AN: This is one of those silly little "filling a gap" scenes. I was listening to Muse's Black Holes and Revelations" when a lyric caught my attention: "This ship is taking me far away, far away from the memories of the people who care if I live or die." It struck a cord with me and hence the name of this Muse - you are amazing!
Thanks to Kazlynh for looking over this - as always all mistakes are mine alone! :)
Disclaimer: Everything Star Wars related is copyrighted to Lucasfilm - I just borrow the charaters. The only profit I get is the fun I have!
Luke almost fell headlong over the packing crate that someone had carelessly abandoned just inside the threshold of the crew quarters. He flailed his arms, caught the edge of the top bunk and steadied himself while cursing in Huttese as he barked his knee against the sharp corner of the box.
He angrily shoved the crate aside and dropped onto the lower bunk, pulling his pants leg from his boot to check on his grazed knee.
"Shit," he cursed again at the redness and speckling blood spots.
This ship was a death trap; patched, cobbled and taped together with ill-matching hull plates and parts. It was a wonder it had made it off Tatooine without breaking up in the atmosphere. Still, it had withstood a couple of hits from the chasing Imperial cruisers and slipped into hyperspace with barely a shudder and its engines thrummed with quiet power.
However, it had still to get them to Alderaan in one piece.
Luke grinned to himself as he absently rubbed his sore knee.
He had seen images of the planet on the school educational holovids and datapads; a green and blue place that hinted at an abundance of water in amounts that he could not begin to imagine.
A new world.
In just a few hours he would be stepping on to his first foreign soil, systems away from his home and from those who...
..wind whipping his hair. The stench of smoke and death making him gag and...
He grimaced, forced a smile; it was incredible, after years of dreaming, after years of having his aspirations and wishes ground under the heel of day to day drudgery and bitter disappointments he was finally off Tatooine and heading for the life he had always dreamed of.
He was among the stars, he was...
...running forward, stumbling, searching the plumes of billowing smoke for...
He firmly tucked his pants leg back into his boot and lifted his head to survey the cramped space. The three unused bunks were being used as makeshift shelves with boxes piled high upon them. Only the bunk he was sitting on was clear of clutter, but it was messy; the blankets mussed up as though just thrown aside.
He wrinkled his nose. The bed smelled musty and stale and he guessed that the Corellian wasn't too fussed about doing his laundry regularly. He glanced around, curiously wondering where the Wookiee slept.
He frowned at an old torn and faded label on one of the boxes on the bunk across and up from him. He stood and raised himself on his tiptoes for a better look at the print.
..operty of the Imperial Academy, Corellian Campus. Any unauthorised ownership of the conte... ..ill be subject to arre... and impris..ment...
He stared at the label and the words...
... and glanced around the enclosed space, felt the vibration of engines beneath his feet as a twist of resentment roiled in his belly.
This wasn't his dream.
This ship, this situation, was not what he had lain awake in bed imagining, not what he had enthusiastically talked with Biggs about, not what he had planned for most of his life.
This ship was not his dream.
He had dreamed of the Academy, of becoming a fighter pilot, of soaring among the stars. Not of running from the Empire with fugitive droids and an old man who claimed to be a Jedi Knight who had known his father.
"He died about the same time as your father."
He cleared his throat, dismissed his uncle's words, not dwelling on the lie. He pulled the hilt of the lightsaber from his belt and turned it in his hands. The metal was scraped and pitted and he wondered at the man Ben said had wielded it, wondered what action it had seen and where. Wondered, as he had for most of his life, what kind of man his father had been.
"But you want to know about your father, don't you?" his aunt asked.
He nodded mutely, waiting for her to continue the story.
"He was gone all night and well into the morning. We all ran out to meet him and…" His aunt, hesitated, her voice choked.
"… your grandmother was dead. He had found her, had brought her back to us, but she was dead. He carried her into the dwelling and set her down so gently. It was clear to us all how he was struggling. He was trying so hard to be brave, to not show his emotions but he was torn up that he hadn't been able to save her."
"How had he even got to her?" he wanted know, unable to imagine how his father had managed such a feat. "I mean from a Tuskan camp? One man?"
Another hesitation. "I… don't know, Luke…" Then, firmly: "…but remember he loved her so much he risked his life to save her."
"He sounds brave."
"I believe he was, Luke. Brave, strong and loyal."
He swallowed, blinked rapidly, rubbed at his eyes as his aunt's voice receded to the back of his mind.
Had his father used the sword he now held in his hands against the Tuskans? What had he had to do to get to his dying mother?
"I want to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi Knight like my father."
His own words. But what did he really know about the Jedi? His aunt and uncle never mentioned them. His school had taught that they had tried to overthrow the Republic; had gone mad with power and turned on their own men during the clone wars; that they had been cut down; that renegade Jedi had been hunted ever since.
He knew nothing of the Force. Had never heard it mentioned in all his lessons, didn't know what it was or what it meant.
And here he was with his father's sword in his hand after pledging himself to the Jedi and accepting Ben's offer to teach him and giving up on his dream of becoming a pilot.
He sank back onto the bunk, sitting hunched over staring at the weapon in his hand.
