Leia Organa, Jedi Knight

By: Julie the Tall Terror

Timeframe: ESB

Focus: Leia, Luke, Han, Yoda and Vader

Summary: What would change and what would not if Yoda trained Leia?

Part 7 of 7

Leia raced along the passages. Up this one, down those steps, putting as much distance as possible between her and Han's team. She briefly considered using a turbolift, but doubted she could find one empty. Making the troops not notice as she quickly passed them in the corridors was one thing, but doing that to a crowd for the length of time it took to enter and exit a turbolift was far beyond her abilities.

After reaching the deck of the ship, Leia stopped concealing her presence with the Force. It was possible that it hadn't hidden her from Vader anyway and Leia knew she needed to conserve her strength. A rough plan began to form in her mind.

Luring Vader away from Luke and the others wasn't enough, Leia needed to distract him. Stopping at a general map of the ship's decks, Leia chose her ground to fight from - a small hanger bay. It held ships being moved into and out of deep storage. Preparing a means of escape and cover had been one of the longest lectures Yoda ever gave her.

And the plan wouldn't work unless Vader came to her.

~~*~~

"Take that side," Lando hissed.

Two rebels ducked low and scurried across the passage from Lando. Using a tiny electronic scope, he peeked around the corner. The corridor ahead was filled with heavily armed stormtroopers guarding the only door to the guest quarters where Luke was being kept.

Lando handed the scope to Chewbacca and backed up. "This is ridiculous," he told Han. "It is strange enough that Luke isn't in a cell, but what type of prisoner needs squads of troops?"

Han hesitated and then told him, "Luke can do some of that Force stuff like Leia."

Lando's mouth dropped open silently and his eyes widened. "Good. That will make this easier."

"Not if he's knocked out. It looks like Vader's taking no chances."

A tech came out of a nearby storage closet and gave them the all clear signal. The two men hurried into it and saw that a neat hole had been cut out of the back and into a low horizontal shaft. Two people were now cutting into what looked like a very fancy bathing 'fresher. The rest of the rebels filed into the closet and Chewbacca shut the door.

It was only in the extremely cramped space that Han noticed who was missing.

~~*~~

Darth Vader's cold, lethal presence in the Force was fierce and made Leia shiver. It was becoming almost painful as she sensed him coming closer to her location. Shaking her head in frustration, Leia focused on the door far below her.

The door slid open quietly, and the awful feeling became much worse now that Leia could see Vader. He took three long strides into the hanger bay and turned his helmet to look straight at her hiding place.

"Come out, Jedi," Vader ordered.

For a moment, Leia almost obeyed, but caught herself. Vader's mind trick had been simple, but very strong. Leia crouched lower behind an exhaust vent on the top of an old ship. She needed to buy as much time as possible, and to avoid fighting Vader as long as she could. Sacrificing herself to save the others was a very likely result no matter what she did, but Leia hoped to not resort to that.

Darth Vader seemed to understand she wasn't going to move. He began to pace, his black cloak billowing behind him before finally deciding to walk around one side of the decrepit ship. Leia scooted around to keep the bulky vent between herself and him.

"It is pointless to hide."

Still Leia did nothing. It took all of her patience to wait when she longed to blast Vader apart. She listened to Vader's heavy breathing echo in the hanger and shoved away the memory of the last time she'd met him. Now, would be the worst time to have a flashback of her interrogation on the Death Star.

A handful of tools came soaring at her. Leia ducked and barely created a Force shield in time. Behind her, an antenna from the ship was ripped from its base and flew at her back. She ignited her lightsaber and sliced it apart, wincing as a few of the pieces struck her.

Leia tried to focus on the starships' nearest laser gun, but was nearly hit by a pipe. She would never manage to use the Force on that gun and stop Vader from driving her off the ship. Turning off her lightsaber, she leapt and flipped to the large turret, sliding behind it just in time as a metal crate pelted after her. With one hand she grabbed the wiring she had prepared earlier and fired at Vader.

He deflected the blast. Leia frowned and continued firing. Though she'd heard rumors that Vader could ward off blaster shots, she'd hoped he wouldn't fare so well against a ship's laser. Her fingers began to grow stiff from pinching the wires together, but still Vader wasn't going down. So intent was she on watching him, she didn't feel the crate return for another shot.

