Hey guys, I'm back. So in typical fashion I wrote a total of 15K while on summer break and have written 36K in the past 2 weeks while writing college applications and doing masses of AP work. That being said I'll admit to not having the story done. I think I have like 5 or so chapters left to write. That means I could very well regret starting to post 22 days from now when I don't have the rest done. I just wanted to start posting, however, because A-Rebels comes back tonight and I need people to talk about it with me and B- before I'm done and everything is set in stone I want a final chance for people to give me last minute ideas and thoughts for me to tie in. So please remember to review, because it not only motivates me to write, but I do actually listen. With that being said here it is, the final installment. Thank you so much for reading this far and I hope it doesn't disappoint.
I actually bought a few more Disney shares, so those should cover the sliver of Disney I'm using in this fic.
ENJOY AND THANK YOU!
Luke Skywalker knew he had only one night more to be a child. He still looked very young, with short legs and a rounded face, but he didn't feel young. He didn't feel like an adult either, but Luke knew he wasn't a child. He could be one though, for a few more hours. In the morning he was to report to the throne room for a secret meeting with the Emperor, and then his fate would be decided. In the morning Luke suspected he was to become a Sith.
But for one more night Luke was just a teenage Jedi, even if he was a teenage Jedi with the fanciest clothes at the Vorus Academy Graduation Gala. The Gala was supposedly just for the graduates and their families, but Luke was sure that there was an ex-senator or two who did not have a child graduating milling about. That wasn't really surprising though because every former senator had been attempting to redefine their place in court since the Senate's was dissolved three weeks before. It had come to a shock to everyone, even Luke, when the Emperor announced that after seventeen years the galaxy was united enough not to need the Senate. It seemed to the people of the Empire that if anything the galaxy was less united than before. New Rebel cells were being discovered on an almost daily basis, but that was the Emperor's point. If the cells were being discovered that mean the Empire was winning.
Luke knew that was not the case. He barely ever saw his father as of late, and instead spent time on the Executor during breaks. Each time Luke got on the Super Star Destroyer he saw just how much they were not winning the war. The Rebels had less men, less money, less everything, but they had more guts than anyone. It seemed none of them feared dying for their cause, something that the numerous Imperial squadrons who had retreated in the past few months could not say.
No, no the war wasn't going well and the galaxy was not united. All that mattered though was that people believed things were swinging their way. All that mattered though was the major tax break they would surely be getting now that senators didn't have to get paid. (Luke laughed whenever someone mentioned the tax break. They obviously had no idea how much ships cost relative to a senator's salary. There would be no tax breaks until the Alliance was defeated.)
"You're brooding again."
Luke turned to see his long time best friend, Rickon, standing there with a drink in hand. He handed the glass of champagne to Luke, and rolled his eyes. "You get this look whenever you're thinking of the war, like it's all up to you to end the fighting. Have a drink and relax for one more night."
Luke took the glass, but he didn't drink. He had discovered a while ago that alcohol and the Force do not mix properly, and did not want to cause a scene. "You don't get to say a thing Mr. 'I'll be the guard who singlehandedly defeats every assassin.'"
Rickon punched Luke, and Luke decided he did pity any assassin. His friend was almost as tall as his father, and twice as bulky. "You know it's a great honor to be part of the Emperor's personal guard. We can't all be Sith Lords, some of us have to serve the Empire with our own two hands."
If any of the Emperor's Red Guard had ever gotten their hands dirty Luke would be amazed. They stood there and looked intimidating and then the Emperor's Force-Attuned guards did the real work. Not that anyone needed to defend the Emperor. He was in his eighties, sure, but he was also the most powerful Force user in the galaxy. Sith lighting would be much more effective against an assassin than Rickon's pike staff.
But it was an honor, Luke couldn't deny that. Everyone had expected Rickon to slowly make his way through the Coruscant Guard much the way his father did; no one expected the Emperor himself to recognize the name Cassel and offer the teen one of the most important jobs in the galaxy. Even Luke was proud of his friend, but he couldn't help but have regrets. Rickon would be busy as a guard, and Luke would be busy as a Sith. They would almost always occupy the same throne rooms, but they could never acknowledge the other. Both teens knew that this might be the last time they spoke to each other in a long, long time.
"And right back to brooding," Rickon laughed probably a bit tipsy himself. "Fine, don't you think Leah looks pretty tonight?"
She did. Luke's friend wore a crimson dress she almost certainly couldn't afford, and the way her hair was done looked almost royal. She certainly didn't look like the bookworm-secretly-Force-Sensitive-Daughter-of-A-Maid she was. She looked like a princess, and Luke was glad for her. He pitied all their classmates however, because the girls were probably jealous, and the boys were probably wondering how they had wasted so many years ignoring someone so obviously beautiful.
"Yes, and I still don't want to date her," Luke told his friend. Rickon had been trying to push the two together for years, but it had gotten really bad as school drew to a close. Luke and Leah were just friends, just as Luke and Rickon were just friends and Leah and Rickon were just friends. Rickon was the only one who wanted them to be more, and that was because he wanted one of them to find love, and knew it wasn't going to be him.
Luke just thought Rickon was too obsessed with the female gender. It wasn't like Luke had time to be dating, not when he was about to start his training as a Sith, and there had been rumors for years that the Emperor would have a say in who Luke married. The Emperor and Leah had a weird relationship, but she was probably not the type he would want to make the future Empress.
