Six

Slowly I learned to use the Force. It's like...some of it's like your thoughts have been turned into a pool of water, and all these ripples are running through them, and you learn to read the ripples. Sometimes it's like the whole universe has them, but they're more like...strings, or connecting fog, and it's very easy to pull something toward you along those lines with desire and a curl of the fingers.

Lightsabers rock. That's all there is to that; Best Weapon Ever. The sound--gets inside your ears and clears everything to crystal fight-sense. The techniques move and flow with who you are somehow, and are who I am anyway.

I practiced lightsabers with Corran Horn and an alien named Kell who is good at most things. It's a pounding-the-floor epic kind of fighting we get into here, when here is these huge rooms or grassy ruins where the pounding reassures you it's all real. No laser sword for Cy yet, of course, but we use plastic staves, magnetized along the blade-lengths for realistic reactions.

Kell and I went back and forth with these under the watchful eyes of Master Horn until our hands raised little splotches of blood, and I didn't know plastic forged such blisters. The courtyards in back are beautiful; all green or blue plants and stone in intervals.

A little stirring, and echoing voice in the Force.

I put my sword up and looked at Master Horn. "Master Skywalker wants to talk to me, Master Horn."

He nodded. I ran through a few stone-and-durasteel doorways, up to a raised courtyard and cairn where Luke watched the groups in the near distance. He wore a common brown cloak over white and blood-red, and at first only took my hands in one of his and slid a bacta gauze gently over them. At each blister or abrasion pain flared and then subsided, as the irritation of the skin died down to tan.

He asked, "How are you doing?"

I didn't raise my eyes to him fully, just glimpsed that world in his face. "Ah, good. It's tough, but...I feel great. I feel the Force!"

His hard hands moved minutely around mine and I could just sense a smile. Though I'm no good at a lot of things with the Force. Luke said, "And how am I doing teaching it? I feel so...distanced from them."

"You're fine teaching. You know so much. But yes, distanced." I stilled his hand that held the cool gauze. Now I looked and braved his face. "Why?"

"I don't know."

I squeezed his hand. "I do. You're a hero. We always think heroes are ok, because there are so few."

He smiled loosely, and for a moment it was fleet indecision I sensed, with a soup of rock-hard bravery and affection, and I know he let this leak out for me because you don't read Master Skywalker's mind unless he really wants you to.

He released me with, "Continue your training, my Cy." And I went back down.

This afternoon we fought in the uppermost chamber, a class of eight lightsaber-users with real weapons now and the adults or students who'd been doing this for a while keeping it slow so that no one got any limbs taken off. Some incentive, that. It's not easy to find or build a lightsaber, so I borrowed a man named Kyle's.

Luke paired with me and we fought between others using the precise, elegant moves I had learned on the magnet-sticks. The quick lightsabers, green and blue, sang and growled and hissed. He was just toying with me, but that make it beautiful. Some things-- There were irregularities in the stone. I looked down to add sight to texture-sensation and his lightsaber thrumed over my head. Back up--I had to parry so quickly, and somehow it works, and built. I had been taught to strategize a thought ahead, and he let me practice. We moved untill the Force breathed for me and we grinned like crazies--

At one point, our lightsabers met close and crossed, up over our ears, and Luke's thoughts flashed too quickly for me to catch. Others tried to fill the cavernous room with their hums.

It's time for finishing the beginning of the tale.

I almost pull away from him, and he from me, because we are afraid when the emotion roars in our ears louder than the laser swords in our hands.

"Don't leave me." He pleads. "Don't imagine something fake of me or disappoint me. Just be...this."

" We can't let anyone down. That's how it's supposed to be. We can't disappoint--we daren't.

It sounds all too dramatic to be--

FIN