Love, the Family   Rating: PG
Diana DeRiggs

Many thanks to SuSu and to Csillag for help with myriad details! And to Runt for being a nice beta.



There would always likely be whispering and gossip about who's marrying who and for what reasons, but Princess Leia was a totally different commodity in the galaxy. Raised in the public eye, groomed for bureaucracy, experienced at subversion and war, she fascinated everyone. Of course, they could be disgusted with her or elevate her to a level akin to holiness, but she was never ignored.

This time, she announced her engagement to Han Solo of Corellia. The level of buzz grew louder, if such a thing were possible. Although it was recently brought to light that he had indeed descended from a deposed ruler of his home planet, and it was well known that he graduated as an officer from the Imperial Military Academy on Carida, he was best known as a smuggler -- an alternate sort of hero for the masses. On paper, Princess Leia's 'droid pointed out that Han had the lineage to qualify. Ultimately, the lineage would prove to be false, but no one knew it at the time, though everyone certainly had an opinion.

Even more eyebrows were raised after the public courtship of Leia by Prince Isolder of the Hapes cluster had ended abruptly. Leia had disappeared after an assassination attempt, as had Isolder. When she resurfaced, it was to announce her engagement to Han, while Isolder had disappeared to marry Teneniel Djo, a Force-strong witch from Dathomir. In fact, their first diplomatic appearance would be together, at Leia and Han's wedding. It was all very confusing, and the schlock journalists and etiquette pundits had a field day.

And since Leia is the face of the New Republic government, her wedding would be a huge and grand affair. Every official with any political significance would be invited, and most had already indicated that they would indeed attend. The wedding would also by broadcast via Holonet on a staggered schedule, so those dignitaries who would not be seated in the hall itself would see the spectacle before lesser officials, and they before the public. Leia's protocol 'droid, C3PO, was assigned the task of drawing up seating priorities and maps. Then social secretaries would double-check that no protocol was breached.

New Republic Intelligence had never dealt with something so hugely public before, with so many political leaders in attendance. It was a logistical nightmare, but one they were determined to carry off. Since their experience tended to be in spywork, infiltration, and guerilla warfare, they opted to use methods they were familiar with in order to accomplish the task. It was a big party with a lot of important people, and the result would be disastrous if anyone was hurt or killed. It would be equally bad if the New Republic or any of it's supporters and allies ended up looking foolish or incompetent.

Spies and agents were trained to infiltrate every level of social and political order, to watch and respond to any security problems. Marksmen would be concealed throughout the venues and the pathways leading toward them. Routes were carefully planned, backup plans made, and NRI made sure to use propaganda and the rumor mills to plant false information everywhere.

The task was made more complicated because the nature of the enemy was not clear. It could be any of the groups the New Republic had fought in the past, from Imperials, to Warlords, to disgruntled splinter groups who resented the new government. It could also be anyone from the Hapes Cluster who had counted on Isolder's marriage to Leia. It could also be any enemy -- large or small -- of any of the guests. And finally, it could be anyone with a personal vendetta who hoped to humiliate any of the wedding party or the guests.

Given the diffuse nature of the possible attackers, General Crispen felt his best option was a gift from Wedge Antilles. The starfighter commander had, with Admiral Ackbar's blessing, developed a squadron who flew better than any other (minus Rogue Squadron, of course) and whose members had diverse infiltration and commando skills. Better, he took soldiers who were on the verge of washing out of traditional jobs in the military and built them into a cohesive, effective unit, capable of spywork or escort duties, as required. When Antilles resigned as commander of this experiment called Wraith Squadron, he had considered it to be more suited to Intelligence missions over starfighter missions. Thus the Wraiths became an Intelligence unit.

The transition was surprisingly difficult for the Wraiths, who were absolutely loyal to Antilles, and who were astonished at this change of direction. Onee member had even resigned membership in the unit in order to stay in Starfighter Command. And since the Wraiths had been developed very much outside of the main military hierarchy for their entire history, they had to re-train, in a sense. Crispen felt their first mission should be a delicate one of high importance: the protection of the wedding party and the dignitaries attending.

His plan was for the Wraiths to infiltrate various groups and respond to potential threats, rather than direct detection of, and action against, danger. They were essentially to be bodyguards, but as there were only a few of them and many to protect, the Wraiths were astonished to find themselves in cooking school.

Knowing that the catering and serving staffs would be difficult to track, Crispen felt that the Wraiths needed to not only watch the operations, but also know everything they needed to know about catering. This way, they could detect anything untoward before the food was served or the servers could go out to the dining halls.

