(I never did finish this fanfiction, so I thought I might as well finish it and give it a resolution :) Hope you enjoy!) (for 14/15 +) (Triggers for some hinted-at previous r-pe.)
The type of time keeping has changed since I last wrote. I'm going to stick with my way of measuring years and say 1005 ARR. That's all I have left of my past life, really, besides my lightsaber and the Force.
It's been so long since I last wrote to you, diary, and for that I am truly sorry. But I entered a really dark time and I was so ashamed to face you again, to face my Master again who was the one who placed you into my then-innocent hands. But now, as I hear the celebrations of the empire's fall outside, I realize I'm no longer the boy that made his way onto a terrible world and struggled with himself, with his loss, and with things he did not want to think about. I'm now nearly forty, almost the same age as my Master when he first chose me as his apprentice.
And, really, I believe it is time to face the last 23 years and tell you what has happened to me. I may not be the naive Padawan I was then, but I'm still very much a Jedi. And Jedi don't hide.
I still can't believe the empire has gone. I didn't help as much as I would have liked, but I still joined the rebellion, as a pilot, keeping my prowess to a minimum, to keep under the radar. But young Skywalker's bravery, his valor, his ending of the evil Siths holds me in awe. I've heard some snatches that he is the son of Anakin Skwalker, which I would undoubtedly believe- who else but the child of the Chosen One could take down the Chosen One and his Master? What will I do now, though? Now that the war is over, that the nightmare is over. Master, I know I am old enough, but I still don't feel wise enough to be a Knight- or even a Master. I can't even decide what route to take. I could restart the Jedi Order but I don't feel like that is my calling and the Force is silent to me. Young Skywalker, he would be a much better candidate. He is a true hero. Unlike me, a washed up Padawan stuck in a Knight's body. A Jedi Knight who couldn't even confront the Sith. I'd heard of others- other Jedi who had stood up. But most of them had died or been run offworld from the major worlds. Or worse. Maybe I did right. Maybe I didn't. I'll never know now.
Oh Master, I'm sorry I failed. I didn't do anything right. Or did I? Oh force, my mind keeps going in circles. Maybe I should just go through what transpired over the last twenty three years, to reorder my thoughts.
Yes, it was Kyla I saw on that day, on that dreadful world, which seems like so long ago now.
I can still remember that nasty meat stew I had made myself eat, still remember how I'd caught sight of her familiar hair by what was a brothel house, a place filled with the most disgusting of customers. I was convinced I was wrong, that I was seeing things in my all-consuming grief. But I'd gotten up, I'd rushed over there, breath held, sillily hopeful.
And I stopped dead when I realized I wasn't mistaken, that it was indeed my friend.
And she looked terrible. Gaunt cheeks, an outfit that barely fit her, her formerly muscular body now skeletal thin.
“Kyla?” I'd tentatively asked and she'd turned to me, her eyes the worst of it all. They were dead, gray, unseeing.
“Who's asking?” her voice was gruff, her eyes wandering up to the smoky sky where they seemed to catch onto the tangled knottings of smog and cloud above. I'd wanted to grab her, to take her shoulders, and I would have, but nausea at the last physical contact I'd received- Kayla's violence, her violation, blossoming before my eyes, tearing me to shreds, nearly sending me into a raging, sobbing ball of terror- stalled me.
“Kyla. It's me. Aran.” Her face swung towards me, eyes clearing just slightly, and she appeared to see me.
“Aran. What the kriff are you doing here?”
“I could ask you the same question,” I whispered, tears suddenly clotting my eyes, vision blurred. I wanted to embrace her, but her wary stance, the recoiling her body made me decide it was probably a bad idea. Who knew how many bad things had happened to her since last I'd seen her.
“I thought you'd died.” Her voice sounds sorrowful, yet empty, all life sucked out of her. It wasn't just her body that looked like it had wasted away. Her spirit seemed to have done so as well. I swallowed, and gently reached out and tugged on her sleeve, being careful to not touch her skin.
