Leia chanced a look over her shoulder as she walked across the Hoth hangar, her brown eyes falling on a certain pilot from Tatooine. Luke was currently bent over his X-wing, fixing something or another. Biting her lip, Leia backtracked, approaching Luke.
"Hi" She said awkwardly. Luke jumped, smacking his head on the engine panel.
"Sorry" Leia said, reaching forwards to brush some ice out of Luke's hair.
"No, it's fine!" Luke protested, shaking his head like a dog and spraying Leia with ice. "Oops, sorry Princess" He said when Leia recoiled and wiped her eyes. Leia blinked fiercely, her eye stinging.
"Leia?" Luke asked.
"I'm fine, just got something in my eye" Leia said, still blinking.
"Let me" Luke replied, setting down the screwdriver he was holding. "Look up" Leia complied, and Luke quickly swept the piece of dirt out of her lashes.
"Better?" He asked, smiling shyly. Leia nodded. Luke's smile erupted into a full grin.
"You know, you have a nice smile" Leia said before she could stop herself. Luke flushed.
"If I may be so bold, Princess. I think you have a wonderful smile yourself, although... I haven't seen it in a while" He replied. Surprised at herself, Leia felt her face break out in one of her shy smiles.
"There it is" Luke said softly, watching her with his cerulean blue eyes. Leia found herself staring at him for a few moments before she realized her mistake.
"I-I should be going" She stuttered, suddenly aware of how close they were. She turned, then heard a warning shout from above. Leia looked up in time to see part of a suspended shuttle break off from the rest of the repair lift, coming right towards her.
"Leia!" Luke shouted, and suddenly she was thrown to the ground, cracking her head on the ice.
"Luke..." She whispered before everything went black.
The first thing Leia knew when she returned to consciousness was her head throbbing. A second, lesser pain in her left hand also made its presence known.
"Princess" A gruff voice came, making her flinch. Han Solo... What was that scoundrel doing in here?
"Open your eyes" He said.
"I don't take orders from a scoundrel" She replied hoarsely, but opened her eyes anyway. Han Solo's face swam into view.
"Good to see you among the living, your worship" He said, moving to sit down in a chair by her bed.
"What happened?" Leia asked, managing to pull herself into a sitting position.
"You took a good hit to the head, been out since the accident this morning. " Han said, handing her a glass of liquid which she drank eagerly. "Easy there..." He continued as he watched her drink.
"What time is it?" Leia asked between sips.
"Early evening, Hoth time" Han replied.
"How bad is the damage?" Leia asked as she handed the glass to her companion.
"Well, a crushed X-wing, broken transport, shorts on the electric, taun-tauns on the loose... Mayhem all around" Han said. "Seems to be the usual with this rebellion"
"Casualties?" Leia asked, rolling her eyes and noticing for the first time that her hair was let down. Han shifted uncomfortably in his chair.
"Han?" She asked, fixing her brown eyes on him.
"Luke was there" He said, not meeting her eyes.
"Well, yes... I remember. Is he all right?" Leia asked, worry beginning to pool in her stomach. The pain in her head worsened, making her vision spin slightly. Han's eyes flicked to hers.
A roaring sound drowned out anything else Han said, and Leia felt herself tipping to the side before everything went black for the second time.
"Leia..." Luke's voice called softly. "Leia, wake up..."
"I hear you" Leia replied.
"Help me..." Luke said, his voice fading. "Before it's too late"
"No!" Leia gasped, sitting up in her bed. The pain in her head made her gasp again, her breath coming short. THe room was completely dark.
When the pain became bearable, Leia pulled her long hair back, unsuccessfully gathering it into a large messy bun. She wiped the sweat of her forehead.
Luke was in trouble. He needed her. But where was he?
Feeling shaky, Leia pulled herself to the edge of the bed, swinging her legs to the ground. The frozen floor stung her feet, and she recoiled. First things first, light, then shoes, then Luke.
"Leia..." Luke's voice sounded in her head, startling her.
"I'm coming" Leia said aloud, settling her feet on the cold ground and ignoring the icy bite. Groping blindly in the dark until she found a wall, Leia moved to her right, searching for the door panel.
After what felt like minutes instead of mere seconds, She found the panel, hearing the door whoosh open as she hit the switch. The bright lights of the hallway blinded her momentarily.
Quickly, Leia looked over herself, checking to see if she was decent. Luckily, the doctors had dressed her in a simple grey robe. A peek back into her room revealed no footwear of any sort. Already her toes were numb.
Leia moved out into the hallway, starting in the general direction of what she thought was the critical care.
"Not that way" Luke's voice came again. Leia turned and began to walk quickly back the way she came, hitting the switch on her door as she went past. Her hair fell in front of her face again, and she tucked it into the back of her robe, ignoring the weird feeling of her hair sticking to her back.
On Alderaan, it was customary for the women to never cut their hair, but keep it coiled neatly in ornate hairstyles. When she was small, Leia remembered her mother brushing her hair for her.
Leia stopped, pushing the thoughts of her hair out of her mind. Now was definitely not the time. She had reached a fork in the passageways and had no idea which way to take. Steeling herself, Leia gave in to her only option.
"Luke... Help me" She thought. For a second, it seemed like she could feel him through her mind... But that wasn't possible, was it? She was imagining things.
