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By Jewels

This was inspired from a discussion thread on OZ, concerning how Leia was aware of her adoption, and Helen Potter provided the actual base of this story. And she's an absolute darling for letting me use her idea, and she also gave this a beta for me, so hugglebunnies go out to Helen!

"I just thought that if Amidala died and had even the smallest bit of Force powers, she may have appeared a la Obi-Wan to her daughter. Leia, being young may not have realised the implications of her mother's appearance - it was just mum coming for a visit. As Leia grew up and began to train out of her Force powers, she may have seen less of her mother, eventually she may have stopped appearing altogether." - Helen Potter

Feedback is A Good Thing. Flames with be fed to an obliging Dragon, after I've composed a rather scathing retort. Nice Stuff will be printed out and framed.

Disclaimer: GL owns these people, except maybe for Ashilem... kinda.

Leia pushed her food around on her plate, staring at the green mush she created through her work. She rolled a couple of peas until they made a smiley face in the mulch.
"Leia, dear, don't play with your food." Ashilem Organa smiled kindly at her daughter, who pulled a face.

"Doesn't taste nice anyway." Leia said in her inimitable seven-year old fashion, shoving the plate away from her and folding her arms childishly. Trying desperately not to fidget, she frowned and glared at the table.

"Leia!" said Ashilem, mildly annoyed with her daughter's behaviour. "That is no way to behave at the table. You are a daughter of the House Organa. It is-"

"Unseemly to behave in a manner which is so childish." Leia filled in for Ashilem, parroting her mother word for word. She didn't really understand the words, but had heard them enough times. "I know, I know..." she muttered, unfolding her arms and plucking at the sleeve of her dress.

"Leia... are you nervous about something?"

Leia's head snapped up at that unexpected question. "No." she said quickly. "Why?"
"I'm just curious." Ashilem shot her daughter a strange look and then stabbed a green and crunchy vegetable on her plate with her fork. In truth, Ashilem knew enough about Leia to know that when she didn't eat, she was nervous. Ashilem wished that Bail were there, but he was dealing with some of the latest machinations in the Senate, and had had to leave Alderaan for a while. Bail understood their daughter far better than Ashilem ever would, and Ashilem knew it.

"Can I go?" said Leia, all of a sudden.

"You can, but you may not." said Ashilem primly, using her fork to gesture at Leia, indicating that she should try again.

"Mother, please may I leave the table?" the words came out in a rush, with no real sentiment behind them, but Ashilem sighed and indicated that Leia could go. The small girl jumped down from her chair and headed out of the door, in the direction of her room.

Ashilem set down her own fork and suddenly pushed her plate away. For some reason, she'd lost all her appetite.

Leia bounded into her room and sat down with barely restrained impatience. She tried reorganising her stuffed toys - in the shapes of various creatures from various worlds - and tidied the little desk she had by shoving some of her learning disks into the drawers, slamming them shut as they became full. She was just contemplating what she should do next as she heard a low chuckle behind her.

"I do not think," came a soft voice, "that your drawers will ever bother you again."
Letting out a squeal of delight, Leia rushed into the arms of her mother - her real mother... and hugged fiercely. The blue apparition hugged her back, and Leia felt the hair on her arms rise as she did so. Whenever she hugged Amidala, Leia had the feeling that she had when touching a power conduit, contained power, untouchable, but there nonetheless.

"How's my little one been?" asked Amidala kindly, sitting on her daughter's bed stroking Leia's hair with hands that, while present, were somehow insubstantial.

"Bored." replied Leia, and watched as Amidala's face broke out into a kindly smile. Leia loved making her mother smile, it made it seem like her mother was happy, but Leia could always feel the sadness from her mother. So sad...

"With all the work that Bail and Ash make you do?" Amidala teased.

"Poltiks?" Leia said, making a face. "No fun." She saw the smile on her mother's face again and felt relieved. Leia would act like a complete clown to keep that smile there, it made her mother seem beautiful.

"You'll get used to it." said Amidala, giving her daughter a hug. Leia felt like she could fall through the figure if she pushed too hard. But the embrace made her feel loved, and cared for. "I did."

"Really?" Leia perked up. "What did you used to do?" she asked, eyes wide with curiosity.
Leia was surprised by the look of reticence on her mother's face. Amidala had never been less than completely honest with her, telling her everything she asked about.

"Some things I hope you never have to do." said Amidala after a pause that had stretched into minutes. She reached over an picked up one of Leia's stuffed toys, examining it with a distant expression.

"It's a kaadu." said Leia, eager to impress Amidala with her knowledge. "They came from a planet in the Outer Rim."

"Do you know which planet?" asked Amidala, her eyes intent.


Amidala set the stuffed kaadu down. "They came from a planet called Naboo. Do you know anything about Naboo?"

Leia shook her head, her eyes conveying that she wanted to know about the planet. "No."

"Leia, my little angel," Amidala brushed her fingertips over her daughter's cheek, and Leia felt that almost-static sensation again. "Remember this: pacifism does not make you invulnerable. And never, ever, let anyone tell you what is best for the world."

Ashilem sat waiting for Bail in the office that the Vicerene used to organise her official affairs. It was fairly well appointed, but Ashilem tried to spend as little time as possible in there, so the room had an austere, un-lived in appearance. She wanted to pace, but that would have been unseemly.

Finally, Bail walked in, having come from an off-world meeting with Mon Mothma. They embraced briefly, and it took less than ten seconds for Bail to realise that his wife was troubled.

"What is it?" he asked.

"Leia..." Ashilem started, but was cut off by Bail.

"Leia? Is she hurt? Is she ill?"

