Here's an update for you. short and sweet, with a side of ominous. Enjoy!

"Luke!" Leia called after her brother as he burst out of the ballroom, leaving several disgruntled Senators in his wake. He strode into the hallway, nearly running over a Imperial Guard.

"Luke, slow down!"

No response.

Leia glared, then abandoned dignity to run after him. "If that nerf-herder makes me trip in this dress, I am going to strangle him with his own cape," she grumbled, not caring if he heard her or not.

She caught up to him.

"What did he do to you?" she demanded, blocking his way. He tried to sidestep her, and she grabbed his arm.

"Let go." He didn't look at her, but he didn't pull away either.

"Not until you tell me what Podi did."

"Really not prepared to do that in the hallway, Leia."

"It's a little late to be caring about making a scene, isn't it?" He stared stubbornly forward. "It will be much easier if you tell me first. I'm sure the medics will be here any second, and you will have to give the Emperor some sort of explanation."

For a moment, it appeared that Luke was going to keep arguing. Then his jaw relaxed, and he glanced down at the floor before looking at Leia. "He is a traitor, as is his family. The plans Senator Carwin sent to Kuat are based off our father's blueprints." He looked away from her again, lips set in a thin line. "Anything else?"

"That isn't what's bothering you."

He didn't answer, turning to watch a group of medics run toward them with a hoverstretch between them. He stepped back against the wall, letting them pass. Leia stood her ground, and they dodged her without comment, running down the hallway and turning into the double doors.

"No. It isn't." Luke leaned against the wall, tiredness cascading over his form. He spoke quietly, though the corridor was nearly empty. Leia found herself straining to hear. "You know how the Force is usually cold? And how hard it is to control?"


"It was easier than breathing to pick up Podi. Almost like I was simply watching, while the Force acted." He looked up at her with intense gray eyes, full of so many different emotions she doubted he knew what he felt. "And it burned, Leia. It was so cold it burned."

"That doesn't sound right, Luke. Maybe you should talk to the Emperor - "

"No. That isn't the wrong part. The wrong part is that I enjoyed choking him, the wrong part is that I feel like I need to go throw up somewhere. That is the wrong part" Luke pushed off the wall and started walking away. "I'm going home and turning off my comm. I'll talk tomorrow."

Luke didn't keep his promise.

The next day, he hardly said a word. They attended their lessons dutifully, sparred in silence, ate in strange isolation. By late afternoon, Leia had enough.

She headed for the greenhouse.

Real sunlight streamed in through transparisteel walls, drenching gold Alderaanian roses in much-needed light. Leia closed her eyes, taking a moment to enjoy the warmth. Of all the myriad rooms in the Temple, this one was her favorite. Here, she could relax, let drop her political masquerade and truly be herself. Only one thing was out of place.


Her troublesome brother lay sprawled out across a wooden bench, staring off into space. He had a rather spectacular view of late afternoon Coruscant, but she knew he wasn't paying any attention to it. His entire sense was turned inward; nothing short of a nuclear strike would lift him out of it. Of course, that presented her with a golden opportunity.

She moved past him, heading down the path to where the gardening supplies were. She found what she needed easily, with a minimum of searching and banging, and headed back to stand behind Luke's bench.

She smiled. It wasn't often that she could surprise her brother. Alright Luke, you've brooded enough.>

She aimed the watering hose at him and pressed the activator.

Curses erupted from the bench, followed by a crash as Luke fell to the floor in his haste to get out of the spray. She grinned, making sure he was good and soaked before shutting off the hose.

"What was that for?" he spluttered, brushing wet hair off his face.

"Being a bore." Leia grinned. "You are much more interesting now."

"Oh, right, thanks. Just what I needed, a good drenching."

She brought up the hose again, but Luke anticipated, diving behind a raised bed of starflowers.

"Spoilsport." She reached out to him, only to find him listing battle names in his head. He had to be planning something.

"I am a bore, after all." He started sidling along the wall, keeping his head down. Leia paced him.

"That's right. You've found your own class of boring. Just above the bureaucrats and just below the bureaucracy." There, the flowerbed ended. She moved for the opening, keeping her thumb on the activator, and rushed around the corner. Luke's feet disappeared behind the next flowerbed, and Leia threw herself behind him, turning on the hose again.

Only to get a face full of water herself.

"Luke!" she sputtered, beating a hasty retreat. "You ruined my dress!"

"I thought I was boring." Luke's head popped up between the pansies. He looked entirely too pleased with himself.

She raised the hose, refusing to grace him with an answer, and he disappeared again. It didn't save him from the water, though – a yelp sounded as she deflected the spray with the Force.

He backed up, and she followed, thoroughly soaking him. He hit the transparisteel wall, arm up to protect his face from the stream. He had left his own hose behind, so she just walked up to him, not letting up on the water.

"Give up?"


"You didn't specify any rules. Give up?"

A flicker in the Force, and she turned her head – just in time to see the hose Luke had left behind turn on, catching the lower half of her skirt. The formerly dry lower half.

"Luke!" She put out a hand, trying to deflect the water, and he swept her feet out from under her. She fell to the floor, completely ruining any chance she ever had at staying drier than her brother.

Well, at least he wasn't sulking anymore.

"I win." His voice radiated smugness.

"Do you want to find out what dirt tastes like, Darth Punkus?"

"Both of you are dirty enough already."

The twins started, hastily standing up. Leia hoped her face was not as red as Luke's. Blue eyes stared intensely from a hard-edged version of her brother's face, and Leia looked away, taking sudden interest in the floor. She resisted the urge to begin listing Senators and their worlds.

"Get cleaned up. The Emperor is waiting."

Darth Vader turned around in a swirl of cape, and strode from the room.