"Shh Love," Ivy stroked the sweat-matted hair, trying anything to calm him down, "shh, it's okay, I've got you. We'll have you to the hospital soon. It's okay."
Words seemed useless in this situation, and she felt useless herself. Never before had Ivy felt so helpless before, and yet here she was, her best friend, her true love who had been brave enough to finally tell her how he felt about her, he was hurt, and there was nothing she could do about it. She could not think of any way to comfort him, to ease his pain. She would've let Vader take her hand rather than she Luke in such discomfort.
And all she could tell him was that it was going to be okay. They were to days from a medicenter, even going at light speed, and all they had was pain medicine that was equivilant to Earthlian Ibuprophen. For someone who had had their hand forcibly amputated with a lightsaber. It wasn't fair, Luke deserved better than this, but they couldn't do anything. Damn Vader, damn him to the depths of Hell for hurting Luke.
How could anyone look at him and mistreat him so, especially his own son. He'd done that to his own son, he'd make him cry. Now he lay, still, scarcely moving but for a moan or a fevered cry. Her poor Luke, she had barely gotten to tell him she loved him. Ivy doubted he had even understood he was so out of it.
Why hadn't she stopped him, why hadn't she grabbed him by the collar and told him what he meant to her before he'd walked through that door and had his soul torn apart. But she had known his mind had been set, and no power in the universe could've swayed him. Not even a declaration of her love.
Luke groaned and stirred. He was coming round. Slowly, he opened one eye, the other had swollen shut, "Ivy?" he stared at her. His eyes looked a bit clearer, more aware, "My arm hurts."
"I know," she ran her fingers through his hair, "You're gonna have to make the best of it though, we're about two days from a hospital. I love you."
"I love you too." He whispered, "Ow! It hurts like hell."
Ivy sighed and laid a hand on his brow, "I know, at least your fever's gone down, and you're a lot more alert. How are you feeling otherwise?"
"Like I got run over by a stampede of banthas," he replied, "and found out my father is the most evil man in the galaxy. I can't possibly imagine feeling worse."
Ivy smiled understandingly, "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have bothered asking you. Would you like me to hold you?"
Luke sniffed, Ivy could tell he was gonna start crying again, "Please."
As she lay down beside him, Luke buried his head into her shoulder and wept. Ivy, meanwile started combing through his hair once again, trying to alleviate some of the pain he felt while murmuring soft words of comfort in his ear. Then she began to sing softly to him. "We're gonna get through this, and I know it feels like the world's crashing down around you, but we'll make it Luke."
"How can be so sure?" he asked, looking at her with tearful blue eyes. "I have nothing left!"
Ivy drew him close and kissed the top of his head, trying to ignore the fact that he was filthy because she knew she was too. "You've got me, and Leia, and Chewie, so don't you dare give up on us. I'm not asking you to be strong right now, I'm just asking you to hold on because we're all gonna ride this storm together."
"You're not gonna leave me?" he asked in a frightened voice.
Pulling him tighter, her lips grazed his forehead, "Never Luke, because I love you."
"How can you love someone like me?" sobbed Luke, "With a father like mine? I'm not worthy of your love."
"You are more than worthy of my love, Luke," Ivy took his face gently in her hands, being careful of his swollen eye, "Don't you think of yourself like that. You didn't choose your father anymore than I chose mine. It's not your fault." She tried to examine the black eye closer, "You need to get some ice on that eye."
"It's fine." Luke protested, but Ivy had already headed towards the kitchen. When she came back she had an icepack in her hand. "Ivy really,"
"I get it Luke," she said firmly, "nothing is fine, and you're trying to pretend like it is." She put the pack over his eye, "That should help, but I brought some bacta just in case."
He groaned, "I hate bacta."
"I know," Grasping his good hand, she gave it a gentle squeeze, "It's just in case. Gods! I hate it when everything comes crashing down."
Luke nodded pathetically.
She took him in her arms again, "Do you think you can try to get some sleep?"
"No," he replied, "It hurts too much."
"Well, I'll stay with you." Ivy said. "Just so you won't be alone."
Somehow, Luke managed to drift off in Ivy's arms as she stroked his hair. After a while, she removed the icepack, his eye was looking much better. She debated using the bacta patch even though she knew he wouldn't like it.
