Warning: Spoilers for Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse
Thanks to Seams2Be for sharing this missing moment with us!
Setting: Directly after Jaina and Jag’s wedding from FOTJ Apocalypse
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end” Seneca
Just Another New Beginning
Han and Leia sat in silence as they were completing the pre-flight checklist. Nimbly working their fingers across data screens and key controls, moving in conjunction with each other like a well-oiled machine.
Inside the Falcon’s newly reconstructed cockpit, the reflective silence was comfortable, however just a touch of sadness hung in the air.
The Millennium Falcon and her crew: captain, co-pilot, one protocol droid, and one astromech droid, were preparing to depart the Hapan Dragon Queen, the host vessel of Jaina and Jag’s wedding ceremony and celebration.
The wedding was beautiful. Jaina was radiant. Jag was ecstatic. Han and Leia were relieved. They were thrilled their daughter finally allowed love into her life. They were happy for Jaina, she deserved happiness and more, for she had seen too much of the opposite.
All during the ceremony and celebration, Han and Leia did their best not to let their emotions get the better of them. This was a happy memory to share, such a stark contrast to so many painful ones. However, holding their emotions in check was a challenge.
Watching Han walk Jaina down the aisle, under a salute of lightsabers, Leia had held back her tears. Dancing with Luke, Ben, Lando, Jag and Han at the celebration, Leia concentrated on keeping a positive Force energy flowing through her. She almost lost her composure as she watched Han dance with their granddaughter, Allana.
Their granddaughter’s secret was no more. Soon the entire galaxy will know the Hapan Chume’da, the future Jedi Queen was indeed alive.
Allana would be taking her place in the Royal Hapan social structure, learning at the knee of her mother, Hapan Queen, Tenel Ka Djo. Being exceptionally strong in the Force, Allana will also attend the Jedi Academy under the watchful eye of her Aunt Jaina.
For the last seven years, Han and Leia had another chance at being parents by raising Allana, or Amelia as they called her in public. They loved, protected, and cherished her. Leia felt the lump rise in her throat again.
Although Leia knew they could visit Allana whenever they wanted and where ever Han and her decide to put down new roots, they would have always keep a special room just for Allana and her pet nexu. However, Leia also knew from her own personal experience, Allana’s childhood was about to become a distant memory. Soon the weight of the galaxy would be thrust upon her shoulders. This thought gave Leia a heavy heart.
She and Han were thrilled to raise her, to be better parents the second time around, but they always knew this day would come. Saying goodbye to Allana after the wedding, ripped holes through their hearts, adding to the already tender vacancies left by the deaths of their only two sons.
“All systems checked, course plotted?” Han asked.
Both had changed out of their formal attire, into their comfortable travel jackets, shirts, pants and boots. Leia let her hair loose from the more formal style she had worn for the wedding.
“All systems checked, course plotted?” Han requested again.
At that moment, Leia could no longer hold back her emotions; she felt the hot burning tears start to stream down her cheeks. Turning to face her husband, she could barely speak, “Han, for the first time in my life, I don’t know what course to plot.”
This was not just a matter of pre-flight amnesia, it was the unfamiliar state of being she currently found herself in.
Han reached over and took his wife’s hands in his. Here was a woman whose entire life’s purpose had always been clearly defined.
From a royal princess and Imperial senator, to a teenage rebellion leader.
She was Chief of State of the New Republic; a defender of refugees and by all accounts an unofficial general in the resistance against the Yuuzhan Vong. Now she was a full fledge Jedi Knight.
Leia had witnessed the destruction of her home planet; killing all the family she had ever known. Found out her arch enemy was really her father and Luke was her brother.
She fell in love with Han and he was taken away from her in a cruel twist of fate. She freed him from his metallic prison only to be thrown into one battle after another for what seemed like an eternity.
Eventually they married, had children, raised them the best they knew how in a galaxy that often took them away from each other.
The Vong had been a tragic changing point. Death had hit their family, first his beloved first mate Chewbacca and then their youngest son. During that time, Leia and Han’s marriage became estranged as the weight of reality hit Han hard.
Leia nearly died at the hand of the Vong warmaster. Han winced inside at the memory of seeing her broken body as they escaped Duro. They made it. They made it through those terrible times. Their marriage grew stronger every year, forming bonds that could never be broken again. Then the unthinkable happened. Their eldest son was consumed by the Dark Side and became Sith. Han and Leia had to plot to kill their own son, though they knew the good kid they loved was already dead. In the end their daughter killed their son.