“Come on, Kyla. Let's get out of this place. I'm sure we can find ourselves better jobs and leave this planet.”
But she wouldn't come. Her feet rooted to the spot and she wouldn't budge when I tried to get her to follow me.
“No, Aran. We can't. I tried. I attacked the Senate myself, along with some others. They all died and I fled, from system to system. I tried to find jobs but I was recognized from my folly. No one would take me. Except this trash heap. Give up. It's hopeless.” She turned away, black hair covering her face in a dark veil.
“Kyla, we can't give up! We have to carry on. Who will continue the Jedi Order if we don't?”
“You're lying, Aran. You don't really believe that.” Kyla's voice was hushed, a soft, gentle whisper, her old kindness surfacing, a strange fragility emanating from her. The Kyla I had grown up had been tough, rambunctious- immature yes, but still strong and kind- a better person than me, who had always been too curious for his own good, too anxious, too trusting. But that Kyla was gone, just like my old self was too gone. Had the empire really rendered us ghosts?
And it struck me that Kyla was right. In a way, I had given up hope. I'd tried not to, but I had. Otherwise, why was I even on this stupid planet? Why had I been weeping so much, why had I written in my journal about ….about what Kayla had done to me? Why had I punched that pole dancer I'd seen earlier that day? The old Aran, the one who was a good Jedi would never have done that, would never had even ventured near that place, looking for work.
The old Aran wouldn't have been so hurt, so decimated, so violated and ashamed, pushing things out of mind. The old Aran would have faced them head-on and not shoved them down, not shoved them so far down inside himself that he'd twisted his memories. That Aran would never have lied to himself.
I remember to this day, with violent recollection, how ill I'd felt at that realization, how it felt like she'd punched me in the stomach. I'd sunk to my knees, not caring that the mud squelched against my pants, smearing it's filth all over me. I was already dirty, wasn't I? I had given up. I'd lied to myself. I'd betrayed my inner self.
“Take this, Aran. And leave this place. Please.” I'd felt her enfold my fingers around some crumpled money bills, pressing them into my palm. I looked up at her, abruptly realizing that my face was damp, tears crawling sickly over my cheeks.
“Come with me, then. I can't do this without..without someone good. I need you, my friend.” Her bleak physiognomy briefly parted its clouds and she smiled.
“All right, Aran. Let's go. We can leave later.”
Of course, that's not what happened. My luck- which I don't believe in, of course, but it's the only word I can think of for this- just, well, you know, is pretty awful. I was so ecstatic, you wouldn't believe it, at being reunited with my friend. It even made the ghostly pain in my mouth, in my skull, fade away. Even the creepy man who I was sharing the room with- who had stared at us leeringly before falling into a snoring slumber- could take the feeling away from me.
“I thought you had died in that firestorm, that purge,” I had said to her as we huddled in the small corner I'd rented. We had booked passage on a vessel out of this system, away from this wretched world. I hadn't felt so hopeful in...well, since before the war, if I'm being honest. I was stupid to be too trusting, of course. I didn't notice how much Kyla had changed.
“I didn't- I escaped, albeit barely. My Master went to find you but when she did, and she didn't come back...well, I ran, like she told me too. Where is your Master? Did he-”
“Yes,” I'd responded quickly, a sour note entering into blissful emotions.
“I'm sorry, Aran,” she'd said, gazing disjointedly at the corner. I wanted to ask her why and how she had ended up in a brothel house, but I decided against it. She wasn't ready to talk about it, just like I wasn't with my sickening realization. She was more broken than I was, that much was obvious, and I would have to handle her, and myself, delicately. Our training was amazing, of course, but we had never been taught how to handle such terrible things, one after the other, watch our whole world crumple and rip itself part until there was nothing left. I kept babbling to her, about nothing really- actually, I can barely remember what I even said- but I do remember having a lighter sensation hovering in my chest, like maybe the worst was over.
I was wrong.
The next morning, I awoke to find my friend gone, as well as half the money, with just a note where her figure had once lain. I picked it up, paper rumpled and spotted with stains of some greasy substance. I don't want to relate it completely- it still hurts to think about it too much, even now- but it basically stated that she couldn't be around me anymore. That I reminded her of a happier past and that it hurt too much. And that she was sorry.