Ashilem held up a hand to stop the torrent of questions that she knew were inevitable. Bail was as protective of Leia as if she were his own daughter. Ashilem supposed that he did consider her his daughter, having raised her since she was only a few months old, after Amidala had left the child in their care. Ashilem, while devoted to Leia, didn't quite feel a mother's love for her, but did consider her little 'daughter' one of the more precious things in her life.

"She's not injured... physically." Seeing the look in Bail's eyes, Ashilem sighed and ran a hand through her long brown locks, which she had pulled out of their plaits in order to ease a tension headache that had bee building. "I think Leia has an 'invisible friend'."

Bail hesitated. "Well... I suppose her training..."

"Keeps her away from other children her own age." finished Ashilem when Bail faltered. "Bail, she's ten years old. Sometimes I wonder if we push her too hard. It's not good for her. The only friends she knows are tutor droids and any of the servants."

Bail knew that Ashilem had probably already decided on a course of action, but he nodded, to
indicate that she should continue.

"I was thinking that Leia perhaps needs a companion."

Bail tried to hide his amusement. "And I assume you have someone in mind."

Ashilem stared at him, then smiled slightly, acknowledging that Bail had caught her sorting out everything, as usual. "Well, yes. You know that Tienna, has a daughter - Winter. She's Leia's age, and she'd be perfect for a companion."

Bail thought for a moment. "I think I know Winter, I've seen her with her mother on occasion. A girl with white hair, perfect recall?"

Ashilem nodded. "That's her."

"Well, I don't see why not. And if it would help Leia come out of her 'invisible friend' stage."

"Good. Winter will be here tomorrow morning. I've already told Leia."

At sixteen years of age, Leia stood in front of the entrance to the Alderaan box in the senate, tugging nervously at her white robes.

"Leia, stop that." chided Winter, decked out as an aide to the Senator. Leia and Winter were there for their first real senate session. It wasn't the first time that Leia had been in the senate, but it was the day that Bail was to officially present Leia as Alderaan's new representative. As one of the more important planets in the Empire, Leia knew that people would be interested in the event.

"You'll only rumple it." continued Winter. "And you don't want to appear in front of the Emperor in rumpled robes."

Leia gaped at her Companion. "The Emperor's making an appearance?" The Emperor usually left the running of the senate to the vice-chancellor, citing the difficulties in running the Empire as precluding his appearance at every senate session. But when he did turn up...

"That's all I need." muttered Leia, putting her head in her hands.

"I'll go and get your datapad." said Winter, and headed off to get it.

*My angel...*

Leia glanced up and looked around for the source of the voice, but saw no one. She shook her head, trying to banish the voice. It sounded so familiar...

"Here." said Winter, handing her the datapad and steering her in the direction of the box. "Now, don't forget what you were taught. Speak clearly, and-"

*Don't let anyone intimidate you.*

Leia stopped and blinked. "I'm sorry?"

"I said," Winter repeated, "Don't let anyone intimidate you."

"Oh. Don't worry." Leia managed to smile, then stepped into the Alderaan box, taking one of the seats assigned for the senators, Winter taking one of those designated for aides, guests, or protectors. Not for the first time, Leia mused as she peered over the side of the box to the floor so far below that it was shrouded in shadow, that you could not be afraid of heights if you wanted to be a senator.

She and Winter discussed various matters in low tones until a murmur running through the Senate Chamber made them both look to the podium, Emperor Palpatine had taken the Podium and was beginning to speak, his sibilant tones filling the chamber courtesy of the sound system.

*He is evil incarnate, my child. Walk with care.*

"No, no, no. Absolutely not."


Bail waved his hands in a sharp cutting gesture. "No. I forbid it."

"Father, this is essential for me. I will need these skills, whether you approve of them or not."

Leia pressed.

"You sound like Mon Mothma." muttered Bail disparagingly, sitting down heavily in an over-stuffed chair. Leia could see the lines around his eyes and on his forehead, he seemed to have aged decades in a matter of a few short years, ever since Ashilem had been killed in an incident involving her transport, and a group of pirates. Bail had never been the same since.

"Open, violent rebellion is not the way to go."

Leia held up her hands beseechingly. "It will be the only way to go. The Empire is getting worse with each passing day, eventually there will be a revolution, and I would at least be able to defend myself."

"Pacifism is the way of our people, Leia," snapped Bail, reaching up to rub his temple.

"Pacifism does not make you invulnerable!" retorted Leia sharply.

Bail gave her such an odd look at that phrase that she hesitated. "Who said that to you?" he asked after a moment.

"I can't remember," answered Leia, blithely, but honestly.

"It does not matter," said Bail, waving a hand dismissively. "Our way of life is peaceful, our lives pacifistic, I will not allow my daughter to throw that aside for something that may never happen."

"The Naboo were pacifistic, and their planet was razed to the ground." Leia pointed out.

"How do you know about Naboo?!" demanded Bail with such a frightening glare that Leia had to choke her next words out.

"I researched it." She said, then took a deep breath and plunged on. "They were assured protection from the Old Republic, but their pacifism assured their destruction. If Alderaan does not do something soon to protect itself against the Empire..."

"No." Bail shook his head. "Pacifism is best for our world, and that is the way it shall remain." He hesitated. "However, Leia, you and Winter will have self-defense and weapons handling lessons arranged."

Leia reached up and hugged him, aware that she had won a victory against him. "Thank you." she whispered.

Leia crept out of the room, and Bail sat heavily in his chair, rubbing his temples with his hands. "I hope I'm not going to regret this." he muttered.

Amidala wrung her hands together, watching after the departing figure of her daughter. "So do I, Bail," she told her old friend, even though she knew he couldn't hear her. "So do I."