It slammed against her left arm and side, and she slid halfway down the opposite side of the ship's hull. Gathering her feet under her, she re-ignited her saber to cut apart the crate in its third attack. She realized that her delay tactic had outlived its usefulness and she stood up.

"I am Leia Organa, Jedi Knight."

Technically, she wasn't a Jedi, but Vader already appeared to think she was. Leia decided that Vader didn't need to know she wasn't fully trained. She held her saber before her, ready in case more objects were sent to knock her off the ship. But Vader didn't move them and he didn't speak. He just stood there, looking up at her.

"I have never sensed the Force with you before, Your Highness. How have you disguised yourself all these years?" Vader's voice sounded both shocked and irritated.

Leia felt a small surge of pride. "It's a gift."

She wasn't about to admit that she'd had no knowledge of the Force then. Let him think she'd been well trained to hide her presence in the Force when he had interrogated her on the Death Star.

"Who was your teacher?" Vader began to pace again and finally activated his red lightsaber. "Obi-Wan?"

Leia didn't reply. It wouldn't matter if he thought Obi-Wan had taught her. He couldn't hurt the old general now, but he could hurt Yoda.

However, Vader didn't seem to expect an answer. "Come down and face me. Jedi do not cower."

Leia ignored the jibe and didn't move. The waiting was intense, but necessary, and her throbbing shoulder and arm would make the upcoming fight even more dangerous.

Vader was getting noticeably exasperated and angry now. "Is Luke your apprentice?"

Leia almost laughed at the notion. A teacher? Her? In her surprise at the question, Leia almost missed sensing a wave of jealousy beginning to surge from Vader. She backed up, alarmed.

In one huge leap, Vader vaulted onto the ship's hull. Shocked, Leia stumbled back several paces. Briefly, she wondered why he hadn't done so before. This wasn't the best place for a duel.

He advanced on her and Leia warily prepared herself for battle. Vader attacked first, as if he knew she wouldn't. Leia did her best to hold her ground, blocking his strikes and trying to remember what else was attached to the hull that she might back into or trip over.

Inevitably, she had no choice but to begin retreating. Lightsaber dueling was clearly one of Vader's talents and Leia sincerely hoped he wasn't toying with her. She knew she wouldn't survive a real fight if he was only playing now.

"Answer me!" Vader roared at her.

Leia jumped at the fury she'd never seen Vader display before and nearly missed parrying his next swing.

"Luke isn't my student," she yelled back before she could stop herself. "He is my friend!"

At once, Darth Vader ceased fighting. Leia wasn't sure which of her statements had stopped him, or perhaps both. His anger and jealousy seemed to fade a little.

"Then, you have no right to interfere," Vader said very calmly.

Leia frowned in confusion and indignation. "You've kidnapped my friend! Of course, I have the right -" she sputtered to a halt.

"I have not harmed Luke," Vader explained slowly. "I have merely retrieved my son."

Leia stared at him, at a loss at what to do as his words began to register. Frozen on the spot as she was, Vader could have killed her had he chosen. After a moment of silence, Leia realized she was holding her breath and gasped for air.

This explained everything - the bounty on all of their heads and how Han had been captured on Cloud City. It hadn't been to interrogate Luke for information about the Rebellion, but rather, to trap him.

An image of the two battling figures from the cave on Dagobah flashed in Leia's mind. She saw the terrible peril Luke was in, not from death, but from the Dark Side. Yoda had lectured her many times on the subject, and the little training Luke had from Obi-Wan wouldn't be enough to protect him from Vader.

"Luke's feelings for you are strong." Vader's tone had changed again, this time to curiosity.

Leia could feel him appraising her in a calculating way, and she didn't like it. It began to make her feel sick. She took a half step backward and raised her lightsaber in a defensive posture.

But Vader didn't react. "That smuggler, the Wookiee, and you are very important to him."

"It won't work," Leia told him boldly, wishing she felt as sure as she sounded. "Threatening his friends won't make Luke turn."

"Letting you go would."

Leia didn't think she could feel any more tense, but she did. She stared up at Vader, trying to think of a response, but all of her skills at diplomacy and debate failed her.

Vader let his lightsaber drop casually to his side. "Luke will cooperate in exchange for your freedom and safety."

