Beyond The Keeper--Leia/Jaina short story--75 ABY--Updated 12/31

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by DarthIshtar, Dec 11, 2012.

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  1. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    Title: The Keeper
    Author: Darthishtar
    Timeframe: 75 ABY
    Characters: Jaina Solo Fel, Leia Organa-Solo, others to be determined
    Disclaimer: These characters were invented by much more brilliant minds than my own and I don't own any of them. The idea came from a Lois Lowry. I also have taken some presumed liberties with the upcoming timelines.

    PROLOGUE

    There was no such thing as an 'old folks home' in the Jedi Order for a variety of reasons. For one thing, it was absurd to consider a human too elderly to serve when the Grand Master of the new Jedi Order had been mentored by a 900-year-old sage. For another, the Jedi respected their elders more often than not, politics and teenage rebellion notwithstanding.

    Leia Organa-Solo was not sufficiently Jedi for many people. She had made her life and her living as a diplomat and a politician and her roles as warrior and Jedi Knight had taken a back seat to the needs of the New Republic. She carried a lightsaber of her own, but was not at the beck and call of the Council. She had been persecuted and prosecuted with the rest of her kind, but she had chosen another path and for many people, that disqualified her from claiming any sort of affiliation with the Order.

    For the wise, the thought of Leia Organa-Solo not being a Jedi was as logical as thinking that Han Solo was a female Dug. They respected her choice and her contribution and would say so whenever the subject came up. They were also the ones who made sure that Leia Organa Solo was looked after as one of their own.

    There was no set schedule for visits; Leia mostly looked after herself with all of her old stubbornness and with the help of her droid, but Threepio wasn't human and he wasn't terribly perceptive, so she received regular visitors. Allana usually stopped by at the end of the week and could usually be relied upon to bring her apprentice. Ben favored Atundas and never stayed long.

    It went without saying that the last surviving Solo kid could bump any of them off the unofficial schedule whenever she came to that corner of the Galaxy.

    The opening salvos of conversation were always the same--"How's the husband" and "How's the baby," even though the baby was too old to be called that. Jaina would obligingly show holos and bring anecdotes. Once in a while, she would bring the people in question so Grandma Leia could interrogate them herself instead of by messenger.

    Today was not one of those days, though. Jaina had dealt with her Council business in the morning and arrived just after lunch to find her mother in tears.

    Her first thought was to check the comm for bad news or personal messages, but it was easier to let Mom explain herself. Jaina gave her a quick hug on her way to the cooktop and put the kettle on before coming back to find out what exactly was wrong.

    Mom was sniffling quietly over a datapad and Jaina took the seat next to her so she could read over her shoulder, half-expecting to find that Mom was finishing the latest Siukha novel or reading an old comm message from Dad. Instead, she glimpsed a holo of a little girl before Mom closed the file.

    "Jaina," Mom said, inhaling quickly and exhaling slowly to calm herself and putting on a slightly-more-wrinkled-than-last-month diplomatic face. "I didn't hear you come in."

    "Or see," Jaina said. "I'm making tea."

    "Thank you," Mom said.

    It had to be a bad day--usually, she would have protested that she could do it herself or would have insisted that Jaina didn't need to do that.

    "How's the husband?" Mom asked predictably. "How's the baby?"

    "He's busy and she's excited for her ninth birthday next week," Jaina answered. "How are you?"

    "I'm not very busy and I'm excited for her ninth birthday next week," she answered. "You'll bring her gift back with you?"

    "If you can wait a while, we were going to bring her for a visit after school lets out," Jaina bargained. "It's only three weeks more."

    "I can wait," Mom said with a hint of mischief glinting in her eyes and a smirk firmly planted on her lips, "but do you really think she can?"

    "I think she won't mind." Jaina reached across the table and retrieved the datapad. "Was that a picture of Allana?"

    "No," Mom said, the smirk fading. "That was me."

