Title: A Wish The Heart Makes
Characters: Luke, Leia
Summary: Leia has a random thought wondering what it would have been like for her and Luke to know each other as children. The Force takes over from there.
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, nor am I making any money from this work.
A/N: This was written for a holiday gift-fic exchange at The Force Dot Net.
A/N 2: The timeline on this is approximately 6-7 years after the Thrawn Trilogy and is an AU.
A/N 3: Also, I freely admit I know nothing about rock-climbing, so I apologize in advance for any mistakes made there!
Leia had always considered herself a very patient and understanding person, and she also thought – without too much pride – that she was a darn good mother, but the screaming and the squealing was beginning to get to her. Han had slipped out the back door at least an hour ago, probably to play a few rounds of Sabaac with Lando and Wedge. She supposed she couldn't really blame him. Two hours at a birthday party for a couple of seven-year-olds would be more than most people could stand.
She was beginning to wonder if she could start to wrap things up, when she glanced over to her brother. Luke was watching Jacen and Jaina and several of their friends playing some kind of game, a definite look of wistfulness on his face. Leia thought for a second that he was wishing for children of his own. She thought it a shame that things hadn't worked out between Luke and Callista, because Leia knew her brother would make a wonderful father.
She turned her gaze to her two oldest children. They were deeply involved in the game they were playing and didn't realize they were being observed by their mother and uncle. As she was watching, Jacen and Jaina looked up from the game to each other at the exact same moment. There was a twinkle of mischief in their eyes and only a moment later, they turned back to the game. A few seconds later, they were cheering in victory and their friends were groaning in defeat and demanding another go.
Leia's brow raised in surprise at the devious communication between the twins. Although, with Han Solo as a father, she supposed she shouldn't be shocked at their misbehavior. She glanced back over at Luke to see what he thought of the twins' cheating, only to discover him now looking back at her, the wistful expression still on his face. When he realized he'd been caught, his cheeks pinked a little and he turned quickly to the refreshment table, grabbing a cup of juice and drinking it down quickly.
Well. Leia certainly couldn't let this go. For a Jedi, Luke was sometimes not very adept at hiding his feelings. She made her way across the room to his side. He attempted to ignore her, but Leia found she could be patient after all. She didn't say anything, just made her presence known by keeping close to him, and perhaps elbowing him in the ribs.
"Ow," he said, and finally turned to look at her with a half-hearted glare.
"Something on your mind, Luke?" she asked.
"No," he muttered stubbornly.
"I think there is," she said. She stayed right where she was, letting him know that she wasn't going to give up.
He sighed and relented, as she had known he would. "Do you ever wonder what it might have been like?" he asked quietly.
"For us to have grown up together like Jacen and Jaina?" she asked. He nodded. "Of course I do."
"I mean, I'm glad that you and I are close. When you think about it, it's amazing that we found each other at all, the vastness of the galaxy being what it is. And I do feel the bond between us is strong, but those two…" he trailed off as they both looked over at Jacen and Jaina again. "I envy them sometimes, and I know that's not a very appropriate trait for a Jedi to have."
"It is understandable, though. Things were different when we were children. Obi-Wan and Master Yoda did what they thought was best for the galaxy at the time. Maybe it wasn't the best for you and me personally, but, as much as we wish it, we can't change the past."
"You're right. And I guess the best thing for us to do is look towards the future," Luke said with a smile as he gazed down at his twin. He wrapped an arm around her shoulders and dropped a kiss on the top of her head.
She put her arm around his waist, returning his hug of affection. "Speaking of the future, I notice you invited Mara Jade to a children's birthday party. Something I should know about there?" she asked in a teasing tone.
It hadn't gone unnoticed by Leia, or a few other people, that Luke had been sending shy glances towards the corner where the red-headed trader had been talking with the Jedi instructors for most of the afternoon.
"Leia! She's here because she wanted develop her skills as a Jedi. It would have been rude not to invite her to the party. She knows Jacen and Jaina, after all," Luke protested, though his cheeks were turning red once again.
