"What are you doing?" Han asked, bewildered by Leia's words.
Leia ignored him and kept her attention on Dodonna. "Please don't give him the death sentence."
Dodonna blinked. "I thought this is what you wanted."
Anakin, Padme, and Luke looked at Leia.
"Well, if I ever did, I don't want it anymore."
"Are you saying that you wish to withdraw the case?"
Leia looked at Anakin who was still sitting in the circular chair. He was looking back at her with a confused expression. She could see that he was thinking 'What are you doing?'
"You do realize the crimes Vader has committed? Are you sure you want him off the hook?"
"I know. I know that he has done horrible and terrible things. But the death penalty won't be right."
"It's not that simple. There are many people here who want to avenge their suffering."
"I know, but wouldn't it be better if Vader...I mean, if Anakin tries to make it up to everyone?"
"Princess Leia, you are the one who has brought this case. Are you sure you want to dismiss it?"
"Well, I don't!" A Rebel stood up. "She may dismiss it, but I will demand that Vader pays."
"He's not Vader anymore." Luke said.
"You are biased! He's your father. But Leia, I don't see why you would let him go. You suffered from him more than a lot of us."
Luke looked at Leia with puzzle and then realized that no one here knew that she was Anakin's daughter. He wasn't going to announce that, believing that was Leia's choice, but apparently that was the choice she made.
"He's my father too." Leia said quietly but loud enough for everyone to hear.
"Yes. And I don't want to lose him again."
Anakin couldn't take it anymore and stood up. "Leia, why are you doing this?'
Leia sobbed. "I don't want my father to die. Please, I beg all of you, please allow him to live. He can pay for his mistakes another way. He can help repair our galaxy and build our Republic. At least give him a chance to prove himself."
It was silent for a moment before Dodonna asked, "Is there anyone in this room that wants Anakin Skywalker executed?" When no one raised their hand or stood up, Dodonna said, "Then I dismiss this case and allow Anakin Skywalker to go free."
Leia sighed in relief and watched Padme running to Anakin and throwing her arms around him. Anakin rested his head on Padme's shoulder and was looking straight towards Leia. Leia made eye contact with him briefly before turning away.
"You don't think I was stupid to drop this case?" Leia asked Han.
Han put his hands on Leia's shoulders and said, "I think you did what you felt was right and I'm proud of you."
Leia smiled and hugged Han. "Thanks for being so supportive."
Leia, Han, and Chewie left the room and were back in the lobby. Anakin, Padme, and Luke joined them not too long later.
Padme hugged Leia. "Thank you. Thank you for changing your mind."
"You're welcome, Mother." Leia responded, returning the hug.
"Why did you do it, Leia?" Anakin asked.
Leia looked at Anakin and felt uncomfortable. "I did it for Mother and Luke." Luke rolled his eyes. Why couldn't she just admit the truth?
Anakin seemed to accept Leia's explanation, but Leia could see a hint of disappointment in his face as if he was hoping for another reason. A reason that was most likely correct, Leia thought to herself.
"Thank you, Leia. And I am truly sorry for hurting you."
"Yes, I know you are. You don't have to keep saying that."
"Do you think you can one day forgive me?" Anakin asked hopefully.
"I don't know...I mean...I don't know. I need time to think."
Anakin nodded. She needed time and he was going to give her that. Padme and Anakin left afterwards, but Luke stayed behind to talk to Leia alone.
"Why can't you just admit the truth?" Luke asked.
Leia raised her eyebrows in confusion. "What are you talking about?"
"The real reason why you changed your mind is because you care about Father."
"Luke, you do know that he and I have been enemies since way before we met you."
"Yes, I know that. But that didn't matter to you in the end, did it?"
"Of course it did. It does."
"Then why did you help him? You said before that Mother and I weren't enough to let Vader walk away free."
"Okay, fine. It wasn't just because of you."
Luke smiled. "Ah, I see. So what else, then?"
"Because I did see that it would be better that Anakin clean up the mess he created."
Luke rolled his eyes. "Why do you have to be so stubborn?"
Leia couldn't help but smile. "What? That is part of the reason."
"Yeah? And is there anything else?"
Leia closed her eyes. "Yeah. I don't want to lose our Father. I love him."
"What?" Luke hoped Leia would admit that she didn't want their father to die, but he hadn't actually expect her to say that she loved him.
"You heard me. I love him despite everything. I don't know why, I just do. Maybe the love you have for your family is unconditional. I don't know. But it's true."
"Leia, then can you accept him now? Can we all be a family?"
"I don't know. I see now what you mean that he's not the same man as Darth Vader, but he missed out on twenty years of my life. It's not that simple to just have a relationship with a father I never knew as one, and a father I had considered my enemy."
