***
Somewhere there's speaking
It's already coming in
***

He tossed and turned in his bed, tangling the thin sheets into a hopeless knot between his legs. He breathed in quick gasping breaths, the panicky breathing of the nightmare-gripped. Suddenly his back arched, he rolled trying to escape the pain, and Luke Skywalker awoke when he fell off his bed onto the floor.

***
Oh and it's rising
At the back of your mind
***

He lay there for a moment, silver-blue eyes washed almost pure silver by the lack of light in the room. His breathing quickly steadied, calmed by a reflexive application of Jedi calming techniques.

Luke took a brief moment to laugh as the thought struck him. Luke had inherited his father's temper – the Skywalker anger, as the reborn Emperor Palpatine put it so grandiosely - and he highly doubted that any other student of Yoda's had had to do as many calming techniques as he had during the training in Dagobah…

Suddenly the moment of levity ended as an onslaught of thought invaded Luke's mind. The blond Jedi clutched his head in his hands, biting back a deep moan. In the midst of the nightmare – he knew not how – the Force barriers he had so carefully erected and almost perpetually maintained inside his mind had fallen. And for the first time in years, his mind was completely unprotected.

***
You never could get it
Unless you were fed it
***

He could, for one brief, horrible instant of pain, feel/see/hear the thoughts of nearly every sentient on the planet…and maybe even beyond. For the time being, the enormous Force strength and sensitivity that he had been born with and further honed in his lifetime of fighting were a curse. He dreamed the dreams of lust-power-joy-wishing and the nightmares of pain-doubt-anger-grief. He felt the desires, the severe, all-consuming needs of a billion sentients, the regrets and private sorrows of a billion more. He learnt their secrets – and forgot them just as quickly.

***
Now you're here
And you don't know why
***

Had he been an astromech droid, his top would be spinning furiously and smoke coming from his circuits. Before he could quite comprehend one idea, he was faced with another, and so the previous would slip away, not understood, not known, but felt in all its bruising intensity.

He curled into a fetal position until the onslaught eased enough for him to fumble for his mind abilities and slam up Force barriers. It felt like hours, but when he looked up with eyes that smarted with held-back tears – for both his pain and the pain of others he had felt – the Coruscant sky was as dark as it had been when his nightmare awoke him.

He stumbled to his feet, movements regaining most of their Jedi grace by the time he had reached his kitchen area. Unknowingly, though, they were a little too graceful – he was moving as if in the midst of a battle. He did not know this as he poured himself a cup of hot chocolate – after years of relying on the creamy beverage as his cure-all for anything that ailed him, Luke could brew a mean cup. He sipped it, savoring the thick sweetness in his mouth, and stared out the huge transparisteel window that stretched from floor to ceiling. It offered a spectacular view of both sky and city.

It was a sight that usually could cheer, awe or give Luke hope. Always having some sort of positive effect. Now, though, all it did was make him think how far away from home he was.

***
But under skinned knees and other skid marks
Past the places where you used to learn
***

But what was home? It wasn't Coruscant, for all that it housed most of his friends and all of his family. They were often off-world anyway.

Was it Tatooine? Luke closed his eyes and slipped a little into a Jedi meditation, the better to see the memories. The spacious apartment around him vanished, and he vanished. Only consciousness remained, only the watching, looking, remembering…

He saw a boy, maybe twelve years of age, with a slender build and lack of height that brought him a fair amount of teasing while hiding the fact that very few other children could beat him in the fights that such teasing brought on. He was dressed in loose pants and tunic, all a dusty off-white, as were the other children around him. His hair, already blond by birth, was bleached almost white by the twin suns. It gleamed silver-gilt in the sunlight as the boy tossed back his head and laughed heartily at a joke given by a larger, older, dark-haired boy nearby. The silver-blond boy's eyes shone as he laughed, looking very blue in desert-tanned skin.

He saw the boy jam a beat-up helmet onto his head, pulling down the visor as he clambered into a brand-new skyhopper. He gave a thumbs-up to the dark-haired boy watching him from the ground before beginning to deftly handle the skyhopper's controls. The small aircraft rose into the air smoothly before blasting off down Beggar's Canyon.

'The first time I threaded the Needle,' Luke remembered.

Luke shook his head, returning himself to the present, to Coruscant. He found he was smiling from the memory, a smile that would have been reminiscent of the Tatooine boy he had once been except for the thin edge of bitterness.

