When Alderaan died, my whole heart died with it.
At least, that's what I told myself- and I believed it, too. I could see myself going through the years; a decorous, dignified leader whose sole devotion was to the Rebellion and to the New Republic I would help build afterward. And whenever this vision was accompanied by a twinge of loneliness, a longing for Alderaan and family and everything I had lost, I would remind myself that it?s what Father would have wanted. So then I'd work harder, stay up later, and bury myself in anything to block out that longing and those memories. The Rebellion was my family now; all I had left to live for, and I vowed to defeat the Empire.
There was a catch, though. During the sleepless, guilt-ridden nights that followed the destruction of my planet, the pain of losing Alderaan became almost too much to bear. Never again, I promised myself, would I give anyone or anything the chance to hurt me like that. And it seemed I had the perfect solution to that problem: not letting anybody get too close. Of course, I had dozens of acquaintances- but never friends. There were professional associations- but no relationships. And for a long time, I managed to convince myself that I was happy; that that's what I wanted.
It was a waste of time.
As usual, fate had other things in mind for me. A few short hours after the destruction of my world, my new life began- although I didn?t realize it then. As I tried to gather my courage while waiting for my impending 'termination,' an arrogant smuggler and an innocent, wide-eyed farm boy stormed their way into my life. It didn?t take me long to accept the rescue attempt, but I?m just starting to realize the effect they?ve had on my life.
Luke is sweet, considerate, thoughtful?he's like a brother to me and subconsciously, I've begun to let myself love him like a brother. Sometimes it feels like he can read my mind. That should be a little intimidating, or at least unnerving, but it's not. Maybe it's because of his Jedi powers, maybe it's just those baby-blue eyes, but from the minute he burst into my Death Star prison cell with his "I'm Luke Skywalker, I'm here to rescue you," I?ve just felt this connection between us. We never argue, we have all the same beliefs and ideals, and despite having completely different backgrounds, we have very similar outlooks on life. It's wonderful to have a friend like that, someone I can talk to when I've had a rough day. I've even shared some of my guilt over Alderaan, and while it hasn't made the pain go away, it did feel good just to talk about it.
Han, on the other hand?
He drives me crazy a hundred times a day. He stands up to me- and I know I can be a little bossy sometimes- insists I pull my own weight, and never lets me forget that he's "in this for the money." Whenever he addresses me- which he never does by my real name, by the way- he makes my title sound like an insult. I've probably spent half of our time together wanting to kill him.
But the thing is, he understands me.
Which is sort of a scary thing, because it must mean that we're fundamentally alike in some ways. Which I refuse to admit. But Han realizes that I hate it when people walk on eggshells around me, that though I may have my problems, I'm perfectly capable of "pulling my own weight," and that I work hard so I don't have to think about Alderaan and how I failed my people. Sometimes, when he doesn't think I'm watching, I catch him giving me this look. If I didn't know any better I'd almost think?but I don't want to think about that. Anyway, it probably doesn't mean anything. He'll be leaving soon enough.
Up until now I've taken their friendship for granted. All this time I've been telling myself that I was remote.
But who have I been kidding?
They've been out in the cold for?four hours, twenty-eight minutes, and thirteen seconds. Their tauntauns have probably died, which means that hypothermia could have set in by now, they could have been attacked?they could even be dead out there right now?
But I can't let myself follow that line of thought. It's too dangerous. I was right about getting close to people- it does make you vulnerable.
But I'm starting to think there's nothing wrong with that.
The whispering of two nearby officers breaks into my thoughts. It's getting late, and I know they want to close the shield doors for the night. They're waiting for my permission. Looking around the base, I know they're right. They should have been closed hours ago. Remember Leia, I can hear my father's voice inside my head, the welfare of the community comes before the good of a few people. Unwillingly, reluctantly, the responsible leader in me takes her place and I nod.
Slowly those metal doors are closing and I still can't help but hope that Han and Luke will come crashing in at the last minute- the way they came crashing into my prison cell and my life. Sometimes it seems-
The minute the doors close with that resounding slam, accompanied by Chewie's mournful wail, something inside of me snaps. And suddenly, I know what I've been trying to deny to myself for so long.
Try as I might, I can?t stop caring about people. I need Han and Luke in my life. I care about them both in different ways. The clich? is true. You never know what you have until you lose it.
My wrist chrono beeps, bringing my thoughts back to the tasks at hand. My night shift starts in five minutes, there's a pile of work on my desk to do afterward, then a meeting for Alliance Personnel, and four hours of sleep after that if I'm lucky- as if I could sleep now! And when I wake up, they might be dead.
You never know what you have until you lose it.
Please, don't let me lose it.
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