Skywalker, Hero of the Rebellion, Jedi Master, head of the ancient order of the
Jedi, Prince of Alderaan (by strength of his twin sister's position) and a
whole list of other titles that his protocol droid, C-3PO, would no doubt enjoy
enumerating, was bored.
He stared out over the greenery of the Yavin IV rainforest from his vantage point in the Great Temple. His ice-blue eyes were dull and glazed, not in sleep, but lacking the fiery spark that had so marked him in his younger days. He had turned over the management of his Jedi Academy to Kam and Tionne, recognizing that his talents lay not in teaching but in other things...
...but though having the stress of running a school gone was nice, it also left him with nothing to do. Hence, boredom on a massive scale was setting in.
/I wonder if boredom is part of the Dark Side?/
Luke shook his head sadly and stood up. He decided that a run through the forests was just what he needed to shock him out of this self-pitying, and to get some training too. He leapt down the 20 or so meters from his perch to the stone platform beneath. He then set off at a run down the long stone stairs the platform marked the top of. He had shed his robes and lightsaber-laden belt at the top, leaving him clad only in loose military trousers and a black sleeveless shirt.
He raced through the forest easily, relying on the Force as well as his senses to warn him of obstacles on his way. He decided to take a different route from that which he normally took, today, and veered off left, towards a section of the forest he'd never seen before.
He had been running for nearly an hour, unhampered as of yet by fatigue or heavy breathing, when suddenly it hit him. A Dark Side presence plowed into his mind, proclaiming its existence as strongly as a krayt dragon's roar. Luke stopped dead in sheer shock. Aside from the strength of the presence, it had been unusual in that he had not felt any vague hints of it earlier on, as with most manifestations of the Force. It had been normal, one step, and then the next - BOOM!
In retrospect, Luke would later think that he really should have backed off then, and gone to the Academy to assemble a bunch of other Jedi to come with him and investigate the phenomenon. But there had been a time when Luke was the daredevil pilot who led Rogue Squadron, the most (in)famous X-Wing squad in NR history, and some of the daredevil was still in him, no matter the years. He ventured forth.
He found himself confronting a large pyramidical structure, wrought of some unidentifiable glossy black substance. Strange carvings were etched into its sides, weird shapes that made Luke's head hurt when he looked at them too long. Four lines of red snaked down each side, meeting at the apex of the twelve-foot-tall pyramid.
Luke cautiously stretched out a tendril of the Force to it, probing, testing. He abruptly drew back in alarm as the artifact seemed to react to even that tiny bit of Force usage - the lines flared brightly, and suddenly the whole thing was glowing.
Luke started to back off a bit, but it was too late. A roar seemed to fill his ears as a wave of Dark Force hurtled towards him. Immediately, he slammed up a Force barrier. Such was its strength that the Dark Force that hit it rebounded and hit the pyramid, leaving it nulled. However, enough of the Dark Force made it past the shield and to Luke.
His scream echoed out through the Yavin forest, both through the Force and through the air.
Han Solo was awakened very unpleasantly. It hadn't been a good day anyway, with an inspection of the troops that required him to wear his dress uniform - a thing he despised as a creation of the Sith - that took up most of the day, followed by a diplomatic dinner requiring formal wear he hated worse than his dress uniform.
Then, after being allowed to go to bed and sleep, he was awakened by his wife, Leia Organa Solo, sitting upright in bed as if stung by a Dathomir lamok (a rather poisonous type of bug). He was inclined to snap - until he saw Leia's face. Her eyes were wide and staring, and her face was very pale. She was breathing in shallow gasps. Han had not seen her look so distraught since…well, since never.
"Leia…what…?" he began, putting a hand on her shoulder. She didn't seem to notice and continued to gulp in air desperately. It was then that Han noticed that he could hear Anakin crying in his bedroom, and that Jaina and Jacen were standing in the doorway, looking not much better than their mother.
"What?" Han said again, looking around desperately. It was something to do with the Force, he knew, and felt bad that he couldn't help, not here.
"It's Uncle Luke," said Jacen and Jaina in unison, their seven-year-old voices hoarse. Their reply was almost synchronized with Leia's frightened whisper, "Luke!" Yet another indication that it was something to do with the Force - hell, it was practically a guarantee. They'd said Luke, hadn't they?
"Han! We need to go to Yavin…now!" Leia said, clutching at his arm with a strength that spoke of desperation. "Han, please…"
"Pack up," he said, rising from the bed. "You too, Jacen, Jaina. I'll call the spaceport to ready the Falcon."
As the twins and Leia began to throw clothes into a bag with a frenzied speed that said they didn't really care what they were putting in, Han realized he could still hear Anakin crying.
They arrived at the spaceport in record time. Leia had taken the wheel of the family vehicle, and drove through the airspace of Coruscant - still crowded despite the hour - with a speed and recklessness that amazed even Han. And she scolded him for his driving?
Fear was beginning to creep into his belly with an ice-cold feeling. The kid must be in real trouble, if the reactions of his family were anything to go by. Jacen and Jaina were seated side-by-side, so close they were practically huddling together, faces pale and eyes huge. Anakin was curled up in his father's lap, still sniffling. He kept his own blue eyes screwed tightly shut, and Han couldn't help but feel a little grateful. When he was feeling this concerned for Luke, seeing Luke's eyes in his son's face would not help. C-3PO was there too, uncharacteristically quiet except for solemn and surprisingly sensitive attempts to offer reassurance to those of the Solo family possessed of the Force.
When they reached the spaceport, they all but sprinted for the Falcon. Han gave a passing wish for Chewie - his copilot was off on Kashyyyk, visiting his family - but an unexpected replacement offered itself. Next to the Falcon, a certain red-headed figure awaited them, travel-bag on the floor beside.