* * * * *

"I swear, it's a new blister!"

"You said that yesterday, go away, I'm tired."

"Really, look! It's a blister within the blister!"

Kell Tainer wished he had invoked officer's privilege to have a separate room, but for the sake of the mission and the intensity of their training, he and others in the unit had voted to share housing facilities. It would make their cover more convincing as well.

But right now, Kell wished he didn't know anything of "brunoise" or "julienne" or "tournage." The military had an excellent cooking school run by Gaulliens, a humanoid species who had codified and developed their cuisine to sophisticated levels. Anyone who was anyone coveted a fully trained Gaullien chef, and there were schools founded to feed this desire. But the New Republic had one of the best, a fact not known by the general public. The purpose of this school was to create chefs out of soldiers for a variety of reasons, including duplicity and infiltration, as well as to feed officers and enlisted troops. Since they were outside of any conventional schooling regulations, they custom-created classes to suit.

Thus the Wraiths were in a traditional Gaullie kitchen -- called a "brigade" to indicate it's quasi-military hierarchical structure -- learning how to wash, chop, dress, even how to stand. The purpose was to create an experienced catering specialty crew, members of which would be inserted into the kitchens of the former Imperial palace. The other crews and cooks and scullery staff brought in to do the cooking and cleaning should not be able to detect that they were ever anything but exclusive private chefs of the highest order -- people Leia would want to serve her wedding feast.

So they stood at their stations for 15 hours a day, the equivalent of three lessons. A normal hyper-accelerated schedule to produce a professional chef was six standard months, but the Wraiths would be doing the same lessons and exams in just over three weeks.

So Kell Tainer was lying on his stomach, trying to ignore Elassar Targon who was whining about his blisters. Eventually, Piggy saBinring growled a threat that sounded like something they'd done to some water creatures that day, and Elassar settled for quietly sniffling at their insensitivity.

Unfortunately, just as he dropped off to sleep, he felt someone trying to rouse him. Kell opened his eyes and saw Tyria Sarkin was standing over him, and he became confused when Commander Face Loran's voice said, "You need to come with me, special assignments for you." In his groggy state, Kell hoped the man was standing behind his field of vision while Tyria stood before him. He did not want to have to go through a medical examination of his mental faculties.

Groaning, Kell rolled out of his bunk and pulled himself into the chef uniform leggings they had been issued. Just what I need, in addition to these lessons! He hoped they'd come up with some version of caf that might actually help keep him awake. Looking over at Tyria, he saw that she, too, was bleary-eyed and apprehensive looking. He wondered what this was all about?

Face led the two into an empty teaching kitchen and gave them each holos to review. He announced that the two would stop cooking lessons, and instead would undergo training in etiquette and protocol. Tyria would be one of Leia's handmaidens and accompany the bride and her maids everywhere. Kell would do the same for Han.

Tyria arched her eyebrows, "We're going from kitchen wenches to bodyguards? I guess that's a sort of promotion?"

Kell laughed, "Face, are you saying we suck at cooking?" He was feeling giddy, No more kitchen duty!

Commander Loran gave a crooked, fatigued smile to the two, "Believe it or not, it was your commando and ranger experiences that drew you this assignment. Though Kell, your tournage did suck."

"I tried!" Kell complained in a mock-wounded tone, "My hands cramped up and those little buggers are slipper-"

"And Tyria," Face spoke over the false whining, "you cannot tell a ciseler cut from an émincer, sorry to say."

She looked wounded, "There's a difference?"

They giggled, relieved to not have to continue the classes. Not that learning etiquette and protocol on such high levels would be less work, but at least this assignment was something more in line with the type of things they normally study. "What about the others?" asked Kell.

"They're still on kitchen midden learning curve climbing," sighed Face, "oh, except for me. I get to study the priesthood ..."

Tyria's eyebrows shot up again, "Forgive me Father, but you have got to be kidding?"

Face pat his gut, "No, just middle aged spread coming a bit early, what with all the cook's training ..."

* * * * *

Whining loudly at losing three classmates, Dia pitched a fit, and Face rewarded her by pronouncing that she was now head of the Wraith Kitchen Brigade, deeming her of the right temperament to be head chef. They all guffawed and she blushed crimson. Looking over everyone's progress mid-way through the training, Face commissioned Runt Ekwesh to be sous chef, or second, to Dia. One of his many personalities -- a normal part of growing up for a Thakwaashi -- was well organized and could remember recipes with little effort. Kell commented he'd seen this personality before, describing it as "the one who studies and remembers."

