Leia watches the
two Jedi masters across the room. Bail is talking to
Nonaé, her decoy, but Leia
can feel his attention on her. He
doesn't approve of her interest in the Jedi, she knows that. Leia
doesn't wish to openly defy him. He is her staunchest ally and
supporter, not to mention a dear family friend.
He's the closest thing she has ever had to a father.
But Senator Bail
Organa isn't her father.
Master Skywalker, absolutely fixated by
him. There is a certain pull to his
presence, a sensation at once so natural and so unexpected she doesn't
to define it. The only other person with
whom she has experienced a connection like that is her twin,
But their twin bond has always been so
strong, so ubiquitous as to be almost transparent. She never
thought about it, never imagined
she could feel that same connection to another person. And yet,
she feels that connection to this
man who is at once a stranger and hauntingly familiar.
that Bail is no longer speaking and she looks
up, meeting his gaze. His lips are
pursed together in a thin, tight line, but his eyes are kind, almost
sad. He glances at Master Skywalker and his
expression hardens icily. Deliberately,
he steps in front of Leia, blocking her view of the two Jedi.
Wordlessly, Leia turns her attention back to
her handmaidens and the dangers they face.
She understands that he only wishes to protect her. She simply
wishes he could understand she
doesn't want to be protected.
approve of Master Skywalker’s presence,” Leia
says. The handmaidens pointedly look
away from her exchange with Senator Organa, giving the pair as much
possible without undermining Leia’s disguise as a handmaiden.
Bail is quiet
for a moment, considering his response. “I feel the Council could
have done us the
favor of sending a more suitable protector for you.”
She looks up at
“A more suitable protector than the Jedi who slew Palpatine?” She
“A more suitable protector than my own father?”
snaps to her, but he takes a deep breath
and regards her carefully. “I wasn’t
aware your mother informed you of your father’s true identity.”
“Why would you
As soon as Leia says the words, she regrets them. They are
unnecessarily harsh. Bail means well, but there are times when
feels he oversteps his bounds. He is a
dear friend, but he isn’t her father.
She can tell the
words wound him, but he recovers
quickly. “Indeed,” he says, inclining
his head. “That is none of my business.”
Leia is saved
from having to reply by Typho’s return. He strides purposefully
into the room. "We've dropped out of hyperspace and are
approaching Corellia," he says, addressing the Jedi Masters.
crosses the room, addressing both Nonaé and
Senator Organa. "We should dock and
disembark as soon as possible. Once we
are safe we can secure transport to Naboo."
with Nonaé and Master Kenobi looks over at
Leia, winking conspiratorially before schooling his expression once
a mask of seriousness. Leia has to cough
to cover her laugh. Bail regards her
It is a
surprisingly short amount of time before the ship is
given permission to dock. Several
security officers lead the way, headed by Typho. The handmaidens
surround the decoy Queen and
Senator Organa. Leia is at the very
back, closest to Obi-Wan and Anakin.
As they walk
down the gangplank and across the bustling
landing platform, Obi-Wan glances at Anakin.
"I feel it too,"
Anakin says quickly, already
moving as he says the words. He spins,
palming his lightsaber and igniting the blade, pulling Leia behind him
smooth motion. He deflects blaster bolts
while Obi-Wan does the same. The
handmaidens and the Queen scramble for cover behind large shipping
containers. Senator Organa attempts to
reach Leia, but he is pinned down by fire.
Obi-Wan and Anakin back up, still deflecting
blaster bolts as they make their way to a doorway leading to a hallway
hopefully an escape route. One of the
attackers lobs a thermal detonator and Anakin and Obi-Wan turn,
with a hand wrapped around Leia's upper arms, pulling her along.
The explosion is
deafening, sending debris everywhere. Still firmly grasping
Leia's arm, Anakin runs
down the hallway, Obi-Wan close behind.
They make three quick corners and end up in a narrow street bustling
with foot traffic and a densely packed open air market. Obi-Wan
and Anakin immediately pull up the
hoods of their cloaks, wrapping them around their bodies to disguise
“Well, so much
for avoiding a trap,” Obi-Wan says, pulling a
comlink from his belt. He contacts
Typho reports. "Get her out of here any way you
can. We'll worry about everyone
already heading deeper into the crowd, farther
from the landing platform. As much as he
knows it is a Jedi's responsibility to protect everyone, he is not
jeopardize Leia's safety by returning for the others.
