Saga - ST Foundations of the Force- Pre TFA (Luke, H/L, Ben) **Ch 21 up 12/3**

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Ridley Solo, Nov 4, 2017.

  1. Ridley Solo

    Ridley Solo Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 27, 2010
    SETTING: 4 ABY-beyond. (immediately after ROTJ- Bloodlines era)
    CHARACTERS: Mostly Luke, but includes Han, Leia, Ben, Chewie, and the droids. Cameos by various OT/ST characters.
    GENRE: Action, Fun, Friendship, some Tragedy near the end.
    SUMMARY: : The morning after the destruction of the second Death Star, Luke Skywalker sets about finding the best way to resurrect the Jedi order.

    Whew, it's been too long since I posted anything here! doesn't know when to let the old EU go...

    Luke Skywalker has been painfully underrepresented in canon fiction between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, so this is my take on it. When and where does he start his search for Jedi lore? When does he start training Ben? Where is his Jedi school?

    My sources for this fic are Wookiepedia and my crazy imagination. Criticism is welcome, but I ain't changing this story for anybody...even Disney! :p And so without further ado, here we go.


    Star Wars: Foundations of the Force

    Chapter 1

    The celebration lasted half the night. Those who had survived toasted those who had not, and took time for a rare respite. Drinks were passed around, stories were exchanged, and music was played until well after midnight. One by one the Rebel revelers then found places to sleep. More than half ended up piling into Ewok huts on cramped cots and hammocks while the other half slept in tents on the ground or in the holds of their ships. As honorary members of the Bright Tree Tribe, a certain group was lucky enough to be given the huts of the chief and his family members.

    Despite this apparent sense of completion, none were foolish enough to assume the war was over now. Those on watch half expected a call for another mission before sunrise. Still, most slept late. It was well after sunrise before they heard about the next problem.

    Only one in Chief Chirpa's hut had awakened early. Of course he had been one of the first to go to bed, and raised on a farm before becoming an Alliance pilot, he was used to rising early. But what had awakened Luke Skywalker from his deep slumber was a sudden and persistent pain. It began as a sharp jolt in his spine and worked its way down every nerve, ending at the fingertips as a vague tingle. Luke caught his breath in an effort not to cry out. Forced relaxation was the only way it faded.

    A hazy, unpleasant memory was quick to return and was pushed aside just as quickly. Near-electrocution was enough to make anyone ache. He probably should have told a medic about it...but they had enough to do. So many injured already clogged every infirmary and medical bay in what ships that remained that anyone with any kind of first aid knowledge was called upon to use it. Even Leia, who had caught a blaster burn on her shoulder, refused anything but the most basic treatment. Luke hurt, but he didn't think his condition was chronic. With some rest he should be fine. He rolled over to try and go back to sleep.

    A long, sustained snarl from the left arrested that idea. Luke sat up quickly, groping for his lightsaber and looking around for the creature that had-

    Oh. It was Chewbacca, snoring away in a large hammock in the corner. Several Ewoks were draped across his legs. It was difficult to tell where he ended and they began, but clearly his noise didn't bother them. It was a wonder the hammock didn't break.

    Luke almost smiled as he surveyed the rest of the hut. Most of the humans had less patience and had long since left to sleep somewhere else. Now it was just Luke, Chewie, and the deactivated droids slumped in the opposite corner. Even Han and Leia were gone. As a matter of fact the blankets from their cots seemed altogether unused. Where were they, anyway?

    Another sharp pain danced down Luke's spine, and he winced. Maybe he just needed to stretch. He couldn't go back to sleep with Chewie's snoring, anyway. So he rose, yawning and stretching, pulled on his boots, and made his way outside.

    Morning was a sharp contrast to the previous evening. It was quiet, still, and altogether beautiful. The system's star was only beginning to send faint pink light across the horizon. Most of the light was still filtered through the tall fir trees, and it would be easy to trip in the darkness.

    Luke had no such intentions, but he kept his pace cautious as he walked across the wooden platform. Every step made the tingling pain worse. It was like having a leg fall asleep after having the circulation interrupted for too long. He felt twice his age.

    The aftermath of last nights' celebration lay in the form of empty earthenware cups and upturned log seats, strewn everywhere. The series of trooper helmets turned into makeshift drums remained where they had been most of the night, as had the Ewoks' musical instruments. A few of the aforesaid furballs lay curled in furry pile next to the door. Two were awake and on watch, and they turned to him with inquisitive mumbles.

    Luke grimaced and shrugged in apology. Threepio was the only one qualified to offer a translation. Even Leia had picked up a few scattered words. Luke wasn't such a quick study and was left to guess. "Good morning. I'm just going for a walk." When the Ewoks showed no signs of understanding, he pointed to himself and made his fingers 'walk'. That seemed to satisfy them, and Luke set off. Maybe a good run would improve the condition of his legs and make the blasted tingling go away.

    No sooner had the young Jedi made his way to the nearest rope bridge than his theory was proven wrong. Another sharp jolt of pain shot through his spine, and he lost all feeling in his arms and legs. He crumpled into a heap with a muffled cry.

    * * * * *​

    Some kilometers away from Bright Tree Village, two more Rebels had slept off the night's celebration in the hold of a battered YT-1300...even more battered since losing its radar dish inside the second Death Star. They had come for privacy as much as to get away from Chewbacca's snoring.


    The tangle of arms and legs beneath the blanket stirred. The next moment Leia Organa blinked bleary eyes and lifted her head. At the same moment Han Solo's arm, draped across her waist, held her just a bit tighter. She glanced at him, half ready to push him away...but she changed her mind at the last minute and lay back down. She couldn't ever remember being so tired. If only she could go back to sleep.


    Leia sighed in disappointment and reached for the comm. It was on Han's side of the cot. He'd have to get it, or let her go. "Han," she murmured, nudging him with her elbow. "Han. Let go."

    Han mumbled something unintelligible and burrowed deeper into his thin pillow. The insistent beep of the comm made him groan and roll over. "You gotta be kiddin' me."

    "Han." Leia pulled away and inched up on her elbows. "Wake up."

    "Yeah." Han rubbed away the sleep in his eyes and fumbled for the noisy comm. He cleared his throat before answering. "Solo."

    "I'm sorry to wake you, General. I hope you were able to sleep." It was Admiral Ackbar's apologetic voice.

    Han was about to reply with an unhappy retort when a look from Leia made him reconsider. "Yeah. Kinda. What's up?"

    Ackbar sounded unhappy. "We have received word that a small band of Imperial troops are attempting to regroup on the other side of the forest moon. Some are Imperial special forces and it would be most unwise to allow them to escape."

    Leia exchanged a grimace with Han as he sat up and swung his legs over the bed.

    "Always something, huh?" Han thumbed the comm back on with a long-suffering sigh. "Sounds like a mission to me. Whaddya need, Admiral?"

    "We wish to capture as many Imperial forces as possible and arrest any attempt at regrouping. Several task forces will be needed. How many of your strike team are fit for duty?"

    "Well, outta the nine we got left, four are wounded, but they can all still shoot and run. Counting me and Chewie, that makes it eleven."

    "Very good, General Solo. Further information will be given as needed. How soon can you be ready?"

    Han threw a longing glance at Leia, but the look at on her face had already changed. It was her 'Rebellion-first-everything-else-last' look that he knew too well. "When d'ya need us?"

    Ackbar didn't need much time to think. "No later than one hour after sunrise."

    Reluctantly Han nodded. "All right. I'll go wake everybody up. Solo out." He waited until the comm had been turned off before groaning loudly and reaching for vest, boots, and belt.

    Leia was already back in her boots. "We knew it wasn't over last night."

    The General made a face. "I know. Dammit. This ever gonna end?"

    Leia shrugged. "Sometimes it doesn't seem like it...but it will. We're closer now to overthrowing the Empire than we've ever been."

    Han stuffed the tail of his rumpled shirt back into his pants. "Hope so." He slowed his pace a bit watching Leia ready herself. The bandage on her burn was loose and needed changing, and he noted her still favoring the arm a bit. "How you doing?"

    Leia barely glanced at the bandage before putting the tan tunic over her camisole. The burn still hurt, especially after being slept on, but not as badly as yesterday. Then it had felt like her shoulder had been stabbed, punched, and ignited into flame at the same time. "It's all right."

    Han buckled his belt and holster with a frown. "'I didn't mean your arm." He met her eyes. "You gonna be okay?"

    Leia paused. His tone was softer now. He means the Secret. She paused for a moment to consider.
    Romance or even escaping Chewie's snoring wasn't the real reason Leia had asked Han to go somewhere private. He had initially made that assumption, but quickly learned otherwise. The terrible truth that had been revealed to Luke and passed on to Leia was then passed on to Han. Through a breaking voice she told him she and Luke had been separated at birth to keep them safe from their father, and who that really was...Darth Vader. She spoke of how Luke had broken the news to her the night before the Battle of Endor.

    Long moments passed between the revelation and Han's reaction. There was horror in his gaze, and denial, but one long look at Leia erased any doubts. She'd recoiled in shame, half expecting rejection, and did something she hardly ever did. She cried.

    Han had been gentle as he took her in his arms. He waited a long while before assuring her in a whisper that everything was okay. Vader was gone now. He loved her for who she was, not who her parents had been. For hours they had sat together in the hold of the Falcon until all tears had been spent and nothing remained but quiet acceptance. Then he kissed her, and they settled down to go to sleep. All through the night he held her.

    Leia's relief had been profound. For the first time since before losing Alderaan at the age of 19, she felt completely at peace. She slept soundly without a single phantom.

    After this long consideration Leia managed a slow nod. "It's not an easy thing to make peace with, but I'll be fine. Luke has already promised to do what he can to help."

    Han's mouth twitched in a ghost of a smile. He nodded in return. "Yeah. That's Luke." Luke was the only part of this mess that was a pleasant surprise. The young Jedi may have qualified for 'best brother ever', and not just to Leia. The kid just couldn't stop helping people. It was part of who he was. Han sure wouldn't mind having Luke as a brother-in-law...

    Slow down, flyboy. Much as he was dying to ask Leia, something told him now wasn't the right time. He busied himself instead by nodding at Leia's yet-untended arm. "You gonna take care of that?"

    Leia shrugged as she brushed out the worst of the tangles from sleep. "In a minute."

    Han pursed his lips. In Leia's vocabulary, that usually meant after the mission. She'd said the same thing when wounded the other day and ended up waiting until the last explosion of the bunker. That was too long for Han's taste. Without further ado walked into the main hold to dig a fresh bandage and a small tube of bacta-infused ointment out of the medical kit. He marched back in and pulled off the old bloody bandage.

    Leia stopped midway through braiding her hair to frown at the man. "Han, I told you I'd take care of it."

    "Ya' never did the other day."

    "We were in the middle of a battle. There wasn't time."

    "It took two minutes." The bandage fell away. Han grimaced in sympathy. While the bleeding had long since stopped and it was starting to heal, the thumb-sized burn was still raw to the touch. It had to hurt more than Leia was letting on. "Y'know the trouble with you is you're too stubborn to ask for help."

    Leia stiffened, wincing at his touch. How could something so small hurt so much, even twelve hours later? "And the trouble with you is you're too impatient- ow."

    Han paused before gently dabbing ointment on the burn. "Yeah, maybe."

    She sighed softly as the anesthetic in the burn cream kicked in. "Looks like we have something in common. Both of us stubborn, both of us more concerned about the other before ourselves."

    Han gave a wry smile as he applied the bandage. "Guess we're a matched set, then."
    Matched...paired... married? Han pushed his reasoning aside. If he dared ask now, then Leia would really think he was impatient. He fastened the adhesive. "There, see? Didn't take more'n a minute. Still hurt?"

    Leia shook her head. "Not anymore. Thank you." And she went back to braiding and pinning her hair. "Get going. The sun is coming up any minute and you promised Admiral Ackbar."

    Han sighed. He didn't want to leave her, but at least she would be safe. Her time was already spoken for. The Ewoks were going to need help in putting out the last of the fires that had been sparked during the battle. Leia would have preferred to be at the front lines, but she had been put on medical restriction for the next two days. She didn't like it, but wasn't about to set an example of insubordination...even though she outranked almost everyone else. "I know." Impulsively he pulled her into his arms. "You be careful out there. Take it easy."

    "You too," murmured Leia into his shoulder. "I want you back in one piece."

    "Ah, you know me."

    "That's what I'm afraid of."

    "Thanks a lot." Han loosed his grip just long enough to pull her into a quick kiss. "I'll be careful, sweetheart."

    "You'd better," she mumbled around his lips. Han was a scoundrel, but he was her scoundrel. She'd gone through too much to lose him now.