No, Tatooine was not his home. It had been, once. But he was no longer the boy who daydreamed about his hero father, who recklessly flew skyhoppers through death-defying maneuvers without due thought. He wasn't that any longer.

Was it Yavin IV? No. He did not even try a Jedi meditation before reaching the conclusion. The jungle moon was a place of duty and of memories. He had friends there, true, and a refuge if he needed it. But more often he found himself needing refuge from Yavin, a place to remember that there was more to him, Luke Skywalker, than Jedi Master alone.

So, what was his home?

***
You howl and listen, listen and wait for
Echoes of angels who won't return
***

Nothing had felt like home, like truly home, since Callista had left him. Again, as he had for so many nights and days since, he sent out a call through the Force. Wishful thinking began sending several tantalizing possibilities into his mind. Maybe she had regained her ability to touch the Lightside, was at this moment heading towards Coruscant to reunite with him…

Nothing answered his Force-call. As usual. As it would always be?

***
He's everything you want
He's everything you need
***

It was a strange twist of circumstance that brought Jedi Knights to spacer's bars on Rimworlds, but Callista Ming was sitting in one now. She did not know its name. She doubted many of the bar's patrons did. This was a truly bottom-scraping example of spacer's bars, and again Callista thought about how weird things had to be for Jedi Knights to be found in one.

Then again, I'm not really a Jedi Knight. Not anymore.

She had landed here, following a trail that promised to lead her to an ancient Jedi Master's journals and memoirs, but was, at the moment, too tired to follow it. Never mind that it was rumored that the Jedi Master in question had been a member of the High Council before the Purge. She needed a drink, dammit, and that Jedi's autobiography could wait until she had that.

However, a minute after receiving her glass of Elora's Danan, Callista was wishing she had pressed on. The bar's holoprojector was displaying a piece of news taken directly from CNN (Coruscant News Network) and it just so happened that it was on Jedi Master Luke Skywalker.

Callista let her breath out in a long exhale as the holocam angled in for a close-up, her glass of liquor forgotten in between her hands. This was the first time in almost a year that she had seen Luke's eyes. Even in the inadequacy of scratchy holographic image, those silver-blue eyes tugged at her soul with their sheer power.

His face was set in a smile; the fact that it did not reach his eyes did not register upon many in the room. He was dressed in formal eveningwear, a bit military in design, rather than the formless Jedi robes that he so often wore. Callista would have bet that Leia had cajoled and/or bullied him into wearing it, as she must have done in making Luke attend the diplomatic function that the news network was now covering. She couldn't imagine Luke doing either voluntarily.

The clothes hung well on him, though. He looked every inch the Prince of Alderaan that his sister had titled him to be, and – as Callista heard sighs of longing from many females in the bar – the 'Galaxy's Most Eligible Bachelor' that various magazines and holoservices had proclaimed him.

***
He's everything inside of you
That you wish you could be
***

Callista studied him as intently as the other starstruck, swooning females in the bar, but for a slightly different reason. Luke had an aura of…of power around him, no matter his claims to the contrary, no matter his attempts to hold onto his farmboy past. He cast it, he projected it, he made people defer to him from the sheer strength of it. Callista knew that Mon Mothma, a formidable stateswoman, one who had learnt the tricks of the trade in the cutthroat arena of the Republic Senate, thought Luke had in him the potential to be as big a presence in politics as his twin sister.

Callista disagreed. Luke could be more. He was no politician, to get his way with maneuverings and diplomatic double-dealing. He was a Jedi Master…he was the Jedi Master. The title fit him as well as the expensive, obviously tailor-made clothes he was currently wearing. He seemed almost a figure stepped out from the Jedi Code; the epitome of a Jedi. And all this with only a few months, if not weeks, worth of training. It was like he carried the instinct on how to be a Jedi in him. If anyone was born to be a Jedi, it was most definitely Luke Skywalker.

***
He says all the right things
At exactly the right time
***

Callista watched as the camera drew back a little, to catch a shot of the Jedi Master talking to the tall Seshariman ambassador. CNN was not allowed to have audio pick-ups, just holographic, but from the way the winged biped smiled at whatever Luke had said, he hadn't said anything that would break Sesharim-New Republic relations.

'Though why do I have the feeling Luke just said something that none of the politicians would have dreamed of?' Callista wondered amusedly. It would be just like Luke Skywalker – painful honesty coupled with an innate charm that made the former less of a handicap and more of an asset.

