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  3. 2017 Fan Fiction Awards - Nominations

Saga - OT Help Me Say Goodbye (Leia, Bail/Vader) - End of ROTJ - A Princess starts to heal

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by laurethiel1138, Jan 3, 2017.

  1. laurethiel1138

    laurethiel1138 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 6, 2003
    Help Me Say Goodbye

    Summary: As the celebrations on Endor draw to a close, a Princess takes the first step towards healing.

    Disclaimer: I don’t own Star Wars. Neither do I The Phantom of the Opera. As someone else said, I’m just borrowing the toys to play in the sandbox.

    Author’s note: This fanfic was originally published in May 2011, but was truncated by the move to the new boards. Somehow, I never got around to republish it, and I was moved to do so following our own Princess's untimely death. This is for Carrie, for Debbie, for Billie and Todd, and for all of us suddenly bereft by the loss of a star whose light was so cruelly snuffed out...

    **********************************************************************************************

    The celebration of the Empire’s demise had just finished, but Leia didn’t feel quite ready yet to call it a night and join Han, who had gone to bed sometime before. She had another duty to perform on this night of all nights, and, loath as she was to do it, she knew that she needed to, if she ever wanted to be at peace.

    Sitting on a log beneath the canopy formed by Endor’s great trees, she braided together supple branches with a flowery ivy Wicket had found for her. These were hardly a proper substitute for the Liria found only on Alderaan, which had been a favourite of her parents, but the Rebellion had taught her to make do with what was at hand. She regretted not having many memories of Queen Breha, who had died when she was still quite young. Her life had been essentially guided by Bail’s loving hand who, upon his wife’s death, had come forward from his position of Viceroy and assumed the role of Regent in her stead until she gained her majority, which should have come after her last turn of duty as Senator. Then she would have at last ascended to the throne as Queen, with her father as her First Councillor. Tears came to her eyes and she all but choked as she remembered his eyes, his smile, his gentle touch.

    You were once my one companion,
    you were all that mattered;

    But then that fateful mission to Tatooine had happened, and the Galaxy had been forever changed by the subsequent events. There were some days when she cursed to Kessel and back the day she had accepted the charge of forwarding the Death Star plans, though she knew someone would have had to take the risk. As a junior senator, she would have had more of a chance to pass under the radar, and her inherent sense of fairness refused to let another shoulder the responsibility. She alone was perceived as innocent enough to go relatively undetected, and being part of the Alliance meant that she should be ready to withstand any sacrifice demanded of her. She only wished, sometimes, that her particular share might not have cost her so much.

    You were once a friend and father,
    then my world was shattered.

    She still remembered with crystal-clear memories the instant the fate of her world had been decided. She had hoped against all hope that Tarkin would take the bait she had dangled, a relatively important base situated on the less populous planet of Dantooine, which would have at least bought some time, until the plans of the Death Star made their way to the Alliance under the care of General Kenobi, and given them at least a fighting chance.

    But Tarkin was mad, mad for power, and he had decided to use the lethal laser all the same. She had refused to be cowed, however, watching her planet be smashed into smithereens until the end, knowing that if she didn’t, Tarkin would goad her to do so, one satisfaction she refused to give him.

    She had been confused then, by the pressure of Vader’s hand at her shoulder. Part restraint against any aggressive movement (though how she could have managed but a step without being stopped by a full array of stormtroopers, she had no idea), she had felt it clench convulsively as Alderaan had been destroyed, as if the scale of the massacre was too much even for him. It was at that instant that she had remembered the rumours which whispered that Vader was a Dark Lord of the Sith, and she had wondered whether the mysterious Force which seemed to give him his eerie powers had made him feel the deaths of billions.

    Wishing you were somehow here again,
    wishing you were somehow near;

    Grief, however, was too strong, and any questions she might have had about Vader were soon swept away when they announced her she was scheduled to be terminated. Even with her survival instinct kicking in, she had almost welcomed this end, because then she would become one with the Force, as her father was wont to tell her when she had mourned the passing of her mother, and she would then be reunited with her loved ones. She had been escorted back to her cell, where, physically exhausted and emotionally drained, she had fallen in deep slumber.

    Sometimes it seemed if I just dreamed,
    somehow you would be here.

    She had woken with a start as a stormtrooper had stepped into her cell, turning out to be Luke Skywalker, a young man who had come with General Kenobi. Her instincts and training and taken over then, and, as much as she was previously resigned to her fate, she could not help but seize the chance given her to escape this space abomination. And so they had fled, to Yavin, where destiny awaited them all.