    It was an effort to pull away and even more of an effort to let go. Duty called.
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Wonderful characterizations, particularly of H/L. =D= Very plausible that there would be some post-Endor mopping up needed.
    Ridley Solo likes this.
  3. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 9, 2000
    Yup, kind of how I always pictured the morning after Endor. Everyone sleeping off the party wherever they could, paired off with someone amenable, only to be called back to duty in the cold, gray light of morning. Especially love the scene between Han & Leia!
  4. JediMaster_Jen

    JediMaster_Jen Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 3, 2002
    Exactly how I've always imagined the morning after the battle. Everyone tired, weary and yet still prepared; knowing the job isn't finished. =D=
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  5. Ridley Solo

    Ridley Solo Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 27, 2010
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha , Mistress_Renata , and JediMaster_Jen
    Thank you! [face_love] I did borrow a few elements from the Legends novel "Truce at Bakura" (Luke being out of it due to the Emperor's lightning) and drew upon the comic "Shattered Empire" for what happened the morning after. This is just written more with Luke and his friends in mind than secondary characters. I'm hoping what follows meets expectations. :)

    Chapter 2

    Luke flinched awake to the urgent prodding and chattering of what felt like at least ten Ewoks. He blinked in surprise and bit back a wince. His blackout had only lasted seconds but in that time he discovered two things. The first was that the tingling pain was worse.

    The second was the fact that he seemed to be paralyzed. No matter what he tried, he couldn't so much as wiggle a toe or flex his fingers. Not even his throbbing head would move. It was very alarming, and Luke had to make a serious effort not to give in to his growing fear.

    The poking of the Ewoks wasn't helping any. "'t. Please. Leave me alone. It hurts," he insisted.

    The Ewoks stepped back. Logray, the village shaman, directed approximately half of his people somewhere else; perhaps to get help, perhaps to get some sort of primitive medicine. Then he patted Luke's shoulder with what must have been a reassuring speech.

    Luke appreciated the effort, but still wished for a translation...and that he could get up before the rest of the Alliance found him lying helpless on the bridge. Again he tried, and again his efforts were fruitless. He groaned in frustration. What's wrong with me? It had to have something to do with the lightning from the Emperor. Perhaps near-electrocution had more lasting effects. Hopefully it wasn't permanent.

    The heavy pounding of larger feet made the bridge shake. In the next moment Chewbacca yowled and Artoo-Detoo let out a squeal of alarm. Then Threepio added his exclamations of dismay to the rest, and probably awoke the whole village. "What? Oh, my! Master Luke, whatever is the matter? Are you injured?"

    Luke groaned again. "Threepio, calm down. If you want to help, find out what the Ewoks are doing."

    Threepio rocked back and forth in distress. "Oh, dear." And he proceeded to speak with Logray. "You fell? Gracious! Thank the maker it wasn't over the edge."

    "Yes. Now please find out what the Ewoks are doing."

    "Oh. Yes." Threepio spoke again, nodding as the shaman explained things. "Logray says that, seeing the new tribe member injured has brought them great distress, so they will do all they can to help. He has sent his apprentices off to build a litter for you. Whatever happened, Master Luke?"

    "Honestly-" Shouts from Alliance members suddenly sounded from around the village. Soon a small crowd had gathered, to Luke's dismay. Oh, great. Few things were as embarrassing as lying helpless in front of everyone you knew. Again, he tried to move...and nothing happened.

    Wedge was the first to push his way through and drop to Luke's side. "Luke! What happened?"

    Luke sighed in frustration. "I don't know."

    "Apparently, according to witnesses, Master Luke simply collapsed," explained Threepio.

    "Why? What's going on?" Wedge wanted to know.

    "Wedge, I don't know. All I know is one minute I was out for a walk, the next, my legs just gave out."

    "Okay. Take it easy. Maybe you're just tired. Have you eaten anything yet?"

    "No, but I'm pretty sure this is something else," Luke admitted, lowering his voice. "Wedge...I can't move."

    Wedge paled. "'re paralyzed?"

    Luke couldn't even nod. "Looks like it."

    The hotshot pilot looked as if he was going to be sick. "How? Did something happen to your neck or back?"

    Luke wanted to shrug. "I don't think so. I can feel everything...I just can't move."

    "Well, what does it feel like?"

    "I don't know...strange."

    Wedge swore softly under his breath. "All right. We're getting a medic out here right now. Luke, hold still. Don't even try and move." He thumbed on his comlink. "Home One, this is Commander Antilles. We need a medical team down at Bright Tree Village ASAP. It's Commander Skywalker." \

    * * * * *​
    Leia had always been a woman of action. Despite having grown up in the royal house of Alderaan, she was anything but a pampered child. Her adoptive parents had taught her compassion for all, and her experience in the Senate had given her a dose of just how greedy and how corrupt one could become with too much power. Some called her a natural leader, which made her uncomfortable at first. She could lead...but she preferred not to be a leader. Once this war was over and the Senate rebuilt she fully intended to withdraw from the forefront and take a short breather. Han had certainly hinted about something along those lines.

    Han... Leia found her thoughts wandering to him more than once as she rode a speeder back into Bright Tree Village. Force, she loved him. He was the most aggravating man she had ever met, but she loved him. He brought her down to solid ground with his matter-of-fact way of thinking and reminders that one could only put the rest of the universe first for so long. At that point Leia couldn't see a future without him. But only if he comes back alive, she reminded herself. The idea brought her distress and she pushed it aside to focus on the ride back to the village.

    You'd better come back to me, Scoundrel. Or I'll haunt you.

    Of course it was Leia's need for active involvement that made her medical restriction all the more aggravating. Despite Han's fussing and the concerns of others, she knew her burn wasn't serious. To her mind it was ridiculous to be put on what was essentially cleanup duty when there was more urgent work to be done. A sudden throb from her arm mocked this idea, and Leia responded by tapping the throttle for more speed. Let the fleet troopers tailing her worry a little. The wind on her face was refreshing and took her mind off her worries.

    The excited whooping and chittering of Ewoks greeted Leia's return to the outskirts of the village, and she smiled at them as she throttle back and hit the air brakes. Rebels engaged in dousing hotspots with foam waved to her, and the commanding officer quickly approached with something between a bow and a salute. He stood rail-straight.

    "Princess. Lieutenant Harbin," he said in introduction. "Welcome to Gamma Team."

    "At ease, Lieutenant," nodded Leia. She didn't like being treated as a superior officer. "What's the situation?"

    "We've counted a total of about twenty-six small brush fires touched off by yesterday's battle. The ambient moisture has helped some, but we still have at least ten blazes burning in various points in the forest. The Ewoks are doing what they can and luckily there's not much wind to speak of, but they're going to need more help," answered Harbin.

    "Then they're going to get it," nodded Leia. "Is this blaze contained?"

    "Yes, ma'am."

    "Then let's get your team to the next one."

    "Right this way, Princess."

    As Leia and her team made for the fire control team's transport, a feeling of pain and fear that was not her own nagged at the corner of her mind. She paused, frowned, and searched the faces of her comrades. They seemed determined, unafraid, and certainly not in any pain.

    The Force. It had to be that. Luke hadn't said much about it other than the fact that she had it, and would be able to use it as he time. Leia had gotten a small taste of it already, knowing when Luke was safe and Darth Vader was gone. She had better get used to that. In the meantime she made a mental note to ask Luke about these new feelings. She didn't see herself becoming a Jedi, but would like to learn more about this thing that bound them together as family.

    But no matter what she did or how she reasoned things out, Leia could not shake the feeling that someone, somewhere near, was afraid.
  6. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    :eek: [face_worried] for Luke's sudden paralysis and wonderful introspection from Leia, very much in character. I dearly dearly want her to be able to take a breather. She has earned it. @};-

    LOL on her thoughts about Han and the need for action. Very much her :)
    Ridley Solo likes this.
  7. Ridley Solo

    Ridley Solo Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 27, 2010
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Thank you. I'm trying very hard to keep everyone in character.
    Don't worry too much about Luke. If you've seen TFA, you'll know he'll be fine...physically, anyway...
    Chapter Three

    "Hold still, please, Commander Skywalker," ordered the smooth mechanical voice of Too-One-Be.

    Luke pursed his lips at the irony of such a request. Here everyone was worried about the fact that he had been temporarily paralyzed, and yet the droid was telling him to not to move. Add the fact that parallel straps were holding him to the exam table and it went from superfluous to ridiculous. "What else can I do?" he reminded, squinting at the pale green lights of the body scanner.

    "Spinal damage must be ruled out before any movement is permitted, sir," said the robotic surgeon. He pressed a secondary control. "I am now completing a scan of your nervous system. Are you experiencing any discomfort?"

    "No," sighed Luke impatiently. I just want out of here. He couldn't fault the droid for being thorough. Too-One-Be was the best medical droid in the fleet. But the last thing he wanted to be doing was lie in the medical frigate while his friends were down on the Endor moon helping the Ewoks.

    News that Luke was injured sent everyone into a scramble. While mostly absent during the battle, he was still the best pilot they had, and the friend of nearly every Rebel besides. He was rushed to a shuttle and ferried up to be examined. Movement- at least what could be managed while restrained- had returned several minutes before, but no one was taking any chances. Now Luke could only wait until he was treated and released. Hopefully the news wouldn't alarm Leia too much. He'd thought of contacting her mentally again, but she had enough to worry about. Best not distract her.

    At last the scanner powered down, and the restraints retracted. "You will be pleased to know here is no spinal damage, sir. Has your paralysis returned?"

    Luke relaxed on the table and shook his head. "No. I'm feeling a lot better. Can I sit up now?"

    "Very well, sir, but please-"

    Luke pushed back up, startled at the sudden dizziness that overtook him. For a moment he felt rather ill. The feeling was stifled- somewhat unsuccessfully- with the Force.

    "-move slowly," finished the droid with a tone of almost human unhappiness. His clawlike hand supported Luke's shoulder. "Are you experiencing dizziness, sir?"

    "A little."

    "Do you require assistance in undressing for treatment?"


    "Sir, scans show several superficial burns on your torso, right thigh, and right bicep and shoulder. Treatment cannot begin until the damage is exposed."

    Luke blinked in surprise. He hadn't noticed any burns. His right side was tender and somewhat itchy, but after what had happened last night, Luke expected to be sore for a few days. Then again, electricity had coursed through his body. Burns shouldn't have been surprising. "Oh." He suppressed a shudder. "That's all right. I can manage." He yanked off his boots, briefly making a face. "It's not bacta, is it?"

    "Unfortunately not, sir. All bacta tanks are currently in use with more critically injured. You suffered a moderate electrocution and are fortunate to have such mild symptoms. Had you not been removed from the electrical source in such a timely manner, you may well have expired. Your treatment will consist of the application of medicinal salves, fluid replacement, and oxygen therapy as needed. Please disrobe to facilitate such treatment. If you will excuse me, Commander, I have other patients to attend to. A medic will arrive shortly to assist you." The droid rolled toward the door.

    Luke worked at the snaps on his tunic, disturbed. He'd dodged death several times before, but not like this. If, Anakin. Anakin was his father, not Darth Vader. If Anakin hadn't intervened in time, Luke would have died. His father had saved his life, sacrificing his own in the process. Having this point driven home again made Luke's eyes sting. He missed his father. In the short minutes he'd known the true Anakin Skywalker, Luke was gratified but left with more questions than answers...answers he could no longer get.

    When he took off his tunic he finally saw the faint, pink, blistered burns down one side of his arm and ribcage. The sharp memory of that mocking cackle and the searing pain of the lightning returned unbidden, and Luke shook it from his head. When he went back to his task he noticed his hands shaking. He closed his eyes. Calm down. It's over...with a few shuddering breaths he pushed past the tremors.
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  8. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    I am pleased there was no more physical damage than there turned out to be. Of course the emotional effects are just now surfacing and will last longer. Action is a good distraction but those reactions will have to be dealt with eventually.

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  9. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 9, 2000
    Physical and emotional damage, and I don't think he even realizes the extent yet. Plus, slowing down and letting his body heal doesn't seem to come easy to the Skywalkers (either one of them!)

    I loved the characterization in the second section, Wedge staying calm and coming to the rescue (as always!), and Leia being independent and not wanting to be coddled, even when she'd earned it.
  10. Ridley Solo

    Ridley Solo Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 27, 2010
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha and Mistress_Renata
    You know with all the crap Luke's gone through in his life, he'd have to have some issues. I'll have to warn you, though, this fic is not going to be easy on him...:(

    Chapter Four

    It was hours before Leia returned to the village proper and noticed that Luke wasn't around. The sense of alarm sharpened when a breathless commando approached at a fast walk.

