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*Latin for aftermath

"Sadly enough, the most painful goodbyes are the ones that are left unsaid and never explained."

~Jonathan Harnisch, Freak


Everyone was gathered in the auditorium, and the air was still and heavy with silent mourning. For the memorial service, people had brought as many flowers as they could find, and laid them in delicate bunches at the base of each coffin. Our mission had been a success, Snoke's ship had been destroyed and the people of Chandrila were safe. I'd dreamed about the moment of our victory, how the General would stand proudly on the podium and make a speech about how strong everyone had been, and how we were approaching a time when the galaxy would rise up and rebel against the First Order. And now here we were, staring at her empty coffin.

Everyone was gathered in the auditorium, except Kylo.

"I know this is not easy." Poe's voice rang clear through the silence. "Unbearable might be a better word to use. But the General would want us to stay strong, and make sure that her life was not lost in vain." There were a few sniffs from around the room. Next to me, a pale woman with short curly black hair let out a muffled sob. I looked down, there were twelve coffins laid out in the open space around the podium. Many of them were empty, as the bodies had been lost or destroyed in the battle, and only helped to remind their loved ones of how much they had lost. The only person I had known was the General. When the news of her death came through, my first instinct was to clutch at my lightsaber, but instead I had groped at the empty air, feeling the walls of my ship close in and suffocate me.

That had been two days ago. Since then, I'd walked around in a trance, hardly able to eat or even sleep, much like many of the others. We had won the battle, and yet no one was celebrating. While I lay awake at night I thought about the General's body and how it must've been completely destroyed in the fire when Snoke's ship exploded. Or how, if it had not been destroyed, it must've been tossed out into space where it would eventually freeze and decompose. I'd willed the tears to come, but they had not.

"Now, a minute of silence as we remember our fallen brothers and sisters." Poe said. It was not a difficult request, and the silence weighed down even heavier as the seconds passed. Then, just as Poe stood to address the crowd again, Kylo walked in.

"He just needs space to grieve." Finn had said to me, when we landed. We'd both been standing in the docking bay, as what was left of the fleet had begun to unload. Finn himself had seemed shaken, looking over my head as he spoke, his body stiff. We'd stood and watched as Kylo had climbed down from his ship, and walked away without a word. I wanted to run after him, to comfort him, but Finn had gently pulled me back. "He just needs space to grieve." he had said. I'd given him space, and now here he was.

His grey uniform was gone and he was once again covered from head to toe in black.  His hair looked untouched, his eyes clear and focused. I wondered if he'd slept at all. As he came through the upper doors, everyone turned and stared. But he paid no attention to them, and walked down slowly, his dark cape dragging on the stone staircase. I tried to read his face, but it was blank. When he reached the bottom of the stairs he came forward and placed a gloved hand on the coffin at the centre. Then he closed his eyes, and for a while I thought that he might be crying. He stood there for a long time, eyes closed, hand on the empty coffin. His stillness reminded me of when he was meditating. Poe stood nearby, hands limply by his side, watching him. No one dared to speak, or even try and interrupt him. After a while he opened his eyes, turned slowly, and left the same way he came.

Poe cleared his throat.

"For now, we will resume our normal duties until we have recovered from our losses." he said, folding his arms behind his back. "That will be all."

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