Characters: Mara, Anakin x 2
Keywords: Ghost fic
Summary: Mara’s reunion with Anakin
Notes: Hey, I wrote it in ten minutes so don’t expect much!
“Anakin?” She looked up and found her nephew standing above her in the darkness, offering a hand. “Am I dreaming?”
“No. I’m here. Well, sort of. Everything is here, but it isn’t.”
“Are you here because I’m dying?” She looked around. As dark as it was, she could still see the familiar walls of a cavern. She nodded to herself.
“No. I’m here because you are what you used to call dead. Really, though? This is just another way of living.” He stretched out his hand a little further for her to take. “Here, take my hand. It helps.”
“Helps what?” She reached out for his hand and grasped it. Well, tried to grasp his hand but it wasn’t quite right. It was like grabbing at smoke. “Oh. I see.”
Anakin offered her an encouraging smile. “It’s frustrating at first, but you’ll get the hang of it. You just have to make my hand be there, that’s all. Just… do it.”
Mara frowned in concentration before reaching out again. This time, she found something to hold on to and it did, as Anakin said, help. Half-way through she lost her grip and stumbled rather ungracefully to a stand-still. At least she was on her feet, though.
“Pretty soon, you won’t feel the need for legs at all. Or walking. Or standing. You will think things and they will be.”
Mara shot her nephew a dubious look. “Delightful.”
Anakin’s laughter echoed in the caverns. “I missed you, Aunt Mara. I really did.”
Mara tried to process her nephew’s apparent joy and couldn’t. Not fully, not yet. She was happy to see Anakin again, content. It was that same happiness that betrayed her. Why was she happy when seeing him meant losing her own son, her husband? But to see him, to be here, to die… to be content with this…
Anakin looked at her closely and nodded. “It is hard, at first, to think.”
Looking up once more, she asked, “This place. This-,” she gestured to her form, “Are we allowed to watch them?”
Anakin nodded. “Sometimes. I don’t do it often because they feel me, I distract them. It hurts them when I watch. Even Dad.” Anakin’s smile faded into a wistful frown and Mara was almost sorry to ask the next question, but she had to. She needed to know.
Anakin’s frown hardened. “Him, I can watch. He knows I'm there, but he ignores me. He thinks everything he is doing is right and that I approve. It's...," he stopped mid-sentence with a disgusted look on his face, at a loss for words. After a small shake of his head, he continued. "I don’t watch often, but I saw what happened while you were learning to wake up. Ben is safe. Uncle Luke won't be joining us here. Not yet.”
“But do they know?”
Blue eyes regarded her steadily. “No.”
It was more than she could bear. Hot tears began flowing down her face and, dimly, she wondered how that could even be possible before deciding she didn’t care right now. She hurt for her family in a way that she didn’t know was possible. This was worse than when Ben was kidnapped, worse than the Emperor’s death. She had risked everything and gained nothing in return. Jacen was still out there, undiscovered.
A heavy hand lay suddenly on her shoulder and she whirled around, struggling to wipe her eyes and see. As her tears cleared she found a broad chest and a large hand opened in a peaceful gesture. Looking up, a shaggy mane of hair framed wise eyes, making her think of Jacen as he could have been. And then, she knew.
“Um, Aunt Mara, meet my grandfather.”
Mara regarded the newcomer coolly as she answered her nephew, "Thanks, but we've met." She straightened and shrugged away from him. “This,” she said through clenched teeth, “This is your fault.”
He lowered his hand and waited for her to continue.
“YOU trained Lumiya. She trained Jacen. This is your fault.”
“I have enough to answer for without accepting my grandson’s sins, as well.”
Her eyes remained hard but, despite herself, she found herself staring. This man. This human man had once been the most feared being in the galaxy. Vader she knew, but who was this? She had often wondered - who hadn’t? He had such understanding eyes.
She turned away again, unable to reconcile the conflicting emotions. This man knew the power of forgiveness even better than she did. It hurt to admit, though. It meant that she might have to forgive him for this, too.
But this was his fault.
“Why? Why did you train Lumiya to go after Luke? You had to know that he was your son by then. I know you did, because I was monitoring you.”
Surprise registered on his face. “I knew he would defeat her. She would help make him strong, feed the latent anger he had for us. It would make him ready to turn. And you were watching me, then? I thought you were shipped off to Thrawn by that time!”
“Ha! Is that what he told you?” Her short lived smirk melted almost instantly. “If you had not trained Lumiya, then these things could not have happened.”
“I will not accept responsibility. Find yourself another scapegoat.” He raised his eyebrows, “I suggest trying Jacen.”
“That’s what got me here,” she spat back.
“Aunt Mara?” Anakin interjected. They turned toward Anakin and he, like a young teenager, blushed but met her glare. “You trained Ben.”
Her brows lowered. “What does that have to do with the price of eels in Chadrilla?”
“Well, Palpatine trained you.”
They both stared blankly until he continued.
“Does Palpatine get the credit for Ben?”
“No.” Her voice was low, with a hint of warning.
Anakin nodded. “Then why is he,” he gestured to the older Skywalker, “responsible for his apprentice’s apprentice?”
Mara closed her eyes and waited a moment before responding.
“Who taught you to think?”
“A Master, Aunt Mara. A brilliant woman I once knew a long time ago on Dantooine.”
She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. When she opened her eyes, they were moist but clear once more.
“I want to see my son.”