    "Princess! We've been trying to reach you by comm for nearly four hours," the commando reported.

    Leia flinched and tapped her belt for the comm...and realized it had run out of a charge. Mentally she kicked herself for such a glaring error. "All right, Commander, what is it?" Her stomach twisted and she mentally prepared herself for bad news about Han.

    The commando grimaced. "It's Commander Skywalker. He collapsed early this morning and we called in a medical team for him. He's on the Redemption."

    "What?" Leia's heart sank into her stomach and dragged it to her boots. Immediately she knew that the feelings of pain and fear earlier had come from her brother. "What happened?"

    He shrugged. "Nobody's sure, Your Highness. He reported some dizziness beforehand, but..." The Commander grimaced and lowered his tone. "When we found him, he couldn't move. Whatever happened, it seems to have paralyzed him."

    Pain and anger at the news wrenched Leia's heart, and she closed her eyes with regret. He was exhausted last night. Was he in pain? Why didn't he say something? It was an effort to keep her emotions under control. I should have stayed with him.

    "Princess, I'm sorry. As I told you, we tried to contact you, but-"

    "That's all right Commander. It's my fault. I should have charged my commlink before now. Can you find me a transport?"

    "Right away, Your Highness."

    Leia thanked the young man for his promptness and tried to remember how Luke had managed to call to her through the Force before. Maybe she could do the same. Luke? Are you there? No answer. Leia sighed, forcing herself to calm down. Maybe she was just doing it wrong. She tried again anyway. I'm coming, Luke.

    * * * * *​
    Leia's heart pounded in her chest as she raced up to the medical frigate with barely more than a short warning and a question about Luke. Nothing much was said, other than he wasn't in any danger and his condition was good. That was something of a relief...but she still had to see him.

    It was tricky trying to track her brother down as she dashed from Emergency, to Treatment, and back before finally finding the one who could give her answers.
    "There is no need for alarm, Princess Leia," calmed Too-One-Be in his smooth voice. "Commander Skywalker is not in any danger and is resting comfortably. If you wish, I can show you to his room. He was just recently moved to Observation."

    Leia nodded gratefully and followed the surgeon down the clean white hall. "What happened, Too-One-Be? Was Luke hurt?"

    The droid seemed thoughtful as he answered. "Some time the previous evening, Commander Skywalker suffered a high-voltage electrocution, leading to...what one might call a short-circuit in his nervous system. He experienced a temporary paralysis as a result of this, leading to his collapse."

    Leia winced, at once horrified and confused. "He was electrocuted? How?"

    "Commander Skywalker claims not to remember. Such a thing is common." the droid rounded a corner into a hallway with several observation rooms. Each had a large window.

    Leia had a feeling that Luke did know, and just didn't want to tell anyone. She grimaced for him. Oh, Luke..."How is he?"

    "He is responding well to treatment and should be able to leave in no less than thirty hours. It seems as if he has at last agreed to rest," observed Too One Be, stopping at the last window on the left.

    Leia pressed her lips together and let out the breath she had been holding. Other than the oxygen prongs in his nose and the thin bandages and IV adorning his bare right arm, Luke seemed fine. To the casual observer he looked like he was sleeping. Leia suspected otherwise. "Can I sit with him?"

    "Certainly. Only allow him to rest."

    "I will." Leia nodded before stepping into the room. She waited until the droid had left before marching up to her brother, ready with a scolding. Then she noticed that he was trembling. No doubt it was one of the side effects of the electricity. Or maybe he was cold. Between living on a desert planet for most of his life and nearly freezing to death on Hoth, Luke had a very low tolerance for cold. Medical frigates and infirmaries were always chilly.

    Leia's impatience dissolved and she looked under the cot for a spare blanket. Finding one, she shook it out and laid it over him.

    Luke stirred at the touch of the spare blanket and wrinkled his brow for a moment.

    Leia? said a voice in Leia's mind. She sat next to him and rested her hand on the trembling arm. "I'm here, Luke."

    Luke opened his eyes with a tired smile. "You heard me."

    "I heard you," confirmed Leia. She gave a gentle squeeze. "What happened? Too-One-Be said you were electrocuted."

    "I was," confirmed Luke. He looked disturbed. "On the second Death Star. But don't worry," he added. "I'm all right."

    Leia shook her head. "Luke, why didn't you tell anyone? I knew you were tired, but-"

    Luke shrugged, grimacing. "I didn't want to worry you."

    The Princess pursed her lips. "Too late."

    Chagrined, Luke ducked his head. "I'm sorry."

    "Don't apologize. Just tell me what happened. You said that Vader brought you to the Emperor, and that Vader died defending you, but...something else happened up there." Leia searched his face and found something buried...a bad memory that was still fresh.

    Luke avoided his sisters' gaze for a moment. His voice was distant. "The emperor thought he could draw me over to the Dark Side. He wanted me to kill our father and take his place. I wouldn't do it..."

    "Luke, what did they do to you?"

    "When I refused to kill my father, the Emperor..." Luke closed his eyes. "He used the Dark Side. Electricity... lightning, straight from his fingers...he was planning to kill me, but I think he wanted to torture me first. Punishment for not joining him, I suppose..."

    Blood drained from Leia's face at the description. She couldn't have imagined something so horrible. She gripped his arm, thumb rubbing the bandages. "Luke..."

    Luke put his free hand over Leia's. "I wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for Father. He was weak from fighting me, but...he lifted the Emperor up, taking the lightning on himself, and threw his master down the core shaft." Blue eyes with a light and peace almost indescribable looked back at Leia. "He saved me. Somehow, he found the strength to let go of the Dark Side and come back to the light. The lightning damaged his suit and he didn't live long after that, but...I was able to speak with him and see his face, just for a moment."

    Leia listened to this tale with a gaping mouth. There was no doubt of the truth in Luke's eyes, and was still Vader. Leia knew she could never think of anyone but Bail Organa as her father, nor could she forgive years of atrocities. Her gaze remained hard.

    Luke touched her shoulder. "Hate and anger can lead to the Dark Side. Vader's gone. Let it go."

    Leia closed her eyes for a minute, fighting with her emotions. Luke was right. He wasn't asking her to forgive, or call Anakin 'father', but to let go of her hate. She nodded. "I know...Luke, I can't forgive anything that Vader did. But the last thing I want is to even touch the darkness he was buried in. I can't hate someone who doesn't exist anymore. And...he did save you," she added, trying to smile. "I can hold on to that."

    Luke sighed, wishing she could understand. It's going to take a long time for her to forgive him. He nodded in acceptance. "Where's Han?"

    "Off with the Pathfinders, getting rid of some holdouts on the far side."

    "He'll be all right."

    Leia masked her worry with annoyance. "He'd better be. Or I'll shoot him myself."

    Luke lifted his brows with amusement. He knew she didn't mean it. "Wouldn't that be counterproductive?"

    Leia groaned and shook her head at his mild teasing. A moment of conscience pricked her, and she bit her lip. "Luke? He knows."

    The young Jedi tilted his head to one side. "Han? What does he know?" His smile faded. Going by the look of pain and uncertainty on her face, he quickly guessed the reason. "You told him about our father."

    "Yes. I hope it's all right, but...I had to tell someone," Leia explained.

    "I understand." It was a heavy burden to carry, especially alone. Luke was quiet as he asked his next question. "What did he say?"

    "Not much." Relief filled Leia's face. "I think it took him by surprise, but he was...I don't know. There wasn't any anger or accusation or disgust on his face. Just acceptance, and..."

    "Love?" Luke nodded through Leia's look of mock annoyance. "It wasn't that hard to figure out, even with as much as you two argue."

    "Han's...different. On one hand he can be the most infuriating, aggravating man I know. On the other..."

    Luke smiled for a moment. "You love him. It's all right," he added, seeing Leia's conflicted expression. "I don't mind."

    "I don't want to tell anyone else."

    "About our father?"


    Slowly Luke nodded. "That might be best." The attitudes of the galaxy weren't likely to be very receptive to the idea that their hero was the son of their greatest enemy.

    Leia smoothed over her expression, eager to change the subject. "It's good to see you're all right. But Luke, much as I'd love to stay-"

    Luke smiled gently in understanding. "Go ahead and head back. Don't worry about me," he added. "I'll be fine. May the Force be with you, Leia."

    Leia managed a smile in return. "You too, Luke." She leaned over and smoothed back his bangs."Take care of yourself." And she stepped out to return to the Rebellion.

    Luke's smile faded as the door slid shut. Once again, he was alone.
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  11. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Wonderful sibling moment; warm and supportive, full of candor and gentle teasing.
    Leia is terrifically in character in her words and reactions. =D=
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  12. Ridley Solo

    Ridley Solo Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 27, 2010
    Thank you WarmNyota_SweetAyesha :)

    I'll be updating this fic every day; it's part of this years' NaNoWriMo for me.
    Oh, and If you like Han/Leia mush, this is your day!
    Chapter Five

    The majority of the Alliance decided to stay on Endor for a time. There they had allies and a healthy environment for the recovery of the wounded, and it proved to be a good place to regroup. They also wanted to help the Ewoks clean up the worst of the mess left by both sides and help rebuild. The Ewoks certainly didn't seem to mind and treated their heroes like royalty. Those who didn't stay went out to spread the word that the Emperor was dead...and see just how much of the Imperial Fleet remained.

    In the meantime the Pathfinders had all returned in one piece. Both Han and Chewbacca were concerned hearing about Luke, but seeing him awake and in his right mind certainly helped. It was only after that Han managed to get Leia alone. Leia, to his relief, didn't protest and actually seemed relaxed for the first time Han had known her. She even began nodding off as they sat next to each other in the main hold.

    Han was amused as he gently nudged her. "Leia...hey." He kissed her cheek.

    Leia's disoriented look as she flinched awake bore testament to her slumber. "Hmm? Was I asleep?"

    Han nodded. "You sure were. Think you better pack it in for the night?"

    Leia frowned at the datapad in her hands. The list of families that had lost a loved one was too long...but she had resolved to write a personal letter of condolence to each of them. She switched it off and set it aside. "I suppose I'd better." She yawned. "I didn't think I was still this tired."

    "Catchin' up to ya', huh?" Han gave her an affectionate squeeze when she nodded. "Better get some rest."

    "Maybe we should head back-" Leia checked her chronometer and frowned. The planet had set hours ago. "Never mind. It's too late now."

    "Yeah, those speeders don't have headlights, and there's a reason the Ewoks sleep in the trees." The forest was full of predators. Han helped the woman to her feet and led her aft, switching off lights as he went. "Time for bed."

    "I really should start on at least one letter-"

    "Tomorrow. C'mon, even you need sleep."

    Leia frowned at him but didn't protest as Han led her to the aft hold. Their improvised double cot made of shipping boxes, cushions, and blankets was still there, with a semblance at having been recently refreshed. "Did you plan this?"

    Han feigned offense. "What?"

    The former Princess lifted her eyebrows at the hopeless smuggler. "Dinner, offering to help with the list, and now this? What are you up to?"

    Han pursed his lips. She was on to him. "Would I do that?" he asked innocently. Seeing Leia cross her arms, he sighed and spread his hands. "Hey, I wasn't gonna stick around unless you asked. You want the bed to yourself, be my guest."

    Leia opened her mouth to retort, but nothing came out but a groan. Both arms fell limp at her sides in defeat. "Han, just tell me what's going on. I know you're up to something."

    Han's next expression was sheepish. "Guess you know me too well, huh?" He shrugged. "Okay, fine. I just wanted to talk about something I been thinkin' about these last few days. Guess now's as good a time as any." He plopped down on the edge of the 'bed' and invited Leia to do the same. "'Kay, so the Empire's done, or at least down for the count, right?"

    Leia nodded. "It may be years before the last of the holdouts surrender, but it's only a matter of time now. For all intents and purposes, the war is over."

    "Right. So, whaddya gonna do without a Rebellion to lead?"

    The question caught Leia off guard. Han was sincerely curious about what her plans were now that the war was winding down. It was a valid question. "I don't know. To be honest, I never gave it much thought." She shrugged. "I suppose go back to the Senate and help rebuild the government."

    Han made a face, but nodded. That was the expected answer.

    His expression made Leia frown. "What, did you expect me to go gallivanting all over the galaxy with pirates? And speaking of which, what are you going to do when you don't have Imperials chasing you across the universe? Go back to smuggling?"

    Han grimaced. This wasn't going the way he'd planned. "If you wanna know, I was thinkin' about starting some kinda shipping business...something legal."