It is several
minutes before they navigate completely
through the market and find a deserted alley.
Pulling back the hood of his cloak, Obi-Wan looks pointedly at Anakin's
hand, still wrapped tightly around Leia's arm.
Shocked by his actions, Anakin quickly releases Leia.
Leia takes her
time, unwrapping the indigo hood from the
rest of her gown. She picks a few bits
of pulverized duracrete out of her hair.
Finally finished brushing herself off, she crosses her arms over her
chest and looks at the two Jedi Masters.
"Are you taking me home?" she asks Anakin.
He pauses for a
moment, looking at her. "Yes," he says.
Anakin stares out
cockpit window, desperately trying to come up with an excuse to linger. However, Artoo is more than capable of keeping
an eye on things. The trip to Naboo
should be completely uneventful. He is
spurred to motion by the piercing shriek of an unhappy infant.
Sighing, he pushes
himself to his feet and ventures into the ship’s main hold. It is sparse, built for capacity rather than
comfort, but it is reliable and speedy.
The hold is one big room. There
are several brightly colored blankets spread out on the metal alloy
littered with toys. There is a lone door
which leads to the fresher.
is the Padawan who was present at the Council session.
Her name is Aubé.
She is human, probably close
to twenty years in age. She exudes an
aura of the most serene calm Anakin has ever witnessed.
Leia who is
screaming at the top of her lungs, red faced and squirming, her tiny
angrily grabbing and pulling at anything she can reach.
Aubé holds her close, humming softly and
rocking side to side, face lit by a gentle smile. Anakin
has no idea how the Padawan does
it. Leia’s screams affect him almost as
profoundly as Dooku’s Force lightning.
“Is she sick?” he
warily. He has never been comfortable
around infants before and knowing they are his makes him doubly nervous.
softly. “She’s just upset.”
She pulls Leia back and coos into her angry
little face. “She’ll be fine as soon as
we return her to her mama. She’s too
little to be away for so long.”
Anakin nods. It makes sense. He
has to assume Aubé knows what she’s
talking about. He looks down at Luke who
is laying on his stomach on the blanket, chewing industriously on a
“They’re twins, but
they have their own distinct personalities,” Aubé says, speaking
mirthlessly. Truer words have never been
spoken. While Luke is calm and easy
going, content to chew on toys or practice crawling,
Leia is the polar opposite. She is
quick to anger and slow to soothe,
unable to sit still for more than a few moments, constantly screaming
“You should hold
Aubé pronounces, already in the process of handing Leia to
He is taken so off
guard he doesn’t have time to react and before he knows it, the infant
pressed to his chest. He grabs at her
clumsily, trying both to not drop her and not crush her.
To his eternal shock, Leia quiets
immediately. He looks down at her and
she meets his gaze with her huge eyes, chewing on her fist.
up at Aubé who simply smiles knowingly at him.
“Babies know things,” she says, sinking to her knees next to
Anakin stands there
holding his daughter and for the moment at least, she seems content to
it. Mimicking Aubé’s earlier
Anakin rocks slowly from side to side.
He looks down at Leia and realizes she is asleep.
Under the guise of
rocking the baby, Anakin walks to the other side of the hold, facing
away from Aubé. It’s probably
pointless. Aubé seems to have a
understanding of human nature.
Regardless, Anakin turns his back on the Padawan and stands
staring at the wall as he holds his daughter.
He cannot believe how absolutely tiny she is.
He marvels at her perfect little fingers and
toes and eyelashes and ears. Her skin is
so velvety soft and she smells so good.
He is completely
with the knowledge that she is his – his child, his flesh and blood. Luke and Leia are his only living blood
relatives in the galaxy. Since his
mother died, he has been alone. But no
more. His children live.
His blood flows in their veins. But
it’s more than just the knowledge. He can
feel it in the Force, in the place
where her tiny little heart beats against his.
This tiny little person is his legacy, his immortality.
And in order to
protect her and her brother and her mother, he has to leave them.
Feedback to indie
Back to previous chapter
On to next
Back to Story
Back to indiefic.com main page