I'm back! Yes, I'm back. If a new chapter hasn't already been posted on TNQLL then there will be not one, but two, posted today. I'm very sorry for the long wait. But I do have an excuse! You can see it in TNQLL author's note.

This is yet another little Leia-angst rambling. I was thinking about how Leia was supposed to be fairly young when she was captured and out came this.

Eighteen and A Thousand Years

"How old are you?"

She asked it as she examined me, briskly. It was an innocent question, the sought after answer a simple fact. A standard thing for a doctor to ask their patient, just another bit of information to go into my chart. If you had happened to glance over the chart, it would seem inconsequential beside the other things written there; things like three broken ribs, ten broken figures, and perhaps one broken hip, although I can't be completely certain. Not to mention the limitless quantities of nameless drugs that had been pumped into me.

No, it wasn't the question that made me pause, nor the fact that she was asking it; it was the answer. For a moment I forgot how old I was, or, rather, how young. But the moment passed and I answered her:

"Eighteen years and three days."

She nodded, satisfied, and continued. I have long since been sent to bed, still in the medic ward, to be watched over as I sleep. But I'm not sleeping.

There's a mirror in here, but I don't know my reflection. I want to jump up and scream, "That's not me! It can't be me..." But then they would think me crazy. Perhaps I am.

Even so, I cannot accept my age. Eighteen year olds worry about boys, their appearance. My main concerns are my mental health and whether or not the nerves in my fingers will ever work again. The people surrounding, caring for eighteen year olds fret about their attitudes, if their boyfriends are appropriate. People here couldn't care less about how I act, so long as I make it through the night. And boyfriends? Do whatever you want Leia, just keep it quiet and let us continue to use you ask a pawn for the Alliance.

Despite all this, if someone asked me now how old I am, the answer would be the same:

"Eighteen and three days."

Tomorrow it'll be four days, then five, later a week, a month. But that's only on the outside, that's only what's written on paper.

If you had asked me before the Death Star, I would have happily answered eighteen, proud that I could claim to be such a mature age. I can't remember that girl.

Funny how three days can age a girl so much; a thousand years, even. I guess that must be how old I am.

Eighteen and a thousand years.