log; han & ben WHO: Han & Ben WHEN:March 5th after Han's arrival. WHERE: Physical Kid's Cottage. SUMMARY: Ben catches his Dad up on at least some things. WARNINGS: Patricide, stuff through TROS discussed or mentioned in head-space.
True to his word, Eliot had made certain the lower levels of the Physical Kid's Cottage were clear, and so Ren had found drinks and cups and set them out on the dining room table, pacing rather anxiously until Han's appearance.
He hated this part. Hated the uncertainty every single time whether this would be the time that his Dad looked at him with loathing in his eyes and never wanted to see him again. And just because it had never happened thus far, didn't mean it couldn't, and didn't mean that he wouldn't deserve it if it ever did. And maybe it didn't fit with the previous experiences - multiple - that Ren had been given here. Nor did it really fit with his experience at home either because no it hadn't been his Father truly that had told him he could do this, but it might as well have been. Ren had known at home, what his father had only confirmed nearly half-a-dozen times here, that deep down Han believed in him.
And in some ways it only made this worse. Obviously his father had arrived without a lightsaber wound, but he'd seen him - and recently. Perhaps only moments away from Kylo Ren choosing to take his father's life, in the hopes that it would make him strong in the Dark Side, and that Snoke would finally believe in him. And he'd have to tell Han, even if Han might already suspect,or if Leia had already told him - Ben would have to tell him, again, and every time he did, it pulled back that memory, crystal clear, with all the laser focused regret he'd had over it since the moment he'd done it.
Today he didn't wear a lightsaber. He had one of course - two, really - but he was dressed fairly simply, dark trousers and a short sleeve tunic with an uneven hem, that suggested the way he'd frequently dressed at home, while remaining somewhat more appropriate for Tumbleweed weather.
The regret would be a constant, he knew that now. And it was only one piece of things regretted from home. But he also knew something he hadn't known when he arrived - that he'd gotten strength from his father, once he'd been willing to wake up and recognize it for what it was. The sense of Han at the door stopped him halfway across the room and he moved towards it, ready to answer it as soon as there was a knock.
The wooden door pulled open and he stepped back. "Hey."
The door opened before Han could properly knock. Which was good, it knocked him own of his own loop of thoughts that he was trying to put together. That only a few hours ago he'd been in a similar position, only this time his son had asked for him. And there wasn't a planet about to explode.
Say what you want about Skywalker's, they were every last one of them dramatic.
But there was his boy. And he looked... Good. Different. Han almost couldn't speak for a moment, the angry bitterness that seemed to be laced through Ben for so long seemed to be something different.
Han let his hands drop to his side as a half quirk of a smile went up. "Hey."
That smile. Despite himself, Ren found his own smile echoing his dad's, quirking up at one side with a far more welcome gaze than what Han would have received from him the last time. After a beat he seemed to realize he hadn't let his Dad in, and he stepped back, opening the door more widely.
"Hi, come in, this is… home," he glanced around the room. He couldn't think of a single place from his actual home that reminded him of this place. The Physical Kid's Cottage was very much an earth place, but because of Eliot, it had become a home that there were only a few places in his galaxy that could truly rival it. He motioned towards the dining table to the side. "You want a drink?"
How long had it been since he'd seen his son smile? Years, easily. And it bothered Han, like an itch in the back of his mind, that he couldn't remember when the last time was other than it had been a very long time indeed.
He stepped in, looking around at this place where his son felt at home. It was so strange and yet not at the same time. A weird feeling that he didn't belong and yet did. "Yeah." He nodded finally, looking again at Ben. "A drink would be great."
Ren reached for a glass, pouring out some of the liquid for Han. Even if Eliot had intentionally been drinking less, the cottage still had quality where it had, so the drink he handed over he knew had a really good taste. He poured one for himself, and then realized he could probably have them sit so he motioned to a chair, taking one near where Han would likely sit. Which left the talking bit.
For a heartbeat he stared at the glass and then he reached for it and took a sip and sat it back down. "I'm glad you're here," he finally offered. "Fen's - there's about a month before the baby is due. I guess, you've um, the last time you were here, you were young. I couldn't really ask for parenting advice."
It looked like decent stuff, from what Han could tell. There was the impulse to throw it back, try and numb the anxious energy of the moment. But when had that ever done him any good? For now he followed his son, who seemed to actually want him to take a seat.
Who was he to refuse?
"A month? Man. Got here under the wire." He smiled awkwardly with a chuckle to match. "And I'm still not sure I'm great for parenting advice."
