Chapter Five

Leia pinched the bride of her nose tightly as Luke continued to try and change her mind until finally she snapped – "fine! I'll go with you!"

He recoiled at her harsh tone, but nodded and got to his feet.

"I'll tell Han to get the Falcon–"

"No," she cut him off. "Not Han, he's been through enough with that monster. You won't subject him to this too."

Even as the words came out of her mouth, Leia regretted them. One day she would have to accept that Luke lived in a slightly blissful world, detached from reality, where the scum from whom they'd taken half their genetic material was actually the caring parent he longed for as a child. And she had to stop forcing him to abandon that one treasure he held dear, because the world they lived in now was full of so few moments of hope or joy.

"Let's just go alone alright?" she asked in a softer tone, reaching out to place her hand on his. "It is a Skywalker thing after all."

She forced herself to smile at him and it seemed to work. Luke nodded and got to his feet, leaning over to place a kiss on her cheek.

"Thank you," he murmured, then left her alone, knowing the sacrifice she was making for him.

Han walked in a moment later, wiping his greasy hands on a rag.

"So are you going with him?" her husband asked as he sunk into the chair Luke had just vacated and propped his feet up on her desk.

Leia nodded reluctantly. Her fingers started tapping on the wooden-topped surface of the desk, an old habit to release pent up energy of frustration.

"Princess, I don't wanna tell you what to do but –"

She shot him a deadly look as she reached for more of her work, shoving a new datachip into her reader so hard it almost broke in the slot.

"Then don't tell me what to do," she angrily snapped then mentally slapped herself. "It's not about you," she hurriedly apologised. "I don't want to go with him but it means so much to him and he kept pestering me, I couldn't so no …"

There was a silence and Leia looked down at the reader, not even seeing the words. It wasn't until five minutes later when Han quietly spoke up that she even noticed he was still there.

"I thought we decided you weren't going to do anything dangerous until after…"

He didn't quite finished his sentence but Leia knew what he was referring to. Her gaze caught with his then travelled down to her middle. Her fingers froze their staccato rhythm on the desk, gripping it tightly.

"From memory it's actually a very peaceful planet, like a very green, lush Alderaan. It should be alright."

He raised an eyebrow of disbelief.

"Truly Han, it will be fine."

The pilot planted his feet back on the floor and stood, slowly circling her desk until his hands rested on her tense shoulders and began massaging them.

"Let me come with you," he coaxed, working his thumb into a tense knot.

She rolled her neck, relaxing beneath his ministrations.

"If you come then there will be trouble. You attract it," she quietly teased.

He grinned; understanding that she was subtly telling him this was a twin thing.

"Well considering your foul mood of late I'm happy to leave Luke to deal with it for a few days."

She slapped his hand hard for that comment, satisfied with the stinging yelp that escaped his lips.

Quietly he slipped one hand off her shoulder and down to her flat middle.

"I'm going to blame this little one for your temper though and leave you Skywalkers to it. Although you'd better take very good care of the littlest Solo or there will be hell to pay," he warned. "I'll see you at dinner Princess."

With that he danced out of her reach and scuttled from her room before she could catch him again.

---

Twelve hours later Leia sat in the cockpit of a cruiser, wondering if she really had the time to be indulging Luke like this. Three days was an awfully long time in a shaky new Republic, and Mon Mothma relied on her expertise to keep the prevailing interests as balanced as possible.

"Do you think we'll find anything?" Luke asked cheerily, looking up from the piloting controls after their smooth transition into hyperspace.

Leia shook her head, her mind occupied with thoughts of heavily armed Imperial remnants still exerting their will in the weaker sectors of the galaxy.

Patience Luke quietly told himself, reaching out to take Leia's hand in his own. That seemed to grab her attention, for her eyes turned towards him slowly.

"This is who we are, where we came from. Aren't you the least bit curious?"

Her hard gaze bore into his with a defiant answer she could barely restrain herself from voicing. She already knew at least half of where they came from. And that was truly knowledge she could live without it. Leia forced herself to clench her mouth shut though, and Luke nodded in silent acceptance.

"At least meditate with me then?" he asked. "Maybe my idea of having a vision of the past could work with you. After all, you've at least seen our mother in person."

Leia sighed but reluctantly agreed, allowing her brother to pull her to the metallic cockpit floor beside him. Together they folded their legs and tried to get comfortable, the noises of the ship fading to the background. She focused on nothing more than steadying her breathing, letting his words flow over her.

"Imagine you're moving back through your memories. Trying to a find a file stored at the very deepest level. There are images, feelings from when you were a child, very young."