***
But he means nothing to you
And you don't know why
***

There was something lacking in that boyish expression, though. A dullness in the eye, a sort of stillness in the face. Not enough to alert the general public that there was something wrong with their beloved hero, but enough to worry anyone who knew him.

Callista knew she was the one who put it there. That it was her fault all this had happened. Not for the first time, she cursed the day she had decided to transfer her spirit into Cray's body. Now Luke was suffering, and it was her fault. Better for everyone if she had died, and left Luke to grieve and move on. Better if they had never met.

'But you can still make it alright,' whispered something in her mind. 'If you would only go back…'

No. She didn't even consider it. Not for Luke, not to alleviate her guilt. To be beside someone who shone more brightly in the Force than a thousand suns, to be near someone who could bring Lightside to others by his mere presence and be dark in the Force all the while…it was more than she could bear.

And until she could again shine in the Force, she would not go near him. She could not.

***
Been waiting for someone
To put you together

***

Mara Jade double-checked her armament – a blaster holstered at her side, one hidden up her wrist, a vibroknife in each knee-high boot – before heading down the ramp. It was alright to be so lightly armed for tonight. The Fire was currently in dock at Coruscant Spaceport 003 – the spaceport reserved for those holding security clearances of Level Blue or higher.

It was good to be in with the powers-that-be.

She couldn't help but grin at the looks she attracted – mostly admiring ones, from males of all species and ages. She knew the figure she cut, sleek and jungle-cat graceful, an impression not hindered by her skintight jumpsuit. But it was not that long ago that the males' admiring looks would have gotten not an amused grin but an angry and possibly violent response.

'You're getting soft, Jade,' she told herself. 'And it's all Skywalker's fault,' she added, grinning more as she thought of the farmboy. While waiting for docking clearance in Coruscant's orbit, she had watched a bit of the local news and caught the feature on Skywalker in the dinner. And at first she had been shocked, then amused, by seeing him in something aside from brown or black. She did not think he was particularly happy about the change, and planned on twitting him about his wardrobe change as soon as she saw him.

***
Been waiting for someone
To push you away

***

She stopped dead in her tracks as that thought crossed her mind. 'As soon as she saw him'? What the kriffing hells? Was she planning on actually seeking him out? And invite another bout of nagging to complete her Jedi training, or a lecture on how she was wasting her potential, like as not.

She resumed her walk, determined not to do anything on Coruscant except sleep in her apartment, meet Karrde the next day, learn her mission, and then leave.

Like he would want to spend his time with her anyway. Sure, he had accepted her and forgiven her previous determination to kill him, but that didn't mean he would exactly welcome the chance to spend an evening in her company.

The fact that she had memorized every nuance of his expressions, his characteristic movements, didn't mean he knew her as well. The fact that she admired – not just respected – him for his achievements didn't necessarily mean he returned the feelings.

He had no obligation to return her feelings.

***
There's always another
Wound to discover

***

So deep in thought was she that she hardly noticed the other person in the lift as she got in. She punched in her floor level – 39 – and leaned against the wall of the lift as it began to rise.

"Mara?"

Mara looked to her side, staring as she realized that her fellow liftrider was none other than Luke Skywalker, still in the formal wear she had just seen him wearing on the holonet.

"Luke?"

"What are you…" they both began, trailing off as they realized they were speaking simultaneously.

"I live here," Luke said, speaking first. "On the eightieth floor."

"I heard someone bought the penthouse…" Mara said musingly.

"I didn't know you lived here, either, Mara," Luke said.

"Just in between trading runs," Mara said, shrugging. "Hey, farmboy, what's with the get-up?"

Luke laughed a little wryly, running a hand through his blond hair.

"Wheedled into accompanying Leia to a dinner at the Easolan Chancellor's residence tonight. Complete with formal-Alderaanian-escort costume," he said self-deprecatingly, flicking one lapel of his dark blue jacket. "Han was sick, and Leia needed someone to fetch her drinks and emphasize how nice she looks."

