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Healing the Cracks

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It was Han who was the first person able to draw Kylo out of his shell. He’d been quiet ever since they got back to the Resistance base on D’Qar, like he’d retreated into himself. Han hadn’t missed the way he’d shied away on the bridge, like he was afraid Han would hurt him. What had Snoke done to him? 

“Ben,” he said, “Your mother’s worried about you. So am I.”

Kylo raised his head. He looked a lot like a kicked kath hound evaluating things. Han Knew that when he got his hands on Snoke, he’d kill him. “I’m all right,” he said.

”You’re not, kiddo. It doesn’t take a telepath to know it.”

Silence. 

“Ben,” Han said, and he could practically sense Kylo tensing up. “What happened to you? I mean, Snoke was part of the picture, but...”

Kylo could barely look him in the eye. Then, “It was Skywalker.”

”What? What do you mean?” Already, Han had a feeling that he wasn’t going to like what he heard. He had to hear it, just for Ben’s sake. 

“He...he was standing over me. With a lightsaber.”

And it was in that moment that Han swore his mind had become a miniature Death Star explosion. So many thoughts practically raced through his head, but one thought predominated. “Why, for the stars’ sake?”

Kylo laughed bitterly. “I could sense it. He thought, because of my nightmares, I’d fallen...”

Han took a deep breath. “Ben,” he said, “Nightmares don’t make a bad person. By Corellia, why didn’t you tell me? I could have kept you safe.”

”Could you have?” Kylo said. “I went to Snoke because my training wasn’t complete. I thought he could help me, protect me. I was...wrong.”

Han wanted to do so many things. Curse out Luke — maybe use all the creative Corellian swears he could think of. Smash something. But he didn’t want Ben to see him like this. Instead, he did the most logical thing he could think of, as a father. 

He hugged Ben. Practically drew him into an embrace and all but crushed him. 

“I’m so sorry, Ben,” he finally said. “I could have protected you, I really could have. Your mother...told me about Snoke. I just wish she could have told me sooner.” A beat. “I wasn’t enough for you, kid. I wanted to be.”

”It’s not your fault.”

Eventually, they drew away. Han took in his son’s face, really took it in, and he marveled how long it had been. 

“So, who am I?” Ben said. “Good? Bad?”

”The galaxy isn’t split into good and bad,” Han said. “You...did bad things and had bad things done to you. And you’re working to make up for it. That...that’ll do.”

Ben was still serious. Then, “I hope you’re right.”