"Okay, I'll stop giving you a hard time about her," she said. "Maybe."
"What time are you and Han leaving in the morning, then?" Luke asked, a note of desperation in his voice.
Leia let him change the subject, but smirked up at him to let him know that she wasn't going to forget about it any time soon.
"We're scheduled at 0700. That is, of course, if I'll be able to get Han up that early. I'm sure that he and Lando have already broken out the whiskey," she said with a sigh. "Did I already say thank you for agreeing to watch the kids while Han and I are gone?"
"You did. I'm very happy to keep an eye on my niece and nephews. You and Han deserve some time away for just the two of you. How long has it been since you've been able to do that?"
"Way too long. It was awfully nice of you to offer up the Jedi Academy for their birthday party. Force knows, Coruscant would have been a nightmare what with trying to avoid all the holoshills. Why they're so interested in our children, I'll never know," Leia grumbled.
"You do know. It's the same reason they're always chasing after me, and I certainly never do anything interesting enough to warrant being written about. They're just desperate for something to titillate their readers with."
"I might disagree with you on that one, brother dear. I think you're interesting," she said as she grinned at him. "I'll bet Mara Jade does, too," she whispered.
"Leia," Luke groaned. "You're worse than your husband sometimes."
"Oh, so Han has teased you about her, too? If even he noticed, there must be something there after all."
"We are just friends," he said emphatically. "Probably all we'll ever be," he said under his breath, but Leia heard him just the same.
She decided to be nice and ease up on him for now. Maybe she needed to go speak to a certain redhead.
Later that night, as Leia was preparing for bed, her thoughts kept drifting to what it would have been like if she and Luke had been able to grow up together, rather than being separated for the good of the galaxy. Would they have that unspoken instant communication that her own children seemed to have? Would they have fought? Well, that was silly. Of course they would have fought. After all, Jacen and Jaina had minor battles when they disagreed.
From the moment they'd met, Luke had always been utterly respectful of Leia, even before he knew she was his sister. Leia wondered if there would be more teasing, more fun, in their relationship if they'd been together from birth. Not that she and Luke didn't get along perfectly fine, and not that they didn't love each other dearly. It was just…there was always a tiny sense of distance between them, sometimes like they were just very good friends, rather than siblings.
Leia gave a small sigh as she brushed her hair in front of the mirror. "I do wish I could know what it would have been like to have known him as my brother all along," she mused quietly to herself.
She looked over her shoulder at the snore that came from the bed in the other room. Han had indeed gotten quite drunk over a Sabaac game. Chewbacca had carried him to their guest chambers and had dumped him on the bed, and Han hadn't even blinked an eye. She shook her head ruefully. He was sure to have a king-sized headache in the morning.
Leia climbed into the bed, and leaned over to give Han a kiss on the cheek. He mumbled something unintelligible, and smiled in his sleep. She looked down at him fondly, before snuggling down beside him.
"I hope you're able to drag yourself out of bed in the morning, flyboy," she murmured as she drifted off to sleep. "Should be a very busy day tomorrow."
Leia had no idea how very prophetic her words would be.
When she awoke the next morning, something seemed off, but Leia couldn't quite put her finger on it. She turned her head and saw that she was alone in the bed. Well, good, that meant Han was up and hopefully getting the Falcon ready. Maybe his hangover wouldn't be too awful after all.
With a yawn, she dragged herself out of bed to head towards the fresher. She blinked in surprise when the floor seemed a little further away than she had expected. Perhaps she had been more tired than she realized when she turned in last night, not to have noticed that the beds in the Academy's guest chambers were humongous.
Shrugging it off, she headed into the fresher.
She took one look in the mirror and shrieked in shock.
