Chapter Thirty-Four: Building the Future
After her father's death, Leia went to Han. She did not have to explain her tears to him, he understood the moment she entered the room where he was waiting with Chewbacca. He did not ask any questions, and merely held her, pouring his comfort and love into the embrace. In his arms, Leia cried all the tears that had been building up over the years, that she had never shed because she needed to be strong. They all came out, slowly at first, and then growing in number. She mourned the death of her father, the deaths of her foster parents, the death of the mother that she had never known, the destruction of Alderaan, and all the pain that had been there throughout the years. When Han released her and she had dried her tears, she went back to find her brother. She knew that he had had an even closer relationship with their father, and she could tell he was also very distraught over his death. Luke had been the one who had been continuously loyal to their father and had believed the best in him, even when it had seemed hopeless or foolish to Leia. The twins found support through their bond, encouraging one another and supporting one another through their pain.
Finding their father's body gone when they returned to the room, the twins and Han and Chewbacca gathered what had been left behind. Neither Han nor Chewbacca said any words about the death of who they perceived to be a villain and an enemy; instead, seeing Leia and Luke's obvious grief, they were silent and somber.
Two hours later, the Millennium Falcon left the dock of the medical center, leaving Vader's shuttle behind. The Falcon took off through space, headed towards Antila Caelum, where the Alliance was already gathered after the Second Battle of Endor and was celebrating the huge victory.
As was predicted by the Imperial commanders, the loss of the Death Star and the failure at the Second Battle of Endor was a big cost to the Empire. Their numbers were decreased substantially, especially due to the extreme number of casualties from the Death Star's destruction. Nearly the entire fleet was decimated, and the rest had surrendered under the command of Admiral Piett, who had recognized the hopelessness of the situation and had had decided that a hopeless cause was not worth the sacrifice of his men. Fleet Admiral Firmus Piett, who was the highest leader left of the Empire, surrendered his troops just three days after the Second Battle of Endor. It was a step into a long and grueling process of peace talks and the formation of the New Republic.
Over the next few months, Leia, Luke, and Han were sent as ambassadors throughout the galaxy, uniting the systems and other planets to the New Republic. Times were not always easy or peaceful, but with their help and determination, they helped herald the galaxy in to a new future.
And so the New Republic was beginning.
One Year Later
Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewbacca left the Senate box shortly after the roaring of the Senate had greeted the Mon Mothma as the first elected Chancellor of the New Galactic Republic. It had been the Senate's first session, and their first course of action. Mon Mothma had been a logical choice for the position, having been the former leader of the Alliance, and had been a popular choice among the newly selected senators. Luke was leaving with confidence that the new leader was both a wise and a favorable choice.
The four friends made their way through the newly restored Senate building, passing by heavily decorated and colorful senators. They were discussing the new leadership and the new developments of the Republic throughout the galaxy when suddenly Luke caught sight of a familiar figure in the crowd.
Not far off, standing in a group of senators from Corellia and Naboo, was the former fleet admiral of the Executor, dressed in his usual gray uniform. Admiral Piett did not notice their passing at first, but soon turned his head and seemed to recognize them from a distance.
Suddenly finding a need to speak with the admiral, who he had not had a chance to speak with for at least a full standard year, back when he and Leia were on the Executor, Luke stopped walking and turned to Han and Leia, who were in the middle of an argument over logistics of Senate etiquette.
"Wait a moment," Luke said them, and although they didn't seem to hear him, he left them anyway, assuming that they would eventually notice his absence and wait for him.
Admiral Piett noticed his approach and dismissed himself from the rest of the senators, and soon the two men met.
"Luke Skywalker," Piett addressed him with a curt nod. He clasped his hands behind his back.
"Admiral Piett," Luke returned. "I'm surprised to see you here."
"Invitation of Mothma herself," Piett said. "You can say we've formed something of a… friendship over the year. She wants to retain good standing with us old… Imperial sympathizers."
"Of course," Luke said, wishing he could have been more diplomatic with the Imperial officer. He had been pleased to see the former admiral, and had almost forgotten how formal Piett could be.
"I hope that your sister is well," Piett said, breaking the silence and glancing over Luke's shoulder.
Luke looked behind him, seeing that Han and Chewie had stopped a few paces away, and that Leia was currently coming towards them. She had apparently noticed the admiral as well.
"Very well," Leia answered graciously when she reached them. Clothed in an elegant, draping gown and with her hair tied in a complex bun, she must have been a very impressive presence. Observing Piett's small nod in her direction, she continued, "How are you, Admiral?"
"Very good, your highness," he replied, and gave her a small smile. He then lifted his attention to both Luke and Leia. "I must say that I was relieved to hear that you had escaped the Death Star before its destruction,"
Surprised that they were discussing the Second Battle of Endor, which had happened over a year previous, Luke replied, "Yes, thank you. We managed to escape on my father's shuttle."
Piett nodded politely, although it was obvious he had other curiosities. "You have my sympathies in the death of your father," he said finally.
Luke nodded in return. His father's death was still something he was grieving over, and although he and Leia discussed Anakin now and then, he was still healing inside. "Thank you." He understood that Piett likely did not know of their father's passing at the medical center, but he was uneager to discuss the details, so he kept his reply plain.
