A part of her felt warm and wonderful at the thought of having a baby, especially at the thought of having a baby with Han. But another part of her just felt so irresponsible. How could she have let this happen? With all of the lengths they’d gone to in order to prevent this from happening until they were good and ready, why hadn’t anyone ever mentioned that contrachips were not one hundred percent effective?
Han had taken her hand between both of his and was warming it with a gentle, rubbing motion. For a moment she’d become so lost in her thoughts that she’d almost forgotten he was there. Looking up at him, she saw his handsome face looking down at her reassuringly, knowing that she was less than thrilled with the news. How was that supposed to make him feel?
She brought her other hand to rest on top of his and squeezed him gently, looking into his eyes. His face was still thinner than it used to be, like an adolescent who hadn’t quite filled out yet. She had a sudden flash of a young boy with brown hair and her brown eyes but Han’s features and smile. Maybe the timing wasn’t exactly perfect, but how could she not be happy about having a child with Han?
She brought his hand to her lips and kissed it before she finally spoke. “I should’ve known that one day you’d get me into trouble,” she teased.
“Is that what they call it when a husband gets his wife pregnant?” he asked. “I thought they called that starting a family.”
“You don’t see a whole lot of families in a war,” she replied, a bit more cynically.
“I told you already, we’ll figure it out. You’ve taken on the Empire. A tiny baby should be a snap.”
“What about you?” She asked.
“What about me?”
“You’ve never said anything about wanting to be a father.”
He lowered his head to look directly at her as his eyes grew serious and he still held her hands clutched in his. “Sweetheart, I know that we haven’t talked about this sort of thing, but it is something I’ve thought about before. I know I never had a dad of my own, and I never really got to see how they’re supposed to act and what they’re supposed to do. But I do know that I have wanted nothing more than to have a family with you and learn how to be the best dad any kid could ask for. And I also know that they’re already going to have the most amazing mom in the galaxy.”
How did he always seem to know exactly what to say to make things all right? Without responding, she brought a hand behind his head and he took the invitation to lean in for a kiss. Once he pulled away, she said, “You promise you’ll help change diapers?”
Han laughed. “Absolutely.”
Leia had fallen asleep and Han left the room for a bit to go and find something to eat. Since his rescue he’d been suffering from almost constant ravenous hunger, a sure sign that his body was desperate to return to normal. As he rounded one of the corridors, he literally bumped into Luke.
“Hey, kid, sorry about that.”
“No problem, Han. So, did you tell her?”
“Yeah, I told her.”
“And? How did she take it?”
“Well, probably as good as you’d expect. Not exactly what we’d planned on, not exactly the best timing, but eventually she came to her senses. As hard as it is to believe, apparently the idea of having kids with me isn’t quite as horrifying as you might think.”
The Jedi laughed and patted his brother-in-law on the shoulder. “Han, I wouldn’t want anyone else to be the father of my nieces and nephews. I’m happy for you two.”
“Thanks, Luke. And as the uncle, you’re going to have to help us figure out how exactly to best bring up this kid in the middle of a war. Or even better, help us figure out a way to end it before he or she even has to see any of it.”
“I’ll do everything I can, Han. And you, don’t do anything stupid and go getting yourself killed.
We don’t want them growing up without a father.”
“Hey, it’s me!”
Sometime later Leia had awakened in her bed to see Han asleep in the chair next to her, his neck bent at an almost horrific angle and his hand resting gently against hers on the bed. One thing was certain: she wasn’t going to have to worry about him being anything less than a devoted father and husband.
She pulled her hand from his to wipe a few stray hairs out of her eyes and he immediately stirred, opening his eyes and looking at her. “Hey, sweetheart, feeling any better?”
After learning of her pregnancy, she’d completely forgotten about her blaster wound. Reaching a hand up to touch the injured appendage wrapped in bacta-soaked bandages, she was pleasantly surprised to find that she hardly winced at the touch. “A lot better, actually.” Now, if only the healing of the physical pain was all she had to worry about…
“Han, what’s going to happen next? Has there been any discussion?”
He heaved a sigh, obviously not wanting her to get all caught up in the war already given her current condition. But there was no way she was going to sit things out for the next nine months just because she was going to have a baby.
“Well, they figured Mon was the only traitor in the situation. She was going to give us up to Imperial rule and they were going to leave her in a position of power to make us think that this
‘agreement’ meant that they weren’t the ones in control.”
“General Rieekan,” Leia said softly, looking down at her hands. “I was so-“
“Forget it, Leia,” Han said. “It’s not your fault, okay? You made the decision with the information you were given. And almost anyone will tell you, including me, that it was the right decision. How were you supposed to know that Mon had turned traitor on us?”
She shook her head. “I just should’ve known,” she said sadly.
“Sweetheart, everyone makes mistakes.”
“Yeah, well, if these are the kinds of mistakes I’m going to be making then how can I be expected to be a good mother?”
“Because you had a good role model,” another voice said from the doorway.
Leia looked up to see Carlist Rieekan leaning against the wall and looking at her. “I’m so sorry,” was all she could think to say.
He stepped forward and smiled. “It’s all right, Lelila,” he said, using her childhood nickname. “None of us can be expected to be right all the time. I know I certainly haven’t always made all of the right decisions. And neither did your father.”
“But did any of those decisions nearly get us all killed? Nearly leave us all in the hands of the Empire?”
“I think you’d be surprised,” he said. “And the key word there is ‘nearly’,” he replied. “You are an incredibly intelligent young woman, Leia. And a remarkable leader. But nobody’s perfect. And I hope that you can forgive yourself. Besides, I hear that I owe you another congratulations,” he said.
Leia instinctively ran her hands down over her stomach, remembering the tiny embryo growing inside. “Yes, well, the timing leaves a lot to be desired,” she said, almost able to force a smile.
“Well, trust me when I tell you that we will do everything we can to make sure that that baby will be born into a galaxy where freedom is the norm.”
Leia did smile then and couldn’t formulate words. Han sensed it and answered for her, standing and extending his hand to shake Carlist’s. “Thank you, General,” Han said.
“You’ve got your work cut out for you,” Carlist said as he made his way toward the door. “She was a feisty one when she was a little girl.” And with a wink, he was gone again.