Inspired by Scuddington's art, which features Vader doing Leia's hair. I'd link it, but hates links,'ll just need to go check out Scuddington's tumblr to bask in her wonderful art!

The first time Vader learned how important hair was to little children was the day Miss Laena took PTO in the morning for an important doctors appointment.

He figured he had this. It was just one morning. No big deal. The only difference was that this morning, he'd be the one getting the kids ready for school. That wasn't hard. He was Darth Vader, Sith, destroyer of Jedi and Rebels alike, Commander of the Imperial Navy! He could handle school.

He scheduled his own meetings around the conflict, he'd warned the twins repeatedly that he needed them to cooperate, he'd made sure the night before that all was prepared. Bags, lunches, homework.

Too easy. Maybe he'd reconsider Miss Laena's salary.

And the morning did begin smoothly. Until Leia came running to him with a brush in her hand.

"I gotta be pretty daddy!" She shoved the brush towards him. "Do my hair!"

Vader froze. He...knew nothing about hair. He knew his wife had been excellent at it. When had she begun to be interested in how she did her hair? He tried to think back, but he couldn't remember a single time he'd seen her in public without perfectly styled tresses.

"You are a child. You do not need me to do your hair. Just brush it."

That of course, offended Leia. She pouted and glared. "I'm a big girl daddy, and big girls have pretty hair!"

She literally forced the brush into his hand.

Well. He'd mastered the Force. How hard could hair be?

Famous last words.

First, he was apparently not gentle enough. He tried to comb the tangles that she'd acquired overnight, and each time he did she began screaming "OW!" and crying. Horrified, he decided to instead hide the tangles and figure them out later. He pulled her hair into what resembled a ponytail and stepped back. "There. Now you will be late for school. Let us leave."

The hair wasn't...exactly like it should be. It was crooked, and he wasn't sure it was tight enough to stay in, but he didn't want to hurt her further. And he was pretty sure she didn't want him to try again, because she didn't argue.

He forgot about the incident shortly after the kids were dropped off. Miss Laena came back shortly before the end of school. He was in their home's personal conference room, doing assignments from home, when he heard the front door open and the telltale sound of children running through the home.

Miss Laena will take care of it. He thought, focusing back on his work…

Until he realized Leia was crying.

He hated it when she cried. Luke, he could deal with. But Leia? Absolutely not.

Shoving the datapad aside, he went to investigate.

"I'm ugly!" She was wailing when he entered the kitchen. Mis Laena was trying to comb Leia's hair and having a hard time with it. "I'm ugly!"

"Who told you a ridiculous lie like that?!" Vader thundered. Leia was the image of his beloved wife. Both of them were more beautiful than all the stars of the galaxy.

But to his surprise, Leia wailed harder. "Everyone! My hair was ugly!"

"Your hair does not reflect how beautiful you are. Hair changes daily."

Miss Laena winced. "Lord Vader...many children want to feel pretty when they go see their friends at school."

"Leia is beautiful already. I do not see what the problem is."

"...She is beautiful, but she may not feel that way when she doesn't like her hair...and other kids might say something if it looks...different."

"She is five."

"Even five year olds want to feel pretty."

Vader thought it was silly. Leia could have no hair and he'd find her just as perfect as she was with it. But judging on Leia's reaction, she very much cared about how her hair looked.

It was something her mother should have done. Had she lived, he had no doubt Leia would never have a bad day...or even Luke for that matter (sometimes that boy needed to run a comb through his hair, if Vader was being honest with himself).

But Padme...was not there. And it was his fault for that.

So it was up to him to fix it.

First, he ordered practice manikin heads, the kind hairdressers used to practice. Then, he found online tutorials on the holonet. He watched them carefully, paying close attention to the stylists finger and brush movements. It was not unlike studying lightsaber technique. Both had a certain art to it.

He just needed to master it.

The first many attempts didn't work as planned. Part of it was due to his cybernetics. They were...not made for the delicacy it took to style hair. The first few manikin heads ended up either with hair ripped out, or he'd grow so frustrated when he couldn't get a braid right, that he'd throw the manakin off the balcony, where it fell into the lower levels of Coruscant below.