    It took another moment to find the last file that Mom had been viewing, but on second viewing, the first impression didn't fade. "Are you sure?" Jaina asked, hoping that she didn't sound patronizing. "This looks like it was taken the summer after she turned six, when you brought her to the exhibition."

    "Check the timestamp if you must," she answered.

    The timestamp was for 6 AI, forty-nine years before Allana had been born and fifty-six years before the date in question.

    "You should show this to her," Jaina suggested. "Where did you find it?"

    "It was brought to me," her mother corrected. "The Parnelli Museum of Art is preparing an exhibition and the curator thought I might find these interesting."

    The kettle whistled at that moment and Jaina jumped up to take care of the tea. She came back with two mugs to find that Mom had moved herself to the dining room, taking the datapad with her.

    "What kind of exhibition?" she asked.

    Mom waved a hand in Jaina's direction. "There's a letter on the front table if you want to read about it."

    Jaina found a flimsiplast note where her mother had indicated, written in a narrow, slanting handwriting.

    Madame Organa-Solo,

    Greetings. I hope this letter finds you well. We appreciated your donation last year and look forward to your next visit.

    As a former Chief of State, you are undoubtedly familiar with the work of renowned holographer Siuri Khres. Lady Khres was an official state holographer during Mon Mothma's tenure, but she rose to prominence when documenting the Rebellion and the fall of the Empire.

    After her recent passing, Lady Khres' son was given charge of the estate. He donated her collected works to the Parnelli, including several collections that had never been published before. We have enclosed some examples of her work, entitled collectively, "Prelude to Rebellion..."

    "It was quite a surprise," Mom called from the other room. "No one told me that this Khres had more family pictures of the Organas than the palace archives."

    That was probably true of a lot of sludgenews outlets during the early years of the Empire. Jaina knew from experience that prominent families tended to take few holos of themselves, but had a data trail kilometers long thanks to the bored reporters who were trying to catch them in the act of something disgraceful.

    "Siuri Khres," Jaina said as she rejoined her mother at the table. "Isn't she the one who put on the exhibit of Alliance identification photos?"

    Mom cracked a smile at that. "The same."

    When Jaina had been too young to go to the Jedi Academy but old enough to be embarrassed by her parents' fame, she had been dragged to a museum on Coruscant for a grand opening of an art exhibit. She hated dressing up like a doll and looking at art she didn't understand, but as soon as she'd slipped past Security and made her way inside, Jaina had decided she liked the museum. The entire hall had been filled with holos of people caught off-guard. Uncle Luke sneezing for the camera. Mom looking very young and slightly cross-eyed. Wedge Antilles swatting at a fly in front of his face. All of these were unused holos from the archives of the people who had to issue military IDs to the Rebel Alliance and some had called it disrespectful. Jaina had thought it was brilliant.

    "And she has holos of you at six?"

    "She spent several years at a news agency on Alderaan," Mom explained. "She thought my father was an oddity--a long-time politician who still came home to read his daughter bedtime stories--and she spent a lot of time documenting the ordinary life of the Royal Family."

    Her hand trailed over the braids of the little girl as if she could still remember having to sit still for them to be pinned into place. The child looked a little disgruntled and Jaina could almost see herself in the firm set of her chin.

    "They want me to help," Mom said. "They want my stories of Alderaan and an explanation of what all of this was like."

    "I think you should," Jaina said decisively. "There aren't enough people left who even remember being there."

    Just the other day, there had been an article about the suicide of a man who had been born in Aldera six days before the Death Star showed up. His Corellian parents had left on the last morning of Alderaan and he had been granted automatic citizenship by virtue of having been born on Alderaan. In light of the tragedy, they had never gotten around to filing his citizenship papers with their native world.

    Mom shut off the datapad with a jab of her finger. "I'm not sure," she said almost inaudibly. "Who would want to hear an old woman ramble on about the gardens at Antibes?"