Her hair! Someone had snuck into her rooms during the night and cut off all of her hair! It was barely touching her shoulders, and…
Wait a minute, when had the mirror in the fresher gotten so high? She could barely see herself in it. Confused, Leia glanced down and shrieked again. To hells with her hair, who had stolen her breasts! She put her hands on her chest just to make sure, and nope, there was nothing there!
She finally took a moment and looked at herself more fully. Her nightgown was hanging off the ends of her arms. It was also brushing the floor, whereas last night, it had only reached to the middle of her thighs.
"I'm a child again. Somehow, I'm a child again. What madness is this?" she whispered in disbelief. She stumbled out of the fresher and back into the bedroom. It suddenly seemed more ominous that Han had not been there when she awoke, for surely, he would have noticed that his wife had been transformed into a little girl.
Fearful that something terrible must have happened, Leia flew towards the door and out into the corridor.
"Han! Luke!" she cried out, but there was no one around. She was just about to truly panic when she heard another voice coming from behind her.
"Stang, Leia, what did you do?"
She spun around to see Luke standing there, his rooms being right beside hers. At least, she was fairly certain it was Luke, as he had somehow been changed into a child as well. He was also drowning in a pair of sleep pants and a tunic that were way too big for him, and his eyes seemed even bigger and bluer in his smaller face. She started to giggle when she realized what he'd said.
"What do you mean by that? How is this my fault?" she demanded.
"I distinctly remember feeling a ripple in the Force as I went to bed last night, and it was definitely your signature. I should have followed my instincts and gone to check on it then," Luke said grumpily, crossing his arms over his chest.
Leia couldn't help laughing out loud then, because all that motion did was cause the ends of Luke's too-large tunic sleeves to flap wildly around him.
"This is not funny!" he said.
"Okay, I agree that overall, it's not, but parts of it are, you have to admit," she said, still chuckling.
Obviously, Luke was trying to keep the glare going, but Leia could see the corner of his mouth twitching. She raised her own arms and waggled them up and down, her nightgown sleeves twirling as she did so.
Luke laughed, and finally the frown fell off his face. "Okay, it is a little bit funny," he admitted. "But what are we going to do about this? We can't stay kids forever."
"Forever, it won't be, young ones."
They both whirled in surprise to see a small green character standing on the other side of the corridor, observing them.
"Master Yoda! I…I never thought I'd see you again," Luke said.
"That's Master Yoda? He's so tiny," Leia murmured quietly.
Although, not as quietly as she'd thought, as the Jedi Master's gaze swung over to her.
"Learned quickly, your brother did, not to judge me by my size, Princess. The same lesson, must you learn as well?"
Leia flushed in embarrassment. It seemed as though her diplomacy skills had reverted to those of a twelve-year-old as well.
"I apologize, Master Yoda. I did not intend any disrespect."
Yoda grunted in acknowledgement of her contrition. "Seems some lessons you learn much easier than your brother, heh," he said with a twisted grimace that might have been a grin.
"Master, can you explain what's happened to us?" Luke asked.
Leia thought he might have asked it just to turn away what was probably going to be an embarrassing recount of his training on Dagobah. She gave him a knowing smirk, and he sent her back a 'shut up' expression.
Hmm, maybe they communicated better than Leia had previously thought.
"Sparked something within the Force, Leia's wish for you to know each other in childhood did. A quest, you must undertake together," Yoda pronounced.
"What sort of quest?" Luke asked.
"For knowledge, for understanding, for the Force," Yoda stated, which didn't really throw any light on the situation, in Leia's opinion.
"I don't have time for a quest. Han and I are supposed to be leaving today for a vacation. A vacation that took massive amounts of planning and compromise and cooperation, I might add. Luke, can't you fix this? You are the Jedi Master, aren't you?" she challenged.
"I'm also twelve years old, Leia! I don't know what you expect me to do!" Luke said, his frustration obvious.
The twins glared at one another, and then turned to glare at Yoda, as he began cackling with wicked glee.
"So much like your father, are the two of you. A great Jedi, Anakin was, but so angry all the time. Too much yelling, did he. Not good for the digestion," Yoda said.
