The Lonely Hearts

Author: LVB

Disclaimer: Everything belongs to LucasFilm Ltd. Based on the latest book by Karen Traviss. I also used some ideas from an Auden poem.

Spoiler Warning: Huge, big, WHOPPING spoiles for the latest Legacy of the Force book, Sacrifice.

A/N: I haven't actually read the book but I read up on it today and I am absolutely devastated and I nearly cried. Seriously. If there are any gaping plot/canon holes, this could also be AU I guess? But really it follows on from Sacrifice so just play along, k?


Despite the controlled environmental conditions in his room, Luke Skywalker had never felt as cold as he had at that moment. It was more than the physical sensations of being cold. His mind was cold. His body was freezing. His heart had completely frozen over and where the warm blood had previously been pumping through his veins, there was nothing but ice water. How was it that this could have happened? How was it that one day his life was controlled, ordered and the next day total war had landed on his doorstep?

Luke Skywalker was no stranger to loss. It seemed every step of the way he had lost something, had lost someone he cared about. Owen, Beru, Ben, his father, Chewbacca, Anakin…and now he had lost more. Much, much more than he ever thought possible. His nephew—his own flesh and blood had become what he had never thought possible. The Sith lineage was supposed to die with Darth Vader. It wasn't supposed to be like this. Now Jacen Solo had corrupted his only son and more than that, he had forced a poisoned dart into the now dead and rotting body of his beautiful wife.

Mara.

His wife. His soul. His everything.

She was gone.

Luke felt his anger rise as hot tears began to slide down his face. He was a Grand Jedi Master and this was war. Everybody was depending on him. Mara was depending on him to protect their son. She had gone there to end Jacen's life once and for all—for their son. Could he do it, in that final moment? Could he do it out of the noblest intentions and not bring down his green lightsaber and cut his nephew in half and make him feel the worst pain imaginable in a fit of pure rage?

It wasn't fair—any of it.

"It was never meant to be fair, Luke."

Luke turned away from the ghostly apparition that sat next to him. He knew she wasn't real. Mara had left her body behind, there was no way that she could possibly be there. The ghost Mara laid her hand on Luke's shoulder. Automatically he placed his own hand over hers and suddenly recoiled when he felt the cool sensation of flesh upon flesh. He shook his head. In his grieving stupor, he was obviously hallucinating.

"You're not real. You're not here. Just leave me alone," Luke whispered as he placed his head between his hands.

"You're right. I'm not her. She chose to cross over and not return. But I do mean something." Once again the ghost Mara laid her hand on Luke and this time he did not flinch. "I'm the Mara you remember. I'm coming from here," she whispered and laid her other hand on his heart. He tried to hold back the sob but his chest gave way and suddenly all the hurt and the pain came pouring out. His heart was on fire but was so cold and in a vice-like grip. He couldn't breathe and he couldn't stop choking. She was here and he could touch her but she really wasn't.

She wasn't here and she never would be.

"Why are you here?" he pleaded with her, deliberately facing away from the apparition masquerading as his beloved wife. It was bad enough trying to deal with the pain, the hurt and the aching loss without going insane and imagining Mara sitting beside him, comforting him in his time of need.

"To help," she answered simply.

He stood up, roughly shaking her ghostly hands from his shaking body. "You are NOT helping," he hissed. "You aren't Mara. You are just a figment of my imagination conjured up by some sick joke of the Force, trying to get me to crack. I won't. I can't. She wouldn't want me to!"

The ghost Mara remained silent. "No she wouldn't. She doesn't. I'm here to let you put her to rest. She is gone, Luke. She isn't coming back. Ever."

Luke's tears came more forcefully. He felt the Force around him shake as his control slipped. He was sure nearly every Force-sensitive person anywhere in the galaxy could feel his anguish. This wasn't fair. It was never fair.

"I know," he cried hoarsely. "I know she isn't. She was my everything. She was my light, my guide away from darkness. She was my soul, my twin suns of Tatooine. The mother of my son, the Jedi Master at my side, the bright stars in the sky. She was my North and my South, my East, my West, my left, my right, my music, my melody, my heart, my all. And now she isn't anything but a casualty of my nephew. She loved him and now Darth Caedus has destroyed that. I can't do it, Mara. I can't help Ben alone. I need you."

The ghost Mara pulled Luke down to her level and gently placed his head on her lap. She absently stroked his hair. "You have to keep it together Skywalker," the ghost Mara said, reminiscent of the playful tones they used early in their relationship. "You have a long road to walk. It will either be you or him. He is falling and it's too late to catch him. Please, finish what I started. Save your son, you owe her that much."

She gently placed her hand under his chin and lifted his head to finally allowed him to look into her eyes. "You can do it, Farm Boy. I believe you can do it."

He reached his hand and traced a line down her cheek with his thumb. Despite his better judgment, he forcefully grabbed the ghost Mara and drew her into a passionate kiss. Even though it wasn't really her, it would never really be her—he said all the things he wanted to say to her before she died.

I need you. I want you. I miss you. I love you.

"Her sacrifice will be remembered. I love her. I love her. I just wanted her to know that."

With a gentle kiss on the forehead, the apparition of Mara slowly faded away.

"She knows, Luke."

He felt strangely calm as she gently faded away and he was left with nothing but an empty heart and a clear mind.

"She knows. I know."