Bittersweet
by Glimmer Girl


We fought before he left; we always seem to find the most inopportune times to get in a disagreement. But then, when would be a good time? Would it ever feel right to see his eyes flash violent blue at me, then become sadly vacant as he turns away? He always walks away, goes off on his own, and leaves me standing here with the bitter taste of unresolved anger and tears in my mouth.

It doesn't matter what we fight about, it always ends that way. Luke tells me he needs to be alone, that he can feel this light inside himself and that the only way it doesn't burn him is when he's alone. I don't understand the Force like he does, I don't know what it's like to be a Jedi. Maybe he does need someone who can feel what he does, who knows isolation the same way he does. But he doesn't have to throw it in my teeth like this. He doesn't have to tell me over and over again how I don't understand him and how I don't realize it's different for him, that it hurts more for him. Fine. Maybe life is more painful for him. But how dare he say that I don't realize, when I'm the one lying next to him at night. When I'm the one who sees him wake up in the dead cold of night with a look on his face like he's been abandoned. I realize more than he knows.

I was almost glad to see him go. Dump Rogue Squadron on my shoulders, see I if I care. See if I care, Luke, I can't live with you. You don't let me near you, you just huddle in on yourself, afraid that the light may burn too bright inside of you and eventually flash to darkness. Take your Force, and your sense of duty and your fear of destiny and see if I care. See if I care. You don't see. I care.

Of course I care. And it hurts more than anything to keep caring when all I want to do is get him out of my heart. As I sit alone inside our quarters tonight, the shadows seem a little bit darker and it's a lot harder to smile. There is some kind of light inside Luke, obvious now that he's gone. The same light that illuminates his eyes when he lets himself trust me. Sad, calm, and open.

Like when Luke tells me he needs me. He tells me that he's already lost too much. And I hold him, because I understand what it's like to lose everything you thought would last forever. When I trace the lines of his eyes and lips, I know more acutely than ever what that means. For, in Luke, I can see all my memories spill out; all the lives I wish I could have saved, all the friends and years that slipped away too soon, all that ever was important suddenly becomes focused in him. Instead of touching shadows, I hold him in my arms.

It feels like light, life and hope when we're close, palm to palm, mouth to mouth, quietly breathing. He's my yesterday and my tomorrow; he's all the memories I have yet to make and the deeds I have yet to remember. I press my forehead to his and whisper that he's not alone anymore. Luke kisses me, and the taste is sweet like springtime and I forget that we have to defeat the Empire. I forget my anger, too, because he is fresh and alive in my arms.

What would I do if they only brought me back a body? What if Luke lay limp in my arms, and all I could remember of our last touch would be the taste of bitter anger? It would linger in my mouth until the day I died. Call me a fool, but I would rather be a fool and welcome him back after every argument than spend a lifetime trying to wash away the taste of angry guilt.

Oh, I was almost happy to see him turn around and leave. For a brief second I swore this time I would not welcome him back. Until I remembered that one day he might not come back. Then I would truly have to live without him.

A few data pads are scattered on the desk and they tumble off as I throw my own lightslate on top of them. His data pads. Just like his old tunic tangled in the bed covers. I guess Jedi don't have to do laundry. Picking up the tunic, I walk over to the wall console and dial down the lights. My shadow slips slowly across the wall, as if it were evening. As if I had a window to let in the evening light.

His tunic raised to my face, I sit down carefully and inhale. The smell of his hair, his warm skin, his sweat -- the very things that make him beautiful and human -- permeate the garment. Sensual images spin out and explode, from the feel of his hand on my back as we walk through the corridors to the taste of his breath on my lips as he argues with me. Oh, but it's enough of a reminder.

Deliberately slow, as if I perform some ritual, I place the tunic back on the bed. I slide my belt off and then work on removing my boots. They go in the closet and my clothes, after I take them off just as meticulously, go in the laundry chute. I dial down the lights again, until I stand naked in the cold darkness.

He used to tell me not to leave the lights on when we made love. But I wanted to see Luke's eyes, to see if they would be as bright as I imagined when he came. Eventually, I let him shut the lights off. Even in the dark I could see his eyes.

No shadows paint the walls now, and the only light comes from a small desk holocron. In the faint green glow I can see the uneven edges of the pile of datapads. I walk ten steps to the bed; we mapped out the room ages ago, in case we ever needed to find our way without being able to see. Stopping at the edge, I reach one hand up to my face and finger the outline of my lips.

We utter words unkind and untrue to our lovers.

I wet the tip of one finger and run it over my bottom lip, a cruel imitation of my lover's touch. Dragging my fingers down my neck, I shudder. My hands are cold, like the air in the room. But something inside me burns. It isn't enough to miss him. I want him. I wish we hadn't argued, I wish the harsh words weren't so easy to say.

Cruelty has a human heart.

He makes my heart quicken. Too often with passion not romantic. I rub my palms over my chest and the warmth spreads. If I could exchange our heated arguments for heated touches, in a moment I would do it. I close my eyes and stroke across my nipples and rib cage. His hands are always warm; I like to catch them in mine as he talks, when we are alone, and raise them to my mouth. I rake my fingernails down my side and scratch the skin on my thigh. Arousal surges through me already as I imagine his touch.

I can't live with you.

We argue like grown men do, with tight lips and hard words. Emotion hangs thick in the room when we disagree, yet neither of us lets what we feel seep out. The room becomes small and it is difficult to breathe and just when I'm certain one of us will suffocate or start crying, he turns away and I harden my face. Then I'm alone and breathing.

I can't live without you.

But breathing is my breath coming hard and thick as he loves me. Breathing is us eating breakfast together and mapping out battle plans. Breathing is falling asleep next to him and waking up next to him. Breathing is what we do when we aren't fighting. Breathing is loving.

I come in my own hand, images of my lover splashing over me. His taste, his smell, his touch, his voice -- a crystal moment that bursts and shatters before I know it's there. I lie on the bed, drop my hand onto the blankets and run the tip of my tongue over my lips. The taste of blood mingles with the residual taste of my angry words to Luke hours ago.


Finis


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