Piggy was assigned to do further studies in bread making, while Shalla was put in charge of pastries and cakes, with Elassar as her sous. When reporting to the palace kitchens, they would be in charge of the staff assigned to those jobs. They were reminded that they needed to behave as absolute authorities on these subject matters, even if they had to fake it.

As the wedding day approached, they put in a few extra hours daily to practice the recipes the palace had requested for Leia and Han's wedding reception. They needed to be convincing, and they were all nervous about giving their inexperience away. They all lamented that they needed to be more rested, but NRI assured them that their exhaustion was natural and normal for cooks. It would not be surprising for even very experienced chefs to be nervous in this high-profile situation.

More importantly, they needed to be aware of what the workers were doing, to stop any attempts on the lives or health of the guests. In their first day, Elassar passed through the kitchen and saw one cook preparing the fish course in a strange manner. On closer inspection and with confirmation from Runt, they saw that the stomach membrane was left on the fillet. The entrails of this species were not toxic, but the membrane was indigestible for many of the ruling species, including humans. Not fatal, but it could be an embarrassment to the New Republic. That cook was quietly removed from the kitchen, and the fillets repaired by other cooks.

Piggy looked over every batch of dough to make sure nothing was put into it that wasn't supposed to be there. He did note a batch of seeds to be put on the surface of the loaves looked a bit odd. Out of curiosity, he had Shalla put it into heat and acid. To no one's surprise, that combination caused them to hatch into a carnivorous worm or some sort. After baking and ingestion by the guests, they would have been a ready source of protein for the hungry insectoids. The supplier was carefully discovered and "deactivated" by the NRI.

In addition to these occurrences, other things were happening, things that couldn't be traced or satisfactorily explained. Every cake Shalla and Elassar prepared collapsed for no particular reason. True, the batter was delicate, but there were no vibrations or loud noises that might have shaken the air out of them. The oven temperatures were checked and monitored constantly; there were no sudden changes in heat, no cold drafts. Yet the cakes all collapsed. Pressed for time, Shalla decided to make tortes instead of the fluffy cakes originally prescribed. She sliced the layers thinly and filled them with a rich cream, hoping no one would notice the cakes weren't actually supposed to be so dense. To cover for the lack of height, Elassar constructed a scaffolding to put the cakes on, giving it an unusual airy appearance. It was likely not exactly a formal Alderaanian-style creation, but Shalla had read about a wedding where such a cake was served on that planet. It will have to do, prayed Shalla as she delicately and decoratively covered a fissure with buttercream.

The troop barely had time to sleep, and Dia was especially snappish at everyone. The normal kitchen workers shrugged it off, not even muttering about her unfair behavior. They all appreciated the complexity of each dish, and listened when she explained the political significance of the ingredients and plating. They had no reason to believe she wasn't a famous and exclusive Twi'lek culinary specialist specifically requested by Leia's people.

So they only looked slightly astonished when Dia started ranting about some root vegetables that didn't come out properly cut. Rather than being shaped into perfect spheres, the balls were pitted and showed random hash marks. No matter how many times they were done over, they looked awful and Dia went into attack mode. Some chefs are just like that, and the staff just tried to keep their heads down and out of the way.

But she continued her harangue and threw her knife down in frustration. It was supposed to clatter onto the counter, but it stuck, point down. It vibrated back and forth for a long time after she stormed out of the kitchen. It was funny, but everyone was too shocked at her leaving to laugh.

* * * * *

Tyria just couldn't figure out why stains kept showing up on the bridal gowns. She'd analyzed the marks and there was nothing special about them. They just seemed like the sort of grubby fingerprints that children might leave on their clothes after playing outside for too long. Since no children or animals were in presence and the gowns had not been allowed out of Leia's private chambers, no one could figure out how it had happened.

But at last the dresses were done, with plenty of time to spare. Tyria and the other handmaidens slept on the floor of the oversized closet to keep the dresses safe. She was closest to the wedding dress itself, and Tyria was confident that no harm would come to it on her watch.

On the morning of the wedding, Leia put on the gown and walked across the room, and the skirt came away completely from the bodice! There was panic among the handmaidens and bridesmaids, as the seamstresses had been dismissed to sit in the wedding hall. Servants deserved and desired to see their mistress marry; to deny them this privilege and force them to stay behind would have been cruel. Unfortunately, that meant there was no one available to do the tedious hand-sewn repair.

