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Saga - OT "We Claim Our Own Landscape" | OTP City/Country Challenge | Song!verse, AU; Han/Leia; Short Story

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Mira_Jade , Dec 25, 2019.

  1. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Title: “We Claim Our Own Landscape”
    Author: Mira_Jade

    Genre: General (Romance, Drama, Humor, Family, Action/Adventure)
    Rating: PG
    Time Frame: Saga-OT; AU, my Song!Verse
    Characters: Han Solo/Leia Organa, Anakin Skywalker/Padmé Amidala, Luke Skywalker

    Summary: As daunting a prospect as meeting the parents ever was, the stakes were even higher to introduce himself to Supreme Chancellor Padmé Amidala and her husband Anakin Skywalker, the famed Jedi Master and retired Clone Wars general and the Hero Without Fear himself. Sure; everything was fine; no big deal. Yet, Han Solo had never been the sort of guy any girl wanted to bring home in the first place, and he honestly had a bad feeling about this – for more reasons than one.


    Notes: Hello, dear readers! The marvelous and always inspiring OTP thread's City Mouse/Country Mouse challenge has given me a wonderful opportunity to write another chapter of my Song!verse. This time, we're jumping ahead down the timeline for some OT shenanigans . . . and I do mean shenanigans. [face_mischief]

    For those of you who may not be familiar with my now quite spiraling AU series, that's okay! All you really need to know is that this is a world where Anakin was not quite as dumb and Sithy, and thus circumvented the end of RoTS and then the OT entirely. Yet, through visions, Anakin is still partially aware of the future he so narrowly escaped. There should be enough context given within this story to make any world-building changes beyond that make sense, and, if not and you are so curious, the previous works in this series are . . .

    “An Old Song, Re-Sung” | The original story; a RoTS AU.
    “Her Still, Small Voice” | The unfinished sequel; a Mara Jade origins story.
    "Even Without a Voice" | My WIP Ahsoka Tano diary, set pre-RoTS.
    "In That There That Isn't Here" | My WIP Sintas Vel diary, set 1 to 5 years post-RoTS
    "All That's Unsung" | A complete short story, set 3 years post-RoTS.
    "Color Me Pink" | A complete Ezra/OC short story, set 14 years post-RoTS
    “The Rest is Silence” | Ficlets set in this 'verse.

    And various odds and ends in my "Our Love of Constellations" ficlet collection, and my "Cut Into Little Stars" drabble collection.



    If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to ask! I thank you all for reading, and hope that you enjoy. [:D]


    Disclaimer: Nothing is mine, but for the words. :)







    "We Claim Our Own Landscape"
    by Mira_Jade


    I.

    The clouds glowed in shades of pale pink and blushing orange, with the light from the setting sun seemingly close enough to touch as it refracted from the distant horizon. The city nestled high in the atmosphere of the great gas giant was all graceful curves and swaying lines, a colony born from practicality and profit now expanded into opulence and luxury. Somehow detached from his surroundings and yet still one with them, Han couldn’t help but smile at the woman by his side. Leia was a sight beyond even the haven they'd found in the skies, and her deep brown eyes were soft to reflect the twilight.

    “Hey, it’s alright.” Walking arm and arm, her fingers flexed over his sleeve, both grounding him and spurring him forward all at once. “Everything is going to work out for the best, you’ll see.”

    Of course it was; didn’t she know that anything was possible when she smiled at him like that? Yet, now that Han thought about it, he could feel a distant sense of foreboding creeping in, tarnishing the otherwise picturesque scene. A far off notion of dread pressed against his chest, rising to stick in his throat as his lungs drew in a shuddering breath. Curiously, he felt as if he was running, even though he was standing still.


    Aloud, he said: “You don’t have to tell me, princess.” Slanting a grin, he reached up to cover her hand with his own. “I already know.”

    Han wanted to lean down and kiss her, but something stopped him. A sense of expectation was thickening in the air, distracting him. There was somewhere they had to go, he felt. Something vitally important demanded their attention, but he didn’t have the faintest idea of what that could be. They were standing in front of a closed door, he realized next; they were expected to go through. Looking at the barred entryway, he suddenly felt as if he would rather be anywhere but here. He had to get Leia away; they had to escape. There was danger lurking around this particular corner, he was suddenly certain, no matter the ethereal beauty of their surroundings and Leia’s smiling eyes and -

    - yet he couldn't move; couldn't breathe to speak a warning. Then, sure enough, the doorway opened with a soft hiss to reveal a menacing figure in black, seated at the head of an otherwise opulent dinner spread.


    Han’s reaction was instant, even as he seemingly moved in slow motion. He stepped in front of Leia, pushing her out of harm’s way even as he drew his blaster and took aim. The terrible plastoid eyes set in death’s own face mocked him, giving him a clear target. All he had to do was squeeze the trigger, and so he did.

    Yet the man in black waved in a careless gesture, as easy and unconcerned as if swatting at a fly. Suddenly, his blaster was wrenched from his grip as if tugged by an unseen hand. The weapon – and the meager protection it had provided – flew towards the monster as he stood, and landed solidly in his gloved hand.

    “Captain Solo,” came the deep, rasping rumble – a sound that caused fear to stutter in his chest even as he bravely tried to hold his head up high, “how pleasant of you to join us.”



    - and Han Solo awakened, his heartbeat still racing and a gasp stuck in his throat as he returned to awareness again.

    “Hey there, scoundrel,” came a wry, amused voice that he recognized as his girlfriend, who'd been pushing at his shoulder to wake him. “You nodded off for a minute.”

    “Oh, I did?” He was admittedly still groggy to make sense of his surroundings.

    “You did,” Leia confirmed. “I would have been happy to leave you be, but we’re ready to drop out of hyperspace. I figured you’d want to pilot the approach yourself.”

    Han blinked, and, sure enough, the sensor announcing their impending return to real-space was flashing red on the console. Shaking away the last remaining vestiges of his dream, Han pushed himself upright in the pilot’s chair and reached over to silence the chime. It wasn’t every day that he was able to fly a Nabooian yacht, he reminded himself, and the last thing he wanted was to have his technique show as sloppy. Especially, he reminded himself, when he had Naboo’s very own junior senator onboard.

