Luke Skywalker was straightening his bed sheets when he felt his sister approaching from the hallway.
"You know," he called out conversationally to his closed door "we would've never been able to play hide and go seek."
His door slid open and he turned around smirking slightly to his twin sister shaking her head, bemused.
"You mean if we were raised together as children" she commented, leaning up against his wall as the door slid closed behind her.
"Well, we could try now if you want. Organize a huge game. It'd give you a real reason to seek out Han" he teased.
Leia narrowed her eyes, making a face at her brother. "Tch. You're out of your mind. He's leaving anyway. He told Rieekan."
Luke snorted. "Yeah, he's been 'leaving' for the past three years."
She rolled her eyes, wanting to get off the subject of Han. "I hear you had a narrow escape last night on patrol" she commented.
"Yeah" he said, pulling the top cover over his pillow and straightening the wrinkles out. "That wampa almost took me out. I'm glad I sensed him before I ended up like my tauntaun. Any way it was good thing your boyfriend hadn't made it back to the base, though I don't recommend ridding two to a tauntaun." He sat on his bed and smiled at her.
"He's not my boyfriend, idiot."
She studied his face, frowning. "What's wrong?" she asked sitting beside him. "And don't lie. Something is troubling you."
Luke let out a chuckle. "See? We'd be rubbish at hide and seek. No fun."
"Tell me" she pressed.
Luke sighed. "After my patrol last night, I meditated. I…I had a vision, I think."
Leia raised her eyebrows. "You think?"
"Well, I've never had a vision before" said Luke defensively. "Anyway, Obi-Wan…I don't know, came to me. He was transparent. Kind of like a ghost but not. It felt like he was sitting in front of me. Like you feel to me now, except, you know, it was Obi-Wan."
"What did he say?" asked Leia
"He told me," he paused, knowing how absurd she'd think it was. It was absurd. "He told me I had to go to the Dagobah system. I needed to go there to be taught by Yoda, the Jedi Master who was –"
"Obi-Wan's teacher. Yes I remember" finished Leia.
The twins looked at each other for a long moment.
"Luke – "
"Leia I have to go."
"That's crazy! You could have just been dreaming."
"Do you even know anything about Dagobah?"
"That's not the point!" insisted Luke. "I have to go. There is so much I have to learn. What am I supposed to do?"
"Stay here!" she said, standing up. "Stay here with me – with us. Stay with the rebellion. Help us fix this. Then find this Yoda."
"To be able to fix this I need to find Yoda. There are no more Jedi, Leia. I need to learn." Especially if you won't.
She crossed her arms, staring at the spot next to him. "So you're just going to leave."
Luke reached out and grabbed her hands. "Just for a little while. As soon as I'm done, I'll come right back and join the fight. It won't be long."
"But what if it is? What if it takes years?" she asked quietly.
"It won't. I won't let it" he promised. "I'll come back. And so will Han."
Leia glanced up sharply. "I don't care about him. He could do whatever the hell he likes."
Luke rolled his eyes. "Hide and seek, Leia. Hide and seek."
Leia opened her mouth to respond, but was interrupted by a knock on the door. She dropped her brother's hands to look over her shoulder as Luke's door slid open. Han and Chewbacca walked through. Great.
"How you doin', Kid? Princess."
"What do you want?" asked Leia before Luke could respond.
"Well, I thought I'd visit my old friend Luke, ya know, since I'm grounded and all" he said, grinning wolfishly at Leia. "I'm guessing I have you to blame for that."
She rolled her eyes. "I had nothing to do with it. General Rieekan thinks it's dangerous for any ships to leave the system until we've activated the energy shield."
"That's a good story. I think you just can't bear to let a gorgeous guy like me out of your sight."
Luke sat back, utterly amused of the antics of his friend and sister. He shared a knowing look with Chewbacca. The other two were too involved in their own little bubble to even notice.
"I don't know where you get your delusions, laser brain."
Luke just shook his head, smiling as Chewie began to laugh.
Han turned to his friend. "Laugh it up, fuzzball. But you didn't see us alone in the south passage" he said sidling up to Leia, and throwing an arm around her shoulders. "She expressed her true feelings for me."