"Why don't you just spend some time with us?"
"Luke--" Leia was about to protest.
"That's all I ask. Just spend some time. You don't have to agree to do anything you're not ready to. But just come over and spend time with the family. Mother would love that and so would I. Ryoo and Pooja also want to get to know you more. So what do you say?"
Leia sighed. "Alright then. I'll do it."
Luke grinned. "Thank you. And thank you for what you did back there. That was brave and I'm glad you were able to let go of your anger."
"I guess I just couldn't see my father die. I realized the true reason I was so angry at him was because he left our family to join the dark side. I was angrier at the fact that I couldn't have my family with me. And then I realized that Father shouldn't have to die for that reason. It was too personal for me, and that wasn't right."
"Wow...I didn't know that was what was bothering you so much. I too was upset about that."
"But you forgave him."
"I did, because I wanted my father back in my life."
"Maybe one day he can be a part of mine."
"It heartens me to hear you say that. And there is something I would like to ask of you."
"What is it?"
"I would like to help train you in the force."
Leia was shocked. "Train me?"
"Yes. The force is strong in you. You would make a good Jedi."
"Jedi? Wow, I haven't thought of that. I was a Senator, a politician. I could actually be a Jedi?"
Luke laughed. "Yes, you can. So do you want to?"
"I guess there's no harm in trying."
Several days passed since the trial. A new republic was being formed and Anakin and Yoda had begun setting up a new Jedi Council with Luke as a member. Luke had been training Leia every time she had visited. She barely spoke to Anakin, but she and Padme were getting closer. Luke hoped in time she could have a similar relationship with their father.
Padme and Sola were sitting together on the couch discussing old times when Leia, Han, and Chewie made their next visit. This time, the visit was special.
"Can you call everyone in the living room? I have something to announce." Leia asked Sola, who left to gather the family. Padme noticed that Leia's face was bright and filled with happiness. She had not seen her daughter like this. Most of the time she was here, she did smile, but Padme could always see disturbance within her, for she had not yet come to terms with everything that happened. When everyone came into the room, including Anakin, Leia flushed for a second when she saw him, but her face was quickly replaced by excitement.
"Han and I are engaged." Leia said happily as she held Han's hand.
Everyone gaped and then cheered as they congratulated the couple. Padme and Luke were the first to hug them. Anakin was the only one who didn't.
"Oh, we are going to have to make wedding plans." Sola said, excited.
It was a very happy dinner that evening. Leia had even said "Thank you" to Anakin when he passed her a dish. Luke noticed the icy tone in Leia's voice, but he also noted that she had barely said a word to him since the incident at court, and so this was definitely a step. Leia, Han, and Chewie agreed to stay over for the night after much persistence from Sola. When the dinner was over, Padme, Luke, Mara, Han, and Leia sat in the living room talking. When Padme asked Leia if she could see the necklace Han recently bought her, Leia got up to go the room she was staying in to retrieve it. When she went there, she was more than surprised to see Anakin standing in the room, holding the necklace.
Anakin looked up as he saw Leia enter and quickly put the necklace down. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to touch it."
"Why are you in here?"
"I accidentally went into the wrong room and I saw this necklace. It's beautiful."
Leia didn't say anything for a moment, and Anakin couldn't read her face. Finally, Leia said impassively, "Thank you. Han gave it to me."
Anakin nodded. "He's a good man. I'm glad he makes you happy."
"Thanks." Leia then turned to leave but then looked back at Anakin. "How did you and Mother fell in love?"
Anakin noticed then Leia didn't ask him sarcastically, but she genuinely wanted to know their story. He smiled and explained their first encounter as kids and when he told Padme that someday they would marry.
Leia laughed. "You knew you would marry her when you were nine?"
Anakin laughed too. "Yes. It sounds crazy, doesn't it? But I was drawn to her and I knew she was the girl for me." Then, Anakin went into the story of how they were reunited ten years later, their romantic stay on Naboo, his mother's death, and their wedding.
Leia seemed truly touched by his story. "I could never have imagined you being in love."
Anakin winced and Leia suddenly felt guilty. "That wasn't an attack. I just meant that your story was shocking, but in a good way. I am sorry about your mother. I wish I knew her."
Anakin smiled again. "She would have loved you."
Leia returned the smile warmly at Anakin, before he said, "I really do wish I could take my mistakes back. I don't know how I could hurt you. You are just as loveable as Padme. I wished I had seen that before. I know it's too late for you to forgive me, but do you think you can ever understand and accept that I am sorry and that I love you?"
Leia looked down and closed her eyes. She then took a deep breath and looked up. "I have been thinking about it, and I guess it's time to let my history with Darth Vader go. I'm willing to get to know you, and maybe build a relationship."
