I sometimes like to imagine Vader meeting Leia on the Tantive IV and wondering why in the hell she seems so familiar. He’s heard of her, sure, but since Vader is not always directly involved in politics he’s never seen her before and she’s just so young. But it’s not just that, there’s something else…
I think it also bothers Vader that she is completely unbothered by him. Vader is probably used to getting the upper hand on people purely based on his appearance - especially when you consider his suit, his height, and his modulated voice - but Leia is completely unfazed. She openly defies him, she lies to his face, and she’s smug about it, too. And yet, despite all the setbacks and confusion, Vader cannot for the life of him put a finger on why she bothers him so much.
Maybe it’s the way she talks to him, or her lack of fear, or maybe it’s the youthful veracity that tinges her every dissentful remark.
Once Leia escapes the Death Star, though, Vader finds himself preoccupied with the origins of another - a certain Luke Skywalker. Not only is he the pilot credited with destroying the superweapon, but he bears the same name as him, as well as the same tutor: Obi Wan.
Vader thinks nothing of Leia, at least not until his confrontation with Luke on the second Death Star. Luke’s origins are almost a no-brainer. Once he learns of the rebel’s surname, it’s only a matter of time before he confirms that the boy was his… but there was no mention of a sister. After all, Leia was an Organa - he always knew that. Regardless of whether he followed galactic politics or not, Bail Organa had been a contemporary of Padmé’s, and royals have kids all the time, right? There was no reason for him, or anyone else for that matter, to think otherwise. But suddenly, Leia makes sense to him now.
She looks like Padmé. She has her eyes, her hair, her same penchant for politics - but she’s not actually like her at all. She looks like her mother, yes, but she takes after him. She is as passionate and personable as Padmé, but she is fueled by the same fearless ferocity as Anakin. He sees Padmé, but all Vader can sense is himself - but a better self, an old self he left behind long, long ago. And in his son, he sees his older visage - the same youthful face framed by blonde hair, those bright blue eyes - but he senses Padmé. Luke has her kindness, her compassion, and her unending patience when it comes to others and seeing the good in them. Leia is tempestuous and argumentative, and just as impatient with the galaxy as Anakin was with the Jedi Council.
She has Padmé’s eyes, yes, but she is also every bit of Anakin, yet a far better version of himself than he could ever possibly be.
Lance had a game as a child, being
the middle child. He really didn’t get too much attention from anyone except
for the stray little one or two. Or when something drastic happened to him,
like a broken limb or something. Which is why he created the game. Whenever he
would talk, and he would notice someone not listening. He’d say something
crazy. He’d remembered one time specifically. He was maybe eight at the time.
With a gap-toothed grin and a mint green band-aid on his cheek as he babbled to
his mother. Wild hand gestures and crazy exaggerations as she chopped vegetables
at the stove. He remembered her nodding along, humming ‘yes’s and ‘okay dear’s
every so often as he paused.
“Hey Mama, I’m going to go off to
war and break my arm, okay? A hum.
“Okay mijo, go have fun.” Lance
frowned before he stumbled off. Later that day he did actually break his arm.
His friend’s mom had to call the ambulance and Lance’s mother hadn’t even know
he was at the hospital when his friend’s mother drove him home and talked to
Lance’s mother herself. Lance had smiled as he was smothered with attention and
love from Garcia’s mother. But, it wasn’t his mother’s attention. It wasn’t the
attention he wanted.
They’d never notice.
Even when he went off to Garrison,
the game continued. Telling instructors he was going to go clubbing. Or that he
was off to become a rebel fighter. Giving loud, exuberant stories about sailing
the seas. Hell. He told his best friend Hunk he was going to go throw himself
off the Garrison room. All he got was a absent minded smile and a ‘okay, see
you at curfew.’ Lance wasn’t even sure Hunk had heard the leaving part.
Then he was a paladin. One of five
defender of the universe, fighting an intergalactic war. He was the first one
chosen in over ten thousand years. And still, when he’d make jokes, or give his
serious opinions. No one heard him. After so many years of the same game, he’d
finally gotten bored. So, Lance did the only logical thing.
Change up the rules.
Allura was one of the few who
noticed him, so she helped him out with his little game. Smiled when he told
her the rules. How he’d say crazy things to see if someone was listening.
Except for now, just like that one time when he was eight. He’d actually do
them. And see how long it took for them to notice the changes.
First was with Pidge, he’d sat in a
room with her for three hours. Talking loudly and in great detail about the new
blue highlights he was going to get in his hair when they stopped off in the
next planet. How they’d be blue and teal and he was going to look like a god
damn gorgeous fucking mermaid. Pidge only ignored him, only noticing and
greeting him with a ‘huh?’ after three hours of Lance talking. The reason she
noticed him was because Allura had entered the room and called his name.
He’d gotten his hair dyed on that
planet, just as he said he would. And no one noticed.
The next one was his first ear piercings,
he had been sparring with Keith, spouting nonsense as they fought in hand to
hand combat. Lance was losing pretty much the entire time. But Lance knew that
wasn’t anything new. Keith barely could tell the difference from fighting a
training bot from fighting Lance. He got his piercing the very next day. Allura
had done them herself. After one of their self-care and venting sessions.
And it just spiraled from there.
Hunk was cooking one day as Lance was drawing and talking about a tattoo of the
ocean themed Lion he was going to get to cover most of his upper left arm.
Shiro was his verbal bouncy wall for both his right eyebrow piercings. Pidge,
that was his tongue piercing. Keith caused his lip piercings, both of them.
Hunk had driven him for the belly button piercing. Shiro had gotten him the
star tattoos on the corner of his right eye. It was fun yeah, Lance loved the
little changes in himself. Each one gave him confidence in his appearance, but
they also hurt him.
