Friday, April 19, 2013
Joint Story: The Sequel - Chapter 20
"Leia?" Han rapped his knuckles against the durasteel door at the same time he began pressing in his override code. When the door to his cabin swished open, Leia was standing directly in front of him.
"What is it?" She asked, her tone clipped.
Han chose not to reply, hoping his expression said it all.
She turned away, walking further into his quarters. "I don't want to talk about this, Han."
He stepped into the room, feeling as if he was breaking some seal or bubble of protection that she might have felt by retreating in there. "Well, I do." He was very cognizant of the fact that they were now in his bedroom together, it weaved a more intimate feel into the conversation.
Her back remained facing him as she said, "We're supposed to be trying to get a divorce here, Han. How is it that you keep forgetting that?"
It was a good question. One he had pondered on himself and was glad to share his insights with her now. "I guess I'm just a man of opportunity at heart. You never allow me the opportunity to discuss these things with you. In there," he said, pointing toward the lounge where they had been with Ava, "you said things that I think were honest assessments of your feelings. I get no other opportunity to respond to those with you. Like here. With your back to me. With your back turned on all of this."
She threw her head back in frustration and then turned around to face him, her face hardened as she said, "There is no this."
"No," he replied hastily, pointing his finger at her. "Not this time. I'm not playing along with you anymore."
"I'm not playing. This isn't a game," she said her voice rising.
"Then what is it? Please enlighten me. Because from where I'm standing you can't seem to keep the rules straight, either."
Her expression changed, softening but still maintaining its steely resolve. "I've made mistakes."
Han scoffed. "Sweet-" he started but she interrupted.
"I've allowed my...mixed emotions to derail me from my objectives."
"Could you explain that in Basic, please. Because I don't know-"
"It doesn't matter!"
Han's posture tensed at the sudden rise in her voice.
"Can't you just..."
Han watched her fingers curl into fists and then release. He couldn't recall ever seeing her so...frustrated. And that was saying alot.
"It doesn't matter how I feel about you. What I've said," she continued. "This can never happen. I have too many people counting on me. My actions affect so many. I answer to something greater than just myself.."
He nodded his head slowly, feeling as if he had just been punched in the gut. "I see," he said.
"I'm sorry. I really do-"
"Don't," he cut her off while holding his hand up to her. "You've made yourself perfectly clear."
"Please, Han," she said taking a step towards him. "You've got to understand."
"Oh, I understand," he replied, his voice steely. "I understand that I gave you way too much credit. Here I thought you were battling your feelings for me to protect yourself. That I could deal with. That I could understand, respect. But this," he said, his finger pointing at her accusingly. "This pretentious, political nonsense that you claim controls you?" He stopped, shaking his head at her. "I don't want any part of it anyway."
"I'll take care of everything," he said, interrupting her again. Her expression had softened, her eyes had turn liquidy, but he held on to his resolve. "You won't have to worry about me sullying your reputation anymore." With that he turned and left his cabin, slapping the door controls closed as he left.
Leia was left standing there feeling small and petty. The tears, the emotions, the frustrations all threatened to surface but she fought them. It had to be done. For years she had trained for this. All her life she had been taught that her life would always have to serve a bigger purpose. Sacrifice was no stranger to her. She swallowed, heard the pounding and clanking of Han elsewhere on the ship. Had she lost another friend to her duties? It would not be the first time and Han was more than a friend. She missed him already, everywhere, unable to pinpoint the ache to any one place in her body. Her heart, her stomache, her lungs, arms, legs and head - they all throbbed with the pain of that conversation. She shrugged off her robe and climbed into his bunk. Sleep would not come easily on this night...
She awoke feeling as if she had just shut her eyes but the chrono above her head told her that it was morning. She dressed, her movements mechanical. When she exited the Captain's quarters she walked around the corridor slowly, unsure of how awkward their first interaction would be. A few trips between the galley, the cockpit and the holds and she realized that she was alone. Han had left. Her heart sank at the realization. She was on his ship so she was sure that he hadn't left her literally, but figuratively he had. Figuratively, she knew, he had left her last night in the midst of their conversation and she only had herself to blame. It was what she wanted, what she had asked him to do. Han always did, in some strange way, do as she asked of him. She drew in a deep breath and blew it out. Perhaps he would be waiting for her at the counseling session? A part of her did not want to leave the Falcon, thinking (hoping) that he might return. As the hour of their appointment drew near however, she gave up hope, locked up the ship and headed to the meeting.