Joint Story - Chapter 22
Han turned a corner down the streets of Azterri and slowed his pace. He had felt like running out of that room and for all he knew, maybe he did. Looking around, he had no idea where he was and no inclination whatsoever to care anymore. It was a cruel reflection of how he felt about life at that moment. Watching that video had brought with it a certain amount of clarity that he was having trouble digesting. These past few days with Leia had been rough. He had continued, inexplicably, flirting with thoughts that maybe there could be something between them, that they actually had something to salvage like one of those other couples. Inexplicably - until today. He knew now after watching that holovid why it was so hard to let go of the feeling that there was something to save, something worth fighting for. The way they were that night, the things he felt and said and did - they weren't just worth fighting for, they were everything.
He ran his hands through his hair and stopped, leaning against the side of a small building. The streets leading away from the counseling session had been deserted, but they were becoming more crowded now. Across the way he could see people dining in a large window and a few doors down from that he heard the sounds of live music and laughter. It had been a long time since he had lived a normal life, since he had enjoyed the small pleasures of quaint dinners and seedy barrooms. He missed that life, missed it at that moment more than ever. Trying to make a life in the Rebellion had been one thing but trying to figure out Leia Organa - it had become unbearable. He could not forget the words she had said to him that night before. He was not an ignorant man, he didn't chase after things that were clearly unattainable. He was a gambler, he liked to take risks, but not on the impossible.
He heard a voice call his name and he jerked up and away from the building to stand up straight. He looked over to where the voice had come from and found Lohree staring up at him, a look of concern on her face. Looking around for a moment, he realized that he hadn't made that many turns since leaving the counseling session and that it probably hadn't been that hard to follow him. He cursed the last bit of hope that died inside of him as he looked passed Lohree to see if Leia was perhaps coming up from behind her. He looked down to Lohree as she stood waiting for him to acknowledge her. "Hey," he said, trying to curl his lips up into a smile that refused to come. "What are you doing here?"
"Following you," she said. "I saw you leave and..." She stopped, her cheeks blushing red. It reminded Han of Leia but not because it was similar to Leia but because Lohree's blush was different - it was not innocent. "Well, I thought you might need someone to talk to," she added.
"I'm fine," he replied sharply.
"Oh, you don't have to be so stoic," she said, a strange humor in her tone. "You and I both know what's going on here."
He pulled his eyebrows down toward his nose. "What are you talking about?"
"I'm not stupid and if I'm any judge of character, neither are you or your wife."
He did not like Lohree talking about Leia and an angry heat rose inside of him. It was a mixture of the protectiveness that he had always felt regarding his Princess but then something else, something entirely new, a raw raging apocalyptic fury that spawned from knowing that she didn't want to be his anything and never would. "What's your point?" Han said through gritted teeth.
"You want her," Lohree said the words slowly and deliberately as a torturer might deliver his killing blows. "But she clearly doesn't want you." She paused a moment to let Han absorb the fact and give him ample opportunity to argue.
He remained silent.
"But I do," Lohree said quietly, taking a step closer to Han. "Want you."