    Senator Leia Amidala Skywalker; his Leia. She was there with him, and that simple truth was most certainly no dream. Instead, the knowledge was enough to make his heart skip a beat, easy as Han was to admit that he was still – rather frankly – dazzled by the turn their relationship had taken over the last few months. He’d been shocked when Leia finally returned his teasing and flirting – which had admittedly fallen into something of a routine between them, no matter the genuine attraction and deep affection he’d held close to his chest underneath it all – with something more real, with something that had the potential to be everything, to mean everything. He still couldn't quite believe his good luck, even when that something was now serious enough to warrant an invitation to dinner from her parents, no doubt to discuss his intentions and suss out his worth as their daughter's suitor.

    Han wasn’t nervous in the slightest; of course he wasn't . . . even if he had never really been the type of guy girls were eager to bring home before. Especially when, for Leia, her parents included the current elected Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic, Padmé Amidala Skywalker herself, and her husband the famed Jedi General Anakin Skywalker, a retired veteran of the Clone Wars and the one and only Hero Without Fear himself. They were both legends; giants, each in their own right. Yeah, sure, it was no big deal. Han was a hundred percent awesome and totally fine and most definitely keeping his cool. He was fine and they were fine and everything was going to work out just great.

    Han was so unaffected that his hands were only just the slightest bit clammy over the pilot’s yoke as he assumed manual control of the ship again. Frustrated, he reached up to wipe at his brow – not because he was sweating with nerves, or anything like that, but only to brush his hair back out of his eyes. Obviously.

    “You really were out there, weren’t you?” sitting behind them in the flight deck’s auxiliary seat, Luke Skywalker leaned forward to tease. Han didn’t have to glance back to know that his blue eyes were flashing with mirth, undoubtedly at his expense. Of course he was enjoying this, Han's jaw fixed; it wasn't his neck on the chopping block. “You even drooled a little bit.”

    Leia twisted in her seat to cut her twin an annoyed glance. She didn’t need to say a word aloud before slowly turning back again. “I trust that your dreams were pleasant, at least?” she went on as if Luke hadn’t said a word.

    With you in them, sweetheart? always, Han wanted to reply before he recalled a clear image of the man in black. Suddenly, the recycled air in the ship felt cold in his lungs. He sucked in a deep breath, unable to shake just how vividly real the dream had seemed. “There’s just more on my mind than I first realized,” he gave instead of an actual answer. At least he didn’t have to admit that he hadn’t been able to sleep for days leading up to this trip. His nerves had kept him awake in anticipation, which was the exact opposite of how cool and collected he’d wanted to be for this meeting. But, what could he do now? He’d scraped his wits together and survived underneath worse conditions than this before; he’d just have to dig in deep and do it again.

    “Are you still nervous?” Leia sounded equal parts sympathetic and surprised, for which Han couldn’t help but snort.

    Still nervous, she says?” he repeated. “Because there’s clearly nothing to be nervous about, you're right.”

    “Nothing to be nervous for, except for the fact that Dad has a lightsaber and Mom has the power to banish him to the spice mines of Kessel or worse,” Luke oh so helpfully provided. “Yeah, there’s just that.”

    “Thanks, buddy, I hadn’t even thought of that one,” Han cut Luke a withering look over his shoulder, for which the younger man looked decidedly unrepentant. “But . . . yeah, more or less. You took the words right out of my mouth.”

    Leia’s glare was even sharper than Han’s, and from the way Luke smirked he knew that she’d pushed some scathing rebuke at him through their bond. “Honestly, though, there’s nothing to be nervous about,” she reached over to place her hand on his arm. For the easy way she smiled at him, and from the gentle pressure of her fingers, Han almost believed her.

    Almost.

    “That’s easy for you to say,” still, Han more agreed with Luke, “your parents love you, at least.”

    “And they’ll love you too, just wait,” Leia sat back in her chair to declare, her brow furrowing as she fixed a stony look ahead at the swirling starlight of hyperspace. Han knew that look; it was one that ever ensured that she got her way, and usually at great cost to whatever fool who dared stand against her. For a moment Han could only just stare, humbled all over again that the force of nature that was Leia Skywalker – beautiful, furious, indomitable Leia Skywalker herself – had chosen him . . . some nobody from nowhere, with an admittedly checkered past and only a burgeoning promise of more than he’d started out as to recommend him. She'd chosen him as her potential second half and partner for life, when she could have had her pick of any of the princes in the galaxy.

    That knowledge, admittedly, troubled him as much as it warmed him. If Han still couldn’t quite see what Leia saw in him, then how could he expect her parents to? They'd be right, he knew, in whatever judgement they saw fit to pass.

    But Leia’s hand remained fixed on his arm all the while. Her strength was ten times more than his own, just the same as it ever was. He breathed in deep with his doubts, and tried his best to concentrate on the trust he had in her, instead.

    “Sure, they’ll love him,” hardly a moment had passed while he his thoughts cycled down their now familiar spiral, and then Luke’s teasing brought him almost painfully back to the present. “Dad, especially, will love him frozen in carbonite as a wall décor - ”

    “ - Luke, are you serious?” Leia, that time, did not even bother snapping through their bond. “In what star system does that count as a good thing to say right now?” she turned bodily in her seat to glare back at her twin. “When I agreed to let you come, it was only because you said you’d help - ”

    “ - hey, hey, take it easy, sis. I am going to help,” Luke held up his hands in a clear gesture for peace. “You know which side I’m on, Leia. I want this evening to go well, for both of you. I even think that it will, eventually. But you know Dad; there are odds stacked against you guys before we get to that point.”

    Never tell me the odds, Han wanted to grit his teeth and dismiss Luke’s – unfortunately accurate – assessment. Usually, that was a creed he lived by, but, in this case . . .

    . . . well, he was doing his best just to breathe as they dropped out of hyperspace, and the beautifully green and blue marbled world of Naboo appeared in the viewport. The stars slowed from their frenetic dance, and returned to glittering, distant specks of lights again.

    “Don’t listen to him, Han,” Leia gave Luke one last pointed look, and then turned back in her seat again. She hadn't loosened her grip about his arm in the slightest. “They’ll see what I see; I know it. All you have to do is be yourself.”

    Just be himself . . . yeah, Han felt his stomach knot in dread. Didn’t she know that was what he was most afraid of, more so than anything else?