    "Legal? You?" Leia's joke died on her lips as she saw Han's eyes. He was serious. "Han, I'm sorry. I didn't mean-"

    "S'okay. I don't have the best reputation, so folks don't expect much." Han sighed, preparing himself for what came next. "See, the reason I asked is I wondered if you'd wanna come along for the ride."

    "As fun as that sounds, I don't think I'm cut out to be a freight hauler."

    "I don't mean business-wise. I mean..." Han groaned at his own lack of eloquence and leapt to his feet, pacing back and forth. "You deserve somebody better'n me, and I sure's hell don't deserve you. But I love you. I know I'm a scoundrel and a nerf-herder and I ain't got much to offer 'cept some vague plans and a rust-bucket of a starship. But if you can put up with that...and me...why don't we just make it official and get married?"

    A smile that was at once amused and touched dawned on Leia's face. It didn't take much thinking to come to a decision. "Why didn't you say so in the first place?"

    Han shrugged and sat next to her. "I dunno. Whaddya, want me to drop on one knee and get all formal?"

    "No, because for you that wouldn't be sincere. I would have said yes either way." Leia kissed his cheek.

    "Even with the clumsiest proposal ever?" asked Han with one of his famous lopsided grins.

    "It's from you, and it's honest. That's all I want. I love you." And she pulled him into a warm kiss that was soon taken over by gravity and ended up with both of them horizontal on the shipping crates.

    Han gazed down at his princess in relief, the most content man in the galaxy. "So that's a yes, right?"

    Leia lifted her brows with amusement. "Well, if it wasn't, you'd have my brother to answer to."

    Momentarily struck by panic, Han cringed. Blast. He'd forgotten about that. "Uh...y' don't think Luke'd mind, do you?"

    Leia shook her head. "No. But I don't want to wait too long to tell him."

    "'Kay. Y'know, the first thing people are gonna ask is when it is."

    "How long do you want to wait?"

    "I think I can hold out for a while...say, a day or two."

    "Sounds good to me."

    Han pushed up in astonishment. "You're serious? You don't wanna take time to plan anything?"

    Leia shook her head. "No. We don't know how long it will be before we can have peace- real peace -again. Everyone we know and trust is already here, and we don't know when we'll have another chance to have everyone in one spot."

    Han was genuinely surprised. "Huh. So, a Princess marries a Smuggler on a forest moon and the witnesses are a Jedi, a few pilots, and a pack of furballs?" He chuckled. "What're the odds?"

    Leia smiled playfully. "I thought you didn't want to know the odds."

    Han paused, considered, and broke into another grin. "Good point."

    * * * * *​
    Luke greeted the news of his sister's engagement with pleasant surprise and agreed that it was better not to make a big deal out of it. Only Han and Leia's most trusted friends were told, and besides a handful of Ewoks, there was a guest list of exactly twelve; Mon Mothma, Admiral Ackbar, Crix Madine, two members of the Pathfinders, Wedge Antilles, Lando Calrissian, Nien Nunb, and of course Threepio, Artoo, Luke, and Chewbacca. Wicket, the young Ewok who had first befriended Leia, presented her with a handful of wildflowers and covered his face with embarrassment when she hugged him in return.

    The ceremony took place at sunset four days after the Battle of Endor. The standard and ancient rites of marriage were spoken by the aquatic Ackbar, and then a blessing was pronounced over the couple by Chief Chirpa. There was a very small and subdued celebration afterwards, which consisted mostly of toasts with the Ewok's berry wine.

    Sometime during the festivities the newlyweds slipped back to the Falcon. Chewbacca, in his eagerness to help out his friend, had assembled something of a love nest for them out of pillows and various good-luck charms...most of which related to fertility. Han was mortified.

    "Chewie, you big, hairy fuzzball," he muttered, covering his red face. "Wait'll I get my hands on him."

    Leia laughed as she inspected the nest. "Poor Chewie. He was just trying to help."

    Han lifted his eyebrows at a pair of wooden combs...traditional for Wookiee couples, who liked comb each others' fur. "Seriously?"

    "For him, this was probably the most thoughtful thing he could think of." Leia took his hand. "Come on. The least we can do is appreciate his gift."

    Any further protests died on Han's lips as his wife pulled him down into the soft pile.
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  13. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Yeah I guess you could say I liked that... SQUEEEEEE! Han's "clumsy" proposal [face_laugh] [face_mischief] It really was best to have a formal ceremony with closest friends right away, because you really don't know what would happen next. :oops:

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  14. Ridley Solo

    Ridley Solo Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 27, 2010
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Huzzah, it earned a squee!!! [face_love]
    Well, further mush will have to give way to sibling bonding. Luke is, after all, going to be the main focus of this fic....

    Chapter Six

    "Reach out. Feel the Force."

    "I don't feel much of anything."

    "You know it's there, Leia. You just have to be open to it."

    Leia frowned at her brother. He's been saying that for days. Ever since the Battle of Endor, Luke had been hinting that she should learn something about the power within her. Now, he all but insisted. For the last twenty days, they had been setting aside some time for instruction. Leia didn't like calling it training, since what she was learning didn't go beyond the basics. She felt like an infant just learning to see the world for the first time.

    This was only their eighth class in nearly three weeks. There was never any schedule, either in timing or how long the sessions were, owing to how busy Leia still was. Half the time they were interrupted by one thing or another.

    They sat across from each other, she sitting on the edge of her bed, him perched on a stool about a meter away. Luke had been gently prodding her to reach out with her feelings and sense the Force itself. That was always the first step in learning how to use it.

    Leia felt as if there had been little to no progress made. It was uphill work to even relax, as was required, and even when she did, she half doubted she'd be able to do anything with the Force once she found it. Reliably, on the rare occasions she did feel something, something came up to distract her, and the connection would be lost. So far the only progress that had been made was a minor improvement in her familial relationship with Luke. He felt more like her brother now, even if it was because he was getting on her nerves more.

    For his part Luke was an eager and patient teacher, though often frustrated with Leia's reluctance and the regular interruptions.

    The princess-turned-diplomat sighed. "I'm trying...and don't tell me again that 'there is no try'."

    Luke grimaced. "I'm sorry, but you need to relax. You've done this before," he added, trying to be encouraging. "Think about that. Remember what you did and how you were feeling then, and see if you can get back to it."

    Leia eyed him, annoyed, before reluctantly closing her eyes and taking a deep breath. "I'm not sure I do remember...there's too much bouncing around in my head."

    Luke nodded. "Don't think about it. Don't think about anything. Just relax. Let everything else go. Breathe."

    Leia knit her brows, but followed Luke's direction. With a conscious effort she released everything that was nagging for attention and just focused on breathing. Slowly her mind emptied. Slowly the tension between her shoulders eased.

    "That's it, Leia. Just breathe," said Luke. His voce became a low, calming hum. "Let go..."

    Leia nodded without realizing it, easing into a state of calm. This was the part of the session she liked. It was a relief not to have to worry about anything for a few minutes. She just enjoyed the silence.

    "How do you feel?" Luke asked after a moment.

    "Better," replied Leia quietly. "Calm."

    "Good. Now, open your mind...feel the Force. It's with you, just as it's always been." Luke's voice had dropped to nearly a whisper.

    Leia's brow wrinkled with concentration as she became aware of something vague and distant. It didn't have form or shape, but it was there. "I...feel something..."

    Luke's ears were wide open. "What do you feel?"

    Leia bit her lip. "I don't's too far."

    Luke shook his head. "That's in your mind, Leia. It's here, inside you...and me...and around us."

    Leia blew out a short breath and tried a different approach. Instead of trying to approach the feeling, she let it come to her. Without warning it did come, and overwhelmed her. She knew Luke, and felt his familiar presence, but there was so much more...everyone on the ship...the fleet...the galaxy. She gasped, trying to pull away. "'s too much-"

    Luke touched her arm, worried that she'd shut down. "It's all right. Don't be afraid. You're too open. Pull back, just a little...concentrate only on this room."

    Leia wrinkled her brow, imagining the huge frightening world shrinking. It did, in small uncontrolled spurts, until she only sensed Luke's presence and a few random beings in the hall and the room next door. "All right...I think I've got it."

    "Is that better?"

    "Much. Now there's just you and few others...maybe in the next room."

    "Good. Now, see if you can-"

    "Wait," Leia interrupted, knitting her brows again. "There's someone coming?"

    Luke nodded, pleasantly surprised. He was about to compliment Leia on her success when the door slid open and Han sauntered into the room.
    "Leia, you here? I've been trying-"

    The sudden loss of connection to everything was the mental equivalent of a snapping rubber band, and Leia's hand went to her head. "Ouch! Han!"

    Han froze in his tracks and looked around, trying to figure out what was going on and why Luke was frowning at him. "Whoa, hey, what'd I do?"

    Leia groaned. "You came in the room," she said, annoyed at the sudden ache on her temples.

    Han spread his hands in confusion. "So? Is that any reason to bite my head off?"

    "She was using the Force. You broke her concentration," explained Luke, turning back to Leia. "Did that hurt?"

    "Just a little," mumbled Leia, still rubbing her head.

    "Hey, somebody wanna tell me what's goin' on?" Han crossed his arms in aggravation. "Am I not allowed to come in anymore?"

    "Han, stop overreacting. It was just bad timing."

    "Well, sorry, but how'm I supposed to know? I tried commin' 'ya five times and ya wouldn't answer."

    Leia colored in embarrassment. "I turned it off so there wouldn't be any distractions. I didn't even know you were back."

    Han turned his annoyed gaze to Luke, who seemed sheepish. "Yeah. OK. Maybe you oughta let up a little, if it's givin' her a headache."

    Luke groaned. "Han, you might think that using the Force would be something easy, but it's not. It takes a lot of concentration, and when that breaks, it can feel like something snapping in your head."

    Han glared at his brother-in-law. "Hey, don't you go pinnin' this on me. If I'd a known you were in the middle of this Jedi stuff, I'd a backed off."

    "That's enough, both of you," ordered Leia, rising to her feet. "Luke, you might be my brother, but that doesn't mean you can speak for me or try to protect me all the time. Han, you leave Luke alone. It's not his fault." She let out a heavy breath. Her headache was getting worse. She turned to her husband. "I'm sorry for getting angry with you. If I'd known you were trying to call me..."

    "S'okay," muttered Han, chagrined. "Like you said, it's just bad timing." he shoved his hands in his pockets. "Want me to leave?"

    "No. Luke..." Leia turned reluctantly to her brother. "Can I take a break?"

    "You don't have to ask," replied Luke quietly. He still looked kind of let down. It had been their shortest session yet, and just when they were making progress...don't push it. She hasn't seen her husband in a week. "Of course. You and Han need to catch up anyway. If-" Luke cringed. He was about to say 'if you need me, I'll be close', but clearly Leia was done for the day. "Take it easy." And he ducked out of the room.

    Han, still somewhat annoyed, shook his head before turning back to Leia and sinking next to her on the bed. "Y'okay?"

    Leia nodded, still trying to rub away the ache. "Was there something you were trying to tell me?"

    Han was sheepish. "Ah...yeah. I was just gonna ask you not to come down to the hangar for a while."

    Leia pursed her lips at him. "Uh-oh. Now, what?"

    "Relax. Got a surprise for 'ya." Han's smile was faint as he realized Leia still didn't feel well. Smoothly he reached over and began massaging the sides of Leia's head. "This any better?"

    "Mmm..." Leia let her head hang back.

    "At the risk of starting another argument...Luke hasn't been pushing too hard with this Force stuff, has he?"

    "No. If anyone's been pushing too hard, it's me. I just...I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing. Luke tries to help, but...even he's not very sure of himself."

    "I kinda figured. Kid's always been humble, but these days it's like he doesn't even have confidence anymore."

    "I know. I wish I could help somehow..."

    "Hey." Han paused his massage to look Leia in the eye. "You can't fix everything. 'Sides, Luke's been at this Jedi stuff longer. He can't expect you to learn overnight."

    Leia nodded. "I suppose..." Eager to get off the subject, she turned back to him. "What was that about a surprise?"

    Han broke into a grin and took her hand. "C'mon. I'll show 'ya. It's your wedding present."

    The woman groaned as she was led down the hall. "Han, what did you do? I told you I didn't want anything." Han wouldn't answer as he pulled her along and brought her directly to the ramp of the Falcon, where Chewie was waiting. Then, aggravatingly, he covered her eyes and nudged her up the ramp. By the time they were inside, Leia was impatient. "Let me see. I don't want to trip over one of your shipping crates."

    Han sighed. "C'mon. You know I'm not gonna let that happen. No peeking!" Finally, stopping at a doorway, he lifted his hands. "Aaand, look."

