Luke looked at the three force ghosts before him: Obi-Wan, Yoda, and finally his father, Anakin. He smiled and followed Leia back to the celebration. The screen cut to a shot of Luke and his friends reveling in their victory. Then the credits showed.
Liam shut off the screen. He was excited to see Jaal and Bahaghari’s reactions. “So?” he grinned, “what did you guys think?”
Jaal let out a sniffle. Tears were steadily flowing out of his eyes and he was dabbing at them with a tissue. “He had good inside him the whole time. And Luke knew it.”
“See? Earth movies are perfectly fine even without using vid components.” Liam opened his mouth to ask Hari her opinion but immediately stopped.
She was sitting on the couch, mouth slightly agape. She had her fists clenched. It looked like she was fighting back tears, but it wasn’t working as a tear was already making its way down her cheek.
“Hey,” Liam said sitting down next to her. He couldn’t recall ever seeing her cry up until now. And he certainly didn’t expect it to be over a movie. “Hari, it’s ok. Luke still has Leia. And his friends. Plus it’s not over yet. I still have to show you the next trilogy.”
She let out a sob and proceeded to bury her face in his neck. “He gave up his life to save Luke.”
Liam wrapped his arms around her. It wasn’t about the movie. She clutched him closer. He turned to Jaal. “Maybe you should leave us alone for now?”
“Why? It’s good that Ryder is expressing her emotions. It might-”
“Jaal.” Liam shook his head.
He looked between the two of them, contemplating. Then he nodded and left.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Liam asked as he stroked her hair. There was no response. “It’s okay. Take your time. Let it out.”
After a few minutes of Liam holding her, Hari finally sat up. Her breath was shaky.
“We don’t have to talk about it right now if you don’t want to,” he said as he wiped both of her eyes with his thumbs.
“No. I want to.” She took a deep breath as Liam took her hand. “My dad and I weren’t exactly close.”
Hari recounted how difficult it was growing up with her dad. He had trained her and her brother in various types of combat using his experience from the N7 program. His expectations were high for the two of them, but there was significantly more pressure on her since she was the older twin. If she had succeeded in training or took home exemplary grades, her father only gave a curt nod. It wasn’t much, but it was better than the look of disappointment he’d give otherwise. These interactions were the only times Hari could remember getting attention from her father, who was usually busy working on his AI project when he wasn’t training them. That aspect of parenting usually fell to her mom. And though Hari knew she tried her best to give enough love for the two of them, it usually wasn’t enough since her mom’s job required her to be in the lab for extended periods of time. When she was younger, her mom would take her to work. That kickstarted her interest in the sciences and research. But when her mom got sick, they were scared that Hari would too so coming with her mom was no longer an option.
As she grew older, the pressure to please her father began to affect her social life. She’d spend so much of her time working and practicing that she never had a chance to make friends. Hari only had Scott to talk to. And the experience of living with their father made the two of them closer.
It all took a turn for the worst when her mother died. Her death hit her dad pretty hard, especially since he hadn’t been discharged that long ago. If she thought she hardly saw her dad before, she definitely wasn’t seeing him now. He buried himself in his work and she was lucky to see him every few days. Then the Andromeda Initiative contacted him. And when the invitation was extended to her, she said yes. But the effect of her father’s discharge on her scientific career wasn’t the only reason. Secretly, Hari had hoped that this would help her become closer with her father since they’d be working together after all. But when Cora had been chosen as her father’s second, that hope was squashed. Of course she was happy for Cora. There was no one else more deserving. In fact, being Pathfinder wasn’t something that she wanted anyway. But at one point, Cora had been spending more time with her father than her. She couldn’t help but feel some resentment.
Then when her father sacrificed himself on Habitat 7 and named her the new pathfinder, Hari had been thrown for a loop. The man whose attention and approval she’d been seeking her whole life had done the most selfless thing anyone could do for her. And then left her in charge of his legacy.
Hari’s tears had started to fall again. “I wish I had known earlier that all I had to do was almost die,” she chuckled.
Suddenly, she wrapped her arms around Liam and buried her face in his neck again. “I don’t know what to feel,” she said between sobs.
Liam stroked her hair. “About what?”
"He was a horrible dad. But I wanted to impress him anyway." She gripped Liam's shirt. "He was so shitty. So why am I upset?"
"It's not wrong to be. He may not have been the best parent, but he was still a big part of your life. Made you who you are. There was still an attachment."
She stayed in Liam's arms until her sobs subsided. Hari looked up at him and gave him a small peck on the lips. "Thanks."
He intertwined their fingers together. "Feel better?"
"About my dad? Not really," she said after a moment of thinking. "I don't think I ever will. But I think talking about it helped. I've been keeping it in for so long; it was nice to finally let it out."
Liam gave her a kiss on her forehead and rubbed her shoulder.
"Oh!" Hari said suddenly, "you said there were three more Star Wars movies? We should watch them. It might take my mind off things? I can call Jaal back."
Liam hummed. He thought about the final interaction between Kylo Ren and Han Solo.
"Maybe some other time? I don't think that's a good idea right now."