A Long Time Ago
14. Just Another Ending

They landed in a small landing area not far from Tass's home. The strange man was the first to climb out, with only a brief nod to them all and a quiet "Thank you," and Tass knew something was about to happen. It was. Dekabyn jumped up like a shot and put a hand on his arm.

Then he said, "Your last name...it's Resh, isn't it?"

Faith's jaw dropped, Nerra blinked tiredly, and Tass suddenly felt very afraid for her best friend. She hadn't been expecting this, not this exactly...but something had clearly been going on.

"Yeah," the man said.

Dekabyn took a deep breath. "Hello. Guess who I am."

There was a long silence. A very long silence.

"You're Jode's kid, aren't you?" the man said flatly and despairingly.

"Yeah, that's right...Jode's kid. My name is Dekabyn."

Another silence.


"That's right."

"Dek," he choked. "Named after the dictator on Tornama, I take it?"

Dekabyn's eyes flashed, and Tass felt very weary indeed.

"Go," he said.



He went.

The air seemed to fizz.

"That wasn't very nice." Faith said.

Dekabyn ignored her, as was probably the best thing at the moment. "C'mon, Tass."

They reached home. Tass remembered the comlink. For all I know, they're ready to kill me themselves...

Dekabyn and Faith at her side, she unlocked the door.


Tass found herself practically being crushed in a hug. She hugged back. Her mother let go of her.

"You found him. You found him. Oh, Tass..."

And then she was crushed again. When she was finally let go of, she found herself hugging Dekabyn.


She let go and noticed Dekabyn was watching something. On the level below them, looking up, was Resh.

"Suppose I'd better go," Dekabyn muttered.

She held him back. "What're you going to do?"

"Bring him back to my house, I suppose..."

He started to walk away.

"Dekabyn," Lelleri called after him. "You helped protect both my children. Thank you."

"You're welcome," he called back, and kept on walking.

Tass was pulled back into her family. Faith mostly just stood to one side, an expression of well, nervousness on her face.

"Thank you, Faith," Tass said to her, and she meant it, meant it very much indeed.

The next day, she woke up and realised her adventure was over. She felt...like she should have enjoyed it more, paid more attention, or something. But thinking she might lose her brother...it hadn't been in the least bit fun.

Her comlink beeped, and she knew right away that it would be Faith.

"Hello," Faith said, her voice small and nervous.

"Hi, Faith."

"My parents...when I came in, they were hysterical," she said. "They'd called everyone on Coruscant...they were terrified...they didn't think of calling your parents..."

"Faith, I have to ask, did you..."

"I never told them all of what happened," She gave a little moan, but maybe it was just for dramatic effect- who knew? "They don't know. I don't know what to do. My mum was crying all through the night, she was so glad I wasn't dead..."

"Faith, you're their daughter. They won't disown you or anything, just because you happen to have an ancient power," She sounded silly, she knew it, and probably slightly insensitive, but...it would probably work. "Tell them."

"Okay," Faith sniffed loudly. "I'll see you in school tomorrow."

"Faith, did you mean that 'okay', or are you-"

But she hung up.

Tass dropped the comlink and sighed to herself. She was such a...well, it didn't matter. Faith would learn.

She dialed Dekabyn's number, but no-one answered. She tried not to be too worried- it had happened before. She figured she'd work on her history project. It needed to be handed in tomorrow.

So the next day, she handed it in.

"I hope it's alright," she said to Regimesh.

The teacher flicked through the first few pages. "Oh, I think it will be," he said. "I've heard what you got up to, the other day, when you should have been working. There is no way I'm going to tell you not to do it again."


He gave her one of those bizarre smiles, and then left, the project in hand. However, before he reached the door he stopped and said, "You have quite a lot of potential, Tass. But I feel I should tell you- you are young. And you have your whole life ahead of you."

Before she could say anything in reply, he had gone.

She went outside to talk to Dekabyn.

"What'd he say?" he asked her.

"Suprisingly nice things," she answered. "It was weird."

He made a neutral sound.

"Dek, what happened with..."

"My father?" He gave a snort. "Nothing much. He nearly gave my mum a heart attack when he showed up. She's not letting him stay with us. She's just not interested. And I'm not really, either."

Tass thought about this. "But...well...don't you think he deserves a chance?"

"Probably. But I'm not going to give it to him."

Tass knew an arguement belonged there, but she didn't want to quarrel with him. She just looked out over the planet, and so did Dekabyn.

"Guess," he said suddenly "what his first name is."

Tass shook her head.


Tass burst out laughing.

"Yep," Dekabyn said thoughtfully, but with a smile.

"Must run in the family, I suppose."

"Naming yourselves after pure evil?"

"Of course. He doesn't like it any more than I do, though. Most people just call him by his first name, apparently."

"Do you?"

"Not really."

More silence, and then Tass voiced her thoughts. "It's weird that he was just there. On Tatooine."

"Well, it's weird that Nerra was on Tatooine, too, and it's weird that you knew," Dekabyn said. "And it's weird that that's where the Skywalkers came from, that tiny little dustball planet. It's a weird place."

Tass nodded in agreement.

"Y'know, people always reckon the two suns mean something. Love or hate, life or death, destiny or free-will, living and unifying, light and dark...y'know?"

Tass did know. She would think about this for many years to come, in fact.

"C'mon, let's go," she said. "Lessons in a minute."

"Okay," he said, and as they left he said. "You know that the park opens soon, right? We...should go."

"Yeah," she said, surprised. "Yeah...of course we should."

"Just us two?"

"Well, maybe Faith and Nerra should come..."

"Okay. I don't mind."

So they went.

It was nothing like she'd expected. It was better. There were people everywhere. There was yelling. Lots of it. And the sun was shining, and the skyscapers were silver...

"Whoa. Tass, calm down a little. You're grinning like a lunatic."

"I know," She turned to Dekabyn. "Why not? Nerra's not dead, we're not dead, I finished my project, there's no Empire, there's no Sith Lords, the people who died to save us are happy...and there's a park! A park! Come on, Dek!"

"Okay, okay! Optimism overload." But he was grinning. A bit.

"Hey, look," Faith said. "Holocams."

Sure enough, people from various media sources had gathered and were taking pictures. Faith grinned and ran out, obviously hoping someone would take a picture of her.

"I guess this is quite a momentous occasion." Dekabyn said, and sat down on the grass. Tass sat down too. They sat in shared silence for a minute, just listening.

"What did you mean, Tass, 'the people who died to save us are happy'?"

"Oh..." She blushed a little, she had to start learning not to go mad. "It's just...you know, a lot of the things they did, they did for the galaxy. And...me and you and Faith and my family and the new Jedi and these people here and everyone...we are the galaxy. And we're happy. Well..." She paused. "Maybe not everyone is. Actually, I expect quite a few people aren't, but..." She paused again, unable to explain it. "It's just...you know."

"I don't," Dekabyn said. "But never mind. Where's Nerra?"

Tass gave a start, she didn't know. She looked around. There he was, on the other side of the park.

"C'mon, let's get some exercise."

She took Dekabyn's hand and pulled him to his feet. Faith, who had had her picture taken several times already, came towards them. They half-ran, half-walked towards where Nerra was. The sun went behind a cloud and then came out the other side.

Tass heard words in her head: But you are young. And you have your whole life ahead of you...

She stopped in front of her brother, who was grinning. She hadn't seen him do that in a while.

"Look," he said.

Tass looked to where he was pointing. It was a flower.

The first to bloom in Coruscant soil for over a thousand years.

She knelt down and touched the silver petals.