetails, Dec 21, 2019.

  1. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Aug 31, 2004
    Invitations to Fiasco
    LOL! What a title! [face_mischief]

    Frustrated with how Dad could treat him and Vestara as children one minute and as adults the next as convenience dictated... How very RL slice of life this is! :p

    The talk between Luke and Ben was full of Luke's natural concern & Ben's hope that all would be all right.

    The moons of Kesh, one waxing and one waning in a dancing effort to balance light and dark energy-- a lovely image and metaphor indeed for Ben and Vestara. =D=

    Ben's attitude toward Vestara is encouraging but not pushy. She's receptive but does not want to lose her unique self, and then there's the whole Allana side of the issue.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
  2. AusStig

    AusStig Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 3, 2010
    oh can't wait for the next chapater. Hope this goes better than the last Solo-Skywalker family dinner.

    I am glade Ben sees good in her while Ves is more cynical, even about herself.

    I like this dynamic, can't wait for the dinner.
  3. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Wow, Ben likes to roll the dice, doesn’t he? She must be special for him to convince Luke to let her stay with them for a while, then really push his luck by bringing her to Han & Leia’s home. I don’t know what Vestara did to Allana but it doesn’t sound good, and Ben kept some pretty significant information away from his aunt and uncle when he wheedled that invite. This is gonna asplode in his face...

    I really liked the description of the stream and the many colored fishes. Very vivid imagery!
    AusStig and devilinthedetails like this.
  4. Ben_Thryss

    Ben_Thryss Jedi Knight

    Sep 13, 2011
    Sorry I haven’r reviewed the last few chapters. Email was fussy about showing me the update notices.

    I like the dynamic here. They’re distant but very clearly love each other (or like or whatever), and it’s interesting to see their back-and-forth. That said, I feel like serving the Light and being a Jedi is not quite Vestara.

    The Dark side is bad, yeah, but I feel like a great deal of the evil we associate with the Sith is largely their own dogma. There have been Sith who are good people (Lana Beniko for one), but still believe the whole ‘through victory my chains are yadda yadda...’ thing. Being Sith is a part of who Vestara is, and I think that a great way to both her and Ben to develop would be for them to learn the distinction between being a Sith and being evil. Meaning she can grow beyond her compulsive need to betray the people around her for her own self-interest, for example, but still be a practitioner of the Dark side. Power through feelings, but not at the expense of those around her.

    I’m not putting this very well, and I’m not meaning to sound like I’m pressuring you, or anything. This is just sort of something I always thought would have been a cool development in their dynamic is the EU hadn’t been canned. Suppose I just wanted to see what you thought.

    As for this story, however you want to do it, I’ll be reading it. Not enough stuff out there about Ben Skywalker or Vestara, and you write them well.

    Looking forward to a hopefully fabulously awkward dinner. :)
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
  5. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 19, 2019
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha As always, thanks so much for commenting! I'm so glad you found the chapter title amusing. I had a bit of difficulty at first coming up with this latest chapter title, but then it hit me like a ton of bricks that this one would be perfect[face_laugh] Yeah, I was definitely drawing on those real-life feelings of teen frustration at being treated like an "adult" one minute and a "child" the next. I really did want to show Luke's natural concern for his son and hope that he'll be all right so I'm so happy that shone through. There should be more focus on that this upcoming chapter. The waxing and waning moons was a chance for me to really explore that connection between the environment and the couple in a sort of poetic, symbolic way, so it's awesome to hear that part resonated with you. I think Ben will continue to try to be encouraging of Vestara but not cross the line into pushy, and that Vestara will still be receptive in some ways but also not want to lose herself and be dealing with the impact of her choice regarding Allana. I think that might even come to the forefront more in the last chapter of the story, which isn't this one, but the next chapter after this. Thank you again for your kind words. They always help keep me inspired:)

    @AusStig Once again, thank you so much for your supportive comments!:) The Solo and Skywalker family dinner should have a good deal of tension and awkwardness, but also as I envision it is some hope and some chance at redemption and healing by the end if I can bring what's in my head to life in the next chapter. The idea of Ben seeing the good in Vestara when she may be too cynical to see it in herself has been one of my favorite elements to explore in this story so I'm so glad it's worked as a great dynamic for you. Sorry to make you wait another chapter for the dinner, but I hope that it'll live up to your expectations when it arrives!