    Leia blinked to adjust her eyes to the dark interior. What she saw in what used to be the crew quarters was a cooking range, a refrigeration unit, a sonic dish cleaner, and some extra storage above and below. "What did you do?"

    "It's a galley!" crowd Han, stating the obvious. He went around and pointed out the secondhand-but-shiny appliances. "Kinda small, and nothin' fancy, but...whaddya think?"

    "You gave me a galley for a wedding present?" Leia crossed her arms and lifted her eyebrows. "I hope you're not expecting me to start cooking. That wasn't something I picked up."

    "Nah, I know that. I just thought..." Han's face fell. "Don't you like it?"

    "It's fine, but...what brought this on?" Leia wanted to know.

    "Remember that last trip we took? You found the stale ration bars and went off about how the old girl needed a galley. Well, here 'ya go." Han proudly displayed the counter with his arm. "Built most of it myself."

    Leia nodded, patiently inspecting things. Everything seemed to work, and the refrigeration unit was cold. "Well thank you, but we're still left with the problem of who's going to use it."

    Han blinked. "Me, who'd you think? I built this thing so you could eat something decent. You hungry?" He started rifling around in the cupboard.

    Leia tried very hard not to laugh. "You can cook?"

    "'Course I can!"

    "Well, if any of the ingredients is Corellian brandy, count me out."

    "Hey! It's a seasoning!" Han groaned and started putting things on the counter. "You never tasted my nerf stew. Just wait." He winked and set about cooking for her.

    Leia wound up getting both dinner and a show as Han cooked up his 'famous' nerf stew as only he could. The main ingredients seemed to be cursing, cut fingers, and burned palms...but she had to admit the stew was good. The brandy had made the nerf nice and tender and added something of a kick to the flavor. After the dirty dishes had been put in the dish cleaner, Leia came up behind her husband and wrapped her arms around his waist. "You never cease to amaze me."

    Han grinned and turned around to hold his wife in turn. "Same to you, sweetheart. How's your head?" He threaded his fingers through a lock of her thick brown hair and laid it aside.

    "Better. Thank you." Leia laid her head on his chest and sighed with contentment.

    "Miss me?" asked Han as he held her.

    "Of course. I'm glad you're back."

    "I'll always come back to you."
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  15. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Wonderful practical gift LOL and thoughtful too. :) Leia does seem to be making progress but it's all these interruptions that aren't helping. :p
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  16. Ridley Solo

    Ridley Solo Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 27, 2010
    As always, thank you, WarmNyota_SweetAyesha . I think you may be the only regular reader, but I don't mind writing for an audience of one.

    And, back to Luke. This one might get a little emotional....:(
    Chapter Seven


    Stretch out with your feelings...

    When gone am I, the last of the Jedi will you be...


    You were right, Luke...

    Luke slept fitfully, tossing and turning as voices from his past bounced against the walls of his mind, calling his name, echoing without end.

    There was Obi-Wan, his first teacher, speaking encouragement in his ear and then berating him.

    You've taken your first step into a larger world...

    Bury your feelings deep down, Luke...

    There was Yoda, never satisfied.

    Control, control, you must learn control!

    Remember your failure at the cave...

    You are reckless!

    His mentors seemed to be scolding him, urging him to do more, try harder, take on his responsibility as the last Jedi.

    The Force runs strong in your family...there is another...

    That other he spoke of is your twin sister...

    Pass on what you have learned...

    Luke grunted in his sleep, rolling over and wishing he could protest, to say that he was trying. He didn't know how to teach. He didn't know enough about the Force.

    "But I need your help...I can't go on alone..."

    "Ben, why didn't you tell me?"

    Further memories now mingled with those of his teachers. Vader, revealing the terrible truth as he took his hand...the Emperor, taunting him as he was electrocuted...survival seemed impossible, just as restoring the Jedi order now did. But Luke was alone. There was no one to help him.

    "Father, me!"

    But his father was gone. Redeemed, and now lost in the Netherworld of the Force.

    "Father....Yoda...Ben...please...I need your help..."

    Then the Emperor has already won...

    That is why you fail...

    Luke lurched from sleep with a muffled grunt. Thin sheets clung to his sweat-soaked limbs, increasing the feelings of helplessness. 'Fail' kept echoing in his mind, and he shook it out before looking about the darkened room.

    It was empty, utterly devoid of any other presence but his. Not even Artoo was there. He was at the charging station with Threepio.

    Luke shuddered and ran his fingers through his damp hair. He'd never felt so isolated. He was trying to listen to his master...trying pass on what he'd learned, to train his sister. It didn't seem to be working very well. What am I doing wrong? He wondered. The same thought kept returning to him. I don't know enough...I need to learn more. It had now become obvious that his Jedi training had barely scratched the surface. It was nothing more than a crash course on how to defeat the Emperor. And now there was no one left to learn from-


    Luke flinched at the new voice and looked around. Was he imagining things again?

    "Luke...hear me..."

    This was no whisper of the past. The voice tickled his ears much as the phantom of Obi-Wan had all those months before, but it wasn't Obi-Wan. The voice sounded unaccountably younger. Luke moistened his lips. "Hello?"

    At once a glowing blue spirit materialized in the corner. It was neither Obi-Wan nor Yoda, but a younger man, clad as a Jedi, with curly hair to his shoulders and a faint smile. Luke had seen him only once before, but recognized his presence immediately.

    "Father." Luke felt hope resurge within him. Once again, his father had heard his call for help. His eyes stung with regret. "I didn't think I'd see you again."

    "It was against the advice of our masters that I return to you," admitted Anakin's spirit. "I never was a good listener," he said with some humor.

    "You heard me. I was calling for help."

    "Yes, though that was in the past. I return to you now only for a short while."

    Luke's shoulders fell in disappointment. "But there's so many questions, so much I have to know-"

    Anakin showed his palm, regret on his face. "Knowledge does not always lead to contentment, Luke. Often it leads only to pain...and I'll not cause you any more."

    The young Jedi climbed out of bed. "Father, please. I can't do this alone."

    The spirit of Anakin sadly shook his head. "I cannot remain long enough to teach you in the ways of the Force, son. It is more infinite than you could imagine, and one man cannot possibly learn everything."

    Luke nodded. "I know that. But I made a promise to Yoda that I'd pass on what I've learned. I can't keep it this way..." He sighed in frustration. "I'm trying to train Leia, but...I know I'm doing something wrong. I need to know more."

    Anakin nodded once. "You are not ready to train anyone in the ways of the Force...and it is not Leia's destiny to become a Jedi."

    Luke's heart sank even further. "Who else is there? Yoda said I was the last of the Jedi."

    "The last of the old, yes. But the Force does not need the Jedi to exist. It chooses whom it wills."

    "You mean...there are others to train? Who? Where?"

    "That, you must discover for yourself." Anakin sighed. "My time grows short. I must soon leave you."

    Luke shook his head. "Not yet. Please-"

    Anakin's spirit smiled gently. "You already let me go, Luke. And while you may not hear my voice, nor that of Obi-Wan or Yoda, we are always with you. Now, listen to me."

    Luke sagged on his limbs and nodded. "Yes, Father."

    Anakin looked into his son's eyes. "To know what is needed to bring back the Jedi, you must learn of their ways. Temples still lie scattered across the galaxy. Many still hold their teachings within. You already discovered one of these. There, you must return and keep your word."

    Luke's eyes widened in wonder. The Force was more mysterious than he had thought if Anakin knew about the oath his son had spoken in the ruins of Eedit Temple. "Devaron...yes...but what about Leia? I just found my sister. I can't leave her now."

    The spirit seemed sad. "Do not cling too tightly to those you love, Luke. Leia has her own path to follow. She may learn of the power she has inherited, but as I've told you, it is not her destiny to be a Jedi."

    Luke sighed, closing his eyes. While Leia was frustrated, she was open to the Force. He hated leaving her alone to flounder. "I've been pushing her up till now. She won't understand. Couldn't you tell her? She's never seen you. If she did-"

    Again, Anakin showed his palm. "Now is not the time for a family reunion. Leia would only be frightened and embarrassed if I showed myself now, and I doubt I'd be welcomed by her husband. She must come to forgiveness in her own time."

    Sadly Luke had to agree. He hadn't been thinking. Han would have a heart attack if a ghost showed up. "I'll have to tell her, then."

    "I must go now, Luke. I've stayed too long already. It was good to speak with you again, my son." Anakin began to fade away.

    "Wait...Father, please don't go," begged Luke, walking toward the spirit as if he could physically stop it. "Can't you tell me anything...about my mother?"

    A look of deep pain came into the eyes of Anakin's spirit. He smiled sadly. "She loved you and your sister very much, and she would have been proud of you. Goodbye, Luke. May the Force be with you...always..." And with that, the spirit of Anakin Skywalker was gone.

    Luke didn't notice the tears on his cheeks until one of them dropped off his chin. He managed a small, painful smile. "Goodbye, Father." Wiping his eyes, he climbed back into bed.

    At least now he knew what he had to do.
  17. Zer0

    Zer0 Jedi Master star 3

    Sep 3, 2012
    That was a bittersweet, but touching moment.
    Ridley Solo likes this.
  18. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Ah, so Luke has his next steps. [face_thinking] I don't like the idea of letting Leia flounder either. [face_worried] She may not be destined to be a Jedi per se but she could use her skills in whatever role(s) she takes on. It would certainly come in handy.
    Ridley Solo likes this.
  19. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 9, 2000
    I really loved Chapter 5. The most unromantic proposal in the history of the Galaxy, and yet, it seems entirely in keeping with Han's character. I also liked the wedding. Yes, a Princess of Alderaan might have expected grand formal ceremonies and celebrations, with fine wines and elaborate balls. But for Leia, this smaller event with her closest friends and associates was perfect and suited her as a person.

    Ah, Chapter 6... it does seem Luke is pushing her too hard. Just because she's a Skywalker doesn't mean she needs to be a Jedi. There's almost an element of desperation to him. The wedding galley! Hahahahahaha! That was Legends canon, wasn't it? I love that Han assured her that HE would be the one to do the cooking (a scary thought, I'd trust Chewbacca more!), and his line about Brandy is a seasoning. Of course it is!

    And Chapter 7... Luke is floundering with his path. Anakin tries to continue his redemption by pointing out a new path, and gets him to lay off Leia (hey, he owes her that!) Maybe he (or Leia?) could solve the puzzle of their mother. And it makes perfect sense for Luke to retrace the original steps of the Jedi. Plus, when Wedge & the crew are able to retake Coruscant, there are the Emperor's secret collections and the desecrated Jedi Temple to examine.

    Excellent so far!
  20. Ridley Solo

    Ridley Solo Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 27, 2010
    Zer0 [:D]
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Well, I'm working backwards from what we know about the galaxy pre-TFA. I'm trying to come up with a reason that we don't see Leia as a full-fledged Jedi rather than a General. Luke doesn't really *want* to leave her, but his lack of confidence and knowledge doesn't lend itself very well to teaching. It'll be ultimately up to her to decide whether she wants to balance work with family life *AND* add Jedi training to the mix. Yoda told Luke that it took 'the deepest commitment', and he might not want to keep going if she only jumps in halfway. :(
    Mistress_Renata Wow, thank you for the chapter-by-chapter review! I'm glad you liked the proposal and wedding. :) As far as I know, the galley was never mentioned in the Legends books but it was in the TFA visual dictionary in the New Canon. And don't worry; despite his idiosyncrasies, he's actually a pretty decent cook! ;) As for the final chapter, I'm not following the Legends canon at all if I can help it, except by trying to fill in some gaps. So I actually don't know if Wedge and his crew retake Coruscant. I *do* know it doesn't end up as the capital again...that's Hosnian Prime.

    Here we go into the next chapter!
    Chapter Eight

    Force, please, not again, Leia begged to the unknown. She crouched in the bathroom, grasping the edge of the refresher, willing her stomach not to empty itself for a fifth time. It didn't, and Leia rose to her feet with a shudder. Hopefully this wouldn't last much longer.

    In the three months since the Battle of Endor, much had changed. The forest moon had long ago been left behind, other battles had been fought, more lives lost and yet more saved, and work had begun on resurrecting the Senate. It would be a long haul, however, and Leia wondered how old her child would be before the war was truly over and the galaxy could begin to heal from the wounds left by the Empire.

