1: Imperial Year 6, the shuttle Fulcrum
The trouble with two young Skywalkers is that they both individually get up to just about as much trouble as the original one had. Ahsoka stands in the doorway to the twins’ bedroom, hands on her hips and trying to restrain her frustration. “Luke,” she calls out, striving for calm. “Leia.” When there’s nothing, even to her stern tone based on Obi-Wan’s “I’m very disappointed” pitch that used to have devastating effect on her, she goes searching.
Not as easy as it sounds, given that the first thing they taught the twins was how to be quiet in the Force, to be subtle and subdued and not noticeable. Vader and the Emperor have Hands and eyes everywhere, and the children of Anakin Skywalker are even more of a threat than any random Jedi.
She’s down the hall from the ‘fresher she had taken a few foolish minutes to make presentable in the time between the twins’ bath and tucking them in, so it’s no surprise they escaped. She moves past the closet door which always squeaks when it is palmed open, only this time either someone was invisible, or somehow convinced it to make no noise.
A blaster muzzle nudges up against her headtail, aimed to take her out in one shot. “Careless,” Asajj Ventress purrs, stepping around to the side to give Ahsoka an arch look. “I’ve been here a good fifteen minutes. So very careless. Do what you will, pets.” She steps away with a smirk, blaster raised high even if the safety is on. Leia pounces on Ahsoka from the closet, clinging to her legs and squealing shrilly as she swarms up the Togruta, mock-wrestling her guardian. Luke is slyer, dodging around Asajj to tickle Ahsoka’s ribs.
As always, she goes down laughing, using the Force to keep from squishing Luke while Asajj subtly keeps Leia from kicking Ahsoka too hard in the side. They let the twins wear themselves out with several very long minutes of roughhousing – both women figure it’s good practice for wrestling and self defense, even if the accidental kicks and gouges sometimes leave more bruises than a wry Ahsoka really would like.
She’s always a little sad when Asajj gives her that feline, inscrutable look that means she doesn’t understand that “logic” in the least.
She brushes off the nip of melancholy that her friend’s background often gives her as the other woman decides the twins are worn out enough. The former Sith casually raises both children up in the air, which gets more gleeful shrieks from Luke and protests of “Auntie Asa!” from Leia.
“Enough!” Asajj gives Ahsoka a mock disdainful look before snorting. “Time for bed, younglings.”
Even Luke pouts at that. “Auntie Asajj! Pleeeeease? Just five more minutes?”
Asajj seems to consider it, then she peers down to give Ahsoka another look. “She won’t last another five minutes of that. You’ve done very well, pets, now enjoy victory from bed.” She eyes the twins, then shrugs as if she doesn’t care. “I suppose for defeating a foe like that you may have a short story.” She walks the twins to their room, their now delighted squeals of “Auntie Asa!” trailing through the air. By the time that Asa slips out of the room – far more than what one short story would need – Ahsoka has two mugs of tea set up on the small table in the cooking area.
Asajj settles onto her chair with a deep sigh, finally allowing exhaustion and what are probably minor wounds and bruises to limit her movement. She slumps back, hands wrapped around her mug and a tired vulnerability washing across her face.
Ahsoka basks in the moment, that odd place between guilt and affection about her friend – partner, really, given they live together, are raising two children together, and trade off who takes what bounty this time. It’s guilt that Asajj is hurting, but a quiet warmth that Asa trusts her enough to show it.
After a bit of comfortable silence, Asajj unwraps a hand from her mug to pull several significant credit chits from a belt pouch. She slides them to the center of the table before going back to clutching her mug. Finally, she sighs. “The Hutts are getting more adventurous.” Asajj opens her eyes to give Ahsoka a wry look. “Or vindictive.”
Ahsoka rests her chin on a hand. “Do you think Jabba perhaps remembers you kidnapped his son?”
A disdainful snort greets that, before Asajj drinks deep. She still has the mug before her face when she darts a covert little glance at the twins’ room. She goes still, then shakes her head with an arch look. “I don’t blame him,” she murmurs, soft enough that they can both pretend it didn’t happen.
