a/n: strongly references my earlier piece "Siren Song."
*Trigger warning applies only in that sexual assault is mentioned/threatened; no actual assault occurs in this fic.
There were no cuffs this time.
She was bound by the vice-like grip of Stormtroopers, bound in her own frozen terror, marched and dragged from dinner down hallways she tried to memorize, and past beings who forced themselves to look the other way.
The two human Imperials who directed the white-clad clone bastards seemed lasciviously delighted to be given charge of the princess, yet Leia, despite what she all-too-personally knew about the proclivities of leering soldiers, could hardly spare a thought for what they muttered under their breaths, what they planned for her when the had her where they were told to take her –
It was Han she thought about, Han and Vader – Vader had taken Han. Vader had given his careless, rasping commands to the guards, and they'd held Leia in her seat while the Sith Lord himself personally dragged Han from the table, hauling him easily across the floor, behind a closed door – out of sight, God only knew where – to hell, perhaps.
She struggled violently in the grip of her captors; she received an armored elbow to the ribs, and doubled over, losing her footing. A Stormtrooper caught her; a uniformed soldier grabbed her other arm and yanked her forward, smiling nastily.
"Where's that graceful glide, Your Highness?" he breathed in her ear.
Leia turned her head away, teeth grit harshly.
She looked up once she heard a door hiss open; she was shoved inside, so hard she lost her balance. She hit her knees, and braced a further fall with her palm, winded for a moment; boots clicked, and the door hissed shut behind her.
She heard a muffled conversation – did he tell us what to do with her? Whatever we want, I think. – I want her first.
Leia looked up, drawing her hand to her stomach. She clenched her fist.
No-no-no; not again, not again; the mantra started in her head: I'll die this time; I will fight so hard it will kill me.
She stood up and stood straight, shoulders back, blinking – he room was dark; dim – a dungeon, prison? She didn't know. She saw a pane of glass, a reflective screen, perhaps – but the lights were low, and she didn't know the meaning of any of this.
Perhaps they will kill me this time, she thought achingly, this time – I truly know nothing.
She and Han had not even made contact with the Rebel Fleet yet – neither of them knew where to find their desperate little band of insurgents – she knew nothing, and no matter how much Vader abused her –
Part of her wailed – I can't take this again, don't hurt me again, don't touch me, please - !
The other part of her wailed – Kill me. Try to hurt me. There's nothing you can take from me this time. There's nothing left.
Leia's throat constricted, and her heart throbbed, leaping against her ribs, burning with worry and fear, whispering into her head a third horror –
Yes, her soul whispered, there is something left he can take; you gave in.
A hand grabbed the back of her neck, rough flesh, shoving against her skin, hurting her, turning her face towards a gruesome smirk that promised humiliation and violation.
"You've been with us before, Princess," the soldier snarled.
"You're an old pro at what we've got for you," the other said.
Leia bared her teeth.
"Try me," she rasped.
One of them pulled her roughly against him and turned her towards the other; he reached for her throat with one hand, reached between her legs with the other, and Leia kicked, violently, foot colliding with his arm, continuing on, forcing through to scrape his chin.
"Don't make it worse for yourself," growled the one behind her.
"I've had worse," Leia hissed.
"You think?" taunted the one she'd kicked, wiping his mouth. "I'll change your mind."
"If you've had one Imp, you've had them all," she barked.
She jerked her head to the side and bit the hands around her shoulders; they released her, swearing, and she brought up her hands for a fight, futile as it probably was – both soldiers swept forward and grabbed her, slamming her against the reflective panel.
She slammed her eyes shut, and opened them, losing her breath.
The cadre of Stormtroopers watched, silent white masks, silent black eyes – entertained, or indifferent; she never knew. They stood lazily watching, and then in a split second, they were standing tall at attention, as the door flew open, and the black master himself strode in.
He raised his hand, gave an effortless twitch of two fingers, and the two soldiers pinning Leia were flung far and wide, crashing into opposite sides of the room with astonishing dispensability.
The each gave a yelp, a horrified squeal, and when their noises of pain and protest settled, Vader breathed in the silence, ominous, and commanding.
"Leave," he said, an abrupt, cold word – and the soldiers were scrambling, dashing past the Stormtroopers, leaving wrinkled caps behind on the floor.
Effortless twitch of the hand again, and the door slid shut, leaving Leia enclosed with Vader – she bowed her head, turning away involuntarily – making herself small – there was nowhere to run.
Vader strode up next to her, affording her no more than a casual glance.