    But that last thought was one he still couldn’t find the words to say aloud, and especially not to Leia. So, remaining silent when he didn’t yet trust himself to speak, he only nodded as he tried to bury his misgivings somewhere deep down inside. Instead, as NATC hailed them for their approach, he threw himself into his flying, and resolved not to think about anything else for the time being.



    .

    .


    If Naboo was beautiful from space, then on the ground the planet was the kind of stunning that you only heard about in stories.

    This was Han’s first time onworld, and all he could think was that the descriptions didn’t nearly do it justice. They passed glittering oceans and rolling plains and thick, carpeting forests of ever-pines and ancient strong-oaks. The capital city of Theed was all gently domed buildings nestled next to plunging waterfalls, achieving a harmony between the artificial and the natural that was beyond any other planet Han had yet to visit in his travels. If the capital was jaw-droppingly beautiful in its design, then the center of government and commerce for the planet had nothing on its lake country.

    Just south of Theed on the main continent, the Baoo river plunged down its last cascades and then emptied out into a series of lakes set in a deep valley before the foothills of the Palurka mountains. The largest of the lakes was dotted with private residences on its steep, heavily tree-lined banks. Each estate was uniquely beautiful and serene, nestled into a comely, verdant landscape. Han couldn’t even let out a whistle for the sight, as wide as his eyes were. It would have been less imposing to visit the Chancellor’s official residence on Coruscant, he could then admit with some honesty. At least there he knew exactly what the artificial world was and what it represented. He was used to walking in the shadows of everything that soared so unreachably high above him without feeling small. Even when he’d been a kid in Shrike’s crew of miscreants and thieves, boasting of his dreams only for Dewlanna to hear, he'd never allowed himself to imagine anything like this in his future. He still couldn't believe this was real.

    Thinking about his earliest years – or, the parts of his childhood that he allowed himself to remember, at least, for his time spent alone in the gutters of Coronet City on Corellia certainly didn’t have any place in his thoughts as he stepped off the water-speeder and then helped Leia down onto the dock – caused a pang to settle, deep in his gut. As he looked around, taking in the brick pathways and the hewn stone retaining walls, holding back the fertile gardens that were carefully tended to look wild and lush in spite of their clear cultivation, he couldn’t help a soft expression. No matter that he may not have belonged here, it was only fitting that Leia had grown up healthy and happy and so obviously loved in a home like this. She deserved a palace, even; she deserved nothing less than everything the galaxy had to offer.

    It did not escape him that everything she deserved probably didn't include someone like him. Han looked down at the toes of his boots – repurposed from his GAR uniform and polished to a high shine as one of the few quality things he owned to wear – before looking up again, trying to push his disquieting thoughts aside. In the end, he was only marginally successful.

    “Just ask him about that time with the gundark, if you feel too put on the spot,” had been General Tano’s advice, shortly before leaving Coruscant. If there was ever anyone who had looked at him when he was nothing to see the possibility of more, it was her, he reminded himself. He owed the Togruta woman more than words could ever say, and she thought he could do this; she thought that he belonged here with this family, just like Leia did. “Skyguy’s really just a massive dork, you’ll see, so don’t let him fool you. He’ll like you . . . eventually.”

    Although, now that Han thought about it, the way her sharp teeth had flashed in that particular grin hadn’t been exactly comforting. Not wholly.

    Hold your head up high, cub,” had been Dewlanna’s advice to match. “You must prove your worth as a prospective mate for them to accept you. Be honest and true, and assure them that you can provide for their young one,” had been her very sensible Wookiee outlook on the matter. “Look them in the eye,” she concluded, “and yet, whatever you do, do not turn your back on her sire.”

    Han huffed, and decided that maybe he should stop listening to advice that only made him more nervous in the end than he was in the beginning.

    “I can hear you thinking from here, you know,” Leia wound her arm through his own as they walked. It was springtime in this hemisphere, and large silvery white blossoms smiled at them from a saturated backdrop of cool green shrubbery. It must have just rained; droplets of water gleamed on their silky petals, shining like jewels to reflect where the sun was just starting its decent over the lake. The hushed air smelled richly fragrant and decadently heavy with new life. Next to him, with her hair twisted up in one of her less complicated styles and wearing a draped sky blue dress that somehow looked comfortable and elegant all at the same time, Leia was so much a part of her surroundings that Han felt something in his chest contract. Her cheeks were happily pink, and her warm brown eyes were full enough to rival the dusk. “Relax; everything is going to be just fine.”

    He wasn't exactly tired of her assurances so much as he was aggravated that he needed to hear them. So, Han only nodded, and tried his best to find his voice. He didn't quite know what to say.

    “And, if not, just remember that I already picked you; my choice is you.” Leia tilted up her chin with a determined expression as they came to stop before the door. Han felt a curious sense of having been here before as he remembered his dream, before pushing that thought down, deep down as far as it could go. “If we have to, we can always run away together,” she suggested, as lightly as if commenting on the weather. “How does eloping to Zeltros sound?”

    Although her eyes glittered to tease, Han heard the edge to her voice: she was entirely serious, it took him a dumb moment to process. He was only just making sense of that, and trying to scrape together some sort of pithy answer in reply when the doorway swished open, and his attention was instead forced to shift and focus. His eyes snapped forward to the Human man who stood before them, tall and broad-shouldered and imposing, with curling dark blonde hair and chiseled, classically handsome good looks. Han didn’t need the telling scar or the familiar blue eyes – just like Luke’s – to recognize the face that'd been plastered all over the ‘net for years now to tell him who this was; Leia letting go of his arm to throw herself into her father’s welcoming embrace was answer enough.

    “Daddy,” she breathed, and for a moment Anakin Skywalker closed his eyes and breathed in deep to hold his daughter close, oblivious to all else but for the slight figure in his arms. That was, before the elder Skywalker opened his eyes and fixed him with a hard expression over Leia’s shoulder. While he didn’t quite project a sense of welcome, Han didn’t immediately see a lightsaber. That was already a step in the right direction, right?

    . . . maybe, anyway.

    After a long moment, Anakin stepped away from his daughter and held out a hand – prosthetic, Han noted, with the gleaming onyx and bronze coloured mech glinting and openly artificial – to greet him next. Without allowing himself a moment to hesitate, Han took the plunge, and shook his hand. Anakin’s grip was tight, just bordering on painful, and Han made sure meet him pressure for pressure.