Mara was struck by a sudden image she remembered from the holo – Leia and Luke, side-by-side, he in that rather fetching get-up, she in a floor-sweeping, elegant gown of the same dark blue his jacket was. Both slender, both straight-backed – he was blond and she was brunette, he blue-eyed and she dark-eyed, but their features still shared enough similarities to mark their blood. It was more than the physical similarity…they carried themselves with a certain manner, met the cameras with the same lift of the head, looked at other people in the same way…a regal way. They looked…fitted. Like…well, twins. But royal twins…

"I have to admit, I was shocked to see you in something other than a brown sack," Mara said dryly. "The last time must have been…" She bit down on the sentence she had been about to complete. Unfortunately, she'd forgotten that highly aggravating Force bond the two of them shared…

"When Callista and I were…together," Luke said, his voice suddenly heavy as he finished the sentence she could not.

***
There's always something more
You wish he'd say

***

An uncomfortable silence filled the lift, broken only by the chime of the door announcing that they had arrived at Mara's floor. Mara fought the urge to fidget as she bent down to pick up her bag from the floor. She backed out of the lift, travel-bag in hand, never breaking her gaze with Luke.

"Um, well…be seeing you, Skywalker," she said, knowing full well how lame she sounded.

"Right," Luke agreed, lifting one hand in a distracted wave. "See you, Jade."

Mara was left staring at the lift doors as they slid shut. She did not know she was worrying her lower lip until she tasted a hint of blood on her tongue. Then she turned around and slowly walked away from the lift.

***
He's everything you want
He's everything you need

***

In the lift, Luke was wondering if he should call Mara later that night and invite her out for drinks. It was rare enough for him to see her, and she was a friend after all. He enjoyed talking with her, despite the slight awkwardness earlier. Anyway, that had been purely accidental. She had even seemed a little apologetic for bringing it up; he must have really been like hell whenever hearing Callista's name if even Mara Jade was wary of bringing it up.

He firmly shunted away any thought of Callista. 'Stop thinking about her, idiot!' he berated himself. 'As if your near-breakdown last night wasn't enough…'

***
He's everything inside of you
That you wish you could be

***

Mara stepped inside her apartment. It was sparsely furnished, but that was to be expected – she hardly spent any time there. At least what was there was nice. Sort of like Skywalker's style, at least from what she had seen of his quarters on Yavin – quality over quantity.

She shook her head as she set her bag in the closet, not wanting to think about Skywalker…or remember her conversation slip-up in the lift earlier. She hadn't seen the Jedi for, what, nearly half a Standard year, and the first thing she does is mention the one thing that set the man on defensive.

Of course, Luke would forgive her. That is…he probably would. He seemed lots more sensitive about this whole Callista thing than she would have expected him to be. This wasn't the Luke Skywalker - calm cool Jedi Master, never losing his equilibrium no matter what confronted him, be it psychopathic Jedi, would-be assassins, etcetera etcetera – that she knew. This was a more…fragile…Luke.

A more human one.

Mara didn't know whether to be pleased or worried about this new development.

***
He says all the right things
At exactly the right time

***

Her vidcomm chimed, breaking her train of thought. Mara walked over to the vidcomm unit inset into the wall, glancing at the display screen to see who was calling her. She smirked. 'Speak of the Sith…'

She thumbed the receive switch. "What's up, Skywalker?" she asked.

"Nothing much, Jade," Luke replied, grinning. Uh-oh…Skywalker was grinning… at least he seemed to have forgotten the note they'd parted on, in the lift. "It's just that, well, you're planetside, and I'm planetside, and this is as rare as…oh, say, Han letting someone else fly the Falcon. So…"

"So…?" Mara mimicked his tone.

"So…what say we get together and have a drink? Or something like that," Luke said casually.

Mara hesitated. But the wish for some companionship and socialization, instead of another night alone, swayed her. You did tend to get a little tired of isolation after a solitary two-week trading run. She nodded, then smirked. "Your treat."

"Sure. Hey, if I'm treating, I get to pick the place…"

Mara rolled her eyes. Actually, she knew that Luke was perfectly capable of picking out a nice place for a drink – he had been a Rogue – but it was so easy to forget that in the Perfect-Jedi-Master-image Luke projected. "Okay, if that's the condition, then I'll treat…"

"Aw, come on, Mara! I know you'll like this…it's a new bar, it just opened. Not even the Rogues know about it."

"…wow. I thought they bribe the Bureau of Small Businesses to tell them whenever a new bar opened."

"Actually, they do. But this…" Here Luke coughed, a little guiltily.

Guilt? From the Great Jedi Master? Intrigued, Mara leaned forward.

"Um…it isn't exactly…registered."

Mara leaned back and howled with laughter. "You, going to an illegal bar? What level is it on?"

