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Old Friends, Long Gone fic for chenin - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Old Friends, Long Gone fic for chenin
In my previous post (and feel free to keep adding challenges), I asked for hour-fic challenges--anyone who wanted another scene for a story of mine, go for it. chenin asked for a fic based on Old Friends, Long Gone, a Star Wars story in which the Skywalker twins, the day after the battle of Endor, meet the aged General Jar Jar Binks, who tells them a story about the scourging of Naboo, during which Vader allowed the escape of large numbers of Gungans, sacrificing the city of Theed to distract the stormtroopers from their genocide. Leia isn't really ready to hear these stories yet--lots of emotional baggage--which irritates Luke, but Jar Jar refuses to tell the stories to them separately, and promises that he will tell more when he deems Leia ready. chenin asked for the next story Jar Jar would tell.

I didn't promise that it would be a Vader story, though.

Start 1:32 a.m.

Luke Skywalker hated Coruscant.

Oh, he'd been excited at first, seeing the great spires of the city, but it had gotten old fast, and all the growth of the planet was buried beneath tons of steel. The motion of the Force was composed entirely of the frenetic, contradictory energy of sentient beings going about their business. It was hard to meditate here, hard to think.

He had no idea how the Jedi Temple had survived here for a thousand years. It was like trying to walk a tightrope during a sandstorm.

"There's nothing that says you have to put it back here," Leia said, bending over a charred and broken piece of statuary. "You could move the whole operation to Dagobah, if you wanted to. Or Tatooine."

Luke frowned. The thought had occurred to him.

But even if he did so, he wanted this place rebuilt, or at least cleaned and protected. He could sometimes feel the blood Father had spilled here on his own hands, and he wanted them clean.

Which was an unworthy thought. If this was no longer the best place to train Jedi, then the proper action would be to remove the Order to another place.

But still... a thousand years, here. In this place.

It wasn't something to be thrown aside lightly.


Luke looked up.

Jar Jar Binks was picking his way across the rubble of the conference room, looking forlorn despite his cheerful greeting. Leia narrowed her eyes at him suspiciously--she had not been happy when he'd been elected to represent the fragile, recovering world of Naboo in the Senate. She never voiced it--not to Luke, anyway--but he knew that she thought of him as an Imperial sympathizer. His insistence on sponsoring bills that strengthened various protective functions of the government had not helped this perception.

"Hi, Jar Jar," Luke said, smiling at him. "What's the news from Naboo?"

"Deysa seeding the oceans still," Jar Jar said. "Deesa big fish... gone. Deysa not coming back." He sighed. "Muy big bad there," he said. "It's-a not what it's-a used to be."

"Wonder how that happened," Leia muttered.

"We-sa asking for da help from da Senate," Jar Jar went on. "But deysa say dis being Naboo problem, from Naboo Senator."

Leia gave him a somewhat kinder look. "I'll talk to them, Jar Jar. Palpatine was hardly speaking for Naboo."

"Mesa thanking you, Chancellor."

"You're welcome."

Jar Jar looked around. "Yousa going go open up da Temple again?"

"I hope so." Luke shook his head. "Well, some of me hopes so. I want it to be whole again. But I can't say I like it here."

"Farmboy," Leia pointed out dryly.

Jar Jar nodded. "Yousa mother, too."


"Yes. Hersa father growing vines on Naboo. Shesa spending her time in the country."

"Huh." Luke grinned foolishly, glad of this inane bit of knowledge. He hadn't been able to shake the feeling of being on the outside looking in here.

Jar Jar looked back at Leia. "Yousa calling the question too soon today. 'Bout the trade routes."

"Are you questioning the way I'm doing my job?"

He shrugged. "If wesa aren't getting some protection on the trade routes, wesa gonna get the pirates back, and then people be wondering 'bout why the Republic letting them be robbed. Then they be thinking, wesa not being robbed on da Empire."

"Unless, of course, they had something the Empire wanted." She sighed. "You didn't have enough support in the Senate yet. This is the way it's been done for a long time. You have to work up political support, and then bring the question to debate..."

"Always being done this way," Jar Jar shook his head. "Yousa should be trying something new."

"Palpatine tried something new."

"We're still cleaning up from it," Luke added, using the Force to brush a drift of broken glass into a growing pile along the wall.

