Predictably, the Council was displeased with Leia's chosen course of action.

"How are we supposed to help if we don't know anything?" Obi Wan insisted. "We have ten thousand Jedi, surely we can help at least a little -"

"That's the thing!" Leia shot back. "If you try to help, you will only make it worse. I understand you're worried, but this is something only I can do."

Yoda harrumphed. "The Skywalker arrogance, I sense in you," he grumbled.

Anger flared. "Don't call me that," she snapped. "I'm not a Skywalker."

"Your Force Signature says otherwise," said Mace Windu. "And your attitude," he added under his breath.

"With respect, Master," Obi Wan said, "She is not only the daughter of Anakin Skywalker, but Padme Amidala as well. We really should not be surprised at her stubborn, troublemaking tendencies."

Leia glared daggers at him. "I am not," she hissed, "His daughter."

"Relax, Leia," Vader murmured. "He's just teasing."

"You may call me Princess or ma'am, is that understood?" she retorted hotly. "We are not family. We are not even friends!"

"This is a conversation for you two to have later!" Windu cut in. "For now, at least let us assign you a bodyguard."

"What for?" Leia whined. "I can take care of myself!" She winced internally at how childish she sounded.

"Crafty, the lord of the sith is," Yoda mused. "Powerful. Already know about you, he may, and attack he could. Doubt your combat skills we do not -" he glanced, amused, at Anakin's bruised face, "-but nine months pregnant you are. Stand a chance against a trained Sith, you do not."

She pursed her lips and gave in.

"Fine. Who did you have in mind?"

Yoda slowly grinned like a nexu about to catch its prey.

"The council must really hate you," Leia remarked darkly. "Can't say I blame them, really."

Anakin's knuckles whitened on the steering wheel of their covered speeder. "I get it," he bit out. "You hate me. You can shut up about that now, you have made that abundantly clear."

Leia turned away to the window and they drove in stony silence until they pulled up to a shiny apartment building. The tension only built as they entered the lift and took it to the top. The doors swished open and Leia walked into an opulent apartment. She took in the good furniture, the kitchen, the windows with an amazing view of Coruscant. As she crossed to take in the view, a familiar droid caught her eye.

"Threepio?" she asked incredulously.

He waddled over eagerly. "Welcome home, Mistress Padme! Is there anything I can bring you this evening?"

Leia looked away, tears already springing to her eyes. She cursed herself for crying as she swept the tears away with the back of her hand; it seemed like the smallest thing could set her off right now. She blamed it on the pregnancy. "No thank you, C-3PO. I'm fine."

The droid took one look at the Jedi behind her and his eyes flickered in understanding. "Of course, Mistress Padme. I shall make myself scarce, then."

"You know him?" Vader asked behind her in surprise. She nodded.

"He was my family's droid," she answered. She turned to him, narrowing her eyes. "How do you know him?"

Anakin smirked. "I built him," he said. "When I was nine."

Leia's lips thinned. The thought that she'd spent her entire life with a creation of Darth Vader's was… unsettling. Almost as if she'd had a piece of him with her the whole time.

"Well," she bit out. "I think I'll retire for the night." She turned away.

"Oh, no, Princess," Anakin said, gripping her arm. "You're not getting away that easily."

Leia glared at his hand on her arm like it had killed her dearest kin - which, ironically enough, it had. "Remove your hand from my arm," she snarled, "Or I will remove your arm from your body."

He let go of her, but moved in front of her, blocking her way, arms folded, expression hard.

"You owe me a few answers, Leia. I've been patient all day even with all the bombshells you keep dropping. It's the least you can do."

Leia looked longingly at the door she assumed led to a bed. "You really won't let your pregnant wife just go to sleep?"

"You're not my wife," he retorted. "Apparently, you're my daughter in my wife's body."

She whirled on him. "Your daughter?" she spat. "I was never your daughter and I never will be! My father was Bail Organa! And you KILLED HIM!"

Anakn took a step back in shock, mouth open.

"You held me back and made me WATCH as the Empire destroyed my planet and my family!"

Anaki closed his eyes and turned away. He stalked to the windows, gazing out at the skyline. He was silent for a while. Leia wished he would say something; she itched for a reason to lay into him.

