ladyofleithian: (Default)
[personal profile] ladyofleithian
Title: Bitter Truths

Summary: In which Leia meets with our two Supreme Leaders, and the matter of the three's obliviousness comes to the forefront.

Prompt: Oblivious

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Kylo Ren isn't going to deny that he is dreading this next comm call with his mother -- with the General, he corrects himself. General Organa-Solo means nothing to him. He is thirty-five years old, and Supreme Leader of the First Order. Supreme Leaders should not be all but unsettled just by a comm call from their mothers.

(Of course, Snoke never would have had to deal with that. His own mother was killed in Venkar's bombings, along with his father. And no other leader would really care about such things)

But Kylo Ren has to. The fact that his mother happens to be the General of the Resistance -- it adds a sort of awkwardness, to put it mildly, to a situation that should be straightforward. He hasn't spoken to her in twelve years. Even calling it an estranged relationship is putting it mildly because usually estranged relationships don't end up on opposite sides of a war.

Next to him, Poe squeezes his hand. It's a quiet reassurance from one Supreme Leader to another, and Kylo is relatively comforted, even despite himself.

The hologram flickers to life, and the face of General Organa appears, her hair done up in one of those elaborate styles that reminds Kylo of her Senate days. He can remember her being on the Holonet in one of those meetings, and how confident she seemed, how strong. It was one of those things that, strange and complicated as their relationship was, he admired her for. And Kylo Ren knows a worthy opponent when he sees one. Jessika Pava was one. So was Jaina. They still are worthy opponents, actually.

"Ben," she says, and there is something in her that's...oddly softer, for lack of a better word. It's as if getting older has softened her -- not to the point of weakness, however. There's merely a sort of gentleness there that Kylo Ren wasn't expecting. It's not a gentleness that he commonly associated with his mother.

"General," he says, and he swears a flash of pain comes into the General's eyes -- too expressive eyes, actually. Too much like his own. It reminds him of occasions where he's wanted to chip away at his features until he can no longer see any resemblance to Han Solo or General Organa. "It's been some time."

Poe steps forward. "General Organa," he says.

"Poe." It's said in a sort of surprised tone, as if General Organa still can't believe that Poe is the co-Supreme Leader.

"You wanted to negotiate with us?" Kylo says after a long silence. "Or is this a trap?"

"It's not a trap. And it's more than just wanting to negotiate with you."

"Why do you really want me to come home?"

"I miss you, Ben."

Kylo Ren is reminded too much of a man ten years older than the General, on the bridge of Starkiller Base. Leave here with me. Come home. We miss you. Words that Ben Solo would have given anything to hear, and, Kylo realizes to his startlement, that he, Lord Ren, would have given anything to hear as well.

"Ben?" The General's voice is soft, concerned, even as Kylo Ren steps away, feeling moisture start to prickle in his eyes. Just like on Starkiller Base, six years ago. He can still hear his own voice, pathetic, vulnerable as he was at the Yavin massacre when he was twenty-three.

I'm being torn apart. I want to be free of this pain.

"Kylo." Poe's voice, seeming so far away. "Kylo!"

I know what I have to do but I don't know if I have the strength to do it. Will you help me?

"Why now?" He blinks, trying to keep his voice from cracking -- it's too late. "You, of all beings. You despised me. You kept my heritage, my own heritage, from me, and used it as a weapon to justify your hatred for me."

"I never hated you -- "

"Do you know what happened that day, with me, when I first learned what that Senator Casterfo did?" Kylo makes sure to say the word like it's an insult, like it's something repulsive.

"I don't."

"I ran, General. I found a bar on Yavin where I could drink. Snoke found me..." And even going into the rest of the details, he's already feeling his hands shaking with anger.

The General's eyes widen with comprehension, and it's there that Kylo just knows that what she's thinking -- he doesn't need to see her in person to know what she's thinking, actually. She's clearly stunned. Kylo doesn't know what he was expecting, but it certainly wasn't this. Then she says, softly, almost inaudibly, "Ben."

"It explained so much, didn't it?" Ren continues, and this time it seems that once he's started, he isn't able to stop. His initial resistance to his father seems like youngling-tier insults in comparison. "The way you looked at me, the way you thought about me -- I heard everything you were thinking, General. You thought there was too much Vader in me."

Next to him, Poe flinches; he clearly hasn't expected that. Then, "You thought that about your own son? He was just a child!"

"And you're right." General Organa's voice is still calm, still steady. "I only worried that you would meet the same fate as your grandfather. There always was that fear. Some of the things you were learning, some of your powers not quite being controlled...and then there was Snoke. He always was this shadow looming over our lives. Ben...your psychologist thought he was just an imaginary friend you had. But I just knew there was something more to it than that."

"I...can remember." Or Ben Solo can. Ben Solo is dead, but it seems that his ghost is haunting Kylo Ren from beyond the grave. "Snoke, that is."

Poe, meanwhile, looks flabbergasted.

General Organa continues. "I thought that sending you to Yavin would protect you from him. I never dreamed he would actually follow you there."

Kylo Ren, Supreme Leader of the First Order, is too stunned to reply to this. All this time, thirty-one years of feeling like he wasn't wanted, and all of it because his own mother thought she was protecting him. Protecting him. If it weren't for the fact Poe is here, he would find the nearest console to destroy, anything to destroy.

Poe must have seen that his hands are shaking, because he places a hand on Kylo's shoulder, and it's cooling, but not enough to assuage the feeling like he's been hit by a speeder. Thirty-one years. Thirty-one years of thinking I wasn't wanted, that I was dirty, all because the General wanted to "protect" me. Thirty-one years is too long to hate yourself, and then later, to hate others.

"You could have done anything," Poe says. "You could have gone after Snoke."

"Poe, have you ever gone after an enemy you can't see? That was the problem. Snoke was cunning. And he was fast, and good at camouflaging in the Force. All of those were obstacles to finding him."

"You could have asked for help."

"I could have. I know that now. At the time, I thought what I was doing was the right thing. I was wrong."

So she admits it. It feels too much like a spell's been broken. The spell that's kept both Ben Solo and Kylo Ren effectively trapped for thirty-one years.

"And my heritage?" Kylo says carefully.

"I wanted to protect you from that too. There was no good way to tell you the truth. It would have hurt you."

"Would it?"

"You ran away. What do you think?" There's no condemnation in the General's voice, just calm. "You wouldn't have been ready for that burden when you were a child. And after learning what a monster your grandfather was, I thought it was best I keep you from him. Your father and I both did."

So, more of that "protecting" she was talking about earlier. Always protecting.

The General continues. "Everything I did, I did to protect you, Ben. I never dreamed it would hurt you." A beat. "I am sorry."

Silence falls between the three of them before the General speaks again. "I was hoping you and Poe would come home."

"It's too late for me."

Poe speaks up. "And we can't leave the First Order behind. Besides, even if you're willing to negotiate in any way, the rest of the Resistance won't be that willing."

"I'm not sure about whether they'll be willing to negotiate either," the General says. "But if it's least consider it."

Silence. Then Kylo speaks.

"We'll consider it."

"Thank you." And the way that the General sounds, it's as if he's given her an invaluable gift. Does she truly miss him? Is it a trap? Their next meeting, in person, may confirm either one. "May the Force be with you."

The hologram ends, leaving the two Supreme Leaders alone with their thoughts, and an uncertain future.

Date: 2017-05-26 03:58 pm (UTC)
breyzyyin: (Yin: loyalty)
From: [personal profile] breyzyyin
This was an excellent story. I loved how the conversation between Poe, Kylo, and Leia played out--you really captured so much emotion in this piece! ♥

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