Her throat going dry, Leia couldn't speak and began to back up again. At her belt, her comlink began to blink silently. It was the worst time for Han to realize she was gone and to try to contact her. She tried to block the tiny light with her arm, but Vader saw it. With a flick of his wrist, he used the Force to turn on her comlink before she could stop him and Han's frustrated voice came loud and clear.

"Leia! Where are you? We've got Luke, he's pretty drugged up, but not injur-"

Leia hit the switch off in a panic, but the damage was done. Not waiting to see what Vader would do, Leia turned and ran.

However, Vader made no move to attack her, nor did he reach for his own comlink to call for troops. Vader simply stood immersing himself with the Force. There was a burst of light and he threw a small ball of energy.

It hit Leia in the small of her back, and she went down in a heap.

~~*~~

"What was she thinking?!" Han growled for what was at least the fifth time since he'd noticed Leia was missing.

"Are you sure she wasn't captured?" Lando had been very concerned at Leia's disappearance.

Han scowled at Lando for even considering the idea. "Some stuffy officer would have answered her comlink to gloat if she had." He turned to Luke and began gently slapping his face. "Come on, Kid. You've got to wake up."

Breaking Luke out had been quite easy once they'd finished burning through the walls. Keeping Luke in VIP quarters was a serious mistake on the Imperials' part, despite the ridiculous number of troops in the corridor and inside the front room.

Yet, there were no guards inside the bedroom where Luke lay sprawled unconscious on the bed and smuggling him out took no time at all. It was getting him to wake up that was the problem. The rebels had brought stimulants, but they didn't seem to be working.

At last, Luke's eyes began to open and he stared blurrily at the assembled rebels crouched around him. "Are you really here?" he slurred. "Or is this another trick?"

"Well, I can't think of a way to prove we're real," Lando said cheerfully. "But it can't hurt to walk with us, can it?"

Luke blinked at him and tried to focus on Han's scowling face and the worried looks of the other rebels. "Sure, anything's better than here."

Someone sniggered quietly, but hushed when Han glared behind him. Chewbacca hauled Luke to his feet. Luke swayed unsteadily, but Chewie kept a firm hold on him. As quickly as possible, the team began to make their way out back towards their respective ships. The crowd of Alliance ships distracting the Star Destroyer couldn't keep it up much longer. They were running out of time.

~~*~~

Immediately, Leia began to regain her feet and stand back up. Horrified, she looked around for her lightsaber. The sudden blast of energy had been difficult to absorb and had dazed her slightly. She cursed herself for hitting Vader with the gun lasers so much. Instead of deflecting all of the engery, Vader had absorbed some of it himself and used it against her.

"Impressive," Vader commented mildly, and Leia saw her saber already resting in his other hand. "My son and I have the same goal, to bring peace and order to the galaxy. You could join us and the Emperor will fall under our combined strength."

Awkwardly, Leia continued backing up. The edge of the ship was nearby and she wanted to get off of it soon.

"Your skill is especially rare. I have met few who could and never so well in one so inexperienced." Vader's tone became suspicious. "Extraordinary. How... no, you can't be-"

Vader stopped in mid-sentence and Leia sensed a feeling of stunned surprise overflow from him. Vader stood very still.

Leia couldn't sense any physical reason why Vader would feel so shocked. There was no one approaching or any danger from the machine nearby. Leia didn't waste time probing Vader to discover the answer. Taking the opportunity, she spun around and jumped off the edge of the starship. She flipped and landed smoothly on the deck of the hanger bay far below and looked up just in time to see the Millennium Falcon soar through the space barrier. Nearly crying with joy, she sprinted for the underside of the ship using all the Force she could muster to speed up.

The Falcon opened fire at once at the sight of Darth Vader perched on top of another ship. With both his own lightsaber and Leia's, Vader deflected the blasts back at the ship.

Vader managed to take out one of the Falcon's forward gunners by the time Leia reached the hatchway. Without bothering to wait for it to finish opening or even for the ship to land, she vaulted upward. Her hands closed over the edge and she swung herself through the small gap inside.

Panting heavily from the effort, Leia lay on the cool floor where she'd slid.

"Hey, sweetheart."

Leia could barely pick her head off the deck to look at him. "Thanks for the rescue, again."