    @divapilot Thanks so much for commenting! :)Yes, Ben is certainly rolling the dice and being a bit of a gambler here, which I think is part of him having some of that impulsive nature of a teenager. I don't know if he realizes the full impact that Vestara showing up unexpected at his aunt and uncle's could have. I agree that Ben was being pretty secretive with what he kept from his aunt and uncle, and I think he'll get called out for that next chapter when things kind of explode in his face. So glad you enjoyed the description of the stream and many colored fishes. That was one of my favorite parts of the story to write in that it really gave me a chance to explore nature in keeping with this prompt!

    @Ben_Thryss Thank you so much for commenting, and no worries if you don't get a chance to comment on every chapter:D Sorry to hear the email notifications were being weird for you (technology issues are no fun), but so glad you found your way back to the story and were able to enjoy all the latest chapters. I'm so glad that you like the dynamic between Ben and Vestara here. I definitely think there is a real attraction between them that has a chance of growing into love and all this witty banter between them, but at the same time, there is the clash of their different histories and worldviews that must be acknowledged if not completely overcome.

    I think one of the interesting things that was done in the Fate of the Jedi was introducing this entire society and world of Sith to readers like myself in detail. From what we see of life on Kesh, Sith society there seems quite ruthless and competitive with people being driven by self-serving motivations, but at the same time this is a complex society that produces beautiful art and has enough of a cooperative aspect to it that people aren't constantly stabbing one another in the back. It's also hard to believe that an entire society of people is just evil, and I think Vestara sort of shows that. While she has some negative traits and does some ruthless things for selfish reasons, she is also someone with a great deal of traits that I think Ben at least finds admirable and she is capable of doing good and being drawn to doing good. I see Vestara as still being in a sort of flux about who she is and what she wants to do by the end of this story (there are only two chapters left), but she'll have the promise of Ben's support as someone to confide in on her journey to find herself and her future. Oh, and don't worry, I don't feel pressured, and I hope you will enjoy the very awkward upcoming dinner and continue to find this story well-written as it comes to a close! Thank you again for your thoughtful comments:D

    A Surprise Good Influence

    It was late by Coruscant time when Ben and Vestara entered the quarters where Ben lived with his father, but that hadn’t stopped his dad from waiting up with the apparent purpose of being able to ambush Ben for a hair ruffle the second he stepped through the door.

    “It’s good to see you back in one piece, son.” Dad didn’t need to sound quite so surprised that he hadn’t managed to self-destruct with a little independence, Ben thought.

    “Is it really such a shock that I didn’t drive the Jade Shadow into a black hole?” Ben grumbled, twisting away from Dad’s hand, feeling the hair-ruffling had gone on for way longer than any self-respecting teenager could permit.

    Ignoring this witticism, Dad turned to Vestara. “I’ve prepared the guest room for you.”

    “Thank you.” Vestara was suddenly studying the carpet as if there might be an exam on its pattern in the near future.

    Dad nodded an acknowledgement and tilted his chin toward the kitchen. “There’s stew on the stove if either of you are hungry. Just heat it up for a few minutes, and it should be ready to eat.”

    With that, Dad disappeared into his bedroom, which Ben took as his cue to steer Vestara into the kitchen because he was always hungry even if she wasn’t. Approaching the stove, he switched on the element under the massive black pot, smelling a heady combination of spices, vegetables, and diced roba meat.

    Gesturing for Vestara to have a seat at the table, Ben asked as he crossed over to the conservator, “Want anything to drink?”

    “I’ll have whatever you’re having.” Vestara’s answer was oddly absent, and Ben wondered what she was mulling over as he pulled out a carton of quintberry juice, pouring himself and Vestara a glass. As he slipped hers in front of her and took the chair opposite her, she added, “Thank you.”

    “It’s not like you to be so polite.” Ben sipped his juice, eyeing her over the rim of his glass. “What’s on your mind, Ves?”

    “Nothing much.” Vestara toyed with her glass but didn’t lift it to her lips. “You have a good father.”

    “By that you mean that he doesn’t beat me despite my snide remarks.” Ben remembered a jail cell conversation that felt like a long time ago even though it wasn’t. “Yes, we discussed that in a jail on Klatooine.”

    “That’s not what I mean.” Vestara shook her head as if to dislodge an irksome fly or a pesky remark Ben had made. “I mean he loves you for yourself and doesn’t just see you as a tool to be sharpened for his own advancement. He wants what’s best for you, not to use you to bring about what’s best for him. His interest is your welfare, not his own.”