    When it came, there was nothing reassuring about Anakin’s smile. He looked, Han thought, like a nexu ready to pounce on a scurrier. “Captain Solo,” he nonetheless sounded amicable to welcome, “how pleasant of you to join us.”

    With a jolt, Han recalled the merciless black eyes and deep voice from his dream, and he could then admit -

    “No, sir,” he smiled his most charming smile to return, “the pleasure is all mine. Thanks for inviting me.”

    - that he had an admittedly bad feeling about this.



    ~MJ @};-
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2020
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    SQUEE out LOUD! just for the title alone.

    Whew, that ESB-esque dream would be enough to give a dude insomnia forever. :eek:

    Luke's teasing is all in fun but (I never thought I'd say this about someone so attuned to others' feelings), he did push it a bit. :rolleyes:

    Leia was a darling in her strength of will and affection, beauty, and snark.

    [face_love]

    =D=
     
    Mira_Jade likes this.
  3. amidalachick

    amidalachick Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 3, 2003
    I have always had a soft spot for Skywalker family stories where Anakin wasn't stupid. :p And this was perfect! You have such a gorgeous way of writing - your descriptions painted a beautiful picture of Naboo and I loved Han's reaction to it. And the whole concept of Han meeting the parents has so much comedic potential (sorry Han! [face_laugh]). Luke's not-so-helpful brotherly teasing is great.

    That's why I love Leia and the whole H/L relationship. She's so loyal and determined and loves her smuggler so much. [face_love]=D=
     
  4. Adalia-Durron

    Adalia-Durron WNU Mod - Rebel At Heart. star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2003
    If he'd only listened and not turned........who knows!?!?! Nicely done!!!
     
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  5. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Nice story, like the jokes at the original timeline like Anakin wanting to see Han frozen in carbonite. :)
     
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  6. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    WOWZA! :eek: :eek: :eek: Even apart from how great it is to see your Song!Verse back in action, this is off to quite the intense start as we see even the distinctly non-Force-attuned HAN, of all people, having the same kind of "what might have been" vision that plagued Anakin in earlier installments in this series! Now that is intense, and telling, for sure—and it suggests to me that anyone in this universe is susceptible to these visions and openings into that Other Universe. And then at the end, at the meeting, Anakin goes and says those very same words: "how pleasant of you to join us"! :eek: What a way to kick off a "meet the family" that would already be stressful enough without that added element of foreboding! (In a very, very good way! :D )

    Even beyond this, there's so much to love about your introspection into Han's thoughts and feelings here. He can see even from the ship viewport that gorgeous, idyllic Naboo is a world unlike any he's ever been on, and Leia's parents are Big Names: The Chancellor and The Hero of the Republic. Even he is not so hardboiled that that doesn't humble him a little. I love his reminiscences about the advice he received from Ahsoka and Dewlanna—both are so them (and so true, especially the fact that Anakin really is just a big dork under it all! :p ) and I am just thrilled that they are both part of his story in this verse! (Plus, it's wonderful to see him still in touch with Ahsoka, even now in his adult years—I just adored her interactions with little!Han in Even Without a Voice.) He's stronger than he thinks, our scoundrel, and he'll make it through this—even with the memory of that scary dining room vision on his mind, I could see him overcoming those fears and really hitting it off with his future dad-in-law.

    And I have to remark on what a fun, snarky, almost tricksterish Luke you have here! It's neat to see his playful, mischievous side brought out I can't wait to see what he will be like during The Dinner. And as always, you've done a lovely job with Leia, the diplomatic voice of reason who can still put her foot down quite hard when called on so to do! :D

    Thanks so much for sharing, and I am very much looking forward to more! Always a joy to see a new installment in this wonderful 'verse. =D=
     
  7. JediMaster_Jen

    JediMaster_Jen Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Loved Han's reaction to seeing Naboo and taking in it's beauty. Kind of sad that he feels he doesn't really belong there. :(

    This made me laugh. [face_laugh] Ahsoka has such a way with words and a wonderful way of looking at things.

    Great work!=D=
     
  8. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Oh my goodness, but here we are almost six months later. Wow, how did so much time pass? :eek: I have no excuse as an author but to say I am so, so sorry for how long this took and promise I will do better in the future. ;) BUT! Thanks to WIPmonth, I do have an update for this and hopefully another one soon to follow. I've really caught steam with this WIP and have a clear vision for how the rest of the story will go. So! Let's do it. :D [face_dancing]


    First, however, I have a few long awaited replies . . .


    Aw, thanks! I love thinking up titles, as you know, but this one in particular I was really proud of. [face_love]

    Ha! You may be right about that. I can just say that it was fun to write Luke and Leia with a more traditional 'having grown up together' sibling bond here, and siblings can be the worst when it comes to sass at the wrong time. Buuuuut for any OOCness, it's more likely that I thought I was being funny as an author and took it a bit too far. I'll watch out for that in the future. ;)

    Isn't she just always? That's the same in any 'verse! [face_love]

    Thanks so much for reading, my friend, and for your continued support and encouragement! [:D]


    Yay! As do I! Unhappy endings in canon, what are those? [face_laugh] [face_mischief] [face_love]

    Aw, thanks! I had so much fun writing my descriptions here and didn't even bother holding my muse back. And Luke! And poor Han! [face_laugh] :p Yep, this concept is just ripe for comedic potential as much as it is for heart and warmth, and I am having a blast. [face_mischief] [face_love]

    I couldn't say it any better than that. [face_love]

    Thanks ever so much for reading, and I hope that you continue to enjoy! [:D]


    Who knows, indeed?? Thanks! [face_love]


    Yeeeah, I just couldn't resist adding those. :p Thanks for reading! :D


    I'd love to say that this is some great, overreaching plan on my part but really it's just when TEH PLOT would be served by a vision of that Other Time and Place that I include them. :p Because, really, it makes for some fantastically intense writing - and reading, hopefully! - that I just can't resist. I'm glad you found the introduction off to a proper bang. :D

    Yay, I'm glad to hear it! I will admit that I'm taking a slight bit of joy torturing Han in this story, but it will all be for the best in the end. [face_love]

    Han has always dreamed big, really, but I have to imagine that this is far and beyond even his wildest dreams for his future! He's come a long way from a Corellian street-rat, or even one of Shrike's crew of less than law abiding citizens, and what's as scary as the beautiful, even somewhat elite world he's being thrown into is how much he wants that beauty and peace and family for himself. But he'll get there, reconciling who he was from who he's choosing to be now. [face_love]

    I just couldn't resist adding both! Keeping Dewlanna alive as a mothering presence for the better has been so gratifying, and then you have Ahsoka! My girl!! Han and Ahsoka's bond has only deepened since EWaV - which is a story all its own for the future - and it was wonderful to write a little bit more of that here.