"Is that why you hate me so much?" he finally asked without looking away.

"Part of it," she answered stonily. "That's a really big part of it." Anakin's hand came up to his mouth.

"What else did I do?" he whispered.

"What else did you do?" Leia exploded. "You murdered my parents! You destroyed my people! And if that wasn't enough, you took my husband! You tortured him, you froze him in carbonite, you SOLD him to Jabba the Hutt - !" Anakin clamped his eyes shut.

"You're wrong!" His voice cracked. "You're wrong! That couldn't have been me!"

"Yes it was!" Leia snarled. She yanked him away from the window and glared into his eyes challengingly. "And you know what else you did? You cut off your own son's hand! You tortured me for information! All for your precious Empire!"

"YOU'RE WRONG!" He roared, shoving her away from him. "I would never do any of those things! Not to my own family!"

"Well, you did," Leia said condescendingly.

"Those are the actions of a Sith, not a Jedi!"

Leia smirked, a sharp edge lining her expression. She clapped her hands twice in mock admiration. "And there you've hit the nail on the head," she mocked. "That's exactly what you were."

Anakin watched her in horror. "No," he breathed. "That's impossible."

"Is it?" Leia challenged. "You've never once been tempted? You've never committed any atrocities whatsoever?"

Anakin turned away sharply, bracing his arms on the back of the sofa. "No," he murmured, shaking his head frantically. "No, no, no, no, no -"

"You wiped out the Jedi," Leia spat, reveling in his anguish. "You wiped out entire civilizations! You destroyed men, women and children for no other reason than you were ordered to - or perhaps because you simply enjoyed it."

"You're wrong!" Anakin said again, voice watery and trembling. "It's not true!"

"Every word of it," she grinned ferally. "And I haven't even scratched the surface! You wanna know the best part?" She knelt across from the couch and grabbed his chin to force him to look her in the eyes. Her voice was suddenly as cold as the mountains of Hoth, and she dropped her next words like bombs, hard and fast and unyielding.

"Your first victim as Darth Vader?" she smiled, sharp and cruel, "Was Padme Amidala. You strangled her while she was pregnant, and she died."

Anakin's eyes blew wide and he stumbled back, tears streaming down his face, hands over his mouth.

"You killed," Leia continued softly, "Your own wife." She tilted her head. "What kind of monster murders his wife and tortures his children?"

Anakin fell to his knees and vomited. As he hacked and heaved, Leia felt an all consuming relief and satisfaction. To torture the monster the way he had tortured her; it brought an exhilarating kind of power. Rage and pleasure at his suffering pounded through her body.

"I'm sorry," Anakin gasped when the carpet was covered in vomit. "I'm so sorry!"

"As well you should be," Leia sneered, then turned to the bedroom door. "You wanted to know why I hate you. Now you know."

"Wait," Anakin sprang to his feet and gripped her shoulders. "Tell me how I can avoid this! Please! My family is -" He hung his head, shoulders heaving. "They are my greatest treasure," he finished brokenly. "Tell me how I can avoid this."

"It's simple, really," Leia answered, shoving his hands off of her. "When you feel tempted to use the dark side," she opened the bedroom door, "Don't." She tossed one last derogatory glance over her shoulder. "But of course," she finished, "That's impossible for a monster like you."

As she closed the door, Anakin Skywalker - Jedi, Sith, Father, Traitor - fell to his knees and buried his face in his hands.

Leia found herself in an unfamiliar courtyard. As she glanced to the side, she saw a lake; on the other, a nice house with the signature dome of the Naboo. The wind blew softly, and she could hear the soft crash of distant waterfalls.

"Leia!" A woman's voice sounded behind her. "We didn't know you were coming back so soon!" Leia spun around to see a very familiar face.

Padme Amidala threw her arms around her daughter's neck. "You should have let us know!" She pulled back. "Dinner is in fifteen minutes, I would've had Threepio make bantha steak!" Leia stared; it was certainly Padme Amidala, but different. Her hair was streaked with gray, and there were more wrinkles on her face than she'd ever had. Leia looked around, wary.

"Where am I?" she asked. Padme tilted her head in confusion.

