Title: Emerald Wine Author: Ewok Poet Genre: Slice of life with strong hints of humour Characters: Leia Organa, Breha Organa, Bail Organa, Zizi Pao (OC), references to ECs and OCs Timeframe: 13 BBE / 9 BBY Rating: PG (very mild swearing) Summary: The Organas are taking a traditional surprise trip to celebrate Leia's good grades. But this is the one that breaks all the traditions. A/N: This story was written for the 9th Annual Winter Holiday Fic-Gift Exchange, where each participating fanficcer gets to write for somebody else and has somebody else writing for them. I was writing for leiamoody and SatineNaberrie was writing for me. I'm stoked to be writing for leiamoody and I'm sorry to be posting it on the last day. I did not like what I originally wrote as it was too much of a downer and, while I kept it for a future occasion, I decided to write a whole new story. I was slightly inspired by a couple of Leia comics from Star Wars Tales, merely The Princess Leia Diaries. My love for writing children and teenagers only came in handy here. Many thanks to - how to say this - Ewok Mom, for an idea on how to include the report card, and to Findswoman, for partial beta-reading [only 1/3 of the story has been beta'd due to time commitments - keep this in mind]. On top of this, three sentences in this piece have been borrowed from Ewok Subject of Endless Admiration. But I won't tell you which three! leiamoody's request is in the spoiler below. Spoiler Their request: I want a story in Saga with: Emerald wine A report card A thunderstorm I do not want: Anything overly dramatic or sappy. Characters: Bail Organa, Breha Organa, Leia Organa It was nothing but a blessing of some sorts that the keys were made of extra-durable material, because a ten-year-old girl was pounding on them as if she was committing an orbital bombardment of her own. Those were some very non-Alderaani ways and that was one powerful, though inane, one-adolescent-girl-army. Braised nerf and emerald wine. BRAISED NERF AND EMERALD WINE!!! Another typical family reunion at the end of the school year. Bantha poodoo, is what this is, I say. Bantha poodoo! Just how am I going to break this to them? It’s not my fault, all right. AS FAR AS I’M CONCERNED I DID NOT FAIL MUSIC THIS SEMESTRE!!! Madame Vesta and that scrawny nerf-herder of a Grand Moff-Schmoff got what they wanted, in the first place! How dare they place ME in the front row of that music recital, have me play a Fizzz that I almost poked that annoying blonde’s eye with (which was totally NOT on purpose) make me wear a young Imperial uniform as opposed to what I wanted to wear? I can’t stand these strange red collars on grey dresses! Was the creator of those unfortunate torture devices they call clothes the member of some species that is colour blind? Or a Miraluka? Did they kill the creator upon seeing what was created, in the first place? One day when I have my own money, I’m going to get a long, red vest! But no red collars!!! I am not a product to sell just because I’m a princess. That said, dear diary, this princess business is getting on my nerves. Wearing ear muffs in the summertime, serving like a fashion doll to everybody. Can this please stop? And don’t even get me st Having heard the knock on the door, Leia closed her datapad abruptly. She was pretty sure that her mother was there to let her know that they were going to whatever surprise location her father picked this time to celebrate her academic successes at the end of the semestre. Most likely, it was the same grandiose restaurant, intended for the royals and their friends. She was not big on braised nerf. She was still too young to have emerald wine. She did not like being shown around like a prized possession, or whatever else did it seem like to her young mind at whatever given point. “Lelila!” Breha pointed outside. “Are you ready? This time, we’re going somewhere new.” Just when the young princess was about to protest, they picked a new location. Did…did somebody slice her datapad or something? “Where are we going?” Leia asked. “It’s a surprise!” … A mere hyperspace jump later, they were walking down the streets of Cita dav Ilo on the Alderaani colony world of Aeithera. “I…I did not expect this.” Leia’s neck was aching from all the looking around. “It’s like home, but…better.” She paused briefly, trying to get a reaction from her parents, but they were just smiling, so she continued. “You see, something I think we’re too serious on Alderaan. This place even looks like Alderaan, yet it’s not Alderaan and…and…there are all these academic, studious people, yet they seem to know how to have fun.” Bail was about to say that they do have fun back at home, but he bit his tongue. Breha had warned him not to try to put himself into a princess’ shoes and especially not a young princess’ shoes; for they were both too big and too small for him to fill at the same time. The further they were going, the harder it was to catch up with their ten-year-old daughter. The girl dreaming of oceans of sand had