"I hope you parted well," Piett said simply.
"We did, thank you, admiral," Leia replied for Luke.
They had, but that had not made the parting any easier. Luke's heart still ached for his father, and a part of him even felt guilty that he had given his life to save them. Now, more than ever, he wanted his father's love and support, especially as his work in the New Republic continued. He wished Anakin were there by his side, just as he'd always dreamed he would be as a child.
The three conversed only for a little while longer, neither Luke nor Leia wishing to keep Han and Chewie waiting for them while they exchanged pleasantries. Luke did not find it disappointing to depart from Piett; instead he saw their farewells as a truce or a sign of peace and friendship. Shortly after they said their farewells, they met back up with Han and Chewie, and, without looking back, the four departed from the Senate building and into the Coruscanti night.
Luke and Leia reached their apartment building in more somber moods than usual, both brooding over the year that had passed since the death of their father. They departed from Han and Chewbacca in the hallway outside their rooms, where they said goodbye for the night. They all would be leaving Coruscant the next day for a mission to Iego, but for the night they were parting ways so they would all be able to get rest.
Luke and Leia entered their apartment silently, and Leia moodily put her clutch on the table. They were both quiet for a few minutes, until Leia spoke suddenly, softly.
"I hope we're doing the right thing," she said, startling Luke from his thoughts.
"What do you mean?" he asked her.
She turned to him, her face troubled and a fist on one hip. "Do you think Father would be proud of what we've done?" she asked him, seeming genuinely concerned at the idea.
Luke was surprised at the question, but he replied honestly, "I think he would be proud that we are doing what our hearts tell us is right."
Leia's eyes softened and grew sad. "I know we can't really talk about him in front of Han." Her lips pursed, and her eyelashes fluttered downwards. "…I hope he's happy where he is," she said suddenly, her voice soft. "I hope he's found Mother, wherever she is."
Feeling the depth of her emotion, Luke approached her and gave her shoulders a squeeze, hoping that physical touch would console her. As if wishing for his comfort, Leia embraced him, laying her head against his shoulder. Luke closed his eyes and wrapped his arms around her, appreciating not for the first time since their father's death the depth of their mental bond.
Then, with an intention to part to his quarters for the night, Luke reluctantly broke off the hug. They would have a long day tomorrow, and they might as well get enough sleep as they could. He met her eyes for a moment, and they both conveyed silently their gratitude for one another's understanding. After a moment or two, Luke turned to head towards his own rooms.
He had thought that he had said goodbye for the night, but when he reached the doorway out of the room, Leia's voice suddenly called his name, filled with an alarm that was characteristic of an unexpected happening. Surprised at the suddenness and alarmed tone of her call, Luke immediately turned and hastened back to where he had left her. He entered into her quarters and stepped out onto the veranda. It took him a moment or two to see what had drawn her surprise.
On the end of the veranda, out of reach, were four glowing figures. They were blue in hue and transparent in depth, and had the shapes of four very familiar individuals. On the right end was Obi-Wan Kenobi, clothed in his usual Jedi garments and smiling proudly at Luke and Leia. Beside him, sitting elevated, was Yoda, and to his right were two figures that took Luke a moment to recognize.
They were a man and a woman, both smiling brilliantly at Luke and Leia with pride. With slight shock, Luke realized the man on the end was his father, young and happy once more. He was handsome, just as handsome as Luke had remembered him from the holos he had discovered. And to the left of his father, right by his side, shining with a beauty uncharacteristic of any other woman in Luke's eyes, was his mother. She was also young, just the age of his father, and had brown curls and soft brown eyes that sparkled lovingly at Luke and Leia. Luke felt his throat grow tight at the vision of her and his father.
"Mother?" he whispered.
She nodded gently, her eyes smiling with joy.
A boyish smile drifted onto his features, and he looked proudly onward.
Luke's heart warmed with happiness, and his mind reached out to them and Leia with love. Leia's arm slipped around his waist, but he didn't need to look at her to read the joy emanating from her like rays from a sun. For a moment, the family all joined minds and hearts, pouring their love for one another into it. It was an overwhelming, consuming, self-giving love, and it warmed Luke inside, making him feel, for the first time in a year, truly content. And for that moment, everything was brilliantly perfect.
As the figures faded, Luke could not help but feel a bit bitter and sad at losing the visual aspect of their presence or the physical feel of their presences in his mind. But now he knew, when he closed his eyes and reached into the Force, that they were right there beside him, all along his way, guiding him and loving him.
They always had been.
Hello all! I just wanted to take the time to say thank you so much to my readers! You all are the best. Seriously. The support you've given is tremendous. Thanks especially to my regular reviewers. Without you all I would never have found the motivation to continue writing. You have my sincerest gratitude.
I also wanted to officially announce that I am currently writing a sequel to Breaking Boundaries, titled Shattering Silence. It'll have all your favorite characters, plenty of Ani/Padmé mush, and some new action, characters, and drama. I hope that my new readers will be sure to check out Breaking Boundaries and continue to follow when I upload its sequel. I can't wait for you all to see what I have planned! It's gonna be epic.
Again, thanks so much for your reviews and your support. Let me know what you think of this story and my others! I love reviews and feedback! Also, PM me if you have ideas for future stories!