"Just," Ren ducked his head with the edge of a smile, but it disappeared as he tried to figure out how to approach it- again. Why did it change every time? Because the circumstance changed every time-- what his father even changed every time. "Maybe more than you think though," he said softly. It was a little terrifying, and if he hadn't been attempting to be so calm for Eliot and Fen, Ren suspected that he would have been a lot more obviously anxious but he'd been trying to be calm.
For the moment he just looked over at his father, figuring the difficult part needed to happen. Sitting here talking about parenting advice, about Fen and Eliot, it was keeping them from talking about the thing that wouldn't go away. He took a deep breath, and looked down, "um, you - what's the last thing you remember, Dad?"
Han wasn’t sure what to make of Ben’s eyes on him. They didn’t seem angry, betrayed, like he’d seen was it only hours before? Instead there was the lost look that Han knew from too many times in Ben’s childhood, too many times when he hadn’t had answers. Or maybe he had, he just hadn’t been good at giving them.
But hearing Ben call him dad, it was like that hope Leia and Chewie always went on about. That Luke used to. That maybe he bought into, just a little. So he took a harrowing breath and figured the truth was the best place to start, at least today. “Well. We were on that planet you helped rig up to blow the Hosnian system.” he tried to keep his voice level. “And I was trying to get you to come home.”
It was what Ren had been expecting from what he'd been told before, but that didn't really make it any easier. On the bright side, his Dad hadn't shown up with a lightsaber wound in his chest; on the downside - that meant Ren had to tell him.
He swallowed. "I don't. At least not then."
Granted not ever. Although, he would have if… but that wasn't something he could spend too much time on either.
He frowned, and tried to figure out the important stuff. "I've been here for three years? When I arrived the first thing I remembered wasn't long after that, and away from it, I had a lot of time to regret my response to you. And since then I've had memories from home, and not all of them are good. I messed up a lot of things... " this wasn't saying The Thing though and he wanted to stand up and walk across the room, pace, do something, but also he didn't want his dad to feel uncomfortable, so he shifted his legs and kept his feet on the ground. "Snoke told me that you were a weakness…" he started, uncertain. "That I had to be rid of it to be powerful."
Ren was suddenly not sure how he'd told Han before, and regretting desperately that he hadn't asked his mother to tell him. Even if he was trying to be someone better now, but he didn't know how to be better in this. There was no changing this or undoing it. He twisted his hands in his lap and just blurted out, unable to look his father in the eyes: "I didn't go home, then, and you didn't go home either."
“Ah.” The syllable dropped automatically from Han’s throat. There was only really one reason he wouldn’t have gone back, to go help Rey at the very least. The same reason he hadn’t gone back with Leia from Cloud City. Only Han didn’t think there was a surprise of a carbonite freezing chamber where they’d been.
His fingers drummed at the arm of the chair. “Knew that was a possibility.” he answered with quiet resignation. “Still. Would have done it again.”
Tears sprang to Ren's eyes and for a moment he couldn't look up, eventually though, he had to and blinking he raised his gaze to his Dad's. While there were a lot of things he could say, there were also very little that really could be said. An apology felt far too little - maybe even insulting - under the circumstances, and his Dad's willingness to come to him even if he'd known it was a possibility.
He pulled in a deep breath. "I can't change what happened there and I've regretted that nearly every day I was here. But here, I'd come with you. For what that's worth. And if you want to leave now… I'll understand."
Han took a deep breath. Because he could leave. In fact he was good at it, disturbingly so when it came to his son. But before he'd even arrived on Starkiller he'd already made his choice. The choice in the end he'd probably always make.
"Ben." He started through the crackling silence. "I can't absolve you of your choices. You're my son and you've messed up, which proves that." Granted if Ben had decided to get into spice smuggling instead of attempting to take over the Galaxy this would likely be a different conversation. "But I'm always going to love you. Your mother is always going to love you."
Ren nodded, quiet, warmth fighting with the shame and regret he always felt when he thought of what had happened that day. If he could have believed that sooner… He didn’t think he should tell his dad the whole story, maybe Leia would. She knew it after all. And he figured this was enough to go on with really. He leaned forward, pulling his gaze up to meet his father’s. His throat was tight, but he gave a quick nod again. “I’m really glad you’re here,” he said softly.
The smile tugged back at the corner of his mouth because in all honesty Han never thought he’d hear his son say something like that again. “Yeah. Yeah, me too kid.”