    And, really, both ladies are just spot on, too. Anakin really is just a massive dork, but . . . don't show him you're back right away. [face_mischief] :p

    Exactly! Han's got this, and, what's more than that, he has Leia by his side every step of the way to help him through. [face_love] And, of course, through the route of the meeting the other side of the OTP's City Mouse/Country Mouse challenge requirements, he's going to find out that he and Anakin have more in common than not as the story progresses. Which I can't wait to share!

    Thanks! I was wondering if Luke was maybe a little OOC here, which I want to be careful for! But siblings can just be the worst sometimes, and all you can do is roll your eyes and swat at them to shut them up. :p But he's fully on team H/L, and he'll be there with them every step of the way too. [face_love]

    And Leia is just Leia! She's our lovely force of nature in this and every 'verse. Some things never change. [face_love]

    And I thank you ever so much for your kind words! And for running the wonderfully inspiring OTP challenges in the first place, even as I write my responses to the prompts at a snail's pace! [face_laugh] :oops:

    [:D]


    It is sad, isn't it? :( But he's gonna get there. [face_mischief] [face_love]

    Ha! Doesn't she thought? She is just one of my absolute faves and I couldn't resist including her words of advice here. :p

    Thank you ever so much for reading! I really appreciate your kind words. [:D]



    Alrighty, and now there will finally be more up in just a few. :D [face_dancing] [:D]


    ~MJ @};-
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2020
  9. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    II.

    “Ani, was that Leia I heard? Are they here?”

    A woman’s voice sounded from further inside, and then a smaller figure appeared behind where Anakin still loomed in the doorway. A glance told Padmé Amidala Skywalker all she needed to know, and she swatted at her husband’s shoulder. “Honestly, Anakin, there’s no need to be rude. Invite them in!”

    Han was then treated to the singular sight of the great and fabled General Skywalker wilting at nothing more than a pointed word from his wife. Though Padmé was small in stature – she was slight in height, like Leia, with petite curves and a grace that disguised what Han suspected was also a firecracker ferocity when needed to match – she only had to fix her husband with a look before he stood aside. "Stop trying to scare him," she chided. "Han is most likely nervous enough as it is."

    “I wasn’t scaring the boy, I promise,” Anakin defended himself. Padmé, Han thought, was little impressed. “Han,” he turned and fixed him with a smirk, “was I scaring you?”

    Han swallowed and reflexively stood up straighter. “No, sir,” four years in the GAR had conditioned him for this, at least. “Not a bit, sir.”

    “See?” Anakin turned back to appease his wife with a charming grin. “We’re fast friends already.”

    Something about his words, however, didn’t exactly ring true.

    Padmé merely raised a brow in warning – a look straight out of Leia’s own arsenal, Han recognized – before diplomatically letting the matter go. She stepped past her husband and chose instead to smile at her daughter. “Leia,” she warmly greeted, “it’s good to have you back home.”

    “It’s good to be home,” Leia stepped forward into her mother’s embrace. Side by side, Han was further taken by the resemblance between the two, even as he marveled to see the previously larger than life Padmé Amidala here at home in relaxed surroundings. She was still the dignified, regal woman he knew from the ‘net, but she carried herself with an easy sort of elegance rather than the august trappings of office she assumed back on Coruscant. Though she was, quite possibly, the most powerful woman in the galaxy, here she was at home; and now she was welcoming him into that home.

    “This must be Han, then,” Padmé's attention turned from her daughter. Though there was a slightly guarded expression about her eyes, she gave a sincere smile in welcome. Han knew that he wasn’t being judged any the less by her than he was by General Skywalker, but she was at least reserving judgment with an open mind. She looked him up and down, and then smiled a small, dimpling grin that reminded him of Luke. “He’s handsome,” she leaned over to whisper all too loudly to Leia in approval.

    "I know," Leia's eyes glittered to agree, and Han uncharacteristically found himself fighting back a flush.

    Behind them, Anakin loudly cleared his throat.

    Han saw that as his cue to introduce himself. “I’m Captain Solo, your excellency.” He instinctively stepped forward to offer his hand. But . . . was that considered proper for the chancellor? Was your excellency even the right form of address in the first place? “Your grace,” he hurried to amend, but no – no, that was for royalty, wasn’t it? Kriff it all to the nine hells. “Ma’am,” he finished awkwardly, fisting his hand by his side again and trying not to roll his eyes for his blunder, “it’s a pleasure to meet you.”

    “Oh, please just call me Padmé. I don’t bring my work home with me like that.” Even so, she waved her hand in a gesture of dismissal that was all the practiced motion of a former queen. “Leia has told us so much about you that in some ways I feel as if you're part of the family already. Please, come in,” Padmé turned and pointedly elbowed her husband out of the way. “Our home is your home.”

    Han followed Leia, with that, and Luke came in right behind them. The twins handed their cloaks to a gold plated protocol droid who was there to greet them, but the droid then showed to have a mind of its own by making a disapproving tsking noise if ever Han heard one and moving past him in a slight as clear as day. Which was fine, really; Han intended to hang onto his jacket anyway.

    Still: “Even Goldenrod over there doesn’t think I’m good enough for you,” he whispered to Leia as they moved past the foyer – a beautiful, open space that let in the dusky sunlight through duraglass slats in the domed roof overhead. There were intricate tiles arranged in swirling mosaics underneath his feet, while glazed, red stone pots housed even more flowering plants and fountains in a continuation of the gardens beyond.

    For just a moment, Leia leaned into him – taking advantage of Luke walking ahead of them to steal their parents’ attention while she could. Han appreciated the bald moment he’d been given alone with her to gather his courage. No matter Luke’s teasing, Han was grateful to have an ally in Leia’s brother rather than another grudging family member to impress. “Threepio has a mind of his own, but he’ll come around,” she commented wryly. Even so, her eyes narrowed, and he knew that she was preparing for battle. “Dad built him from scratch when he was a kid, and he hasn’t had a memory wipe since then in true Skywalker fashion.”

