Title: Lost Saints Author: leiamoody Genre: Drama Characters: Leia, Luke (offscreen yet onscreen), Han (brief mention) Timeframe: One year after the massacre at Luke’s Jedi Temple, a few years prior to TFA Rating: PG Summary: Leia reflects upon the absence of her brother and the presence of her past. Author’s Notes: This story was written for the Disney Animated Movie Quote Challenge. Quote used: "I'll remember you, though. I remember everyone that leaves." - Lilo and Stitch ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The universe imploded. The stars burnt out. Light was exiled into oblivion. Leia opened her eyes and stared at the ceiling. Any other time in her life she would have cursed herself for dropping into melodramatic thoughts. The universe wasn’t in physical danger of heat death or the sudden appearance of a massive black hole that might appear at the center and swallow up every celestial body until nothing remained but empty space. She pulled herself upright in the chair. This was a minor break in her day, because the Resistance waited for no one (especially the person in charge of running the operation). She needed to take little breaks in between reading reports and perusing strategies. It wasn’t like those ancient days in the Rebellion when she could run on very little sleep or anything else except a burning sense of anger that propelled her through meetings and missions. Leia glanced at the paused image on the holoscreen of her datapad. The image of her brother's impassive expression flickered but otherwise remained still. One year ago, exactly to the precise hour, Luke sent the message with those opening words… "I need to disappear. Please understand you aren't to blame. It’s no one’s fault but mine." Those words were meant to provide comfort. But nothing could provide her with comfort after that day. What she needed more than anything was hope. But hope disappeared with Luke and wasn't likely to return. Leia pushed herself from the desk. Her office in the Resistance base was filled with reminders of the past. The ancient carved orowood desk that once belonged to her father was utilized in her daily work. The ancillary sphere once owned by her mother that depicted some unknown artist’s view of the galaxy from around 25,000 BBY (with Coruscant at the center) looked over the affairs of her daily life on a small wooden chest once in the possession of her birth mother. The past was a perpetual comfort during the stress of her daily life. It was also the only comfort allowed to her since a year ago...when the universe imploded and light was exiled into oblivion. Leia walked over to a large painting that dominated the room. The painting depicted a sunset over the green expanse of the Apalis Coast. The sky was artificially vibrant, painted in gaudy red and pink to accompany the glaring orange sun just visible above the horizon. It wasn't a high quality image but something created for the tourist market. Yet it was a reminder of some long ago time when the young girl who possessed her name could still believe in hope. For much of her life she was either reviled as an “enemy of the people” or lauded as one of the “saviors of the galaxy”. But within the past several years so much of the galaxy turned against her. How could those she considered her compatriots, perhaps some of them friends, want to bring her so far into disgrace? Why did so many beings who had benefited under the relative peace and stability brought into their lives by the New Republic turn away from the reality of the growing threat of the First Order, a threat so obvious to her and the handful of members who now formed the Resistance? Of course those anonymous beings on their varied worlds wanted the same kind of existence she often craved but never found…that elusive concept of “normalcy”, where the rhythm of life flowed at a steady pace. But that was some vague hope. Hope was the ultimate fantasy…the greatest delusion experienced by those cursed to live. Leia turned away from the painting and looked at the objects which crowded her office. They had been accumulated over the years, from her childhood to her time as Senator. They were supposed to be reminders, not just on a personal level but also on the wider scale of the lives she fought for every day. Personal mementoes provided motivation to make good decisions and remember her problems were never more important than the concerns that affected the ordinary citizen. “But they never cared about me.” Her thought made a dash from her brain straight into her mouth then out into the silence. It was a feeling she never dared express because it was unfair to indulge in self-pity. Her life had been filled with tragedy. Yet it was immoral to feel any iota if sadness about her losses. Leia moved back across the room to her desk. The end result of all those years struggling to bring order to the galaxy had revealed themselves in the past year. The Galactic Senate had openly splintered into factions. This division forced her and a small group of supporters to depart Hosnian Prime to retreat far out into the galaxy. “The Resistance” was such a lofty name for a group of dissidents who huddled in the shadows while light retreated from the galaxy. It seemed easier for most beings to refuse to believe that the First Order could actually threaten the New Republic. The murder of the Jedi apprentices didn’t waver the belief among certain senators about the growing threat. Since the Knights of Ren weren’t public ally affiliated with the First Order, it was viewed as a religious conflict far outside the concern of the government. It was horrible. The sacrifices Luke had made in order to serve both the Rebel Alliance and the New Republic were made for no reason. The mission given to him by those moldering masters of restoring the Jedi to prominence was more important to Luke than anything else. What did this choice gain him except grief and misery? But what did her choice to get married and have a child gain her except grief and misery? Leia reached out to press the key that would start Luke’s goodbye message. But she couldn’t watch him utter those words again, seeing the pain in his eyes while his face barely remained calm was horrible. Her brother’s grief also hurt Leia; she felt that sharp rip within her own soul at the same moment when he discovered the massacre. But that was the last connection with her brother; a brilliant cord of golden light that united them across time and space was severed, replaced by a monolithic black wall (at least that was how her imagination could explain the separation). His departure was a true shock, and she couldn’t find him no matter how much she tried to use those limited and dormant Force powers she once learned. Leia pulled her hand back from the datapad. She didn’t need to be reminded of her losses. Not just Luke, but Han…tears began to rise up and wanted to come out, but she pressed the bridge of her nose hard until the sensation was pushed back deep inside where it belonged. Crying never helped the pain. Nothing helped. All she could do was press forward, performing those same duties as leader that always sustained her no matter the tragedies which permeated her own existence. She reached out and touched the datapad key. The vid began to play. “I have to go somewhere. I don’t know where to go, although I hope the Force can help me. I don’t want to leave. But what else can I do? If I come to you, they will follow me and destroy everyone.” He cast his gaze away from the camera, looking into the future or somewhere or something else. “Maybe I can find what lays at the center of the galaxy. Or perhaps I might be able to find the first Jedi Temple.” He looked into the camera again. “I already know you aren’t going to approve of what I’m doing. You’re thinking that I’m running away.” Luke shrugged. “Maybe you’re right. But I need to disappear. I need to be forgotten. You need to forget me, at least until the day comes when I can return…if that day arrives. Maybe it won’t. Maybe everyone will forget that Luke Skywalker was real. I might become a myth. That’s the best hope for the galaxy.” He tried to smile, to reassure his sister that his decision was made from conscious reflection instead of conscious guilt. “I’m leaving now. This is the last message you’ll receive from me for a long time. I love you.” His right hand, not covered by skin that exposed the circuitry underneath, reached out to switch off the recorder. “You might even learn to forget me. That would be comforting to me…if you could just forget. Goodbye.” The screen went black. Leia pushed the datapad screen away from her gaze, then looked up at the ceiling. “How could you think that I would forget you?! You actually imagined that I’d be stupid enough to pretend that you don’t exist!” Yelling in an empty room to a person who couldn’t and wouldn’t be found was the only response she could offer Luke. She leaned back into the chair and sighed. “But I’ll remember you, though. I remember everyone that leaves."