Friday, January 27, 2017

Valentine's Challenge 2017 Submission #3 by Zyra

Since apparently recently everyone is suffering from wanting to quit writing because everyone else's stuff is so good and they can't possibly compare, I give you this overtly fluffy and ultimately boring piece that we can temporarily call "easy act to follow" so maybe a few of you will start to feel better about your own writing.



Though exhausted, Leia Solo was already feeling better than she had in days. She was only a few minutes from returning home after nearly a week away from her family, overseeing the signing of a trade agreement with several members of the New Republic that was for reasons she still did not understand, held on the coldest one of those planets, in the middle of their winter. She shivered again just thinking about it. The trip had gone smoothly, but she had of course missed her children and her husband.

Jacen and Jaina were eight years old and while they certainly had their moments that drove Leia crazy, she loved how intelligent they had become, and just watching them learn and grow had given her so much pride. Any trouble they caused was usually offset by their generally warm and loving nature, and still a smile and a laugh and a hug from either was usually enough to make her forget why she'd been upset with them. And Anakin was six and hadn't just yet developed the mischievous streak of his older siblings. The boy was often very sweet and affectionate, and Leia missed having her youngest cuddling up next to her on their couch and telling her all the things he had done that day.

And of course she'd missed her husband. More often than not, she simply felt better when they were together. He had a way of making her feel at ease, which was somewhat ironic since for years he had the complete opposite effect on her. But now, she felt as though she could relax in his presence and be herself in a way she couldn't with almost anyone else. She didn't have to put on the face of the professional or the diplomat. She was free to laugh and joke and show some vulnerability and just be... Leia. Not to mention the fact that she  loved her husband with every fiber of her being, and there was nothing quite like being with him and knowing he felt the same.

One thing Leia did not love was returning home in the middle of the night. But considering the fact that originally she thought she wouldn't be able to return until the following afternoon, she felt this was the better alternative and had opted not to tell Han, instead just planning to surprise him and the kids.

As the door opened to the Solo home, she found it as dark and peaceful as she expected given the hour. Han and Leia had recently been discussing that the children were at such fun ages, and it had helped that they had also become fairly self sufficient. And it was because of this that she didn't feel as bad leaving Han home alone with them for nearly a week. Not that he couldn't handle it, as he had always been a very hands-on father, but she felt less guilty leaving them now that Han wouldn't have to keep the kids in sight at every moment and they could easily bathe and dress themselves. They were far less exhausting now that they could do so much more to take care of themselves.

She dropped her bag at the door and went to make her way through the living room and wanted to go just peek in on her children before she went to her own bedroom. Even if she had no intention of waking them up she at least wanted to see them for a moment before she went to sleep.

But when she arrived in the dark living room, the soft, dim light coming in through the window showed what initially simply looked like a huge mess. There were blankets and pillows covering every inch of the floor. And it took her a moment to realize that the four lumps she saw among them were the four other members of her family, all sound asleep.

She smiled at the sight, and it took only a moment before she saw Han stir and notice her. "You're home," he said quietly.

She simply nodded and then held up her hand as he started to move to greet her. "No, stay there."  All she wanted to do was lie down and join them and she slipped her shoes off before walking over and dropping down on what she discovered were the cushions from the couch. Han held the blanket up and she curled up around him as he draped it over her. His face was barely visible in the dim light, but she could still make out his smile as she brought her hand up to his cheek to find it warm and a little scratchy with a day or two of stubble. She leaned in and they shared a few quick kisses. Yes, she thought, coming home early was worth it.

"You're early," Han said in a whisper.

"Is that ok with you?" she said in an equally quiet voice.

She could see him smile even in the dark. "More than ok," he said.

"So what's this all about?" she asked him.

"We decided to have a little campout for our last night without you."

"That sounds like fun."

He nodded. "Honestly, I was sick of sleeping alone, and this seemed more fun than forcing them to sleep in the bed with me."

She brought her hand up to run through his hair and then rested it behind his head. "Lucky for you, you don't have to sleep alone anymore," she said before leaning in kissing him gently. "I like this idea," she whispered and then turned in his arms so her back was to him and he could pull her in close.

In the darkness she could just make out the small bodies of their children nestled under their blankets and sound asleep. Anakin was closest to her, with his arms up over his head and his face turned toward her, serene in a peaceful sleep. She could just make out Jaina's face behind him, pressed into her pillow as she lay on her side. She could only barely make out the top of Jacen's head behind her. They each looked completely content, and she was already looking forward to them waking up in the morning. She couldn't help but smile. "Gods, they're so cute."

