He Gave it to Her
Disclaimer: I do not own any part of the Star Wars universe, I just like to borrow the flannel one's toys. No money is being made and no infringement is intended.
Summary: Leia's thoughts at the end of the original Thrawn trilogy: Some things ought to stay in the family… but he gave it to her.
Thanks go to Christie, for taking the time and effort of going over this.
The ballroom was, of course, stunning. There were carpets and crystal sculptures and other bedazzling adornments everywhere, and like at any political function, people were ignoring them as pointedly as possible. Leia sighed to herself, almost disbelieving that such artwork could go so unappreciated. It was as if the guests at this particular function- and many others she'd attended- were having a contest to see who could be the least impressed. Like it gave them some sort of extra status to be able to ignore such costly beauty. Frankly, it felt like a waste.
The New Republic was celebrating: Thrawn was dead, a Dark Jedi had been defeated, an enormous cloning facility that had been in Imperial hands had been destroyed, and maybe, for just a little while, life would be peaceful. Anyway, there was a big fuss on Coruscant and everyone was supposed to be there and even though she was exhausted from dealing with twin infants and other crises, she'd hauled herself out in makeup and uncomfortable shoes. She'd even made sure Han put on his general's uniform.
What was perplexing, at this particular moment, was the marked absence of Public Hero Number One, a.k.a. Luke Skywalker, Jedi, pilot and brother. The whole to-do was practically in his honour and he was nowhere to be seen. Leia wondered fleetingly if Mara Jade had made good on her promise, but decided there was no way Luke was dead and she didn't know about it.
Stretching out with the Force, she tried to grasp what was keeping him. His thoughts were serious, she could sense, and he was very preoccupied, so she satisfied herself with the general impression that he was planning on showing up. He'd be late, of course, Leia thought with a small smile. Luke was late for everything: her wedding, the birth of the twins, meetings with the Senate… Apparently there was nothing about punctuality in the Jedi code or Luke would have been long disqualified.
"Credit for your thoughts?"
She looked up to find Han smiling down at her, proffering a flute of something that smelled vaguely fruity. "Non-alcoholic," he assured her, and she smiled back.
"They're not worth that much," she admitted, accepting the drink. "I was just wondering where Luke is." Even as she said it, she felt Han's gaze shift, sensed a subtle change in the room.
"He's just come in," Han told her unnecessarily, smirking slightly. "He brought a friend."
And indeed he had, Leia marveled. She was not a brilliant politician for nothing. She may not have been a true Jedi Knight, or anything even remotely approaching her full potential, but she had nonetheless learned how to read people. And, at this particular moment, she was flummoxed.
Her brother had just entered the Grand Ballroom, dressed as usual in his Jedi blacks, lightsaber at his side. Beside him, in a belted blue dress that contrasted nicely with her hair, walked the woman who had once been Emperor Palpatine's personal assassin. Mara Jade herself looked a little uncomfortable, and indeed it must have been odd to be celebrating the demise of one of the Empire's greatest tacticians when she had only so recently abandoned their cause. But her discomfort was not what had drawn Leia's attention, and she found her mind wandering again.
Luke had told her something once when they had first met, en route to Yavin to battle the Death Star. He'd been reluctant, shy, and most likely intimidated, but they had talked a little. She'd asked him about the lightsaber that hung at his waist. He'd unclipped it from his belt, and turned it over in his hands a few times, and said very quietly, "It was my father's. Until Darth Vader killed him." And then he had added, quieter still, "It's all I have left of my family." And Leia, unsure of how to respond or even offer comfort, had left it at that.
Time had passed, of course, and truths and lies and points of view had been exposed. Then Luke had lost his innocence and his hand to Vader on Bespin. His lightsaber, too, had been lost, and so he'd set to work building his own. Now he had it back, returned via Joruus C'Baoth and his own Dark Side clone, and Leia had been certain that he would never part with the older weapon, because it was a link to a past and a man that he would never know.
After Vader was dead and forgiven, the lightsaber seemed to be a sort of family heirloom. Lately she'd caught him looking at it with a very strange look in his eye, one she'd thought she understood as a sort of… reverence. Which was why Leia was so surprised to see it hanging on the belt of the woman who'd sworn to kill him.
He gave it to her. The knowledge almost sent her reeling. It even stung, a little: Vader was her father, too, and even if she hadn't wanted the lightsaber… well, some things ought to stay in the family. And Luke had never offered it to Leia. But wasn't it a little silly to supply your would-be killer with a weapon?
Still, from what Luke had told her, Mara's murderous compulsions seemed to have vanished. And from the way they were dancing, mindless slaughter didn't seem to be on the agenda, either. Leia allowed herself a small smile, speculating as to what would happen if her brother put his hands in the wrong place. She hoped he wasn't reckless enough to find out. He'd probably need another prosthetic.
"Well," said Han from behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist. "How about our deal? A credit still enough?"
She tilted her head back to look at him. "Not even close."
The two of them had lost themselves in the crowd somewhere, probably on purpose, and she was certain that they'd made their exit: she sensed that Luke was too far away to be in the room. His words came back to haunt her: all I have of my family. She wondered if Luke remembered that, but decided not to ask him. Instead she just smiled to herself. Whatever happened, it was certain to be interesting. You'll have to look after that for us, Mara, she thought. It's a family heirloom.