Chapter 9: X-wing Interlude
Luke’s ship hurtled through hyperspace between Dagobah and Sullust, but he didn’t see the blur of stars as they streaked by. He couldn’t get the words that Obi-Wan had just said out of his mind. He couldn’t believe that Yoda was dead. He couldn’t wrap his mind around the fact that he had a sister. It astonished him even more that his sister was Leia!
He didn’t know which one aspect of his visit to Dagobah to focus on. Behind it all was a deep sense of befuddlement as to whether he should impart what he had learned to Leia or not. He instinctively knew she would have trouble accepting some of it, yet at the same time, she had a right to know about her origins.
But should he tell her right now? If he did, that might distract her from the coming campaign, whatever that was, and be to her ultimate detriment. He was sure that he didn’t want to do that to her. But he didn’t want to keep things from her ‘for her own good,’ either. He knew that was a trap he needed to stay away from. Once he started keeping things from her, he was afraid that he would never stop. Then there was the possibility that she would find out on her own, anyway, and then discover that he had acted as a censor to her. That most likely would not go over well.
As uncomfortable as talking about any of this made him, he knew that avoiding this subject with Leia wouldn’t be any better. Besides, there was every chance that he might fail in whatever future action he decided to take, and then she really would be their galaxy’s last hope. She had to learn what was at stake, and why, before it was too late.
But he just couldn’t focus! Vader was his father. Leia was his sister. He had to face Vader again, and prevail, or it would be over for the Rebellion, and the galaxy as a whole.
Luke shivered in his flight suit. It was just too much to take in.
The swirling stars of hyperspace had nothing on the swirling of Luke’s thoughts.
All of a sudden, Luke felt tears slip down his cheeks. It had hit him with the harsh abruptness of a laser blast: Yoda was dead. It was true that his first thought on the Jedi Master’s demise was that he couldn’t fulfill his destiny without his help. But now that he’d had time to think a bit, the selfishness of his first reaction gave way to the unhappy reality that Yoda had disappeared, was gone, dead… forever.
He would never see Yoda again, at least, not in the flesh. The diminutive Jedi Master wouldn’t be there to berate him about not remaining calm enough to properly utilize the Force. Yoda would never again give his wise council on matters of the day, wouldn’t show Luke how best to tackle the tasks set before him by a galaxy gone haywire with Imperial reign. It was as if the Jedi Master had slipped out of Luke’s grasp when he wasn’t looking, mercurial to the last.
It was a wrenching moment. Luke felt pain swell in his heart, and an ache the size of Tatooine nestled right next to the hole left by the death of Ben Kenobi. Another Jedi Master had vanished into the Force.
Luke didn’t feel like he had lost a teacher. He felt as though he had lost a friend.
Tears still drying on his cheeks, more of the truth struck him like a lightsaber blow; he had a sister. The thought amazed Luke.
How many times while he was growing up on Tatooine had he longed for a brother or sister to share both the good times and bad? Uncle Owen might not have been so bent on making Luke into a farmer if he’d had another person to focus his energies on.
Or would Aunt Beru have instead been bent on turning Luke’s sister into the typical Tatooine girl? Would she have learned to cook, to sew, to take care of the family, to do all those girly things instead of learning farming like he had? Would very little have been different for him?
A chilling thought suddenly accosted Luke: what if one of his teenaged friends had formed some sort of romantic attachment to his sister? A feeling of protectiveness washed over Luke, something that he was becoming familiar with at an alarmingly fast rate. What if she had reciprocated those feelings? Luke didn’t know how he would have reacted.
Worse yet, how would Uncle Owen have reacted?
Now Luke delved into the reality of specifically having Leia as his sister. Leia… so small, yet so strong. Luke knew by now not to underestimate her inborn strength, energy, and courage. She may be small, but she was like a stick of dynamite when roused. It wasn’t just anybody who could have killed Jabba the Hutt the way she had.