It was like a reminder. Each thing
he got was a time he was ignored. Rejected and alone. There were like constant
reminders of his failings to get the attention he craved. Even Allura was
getting agitated. Assuring him that she always noticed when he added the more noticeable
things, and being surprised and often delighted and intrigued to see the more
obscure and hidden changes. Lance always smiled when she fiddled with his new piercings,
buying him new shiny ones that she matched with her own ear piercings, when she
admired the progress he made in training, or when she traced his new tattoos
with delicate nails. In return he always helped to braid her hair, painted her
nails. Hell, he’d learned how to speak Altean for her. She was like the doting
big sister he’d always wanted. He’d always craved to have.
Most of the time, it was able to
shove away all of the bad thoughts. Enough to stave off the personal demons
inside of him. Clawing at him and constantly nagging at him. Reminding him that
he was just a speck in the universe. That he could die one day, and there would
be not a single person to mourn his death or go to his funeral.
Those thoughts hurt. Until
eventually, they didn’t. Soon the buzzing thoughts became normal in the back of
his mind. Fading to silence as his excitement and live retreated in the castle.
Being reserved for celebrations on saved planets, or for the Alteans that paid
him attention and treated him like the family he saw them as. The paladins only
seeing the bored, indifferent side that Lance adopted to deal with the people
who no longer seemed to even care what he did.
At least, he thought they didn’t,
but by the time they did notice he didn’t care whether they did or not.
It was a planet with a higher rate
of gravity and magnetic activity. Gahtic’al or something? It wasn’t in a tongue
that Allura talked about very often, but Lance was sure he’d get it by the time
he meant the natives. The only thing he recognized as noteworthy was as Pidge
announced they’d have to get rid of any metal they carried on them. Lance’s
eyebrow raised up. His tongue running over and rubbing against the metal in his
mouth. He almost felt anxious. It’d been a while since his skin had been bare
of piercings. But, Lance knew he’d have to take them out as he watched even
Keith give up his knifes. Lance sighed as he stepped up.
His hands were already reaching to
his ears to take off his piercings in his ears when he felt eyes on him. Shiro
was gapping at him as he pulled more and more metal off of his face. Then
incredulous as Lance even pulled up his shirt to get off his belly button
piercing. Shiro studied Lance up and down. There was three holes in each of
Lance’s ears, one industrial bar, and two piercing holes in his right eyebrow.
Snake bites, a belly button piercing. Were those tattoos on his skin too?!
Shiro gaped. He. When? Lance. Who cared more about his skin and hair than he
cared about his health, had piercings and tattoos? And dye in his hair?! Shiro
looked around, seeing more dazed and staring paladins. Guessing he wasn’t the
only one who hadn’t noticed. Maybe it had happened recently? Shiro looked back
to Lance, who looked calm and relaxed. Shiro was in awe.
The boy looked so different. His
body was stronger than Shiro remembered it to be, it was still lean. But with
obvious strength, power, and muscle tone that didn’t compromise the litheness
of his figure. His hair was brown with shimmering hues of blue and teal that
framed his tan and tattooed skin perfectly. His face was set in a neutral
expression. Not unfriendly, more of a calm blankness that looked like it could
change into the most heart warming smile, or the scariest glare in the world.
With a sharp jawline and the soft glowing blue lights of the ship, Lance looked
striking, almost ethereal. With sharp royal blue eyes that were trained on a
smiling Allura. What the princess did next surprised Shiro.
“Lance, your tongue piercing too?”
Lance seemed to gauge her words for a moment before he got them. Immediately
sticking out that long tongue, revealing a thick black metal piercing straight
through Lance’s tongue. Causing Shiro to catch a noticeable shudder run through
Keith. Almost making him smirk. Keith always had a thing for the blue paladin.
And a thing for piercings. Keith had to be in heaven. But, how long had Lance
had these piercings? Was Shiro so caught up in training and leading that he
hadn’t notice so many drastic changes in one of his paladins? Lance grinned at
“Thanks princess.” Pidge was the
first one to talk, pointing accusingly at Lance.
“What?! When did this happen?!”
Lance quirked an eyebrow at Pidge, the expression on his face was friendly, but
didn’t hold that same joking light it once did. Now it just seemed like a cool
neutrality, as if he’d just noticed Pidge’s shock.
“What? The tongue piercing? I got
that…” Lance frowned and looked to Allura, [When did I get the tongue piercing again?]
Shiro gaped as fluid Altean language left Lance’s lips, as if he’d spoken the
language his whole life. The other paladins’ reactions were much the same as
Allura answered back.
[I’d say, eight months ago? Your
newest thing was the industrial bar, which was about six months ago, and the
tongue piercing was about two months before that. Didn’t you get it at that at
the market place on Shero’sic?] Lance nodded.
“Yup. I remember now. It was eight
months ago. Remember? Because I got it shortly after my face tattoos.” Allura
“Mmm, I still like your arm tattoo.
But the stars are quite quaint.” Lance’s fingers brushed the two small stars
just at the outer corner of his right eye. Bringing Shiro’s attention to the
little stars that almost looked like beauty marks next to Lance’s almost
glowingly blue eyes. Lance placed the peicings into a small bag for safe
keeping and handed them to Allura to put with their other metal objects while
they landed on the planet. Lance looked back at them expectantly.
“Well? Don’t we have a job to do?”
And Lance walked away from them with Allura, leaving four shocked and confused
paladins in his wake. Just what happened to their blue paladin? When had his
body changed so much. So drastically in front of them without notice? When had
he matured into such a strong young man? Calm and patient. The gleam and
innocence of a child no longer in his eyes.