    That was true, Ben realized. A truth he took for granted given the nature of his father, but Vestara had never experienced such selfless love from her father. Her father had always seen her as a being to be used for his advantage, and he had been perfectly willing to kill her when she stopped serving his interests. Gavar Khai had been a ruthless man, prepared to slay his own flesh and blood in service of his Sith ambitions.

    “It’s the Jedi way to put others above oneself—to love selflessly,” Ben said when he could speak around the lump that had abruptly formed in his throat. He set aside his glass. He didn’t think he would be able to swallow again any time soon given the mountain that had taken up new residence in his throat.

    “It’s not the Sith way.” Vestara’s fingers skated across the top of her glass but still she didn’t drink.

    That night, after he had finished dinner and gone to sleep, Vestara’s words lingered in Ben’s brain, threading through his dreams like a spider web. In the morning, he awakened possessed by the conviction that perhaps he could do a better job expressing his appreciation for his father.

    “Dad?” he asked, entering the living room to see that his father was meditating on a mat in the corner, while Vestara still seemed to be asleep in the guest room.

    “Ben.” Dad’s eyes opened as Ben folded onto the mat beside him. “Did you sleep well back on your own sleep couch?”

    “Somewhat.” Ben fiddled with his mat mainly to have something to do with his jittery fingers. “My mind was working overtime on something Vestara said.”

    “Oh?” Dad lifted a curious eyebrow.

    “A conversation we had last night really made me recognize that while she had a father who didn’t put her interests first and who wanted only to use her to advance his own, while I have a dad who always wants what’s best for me even when we don’t agree about what’s best for me.” Ben bit his lip, unsure how to continue.

    “Vestara made you realize this?” Dad’s second eyebrow rose to join the first.

    “That’s what I just said,” Ben replied with a peevish edge. Here he was swallowing his pride, and his father wasn’t listening to a word he was saying.

    “Hmm.” Dad steepled his fingers and rested them under his chin. “I was worried she’d be a bad influence on you, but in this at least she’s been a good influence on you.”

    “You’d love her even more if you’d heard her in the jail cell on Klatooine talking about how I should show you more respect.” Ben wrinkled his nose. “Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for always wanting what’s best for me.”

    “That’s my job as your parent. You don’t have to thank me for that.” Dad squeezed Ben’s shoulder. “I loved your mother—you remind me so much of her—and I love you.”

    “I do have to thank you.” Ben’s chin lifted, irritated that his dad truly hadn’t been listening to a word that came out of his mouth.

    “You definitely inherited your mother’s stubbornness.” Dad tapped teasingly at Ben’s raised chin.

    “You can be quite stubborn as well for your information,” Ben pointed out, tone tart.

    “Yes.” Dad gave a reminiscent chuckle. “That’s what your mother always said.”
  6. Ben_Thryss

    Ben_Thryss Jedi Knight

    Sep 13, 2011
    Good stuff. Wasn’t expecting only two more chapters, though! Looking forward to them.

    Hope there’s more for these two in your head. Would love to see what they get up to down the line.
    devilinthedetails likes this.
  7. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Aug 31, 2004
    Vestara's observation about Luke is definitely striking given her background and one that Ben naturally appreciates. Being open and candid he understandably wants to share that with his Dad, with a huge dollop of gratitude. Luke's no biggie must indeed be frustrating! [face_laugh] :p
    AusStig and devilinthedetails like this.
  8. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    So, I've caught up with this now, and even though I don't know these characters or this era well, I am enjoying this story very much! All the characterization is so clear, sensitive, and distinct that I can easily tell who's who and where they're coming from. You've done a great job with the banter—as I guess I can call it!—between Ben and Vestara; they are so different (and this latest chapter really drives home how different they are, with Ben's realization about Vestara's dad vs. his own), steeped in such different philosophies, and yet they can't seem to resist each caring for each other in some way. I get the feeling they're sort of looking for a "halfway" at which to meet each other—and isn't that just exactly what the entire "city mouse, country mouse" scenario is all about! This couple really is a perfect match for the prompt, and I can't wait to see what things will be like when Vestara "meets the fam" in earnest. (Yep, I do think "fiasco" is likely to be part of it, in the best possible way! :D )

    I have to say I also really loved the repartee between Luke and Ben (they really have a lot in common in that good-natured-snark-coupled-with-good-heart sort of way), and I'm super intrigued by this Ship person-thing-being! Very interesting how Ship has played a key role in the formation of this other very different variety of ship! :cool:

    Keep up the wonderful work, and thanks again for sharing! =D=
  9. AusStig

    AusStig Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 3, 2010
    I like Ves and this is best Ves.