    Wishing I could hear your voice again,
    knowing that I never would;

    To this day, she never knew how she had found the strength to comfort Luke, but she guessed it had been the first whisper of kinship between them. Luke had just lost his home, too, and, though it didn’t quite compare in scale to her own trauma, the common experience had been the start of a wonderful friendship. Finding out that they shared the same birthday drew them ever closer, as, for the first time, she could find someone with whom to celebrate on what was known to the galaxy at large as Empire Day.

    This sudden companionship had been a constant source of support as she had taken up her father’s mantle. She had floundered at times, wondering if she would ever live up to the expectations placed on her too young shoulders, second-guessing herself and questioning her own decisions. The legacy of Bail Organa was sometimes overwhelming, but in the end she could only be herself, and she had tried her best to put her training to good use. If her style was sometimes different than her father’s, she could not make apologies. Staying forever in the past would not help her accomplish the dream that was her father’s, and changing times demanded that she change her ways, too.

    Dreaming of you won't help me to do
    all that you dreamed I could.

    She could not hide the fact that it had been difficult, especially on the anniversaries marking, year after year, the destruction of Alderaan. Leia could not help but wistfully remember her family, Bail, Breha, even her aunts who more often than not had driven her to distraction. And she remembered also her people, who had had their dreams and opportunities sundered by the will of a maniac. So many souls, lost in the blink of an eye. She had had a few occasions to pass by the asteroid field created by the planet’s explosion, the scattered rocks a silent graveyard disturbing by its very scale, frozen in the deep cold of space, and her heart had caught as luscious images of the world that once was came to the fore of her mind.

    Passing bells and sculpted angels,
    cold and monumental,
    Seem, for you, the wrong companions;
    you were warm and gentle.

    Then, just as she had though she could move on, after rescuing Han from the clutches of Jabba the Hut, her worst memories were brought to life again, as the Alliance was apprised of the construction of a second Death Star. It was a testament of how desperate the Emperor was of maintaining his hold on the galaxy, and of how ruthless he could be, to know he had decided to unleash yet another weapon of terror on his subjects. Her nightmares had come back then, in which she was forced to watch as all the planets supporting the Alliance were annihilated before her eyes, and she stood there, frozen and helpless to do anything to stop the destruction and chaos.

    Too many years fighting back tears,
    Why can't the past just die?

    And so she had come here to Endor, wishing to end it once and for all, to make her last stand against the Empire. Han may not care for the odds, but she had known that the plan they had conceived was a long shot even under the best of circumstances.

    Luke had seemed out of sorts during the trip there, and he had revealed the reason before leaving on one of his mad schemes. It had been a lot of information to take in, and while she welcomed the thought of Luke as her brother, reconciling the image of Darth Vader with the legend of Anakin Skywalker would take a fair amount of time.

    Still, she could not help but feel strangely relieved. She had known all her life that she had been adopted, and the subject of her biological parents had always been a taboo with her adoptive family. She had only managed to extract, in a moment of weakness after Breha’s death, the name of Padmé from the lips of Bail Organa. She had always supposed that her blood parents’ status had been important, and that they must belong to the highest echelons of power, for Bail to fear for her so every time she went to Coruscant. In her wildest imaginings, though, she could never have guessed just who her sire was. Bail’s sudden death had robbed her even of that truth, and in a twisted way, disturbing though the truth was, she was glad to finally have a name to put next to the empty slot in her family tree.

    Though, she reflected as she rose up to go to the site of Vader’s pyre, she could sorely use Bail’s gentle guidance now, as she was taking the first step towards healing.

    Wishing you were somehow here again,
    knowing we must say goodbye;

    In a strange, twisted and fateful manner, it was fitting that the only father for whom she had a grave would be the man who had been with her as the other had been vaporised into space. Her nemesis was her father, and while she still felt ambivalent at best about her true parentage, she knew also that she had to at least acknowledge the fact, or risk sinking in denial and leave the wound open raw. The righteous path had never pretended to be the easiest, and she would not be true to herself if she chose the easy escape now. Her own integrity and sense of self demanded that she address the issue at once.

    Try to forgive, teach me to live,
    give me the strength to try.

    Luke had often jested, while in waiting to get into position at Jabba’s palace, that his Jedi Master was fond of the saying “do or do not, there is no try,” but Leia felt that sometimes trying was all one could do. If she wanted to move on, she had to at least try to lay the past to rest. And as they were oft wont to do, things would take care of themselves in due time. But there was no need to beat around the bush and try to ignore hard facts. Vader, for better or for worse, was her father, and she would have to live with that truth for the rest of her life.

    Deep down, unvanquished optimism refused to let go, and she hoped against all hope that one day she would be able to hold her head high and accept both heritages. Bail, as the father who had taught her to believe in herself. And Vader, as the father who had taught her, however unwittingly, that she would always rise stronger than before no matter how dire the circumstances.