His arms squeezed her a little tighter. "All because of me," he said and they both laughed and attempted to keep it as quiet as they could so as not to wake anyone up. "They're going to be so excited to see you when they wake up."

"You think they missed me?"

"I know they missed you. They must've asked me five times a day, 'When's Mom coming home?'"

"I always knew I was their favorite," she joked. "What about you? Did you miss me?"

"More than I want to admit," he said before gently kissing the spot behind her ear. "They really wore me out. I'm exhausted."

"So am I," she said as she felt herself getting closer to sleep. "Did they at least behave themselves?"

"Mostly," he replied, his warm breath tickling the back of her neck.

"Thanks for taking such good care of them."

"Just doing my job, sweetheart."

She pulled his arms more tightly around her, and that along with the feel of his strong body against her back made her feel warmer than she had since she'd been gone. She did know he was just doing his job, but she wasn't sure if she could ever adequately express how much it meant to her to have him take such good care of all of them. He was everything she could've hoped for in a husband and the father of her children, and it still amazed her sometimes how much she loved him. "I love you," she whispered.

"I love you, too," he said, his voice sounding half asleep. She didn't need to hear him say it, she could actually feel it from him.

One of the things she had been most looking forward to aside from seeing Han and the kids was sleeping in her own bed. But as she shut her eyes while wrapped in Han's arms and lying on the living room floor, she decided this might be even better.

33 comments:

  1. An easy act to follow? Simple is still just as sweet! I can't even begin to describe how much I love the mere fact that you went EU-canon for this. I love this simple moment of Leia coming home after a long week when she misses her family and her family missed her. Loved it!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will likely always write EU canon. Or at least in terms of the kids they had, certainly not how it all ultimately turned out. I've thought of them as their kids for over 20 years, I don't think I can stop now and don't have much interest in creating kids out of thin air. Plus, I liked those kids. I realize this will probably be unpopular if it wasn't already, but I just don't see me doing it any other way.

      Anyway, thank you, I'm glad you liked it :)

      Delete
    2. And I support the EU kids! :)

      Delete
    3. Same, same! Han and Leia's kids are Jacen, Jaina and Anakin. Luke and Mara's is Ben. Period.

      Delete
  2. LOVE THIS! Love it -- and yes, THIS is how Han would be as a father. Very hands-on, very matter of fact that his kids are his job, and also the fun dad who sleeps on the floor with them all.
    And this is how Leia would be as a person and mother - feeling the guilt of being away but knowing that there is a strong family waiting home for her and allowing her to be herself and sleep on the floor with the bunch.

    Love it.
    Truly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. And yes, I have always pictured Han as really wanting to be involved as a dad, and basically adoring his kids. Definitely a fun dad.

      Delete
    2. Beautiful story. This is how I see Han and Leia. Loving parents. You did a great job.

      Delete
    3. Thank you! And yes, of COURSE they would be loving parents. I think most of us know that ;)

      Delete
  3. Oh, I love this! I laughed out loud at: "...this seemed more fun than forcing them to sleep in the bed with me." I love the idea that Han Solo is now a man who would rather sleep on the floor with his three kids than spend another night alone. Also liked his scruffiness. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. Yes I think after a while he'd be like, forget this sleeping by myself stuff. I also think he'd act like he was the one doing the kids a favor ;)

      Also, yes to scruffiness. I think after a few days he'd also give up on shaving.

      Delete
  4. Zyra, you certainly failed at setting a low bar! This was sweet and satisfying, really wonderful fluff. I think you capture this stage of parenthood well. I also appreciate that you wrote the EU kids; I haven't read many of those books, but am not a Disney canon fan, and I prefer to think of the EU kids to Ben (and preferably with no one turning ^^).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, I'm glad you found it sweet and satisfying. And agreed, there will be no Ben Solo. I just can't even read "cute" stories of him as a kid knowing how it turns out.

      Delete
  5. This is what I needed - not because it sets a low bar, c'mon Zyra! - but because it is just the heartfelt Solo family type of moment I desperately want to believe in for these two. Han would OF COURSE let the kids camp out their last night without Mom. And I love that Leia is the kind of mother that would just roll with it and join them. Oh, this was so cute and sweet. And its a wonderful bit of Solo family dynamics that I think everybody needs to read every now and then. Thanks, Zyra!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! It's kind of a shame there really isn't much space in fanfic for just seeing Han being a cool, fun dad who loves spending time with his kids. Because while adorable, it's not all that interesting. But it seemed fitting for this challenge at least.