The others glared at Tyria. She was sleeping right next to the dress, thus they assumed she was somehow to blame for this awful mishap.

As royal pages scrabbled looking for the suddenly invisible seamstresses (they would have changed their clothing, making them unrecognizable), a frightened Tyria sent a message to Dia. The former dancing girl had learned many skills as a slave, including ornate sewing, and Tyria knew Dia could make the repair. She knew about the stressful conditions in the kitchen and hated to compound her squadmate's responsibilities, but this was a real emergency. Tyria did not want to be arrested and not be able to perform her guard duties due to incarceration!

Tyria did wonder, as Dia returned her signal to confirm she'd left the kitchen and would be coming, how Leia could stand there in her underwear and the bodice, looking quite bemused. How can she be smiling at a time like this?? Tyria moved for the medkit, just in case this was some symptom of hysteria.

* * * * *

Kell got the report that Tyria had drugged a Twi'lek handmaiden in Leia's retinue in order to make room for Dia to take the woman's place. He had started for the Princess's wing to see if he could help hide the unfortunate girl's unconscious body when he found he couldn't activate the door trigger. He pressed against it, then got on his knees to try and pry the hinges open. Finally, alarmed at being stuck, several of the groom's men leaned into the door with him, but to no avail. Not even Chewbacca, a Wookiee with more strength than three humans, was able to pry the door open.

Han looked more than mildly panicked. Kell knew that the General had worked hard to convince the Princess to marry him over other worthy, more appropriate candidates. That he might not be able to leave the bachelor's suite was horrifying him. What would Leia think???

As the time to enter the ceremony hall approached, the panic became worse. They tried over-riding the security codes. They pounded the lock mechanism, breaking it -- but to no avail. They even considered smashing a window to climb out of the tower to the floor below to enter the wedding hall that way.

A glance passed between Kell and Han, and the latter nodded. Pulling tiny electronic parts from his vest pockets and surreptitiously removing chemicals and packing from hollow compartments in his shoes, Kell mixed and assembled expertly. While the other men tried contacting security or tapping the walls to find any breach, Kell quietly blew the door open with a loud popping sound.

He quickly inspected the door bolts and was confused by what he saw -- or rather, but what he didn't see. It didn't seem the door was hampered with in the least. There were no fused parts, other than the damage he'd caused. No jamming. No foul play, as it were.

But as the men tidied themselves up before dashing down the corridors, Kell noticed two metal coins by the opposite wall. They could have been blown away by the explosion ... but what did they mean?

Then Han shouted out -- the wedding rings were gone! Fortunately, Kell had taken the precaution of hiding the real wedding rings, made of precious alderaanite and Corellian diamonds. Knowing the chances of losing the small items was high, NRI had made several copies. Kell had deftly replaced the real ones with the fakes in Han's pockets. He even had other fakes secreted in several places, knowing thieves might be looking for the rings. Who could the thieves be? Kell assured the distressed groom that the rings were already in the hall, safely kept in a hidden strongbox.

As they clattered down the hallway, Kell recalled a schoolboy prank he'd played on his sisters when they'd lived on Sluis Van. Angry at them for excluding him from whatever they were doing in the locked room, he'd pushed against the door and pushed a couple of shims between the door and the jamb. The girls inside could not get the portal to open after that. It was a harmless trick, very low-tech and very effective.

As they marched in a stately manner into the gallery, Kell thought these were things kids do to each other. He wondered why someone would play such childish pranks on Han on this most important of days? And who could it have been?

* * * * *

Face was aghast, wondering how all the clergy could have suddenly lost their ability to walk, all at once? They all skidded inelegantly across the altar, having slipped on a highly polished step descending from the entrance. Fortunately, this was during a rehearsal, so no one had witnessed these tumbles. None of them seemed seriously injured, but all had turned their ankles or snapped a limb.

Even with high-grade bacta treatment, they would not all be fully healed in time for the wedding. So Face ordered repulsorlift-fitted seating for the officiants' dais. They worked on the timing so that the men, women and aliens could drift forward at the designated portion of the ritual at a ceremonial pace; it looked even better than the originally intended procedure. It had more pomp and circumstance; Face asked the accompanying music to be turned up a bit to cover the chugging sound of the engines.

