Stars Also Dream, 4/? (2016-08-13)

First the massacre of the initiates in the Temple, then Order 66 being executed throughout the galaxy–an earthquake: a sudden jolt, escalating and devastating, before petering out into the stillness of ruins.

Or, perhaps, it was more akin to a volcano erupting. Bright and terrible and so overt, but the encroaching magma and smothering ash clouds no less destructive for their lingering pace. The thorough erasure of the Jedi was life changing, heart breaking, earth shattering.

Whatever just happened in the west? That’s a star going supernova.

You catch yourself before your knees actually hit the ground–shinobi training nothing to scoff at–but you are dizzy, disoriented, disastrous. You reach a hand out to steady yourself and find the solid dependability of Ibiki’s arm.

Ah, yes, sometimes you go grocery shopping together. Vegetables spill every which way–neither of you care. He doesn’t ask you if you’re alright, he knows you better than that.

(Before, when you were both newly minted chuunin, the Sensory Squad had sent you an invitation. But though the Force and chakra are related, they’re not the same; after your sporadic showing, they rescinded their offer.

That’s okay, Ibiki would rather have a partner who can tell when people are lying than one who can sense enemies at a distance–Ibiki’s enemies are usually close, anyway.)

“West,” you gasp, because that’s all you can tell him, “it was in the west.”

Your children are in the west. No, you’re being paranoid. They couldn’t possibly be near that, you think, the desperate hope of a worried mother.

Your daughter comes back with a heart full of stardust.

That’s not the first time you ever waver, wonder, worry, about your daughter. Shikamaru is very much his father’s son, a Nara through and through. But Shikako, you know, has more than just a touch of yourself.

The Force and chakra are related but not the same–but it’s hard to articulate how, exactly, words and concepts twisting together–like melody and rhythm, or flavor and scent. Everything has chakra, the Force is in everything. But using chakra can be taught, Force sensitivity cannot.

Your son is a being of chakra, that much is clear. But your daughter? If the Temple hadn’t fallen, she probably would have become an initiate.

(If the Temple hadn’t fallen, she wouldn’t even exist.)

A difference between chakra and the Force: Chakra has no Light side or Dark side, the Force does.

(Doesn’t it? It must, otherwise what have the Jedi been fighting for? Why do they exist? Why were they killed? Why was your life torn to shreds?)

Chakra is life-power-energy. It can be used for good or evil, but it’s not inherently Light or Dark.

You don’t think you’d ever have been comfortable around the Nara if that were the case. Certainly not enough to get to know Shikaku; definitely not enough to marry him or start a family with him.

He is calm and logical, but kind and charming in his honesty. It’s not that you forget that shadows and Nara are nearly synonyms in Konoha, it’s just that when you’re with him he’s just Shikaku–not the Nara clan head, the epitome of shadows.

Shadows aren’t Dark side, because chakra isn’t the Force. But that doesn’t matter at all when your daughter is dead.

She’s not dead, not really, she’s breathing and moving and talking and eating–just a training accident, your husband says, it’ll wear off by tomorrow–but it’s as if she is. In the Force, she is a void. In the Force, she is dead.

(A yawning emptiness where your bond with Master Bant used to be. That cold and empty and lonely place where all the other Jedi were before, a distant glow, comforting and familiar, suddenly and cruelly extinguished.)

You try to play along–Shikaku would never deliberately lie to you, certainly not about something as important as this–but it’s hard because as far as you can tell, as far as the Force is telling you, your daughter is dead and this is a droid everyone is trying to convince you is the little miracle you gave birth to.

Shikaku sees it on your face, hears it in your voice, has Shikamaru take that creature wearing your daughter’s body out of the house, but it doesn’t matter that she’s no longer in sight.

Your senses know: your daughter is dead.

(The next day is better, but not completely, your daughter no longer a void–no longer dead–but only the faintest presence in the Force. A mere candle seen from a far distance, not the comforting hearth of a familiar Force sensitive.

It’s only now that you realize how much you depended on that in a world full of strangers and strangeness)

~

A/N: For @donapoetrypassion because you always have the best follow up comments to my fic and I always feel a little guilty for not knowing how to respond, so this one is a relief to finally be able to do. Some Yoshino reactions to Gelel and the accident in clan training (plus bonus Ibiki). I hope you enjoy! 😀

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