Guess who's back!
Hey guys, I'm so glad to be back posting. I've actually been working on this since I finished the last one, but I wanted to wait until I was out of school and mostly done to start posting. I figure with 17 chapters done that gives me 17 days to write the final 3 or 4 chapters, so I should be able to post daily without interruptions.
I hope you enjoy this next installment. I'm never sure with this fic, but it's fun to write.
Disclaimer: I only own a couple shares of Disney, which is probably not enough for me to say I own Star Wars, so I don't.
Luke bounded down one of the many alleys that cut his commute time in half, laughing at the terrified look on his best friend, Rickon Cassel's, face. "I'm kidding! Oh Force you're so gullible."
Rickon was not laughing, but he did allow himself to stand within a reasonable distance of Luke. "It's not gullible when half these things you say are actually true!"
"The Force doesn't alter physical appearances, just someone's perception of it," Luke laughed, patting his stockier friend on the back. Rickon still looked ready to crap himself, and so Luke pulled out his datapad to use as a mirror. "See, your hair is not pink. Besides, if I wanted to dye your hair I wouldn't need to use the Force. I'd just do it while you're sleeping in Politics."
Rickon rolled his eyes, slapping Luke's chest with the datapad. "Mr. Binns is boring and naïve, but he's not stupid. I think he'd notice."
"Not if I used the Force to alter his perception," Luke teased, taking off at a run as Rickon tried to hit him. Luke was much smaller than his friend, and by no means faster, but Luke had the Force. When Rickon caught up, Luke simply jumped on the windowsill of a long abandoned apartment, and laughed at Rickon's annoyed face.
"You're insufferable!" Rickon called up, attempting to hide his grin. Luke noticed it though, and chuckled as he crawled down from the ledge. He was never quite as comfortable with going down as going up, so Luke hung down before dropping instead of just jumping.
When Luke's feet touched the ground, he was still facing the wall, and noticed the paint. Rubbing the grime with his sleeve, he revealed an orange rebel symbol.
There was a flash of light from behind Luke, and he turned quickly. A speeder was flying towards them, the pilot holding a holocam in one hand and steering with the other. "Halt rebels!"
"If we get arrested again I'm going to kill you," Rickon grumbled, putting his hands up and turning.
Luke rolled his eyes, and turned himself. He wanted to say that it had only been one time, but Jedi didn't lie. He and Rickon had actually gotten arrested at least a half dozen times over their four year friendship, and every single time it was Luke's fault. What could he say, the Force complicates life. "On the bright side, if you kill me my father won't be able to."
The speeder had drawn closer, but there was no stormtrooper inside. Just the pilot, his camera, and a sign that said Coruscant Sentinel. Luke suddenly decided that he'd have been better off getting arrested, because the media was far worse. The reporter was young, with bright green eyes and a haircut that showed his hopes for life. When he parked in the middle of the street and jumped out to greet them, Luke decided he really, really would have been better off getting arrested.
"Rebels in the Senate District, this is great!" He chimed, snapping another picture. "So what do you have to sa… wait, don't I know you?"
"No," Rickon, who'd been through this whole thing as many times as Luke, chimed in stepping in front of his friend. "Not unless you habit lower east end barbershops often."
Luke flashed Rickon a look; that was certainly the worst cover story ever. And his point was proven when the reporter's eyes went wide, "You're Lord Vader's son! Luke, right?"
"No, my name's Ben," Luke replied, his voice even and calm, but Rickon's eyes betrayed them and the reporter started to grin. "Fine, yes, I'm Luke, no I don't have any comments about whatever my father has done recently. No I'm not even sure what my father had done recently. Yes I think the Alliance is close to falling. No I've never seen my father without his mask…" Luke tried to think of the other common questions but none came. "Okay, Rickon, we're going."
The reporter grabbed Luke's shoulder, pulling the teen back. "Look you've got to give me something. My last celebrity piece fell through and this, this could save my career. Please, just a few questions."
Luke sighed, and faced the stubborn reporter. "Look, I would help you, but my father promised to kill the next person who posted something about me on the HoloNet. No career is worth that."
The teen expected the shock value of his statement to do the trick, but the reporter again grabbed Luke's shirt and pulled him back, forcefully. A part of Luke just wanted to draw on the Force to physically push the reporter away, but the teen knew that would be a bit overkill. Instead he took a deep breath, centering himself in the Force before waving his hand, "You value your life."
The reporter's hand dropped from Luke's shoulder, and he blinked, "I value my life."
"You will erase all your notes about this meeting, leave, and forget about it."
"I will erase all my notes about this meeting, leave, and forget about it," the reporter repeated, scratching Luke's generic answers off his pad, and climbing back into his speeder. The reporter hesitated for a moment, probably wondering why he was giving up so easily, but Luke gave him another subtle prod with the Force and the reporter disappeared quickly into the lanes of Coruscant traffic.
Luke grinned to himself and Rickon's dark eyes bulged, "I thought you said you couldn't do Jedi mind tricks."
