AN: Once again, thank my roommate for this particular piece of work. One afternoon she went through her playlist and out popped several plot bunnies ("Three Years Later" is the only other one I've completed thus far).
Disclaimer: I own nothing, and I just spent my last cent on textbooks. George owns the people. Tal Bachman is responsible for the beautiful song. I just put the pieces together.
Note: this story is based off of the song "She's So High (Above Me)" by Tal Bachman. I have not interspersed the lyrics with the story because I have no where to put the chorus if I do. However, like I did for "Three Years Later," I will post the lyrics as a second chapter for those interested.
High Above Me
"So how is she?" Luke Skywalker doubled over gasping for breath as a sharp elbow suddenly intruded on his ribs. In self-defense, he turned to the man who had just assaulted him. An unruly mop of brown hair stuck haphazardly out from a thin face, getting in the way of lively brown eyes. The broad smile made a triangle with a sharply pointed chin.
"Who?" he gasped finally regaining the ability to speak.
Impossibly, the smile widened, threatening to pull the man's ears into its singularity. "Where are my manners? You can ask the guys, I don't know anything but flying. I'm Wedge Antilles." Luke's hand was pumped energetically. "And you're the new guy who came with the Princess. So, I repeat, how is she?"
Luke glanced over to where Leia was deep in a serious conversation with some General, Doddonna, he thought trying to get the name right. "You can see for yourself," he told Wedge, gesturing to the last scion of the House of Organa. "She's sad, but she's not hurt."
His fellow pilot rolled his eyes. "That's not what I meant and you know it." Without any warning, Wedge grabbed Luke's arm and hauled him to the mess. Plopping the stunned farmboy in a chair, the Corellian dashed to the bar, peppering the crowd with hellos, handclasps, and backslaps on the way by. He returned at a slightly more sedate pace, but that was due to the two brimming tankards of Corellian ale he held more than any lessening of energy. He pushed one into Luke's stunned grip and took a long gulp from his own before he finally consented to sit. Reversing his chair, Wedge straddled it, balancing on two of the chair's feet to lean in toward Luke. "So . . . what's she like?"
Luke leaned back in his chair, politely sipping the alcohol in front of him and coughing as liquid fire blazed down his throat. That earned him a few slaps on the back from his drinking companion.
"You're not going to avoid the question just because you can't hold your liquor," Wedge warned.
Leaving the drink alone this time, Luke's eyes went misty as he catalogued in his own mind the perfection that was Leia Organa. "She's . . . she's real," he finally managed. "When I saw her holo, I couldn't imagine how anything could be more beautiful. I thought something that perfect couldn't exist in reality; it had to be some trick. But she's really real. She's human, and warm, and feisty, and . . ." he trailed off running out of words to adequately describe Leia. "When the cell door opened there she was, and she was . . ." he searched for a minute, ". . . divine. When she sleeps she's just . . ."
"Whoa, whoa," Wedge interrupted, jerking Luke back to the bustling reality he had momentarily abandoned. "Back up the data stream, where did you see her first?"
"Well, I saw her holo back at home, but in person?" Luke halted, hesitant suddenly to continue. At Wedge's impatient gestures, he finally mumbled something.
"What was that, boss? I couldn't hear you."
Luke sighed realizing there was no way he could get around answering. "I saw her first in her cell on the Death Star."
"You got her out of her cell? You are a hero, my friend, and not just to me, but to every male within a twenty-parsec radius. She is divine; she's our own personal, flesh-and-blood goddess, the giver and withholder of every pleasure, and I salute the man who finally got her." Wedge raised his glass to Luke in a toast of homage before draining the tankard in one final draught.
Luke's cheeks flamed as the pilot's meaning broke through to him. "It's not like that," he hastened to clarify. "Nothing happened."
Wedge favored him with a conspiratorial grin. "But not for lack of trying, right?" He nudged Luke in the ribs again. "How hard she drop you?"
"She never had anything to drop," Luke insisted.
Wedge's jaw made a brave attempt to make the floor's acquaintance and Luke shifted uncomfortably as other Rebels nearby turned to look at the man capable of rendering Wedge Antilles silent.
"You didn't try anything?" The question rang out loud and clear in the pocket of stillness around Luke's table. "You're not human are you?" A long stare followed the question, then Wedge squinted. "Or maybe you just don't swing that direction." He hinted.
Luke recoiled in innocent shock. "Of course I'm human, and I like her just fine. But it doesn't feel right to want her like that so I didn't do anything," he defended himself. "I can't believe that anything should happen between us."
"You're insane, you know that, right?" Wedge asked then continued before Luke could even process the question. "Every functioning male in the Rebellion has hit on our Princess, some more than once, except you." The last word came out with an emphasis somewhere between awe and exasperation. "And every matchmaker on base is sighing about how you two belong together." Wedge shook his head. "You hadn't even been on base for six hours and the ladies were already picking out baby names." The announcement was colored with amused tolerance at the foolishness of females.
Luke inhaled some of his ale in surprise and coughed the offending liquor out of his lungs before replying. "I know where I belong, Wedge, and it isn't there. Nothing's going to happen."
"Why not?" Wedge asked puzzled. Lifting his head, he waved someone over to the table. "Hey, Pops!" he called. "Get over here, and bring Porkins with you, this guy need a shrink."