A long moment, then Asajj pulls several data chips from another pouch and tosses them onto the table, seeming careless and indifferent. The fact that they land neatly in the middle, none skittering onto the floor, make it clear once again that it is all a facade. “Slim pickings unless you want to wait another few weeks, or be gone for over a month. Several righteous killings, several unrighteous assassinations, and three courier jobs that look like they can all be traced back to Hondo.”
Ahsoka groans and puts her face into her hand. “Which means they’ll be anything but quiet or routine.”
Asajj is probably indifferent for real as she raises and lowers a shoulder in a graceful shrug. As if it’s Ahsoka’s fault that killing isn’t to her taste anymore.
She’s not about to point out that Asajj doesn’t take those jobs nearly as often as she used to, either.
Ahsoka is chewing over the possibility of the time off, because she is not leaving the twins with just Asajj for more than a month again because while Asajj is very capable, her notions on child-rearing are…unconventional. Then her partner slides a small, battered data chip all the way across the table, leaving her hand on it in challenge. Ahsoka meets her eyes, not sure what’s going on.
Asajj isn’t the type to hesitate. The silence is a touch of melodrama, but it serves the purpose of guaranteeing Ahsoka’s full attention. “Your little Twi’lek stray showed up again. She joined the Rebellion.” Her eyes go wide as words that are not spoken around their little shuttle hang heavy in the air. “I suppose if you wanted to see what she’s up to, I’d be willing to take a few extra, lucrative jobs next time.”
Probably the righteous killings. Ahsoka looks at the chip still pinned down under Asajj’s fingers, then she tentatively covers the once-Sith’s hand. Asajj stiffens, because for all she has gotten more comfortable in their roles as friends, two ex-apprentices raising two impossible children, she still is not a fan of casual touch. “Are you sure?”
The eyeroll is a magnificent gesture of disdain. “If it means I get time away from you, to be an evil influence on the younglings while you gallivant around taking down the current government, I suppose I shall somehow find a way to suffer through it.”
Ahsoka smiles at her, giving a light squeeze of the hand before Asajj quickly removes it to clutch her mug a little closer. They sit in the quiet together, Ahsoka reading over the sparse details and pretending that Asajj isn’t watching closely with a wry little grin that radiates smug content.
2: Imperial Year 11, Seelos
Rex stretches slowly as he stands up from the chair at the com station, wincing at the cracks and pops his spine makes as he heads to the door. Force, he hates getting old. By the time he slips out the door to stroll across the decking of the modified AT-TE, he’s moving smoothly again. Out in the harsh afternoon sunlight of Seelos, he tracks voices up to the top cannon. Wolffe is sprawled in the gunner’s seat, taking advantage of the shade. Leia is perched on the top rungs of the unextended lifts, body swaying easily with the steady gait of the walker. Between her long braid and the loose, long sleeved tunic, she might as well be a pennant waving their defiance at the Empire.
Rex sighs and crosses his arms. He really has to ask himself how many times he has to tell her. He sometimes wonders if this is the start of the fabled teenage years and chafing at adult input, but it’s not like he or his brothers ever really had a chance for that kind of phase. So Rex once again shoves that little worry down as “not for now” and instead calls out. “Pup.” He keeps it gentle, even if scolding, and Leia does a melodramatic loll of the head to side-eye him.
“Whaaat?” she asks, even though from the expression on her face she already knows.
From the expression on his face, Wolffe knows too, and he’s the asshole who told her it was okay. Gods, he can be a crazy bastard, and sometimes Rex worries about their baby Jedi even more than he ever did about their grown up insane predecessors.
At the very least they’re not running around with lightsabers. Someday, possibly someday soon, but for now those two are their kids.
And he is not about to let Leia get away with stupid shit, even if Wolffe is right there.
