AN: Warning: Dark Luke, very dark Luke.

Disclaimer: Luke's not mine, though I'm not sure I'd want to own what I've made him.

Remorse

"On the charge and specification of murder in the first degree, we, the jury, find the defendant . . . not guilty." A murmur ran through the courtroom as various beings quietly discussed the pros and cons of such a statement. Behind me, Leia sobbed in relief. Let her cry, I wouldn't.

"On the charge and specification of assault with a deadly weapon, to wit, a lightsaber, we find the defendant not guilty.

"On the charge and specification of . . ." I tuned out the droning voice. Some part of me screamed that this was not justice. Well it wasn't justice to watch her die either. Or to let the man who shot her remain on this plane of existence. For fifteen sentences the voice dragged on, and every one of those sentences ended with the words "not guilty." I smiled grimly. They'd charged me with everything from first degree murder to drunk and disorderly, not that I'd been either when I killed him. Nothing stuck. The people wouldn't let anything stick.

It helped that a distraught and disheveled Luke Skywalker had turned himself in before they'd even found the bodies. It helped that the attack had killed his wife. If anything, the people loved their hero more now than ever, because Hutt tears are plentiful. I'd stayed at the medcenter only long enough to hear her pronounced dead on arrival, then left. Everyone thought I'd gone home to mourn in peace and private. Everyone thought wrong.

He hadn't moved from where I'd told him to stay put. Believe me, things would not have been nearly as painless if he'd tried to run. He spoke to me before I cut him down. "Luke," he'd said. "I'm so sorry. Believe me, I was trying to help and I aimed wrong." Like that was supposed to get rid of the fact that it was his blaster that has shot her into the next life.

"You aimed wrong all right," I'd hissed hearing the green energy blade, green like her eyes, go through his torso with satisfaction. "Like I just aimed wrong." The pieces of him fell to the floor. I'd then found the nearest officer and turned myself in with a sob story of berserker rage and too little too late.

The bailiff gave me a hesitant smile as he waved the key over my binders, loosing them from my wrists. "I'm sorry this had to come to this, Master Skywalker, but now you can go in peace." He signaled the guards with their ysalamiri to step away. The Force raged around me once again, a maelstrom of emotions from grief and fear to relief and hope. I could only identify with the first two.

I nodded my head, but did not look him in the eyes lest he see in mine the tears I refused to shed. "Thank you." There would be no peace for me now that she was gone. My Mara, my fighter, the one thing that could soothe the unrest that constantly gripped me. My angel's wings had been broken, and I wondered if I was the only one who missed the light of her sun. The rest of the galaxy was too busy gawking at the constellations.

Bits of conversations floated around me, musing on the dead man's motives and my "heroism."

"Could he have been jealous? After all they were together before . . ."

"It's such a pity that he couldn't save her . . ."

"What would induce the General to do such a thing?"

" . . . with her on a mission . . . underground . . ."

"Jumped by a street gang, how horrid . . ."

" . . . and her husband arrived too late to stop . . ."

"I can't blame him for letting loose, after all . . ."

" . . . she just jerked into the blaster bolt . . ."

"Such tragedy, taken out by friendly fire . . ."

"Such rage . . ."

Such emptiness. All the talk in the world wouldn't bring Mara back. I wasn't even sure I would want her to come back. She shouldn't have to endure this. At least he shot her in the head. She never felt a thing. Neither did I.

I acted predictably enough. I insisted on my guilt because it was the truth. I insisted on not having a lawyer, which resulted in the galaxy's finest volunteering to represent me. I cried and carried on about "how could the universe trust me", and they'd responded by trusting me more. The capacity of sentients for compassion amazed me. No one wanted to condemn a man who was already condemning himself. Sure they dragged me into the courtroom, but I'd been heading that direction anyway. Even here they refused to inflict on me the pain I needed, so I was left to mutilate myself.

The prosecutor gave me a nod of recognition as she approached. "Although I did my best to put you behind bars, Master Skywalker, it seems you are a hard man to convict." She didn't know how wrong she was. My problem was that it was too easy to convict me, so no one was willing to do so. "Allow me to return this to you." She placed a threateningly familiar cylinder into my hand. My lightsaber. I had given it up with no intention of ever getting it back. My first instinct was to activate it, spearing her through the heart. My next one was to turn the blade on myself. But both of those were too easy, and anything easy was too good for me.

Craving the emotional torture, I approached his widow. "You didn't deserve this. I'm sorry," I whispered. My voice would reach her ears and no others. No one else needed to hear me say this. And no one but his widow would believe that I was sincere. I, after all, had done nothing I regretted.

Tendra Calrissian raised her tear-streaked face to look into the eyes of her husband's murderer. "You were not yourself, Luke," she assured me. She gave me a sweet, sad smile as a tear escaped my brimming eyes. Well what do you know, stone does weep. "I'm sorry too."

Emperor's black heart! How could there people forgive me? I couldn't even feel remorse and they forgive me! I wasn't worth their forgiveness and soon they would all know it. Turning I stalked out of the courtroom, whether as predator or prey I was no longer certain. The thugs who she fought deserved what they'd gotten. The scum that had started the fight was my rightful prey. But the way the looks of pity savaged my soul . . . I fled like the wounded animal I was. I brushed past Leia and Han, Corran and Mirax, and Wedge. The last of which had seen so many Rogue Squadron pilots court-marshaled that he had his own seat in the courtroom. Ignoring the half smiles of those hovering between tears of joy and those of grief, I fled the building altogether. A display caught my eye. One of the public vidscreens was broadcasting the result of an opinion poll. Apparently, 80 of the galaxy believed I was innocent of any wrongdoing. I idly wondered if "any wrongdoing" included blowing up the Death Star and getting my father killed. Regardless, most of the galaxy believed I could do no wrong. And so many beings, as Mara would say with the sarcastic lilt I loved so much, couldn't be wrong. The light left me for good as I contemplated that thought, a feral grin spanning my face.

From a certain point of view, the people were right.

Luke Skywalker could do no wrong.

But Lord Vader could.