"I don't -" Luke began only to be cut off by Wedge.
"Sit down," the Rebel pushed chairs at the two men who had walked over to the table and in the same breath waved a finger at Luke. "Shut up," he ordered. Luke obediently fell silent. "Luke, this is Pops," Wedge waved at the older of their new tablemates. "He's so good he can stay alive in a Y-wing despite the fact that he can't maneuver the thing worth spit. And this degenerate," here Wedge nodded to a heavy-set man, younger than Pops, but still well-worn who took up the last side of the square table, "is Porkins, we're bunking and flying with him, so this could be fun. If Pops is your father, Porkins is your older brother and right now, man, you need both, bad." Wedge frowned at his empty tankard and waved the glass at the small circle of bystanders the conversation had accumulated. "Anybody wanna top us off?" he questioned rather open-endedly and was rewarded with an immediate refill for himself and Luke. He nodded to the anonymous tech and dove into his second tankard.
"I've never seen you this wound up, Wedge, and that's saying a lot," Pops began when Wedge showed no signs of coming up for air. "What's the problem?"
"Farm kid here's the problem," Wedge answered scrubbing his mustache with his sleeve and gesturing to Luke at the same time. "The man spent three days in a YT-1300 with Leia Organa and didn't make a move. I was wondering if you, O happily married one, had a few tips to break the ice."
"That all depends on why he didn't make a move," Pops nodded sagely and Luke suddenly found himself the recipient of three open-ended stares.
"But- she's a Princess!" he finally sputtered. "I mean, she already has so much-"
"And why does that make a difference?" Porkins broke in. "A girl is a girl no matter what species she is, and between you and me, buddy, "Princess" just means the real men are scared of her."
"Darn right!" someone behind Luke shouted out, only to be shushed by the part of the crowd that wasn't laughingly agreeing with him.
"But doesn't it also mean that she's supposed to marry a prince?" Luke asked.
"Not really," Pops answered the question as Wedge and Porkins slipped into incoherent laughter at Luke's naiveté. "Social class doesn't mean much around here, Luke. We all left something to join the Rebellion. With Alderaan gone, I doubt Leia even thinks of herself as a princess any more." That comment dropped sober gravity on the entire group.
"She should," Luke voiced softly. "She deserves to be a princess." Somehow, the thought of Leia as anything less than royalty made him sad.
"She is a princess in every way that counts," Pops reassured him. Then the older man quirked a smile, "but then again, so is my wife, and she was born a servant girl. What title we give them doesn't matter; it's the nobility in them we love. So what about her makes you withhold that love?"
"I love her," Luke hastened to correct the misconception. "I just don't feel right loving her that way. She's worth so much more that I could give."
"She's worth more than any of us could give," Wedge pointed out to the quiet agreement of the crowd.
Luke continued as if he hadn't heard, "I mean, Han has a better chance than I do and even he-"
"Wait," Porkins cut in. "Han? Who's Han?" He glared across the table at Wedge. "Why haven't we heard anything about a Han?"
Wedge waved the glare away. "He's a pirate, smuggler. He flew them here and the way she was glaring, he's lucky he still has hands to fly with." That settled Porkins, although Pops furrowed his brow in concentration a bit.
"He's also got more than just a tunic to his name," Luke pointed out. "I've got nothing. The farm is burned, my family's dead . . . I'd give her back the world she lost, but I don't even have a bed to call mine right now."
"We'd all give her back Alderaan if we could," Pops pointed out, "but we can't. She doesn't want the world, Luke. All she wants is family." A reverent silence followed as every man around the table let that sink into his heart.
Finally, Luke spoke voicing all their thoughts. "I can do that," he whispered before continuing in a louder voice. "I can be her brother, but her boyfriend," his voice rose at the end of the last statement. "She's so strong; I can't match that, so why bother?"
"You managed to be her friend without pushing for more," Pops reassured him. "If that's not strength, I don't know what is."
"Luke." Suddenly the topic of conversation appeared in their mist. Chairs tumbled forgotten to the floor as the small crowd rose to a man. "May I speak with you?"
Unable to reply past the lump in his throat, Luke nodded and let the Princess lead him aside. "The General has decided that you will be allowed to take an X-wing up, but you need to be checked out on the simulators first." She gestured to a group of cubicles nearby. Then, her professional mask disappeared, crumbling into the worry lines of a concerned friend. "Is there any way I can convince you to stay here? Battle is dangerous, and you've never flown like that before."
Luke shook his head, finally finding his voice. "I have to at least help, Leia. Who knows, I might actually make a difference against that thing." He jerked his head toward the ceiling, indicating the Death Star they both knew was on its way.
Leia blessed him with a tentative half-smile before stretching up to brush her lips against his. "For luck," she explained, smiling fully at his expression of stunned disbelief. As she left him, Luke caught Wedge giving him a thumbs-up from across the room. Luke smirked and rolled his eyes, before turning to watch the petite Rebel thread her way to the next order of business. His smile grew wistful and a sweet ache of longing lodged in his chest.
"She belongs to someone else," he whispered, surprising himself with the truth he felt in the words. Luke just wished he knew who that someone was so he could tell him to take care of her.