this is a disclaimer.
AN: probably part of the swallows and amazons verse, because just about everything I write post-ROTJ is, but it stands alone.
The halls Luke wanders might be empty, but they are not deserted.
Dust lies thick on the floor and walls, cobwebs hanging in high corners like curtains; here and there he sees a glint of a dropped credit, a buckle lost, a bottle-top or a discarded blaster clip. In the empty briefing room, where once it's not impossible I used to blast womp-rat nests with my T-16 back home, a tapestry still hangs from the wall facing non-existant chairs. Faded, torn, lopsided now, sliding to the ground, the banner of the Alliance to Restore the Republic watches him still proud, still defiant, a message to the Legions who came to find them after the battle.
Catch us if you can, Luke thinks, and smiles at it. He'll have it cleaned, repaired, righted. Perhaps this room will be used for different briefings, other conferences. Perhaps it will be a classroom, or a mess hall. One way or another, the banner will stay. It's good to remember.
He wanders the labyrinth of corridors past supply crates long moved and the open doors to barracks long forsaken. Deck Officers shout and pilots argue and mouse droids run around his feet carrying messages and astromechs bleep at him. He had not, he thinks, been expecting a Rebel base to be so loud, not after the pristine professionalism of the Death Star, but it turned out that there was more than one way to be professional. Luke Skywalker, for your actions in the Battle of Yavin you are granted rank of Commander in this Alliance - Earned the right to wear the bloodstripes - They want to hold a medal ceremony before we evac, waste of time if you ask me but apparently it's all about boosting morale -
Luke Skywalker, for your actions in the Battle of Yavin you are granted rank of Commander in this Alliance -
Earned the right to wear the bloodstripes -
They want to hold a medal ceremony before we evac, waste of time if you ask me but apparently it's all about boosting morale -
He follows the memory of Han's voice into the hall where his sister put the medal around his neck and stands at the top of the steps: here.
Close to a thousand ghosts look back at him.
"We did it," Luke tells them. "You did it."
Down another corridor, first proper conversation he ever had with Wedge in that corner, both of them close to legless with relief and victory and cheap Corellian whiskey. You'll make a fine Commander, Luke. You'll have to help me. Don't worry, I've got your six. Still. Friends?
You'll have to help me.
Don't worry, I've got your six. Still.
They shook on it, and then drank some more.
Not the first time he'd been drunk, despite Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru's disapproval of such pursuits, but it had been the first time he'd played sabacc, just in that room there, and Wes still to this day refuses to believe Luke had never played before. He'd cleaned them all out, astonished at his own skill: latent Force talent for sabacc, obviously. Grinning, he thinks none of the people who'd sheltered and taught him over the years would have approved of that. Not his aunt and uncle, not Obi-Wan, not Yoda, and certainly not Father; there had been arrogance and pride in the Lord Vader, but there had been a kind of dignity too, and it had hurt Luke's own pride, in some strange distant way, to watch Father bend to Palpatine's will.
He wanders on, takes a turning, saunters down a flight of stairs. Boots and trousers grimy now, and dust in his hair, probably.
The corridor opens into the main hangar bay with the same suddenness as he remembers, the brighter lights and cooler air a brief slight shock. The place is huge, and it's a long way to the spot, his footfalls echoing. He can't even be sure it is the spot.
Luke stops and looks back at the main body of the Temple.
"Have to get the decorators in," he says to Bigg's ghost. "Remodel the rooms. You can't learn the ways of the Force in a barracks. I'll need blueprints of this place... new power generator. Maybe blast doors, a shield generator. It doesn't hurt to be defended, just in case. Some sort of bunker might be good... I'm not going to make the same mistakes, you know. Everything dies. Everything can be lost. I want repositories, you know? I am the last of the Jedi, Biggs. I'm also the most ignorant. Shouldn't have to be that way."
Biggs doesn't answer, but Luke senses approval. They held the memorial service for him in this place...
He turns to go before the sting in his eyes becomes tears. Biggs would mock him for crying, especially now. His X-Wing stands just outside the Temple, Artoo waiting with it, sunlight spilling in. Luke squints a bit against the glare, and thinks he sees the place full of people, of ships and droids, of sentients in Jedi robes, of children running free and wild. A red-haired woman in black crosses her arms over her chest and glares at him and Leia is wearing a lightsabre on her belt.
A dark-haired boy with bright blue eyes gives him a lopsided smuggler's smile and fades back into possibility and hope. Luke grins to himself: at nearly two, Jacen's eyes are brown and staying that way...
He turns his head, and smiles.
May the Force be with you.