He rubbed some sand from the hilt and frowned again, turning his hand; noticing for the first time the dirt and grime under his finger nails and engrained in his palms. He placed the lightsaber onto the bed and rubbed his hands on his thighs, rubbing off some of the dirt on the cloth of his pants.
... the smoke stung his eyes, caught in the back of throat as he grabbed the blanket from the bed and rushed back out...
He fisted his hands, closed his eyes, pressed them shut, forcing the memories away as he took a few deep and calming breaths. He opened his eyes, stood once more, firmly reminding himself why he had sought out this area of the ship; he needed to use the fresher.
He skirted passed the crates stacked on the floor and squeezed into the tiny space to relieve himself. He turned and washed his hands at the small sink, watched as the trickle of soapy water lathered and washed away the dirt, the soot and sand of his home.
... the stink of burned flesh brought tears to his eyes. Their bones were so light as he dragged them away from the fire-seared dome toward the farmstead's grave yard and...
He shivered, the shudder rippling through his body. His teeth chattered.
This ship was cold. He was used to the desert suns, he was used to warmth, not this bone numbing chill that froze his limbs and made his muscles tremble.
...sand trickled back into the depression as he dug. He cursed it, moved quicker, growing desperate. He needed this over... he needed this finished... he needed them...
...he needed them...
He swallowed, grimaced, gripped the edge of the sink as the emotions that he had been holding at bay since he had found guardian's bodies, surged forward. He gagged, sank to the floor of the fresher and vomited into the bowl.
He hitched a breath, choked on a sob and swallowed his cry of anguish.
There had been no time: no time to think, just time to move since he had found them and dug their hasty grave. He had ran back to Ben always aware at the back of his mind that the Imperials might come back, might find him, too.
Then there was Mos Eisley and the cantina, and selling his speeder and the gun fight in the hanger and being chased by the cruisers. It had been exciting, it had been like an adventure as this ship ripped him away from everything, and everyone, he knew.
They were gone.
Such an empty word.
Such an empty feeling, ready to be filled with pain and rage.
He was alone, abandoned, left in the company of strangers with an unknown and uncertain future.
Never again would his uncle chide him about leaving his chores undone and spending his time at Tosche Station. Never again would his aunt climb the steps of the dome and smooth her skirts behind her to sit by his side in darkening twilight as the suns set. Sometimes they were quiet, simply taking solace in the other's company, other times they spoke quietly as she pacified his frustrations and told him snippets about his father as the sand cooled beneath them.
"I believe he was, Luke. Brave, strong and loyal."
He sat with his back to the fresher wall, his legs drawn up against his chest as he cried, as his grief broke through his fragile defences. Grief for his aunt and uncle who had raised him as a son; grief for the life he had been torn from so abruptly, so violently; grief for childhood dreams that had been so ruthlessly shredded by grim reality; grief for the world of light and warmth he had left behind for the pitiless cold of space.
He started at Kenobi's voice coming from the bunkroom. He quickly wiped at his eyes with the heel of his hand, sniffed and dried his face on his tunic sleeve.
"I'll... I'll be out in a minute," he choked, his voice was hoarse, rough from crying.
The fresher door opened as he took hold of the sink and drew himself to his feet. He looked away, embarrassed by his lack of control, by his moment of weakness; not wanting Kenobi to see.
A hand was laid on his shoulder. The gesture was awkward; a repeat of the one he had given Luke back at the sandcrawler when he had returned from the farm.
"I'm sorry, Luke," the Jedi offered.
Luke nodded, not trusting his ability to answer without breaking down again.
"Here," Kenobi handed him his father's lightsaber.
Luke grasped it tight, holding on to it, taking comfort from it.
It was all he had now.
"Our captain assures me that we have a few hours before we reach Alderaan. I thought perhaps we could make a start with your instruction."
Luke found his voice. "Right now?"
Kenobi smiled, sadly. "You are going to find, young Luke, that, painful though they may be, endings are easy. It is the starting afresh that is difficult. Right now is the perfect time to make your beginning."
It sounded to Luke that the Jedi spoke from experience. "I guess," he agreed, unconvinced.
"I'll wait for you in passenger lounge," Kenobi offered, turning away, his boot kicking the crate that Luke had tripped over. "Hmmm," he commented lightly. "I believe this ship has seen better days."
Luke smiled in agreement and attached his lightsaber to his belt. He ran the water again and washed his face before following Ben through the ship. He paused in the corridor as a mild shudder ran through the deck plates. Shouts and growls of an argument rose from the cockpit.
"I thought you replaced it!"
Luke winced at the roar of anger from the Wookiee.
"Yeah?" the Corellian retorted. "Well, we blow up before Alderaan it's your fault!"
Sparks flashed and wisps of smoke fell from a conduit above Luke's head and muted anxiety twisted within as he continued forward with the deck trembling under his feet.
Ben may be right about this being the start of his new beginning, his new life, and he was looking forward to the challenges and experiences ahead. He was looking forward to learning more about the Jedi and the Force and about his father in particular.
He smiled as he entered the passenger area and caught Kenobi staring at the ceiling with some concern as another flurry of sparks rained down.
It would seem that all of their fates depended on this ship safely delivering them to their destination.
Luke threw his concern to the side, gripped his father's sword and nodded to Kenobi.