Most people blame me, and over the years I've come to accept that opinion and even foster it. It shields her, and that's what I'm all about these days. I'm her shield. I stand in front of her while she tries to live her life.

When they don't get the access they want, they blame me. When she doesn't show up for some function she's been invited to, it's my fault. It's all about me. I'm the stumbling block; I'm keeping her down. If she hadn't met me, she'd rule the galaxy. That's what they think.

They're idiots.

The universe is full of stupid people. I know this. Every time I see them look at her and then scowl at me, I realize that people with perfectly functioning eyes often can't see. Geez, now I'm starting to sound like Luke with all his Force mumbo jumbo. Although, I guess it's her mumbo jumbo now too. That part is a little hard for me, but I'm getting used to it. Still, even with all she's learned, with all she can do, she can't fix what's broken, and that's what those idiots don't understand. Leia, in a very fundamental way, is broken. It took me a long time to realize it, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that so many other people miss it entirely. After all, they don't know her like I do, and I hardly know her at all; even after ten years I'm just scratching the surface. My girl is self-contained, and slow to share. I guess I should be thankful for that; after all, I'm not sure I could bear the pain and guilt she lives with every day. I'd be willing to try if she trusted me with it, but she doesn't. She's not like that. She's strong. Strong on the outside, broken on the inside--like a box of china that's been dropped. It looks fine as long as you don't open it. A long time ago I gave up trying to get Leia to open up. Now; she feeds me tidbits, on a need-to-know basis only. If she has a completely unexplained meltdown--if I'm lucky--she might explain why, usually well after the fact, and at some completely inconvenient time so as to assure we can't discuss it. I'm sure she doesn't do it on purpose, but it's as effective as if she did.

It used to make me angry, but not angry enough to leave, so over the years I've just learned to accept it. Just like I've learned to accept the status quo. We're not married. I get blamed for that too. If you pay attention to the tabloids, I have commitment issues. I'm randy and have other women on the side. Occasionally, I have a drinking problem; sometimes it's drugs. The stories usually end with her loving me, but being unwilling to marry me under whichever conditions are described. Who could blame her? That's the point. No one would, no one does, and no one wants to. No one bothers with the truth either. Drugs were never my thing. I enjoy drinking at a smashball game, but who doesn't? It's not like I fall down drunk or anything. As for other women, there aren't any, and there haven't been since almost the moment I met her. As for my commitment issues, they ended on Tatooine when it was she that took me from that frozen hell. I've been committed to her ever since, and I'm not going anywhere.

Leia, on the other hand, is displaced. She's homeless, and she's constantly struggling with her role in life. She hasn't found a place for herself in the post- war years. It doesn't matter which role she chooses; she chafes against it. She's a brilliant diplomat, but she hates the games. She's highly skilled with the Force, but she fears her temper so she doesn't use it in any sort of official capacity. She desperately misses her family, but refuses to start one of her own. She's displaced; she has no role. But I do. My place is next to her. My role is shield.