Leia shot a wary glance back at her brother, raising one eyebrow to ask 'Is he crazy?' Luke shrugged slightly and tilted his head in a way that said 'He might be.'
"Look, Master Yoda, I really don't think this is the best time for a quest. Leia and Han did have plans, and I have students. We're just both very busy-"
"Enough! Nothing but excuses, do you have! Think the Force cares, do you? No! It does not!" Yoda said, and smacked the floor with his gimer stick. "Wasting time, you are! Use this, you will, to show what must be done."
He pulled a small holoprojector out of his robes and levitated it over to the twins. Luke let the device land on his hand, and activated it. An image of the Yunteh Mountains shimmered into view. The picture slowly zoomed in and then rotated until Leia could see what looked like the edge of a volcano, a few wisps of smoke visible drifting up even in the holo. Leia's suspicion was proven correct when Master Yoda spoke again.
"Now, very sporadic Leia's Jedi training has been, Luke. Change that, you should! The Borundi volcano, this is. Go there, the two of you will, and seek out a Corusca gem. Construct her own lightsaber, Leia will," Yoda said.
Leia could not believe her ears. "A volcano!" She stared at Yoda in disbelief. It was only through sheer strength of will that she didn't add the 'Are you mental!' part that was running through her head.
"Uh, Master Yoda, I'm not sure that Leia is really ready for the building a lightsaber part of training…" Luke said.
Leia yanked her glare back to her brother. "What do you mean by that?" she demanded.
Luke met her glare challengingly. "You have to admit you haven't made very much time for the training. I'm not sure it's a good idea to skip ahead to lightsaber-building!" he said in frustration. "Surely you would agree, Mas-"
He broke off in surprise as the corridor was now completely empty save for the two of them.
"Well, I guess your Jedi Master doesn't agree," Leia said smugly.
Luke gave a sigh and glanced down at the image on the holoprojector. "Well, I sure hope this thing includes some directions, then."
"It looks like doing what he wants is the only way we're going to get back to normal, so we may as well get on with it. I think the first thing we need to do is find some clothing that fits."
They raided the closets of a couple of the younger students and then proceeded to raid the Academy supplies and the kitchens for enough to get them through what could be a long journey. Backpacks full, they headed out towards the landing platforms.
"Isn't it strange that we seem to be the only people here?" Leia asked.
"No more strange than the fact that we both suddenly de-aged about twenty years," Luke said. "It must be the work of the Force somehow."
"No, I think that is the work of the Force," Leia said, as she pointed towards the spot where the Millennium Falcon should have been. In its place was a gleaming black speeder bike with silver trim.
Luke gasped and darted over to the machine. Leia shook her head in gentle disgust as her brother caressed the speeder as though it were a long-lost lover.
"Do you know what this is?" Luke said, in awe. He went on before giving Leia a chance to answer. "This is a Starhawk 7X. It's absolutely the latest model and Han and I were just looking over the specs for it a few days ago. It's supposed to fly like a dream!"
"Will it get us where we need to go?" Leia asked wryly.
"Not only will it do that, sister dear, it will do so in style, and wonderfully fast," Luke said with a grin.
Leia couldn't help but return the grin at Luke's enthusiasm, and walked over to join him. "Are you big enough to fly it?"
Luke gave her such an affronted look that she couldn't help but giggle.
"I'll have you know I was a pilot before I reached double digits, and I will thank you not to insult me like that again," he said loftily.
They stowed their backpacks in the speeder's storage compartments, and then settled themselves onto the bike. Luke took a couple of seconds to look over the controls, muttering to himself about the changes from the 5G model, before they suddenly went from zero to way too fast in about two and half seconds.
Both of them were shouting; Luke was whooping with joy and Leia was cursing him to hell and back.
"Oh, come on! You're married to Han Solo! You should be used to those kinds of surprises!" Luke shouted over the whine of the engine.