Han Solo wanted to ask why in the seven cold hells Mara Jade was there, but Anakin inadvertently answered the question. "You felt Uncle Luke too, didn't you?" he asked, trotting to the green-eyed smuggler and looking up at her mournfully.
Mara Jade opened and closed her mouth a few times before answering. "Y…yes... Yes, I did." She looked at Han and Leia. "I think every Force- sensitive this side of Yavin did." Mara looked bad, pale as Leia and the kids, and her green eyes definitely blood-shot.
"I was here to talk to the Senate about something for the Smugglers' Alliance," she explained, raking a hand through red-gold hair more tousled than normally. "And then I…stars, Leia! What happened to your brother?"
"I don't know," Leia confessed miserably. "I just felt that…that bolt… and then that surge of Force from Luke..."
"I can't feel Uncle Luke anymore, Mama," Anakin said, hugging Mara's leg. Strangely, she didn't seem to mind - she even reached down and laid a comforting hand on the six-year-old's head. "I mean, I can...but it's different, it's not the same! And I can only feel him for a little bit, then he slips away again..." The twins nodded solemnly at their little brother's words, and from the look on Mara and Leia's faces, Anakin had nailed it down direct for them too.
"Can I…can I ride with you, Solo?" Mara asked. She met his eyes squarely. "The Falcon is a faster ship than my Fire," she admitted grudgingly. "And…"
"Of course you can," Leia said at once. Han raised an eyebrow - not that he particularly minded Mara coming aboard, but Leia was not normally as trusting of the former assassin as that. Then again, this Force storm of trouble from Luke might have swept that all aside for once.
"C'mon aboard," Han said, hefting the Solo family's own bags. Mara picked hers up and followed them inside.
Mara Jade was not happy. She had been Han's co-pilot as they made the jump into hyperspace, and for a while she lost herself in the familiar rhythms of calculating and managing a hyperspace jump, but now they were just rushing along, and there was no avenue to lose the pain in anymore.
She lay on the bunk Han had pointed out for her use, but sleep would not come. She hadn't slept at all since bolting upright in her bed at Coruscant, almost keening with the sheer pain that she had felt. It was Luke's pain, she had known that in an instant, but also it had been like it was her own pain. She had stumbled to get her bags packed, hardly knowing what she was doing.
It was only when she found herself standing by the Millenium Falcon, awaiting the Solos - for she had known, just as she had known that the Force surge came from Luke, that his twin sister would be heading for her brother's side with all the speed she could muster - that she found herself wondering what the hell she was doing.
And then here she found herself, bound for Yavin, and on the Solos' ship instead of her own - and feeling as if the Force itself left her with no choice in the matter.
She finally gave up on sleep and got up. She smoothed her red hair down, trying to force it to some semblance of order, before exiting the room. She headed for the Falcon's galley, having some vague notions of brewing herself some hot chocolate - Sith, that was Skywalker's signature drink, why was she thinking of it? - when she discovered a new presence tagging along at her heels.
Little Anakin Solo looked up at her, clad in pajamas, but his eyes unsleepy. He accompanied her silently into the galley, and Mara found herself not only making hot chocolate, but giving the child a mug of it as well. He accepted it gravely, sitting beside her in the eating area.
Anakin had taken to hanging around her during the trip, much the same way as how the twins were rarely separate from their mother now. He spoke little, but seemed to take assurance from being near her. In some ways, it was easier for Mara, because she felt like she could share the pain with the boy…but in some ways it was not. He kept looking at her with Luke's eyes.
When the Falcon touched down on Yavin IV, Tionne was waiting for them. Leia and the children nearly stampeded Mara and Han down the ramp, and truth be told, the other two were not actually that far behind.
Leia demanded news of her brother, but Tionne, eyes unfathomable, could only shake her head and say, "You'll have to see him. Words cannot..." and she trailed off, shaking her head again.
"He's alive, then?" Leia demanded, joyous relief battling with anxiety in her eyes.
Tionne hesitated. "Well…in a manner of speaking..."
Han glared. "What do you mean, 'in a manner'? What's wrong with the kid?" Han had known Luke longer than any of them, even longer than Leia by some hours, and Luke was his brother in more than law.
"You have to come see," Tionne repeated.
She led the party up into the higher levels of the Tower. Around them, they could observe that the few students actually out wandered around with a half-dazed expression on their faces, but concern for Luke Skywalker drove away any wondering about that.
They reached their destination. Tionne pressed the call-button beside the door, and it was answered by a weary-looking Kyp Durron. "Oh, you're here," he said flatly. He moved aside to let them in.
They moved inside the room, eyes darting about. "Where is he?" Leia demanded again. Kyp gave a low groan. "And I just got him to sleep too!"
They stared at him, for that cryptic remark, but Tionne just nodded and said, "They're his family. They deserve to know."
Kyp grumbled, "You haven't been on duty for the last hour," but obediently moved towards a bed. They followed, mystified.
And then Kyp drew back the covers, and they were staring at a small, blond boy curled up on the bed. He blinked at the movement and sat up, rubbing away sleep with chubby fists. He stared at them with ice-blue eyes.
They stared back. Leia was the first to break the silence. "You can't mean..." she started, looking incredelously at Tionne and Kyp. "Luke?"
The little boy on the bed recognized the sound. "That's my name!" he proclaimed, in a high, piping voice. "Who're you?"
AN: Yes, it starts out sort of serious, but this story is sort of meant to be comedy. Mostly comedy, with a few WAFF-type moments. I am going to continue this myself, but if anyone wants to try and have a crack at continuing it themselves, go on! Think of it as a fic challenge.