Cruelty of the Gods
...And Alive
by Adela AKA Figlia

Wedge ran through the corridors of the Nebulon-B frigate, heedless of anyone else. One thought swirled through his brain. Luke. Luke's alive. But as he reached his destination, something else the princess had said soaked into his brain. "He's changed, Wedge," she'd said. "He's changed, and he's hurt." He considered for a second, never pausing in his headlong rush. Changed? No, Luke would never change enough to make Wedge stop loving him.

Wedge studied the door before him. Medibay room 45. Yes, this was the room the princess had told him.

He touched the door, knocked it quietly.

"Come in," a quiet, tired voice answered-Luke's voice.

Wedge entered the room, and stopped. Whatever the princess had said hadn't prepared him for the change he saw in his lover. There were final, fading remnants of a large burn on one side of Luke's face, and under the white medical pajama Wedge could see evidence of more muscle than he remembered. Luke's hands were hidden, tucked into the sleeves of the loose top he wore. But the worst change was in his eyes.

Those eyes used to be filled with light, with life. Now they were dead, the life held in their depths gone, the light extinguished. Luke's eyes held nothing but sadness.

"Luke," Wedge said, his voice almost shaking. "Gods above, Luke, what happened to you?"

"Too much," Luke said softly, looking down. "By all the souls of the sands, too much."

Wedge walked over to the bed Luke sat on. He placed a hand on Luke's shoulder, and again felt muscles that hadn't been there before. Luke looked up at him, an ache buried deep in his face, and

Wedge, recognizing what Luke needed, sat down beside him on the narrow medibay cot and pulled his lover into his arms. Luke leaned his head against Wedge's shoulder, and Wedge asked softly, "What did they do to you?"

Luke pulled himself up slightly, not entirely out of Wedge's arms, but enough to look him in the face. "I… I trained to be a Jedi," he murmured. "It's incredible-all the power! But…" and again he looked down, and bit his lip.

"But what?" Wedge didn't really want to ask, didn't want to force Luke to answer, to experience again the pain behind those eyes. But he had to know. He had to know what those Imperial bastards had done to his Luke.

"Darth Vader," Luke said softly. "I fought Darth Vader."

Wedge's eyes widened at this. Luke went on, with a look of determination, his eyes tightly shut. "I almost died, Wedge. Almost. Souls of the sands…." He trailed off, and was silent for a moment. "I lost my hand." He slid his hands out of their hiding places in his sleeves, and Wedge sucked in a sharp breath. Luke's right hand looked normal, but the angry red line where prosthetics met live skin, yet to bond fully, was like a snake coiled around Luke's arm, five centimeters above the wrist.

Wedge wrapped his arms tightly around Luke; again, recognizing the pain the blond man was suffering. Luke didn't pull back or protest, but instead buried his face in Wedge's shoulder, seeking comfort from the strong, safe arms of his lover. With a kiss pressed against Luke's forehead, Wedge murmured, "You're back. Gods, Luke, I thought you were dead…"

Luke lifted his head up again, staring straight into his lover's eyes. His left hand, the real one, stroked Wedge's cheek gently. "I thought I'd never see you again," he whispered. "I was so afraid…"

Wedge pressed his lips to Luke's, firmly and without hesitation. "But you're here," he whispered after the kiss. "You're here, back with me, love. We'll always be together."

"Always," Luke echoed. They sealed the promise with a kiss.


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