He faced the reflective panel.
"You will not be raped a second time," he remarked callously, his deep, abrasive voice reverberating through her like a shock, paralyzing her spine. "I do not have the time for pedestrian vulgarity."
Leia glanced through her lashes at the Stormtroopers, at the door – futile to run, but she could try – she didn't have to surrender – what did Vader want from her; gratitude?
She clenched her fists and pushed away from the panel, running directly into the Stormtroopers. They blocked her, as she knew they would, and turned her back. Vader lifted his hand, and beckoned, all without reacting, without turning around.
"I do not have any information," Leia gasped angrily, the words spilling out of her.
Vader said nothing; the Stormtroopers held her firmly, and she stared at Vader's back, head tilted up to the edge of his helmet.
"Your considerably loquacious lexicon becomes a tiresome party line in my presence," he breathed.
He lifted his hand again, and the Stormtroopers moved her forward, so she forcibly stood alongside him.
"I do not know anything," Vader mocked, imitating her without changing a single aspect of his tone. "I will not tell anything."
Her words, from the Death Star.
She imagined a slow; sick smile spreading across his face beneath the mask – if it was, indeed, a face there, beneath the mask.
"I have no intention of asking you anything, Your Highness."
Leia's stomach twisted, her eyes wide.
That part of her wailed again – don't hurt me, please. Don't hurt me. And its counterpart fired back – I've already survived this, I'm untouchable, I'm untouchable –
Then that part of her soul pleaded, reminded her – you aren't.
Vader's hand moved, and he brought lights up around them, so she found herself staring through the reflective panel into a room – a mechanical prison, with only an electric scan grid in the middle.
Her mouth felt dry.
"Bring Captain Solo in."
Leia lunged forward, struggling; she came precariously close to slamming her nose and mouth into the glass, breaking bones, bleeding.
Her soul shivered and cried out – why did you do it, Leia, why did you love him, you gave them a fatal weakness – you selfish, stupid little princess, you were unbreakable in iron and you let your armor rust –
She never should have done it. She never should have let Han mean anything to her. If she'd kept herself guarded, she'd still be as hard and numb as the Empire had made her when they killed Alderaan –
It would still hurt even if you'd never let him touch you – her head argued – but her heart screamed – you stupid little princess, you made a fantasy tangible, and they'll kill you with it.
Leia felt unable to breathe.
In the room beyond her, Han struggled against captors, fighting uselessly against being strapped to the device, swearing up a storm, spitting, gnashing his teeth.
Vader made a dark, derisive noise.
"Lowlife scum," he drawled, almost curiously. "A useless criminal, wasting space in the universe – and you, besmirch yourself with him," Vader breathed. "Love: how charming."
Leia's lips moved soundlessly, and Vader took a step back, focusing on her, beginning to prowl. His cape billowed; his heavy boots landed threateningly, and he circled Leia, while she watched them calibrate controls for Han.
"Han has no intelligence for you," Leia said, lifting her head.
Vader was silent still, and then he stopped behind her, his breath echoing chillingly.
"I have no intention of asking him anything," he remarked, as he'd said to Leia, moments before.
Leia opened her mouth, horrified, her throat locking up.
Vader stepped closer, towering over her, his shadow cast.
"You, Princess, were a particularly infuriating captive, the last time we met," he droned coolly, composed and icy. "Admirable in your resistance; infuriating to my purposes."
Vader placed his gloved, metal hand on the back her neck, his fingers against her throat almost gently.
"I did not have the pleasure of breaking you, then," he breathed.
He raised his other hand, palm flat, and gave a flick, a silent order, and a light flicked on in the room beyond Leia's gaze.
"I intend to shatter you now."
Without warning, the entire room lit up with electricity, and Han, lowered to the scan grid, gave a sharp yell – a sound like he was clearly trying not to scream, for appearances sake, but the sparks started to fly –
Leia almost choked – a scream that pierced through her head and rattled her bones stuck in her throat, and she withdrew into herself, gripped by fear, desperation – don't hurt him, don't kill him, don't take him away from me –
She pulled forward; Vader's fingertips shoved into her neck, holding her.
Han screamed, fighting away from the heat, the pain – and Leia jerked her head to the side – Vader held it firm, forced her with stiff brutality to stare straight ahead – his touch seemed to burrow into her skin, her throat, fusing her to the spot, singeing her.
"I would like to hear you scream, Your Highness," Vader remarked, as if he were requesting a glass of wine. "I would like you to beg for mercy."
