Disclaimer: George and Tim Zahn own the characters!
Characters:Luke Skywalker, Ben Skywalker, Mara Jade Skywalker
Summary: Luke and Ben have a talk about the past and the future.
Luke Skywalker entered the house that he and Mara had made home on Ossus. The normal chaos was not blaring from the holovid, which was strange. He heard a sound in the kitchen and turned to look that way. His wife came around the corner, arms crossed and a slightly murderous expression on her face.
This couldn't be good.
He leaned forward to give her a kiss on the mouth and was met halfway. Good, he thought, at least its not me.
"Hmmm. I don't need the Force to figure out that something's wrong," Luke said cautiously.
"Oh, you don't need it. The school called today," she replied, her voice taking on a pointed and serious tone.
Luke couldn't help but feel a little bit sorry for Ben, his mother held him to pretty high standards, rightly so, and you didn't mess around with Mara when it came to her son's future. "Ah, I see," he said with a sigh. "Let's sit down."
Mara followed her husband to the sprawling cream-colored sofa that took up most of the Skywalkers' living area and sat beside him. "It seems Ben is having trouble adjusting to regular school. He got in a little tussle."
Luke stiffened, "A little tussle?"
"Yeah, nothing too dramatic, some words were exchanged between him and a Rodian boy and the Rodian insulted him, and he...well...he hit him."
Mara sighed and stood up. "I've talked with him, and he said all the right things, you know – 'I'm sorry, I'll never do it again' – that type of thing." She fixed Luke with a benevolent look, "But that never stops you, when you apologize."
Luke shaped his features in a look of mock hurt as best he could, "I'm hurt." He stood and shrugged out of his robe.
"Please," Mara replied. "You bat those blue eyes, and you know I'm done for, Skywalker, and your son has picked up that irritating little habit." She moved in front of him and wrapped her arms around his waist. "Just go talk to him. I got the feeling this was more a 'father and son' thing." After a quick kiss, she let him go and walked back into the kitchen.
Luke sighed again and turned to the wall of holo-portraits in front of him, the almost life-size likeness of his father staring down at him with what Luke just knew was amusement. "You. What are you laughing at? I'm sure this is incredibly funny up there to you guys. But that's okay, you've got Anakin Solo up there. Your time is coming." It was his imagination he was sure, but for a second the portrait of his father seemed to react to that little reminder. He turned and walked down the hall to his son's room.
Ben Skywalker lay on his bed, floating the toy X-wing through the air and landing it safely on the uncharted terrain of his bedspread. It was time for his father he knew. A ball of apprehension formed in his stomach. He knew there would be a lecture, but even worse...his father would be disappointed. There was a knock at his door, and his dad walked in before he could get up.
Luke sat down on the edge of the bed, and took the X-wing from Ben's hands. "I hear you had an exciting day," he said.
Ben looked up at his father and shrugged, "I dunno."
"Yes, you do. Sit up."
Ben moved around to sit beside his dad and swung his legs from the edge of the bed. His father was watching him expectantly, waiting for him to tell him the story that Ben was sure he'd already heard from his mother.
With a sigh, Ben looked up at his dad. "I got in a fight," he said timidly.
Ben really hated it when his dad only said things like, "I see" or "Okay". He didn't know what to say next. His dad was still looking at him, waiting on more details.
"Efram said I was going to get my hand cut off," he said. He was sure that his dad would see the heinous grievance that this could be interpreted as, but his dad only looked at him still.
There it was again.
"Why did he say that?"
"Because you got your hand cut off and Grandpa got his hand cut off," Ben replied. Now that he was home, he wasn't so sure he should have let it make him so mad.
"Do you think Efram can tell the future?" Luke asked. "What about Jacen? Or Jaina? They still have both of their hands."
"I know, but they aren't Skywalkers," Ben observed.
"Sure they are. As much as you in fact, they just don't have that last name," Luke explained. "Ben, just because your grandfather and I were stupid enough to rush into something we had no business rushing into, doesn't mean that you will make the same mistake. Look at it as a lesson. Never fight Sith Lords when your Master tells you not to."
"Are you sure?" Ben asked dubiously. "Mom says I'm just like you all the time, and you're just like him. Maybe that means I will be as dumb as you two were..." He stopped himself when he realized the disrespect he was paying both his dad and grandpa. His dad was looking at him with raised eyebrows. That was never a good sign.
Luke composed himself and stood up. He sat back down and drew Ben into his lap. "Ben, you're eight years old now. You're going to have to learn that not everyone is going to be nice. Not only that, because you come from a very well-known family some probably aren't going to be nice most of the time."
"Because that is the way of things, unfortunately, in the minority of beings; fortunately, the rest aren't like that. Remember what I told you Master Yoda said. A Jedi never uses the Force for attack."
"But I didn't use the Force. You told me to never use the Force when you aren't around to see me," Ben corrected his father. "I would never use the Force for something that made me mad, Dad. I promise."
"That's good, Ben. I'm sure you won't, very good people have been made bad at times by giving into their anger, and I'm included in those. I don't expect you to never feel frustrated, or get angry. That's normal; it's when we let it get the best of us, that it can cause us harm."
"For your punishment you will go to bed right after dinner, with no holovid, for the rest of the week. I also want you to try harder to fit in at school, just because you go to the Jedi academy also doesn't make you any more special than anyone else. I'm not saying that this is what happened, I'm just saying that just in case," Luke explained. "Your mom and I feel that you need to get a normal education also, so that you can choose what you want to be when you grow up. After all, you may not want to be a Jedi."
Ben's eyes grew wide. "Not be a Jedi? But I have to be a Jedi. You are a Jedi, Mom is a Jedi, and my grandfather was a Jedi. Jacen and Jaina are Jedi; Aunt Leia is even a Jedi. What would happen if I was not a Jedi?"
"Then we might be without one of the greatest Jedi of all time, and you know something?"
"That is completely okay. I used to think that everyone with special powers had to serve the Force, but now I believe that if it is what the Force means to happen, it will. If you don't become a Jedi, the order will go on. You should decide what to do with your life for you, no one else. You are the first Jedi in our family that really has a choice, Ben. That's very exciting."
"Thanks." Ben reached up to give his dad a hug and hopped from his lap.
He stopped and turned, "Dad?"
"Yes, Ben," Luke answered patiently.
"Are you sure I won't get my hand cut off?"
Luke just closed his eyes and shook his head.