    She just cuts through stuff. She is very incisive.
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  10. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 19, 2019
    @Ben_Thryss Thanks so much for commenting throughout the story! I'm glad that you enjoyed the previous chapter, and I hope you will enjoy this one as well. Sorry if you were a bit taken aback by the story ending so quickly but I have to admit that most of my stories tend to be on the shorter side. [face_blush] I tend to write a lot of oneshots and shorter multi-chapter stories like this one. I guess it just suits my lightning bolt strikes of inspiration writing style...I might very well end up writing future stories involving Ben and Vestara if inspiration strikes and it very well might with these characters since I do love them both.

    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha As always, thank you so much for being an extremely faithful and kind reviewer throughout all my projects! You always keep me so inspired and encouraged throughout the writing process of all my stories[:D] In the Fate of the Jedi books, I always found it really interesting to track how Vestara's perception of Ben's relationship with Luke and her own relationship with her father evolved throughout the series, so I admit that the conversation Ben and Vestara have about Luke and her father is partially inspired by that, because I thought it was a really interesting strand that I just had to include and follow into my own story. I really do think that Vestara's background and history with her father can give her a unique insight into how special it is to have a closeness with your father the way Ben does throughout the Fate of the Jedi books (they don't always agree, but there is definitely a lot of affection between them that is really sweet to read for me). I also wanted to give Vestara a chance to provide Ben with a valuable insight and perspective so that they could sort of learn from one another, and this seemed like a wonderful, irresistible opportunity to do that. I definitely agree it must have been frustrating for Ben to have this big epiphany and share it with his dad with all this gratitude, and then his dad being like, "No biggie, no need to thank me," but that's just how a good dad like Luke has to react[face_laugh]

    @Findswoman Thank you so much for commenting and for taking the time to catch up with this multi-chaptered story!:D I'm so glad that you are able to enjoy this story despite not being too familiar with the era and the characters. I'm so flattered you've found the characterization to be so clear, sensitive, and distinct, since this challenge for me definitely encouraged thinking about the characters and how they might learn and grow in response to one another. I've really found it interesting to delve deeply into who these characters are and where they come from both figuratively and literally, so it makes me so happy to hear that shone through for you. I'm always nervous about how my banter turns out so it pleases me so much to hear that you enjoyed the banter between Ben and Vestara. I agree that Ben and Vestara are very different and grew up in different environments steeped in very different philosophies but at the same time they find themselves very much drawn to one another and wanting to understand one another. It is a very fascinating dynamic for me to explore, and I think you are right that in many ways they are seeking that sort of middle ground or halfway point at which they can meet and conduct their relationship, which really does resonate with the idea of city and country mouse. Perhaps by the end of the story there is the hope that they may have found this middle ground as city mouse and country mouse. The scenes between Ben and Luke were really some of my favorites to write throughout this story so it makes me so happy that you loved the repartee between those two. I absolutely agree that these two have a lot in common and I think they are starting to realize and really appreciate that. I hope you'll enjoy this payoff chapter of Vestara finally meeting the family! Fiasco is coming but maybe some hope of reconciliation as well...Not that I want to spoiler anything;)

    @AusStig Thank you so much for commenting!:) I agree with you that Vestara is a great character who has a really talent for cutting to the core of things. She is very incisive as you say and really I just love how she and Ben share some traits but still have very different perspectives and attitudes. It is a fascinating dynamic that has been really fun for me to explore throughout this story. I hope you'll continue to think she has a knack for cutting to the core of things in this chapter...

    Hard Truths and Glittering False Promises

    “You brought the Sith girl who betrayed Allana under our home to eat with us.” Uncle Han’s glare moved from Ben to Vestara, and Ben knew that it had taken all his uncle’s self-control not to shove them out of his apartment instead of allowing them to enter alongside his father.