    Han – who already knew Artoo, the little astromech with a big personality who was once General Skywalker's and was now Luke’s partner in the skies – could only begin to imagine. Burying his questions – of course his perspective father-in-law (if Leia said yes when he finally asked her, it remained to be seen) was a prodigy in yet another way – he instead focused on Leia as she led him further into the house.

    The beauty of the foyer didn’t end there. The architecture inside was just as striking as the landscape outside, all gentle arches of bronze and soft earthen shades of burgundy and copper framed by strong lines of pale brick and dark stone. There were huge windows every way he looked, some framing the view of the lake and the mountains in the distance while others led to balconies and verandas, connecting one wing of the house – a small mansion, really – to the next. Most were then open to the cool spring evening, and their sheer drapes billowed and fluttered in the breeze that swept in from off the water.

    But for the lush beauty of Leia’s childhood home it felt lived in and inviting. This wasn’t a stiff luxury that demanded to be honored through a strict adherence to decorum; it was simply a love for the world beyond their walls reflected within in what he was beginning to understand was a true Nabooian aesthetic. The couches in the sitting room they gathered in looked comfortable and clearly well used by the family. Padmé promised that dinner would soon be ready and then left to go help her mother and Sabé finish their preparations in the kitchen. Han swallowed his surprise that the chancellor cooked her own meals before Leia tucked a smile away to whisper in his ear, “Dad’s normally in the kitchen more often than Mom, but I don’t think he wanted to miss a moment to sit there and glower.”

    Han was kept from answering that by being introduced to Leia’s grandfather next, a man named Ruwee Naberrie who had a firm handshake and a tanned, friendly face creased with heavy smile lines. Leia had mentioned that her mother had invited her parents to dinner, undoubtedly to remind Anakin of what he’d once gone through in mending his fences with his own in-laws after their secret marriage was revealed. While Han had initially doubted the wisdom of that decision – her grandparents were just more opinions he had to win over for the better – he found himself grateful as Ruwee and Luke moved in synchronized harmony to carry the brunt of the conversation to begin with, allowing him a chance to relax as much as he could and gather his bearings.

    Han liked Ruwee even more when the man proposed an aperitif of Nabooian bitters and sparkling wine, toasting his granddaughter’s happiness – to which even Anakin grudgingly tipped his glass. The spritzer wasn’t quite his Corellian ale, but it had an interesting dry, fruity taste that was more spice than sweetness, and the effervescence was a plus in this case. Han sipped slowly, torn between feeling like a drink was just the thing he needed for his nerves and wanting to have all of his wits about him. He had a feeling he was going to need them.

    Thankfully, by the time dinner was ready Han had somehow managed to get away with Luke and Leia dominating the conversation with their grandfather. He felt slightly more at ease as they stood to enter the dining room, but only just.

    Of course, a buzz from his comlink then threatened to ruin the careful equilibrium he was struggling to establish. He hesitated, but he’d powered down the setting to allow only a few frequencies through, and only those in an emergency. Thinking about Dewlanna, back home on Coruscant without him, he knew he had to check. He waited to make sure General Skywalker’s back was turned and then sneaked a peek.

    What he saw only had him snorting; he rolled his eyes before denying the call. That could wait.

    Dinner, at least, smelled delicious. Han took his seat next to Leia while Luke sat at his left, bracketing him with allies. Sabé – Padmé’s longtime aide and confidant and bodyguard, who was as much a member of the family as her actual blooded sister – sat on Leia’s left to complete their side of the table. Across from Han was Anakin, and next to him sat Padmé and her mother Jobal. Ruwee sat on Anakin’s left, which Han suspected was purposely done on Padmé’s part. The retired diplomat was a seasoned professional, though, and Han couldn’t read any emotion he didn’t want to show on his face as Ruwee boldly met Anakin’s eye and scuttled a small, knowing smile.

    Alright then, Han thought, bowing his head with the rest of the table as Ruwee said the Father’s Blessing, here goes nothing.

    Coming in, he’d been sure that he wouldn’t be able to eat a thing. Yet the first course was easy enough – a chilled soup that Leia had called the protocol droid on for not serving to him first, as their guest. Anakin tucked away a look too quick for Han to tell as a smile or not, but: “Threepio,” he warned, and that was all that was needed to set the droid straight.

    A few minutes into dinner, Han felt the attention shift to him. Luke and Leia had ran interference for as long as they could; now, it was his turn.

    “You have a beautiful home,” Han spoke up before he could be asked a question, honestly wanting to compliment his hostess as much as he wanted to make a good impression. “Naboo is unlike anywhere I’ve ever been before.”

    “Thank you,” Padmé's graciously accepted. “This villa has been in my family for generations, and I hope it still will be in the years to come.”

    She then looked at her daughter with a soft expression, and wasn’t that a thought? Han understood with a start. He tried to imagine a life with Leia as his wife, maybe even with little ones of their own someday, here, where everything was beauty and harmony and peace. The image struck him, and for a minute he simply wanted with the same fierce yearning that once had him determined to leave Shrike and his crew behind and find a proper place for himself and Dewlanna to belong. Anakin, he noticed, was watching him closely all the while.

    “You’re from Corellia, Captain Solo?” Anakin asked next, as if somehow reading his mind.

    “Yes, sir,” Han answered. That, at least, he could claim about his heritage with pride. “Though I haven’t lived onworld in years now,” he added, choosing his words carefully. He had no idea who his birth parents were, after all. There were just those hazy early years he couldn’t – wouldn’t – remember on the streets, and then the rest of his youth spent as part of Shrike's crew with Dewlanna . . .

    Han took in a deep breath, and exhaled.

    “Ahsoka mentioned as much,” Padmé said, her tone hushed with understanding. He knew that he wouldn’t be asked anything further about his past that he didn't want to volunteer, at least, for which he was grateful. “She’s been watching your career with great interest since you joined the GAR, and has nothing but praise to share.”

    For that, Han couldn’t help but look down, fighting a wave of emotion. “I owe General Tano more than I can say,” he looked up to claim with all honestly. “For me and Dewlanna both. We were in a tough spot . . . but she helped us out.”

    “Dewlanna?” Ruwee asked politely.

