Leia remembered how her father’s home was watched by men in white armor by order of the Empire.
Before she learned how the Empire had ‘freed’ the galaxy by ridding them of the Jedi threat. Before she learned of how the Emperor had destroyed the true republic.
She remembered how when she’d been playing outside her father’s eye, she’d fallen and scraped her knee and one of the men had broken rank to approach her, bending down to her eye level, and asking if she was alright.
She remembered feeling safe in his presence.
As she grew from wild child, inspiring rebellions amongst her peers about taking care of the poor and downtrodden, to Princess of Alderaan and Senator of the Republic, Leia never stopped watching the soldiers in white that acted as the Empire’s enforcers.
Her mother told her about ‘troopers and the terrible things they’d done in the name of the Emperor.
Her father told her about troopers and the brave men that had fought for the Republic who had treated them like nothing, who had died for strangers and fought for their Jedi.
They raised her on stories of a man with a silver tongue and a mind like lightning, who’d negotiate and fight for peace against all odds, who was everything that represented the Jedi to the Republic.
Her mother told her of the 212 who would have followed that Jedi anywhere – and the Jedi that had been so betrayed by the people he’d loved and served all of his life.
She eventually noticed how beneath the edges of white armor, some of the soldiers watching her carried strips of color.
She watched for gold.
Leia learned to watch her father in the Senate, learn who lied, who believed in their vote, who had ulterior motives.
She learned who fought for their people against all odds.
She learned who traded the lives of their people for a better life for themselves.
She saw the worst and the best of people in the representatives she saw there.
Her father told her that she was a good reader of people.
She just trusted her gut feelings about people, whispered to her in flashes just outside of her hearing that punched her in the chest with their intensity.
Her father told her about a hero of the Republic, who had fought the rise of the Empire and ultimately died for it.
Told her that for all she was their daughter in spirit, in name, and they loved her like their own, she had been born of Naboo.
Leia had learned about Queen and later Senator, Padmé Amidala.
Her father said that her mother would be proud of what she was doing – and she knew he didn’t mean his wife.
Leia had been leaving her father’s home, to return to the Senate for an emergency meeting, when a spike of fear in the air had her twisting and ducking on instinct.
A blaster fired into where her head had been, then before she could react, a pair of white-armored soldiers stood in front of her as a third helped her to her feet.
A feeling she could not name had her reaching for the man on her left, grabbing him by his arm and tugging him to the side before he could be hit.
The man nodded his helmet once in thanks before shifting back in front of her, as the three of them escorted her out of sight.
Twice more did a gut feeling have her pulling one of the men out of the way of a blaster-shot that would have killed them.