Sunday, April 28, 2013

Actions Speak Louder Than Words: Story Submission by StatsGrandma


Leia is now three months pregnant with Anakin.  Told from Han's POV.

It's been one of those days with the kids.  I got home yesterday after two weeks of schlepping medical equipment all over the damn galaxy.  We'd have been home 2 days sooner save for that the Falcon needed some new pump housings; we had overheating.  I use standard parts whenever I can, but even standards can be out of stock, and that aggravated me.  Chewie wasn't exactly pleased himself.  We did as quick and dirty a job as possible, finished the merchandise drops, and we'll clean it up once we've been on the ground a few days.

The kids are happy to see me, but they're toddlers, and toddlers are people, too, so they have their off days. They're teething, and I think Leia was actually grateful to get to the office this morning. Both are whining and gnawing on anything that doesn't move and some things that do.  It's all I can do to keep up on the ice rings we keep in the freezer cold enough for them.  I feed them the foods they like, and they throw even more of it on the floor and each other than usual, which is saying a lot.

It's not helping that I'm tired.  Once we're done with deliveries, Chewie and I hightail it home to Coruscant. We take turns napping so that we don't waste time.  Needless to say, we don't sleep much. 

I have a bottle of single malt Corellian whiskey in the cupboard.  I've been saving it for a special occasion.  I'm starting to think rubbing some on the twins' gums is a special occasion.

Adding to my exhaustion is that I feel like crap.  My stomach's been on edge the last few days.  This happens in transit sometimes; you eat in a hurry and you tend to eat whatever's easy. Usually once I'm home I'm ravenous, but I haven't felt like eating all day.  All I really want to do is lie down and fall asleep until the nausea and pain subside.

My comm goes off.  It's Leia.

"How're the devil children?" she asks.  She's been in a much better mood since she passed the three month mark.  Her voice has a sadistically amusing tone.


"Try some whiskey on their gums."

"You've used my Corellian whiskey?"

She laughs.  "I wouldn't take that from you.  I have some Cadezian whiskey that was a gift that I've been using."

I have to laugh. "Cadezian whiskey is not a gift."  That stuff is beyond rank.  It's the sort of booze you drink only to get drunk, and fast. But apparently it works on teething toddlers.

She smiles at me.  "I have one more meeting and then I'm leaving.  Are you all right, flyboy?  You're not looking so hot."  Her expression's become serious.

"I just need a nap." 

"I wanted to keep this meeting short, anyway.  Hang in there, hotshot.  Reinforcements are headed your way."  She signs off. 

I find the open bottle of Cadezian whiskey.  I take a flimsi, pour some whiskey on it, gagging at the smell.  It smells even worse than I remember it.  I apply it first to Jaina and then Jacen.  They calm down, and I gently put them to bed.  They fuss a little but in a few minutes, they're (finally) asleep.

I'm on my way to the bedroom when I suddenly feel my stomach lurch.  I race to the 'fresher just in time to toss up what I don't have in my stomach.  Usually, I only puke when I'm drunk, and then I feel better.  Instead, I feel worse.  I'm not a chickenshit when it comes to pain, but gods, this hurts like hell.  I'm barely able to stand up.  I think the last time I felt this bad was when we were on Bespin and I had some 'man time' with my girlfriend's father.

At least the kids are asleep.  I fall down on the bed, trying to find a comfortable position, and I can't.  I force myself to get up again and search out some antinausea meds.  Of course, since I need 'em, we're out.  I can barely make it back to bed.  I haven't felt this dizzy since I got drunk at a wedding of some boring bureaucrat that we were forced to attend.  The only good thing about it was that it was open bar all night. 

I'm gonna puke again. And I'm probably not gonna make it to the 'fresher in time. I'm dizzy as I try to stand up.


I didn't even hear her come in.

"Outta my way!" I try to pass her as quickly as possible but I'm too late.

"I'll clean it up,"  Leia says, helping me get up.  She lays a cool hand against me.  "You're burning up.  Let me get you in bed and I'll take care of the mess."

This is Leia.  Strong, capable, always ready to help. Don't let the fact that she's a little slip of a thing fool you.

I lie down on the bed and I feel even worse. This is getting to be worse than the electrical grid.

I hear Leia cleaning up the mess I left.  She comes back to the bedroom with a fever strip and a wash bucket in her hands.  She places the strip on my forehead.

"103.  Han, you're really sick.  I need to get you to the medcenter."

"I just need some sleep."

"You can barely stand up." 

I can hear the babies crying.  I should help Leia. 

"Stay there!"  she orders me.  Which is fine, because right now, I'm curled up in the fetal position and moving doesn't look good. I can hear her pick them up, speaking soothingly to them.  She's probably changing them as we speak; now there's a task that never ends.  I hear the patter of little feet racing about and I hear her talking, probably on her comm. 

She comes into the bedroom, bearing a cold water soaked flannel and places it on my forehead. The shock of the cold makes me bury myself deeper into a crunched up position. "Chewie's on his way over."  Chewie lives downstairs, so it's not as if he has far to go.

"Good, he'll help you out." These two can be a handful.  Soon, there'll be three of em.  What was I thinking, that this was going to get easier.

"We're going to the medcenter,"  Leia informs me.

"I think I just need to sleep it off." 

I can hear the intercom give off its eight bell chime.  I modified it so that it wouldn 't sound like a siren.  Leia and I get tense at sirens.

She stands over me.  "It's that, or I call 999."  999 is the galactic standard for emergency assistance. 

Leia goes to let Chewie in. I can't hear what she's saying to him.  But I do hear the kids laughing.  They've got Chewie wrapped around their little fingers.

