Chapter 1: Part 1
It all started when Luke and Leia where roaming around in the New York's downtown area, both twins looking around at everything and nothing at the same time. The air was filled with smoke from the pipes around the block and the people were, or at least seemed like, to be screaming but it was just the many voices that filled in at the same time.
Leia looked tired, she was desperate to get a job and earn enough to get food for two mouths, hers and her brother; Luke was already working, but he didn't earned enough, they barely had for a good and large piece of bread that was cutted in half for each of them and cheese along with some water and that had to do it for a whole month. They really needed money.
But besides that, there was nothing new, nothing to see. Except—
“Leia look!” the young blond said excited, pointing at a poster glued in a wall that said “Wanted! unique persons and curiosities, male or female, young or old” he read as Leia looked at those big, bold letters that stood out of everything else that was in the brick wall “don't you think we should try?” Leia sighed.
She and her brother have loved to do trapeze since they were kids, their mom encouraging them to do what they loved to do but sadly, what they loved wasn't paid enough and they couldn't eat out of their dreams, so they dropped the show and started to work as anything they could to help out their tired mother.
But time goes on and waits for no one; in their early years of their teenage lifes, their mother, Padme, died out due to the fatigue of working long hours at the sewing factory leaving the twins on their own but at least with a tiny apartment to their names; a roof to sleep under at night when it got cold and lonely.
“Take care of each other” said Padme in her last moments “you are all the family you got” she spoke, looking at her children one last time before she had to go, smiling to herself because she might be leaving but she knew they could handle it; her motherly instinct told her so.
Leia was still looking at Luke, her gaze transfixed in the poster that her brother was still babbling about but she wasn't sure if she could handle another fake and broken dream that wouldn't last more than a month. A month where she and Luke had to eat. “I don't know Luke...” she spoke hesitant “it doesn't seem very trustworthy” Leia said as she teared off the sign, looking at it like if something magical would happen if she kept it on her hand for long enough.
And Luke saw it, that flash of hope he needed to convince Leia to join the act.
“What do we lose if we go and try?”
Leia smiled a little. Luke had won.
“Well” P.T. spoke out “Leia Organa and Luke Skywalker, brother and sister?” he then asked, looking at them with a welcoming smile.
“Yes sir” Leia answered without a waiver in her voice.
“Terrific. What do you do?”
“Trapeze” she answered with the same confidence while Luke just stared at the man in front of him.
“Okay” he said.
Luke soon to interrupt with his thoughts “Do you think they'll like us if we go on stage? I don't think they'll like it.” he said, Leia looked at him as if he had gone mad.
He was the one who convinced her to go and try in the first place and now he wants to back up because he's afraid of what other people say? Bullshit, Luke had nothing to fear of a little bit of judgment if he had his sister by his side.
But all those doubts faded away when P.T. smiled warm to him.
“I count with that.”
Later that week, they saw their own posters.
‘World's greatest trapeze! Leia and Luke!’ it read out, the twins smiled with glee, they felt like they have made the right decision.
Chapter 2: Part 2
Han Solo appears!
A week passed by, and the circus got more and more people and that meant more acts were going to be performed, it was a very exciting thought for Luke and Leia because it meant that the circus was going fine and their idea to join it wasn't so bad after all.
The first real show they had, and by real Leia meant that ‘it was actually full of people’ it was the first time they did trapeze and got paid good by doing so, and of course they were also happy to have that little family that the circus gave to them, from Lettie to Charles and O'Clancy, everyone had a role and everyone was accepted no matter how they looked.
“This is real right?” Luke asked Leia one night lying in bed already, the boy still not believing his luck.
“Yes it is” his sister answered as dreamy as he was, they were both real happy and that hadn't happened in a long time.
They didn't care about what people had to say about their show, the brawls made by people who were angry about how different they were from the rest or the critics published by Mr. Bennett from the Herald newspaper, they were truly happy to call the circus their home and the people in it their family.
Mr. Barnum had took the night out of the circus to watch his daughter's ballet show and everyone at the circus understood completely.
“Those girls are sweethearts” Lettie commented “i wish to see one of her recitals one day, the pretty ballet music and wardrobe”
“I know” Leia followed dreaming of all the glitter and flowers “it must be really pretty but really posh too”
“True” Lettie sighed and continued brushing her hair meanwhile a really silent Luke stood between her sister and the bearded lady “everything alright Luke?” the last one asked “you're never so quiet for so long” Leia and her giggled as the blond one just sighed annoyed.
“Its just that—its just that i don't understand!” he blurted out “what exactly do you even do at those high class events?” the boy asked.
