this is a disclaimer.

air and angels, chapter four (the end)

Luke had been at the skystation for a week now, and he still got a flush of pure pleasure whenever he got to meet one of Leia's friends and inform them gravely that he was Luke Skywalker.

And he got to do that a lot. Leia knew everyone, and everyone knew Leia. Generals Rieekan and Dodonna and most of Dad's command staff called her "Commander Skywalker", and the techs in the hangar were more than happy to show her and Luke anything they wanted to see pertaining to computers, starfighter engines, disassembled blasters and broken commlinks. The mess hall was their playground and the fighter pilots were their babysitters, the kitchens a safe haven from punishment, the cargo boxes stacked in hangars and hallways their jungle gym.

(Threepio was often heard lamenting this inconsiderate behaviour at impressive decibels, calling it highly inappropriate for the children of Senator Padmé Amidala, but no one took much notice.)

Sabé was holed up with the Generals a lot, but they barely missed her: there was too much to do, too much to discover. Luke had never spent so much time in this state of unremitting excitement. Safe and hidden here on base, continually discovering new ways to amuse themselves, it was easy to almost forget about Mom and Dad and the trouble they might be in.


They slept in Dad's bed rather than Leia's little cubbyhole until someone could organise a second mattress for Luke, and there was a holo of Mom on a ledge in the wall over the bed to watch over them, laughing and pregnant in a blue nightdress. Dad had everything from spare parts for droids to piles of holodisks and datapads stuffed in his room. Leia showed her brother the ones with the tech manuals and called the others "Jedi stuff" with a shrug and a secretive look.

That reminded him: he hadn't actually met any other Jedi yet.

Leia grinned at him. "Did you think we only had the one base?" she asked mysteriously, and that was all she'd say on the matter.

Luke stayed up for hours that night reading his way through Dad's datapads.

The next morning, he shook Leia awake long before their accustomed breakfast hour.

"Whaaaaa?" she grumbled, waving a hand at him in a sleepy and pathetic attempt at a punch in the arm.

"Leia, I wanna learn to be a Jedi, like Dad," Luke announced.

Leia sat up, staring. "Well, duh," she said, and then made Luke's pillow levitate off the bed and drop into his lap.

Luke looked aghast. "You never told me you could do that!"

Leia shrugged guiltily. "Dad told me not to even talk about it off base," she admitted. "And then I kinda forgot all about it. What with, you know, Mom. And stuff."

"I'm your brother!" Luke said indignantly. "You don't just forget to tell me things! Show me how you did that!"

Leia patted the bed beside her. "It took me ages to learn to do it properly," she warned.

"Show me," Luke insisted.

They forgot about breakfast. And getting dressed. And, in fact, just about anything else. Leia talked and talked, everything Dad had told her over the years, everything she had overheard, everything people like Ahsoka, Barriss and Galen had said. Luke listened, legs crossed, breathing even, and tried to concentrate the way she described it, to feel the Force flowing through him, to reach out with his emotions and his instinct.

It was krething hard work.

"Sometimes, I know something's going to happen before it happens." He didn't open his eyes. "A mug getting knocked over. 3PO tripping over a pair of boots on the floor. I'm a perfect shot with a blaster. And I – I look at a speeder, and I know how it works. What to do. What it can do. It's the same with computers. They're just... easy."

"That's the Force," Leia said quietly. "When I saw the ship at Mom's house – you know, that sithspawn Tarkin – I knew he was evil."

Luke opened his eyes and looked straight at her. "The minute you walked into the classroom at school, I wanted to know you," he said. "You felt like my best friend before we'd even met."

She giggled. "And then we did meet, and I hated you."

"But you trusted me too. To help you repair that console during detention."


"That's nuts, really."

"We're Skywalkers. Whaddaya expect?"

"I always thought families were supposed to be perfect."

"Shows how much you know."

"Things are going to be OK now, aren't they? Dad will bring Mom back."

Leia stretched out both hands to him. Luke held on tight.

"Yes," she said. "Yes, little brother, Dad will bring her back. And then you'll be a Jedi and so will I, and we'll defeat the Imps and bring down the Emperor and make everything better for everyone in the galaxy."

"And live happily ever after?" Luke asked, slightly sarcastic.

"That's the plan, you nerfherder."

Luke frowned a bit. "I don't know," he said. "Are Jedi allowed to live happily ever after?"

Leia stared at him. "I don't see why not," she declared.

"I meant I thought Jedi are always going from one adventure to the next."

"There's not an endless supply of adventures in the universe," Dad said. "Sometimes whole years go by that are just boring."

Leia jumped so hard she hit her head on the ledge; Luke almost fell off the bed scrambling around to face his Dad, the covers tangling around his legs.

Anakin was leaning against the doorframe, arms crossed, smiling wide and bright. He looked exhausted, and his clothes were rumpled, but Leia didn't think... no, Leia knew she'd never seen him look so happy.

"Someone's here to see you two," Dad said and moved aside.

It was Mom.


"Here you go," Anakin said, helping Luke put the helmet on.

"But I can't see a thing!" Luke protested, waving the training lightsabre from side to side ineffectively.

Anakin jumped back from it, laughing. "You're not supposed to see, Luke. Try feeling instead."

Luke glared at the inside of the visor. "OK then. Let's go."

There was a snap-whirr of the remote turning on, and Luke drew a breath. Slow, easy. Feel the Force – concentrate. Know what was happening, don't see it.

Then –

Deflecting three blaster shots in quick succession was awesome enough, but feeling Dad's pride through the Force was even better.

Luke ripped the helmet off and whooped in triumph. "Leia, did you see that?"

"Well done, little brother," Leia said. "I've been doing that since we were seven."

"Who in Kessel told you you were older than me?" Luke demanded.

"Oh, Luke, language," Mom said primly from the sidelines.

Dad just kept laughing.