    Jaina suspected that her mother spent enough time remembering the gardens that her objection was not to boring a reporter, but to inviting someone unfamiliar into her private world. There were few people left who had ever set foot in Antibes and no holographs could teach the Galaxy to miss Alderaan the way Princess Leia did.

    But that didn't mean that it wasn't worth a try. As difficult as it would be to draw out these memories, it was unthinkable to entertain the idea of letting the legacy of Alderaan die out with whichever of its native children lasted the longest.

    "I would," she said at last.
    Last edited by DarthIshtar, Dec 30, 2012
  2. SiouxFan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2012
    star 3
    Nice story. But isn't Jaina a little old to have a 9 year-old? She would be 66 in this fic. I'm not trying to harp, I'm just making an observation.

    I look forward to reading about Leia' rememberances of Alderaanian life at court. Great start!
    Last edited by SiouxFan, Dec 11, 2012
  3. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    Good point, but this doesn't exclude the possibility of adoption. :) There will be more on all of this in the coming chapters.
  4. taramidala Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 18, 1999
    star 4
    Fantastic start! Please tag me for updates!
  5. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    Short post to tide you over. This is just the beginning of chapter 1.

    CHAPTER 1
    Leia

    No matter who, children always thought they could fool their parents. Leia had seen it when Anakin would stash charred droid bits under his bed while the room smelled like a foundry. She had seen it when Jacen tried to keep her out of the dining room so he could prepare a "surprise" that obviously involved the snake he had promised to keep in its cage. She had even seen it when Jaina would downplay the danger of a mission so Mom and Dad wouldn't worry. No matter that Dad had a gut instinct that belonged in CorSec and Mom had the Force to enhance the eyes in the back of her head.

    When Han had passed away, Jaina had reverted to this childish habit, becoming casually closer to her mother than she had in her life. Leia had appreciated the effort--Jaina had always seemed to share Han's temperament and interests in a way that Leia too infrequently understood and they had butted heads too frequently--but the effort had been a transparent one. Their family had been robbed of another of its members and this time, Jaina had compensated by reforging the links.

    That was the cynical way to think of things. Whatever the reasons, her daughter's family stopped engaging in fly-by family visits. They went from related acquaintances who occasionally met for lunch when the meetings were over and rarely saw the inside of each other's homes to the kind of family that had seemed possible before the Vong crossed into New Republic territory.

    Leia learned not to mind. She had occasionally been known to hold a grudge, but she let her daughter have the benefit of the doubt. It meant that Jaina commed at least once a week. It meant that Dara, the little girl they had adopted, took over the comm once in a while and told "Grama" about her friends at school. It meant that she and Jag had once spent an entire evening finding common ground on the political spectrum.

    It was the family dynamic that they should have had all along, but they had been forced to come through several wars to earn it.
  6. ccp Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2005
    star 4
    Interesting. Look forward to seeing more.
  7. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    Leia had never quite mastered the art of sleeping through the night. She suspected that it was a byproduct of Palace life, where the guard changed every six hours and the royal staff had an unfortunate habit of interrupting the Queen and Viceroy's sleep. When she had moved to Imperial Center, the lights of the city had stamped her eyes throughout the night and she had become a very young insomniac. When she had informally left the Senate to join the Rebellion, she had trained herself to wake any time her comm sounded or someone knocked at the door. And when the war was finally over, she had twins to wake her up in the middle of the night. Some days, Leia Organa Solo thought she hadn't slept well since the night after Endor.

    Bail had said that sleep was for mortals and she had followed in his footsteps. Now that she was old enough to have earned a few extra hours of sleep, she still found it difficult to stay in bed. She lay in bed until dawn broke over the horizon and then threw back the covers, eager to put into action all the things which occupied her mind during the night.