Jar Jar regarded both of them for a long time, then sat down in the only chair in the Council Room that had been relatively unscathed. "Yousa two, you got it in your heads that it's one or da other. Yousa can't be cleaning up da Temple without bringing the training back here. And yousa can't be bringing back to Republic without dropping everything deysa got right in da Empire."

Leia's eyes popped open. "Right?"

He nodded. "Right."

Luke grimaced, wishing Jar Jar had thought of a less incendiary word than "right." "Is that what my father thought?" he asked.

"Yousa and Ani," Jar Jar said fondly. "Yousa always thinking what would he think? But yousa mother... shesa da one who'd say it now."

Leia wrinkled her nose. "Our mother was a rebel."

"Yes. But shesa knew what's wrong with da Republic." He looked back and forth between them. "Yousa ready," he said. "Mesa remembering more for you."

"About Father?" Luke asked.

"No. About da Padmé."

Luke looked up with surprise. Jar Jar had never offered them information about their mother, despite having known her well. He'd never known why.

Jar Jar smiled wisely. "Shesa was a pretty thing," he said. "Pretty and muy, muy intelligent...

The Theed Place hangar is dark, except for a ring of security lights, but Jar Jar can hear the frustrated pounding on one of the fighters. He lets his eyes adjust to the shadows--it's no worse than the deep water, really--and he sees the small figure across the room, standing on a ladder that leads to the cockpit. She looks up when he approaches.

"Jar Jar!"

He bows. "Queen Amidoll!"

She sits down on the top rung of the ladder, the pretty white dress she wore at the parade fluttering in the air currents of the hangar. She has washed off the makeup and taken her hair down, and the stiff wing-shape at the back of the dress has disappeared. Still, she looks like a queen. "Call me Padmé," she said. "Please."

"Yousa sure?"

She nods. "Ani figured out how to fly this thing in the middle of a battle. I can't even figure out how to open the cockpit."

"Yousa not needing to fly a fighter, Yousa Highness."

"I don't know what I'll need to do." She turns on the ladder and climbs down, heading for the great door, open to the wind coming up from the plains. Her hair blows backward and tickles along Jar Jar's nose as he follows her.

"It's-a being a grand night," he offers.

She crosses her arms and looks out across her world. "We survived," she says. "This time, we survived. I suppose that makes it a grand night."

Jar Jar doesn't say anything. He is comfortable with Padmé, but this human girl-child is not Padmé, but Amidala. The Queen. He isn't certain what to say to her.

"I was lying awake," she says. "Thinking. I was happy after the parade. But I look at what we lost. I heard Ani crying for Qui-Gon... don't tell him I told you that; I don't think he'd like me hearing that."

Jar Jar nods. He has been a small boy himself once.

"He's leaving in the morning. Going off to Coruscant with Obi-Wan and the others. They'll train him."

"Deesa what he's wanting, no?"

"Yes. I suppose it is." She takes a deep breath. "I'm not really thinking about Ani. Except that he never should have been in this battle. He never should have had to race for us. It never should have come to a point where a stranger needed to come in. I'm the queen."

"And yousa led the battle. Yousa won our world back."

She shakes her head. "It was too late. Too much happened."

Jar Jar thinks about touching her shoulder, but doesn't.

"I always went along with the way things were always done. I learned self-defense, in case someone tried to kidnap me, but I never learned..." She sighs. "I should learn to fly," she says. "I woke up Captain Panaka to tell him that, and he said, 'Under no circumstances, my Lady, go back to sleep.' But I want to be able to take care of myself better. To be stronger. This shouldn't have happened."

"And... flying would change it?"

"No. Maybe not. But it's... it's the notion of not being passive," she said. "Of being able to have some control. But apparently, that's not the way it's done. The Queen isn't meant to actually fight for her world."

"Yousa gonna change the way it's done?"

She looks at him slyly, then the tension in her face disappears, and she gives him a wide smile. "Yes, Jar Jar. I think I am. I have a feeling I'd best learn the basics before morning though. It will be harder to turn me down if I already have an idea what I'm doing."

Jar Jar thinks for a minute, then returns her smile. "Mesa going and waking him up," he says. "Hesa not minding a bit, mesa thinking."

Padmé laughs. "Best not wake up Master Obi-Wan on the way. He may not be quite as happy."

