Just a little reminder that there is no time limit for any of our challenges and you can submit them at any time. With that, here is a response to the old "Confessions" challenge submitted by Zolo77. Enjoy!
Demons - by Zolo77
Han awoke with a start, disoriented.
Taking in his surroundings he remembered being on board Home One, in one of the Officers Cabins. That in itself was a strange occurrence, and one of complete coincidence. He had been staying in the Upper Starboard hanger on-board the Falcon but with the repair list building into something out of a nightmare, and the heating system kicking in and turning off without notice or instruction over the last week, it was becoming harder to stand in his beloved ship, let alone sleep. Rieekan had pulled the list of available rooms late that evening and found him this one to make use of until the repairs were in order - or indefinitely, if he would sign his name to this mismatched band of rebels.
He lifted a hand to rub his eyes, annoyed and disturbed as to why he was woken so suddenly. Strange, he was shaking. Noticing also for the first time that his breathing had accelerated and the bare skin of his chest reacted chillingly to the darkness in the room. Adrenaline ran rampant through his system for reasons still unknown. He couldn't remember a dream which would have woken him.
A blood curdling scream ripped through him in an instant, and before his brain registered what what happening, he had leaped out of bed, and was standing in the hallway searching for the source of the noise; dressed solely in sleep pants, blaster in hand. This stretch of rooms was, to his knowledge, completely deserted. Extra space and miscellaneous offices used to hold medical and emergency food supplies.
As with everything in the Rebellion, the sleeping quarters on board this half of the ship were subject to power loss and malfunctioning equipment. But who was he to throw stones at that? He has a menopausal ship on his hands at the moment, and no idea how to treat her.
The doors in front of him all registered green, signalling the lock was not engaged and open.
In the silence he waited. But he did not need to wait long. Another scream rang out from behind him. A woman's scream, followed by begs of mercy and pleas to stop.
Han spun and launched him at the door, opening it and slamming his fist into the lighting panel inside, blaster aimed at the far side of the room, slamming his fist again into the wall. "Get off of her!" He bellowed, and was this time rewarded with a night-setting glow across the ceiling. "Hey!" He yelled again as the crying and begging continued. "I said, GET OFF of her!" Nothing changed, no one stood. No one told him to leave and to mind his own damn business. But still the muffled sobs went on. "What the-" The small form huddled on the bed half covered by a thick twisted blanket was alone. It was Leia. Curled into a ball, crying and facing away from him, shoulders hunched in on herself, legs kicking in small strained bursts.
Oh Gods, Leia.
He knew, both from general knowledge and from first hand experience, you should never try to wake someone in the throws of a night-terror. But as he stood above her, watching helplessly as she shook and mumbled incoherently, he knew it would take more strength than he had to walk away. How could he leave her to her horrors? Leave her locked in a world that was hurting her and not help, not step in and save her when he had the opportunity.
Just then she arched back, panting and screamed.
"Leia! Leia! Please, Leia. Wake up! Damn it! Leia, please wake up. It's alright, I have you. Leia." Kneeling beside her, half on the small bed, he swept a hand up her arm to her shoulder, continuing quickly passed her neck and finally stopped at the head, cupping the back of her head. "Leia."
Her eyes sprang open, wild and terrified. He called her name again: still unfocused. "Leia, it's me. I'm here, I have you, you're safe."
"Han?" she rasped, gasping and shaking. He gathered her to him before he even registered that he was doing it, and held her. Her hair was matted, the back of the camisole she wore clung to her, drenched in sweat and freezing cold. Moving he sat further in on the bed, clutching her to him like a lifeline as her body racking sobs quieted and her breather normalized.
"I'm sorry I disturbed you. I'm alright now. Thank you."
"Disturbed me?" he repeated, not moving and not letting her go. "Sweetheart, you didn't disturb me, I thought you were being attacked. You kept screaming "stop" and "please". Leia, what's going on? Have you had dreams like this before?"
She sat silently for a moment longer, before nodding. "Occasionally."
"How often is occasionally?" answering with shrug she let out another large shaky breath. "It matters, tell me."
"All the time," her voice was barely above a whisper. Han sat stunned. How was it that she had nights like this all the time, and he had no idea. no one did as far as he could tell. No one mentioned it at least. And obviously no one had tried to help her.
"Wait, is that why you've changed rooms?"
"Yes. And how do you know where my old room was?" He smiled at that. That seemed more the woman he knew, not the scared creature in his arms now. But the quick witted, sharp-tongued fiery beauty who haunted him every moment of every day.
"Oh, I have my ways and my reasons. So you moved so no one would hear you?"
"Yes, I didn't realize there was anyone else in the part of the ship."
"Well, there wasn't, I'm here provisionally. And I'm glad I was. You need to talk to someone Leia. Is there anything you can take that would help?"
"I did talk to a medic when I first started getting them, he gave me a sleepaid. But that made me groggy and they didn't stop, the only difference was that I couldn't wake myself up from them at all."
"I'm sorry for waking you."
"Don't start with that. I'm just glad I was here. Look," he shifted her so he could better watch her face. Realizing for the first time that she was nearly as half naked as he was, and in any other situation, he would have made a comment on it, in hopes of making her blush. But that was overshadowed now. She was hurting. And worst of all, he didn't know how to help her. "How long have these been happening to you?"
Leia swallowed and tried to sit back, he kept her in place by hugging her tighter and murmuring into her hair. Reluctantly she relaxed again and after a pause she answered. "I've had them ever since you met me. It's all Death Star / Alderaan related. It's all fairly horrid."
"I'm going on a supply run in a few days, I wont be gone long, but can I look for something that might help? I'll look into it, make a few inquires while I'm planet-side."
Leia looked up at him, and swallowed. "Okay, thank you. I'm going to try to get some sleep, and you should too. I'll be alright." She pushed away from him again and he let her. Standing he moved away from her back towards the door, stooping to pick up his discarded blaster from where he had hurled it on the desk.
"Han," he stopped and turned back to her, she was bundled in the blanket, long dark hair framing her face. "Thank you. But please, please don't tell anyone."
"I won't. You have my word. Does anyone else but me know know about this?"
"Thank you, I would hate to be known as the orphaned princess who has nightmares." she smiled shakily trying to lighten the mood. "And yes, well, you and Carlist. He knows too, and I made him promise not to tell anyone."
Han nodded and smiled to her. Without another word, he walked out and quietly shut the door behind him.
A young woman who had slid so completely into his life.
Thanks for the submission! And again, anyone interested in contributing is always free to contact us!