This is another take on the Valentine's Story by AmaraZ but at a different time in their relationship! Two contributions to this challenge, AmaraZ. You rock! Thanks!
This was probably Leia’s favorite time of day. When she was done with her duties for the day and could come home to her apartment. Home to her husband and just be a wife and soon to be mother. When she could just be Leia.
As she took the last turn and entered the hallway that led to their apartment, all she really wanted to do was to let her hair down, put her feet up, and maybe make an early night of it. Nearly three months pregnant, the minimal nausea that she had experienced was mostly gone, but the fatigue seemed to still be dogging her. She was surprised that she had actually stayed awake during her afternoon meeting. And by now, after spending the day rushing from one place to another, she was most definitely ready for a quiet evening at home.
She palmed the apartment door open and could feel her body start to relax as soon as she stepped inside. Here was her own private oasis from the rest of the galaxy. As the door closed behind her, she let out a sigh, enjoying the silence and peacefulness that enveloped her. Scanning the living room quickly, she didn’t see any sign of Han yet. Figuring she had a few minutes to herself, she started towards her office to finish off her day.
Her first stop, as always, was her desk and she had her small case of files already open as soon as she reached it. She was so distracted by adding and removing files from her case that she paid little attention as she sat in the desk chair. She was instantly aware and focused on the present, though, as she felt something under her that wasn’t supposed to be there. Rising up slightly, she reached under her hips and pulled the offending object out. It was no wonder she had missed it. The small, black box blended right into the chair. She sat back and took a moment to look at it, knowing only Han could have left it for her to find. No one else had access to this space but them.
Wondering what he had given her, she opened the box and her mouth fell open. Not that it was unusual to receive a gift from Han. He had been romantic on occasion in the past. But this was something entirely different. Inside was an aralute flower that had been dried and lacquered and hung on a beautiful, thin chain. Leia's heart skipped a beat and then another as she marveled at it. Every hue of violet in the bloom had been perfectly preserved for all time. Overwhelmed, Leia’s fingers trembled as she touched the flower and she could feel tears coming to her eyes, knowing the effort he would have had to go to find something like this.
She didn't know how long she sat there looking at it, but Han's voice broke her out of her reverie. "Hey, sweetheart."
Leia finally tore her eyes away and noticed Han leaning against the doorjamb watching her. "Hey.”
She stood immediately, anything work related already forgotten, and moved towards him. Han followed suit and straightening from his position in the doorway, he met her halfway. "How long have you been home?"
"A while now." He looked down pointedly at the necklace and then back up at her. "Do you like it?" he inquired as his eyes searched her face for her reaction.
"I love it," she replied. "Where did you find something like this?"
“I didn’t.” He gestured for the box. After she handed it to him, he slipped the necklace into his hand and moved to stand behind her. She held her hair out of the way for him and he fell silent long enough to carefully drape the necklace around her neck and fasten the clasp. “I had it made.”
Leia’s fingers brushed the necklace lightly as she thought about his response. He stepped back in front of her and her brow furrowed as she looked up at him. “How did you do it? These flowers are incredibly hard to find.”
Han scoffed at her question, his lips curling into a half smile. “C’mon, sweetheart. You don’t expect a guy to give up all his secrets, do you?” When he saw the determined look in her eye, he knew she wasn’t going to give up until she had the whole story. He took his time letting out a long breath before answering. “It’s one of the original blooms from the plant you gave to the embassy garden,” he finally admitted.
Her mouth dropped open for the second time that day and it opened and closed several more times as she processed the information. “I gave that plant to the embassy five months ago.”
Leia continued to stare at him. “Han, you do remember what this flower means? It’s significance to my people?”
“I remember.” Smiling at her, he stepped in closer, rubbed a gentle hand over her still flat abdomen, and held it there. “That’s why I thought it was appropriate to give it to you now.”
Her head tilted at him and she was just about on the verge of crossing her arms. “And you’ve been hanging on to it all this time?”
Han let his hand drop away, feeling tense under her scrutiny. His eyes still held hers, but she could have sworn for a moment he looked uncomfortable. “Yeah.”
“Isn’t that a little over-confident, even for you?” A hint of a smile came to her lips. “Or just a case of wishful thinking?”
Han chuckled. “Well, I am Corellian.” Growing more serious, he placed his hands on her shoulders, his thumbs stroking over the tops of them. “Nah. I was hoping, with a little luck, things would work out,” he explained, his hands now running up and down her arms lightly. “I figured at worst, you’d have a nice reminder of home.”
Leia was almost in tears again, her heart swelling for the man in front of her. That he would have thought of her and taken the time to plan something like this. It was just one of many reasons she was glad she could call him husband.
She closed the distance between them, letting her hands slide up his back and come to rest behind his shoulders. She smiled up at him, letting him see every bit of the love and care she held for him. “Thank you,” she whispered and drew him into a long, lingering kiss. His arms wrapped around her, encasing her in their warm protection.
They stood that way for a while, losing themselves in each other like they often did, and let the rest of the universe slip away for a few moments. Eventually, breathing became a real necessity and the kiss broke. Han eased back and his eyes scanned her face carefully, noting the light purple smudges under her eyes. “How are you feeling today? You ok?”
Leia nodded, her arms slipping around his waist. “I’m ok. A little hungry. My morning meeting ran over and I was late for my meeting with Mon. Then I spent all afternoon preparing for the delegation next week. So I had to grab lunch on the run.”
Han leaned in to brush his hand across her hair and kiss her lightly on the forehead. “I have a couple of options planned for dinner tonight. We can go out somewhere if you want.”
He smiled at her, a sly, wolfish grin that she knew only all too well. “Or we could eat the light dinner I laid out on the bedroom balcony.”
“You could probably convince me to stay in tonight,” she said with her own sly smile.
Han took her hand in his and lightly kissed the back of it, sending tingles up her arm. He tugged on her hand gently as he started towards the door and she followed him without hesitation through the living room.
“Han?” Leia asked as they approached the door to their bedroom.
“Do you think we’ll actually get as far as the balcony?”
Glancing back at her, Han saw the gleam in her eye, and took the last few steps into the bedroom. Linking an arm around her waist, he pulled her tightly to him. “I’m sure we will eventually,” he told her with a grin as he closed the door behind them.
Thanks again, AmaraZ.