She was always there, always available to hear his rambling thoughts, always ready to offer advice and help and guidance. Luke found himself counting on her in ways that he didn’t want to rely on anyone. He above all knew of the fragility of life. He’d seen too many pilots lose their lives in battles with the Empire to think any other way. If something ever happened to her… he didn’t know what he would do.
He’d read somewhere in his Jedi research of the last year that the Jedi did not establish close relationships with anyone for this very reason. For the first time, Luke played with the idea that maybe those Jedi of old had had the right idea. Relying on anyone carried with it too big of a risk of getting hurt, of being tempted by grief or anger to turn to the Dark Side. Even now, Luke could imagine how devastated he would feel if he ever lost Leia. It scared him to think of what he might do in his grief.
At the same time, he realized that it was too late for him to put a halt to the affection that he felt towards Leia. Or towards Han for that matter. Or Yoda. Or towards Lando or Chewie. His friends were all a part of him now, and he couldn’t drive them out. He wouldn’t. He supposed that he would even feel empty without the droids.
He acceded that he could vow never to see her or the others again, but he would break that vow tomorrow if he made it today. He understood how it was best for his future well-being if he resisted the call he felt towards his sister and friends… but what would that do to him in the long run?
It didn’t matter anyway. He found himself easily getting used to all of them, but especially to Leia. It just felt right when she was near him, like he wasn’t so unfinished, like he could do whatever he set out to do just because he was her brother, and he simply would not let her down. She encouraged him to be a better person just by existing.
Luke knew that Han felt the same way, too. If there was a Princess Leia fan club, he and Han would vie for who was in charge of it at any given time. Which was all right with Luke; he and Han had been competing with each other over the Princess since they’d met her. Luke just hadn’t realized that what he felt for Leia was a familial connection rather than a romantic one. He supposed that it would relieve Han to learn that the one person he’d viewed for years as his main competition for Leia’s affections was actually not competition at all, but family. Both men could openly love Leia without any bad feelings spent toward the other. To be honest, it was something of a relief to Luke, too.
How would Leia feel about all of this? Luke knew that she wasn’t ready to accept that Darth Vader was her father, and perhaps she never would be. But then, he had to remember that Leia had more history with Vader than he did. It was true that Luke had thought for a long time that Vader had murdered his father, and had hated him for that. But Leia had been personally tortured by the man. He’d been the cause of having her one true love ripped away from her for no other reason than to test the carbon freezing chamber in Cloud City for him. Vader had held her back while she watched her entire planet explode. How did a person ever get over something like that? She had more reasons to hate Vader than Luke had ever had. It was ridiculous to expect her to suddenly love the guy instead of hate him just because he was her birth father.
Luke tried to predict what it would be like for her to have a brother, and a twin brother to boot. It would probably be confusing, and to have Luke be that brother would be stranger yet. As of now, they shared a happy relationship born of instinctive trust. However, he suspected that it was a good thing they hadn’t grown up together. If they had, they probably wouldn’t share that friendly relationship. Instead, they might annoy each other to the point that they couldn’t stand the sight of the other. He wasn’t entirely sure how to treat her now, but at least he didn’t abhor the sight of her.
At the same time, he knew exactly how to treat her now, or at least, how he thought he should treat her: with a little deference, a little awe, and a lot of love. In that, nothing had changed.
Again that feeling of protectiveness welled inside him, but he instinctively knew that trying to keep her safe was doomed to failure. He had to let her be herself, faults and all. He suspected that it would be the hardest thing he’d ever done, much harder than learning to be a Jedi.
Was this what was meant by the term ‘separation anxiety?’ Luke smiled to himself; if it was, he sure didn’t intend to tell Leia!
An alarm began to blare in the tiny ship’s cockpit, telling him that he had reached the rendezvous point near Sullust. The hole that was Yoda’s death still gnawed at him, like the hole that Ben Kenobi’s death had left. and he had yet to completely come to terms with his father’s identity and past actions But the thought that his sister Leia was waiting for him was a bright spot on an otherwise unpredictable future.