Leia Organa is many things. She is a princess, a senator, a daughter, a sister, a rebellion general and a Republic leader. These are the things that she knows, these are the things she claims. She bought them in blood and sweat and tears and pain. They are hers.
Leia Organa is not a Skywalker.
Luke would argue with her. Luke has argued with her, told her over and over again that she has a right to that legacy, told her stories of Tatooine and his their ancestors, tales and history falling from his lips and crackling like embers, like lightning storms that have never graced the planet. He does not speak of their father, because Leia doesn’t want to hear it, but he tells her other things. Her name was Shmi, is a whisper in the dead of night, in the bunks of the Millenium Falcon. She was a slave, comes when the day is dying and its blood spills across the sky, in the jungles of Yavin VI where a rebellion once readied to take on a moon. She was kind comes when there is blood spatter across his exhausted face in a now-empty imperial stronghold, and Leia has a blaster hole in her shoulder that has them waiting for med evac.
(The pieces are always surrounded by death, the only living thing in a sea of it. She doesn’t know if it’s intentional or if he’s just lived in it so long that it’s the only way he can tell her. She doesn’t ask. She doesn’t ask a lot of things).
Leia knows of a woman named Shmi, a kind woman, a slave–a mother and a mechanic and the First Freed of the Skywalkers. She hears of this woman, of sand and sun and fire and ember, so much like Luke it hurts.
And that is how Leia knows she is not a Skywalker.
Leia does not have sand in her bones. Leia is of Alderaan, and she has water filling her heart, greenery twisting from it in place of veins. That is its legacy, greenery and life and water. She’s not quite the solid strength of Alderaan. That is what makes her people, that quiet resolve and steady hand. Leia is… not. She’s an ocean storm, of lashing wind and water, of towering, crashing waves and a terrible, terrible indifference (the storm does not care who is caught in its bows so long as it rages).
Leia grew up on Alderaan. She grew up in palaces and senates. She never wanted for food, for water, for a roof over her head or a place to sleep. She was never quite safe, but she was as close as she would ever get. She was a Princess. Her parents loved her, and so did her people.
Leia Organa did not live a slave’s legacy. And some part of her will never claim it, can never claim it, because she knows she’s never lived it. Will never live it. Her hands are rough from work she chose to do. Hardship she, truly, did not have to take on. Luke, on the other hand, grew up on Tatooine, that planet soaked in burning sunlight and slavery. He grew up knowing the price. He grew up as a First Free Born, and he knew what that meant. Leia doesn’t. Not really. And she knows she won’t ever really know. She won’t ever really understand (There are some things you must have carved into your bones, and sand can carve even the hardest of stone).
So Leia is not a Skywalker. Not in the way it would mean on Tatooine. They way it means to Luke. But even if she was, sometimes she looks at Luke, bright with the after image of a grandmother he will never meet, and it sits, unfamiliar in her chest.
Anakin Skywalker. Darth Vader. These are men Leia will never claim, and Luke would never ask her to. But Shmi is different. Shmi is kind.
Leia is… not. She is compassionate, yes, merciful, yes–determined and righteous and a spitfire kind of mad that grips injustice by its throat and shakes it like a terrier until its neck breaks. She is fierce and she is helpful. But she has too many sharp edges for kind.
Still, sometimes Leia feels a sort of duality with that ghost of a woman long gone. A kinship of sorts, but not one born of blood. Because Shmi was like a sandstorm. Immutable, inevitable, kind in only the way a force of nature born harsh could be. Leia was a storm, too–but she was one born of water and rage and indifference. But still, they are both storms, forces of nature. Opposites. Yet kin, in their own way. Sometimes Leia feels like she might be her mirror, a water child of ocean storm. Desert and sea. Kindness and compassion. Dead and living. Slave and free. They share nothing but their differences.
Shmi is still the closest Leia might have, in another life, claimed.
(Luke is hers, forever and always. They are two sides of the same coin and linked so intrinsically that he feels like a phantom limb, like an extension of herself. Luke is her kindness, and she is his pragmaticism, his hardness, and somehow she thinks that’s fitting. A Tatooine boy battered by winds of fate and misery, and it only made him kind. Her, held under pressure for so many years the carbon in her body turned to crystal, diamond-hard.)
But it is not another life. Leia is a princess, a senator, a daughter, a sister, a rebellion general and a Republic leader. Leia is an Organa. So Leia sits with Luke around fires, in the dead of night when the hyperdrive whirrs in the background, when he is bright-eyed in the sunlight, and listens to the stories of the Skywalkers. She listens. She learns, because they are Luke’s. And Leia Organa would do almost anything for her brother.
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