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The Boy With Starlight In His Veins

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A list of the stories in this collection with a breakdown of any applicable relationships, universe and timeline information, POV and a brief description so you know sort of what you're getting into with each mini story. Some of them don't really have too much to summarize since they're fairly short and more strictly character study than others.

Mother, I'm Home: Luke and Padmé. Canon. Post ROTJ. Third POV. After the war, Luke visits his mother's tomb.

The Price You Pay: Canon. Sequel era. Second POV. Being a hero has a cost, and there comes a point when that cost is just too high.

In Our Bedroom After the War: Luke & Leia. Canon. Post ROTJ. Third POV. Immediately following the Battle of Endor, exhaustion grips the Heroes of the Rebellion.

Sunsets: Canon. Sometime between Episodes IV and V. Third POV. Luke has always seemed to look to the horizon...

Solitude: AU - dark!Leia. Second POV. With both his father and his sister on the dark side, Luke is alone.

An Unexpected Reunion: Luke and his parents. Canon divergent. Sometime between Episodes V and VI. Second POV. Following his duel on Cloud City, Luke discovers his mother's identity and makes an ill-advised trip to her tomb only to encounter a visitor he does not expect - even though he really should have.

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From the moment his ship entered the system he could feel the buzzing at the edge of his sense, hear the hum that grew and sang loud to him when he set foot upon the planet. She is here. And he is as close to knowing her as he can ever hope to be.

Naboo itself is lush and verdant and familiar. Here there are rough edges and a dull ache, but beneath it a warm hope. It has yet to escape the taint of imperial occupation, scars it is likely to bear for decades to come, but still it welcomes him with open arms. In a way, this is a homecoming, his destiny entwined with the planet’s in a way that only makes sense to him now.

Since the discovery of the truth, he’s been wearing a facade of Jedi stoicism. So many years spent wondering – so many years learning nothing – have led to this moment, and he’s built a dam to stem the flood of emotions pressing against his heart. A queen, a senator, an advocate for peace… her name was Padmé, and she had been beloved and respected. Missing out on meeting her is injustice. Standing here, before her final resting place, sends a stab through his heart, and trembles work their way through him as his composure cracks.

The tears flow steady down ruddy cheeks, and though his knees quake, he stands tall and proud before the tomb. She gazes down at him, the sun catching her visage through the coloured glass, and he wonders what she might think of him now. Would she be proud of the man he’s become? Would she approve of the things he’s done, the choices he’s made? What would she think of his father, and who he’d been at the end? (would she have forgiven him as well?) The questions are endless and destined to remain unanswered. He’s long since accepted the infinite strings of uncertainty wrapped around his heritage, but in this moment, they dig deep enough to cut.

A long moment passes as his hand hovers, touch uncertain, before his fingers brush the cool stone of her sarcophagus. An immediate thrill works through him, warmth and grief and pain and peace, washing over him and threatening to overwhelm – but as it is, he stands tall. He’ll never know her touch, never look into her eyes and hear her laughter for himself, but right here and right now, he can feel her love, feel who she was and who she might have been. Through his choked sobs, he smiles, and offers his love in return.

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When you were a boy – skin kissed by the sun, hair stained by radiation, hands rough with work – you asked for more. All you’d ever known is the shining of the desert, the work that goes into surviving among that endless sea of sand and wasteland. It’s a world that seeks to bring you down, to drain every drop it can from its inhabitants. Still, you looked to the stars, longing for something beyond the fight just to see another day.

In your twentieth year, the universe answered.

Oh, how it answered, everything it had to offer rushing forth in a flood as if to make up for the time it had lost. After nearly two decades you touched something that lay dormant within you, made your presence known to the galaxy, and it seemed all too eager to bestow upon you your birthright. Each revelation opened your eyes just a little bit wider, allowed you to see things a little more clearly, brought you closer to just who you were meant to be.

You sparked and ignited, becoming a beacon that burned against the darkness that pressing down upon you and threatening to overtake everything you hold dear. And that’s what you did – burn – because you had reasons to endure. Your friends, your family, all those whose lives were made just a little bit better – they far surpassed the price you paid, each little part of yourself that you sacrificed just to maintain your light. The galaxy gave – continued to give, and as it did so, it began to take. But as the universe thrust its burdens upon you, you shouldered each of them, caring not for the cost.

You were only ever bothered when someone else paid that price…

Others had suffered on your behalf, you watched people die around you, people under your command – your protection. And each loss stung, chipping away at your resolve. You persisted, spurred on by innate stubbornness and the knowledge that you have to. That’s what you do – you persist, because who else is going to take your place? You’ve never shied away from your duty, not when you were farming moisture on the outer rim, not when you were serving the Rebellion, not when you were rebuilding the Republic, the Jedi, the galaxy.

And then you lost your nephew.

