I suppose there was a time when we were happy.

I remember it that way at least. Leia–well, who knows about her. All I know is that the light and dark seem to come in turns for me. And when the light has its day, then I'm happy. But the dark has stayed now far too long.

The sun is setting behind the towers of the Imperial Palace. It's winter, but it has been so dry lately that there is no snow on the rooftops or on the balcony where I sit, no frost clinging to the windows and walls. I suppose I should be wearing a jacket or something, but it doesn't matter. Not to anyone be me, at least, and if I'm the only one to care about me, then there's no point in taking care of myself. I watch as the lights turn on one by one in the Palace as people realize, blinking up from computer screens, data pads, and dinner, that night has all but fallen. I let the apartment behind me remain unlit. The shadows suit me.

In one of those rooms, though one of those lit windows in the Palace, there is a seven-year-old, blue-eyed boy called Anikin. For some reason, Leia still named him after my dream, even though I'd left. I don't understand. At least, I don't think I do. There's another, too. Dark-eyed, ten. Ben.

I put out my spice-stick in the ash-tray beside my chair. I can still see my breath, though it is no longer mixed with smoke. But I'm not cold, anymore, as I feel warmth from the spice tingle through my body. I close my eyes and lean my head back in my chair. It washes over me. And–almost half an hour later, but all too soon–it's gone.

Every time, I tell myself it's the last time. You feel empty after the high goes away, like having an orgasm alone. Sitting up, I listlessly regard the nearly-full ash-tray. Last time, indeed.

As if I would have been a good father, anyway.