    The first order of business was to draft a response to the curator of the Parnelli. Leia had not waited for her daughter's blessing to cooperate with the organizing committee of the exhibition, but Jaina's encouragement had helped. Another memo went to Siuri Khres, promising that the last High Princess of Alderaan would do what she could to help bring Alderaan back to life.

    With those two things accomplished, she made herself breakfast, bathed and dressed and checked her comm messages for anything she might have missed during the night.

    There was a note from Dara, telling her all about the things she wanted to see when Jaina and Jag brought her for a visit. She mentioned school only in passing, but seemed enthusiastic about her studies. She even attached a holorecording that her dance teacher had taken at rehearsal last week.

    Leia treasured every eager plan and offhand comment about arithmetic, but it was this holo that made her smile. Jaina had been amused by her daughter's artistic side, but Leia had nodded sagely and explained it in one sentence: "Of course we had to adopt someone to find a Solo with a shred of grace."

    But that holorecording reminded her of one of the sample holos that the Parnelli curator had sent along. Leia had to rummage through the datafiles to find the one in question, but it was still there as she remembered it: A static holo of Breha smiling while Bail tried to teach an eight-year-old Leia the Alderaanian waltz.

    As Leia recalled, the lesson had not gone very well and it had been a relief when her father's Chief of Staff interrupted to say that Senator Turot was on the comm for him. Breha could have taken the call, but she instead stood by Leia's side and walked her through the steps that she had fumbled.

    Leia sent her granddaughter--adopted only in the datafiles and every bit a part of the family--the holo with her response. She was about to call up the next comm message when the alert tone indicated that Siuri Khres was attempting to place a call.

    "Miss Khres," Leia greeted. "You received my message?"

    "Yes, Your Highness," the old Alliance holographer said formally; she had never quite outgrown the habit of calling Leia by her title instead of her name. "Thank you for your cooperation."

    Once she had seen the first group of holos, she had been tempted to visit the exhibition. Once she had finished perusing the collection, there had been no question of helping.

    "I'm not sure you'll like everything I have to say," she said formally, "but I will do what I can."

    "I can't ask more," Siuri said, sounding breathless with excitement. "When can we start?"

    In previous days, she could have coordinated her schedule and talked Siuri into coming next month when there were fewer demands on her schedule. Even with her projects and pet causes and her occasional contribution to the Jedi Order, Leia could afford to keep her schedule open these days and let other things fit around what was important.

    "That depends on when your transport can land," she said firmly.
    *****
    "I thought you were going to wait," Jaina protested on the next comm call.

    "I thought it would be best to start while I'm still young," Leia said dryly. "And when you come, you can enjoy a work in progress instead of listening to my efforts to know where to start."

    "I would have enjoyed those," her daughter said in earnest. "Dara may not have the world's greatest attention span when I start reminiscing about what things were like in my day, but I was looking forward to you being more honest than usual."

    "I'm always honest," Leia objected.

    "You're a diplomat," Jaina pointed out. "You haven't been completely honest in years."

    Of course she had. She had never lied when she told her daughter that she was beautiful or told Anakin that she was proud of him. She had never lied when she told Jacen that she hoped he would find happiness and she had certainly never lied when telling her husband that he was handsome. Outside of the family, things were slightly different, but she was a diplomat, so when she couldn't be completely honest, she was kind.

    "Then I'll be honest in making a promise," Leia said. "I will save my favorites until you get here."

    "And I can pick a few of my favorites from what you showed me?" Jaina haggled.

    "I know which ones you liked best," Leia said. There were ones that Jaina had come back to multiple times with a smile or a quiet laugh, but there were a few that she had looked at with nostalgia and love. Leia could wait for her daughter to hear the whole story of those ones. "I'll stall Siuri Khres for as long as I can."
  8. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Lovely to see an older Leia and her family
  9. ccp Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2005
    star 4
    Great updat I am really liking this.
  10. Priyanka Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 6, 2009
    This is a very well written story and your plot is highly engaging; I can't wait for your next update.
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