The Red Web
Author's Note: This was a gift for the wonderful Gabri ;) , who helped me with my English paper for my horrible English teacher. :) I told her I'd write her something - and when I finally did write this, and sent it to her, I said, "You didn't say it had to be happy, normal, or not strange." That's all the warning you get.
He is putting his foot down, body moving forward, ready for that next step, when the pain comes. It sparks in his mind powerfully, sharp and unyielding, his immediate repression having no effect. It is hard like a wall of diamond. He grabs his head, instinctively, though that is not the source of the pain; it is from something beyond his flesh.
Mara is gone. The little webs of her touch in his mind have vanished, leaving empty, gaping wounds in their wake. The warmth is gone, and the tangle of his mind is cold and shivering.
He feels weak. His body begins to relax, losing the tenseness of awareness. There is a dull thudding in his chest, and it is slowing. It is a hollow tone in something newly empty. Something bruises his arm, taking hold of his bicep, the pressure strong and yet not quite unyielding as the pain of his mind. He looks up, and sees Han is holding his arm as he falls, trying to keep him up. Panic is in his eyes, new yet; there are still hints of mere concern, even affection.
The relaxation continues as the pain increases. He reaches out in every direction, questing for some response. He finally feels the warm touch of her, the deep red faded and blurred, fading off into nothingness, far away. He tries to grasp that wisp.
He slowly blinks, and there is darkness for a moment; the wisp is growing ever farther away. He pulls himself after it, and it is hard to open his eyes.
Leia is turning away from the kitchen table, her body shifting forward, the same desperate concern in her eyes. Her hands are before her, still relaxed and open, fingers slightly curled and arms comfortably at her sides. The skirt of her dress is pressed against her legs, momentum not having yet carried it to the proper drape.
The wisp of Mara’s mind is almost out of reach. He follows it with new determination, and finding it, pulls himself closer to it. He feels her warmth, her gentle touch; it is faded, still, but the fiery spark, while small, is still there. Pleasure without the pressure of tiny spots of pain and discomfort reaches his mind, and he knows that is what she is feeling. She is calm, and opening the arms of her mind to him, welcoming and loving. It is total acceptance.
He is still falling. Han is putting his other hand on his arm, and putting the other behind his back to reach his back, to cushion his fall. He sees more than concern in Han’s eyes now; there is fear.
He blinks again, and tries to catch himself, pull himself forward, but the effort is distant and not accorded much attention. His hand touches Han’s, covering his friend’s, and he squeezes tightly. He sees Han speaking and hears nothing.
Mara’s touch is healing, perfection. He draws near to her and all is well, yet he is still apart from her. He feels only the barest edges of her fiery spirit. She is beyond his senses in the Force, part of it still, yet some strange and new part of it. He realizes that his wife was not simply gone from his mind in that moment of separation; it was a greater separation than that. She left him a month ago, went on a mission . . .
Leia is facing him now, running forward, arms before her and reaching for him. He is against Han’s shoulder, and Han is lowering him to the floor, taking his weight and bracing against it. Han touches him on the face, and he looks at his old friend, trying to convey his calm and love with his eyes. Han begins to shake his head, eyes becoming unfocused as his head begins the first turn away.
He begins to blink again.
He is still pulling nearer to Mara, and it is easier now. The movement is natural, and that smoothes the unfamiliar path. The web of her mind is becoming clearer to him now, though it is still difficult to see. He sees the complexity, the beautiful design and wonderful sharp edges and smooth curves. He feels her love, and he feels her reaching for him, those wisps taking hold of him with as much strength as possible.
He opens his eyes. Leia is on her knees before him, just starting to reach out to touch him. Han has finished shaking his head, and his eyes are shiny with tears of realization, the true grief to come later.
Leia’s face is frozen in despair, eyes wide and unblinking, looking as if cast in beautiful stone.
He moves his hand to her, with difficulty, unexpectedly having to focus greatly. She takes it, and he feels only the pressure of her touch, not even the warmth of her skin. Her grasp is firm, unyielding, but not enough.
He tries to say he’s sorry.
Mara is a beautiful, masterful maze before him. The strings of her thoughts spread out before him like the universe, connecting the little webs of dreams and memories. She is no longer wisps now, but a firm hold on his mind, and the gaping empty places inside are being filled. She fits perfectly, and the pain is fading, still fading, and he’s so relaxed.
Leia is by him now, holding his head in her arms. He cannot move any longer, save to meet her eyes, and tell her through them that he loves her, that it is time, that it cannot be undone. He knows it now, and the path is becoming familiar and easy. He feels no burden anymore. Han, on his other side, is still holding his body up.
Han’s face is filled with grief. Leia glances at her husband, then back down at him. She strokes the side of his face, and tells him she loves him. Han’s tightening of his grip, then the relaxation, are his words. Han nods, at last, and lowers him to the floor.
He is fallen at last.
The path is nearly ended. He takes the last steps easily, and then they are together again, fully. He feels like he’s inhaled fresh air, but air not like any other, so fresh and sweet that it overwhelms him. He feels Mara’s love, and his own, and they hardly seem separate. He can feeling nothing but her and the Force now. She fills all the places inside him, as he does her, and the maze of her mind is no longer a maze, but a wonderfully complex door to the soul. His mind is open to hers as well, and he feels her relief and new comfort. There is completion, and the past has no place; awareness of it remains, but it is beyond their reach now.
The Force and their own minds – complex and heavy with memory, experience, and life – spread before them like fields, and grasping each other, they go out to run and play. He feels joy, and Mara matches it. He can feel her laughter, her surprise at her own delight.
Luke Skywalker lives.
Fanfiction | Main