Summary: After his stumble to the Dark Side, Luke's putting the pieces back together again, with a little help from his friends and family. Post-Dark Empire. Twin-bonding.
Setting: post-Dark Empire.
Disclaimer: No infringement upon the writes of Lucasfilm is intended by this story. No profit is made from this.
Notes: this is a one-shot drabble. THERE WILL BE NO SEQUEL.
Most of the Time, Anyway.
He was nervous. She could see it in the way his fingers twitched, almost as if they pined for the hilt of his lightsaber. No one else would have noticed that twitch, she knew - all the other delegates would see the image Luke meant to project: that of a calm, competent Jedi, at ease with himself and those around him. But not Leia - and she didn't even need to feel the spill of his troubled emotions over their sibling-bond to know he hated being here: she could see his unease in the nervous little gestures he made, the hollow flicker in his eyes.
He saw her watching him, and she smiled reassuringly. There was a pause, a flicker of unease on Luke's face, and for a moment she thought he might turn away - out of uncertainty or out of something more self-deprecating. But he returned the smile, hesitantly.
"Princess? You were saying...?" her companion said, interrupting Leia's worried thoughts. Leia turned back the senator, refocusing upon the conversation at hand. Her brother knew how to take care of himself - most of the time, anyway.
"Yes, as I said, the Tregony treatise is nearing completion. In the interests of non-proliferation, we have made a number of reasonable compromises. The Tregonian people are-"
"Non-proliferation?" the woman said, in apparent disbelief. "The Tregonians are warmongers, your Highness. They-"
There was a loud crash from across the room, the sound of breaking glass, and Leia's companion fell into an abrupt silence. Leia turned as the other woman did, and felt an instinctive, protective anger swell almost immediately.
"Sithspawn!" someone shouted - the tall, uniformed man who had thrown his glass to the floor, which had caused the room full of delegates to turn and stare. "You... you murdering filth! How dare you show your face?"
Leia turned to her companion, her pulse batting angrily against her throat. "Excuse me," she muttered, and turned, stalking across the ballroom floor.
Luke glanced at her before refocusing upon his accuser. Leia's step almost faltered at the look he threw her, and the flash of guilt that accompanied it - and humble pain, accepted like the deserved lash of a whip. She quickened her step, worried that Luke might just flee the room.
He hadn't wanted to come here in the first place, not so soon after his escape from the Dark Side and the Emperor's clone. But Leia had insisted, and she was cursing herself for it now. It was just a simple social function, nothing too taxing or contentious - but of course there were people here who knew what had happened to Luke, and of course someone had taken exception to him being here.
She swallowed thickly, not sure who she was angrier with: at the man who was currently prodding Luke in the chest with his finger, growling at him even as Luke stood by and allowed it - or at herself, for blindly thinking others could forgive her brother as easily as she had.
The ballroom was ludicrously long - she wasn't yet halfway to her brother's side, and there was a crowd gathering, beginning to block her path. She felt a familiar presence converging on Luke's position from the other side of the room - Han - and glanced at him, seeing her own indignant worry reflected on her husband's face as he pushed through the crowd towards his brother-in-law.
But Luke... Luke was just talking calmly to the man who had shouted at him, his hands up, palms held out in a non-threatening gesture. She couldn't hear her brother's words, but the larger man had gone silent and appeared to be listening. Leia braced herself for an explosion of anger from the man.
/I'm coming/ she Sent to Luke, and felt a flicker of warm acknowledgement in return.
But the expected explosion didn't come - instead the larger man stepped back, folding his arms and looking away. He clenched his jaw, and looked to the doorway - before nodding and turning of his heel, pushing through the crowd towards the exit.
Leia watched him go, reaching for Luke and grabbing his sleeve. He turned towards her, a haunted expression briefly flickering over his face. "You okay?" she asked. She glanced at the crowd, who were already dispersing. "What did you say to him?"
Luke shook his head, and took her hand in his. "Just the truth," he said.
Warmth brushed against her mind, again - and as Han finally reached them, she asked, "Do you want to leave?"
He was tempted, she could see that - his sudden intake of breath told her as much. But he tensed his jaw, and shook his head, and she could feel him drawing together the courage continue. "No. I've got to do this someday." He leaned over to kiss her temple. "Thank you."
She frowned. "What for? I didn't do anything."
He just smiled. "Yeah, you did." She felt that warmth again, back her mind. "You've got faith, Leia - faith in me. And I don't... don't know where you get it from right now, but thanks."
She squeezed his hand. There wasn't a lot she could say to that - or much that needed to be said out loud, because Luke would know exactly what she was feeling right now - pride, and support, and a protective streak a few thousand lightyears wide. And if she looked right into his eyes, she could see exactly what he was feeling right then - a first, faint kindling of hope. And she smiled, relieved beyond measure.
The moment began to stretch, the silence growing, and Han clapped his hand on Luke's shoulder. "Yeah, yeah, enough of the semi-mystical twin thing - I don't know about you, kid, but I need another drink."
And as Han drew Luke away in search of a serving droid, and the senator Leia had been talking to earlier caught up with her again, still muttering about warmongers and treaties, Leia felt oddly calm. Because she knew everything - everything - would be all right, just so long as they stuck together.