I don't know how long I cried, balled up on the floor, but it must have been a bit, and I must have been loud, because the creep snoring in bed was suddenly on me, shaking me, shouted obscenities wresting me from my despair. The man catching me weeping wasn't the bad part- that was fine, there was no harm nor weakness is tears- it was the contact, the rough grabbing of me around the arms. It brought those memories, that I'd forced from my mind, that I'd twisted into something different, something less and tamer, up from the ugly dregs of my soul, blaring them like a bullhorn so that they rattled in my skull.
The forced kissing hadn't been the only thing Kayla had done to me that day.....
This time, I wasn't held by a stun, and I lashed out, a force push gone so arry and sloppy that it could have been done with more finesse when I was three, striking the man- and various other things- back and away from me. The man was unconscious, everything in the room in disarray, and I knew I couldn't stay. How I fought through my heaving and sobbing to gather all of my belongings and flee I'll never know. But I got out, in a daze, and hurried to that ship I'd booked along with...Kyla.
Once aboard I didn't look back.
I know it's been years, but I still can't believe she left. I know I'm probably being selfish, but it still stings. I'd lost my other two best friends, and my Master, as well as my innocence and, well, that kind of innocence as well.... How could someone walk out on me like that? But then, Anakin Skywalker, who I thought was the Chosen One, turned out to be the man who killed my Master and many other Jedi and the nice, sweet girl I thought Kayla was turned out to be a psychopath who hurt me in such a way that I still...I..never-mind. I can't. I just.....
And no, I never heard from Ky- her again. I did hear that she died a month or two later in a firefight, saving a family- whose mother was a member of the rebellion- from an avenging wave of stormtroopers. All my friends are officially gone now....
As I stated earlier, I did join the rebellion as a pilot. I didn't do anything overly heroic, but I did save as many people as I could and I feel like I did my part. But still, I wish I could have served as a Jedi. Am I still even a Jedi?
I made no friends in the rebellion, though. Everyone must have seen my secrets inside of me, known that I wasn't like them, and shunned me. They weren't all cruel or anything- some were even amiable- but it was like they didn't want to get to close, lest I turn into a raging freak who “kidnapped people's children”. Or what other crap people believed about us.
Maybe I'll contact Ben and Natalie. Let them know what happened to that boy they took in so many years ago. I'll thank them for what they did for me, giving me a small bit of happiness after the Sith wrenched it away from me.
Ben and Natalie are officially the only people in the galaxy to still care for me. They were so old now but they seemed happy enough to hear from me. I apologized for not calling sooner, but they understood. They didn't even seem to care that I was a Jedi, which was a first.
I know I've sounded unfair- I know most people don't really hate me or the Jedi, but...I just...well, I still have fear about all of that after everything that happened to me. After my Master died and my home went up in smoke and my family died, almost everyone left me or hurt me. But Natalie and Ben have given me some hope....
* * * * * * *
Good news! I have heard that Luke Skywalker is planning to restart the Jedi Order. I can't quite believe it. I haven't even picked up my ligthsaber in years, its sight too heartbreaking. But here it is before me. A chance to reclaim my life, to pull myself from this choking smoke that had descended on my soul. I will join once I visit Natalie and Ben. I have let the young Skywalker know that I was once a Jedi and he seemed glad to have found another Jedi of old, someone who knew the old customs. I only hope I will be up to the task. I'm such a disappointment......
So, diary, I guess it's time for me to put a close on this chapter of my life. I embark on a new journey until I rejoin my Master and my friends and fellows once again in the Force.
Master, I'm so so sorry I wasn't able to do much, but I hope I've earned the rank of “Knight” which you bestowed on me.