Leia's jaw dropped, flushing slightly as Luke raised his eyebrows. She looked between her brother and the infuriating man who was pressing her against his side. "My...!" she spluttered, shoving him away violently. "Why, you stuck up... half-witted... scruffy-looking ...nerf-herder!
"Who's scruffy looking?" Han said, slightly miffed. He leaned closer to Leia "I must have hit pretty close to the mark to get you all riled up like that, huh, Princess?"
She gaped at him. Him. He stupidly smirked at her, like he knew – knew everything about her and – and everything. She closed her mouth, narrowed her eyes, and without even really thinking about it, pulled back her arm and slapped him across the face.
The room was silent, as the three males in the room stared at her open mouthed and red cheeked in Hans case.
"Why, I guess you don't know everything about women yet, do you?" she asked coolly and calmly walked out of the room.
Luke raised a hand to his mouth, trying to cover a smile. A guffaw slipped out. "Did-did she just…?"
Han turned to look at him utterly flabbergasted. Luke let out another chortle. "Your face!"
"Your sister," said Han "is a real –"
"Headquarters personnel, report to command center. Headquarters personnel, report to command center" said a voice over the loud speaker.
Han growled, turned on his heal, and stalked out of Luke's room. "Are you coming?" he barked out. Luke and Chewie exchanged another glance and laughed.
"We would be honored if you would join us."
Solo glared angrily at Calrissian, as Vader felt his daughters fear in the Force, one arm raised in futile defense.
His daughter. A huge amount of pride swelled within him just by looking at her. Irrational and foolish. He hastily smothered it, but not before Leia raised a quick eyebrow in confusion. She quickly returned her gaze between Solo and Calrissian, the former looking about ready to commit murder.
"I had no choice. They came just before you did. I'm sorry" Calrissian explained.
Solo and Leia exchanged a glance. Solo grabbed her hand and said "I'm sorry too."
The doors slid closed as the Princess, the Smuggler, the Wookie, and the Baron entered the dining hall. Six armed stormtroopers filled in from the same the servant's entrance Boba Fett used and surrounded the three rebels.
Vader studied his daughter. Her hair was pulled away from her face, braided into loops. Brown eyes, masked in as much cold indifference as she could muster, glared at him. She was dressed in typical Cloud City fashion and around her neck…
Vader raised his hand, and before Leia could realize, he summoned the jappor snippet from her neck, easily breaking the worn cord. Leia grasped for it too late, eyes widening. He studied the wood.
I made this for you. So you'd remember me. I carved it out of a japor snippet... It will bring you good fortune.
It's beautiful, but I don't need this to remember you.
"N-no" she said, a knee jerk reaction. She took an involuntary step towards him, arm extended as if to snatch it back, but a storm trooper raised his blaster to her in warning. Solo pulled her back to his side, and closer towards him, ready to jump in front of her if need be.
Vader narrowed his eyes at the action. Chaos be damned, that smug bastard is far too old to even think about touching her.
Leia flinched and bristled at his reaction, able to sense his feelings. He has no right she thought angrily, understanding the reason behind his anger. He must not know how developed her senses were, since he was casting them out as such. She realized he probably had not interacted with another force sensitive other than the Emperor in a long while. He'd made sure to that.
"Fett, take Solo and the Wookie in for questioning" he ordered. The rebels stilled, none of them naïve not to know what 'questioning' entailed. "I wish to speak to the princess privately."
A trooper roughly broke Solo and Leia's hands apart, cuffing Solo's behind his back. Nonetheless, Solo stood resolute. Leia brought her hands to his shoulders. Both leaned their foreheads close together in order to get some semblance of privacy.
"I'm sorry" she said softly. "Th-He wouldn't be doing this if it weren't for me."
Han half smiled at her, worry sinking to the bottom of his stomach. "Sweetheart, this would have happened no matter what. I just don't-" he broke off, glaring to Vader.
She understood. "I don't think he'll hurt me. Not now, anyway" she said as quietly as she could. He nodded as a stormtrooper pulled at his arm. Hardly aware of making the decision, she hurriedly pressed her lips against his. She felt Vader's anger heighten, but ignored. It was neither expected nor welcomed.
