"Hey, you asleep?" Han whispered into Leia's soft chestnut hair.
Her arm, which was draped across his bare chest, moved just ever so slightly. "No," shereplied, as she snuggled more closely against him, her head resting in the crook of his
arm. "I'm just languishing in the afterglow." She let out a small, but satisfied sigh and brushed her hand gently over the fine hairs that adorned his chest.
Their lovemaking a while earlier had begun tenderly, but had soon turned fiery and passionate, leaving both of them sweaty and exhausted. Their arms wrapped tightly around each other as their laboured breathing slowly settled, and the last waves of orgasm faded away.
Leia smiled contentedly to herself and thought how much more comfortable this new double bunk was compared to the cramped single one they had been sharing on the Falcon for the past four years. Yes, it had been cosy and it was nice to be able to cuddle up so close together. However, there was no denying the fact that it was rather awkward and far from ideal. Leia had often thought that if she hadn't been so small, there's no way they would have tolerated it for so long. Upon their marriage six months earlier, Han had finally decided that it was about time they had a proper, full sized bed onboard, and she certainly had no complaints about this latest modification. For once, Han's incessant tinkering had definitely paid off.
"This isn't going to take us long, you know," Han said confidently.
Leia frowned, slightly confused as to what he was referring to. "What isn't going to take us long?"
"Making this baby."
He couldn't believe he had said those words. They were going to try for a baby. At last, Leia had changed her mind on starting a family, and Han couldn't have been happier. He was surprised by how much he had wanted them to have a child. Part him, part her. A tiny person created by their love for each other. But despite his longing for a family of his own, he had respected Leia's wish never to have children for fear of them one day suffering the same dark fate that befell her father. Deep down he hadn't been happy, but he loved this woman with every fibre of his being, and he had finally accepted that she wasn't likely to change her mind on the issue. But, he tried to remain hopeful that maybe one day, she just might.
"Oh, really?" Leia said, teasingly, as she lightly twirled a couple of his chest hairs around her fingers.
"I mean, we've had plenty of practice."
Leia laughed. "We certainly have."
"And we're pretty good at this, y'know."
"I can't argue with that," Leia said with a wistful smile.
Han thought for a second before feeling a familiar lopsided grin pulling at the corners of his lips. "And, uh, you know what they say about us Corellian men?"
Leia pushed herself up on her elbow and looked into her husband's beaming face. "Oh, don't tell me. This is going to be about how amazingly virile they are and incredibly fertile, and..."
"Yeah, it's all true, but don't forget," Han said, cutting her off. "I am not just your average Corellian man."
The look on his face was so smug that anyone else would probably have slapped him. "Oh, there's absolutely nothing average about you," Leia said moving closer and softly kissing his rough cheek.
"And of course, the famous Solo luck, now that has to count for something, right? That has gotta be on my side."
"Um, excuse me, flyboy, but you're not doing this on your own, you know. I do believe it takes two of us to make a baby," Leia said in mock indignation. "In any case, I'm a Solo now, so it's only fair I get a bit of that luck too. Don't you think?"
"Sweetheart, I think you've already got it. Look at how you've been winning at holochess lately. You know, if I didn't know any better, I'd say Chewie has been giving you secret lessons," Han replied with a smirk.
Leia shook her head. "I don't even like holochess." It was true, she didn't. She could never see the sense in it. But they had to find some way to occupy themselves on these long flights, and Leia had to admit, she was becoming rather good at it. She had put Chewie to shame on several occasions, frustrated Threepio beyond belief, and totally dumbfounded Han.
"Well, then it has to be luck," Han conceded. "Plus, you get to be ravaged by me every night. I'd say that makes you pretty damn lucky."
Leia laughed, gently punching his chest. "Scoundrel."
"And you wouldn't have it any other way."
