A/N: This is the last chapter of Avenging Angel. There will be a sequel in the works, but that will be a while- there are a few other projects I want to pursue. I apologize for the delay- I was stuck for a while, and then Carrie Fisher passed away, so I wanted to address it properly.
Review response time:
Phoenix Brooke: Who knows?
Zerousy: It is. Someone else asked about it (I forget who), so I figured, why not?
ThunderSphinx: I bet she would.
Star Wars: Avenging Angel, Chapter 17- Grief
Leia Organa was… unwell.
It had started not long after she had felt Han's death- a small tick in her heart. She hadn't thought much of it recently, until she'd collapsed in the command center and rushed to the infirmary.
Poe paced in the waiting area. Oh Force, he pleaded, let her live. Who else is going to lead us?
The doctor came out. "It's not good, Commander. She doesn't have much time."
Poe nodded. "I understand. Can she have visitors?"
"Yes. Be aware- she may not hear you right away."
Poe headed back. On his way, his comm sounded. "Commander, we have a visual on the Falcon."
Poe exhaled. Oh joy. "Let Master Skywalker know what has transpired, and direct him to the infirmary."
Oddly enough, it was Padme who sensed something wrong.
Still weak from her injuries, Padme managed to grab Anakin's arm as he moved through the crew section.
"Ani… something is wrong."
Anakin stopped (because Padme's instincts were still sharp) and reached out through the Force. NO…
Luke seemed to have sensed it too, as he ran through the ship at a speed no man his age should realistically have. Rey was hot on his heels.
Anakin had only an instant to process all this, before hollering "FINN!"
The man himself strode in, his jacket half-on.
"Finn, help Padme to the infirmary. I'll grab Ben."
"Sure, Anakin. What happened?"
"General Organa is dying."
As much as Anakin hated to admit it, the one upside to Darth Vader was that Anakin finally learned how to perfect masking his emotions. Such a skill came in handy now, as he and the Skywalker clan trudged through the Resistance base.
Upon arriving in the infirmary, Anakin all but hollered "Where is General Organa?"
One of the orderlies, who almost jumped out of her skin, replied "Down the hall- first door on the right."
Ben moved first, limping into the designated room. When Rey and Finn moved to follow, Anakin held them back.
"Don't," He said gently. "Ben needs to do this. We cannot interfere."
"But- Aunt Leia-" Rey started.
I know, Anakin thought, mournfully- the thought of one of his children dying was something he and Padme would have to work through. Through the Force, Anakin reached out to Rey. Ben means her no harm. Trust me.
It's been too long, Ben thought. Too kriffing long.
It was surreal, in a sense, seeing his mother laying there on the cot, the steady beeping of the monitors reassuring the young Force user that she still lived.
Ben sat down at the side of the bed, as close to Leia as he dared. It occurred to him, in that moment, that he realized that he didn't know what to say. He settled for taking Leia's hand in his for the moment.
The poor boy choked on his response. "Yeah, Mom. It's me. It's… Ben."
"Oh," Leia smiled. "My sweet boy. Welcome home."
"Thanks, Mom." Ben paused. "I'm so, so sorry, Mom…"
"Shhh…." Leia said, wiping a tear that Ben didn't even realize was there from his face. "You came home. That's all… we wanted…."
"St-stay with me, Mom."
"Ben… promise me… you won't go back?"
"I…" Ben said. This was not happening. "I promise, Mom."
Leia smiled. "Good. Give 'em hell for me, would you?"
Ben smiled, his lip upturned in the same manner as his father. "Yes, Mom."
Leia nodded, her eyes drooping closed as the monitor flatlined.
"M-mom?" Ben cried, before a hand came to rest on his shoulder.
Anakin hated funerals.
The funeral for his daughter was lovely, and everyone on base was in attendance. Many people that had known her spoke, and while they were kind and respectful, Anakin was just… there.
He'd been running on something of an autopilot for the past few days, ever since he'd felt it in the Force that Leia had passed. As a result, it took Finn snapping his fingers for the former Sith to fully take in his surroundings.
Kriff… wait… where's Padme?
"Thanks, kid," was all Anakin said to Finn before he vanished, searching the base for his wife. Where'd she go…?
Anakin finally found her by a tree, standing stock still, looking out at the sunset.
Padme turned. "Why, Ani?"
If it was possible for Anakin's heart to break any further, it did. It certainly robbed Anakin of the ability to speak for a few brief moments. He settled for embracing his wife."I don't know…"
"S'not fair," Padme all but wailed. "Kids bury their parents, not- not…"
…Parents bury their kids. The words went unspoken. "I know, honey, I know…"
And that was when Anakin finally cried.
Ben Solo was alone.
He just couldn't deal with people right now.
It was Uncle Luke.
Ben sighed. "Yes?"
"I…I…" and Ben broke down. He barely registered the old Jedi wrapping him in a hug, before he started crying, too.
And elsewhere, an old Sith Lord plotted and schemed.
The Darkness will not be denied.
General Hux- bootlicker that he was- stood at attention.
"General Hux… how soon can our forces be mobilized?"
"A week, milord. Where shall we strike?"
Darth Reaver grinned. "Everywhere."
Thanks to everyone!