As Face was the only one among them who'd gotten away with just a mild limp, he remained standing as the Master of Ceremonies. The crash course version of a seminary education he'd been assigned to undergo had convinced the others that he was a valid member of the clergy, authorized to perform this service. In this more visible role, he'd have to take care to disguise himself better; he would have to look the part better when Han and Leia publicly recited their vows.

* * * * *

The holos recording the event showed General Han Solo looking nervous, anxious and very, very handsome in his dress uniform. He looked like every nervous bridegroom, but was imbued with a heady sexiness that men and women found irresistibly appealing. All over the galaxy Han was held up as a new swashbuckling style hero, the reformed low-life who gained his princess through changing his life, as well as through subterfuge. News had leaked out how in his desperation to convince the Princess Leia Organa to take him as a husband, he had taken to breaking major laws. It was a highly romantic notion and it made Han a great favorite.

The holos recorded a range of emotions on the groom's face, from what looked to be a symptom of illness, to giddy happiness. He gazed on his bride with open affection, and many who viewed the holo couldn't help but imagine he was looking at them.

In contrast, Leia looked calm and serene. This could be expected, as she'd been raised a princess, and she was the object of desire of many important men. Women longed to be her; men desired her. She was a woman in complete control. The only times she seemed to need help, she would glance over at Winter, her aide, and would smile again, calmly happy.

* * * * *

Winter had been receiving reports of the mysterious mishaps that had occurred, and rather than keep them from the bride, she went to Leia immediately, surprised and breathless.

"You remember, don't you, Leia?" Winter never forgot anything, "That time you kept pounding up and down the stairs when your Aunt Eirtaé was baking? She would come out and beg you to keep quiet?"

Leia looked startled as the memory flooded her consciousness, "It was ... it was shortly after mother died ..."

Winter smiled, sadly, "Yes ... and Eir was trying to bake a cake for you, and you kept running into her apartment demanding to know if it was done."

"Very loudly!" Leia returned her companion's sad smile, "The poor woman ... I do think that not a single cake she made fluffed up properly!"

"Leia," Winter's tone was serious, "I found out the pastry cook did exactly what Eir did ... she made a torte with lots of buttercream, like when we were kids. I want you to be prepared when you see it and taste it ... don't cry ..."

But the princess's eyes were already bright, "Just the thought of it makes me cry! Winter, what will I do ... I can't not eat it! I mean ... I even want to eat it. I suddenly feel like it would being Aunt Eir back to life ... this is crazy!" She sobbed as quietly as she could.

Winter looked suddenly thoughtful, "Leia ... you have a point. Some other stuff happened in the kitchen too, stuff that looks like practical jokes, but now that you say that, it kind of makes sense ..."

Sniffing, Leia waited for her companion to continue.

"Aunt Saché cut those beautiful spheres out of vegetables and fruit, for your father's birthday, remember? We thought they were so lovely ..."

"Yes!" Leia remembered clearly, though she was only very young, "We wanted to decorate them, like beads!" She grew excited, "They were so perfect! We even tried stringing some of them, but ... but ... someone caught us ..."

"It was your mother ..."

Leia's tears flowed as she laughed, "She was so upset!"

Winter and Leia sat touching foreheads, hugging each other's shoulders, "But Aunt Sach took us to the stables and let us feed the thuvasaurs and other cattle with the necklaces we made." The two women had their eyes closed, remembering the domesticated, gentle grazers, as well as the bad-tempered nerfs they had fed that morning with their handiwork. Not having thought of the incident from long ago for many years, they felt fresh pangs of guilt for what they'd done to the hard work Saché had put into Bail Organa's birthday presentation.

Winter whispered, "When the cooks downstairs made those spherical forms ... they mysteriously developed markings on them. Just like the ones we made on the vegetables and fruits so long ago ... Leia, do you understand what this might mean?"

The Princess of Alderaan opened her eyes slowly, "I know ... I've ... I think I've felt them ..."

Winter's eyes brimmed with tears, "I've read about this ... that souls through the Force can sometimes affect what goes on in the living plane ... do you think ...?"

Leia closed her eyes again, "Yes, I do. The family is here."

* * * * *

Thereafter, Leia started looking at apparent unlucky mishaps more closely.

When Leia's skirts fell away, she gave a meaningful look to Winter; Aunt Rabé was here. When Leia was learning to sew, they gave her a project: fastening the skirt to the bodice of her Aunt's ballgown. The job required meticulous but repetitive stitching, something the palace had considered within Leia's grasp. She instead quickly basted the skirt using large, uneven stitches, then went out to play. At the reception, Leia had stepped on the train and the heavy skirt ripped open the inadequate stitching. Winter remembered Rabé's look of horror, while Leia remembered the pretty petticoat she had been wearing beneath. Unfortunately, Leia had neglected to have it cleaned properly, and it bore her little fingerprints; her aunt had not supposed anyone would see it ...

