Leia and Winter studied for their test during the drive back home. Bail was still not pleased with their role in the whole affair. He refused to discuss the matter further, and when they got home, they scarcely had time to say good-bye before Bail banished Leia to her room. She wasn't sure if she was really being grounded, or if her father was just using the impending test as an excuse to confine her to her room. At any rate, she didn't see him for the rest of the day. She knew he had work to do, but she couldn't help but feel as if she were being punished.

Leia had dinner alone with Aris that night. She hardly felt any better in front of Aris than in front of her father. She slunk into her seat and stared guiltily at her nerf sausage. "I'm sorry I almost got you in trouble, Aris." Her eyes stung, and she sniffled. "If anything had happened to you -"

"Your father would have taken care of it. He's gotten me out of worse scrapes than that. Lady Naraud couldn't have done anything to me."

Leia looked up, curious. She knew Aris and her father had known each other for many years, since long before she was born. But much of that relationship was a mystery to her, falling into that giant category of "Things Leia Was Too Young to Know About." She knew Aris wouldn't enlighten her, even if she asked.

"Anyway," Aris continued, "it wasn't about me at all. Lady Naraud was hoping to pin something on your father. Lucky for all of us your boyfriend decided to play the hero."

"He's not my boyfriend!" Leia protested, her cheeks warm.

"Good," Aris said, her lips twisting in a smile. "I'd hate to think you'd fall for an Imperial. Still, it's not a bad idea to have Imperials fall for you, is it? People in love are willing to do all kinds of stupid things. That can come in handy."

Leia said nothing, concentrating on her meal while she contemplated the possibilities. Indeed, Dal's crush on her probably had a lot to do with everything that had happened.

After a while, she ventured, "I guess Papa is really mad at me."

"Do you think he has good reason to be mad?" Aris asked in that infuriatingly non-committal way of hers.

"We did get onto that datapad all right," Leia pointed out. "And we did find something really important. He's not going to ignore it just because we disobeyed him, is he?"

"He already spoke to Winter's parents about having his secretary take down those files from her."

"Oh. Good." Still, Leia felt a touch of resentment. Her father probably wouldn't give her and Winter proper credit for the discovery. Of course, the information was what mattered most, not who had found it. Leia was glad she'd been able to help the Alliance, especially the Cyreneans. But she had hoped her father would be impressed by their feat. Instead, all he saw was two naughty little girls who disobeyed him. He'd never accept her as a grown-up.

They didn't discuss the issue any further, and when dinner was over, Leia went back to her room. She wanted to get onto her father's computer so she could check the StealthNet to see if word of her discovery had gotten out yet, but she knew that would be a very stupid move. No doubt her father had already put up extra security barriers. Leia could eventually get around them, but right now she had had enough of betraying people: Aris, Dal, even Winter. And of course, her father.

She tried to read for a while, but found herself staring blindly at the same page for ten minutes. She finally just gave up, got undressed, brushed her teeth, and crawled into bed, turning out the light so she could stare through her window at the moons while she tried to fall asleep.

She must have dozed off eventually, because when she woke later, only one of the moons was still visible in the window.

"Are you asleep, Leelee?" she heard her father ask.

Leia sat up to see him standing in the doorway. His image blurred, and she blinked back tears, relieved that he'd used her nickname. "I'm so sorry, Papa," she said, her voice choking.

In a few steps he was at her side, sitting on the edge of the bed and holding her against his chest. "Don't cry, Leia," he said, his voice calm and even. But it was a few minutes before she could stop.

"Are you very disappointed with me?" she asked.

Bail said nothing at first, just stroked her hair in silence. "I honestly don't know how to answer that question. I told you to leave that datapad alone, and you disobeyed me." He sighed deeply. "But you were right about its importance. And you did manage to retrieve the information without being detected."

"But I didn't pick a good ally," Leia reminded him.

Bail chuckled. "I'm glad to hear you listen to at least some of the things I tell you!" He hugged her again, a little too tightly. "Oh, Leia, whatever am I going to do with you?"

Pushing herself away so she could look into his face, Leia said, "Please, Papa, I know I messed things up, but I can learn. I want to help the Alliance. Please teach me!"

He studied her for a long moment, his eyes twinkling in the dark. "Aris tells me that if I don't teach you, you'll keep undertaking these missions on your own. She says I'd be wiser to accept the inevitable and make sure you know what you're doing."

Leia held her breath in expectation. She wanted to argue on her own behalf, but it was probably smarter to let Aris speak for her. Good old Aris! Leia could always count on her.

"We discussed the matter at length this afternoon," Bail admitted. "I still insist you need a general education, but I could hire a private tutor instead of sending you to school. We could work out a course of study for you, and you could serve as my aide--"

"Oh, Papa! Thank you!" Leia exclaimed, throwing her arms around his neck.

Bail returned the hug, then took her hands in his, holding her back so she could look at him. "If you're going to start training with me, then you must understand that this is not a game. I will expect you to obey me, not because you're my daughter, but because you'll be an Alliance agent in training. You can't decide you'll just do your own thing. You must follow orders, even if you think you're too smart for them. If you fail to comply, you won't risk getting grounded. You'll risk getting demoted or dismissed, just like any other agent. Do you understand?"

Leia sat up straight. "Yes, sir. I'll do everything you say. I won't fail you."

"No, I don't believe you will," Bail said fondly, reaching out to ruffle her hair. "More than that, I believe you will make me very proud."

"I hope so, Papa. You're my hero, you know. I want to be just like you when I grow up."

Bail gathered her once more in his arms. "You're my hero, too, Leelee."

Leia smiled as she burrowed against her father's chest.

This was going to be great.