    No more memories, no more silent tears,
    No more gazing across the wasted years;

    She arrived at the site of Vader’s last repose, the wreath in her hand, a daughter’s offering to her fathers. With the death of the second, the death of the first had been brought full circle, leaving her with nothing to do but to go forward. And hopefully, she would be able to do so, feeling, at long last, eerily, at peace. Tomorrow was another day, with its own set of problems, not the least of which being the inauguration of the New Republic. But tonight, tonight was hers alone.

    Help me say goodbye.
    Help me say goodbye...
     
  2. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Whoa. This is incredible. I don't know if it was the Leia angst, or the Phantom Of The Opera tune, or the flawless way you wove the two together, but it brought tears to my eyes. Bravo.=D=
     
  3. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    You used the Phantom of the Oera for it. The first musical that I ever listened to. This is brilliant!

    And then the text. The peace that it gave Leia as a character... wonderful. @};-
     
    Findswoman and laurethiel1138 like this.
  4. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    This was such a lovely piece of introspection, perfectly bracketed by a fittingly moving song. (Which I now have stuck in my head, so I thank you for that. ;))! You really did a great job of getting inside of Leia's head, and her reflections were spot for her character. I could perfectly picture this scene, and the bits of song-lyric helped thread Leia's reflections throughout her vigil in a beautifully lilting manner.

    I particularly liked:

    Deep down, unvanquished optimism refused to let go, and she hoped against all hope that one day she would be able to hold her head high and accept both heritages. Bail, as the father who had taught her to believe in herself. And Vader, as the father who had taught her, however unwittingly, that she would always rise stronger than before no matter how dire the circumstances.

    That rather sums up what I imagine Leia's rationalization of her heritage to be, that's for certain. What a beautifully crafted few lines! [face_love]=D=

    Also:

    Part restraint against any aggressive movement (though how she could have managed but a step without being stopped by a full array of stormtroopers, she had no idea), she had felt it clench convulsively as Alderaan had been destroyed, as if the scale of the massacre was too much even for him. It was at that instant that she had remembered the rumours which whispered that Vader was a Dark Lord of the Sith, and she had wondered whether the mysterious Force which seemed to give him his eerie powers had made him feel the deaths of billions.

    I liked this, perhaps, touching upon Leia's own force-sensitivity, as well as addressing that little bit of Anakin that's still dwelling deep inside of Darth Vader. I also can't help but wonder if he was feeling a slight echo of his daughter's pain, as well as the death of Alderaan? It's something to think of. [face_thinking]

    Once again, I thank you for sharing this lovely piece. It was so fittingly resurrected in the face of our own loss, and I enjoyed reading every word of it. [face_love]=D=
     
  5. JediMaster_Jen

    JediMaster_Jen Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Simply beautiful.@};-
     
    AzureAngel2 and laurethiel1138 like this.
  6. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Dear @laurethiel1138 I found this amazing gem in a list of eligible fics for the awards and it so deserves any accolades. This is breathtakingly poignant and in character for Leia coming to grips with a devastating loss and a traumatic revelation. =D= =D=
     
  7. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    A brilliant beautiful piece. Leia is a strong woman able to move on
     
  8. Ridley Solo

    Ridley Solo Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 27, 2010
    This was the most poignant, beautiful piece about Leia I've ever read. @};-=D=
     
  9. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Feb 25, 2010
    This was so beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing. I loved the memories of Bail and Leia's reflections on everything that had happened. There's a certain strength to Leia and her ability to look to both the past and move on and you've captured that wonderfully@};-
     
  10. Findswoman

    Findswoman Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Beautiful work here! What a gorgeous character study of the Leia of the original saga, how she's carried (Carrie-d!) on against all odds. I think this is the first time I've seen a story that acknowledges that Vader, too, must have been shocked in his way by the destruction of Alderaan, or at very least felt all those billions of deaths in the Force—another moment where we see the lingering remnants of good in him (and it makes sense, because when you think about it he was gripping Leia's shoulder pretty hard). I love, too, the way we see Leia carrying on the legacies of both her fathers, adoptive and biological, and getting a chance to pay her last respects to Vader at his pyre (which we don't get to see in the very Luke-focused ending of ROTJ). As we've seen in the sequel trilogy and the lore surrounding it, she, even more than Luke, is the one who has to deal with the repercussions of being the child of Vader. And as we've also seen, she is the one of the Skywalker clan who continues to carry on hope and optimism, despite everything. Wonderful job capturing that spirit here. =D=
     
    laurethiel1138 likes this.
  11. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Thanks for bringing this story back to my somewhat leaky memory, @Findswoman . It really deserves a nomination and... I hope for many! :D