And when they heard the explosion from Han's suite, they worried briefly before security comm'd Winter to let her know Han and his men were fine. The door had gotten jammed and they opted to blow their way out. Winter and Leia giggled as they remembered locking their Aunts Yané and Dormé in the powder room. They'd been taking a long time in there and had scolded Leia for pestering them while they "made themselves presentable" for one of the never-ending functions. Leia had decided to teach them a lesson and make sure they couldn't leave the room! In that occasion, her father had come and figured out what she had done -- Leia had pressed against the door, then slipped two coins in the space between the door and the jamb. This effectively clogged up the door from moving enough to open, trapping the aunts within.

She peered into the hallway camera monitors and watched Han run down to the wedding chambers so he wouldn't be late for the ceremony. She felt a surge of excitement and warmth, My aunts must approve of him!

* * * * *

Leia remembered that she had enthusiastically polished the steps her father would descend to give a rallying speech. She'd been such an overachiever that her father and his retinue had skidded down the steps, unable to get their footing on the ultra-smooth surface! Bail Organa had to be supported as he limped to the dais; his pelvis and wrist had cracked, but he gave the speech without further incident.

When she saw the officiants sitting on repulsorlift couches instead of standing in place as was traditional, she realized they had been injured. Knowing what to look for, she also saw the edges of the steps were very shiny and slippery looking. And she nearly fainted when the man Winter had told her was Face Loran rose to greet her as she came down the aisle. She wondered if he'd intentionally worn the blue doublet and dense white ruffs of the Senatorial Office of Alderaan. It was the clothing she usually saw her father wear for official and formal events.

She saw Kell Tainer come forward with a strongbox holding the rings. Han smiled that crooked grin, and whispered to her that he thought they'd been stolen. She looked up at him with what he thought was concern; in fact, she had been hit with the memory of stealing a ring that had belonged to her mother. When she looked at the ring Han put on her finger, she was completely shocked -- it had the same design as that one she remembered long ago!

She wondered how her mother had acquired that ring she'd pilfered so long ago ... and had Anakin Skywalker given it to her?

Leia pondered these things in her heart and realized she didn't want to tell anyone what had been going on. All these practical joke-type occurrences were profoundly meaningful to her.

Perhaps when a soul passes from the living plane to the one of death, the connection is not always severed properly, but neither can the soul travel along that connection to return fully to the living? And perhaps as long as friends or relatives remained among the living, it was possible to be recognized if you did manage to come back? Perhaps they weren't really returning, but they were like memories that came back to haunt you ... the things that were happening were being deliberately done by specific souls, triggering Leia's memories. These were messages for Leia alone, from those in the past or past the mortal coil.

Rather than becoming spooked or upset at these multiple mishaps, Leia felt warmed and happy. She'd been a difficult child, precocious and restless. Her aunts and her step-father -- they knew the terrible secret of her genetic history and understood the terror of losing her mother. They bore the brunt of her anger and energy, they'd absorbed it over the years.

Her genetic father had come to her in a vision while she was in Bakura, and had told her that he would be unable to separate himself from the Force after that one time. But he would be there and he would listen for her. Perhaps her other relatives -- not being as powerful in the Force -- could not manage such a manifestation? They could only manage to reflect the energy they'd absorbed while she was growing up? Perhaps they were waiting and listening, like Anakin Skywalker was, to let her know they still loved her. They forgave her for all the naughtiness she made them suffer -- as well as for what the Death Star had done to their planet.

It was an intensely personal absolution: the people whom she never thought she'd be with again were back! These final bits were too much to share with Winter or with Han or even Luke. It sounded crazy ... her relatives -- dead, but not forgotten -- were here today, watching her get married!


Disclaimer: All content is made up, and no profit or lucre is expected, solicited, advocated or paid. This is all just for fun. Any comments, please e-mail the author or WOOKIEEhut directly. Flames will be ignored. Characters and situations are based on those which are the property of LucasFilms Ltd., Bantam Publishing, Random House, and their respective original owners and developers. The rest is this story's author's own fault. This story may not be posted anywhere without the author's knowledge, consent, and permission. This story is presented by Wookieehut.com.