Originally posted: June 10, 2005
For the order66fics challenge. Mild spoilers for the Jedi Quest and Last of the Jedi series. These are indeed canon characters, though I realize that only about eight people out there know who they are. But they're the only canonically GAY couple in the Star Wars universe! They need more fic written about them, people! Thanks to jedirita for the beta.
Link: On LJ
But that wasn't what concerned Roan Lands the most. From the moment the news of the Jedi Order's attempted coup had started trickling over the holofeed, Ferus had said nothing. He had shown no emotion. He had simply listened and watched, his face blank and his voice silent.
Roan had no idea how he would have reacted to the news that the people who had raised and shaped him had tried to assassinate the Supreme Chancellor and overthrow the Senate. It was surreal, to say the least.
Roan watched Ferus from across the room, wondering how he should have expected him to react. Roan only knew a little about the Jedi -- what Ferus had told him, mostly. He knew Ferus had left the Order because he didn't think he could be a good Jedi. Roan happened to think Ferus would have been a great Jedi; but then, he was a bit biased.
He knew the Jedi were not particularly emotional, preferring meditation and serenity to fear, anger, excitement, and so on. This had always seemed strange to Roan, since Ferus had been anything but stoic from the day they'd met. He was smart and funny, and sensitive in ways most people were not. He was quick to laugh, warm with strangers, and remembered the name of every person he'd ever met. He was indecisive about small things to a degree Roan found charming, as if he'd never had to make a decision about what to eat or what to wear in his life.
And he was no chaste Jedi in the bedroom -- that was for sure. Roan grinned at that thought and immediately felt guilty. This wasn't the time to be thinking of such things.
Roan went into their apartment's kitchen and pulled a bottle of ale from the cooling unit. If he were in Ferus's boots, he would have started drinking three hours ago. Ferus drank only rarely though. He always said he preferred to keep his wits about him.
Roan settled next to Ferus on the sofa and held out the bottle, offering him a sip. To his surprise, Ferus took the bottle from his hand. Roan frowned -- he'd expected Ferus to refuse it.
Ferus didn't drink it though; he simply set the bottle on a nearby table. Just as Roan was about to reach for it again, Ferus settled back against him. Roan opened his arms, surprised. Ferus had never been much of a cuddler, something Roan had always assumed was a Jedi thing. Ferus was trembling, but his body was warm against Roan's under the blanket. Roan wondered if he was frightened or if it was something else. He wanted to ask, but he didn't know what to say.
Wow, looks like you got out just in time!
See anyone you recognize in that footage?
Now I understand why you left!
"They wouldn't do this," Ferus said at last, startling Roan.
"Any of this. It's not the Jedi way."
Roan frowned at the holovid unit. "You're saying the vid footage has been forged? That's a stretch, Ferus."
"No, not forged, just…" Ferus's body tensed against him. "Manipulated. Twisted."
"What will happen now?" Roan whispered. "Without the Jedi, how will the Senate maintain order in the galaxy?"
"I don't know," Ferus replied. "But I have a bad feeling about this."
Roan woke up in the middle of the night, alone and cold. Ferus had never come to bed. Perhaps he'd fallen asleep on the sofa.
Roan stumbled through the dark into the main room, only to see that Ferus was still awake, still watching the news coverage. The lights from the holovid projector danced over his face, washing out his features. He looked like a ghost. Roan shivered and crossed the room.
The ale bottle still sat on the table by the sofa, untouched. Roan eyed it, wondering if it was still drinkable. He glanced back at Ferus, then noticed his face was tear-streaked. Roan froze for a moment, watching him. He looked as if he'd been crying for a long time, and had only just stopped.
In their short relationship, neither of them had faced an emotionally difficult situation. This was the first time Roan had seen his boyfriend upset, let alone distraught. He had no idea what to do. He sat next to Ferus, then reached out to touch his shoulder.
"They killed them all," Ferus whispered. His eyes didn't leave the projection unit.
Roan blinked at him, confused. "Sorry?"
"They're all dead. The Jedi. Every one of them. Even the younglings."
"They're all…" Roan ran a hand over his face. It was difficult to believe. How could all the Jedi be dead? There had always been Jedi, thousands of them. "That's impossible. How did they…? Who did this?"
"The Republic troops who stormed the Temple. They claimed to be putting down an uprising," Ferus said. "On the feed they're saying that the Jedi would rather die than be taken prisoner." Ferus snorted and shook his head. It was clear from the expression on his face that he thought this was ludicrous.
"And the troops killed the younglings as well? That's horrible!"
"They're reporting that the Jedi killed the younglings themselves to prevent anyone from taking them away and learning their secrets."
"Do you think that's true?" Roan asked. Ferus turned and glared at him, as if shocked he would ask the question. Roan bit his lip. He'd never said anything to Ferus, but he'd always found the Jedi practice of taking younglings from their families disturbing. Maybe they would kill their own young. He had always regarded the Jedi as a cult of sorts, anyway.
"It's not possible," Ferus replied, voice tight. "It goes against everything the Jedi stand for. No one would do such a thing."
"Then who do you think did it?"
