Had to dust off the old keyboard for this, it's been awhile. One thing hasn't changed, though: my inability to write anything short! Hope you enjoy.
Leia Organa Solo sat at her desk. Her gaze was directed at the empty calendar on the holo-screen but her vision had long ago blurred as her thoughts wandered far away. There was no movement outside of her office, not the usual clamor of conversation and comm chatter or of footsteps and laughter. Outside her window, several stories below, it was the muted din of the sparse weekend pedestrian traffic and the occasional zealous speeder that finally tore her thoughts back to the present. She began to scan through the pages of the contract she had been reviewing, skimming over words until she could locate the spot where she had stopped paying attention and had only pretended to read. By the time she reached the beginning of the document, she was ready to admit defeat and give up.
She rested her chin in her hand, looking askance toward that date on her calendar and releasing a heavy, forlorn breath. Once again she felt her thoughts being tugged back into the gulf they had gotten lost within earlier yet this time she refused to answer its tempting call. Placing her hands on her desk, she pushed herself up to standing. It was already after lunch and she hadn’t even eaten breakfast or gotten a single thing done. She gave one more perfunctory glance at the unfinished contract lying accusingly on her desk before she grabbed her jacket off the back of the chair and headed out of the office.
The droid at the front of the building held the door open for her and expressed a polite greeting as she walked by. Leia smiled and nodded at him as she slid her coat on and fastened a few of its buttons. She turned up the avenue and began walking face first into the cool, crisp autumn wind. The dry air was refreshing and she felt instantly invigorated as she made her way through the city, cutting down rarely used alleyways and angling across open courtyards toward her destination.
Before long, she reached a large nondescript building with a formidable entrance. Barely hesitating, she continued on, nodding her head and accepting the warm, familiar wave of salute from the building’s one lone, visible security guard. The man turned to an unseen panel and entered a code as she in turn pressed her palm print on the scanner. A great door began to rise up slowly and Leia approached. She had only to bend down slightly in order to walk beneath the still rising door. Once inside, she could barely hear the sound of her own footsteps over the sound of the heavy door now slowly lumbering its way back down behind her.
Once inside, she undid the buttons on her overcoat thoughtlessly as the tarmac of an extremely large airship hangar opened up ahead of her. The Solos’ personal docking area was big enough to fit Luke’s X-wing when he happened to be on-planet as well as Lando’s yacht and a few other friends’ starships, if necessary. But today, like most days, it held only one ship, nestled as far back as possible in a lazily lit secluded corner of the expansive space.
The sight of the familiar ship was calming and as it grew in size in her vision as she approached, the chill from outside seemed to abandon her completely. She shrugged her jacket off and slung it across her arm. The Millennium Falcon’s ramp was down and several of her top access panels were left open on her hull, leaving her looking a little sad, exposed and vulnerable. Cable lines and wires were strewn about, hanging out of her like intestines from a belly wound. Scattered beneath her were odd tables and workbenches with tools and instruments lined up upon them as if patiently waiting for the absent surgeon to return.
Without hesitation, Leia climbed up the opened access ramp and rounded the corner of the main corridor with every intention of heading toward the lounge and living quarters, but was stopped short before she got there. Small, excited voices coming from the direction of the cockpit made her stop, turn right and head down that way.
“Millennium Falcon to Rogue Leader,” she heard one voice say. “Watch your tail.”
“Rebel Base,” said another. “Ready your shield generators.”
Then the first voice again, “Rogue Leader, you copy?”
Leia entered the cockpit quietly so as not to disturb the dogfight. Her oldest children, the twins, sat in the pilot and co-pilot’s seat of the Falcon. The pilot, Jacen, was sitting on his knees so that he could see out the viewport while tugging furiously on the control yoke, twisting it this way and that as the stock light freighter juked and jinked in his child’s vivid imagination. Leia shuddered in sympathy just a little for the ill treatment of the old ship at the hands of her offspring. Meanwhile, in the co-pilot’s seat, sitting cross-legged with a too-large headset on her small head, was her only daughter, Jaina, jamming random buttons and flipping and twisting odd levers.
“Shields are up,” the co-pilot confirmed. “Go get ‘em, Uncle Luke.”
Leia smiled, walking further up into the cockpit before bending over and planting kisses on two reluctant cheeks. The children barely acknowledged her, save the annoyed groans and the quick, chubby-handed swipes against their faces to erase her kisses away. As she pulled away and stood, she didn’t bother asking where the rest of the Falcon’s crew was, as an Imperial Star Destroyer had apparently just dropped into the system.
