““I’ve known you practically since the day Bail brought you
home to Alderaan,” Mothma said. “I watched you grow up.
Tutored you before you joined the Senate. And I’ve seen you
carry on Bail’s work with the Alliance. He would have been so
proud of you—of the leadership you showed at Yavin and at
Mothma looked away, and for a moment she looked
old—old and badly worn down.
“I’ve missed him these last two days,” Mothma said. “But
then I miss him every day. His advice and his perspective. But
mostly his friendship.”
“So do I,” Leia said quietly, waiting. She knew Mothma
hadn’t come to talk about her father.
But what the older woman said next surprised her.
“You have feelings for Captain Solo,” she said.
After a moment Leia nodded.
“I’ve read the intelligence reports,” Mothma said. “We don’t
have the resources to mount a rescue mission to Tatooine—particularly
not with the Empire expecting us to make such a
“I haven’t asked for the Alliance to do that,” Leia said
“I know you haven’t—and I know you wouldn’t,” Mothma
said. “But Captain Solo has many friends in the Alliance. Which
is why I’d intended to propose such a mission myself.”
Leia looked at her in surprise—and for a moment felt wild
hope swell inside her. But then she saw the expression on
“You said ‘intended to.’”
[…] Leia looked away. She wouldn’t apologize, but she’d let
Mothma decide where the conversation went next.
“I brought it up, Leia, because I’m not sure what you’d say if
I offered you a place on a rescue mission to Tatooine. And that
uncertainty is why I’m here.”
Leia looked down at her hands, twisting them in her lap.
“My duty is to the Alliance,” she said, relieved to hear her
voice sound unwavering. “Not to Captain Solo.”
“Ah,” Mothma said. “And what about to yourself?”
[…]“You make the Alliance proud every day,” Mothma said. “By
representing our cause—and by doing your duty. But duty
won’t give you comfort, Leia—and you need that. We all do. The
comfort of friends—and of love. You were Bail and Breha’s
greatest joy, Leia—the love you shared was what sustained
them through the dark years. Don’t deny yourself another
chance at love because of what the Empire did to them. Don’t
give Palpatine that victory, too.”
“I haven’t,” Leia said. “And I won’t.”
“I hope that’s true,” Mothma said. “Because it’s the kind of
battle you can lose without knowing it.”
She got smoothly to her feet.
“Operation Yellow Moon is approved,” she said, in the tone
Leia had worked so hard to imitate as a girl. “You’re to tell me
anything you need.”
“Thank you,” Leia said. “I promise I will.”
“And you’re to come back safe and sound,” Mothma said, in
a far quieter voice. “Losing you would be unbearable to me—to
me and many others.”
That’s something I can’t promise, Leia thought.