Ivy broke open the pack and put it on the injury. "I'm sorry Luke." He groaned but didn't wake. He's really out of it. She thought to herself. She brushed the hair away from his forehead, it was so greasy that it was sticking up everywhere. Privately, Ivy wished he could shower, but with an open wound, there was no way.
Sighing, Ivy looked down at her own stringy curls, at least she would be able to get clean. "Hey Leia?"
The former princess of Alderaan had dark circles under her eyes and blotchy cheeks like she had been crying. "Yes?"
"Are you all right?" Her friend asked in a concerned voice, "You look like you've been crying."
Leia stared down at her feet, "It's nothing Ivy, don't worry about it. What was it you needed?"
"Um well, I really need a shower." Ivy announced, "Could you watch over Luke for a while? You know you can talk to me anytime you want if you have a problem."
"Thank you Ivy, but I'm all right." She patted her friends shoulder, "Go get your shower Ivy, I'll keep an eye on him."
Fourty-five minutes later, Ivy at last pronounced herself clean. Using the force, she called a towel to her dark tresses and wrapped it around her body and threw out the fatigues she had worn on Bespin. Emerging from the freshner, she found Luke waiting outside. "You're not supposed to be up."
"I know," Luke flushed, "It's just...I hafta, well, you know..."
"Right," she stepped aside, feeling slightly embarassed, "How's the eye? I see you can open it now."
"much better, thanks." His smile didn't reach his eyes. "Thanks for everything."
Sensing his need, she pulled him into a hug. "I'm just doing what anyone would do. I'm glad you're feeling better." When Ivy glanced up, she noticed he was blushing furiously. Belatedly, she realized hugging him wearing nothing but a towel, especially when she knew he was attracted to her, might've been a bad idea. Clearing her throat, she said, "sorry, I'm gonna go. Should probably put some clothes on."
"Y-yeah," Luke managed to choke out. "Uh right, I'm gonna..."
"Yeah," Ivy realized that she too was blushing. When the door shut, she groaned, "I am so embarassed." For a moment, she leaned against the wall. Inside the room, she selected a fresh set of clothes and put them on. Then she made her way to Luke's cabin. "He wasn't too much trouble was he?"
"No," Leia replied, "He was asleep for the most part."
She nodded curtly, "Good, Force knows he needs plenty of it."
Luke entered the room, still cradling what was left of his arm. "Still hurts pretty bad, but I feel a little better."
Ivy grinned and patted the matress, "I'm glad you're feeling better. Leia, can you go see how long til we get to the med center?"
Sitting down, Luke rested his head on her shoulder. "I love you Ives," his eyes were closed, "I really do."
"I love you too." Her lips brushed his cheek. "And we're gonna get through this," Ivy squeezed his left hand, "together."
For a long while the two sat in easy silence, "Ivy?"
"Hmm?" the young woman had started to drift off, "What is it Luke?"
"Do you think-" Luke asked in an axious voice, "do you think Vader-Vader is all bad?"
His companion shrugged with the shoulder he wasn't leaning on, "I don't know, maybe. Why do you ask? What's going on in that silly noggin of yours?"
A fond smile wormed its way onto his cracked lips, "It's just- he could've killed me, and I was just wondering-wondering if there's still good in him. Do you think he could be brought back?"
"As far as I've seen," began Ivy, "I think everyone has at least some chance of redemption, maybe your father can be saved."
Luke was astonished, "I thought you'd think I was crazy!"
"You wouldn't be Luke if that thought hadn't entered your head." Ivy kissed his nose. "That's why I love you. You big bantha brain."
When Leia came in, they were making out, she cleared her throat. They broke apart guiltily, "Is it a bad time?"
"No, what's up?"
"I came to tell you that we'll be to the medcenter around 21:00." Leia smiled at them, "I'll leave you two alone though."
Luke caught hold of her arm, "You miss Han, don't you?"
"Yes," answered Leia in a sad voice. "I do, and I feel jelous because, well, you and Ivy have each other, and I have no one now."
"We'll get him back," Luke gave her a sideways hug. "I'm glad you two finally stopped being stubborn and admitted you care about each other."
Leia, on the other side of Ivy leaned against her friend, "How long have you known?
"For a long time, " Luke smiled. "Pretty soon after you two left."