"Thirty-one."

"Sithspit, Skywalker, I didn't know you even went into any Coruscant levels lower than the fifth. I've got to see this."

Luke tried not to look too offended at her blithe assumption that he stuck to the 'safe' levels of Coruscant. "Right, then, meet you at the lobby."

***
But he means nothing to you

***

Mara hadn't undressed, so it was simply a matter of grabbing her wallet, a jacket – Coruscant nights could be cold – and some extra weaponry and heading out the door. It was only when she was safely in the lift, watching the digital screen tick down the levels, that she realized what she was doing. A night out with the Jedi…why hadn't she just said no, and spent the night catching up on some much-needed sleep?

***
And you don't know why

***

Because she wasn't sleepy, not yet, anyway, and there was nothing more interesting on her itinerary. Sigh. She should make more contacts on this planet. Oh well, Skywalker could tell some surprisingly good stories – once he had some potent alcohol in him. Some very potent alcohol.

That was all there was to it.

No deeper reason.

None at all.

If there was, she didn't know it….

There was none.

***
But you'll just sit tight
And watch it unwind
***

Luke stumbled into his apartment. He had to aim twice for the touchpanel before he could give the security computer his DNA print to open the door.

Man, he was so soused.

He headed for the refresher, stripping off his clothes and dumping them into his clothesbasket. He used the water shower, an experience he still enjoyed after nearly ten years of being gone from Tatooine, and let the cold water shock him from his alcohol high. It was a side-effect of being a Jedi, and one that allowed him to drink both Han and Lando into the ground – he recuperated from the effects of being drunk much quicker then they did, and hardly ever had hangovers. Not that he used this…skill…too much.

He emerged from the refresher, shaking his head to get rid of the excess water. His bed looked awfully inviting, but instead Luke dropped into a conforming chair facing his floor-to-ceiling view of Coruscant. He stared into the night, not watching the city or the sky as much as his faint reflection in the window.

It was about now that he would be indulging his near-daily ritual, sending out a Force-call to Callista. Right…anytime now…but…

…he didn't want to. He didn't…he didn't want to have to face the feeling of rejection and disappointment that always hit him when the calls went unanswered.

They wouldn't be answered. Not tonight. He knew. He didn't need the Force to tell him that…all he needed to do, damn it all to the Sith-hells, was look at what those Force-calls had gotten him over the years.

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

He looked into his reflection, and he saw the face of a man about to give up.

***
It's only what you're asking for

***

'Isn't that what you wanted, Callie?' he asked bitterly, silently. 'You didn't want me to follow, you didn't want to stay…you wanted me to get out of your life, didn't you?'

He remembered walking into his quarters – they had been their quarters only a while before that – and picking up the piece of flimsy that held the words that broke his heart. The impossible demand, to let her go away to find the Force…

'…don't try to find me…'

And when he did, she'd sent him away.

***
And you'll be just fine
With all of your time
***

He could remember it as if it was yesterday. It was quickly becoming his only memory of Callista that remained clear and distinct – the rest were fading into blurry, vague impressions of what had happened. Not memories, not any longer – just the knowledge of what had happened – like he had read about it in some text file or seen it in an old holo, instead of experiencing it himself.

He could no longer recall the exact shade of gray her eyes were – were they like Dathomir storm clouds, or more like Albay rock? Had her blond hair been to her shoulders or only to the nape of her neck? Maybe it had been longer? Had her face been oval, or more of a heart-shape?

It had been his secret fear that if she ever came back to him, he wouldn't recognize her until she told him who she was.

***
It's only what you're waiting for
***

But, he thought, suddenly becoming angry, how could she blame him? It had been years since he and she had seen each other face-to-face, and she knew that they hadn't been together long enough to have much in the way of holo-pics.

Looking at the ones he did have brought him such pain that he wasn't sure if he would have looked at the others even if they had more.

Luke sighed, wondering if it was worth the effort to get up and pour himself a drink. Either hot chocolate or alcoholic anything. Thinking about Callista brought him many feelings. Hurt…a sort of wistful joy in remembering what they had…regrets…self-doubt…and, yes, he had to admit it, anger and bitterness.

But not until tonight had he felt…resignation.