"Use the force" Luke's voice whispered, sounding for the world like Obi-Wan. "Reach out with your mind, then follow your instincts"
Leia took another deep breath, the pain in her head making her slightly nauseous.
"That's just crazy..." She muttered, but she closed her eyes anyways, reaching out like she had before.
This time, she definitely felt a presence. Following the presence like a trail, she began to walk, eyes closed.
Leia opened her eyes, finding herself staring at a door. She chewed her lip nervously. This had to be it... Pressing the switch, the door slid open with a whoosh.
Leia let out a sigh of relief when she saw Luke's pale face. Shutting the door then going to kneel at his side, Leia gently took his hand.
"You led me... through the force. I-I never thought I could do it" Leia said softly, letting a smile creep onto her face. The smile faded as she took in Luke's ragged appearance. A thin respirator tube was coming from his mouth, and several machines whirred on the other side of the bed. A faint smell of Bacta lingered in the air.
Leia blinked hard at the tears that threatened to fall. It was only that morning they had been flirting in the hangar...
Abruptly, she halted her train of thought and rewound.
Had they really been flirting?
Thinking back to that morning, Leia remembered what Luke had said.
"If I may be so bold, Princess. I think you have a wonderful smile yourself, although... I haven't seen it in a while" She sighed. Ignoring the obvious wasn't going to help the situation. It had been apparent from the start that Luke was attracted to her, even on the Death Star. He had saved her life, for god's sake...
Luke's feelings had been obvious... But the real question was about her own. What did she feel for the young space pilot?
Looking inside, her emotions were in turmoil. The grief over losing her home was still pushed into the back of her system, waiting for time when she could deal with it. The fear lurking in her mind as well as the pain made it hard to think.
"Focus on the good, not the bad" Luke's voice came again. Leia nodded, closing her eyes and focusing on the better memories.
Finally escaping her cell on the death star... that had been good, though not the best. Going quickly over their escape in her mind, Leia paused on when Luke had swung them both across a bridge on a wire.
"For luck" Her stomach fluttered as she remembered kissing Luke's cheek and gripping onto his shoulder as tight as she could. His arms had held her securely, and she had known that he would rather die than let go at that moment. Suddenly, a new thought came to her.
Opening her eyes and leaning forwards until she was level with his face, Leia gently pressed her lips to Luke's cheek.
"For luck" She murmured.
"Leia..." Luke's voice sounded.
"I'm here" She replied, stroking his blonde hair.
"Help..." Luke's voice whispered.
"How?" Leia asked. When she got no response, fear began to fill her up again.
NO. Fear led to panic. Panic was not good. This was a test. Leia took a deep breath, retreating within herself like she had learned that night. She reached out with her mind, searching for the point of light that was Luke.
When she saw it, Leia pushed herself towards it, gasping aloud at the darkness trying to eat its way into the little ball of light.
"Help!" Came Luke's frantic cry. Leia did the only thing she could think of, throwing herself at the darkness with all her strength. The repercussion was instant. The darkness threw her away like she weighed nothing.
"No!"She screamed. Luke was losing his fight...
Steeling herself once more, Leia gathered her strength and fell into the Force again, able to find Luke's mind quicker than before. As she saw the darkness trying to break in on the outside, and idea formed.
It was, in a way, like the death star. You couldn't attack it head-on... You had to attack from the inside out.
Willing her mind to slip past the darkness and into Luke's presence, Leia pressed forward. Luke let her in, and she got to work patching up the holes where the darkness had begun to seep in. Once done, she began to press outwards, drawing little bits of strength from Luke to keep it up.
As she fought, Leia could feel Luke's presence at her back, thanking her. It was like having his warm arms around her waist just like when they had swung across on the death star. He wouldn't let her go this time either.
Slowly, the darkness began to give as Luke and Leia's combined strengths pushed them out. Leia could have laughed out loud.
Just as she was about to give the last push, Leia felt something shaking her. Luke wrapped himself tighter around his mind, trying to steady her.
"LEIA!" Someone yelling into her ear shattered her focus, and Leia felt herself being jerked out of Luke's mind and into her own.
She was lying down on the icy floor, and several people were yelling. Her mind felt fuzzy and disjointed.
"LEIA!" Someone yelled again, and she recognized the voice as Han's. The space pilot's face swam into view. Another noise came into Leia's awareness. The machines at Luke's bedside were beeping wildly.
"NO!" She shouted, her mind returning. Leia launched herself at the bed. Luke was convulsing wildly, the breathing tube laying forgotten by the doctors.
"He can't breathe!" She screamed at them, but it was as if they couldn't hear her voice. Arms grabbed her around the waist, causing her to struggle violently. She hit someone in the gut, allowing her to get to Luke, who was now laying completely still.
"Please" She whispered, a tears streaming down her face as her hair fell like a curtain around the two.
Leia pressed her lips to Luke's, forcing air into his lungs then pounding his chest with her free hand.
"Please, don't give up now. Fight it!" Leia said in between breaths, more tears following the first. More hand grabbed at her body, finally grabbing a mass of her hair and pulling her back. Leia cried out in pain.
"Hey, hey. Don't hurt her!" Leia heard Han's voice. Everything had begun to grow blurry as the pain in her head grew.
With her last bit of consciousness, Leia threw her mind at Luke, praying that the last of her strength would be enough.