Han put one arm around her and helped her up. The ship bucked under their feet and Leia clutched Han tightly. Leia was both pleased and surprised that Han had come to meet her - leaving Lando and Chewie to pilot his beloved ship out of danger. The Falcon jerked again, and Han put out one hand to grab the bulkhead, but kept the other around her waist.

"Are you hurt?"

"Just a bruised shoulder." Leia wet her lips out of nervousness. It felt very nice to be held by Han, but rather frightening, too. "Did the mission go well?"

"No problems, except for you running off."

"You aren't mad, are you?"

Han raised his eyebrows, "Sure, I'm furious, but that's never stopped you before." He held her tighter and his voice choked up. "I love you."

"I know." Leia smiled. "I can feel it."

Han rolled his eyes, "More of that Force nonse-"

But Leia silenced him with a deep, longing kiss and for several minutes nothing else mattered. They didn't even notice when the Falcon jumped safely into hyperspace.

"I love you, too," Leia said, her voice shaking. "And I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner."

Han gave her one of his smirks, "Are you going back to that swamp?" he asked with a note of dread in his voice.

"Yes." Leia sighed. "But only until I finish training, and Luke will need to complete his as well. How is Luke?"

"Recovering, but he's tough," Han reassured her. "He's how we found you. Did some of that Force stuff even though he could barely walk from being drugged."

Leia frowned in confusion. How could Luke have possibly sensed her at all? However, Leia didn't have time to think more about it as Han led her into the Falcon's main room. Luke was slumped in the game booth with his eyes half shut and a pained expression on his face.

Han gave Leia a quick kiss on the cheek, before heading off down the passage to the cockpit. Concerned, Leia went to sit across from Luke. He didn't say anything at all, just looked at her through dim eyes.

"I found Master Yoda," Leia said, breaking the silence. "I'm sure he will be glad to finish your training. He's begun teaching me as well."

"I know," Luke mumbled. "Han told me."

Leia wondered what she could do to help Luke. Anger, pain and confusion were rolling off of him in waves.

"You didn't kill him," Luke accused. "Why didn't you kill Vader?" His face was taut and strained.

"I couldn't," Leia said quietly.

"Couldn't or wouldn't?" Luke asked hoarsely and tried to sit up a little. "Jedi are supposed to- "

"I know just as much about Jedi as you do, if not a little more at the moment."

That silenced Luke, but he was still looking at her suspiciously. "What did he tell you?"

Leia sighed, "He tried to bargain and to convince me to join him and you."

"I never even considered joining him!"

"I know that," Leia said calmly.

Luke's vehemence on the subject was making her wonder. Had Darth Vader told Luke he was his father or not? For one second, she debated not telling Luke. But then she remembered how angry she had been with Yoda for withholding important information.

"What else?" Luke pressed.

"He... he tried to tell me I had no right to rescue you." She watched Luke's face intently for any sign of recognition or worry - but instead there was only mounting fury.

"Did he feed you that 'I'm your father' line, too?"

"No, but he did say you were his son-"

"I'm not!" Luke's denial was forced and unrealistic, as though he was trying to convince himself more than her.

Leia shook her head and tried to think of a gentle way to break it to him. "I could feel it was true, Luke. Once I knew to look for it, I could see the family bond was there."

Luke's head was bowed and he didn't speak. Tenderly, Leia wrapped her arms around him and let his head rest on her shoulder. He sagged against her, hiding his pain in silence.

"We'll go to Dagobah, and Yoda will finish training both of us," she said in his ear. "I'm sure he knows about Vader and he'll have to answer your questions. He has no right to hide something like this."

Luke looked up at her and at last began to grow calmer and his anger lessened. "Thanks for coming after me."

"You did the same for me." Leia smiled. "I can't wait to see the look Master Yoda's face. He told me I'd fail."

Luke cocked his head at her, curious. "Are you sure he won't mind a second student?"

"Positive," Leia said breezily. "Master Yoda will be delighted to have another apprentice tormenting him."

~~*~~

The END

Sorry, but no sequel, the story stops here. Even though this story altered nearly everything in ESB and the first half of RotJ - I think RotJ would have ended very much the same regardless of whether Leia had been a Jedi or not. It was fun seeing what I could do with Leia in the Jedi role, but I can't top GL's vision.

Thank you all immensely for sticking with me even though I've been deplorable about posting parts regularly! You are all treasures!