This was just a small idea I had a while back. I wrote it as a stream of consciousness with only the original premise being planned and other than doing grammatical and spelling checks, it is actually exactly as I wrote it at 2am the other night. I'm still not sure exactly how I feel about it. There are a few things I think I could have done better if I did more than just the edits I did. But I just wanted to test this and see where it took me.
She couldn't recall the last time they had stayed in a home longer than a few months. Always moving from one system to another, she knew most would find that lifestyle weird but for her and her brother, it was all they knew. And the homes they lived in were old, small, and often indistinguishable from the other homes in the area. Sometimes, if they were lucky, they would live in a small cottage on the edge of town big enough that they would have a yard to play in. Other times, they lived in a small one-bedroom apartment in the center of a bustling city. Their mom hated those apartments. She would never say it and just tell them to make the best of it. But they knew she hated it just as much as they did.
In the end, it never mattered what place they called home. Rules were the same everywhere and the one rule they absolutely had to follow was to never go out alone. They were required to take the household droid, C-3PO or- if she was available- their mom. But recently that rule was amended requiring them to go out only with their mom since their habit of ditching the droid had gotten slightly out of hand. They couldn't help it - or, rather, she couldn't help it. Leia Skywalker was a rebel at heart with a thirst for adventure and her brother Luke only wanted to look out for her. By the time they were ten, they had lived on roughly thirty planets - mostly in the Outer Rim, a few in the Mid Rim Worlds too, but never any Core Worlds. For Leia, exploring was a way for her to take a piece of each world with her. Moving often meant that she had very few memories of each home and by going on some little adventure, it helped to make sure she had at least one memory of the places she had been. It was also a game for her and Luke. Often, they would pretend to be archeologists in search of some grand treasure like what they assumed their mom did for work. Their mom is so smart and knows so much about the history of the Republic that it was the only thing that made sense. She never talked about her work and every time they would ask, she would shrug it off and tell them it wasn't interesting or promise that she would tell them when they were older.
Their home this time was a small two bedroom ranch house close enough to town that Luke and Leia could watch the kids in the neighborhood play. Friends weren't something they were used to. They were home schooled by C-3PO and they would always end up moving before friendships could be formed. They didn't really care. They had each other and the connection they shared was worth so much more than a large group of friends. The two of them sat by the window playing on the dejarik table, occasionally glancing outside to the other kids when they could hear their laughter but otherwise paying them no mind.
As their game dragged on, Leia found Luke turning to watch the other kids more often. She could tell something about them was bothering him. With a small smile she kicked him under the table not hard enough to hurt him but hard enough his head shot around to glare at her. "It's your move," She said. Luke glanced down at the game and pressed a button, not even bothering to watch the hologram move as his attention returned to the kids. Leia pursed her lips as she pressed one of her buttons and watched as her hologram beat the one her brother just moved. Normally such a stupid move on her brother's part led to a playful argument between the two of them but this time she was met with silence. "What's so interesting out there?" She asked, trying to see what has caught her brother's eye.
Luke's shoulder slouched in the nervous way he does when he isn't sure of something. "Ever wonder what it's like?" He asked, shifting his weight in the chair before he explained further. "Staying in a place for longer than a few months, having… friends. Being normal?"
Leia turned her head to watch the other kids as well and let a small smile cross her face, "Sometimes," She admitted. "I sometimes dream we have a house on a lake," She said. "And mom's happy. Happier than I've ever seen her."
"Yeah," Luke agreed. "I've dreamed that too. I've dreamed we have these two older girls come over and we play with this astromech droid."
"Same," She said.
Luke's gaze fell back to the table and his fingers traced over the buttons. "Do you think it means anything?" He asked. "I mean, we've shared dreams before… but this one…"
"Feels real," Leia finished. "…Don't read too much into it," She said. "It could be just that. A dream. Nothing more."
"But what if it's not?" He asked. "What if it will happen? What if we actually get to have a permanent home? Real friends?"
She shrugged her shoulders, "Then it happens. But I don't think it's because we dreamed it. That's just too weird." Luke opened his mouth to argue with her, but she cut him off before he could speak. "I do want it to be real," She said. "There's just no proof it will ever happen so I'm not pinning my hopes on it."
She and Luke stared at each other for several long silent moments before mutually going back to the game and letting the topic drop. There was much both of them wanted to say on the subject but they knew dinner wasn't far off and the last thing they wanted to do was have their mother spend the meal mediating their argument as she tended to do. If they were being honest, they were sure she was a lawyer or something based on how she was able to get information out of them and use it to get them to resolve the problem.
Dinner came and went as it always did and before they knew it, it was bedtime. Climbing into the double bed she shared with Luke, she closed her eyes as her mother pressed a kiss to her head and then to Luke's before bidding them goodnight and closing the door.