Leia heaves a huge, put-upon sigh before hooking her feet on lower rungs of the lift, rolling back to splay over the metal. She fumbles for a moment, not quite as graceful as she probably meant to be, then she coils back upright. At least she’s fast in putting on the armor, so that by the time she’s upright she’s almost got the front and back pieces of her body armor settled into place. She likes the arm guards, never takes them off, but for whatever reason it is always a challenge to get her to keep the chest pieces on.
Rex nods approvingly. “Thank you, pup.” She waves a hand at him, acknowledging defeat, and he chuckles loud enough for her to hear it – even as he glares at Wolffe. Asshole rolls his eyes right back, and Rex tries to keep in mind the success instead of the occasional personality clash they still have.
Gregor always laughs it off, cracking wise about them being too used to being top dog. There’s some truth to it, but the primary reason he doesn’t poke Gregor is because he’s the one who started the pup business. It’s possibly not fair that it stuck, but the kids liked it a lot when they were younger.
He ambles around the catwalk, grinning as blaster fire starts up again. Gregor and Luke are lounging against the far railing, idly taking pot shots at arbitrary targets Gregor picks out. It’s easy to grin as he joins them, and Luke glances up to flash him that wide, sunny smile. “I’m getting better!” he pipes up, pointing out where the deeper scorch marks of his blaster – firing real blasts – match up with the round targets of Gregor’s stun shots.
Rex takes time to praise the kid appropriately, mentally marking how Luke’s doing as compared to shinies Rex has trained, how Leia is doing, and the fact that Luke just doesn’t have the innate touch with a blaster that everyone else on the AT-TE does. It’s also not like the kid doesn’t make up for the lack of natural talent by being uncanny with the Force in the best ways all the Jedi could pull off.
He is doing a lot better.
With the insight that makes Gregor Luke’s favorite, the old commando grins at Rex. “I think he’s doing well enough for an actual treat.” Gregor gives Luke a sly sideways look that makes the kid break out into another huge smile. “Think you can make the speeder behave long enough for a quick trip around later?”
Good idea. Gregor taking the twins out for a quick perimeter check – letting Luke drive and making sure Leia gets to go along, meaning she gets an indirect treat herself. It’ll be nice having the walker be a little quiet, for a bit.
Means it’s even better when they come home and go right back to raising hell.
Rex smiles and scruffles Luke’s hair, savoring the light breeze and the comfortable feel of home and family.
3: Imperial Year 16, Tatooine
The suns aren’t up yet, but the sky is light enough that Obi-Wan can see the twins approaching from the small hut the three share. They wait a bit to the side of him, Luke with a stillness and patience that Anakin could never achieve, Leia with regular shifts to reaffirm she has the footing she wants. They are warriors both, like their parents, and he has tried so hard to give them opportunities to be younglings as well as Jedi. He’s never certain how well he has managed that, but neither has yet blown up at him for screwing up too horribly.
He stands, a little slow from old injuries that never appreciate the brutal environment of Tatooine, and smiles at them. Luke is a calm center, gentle and affectionate when he is not barricading that center with a whirlwind of youthful impetuousness. It works for him, as it had for Anakin for a time, before…the Sith, really. Leia has a fierce little grin as inside she builds up levels of mental armor like elaborate layers of protective clothing that camouflages even as it protects.
When they are ready, the twins draw their lightsabers. Luke’s is green, while Leia’s set are a warm yellow. Obi-Wan prepares himself, then ignites his own weapon.
Blue crashes against green and yellow, and the three spar until they are exhausted, collapsing down into the hut with tired laughs and careful rationing of their precious water. Artoo blats at them something rude about going too long again, which of course makes Threepio go into a mild tizzy because they really ought to be more careful.
Obi-Wan leans back against the wall, allowing himself a smile and the warmth of his students (his children his friends his brother’s legacy) and their droids (family, they are all family, so help him).
Detachment is the way of the Jedi.
The Jedi are dead.
Obi-Wan allows himself a smile as Leia casually Force tosses a fruit at him, and Luke reaches out in the Force to give them both a light hug.