Leia settled back down and cuddled into him, snaking her leg over the top of his, as Han kissed the top of her forehead. Then for a long moment there was peace, stillness; only the soft, comforting rumblings of the Falcon's engines, and the delicate, repetitive whirring of the cabin's cooling system breaking the silence. Leia closed her eyes, and floated away, breathing in the gloriously rich, musky scent of the Ithorian Mist aftershave still prominent on Han's skin.
"Hey, I'm sorry we didn't get your painting," Han said, stroking the smooth skin on her arm.
"It doesn't matter," Leia said, pulling him a little closer.
"It does matter. I know how much you wanted it. And I'd have done anything to make sure you got it." He meant that. He would quite willingly go to the corners of the galaxy for this woman, do anything to make her happy. He couldn't help the feeling that somehow he had let her down.
"I know. But it wasn't to be, Han. I lost the painting, but I think I found something much more important."
"Like what?" Han enquired.
"Like knowing I can now have a baby. Our baby. And not be afraid anymore. I always wanted this, Han, deep down, it was always there. But I knew it would never be an option, not with my family history. I couldn't afford to take that risk."
For a split second, Leia's mind drifted as she tried to picture holding a baby in her arms, a baby that she and Han had created. She imagined what it would feel like to love that baby unconditionally. The small child's beaming face was staring up at her, its dark eyes glistening, and the outpouring of emotion from the depths of her soul was overwhelming. She realised now, more than anything, just how much she wanted to be a mother.
"I guess we have your grandmother to thank for all this then. If you'd never found that diary, well....I'm just glad that she managed to knock some sense into you. No one is inherently evil, Leia."
She considered the truth in Han's words for a moment as she reached across for his hand and gave it a quick squeeze.
"He was just a normal little boy, Vader. That monster. Just a normal boy, with friends, like any other child and with a mother that loved him so much. She adored him, Han. It broke her heart to have to let him go like that. A child isn't born evil and I can see that now. Every child follows their own path. We can guide them, yes, but in the end, only they can shape their own destiny."
"I love it when you get all philosophical," Han grinned.
"But it's true though, isn't it?" She pushed herself up, leaned across his chest and Han knew instantly from the look in her beautiful dark eyes that she was deadly serious. "I really want this baby, Han."
"Yeah, me too. I love you," he said with a soft, but heartfelt smile.
"I know. And I love you."
Leia leaned forward and tenderly ran her finger along the scar on his chin, before giving it a gentle kiss. "As soon as we get back to Coruscant I'm going to see about having my implant removed. And then we can really start working on it."
"That sounds good to me. But the first thing I've gotta do is get my other baby sorted out," Han said gesturing with one arm towards the outer wall of the Falcon. "She's beat up pretty bad. Gonna take some work."
"Han, don't worry about the reconditioning," Leia soothed. "I know the ship needs a lot of attention, but I don't want you spending every hour of the day working on it once we get back."
She placed a finger to his lips to stop him saying anything more. " I can pull some strings you know, and I'll get the very best New Republic mechanics to work on it. I'm going to need you around for a little while." Her voice took on a distinctly sultry tone and she whispered huskily into his ear. "Besides, once my implant is gone, you're going to have some serious reconditioning to do to me, now, aren't you?"
"Oh, I like the sound of that." Han smirked, somewhat distracted as Leia began nibbling seductively on his earlobe.
"Do you, now?" she said teasingly.
Leia slid on top of him and stared deeply into his warm hazel eyes, as Han gently ran both his hands up the smooth, delicate skin on her back, caressing every inch as he went. Even after four and a half years together, his touch was still electrifying to her and ignited something deep within her very core. She leaned down and kissed him hungrily. He wrapped his arms around her shoulders, pulling her closer into him, devouring her mouth fiercely in return. When their lips finally parted, Leia could feel a familiar warmth lower down, a stirring beneath the top of her thighs, as Han's arousal gradually became apparent.
"I think maybe we should get in a bit more practice," Han whispered, a mischievous gleam sparkling in his eyes. "Just to be sure." He leaned forward and began trailing kisses slowly down her neck.
"You know, hotshot, I think you might be right."
Thanks again for sharing the wonderful story, Claire!