Luke turned wistful whenever he looked at Leia. His sister. His twin. The missing part of himself. They were so different in looks and manners that people sometimes looked at them strangely when they found out they were supposed to be brother and sister. Twins. And even for the two of them this still felt all rather new and unfamiliar. They had been tentative friends, comrades, fellow fighters and now – suddenly – they were family. It made a lot of sense in a way.
He looked at a picture of Leia and her adoptive parents that she had set down on her desk the moment she’d moved into these new apartments. It looked as if she had made the rooms her home already.
“You’re going to stay on Corroscant, of course,” she said in a tone that would not allow him to argue, but they both knew he wasn’t sure, yet, what he should do next. He might be a Jedi now, but only one. Alone.
“I think I’ll stay for a while at least,” he answered with a smile.
She noticed him still staring at the picture. “That’s in the High Gardens of Alderaan. Mother wanted father to spend the whole day with us, because he’d been away for weeks.”
“You look happy, Leia.”
“And so I was. That may have been one of the happiest times we had as a family.” And it was true. Leia had always been a happy child, loved and cherished by her parents. But her mother’s illness and slow death had been a blow to both her father and herself.
She sighed. And turned to Luke, who was watching her with an altogether too knowing expression. It still made her uncomfortable sometimes. Not because she feared him or his powers - she could never fear Luke. What made her uncomfortable was the old eyes in the face of a young man that had been a wide eyed, trusting boy not all too long ago. Sometimes Leia wished she could bring back the enthusiastic youth who had come to save her on the Death Star – if only to see the weight of responsibility lifted from Luke’s slim shoulders.
But when Luke smiled at her she could still make out the Tatooine farm boy. It was warming her heart. She had to smile back and they shared a moment of silent happiness. I have a twin, she thought. I’m not without family. Her parents must have known that.
Why had they taken her in? Why not Luke? Had it been circumstance? Had it been because they wanted a girl? Had Kenobi thought, Luke's chances of becoming a Jedi were superior? How had they made their decision back then? What would it have been like to grow up on Tatooine instead of the Alderan court? Sun burning down on her all day, sand getting everywhere. Working on the farm, but free to run with other children when they had time to visit the other farms or nearest cities.
She looked at the picture again. She could imagine a young Luke looking back at her with a bright smile and shining blue eyes, dressed in fine clothing and probably dreading his etiquette classes.
“Have you ever asked yourself why they decided to send you to Tatooine? You could have grown up a prince instead.”
“No,” he said with a slight self-conscious smile and meant it. “That wouldn’t have been possible.”
“But why not? Why are you the Skywalker and I’m the princess? Doesn’t seem... fair. I get the royal name and education and you get the family name...” She tried to smile, but this time it didn’t come to her easily.
Luke’s eyes rested on her face, serious and searching. More Jedi than farm boy at this very moment. But always my brother. “I look too much like him, Leia.”
“You...” she started, but stopped.
“I don’t have much in common with Darth Vader, you mean?”
She had to bite her lip. “Not... much. I’m sorry. I still can’t think of him as anything... as...”
He nodded and there was deep sadness in his eyes this time, even if he tried to not let her know his feelings. She was already learning to pick things up through the force, through their bond. “I was told often, that I was so much like Anakin. Too much like Anakin, really.” He smiled, probably remembering something. “You were the backup plan.” He smiled sadly. “Everything turned out for the best. Don’t you think? ”
She didn’t have to think about it. Her arms found their way around his shoulders and she pressed her head beneath his chin, holding him close. “Stay for a while, Luke. Don’t go away. I’ve spent all my life without a brother.”
He returned her embrace and whispered: “I know.” And somehow these two words meant so much more then that and she understood everything that remained unsaid.
An impatient knock on the door interrupted the comfortable silence. It could only be Han. She knew and so did Luke, but they didn’t step away from each other. Han, of course, didn’t wait for them to call him in, but entered right after knocking, Chewie right at his shoulder.
When he looked at them he wasn’t flustered or surprised. Just raised an eyebrow in question at Leia. “Luke is going to stay for a while,” she explained.
“Right, right,” Han nodded, but he was smiling. “If the kid stays, maybe we should also stay for another day or two, huh, Chewie.”
Luke pulled away from Leia to look at Han. “Wouldn’t that be like a nice little family vacation.”
“Oh, I’m sure her worshipfulness will find a way to make us work.” Han flopped down on the sofa near the window, obviously having no intention of working.
“Hmm. One or two things do come to mind.” Leia smiled at him sweetly.
“See, kid? No rest for us.”
Luke shrugged. “Let’s not pretend we would have it any other way.” He flopped down beside Han and smiled at Leia.
She smiled back. Things would change soon enough, she feared. Best to enjoy the time that was given to them now. Too much time had gone to waste already.