Chapter Five: A Daughter's Acceptance
Leia Organa Solo smiled as she felt her third child shift restlessly inside her rapidly expanding belly. The baby was due in a month and a half, and she and Han had yet to decide upon a name they both liked.
Her MD droid told her it was a boy, so Leia now sat in the fresh twilight air, mulling over all the boys' names she could think of, and discarding each.
Naming the twins hadn't been this hard! Leia sighed, frustrated, and went inside to comm her brother. She needed to vent.
Luke answered promptly, and Leia spelled out her problem. He was silent for a moment, then said, "Do you ever wonder how Mother came up with our names?"
Startled by the change of topic, Leia replied, "Was she even the one who gave us our names?"
Luke nodded. "Ben mentioned it once, during one of the rare times I got to talk to him without having to deal with one crisis or another. And he said that when she named us, something happened in the Force. He said it was like the Force approved of our names, or something. So just let your feelings guide you, Leia, and the Force will show you the perfect name."
"I've been trusting my feelings, Luke. My feelings are saying no to every name I can think of!"
"Stop trying so hard. Just relax. You'll find it when the time is right. In the meantime, and while we're on the topic of baby names, come on over here. I've found a recording in Artoo's databanks you might like to see."
Leia agreed with some trepidation. She knew R2-D2 and C-3PO had once belonged to her father, and she was thankful that 3PO, who lived with her, had no memory of him. R2, however, had a seemingly unlimited store of recordings for Luke to sift through. After watching a few select ones, and learning of her father's past as a bright, talented child slave on Tatooine a few years ago, Leia was almost ready to forgive him.
Luke greeted her enthusiastically and ushered her into his living room. He poured each of them a glass of icy lemonade, then sat beside her on the couch. R2-D2 stood in front of them, lights blinking.
"There are actually two recordings I want to show you," Luke told her. "The first is when Father found out Mother was pregnant. The second is a few days later." He paused, then continued softly, "They're actually dated about two weeks before we were born."
Leia heard what Luke didn't say. Two weeks before the rise of the Empire.
Two weeks before the emergence of Darth Vader.
She nodded. "Okay."
R2-D2's holoprojector switched on, and Leia watched as her young parents embraced.
"Wait . . . did you say us?"
"I'm . . . Ani, I'm pregnant . . . "
". . . That is . . . wonderful . . . Padmé – that's wonderful. How long have you known?"
"What are we going to do?"
"We're going to be happy, that's what we're going to do. And we're going to be together. All three of us. Oh, Padmé, this is the happiest day of my life!"
"No. No buts. No worries. You worry too much as it is."
"I have to, because you never worry at all."
The recording ended. "They didn't know they were having twins," Leia commented, trying to ignore the effect seeing her parents so young and happy was having on her.
"No, they didn't, Luke agreed, allowing her to pretend she wasn't reacting to the scene. He took a sip of lemonade. "Ready for the second one?"
As ready as I'll ever be, Leia thought, and nodded. She sipped her own drink as R2's holoprojector started up again.
"They're names, Anakin. Baby names. I'm trying to decide which one I like better."
"Oh! There's just one thing I need to point out about that."
"And what, pray tell, would that be?"
"Those are boys' names."
"Oh, right. You think it's a girl."
As the recording continued, Leia's mind reeled. Her father had expected a girl? He had expected her? What had he thought when he found out about Luke? And he hadn't even suspected twins. What had he thought when he discovered that little secret?
She turned her attention back in time to catch the full effect of the end of the recording.
"What was the name?"
R2 switched the holoprojector off as Leia sank back against her brother's couch, stunned. "He named me," she breathed in shock. "My name was his idea." And, for the first time, she saw her father as a loving husband, excited over the imposing birth of his child -- or children, as the case may be. She saw him as human, vulnerable and fallible, and realized that Luke had been right when her told her of Darth Vader's tortured existence.
"It sure seems that way." Luke watched as she placed a hand on her swollen belly. "Are you okay?"
"Fine." A faraway looked entered her eyes. "Anakin," she mused. "That's a nice name, don't you think? It's strong; passionate. And . . ." She smiled as an inner warmth enveloped her. "The Force likes it."
Luke's grin was larger than she'd ever seen it. "You've finally done it, Leia. You've forgiven him."
Her own smile grew as she looked up at him. "Yes," she replied, knowing it was completely true and feeling at peace for the first time in years. "I have."
"Han is going to be disappointed. He was really holding out for a Junior."
Leia snorted. "That option isn't, never has been, and never will be, even on the table."
Luke just laughed.
A couple of hours later, as Leia returned to her own home, she again touched her abdomen. "You have a wonderful namesake, my little Anakin," she said softly, needing to say something about the acceptance she now felt for her father. "He was the greatest Jedi ever known, and even over twenty years on the Dark Side could not diminish the unconditional love he bestowed upon his family." She paused, tears in her eyes. "Do not misunderstand me – he was far from perfect. But I realize now that some of the traits I once hated in him are that same qualities I admire in others; determination, strength, persistence, loyalty. I forgive him his mistakes. I take pride in his heroics. He is my father, and I love him with all my heart, the way I know he loved me. And you know, I think I'm gong to change my name. From now on, I'm Leia Skywalker Organa Solo."
Leia wiped her eyes, and thought she saw a flash of golden-brown curls, cerulean eyes, and a grateful, loving smile beside her. When she turned to look, however, there was no one there.
Not physically there, Leia amended later as she heard a voice she knew well speak a line from a nearly-forgotten ballad into her her mind.
I still love my darling Leia so . . .