A/N:This story may not be updated very quickly, but I hope you enjoy what there is and summer is coming. Right now I have no idea where the plot is going, so any thoughts on that would be nice...it won't be as angsty as this all the time. Surgeon General's Warning: I am the original Mara-basher. She just might die again in this one. The plot bunny for this was thrown thrashing into my arms by a guy working at the Waldenbooks in the local mall, Mark I think, who maybe has no idea. Oh yeah, and a little bit by Moag, too.
The coruscations of many eyes looked down on the rainbow-decked half-circle of senators seated where Emperor Palpatine had once addressed his closest political supporters.
Leia Organa Solo gazed perhaps with more intensity than all of them, and smoothed her white dress with her left hand, the one loose of Han's reassuring grip, as a final and unexpected nervous gesture.
Mon Mothma stood three tiers down, and infused her words with effortless regal kindness as Palpatine had his with calculating evil. "After our careful decision within the senate and our precious remaining Jedi Knights, that essential order shall be reconvened." Soft applause suffused the chamber. "They will begin here in a annex of the Republic, lead by Senior Knight Tionne of Huan'a."
The slender, dark-complexioned woman stood and began to speak fluidly, backed by more applause. Leia and Han's hands remained clasped, and though politeness urged her to clap as well, she appreciated her husband's stiffness. Luke sat in his place with the gathered Jedi--she remembered the names Gantoris, Streen, Cilghal, Kyle--with his face set, blue eyes settled on Tionne, but somehow sunken.
Luke could sense Leia's inner retreat, and how she reflected most of it from himself. In Han and Leia's clean, pastel apartment he, the Solos, Mon Mothma and Garm Bel Iblis sat casually at the communal room's couches. Luke sat facing the two Rebellion leaders, touching his fingertips lightly together between his eyes. They had invited him to say, "Tell me why."
Bel Iblis spoke, "None of you are up to the standards we believe the old Jedi held. I am sorry, Skywalker, but--your heroic resume pales slightly with the realization that Palpatine, cursed be his name, was killed by Darth Vader and not yourself. "
Luke had to nod.
"It's all right, Luke." Leia laid a hand on his.
He could say, "You're right." The best thing for all the Jedi, for the new order he had cultivated, was to realize that it would perhaps be better pruned and brought into blossom by someone else.
Later he stood on the small balcony of his own apartment, looking out at the ever-lit night of Coruscant and wondering why the grime wafting from below smelled so similar to old sand on Tatooine. It reminded him of home he had not had since --and this apartment had only recently become his true residence after years of living on ships and military bases, just like Han and Leia and all of his friends, stopping on Coruscant to flit about the monetary gifts the new government was more than willing to give them.
Bel Iblis' words spurned a tragic list of achievement-failures in his head.
Destroyed the first Death Star. Without knowing how to do it except to leave my work to Ben and the Force.
Fought Darth Vader on Cloud City. Minus one hand. Plus one revelation that almost killed me itself.
Tracked Han. As an official Rebel mission, nothing to do with the Force.
Released Leia and Han from Jabba the Hutt. One Jedi Knight and a freighter's crew of experienced Rebel soldiers against mercenaries and bounty hunters, but mostly fat toadies.
Fought Vader. Lost. Fought the Emperor, lost. Vader killed his former master to rescue me.
Survived the Nightsisters. With Tenenial and Isolder, which makes that not count immediately.
Resigned from the military because I don't like the military. It is boring.
Fought Thrawn's crazed Jedi. C'baoth brought that ceiling down on himself and Mara killed the clone.
Maybe they're right.
He slept uneasily that night.