Tainted Love

“Well, what’s wrong with our son?”

Han Solo sat with his wife Leia in the comfortable but sparsely appointed office of Sidzhan Family Services. Across the transperisteel desk sat a tall woman, her blond hair tied back with an olive scarf. She was neither old nor young and regarded them with intense curiosity as she set the datapad down in front of her.

“Preliminary analysis of the first battery of tests indicates that Ben developed Reactive Attachment Disorder at an early age. It’s uncommon, but considering how often you’ve had to leave him in the care of others, it’s understandable.”

“Can it be fixed?”

Leia shot her husband a look that told him he’d best hold his tongue. “What does that mean, exactly?”

The therapist folded her hands. “He has the inability to form normal, loving relationships because he was never given the opportunity to form an attachment to a specific caregiver. Usually with infants, the first attachment to develop is with the mother.  If this attachment is interrupted, it can have serious consequences for a child’s social development.”

Han rose to his feet. “You think we abandoned him?”

“Han.” Leia reached out to pull him back into his chair. “You’re not helping.” She turned back to the counselor. “What more can you tell us?”

“From the conversations I’ve had with Ben,” she continued not unkindly, “I can tell you that your son is a complicated little boy.”

“Tell us something we don’t know,” Han mumbled, slumping back into his chair.

She ignored him with professional detachment. “Ben seeks comfort from strangers because he’s had to. Your careers and responsibilities took you away so often.”

“I’ve tried to comfort him,” Leia said sadly, “but he just pushes me away. I can’t get him to smile or look at me. He hardly talks to me.”

Han let out a long sigh. “I’ve taken him on long rides in the Falcon, tried to joke with him, but….”

Leia rolled her eyes. “You don’t joke with him, Han. You tease him.”

“What father doesn’t tease his son?” He launched himself out of the confines of the chair and shoved a hand through his hair. “The kid’s so damn sensitive! He’s got to learn to be a man.”

Leia was on her feet with him. “Han, he’s just seven years old. You can’t expect him….”

“Did he tell you about the bounty hunters?” The counselor moved out from behind her desk.

“What bounty hunters?” the Solos almost said in unison.

“He’s been tracked by numerous bounty hunters for a couple years now, from what I’ve been able to determine.” She folded her arms and leaned back against the desk.

Leia gaped at Han. “Why didn’t you tell me this?”

“The kid’s got an overactive imagination,” he countered, waving away the suggestion, and began to pace the room. “It comes from playing alone. The kid can’t make any friends!” He strolled over to the two-way glass to gaze at his young son in the room next door. “Are you sure she he can’t hear us?” he asked in a lower tone.

The counselor nodded, following Han’s gaze to watch the child. “He seems comfortable with his uncle. Luke seems to enjoy reading to him.”

Leia let out a long breath. “Luke lives so far away. He hasn’t seen Ben since he was a baby. Luke’s only visiting for a short while.”

“I’m glad he agreed to keep Ben company today while we talk,” the counselor said with a warm smile.

“So, what’s the next step, Doc?” Han resumed pacing. “How do we fix this kid?”

“Wait,” Leia cut in. “What about the bounty hunters? Do you have any evidence? Do we need to step up security? We’ve done everything to keep our son safe, but if there’s more….”

The therapist held up a hand. “I know you have, and I don’t have evidence your son is in danger yet, but based on the way he’s able to describe the incidents, I believe Ben’s not making up stories just to get attention. Let’s just take this….”

“Did you see that?” Leia was at the window. “Did you see what Ben just did?”

Hand let out a groan but moved for a closer look.

“Ben just Force-summoned a datapad from the shelf.”

“Are you sure it wasn’t Luke?” Han returned skeptically.

“No, Luke wasn’t even paying attention. It looks like Luke just finished reading the book on the datapad he had and is shutting it down. See, Ben’s giving him the one he just summoned.”

A long moment passed as the Solos looked at each other and then at the counselor. At last the doctor broke the silence.

“Let’s just take this one step at a time. Let’s get together here in my office each week at this time, if that works for you, and we’ll start taking steps to help Ben get to the place he needs to be socially.”

“Isn’t there some pill you can give him?” Han grumbled, shoving his hands in his pockets. He hated to think of weeks and months of gab sessions.

“No, Mr. Solo. The change in Ben begins with you and your wife.”

Han opened his mouth to protest, but Leia silenced him with a hard look. “Han, we need to do this for our son.” After a moment, she added, “Maybe we can get Luke to stay and spend some time with him.” She pointed at the window. “Ben’s going to need special help after what we saw today.”

“Yes,” the counselor put in, “if your child is Force-sensitive, then we have another level of social interaction to worry about.”

“Good idea. Talk to Luke,” Han said in an agreeable tone. Better Luke than me, he thought.

Leia turned to shake the counselor’s hand. “Thank you, Dr. Snoke. We’ll see you here next week at the same time.”

SnokeWatchingBen

@MyKyloRen   13 April 2016

If you’re the artist of this illustration, please contact me: kylo.ren@gmx.us

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