    Dinner was going to be a disaster just as Vestara had predicted, Ben thought. It would probably go downhill from the moment that Uncle Han had opened the door and let them in, and that wasn’t even taking into account the food Aunt Leia was laying on the table. What was supposed to be nerfloaf had a layer of char Ben could smell across the room and the rolls his aunt had no doubt cooked lovingly from scratch appeared burned to a crisp…

    “I brought Vestara to dinner.” Ben couldn’t help but notice that Allana’s nexu, curled around her shoulders like a perversion of a cuddly cat as she set the table with napkins and utensils, was growling, eyes riveted on Vestara with a ferocity that rivaled Uncle Han’s. Vestara must have observed this threat as well for she shifted her body behind Ben’s as if to place a barrier between herself and the enraged nexu.

    “Allana’s pet doesn’t like people who betray her.” Uncle Han seemed rather pleased with the menacing protectiveness of Allana’s nexu.

    “Allana, put your nexu in your room before it attacks our guest.” Aunt Leia, ever the voice of reason, spoke up calmly and smoothly. As Allana, nexu riding on her shoulders, disappeared to obey this order, Aunt Leia continued, directing her words toward Ben, “You should’ve mentioned that you were inviting Vestara to dinner.”

    “What’s this, son?” Dad frowned, wearing the most disapproving expression he ever did when looking at Ben. “I thought I told you to ask your aunt and uncle’s permission before inviting Vestara to dinner.”

    “You did, and I did.” Ben fought the temptation to squirm in his boots by reminding himself that he wasn’t lying—not exactly—especially if one took a creative interpretation of the truth as Ben was wont to do after being trained by Coruscant security forces.

    “You asked if you could bring a special guest around for dinner,” Uncle Han snapped. “You conveniently didn’t mention that the special guest was a Sith girl who had betrayed Allana.”

    “You didn’t ask,” retorted Ben, chin lifting.

    “I stang well should have apparently.” Uncle Han had cursed in front of Allana, who had just returned from securing the nexu in her room and was watching the confrontation with wide eyes, but Aunt Leia had made no effort to shush or chide him. That was how Ben knew he was buried in bantha dung under his ears. If Aunt Leia had lost her sense of propriety, this truly was going to be a fiasco of epic proportions even by the standards of his family. “I made the mistake of thinking you had some standards—that you wouldn’t invite a Sith girl around to dinner with your family when she had already betrayed your family just because she had a pretty face.”

    “I’m going outside.” Vestara stepped out from behind Ben and strode toward the balcony overlooking the cityscape of Coruscant as night fell over the restless ecumenopolis that never slept—that couldn’t sleep because it was always daylight somewhere on its glistening durasteel surface. She kept her face tilted away from them so if she was upset they couldn’t see it, but her tone was the flatly, coldly inflectionless one that usually meant she was hurt and didn’t want to bruise her pride further by revealing the extent of her injury. “It was a mistake for me to come here. I see that now. I won’t disturb your dinner further.”

    The transparisteel door to the balcony shut behind her, and Ben wanted to follow her—to assure her that coming to the dinner wasn’t a mistake despite all the mountains of evidence on the contrary, evidence that was now exploding in his face like a detonated bomb—but Dad grasped his arm before he could move, saying, “May I have a word with you in private, Ben?”

    Not needing to be a Jedi to sense that none of those words would be particularly positive, Ben tried to pretend that his father had actually asked a question instead of giving a polite order. “Um, I think I’m going to pass on that all things considered.”

    That was a perfectly reasonable response given the circumstances, Ben thought, but his dad obviously disagreed as he began steering Ben toward the privacy of Aunt Leia’s office. “I don’t think I’m going to give you that option.”

    In Uncle Han’s words, stang. Ben wasn’t going to be able to wiggle out of this conversation like some sort of spineless space worm. As they reached Aunt Leia’s office and his dad closed the door behind them, he stared at the shelves containing hundreds of holobooks. Doubtlessly the holobooks were all about aspects of galactic politics that would’ve made Ben’s eyes roll and his mind swim but they had the virtue of giving him somewhere to rest his gaze that wasn’t his disapproving dad.

    “Look at me.” Dad was having none of Ben’s efforts to evade his gaze. He tilted Ben’s chin up so their blue eyes met. “You know it was wrong to not tell your aunt and uncle that it was Vestara you wanted to invite to dinner.”

    “Yes, and now you’re going to tell me exactly how wrong it was.” Ben knew a lecture was coming and that he probably deserved this one, though that would make it no nicer to hear. “Go on. I’m listening.”

    “You don’t need me to tell you how wrong what you did was.” Dad shook his head.

    “No, I don’t.” Ben felt more regretful, more deflated, more as if he had let his dad and family down than he would’ve after a long lecture. “I’m sorry, Dad.”

