Disclaimer: George Lucas owns these characters. I just love them and write about them.

Character(s): Leia Organa, Bail Organa
Period: Inter-trilogy, post-ROTJ
Genre: Angst, Drama
Summary: Leia reflects on learning she is adopted.

Long Forgotten – Leia

I remember the first time my adopted father spoke of my real parents. I had just passed my eighth Naming Day. My mother was sick. That is, my adopted mother was sick. Mother, or Lady Organa as the citizens of Aldera called her, was sleeping finally, her will beginning to succumb to illness. The illness that struck so suddenly the day that I celebrated with friends and selfishly sulked that I didn't get the speeder bike that I had wanted. A speeder bike. This was the most heinous of ills to befall anyone in my young mind.

Little did I know that my world would soon tilt and right itself again. When it did, I wouldn't be Leia Organa, daughter of the Prince of Alderaan, an heir to the patience of my father and the delicacy of my mother. I would be Leia... who? Just Leia, some wild Halfling dropped off on the doorstep of the palace, an imposter. No wonder she has such a bad temper, my aunts would whisper behind their hands. Such a shame. How very patient and good of the teachers to teach her civility. Taming of the spirit, that's what this one needs.

My father had come to my room, his face ashen. I knew when I looked at him that our world would soon change. Somewhere in the back of my mind, the stillness of truth waited. The faerie queen that was my mother, would go back to the heavens. My father, the stoic man who held the galaxy together while the politicians and the Emperor tried their best to rend it apart, would never be the same. He sat on the edge of my bed and pulled a small box from under his overcoat.

"I am sorry that you heard my conversation with the physician, Leia." He raised his eyes to mine. "I know you heard that the sickness is passed on through children, and that you ran because you were frightened."

I looked at my father, shamed that he had caught the selfishness of my action. I should have thought of my mother. I had deduced my own impending death, from the sudden illness that would steal my mother, but I didn't have to worry...not then, not ever.

My father sighed wearily. I watched as he struggled with words, my heart breaking, for my father was an eloquent person, especially to my eight-year-old ears. Words were his life, he kept the citizens of Alderaan safe with his words. It frightened me that he could find none, for this would certainly mean the end of our world.

"I have something I'd like to show you, but you must never show this to anyone or speak of it. You are old enough to keep this just in here." He touched his finger to my forehead.

He opened the box and took out a small holopic, activating it with a flick. A young couple smiled into the projector. She an impish, exotic pixie with long, curling dark hair and an exquisite face. He a striking warrior, tall and handsome, with blond, rakish hair and the bluest eyes I had ever seen. They were Luke's eyes, I just didn't know it at the time.

The holo looked like it had been taken at one of the vacation spots on Alderaan, but the flowers were wrong. The couple smiled into each others eyes, their clasped hands locked as if either were to let go, the other would float away with the sparkling lake in the background. My droids stood beside them, posing for the holocamera.

I looked at that couple and I knew my mother's sickness was not to be mine. My parents were not my parents. A photograph of an attractive couple brought the truth.

"What happened to them?" Where did they go? Why did they leave me? What was wrong with me? I asked the question, but knew even then deep in my child's heart that there was no answer.

"They are gone," my father answered. The finality of his tone confirmed that this was all I would know of them. He looked past me then, his eyes faraway. "They died long ago."

He leaned and gathered me to him, the sadness of the day and the weariness of his soul enveloping us in numbing miasma. "I want you to know that your mother and I love you just as much as those two did, maybe more. You came to us when there was no hope, my Leia. You've brought happiness to us, and you are our daughter. This will never change. I only tell you this, so that you'll not fear the illness that has claimed your mother. I will always be here for you, and your mother will never be far away. As long as you carry her here...", he laid his hands on my little girl's heart, tucking my faerie queen mother there forever. He rose slowly from the bed, and kissed me goodnight.

My mother passed away the next morning.

For years after my mother's passing I wondered of the couple in the holo. How had they died? I dreamed of the woman, my real mother, occasionally, whispered words of encouragement, or a tinkling laugh, her face familiar and knowing. Smiling, yet sad. Sometimes she ran through a field of wildflowers, ribbons trailing from behind. Sometimes she looked solemnly through a viewport, her face painted in the colors of the theatre, a china doll bought for a child at festival.

The man in the holo was a mystery. Did he laugh with Luke in dreams? Did he whisper of starships and adventure to my brother? He never came to me in dreams, never gave me flashes of a smile, or a glimpse of laughing eyes. He hid himself from me, like the rest of the galaxy. He disappeared as if he were never there. It made me wonder if he was a wizard prince, from the old stories told to Alderaanian children. They were handsome and beguiling, appearing to lure you into the fields to create mischief, their grandness too exaggerated to be real. He had that look about him.

Sometimes I would wonder if they both were ever really, truly alive. There were no more records of the two. The holo was later destroyed with my planet and my youth.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

I sit now in my office thinking of that couple today. The feeling of sadness that was always buried in my subconscious, the weight of it, explained on the flimsiplast pages in front of me. The fruits of the investigator's labor laying at my fingertips. Luke's record checks had mostly been in vain, and we have been fine for years now. A family, with children of our own. I almost laugh at the sheer oddity of getting these from the Empire now, when we have made peace. When I have made peace. I have already come to accept whatever story my real parents would tell me in the afterlife. I would never have dreamed facts from the Emperor's files would turn up this late in our life.

The pages are vile, the truth too horrible to imagine. The death of my mother, the details of her planet's enslavement to the Empire. My mother watching as her children are taken from her, the destruction of her family. The science and schematics of how Vader had been born. The partial lobotomy of my father, the living nine hells of not being able to catch enough breath, the agony that must have been his as he was being brought back to life. The escape of death just beyond his fingertips everyday he that lived on. Anakin lost, and the painful reminder of the suit. All this in plain facts on the pages before me. I wonder why the galaxy decreed that this pair must bear the weight of this? Were they ever supposed to be happy? Had my father really been the monster I had first made him out to be? Where do Luke and I fit in all of this?

I put the flimsiplast in the drawer of my desk and sit with my head in my hands. A headache skirting the fringes of my tolerability. I will have to share this with Luke I'm sure, although part of me wants to protect him. I laugh to myself. He is a Jedi Master. He never saw some of the horrors that Palpatine subjected the galaxy to, but he has his own burden of memory.

My brother and I will talk of this soon, but for now, I'll deal with these newfound pieces of the puzzle myself. For the first time I think of the couple in the picture and fervently hope that they are at peace, that someday Luke and I will see them again, both of them. A certain peace settles in my heart and I know that Luke and I are special, that we are here for a reason, and the galaxy is better for it.