Leia quietly turned around and headed back toward the ship’s main living area, finding the lounge to be a veritable mess. She keenly surveyed the damage. There was a hurricane of sticky evidence that indicated that Han had indeed fed the children (or attempted to) somewhere along the way. She paused halfway through, considering an impromptu cleanup effort, but a noise emanating from the main cargo area dissuaded her and prodded her on.
Passing the crew quarters and circuitry bay, she casually entered the main hold. She had expected to find her husband there to greet her but only discovered their youngest, barely one year old, sitting all by himself. Anakin gurgled at her contentedly while he gummed on some old piece of something that she’d much rather not guess at and slapped his hand in a conveniently placed puddle of something else of dubious color and foul odor right next to his knee.
She paused once again for a moment, taking in the entire tableau. It wasn’t that long ago, for the first two especially, when the sight of an unidentified object in the mouth of one her children would’ve caused an outright hysterical reaction and initiated a decontamination routine that even the remediation teams on Taris would be impressed by. But this was their third and even if the first two had come as a packaged set, they had cured her of much of that over-zealousness and protectiveness.
“And just what have you got there, huh?” She whispered, tossing her coat aside and scooping the baby up in her arms, not caring about the smudgy hand grabbing at her face and her blouse. Once in her arms, third child or not, she began to surreptitiously attempt to extract the newfound toy from the toddler’s tight grasp. The effort proving to be frustratingly futile.
“You’ve gone awfully quiet out there, lil rascal.” Her husband’s familiar voice came from somewhere within the bowels of the ship.
There had been a time as well that the sight she had just stumbled upon would’ve had her questioning her husband’s ability to keep an effective eye on their children. Once again, however, years and experience had taught her that universally fathers did things differently than mothers and although Han’s parenting style certainly differed from her own in the end the kids benefited from experiencing both.
She heard Han’s voice again, this time seeming to come closer. “What have you gotten yourself into, huh?”
Before she could reply the tousled-haired head of her husband came poking out of a maintenance hatch, his hazel eyes lighting up at the sight of her standing there.
“Hey,” he said excitedly and then, as if remembering her cautious warning that she might not be home until dinner, added, “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” she replied with a shrug of her shoulders, feeling as if she were lying and not quite wanting to admit why. “I just wanted to get out of the office for a bit.”
Han eyed her suspiciously and then continued to extricate himself from the small hatchway without saying another word. He stood, brushing either his hands off on his clothes or his clothes off with his hands, or both because both needed it after crawling within the innards of his ship. He clapped his hands together when he came to stand before her and then held them out toward their son. “Come here, big guy. You’re getting your mom all dirty.”
The baby leaned excitedly toward his daddy and she let Han take him into his arms. “What’s that?” Han asked, pulling at the item that Leia had not been able to wrestle away from the child. “No, no,” Han said patiently, “that doesn’t go in your mouth.” The baby relinquished his treasure reluctantly and Han took a second glance at it before he carelessly threw it toward the opened hatch. He then took a pinlight out of his pocket and gave it to the inquisitive baby before turning to Leia and asking, “So, what’s up?”
She enjoyed for a moment the sight of her husband bobbing a toddler on his hip with such comfort and ease. And then she sighed and said, “I don’t know.”
“Hmmm,” he replied. “The dreaded, I don’t know, huh?”
She raised her eyes to his, he looked amused. “It’s nothing, really.”
He grinned, appearing even more amused. “Uh-huh.”
She made a face at him. It was no use trying to hide anything from Han Solo, she knew this. But she couldn’t exactly hide what she couldn’t explain. And she couldn’t explain.
He studied her for one moment longer before he wiped at something on her cheek, probably a present from Anakin, and then kissed her on her forehead and turned toward the Falcon’s lounge. “Come on, you can help me clean up.”
She followed in silence, watched as he bent and put the baby down on his feet along the curved banquette in the lounge. Anakin proceeded to motor himself along unsteadily, still grasping the treasured pinlight in his chubby hand.
Han began talking as he started to clean up the mess on the table. “Anything happen at the office?”
Leia joined in, picking up the small cups and bowls, each a favorite of one of their children, they provided a clear picture of the rumpus that lunchtime must’ve looked like in the tiny lounge. “No, I was the only one there,” she offered.