"Okay, what about that the girl with Brandon," Rickon tried again turning Luke to see her. "Is she your type."
Yes, she was. Her beautiful brown hair was pulled up into a fancy braid, and she wore a dress that shimmered like gold. She looked like a princess, because she was one. A princess Luke had admired for years, and who hated Luke in return. "Rickon, that's Princess Leia Organa."
"Oh." Rickon suddenly felt stupid for pointing her out. He had listened to Luke go on about her for hours whenever she had addressed the senate, and he also knew about their explosive fight of over two years ago that ended any chance of Leia ever dating Luke. "Okay, well Nil looks pretty. You should ask her to dance."
Rickon kept trying, but it was too late. Luke was neurotically obsessed with Leia, always had been. Neither of them understood it, and Rickon thought Luke was just weird, but Luke felt the need to be close to her. He never was of course because she hated him, but now that he was staring at her he obviously wasn't going to look any other way. It was a good thing Luke was looking, however, because he noticed Brandon pull off one of Leia's gem-crusted bracelets and stick it in his pocket.
Brandon was a diagnosed kleptomaniac Luke originally met in reform school. Their animosity had far outlasted their friendship, and Luke generally tried to ignore Brandon. But he couldn't just ignore this. Brandon was stealing something of value from Leia; Luke had to act. It had absolutely nothing to do with trying to get back on Leia's good side. It was just human decency.
"Oh please tell me you're not going to…" Rickon called, but Luke was already moving across the room quickly.
"Give the Princess back her bracelet Brandon," Luke told his classmate firmly. Leia recognized Luke easily and looked ready to scream, but Luke, for once, ignored her. He held out his hand to Brandon and repeated his words. "I saw you take it. Give it back."
Brandon pulled Leia closer to him, wrapping his arm around her hips in a way that angered Luke beyond reason. He wasn't jealous, no he was furious that Brandon of all people thought he could just possess Leia Organa. Luke had watched her from afar for long enough that he knew that was never the case. "Get out of here Skywalker. I didn't take nothing from the princess."
"I see two years of Coruscant's finest education has worked wonders," Luke responded dryly. "I'll give you one more chance."
Brandon looked visibly nervous, but Leia turned to Luke, fury visible in her dark eyes. "Oh you are just like your father, using intimidation to get what you want! What are you going to do, chop off his hands?"
Luke sighed, and used the Force to levitate Leia's bracelet, and a bunch of other jewelry, from Brandon's pocket. "I was not threatening him your highness, simply giving him the chance to make things right himself." Luke handed Leia the bracelet, ignoring the pounding in the Force as his hand brushed hers. "Are these rings and such yours as well?"
"No," Leia admitted looking between Brandon and Luke as if trying to decide which was the lesser evil. "I think I can find my own way home Mr. Geadmyer," she finally told Brandon stepping away from both boys. "Perhaps you should go and return that which you've stolen."
Brandon muttered some nasty curses as he took the stolen jewels from Luke and went to return them to their proper places. Luke watched to make sure Brandon actually did it, and so it took him a moment to realize Leia hadn't walked away from him as well. "Can I help you with something else, your Highness?"
"I wanted to thank you." Luke could tell the words were painful for Leia to say, especially to him. "That bracelet was my mother's, my biological mother's. It's one of the few things of her I have. My mother never knew her true identity and, well, my father never got a chance to tell me."
Because Luke's father had killed hers. "I'm sorry. I never knew my own mother."
"Why, did your father kill her as well?"
Leia had no way of knowing, but her words cut Luke deep. His mother's death was one of the many things Luke didn't know the truth about and probably never would. "Yes, yes I think he did."
"And you can forgive him for that?" Leia, for once, didn't sound annoyed at Luke. No, no she actually just sounded surprised. "How could you possibly forgive him for that? It's horrible!"
Luke agreed, and yet he could only shrug. "He is my father. I cannot help but love him, and since I love him I cannot help but forgive him. Besides he's used to people hating him, my hate would do nothing more to punish him. It would simply destroy me as well."
Leia let out a humph, but Luke could feel her surprise. In the two years since she'd discovered who Luke's father was it was clear she'd never considered the possibility that Luke might not be so hateful and cruel.
"What were you doing with Brandon anyways? I've never met someone who hated rebels more than him and you're, well, you."
"What… what is that supposed to mean?" Leia asked looking terrified. Luke instantly felt bad for his words, but she was slightly irrational with fear. "I'm not. I'm not a rebel."
Luke very much doubted that, but saying so would only terrify her more. "I simply mean that no matter how you feel about me that doesn't change the circumstances of our first meeting. I would warn you though that it's probably time you go back to Alderaan. The senate is not coming back, and now that Mon Mothma has been revealed to be a leader of the Alliance people will be… watching."
Luke worded his warning the best he could, but Leia still took it as a threat. "You are exactly like your father!" she hissed before stalking away and out of the party.
"Ouch," Rickon, who had finally made his way through the crowd, commented. "I'm sorry Luke I know you want her to like you."
Luke did, but he never expected Leia would. They were simply from two completely different worlds. Her father was a founder of the alliance; Luke's father was a founder of the Empire. They were not supposed to be friends. "As long as she makes it somewhere safe I'll be happy. Come on, I'm ready to go home."
"We've only been here for a half hour!"
"Yeah, and that half hour has certainly been enough."