Luke was out the moment his head hit the pillow. But Leia had never had an easy time falling asleep. She often found herself tossing and turning, throwing the covers off her and then pulling them back up as she tried to get comfortable. This night for some reason was particularly difficult and after rolling around for four hours, she groaned and kicked Luke in the back. Her brother jumped, startled from his sleep and turned to face her. "What?" He groaned.
"Can't sleep," She said simply.
"And you woke me because…?"
She shrugged, "If I can't sleep why should you? I'm bored."
Luke shook his head and yawned. "I'm tired," He said, letting his head fall back to the pillow and his eyes slowly shut.
Leia let out a groan and climbed out of bed. She knew one way to get Luke to wake up. With a smile, she slowly opened the door and made her way to the kitchen where she had plans to replicate herself a large bowl of ice cream. Walking slowly, she quietly passed her mother's room but stopped when she noticed the light under the doorway. Her mother was awake. Turning on her heels, she made to return to her room, when she heard her mother talking. She couldn't make out much of what she said, but then she heard a man's voice.
Her bedroom was only a few steps down the hall. If she walked quickly she could get there before her mother found out she was awake. But right next to her was her mother's bedroom where she was having a hushed discussion with a man. Her curiosity won in the end and as quietly as she could, she pressed her ear to the door and listened.
"…I don't know how much longer we can do this," Her mother said. "Moving is so hard on them and I'm terrified one of these days we'll be found."
"You won't be," The man said. "You don't stay long enough for them to be able to figure out who you are."
"And if they realize what I'm doing? If they realize I'm recruiting for you-"
Her mother scoffed. "You don't know that, Anakin. You don't know. You're out there doing gods know what, getting shot at, blowing things up… We can't keep doing this," She said. "We've been helping them actively for ten years. Maybe we need to adjust our priorities."
"What are you suggesting?" He asked.
"That we stop," She said, "We stop, we go into hiding - together… we raise our family."
The man was silent for several moments before he spoke again. "And the Alliance?"
"We helped them get started. They can finish it. We've given up most of our lives for our duty to the Republic and democracy. I don't want to force that sacrifice on Luke and Leia anymore." Leia pulled back from the door and silently, but quickly rushed for her bedroom. She had to tell Luke what she heard.
Luke was sound asleep in the same position she had left him. Bouncing on the bed, she startled him and slapped her hand over his mouth, holding her finger to her lips commanding his silence. "What?" He hissed when she pulled her hand back.
"I heard something."
"Can't you tell me later?"
She shook her head, "Mom was talking to a man and I think he's our father."
Luke sat up straight and looked her in the eye, "Really?"
She nodded excitedly, "Yes!"
"Mom never talks about him."
"I know!" She said, "And I think I know what they do! I know why we haven't seen him and why we move!" Leia bounced as she spoke in silent excitement. "They're rebels! Fighting against the Empire!"
The smile on Luke's face dropped. "You woke me up to tell me a silly story?" He asked. "I'm going back to sleep."
Leia grabbed his arm, "It's not a silly story! It's the truth! I heard them!"
"Oh come on, Mom isn't cool enough to be a rebel. They're supposed to be fighters strong enough to rival stormtroopers. Can you really picture Mom shooting a stormtrooper?"
She took a moment and thought about the things she has seen her mother do. None of them seemed to fit the profile of a rebel.
"That's what I thought," He said, flopping back down onto the bed. "If anything, our father was probably a pilot who never knew we were born."
"Was?" Leia asked.
"Why else does Mom not talk about him? He's probably dead."
Leia sat up in bed as she ran through the conversation she had heard. Had she heard it right? Everything Luke had said made sense but something told her it wasn't true. And that the conversation she had overheard was. But that only left her with more questions. Questions of why? Why were they involved? Why hadn't they ever met their father? Were they in danger? Laying back onto her pillows, she made a list of the questions with every intention of finding out the truth in the morning.
"Good morning, you two!" Their mom greeted them when they walked into the kitchen. "Breakfast is on the table. I need to go into the city for a bit so 3PO is in charge until I get back," She said as she walked to grab the keys to the speeder.
"Why?" Leia asked as she pushed the eggs on her plate around.
Her mother raised a brow at her, "Because 3PO-"
"No, why are you going into the city?" Leia clarified, taking a bite of the warm eggs. "Is it to recruit more people to the Alliance?" She could sense the nervousness from her mother and watched as she returned the keys to the counter and took a seat across from them.
"What gives you that Idea?" She asked.
"I heard you," Leia said. "…You were talking to our father last night. Weren't you?"
Their mother was silent a moment and both Luke and Leia could sense the argument in her head as she weighed the conversations to come. "Yes," She answered. "I… I was talking to your father."
Luke returned the fork in his hand to the table, his fists clenched tightly. "So he's alive," He said.