She watched as her friends were led out of the room, Lando following them. She didn't turn to face Vader even after the door slid closed.
"I wish to speak with you" Vader said again speaking directly to Leia this time, in what he hoped was a kinder tone. She turned to look at him.
"Where are you taking them?"
"For questioning" he answered, wanting to get off the subject of her friends.
"Right" she said sardonically, letting out a breathy laugh, turning to face him. "For questioning. Sure, because that's all the empire ever does. In fact, I remember that last time I was questioned by the empire." A beat passed. "Can I have my necklace back?"
"Do you know what this necklace signifies?" he asked, curious to her knowledge of its history.
"Yes, give it here" she said, holding out her hand.
That would not do. "Do you know whose it was?"
"Yes. My mothers. Give it back."
"Do you know who made it for her?"
"Yes," she spat, growing impatient. "My father. It belongs to me now. Return it."
"I am your father" he announced.
"No" she said.
Her answer confused him. It lacked the dramatics he expected from such a large revelation. It wasn't filled with misery, or astonishment, or mystification, or even of extreme denial. It was one of controlled anger.
"Anakin Skywalker was my father. No, Bail Organa was my father. You are not my father. You are Darth Vader. And Darth Vader is not my father."
"I once was Anakin Skywalker" he pointed out.
"But you aren't now" she said, crossing her arms over her chest.
"No. Skywalker was weak, foolish, and idealistic. I destroyed him."
She shrugged. "Then you are not my father. My necklace, please."
"My blood runs through your veins."
Her jaw clenched and her arms tensed. She walked over to the window, and looked out to the clouds. "Do you even have blood? You're more machine than man. You aren't human." she spat.
He stood up, looking at the back of her head. Look at me! "I am still very much a human, Leia. Despite what Obi-Wan-"
"Oh, yes," she said bitingly "I know all about Obi-Wan and your fight. Forgive me for not pitying you. Return my necklace."
Vader wanted to grab her by the shoulders, turn her around and make her listen. She spoke of Obi-Wan like she could possible understand! He attempted to bottle his anger. "Listen to me, child. I-"
She spun to face him. "No! You-you've taken everything from me! Everything. Everything I've ever known and loved. You destroyed my homeworld. You destroyed the life I shou- could've had." She swallowed, damning the tears she felt in her eyes. "I-I don't know much about my mother, but I know she loved Anakin Skywalker, not Darth Vader. I have nothing from her, except that necklace. It's the only birthright I can accept from her. Give it back. It's mine."
Leia felt the shock rolling off him. She shouldn't have said it. However when she tried to summon regret, she couldn't. Looking at her shoes, she tried to take a hold of herself. She was angry and hurt and expecting these last few breathes to possibly be her last. She knew she should control herself better. Anger's of the dark side, Leia she heard Luke's voice echoing in her head.
While she tried to reel in her anger, the unthinkable happened. Darth Vader took her hand, opened it, and dropped the pendent into it.
"I-I hadn't seen it in a very long time. Not since I watched her funeral on the holo."
Leia opened and closed her mouth before staring at her hand. This…this was way out of character. She shouldn't be able to breathe right now. If she were anyone else, she would have died a long time ago. Vader's quick temper was legendary.
"W-what do you want?" she asked, out of breath. She felt as if someone was crushing her chest. She couldn't breathe. She wanted to cry.
Vader moved to stand beside her. He gazed out the window and clasped his hands behind his back. "I want to speak with you and your brother. I want to overthrow the Emperor. We could rule together and bring peace to the universe."
"What?" she asked, bewildered, turning her body so she could face him. The black mask stared down at her. "How- I mean- In what dimension would that ever work? Luke and I- we're nothing like you. We would never work with you."
"You are more like me than you think, young one" said his voice solemnly.
She ignored him, refusing to even acknowledge the words. "The Empire is evil and so is the Empire. The system doesn't work…and Luke would never turn to the dark side" she persisted. "Not even for you. I know him better than anyone."
She raised her chin. "Never. I'm not even training my ability more than necessary. I refuse."
