I think Yoda would still want to hide and separate the children. I think Padme would refuse, and I hope Obi Wan would help–
Because wouldn’t that be fun? Padme, who ruled a planet, who challenged a senate, who married a horror, who can pick her own locks while handcuffed in the middle of a gladiatorial arena– now on the run with her two infants and only a heartbroken Obi Wan to back her up.
(And R2D2, of course.)
Padme’s always been the practical sort, even when royal, so she knows how to change a diaper and feed a child. She also knows how to fly the stolen ships Obi Wan and R2D2 hack into, how to bargain in thirteen intergalactic languages, how to spot a bounty hunter in a crowd, and how to shoot a blaster with deadly intent.
Padme was in love with someone who maybe never even existed– maybe once, there had been a boy who wanted to help people, who risked his life and his pod racer for someone else’s story, who made a young girl laugh in a sand-worn mechanic’s shop.
She had been chasing him for years, that once good heart, but now with these bruises purpling and fading around her neck, she stops waiting. She starts running. Every time Obi Wan force-moves something over the next few weeks, she has to bury a flinch.
But Leia is growing in fits and spurts, eating greedily and crying loudly. She stays in a sling on Padme’s chest when they move, Luke held snug in a sling around Obi Wan’s. Luke gets a whole head of thick brown hair while Leia’s is still patchy and bald, but he never matches his sister’s powerful lungs.
When Padme had been sitting in her high senatorial apartment on Corsucant, holding Anakin’s sweaty hand, she had never imagined she’d be murmuring desperately soothing noises to her fussy daughter while she shot around a corner at stormtroopers, while R2D2 meddles with a ship’s blast doors behind her.
Luke starts teething on a hot jungle planet where they hunker down for three weeks, sleeping in an abandoned old temple and catching the local wildlife for dinner. Leia takes her first steps in the belly of a Corellian freighter they’ve stowed away on. She wobbles between Padme’s outstretched hands and Obi Wan’s knees and boxes of smuggled luxuries. When she falls down, Obi Wan surges forward, heart in his throat, but Leia laughs.
Padme lost a husband, but Obi Wan lost a brother and his whole order– his world, his people, his family.
(One day, Leia’s whole home planet will vaporize and die under Vader’s–Anakin’s–command, and Obi Wan will find himself in the wreckage of it, the place Alderaan used to be, and he will recognize the sorrow shrieking into the Force.)
But for now– Padme watches Obi Wan win them funds in gambling halls, grin into the teeth of a good flyer chase, sleep with Leia strewn over his chest, and Padme wonders if he isn’t more heartbroken here over Anakin than she is.
Luke learns to walk a whole few months after Leia, but he falls less. He moves around the rim on mechanic’s shops, freighter cargo holds, makeshift camps on green planets, holding onto stable things and frowning seriously. Leia tries to leap from walking to running with no lead up time at all. She is not without scraped knees and scabby heels of her palms for years.
They manage to spend a whole eight months on a little Outer Rim planet in a sleepy agrarian settlement. Padme and Obi Wan repair farming droids while R2D2 plays nursemaid (both Leia and Luke will be fluent in droid by the time they’re six). Luke and Leia play rough-housing games in the dry dirt– this is the first time they’ve stayed anywhere long enough to learn other children’s names. On day two hundred and thirty six they hear reports of stormtroopers so they pack up and hop on a transport at the nearest spaceport, not even bothering to check where it’s going.
When they fly their own ships, they strap Luke and Leia into the same passenger’s seat and Padme and Obi Wan narrate. “Here you’ve got to always turn off the compressor before you activate the initiator…” “See the flashy blue light? Gotta have all the blue lights flashing…”
They hear reports of the empire growing. They see it– stormtroopers in more and more distant outposts, imperial ships passing them in the skies. Obi Wan lost the Jedi cloak years ago. They plate R2D2 in matte grey paint. Padme cuts her hair short and dresses in many-varied-layers like any refugee– because that’s what she is now, she and her little family.
Obi Wan has two lightsabers. He thinks Padme doesn’t know– he has the one he fights with, holding back stormtroopers and reflecting bounty hunters’ blaster shots, but he also has another one, tucked into the bottom of his pack.
“It’s Anakin’s, isn’t it?” Padme asks one late night, tucked in a stony sheltered hollow on a planet that storms warm rain thirty-eight hours out of the day’s forty-two. Obi Wan gives a soft laugh and puts his hand over his eyes as Padme goes on, “The saber you’re hiding from me.”
He nods, slowly, lets his hand fall. “I took it from him, when I left him for dead.”
“Not dead enough,” says Padme. “You’re keeping it in case yours gets lost?”
“Yes,” he says slowly. “Or in case… we might need another light saber, some day.”
Luke is bouncing a X-wing fighter toy along the wet pebbles. Leia is beeping something at R2D2, giggling over the rainfall.
“Hm,” says Padme. “We might need another two.”
Alderaan still becomes Leia’s home. At almost sixteen, spit-fire furious, thoroughly educated by both a Jedi master and her ex-queen/ex-senator/always-a-rebel mother, Leia sits firmly down at the table in the junk smuggling ship they’ve been living on recently and announces, “I want to go into politics.”
“I don’t trust politicians,” says Obi Wan, and Padme kicks him under the table.
They fabricate educational records and essay-writing contests, relying on R2D2’s hacking skills as much as Obi Wan’s powers of persuasion. Padme contacts her old senatorial ally Bail Organa and gets Leia a junior internship on his staff.
The Organas had once been willing to take in a girl-child and call her their own. They welcome this older, taller Leia with arms just as wide-open and she boards in their spare bedroom. Over breakfasts where Leia enthusiastically grills Bail about policies, bills, and negotiations, they never mention they were almost her parents. Their adopted daughter Isabel, who is a few months younger than Leia, giggles into her oatmeal while Leia leans forward and waves a spoon as she tries to make a point.
Leia has never lived more than nine and half months in one place, and never on a planet with a shorter than nine standard-month solar orbit– so she has never seen a season leave and then return.
She files papers and learns bureaucrat-speak and sits through meetings and helps plant saplings in a local park in a bit of community outreach PR for the senator’s campaign. A wet spring rolls into a muggy, ugly summer; then the fall cold cracks the air and thick purple and orange leaves cascade to the ground. All the climbing vines turn red and brown to prepare for hibernation.
Winter wreathes the place in frost and the occasional dusting of snow. Leia and her family once spent two closeted weeks on Hoth, laying low, so she scoffs at the layers and layers all her fellow interns are draping themselves with. She gets some waterproof boots, some good gloves, and forgets her hat with a stubborn, prideful constancy.
Then the spring comes in. The frost melts and the grass shoots up. Irises unfurl purple, and geryblums come in vibrant yellow. Leia walks to the senatorial offices in a vague drizzle, having forgotten her hat again, and gets there sopping wet and feeling like something is overflowing in her chest.
When she first stepped on this planet, the irises were uncurling, purple, white, frilled. They withered, browned, the seasons rolling on, but then the irises came in– came back.