Through all of this, Leia stayed strong, never wavered, never compromised her principles, never gave up. Always remained resolved and purposed. Han loved her more each day and he knew she loved him. Together they have been through so much and together they will forge their way to new adventures. This was not the end, just another beginning. He had to get her to see that.
Giving her hands a squeeze, Han turned back to his console. “Here, plot this course,” he transmitted the coordinates to Leia’s console.
Through her tears, she plotted the course. “The Corphelion’s?” she replied with a slight smile.
“Sure, Jaina and Jag aren’t the only ones who are going on a honeymoon.” Han grinned.
“Our honeymoon was over forty years ago.” Leia chided.
Han smiled, “I know. We’re starting over. I made arrangements to stay a week at the same resort we never got to stay at the first time around and this time I don’t plan on leaving without fully exploring the Honeymoon Suite.” He winked at her.
She wiped away a tear, “You do have your moments.”
With that, Han lifted the Falcon out of the docking bay of the Dragon Queen piloting the craft to the openness of space to make their jump.
Taking one last look at the Dragon Queen, Leia caught a glimpse of Allana and her mother, Tenel Ka, in the large view port window. Leia blew Allana a kiss, both physically and through the Force. Warmly, Allana sent a hug and kiss back to her grandparents. Reluctantly Han engaged the hyperdrive and the starlines stretched out in front of them.
“Come on, let’s get Threepio to fix us some dinner. I don’t know about you but that food at the wedding was a bit bland.” Han growled. He took Leia’s hand and led her to the Falcon’s galley.
“Is something wrong with the meal Mistress Leia?” Threepio noticed Leia had hardly touched her food.
“It’s all right Threepio, I’m just not as hungry as Han the Gamorrean over there.”
“Hey, I was hungry.” He gruffed. “That Hapan crap they called food at the wedding tasted like a bunch of mouse droids rolled around in it.” Han replied sharply.
“Threepio, why don’t you take these plates and bring us some caffe.”
Threepio strutted off with the dishes, chuckling to himself as much as a droid could chuckle, “Master Han a Gamorrean...very clever.”
Listening to the sounds of Threepio’s servomotors fading away into the Falcon’s galley, Han looked over at Leia, who still seemed small and sad. Her spirit was quiet, melancholy.
Of all the sides of Leia, this was the one he dreaded the most. He could match her wit for wit; ride the winds of her anger, especially if it wasn’t blowing at him. He could break a stubborn stalemate with a well-timed lopsided smile, but when she was like this, his own soul hurt for her. Unfortunately they’ve been through this type of sadness far too many times for his liking.
“Are you sure you’re going to be all right?” He questioned.
Nodding, Leia replied, “It’s too quiet.”
Allana had brought a new type of energy to their lives, she was adventurous, curious, asked many, often very observant questions. Her nexu Anji could be herd purring and occasionally scratching at something on the Falcon, always being followed up with a Corellian curse from Han. Leia often thought Han had finally met his match with that nexu. She missed Allana terribly.
Threepio returned with caffe for both of his masters.
“Thank you Threepio, that will be all.” Leia smiled.
“Very well Mistress Leia. I will see you in the morning.”
Threepio once again left Han and Leia in their silence. Han reached over and pressed a few buttons on the closest control console. Soft, mellow jazz music filled the lounge area.
“Come on, let’s go sit on the couch”, he suggested as he got up from the meal table.
Leia sat with her legs stretched out on the couch, with her back nestled into Han’s chest. He wrapped his arms around her, occasionally stroking her hair, he leaned is cheek on top of her head and breathed deeply.
The scent of Leia’s hair always brought Han back to their early days, when they weren’t exactly friendly with each other. He never let her know how the intoxicating smell of her hair could have been used as a secret weapon against him during those earlier days. Her hair’s faint sweet scent was one of the first things about her that stirred his soul. That was a long time ago, yet it seemed liked only yesterday.
As they snuggled together, listening to the soft rhythms of the music, both were lost in thought. Leia was the first to break the silence. “You know, I wasn’t talking about coordinates when I said I didn’t know what course to plot.”
“I know” Han replied. After many decades of being married, Han knew at moments like this she needed him to be strong, supportive and somewhat silent.
When Leia was contemplative like this, she would eventually open up and talk and if he started to interrupt or give advice before she was finished, she would never get all her feelings out to the surface. She would just tuck them away in a sad little corner somewhere deep inside. No, he would just hold her, comfort her, listen to her.
Wrapping his arms around her tighter, he gently kissed the top of her head. They listened in silence for a long time before Leia spoke again. “I miss her... I miss them.” She whispered.
“Me too” he said softly.
It was always at times like this, when some innocent, non-related event opened those painful wounds that nobody but parents who lost their own children could understand.