At the other side of the city P.T. was talking to Han Solo, a theatrical producer famous by being a little problematic and scandalous bit at the end of the day his plays were sold out and acclaimed by the public.
“P.T Barnum” the taller man presented himself leaving Han qith a smile and a little shocked to see him.
“From the circus?” Solo asked with an disbelieving tone, still looking at Barnum in the eyes.
“Yes, you've been?” at the question the younger man laughed incredulous but not condescending.
“God no” Han chuckled “But I've seen the crowd, people leave your show smiling more than when they came in” he complimented P.T. with a smile and then with a sigh “which is more than i can say compared to one of my shows”
“But you got no problem selling tickets” P.T. answered witty, looking at how the younger man's decreased a little but didn't disappeared completely, Han Solo was truly good at hiding what he really felt.
“Its because im selling virtue” he stated.
“Can i buy you a drink?” Barnum offered.
“I dunno Luke” Leia didn't knew how to answer his brother's question, since she had never been to a upper class party neither, she did daydreamt about it but that's it “maybe its in a big house with obnoxiously rich people”
“And ostentatious decorations” Lettie added “probably better with bettef illumination than here” she said looking at the light bulb that tinkled every 5 seconds but they laughed at that comment.
“Definetly” Luke agreed “with people dressed in their best gowns and suits talking in a big ballroom.”
Han and Phineas were at a local pub, it was empty since it wasn't a very ‘active night’ like the barman commented them. They were sitting at bar counter drinking and discussing about how to improve the circus and get more people to go to the show.
“I wanna go after the carriage trade. Present legitimate acts, expand our appeal, go after the snobs.” P.T. explained to a rather angry looking Han, who was looking at his glass of beer.
“If you only knew how suffocating they are” Solo commented with a annoyed tone, and Barnum noticed, he saw how tired Han looked by even thinking about the crowds that came and goed to see his theater plays, how irritated he must get by those pretentious people that were nothing but fake.
And that why he decided to offer him something that could free him from that exasperating life.
“So come join the circus” Barnum said “You clearly have a flair for showbusiness, teach me how to appeal to the highbrows!”
At that Han and P.T. drank down their drinks and looked at each other.
“Are you serious?” Han asked, raising a brow at P.T. who hummed back at him in response “Mr. Barnum, I can't just run off and join the circus.” the brown eyed said serious, looking at the man who proposed him the crazy idea.
“Why not? Sounds thrilling, doesn't it?” Phineas asked him, still conviced he had the material to handle the circus as well as he did.
“Let's just say that i find it much more comfortable admiring your show from afar.” Han ended, or so he thought.
“Comfort, the enemy of progress.” Barnum said as he ate a peanut, not looking at the younger man that was now getting irritated.
“Do you understand that just associating with you could cost me my inheritance?” Solo commented to sound more serious, looking straight at the man who still insisted on joining him.
“Oh it could cost you more than that” P.T. added “You'd be risking everything. But on the other hand, well, you just might find yourself a free man.”
Han took a serious, deep moment to think about the decision he was about to take, if he did decided to join the circus then he would get to see a whole brand new world with new experiences and much more interesting, real people. But, if he did, then he would be risking everything, If he mixed up with everyone there he would be the talk of the town, disgraced and disowned, another one of the clownsow but at the same time he weighted it, was that really how he wanted to spend his days? Whiskey and misery, and parties and plays? if he ran way with Barnum he would finally live a little, finally laugh a little...
“Well it's intriguing, but to go would cost me greatly” Han said after taking his time to settle his thoughts and take a conclusion on the matter that was presented to him, so with a confident he asked “So what percentage of the show would I be taking?”
“Fair enough, you'd want a piece of all the action” Phineas said “I'd give you seven, we could shake and make it happen” the man offered to Han, but Solo didn't quite bought it.
“I wasn't born this morning, eighteen would be just fine” he counteroffered to P.T., who got shocked by the number.
“Why not just go ahead and ask for nickels on the dime?” Han nodded and smiled at that, so he thought again about his offer.
“Fifteen” Solo said and Barnum still shocked his head in disagreement
“I'd do eight” Phineas said.
“Twelve” Han still didn't desisted.
“Ten” after that they both stopped barking at each other numbers and just exchanged looks, Solo being a very insistent man who was used to the best of the best might be getting down to Barnum's level but not without a low cost.
P.T. sighed and gave in, the brat from the high class might have won but that didn't meant he completely lost.
“Sir,” Han extended his arm to shake Barnum's hand and close the deal “It looks like you have yourself a junior partner”
Barnum shook his head in disagreement “No, what i have is an overcompensated apprentice” the barman settled their two drinks to them and they took them, raised their glass for a toast and drank them in celebration.
The Barnum Circus officially had a new member.