*headdesk headdesk headdesk*
Hey everybody...I'm alive! haha...
Yeah. Sorry I've been making everyone wait so long for everything. All I can say is, I'm really hoping that the school year will actually provide me with more time to write instead of sucking up all my free time so I have no life whatsoever...
Anyways. If you've bothered reading the reviews to this story, you'll notice that my friend sachariah originally thought "A Night Out Dancing" was taking place after the Battle of Yavin. It wasn't. It was supposed to take place afterwards, on some random planet the Alliance was helping out. But it did inspire this, which has several of the same characters-the band is the same, for example. So, yeah. Enjoy!
Vertigo was impressed at the amount of people crammed into the now-transformed mess, especially with the makeshift stage where a band—their band, really, though he wasn't part of it—banged out chords that were nearly lost in the swell of sounds from the ecstatic, wild crowd. Not that he blamed them, since he himself was guilty of celebrating the rare battle where the casualties were low and rewards high with a good deal of shouting, though he often did so from a very high precipice and without any alcohol in his system.
His brother Tip-Tap was a different story. He was currently celebrating in his favorite way—with a pair of dance shoes. Being an excellent dancer regardless of what type of dancing it was, he also happened to be surrounded by girls trying to get his undivided attention. Like they'd actually get it. When he was in "the groove", not even Vertigo was able to hold his attention for longer than it took to ask if he was enjoying himself.
He watched in a mix of amusement and bewilderment as one of the more determined and smarter of his friend's admirers casually stepped behind the dancer and began dirty dancing, brushing as much of her chest up against his back as possible. Unfortunately for her, the music segued into the chorus, and he had already figured out the moves for the chorus, thus he was going to do them regardless of any outside distractions. And the first step was a jazz square that ended in a slide in the opposite direction of the girl.
She pouted so distinctly that Vertigo could see it from the other side of the room, and he laughed. Why was she even trying that hard to dance with him like that? Better yet, why was she even a part of the military side of the Rebellion? His own sister (he had several sisters, but one was far closer than the others) would never have done something like that, even if everyone was celebrating. She always had this air of bravado, of sorts, around her, whether they were off-duty or on, and 95% of the time it was easy enough to forget that she was a girl.
Oh, well. Females never ceased to surprise or completely confuse him.
He was making his way to the hastily constructed bar when he saw them, practically the guests of honor, sitting at one of the few still-standing tables, in the corner of the room, laughing and chatting with one another. As he watched an awestruck Rebel sort of stumbled over to them, stuttering some sort of thanks from what Vertigo could read off his lips. Interested, the clone observed their reactions.
Solo was smiling cockily, responding with ease as if he'd been the receiver of many praises throughout the night, when he was reproached by the Wookie. The two descended into what was likely very humorous banter, which he only paid attention to for a few minutes.
The real man of the hour was blushing as the other Rebel continued to praise him. Evidently he wasn't used to this much attention, because he kept on trying to dismiss any sort of thanks with an embarrassed wave of his hand, but with no success. Poor kid. He'd lost his aunt and uncle only a few days ago, gained a new mentor, then lost him as well, before being thrust into the spotlight for doing something that was half luck, anyways.
Suddenly Vertigo was approaching them, looking closer at the boy. He'd only seen Skywalker the elder on a few occasions, but the resemblance was obvious. Same strong features, same nose, same sloping shoulders. The biggest difference was his lighter hair, and even then he recalled General Swiftwater saying something to Skywalker about his locks darkening since he'd grown up. But there was none of the cockiness, none of the arrogance, no mad gleam in his eyes—though the flashing lights (and how had they managed to arrange that, anyway?) did give everyone's eyes an interesting chiaroscuro effect.
And then he was standing behind the still-stuttering, star-struck soldier. He tried not to laugh at this man's expense, but it was hard to contain the chuckles.
"Excuse me, sir, are you alright?" he asked said admirer of the farm boy. He already had a plan for getting the young Skywalker more alone, for what, he didn't know.
The man jumped and stuttered even more. "Oh, Force, you startled me! N-no, I'm f-f-fine, really—"
"You look kinda pale. Are you sure?"
"W-well, I guess so…."
"Here, take this." He picked up a mostly full, abandoned glass from an adjacent table and pushed it on the man. "You look like you could use it. Sorry for scaring you, man. Maybe you should just sit down for a few minutes, I think there's a couple chairs over there."
"No, it's fine, I just—"
"Naw, I've been doing this whole fighting business longer than you'd like to know, trust me. You need to sit down for just a few minutes and you'll be fine in no time."
"I really think I don't need this."
"Oh, no, I've seen guys say they're fine, they're making faces like you but they say they're fine, and then all of a sudden they're puking their guts out or fainting or having a seizure or something. I really think you need to just rest."
"Oh—well, thanks, I guess…."
He turned to Skywalker, who looked considerably more comfortable now. "What was that all about?" he asked, sounding terribly naïve, too.
Vertigo hopped onto the table. "It was about getting to talk to you alone. I noticed you didn't seem too comfy with the guy, so I got you out of that, too, cause I don't like to do something just for myself. I'm Vincent Heights, by the way."
The younger man shook his hand tentatively. "I'm Luke Skywalker. Why do you want to talk to me?"