    For Leia, it was a shock finding out she was pregnant. She'd gone in for a routine physical and it popped up in a blood test. A recent scan confirmed it and showed an active little bean, jumping around inside her with a flickering heartbeat. It was nothing she or Han had ever discussed except as a nebulous "maybe someday" idea. She certainly would have preferred to wait until things had settled down. The worst part, though, was that Han didn't know yet and she had no idea how he was going to react.
    She would have told him sooner, but he had taken off the day before her physical and had been practically incommunicado since. That had been two weeks ago. Leia could have told him via holo, of course, but preferred to tell him in person. Luke wouldn't know until after Han did, and up until this morning, keeping it from him had been easy. He hadn't exactly been himself lately.

    For the last month Luke had suddenly shifted his focus from training to studying. He pulled up every article on the Holonet he could find about the Jedi and had even returned from his last mission with some kind of Force-infused sapling. The tiny tree now sat in his quarters in a little pot. While Luke was excited to have it, Leia couldn't sense anything. All she saw was a scrawny houseplant.

    Leia paused at her desk to take several deep breaths before sitting down to complete what she hoped was the last of the condolence letters. It had become a full-time that she hated.

    She wasn't even halfway through the third on the list when her comm chirped. "Yes?" she said, trying not to sound too annoyed.

    "Princess, as per you request for timely information, the Millennium Falcon has just been granted clearance to land in Hangar 7A," informed a young fleet trooper.
    Leia's heart fluttered with anticipation and nerves. Han was back. Now she just needed to get him alone for a few minutes. Knowing Han, that shouldn't be a problem. "Thank you."

    * * * * *​
    Silence. Utter silence.

    Leia's stomach twisted from nausea, nerves, or both as Han sat on their bed with his mouth hanging open. He hadn't said anything for a full minute. "Han?" She waved a hand in front of his face. "Did you hear me?"

    Han blinked twice and he shook his head before turning to his wife. "Yeah....y-yeah, I heard you. You, uh, you're sure?"

    Leia nodded. "Very. The medics did a blood test, and then confirmed it with a scan."

    Han glanced at Leia's middle and saw nothing out of the ordinary. "Erm...y'don't look pregnant."

    Leia pursed her lips. "I wouldn't, yet. The embryo isn't even as big as my fingertip."

    Han let out a short whistle. "Oh. Wow. This is, How'd this...ah, never mind. Stupid question. When'd you find out?"

    "Two weeks ago."

    "Well, if you've known that long, why in heck didn't'cha tell me?"

    "You were already gone. I wanted to tell you in person."

    Han made a face. "Yeah, well, still kinda wished I knew. Maybe I'd come home sooner." He took a little more time to process the news. Leia was pregnant. He didn't know much about it beyond the basics, but had heard quite a bit about the signs and symptoms of human pregnancy. She's gonna be throwin' up and yellin' at me a lot more, he realized. Best to tread carefully. "How you feeling, you okay?"

    Leia shrugged. "A little sick, if you have to know, but nothing I can't handle. So far everything seems normal."

    Han nodded. That was good to hear. Well, Leia didn't seem overly worried or angry. Slowly one of his lopsided grins overtook his face. "Huh. I'll be a sonofa sand panther." The grin widened, and his uncertainty quickly became joy. "A baby."

    Leia, impatient and somewhat grouchy, bit her lip. "So, you're happy?"

    Han stared at her incredulously. "What? 'Course I'm happy! Ya' kiddin? I'm gonna be a father." The thought made him cringe for a moment. "Prob'ly won't be very good at it, but I'll give it a shot."

    He'd better give it more than just a shot. Leia sighed, relieved. "I know you will." And she willingly leaned into his waiting embrace.

    It wasn't long before Han pulled back with a frown. "Hey...y' sure you're okay? You're trembling." He studied her face. "Don't you want it?"

    Leia frowned at him. While she had yet to feel any connection with the life in her womb, her maternal instincts had already kicked in. "Of course I do. The timing isn't the best, but I want this baby." She put a hand on her flat middle for emphasis. "I am afraid," she admitted, leaning on him. "Raising a child is the biggest responsibility anyone can have. I want ours to know he or she is safe, and loved, and...and I just don't know what to do." Unexpectedly Leia broke down into tears, and she didn't understand why.

    Han only knew to hold her. "Sweetheart, you'll do fine...a hell of a lot better than I will, that's for sure."

    "I've hardly ever been around older children, let alone a newborn. I don't have the faintest idea of how to take care of one...other than feeding them."

    "Well, me neither, but at least you had parents. You had somebody for an example of what a mom or dad's supposed to be. What'd they do?"

    "I had a collection of aunts trying to turn me into a proper little princess, but...they didn't raise me. My mother, Breha, taught me to show compassion to everyone, regardless of what they are or where they've come from. My father was the greatest example of what a parent should be. They were always busy, but they always made time to play, and when I was older, teach," recalled Leia. Her heart still ached at their loss, and she doubted that wound would ever fully heal.

    "Well, that's a sight better'n I had." Han kissed her forehead. "We're just gonna have to do our best, 'kay?"

    Finally a reluctant smile rose on Leia's face. If Han was so enthusiastic, why should she worry so much? "All right."

    * * * * *​
    Luke felt a strange sense of trepidation as he waited at the entry to Han and Leia's apartment. Their timing was perfect, as they had asked him over to talk just minutes after he had decided to tell Leia his plans.

    He had been putting off his extended quest for Jedi knowledge long enough. There was nothing more he could scrounge from the Holonet. It was time to leave.
    Luke hated to drop a thing like this on Leia. Her training had been sporadic at best, but she was learning. He sincerely hoped that whatever their news was, it was good. He didn't know if he'd have the heart to leave if something was wrong.

    Leia seemed edgy as she answered the buzz of the door and welcomed him in. She was a little pale and looked more tired than usual. Luke's concern rose. Perhaps she was ill.

    Han's attitude seemed to counter this idea, as he could hardly contain himself. His smile was wide and he looked...proud. Luke's confusion grew as they all exchanged greetings and went to sit down in the kitchen.

    "Luke, you said you had something to tell me?" said Leia as easily as she could manage.

    "That's...all right. You go first," offered Luke. His curiosity was getting the better of him.

    "I'm guessing you sensed something when you came in," sighed Leia. No reason to beat around the bush now. "But I found out that I'm...Han and I," she revised, "are expecting our first child."

    Luke couldn't contain his surprise...and relief. "Oh!" Turning things over in his head, he found it made sense. He'd heard about expectant mothers feeling out of sorts, especially early on. His curiosity rose. Could a life be sensed that early? Would they know if the child was strong in the Force?

    Leia knit her brows. "You're surprised. I thought the Force had told you."

    Luke shook his head. "No, I don't sense anything. But I haven't tried. May I?"

    Leia hesitated and glanced at Han before nodding. As long as he didn't try to touch her stomach... "Go ahead."

    Han smirked. "Yeah. Hey Luke, see if you can find out if it's a boy- ow!" Leia had jabbed him in the ribs. He was still something of a skeptic as far the Force went, but this kind of teasing was just too much. "Sorry," he muttered.

    Luke ignored the exchange and focused his attention on Leia's middle. He sensed her presence, somewhat apprehensive...and the spark of something else. Hopeful, Luke concentrated. There was a tiny, warm presence there, nestled deep within, without feeling or emotion or form. But when he sent a little mental nudge, there was a response! Luke withdrew with a wide, enchanted smile. "It's very small, but there is something...someone," he corrected. "Congratulations."

    Han's eyes were wide. He hadn't expected anything, and Luke never lied. "Whoa. You can...sense...something that small?"

    "It's faint, but it's definitely there. And no," he added to Han's joking inquiry, "I can't tell if it's a boy or girl. Leia, why do you try?"

    "I have," she sighed. "I don't feel anything."

    "You will. Just keep practicing."

    Leia frowned and shook her head. It was Luke's classic line, and now she felt he was implying she wasn't trying hard enough. "So, what was it you wanted to talk about, Luke?"

    Luke's face fell. Now, what? Leia was fine, but her irritability might rise when she found out what her brother was going to do. He was careful with his words. "Remember when I told you I needed to do more studying to learn about the Force?"

    Leia nodded. "Of course. You know the entire resources of the Alliance holonet are at your disposal."

    Luke grimaced. "I know, and thank you. Unfortunately the Emperor managed to wipe out almost every piece of information on the Jedi. I haven't been able to learn much."

    "Luke, I'm sorry. We're working as quickly as we're able to find and decrypt any secrets the Empire has been keeping, including those of the Jedi."

    "The problem is most of those files must have already been destroyed. Palpatine didn't want anyone to find out about the Jedi, much less those strong in the Force like you and I. I've learned all I can from the Holonet." Luke took a deep breath. "It's time I started searching on my own."

    "What do you mean?" Leia asked, though she already knew the answer. He's leaving again.

    "I mean that in order for me to know enough to train you or anyone else, I have to learn more, and I can't do that here. There were more temples besides the one on Coruscant. I found one when I went to Devaron, and while I was there, I swore an oath to return and rebuild the Jedi. I intend to keep that promise."

    "So, you're going back to try and rebuild the temple? Luke, do you have any idea the resources that would take?"

    Luke showed his palms. "I'm not asking for any help. And there are other temples I plan to visit...Lothal, for one. And it's not just for knowledge. I want to see if I can find students."

    Han frowned. "Hey, hey, hold on. Wait a sec. Luke, ain't you the only Jedi left? I thought you were training Leia."

    The Jedi cringed. "I am, and I fully intend to continue. But the Force doesn't need Jedi to survive. There must be others out there, Force-sensitives who had to hide their talents or haven't even discovered them yet."

    Han scoffed. "Luke, you can't just go hop from planet to planet and say you're lookin' for wizards or something. Even if you did find anybody who wanted to be a Jedi, it'd take you two hundred years. 'Sides, you're the one who kept tryin' to tell me not to run out on the Alliance. Ain't that what you're doin' now? C'mon, Luke. They need you."

    Luke, while happy with Han's turnaround, had to sigh. "Rogue Squadron can get along without me. So can the Alliance. I've already turned the squadron over to Wedge, and I was planning on resigning tomorrow." He caught the look of disappointment in Leia's eyes and hung his head. "Leia, I'm sorry. But I have to do this. If the Jedi never return, what's to stop another Empire from rising?"

    "They didn't do so good stoppin' the last one," muttered Han.

    "That's enough, Han," glared Leia. She stared at her hands.

    "Please don't think I'm abandoning your training, Leia. I want you to learn. And someday, when I come back, we can pick up where we left off. I just don't know enough right now." He studied her face. "Can you understand?"

    Leia closed her eyes against the anger, against the sadness she felt at Luke's announcement. But she had to nod. "I understand. If you made a promise, you need to keep it." She swallowed the lump in her throat. "When are you leaving?"

    Luke's shoulders fell in relief. "It's going to take a few days to make the arrangements. I need to tender my resignation, for one thing-"

    "Consider it done. I'll put the official word through tonight."

    "Leia, you don't have to-"

    "I want to. Luke, you're right. The galaxy needs the Jedi. I don't have to like what that means, but I understand."

    Luke managed a smile and squeezed Leia's hands in thanks. "I won't be gone forever."

    Leia forced her own smile. "You'd better not. I want you to meet your niece or nephew."

    * * * * *​
    It would be untrue to say that the parting of brother and sister was easy and without emotion. Leia, to her annoyance, found herself crying again as she hugged Luke goodbye at the foot of the Y-wing he was borrowing.

    Luke hated upsetting his sister and let her cling to him for a time. "I'll stay in contact as often as I can. Some places might be remote and without any services, but...I'll do my best. And I'm coming back," he insisted. "I promise."

    "How long will you be gone?" Leia asked, clearing her throat.

    "Months, at least...maybe a few years," said Luke regretfully. Finally he pulled back. His sister had to let him go.

    "Be safe, Luke," begged Leia.

    "You, too. May the Force be with you." Luke kissed his sister on the cheek before releasing her hands and moving on to say goodbye to the uncomfortable Han. "Take care, Han."

    "You take of yourself," insisted Han. "I can't keep coming around and bailin' you out all the time."

    "I'll be careful."

    Han, biting his lip, shook Luke's hand. Then he gave up at the last minute and pulled his brother-in-law into a quick hug. "I mean it, kid. You don't come back in one piece, Leia'll skin 'ya alive. And I'll help."

    Luke chuckled as he patted Han's arm. "Thanks for the warning. Bye, Han. Chewie-" But the Wookiee had already engulfed him in a massive, furry hug. Luke's feet dangled about half a meter off the floor. "Ch-chewie, hey! Okay, okay, I'll miss you, too."

    Chewbacca yowled his own admonition to be careful and took a step back. Now the goodbyes had been said.