      Thanks, I'm glad you liked it :)

      Delete
  6. Oh, my stars, this is lovely. The mood is perfect, and Leia's yearning for her family is matched by Han's revelation that he's become so lonely in her absence, he's resorted to organizing a family campout on the living room floor. This is just the sweetest thing. And far from boring (or an "easy act to follow"), sheesh! It's certainly not easy to capture emotion and evoke it in the reader the way you have done here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, thank you. I'm glad you liked it. I think we're the ones who are right, that Han would love having a home and a family and would not be "unable to be tied down."

      Delete
  7. "Ultimately boring piece"? "Easy act to follow"? You must have uploaded the wrong fic, then, because this is none of that. It's a sweet little snapshot of everyday life that feels so natural. Their lives, as it should be!
    Nicely done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, but someday I'll have to write a story where someone at least fires a blaster or something ;) Thanks! Honestly this is about the only kind of thing that comes to mind for me to write anymore. My brain trying to combat all the other crap. I'm glad you liked it.

      Delete
  8. Finally, a chance to read these stories! I loved this sweet, tender family scene.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, I'm glad you liked it.

      Delete
  9. Realistic and sweet. I feel the same way about sleeping alone!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I'm glad you liked it. And I almost always sleep alone and can't relate, but I know my mom when we were kids, the very few times Dad went out of town, would always try and make one of us sleep in her bed.

      Delete
  10. What a warm, sweet family scene. The image of Leila coming home to find them all asleep on the floor is just too adorable. Love the way she immediately snuggles up with him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! And of course she would snuggle right up to him immediately. I imagined her thought process there being pretty much like, "Whatever is going on here right now, I'm in."

      Delete
  11. Oh! What a lovely story!
    Oh sure it's one scene, with barely any dialogue or action. Who cares! Who needs that stuff anyways, when you got looooove. And not just Han and Leia loooove, but cute kiddies' love and snuggles too!
    I adore this portrayal of the family man Han Solo from the old Legends universe. How I miss it!
    And the kids curled up around them? Awwwww.
    You got all my family mushiness set on high now.
    And my longing for the old canon.
    Thank you so much. This was beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, thank you :) I miss it too. So, so much. I wanted one simple scene to basically tell you all you need to know about what their family life is like, and I think that came across. Thanks for the kind words!

      Delete
    2. I just found this blog, and am beyond pleased to see new fics being written. I loved this one especially because I thought for sure with TFA out now there would be no new EU stories. As soon as I saw "Leia Solo" my heart did a little flip. I loved her snuggling up with him, and how you described the kids sleeping was great, especially Anakin with his arms up. Cute and well done!

      Delete
    3. I'm glad you found us and hope you stick around. And I for one will never stop using the old EU as a jumping point for my idea of Han and Leia's life post ROTJ. Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it. And if you want more stories check out the sidebar where I tagged any Valentine's challenges of years past, plus some other old challenges. I'm sure there are several other stories with the old EU kids, or just good stories in general, that you can enjoy.

      Delete
  12. I read this fic when I was a lurker and was very sorry that it wouldn't let me leave a comment because I loved it! The family-domestic feels were strong. If this is boring fluff, I don't care because it's my thing. Sometimes you don't want plot, you just want a feel-good story, and this fills the bill really well. I haven't read a lot of EU-family fics, but I like stuff like this where the kids are young and they're trying to balance things. Han coming up with this idea so he wouldn't have to sleep alone was adorable, and it was awesome to have him say that taking care of /his/ children was his job, too, not something to be grateful for--but also that Leia still appreciated the kind of partner she had. So yeah, it was the best kind of family fluff, really.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I'm glad you liked it. I like to see them like this, just kind of enjoying the domestic part of their lives. I also feel like because of their histories and what they've been through that neither would take the other for granted and would always be pretty openly grateful for what they found.

      Thanks again and glad you enjoyed the family fluff :)

      Delete
  13. Oh this is the sweetest. You do lovely domestic scenes Zyra, and I don't care if people are abandoning the EU I'm glad you stick with it. I love the idea of Han having a little living room sleep over party with his kids to celebrate Leia returning. And the way Han and Leia greet each other when she returns is so warm and familiar. It's nice to be able to retreat into such simple fluff! We need more of this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, I'm glad you liked it and don't mind using the old EU. It's fun for me to show these little scenes, and just assume they happen all the time ;)

      Delete