"You're at home, Leia. We're on Naboo."

"But… I was on Coruscant just a minute ago!"

Padme pursed her lips and shook her head. "Believe me, I know. Come inside, your father will be thrilled to see you."

Leia reluctantly followed.

"Anakin!" Padme called. "Your daughter's home!"

Before Leia could react, a pair of strong arms wrapped around her and lifted her off the ground. "Leia!" someone laughed. "I can't believe you're here!" She squealed and thrashed until he put her down.

"Don't you touch me - Luke?" Luke grinned. "Good to see you, sis! Where's Ben? Did you bring him?"

"Princess!" Yet another voice. "You're home!" Leia spun around to see Anakin Skywalker - also with greying hair - wrap his arms around her. "I missed you," he murmured.

The scene changed. She sat snuggled up against Han as Luke, Anakin, and Padme laughed about something. Leia's gaze zoomed in on Anakin; he was holding her son, as he'd been as an infant. He held him so tenderly that Leia's heart pricked. "Hello, Ben," he whispered, "I'm your grandpa."

Leia's mind caught up with her head and she shot to her feet. "Don't you touch him!" she shrieked. Their gazes all shot to her in surprise as she darted forward and snatched her baby away. "You stay away from us!"

"Leia!" Padme gasped. "What are you doing?"

Anakin's blue eyes, so much like her twin's, were wide and hurt. "Princess," he whispered, hurt. "Why?"

"I hate you!" she screeched. "Stay away from me!" Wide lacerations opened along his face and shoulders. "You monster!" They opened and bled freely. He fell to his knees, blood staining the floor.

"Leia, stop this!" Padme begged, instantly at his side. "He hasn't done anything!"

"But he will!" Leia screamed hysterically. "He's going to ruin my life!"

Anakin toppled over, covered in blood, eyes going blank. Padme groaned, clutching her stomach, then collapsed beside him.

"Leia," Luke whispered in horror, "What have you done?" She spun to look at him, a retort ready on her lips, but Luke was now cradling a bloody stump of an arm, eye blackened and lip bruised, just as he had on Bespin.

"Luke!" She whirled around again to look at Han, but instead of a warm body, he was once again encased in carbonite. "No!"

Everything went dark and she clutched Ben to her chest. "What's happening?"

A familiar mechanized breathing filled the air.

"No!" She ran blindly through the darkness as screams echoed.

A red lightsaber ignited, glinting off Darth Vader's helmet. She screamed and kept running.

Padme Amidala's dead body, draped in blue fabric and hair weaved with flowers, drifted through the darkness. Leia sobbed in terror and shoved her away.

Suddenly, the weight of her baby in her arms disappeared. "Ben!" She stopped and whirled around. "BEN!" She ran. "WHERE ARE YOU?!"

Another red lightsaber ignited in the distance, this one with a crossguard. Children wailed. "BEN!" She sprinted toward the light. "I'M COMING!" She sprinted into sight just in time to see a man in a black helmet pull his lightsaber out of -

"HAN!" She wailed in despair. His body topped over and fell into the abyss. The man turned toward her, expression hard. He stalked toward her like an angry rancor. She sobbed and turned to run, but suddenly, his lightsaber was in her stomach. She stared at the red blade before looking up at the mask.

He spoke, his voice distorted and eerie. "Is this the world you wanted for me?"

The scene changed again and Leia sobbed. Luke, Han, Ben, her parents, her friends, everyone she had ever loved lay dead around Palpatine's throne. She stumbled to them, fingers frantically searching in vain for a pulse.

She screamed again and collapsed over the bodies of her family.

A fist closed over her wrist and her head jerked up.

"You could've stopped this," moaned Luke's corpse. "You could've avoided this."

Another hand closed over her ankle and she jerked away, gaze landing on a man in a black suit, whose bare head was pasty and covered in scars.

"Vader," she whispered in horror.

"Forgive me," he wheezed. "Please. Before the darkness takes you too."

Then he went limp and Leia found herself falling, falling, falling, into a pit more massive and more dark than she could ever have imagined.

Leia jerked awake with a scream, drenched with sweat. As she recalled the dream, she flopped back on her bed, sobbing.

What have I done?