    Luke stood at the foot of the ladder, surveying his family as Artoo was loaded into the astromech socket. A lump almost came to his throat. He swallowed it, mounted the ladder, and turned around to give one last wave before settling into the cockpit and closing the canopy.

    Long ago, Obi-Wan had told him that feeling the Force was 'taking his first step into a larger world'. Now, he was about to take his next steps...into the universe.
  21. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    What a contrasting tumble of emotions and announcements! We're expecting -- that is a delightful thing to read. :D And then Luke's decision to leave, for months, even years. Of course Leia is disappointed and upset, for a wide range of reasons.

    It'll be a grand adventure for sure.
    Ridley Solo likes this.
  22. Ridley Solo

    Ridley Solo Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 27, 2010
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Yup. The 'action' part of this story is coming up soon!

    I'll warn everyone ahead of time, this fic is going to see a LOT of time jumps. Or else it would be 50 chapters long! :eek: Thirty years is a lot of time to cover.

    Chapter Nine

    "Artoo, where's that hydrospanner?" called a muffled voice from under the belly of the Y-wing.

    Artoo tootled a response and swung his arm around, placing the wanted tool into the hand of his young master.

    "Thanks." grunted Luke as he took the tool in hand and adjusted a loose nut. Y-wings, as the Fleet's oldest ships, were generally reliable but always needed the odd tune up every couple hundred parsecs. Some, especially the younger pilots, hated how slow and heavy and hard to maneuver they were. Luke did prefer his X-wing, but using that was impossible with both droids along. Luke frowned and shook his head at the wandering See-Threepio, still chattering on about the long history of Devaron.

    It had been five full months since his arrival on the planet, and Luke had spent four of them wishing he hadn't brought the golden protocol droid. True, the droid was useful in translation, but his alarmist personality coupled with his overactive vocoder didn't make him the most pleasant of travel companions. Luke couldn't wait to take him back to Leia.

    Then again, his time on Devaron hadn't been all bad. Passage to Eedit Temple was aided by his young friend Farnay, who remembered Luke from his first visit. She, along with most of the planet, had celebrated the fall of the Empire and looked forward to a future of free trade.

    Farnay had been a talkative but helpful guide. She stayed with Luke throughout his visit and asked endless questions about the Jedi. While disappointed that she had no Jedi potential, the girl had promised to keep an eye out for anyone who might...and to continue spreading the word that the Jedi were not the monsters the Empire had made them out to be.

    Luke had learned much at Eedit Temple. He'd spend his days exploring the ruins, practicing with the training remotes, and studying any and all information he could find. Threepio had provided a full history of the place, which was interesting until he had run through it five times. He was running through it a final time while Luke worked just to keep him out form underfoot. Artoo's warbling commentary provided his thoughts on his blabbermouth counterpart...which were occasionally rebuked by the indignant droid.

    Luke tightened the last bolt before sighing and creeping out from under the ship. "There. That should do it." He tossed the hydrospanner into the tray and wiped his greasy hands on a rag. "Threepio?"

    "...following the fall of the Old Republic, Devaron-" Threepio stopped mid-oration to turn to the Jedi. "Yes, Master Luke?"

    "I'm finished with the adjustments on the lateral thrusters. As soon as she's loaded, we'll be all set," He reported.

    "Oh, at last! While I do enjoy digging into my memory banks, when one recites the same thing over four times, even a droid may do you put it? Bored," admitted Threepio. "And if I may say so, sir, it is not very enjoyable to recite anything ad infinitum when no one is listening...and there are constant interruptions." Here he turned to give Artoo his version of a dirty look. The droid couldn't change expression, but anyone could see he was annoyed.

    "Don't worry, Threepio. I'm sure I absorbed enough of it that I won't have to ask you again," assured Luke.

    "Really, Master Luke? Would you like me to test your knowledge?"

    "No, thanks."

    "Oh. Well. If you are ever in need of a refresher course, I am always at your service. Is there anything I might do to help you, sir?"

    Luke glanced at the overeager droid. Poor Threepio. So often the golden fellow was completely out of his element, but wanted so much to be useful. "Hmm. Well, if you could load some of those crates into the cargo hold, I'd really appreciate it."

    Threepio was taken aback. "Well, sir, as you know I am not designed for lifting more than twenty kilograms."

    Luke smiled. "Don't worry. None of them are heavy. Try the two smaller ones stacked to the starboard. They can't be much more than ten."

    After a brief hesitation Threepio waddled up to the crates and lifted one up. Pleased that he could hold the weight, he began loading the crates.

    That should keep him occupied for a while. Luke blew out a relieved breath and ushered Artoo over to the other side to load him into the astromech station. The little droid warbled in low, conspirital tones.

    Luke nodded in agreement. "I know. But he's only trying to help. Ready to go?"

    Artoo bobbed back and forth with an eager whistle, but whined as Luke lifted him into the air with the Force.

    Luke kept a tight hold on the droid, eyes half closed. "Relax. I'm not going to drop you."

    The little blue astromech expressed his doubts. When he was settled into his socket, he gave the binary equivalent of a shudder. His personal rocket boosters- which he would have preferred -had long ago been disabled. He didn't like flying unless under his own power or secured to a ship.

    Luke smiled at his friend. "It's okay, Artoo. You're fine. Go ahead and do the preflight. I'll give Threepio a hand and we'll be up in a minute."

    Artoo mumbled to himself as he did his masters' bidding. If Luke wasn't such a good master, these unwanted flying lessons would earn him some sort of payback. But even Artoo knew there was no help for it. Without a service crane, he had to rely on Luke to get in and out of small ships.

    Threepio had loaded two crates and was trying unsuccessfully to lift a third. "Oh, dear. Master Luke, I'm afraid this particular crate is too heavy for me."

    "That's all right, Threepio. I can get it." And Luke hefted the crate into his arms.

    "May I inquire as to what is inside?" Threepio watched the container with curiosity.

    "Training remotes," grunted Luke as he shoved the crate into the hold and went for another. Some might consider this stealing...but the Jedi who had used them were long gone, and he had the permission of the Devaronians. They still insisted the Temple was haunted and wanted nothing to do with it.

    "Just how many remotes does one Jedi need, Master Luke?" Threepio wanted to know.

    "I'm not so sure myself. The most I've ever gone against is five."

    "And how many do you have there?"

    "About twenty."

    "Good gracious. That seems rather excessive, if I may say so, sir."

    Luke shoved the next crate into the hold. "Well, they're not all for me," he reminded. But Threepio's remark gave him pause. He didn't know how many students he would end up with. None of them would be able to block the bolts from even one remote for a while, let alone two or more. A class of twenty was a bit much for one teacher. According to anything he had been studying, the old Jedi had only taken on one apprentice at a time...two, if it was temporary. Leia's training would likely be on hold until long after her son had been born. If the worst happened and his sister and nephew ended up as his only students, twenty remotes to three people definitely qualified as excessive.

    Before Luke was half through his senses tingled with a familiar presence. Artoo whistled a greeting as Luke turned around to see Farnay standing there. She didn't look happy. "Farnay. Hello."

    Farnay shrugged. "Looks like you're headed out. I don't want to keep you."

    "That's all right, Farnay. What's on your mind?"

    "Just wanted to say goodbye, and good luck on the Jedi thing."

    "Jedi don't believe in luck, but thank you anyway." Luke's smile faded. "Is something wrong?"

    "What makes you say that?"

    "You seem upset."

    Farnay shrugged again and stared at her feet, kicking at the ground. "I don't know. I guess I was kind of hoping you'd stick around for a while longer."

    Luke nodded in understanding. Farnay had few friends. Finding a new one and then having them leave was always difficult. "I wish I could. This is a beautiful place. Parts of the Temple are still usable, but it would take more resources than I have to restore it. I've still got a long way to go before I can train anyone." He glanced back at Threepio, who was waiting by the ladder. "Besides, I need to get Threepio back where he belongs."

    Farnay cracked a smile at that. "Yeah, the sooner the better. He'd rust himself if he ran into another pikhron, and I don't think he's made a lot of friends with his yapping."

    Luke fought the smile that followed. "He means well. He's just out of his element..." The amusement faded as the distant sound of shouting touched his ears. The Force, too, was nudging him to act. He took a few steps forward. A brown-haired human and a Devaronian were arguing. Loudly.

    Farnay frowned. "What? Oh. That's just Jaybo. He likes giving my father a hard time."

    Luke didn't answer but took another step forward, squinting to see what was going on. Farnay may have been right, that it was just another squabble, but the Force said otherwise. The nagging sense of trouble grew with every passing minute. As he continued to approach he noticed how edgy the human was. His stance was threatening...and there was a blaster on his hip. Jaybo was ready to draw and, if his bloodshot eyes and unsteady hands were any indication, he was either drunk or strung out on spice.

    Han would have let it go. Kivas had given up Luke as a Rebel to a bunch of stormtroopers when Luke had visited four years earlier. He later defended his actions as protection for his daughter, but Luke had passed on Kivas' offer to help service the ship this time around.

    "What?" Farnay asked, looking from the scene to Luke. "You think something is going to happen?"

    "Stay here, Farnay," said Luke quietly. "I don't want you to get hurt." He lengthened his stride. Part of him warned not to get involved, but Luke reasoned that Jedi were supposed to be the peacekeepers of the galaxy. He might was well start living up to that.

    Now the argument could be heard clearly. "I don't care how many blasted droid's you've reprogrammed," growled Kivas, burly red arms crossed in front of his chest, "droids ain't ships. I'm telling you, I'm not hirin' no stinkin', cheatin' drunk. Now beat it!"

    Jaybo glared and leaned in, pounding both fists on the counter. "I'm not a drunk!" he raged at the top of his lungs. When Kivas tried to shut the door, he stuck his foot in the jamb to stop it and drew his blaster. He yelped when it flew out of his hand and swore a blue streak when Luke caught it.

    Luke calmly held the blaster out of reach. "Hey, easy. Calm down," he told Jaybo, ready to stand between the two. "Is there a problem, Kivas?"

    Kivas snorted indignantly. "He almost shot me!"

    "Why?" Luke asked Jaybo. He saw now that the man, probably about Han's age, looked much older. Chronic spice addiction could do that.

    "This stinkin' drunk keeps comin' round begging for a job. I sure's hells won't give it to him now," grumbled Kivas.

    "Excuse me, Kivas, but I'd like to hear what he has to say. Jaybo, right?"

    "J-J-Jaybo Hood. Hey, h-how'd you do that?" He gulped, staring at Luke.

    "I'd like it if you answered my question. Why did you want to shoot this man?" Luke wanted to know.

    Jaybo chomped his cracked lips before answering. "I-I didn't want to," he protested. "Really. I just...I-I need a job, OK? Now, how'd you take my blaster?"

    Luke sighed. There was something buried behind Jaybo's eyes. There was fear there, but also something he had tried to forget. An old memory haunted him, and Luke had unknowingly brought it to the surface. "Don't be afraid, Jaybo. I'm not going to hurt you."

    Jaybo took a step back, avoiding the Jedi at all costs. "W-who are you!?"

    Luke was puzzled. It might be the effect of whatever Jaybo was on, but he could see recognition in those eyes. "Skywalker," he answered. "Jedi Luke S-"

    Jaybo cried out unexpectedly. He fell over himself in his hurry to get away and his eyes were full of horror. "No....n-no, you-you can't be Skywalker. You can't!"

    Luke's eyes widened in surprise. "What do you-"

    "And you're not a Jedi! The Jedi are dead! They're all dead!" Jaybo leapt to his feet and began to back away.

    "Calm down." Luke felt an unexpected surge of hope as well as alarm. What did this mean? "Jaybo, did you ever meet another Jedi...a Jedi named Skywalker?"

    "NOOOO!" Jaybo screamed with horror. He turned and ran away as fast as he could.

    "Jaybo, wait!" Called Luke, jogging after the man for a short while. "Can I just talk to you?"

    "Leave me alone!" wailed Jaybo. His inner demons chased him out of sight. His screams faded away.

    Luke sagged on his feet, sickened with disappointment. Another chance at helping someone- possibly someone who had met his father -was as good as gone. He returned to Kivas with a deep frown. "Kivas, do you know of anyone who could rent me a swoop, or something? I need to talk him."

    Kivas slowly shook his head. "Let him go, Skywalker. He wants to leave, then good riddance. We don't need spice addicts in this town."

    Luke almost glared. "You saw the fear in his eyes. Something has been haunting him his whole life. That's probably why he turned to spice. He needs help, not rejection."

    Kivas closed his eyes with a heavy sigh. "He doesn't want help. He wants credits for spice." His tone was kinder as he took Luke's shoulder. "Skywalker, someday you are going to learn that there are people in this galaxy who don't want to be saved. It's more comfortable to live a lie than face the truth."

