Content: A few days after his encounter with the Emperor, Luke and Leia are in the process of rebuilding their relationship, now as brother and sister, when Luke is hospitalized (medbay-ized?). There are a few more things that they need to address before they can move forward.
Disclaimer: Still not GL. These are his characters and world.
Notes: Takes place in the 'Empty Spaces' universe. Fleshes out a previously unexplained allusion in that piece.
She dismounted from her speeder bike in a grove of trees just out of earshot from where Luke was practicing and walked the rest of the way on foot. The forest hummed with life in the mid-morning sun and she breathed in the clean breeze like she could not get enough of it. After four years of breathing recycled air on various spacecraft, it was a refreshing change.
Leia heard Luke before she saw him. The low hum of his lightsaber and the staccato crash of the blade connecting with the bolts from a blaster punctuated the stillness of the Endor woodlands. Peaking around a bush, her eyes widened as she found him standing in a clearing, shirtless and blindfolded, lightsaber held aloft. She tiptoed closer, keeping a wide berth between herself and the glowing blade.
Without warning, Luke pivoted and parried a red bolt fired from one of the three training drones that encircled him.
He somersaulted and came to a crouch, avoiding two more laser blasts. Then, springing forward, he placed one foot on a drone that hovered three feet off the ground and used the momentum to launch himself high enough to hew one of the other drones in two. He landed on the mossy undergrowth, the sputtering drone falling in halves at his feet.
'Those aren't cheap, you know,' Leia called over to him.
Luke smirked, pulling his blindfold off.
'I knew you were there,' he greeted her. Using a remote, he recalled the other two drones and switched them to hibernate.
'Then you were just showing off,' Leia said, indicating his last manoeuvre with a nod of her head.
'A Jedi doesn't crave attention,' he countered with mock-seriousness.
'Then I guess you still have a long way to go.'
He gave a short laugh.
'You're not wrong.'
Luke picked up the drones, put them under his arm and sauntered in her direction.
'Want a hug?'
Leia wrinkled her nose, 'You're sweaty.'
Luke looked down at his chest.
'Yeah, I guess.'
He looked over at the clearing where he had just completed his morning exercise.
'Want to give it a try?'
Leia's eyes widened, 'No, thank you.'
Not meeting her eyes, he asked cautiously, 'Do you think you might want to? One day?'
Leia sighed and gave him a sad smile.
'Luke, I appreciate your faith in me and I know that I am no slouch when it comes to holding my own in a fight. But that…' she pointed to the destroyed drone. 'That is something completely different. I know what you think but I don't have that power.'
'You do!' Luke insisted. 'It just takes work.'
Leia just gave him a rueful grin and shook her head.
'What are you doing here?' He asked, falling into step with her.
'I've just come from a debrief. We're pulling out. Camp is to be packed and we're scheduled to disembark no later than tomorrow at 18:00 local.'
'I guess vacation's over.'
'But that's not what I mean,' Luke continued. 'How did you find me?'
'You must have… told me,' she answered haltingly.
'I told you I where I was in the woods almost ten clicks from base?' Luke asked, a smirk in his tone.
'No, I guess not,' Leia admitted.
'Then how? How did you know?'
'Well…you're my brother! We have a… connection. We always have!'
'Yeah, but what kind of connection?' Luke prodded. 'Do you think most siblings just know each other like we do?'
'I wouldn't know,' she said defiantly. 'You're the only one I ever had.'
'That we know of…' Luke muttered.
He laughed shortly.
The two had reached the grove of trees where Leia had left her speeder.
'Where's yours?' She asked.
'Back at base. I ran here.'
Leia shook her head.
'Hey, this is nothing!' He exclaimed. 'Back on Dagobagh—
'I know, I know…' she cut him off. 'Twenty miles, every day, uphill both directions, with only the clothes on your back and the Force as your guide. And you wonder why I am reluctant to take you up on your training offer.'
Luke strapped the drones to the back of the speeder and leaned against it.
'It's not easy,' he shrugged. 'But it is worth it.'
Leia looked at the ground.
'I don't… I don't doubt you, Luke. Not really. I've felt something… Sometimes… I heard you back on Bespin, after your fight with—with Vader. And I've felt you in my head. And sometimes, I've felt like I've been in other people's minds too. Back in the Senate, or when were about to lead an attack. It wasn't just persuasion or good oration. I changed people's minds; I made them stronger about their own ideals. And—there have been other times as well…'
Luke looked at her encouragingly and she met his eyes.
'But I'm not ready.'
He gave her a sad smile.
'The truth is, I don't even know what to really do now. The plan had always been that my role of leader in the Alliance was temporary. If and when the Empire fell, I had assumed that—Luke? Luke?!'
She broke off as the young Jedi's eyes rolled back in his head. He fell to his knees and pitched forward. Leia caught him and lowered him to the ground where he began to seize violently.
'Luke! What's happening?'
She struggled to roll him onto his side as his arms thrashed. Curling up behind him, Leia cradled his head in the crook of her arm as best she could as his body racked with spasms.
'Luke,' she sobbed. 'Please, please be okay…'
After several minutes, the seizure gave way to intermittent jerks and then subsided completely.
'Luke?' She rolled him on his back and placed his head in her lap.
'Luke, please!' She slapped his cheek gently.
His eyes blinked open.
He did not acknowledge her, but stared past her without seeing.
'Luke? Luke! Wait here, Luke. Wait here!'
She returned from her speeder with a miniature lamp and shined the light into each of his eyes. No reaction.
'Don't worry, sweetie,' she said quickly. 'You're going to be fine.'
With a grunt of effort, she pulled him up.
'Luke, if you're in there. I could really use some help.'
It took all of her strength to get him into a sitting position in front of her on to the speeder bike.
'Luke, hold on for me, okay?'
She wrapped her left arm around him and set off as fast as she dared towards base.
It could not have taken her more than five minutes to get to this point in the woods, but the ride back to camp seemed interminable. When she was less than a minute out, she shifted Luke's weight and palmed her com-link.
'Rrrrrghhh,' a series of barks and growls replied.
'Chewie! Get Han and meet me at the Falcon right away!'
A whine of protest sounded over the link.
'It's Luke, Chewie!' She explained through gritted teeth. 'We need to dock with the medbay at the Home One, now!'
She lost her grip on the com-link as they rounded a corner and Luke fell against her shoulder. Leia bit her lip and gunned the engine.
The Millennium Falcon was docked at the edge of the Alliance camp and Leia slowed her bike when the ship came into view. As the speeder shuttered to a halt, Han stomped down the landing ramp, a hydrospanner in one hand and a greasy rag in the other.
'Hey! Princess! What's the big idea? You nearly took out the starboard landing struts!'
Leia struggled against the weight of her unconscious brother, unable to dismount and continue to hold him.
'Han, help,' she managed.
There was a dull thump as he dropped the spanner in the dirt and he ran to her side.
'Can you hold him?' She asked. 'I can't get down.'
Chewie ran into view at that moment, barking Leia's com-link message to Han.
'Alright,' Han replied. 'You start her up. I'll be up there in a minute.'
'Nah, I'll get the kid. You just make sure we are clear for launch.'
Chewie ran up the ramp and Han supported Luke long enough for Leia to slide off the bike.
'What happened?' He asked again.
'I don't know,' Leia said. 'He's catatonic. We were talking and then he just collapsed and started shaking.'
Han's mouth was a firm line as he scooped Luke up from the bike and started up the ramp after Leia.