this is a disclaimer.

about a birthday

It hurts, that's the first thing they know, it hurts and there's light everywhere and they are here but gone, so far away, stretched thin torn apart, wherever this place is it feels wrong wrong wrong and Mother's presence is fading – they can't understand it, Mother is always there, always with them, surrounding them and keeping them safe, she can't go away she can't –

"Luke," Mother whispers. "Leia."

And with that naming, they become.

*********

Sand sucks. Moisture farming sucks. Uncle Owen sucks, and the droids suck, and the vaporators suck, and the sand sucks, and the heat sucks, too.

Luke Skywalker is sitting on the very edge of the walkway, swinging his legs through empty air, and sulking. It's his birthday in a couple weeks, but Uncle Owen won't let him have a party, or even just see some friends. Apparently he has too much work to do, cause it's harvest.

It's always harvest on Tatooine.

Luke sighs, the heartfelt sigh of a grievously wronged seven year old, and his shoulders slump. It's not that he minds helping – at least, not much – but he doesn't often see his friends when they're not at school, and he's lonely. The farm is pretty remote, and much as Luke loves his Aunt and Uncle, they're his Aunt and Uncle, not his friends.

And even when his friends are around...

A shooting star streaks across the sky, and Luke watches it with wide eyes, smiling for the first time in hours. Then he shuts his eyes tight to make a wish – he only gets one, it had better be a good one –

"I wish," he says out loud to the twilight, "that I had a brother or a sister."

*********

Leia spends the day buried in work, hunched over her desk. Dad's given her this assignment for him, a paper to present to the Senate, and Leia Will. Not. Screw. It. Up.

She reads and reads, snaps at anyone who tries to interrupt her, fetches an old-fashioned thesaurus from Dad's library while she's writing his speech, because the repetition of key phrases is an effective weapon, but repetition because you can't think of a synonym is just boring, and when she's done Dad reads it attentively, one leg crossed over the other in his big chair in the study, and then looks up and smiles.

"This is brilliant, Leia," he says.

Leia grins, triumphant.

*********

"We are not terrorists," Luke announces. "We're freedom fighters. There's a difference."

"Kid, every terrorist in the history of terrorism has called themselves a freedom fighter," Han says derisively. "We employ terror as a political weapon by blowing stuff up and killing people in Imperial uniforms, thus spreading chaos and destruction and drawing attention to our cause –"

"I'm sorry," Luke interrupts, grinning, "did you just say our cause?"

Han looks thoughtful for a moment. Then he says, "No. Pass the whiskey."

They sit through the next morning's command briefing with horrific hangovers, and Leia smirks evilly every time one of them winces at a loud noise.

*********

As if the mere knowledge that Luke is her brother was enough to open the floodgates of this Force ability business, Leia is now relatively certain she could find her brother blindfold in the dark from a thousand miles away, so when her office door slides open she knows exactly who it is.

Luke wanders over to her desk, clears a space, and perches on it.

He needs to stop wearing black, she decides. It makes him look older than he is, and it's plain that of the two of them, she is the elder.

"You need to stop wearing black," she says.

"I just thought of something," Luke says, ignoring her comment.

"I hadn't realised this was such an unusual occurrence that you had to come straight here and tell me about it."

He laughs, wrapping a curl of her hair around his finger and giving it a little tug so she'll look at him. Leia leans back in her chair and raises her eyebrows expectantly.

Luke smiles faintly. "We have different birthdays," he says.

Leia thinks about it, and realises he's right. Their birthdays are about a month apart.

"Hmm," she says. "Whose do you think is real?"

Luke shrugs, helpless. "I don't know. I guess we'll never know. Anymore than we'll ever find out who's older."

"Obviously me," Leia says. "Hey. Let's pick a new one. For both of us."

"I'd like that. We can pick one halfways between our fake ones, or something."

Leia pulls a face. "Eh, that'd be tomorrow, wouldn't it? Empire Day."

Luke's turn to raise an eyebrow. "Appropriate for Lord Vader's children, don't you think?"

It's been six months. He's still dwelling on it, and Leia can't blame him.

She pats his knee comfortingly. "But not for the Skywalker twins."

Luke smiles.