In failing to save him from the dark side, you failed Han, who’d placed a rare faith in you, who’d griped about it all in the first place but gave into your insistence. You failed Leia, who’d believed in you from the start, who’d trusted you. To let them down as you did became an unending weight on your very being, crushing you until you could no longer breathe, no longer bear the thought. Everything you worked for – everyone you loved – was hurt because of you, was in danger because of you, was suffering because of you.

At last, you’d given too much, had too much given to you. Your knees shook under the weight until finally it all came crashing down on top of you, and the only way to keep others from being crushed alongside you was to clutch the ruins and run.

And hide, until you’re ready to rebuild.

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She is his sister.

And he’s glad for the chance to know her as his sister – glad she gets to know him as her brother. Around them, the celebrations still rage, as they’re sure to for weeks to come (months, years …) but they’ve stolen away from the crowds to share their own quiet, private revelry. 

A chill permeates the night air on the moon, but it doesn’t quite reach Luke, doesn’t quite raise gooseflesh across his skin. There is warmth between them that staves off the cold, enveloping the desert child in an embrace that assures him everything is going to be alright. They’re safe now, and they’re together.

They’ve been given a hut, small and cozy, but comfortable, and they’re seated next to one another. The initial high of victory is slowly wearing off, and in its place rises exhaustion and aches. Leia’s slight form against his is a comfort, and it isn’t long before they’re leaning into one another, fingers laced together, her head on his shoulder and his resting right on top. In this moment, they are not the heroes of the rebellion, the future does not rest upon their shoulders. In this moment, they are siblings, sharing a bond they’d always been meant for.

She burns bright next to him, a slow steady fire flickering in the Force, her light mingling with his own. There’s pain singing within him, stemming from loss and battle, but she is a balm to soothe his ache, and with her he is calm. Slowly, her light dims, ever so slightly, as she drifts into sleep. Before long, their breathing falls into a synchronized rhythm, his own consciousness quickly dwindling as they join one another in a much needed slumber.

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The (single) sun sinks into the horizon, painting the sky a fiery orange streaked with splashes of crimson and gold. Around him the air is still and quiet, the charge from the earlier battle seeming to fade with the daylight. Luke’s gaze is fixed on the distance, watching the brilliant colours fade and grow dark. Once, nightfall had filled him with longing, an endless desire to flee and soar and touch the burning stars that glittered in the distance; what he feels now is hope. There’s a lingering longing, a pang of grief when his thoughts turn to home, but he’s finally found something more. Now, the day’s close marks another victory and brings the promise of more to come. He’s made it a ritual, to watch the world slip into twilight, binding the life he’d once known with the life he leads now and has yet to live. The sunset on each new planet brings its own unique sense of peace, its own assurances of the things to come, and each night brings him something new to look forward to.

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YOU ARE ALONE.

Of course, you’ve been lonely before. Even surrounded by people – ones you care about – you’ve been intimate with loneliness. That small boy with dirty knees and calloused hands, being kicked to the dirt, never quite fitting in; that knowledge that you are something unique, the last of your kind, and you bear that weight by yourself. It’s a companion you’ve walked with, side by side, for as long as you can remember.

But you have never been alone like this.

Loss weighs heavy on you, as it has for your entire existence, as though it’s woven into your being. Perhaps that’s the legacy you’re meant to bear, one of heartache and misery and grief. How many people had been torn from you? Parents you’ve never known, the aunt and uncle who raised you, a master you only just began to know, many friends, including one you’d come to love…  and a sister you adored more than anything. The common thread that strings them all together is YOU – Luke Skywalker, harbinger of destruction for all those you come in contact with.

It’s a gaping hole in your chest, stretching and yawning out into eternity, threatening to consume you from the inside out. (you don’t let it – you can’t let it.) A part of you has been torn out, violently ripped from your chest, leaving a vast chasm in its place and you to pick up the pieces in hopes of being whole again. But you won’t be – not without them.

That void inside you wants to be filled, aches for the father and the sister you desperately want to know. You long to reach out, to brush against the flickering prodding at your mind and accept the bonds trying to form. (The ones that have always existed.) Instead, you’ve built a wall of durasteel, keeping out the dark claws that scratch at you, working to dig in their grip, pull you down, drag you to the blackness that has already claimed your family.

…Just beneath that hole, a quiet fire blazes. It is the light you cling to with an endless tenacity, and it belongs to you. you will not – cannot – allow it to be snuffed, not even by the ones you hold most dear.

That flame must be fanned, that light must grow, a brightness to stand against the crushing darkness that threatens to consume. It must be bright enough not just for one, nor two, but three Skywalkers, to fuel you and reignite the light you know still resides within your father and sister both. (Can a light so bright even hope to exist? You may very well be up against the impossible.)  Love is your fuel, and it’s all you have – and you can really only hope that it’s enough. Because if it’s not? You will fail –

And you will be fated to remain – to die – alone.

