A/N: Not quite sure where the idea for this one came from, but here it is, brought to you from the depths of my hard drive.
She stood silently by the door of the medbay, one sweaty hand clinging to a tiny hold-out blaster. The occupant within had recently been declared "likely to survive," an announcement that had caused some consternation among the higher-ups. No one quite knew what to do with that particular prisoner. All of the medics had firmly declared that there was very little chance of survival: like all those in his family, he seemed able to defeat the odds at will, perhaps due to his abilities with the Force. No one knew for sure. At the moment he was being kept sedated to give the Council time to decide his fate. She, however, knew the fate he deserved and was determined to see that he received it, even if she were to be the one whose hand committed the fateful deed. With a deep breath she pushed open the door.
The sight that met her eyes was not one she had expected. He had always terrified her with his mere presence, seeming utterly invincible, unassailable, even. The man that lay in the bed was none of those things. Surrounded by a host of machines, each one providing some vital process to keep him alive, he was pathetically vulnerable. She took two steps forward, in time to the beat of her racing heart, stopping when she saw his unmasked face. Rumors had flown for years about what he looked like but none matched what she now saw. White as the snow on Hoth, torn by old, poorly-healed wounds, his face was that of an old man aged by pain and darkness. This was not the powerful warrior she hated but a being broken beyond belief. Wide eyes scanned the rest of his body, noted the shiny metal of prosthetics and the dull plastic of the mask over his face, her astonishment growing. He had been injured badly in that final battle, she knew, but not this badly. How had he managed to bring down fully-trained Jedi Masters in this state?
He shifted slightly with a faint moan. Her hands came up of their own accord, holding the blaster steady and aiming it for his head. To her horror his eyes fluttered open. He has the same eyes as... she thought dimly before his wandering gaze pinned her to the wall. He showed no surprise, merely closed his eyes briefly. One metal hand traveled slowly to his face, pushed aside the mask for a moment. She stood frozen.
"Do it," he whispered softly. "Force knows I deserve it." His voice broke on the last and she glimpsed something dark in his eyes before he turned his face to the wall. Her hands began to tremble, fighting to hold the weapon steady.
"I should," she whispered back, barely able to keep her voice from shaking.
"Yes." No argument, no pleading for his life, just an unspoken request that she suddenly knew she could not fulfill, no matter how much she wanted. The blaster dropped from her nerveless fingers, clattering on the tiled floor. Tears filled her eyes and she fell to her knees, sobbing.
"I can't do it."
A slight pressure on her head made her look up in alarm. His fingers rested lightly on her hair. She shuddered at the touch, remembering the pain it had caused her a lifetime ago, and his hand withdrew. If it was possible, the pain in his eyes deepened.
"Then give me the blaster."
She drew back, shaking her head. "I can't."
"He said there's good in you. If I kill you, how will I ever know if he was right?"
"I could tell you he was wrong."
"I don't believe you. He wouldn't throw away his life for nothing."
"He did. I don't deserve to live."
She had no answer, only tears. He said nothing more as she wept bitterly for the one she had lost. "I wish he were here," she choked out. "He always knew what to do."
"If there was anything I could do to bring him back, I would," he whispered. "Anything."
"Why did he have to die?"
"It was my fault. All my fault."
She looked at him then, truly looked at him and saw the pain written there, pain and deepest despair.
"I should have let him kill me instead!" he continued fervently. "He did not deserve to die for my crimes."
"Could you have saved him?"
"I don't know."
"Neither do I." She wiped her eyes with a trembling hand. "But he would have wanted you to keep going. To make his sacrifice worthwhile."
"I don't know."
"I don't have the capacity for good anymore."
"I won't let you make what he did meaningless."
"What can I do? All I bring is destruction to those around me."
"Carry on his work. Bring back the light of the Jedi."
"I destroyed that light."
"Use that knowledge to make it stronger." She refused to back down. Even if she could not love him, she loved her brother and was determined that his final act would not be in vain.
The man closed his eyes, wearied. She rose shakily to her feet, trembling with grief, with anger, and waited.
"I will try." A whisper, so faint she barely heard it, yet she knew he spoke the truth.
She left then, unable to remain, to look at him, look at the eyes that were so like her brother's. Turned and left the cold, lifeless chamber with its broken occupant and took the unused blaster with her. He still deserves to die, she thought, but not by my hand. My brother gave his life to save him.
Even as she put on the mask of the Rebel leader, the fearless politician, the princess of a dead planet, she silently wished the father had perished and the son survived. But she swore that would keep the memory of the son alive through the father. It was all she could do, the only action left to her.
Honor the fallen.