the wisdom of a leader, and they knew that, but what they did not want to confess to themselves is that desert never fled her subconsciousness, either - in more ways than one. She was jumping over the hollow tree trunks at the lake, often wandering away from the rustic boardwalk and getting up to her knees in cold water. Bail was struggling to keep up with her. Was this what she was striving to be like? Was this what they had failed to see before, having got caught up in interplanetary affairs? Was she going to break tradition in a way that would cause all of the Ancient Houses’ residents to collectively pass out, their hands on their foreheads? Sooner than they knew, she was at least 100 metres away from them, appearing like a comet in the distance. A strange kind of a comet, for that matter. The sky seemed overcast by the time Leia finally stopped in front of what initially seemed to be just another wooden shack and called Bail and Breha to come over and join her. Half the distance from the shack, Breha could see that it was covered in flowering vines. Once in front of it, they could read its name, Zizi’s Tapcafe, but they were not sure what it is about this place that fascinated their daughter. “Can we eat here?” Leia pulled her mother by the sleeve of the expensive silvergreen royal dress. “It is…perfect!” She was hiding the hard flimsi with the menu printed on it behind her back. There was no such thing as braised nerf in this place. But there was a garden full of trees that must have been a couple of hundred years old. All silvergreen, like her mother’s dress. Bail shrugged and looked at Breha. She just smiled. This time, she did not even have to remind him not to object to Leia’s wishes today, regardless of how silly they seemed. They sat down under the largest of the trees. After ten minutes, a blue-furred being came to their table, with one tray in each of his four hands. “Zizi’s summer residence. May I recommend you…” “What’s your braised nerf like?” The senator of Alderaan cut him short. “What do you usually serve it with?” “We don’t have braised nerf on our menu.” “No braised nerf?” Bail was surprised. Almost worried. “No braised nerf.” The Pho Ph'eahian shrugged, with both pairs of his arms, which made Leia chuckle. “I don’t serve braised nerf here, but I can recommend you a variety of freshwater fish.” “N...no braised nerf. But, but, our tradition is to have a braised nerf and emerald wine after each semestre our daughter completes at her school.” “We do have emerald wine. However, I’m afraid you will otherwise have to break a tradition. Why doesn’t your daughter join me in the kitchen and pick something she would like? It’s her success you’re celebrating, after all!” Bail shrugged. Breha nodded and less than a minute later, Leia was in the spacious kitchen. What got her attention was an overturned crate in the corner. “What is this…what is your name?” “I’m Zizi Pao and that is my dining table. At my main café, I have more space, but at this little summer residence, I’m eating in the kitchen.” “Whoa!” The young girl’s face lit up. “It’s YOUR café and you’re serving us yourself. That is almost like…almost like cooking food for yourself, at your own home, but even better, because you get to make others happy.” Zizi was puzzled. Sure, this child understood the concept of Imperial credits? He proceeded to take some fish out of the small aquarium to show her. “You see, this...these four scalefish...they are not free. But my art is.” He sat Leia down at the crate-table, holding a fish in each of his four hands. “Art is a matter of giving. You see…if I sing my friend a song, it goes from me to her, at no cost. That’s giving.” “Who is she?” Zizi almost dropped the fish in his upper left hand, the one closest to his heart. That question would always make him die a little bit on the inside, but he could not tell anybody why. It was a rock he was carrying solely for himself. “The fish? How do you know it’s a she?” “No. Who is your friend? You said it was a she.” “You. You are my friend. That said, what is your name?” This is where she would have normally been forced to introduce herself with a curtsey, as the Princess Leia Organa, of the Royal House of Alderaan. But this stranger, he was different. He treated her like a smart young girl, without all those chimes and bavoonkas she was so desperate to get away from. “Leia. Mom and dad call me Lelila, but I prefer my actual name.” She started drawing imaginary circles on the crate. “Also…sorry if I’m slightly uptight. I failed a class and my parents don’t know about it. I am not sure how to break it to them.” “Pleased to meet you, Leia!” Zizi smiled broadly. “Which class did you fail and can you re-take it?” “Music. I failed music and the story is…too long and complicated and I cannot retell it without any k-word.” Leia was slightly blushing. Zizi was still holding the fish in his hands. “Know what, Leia? Pick a fish.” Just what was that about? She shrugged and pointed to one of them. “Perhaps this one? Though I