"Well, other than the fact that you're responsible for saving all our lives just a couple hours ago? You remind me of your dad."
He hadn't known what he was going to say until he said it. Now Skywalker the younger was looking at him in either wonder or surprise, it was hard to tell in the weird lighting. (Why did everyone seem to like this kind of lighting for parties, anyway?) "You knew my father?"
He shrugged. "I didn't exactly know him, we were never even properly introduced, but I saw him once or twice, yeah."
There was nothing for it but the truth. "I was in the Clone Wars, he was in the Clone Wars…the 501st and 49th ran into each other a lot."
"You've never heard of the 501st Regiment? Force, it's famous. The most effective unit in the whole GAR, and lead by your dad, too!"
"Are you serious?"
"Well, I think he technically was only in charge of Torrent Company, but still. That was the elite unit. Every single clone trooper dreamed of being a part of it."
Luke gave him a funny look. "How would you know?"
Answering, I was dreaming it, too, until we got our Lieutenant, would not be the best idea in the galaxy. On the other hand, it was kind of hard to fudge the truth on this one. But, he could try.
"I was in the 49th Defense Corps. We were a mixed group. Even a few of the clones there sometimes wanted to join. A couple of them got offers for a transfer there, but they decided to stay instead."
He cursed his runaway mouth and cast about for a good answer. "Well…I guess it depended on the person. Most of them had never been stationed anywhere else, and it was the only place they felt comfortable. And the 49th was pretty elite, too, only without being practically stalked by the holonews. I…didn't try to understand clones."
So, the boy would probably one day have to know that some clones had deserted and were now part of the Rebellion. So he'd then know their faces and realize he was a clone, too. So he was probably digging his own grave at this point. So what? It did fool the kid, and he was then able to change the topic.
"I've heard you're a great pilot."
He shrugged modestly. Vertigo wondered if he was really Skywalker's son. "I guess I sort of am. I mean, my whole life I've been flying land speeders and wanting to become a pilot after going to the Academy—I guess I won't be doing that anytime soon. But I always felt that I was meant for something more than just working on a farm for the rest of my life, you know?"
They started at a sound from the still-bickering Wookie and smuggler. It appeared the hairier man was attempting to drag his partner in crime onto the dance floor. Despite loud, vulgar protests from said partner, they were soon galomping around the room in a clumsy waltz.
When they both quit laughing, Luke continued, "So as I was saying, I wanted to run away. I'd been thinking about it for years, I even tried it once, it's just that I never stayed away. I came back. But I do think that if everything that has happened, hadn't happened, I would've left for good."
"And where would you have gone?"
"I would've figured something out. But I am glad I'm here instead. I like this."
Vertigo chuckled at his naivety. "You do realize that every day isn't going to be a party, right?"
"I know that! You know what I did before I came here?" He leaned in close as if telling a huge secret. "I saved Princess Leia from Darth Vader."
Now, Vertigo knew he was not privy to all the knowledge of the Rebellion, but he was also not completely in the dark. That is why his stomach turned slightly at the mention of Vader himself. Still he managed to fake amazement and make small talk before excusing himself and running out of the mess.
He did as he always did when upset or elated or confused or afraid; he climbed. He ran out of the crumbling ziggurat at its base and scaled the wall as quickly as possible, trying to get away from the inexplicable nausea he felt. When he was high enough to feel he had left the urge to be sick behind, he stopped and rested against the monument's rough stones.
What was it about the boy that had disturbed him? Perhaps his sudden switch, from a stranger dressing in a Skywalker suit to a facsimile of the man himself, had perturbed him. Or his casual mention of Vader and lack of knowledge about his father's true profession, true fate. Or maybe he just couldn't shake the memory of that night, that terrible, terrible night, when they'd been lucky enough to be on Coruscant, if you could call that luck. When they had sat around in a daze, each man wondering how, how could the Jedi be traitors, how could Swiftwater and Myk of all people be plotting against them?
When they had watched the news as Skywalker himself led the attack on the Temple.
Yes, that was definitely the thing that set him off.
Skywalker did, indeed, have something of his father in him, if Swiftwater's characterization of him was correct. He was impulsive, reckless, and something of a braggart, if only a tad. He looked a lot like Anakin. And if he had considered, for a time, joining the Imperial Academy, then perhaps the certainty of whose side he was on did not exist. If his loyalties were in question, then there was only one thing Vertigo could see him as being: another Darth Vader just waiting to be born.
He had destroyed the Death Star, saved Princess Leia, and captured the admiration and hope of the entire Rebel Alliance. Perhaps those who still believed in the Force thought he was the real Chosen One.
Luke Skywalker may have been the Rebel's "last hope". But he was far from Vertigo's new hope.
One year and five months later the supposed war hero that was the younger Skywalker ran into one Vincent Heights as he transferred ships at Echo Base. It was not the second time they had bumped into one another, nor would it be the last.
It was, however, the second time they talked beyond a hello. Beforehand Vertigo had been so sick to his stomach at the thought of another Vader that he hadn't been able to look at the man out of the corner of his eyes.
And even then, he could only get out a few sentences about how cold it was before he excused himself and, feeling more ridiculous with every breath, emptied his lunch into the refresher.