"Why wouldn't you want to be trained?" he asked bewildered. He remembered growing up, not understanding the strange powers he possessed. He so desperately wanted to be trained, he left his mother…
She looked at him in disbelief. "The answer to that question is standing right in front of me. I've seen what you can do. I've experienced it firsthand" she said hand almost unconsciously coming to rest at the base of her throat. "If that's not enough of a reason, I don't know what is."
"I didn't know who you were when I-"
"It doesn't matter" she said defeated. "All that matters is that it happened." She gripped the jappor in her fist.
He studied her profile. "You're very much like her. Your mother. She had the same passion for politics. And determination. And eyes. It's frightening how much your eyes are like hers." Except her eyes never held such contempt for me. Even when I did the unspeakable he added silently.
"Did you love her?" she asked, still staring at her fist.
"With my entire soul. I still do." he answered simply, without hesitation.
Leia looked up at him. She felt the sorrow coming from him. The longing of a woman long gone. The love. It was odd, the love. He shouldn't be able to love. It didn't add up.
This whole situation was ridicules. It didn't make sense. She was emotionally exhausted.
He felt it.
"Come. I will bring you back to your cell. Think of what we spoke of. You will wait for your brother there and we will talk again."
"Luke? Why would Luke come?"
"He will sense it."
"He will sense your friends suffering. He will come to their aid."
She swallowed as she followed him to the door, knowing trying to escape was futile. As he was about to type the code to slide the door open she spoke. "Why weren't you at her funeral?" The unsaid if you loved her so much hung between them.
His mind flashed.
Where is Padmé? Is she alright? Is she safe?
"I was being built" boomed the deep baritone.
Leia followed him out of the room, unsure whether he meant his suit or Darth Vader himself.
What felt like hours later, Leia helped Chewie lead Han to a metal bench. He was sweaty and pale, letting out a soft groan as they lowered him down. She knelt down beside him.
"I'm so sorry" she said softly.
"Nah," he said. "It's not your fault."
"It is. He wants me, and Luke, and now he's manipulating Luke by hurting you and –"
"Still, not your fault, Sweetheart."
"It is though," she insisted. "He wants – he has this delusional –" she broke off not knowing where to begin, or even if to begin. Chewie subtly sidled off to Threepio's broken body and began his repairs again, giving his friends some privacy.
"Listen, it's not your fau–"
"Han, there's something that you should know. About me. And Vader. And Luke. It's why, I think, he didn't – I mean it doesn't make sense why he didn't hurt me this time, but he claims its why because he didn't know before. Like that changes anything. But when I was on the death star I found out–"
"Leia," he said, grabbing her hand and holding it to his chest.
"Please Han," she said, staring at their hands. "What I'm trying to tell you – it's hard, Han. It's hard and it hurts, and I don't want to but I have to because it's the right thing to do and I owe it to you."
"Hey! Hey. You don't have to. I – I know."
"You know?" she asked, uncomprehendingly.
"Yeah, I –uh, I know."
"You don't know. How could you know?"
"Well, Luke – he was really really drunk and he – hey!" he said when she tried to tug her hand out of his grasp. He clasped it between his two, still resting on his chest. "It don't matter to me what your – um – biology is. I told your brother that. Doesn't make a difference."
"How long?" she asked, staring at their hands.
"Aw, Jeez Leia, I don't –"
"How long, Han?"
Han sighed. "Since him and me made that Hoth supply trip. While we were still on Thila. Right after you told him."
She looked at him, shocked. "That was – that was nearly three years ago!"
"You've know for three years."
"Nine hells, didn't I just –?"
"You've known for three years and you still got…involved with me?"
"I told you! It doesn't matter."
"No. Yes. I mean, there is a difference between it not mattering to you and then getting involved with –"
"Not with you."
She stopped, looking at him open mouthed.
"It's you Leia. You."
"Oh" she said eloquently.
"You – uh – you get at what I'm trying to say?"
"Yeah" she said smiling. She bent her head and kissed him. "I do. And I –" But she was interrupted by the sliding open of the cell door. Lando and two guards entered their cell.
Another time she thought as she helped Han sit up on his bench as he began to yell at the friend who betrayed them. I'll tell him another time.
She just didn't think it would before he'd be frozen.
A/N: Hello everyone. Thanks so much for keeping up with this story. I hope you enjoyed it! Feedback is welcome and encouraged!