Han made a derisive snort and disappeared into the galley.
“You know I had to get that contract done.” It wasn’t often that she worked weekends, but she couldn’t deny that she was a bit of an…overachiever.
“And did you?”
Leia entered the small galley and slowly handed Han the contents of her arms as he placed them into the sink. “No.”
“Hmm,” was his only maddening reply.
Han deftly washed the children’s dinnerware, his method clearly born out of much patience and practice. Leia leaned against the curved wall of the ship and marveled at how tiny the small dishes looked in his large hands. She looked down at her feet and finally added, “I couldn’t concentrate.”
“Uh-huh,” Han answered enigmatically, but somehow it sounded smug.
She pushed herself away from the wall and grabbed a wet towel befroe returning to the lounge. How could it be that it seemed he knew what was going on in her mind when she didn't even know, precisely?
“You always get this way right about the time the kids start walking,” he called from the galley.
Leia was about to hurl a rebuff at him when, as if providing corroborating evidence, Anakin chose that moment to let go of the seating and clumsily stumble across the lounge floor to the engineering station. Leia made a face for no one’s benefit but her own as she finished wiping the tabletop and vinyl seats. “Two data points does not a trend make, Solo,” she finally said. “And what way am I acting exactly?”
“Mopey and distracted,” he shot back quickly. Too quickly, for her taste. “And I know a trend when I see one. It usually means you’re ready for a vacation,” he said and then stopped, jutting his head out around the corner and catching her eyes before waggling his eyebrows and adding, “Or another baby.”
“Pffft,” Leia replied, finishing up in the lounge and joining him back in the galley. If the word vacation had intrigued her, the ‘another baby’ part had doused the idea altogether. “Try again, hotshot. You’re way off your mark.”
The pair teamed up on the remaining cleanup in silence. He washed, she dried and put away. When they were done, she leant against the counter and he stood opposite of her pressed against the wall of cabinets.
“I guess I could use a vacation,” she reluctantly admitted. “I have felt…” She trailed off, she’d be damned if she would admit to being mopey.
“Yeah,” Han replied, running his fingers along the ridge of a cabinet longingly. “It’s been awhile since I took her out for a run.”
“Uh-hmm,” Leia agreed, watching Han’s long fingers caress his ship. A lesser woman might actually be jealous, she thought.
Casually, too casually, Han’s eyes wandered back over to hers. He stopped the movement of his hand but kept his grip on the edge of the counter where he had stopped. “Was there something else?”
She made a face and shrugged her shoulders. A vacation would be nice, there didn’t have to be a specific reason, yet her mind went back to that date on her calendar. She shut her eyes briefly against the reminder and shook her head.
Han pushed himself away from the cabinets and stepped towards her, placing his hands on her shoulders and looking down at her. “I can’t fix it unless you tell me.”
“There’s nothing to fix.”
“What?” She questioned a little too defensively. She hated when he analyzed her like the inner workings of his ship, even if he was almost always absolutely correct with his diagnostics. She lifted her chin a little. “There’s nothing to say.”
There was a long silence while they stood that way. She, looking defiant. He, looking amused but curious. Finally upon hearing Anakin banging on something mercilessly, Han let go of her, turned toward the lounge and said, “It doesn’t matter. You know you always tell me eventually.”
Leia followed and watched as Han redirected Anakin’s inquisitiveness to something less critical than the engineering station. He remained crouched next to the toddler as he looked up at her expectantly.
Leia sighed and damned him for always being right. “It’s Amity Day,” she said, shrugging her shoulders dismissively. “I know we don’t,” she stopped and corrected herself, “No one really celebrates it.” She left off the word ‘anymore’. It had been an Alderaanian thing. “But for some reason it hit me today and I…”
Han stood up and walked over to her. “I see,” he said gently, running his hand along her jawline. “You okay?”
“Yes, I just,” she started and then closed her eyes and leaned into his touch. “I just…don’t know.” And she truly didn’t know. Didn’t know what it was that she wanted, what she needed – didn’t know why she’d felt so irritated and mopey. She just knew that it seemed to dissipate in his arms and virtually disappeared beneath his touch.
