"Kriff, Artoo, what the hell did ya manage to do this time?" Han Solo asked around the tool in his mouth, his words coming out more mumbled than clear. The droid beeped out an indignant response, and Han hit the dome to keep him quiet. "Can it," he grumbled.
"Let's see," Han murmured once the droid had fallen silent. His brow furrowed when he noticed something lodged within the droid's mainframe, and he pulled the tool from his mouth. "What the Kriff…" He tinkered around for minute or two, and then Artoo let out a series of angry beeps.
"Hey, keep your bolts in place, huh? Just give me another second…" Han said, and then jerked his hand back when sparks flew from Artoo's inners. "You kriffing…" Han began, shaking his hand and then lifting it to his face to ensure that it was undamaged.
His words fell silent, however, when a beam of light shot out from Artoo's holo projector. Han's brow furrowed deeper when he saw an unfamiliar woman, laughing as she lay barely clothed against the pillows. Not long afterwards, a man made his way over to the screen, and from his posture, Han was easily able to determine his intent. "Hello," he murmured, a corner of his lips turning upwards at the sight. Quickly, he checked over his shoulder to ensure that Leia wasn't there, and then turned his attention back to the screen.
"I didn't know you had a stock of dirty movies," Han observed, and he suspected that if Artoo had the capability of glaring, he would. Han chuckled to himself and continued to observe the scene playing out before his eyes. An instant later, however, the smirk vanished from his face. Anakin? He swallowed hard, and then continued to watch. Obi Wan? What the…
"Where'd ya get that recording?" Han asked, and Artoo beeped out a response. "What do ya mean, you took it yourself?" Another series of beeps. "Quit lying you bucket of bolts."
Artoo beeped and whirred angrily, and Han shook his head. "I've got to get the kid in here," he mumbled. "Don't move," he instructed the droid, who beeped out a retort. Han rolled his eyes, and then picked up his com unit. "Luke, Leia; come to the cockpit right now. There's something here that you've got to see," he said, his eye still trained on the droid.
The pair arrived just a few moments later, but before they could question him, Han instructed Artoo to play the holo recording again.
"Ani!" A young woman with smooth features and curly hair exclaimed through her laughter as she drew the blankets up over her chest. "Artoo, stop recording right now!" A hand made its way through unruly brown curls, and she through the droid a mock menacing glare.
"Come on, smile for the holo cam!" The deep male voice came from the side, out of the camera's view. The mirth there was evident, though, and the voice made the woman's smile grow even wider.
"Couldn't you have found a better time to do this? I'm hardly dressed and…" The man was suddenly in the picture, kneeling over the bed in which the woman sat. He ran his hand through her curls, and then hovered so close to her that their noses were almost touching. "I happen to like you best when you're dressed like this," he said, his voice suddenly gone husky.
He then leaned forward and kissed the woman's lips, her chin, the column of her neck. "Padme," he breathed, the name barely discernable in the holo-vid. It appeared that he had forgotten Artoo, although the camera kept rolling.
"You brought us in here to watch this?" Luke demanded, glaring at the man standing before him. "I don't think that Leia should see…"
"Aw, it ain't nothing she hasn't seen already," Han replied, throwing his arm around Leia's shoulders. The Alderanian princess flushed scarlet, and then pulled herself away from the ex-smuggler. "Besides, that's not what I called you in here for," he added before the pair could leave in a hurry. "Just keep watching."
"Ani," the woman sighed, angling her head in such away as to give him greater access to the flesh of her throat. Something must have startled her, however, for her eyes snapped open suddenly. "Ani...something doesn't feel right."
The man mumbled out a response against her flesh, and the woman's frown deepened before her gaze locked with the camera. Her face colored, and she pushed the man away from her. "Anakin! Artoo's still recording!" she exclaimed, her voice full of dismay.
"Wha… oh, shavit," the man grumbled, pushing himself away from the bed so fast that he toppled over. The woman began laughing again, her discomfort forgotten.
"You just had to remember the kriffing droid," he grumbled as he pushed himself back up to his feet, although the hidden smile was evident in his voice.
"I didn't know you were into that sort of thing," the woman teased, and then man chuckled. "Whatever would Obi Wan say?" she added, and the man laughed again.
His chest suddenly obscured the camera's view. "Probably that I need to…"
The holo-recording suddenly clicked off, and silence filled the cockpit. Luke was the first to break the quiet, and he gently rested a hand on Leia's arm. "Do you think…" he began, but trailed off. The question didn't need finishing.
"Told ya I didn't call ya in for the porn," Han said smugly. Leia turned her dark eyes toward him before sighing and looking back at her brother. "I think it was," she replied softly.
"Do you have any more holos of them?" he asked Artoo, and the droid beeped. "Well, show them to us." Another series of beeps. "What do you mean, they're restricted?" he demanded.
"What did he say?" Leia asked, and Luke pinched the bridge of his nose.
"That the holos of them are buried deep in his memory core, and he cannot retrieve them at will. It was a safety precaution, he said."
The droid beeped, and Luke shook his head as he translated. "Restricted."
Leia sighed harshly, and muttered an Alderanian curse under her breath. "Could you at least play that one again?" she asked, and R2 whirred cheerfully.
The holo once again came to life. "Ani!" Leia watched with half a frown, half a smile as her mother's laughing face came into view. She looked so happy there, her eyes filled with warmth rather than the sorrow that Leia remembered. What happened to you?
Her father entered the picture; Ani, her mother had called him. The tousle haired young man scarcely resembled the machine that he had become, and Leia's heart went out to the pair. They looked so young, so carefree. How could they have known that in a few short years, their happiness would be wrenched from them? A part of Leia wanted to go back in time and warn them; to tell them what would occur. But a larger part told her that they had deserved their moments of happiness, brief though they were.
Leia's throat closed when her mother's eyes locked gazes with the holo-cam, and she let out a shuddering breath. What might have happened if they would have remained as happy as they were in the holo-vid? Would the empire have risen? Would Vader exist?
Leia banished such thoughts from her mind when she watched her father tripped over her own two feet. Never mind what might have been. For now, she wanted to see her parents as they once were, and to forget their sad fate.
The holo-projector clicked off, and Leia smiled.
"Play it again."