    “I know you are, but I’m not who you need to apologize to, am I?” Dad’s voice was as meaningful as his expression.

    “No.” Ben lowered his head, then raised it again, determined to do what was right, no matter how embarrassing it might prove to be. “I should apologize to Uncle Han, Aunt Leia, and Vestara for dragging her into this mess when she wanted to be left out of this fiasco.”

    He’d had good intentions even under his deceptiveness for the most part—or at least he’d believed that he had—but he’d still been wrong. That was achingly apparent to him now.

    “Very good.” Dad gave Ben a gentle nudge toward the door. “Go and do that then.”

    Before he could leave the room, he had to ask: “Dad, are you disappointed in me?”

    “I’m disappointed that you chose to hide the truth from your aunt and uncle instead of being honest with them, but I’m proud that you’re going to apologize, and no matter what you do, I could never stop loving you.” Dad mussed Ben’s hair. “Does that answer your question?”

    “Very thoroughly and fairly.” Satisfied and surprisingly warm around his heart, Ben opened the door and emerged to face his aunt and uncle.

    Perhaps Aunt Leia had taken advantage of the opportunity to soothe her husband, because Uncle Han looked considerably less irate when Ben returned. Taking a deep breath, Ben took the plunge, apologizing, “Aunt Leia was right. I’m sorry. I should’ve told you that I wanted to bring Vestara to dinner. I was afraid if I told you I wanted to invite her, you’d refuse, and I thought it would be good for her to come here, but I was wrong. Nothing good can come out of hiding the truth like that.”

    “Maybe you did something stupid and impulsive but men do stupid and impulsive things for beautiful women.” The smirk on Uncle Han’s face said more clearly than words that he had forgiven Ben. “Just ask your aunt. She knows all about the stupid and impulsive things I did for a beautiful woman.”

    “I’m not sure I can take credit for any of the stupid and impulsive things you do,” Aunt Leia’s tart reply hinted that she didn’t appreciate being blamed for any of her husband’s questionable decisions. “I seem to remember you were quite stupid and impulsive from the moment I met you.”

    “Ah, but you don’t know what I was like before I met you,” pointed out Uncle Han craftily as ever.

    Rolling his eyes at their unending banter—wondering if that was how others viewed his bickering with Vestara or how they might one day view it if the relationship between him and Vestara managed to endure as the one between his aunt and uncle had—Ben made a beeline toward the balcony, hoping to escape outside to join the girl on whom his thoughts dwelled.

    She was leaning her arms on the balustrade, staring out across the canyon between buildings, the lights of a million blindingly bright advertisements reflected in her eyes. As Ben settled beside her, unconsciously mirroring her posture as if that might bring them closer together, she murmured, “The signs of your city glitter with more false promises and temptations than can be found on the entire planet of Kesh.”

    That was definitely a matter of opinion and debate, but since Ben was too weary of argument after his confrontation with his family over her presence at dinner, he laughed, releasing the coils of tension that had tightened inside him since he entered his aunt and uncle’s apartment. “The false promises of the advertisements are nothing next to the false promises of the Senators, I assure you.”

    “You live on a world of glittering false promises from Senators and advertisements.” Vestara shot him a sidelong glance. “No wonder you can’t face the hard truth that I will never be welcome among your family or fit in with your family, but I’m from a harsh society, and I can face that hard truth.”

    “You’re wrong.” Ben reached out to squeeze her wrist. “They can accept you. I just was wrong not to tell them that you were coming to dinner the same as I was wrong to urge you to come here before you were ready to face them. I thought I was doing the right thing by making you face them, but I shouldn’t have rushed you. I should’ve let you move at your own pace and let my family do the same. I should’ve been more patient with them and with you.”

    “I think it’s a glittering false promise like the ones hung all over your city to think I can ever be reconciled with your family.” Vestara stiffened beneath his touch but didn’t pull away.

    “You could be reconciled with them.” Ben stroked her arm, relived to feel her relax beneath his fingers. “With time, you could earn back their trust, and if you didn’t break it again, you could fit with the family.”

    “Would I have to change everything I am to be accepted by them?” Vestrara’s hair blew in the wind, obscuring her expression behind a dark veil. “I don’t want to become a Jedi. I don’t want to give up my history and my identity, but I also don’t want to be a Sith if being a Sith means being cruel, ruthless, and ultimately alone forever. It’s like I’m caught between the two worlds of Sith and Jedi, belonging to neither and worse still wanting to belong to neither.”