I don't belong in this time, that much is certain, especially with how I hear Luke- or Master Skywalker I guess now- talking(he seems to think we should allow marriage amongst the Jedi Order- something that will be hard to watch). Natalie and Ben remember what it was like, oh so long ago, but I know they won't live for forever and eventually I'll have to say goodbye to them. Until then, I plan on visiting them as much as I can. They're the only family I now have and I owe that to them. The new Jedi Order might be a good fit, who knows, but it will never be home.
Because I don't have one.
Jedi Master Aran Liander died at the age of 65 in one of the first battles of this war(which I'm going to tentatively name the “Yuuzhan Vong” war. Uncle Luke- I mean, Master Skywalker- hasn't decided what to call it yet, to be honest). Normally I wouldn't do this, it isn't in my department of expertise nor a part of my job, but since I was with him in the battle and heard his last words, I feel like it's my duty to do so. And what better way than to put it in the diary I was given? I didn't read it of course- I understand privacy and he was a very private man. But I do think, if anyone who cared about him were to want this diary, they deserve to know how he ended up.
Aran Liander was a loner but I did get to know him well enough on the few missions I went on with him. He was a kind soul, yet extraordinarily sad. He never married, nor had any kind of relationship with anyone, still clinging to his old ways. And while I couldn't understand it, I do get why in a way. I know I still tinker with ships and mechanics even though I don't need to. It's a way to connect me to my carefree(well, mostly) childhood. And we all need that, a tie to our innocent youth, a way to show us where we come from. So, I don't blame him. I just wish he could have had more happiness in his life.
Master Liander did train an apprentice- a female Twi-Lek- and she was the only one who could bring a smile to his face, bring a light into his eyes. He loved her so much, that much I could tell from what little we worked together.
Sadly he lost her in an earlier skirmish in the war. I think that's what finally broke him, what made his death so easy, so quick in the battle I emerged from relatively unscathed. He was a strong Jedi, he should have made it through.
As I stated above, I was there when he died- I caught him when he fell in fact, my friend Tenel Ka helping me to shield him from the firestorm that raged around him. It was then when I felt him palm something- a holo-diary- into my hands.
“Take it,” he'd whispered.
“Finish my story. I don't want to be forgotten. Please.” He'd passed soon after that, and my twin brother and I had carried his body into the ship as we'd made our escape, Tenel Ka and my other sibling covering us.
His words haunted me for quite some time. So much in fact, I went looking in the old archives Uncle Luke had managed to find for anything relating to him. I didn't find much, but I was able to glean two things. The first was an old, grainy, holo-vid of himself as a small child, a youngling in the Jedi Temple in the creche, playing with the other children in his clan(not sure which one it was). He had been so happy then- giggling, smiling, all adorable and happy like I know my aunt's nearly born baby will soon be. He looked even more different in the faded image I'd found, somehow still there from an old security camera. He'd been older here- no older than thirteen I'd guess- and just a Padawan. His face was serene in the picture, with a touch of nobility about it. However, there was a humble hint in his physiognomy, a sense that he, while aware he the regard he held in society, didn't view himself as better, as superior, than anyone else. He looked so, so different from the morose man I had known and worked with. He still had that spark of life in him then, that desire to be and to do good. How he survived such loss, I'll never know, Somehow, he, Master Kenobi, Master Yoda, and all the others I learned about and know dealt with it were able to go on after losing their family, their friends, their family, their whole lives. And even when they find it again, it's not the same, and it never will be. I know I could hardly bear it if I were to loose everything like that. I'll always respect their strength.
Okay, I lied earlier. I did read some of it, the last few lines. I didn't mean to, completely, but I felt like I should, since how could I finish his story if I didn't know what to write about. But that was all, I promise. And what I read was so very sad.
So Master Liander- Aran- if you can hear me or somehow can read this, I want to let you know. Your Master, your Padawan, they both loved you. I hope you know that. And you didn't fail. You were a good Jedi, and an honorable one. I believe, I believe your family is proud of you. And nothing was your fault.
And one more thing before I wrap your tale up and finally give it an end. You had a home here. You belonged. You may not have realized it, but I think it's important to for you to know that. We may have not been your Jedi Order, but I hope we were enough.
You will be missed
May the Force be with you