Most nights, Leia awoke shivering. It was not that she was cold--they had moved to the new base in the middle of the local summer--but she could never drive the chill out of her bones.
Perhaps it was because she remembered everything of her nightmares. She could remember every pain and the way the drugs made her tremble so violently that she thought she was having a seizure. She could remember without even thinking the words that had made her head throb. The only thing that she remembered about the cell itself was how it felt like a Thon winter.
Tonight, though, it was a different kind of cold. Her breath clouded in the air despite the warmth of the season and her hands were already clutched around her blankets as if her survival depended on it.
"Who's there?" she stammered.
"You don't need to fear your own father," Bail responded from somewhere behind her.
The voice was familiar enough and he could have been the man he claimed to be, but she instinctively burrowed further beneath her blanket.
"You're not my father," she snapped. "I watched him die six months ago."
"I did leave my mortal body," he agreed with a weary sigh as if he had been expecting her to be this difficult. "That does not mean that my spirit ceased to exist."
That rang true, of course--as a v'taiaketh, she had always believed in the immortality of the soul--but it was impossible nonetheless.
"Then why come now?"
Only silence answered her and she could not be certain if he had left or if he was still waiting for an explanation.
"Where were you when I needed to know that you were still watching over me?" she challenged. "I've known nothing but sorrow since the day I watched you die and you come now? Why not before?"
She heard another sigh and turned onto her other side. He was seated, of course, but was watching her intently. Worse, there seemed to be no remorse in his expression.
"Well?" she pressed.
His mouth twitched slightly as if he were trying to remember the ability to smile. "Just because you have not seen me here does not mean that I have been absent," he asserted. "You have known nothing but sorrow, as you say, because you have blinded yourself to everything else. If you were not single-mindedly determined to keep fighting, you might realize that you have the opportunity for peace."
"Peace?" Leia whispered. "Do you expect me to find peace when every night..."
"You let Vader into your nightmares because you think that you have to keep fighting for your survival against him."
"That has not changed," Leia reminded him. "The war will not stop if I decide to ignore it."
"And I would be a fool if I asked you to deny your convictions," he conceded. "It does not mean that you have to punish yourself this way."
She could not deny that, but she only had one thing that could replace that.
"If I forced him out of my mind," she offered, "would you take his place?"
His presence, in passing, was like a kiss against her forehead.