What Luke really wanted to ask about was the memory Leia had mentioned the other day. Of some sort of encounter with their father that puzzled and intrigued him. But if he did that she may very well throw him out an airlock, so he decided he'd be best to play it safe. Perhaps he could get her to probe deeper in territory they'd covered before.

And there was one person he really wanted to know about.

"The woman you remember, our mother. Do you see her?" he began, trying to repress his own eagerness.

"Yes," Leia whispered, drawing up the fuzzy picture behind her closed eyes.

"Tell me," he murmured.

"She's got dark hair. Like mine, it's all I can really see."

"Then tell me what you feel," Luke continued to lead, slowly allowing his own control of the force to bolster Leia's strength.

"She's upset, sad…Broken-hearted."

"Why?" he murmured, trying to merge his thoughts with hers, to feel what Leia felt.

All he wanted was to have even just a single insight into the good people he knew he came from.

Leia tried her hardest to do this for Luke, to understand anything about the image she'd always kept in her mind and in her heart. To give him the mother he wanted, craved. But nothing new came to her.

Her head shook and with all her might she tried to push deeper as he instructed. Still nothing.

"I'm sorry Luke, there isn't anymore. I was just too young."

Luke nodded in acceptance, knowing that he was already trying Leia's patience by insisting that she accompany him. The limits of her memory had been reached and he had to accept that and let go. No matter how much he craved even a single glimpse of his mother.

At that moment a repetitive bleep began emanating from the console, drawing both their heads around.

"Why is that ringing out? We're still parsecs away," Leia demanded as she scrambled to her feet.

Luke jumped up behind her and consulted the star chart over her shoulder.

"We're nowhere near Naboo," he confirmed.

Leia reached above her head and flicked three switches in succession.

"If the nav computer is malfunctioning then it's too dangerous to keep going at lightspeed. Strap yourself in, I'm taking us out of hyperspace."

Without a peep of complaint Luke did just that, taking a deep breath and reaching into the force as Leia slowed pulled back on the controls.

Their reversion to realspace was less than spectacular. With their shields up they literally bounced off another ship already at the exact point of space and time. Mere metres away, it's own shields repelled against their own, sending both vessels into violent opposing spins.

It took Leia almost twenty seconds to reinitialise the stabilisers.

"Are you alright?" Luke asked as he peeled himself from the wall and hauled himself back into his chair.

His dark haired twin was staring out at the unknown planet in front of them confusedly.

"A little bruised. You?" she returned distractedly.

Luke watched as her fingers flew over the console, then winced as a voice suddenly blasted out from the communications system

"Have you never made a hyperspace jump before! You could have gotten us both killed."

Leia reached over and depressed a button offering a very diplomatic response.

"This is Leia Organa. We had a malfunction and had to pull out early. We're terribly sorry for the damage we've caused and will happily pay for any necessary repairs to your ship that you have to conduct on this planet."

Luke was looking down, skimming over the readouts that were making no sense.

"Whatever this planet is," he muttered quietly.

"I don't think any repairs are necessary to my vessel. Yours however, would appear to need at least a navcomp overhaul."

Leia shot Luke what could only be termed a 'look'. The kind that said 'you chose this ship, why didn't you have it fully checked out before we left?'.

"We'll do that. Thank you, Miss –?"

"Amidala. Good day."

---

Padmé rolled her eyes and disconnected the communicator before she had to waste any more time.

"Honestly," she muttered to herself.

Her hands competently worked over the controls of her small cruiser, redirecting it towards the planet Kumarat once more.

"Hoodlums. You think they'd learn to at least calculate a proper jump before they hijacked their parent's space craft for a joy ride."

As she continued to quietly berate them her fingers locked in the course to the safest port in the war-torn southern hemisphere and her eyes turned back to the huge orange and blue planet in her viewscreen.

For a moment an image flashed in her mind, of the last week, and its string of non-stop Senate social events, each outdoing the last as the most boring she'd ever attended. But it had to be worth it.

A secretive smile tugged so hard at her lips she couldn't fight it off. Oh yes, cocktail parties and balls were nothing if the information she'd come across was indeed accurate. The almost breathless whisper she'd barely heard spoken, that the Negotiator and the Hero With No Fear were secretively fact finding on Kumarat.

Her hands clenched into fists as the anticipation buzzed to get out.

"Oh Anakin," she sighed happily to herself.

All her memories of pointless Senate socialising slipped away beneath the waves of love she felt for Anakin. Her Anakin. Flutters of excitement filled her chest as she imagined holding him to her again.

"Please please please be here."