    “You don’t have to belong to either.” Ben caught one of her swirling locks between his fingers, marveling at its silkiness. “You don’t have to be Sith or Jedi. Most of the galactic population isn’t Sith or Jedi, after all. They’re just people who determine their own paths and morality from day to day. You could be that way, Ves.”

    “I suppose I could.” Vestara gave one of the crooked smiles that emphasized the small, jagged scar above her lip. “It’d be freeing to embrace being neither Jedi nor Sith. I’d like to be free.”

    Silence fell between them for a moment as they stood side by side on the balcony, staring out at the skytowers and advertisements of Coruscant before Ben remembered that it would be rude to make the others wait any longer to eat and suggested, “Perhaps we should go inside to eat?”

    “You’re right.” Vestara turned away from the railing and moved toward the door, Ben’s hand dropping from her arm. “We shouldn’t let your aunt’s meal get cold. That’s no way for me to win her over to my side.”

    “We definitely shouldn’t let dinner get cold,” Ben commented in an undertone as they re-entered the apartment and claimed two seats next to one another at the table that had apparently been reserved for them. “Aunt Leia’s nerfloaf will taste even worse cold.”

    Aunt Leia dished out servings of her nerfloaf that were rather too generous and filled the scant remaining space on their platters with rolls while Uncle Han poured drinks. Once the plates were loaded and the glasses full, the meal began in earnest. Ben took a tentative nibble of nerfloaf and heard an immediate cracking sound. He hoped it wasn’t a tooth breaking. He scraped his tongue along the ridges of his teeth and was relived to discover they all still felt the same, having somehow emerged unscathed from their encounter with the nerfloaf. That meant the nerfloaf had been overcooked enough to crack, something Ben wouldn’t have believed possible…

    “The rolls are delicious.” Vestara’s teeth flashed in her most charming smile between dainty bites of a roll Aunt Leia had piled on her plate.

    She was obviously working overtime to try to endear herself to Aunt Leia, Ben decided as he took a bite of roll. The rolls were supposed to have herbs and spices baked into them, but Ben could taste none of those flavors. All he tasted was burnt crust that stuck to the roof of his mouth.

    Flattered, Aunt Leia began to exposit at length about the old Alderaanean recipe she had used to bake the rolls and how nice it was to have it appreciated by someone. This last was accompanied by reproachful glances around the table at those who in the past had been deemed insufficiently appreciative of her culinary efforts.

    Vestara’s Sith training in deception might be just the tool to win over his diplomatic aunt and her cunning would have to eventually appeal to his uncle who had survived for many years by his wits, Ben thought, watching her with narrowed eyes. He kicked her ankles in teasing pay-back for making him sit through Aunt Leia’s excruciatingly detailed description of her roll recipe, hoping that Vestara would be beside him to kick for many more family dinners.

    Author's Note: This marks the end of this story. A hearty thank you and round of applause to all my wonderful readers and reviewers!=D= Without your support throughout this project, my inspiration might have flagged, resulting in me missing the deadline for this challenge. So, thank you again. My readers and reviewers are always a very real part of getting my multi-chapter stories finished.
  11. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_laugh] Great wrap-up. Very much in character and realistic. =D=
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  12. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 19, 2019
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Thank you so much for being a faithful reader and reviewer throughout this entire story!:D I'm so glad that you thought the wrap-up was great since I'm always a bit nervous about writing conclusions and trying to tie everything together in a meaningful fashion. I really wanted everyone to feel in character with realistic behavior and reactions so it means so much to hear you thought I achieved that in this chapter and conclusion. Thanks again for your support all throughout the story!
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  13. AusStig

    AusStig Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 3, 2010
    More please, this isn't the end, this is the beginning :)
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  14. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 19, 2019
    @AusStig Thank you so much for commenting! This is an ending with a sort of new beginning tucked inside it. I think it's possible I'll continue the tale one day in another story:)
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  15. AusStig

    AusStig Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 3, 2010
    If you do please let me know :).
  16. Darth Invictus

    Darth Invictus Jedi Master star 5

    Aug 8, 2016
    I really like this, and this shows the essence of Vestara as a person.

    She is not an irredeemably wicked person by any means, but she is concerned first and foremost with self preservation.