***
Out of the island
Into the highway
***

He had moved so much beyond the naïve, idealistic farmboy he had used to be – but something deep inside still remained young, hopeful, believing in the fairy-tales Aunt Beru used to tell him. It was that part of him that moved him to try and rescue a captive princess, to fight against an evil Empire. It was that part that made him believe in the type of love that was forever-and-ever, until death do us part – it was that part that couldn't believe in sudden leavetakings like that.

At least, it hadn't been able to believe in that. For Luke Skywalker, pre-Callista, yes. Luke Skywalker, post-Callista, had become quite the cynic. He tried to keep it from showing, to keep spouting the characteristically optimistic stuff people expected from him.

So no one knew the bitterness, the anger and rage – the Darkside - inside him.

***
Past the places where
You might have turned
***

Everyone thought that his Darkside was something like Byss, a total and complete turning where he dressed all in black – well, he still did – and was called Lord Skywalker and worked for the downfall of the New Republic. Or something like that.

No one expected his Darkside to be so subtle, so insidious, something so petty as depression and loneliness. Oh no, not Luke Skywalker, New Republic Hero and The Great Jedi Master! Force forbid he be allowed to have something so human as wants and needs!

Luke clenched his fist, trying to push his bad mood away. That was the difference between Byss and now – then it had been a passion, an all-consuming wave that threatened to sweep him away. Now was a small, slow stream – all little things, like moodiness, a tendency to brood, and of course let's not forget the loneliness and depression. Little things that kept coming back, again and again, little things he couldn't quite let go of. At least on Byss he just had to defeat it once, and then he had achieved a sort of catharsis. Now, no matter how many times he got rid of it…

Something inside Luke seemed to wake up then, seemed to rage and try to burn away the dark fog that had permeated him since Callista's departure. 'I won't turn! Not for Callie, I've beaten it before…'

'I won't let myself be pulled into the Darkside because of depression! I'm more than that!'

'I am more…'

***
You never did notice

***

Leia Organa Solo was not, at the moment, a happy woman. She should have been, with three beautiful, Force-strong children, a wonderful husband, and a position in the New Republic government that many would kill for.

However, she also had an unhappy twin brother. And when her twin was unhappy, Leia was unhappy.

It was in an attempt to rectify the situation that she had invited Luke out for lunch. The Skywalker twins often got together anyway, but usually with Han or the children or the whole family with them. Just the two of them, alone, was a bit rarer.

The lunch-hour found them seated at a table at The Tamaran Grill, a little bistro on the upper levels of Coruscant. Luke was studying his menu. Leia was studying Luke.

There had been a change, lately, in Luke. And not for the better. His eyes…more guarded, more wary, suspicious and untrusting. Even his Force-sense seemed…dimmer, less bright. His words and actions seemed more cynical than she would've expected from her brother. She remembered all the times that she, Han, Wedge, Mara…all of Luke's friends and family, in fact… would try and persuade him not to be so damn trusting. Now it looked like they had succeeded, and Leia never suspected how much of a heartwrench it would be.

Then again, she didn't think that it was exactly them who had persuaded Luke to be so untrusting. Her brown eyes narrowed, for a moment, snapping with suppressed rage.

Callista…

The rest of the meal was spent in safe, happy talk – Leia's complaints about dealing with the Senate, Luke's about the stress of the Academy (his twin sister was one of the very few whom he could unburden himself to about that particular trial) - stories about students' and children's mischiefs and adventures, discussion about the latest developments in the galaxy.

It was only when they were in Luke's aircar, heading for the Solos' apartment so Leia could be dropped off, that she gathered enough courage to ask him straight out about it.

***
But you still hide away
The anger of angels who won't return

***

Luke's back snapped up stiff and straight at that. Leia was reminded of a Rafilos wolf bristling when a threat was approaching. His knuckles tightened so much on the wheel of the aircar that she could see them turning white.

"Leia, now is not the time…"

"No, Luke!" Leia interrupted. Her voice gentled, worry and concern evident in it. " Please, Luke…you're in pain, and you're hurting…something bacta can't heal…" She tried a small joke, but Luke didn't smile at her reminder of all the times he needed to be put into a healing tank. Leia abandoned her attempts at humor.

"Please, Luke…talk to me…"

"There's nothing to talk about." His voice was low, and angry. Any Imperial who had served on the Executor could tell them that it was the same tone which the twins' father used when he was about to kill someone. Leia didn't know that, but she'd have to be a blind and deaf fool not to hear the danger in it. Still, she also knew that this was her brother, and he'd never hurt her…and not trying to find out what was going on would hurt him.