love how the other one looks like, too…the one in, err, your other right hand.” “That would be Mee. The one over there is See…See.” “Mee, See, See? That is almost as funny as Faa…Laa…Laa.” “Tee, tee, laa, tee…” Zizi winked and patted Leia on the back. “I think this melody gave me an idea. You have something to tell your parents and I have something your father wants – the emerald wine. Go get him this bottle, quick.” Just as Zizi said this, a thunder stroke and rain started pouring. Everybody from the garden ran inside. Bail and Breha were lucky not to have been served yet, there were some guests who had to leave their food. And now that Zizi was about to cook for them again, silently cursing the fact that his assistant - who was an actual cook to begin with - had a day off work. Predictably, the only thing he could prepare was the scalefish. And it was taking a while. By the time he brought the food to Leia’s family, Bail seemed to be slightly tipsy. “Here is your scalefish. It’s on the house, consider it…a form of art.” Zizi subtly nudged Leia with one of his four elbows, solely for Bail to tip him more than he was ever tipped for his music. He could not help thinking that it was ironic, to a certain extent, as what was coming from the heart was and will always be more important than what is going down the throat. But what he was about to witness was priceless. The man hugged his daughter and started something that, at first, looked like one of those stories that would embarrass an average adolescent. “You see, Lelila, when I was your age…” He took a huge bite of the scalefish spiced with ryoo and coarse sea salt. “I was nowhere near good as you…academically speaking!” “It’s true.” Breha confirmed. “I found his report cards the other day. Believe it or not, he was not good at creative writing at first. But there is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s normal to fail at least once, to learn that you’re not invincible.” “There was, however, one thing I never managed to excel at. That…that stupid instrument…what’s its name? Dorella…something…” “Dorenian Beshniquel?” Breha was snickering at this point. “It has a shorter name, some call it the fizzz.” “Yes, yes, that’s right! I cannot stand the sound of that thing! Sounds like something only self-righteous snobs without a rightful claim to their snobbery would bother with. Something for a bunch of grey men wearing…umm…grey. I don’t like how their clothes look like! Their formalities annoy me, too!” At this point, Breha was slightly worried. They had some plans and some contacts, but this was not how they were planning to protest. Not at all! One never knew who was listening! Just what kind of an emerald wine was this tapcafé serving? “This is where I tell you that I failed music.” Leia stopped Bail’s repulsortrain of thoughts and steered it the other way round. “Because I played that exact instrument, the fizz, my way...when Grand Moff Tarkin visited last week.” “That’s my girl!” Bail patted her on the back. “And you…“ He addressed the Pho Ph'eahian. “You own the simplest and most beautiful place I have ever been to. I almost don’t feel like a Senator with Queen as his wife and the heiress of Alderaan as his daughter…There has never been a better time to break traditions.” Zizi shrugged. And again. During his previous life as a sculptor and his current as a musician and a tapcafe owner, he had seen a lot of tipsy people who were claiming so many things – from being in the Sacorrian Triad to having done the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs, but this man may have been the one telling the tallest of the tales. Alderaani royals? Nah. Those were probably having a dinner at the table larger than the lake outside, somewhere in their palace bigger than the whole of Citta dav Ilo. He smiled to Leia one more time and headed to the kitchen to bring her a dessert. After all, he was winning tonight – her parents were sure to stay for his famous Love-Song-Sing-A-Long…and beyond! And it all happened because of a thunderstorm, a report card and one glass of emerald wine too many. Footnotes: Spoiler Emerald wine is indeed canon and yes, it’s commonly served with Braised nerf. The Alderaani colony of Aeithera and the character Zizi Pao are leiamoody’s own creations. You can read more about Aithera and Cita dav Ilo in this fanon entry. Zizi previously appeared in The Song Hour leiamoody’s story for Findswoman, written as a part of this very fic-gift exchange. He is a Pho Ph'eahian . Love-Song-Sing-A-Long appears in the above story, too. Madame Vesta appears in The Princess Leia Diaries The school Leia is referring to is Alderaan Select Academy for Young Ladies. Ancient Houses is a term rarely used, but I loved it. The scalefish are native to Naboo and yes, they have stupid names. I’ll let you figure out the rest. Fizzz, also known by its longer name, Dorenian Beshniquel, is a music instrument. Ryoo is a flower, but in my headcanon, it’s a herb, too - the equivalent of something like basil or bay leaf.