Leia closed her eyes as he waited almost too late – on purpose, she was sure – to dodge around a huge tree, and tightened her hold on his waist. Viciously, she pinched his side, just to remind him who he was messing with.
"Ow!" Luke said, but he was still laughing, so it must not have bothered him too much.
"I don't like it when Han does it either!" she yelled in his ear. "Do you even know where we're going?"
"Course I do! The holoprojector had coordinates on it. Just relax, will ya? It's probably gonna take us a couple of hours to get there," he called back.
Leia smiled to herself at how much more content her brother was when he was flying. It was a phenomenon she'd noticed with her husband, as well. Both of them seemed truly happier when they were behind the controls of anything that went very fast. She decided to simply trust in Luke's abilities, and turned her head to rest it on the back of his shoulder. Amazingly, she was able to relax enough that she drifted into a dreamy kind of half-sleep state.
"Leia, we're here," Luke said what seemed like hours later.
"Where?" she said. They stepped off the speeder and Leia took a look around. The jungle was thinner here, and they were at the base of a long range of mountains.
Luke checked the readings on the holoprojector. "This is the edge of the Yunteh Mountains. It's all on foot from here on out. The volcano that Yoda called Borundi is approximately 2200 meters high, and given our smaller bodies, I think it'll probably take us at least a week to reach the summit."
"Where are the Corusca gems supposedly located?"
"Once we reach the summit, we have to go down into the volcano-"
"Wait, we have to what? Go into a volcano!"
"It's inactive, and luckily, it looks as though we only have to go a little ways in to find the gems," Luke said. He looked up at her and no doubt saw the worry written all over her face.
"Hey, sis, I promise we'll make it through this," he said as he reached out to grip her by the shoulder, squeezing reassuringly.
"If you say so," Leia said quietly. She tried to recall what the purpose of this whole adventure was…for her and Luke to spend time together, to deepen their relationship as siblings. She looked into his eyes, so earnest and concerned for her. Leia decided to push her fears and doubts aside, to trust in her brother, and in the Force. She grinned at him and he grinned back at her.
"I do say so," he said.
"Well, we'd better get started then, hadn't we?"
The first few hours after they set off were fairly easy. The slope of the mountain wasn't too high, and there was even a something that looked a little like a trail for them to follow. Thankfully, even though their bodies had reverted back to that of young adolescents, they still seemed to have adult strength and stamina. Still, Leia was grateful when Luke called a rest period, and the two of them sat on a nearby rock, catching their breath.
Luke chuckled to himself quietly and Leia glanced over at him, curious as to what was funny. When she asked, Leia had to smile herself at his answer.
"If we really were children, can you imagine how much trouble we'd be in right about now?"
"Our parents would be ready to kill us," Leia said, and then faltered a bit as she remembered who one of those parents would have been. Anakin Skywalker. Darth Vader.
"But if things had been different, he never would have become Vader," Luke said quietly.
Leia frowned at how easy she was to read, but nodded her head in acknowledgement of Luke's words. Even now, all these years later, she was still coming to terms with who their father had been.
"And if it makes you feel any better, he truly was Anakin again, in the end. I could see the regret in his eyes."
"I guess we all have regrets," she said, and reached over to clasp Luke's hand. He covered her hand with his other one and they sat there for just a few moments in silence, appreciating the fact that they were together at all, considering the many different directions their lives could have taken.
The next few days were almost fun for Leia. It was an exhilarating experience to pit her skills against nature, while having her twin at her side. They talked more in those several days than they had in years, each telling the other dreams and tales of their lives and childhoods they'd never gotten around to sharing before.
Leia found her anger and irritation at Master Yoda almost completely gone. Although she missed Han and the kids, and this 'quest' couldn't have come with worse timing, Leia decided she wouldn't have traded this episode for anything.
The last three days had been challenging enough, but the real difficulty lay before them now. The last part of the journey involved some steep climbing, and they would have to use specialized equipment to reach the top of the volcano. They were determined, but nervous, as they linked themselves together with a length of fibra-rope, and began their ascent.