Leia and Chewie come to the bedroom, Chewie holding both kids.

{Call 999} He says to Leia.

"This is not necessary!"  I don't want to go to the medcenter.  I pride myself on not being afraid of much, but medcenters are up there.  "Leia, please!"

She ignores me and calls it in. Chewie takes the kids into the other room. 

I'm lying there and suddenly, it feels as if something exploded, and I'm wracked with the worst pain I've ever felt.  And having been tortured a few times, I know from where I speak. "Leia,"  I gasp. 

"They'll be here soon," she says softly, brushing my now soaking wet hair off my face with her fingers.

She knows I'm terrified, and she knows that her touch brings me comfort.  She doesn't have to say a word. 

I don't know if it was one minute or half an eternity till the emergency responders arrive, but I'm carried away in a litter, Leia following me close by. 

I barely remember getting to the medcenter, but suddenly there's a burst of people, droids and activity all around me.  I ask for my wife.  I'm told she's waiting outside till they get me ready for surgery.  I'm being stuck everywhere with pointy things.  At least the pain's a little better; they must be feeding me something good.

Okay, I admit it.  I'm terrified.  I was sort of planning to keep all of my internal organs till I didn't need them anymore. 

I'm trying to ask what the hell's wrong with me. 

A droid with a sweet voice (well, for a droid) finally informs me I've got peritonitis and will have to have surgery and a bacta treatment.

Good times, I mutter to myself.  Just what I had planned. And here I was going to watch the smashball playoffs tonight, have a few beers, read 'The Little Lost Bantha Cub' for the nth to the i time, tuck the kids in.  Silly me, thinking about what I said to Leia about nothing in our lives ever going according to plan. I'll keep my mouth shut next time.

"Can I see my wife now?" I demand. 

"Yes, you may,"  a human male says to me.  "I'll get her."

I'm pushed out of whatever area I've been in and into a cold, gleaming white hallway.

"Hey flyboy."  She leans over and smiles at me.  "Rumor has it you're going to survive." 

"Good, because I need to read 'The Little Lost Bantha Cub' to the kids a million more times."

That makes her laugh.  I love it when she laughs. 

"And who'd remember to foodshop?"  I ask her, and she laughs again.

"That reminds me, the pantry's a bit low,"  she says, taking my hand in hers.  "Get well soon, because we're going to starve if you don't." 

We both laugh. 

"Hold me," I whisper to her. "Just hold me now."

She does so, not losing her smile. 

"Kiss your wife, it's time to go,"  one of the droids tells me. 

"As if I needed an excuse,"  I mutter.

"See you on the other side, flyboy."  She turns to the droid.  "Take good care of him.  He's the only one in the family who can cook." 

I love that woman.


  1. Argh! My first response to this didn't post for some reason, so here I go again: take two!

    I really, really loved this! It felt like a very realistic slice of life piece. I also thought it was the perfect followup to the "action speaks louder than words" discussion (which, I loved, btw. Even if I didn't get a chance to participate). You did so well showing their obvious closeness and caring for each other without needing to go over the top with mushy proclamations, etc.

    "I modified it so that it wouldn 't sound like a siren. Leia and I get tense at sirens."--I really, really, loved this detail for some reason. It was just a passing thought, but it seemed so spot on. And a subtle reminder of how much those two have been through. I just thought that was really cool.

    You also did a fantastic job of capturing Han's voice. It seemed very in character. Anyway, loved this. Thanks so much for sharing it!

    1. SR, thank you so much for the kind words! I actually got the siren idea from my parents, who would freeze up when they heard them. (Growing up in Belfast, NI, during WWII would do this to a person.) They never got over jumping just a bit when they'd hear a siren go off, which I suspect is the result of their situation. It seemed to be something that Han and Leia would likely not be comfortable with as a result of war.

      I can't see Han nor Leia falling apart in the situation I've described. Yes, they'd both be upset, but they have perspective as well, and I think they'd be far more likely to laugh and joke with one another as calming behaviors. Also, Mr.Stats and I are similar in some ways to them. Five years ago, it was a very bad time in my life, and what I really wanted for Christmas was to see my brothers and sisters. Mr. Stats never said a word until I came home from a night class and he informed me that he'd booked us on a trip to see our families and he'd gotten the hotel and rental car taken care of. That impressed me far more than if he'd gone mushy on me. (I would also have to assume he suffered a head injury.) Yes, we do tell each other I love you, but it's not our primary MO,

      Again, thank you.

  2. Thanks for submitting this. I definitely found this a very believable way for them to be dealing with this sort of situation. I can certainly see it being handled badly in the wrong hands with lots of mushy stuff. But really, these are two people who have been through a lot and know how to handle a crisis, so I thought you did a great job with just having Leia handle everything smoothly, just taking control of the situation and doing what needed to be done without getting too worked up.

    I loved the joking about how he's the only one who can cook rather than getting too sentimental there. And nice that it was written in the first person, so Han can tell himself that he's terrified but he never admits it to Leia. Except he knows that she knows anyway. Just a nice piece showing them being so in tune with each other.

    1. I just sent you another. :) :) :)

      I'm glad you liked it! I had lots of fun writing it.

  3. That was a great last line. I liked that. And you've done a nice job capturing his voice.

  4. Thanks, Amara! I admire your work very, very much and a compliment from you is very meaningful.

  5. I just realized that I hadn't commented on this. Really enjoyed this. I loved the banter, especially at the hospital toward the end. Thanks for sharing with us! :-)

  6. Thanks, Push!

    I just couldn't see them going through some big emotional scene about this. They've been through worse, they know each other, and humor, I think, is one of their great coping mechanisms.