A/N: This is Leia's perspective when she's about twelve. I could almost have done two separate chapters from Leia's POV-- one on her mother, and one on Padmé Amidala. I opted not to, because combining them into one would at the same time explain why she never realized that the Senator she admired and the mother she could just remember were the same person-- she thought it was a trick of the mind. That said, I try to dwell more on the "mother" memory, because Leia has more emotion wrapped up in that.
Leia Amidala Organa
I've always known that my parents—Bail and Breha Organa of Alderaan, I mean—aren't my real parents. I think I knew it even before they told me. It didn't matter much. In my heart, Bail and Breha Organa are my father and mother—they raised me and loved me and made me who I am—just as Alderaan is my true home. The happiest moments of my earliest childhood were in Alderaan's mountains and fields, and in the Palace in Aldera.
But before that… I have memories. They are of another time and place, blurred and vivid at the same time. Just flashes, really, images—feelings.
I remember my mother.
My father—Bail, I mean; I can't remember any other father—says this is impossible. I was only minutes old when she died, I could not possibly remember that. When I told him that I did anyway, he didn't believe me at first, and then when I started to describe the visions in my mind, he very sharply told me to forget about them. That was one of the very few times Dad has ever been sharp with me. He apologized later, but still insisted that I was thinking of someone else, some other person. I know I wasn't. I know with every bit of my soul.
I remember my mother. And every time I do, it makes me want to cry; it's a strange kind of memory that floods my whole body with senses and emotions. I see a beautiful woman. I'm looking at her and she's looking at me. Her eyes look like mine. I can't describe the features, quite—only that she is beautiful, and it's not a strictly external beauty. She is radiating kindness, gentleness… love. And sadness, a sadness so great that it fills and colors everything else, so profound that the weight of it has broken her heart. I think she is crying. I hate that in the only memory I have of my mother, she is crying. What could have made her so sad? Was it because she had to die and leave me?
I remember my mother, even if I don't know how. Maybe even in my infancy I felt the intensity of that moment, and I knew that something so very important had to be remembered. I don't know much of anything for sure, but I know the effect this has had on me—the questions gone unanswered, the image of the woman who gave birth to me haunting my mind—she has made me what I am, too. For better or worse.
I never asked much about my mother, I never mentioned my memories of her until after Mama died. I didn't want her to think I loved her any less. Afterward, when I told Dad, he snapped at me, and it made me angry, partly out of confusion and partly because before then I had thought that he hadn't even known who my mother was, and now I knew he was keeping from me what I had a right to know. When I confronted him about it, he said I was right. He said he would tell me what he could:
She was twenty-seven years old and indeed beautiful. Her husband (my father) had recently been killed in the Clone Wars. I was born early. She fell or something and was hurt, and the healers had to work quickly or we would both have died. Dad was there. He said she tried her hardest, and was very brave. But she did die. And I didn't.
Her name was Padmé, a common name, Dad said, on Naboo, where she lived. It was also the first name of Naboo's Senator Amidala, a heroine of mine and an old friend of Dad's, who died the day I was born; he gave me the middle name Amidala in honor of her.
One of the only other times Dad was sharp with me, in fact, was when I questioned that decision. I'd just come across her name for the first time in my history studies, which referenced her as one of Palpatine's greatest supporters from the time when, as Queen, she had caused him to be elected Chancellor. I had to ask: "How do you know she wasn't on his side all along?"
He'd gotten very angry. He'd actually shouted at me. "Padmé Amidala was a good and brilliant young woman! None of what happened is her fault—you, Leia, of all people, are not to believe what Imperial propaganda will tell you about her!" I was stunned and hurt, though I couldn't understand what I'd done wrong. He softened at once and soothed me, and by and by explained that it was not a matter of sides back then—no one could guess what Palpatine would become. Amidala was a very young leader (like I was becoming) who was desperately trying to save her people. She was afraid, but she bravely did what she thought was right—always. She spoke out against Palpatine at the end, and she was the reason the Rebellion was alive today. In time, I idolized Amidala (if she could do so much, so young, then so can I), and I was proud to bear her name.
I found out then, as Dad told me about my birth, that he had found Senator Amidala dead himself, and had himself brought her body home to Naboo. And there he had found my mother and me. So it's no wonder, really, that since then my mother and Padmé Amidala have become so associated in my mind. Those features of my mother's face which are indistinct in memory now resemble Amidala's when I try to force them into clarity.
Dad says he has told me all he can about my mother, which I realize is not the same as all he knows. He tells me that she was just a woman who lived a shorter time than she should have and left him a beautiful daughter. He tells me not to dwell on the past. But this does not stop me from hoping that someday, when I'm older, he will tell me more.
I know that most of my questions can never be answered. I know I will probably never know what brought tears to my mother's eyes as she was dying, and whether I was any comfort to her at all. But I do know, now, that I am an Alderaani princess who was born on Naboo, and thinking that this was the Emperor's home planet makes me shudder, but thinking that it was Amidala's makes me not ashamed at all.
I remember my mother. I know the name of the face that haunts my memories. I feel that I have always been loved. For now, I suppose, that's enough.