It was exhausting, tedious, and much more arduous than Leia had ever imagined it would be. Several times in the process, she wanted to call out to Luke to head back down, and just give up on this whole thing, because it had to be some kind of crazy dream, didn't it? Luke talked her through those moments, and somehow they both found the strength to keep going.
They had paused for just a moment to catch a breath, when the unimaginable happened. Luke was slightly to her right and a couple of meters or so above her. They were about to start moving upwards again – they could see their goal now, only about thirty meters away – when Leia heard Luke cry out in surprise.
Leia jerked her head up right at the moment that Luke's body started to hurtle past her towards a certain death. Instinctively, she thrust her hand out and grabbed. Miraculously, she somehow touched Luke's flailing arm and they were able to link hands. Unfortunately, he was still moving quickly and Leia braced herself by tightening her grip on the hook holding her onto the cliff face.
They both grunted as Luke slammed hard into the rock below her. Leia grimaced as she tried to hold onto him, feeling as though her arm was about to pulled out of its socket. Thankfully, in their present state, Luke didn't really weigh much more than she did, or she never would have been able to hold him.
For a second, she hung there in stunned silence. The whole thing had happened so fast, and yet, it had seemed to happen in slow motion at the same time. Luke wasn't saying anything and Leia was worried that he was unconscious. She wasn't sure she'd be able to pull him up if he were.
"Luke!" she gasped. "You okay?" Her arm and shoulder were already starting to feel the strain.
He groaned in reply and looked up at her. There was a gash on his cheek where he'd smashed into the stone, but otherwise, he seemed to be unhurt, just a little dazed.
"Yeah…yeah, I'm all right," he mumbled.
"I'm gonna try to pull you up. I need you to help me as much as you can, okay?"
He still seemed out of it, and Leia was worried this wasn't going to work.
"Luke! I need you to focus!" she yelled.
"Yeah, okay!" he said, a little louder.
Leia pulled, as hard as she could, but only managed to raise him a few centimeters.
"Stang! You're too heavy!" she said, her breath coming in sharp pants at the exertion. "Is there anything nearby you can grab on to?"
"There's a crevice a little above me that I think I can reach," he said.
"Okay, on three then. One, two, three," Leia said and put all of her strength into lifting Luke up.
"Little…more," Luke said, and she could feel him stretching. His movements were putting more strain on her arm, though, and Leia honestly didn't think she was going to be able to hold him for one second more. Her jaw was clenched, her teeth gritting with her effort. Leia's eyes were squeezed shut, and she could feel tears beginning to seep out and down her cheeks.
Use the Force, Leia.
The quiet voice slipped into Leia's consciousness, immediately calming her. Although, she couldn't have said who the voice was…Master Yoda? Obi-Wan Kenobi? There was something strangely familiar and unfamiliar about it all at once. Either way, she suddenly found herself with enough strength to pull her brother up far enough for him to slide his fingers into that crevice, allowing him to take his weight off her.
They didn't speak at first, taking a few moments to rest and gather their strength. By unspoken agreement, they gathered themselves and finished the climb to the top of the volcano before breaking the silence.
Even then, as they lay sprawled on the rough ground, not caring that pebbles were biting into their skin, grateful to still be alive, it was a fair few minutes before they said anything.
"Did you hear him, too?" Luke asked.
"What, you heard that as well? I thought he was talking to me," Leia said.
"What did you hear?"
"He just said, 'Use the Force, Leia' and that was all. What did you hear?"
"The same thing, only with my name. Kinda took me by surprise."
"Why? I thought Obi-Wan had talked to you like that before," Leia said.
Luke sat up then and looked down at his sister, a serious expression on his face. "That wasn't Obi-Wan, Leia."
"It wasn't? Then who-" she asked, and then cut herself off at the worried look on Luke's face. And she knew exactly who it was that had helped her, had helped both of them. "Oh," was all she could think to say.