Leia felt a few of Han tears fall on top of her head and instantly her own tears were back. So deeply bonded to each other, they knew they had to ride this memory out together, letting the moment flow and pass through them. Experience taught them they could not ignore, bottle up or run away from their heartache. Instinctively, Han and Leia quietly held each other for a long while.
Sensing the need to change the mood, Han pushed against Leia’s back in order to get her up off the couch. As he stood up he guided Leia to her feet.
“May I have this dance, Your Highness?” Han exaggerated a bow to Leia and without waiting for her reply he grabbed her by the waist and spun her around.
“What are you doing?” Leia questioned, somewhat surprised by the quick retreat from the couch.
“Changing the odds,” he grinned. He danced her around the lounge before settling into a slow steady sway. Han held Leia close, resting his head on hers again. Leia wrapped her arms around his waist, her cheek against his chest, where she listened to his strong, steady heartbeat.
“Black holes” Han simply stated.
Leia looked up at Han, somewhat confused, “What?”
“Black holes” he said, looking directly into her tear stained eyes. “That is what we have in our hearts, just
like in space.”
“Is this more of your pilot logic?” Leia teased. Their dance continued as Han spoke.
“Hear me out Leia. As much as we want to, we can’t change the past, our son’s deaths will forever be black holes in our hearts. Saying goodbye to Allana, and closing that chapter of our lives has brought us to the edge of those black holes. But just like navigating through space, we have to be aware of black holes and plot a course to avoid them. Fly too close or linger too long, and we’ll get sucked in, and never get out. We aren’t denying the existence of the black holes, we just have to be careful not to get trapped in them.
Leia thought about his logic. It was so Han, simple and obvious.
“When did you become so wise?” She smiled as she looked up at him.
“I’ve always been wise, you just don’t always notice.” Pulling Leia out of their dance embrace, he playfully twirled her around and brought her back into his arms.
Once again pressing her cheek against his chest as she wrapped both her arms around his neck, as Han held his arms around her hips. They moved as one to the soft sensual music.
Leia pulled back a bit to stare intently into his hazel eyes, leaving her arms around his neck. “Han, you are my rock. Solid, strong, secure. You hold my world together.”
He smiled devilishly and replied a soulful baritone voice, “And you Lady, rock my world.” With that he leaned in and kissed her, the kind of kiss that always gave Leia’s stomach the flutters, ever since their first kiss in the circuitry bay all those years ago.
As their lips parted, Leia asked, “So what do we do now? I can’t see us retiring, spending our days just looking at each other. I might have to vape you at some point.”
Han smirked, “I’m tired of being called old, who the hell makes that determination anyway? I still got it where it counts.”
Leia gave him an appreciative look, “That you do, flyboy.” She responded.
Han continued, “Besides, every time we tried to settle down something always happens. Hell, we couldn’t even go to a pet show with out ending up in a fire fight.”
“And do you think “The Order” is going to let your diplomatic Jedi talents go to waste? You know Saba likes to see her former apprentice challenged from time to time.”
Now Han was on a venting rampage, “Plus Lando always has some stupid scheme he needs our help with.”
“Careful,” Leia warned, “Lando was the one who resourced the repairs to the Falcon.”
“That’s another thing,” Han’s blood pressure started to rise, “Now that the GA has cut off the Jedi’s unlimited funding, how the kriff do they think they are going to pay for supplies, you know, like food and all those little brown robes? Someone is going to have to teach them the art of procurement.” Han stated.
The Jedi Masters may have the Force, but Han often felt they lacked good old fashion common sense.
While giving Leia his best lopsided grin, he confidently boasted, “See Leia, we’re just too good, the galaxy still needs us.”
This got Leia laughing. “You’re right, we will be called upon, probably sooner than later. I can also guarantee you Allana will get herself into the kind of trouble that only you can help her get out of.”
Laughing, Han agreed, “I won’t even give you odds on that one.”
“Feeling better?” he suggested after a moment.
“Much.” she responded while Han once again pulled her close while they danced for a few more moments.
Abruptly, Han halted their dance, taking her hands in his.
“Leia,” his voice strong and serious, was matching his gaze into her deep brown eyes.
“We’ve flown from one side of this galaxy to the other, several times over. We’ve seen and been through a lot of strange stuff and I can honestly say that I do believe there is one, all powerful thing that does bind us all together.”
“The Force?” Leia asked.
“Nope,” Han smiled. “Love.”
Softly Han kissed Leia and then lead her by the hand down the back corridor to their cabin, dimming the lights of the lounge along the way.
It wasn’t the end. Just another new beginning.
Thanks again, Seams2Be! And Great Job!