    Luke's heart stung. He wanted to protest, to run after Jaybo on his own...but he couldn't. Responsibilities to his sister and whatever students he would have were pulling him away from Devaron. He couldn't save everyone. Slowly he nodded and set the abandoned blaster on the counter. "Did he hurt you?"

    Kivas shrugged. "Nah. You be safe out there, Jedi."

    Luke could only nod once again, part with Kivas and Farnay, and make his way back to the Y-wing. He didn't hear the chattering of Threepio as he was helped up or inquisitive whistles of Artoo as Luke climbed in and powered up the engines. He didn't see Farnay waving to him as he took off, nor the blue haze of atmosphere, nor the starlines as he leapt to hyperspace.

    All Luke could see was that haunted look in Jaybo's eyes. Fervently he hoped that someday the man would change his mind and finally accept the help he needed to survive.
  23. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    You have 3PO's eager "yapping" style perfect, and R2's opinions on a variety of things LOL
    Nice summation of the events Luke had with Farnay on his first visit. Wow, Jaybo definitely has some issues, but unfortunately Kivas is correct. Some people don't want to be saved. :( [face_thinking]

    Ridley Solo likes this.
  24. Ridley Solo

    Ridley Solo Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 27, 2010
    Thank you, WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    Family mush incoming!
    Chapter Ten

    Leia sighed contentedly as she lay next to her husband. It had been a long time since she could relax. Finally, Han was home and off the racing circuit. Finally, Luke had contacted her. Finally, her four month old son had been sleeping for more than four hours at a time. That meant she could sleep.

    It wasn't long before this fantasy was shattered with the wailing of an infant in the next room.

    Leia, who felt as if she had just fallen asleep, glanced at the bedside chronometer and groaned. A mere two hours had passed since finding the sweet bliss of unconsciousness. I should have known it wouldn't last, she thought with a long-suffering sigh. The former princess waited for a minute to see if the baby would go back to sleep. She prayed that he would.

    Han awakened with a snort, a gasp, and a groan as he realized it was a little after midnight. "Thought he was sleepin' through the night," he mumbled.

    "He was," replied Leia as she sat up and slid into her slippers. It had been a full week since the last midnight cry. "He's welcoming you home."

    "Hell of a welcome," yawned Han. "Want me to get him?" But Leia was already up and in the next room. Judging by the prolonged cries, it was a dirty diaper. Han wrinkled his nose at the idea. He'd missed his family, all right, but not this part.

    Han had not been around for much of Leia's pregnancy. He'd decided to release Chewbacca from his life debt and help free his homeworld. The plan had backfired and ended up with Han captured for months. He had only just gotten home when Leia gave birth to a handsome, healthy little boy. It was quite an event. Han had been a basketcase and Leia made him promise not to have any more children. Luke even made a brief appearance and got to meet and name his nephew before leaving yet again. The moniker Luke had picked? Ben. It was a tribute to his late Jedi teacher Obi-Wan Kenobi. Leia liked it because it had meaning. Han liked it because it was short and sounded good.

    Of course parenthood brought its own challenges. Han had turned out to be something of a paranoid Papa for the first month. Every burp, cough, and cry made him worry. Leia, by comparison, was a natural and soon learned to take things in stride. This did not mean she was happy when Han picked up a few extra credits by joining a racing circuit for a full month. Caring for a baby alone, while still trying to work was next to impossible. Han's conscience had finally brought him home that evening. Ben had been happy to see his father and gurgled with joy.

    Now Han was almost regretting coming home. That horrible thought was squashed as the man greeted the returning quiet with relief. He picked up his ears as Leia returned with a cooing bundle.

    "He was lonesome," she explained. "And wet." Leia climbed back into bed.

    "Aw. Hey, buddy. Missed me that much, huh?" Han peered over at his son and tickled his chin. Ben squirmed and whimpered. "Guess not."

    "Don't take it personally," yawned Leia, adjusting her pillows with one hand.

    "I'm not." But Han tried to get Ben to grab his finger. He was discouraged when the baby kept pushing him away. Then, unexpectedly, Ben suddenly gripped his father's index...only to shove it into his mouth and start sucking. "Think he's hungry?"

    "Again?" Leia shifted around to try and give her son some food. To her surprise Ben latched on immediately. "Oh. How come you eat so much, Ben?"

    Han smiled at his success. "He's growin'. He's gonna be a big, tall boy. Aren't you, kiddo?"

    Ben glanced at his father once, and then turned back to his midnight meal.

    Leia shrugged her free shoulder. "I wouldn't be surprised. He might even end up taller than you."

    Han chuckled at the idea. "He keeps eatin' like this he'll end up as tall as Chewie."

    Leia cringed. "I hope not. It's going to be hard enough to keep up with him once he's walking. Oh, are you finished?" Ben had stopped eating and lay in a drowsy, almost dopey state with milk collected on his chin. Han called it 'milk drunk'...which annoyed Leia to no end. She covered up and lifted him to her shoulder, burp cloth at the ready. "Just wanted a snack, huh?"

    Ben squirmed about until a surprisingly loud burp emerged. Then he settled in.

    "Hey, good one. Atta boy," grinned Han. He stroked the top of Ben's head, already covered in a skullcap of soft black hair. "Gonna let us go to sleep now?" he whispered hopefully.

    "Not so loud. He might change his mind," whispered Leia, rocking side to side. Another large yawn split her face. "But I can't argue."

    "Here, lemme take him for a minute." Han reached over to pick up the infant.

    Leia didn't even think of protesting. At first Han had been petrified of picking up his son. It was nice to see him finally taking some initiative. "Don't keep him awake," she warned.

    Han carefully cradled the squirming baby. "I won't. Hey there, pal. It's okay. It's just me," he calmed when Ben started to fuss.

    Ben whimpered a little, pushing at his blankets, but was too sleepy to protest long. He settled in with something of an uncertain coo.

    Han rocked as he'd seen Leia do. "Shh. C'mon, little guy. You gotta go to sleep for Mom. We gotta sleep too, y'know."

    Ben yawned and stopped fussing. Dark sleepy eyes blinked in slow motion before finally closing.

    Han felt his heart warm at the sight. He hadn't been able to put his son to sleep before. "There ya go, Ben. Good boy. Go to sleep, buddy." Ben seemed to get heavier as he drifted off, but Han didn't care. The feeling he had while his son fell asleep in his arms was indescribable. Gently he kissed Ben's soft forehead. When Han was sure that Ben was asleep, he glanced at Leia to point it out to her.

    But Leia was already asleep. The fatigue of the last few months had finally taken over and she was out like a glowrod.

    Han gulped silently. Now how was he going to get Ben back in his crib without waking him up? He thought of waking Leia...but reconsidered at the last minute. She was exhausted. Besides, what kind of idiot would be afraid of a baby? He carefully edged out of bed and all but tiptoed into the nursery. Every stir from Ben made him freeze, every tiny noise increased his nerves. It was like trying to diffuse a bomb when he wasn't sure which wires to cut. Stepping on Ben's tooka doll that had been dropped on the floor made it squeak. Han almost jumped out of his skin in response, then waited for Ben's inevitable cry.

    Ben stirred, whimpered, and mercifully slept on.

    Han sighed heavily before proceeding. He reached Ben's crib and moved as slowly as possible, placing the infant in his bed without a single bump. Just as Han was pulling the blanket back around his son and preparing to tiptoe away, Ben began to whimper again. Han hurried back to try and shush the boy. "Shh, shh. C'mon, buddy. Go back to sleep."

    But Ben would have none of it. He started crying again, and nothing his father did would soothe him.

    At a loss as to what else to do, Han picked the boy back up. "Ah, c'mere." As he settled the boy in his arms, he began pacing the room. Ben kept crying. "Shh, shh. S'okay, Ben. S'okay." Han kept wondering when Leia was going to come in and take over...but she never did. Han frowned. Either this was her way of getting him back for being gone so much, or she really was that tired. He was on his own.

    * * * * *​
    Leia awakened early the next morning to find she was alone in bed. Neither husband nor son lay beside her. Where had they gone? Fatigue made her memories hazy.

    Han had been holding Ben. That much she knew. After that...she must have fallen asleep. Ben had probably been put back in his crib, but where was Han? If he took off again without telling me, I swear I'm going to strangle him. Annoyed at the thought- and somewhat concerned that Ben hadn't cried yet -she rose and got into her robe and slippers before padding across the hall to check on him.

    There was a brief moment of panic in seeing that Ben's crib was empty. Leia forced herself to take a deep breath. Calm down. You know Han wouldn't take off unannounced with Ben, she reasoned. Luke's voice whispered from the past to clear her mind and use the Force. This Leia did, and was relieved to sense her son quite close. Now she just had to track them down.

    "Han? Ben?" Leia wandered in an out of every room between bedroom and kitchen and expected to find the boys eating. But upon turning the corner into the living room she found both of them asleep on the couch.

    Han was essentially dead to the world, passed out on his back with a burp cloth draped over one shoulder and Ben lying on his chest. The hand dragging on the carpet held Ben's stuffed tooka doll while the other firmly held the baby boy. Ben's favorite blanket and an empty bottle lying nearby spoke of a long night trying to pacify a fussy child. Ben was just now starting to stir and whimper.

    Leia's heart melted as she took in the scene. And he said he wouldn't be a good father. Carefully she took Ben in her arms just as the baby opened bleary eyes. "Hello, sweetheart. Did you spend some time with Daddy? Did you miss him?"

    Ben scrunched up his face, pulled his thumb out of his mouth, and yawned in response.

    At the same moment Han was stirring. Suddenly he seemed aware that the infant was no longer with him and began looking around in drowsy alarm. "Ben? Wha...oh, shew!" He sighed in relief seeing his wife and son. "Y' scared me."

    "Good morning to you, too. Looks like you got him to sleep," Leia observed.

    "Yeah. Took a while, though." He yawned and rubbed his face before peering at Ben. "Told 'ya I'm not very good at this."

    "You're doing fine. I was a little worried when I woke up and didn't see you."

    "Sorry. You're so tired, I thought I'd give 'ya a break. I was only tryin' to help."

    Leia leaned over and pecked his cheek. "Well if you really want to help, come with me and let's get him changed."

    Han made a face as he rose and followed them into the nursery. There were far more disgusting jobs in the galaxy, he knew. He'd done several of them. But for some reason changing a dirty diaper just seemed like the worst. "Uh, how 'bout this? Could I feed him, and you change him?"

    "The last time I looked, you weren't lactating. Besides, he's four months old. It's about time you learned how to change diapers."

    "Hey, I've changed him."

    "Twice. You need practice."

    Han grimaced. Leia had been harping on that for weeks. Just knowing the procedure wasn't enough; he had to be able to do it in his sleep. A foul smell wafted up to assault his nose. Of course it would be now...just when there was some sort of nasty surprise just waiting.

    It was simple in theory; take off the dirty diaper, clean him up, and put him in a fresh diaper. It had been easy when Ben was a newborn and didn't squirm much. Now it was a juggling act.

    Han did well enough, though the faces he made at the mess were enough to make even Leia snort with amusement. When she was sure that Han had everything under control, she ducked into the bathroom.

    "Hey...c'mon. Quit movin', will ya?" grumbled Han. The mess was gone and Ben had finally stopped crying, but now he was making a game out of rolling back and forth. Han could barely keep a hold on him.

    Ben squealed and kicked his legs with delight. He'd liked Han's expressions and had now decided his father was hilarious. Unexpectedly he stopped moving...just long enough to make a fountain.

    "AAAAGH!" cried Han in disgust.

    "Now what?" sighed Leia as she emerged.

    Han indicated the stain on his shirt. "He sprayed me!"

    Leia had to bite back her laughter. She had read such things were typical for boys. Apparently Han had forgotten the warning. "Yes, they do that. Don't get angry," she added. "He can't help it. Want me to finish?"

    Han shook his head. "I can do it," he grumbled, finishing the job as quickly as he could while giving Ben a dirty look. "There."

    "If he does that again, just cover him up and get another diaper," Leia added as she picked Ben up to feed him.

    Han growled to himself as he stalked off for the bathroom to take a shower. He caught Ben grinning toothlessly over Leia's shoulder. He could swear his son was laughing at him. "Whadda you laughing at, short stuff?"
  25. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Ridley Solo -- -- that was precious =D= [face_laugh] [face_laugh] Your Han is sheer delightfulness to read! I adore family moments like this, especially Han insisting I'm not any good at this while being quite terrific. AWWWW. The blend of amusement and affection is super. @};-
    Ridley Solo likes this.