"Of course he's alive," Their mother said. "Why-"
"'Cause you never talk about him," Leia said, guessing what her question was. "You're both working with the rebels aren't you? That's why we move around so much, why we haven't even met our father."
"You did meet him once," She said. "He was there when you were born, and then when we stayed on Mandalore when you were three."
"We don't remember that, though," Luke said. "I…I don't understand why we have to live like this."
They watched as their mother let out a sigh and reached for their hands, giving them a squeeze as she spoke calmly to them. "Luke, Leia… there is much you don't know about your father and me. This isn't the life either of us imagined for you. We wanted so much better…" Her voice trailed off and silence fell between the three of them.
Their mother, waiting patiently for their reaction, and Luke and Leia trying to understand what they have been told. "I still don't understand," Leia said. "Why did it have to be like this?"
Their mother smiled at her, "I know. It's a very long story and maybe when all this is done and we meet your father, we'll tell you everything you want to know. For now, just trust me. And know that you are safe."
They stayed at the table sitting together in silence until their breakfast went cold and after declaring they weren't hungry, their mother reluctantly went into the city to do what she had to for the Alliance. She still hadn't told them exactly what her role in the Rebellion was, but at the same time, Luke and Leia were almost afraid to ask.
The rest of the day went by much slower than they normally did. Neither Luke nor Leia wanted to do anything. Despite how Leia had already figured it all out, the truth still weighed heavily on her especially since it was normally her fault when she and Luke would wander away from home. Now knowing that any one of those times could have ended far worse than just the lecture and grounding she had been given, she felt horrible for the worry she gave her mother and the danger she unknowingly could have put them all in. Her dreams that night reflected that. Twisting the adventures she was once proud of into hellish nightmares of Imperial prisons and watching as her brother and mother were killed.
Her eyes shot open as the blasters opened fire on them and with fast heavy breaths, she slowly started to recognize her bedroom and focused in on Luke's soft snores. Leia sighed and rolled out of bed. Her dream frightened her enough that she wanted to do something she hadn't done since she was seven. Walking down the hall to her mother's room, she saw the light was still on. The door was cracked open and peeking inside, she saw her mother sitting on the edge of the bed, watching a hologram.
Leia pushed the door open and her mother turned her head to her and smiled. "Can't sleep?" She asked. Leia nodded and when her mother beckoned her closer, she climbed onto the bed beside her.
"What is this?" Leia asked, looking at the hologram. It wasn't much. Just a looped holo recording of a man rocking with what must be a baby but only looked like a bundled up blanket.
Her mother smiled. "It's the only holo I have of your father and you together," She said.
Leia's eyes widened as she looked at it more closely. Her father. She was watching her father holding her. He looked so young and so happy. He had a smile on his face as he gently rocked and rubbed her back. He was whispering something but she couldn't make out what he was saying.
"When I was pregnant, he kept on insisting I was having a girl." Leia turned to look at her mother, noticing the small tears in her eyes. "He was so excited to be a father."
"But then the Empire happened," Leia said.
Her mother nodded. "You can only imagine how excited he was when he found out I was having twins. And terrified," She paused, seeming to be lost in a distant memory for a moment. "I hope you and Luke know that these weren't easy choices. These are difficult times for us all and we're just trying to make things better."
"I know," Leia said. "And I think Luke does too. He's just mad about all the lies."
She nodded and pulled her close, kissing her hair. "And he has every right to be mad. You both do," She said.
"Can I sleep with you?" Leia asked.
She nodded again and let her mother shift them to lay down in the bed, pulling the covers over them both and turning off the holo and the lights. Closing her eyes, Leia tried to go to sleep, letting the soothing presence of her mother calm her.
Days later, Luke and Leia were awoken by the quick shuffling of objects being moved around in the house. They could hear their mother speaking in hushed whispers to 3PO but they couldn't make out what she was saying. Outside their window, it was still dark and they were confused why their mother had thought now was a good time to move things. Until they realized it must be the Empire.
Their door opened slowly and unlike how their mother normally greeted them when she would wake them, she walked straight to their closet and pulled out their coats and boots. "Put them on, quickly," She ordered, pulling a suitcase from the closet and haphazardly throwing the rest of their clothes inside, not even bothering to fold anything and locking it. She was in a hurry. And without even thinking, the two of them jumped to their feet and did as she said. She disappeared only long enough to pass the suitcase to 3PO before she came back in and took them each by the hand, pulling them along behind her quickly out the door.
"What's happening?" Leia asked as she climbed into the speeder. "Is it the Empire."
"It's okay," She said in a way that was meant to keep them calm but they could see through it. "We're moving tonight. Right now. That's all."
"We know it's the Empire, Mom," Luke said. "Just tell us what's happening."
She bit her lip before she spoke. "They know who I am," She said, not waiting for them to respond and climbed into the driver's seat with 3PO beside her.
