Title: Between Generations
Fandom: Star Wars (PT & OT)
Summary: Across generations, between fathers and daughters and sons and mothers, amidst the turbulence of the galaxy, the Force is guiding them.
Notes: From the POVs of Bail, Leia, and Vader. Not betaed, because I am my own beta! ;)
Bail realized, at a time when it doesn't matter one way or another, that he made the decision to take in Leia much too quickly.
Ramifications and consequences had been of no mind to him at that point. He remembered sitting with Jedi Masters Yoda and Kenobi, listening with eagerness at their conversation, half aware that the three of them were taking the fate of the galaxy into their hands. The other half of him had been thinking about the last time he had seen his wife. She had been standing on her balcony and looking out across the city lights with such a look of abject sorrow that it broke his heart to remember it. His sister-in-law had just given birth to her first child, a girl. How long had he and Breha been trying for a baby of their own? And yet they remained childless, their quarters silent without the laughter of children unless their nieces and nephews came to visit. It lacked the mirth and joy that came from having a complete family, something Bail and his queen desperately desired.
His weighty decision had been made solely on the basis of emotion, something he tried hard to avoid. But he was a man driven by rights and wrongs and more intuition than was suitable in a senator. The words had stumbled from his lips, excitement building as he asked if he could take Leia to raise as his own. It happened in the flash of an eye and they came to an agreement. He would take Leia home and share her with the loving arms of his queen. Bail didn't know much about the Force, but he couldn't help but think that it had guided his thoughts and words at that instance. He knows he had made the right choice.
But for the love of the gods, he was raising Darth Vader's child
This was the thought that plagued him late at night, after his daughter insults an important councilor she doesn't like, or after she impetuously gets in a shoving match with her cousins. The blood of a queen and a senator runs through her veins, and yet sometimes she acts like neither. He pushed the thought away as Breha slept next to him. Leia would never, never become the sort of threat her real father became, and Bail would make sure of it. She would grow up a princess and a politician, honouring the only parents she had ever known as well as the mother she never did. He has never given into fears when challenges arise, and he wasn't about to stop now.
Being a father came surprisingly easy to him, and as he watched Leia sit at her desk and review the history of the Alderaanian royal family, he liked to think that he did an admirable job at it. But there was only so much influence a parent had over the way their child turned out. The rest was up to the Force.
Leia is much more instinctive than her parents give her credit for.
She sees people, really sees them, especially through their words. Individuals so easily say one thing and think another. She senses lies and flaws in logic, tears them apart like a vibroblade cutting through Alderaanean softwood. Words become living things to her, with shape and character and movement. But she keeps this skill a secret, never revealing more than necessary. She doesn't know why she does it, hides the root of her capabilities. She's never been particularly cautious, especially for a princess, but it seems natural somehow to mask her talent. The desire to hide this aspect of herself runs through the very core of her being; she doesn't even question it.
While it took a long many years for her to grasp the rules of high society (resulting in countless scoldings from her mother) her father beams that she is a natural when it comes to politics, as would befit the daughter of Bail Organa. Now Leia can seamlessly blend the subtle nuances of being royalty that she learned from her mother with the bold confidence and strategy her father has taught her about being a politician. But there is a third element that Leia brings all on her own, a certain charisma and fire that neither her mother nor her father possess. It is this third element that makes her grasp at daydreams and wonder about the kind of woman her biological mother was. She knows that her real mother was a senator, as well as a dear friend of her father's. She doesn't understand how she remembers her mother, who died when she was less than a day old. But she does remember the image of her mother and the strangest thing is that she remembers what her real mother was feeling before she died. Confusion, sorrow, hope, love... all mixed together in a jumble of emotion that took years for Leia to decipher and categorize.
She doesn't think about who her real father is at all. Perhaps she should, but she just can't find it in herself to care. She is too wrapped up in her adoptive father's boundless love to think about the other father that she never knew.
It's for this reason that she hides the guilt, guilt from loving her father more than her mother. She thinks Breha knows, that her mother sees it in her daughter's eyes when Bail and Leia are sitting together discussing the finer points of ethics and bureaucracy. Leia can't help but gaze at her father with love and respect and devotion. Of course she loves her mother. But when she looks at her, a part of her mind remembers that jumble of emotions and a woman with dark hair and sad eyes. The memory is always there, easy to contemplate. Sometimes Leia thinks that her biological mother is watching over her. Maybe such things are possible with the Force.
There is something peculiar about the young senator from Alderaan, Lord Vader thinks after he orders the stormtroopers to take her from the Tantive IV. Her mannerisms are that of high royalty, born and bred, full of arrogance and pride. But there is a streak of bold, mutinous fire lurking beneath her words when she speaks, he can sense it. Vader finds it slightly disconcerting. It is as though she hides a secret persona behind the poise she clings so dearly to. He wonders if perhaps there will be an opportunity to study her further, given that she is not killed somehow.
In his exploits across the galaxy, he has encountered numerous individuals who have marginal Force abilities, trifling characters who could no more than flick a pebble if they were to reach the limits of their capabilities. At first Vader notices the same useless Force-sensitivity in Princess Leia. But during the interrogation he feels something different happening, a change in the flow of the Force. The slightest of changes, and Vader has to stretch to his limits (he used to be so much more powerful...) to detect it. She fights off the effects of the probe droid, drawing up walls of stubborn resolve that seemingly come from nowhere. She draws up power unconsciously, bringing it from a well-spring he cannot see. Vader is sure she has no idea she even realizes what she does, blocking the source and magnitude of her abilities from everyone.
Interesting. And disconcerting. He uses a Force suggestion on Tarkin and the man signs the princess' execution papers.
After she manages to escape from the Death Star, he assumes that he can destroy her by wiping out every square inch of the Rebellion. He is intent on destroying her and her annoying ilk. But once he discovers the existence of Luke Skywalker, he forgets about the young woman. He has more pressing issues than killing a royal Senator (he tries not to think about one particular royal Senator he killed, so many years ago) when his own son is out there in the galaxy. The young Princess is a small issue to be dealt with later, he figures.
But Vader forgets, his mind obsessed with the promise of a son at his side. And as he duels the young Jedi, probes his mind, he uncovers the image of Princess Leia and the boy's mind chants sister sister sister with the beat of his heart. Everything crashes together in picture perfect clarity. Yes, it makes sense that Princess Leia would be his daughter. The fact that he hadn't figured it out sooner is a testament to her skill in deception... and his own failure.
He's lying on the floor of the ruined Death Star now, and his son is crying for him. Vader thinks he would be crying too, if his tear ducts hadn't been seared shut by hot lava an age ago. He stretches out his consciousness, tries to find the daughter he never knew, but he can't find her amongst the chaos on Endor's moon. He whispers to his son Luke, grasping for one last chance to acknowledge the relationship with the daughter he never knew.
He remembers Princess Leia's face when he first captured her on Tantive IV, full of disgust and loathing upon seeing his fearsome visage. The young woman hated him then and surely hates him still. But as he fades away into the Force, he is comforted by whispers of promise and hope, bathed in the light of forgiveness.