But he was determined. He would not fail in this task. He would not be so reliant on Miss Laena that he would ruin his daughter's day again like that.

He would be the master hairstylist.

It took months (and countless manikin heads) to get things to where he felt he could confidently and safely try working on Leia's hair.

One morning, before school, he interrupted Miss Laena as she was about to help Leia get ready for school. "I have no need of your services when it comes to Leia." He informed her confidently. "I will handle it from here."

He did not miss the concern that flashed through the other woman, but she wisely did not say anything. "As you wish, My Lord."

He entered Leia's room. She was already dressed, though her hair, thankfully, was still a mess. "Where's Miss Laena?" She asked, frowning when he was the only one there.

"I am here to fix your hair problem." He announced confidently, spotting the brush and summoning it to his hand.

Leia did not hide her nervousness. "No, that's okay daddy, I...I can have ugly hair today."

"No. You will sit down and allow me to help you."


"If you do not let me help you, I will ground you from your dolls." It was an unfair threat and he knew it...but he was a Sith. He'd spent an unsithly amount of time mastering the ways of the hairdresser. He was not about to let Leia stop him now.

Leia pouted, but sat down. "Be nice to my hair, daddy." She warned as he approached, and he felt her genuine fear.

Carefully, he placed a hand on top of her head and smoothed her hair down in what he hoped was a soothing gesture...and began.

He first worked out the tangles. Carefully, in a way he knew wouldn't hurt her. Once all the tangles were gone, he began to braid.

The trick, he found, was not to completely rely on his metal fingers. Doing so would result in failure. The trick was to use the Force for anything that was too delicate and precarious for his clumsy hands. With a mixture of the Force and his own now well-practiced hands, he managed to braid her hair into a crown.

He stepped back, satisfied. "You look like a princess." He told her, and he meant it. It was hair that would make any royal princess jealous. He was fairly certain that Padme would have been quite proud of him had she seen it.

Leia looked in the mirror...and smiled. "Wow, daddy! You got good!"

"For you, my princess...though don't tell anyone I did it."

Having redeemed himself, he could have stopped there. He'd mastered enough to impress any five year old.

But he didn't stop there.

Leia soon decided that she'd rather have him do her hair than Miss Laena (something he was secretly pleased about, though he'd never admit it). As she grew, so too did her tastes in hair. Occasionally, she'd be interested in a style he didn't know how to do. But if she showed him what she wanted, he'd spend what little off time he had trying to figure it out. Once he'd mastered it, he'd try it out on her. Usually he was successful.

Soon, he began to savor the moments when it was just him and her. She'd sit on the chair, swinging her legs happily while he worked on her hair. Sometimes it felt like they didn't share as many interests, but when he did her hair, it seemed like it was their own "thing." It was unsithly, and his Master would absolutely have a heart attack if he ever found out, but he didn't care.

Soon though, as Leia grew into a teenager, she began to need him less and less. But instead, their time together was replaced by him teaching her how to do her own hair. He'd always dreamed of teaching his children the ways of the Force, but with Sidious suspicious of that ever happening, he knew this would probably be the closest thing he could get for Leia.

For now.

One day, as Leia finished braiding her hair so that it looked like a blooming flower for a Imperial youth party, she paused. "You know. I've never told anyone you learned how to do hair." She said.

"That is wise." He tried not to think of what the media would say if they ever found out Darth Vader knew almost as much about hair as any professional hairstylist.

"Why? I mean. You'"

He looked at her for a long moment. She'd grown to be so beautiful, exactly like her mother. And he decided to be honest.

"Because your mother was not here to do it for you." He replied. "I did not want you to miss out on that experience."

Leia turned, taking him in for a moment. Then, with a smile, she reached out and gave him a rare hug.

He...allowed it. This time.

"Thanks dad." She said. "You're the best. I don't care what anyone else says."

He didn't understand how him being good at hair made him the best…

But he'd accept it.