    “She’s my mother,” Han didn’t mind explaining, the words coming naturally after so many years. “Well, sorta, anyway. I don’t know my birth-parents; never did,” he surprised himself – and Leia beside him – by saying. “She took on looking after me when I was a kid, and we’ve stuck together ever since. She’s a Wookiee,” he added, “and advanced in years, even for their kind. So I get to take care of her now, like she deserves.” He'd tried to make Dewlanna understand that he wouldn't be hurt if she went back to Kashyyyk and her clan for years now, but every time he mentioned as much she waved a paw and claimed that the Great Hunters put her where she was for a reason, and she wasn't done looking after him yet.

    He won a few approving looks for that, not that was what he was looking for; it was just the truth.

    “Anakin has been watching your progress with nearly as much interest as Ahsoka,’ Padmé commented after a moment. There was a teasing glint in her brown eyes that, for a moment, reminded him of Leia. “Ever since you challenged Hera Syndulla’s records at the academy he's noticed you.”

    For that, Anakin only scowled. “He challenged her records.” Hera, Han knew as well as everyone else who had ever flown for the GAR, had been Anakin’s clear favorite and sponsored protégé as she rose through the ranks. Now, she had a command of her own, flying support for Jedi in the field. “It takes something special to outfly Syndulla.”

    “I don’t know,” Luke – who had just graduated the GAR’s Academy for Pilots and Naval Officers himself, which was how Han had first been introduced to this family to begin with – said honestly. “Han has something about him, the same as Hera does. It would be interesting to see them go head to head.”

    Anakin, for his part, looked little impressed. “It’s an honor to even be compared with Commander Syndulla,” Han cut in. “She’s a force to be reckoned with behind the helm of any ship. But . . . I do feel most at home when flying, I’ll be honest to say.”

    “Just like Father,” Leia mentioned with a pointed glance across the table.

    “I may just have to test that one out for myself,” was Anakin’s reply after a long moment, and Han sucked in a breath. He'd never bet against his chances, no matter the odds, yet General Skywalker was beyond even the famed Hera Syndulla in legend. Slowly, Han exhaled, but didn't break gaze with Leia’s father.

    “I’d be honored for the opportunity, sir,” he replied levelly. There: challenge accepted.

    For just a moment – but a moment that felt like a victory, regardless – Anakin’s look turned more appraising than critical. By his side, Leia reached under the table to surreptitiously squeeze his hand. Tightly, he squeezed back.

    "So, how did you two meet?" Jobal asked next, moving the conversation forward.

    Leia flashed a look from next to him, and he wondered exactly how to answer that when Luke spoke up: "Oh, he was with me when I bailed Leia out of a CPD detention center."

    Silence fell over the table before Leia quickly cut in to recover ground from her twin's words. Han couldn't help but kick Luke under the table to punctuate where he was sure Leia sent a mental smack her brother's way. "It wasn't like that," she protested.

    "What was it like, then?" Padmé asked levelly, choosing to listen first. After all, Han knew, this was a family who'd seen their fair share of holding cells, in one way or another.

    "Winter and I were caught trespassing, about a year ago," Leia answered after a moment. "Around the time that High Admiral Tarkin was tried for misconduct and discharged from the GAR." There, she traded a significant look with her mother. "We were able to clear the whole mess up as the misunderstanding it was before it turned any bigger, and that's when I called Luke to pick us up. Han was with him."

    Han couldn't help but smile for the memory of Leia thrumming with righteous indignation and blazing with fury as the CPD officer released her from custody, stinking from whatever trash compactor she and her friend – the princess of Alderaan herself – had been slinking through but clearly satisfied for the result of her endeavor. Han, of course, hadn't been able to resist teasing her for coming to her rescue, and had quickly won himself her ire for every time he'd met her for months thereafter. He could admit that he was the first one who was surprised when that spark had turned to attraction and respect and then something even more, not on his part so much as on hers, and now here they were.

    Anakin looked only pleased for her story. "That's my girl," he approved. "Besides," he shrugged, "if I had a credit for every time I've rescued your mother . . . "

    "He did not rescue me - ," Leia's eyes flashed with a familiar fire, even as Padmé blithely said, " - it would be just as often as I've rescued you, Knight Skywalker."

    "Which is true enough," Anakin was easy to admit, "from a certain point of view." And, with that, Han watched as the couple traded a tender look, steeped in an old, familiar affection. That too, Han couldn't help but observe, and want for his own future.

    The conversation ebbed away from him, then, as Luke took the opportunity to talk about his squadron next, trying to make up for his slip from earlier. Han was happy to sit back for a moment and listen. The GAR had long since moved past the days when they had Jedi Generals in command without any military experience or training for that command, yet they did have a program with the Jedi Order that allowed Knights and Masters to ascend through their ranks. It increased their efficiency and decreased casualties to pair Force-users with squadrons and battalions in the field. Since attaining his knighthood, Luke was currently training with Rouge Squadron underneath Colonel Hawk, which was attached to Ahsoka’s 501st. They were a good group of kids, Han thought – a talented group, without question – although he was sometimes surprised that no one had pushed Lieutenant Janson out of an airlock yet. How the GAR hadn't beaten that streak of irreverence out of Wes was still anyone's guess.

    Though Han had graduated from the academy as a fighter pilot – and had served his own time flying in formation as part of the 6/37th before accepting the transfer into fleet operations, he was currently interested in flying support on light cruisers for Jedi on missions in the field. It was the best of both worlds for him: the opportunity to excel in the air and apply his wits on the ground; it was where he could be the most useful in his service, he felt. That it put him in the same sphere of operations as Leia when she did take on missions that required a diplomat for the Republic was only a plus. Of course, though, he viewed his career as secondary to hers. Whatever she needed from him in the future, he’d be there for; it was just that simple.

    He was lost in thought as the plates were cleared away for the next course, and he felt as his comlink buzzed again. Fighting an aggravated sigh, he reached down to silence the call, before he felt a shorter vibration that heralded a text only message. A moment’s concern spiked through him, and he squared his jaw; he wasn’t usually so insistent unless something was wrong, after all. As much as he would rather ignore the message entirely, he just had to check. As surreptitiously as he could while the table was preoccupied with switching out their plates, he glanced down to see -

    “ - is something the matter, Captain Solo?”

    Of course Leia’s father was still watching him, Han wanted to sigh. But he had bigger problems on his hands than what Anakin Skywalker thought about his manners when he saw the message waiting for him: two symbols in the old pre-Corellian alphabet that many on the wrong side of the law in his home sector still used to communicate with each other. Eddle vanc. It was a call for an emergency evac.