There was a war inside her, storming and raging – the parts of her that were made of steel and brick and iron, trembling with the force, refusing to be torn down; those parts of her stood stubborn, angry, stuck in determination not to ever be broken by these tyrants –
- and the parts of her that were cracked and soft, exhausted and tired, ripped and shredded and made of cotton and sore, scarred muscle - those parts of her dissolved more, and ached, and she wanted to fall to her knees and scream -
I – can't – take – it.
She couldn't speak while the war raged inside her; she wasn't raised to beg, and she wasn't raised to respond to force and aggression, but she'd learned so much about love and sacrifice during this fight –
"Hurt me," Leia gasped, her throat raw. "Hurt me instead."
Vader's fingertips bore into her harder.
"I am hurting you."
He lowered his head, helmet touching her shoulder, and she jerked her head; he held it painfully, reinforcing her captivity.
"Scream, Princess," he advised, monotonous, frighteningly detached; curious even. "Beg."
Leia struggled forward, feeling her neck bruise; alternately, trying to shriek and holding back – why couldn't she scream; why was it so hard? Was it paralysis, or pride?
Han's shouting had started to go hoarse, angry, and violent, but weak – he kept trying to rear away from the torture, but he was captive – and Leia felt hollow, and sick, like every ounce of energy they drained from Han was drawing the life out of her.
"Han," she finally whispered. "Han," she cried softly.
Leia grit her teeth, shaking. She tried to pull away from Vader.
"Louder, Your Highness."
"Let me go," she sobbed; she was furious at her own sobs.
Han was still suddenly, and the men in the room with him checked his vitals – they did something, shocked him; he was conscious again, weak, and wary – and the torture started again – he didn't scream this time, he just tried to hide his head –
Leia flung herself forward, gutted, wrenched – she tried to take a deep breath, and she finally was able to scream, the sound ripping out of her throat and burning through the room.
The sound was incoherent and wordless, and she felt Vader's vice like grip relax – she slammed her fist against the wall.
"Han," she screamed. "Stop," the words started pouring out of her – "Stop, Lord Vader – please stop. Don't hurt him," she whirled away, her hands shaking, surprising herself – him, even, when she reached out and clutched the inky black cape, gathering it in her white knuckles. "Let him go. Let him go," she begged.
"Lord Vader," a metallic voice echoed through a speaker. "Continued exposure is likely to be fatal."
Leia's knees hit the floor; she held his cape tightly in her hand.
She forced out another scream, something gaudy and expensive, purchased from deep inside her, and she was hoarse when it was over, still spilling pleas forth like prayers –
"Not Han – don't hurt him – please – please – I'll do anything. I'll do anything."
She found herself yanked up by white armored hands, set on her feet, stood before Vader.
He faced her, unreadable as ever, his hand held up – she saw, when she turned her head, that the torture had stopped; Han was limp in the straps; a droid was running his damage stats.
There was Vader's hand, held up in a terrible cease-and-desist motion; there was Han, and between them all was the reflective glass, with a harsh, crooked crack in it that had not been there before – and Vader stared at it.
The air crackled with tension, electricity, the fading echoes of Leia's suffering, of Vader's triumph.
He curled his fingers in, and then slowly, slowly, he turned to look at her, lowering his hand.
Leia raised her eyes to the black depths of his mask, trying to find some defiance left in her.
She wasn't ashamed to beg for Han; she wasn't broken – she crushed the parts of her that accused of her of letting love be her weakness; she remembered love was never a weakness.
"How have you done this to the glass?" Vader breathed, gesturing sharply.
Leia didn't blink; didn't look – she hadn't done a damn thing to the glass, but as he stared at her, she had no way of knowing that Vader was remembering a different kind of scream; a siren piercing through the Force.
Suddenly, he spoke – and he thrust her back into her Death Star cell with the words he said –
"What are you?"
She lost her breath, remembering the same question back on that day that Alderaan had died – and thinking of that, and thinking of Han, she said the same thing she'd said then –
She rasped the words harshly, ignoring the tears that struggled out, burned her cheeks.
She couldn't see his face, but somehow, in her mind's eye perhaps, she saw him smile.
He straightened; made a gesture to the Stormtroopers. She glanced at the reflective glass; Han was gone – the room was empty.
"Place her in a cell with her smuggler scum," Vader ordered in a mild, contemplative tone.
She was seized – and again; there were no cuffs this time.
She was bound by the vice-like grip of Stormtroopers, bound in agony, shaken to the core: shattered.
And on the inside, she was screaming.
writing is very cathartic.