There are hollow places inside him that will always be scarred. His brother, all of his brothers in the army, his distant extended family at the Temple, Padmé who brought these two impossible wonders into the universe – so many dead, destroyed in mind or body or both.
Yet he has these two, and the company of the two droids. It is something to live for, and he will make sure they know why, what they are fighting for and why it matters.
He hopes they are never Detached from the universe around them.
+1: 4 ABY, Endor
Luke’s sense of time is shot. He wakes up to find the party is still going on, though a lot of folks have surrendered and claimed spots for a nap, or actual sleep, or whatever it is they can manage. He’s not sure if the dim lighting is more evening or dawn. He and Leia are bracketing Han on a small round platform a bit away from the chaos. It’s warm and dry enough they hadn’t wanted to bother with one of the tiny huts, and this is comfortable. The other two are talking quietly, and he can feel their contentment with the universe and how they three are together, safe and comfortable. The droids are at the far end of the little bridge connecting their platform to the rest of the village, acting as wary guards – albeit with a bit more dancing than might be called for. Luke is grinning as he looks closer, at the nearer end of the bridge. There, Chewie is seated on a low stool, chatting quietly with an old man with an atrocious beard and a Togrutan woman who has a serenity and composure to her that reminds him sharply of old Ben, or Yoda on one of his saner days.
As if she can feel Luke looking at her, she looks over at him, meeting his eyes. She nods, a recognition in her that leaves him warm and relieved. There are other Jedi out there. Good. He didn’t want to do this alone, him and Leia if she wanted and could be pried away from the mess of politics that she so adores.
The woman’s eyes go wide as she glances further to the side, the Force announcing something with a tentative gentleness. From the feel of shock, and the way Han and Leia go quiet, they see what Luke sees. Two blue figures stand hand in hand, the party visible through them. The small, beautiful woman is in the lead. While she has a warm smile for him, there is a special warmth to her as she looks at Leia.
“Mother,” his twin whispers, even as the figure he can still sense is his father takes a deep breath and moves forward.
Anakin Skywalker needed to take a breath for courage before coming to meet his children. Luke doesn’t expect to find himself charmed by that. Then Anakin pauses and rolls his eyes. The gesture is so human, so ordinary at first Luke doesn’t believe it. Then the ghost reaches back, grabbing hold of…nothing. Nothing, which solidifies into a cloak, which old Ben is wearing. The man has a mortally affronted look on his face, even as Luke can feel the longing from him. Loneliness, affection oceans deep that somehow hides most of the time.
Mother makes a face at Father, giggling a little before giving old Ben a look. “Obi-Wan, stop skulking,” she chides, gentle and loving and with the oddest mix of Leia’s eyes when she’s snarking at Han and Luke’s own mischievous smile. “You’re as much a part of this as we are, and if we’re going to ask to intrude on everyone, then we are doing it together.”
“Please,” Leia insists, finally having found her voice. “Have a seat. All of you.” There’s such a strong longing to her, and it’s easy to pinpoint. Her family, her friends – so many were on Alderaan. This is not a replacement, but…a possibility.
Luke smiles, basking in the feel of these presences and the love and warmth they carry with them. He acts on instinct, turning to smile at Chewie and his friends. The man and woman are watching with wide eyes, both seeming unashamed to be crying. He’s not sure who they are, but that really doesn’t matter. “Grab Artoo and Threepio on your way over here, will you?”
It’s the bearded man who nods, shoulders back with military precision as he turns and hustles to fetch the others. When they join the crowd on the platform, Luke sits and lets himself beam at the faces around them. Han and Leia are holding hands, while she talks at high speed with Mother. Father’s listening intently, while the Togrutan woman is hesitantly approaching Ben. Chewie settles himself with a soft churr next to an ecstatically squeaking Artoo, while the old man walks up to Luke with a respectful nod and a curious look.
Luke’s not sure how they all fit together, but in the Force, there is such a sense of rightness, that all he can do is look forward to finding out.