He cupped her cheek in his hand and caressed her soft skin with his thumb, once again wiping away at the greasy remnant of Anakin’s exploration of her face and neck earlier. She opened her eyes and watched him as he worked at the mark on her skin and waited until his gaze traveled back to meet with hers. After a brief moment of silence he whispered, “I could have the Falcon ready to go by tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow?” She scoffed, thinking about the unfinished contract on her desk and all the reasons that flitting off-planet with her husband was not a good idea. She remembered the state of the ship as she had approached it. “What about that mess outside and whatever it was you were doing crawling inside the maintenance corridor?”
“Cosmetic,” he answered and waved his hand dismissively. “I was running new wires for the onboard communication system, nothing we need for a short flight out.”
She sighed, the thought of a vacation sounding more and more tempting. But Amity Day was a celebration of love and lovers and even with his recent modifications to the living quarters, a family vacation onboard the Falcon did not instill visions of naked arms enveloping her in warmth as she nuzzled against his bare chest for hours on end. In fact, it precluded that vision entirely. They were more likely to find only a few quick moments behind a storage crate in the main hold with the bare minimum of body parts exposed and naked for only the minimum standard amount of time. Or even less, she thought derisively.
“What?” Han asked, honing in on the slight disappointment on her features and exasperatingly seeming to read into her other, more intimate thoughts as well.
Leia opened her mouth to speak, but was interrupted as the twins made a loud and rambunctious entrance both making a beeline to their little brother and Jaina swiping his newest prized possession away.
“I saw it first,” Jacen whined as he chased after his sister.
“No, it’s mine,” Jaina countered, twisting away and ignoring the bloodcurdling cry of her youngest brother as he made known his opinion of the pinlight’s rightful owner.
“Guys, c’mon,” Han said, turning toward the children. “Your mom and I are talking here. Jaina give the light back to Anakin.”
Leia walked over to the baby and scooped him up attempting to soothe him as he leaned away from her, arms outstretched towards his sister, or more specifically to the treasure she held in her hands.
“But, Dad,” Jaina argued.
“But nothing,” Han replied. “Jaina, now.”
Every Solo watched as Jaina walked over to her brother and handed, none-too-gently, the pinlight back to his awaiting grasp.
“And apologize,” Han directed.
Sorry,” Jaina said in a huff.
“Now, you two,” Han said crouching down to eye level with the twins. “Can you go wash your hands up real good like I showed you in the ‘fresher and then we can walk mommy home?”
“I can!” Jacen said excitedly as he raced off toward the crew quarters.
“I don’t wanna go home,” Jaina replied.
Han stood and tousled his daughter’s hair. “I know, sweetheart. But if you’re real good we can come back tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow?” Jaina whined, saying it as if it were a hundred years away.
“Yes, now get,” Han said, turning her around by her shoulders and scooting her off toward her brother.
As Jaina disappeared down the corridor, Han looked over to Leia, the first hints of exhaustion finally starting to show. “Where were we?” He asked.
Leia smiled, bouncing Anakin on her hip. “Vacation on the Falcon,” she clarified and suddenly she seemed to know exactly what she did and did not want. “But, I think I know what it was I wanted to tell you.”
“Oh, yeah?” He asked, standing and walking towards her.
“Do you think that we could maybe,” she whispered. “I mean, it is Amity Day. You think we could…go alone, just you and me?” She asked and then, looking down at Anakin, she added quickly, “Is that awful?”
Han’s face brightened and he kissed the head of his youngest son. “No, sweetheart,” he said. “That’s not awful at all. Everybody needs a break, even from these little angels.”
“I know, I just,” Leia replied, hugging Anakin to her tightly and kissing his head as well. Anakin was oblivious to the attention he was getting as he pointed the pinlight at Leia’s blouse and against her skin. “I feel selfish, like I’m a bad parent for even thinking it.”
“Don’t,” Han answered quickly. “You’re the least selfish person I know. Believe me, I know selfish and I know a thing or two about bad parenting and this ain’t it.”
It was at that moment that the twins ran back into the room, both of their clothes and hair was soaking wet and they were giggling. “We’re clean!” They announced in unison and the Solo parents exchanged a knowing glance.
There was a galaxy of significance behind that shared glance and Leia was positive that they were both heading down the same train of thought. As much as they might enjoy the idea of going off together, there were good reasons that they usually didn’t. The main and most obvious one was that Leia knew as well as Han did that they could not leave their children with just anyone. And, as the empty Solo hangar indicated, the usual suspects were all off-planet. That didn’t exactly mean that they were all alone on Coruscant, it just meant that it might take some creative thinking to enable them their time away.