"Those troops," Ferus whispered, eyes turning back to the vid screen and focusing on footage of clone troopers storming the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. "They were probably ordered to kill everyone. I doubt the Emperor would want any Jedi left to oppose him."
"Emperor? What are you--"
"I'll show you," Ferus replied. He backed up the holovid feed and played Palpatine's speech. It must have been given while Roan was asleep. He watched now, horrified by the words he was hearing.
"But the Senate," he said, feeling dread begin to pool in his gut. "They won't stand for it."
"They applauded it," Ferus remarked. "It doesn't affect them. They gain power, even. Why wouldn't they support it?"
"Because they're us," Roan replied. "We elect them. People won't stand for this!"
"They will if they're afraid," Ferus replied. "The Emperor is telling them that the Jedi were a threat, that we now need to reorganize our government for more security. Give up some freedoms in order to be safer."
"That's ridiculous," Roan spat. "Who would believe such nonsense?"
As if answering his question, the holovid picture scanned the Senate chamber, showing Senators leaping to their feet and applauding, even cheering. Roan felt a strange chill.
Ferus sighed beside him. "And with the Jedi gone…" He swallowed and paused, blinking at the holovid projector.
Roan wondered who he was thinking about, who he had lost. Ferus had mentioned only a few people from those days. His master, Siri Tachi. Another master, Obi-Wan something-or-other. And a few people his own age: Anakin Skywalker, Tru somebody, and others whose names Roan had forgotten. Ferus had lived his entire life with the Jedi. He must have had friends there, people he cared about. People who were probably dead now, slaughtered by the clone troops.
"I'm so sorry," Roan whispered.
Ferus shook his head. His eyes glistened, but no tears fell. Roan slid closer to him and wrapped the blanket around them both.
"I want to do something," Ferus said a week later over breakfast.
"Something kinky?" Roan asked, grinning. "Because I've been thinking about--"
"Something to help," Ferus continued. His face was almost blank, as if he hadn't heard Roan at all. "The stories we're starting to hear about people who are being bullied by the Empire's security forces -- I can't just sit by and watch."
Roan frowned. He wasn't exactly sure what Ferus was suggesting.
"I know there must be others who feel the same way. There will be a resistance. Perhaps we could--"
"We?" Roan said. "Hang on a moment. You're suggesting we actively conspire against the government, start some sort of resistance movement? Are you out of your mind?"
Ferus frowned. "No, I'm not. It's the right thing to do. The government is wrong. What they're doing is wrong. It's our responsibility to stand up for what's right."
Roan nearly laughed. "You're insane! It's hard enough to build a life and a home in this galaxy, in case you haven't noticed. That's all I want -- a good life with you."
"How can we have a good life with all of this starting to happen?" Ferus retorted. "How can you stand by and watch this and not want to do something?"
"Because there's nothing we can do!" Roan cried. "The system has broken down, and things are going to get worse. I see what's happening too -- I'm not blind. But they're gassing protestors in the streets! They're telling children to turn in their parents. They're holding people with no charges or access to legal counsel. Do you know what could happen to us if we get involved?"
"Of course I do, but we have to do something!"
"We'll end up dead, or worse!" Roan retorted. He ran his hands through his hair, frustrated. Ferus couldn't be serious about this; he wasn't even particularly ambitious. Where was this coming from? Roan looked up as a thought struck him. "You're not a Jedi anymore, Ferus."
Ferus turned to face him at that, a strange look on his face. "What?"
"You left the Jedi. You can't go back now."
"I'm not trying to go back!"
"Listen to yourself!" Roan hated raising his voice to Ferus, but he didn't know what else to do. "You are not a Jedi, not anymore. So stop trying to be one again."
"That's not what I'm doing," Ferus replied, but his voice was small. Roan watched him for a moment, watched his face grow pale. "They're all dead. What if I'm the only one left?"
Roan hadn't thought of that. "Do you think they'll come after you?"
"I don't know. But… they're gone. How can they be gone? How can I be left behind?"
"You left them, Ferus. You told me once that you didn't like the direction the Order was going. You chose wisely."
"I was a child!" Ferus shouted. "I didn't know what I was choosing! Maybe I was wrong to leave."
Roan was silent for a moment, watching Ferus shake. He wanted to touch him, to comfort him, but he was afraid to. He'd never seen Ferus like this.
"You'd be dead now," Roan said at last, keeping his voice gentle. "You would have been killed along with the rest of them. So maybe…" He took a deep breath, hesitant to express what he was thinking. "Maybe this was meant to be. Because now… now you can do something you could never have done as a Jedi."
Ferus nodded, wrapping his arms around himself. He bit his lip.
Roan sighed, feeling a strange weight settle over him. "I love you, Ferus, and I will follow you anywhere. If this is what you want, we will do it. We will look for a way to help, something we can do to make a difference. We'll move to another planet if we need to."
Ferus looked up and smiled for the first time in a week. He didn't say anything; he just smiled.
Roan tried to smile back, but his stomach was twisting. They were about to start on a path that would take them somewhere he had never expected to go, had never wanted to go. But he would follow Ferus.
Ferus stepped forward and kissed him then, and Roan let go of his fear. As long as they had each other, it would be fine.