Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars or anything to do with it. Please don't sue me for using the characters for my own evil purposes!
A.N. My mate borrowed my Star Wars DVD's so this chapter might not be exact. An I think it was the Red Hand Squadron that Bria Tharen was in so please forgive me if I'm wrong. Oh well...
To my wonderful reviewers!
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Now on with the story!
Reliving the Nightmare
Leia paused, took a deep breath, and began.
"It all starts when the Imperials boarded the ship. You know that I sent a message to Obi-Wan Kenobi in R2, right?"
Han nodded and motioned for her to continue.
"I had just sent him off with Threepio when some Stormtroopers found me. I shot one of them and tried to run. Stupid, now that I think about it. I should have just blasted the rest of them," she managed a weak grin.
"Well, they stunned me, and when I woke up they took me to Vader. He had already killed Captain Antilles, probably trying to get information out of him. I lied to him, told him I was on a diplomatic mission. He didn't buy it. He had found out about the transmissions that the Red Hand Squadron had beamed to the ship."
Leia paused again. She didn't want to sound silly when she told Han about this recurring nightmare. Though, having one's planet blown up in front of one's eyes was probably a good enough reason to have nightmares at the age of nineteen.
"They put me in a cell for a while. I don't know how long for, it must have been several hours at least until Vader came again."
Her mind recalled the tall man, if you could call him, or it, a man. His big black mask was enough to scare anyone, even if they didn't know who the man or thing under it was, or what he or it, was famous for.
"He just came in and said so simply, 'And now, Your Highness, we will discuss the location of the hidden Rebel base.' Then, as if to top it all off, a huge, ugly Imperial Probe Droid floated in the door, pointing a needle at me!"
Her voice went so soft all of a sudden that, Han could barely hear her. "I've still got the puncture marks on-" Han cut her off.
Leia looked at him quizzically. "How did you know?"
Han risked a smile. "Obvious really. All your nerves go up through your spine, so if those Imperials wanted to pump any princesses full of pain enhancement drugs, they'd go for the place where it will hit most nerves," his voice dropped too, "and cause the most pain."
Seeing the amazed expression on the Princesses face, he said, "I'm not all good looks Sweetheart! I've got brains too!"
Leia shook her head in exasperation, and then continued.
"Like you said, they pumped me full with Pain Enhancers so it hurt just to move. Then Truth Serum. After that Vader got some of his men to beat me up a bit, but because of the Pain Enhancers it hurt a lot more than it should have, while he 'questioned' me." She said the word 'questioned' with all the sarcasm she could muster.
Han winced at the thought of the pain and humiliation she would have been going through. 'And it gets worse' he reminded himself.
"I didn't say anything." Leia had started again, rather abruptly. "He tried everything I thought that was in his power, but I didn't say anything. At the end, I would have rather died than live a moment longer! But it wasn't over..." she trailed off.
"Alderaan?" Han asked gently. He was surprised when Leia shook her head. Han had been an Imperial once, and during his time with them, he hadn't seen anything else that Darth Vader could have done.
"He ordered all his Imperial cronies out of the cell, and he lifted me. Not with his hands, he was using the Force, that thing Luke is always going on about."
Han interrupted again. "Vader's a Jedi? I've been getting more and more suspicious of that crazy religion the Kid's getting into, and now I know why!"
Once again, Leia shook her head. "My father told me a bit about the Jedi. They were the protectors of the galaxy. But some turned to the dark side of the Force. They used it as a weapon, not as an ally. They became known as the Sith. Darth Vader is one of them."
She waited for Han's nod of approval before she continued.
"As I said, he just lifted me up with the Force. Then I felt something... I don't know, it was like he was going through my mind! Flicking through my thoughts and memories, just looking for the right thing. I remember thinking that I couldn't let him find out where the Rebels were. Then he let dropped me. I felt him trying again to get into my mind, but he couldn't. I blocked him."
Han stared at her. "You should ask Luke about this. Maybe you're what he calls 'Force sensitive'!"
The young princess in front of him laughed. A proper laugh. Han felt his heart lift as though some of his troubles were gone.
"Han Solo, I'm more likely to fall in love with you than to be Force sensitive!"
Han gave her a lob-sided grin. "I'd say that you must be very Force sensitive then!" he gave her a roguish wink.
Leia laughed again, but her face grew grim as she revealed the rest of the tortures to Han.
"Vader left, for a while. I thought he was going to execute me, and trust me, that would have been completely welcome right then! But then he came back with more Stormtroopers."
Leia forced back the tears that were gathering in her eyes. She really didn't want to seem like an over-emotional teenager.
"They brought me to Grand Moff Tarkin."
Then Leia recited the entire battle of words that her and Tarkin had exchanged. The words that had been going through her mind every night since the awful event.
"Governor Tarkin, I should have expected to find you holding Vader's leach. I recognised your foul stench when I was brought on board."
He replied, "Charming to the last. You don't know how hard I found it signing the order to terminate your life!"
Her response had been just as sharp. "I'm surprised you had the courage to take the responsibility yourself."
Then he had recited that dreaded speech. "Princess Leia, before your execution, I would like you to be my guest at a ceremony to make this battle station operational. No star system shall dare oppose the emperor now!"
"The more you tighten your grip Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers!"
"Not after we demonstrate the power of this station. In a way, you have determined the choice of the planet that will be destroyed first. Since you are reluctant to provide us with the location of the Rebel base, I have chosen to test this stations destructive power on your home planet of Alderaan!"
All defiance was gone now. "No! Alderaan is peaceful! We have no weapons! You can't possibly-"
Tarkin's eyes gleamed. "You would prefer another target? A military target? Then name the system!" He rounded on her, "I grow tired of asking this, so it shall be the last time! Where is the Rebel base?"
"Dantooine," she finally whispered. "They're on Dantooine."
"There, you see Lord Vader? She can be reasonable." Those dreaded words, "Continue with the operation, you may fire when ready!"
Leia felt the tears running down her face once again. But she didn't care.
"Alderaan was shining like a jewel in the sky. Then there was a flash of green light, and Alderaan was gone."
By now Leia sounded hollow, but it was true, she was relieved to finally tell someone.
"Tell me Leia, were you the one who ordered Alderaan to be destroyed?" Han asked her sternly.
"No buts about it! There was nothing you could have done! Even if you had said another planet, they would have still destroyed Alderaan! I hate to tell you this Leia, but it's true!" He paused, "Now do you believe me?"
Princess Leia looked up into the hazel eyes of Captain Han Solo, and only saw truth.
"Yes Han, I believe you."
"Good!" Han smiled in victory and gave her a hug. "Now, go to bed and get some sleep... And no more nightmares, you hear?"
"Yes Sir!" Leia gave a mock salute, and headed for her cabin for a sleep undisturbed by nightmares.
As Princess Leia Organa looked out at the Alderaan Graveyard the next morning, no tears gathered in her eyes. She still felt a sense of sorrow and loss, but it wasn't as overwhelming as it had previously been.
She looked over at Han who was struggling to fix the hyperdrive, and thought, 'He's not so bad really, for a pirate, smuggler, mercenary and an insensitive git. He's really not so bad.'
A.N. WHOOOOO! FINISHED!!!!!! Thank-you to all who have reviewed and made me carry on with this story! But tell me, what did you think of the last chapter?
R &R and thank-you!