Anakin couldn't believe what he was hearing, but soon recovered. He walked up to Leia and drew her in his arms and was happy when she embraced him back. "This is just like when your mother first told me she loved me."
Leia giggled as she rested her head on Anakin's shoulder and asked Anakin, "Your story with Mother is so different than my story with Han."
Anakin pulled back to look at Leia and grinned, "Really? You'll have to tell me about it. Did you first meet Han when he rescued you?"
Leia smiled and blushed. "Yeah, but we didn't get off to a good start." Leia filled Anakin in on how she and Han got stuck in the garbage with Luke, and how the two made offensive remarks to each other. She then told Anakin how the two fought when Han decided to leave the Rebellion, their trip to Bespin, and when she got to the part when they decided to be together on Naboo, Anakin interrupted.
"So the two of you became a couple on Naboo?"
Anakin grinned. "That's the same place where your mother and I fell in love. It's not when we declared our love, but it's where it blossomed."
Leia laughed. "Maybe from your wedding, you left something in the air that fell upon me. I was wondering why I admitted to Han I wanted him."
Anakin chuckled as he listened to Leia's description of the proposal. She and Han were eating dinner and Leia noticed that Han was actually nervous in front of her for the first time.
"Are you feeling okay?" Leia had asked Han.
Han's face had gone red as he squirmed. "Huh? Oh no, I'm fine. Just fine...Yeah."
Leia frowned. "You've been having a hard time putting two words together."
Han took a deep breath as he tried to regain his composure. "There's something I need to ask you."
"Oh? What is it?"
Han had blurted it out but Leia had heard him and didn't ask him to repeat it. Instead, her eyes lit up and her lips curled, as she exclaimed, "Yes! I will!" Han grinned in relief and pulled Leia into a passionate kiss.
When she finished her story, Anakin was indeed amused. "Wow, now that I think about it, asking someone to marry you must be hard."
"Didn't you have to ask Mom?"
Anakin laughed. "Oh no, there wasn't much of a proposal. After your mother and I survived the first battle of the Clone Wars, we discussed our relationship and how we were going to be together even if it was against the Jedi code. And then we just said with the war going on, time was running short, we should just get married. And then we did."
Leia grinned. "I think Han would want to do the same thing if we were in your situation." Anakin laughed, still unable to believe that he and Leia were actually bonding. He never thought this was possible, but Leia had found it in her heart to forgive him like Luke and Padme did. He knew he didn't deserve their forgiveness, but they gave it to him anyway, and he was going to do all he can to show them he changed.
"I love you, Leia." Anakin said seriously.
Leia's grin disappeared but was not replaced by a frown. Her face became serious like Anakin's and after a while, she replied, "I love you too."
"You do?" Anakin asked, astonished.
"Yes." Leia moved towards Anakin to embrace him again.
Luke and Padme were heading to their room after hearing their voices. "I hope nothing bad is happening." Padme said. But when she and Luke walked in on Anakin and Leia's embrace, their jaw dropped.
Anakin let go of Leia when he saw them and invited them inside. Luke asked, "What's going on? How come you two were hugging?"
"Leia said she would be willing to build a relationship." Anakin said as he smiled happily.
Padme and Luke looked at each other before looking back at Anakin and Leia. Both exclaimed, "That's wonderful!"
"Now we can really be a whole family. All four of us." Padme said.
"You know, I never knew that giving Threepio an oil bath would lead me to all this." Leia said, thoughtfully.
"Same here. I never knew that searching for Luke would lead me to this, my family, being Anakin again, and ending the Empire. It wasn't what I expected, but I can now feel happy again." Anakin said.
"Yeah and I never thought that a simple farmboy like me could be a Jedi." Luke said.
"Well, there's more to come. We have a lot of work to do. We want to build a new republic, this time avoiding the chaos we had last time." Padme said.
"And the Jedi Council too." Anakin added.
"Do you think we can succeed?" Leia asked.
"Of course we can. We're Skywalker's." Luke answered.
Luke looked confused. "I don't really know what that actually means."
The four of them laughed a much needed laugh, finally feeling content and peaceful for the first time.
Han and Leia did get married and had their three kids, Anakin, Jacen, and Jaina. They moved to the moon of Endor, living not far from Luke and Mara, who got married also. Luke and Mara had welcomed their son Ben a year after their happy marriage. Padme and Anakin remained on Naboo, but went to the moon of Endor many times to visit their children and grandchildren. A New Republic and a New Jedi Order was formed and everything was peaceful and harmonic once again.
Well that's all. Thank you to all who have read my story and reviewed. I hope you all enjoyed the fanfic as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please review and let me know what you think.