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This is, perhaps, the stupidest thing you’ve ever done in your life.

Naboo is, after all, an imperially occupied planet, and the homeworld of The Emperor himself. The space around the verdant world is decorated by the star destroyers hanging in orbit, the surface swarmed by officers and troopers alike who stomp around under the guise of maintaining peace and prosperity. You are deep within enemy territory, on a planet that, excepting Imperial Center, is the last place you should be. So, forging identification documents, boarding a merchant vessel and landing in Theed is, honestly, one of the stupidest things you could possibly do as a rebel on The Empire’s Most Wanted list. But...

It’s also something you have to do, as a boy who carries the legacy of this planet in your veins.

In the months following Bespin, it’s taken everything you have not to fall into irreparable despair at the revelation of your heritage. You are, it seems, the sole heir to a dark legacy, and everything you thought you knew about yourself has fallen into disarray. You feel as though the universe itself is tearing at the fabric of your being, sinking its claws in, ripping you to shreds. You are fundamentally changed, your entire world shifting with the truth… And yet, despite it all, you’re still you. Maybe this truth has been a part of you your whole life, slipping just below your radar until such a time when it would be too late to turn back. Some nights, you wonder if the void will open its maw and swallow you whole. (What scares you the most, though, is the notion that you might welcome it.)  

The anguish eats at you even as you feign normalcy, even as you press on as though nothing happened. you throw yourself into routine in an effort to shake the thoughts that won’t stop plaguing you. But while you cannot make them stop, you find the pain is somewhat soothed when you come to a realization – you only have half the story. The terror of your father weighs heavy on your soul, but there is still hope in the mystery of your mother. A dark part of you whispers that she cannot possibly be anyone good if she could love someone like Vader –  but he had not always been this monstrosity, and perhaps there is something to be found in the time when he was still called Anakin Skywalker.

It’s not long before you find the answer, (though, if you’re honest, you’ve already waited about twenty three years too long)  and it is unexpected, both in content and source. Sitting alone in your bunk with only Artoo as company, you were muttering to yourself to sort through your thoughts when you made the inquiry out loud without realizing it. ‘Who could she have been?’ you asked, not expecting a reply, but the twittering response of the stout droid had led you to an answer you’ve been seeking your entire life. One holoprojection and a lot of research later, your mind was made up and the trip you needed to take was clear.

And now, after all that, here you are, meeting your mother for the first time in her final resting place, standing before the glittering image of a woman you long to know. Something within you started singing the moment you set foot on this planet, a sense of something falling into place, and it’s all because of her. She had been admired and celebrated, her loss mourned by the galaxy… but, most of all, she had been your mother, and you cannot stop the tears that well up in your eyes and leave stained tracks down your cheeks as you wonder if she would be proud of the man you’ve grown into. 

You’re not certain how long you’ve been standing there – simply being near her, basking in the final piece of the puzzle that makes up you, Luke Skywalker – before you feel the cold, heavy tingle at the back of your mind. You do not notice it until it is practically on top of you, consumed as you are by your purpose here, but it springs forth as an unmistakable presence that seems to suck the air out of the room and leave a scorching anger in its wake. Though you know exactly who has arrived, you do not turn to face him yet, keeping your gaze firmly fixed on the woman looking down on you both, her deep, kind eyes standing in stark contrast to the twisting dread and anticipation that rises in your stomach.

“Father.” The word feels odd in your mouth, your lips not quite accustomed to its shape when applied to this man. “It’s fitting, isn’t it? That she’s the one to bring us together again.” Because this reunion was always inevitable, written in the stars as an undeniable fact of the universe. Father and son could not be kept apart forever, not when The Force itself insists upon the twining of your paths. “I came here looking for answers… so far, though, I’ve only found more questions.”

Nostrils flaring, you suck in a long, slow breath to steady yourself, to ground your thoughts and maintain calm before you finally turn to look upon the figure looming in the entrance of the mausoleum. You work to control yourself, to keep back the wave of emotions pressing against the dam you’ve erected since that dark, fateful day, but you fail. The words spill forth of their own accord, barbed and jagged, a serrated edge that tears at the space between you. “Did you love her?” Just below your eyes simmers a righteous fury, mingled with the continued sting of tears that haven’t quite dissipated. It all seems so unfair, that you’ve come here for her, you had to lie and sneak and hide just to see her, and somehow, once again, it’s circled back around to him. “I – I need to know you’re capable of that…” This time, they tremble, threatening to crack beneath the weight of a past that’s finally caught up with you and settled on your chest, ready to crush your ribcage and smother your breath. You want to collapse, to fall to your knees and curl in on yourself as you long for a comforting touch, to be wrapped in the warm embrace of a parent.  

But you do not have that. All you have is stone and ash. So you stand firm, and await an answer that, no matter what, will offer you no consolation for everything that’s been taken from you.