"I don't think so." Leia stretched out a tendril of the Force, touching the link the two of them always shared, the twin-Jedi link that was so strong and so unbreakable. She could feel his anger, and rage…and hurt, a betrayed little boy deep inside…

Luke slammed down his defenses, but too late, and not enough. Leia was his twin and he could never, not with all his training, close himself completely to her. Leia looked at him and said only one thing.

"You're angry at Callista – she hurt you, and you're angry…"

Luke stared at her, blue eyes wide in alarm and shock. Suddenly he twirled the wheel, maneuvering the aircar into a deserted part of Coruscant airspace, hidden between two high-rise towers. He jammed on the brakes so violently that Leia was thrown forward, only her safety-restraint saving her from cracking her head on the aircar's windshield.

"Yes! Yes, I am angry! Yes, I feel betrayed! Is that what you wanted to hear?! Krif it, Leia, she dumped me! For the Force! Never told me anything, never told me how she felt…just one day up and left. And I've waited for years, and I've tried to be understanding and patient, because dammit I am a Jedi Master and I will be faithful…" Suddenly he slumped into his seat, and his Force-sense, which had flared with emotion, faded down to a dim glow.

"But I've lost faith. I don't think she's coming back…and I don't think I…I don't think I could love her if she did return." He seemed to physically shrink at the admission, giving off the mental sense of a person raising his arms over his head as if expecting some blow.

"I'm not the same anymore, she won't be the same anymore…"

***
He's everything you want
He's everything you need
He's everything inside of you
That you wish you could be

***

'Oh, Luke, you great idiot…you great, foolish, noble idiot…' Leia thought to herself as she held Luke in her arms. Her eyes were wet with tears; Luke's weren't but he held onto his sister with the leechlike intensity of abandoned Alderaanian kittens. The comparison to Leia's childhood pets came fleetingly to her as she stroked her brother's blond hair with a gentle, soothing hand.

***
He says all the right things
At exactly the right time
But he means nothing to you
And you don't know why
***

Leia didn't go home that night. Luke was in no fit state to drive, obviously, so she took the wheel and drove back to Luke's Coruscant apartment. When they arrived, she told Luke to take a shower. Half in a daze, he obeyed her command without protest. Leia used the time to put in a short commcall to her apartment. She told Han to not expect her home tonight – something was up with Luke. Han was all for rushing over if something was wrong with the kid – to Han, Luke would always be 'the kid'; he didn't even call his own children that – but Leia managed to convince him that she could do better on her own…at least at first.

The rest of the call was spent soothing her kids who had felt the wave of sorrow and rage from their uncle and were understandably upset. Anakin, the one person in the universe most like Luke and having a deeper bond with him than either of the twins Jacen and Jaina, was actually crying until Leia promised him that 'Lukie' would be better in a while.

As she signed off, she hoped it was true.

Luke emerged from the refresher, dressed in sleep pants and a loose, obviously old sleeveless shirt that hadn't seemed to start out being sleeveless. Leia frowned a moment, her usual instinct to nag him about his wardrobe (or, to be more accurate, the lack of one) coming to the fore before she squashed it down.

Luke sat down in front of her, wordlessly. Leia again probed him with the Force. His shields were down, the trust in his twin implicit, and Leia could feel the anger and sorrow all over again…so much so that she immediately erected a Force-barrier around the two of them, scared about what so much raw emotion could do to unprepared Force-sensitives on the planet. But also, somewhere in there, was mixed a hint of relief…

'Luke must have wanted to get this off his chest…even if subconsciously.'

The twins talked long into the night, as much communing through the Force as with spoken words. Leia was shocked and dismayed to see how much Luke had been keeping inside, keeping from her. Silently, she made a vow to keep a closer eye on her brother…things would not be allowed to build up and fester like this again.

In the end, near sunrise, Luke was tucked into bed, like a small child, by his sister. Exhausted and emotionally-drained, he allowed this bit of babying. For a long moment after he was asleep, Leia stood watching over him, tracing the lines of his face with her eyes. A wave of tenderness and protectiveness every bit as fierce as what she felt for her children, if a bit different, washed over her. She reached out a hand and pushed one errant lock of blond hair behind his ear before turning to leave the bedroom, ordering "Lights off," as she did so.