"As soon as I met you, I knew." laughed Ivy. She thought back on that day, two years ago. They had all been so young, Luke had still been a boy then. Every time she looked at him, Ivy saw the man he had become. So sweet natured, kind, and gentle, even if he was reckless. At some point, Ivy realized Luke was leaning heavily against her, asleep again. "Leia, you can probably go." she inducated her sleeping friend. "I'll take care of him."
"Okay, call me if you need anything."
"I'll be sure to." Setting Luke's head in her lap, she stroked the blond hair, "Hopefully he'll sleep."
As it turned, out, both young Jedi fell asleep, worn out. In fact, Ivy didn't wake up for several hours, when she did, Ivy found that her legs had fallen asleep with the weight of Luke's head. Luke was still dozing, although not deeply. It was a restless one, for he twitched and mumbled in his sleep. Carefully, she raised his head out of her lap and tried to stand up. Her legs were so numb she almost fell over.
"Krething Hell!" she swore under her breath as she tried to catch herself. "I knew I shouldn't have fallen asleep like that!" Luke stirred and groaned, Ivy froze, hoping she hadn't woken him. It was evident that she hadn't for he muttered something and went to roll over, onto his bad arm. "Oh no you don't."
He cried out and gripped her arm with his good hand, gripping her too hard.
"Ow! OW! Luke you're hurting me!" His eyes snapped open, drifted to her arm, and let go. He looked at her with apolegetic eyes.
"Did I-did I hurt you?" He asked quietly.
Ivy cradled her sore arm and shook her head, "I'm all right, you didn't mean to." She could see the pain and sorrow written on his face, "It wasn't your fault."
"I hurt you." his voice cracked, and she saw tears forming in his eyes. Ivy took his face in her hands.
"Listen to me Luke," his eyes dropped, "Look at me, it wasn't your fault, you didn't mean to hurt me, you would never consiously hurt me." she drew him into a tight embrace, "It's okay. I'm fine, don't cry."
a quiet sob escaped his lips and he burrowed against her chest. "I'm sorry!"
"It wasn't your fault." she smoothed the tangled hair, wishing once again that he could shower. "You were having some kind of bad dream, You reacted. Do you remember what happened?"
"I don't." he lied. Ivy raised an eyebrow, but didn't question him. She knew. "It was my father, I tried to get away, but then you touched me, and I thought he had grabbed me. I'm sorry."
"Stop beating yourself up, you were dreaming." she stroked the soft cheek, "You didn't know which way was up, I know, these dreams make you feel like a rotten coward, they make you wanna cry. And that's okay, go ahead, cry scream, be scared, I don't mind."
"How do you know?" He snapped, amazed, accusing, and ashamed all at the same time.
Much to his suprise, she did not get angry at him, only smiled sadly and knowingly at him, "Because ever since I was nineteen, I've woken up having flashbacks about the day my home was burned down. And sometimes I wake up so scared I can't even stay in my own room."
"Why didn't you tell me?" he asked, feeling silly for bothering with his own problems when she had had to deal with this far longer. "I would've helped."
Ivy sighed, "I don't know, I suppose I was embarassed to tell you."
"Ivy," he said with a determined look, "You shouldn't be embarassed, if you can say it to me, I can say it to you. We've been best friends for what—two years? Friends don't let friends suffer alone."
"Agreed," said Ivy, truly touched by his words, "From now on, we'll tell each other when something's wrong deal?"
Luke smiled and nodded, "Yeah, no more secrets now that we're together. Well, except for like lifeday and birthday presents."
"Good," She pecked his lips, "So, you are not okay?"
sighing, Luke said, "No, I am as far as I could possibly be okay. I'm missing a hand, I got the shavit beat out of me, and I found out the most evil man in the galaxy. I have been lied to by pretty much everyone I looked up to, and it hurts. It hurts way worse than losing a hand, but I'll survive."
"We've been through worse," she laughed, "can't think of any right now, but I'm sure I will eventually, could be a couple of years though." Luke joined in her laughter, though tears were both running from their eyes, then they clung to one another as they cried. Until at last, they fell asleep still holding tight to each other.
I am so happy with the way this one turned out. I've been working on it for about the past week or so, and it's a little bit of an alternate to my earlier post Bespin chapters. I know the dialogue goes in a little bit of a circle, but I would guess that after Empire, there wouldn't be much to talk about. Anyway , I wanted to do a bit of Luke-Ivy-Leia healing.