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Hope, Reversed

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Prince Luke Organa sat with his head down, breathing with ruthless evenness that still managed to sound harsh and unnatural in his ears. He’d feel better if he straightened, if he stood up and walked around as much as his cell allowed, but he wasn’t sure he could stand. Was this the aftereffects of the torture? Imperial torture was billed as ‘maximum effect, minimum damage,’ but there was no way you could twist someone’s nervous system that hard and not cause lingering issues, right?

…great Force, he’d all but forgotten about the torture. It had been swept away from him by what came after.

The door went clunk and he thought with a soundless roar of static this is it, this is my death. He hadn’t resigned himself to it, he thought he might still be able to escape if he could find a way to use the tension he could feel between Tarkin and Vader like a vibroblade at the back of his neck - but now, as the door swept open to reveal a Stormtrooper’s mask, he knew he was out of time.

The Rebellion will live on, he told himself fiercely, forcing himself to stand, to meet his executioner with dignity. The plans will get to General Kenobi, and the Rebellion will live on.

“Hurry up,” the Stormtrooper barks. “We don’t have much time.”

Luke puts all the aristocratic chill he can muster into his reply. “You’ll understand if I don’t much care about Tarkin’s schedule.”

The Stormtrooper visibly balked. “What? Oh-“ And lifted her hands, and took off her helmet, and while Luke was still trying to process that the beautiful young woman in Stormtrooper armor tucked the helmet under her arm and extended an impatient hand to him. “I’m Leia Skywalker, your Highness,” she rapped out, unsmiling, and Luke got the sense that the use of his title was meant to lubricate the pulling of his royal head from his royal ass. “I’m here to rescue you.”

…well.

Luke didn’t question. He didn’t hesitate. He let his rescuer take his arm and escort him out of the cell, offering, “In that case, you can call me Luke.”

Finally he was graced with a brief, fierce smile, the fire glittering in her eyes a perfect match for the fire beginning to flare up again in his heart. “Luke,” Leia repeated, and something slotted into place for him hearing his name on her lips, like a last glimpse of the home he’ll never see again. “Let’s go.”

The Rebellion lives on!

(“…so, who’s that?”

“Oh. That’s - that’s Captain Solo. I… might have bribed him with your unimaginable wealth to help rescue you. Sorry about that.”

“Huh. Well, if we actually do survive, I’ll see what I can do.”)