    Han sighed through his teeth, knowing that he wouldn’t send this if it wasn’t serious. Great.

    “I don’t know,” he answered honestly, knowing what he had to do and yet hating his decision all the while. This really was a way to make a first impression, wasn't it?

    “I just got a message from an old friend.” Maybe friend was a stretch, but it was true enough. “He’s in a bit of a tight spot, and he’s asking for backup.”

    “What kind of a tight spot?” Leia asked, concerned.

    “I don’t know,” Han answered. “I just know he’s cornered, and he needs a way out. Apparently I’m that way out.” He frowned, trying to think of any other decision he could make before standing with a sigh. “I'm sorry to cut this short, but I need to head out right away.” He looked to Leia’s parents and grandparents, and found that he sincerely regretted having to leave them – much to his own surprise. “I wouldn’t leave if this wasn’t absolutely necessary - ”

    “ - of course you wouldn’t,” Padmé was already signaling the protocol droid to fix him a plate to go. “If there’s anything this family understands, it’s answering a call to help when needed.”

    That, Han could well imagine. He was about to thank her for understanding when Leia stood up next to him. “Obviously I’m coming with you,” she said.

    Her tone left no room for argument; neither did the narrowed look in her eyes. Even still, Han hesitated. Where he was going . . . well, it wasn’t the Lake Country of Naboo, to say the least. He knew he had no reason for shame, but for her to see where he came from . . . he wanted nothing more than to keep her from that. Not to shield her, of course, nor out of any mistaken urge to protect her – Leia knew all about hard choices and the less savory parts of the galaxy, after all – but because he wanted to be worthy of her, of all of this. The rough underside of Coronet City was the complete opposite, in every way.

    Aloud, he said, “Of course you are.”

    Leia reached over to take his hand and squeeze – not understanding, exactly, why his thoughts were so troubled, but simply knowing that they were. As always, he tried his best to make her strength his own. He was distracted for a moment, a long moment, before he heard from across the table: “I will come with you too.”

    What?

    “Come again?” Han repeated, somewhat dumbly. "Sir," he added belatedly.

    “You’re walking into a hot spot, I can feel it,” Anakin said. “Your friend wouldn’t have contacted you otherwise. We were supposed to get to know you tonight, and I can’t think of a better way than this.”

    “Dad, really, there’s no need for you to come along. We’ve got this,” Leia huffed in exasperation, just as: “Ani . . . ” Padmé cautioned from next to her husband, but wasn’t quick to dissuade him further. She looked up at him, instead, and asked, “Is this a situation where backup is necessary, Han? If so, there’s really no one better to help. If that's what you want.”

    Knowing him? It would be a safe bet. Still . . .

    Well, Han wouldn’t back down from the challenge glinting in Anakin’s eyes. He didn’t see a good way out of this by refusing, and by accepting . . . well, didn’t he have a bad feeling about this anyway? The more lightsabers could simply be for the best in the end.

    “It may be,” Han answered grudgingly. Then: “I would be happy to have you come along, General Skywalker.”

    “It’s settled then,” Anakin looked between his wife and daughter, little bothered by either of the warning glances turned his way. “Where, exactly, is your friend in need, Captain?”

    Han took a deep breath, and answered: “Back home, on Corellia.”



    TBC


    ~MJ @};-
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2020
    Kahara and Findswoman like this.
  10. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_laugh] Loved Han's observation of how Anakin can so easily "wilt" under Padme's glare.

    Her welcome was sincere; his awkwardness was absolutely understandable.

    The description of the home is gorgeous, and I love that it's cozy and lived in, more than just a showplace.
    The candor and genuine affection in Han's relating about his history and Dewlanna won points I am sure.

    LOL about the way he and Leia met! [face_mischief] Some things transcend time and space!

    :eek: on the urgent call away. It's a shame to break away from dinner but I have a feeling this sudden emergency will allow for everyone to get to know each other better than they would over a meal. Quickere anyhow. [face_thinking]

    SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEE for Padme's parents being there.

    And such a GREAT idea for having Force sensitive users allied with squadrons.
     
    Findswoman and Mira_Jade like this.
  11. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    YAY, NEW CHAPTER! [face_dancing] So glad to see this (and finally be able to catch up and comment properly! And WOW, what a chapter it is! It’s got it all—from a priceless “meet the family” scenario and adorable banter and couple dynamics in all the generations, to Dewlanna, Hera Syndulla, Wes Janson, Ahsoka, Winter (as Princess of Alderaan, no less!), and both members of the Original Droid Duo! It’s nothing short of amazing how you got them all in and managed to connected them all to the SkySoloBerries in completely believable ways—which, after all, has always been a Mira talent! (A piloting competition between Han and Hera would be awesome, and that bit put me in mind of their meeting in “Eidolon”! Yay intertextuality! :D ) All set in the incomparable SongVerse AU. @};-

    But the icing on the cake... OK, there isn’t just one icing, is the thing. I too was thrilled to see Jobal and Ruwee Naberrie among those present, and I can see they are just bursting with nakhes (to use an evocative Yiddish word) to meet their lovely granddaughter’s young man. I too love that Luke is the one who lets the tooka out of the bag about Han and Leia’s, er, “meet-cute”—it’s just the sort of thing he woudl blurt out, and of course I love the parallels with the familiar sequence from ANH (right down to the involvement of a trash compactor, it seems! :D). And finally... ANAKIN! What an amazing about-face there at the end as he sheds his Suspicious, Protective Dad demeanor and immediately resolves to accompany his future son-in-law and his daughter in answering the mysterious call for help. That’s the true Skywalker courage, right there, and it is so wonderful to see that it is as strong in Anakin as in Luke in this universe!

    Though I have to say, I too am very perplexed and more than a little worried about this message that’s come in for Han. Who’s it from? I have a guess or two, but mostly I guess I’d better wait for your next chapter—as difficult as that will be! But I totally adore the whole concept of the “meet the fam” turning into a shared adventure—what a wonderful direction in which to take the “city mouse, country mouse” prompt! (And this is where we’ll see how the Other Mouse Lives, no doubt! ;) )

    Amazing work, as always, and so glad to see this continue! Do keep it coming! =D=