I'm going to preface this by saying that this is not usually the genre I write. I am the self appointed "Master of Fluff" and this is...well it's not. But I had a little bit of extra inspiration today. Consider this your fair warning: you may want to locate some tissues. *~~~*~~~*~~~* Promises They had been together for years, through some of the happiest times of his life as well as the worst. They had raised three children together, and buried two of them. They?d fought countless wars, gone on more undercover ops than he could remember, and through all of it they had come out alive. She had been the strongest woman?hell the strongest person?he?d ever known. It just didn?t seem right that in the end it was some microscopic, all-too-common disease that finished her life. She was an extraordinary woman. She didn?t deserve to die like this. She should have gone out in a blaze of glory, fighting like she had done her entire life. The last days of Leia?s life were a blur. Doctors came and went, friends visited, well-wishers sent their condolences, and through it all, her family was there. Or what was left of her family. Han sat on her right, Jaina on her left. The room was dimly lit, shadows dancing from one corner to the next. Han clutched his wife?s hand tightly in his own, both as a sign of comfort and a lifeline tying her to this world for as long as possible. ?Promise me something.? Her voice was raspy, the kind of edge that came with years of fighting against all manner of opposition. Han swallowed hard, willing his voice to be the confident tone she remembered from their years together. ?Anything.? ?Promise me?you will?.will always re-remember me.? The request brought on another round of coughing, this one worse than the last. ?Always,? he swore. ?And always?always remember the?family you have left. Love?each other.? Jaina swiped at the tear sliding down her cheek. ?We promise, mom.? The room fell into silence, each occupant dreading the seconds to follow. Each tick of the chrono was another wound inflicted on their psyches. When the moment finally came, when Leia?s ailing lungs finally gave into the tiny particles invading them, it was mercifully quick. ?They?re waiting for me?my boys are here.? Those were her dying words. Her eyes were clearer than they had been in the last week as they focused on the far wall. Blinking away tears, Leia Organa Solo, former Princess, Chief-of-State, loving wife, mother and grandmother lost her final battle. That evening, after all the arrangements had been made, Han sat on his couch a tumbler of Corellian brandy in his right hand. Beneath his left arm Jaina leaned against him, the occasional sob wracking her petite body. He tightened his arm around her shoulders, giving whatever support he could muster. ?They were here, you know?? The words were so soft that for a moment Han wondered if they had been spoken at all. ?Who?? ?Anakin.? The name brought fresh tears to both their eyes, and in light of recent events, neither tried to hide it. ?And Jacen. They came to help her.? ?Help her what?? Han croaked. ?Become one with the Force.? Jaina sat up, her red-rimmed eyes seeking out her father?s own. ?She?s okay, dad. She?s happy now.? He didn?t bother to wipe at the tears rolling down his cheek. Those eyes were exactly like her mother?s, so full of wisdom, so caring. So Leia. ?Promise?? She nodded slowly. ?Always.? *~~~*~~~*~~~* This story is dedicated to my great Aunt Catherine who passed away on New Year's Eve.