"I couldn't… when you asked. But that was over a year ago. I can do a lot of things now I couldn't do then," Luke shrugged, rounding the corner towards his apartment. Republica500 loomed above him, the doorway separated only by a fence which Luke easily flipped over.
"You know I'm really glad you're my friend sometimes," Rickon grumbled, struggling his way over the fence. Even with his greater physical prowess, Rickon struggled to match Luke. He couldn't imagine how difficult it would be to go against Luke in a fight. Luke didn't see it of course; he was utterly oblivious to the power he held. For that Rickon was grateful. Luke was bold, but he wasn't arrogant. If Luke was arrogant they probably would get arrested twice as often.
"I just can't wait until my birthday so I can just fly us to and from school," Luke sighed. He was having more and more issues with the media as the Alliance got bolder and bolder. Everyone wanted to know what was going on, and the reporters all thought Luke should somehow know considering who his dad was. They had no clue that Luke and his father had agreed not ever to speak of the Alliance, as it only caused fights.
"You're just lucky your father has already bought you a speeder!" Rickon grumbled taking the long path to the apartment complex's door just so he could go and brush off the dust that had accumulated on the beautiful black airspeeder Luke's father had brought home the other day. "Mine still thinks it's too dangerous."
Luke chuckled, smiling at his speeder himself. It was a beautiful birthday present, even if Luke was questioning why his father had picked it up a week early. "Well our fathers just have different definitions of danger, that's all. When he was our age my father had a habit of jumping out of moving speeders, so he figures me piloting one to and from school isn't the worst idea."
"Your father told you he used to jump out of speeders?" Rickon sounded surprised, and for good reason. Luke had gone on many times about how his father refused to share any details of his past. For Vader to say something as casual as having jumped out of speeders would be very uncharacteristic.
Which was probably why Luke looked so guilty. "Luke, what did you do?"
The teen Jedi bit his lip, "Promise me you won't tell my father… or your father… or even Leah."
"I can guarantee you Leah already knows, she knows everything," Rickon reminded Luke, rolling his eyes. It was true too. The last member of their friend group was always too-well informed. "And I don't make a habit of talking to your father. I wouldn't even have agreed to watch this race if your father wasn't offworld."
That was true. Rickon had been known to consider jumping from the penthouse window over walking out the front door whenever Vader came home. His reluctance to speak to Luke's father was why the teen could tell him things. "Okay. I've been going to the Jedi temple on weekends."
"You've been doing what!" Rickon scream-whispered, looking around frantically for stormtroopers coming to arrest them. "Do you realize how illegal that is?"
Of course Luke knew it was illegal, but technically so was his father's Jedi training, which the Emperor himself sanctioned. "Well the Emperor wants me to be trained as a Jedi, and I figured that even my father can't know everything so I should go look in their archives. Well the Jedi Archives are the biggest thing I've ever seen, it would be impossible for me to read everything, so I figured out how to search for specific files. But I couldn't know that I was using the system correctly unless I searched for files that I knew existed so I searched my father's name, Anakin, not Vader and I got thousands of results! Apparently he had to submit a report for every single mission he went on, and they're all there. So I've been reading them."
Sometimes Luke did stupid things. Sometimes Luke did things that could get him killed. Sometimes Luke did things that had the potential to make whole star systems erupt into chaos. This was certainly the kind of action that fell into the last category.
And Rickon was so used to it he could just shrug it off, "I'm going to laugh at your funeral, you know that right? I'm just going to laugh."
Luke gently punched his friend, recovered his speeder, and moved towards the complex door. As he got closer to the building, Luke felt an overwhelming burst in the Force that could only have one source. "Rickon, I'm not so sure you're going to want to watch this swoop race on my projector."
"But your projector is twice the size of mine," Rickon reminded, keying in the code to the complex he'd memorized years ago. "Why would I ever not want to… oh, your father just got home, didn't he?" Rickon was a approaching six-feet and already filling out at 15, but he suddenly looked very terrified. "Yeah, I'm just going to catch a taxi so I can watch it at home."
"Sorry," Luke sighed, wishing his friends weren't so terrified of his father, but understanding why they were. No one was larger or scarier than Luke's father, at least not at first glance. "You can still come in. He doesn't hate you half as much as when we were kids."
"Does he still remember me breaking his priceless Sith artifact that I swear looked like a bug?"
"I'll watch the race at home," Rickon decided, slinging his bag back on his shoulder and letting the much smaller Luke pass under his arm and into the apartment complex. "See you tomorrow."
"Bye," Luke waved, watching his friend get into a taxi before heading up to his own apartment, greeting all the doormen and janitors he saw on the way. He didn't blame Rickon for wanting to go, but he just wished he hadn't. It's not like Luke's father was an unreasonable human being. Just because he remembered the shenanigans Rickon had been involved with didn't mean he disliked Rickon. Actually, Vader insisted that he very much liked Rickon, as 'Luke having all his limbs surely comes from Cassel's temperance.'
Why he seemed to think Luke was inclined to lose a limb without his friend being around, the teen had no idea. After all, Vader lost all his limbs because of his best friend, not despite him.
"Why do I have a feeling this night is only going to get worse?"