Jar Jar bows to her and backs out of the hangar. He looks back and sees her there, a tiny form against the stars, her arms spread wide, her white gown glisting in the moonlight. And some part his mind screams, because she is already a ghost.

He closes his eyes and doesn't listen.

"Vader taught Mother to fly?" Leia asked. "I didn't even know she could."

Jar Jar shrugged. "Hesa teach her one or two things that night. Den shesa learning from Captain Typho. But dissen not da point. Da point was, shesa knowing dat sometimes, da way it's always been needs changing. Even if shesa not being sure how it's-a going to help."

"The moral of your story being that I need to tighten security on the trade routes?" Leia said acidly.

Jar Jar only shook his head. "Dis-a moral? Mesa not knowing. But yousa got to think about learning to fly. Dat's all."

"I've been flying for a long time."

"She's a Skywalker," Luke muttered.

Jar Jar got up. "Mesa got some talking to do, if mesa gonna find more Senators to back mesa up. Yousa two... come see me. Mesa got more stories to tell you. But yousa come together."

End 2:37


9 comments or Leave a comment
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: April 14th, 2004 06:02 am (UTC) (Link)

I really like the way you write Jar Jar. (I.e. not as a dunce. *wry grin*)

And I bet Ani didn't mind being gotten up in the middle of the night to teach his angel to fly.
angel_gidget From: angel_gidget Date: April 14th, 2004 09:09 am (UTC) (Link)

Meesa T'inkin' you mui mui grand at dis.

Lovely! I really liked the original story too; You did a great job on expanding on your own work! ^_^
atropos87 From: atropos87 Date: April 14th, 2004 03:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nice work, Fern. I love the image of Padme holding her arms out to the stars.
chenin From: chenin Date: April 14th, 2004 05:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I didn't promise that it would be a Vader story, though.

You're a slippery little devil aren't you! Hee. Despite it's lack of Vader I loved it, and am a little in awe that you came up with it in just an hour. Someone else mentioned that they loved the way you write Jar Jar and I have to agree. I'm one of those who was annoyed by the character in the first film, but you make him one that I enjoy in fiction. I especially liked the way the twins react and interact with him. Great job!
thewhiteowl From: thewhiteowl Date: April 15th, 2004 05:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, that was lovely :-) Much as I love your HP fics, no one writes the Skywalkers quite like you do. And no one else writes Jar Jar where he isn't suffering a painful and undeserved death!

I always thought that Luke wouldn't like Coruscant. :-D Poor farmboy. I loved that Anakin taught Padmé how to fly. Aw, the kids...

More will always be greatly appreciated. ;)
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: April 16th, 2004 04:44 am (UTC) (Link)
I am so buffed! I found this and another gem from Meredith B Mallory the other day – both “twin” stories concerning their parents. I’m glad to see you haven’t retired from Star Wars fan fiction. I’d love to see this up on the TFN Boards.

The only flaw I can see is here: “And... flying would change it?” - sounds too ‘Basic’ for Jar Jar.

Since you are taking requests, can I make one? How about a Padmé-centric short story for every year between TPM and AotC? It’ll be like the Amidala version of JQ only better since you’re writing it. :)

Will you ever finish Coming Home? :(
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 16th, 2004 11:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Goodness, ten years?

I can't seem to get back inside "Coming Home." Not sure why; I know how the story goes. But I can't write it anymore.

I'll do some more Padmé stories eventually.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: April 17th, 2004 01:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Very true to the characters... LOL @ what you said about Peter being 'normal'... we all can't be brilliant, brave, dashing and/or tortured! Re: my last comment... Still thinks you would do wonders with a Padme series ...hint hint... nudge nudge
volandum From: volandum Date: April 19th, 2005 09:34 pm (UTC) (Link)

Quid dicam?

I suggested that a friend read a couple of your stories - namely uprising and this one. Since I consider them fairly constructive, I'll transcribe his comments verbatim.


her writing is adequate, though blunt.
a sense for writing - this author lacks subtlety...
'He was yelling something, but Dritali didn't know what it was.'
poor quality

This fic[let].

This is better, just a couple of niggles
but yes, this is fine writing
'The motion of the Force was composed entirely of the frenetic, contradictory energy of sentient beings going about their business'
clunky, such an early sentence must be very fluent
I would rewrite it - what is 'contradictory energy'? and 'going about their business' is too colloquial to use really

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