Leia looked at her husband inquisitively; it all depended on just how badly he wanted to entertain her want of togetherness. She studied him, only able to hold his smoldering gaze for one moment longer before she felt a wave of heat wash across her face and she had to look away. Turning her attention to the children, she began to ready them for their walk across town, all thoughts about the previous topic of conversation behind her. Leia had seen and could recognize just about every emotion that Han Solo had ever set his jaw to and, by the look on his face, she didn’t have a thing to worry about. The promise of a trip alone together and the mere hint of where her thoughts had gone earlier…
He would most definitely find a way.
Mon Mothma was walking down the hallway when she passed Carlist Rieekan’s opened doorway. A surprising sight caused her to stop her forward progress and do a double take. On the general’s lap sat a chubby toddler, pulling and tugging at the communicator at Rieekan’s ear. Upon seeing Mon, Carlist held his hand up, in a silent gesture asking her to wait. “No, the Rogue Squadron is not available at the moment,” Carlist was saying, battling patiently with the curious child in his lap, “they’ve just been pulled onto a very important mission.”
Mon ventured further into her friend’s office, recognizing the youngest of the Solo brood and holding her hands out to the small child. Recognition lit up the toddler’s face and he squawked and jumped towards her. Carlist pushed himself away from his desk and willingly relinquished the infant from within his grasp.
“Yes, that’s correct,” Carlist continued saying. “I know they’re on furlough, but this was an unexpected assignment, strictly voluntary.”
Mon bounced the delighted infant in her arms, pacing the office, quietly cooing and whispering to him as Carlist finished his conversation.
She turned to Carlist with concern when he had finally terminated the call. “Trouble?” She asked.
“Nothing I can’t handle,” he replied, standing up and bringing a small toy to the infant in Mon’s arms.
“Babysitting?” Mon inquired as she helped the infant grab hold of the toy and held onto a small corner of it to prevent the child from dropping it.
“Yes, overnight,” Carlist supplied.
Mon arched an eyebrow. “Overnight? You’re kidding.” She looked down at the infant in her arms. “Just the one?”
“No, all three,” he said, walking toward the back window of his office and looking out the large viewport that overlooked the main military hangar.
All three Solo kids at once? There are not many more frightening prospects in the galaxy at the moment, she thought. Mon loved Leia and Han and adored their children, but there were just so many of them and they were as intelligent and as incorrigible as both of their parents combined – a lethal combination to be sure.
She walked toward Carlist. “Where are the twins?” She asked, before joining him at the window and taking a look over the hangar bay for herself.
There were no less than a dozen Republic X-wings scattered across the tarmac and an equal number of Rogue Squadron fighter pilots milling around in a strange sort of formation, the likes of which she had never seen. Two small figures seemed to be within the center of all the activity and Mon leaned further in to get a better look.
“Carlist!” She gasped, drawing back and looking at her friend. He didn’t even have the decency to look ashamed. “You didn’t!” She accused, and then recalling the conversation she had overheard, added, “Is that the super-secret assignment?”
“They’re on leave,” Carlist said, taking the baby from Mon’s arms and talking to him in a sing-songy voice while answering Mon Mothma, “and it was strictly voluntary.”
“I hope,” Mon began and then stopped.
Carlist readied himself for her admonishment. He was sure she had meant to say: I hope no important Republic business was delayed for this frivolous need. Or something similiar. Mon hadn’t gotten as far as she had by being a complete softy, but she wasn’t the krayt dragon that most pegged her as, either.
He shrugged, recalling Han Solo’s desperate plea followed by an uncanny amount of sage like parental advice. Carlist would have all three kids alone tonight in his quarters; allowing the twins to run amuck around the tarmac with the Rogues was an integral component of his personal survival plan. Looking back down at the sight of the Rogues chasing the two small figures about, he shrugged again, Mon Mothma he could handle and he regretted nothing.
Mon looked at the baby in Carlist’s arms and then at the man himself. “I hope,” she continued and then looked back down at the hangar bay herself, before adding, “that Rogue Squadron is up to the challenge.”
Carlist smiled. They were the best damn fighter unit in the galaxy. The cream of the crop. But Han Solo and Princess Leia had deigned to unleash the product of their combined personalities on the universe three times over. Kissing the child in his arms on the side of the head, Carlist responded, “I hope so, too.”