***
I am everything you want
I am everything you need
I am everything inside of you
That you wish you could be
***

She sank into the chair she had been sitting in for most of the past twelve hours, finally allowing herself to show the tiredness that an emotionally-draining day without sleep brings. She poured herself a cup of kaf, foregoing the hot chocolate mix her brother so favored. She needed something stronger.

She rested her chin in her hand as she waited for the thick liquid to cool enough for consumption. As heart-breaking as it was to see her brother so vulnerable, so hurt, a part of her was relieved. For a long time now, she had found her brother too calm, too perfect a picture of Jedi tranquility and peace. She was actually happy that he had shown himself still capable of anger and grief. She didn't want her brother to be unhappy or to fall to the Darkside, but having no anger at all, no matter what, could not possibly be healthy. It wasn't…human.

She herself harbored a large and very healthy amount of anger towards Callista. Her grip on the mug of kaf tightened unconsciously as she thought of the blond, anachronistic ex-Jedi.

'That…' Leia indulged herself in a silent list of names more suitable to her husband's vocabulary than her own.

***
I say all the right things
At exactly the right time
But I mean nothing to you
And I don't know why
***

She had left her twin brother alone and broken, her twin brother who had tried everything in his power to be what Callista wanted, what she expected, to be the Jedi Master that would make Callista happy. And she had left him, and he thought he'd failed, and she'd been found after great effort on his part – and she'd told him to leave.

That woman didn't deserve Luke. Luke didn't deserve her. Similar sentences, but mirror-different reasons for each.

Luke had been wounded by Callista's betrayal of his trust, exactly how wounded was now evident to Leia. But now, hopefully, with the wound in the open, it would begin to heal.

***
I don't know why…
***

Luke needed someone in his life, someone to give his love to and give him love in return. He needed, and had, Leia, Han and the kids in his life, but he needed someone of his own as well. However, Leia was quite sure that it would not be Callista.

It would take some doing, because Leia could sense that it would be some time before Luke could bring himself to trust in love again. And she could also sense that Luke would never quite regain all of his trust in Callista – if he regained it at all.

'My poor brother…' Leia thought again, looking at the sleeping form in the bedroom. She let her head hang down, letting her shields down, preparing herself for a blast of the depression that had been let out of her brother.

What she got instead was a vision, a Force-vision. It was a nanosecond of intense impressions and feelings, nothing quite seen or heard but only leaving a strong belief that this in time would pass. An attempt by the Force to cheer her up? No – well, maybe, a little – but she saw something of her brother's future in that vision. He would have a wife, a soulmate in every sense of the word, and children for her to dote on as Luke doted on hers, and happiness to drive away the darkness…

Leia closed her eyes and tried to recall the vision, using every Jedi memory-retention and –enhancement technique Luke had ever taught her. She couldn't catch so much as a glimpse, but she smiled anyway. According to the vision, Luke had met her already, or would meet her soon at the very least.

With any luck, Luke would soon leave this chapter of his life behind.

***
I don't know why…
***

In the bedroom, Luke Skywalker unconsciously caught a brief flare of joy from his twin's Force-sense. He smiled himself, and turned over on his side, sinking into a deeper, more restful sleep.

He found himself, for the first time in a long while, not dreaming of Callista. He dreamt instead of holding a small boy in his arms, kissing the tiny head of…what color was the boy's hair?…he couldn't see…but he could look down into blue eyes the same as his own, and smile at his wife over his son's head…

Luke couldn't know that he was seeing the same vision that Leia had, only in better detail, but neither could he see who the woman was. He couldn't even quite remember it when he awoke.

He sat up, rubbing a hand over his face, his shoulders feeling lighter than they had in a while. He could feel Leia in his kitchen, her Force-sense tinged with worry for him. He felt guilty for worrying her, but he couldn't deny that it had felt very good to unburden himself to his sister.

He got up and dressed, wandering into the kitchen. He ate everything in the voluminous breakfast Leia set down in front of him – apparently she was worried over his diet as well as his emotional well-being – and spoke quite pleasantly to her, blue eyes bright again, his easy good nature – if not completely back – beginning to return. He only made one allusion to the night before, but in his quiet "Thanks for…being there, Leia," there was everything that needed to be said. And her reply, "I'm always going to be there for you, Luke. You know that," was everything that needed to be spoken in return.

"What did you dream of, Luke?"

"I can only remember colors…blue and silver and gold….reddish-gold, like Tatooine sunsets…and green. I think I was dreaming of Tatooine…although then I don't know why I dreamed of green…"