"I've felt his presence a few times, here and there, over the years. But that's the first time I've ever heard him speak to me."
"Why do you think he did now?"
"Because he knew we needed him. Because he was our father, and whatever he did in his time as Vader, at the end, he loved us both," Luke said.
Leia didn't reply to that. She sat there, turning all those thoughts and feelings over in her head and heart. She was quiet for so long, that she must have made Luke nervous.
"Are you all right?" he asked.
"I think…" Leia said slowly, trying to make some order out of the jumble that her thoughts were. Perhaps it wasn't so hard to believe that Anakin Skywalker might be watching over his children even now. And maybe, just maybe, Leia was beginning to be okay with that. She gave her brother a smile. "I think that I am."
Luke returned the smile, and she could see the gratitude in his eyes that she was finally starting to accept who Anakin Skywalker had once been, and who he'd returned to being at the very end of his life.
"Well, c'mon, you! We'd better find that Corusca gem if we ever want to get out of this!" Leia said.
After all the excitement of getting up the mountain, it was almost a bit anticlimactic when they found the gems. Leia held the sparkling stone in her hand, and wondered if she would be able to do as Yoda wanted, and use it to build her own lightsaber.
"You will, I know it," Luke said, and then laughed when she smacked him for peeking at her thoughts.
"What do we do now, though? How do we get back to our real selves?" she asked.
"I don't know," Luke answered.
No sooner were those words out of his mouth, than the world around them began to fade, twisting and turning almost as though it was melting away.
"Luke!" Leia asked, panicking a bit as she looked at him and saw that he was starting to vanish as well. "Luke!"
She thought he was trying to answer her, because she could see his mouth moving, but then everything went dark.
Leia opened her eyes with a gasp, and then blinked when she saw her husband staring down at her with a relieved grin on his face.
"Well, it's about time, sweetheart! You and the kid both had us scared there for a while."
"Luke? Is he all right? Am I all right?" she asked. She was lying on the bed in their rooms at the Academy and Leia glanced down quickly. Ah! Grown-up again! Leia reached up to clutch at her bosom just to make sure. "Oh, thank the stars!"
Han gave her a weird look. Leia could feel herself blushing and quickly lowered her hands. "Never mind, long story," she muttered. "Where is Luke? Is he all right? You didn't answer me."
"I'm fine, Leia. I woke up about five minutes before you did."
Leia sat up and looked over Han's shoulder at her brother coming in the door, and thank heavens, he was back to normal, too. She leapt up off the bed and threw herself at Luke, hugging him as tightly as she could. Luke's arms wrapped around her and held her as fiercely as she was holding him.
"Y'know, if you weren't related, I might be gettin' a bit jealous right about now…"
Leia laughed as she released her brother and turned to hug her husband. "I missed you so much," she whispered.
"Well, I appreciate that, but you were only out for a day," Han said, his tone showing his confusion.
Leia pulled back and looked at him in surprise. "Only a day? But it was more like a week…" She turned to look at Luke with a question in her eyes. "Did that really happen? Or was it just a dream?"
Luke smiled softly at her and said, "It was something. Still not sure what, but it was definitely something. Because they found this in your hand." He held up the Corusca gem, still shining just as brightly as it had when she'd plucked it from the volcano.
Leia gasped and reached out to take the gem from Luke's hand. She turned it over in her fingers, finally letting it rest on her palm. She looked back up at her brother.
"It was real enough for me. And I think I'm ready to use this for what Master Yoda wanted. If you're still willing to teach me, that is."
Luke's answering grin was as bright as Tatooine's twin suns. "Absolutely! I'd be honored," he said.
"That's great and all, but could someone tell me what happened here? Everyone was worried about the two of you, and you're acting like it was all some grand adventure," Han said in frustration.
Leia was sure it was only more irritating to him that all she and Luke could do was laugh and share secret smiles.
"That's because it was, flyboy. And I'd do it again in a heartbeat."