She kept the lights of the speeder off as she flew them down the street. It was nearly pitch black and they could barely see in front of them so watching their mother fly practically blind while speeding would have been an amazing feat to see if they weren't afraid of what would happen if they were found. They had expected to go into the city to the spaceport where they had arrived when they first came here, but instead, their mother veered off into the forest down a barely used dirt path. It was only then when she turned on the headlights and sped up as fast as the speeder could go.
They flew for only around an hour before they arrived at a small clearing. In the center sat a small G9 Rigger freighter with the ramp down. The moment they pulled around to the ramp, a man came running down followed closely by an astromech unit. "You alright?" He asked their mother.
"I'm fine, we have to hurry," She said, barely sparing him a glance as she pulled what bags she had packed and handed them to him. He looked as though he wanted to say more, but decided against it, instead, doing as she wished and carried the bags onto the ship.
Both Luke and Leia could tell there was something special about this man but they had little time to dwell on it as their mother called them to get on the ship. They could sense the heightened level of fear from both the adults and wisely obeyed, hurrying out of the speeder and up the ramp, they almost ran into the man who seemed nervous around them as he helped them get strapped in.
Leia watched him carefully as he helped her into her seat. He felt familiar. But not in a way she was used to. It felt as though she had met him before, more than that, she felt like he was like her. She could feel power from him a power similar to what she and Luke had but stronger- mastered. He raised his eyes to meet hers once she was strapped in and she immediately knew who he was. And he smiled at her not a moment after she realized it as if he knew what she was thinking.
The man remained silent as he stood back up and their mother entered with the droids following close behind. "Everything is onboard, let's go," She said, moving to the co-pilot's seat and beginning the launch sequence. He followed, taking the pilots place and slowly lifted them off the ground.
The ship rocked as an explosion echoed in the ship. "We got company," He said, moving faster to get the ship higher. Another jolt forced them to lose several feet of altitude but their pilot pulled up sharply before weaving in a way to evade the shots being fired at them.
Luke kept his gaze on the man watching him in awe as he piloted them out of danger. They had never seen such skill before and watching someone masterfully dodging Imperial fire captured his attention in a way he never thought possible.
It didn't take long before they broke through the atmosphere and after a few acrobatic spins to get then on the right trajectory, they entered hyperspace.
Turning in their seats, the man and their mother shared a smile. "I've missed you," He said.
"So have I," She said, her smile brighter than either of them had seen it. Their mother turned her head to them and they quickly unfastened their safety belts and stood before the adults. She looked between them and the man before moving to stand closer to him, taking his hand in hers. "Luke, Leia… This is-"
"Our father," Leia finished, a smile on her face as she met his eyes. Taking the few steps that separated them, she looked up at him taking note of how different he looked from the holo of him she had seen briefly. He was older but not too noticeably and his hair was slightly longer but his eyes were the same. He looked at her with the same love in his eyes as he had in the holo as he knelt before her. Leia smiled and threw her arms around his neck, feeling impossibly safe in his arms as he held her. She wanted to commit every part of him to memory - wanted desperately to remember this moment as it was the first time she was meeting him.
Her father pulled back after several moments, his attention shifting to her brother who seemed almost hesitant to approach. Leia watched the silent exchange between them, aware that Luke was trying to get a general sense of who he was. Their father smiled when he felt Luke's energy touch his and gladly opened to the boy, letting him know exactly who he was. Leia could feel it too and was amazed at the level of control he seemed to possess. Luke smiled a moment later and rushed to embrace his father with the same enthusiasm his sister had moments ago.
"They're beautiful," Their father said to their mother, still holding Luke tightly. He pulled back, placing a hand on Luke's cheek and the other on Leia's. His eyes glanced between the two of them and he shook his head in amazement at them. "You're both so strong with the Force," He said. "I wasn't even able to do that when I was your age."
"The Force?" Luke asked.
He nodded, "The power you and Leia both have. The way you can sense things, and communicate with one another. I'm surprised your mother never told you about it."
"And have them levitate things around the house like you do?" Their mother said with a raised brow.
He laughed and gave a shrug before turning back to them, "The power you have shown is only a fraction of what you can do. And I'll teach you both how to use it."
They both smiled at his words, excited at the prospect of learning new tricks but the excitement didn't last as Luke's gaze dropped to the ground. "What's going to happen now?" He asked, referring to the obvious danger they had just escaped from.
Frowns marred the faces of their parents as they looked at one another. It didn't seem like either of them had a plan with the move happening so suddenly. Their father took a breath and looked back at his children, "We're staying together," He declared.
"You were right," He said, looking back at their mother. "We've been apart too long. And now that I've seen how much I missed, I don't want to miss anymore. We'll figure everything else out later, but we're staying together. I'm not leaving you again."