    That isn't helped by being raised in a Sith culture(even if a softened one), but that's an aspect of her character that in my opinion would be a permanent source of contention and stumbling block in terms of redeeming her-Vestara will never sacrifice her life for someone else. Put her neck out, fight for, advocate for, yes but she won't die for someone she doesn't really care about(which isn't many people).
  17. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 19, 2019
    @Darth Invictus Thank you so much for commenting! I'm so glad that you enjoyed this and that you felt it showcased the essence of Vestara. Vestara is such a complex and fascinating character that I really wanted to do her justice in this.

    I agree that to me she is not an irredeemably wicked person, but she is very much concerned with her self-preservation and advancement above all else. I think that tendency is strengthened by her being raised in a Sith culture with Sith values, and I definitely imagine it would be a stumbling block for Vestara in terms of her complete redemption or becoming a Jedi. It's hard to picture Vestara dying for someone she doesn't really care about the way a Jedi would be expected so it may be that the Jedi path just isn't for Vestara.
  18. Darth Invictus

    Darth Invictus Jedi Master star 5

    Aug 8, 2016
    Indeed. The most you can ask from
    Vestara is to fight on your behalf, lie on your behalf, and maybe risk her life on your behalf.

    But for her to do that-she has to actually care about you at a personal level. And the only people that fall under that category are probably Ben and her family.

    Asking her to sacrifice her life for Allana, was in my opinion a road too far and an unrealistic demand for someone whom innate selflessness was as alien as her own selfishness to the Jedi.

    That’s an aspect I like about her as a character-she’s not a devil in human flesh like palpatine, or a monster who had good intentions like Caedus or Krayt, she just wants to preserve her life. Her future(and I wouldn’t say she is interested in the Sith holy grail of eternal life, she just wants to live and not to die). Anything else is an imposition.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2020
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  19. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Jedi Master star 3

    Nov 27, 2013
    I fell behind again! But this is a wonderful story and deserves all the love :D Love how Vestara flattered Aunty Leia with her comments about how great her overbaked rolls were ;) Clever girl! A great ending!
  20. AusStig

    AusStig Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 3, 2010
    lets be honest living in a society of Sith is good prep for meeting the in-laws.
  21. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 19, 2019
    @Darth Invictus I very much agree with everything you say about Vestara. What I like about her is what you describe. She has a ruthless, selfish sort of edge to her, but at the same time she isn't a monster and does have some admirable qualities to her like her cleverness and resiliency. I do think that she is motivated by self-preservation but in a sort of instinctual way of not wanting to die rather than wanting to pursue immortality through the Dark Side. I think she accepts the fact that she's going to die at some point but she is determined to go down fighting and to do everything she can to ensure that she doesn't have to die soon if that makes sense. All that makes her an intriguing, complex character who was truly enjoyable for me to write and explore in this story.

    @gizkaspice Thank you so much for commenting, and no worries about falling behind! :D It happens to us all! I'm so flattered that you found this a wonderful story. One of my favorite parts of this chapter was when Vestara shrewdly flattered Leia about the burned rolls so it makes me very happy to know you appreciated that detail as well[face_laugh]

    @AusStig Yes, living in a Sith society is perfect preparation for meeting the in-laws[face_laugh]
  22. Ben_Thryss

    Ben_Thryss Jedi Knight

    Sep 13, 2011
    That was real heartwarming. Ben is an idiot. Vestara accepts herself. Everyone calms the hell down.

    Character growth all around.

    Thanks for giving us this. It’s been a really wonderful story, and I’m grateful to have found it. Looking forward to what you do next.
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  23. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 19, 2019
    @Ben_Thryss Thank you so much for commenting! I'm so glad you found the final chapter heartwarming. I did love giving everyone a chance at character growth, so I'm happy to hear you appreciated that touch. I'm super pleased that you enjoyed the story and hope you'll enjoy future stories from me as well!:)
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  24. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 1, 2004
    Nice story. I enjoyed it very much. It is amazing how I still feel sad whenever Luke and Ben speak of their mother in past tense. I miss Mara. I think she might have liked Vestara. Nice wrap up.
  25. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 19, 2019
    @Jedi_Lover Thank you so much for commenting! :D I'm so glad that you found the story nice and that you enjoyed it so much. It made me very sad to write about Luke and Ben discussing Mara in the past tense. She was an incredible character, wife, and mother, who is definitely missed. I agree that she probably would have liked Vestara and seen some traits in Vestara that might have reminded her or herself. Would kind of be cool to see them meet in an AU where Mara didn't die, and, thus a new plot bunny is born...