PAST AND FUTURE
Han gazed in admiration as Leia wielded a hydrospanner with amazing grace and capability. There was something very hot about a princess who could also work with tools, and Han was enjoying this aspect of her immensely.
The work was necessary; they were in deep space, awaiting an uncertain welcome on Bespin--assuming they ever got there--and the Falcon had no lightspeed. Any and all work on it had yielded nothing in the way of results. Sadly, the rest of the ship constantly needed attention; it had suffered from both attacks and being clobbered in the asteroid field. Han had to admit that Leia had been a great help to him and Chewie.
And he’d discovered so much more about Leia than her mechanical skills--much, much more. Since their first kiss in the circuitry bay, which had been unceremoniously cut short by Threepio, they had taken their physical attraction all the way. Han felt warm just thinking about it.
Normally, they bantered as they labored, taunting each other, exchanging instructions, assisting when it took multiple hands to accomplish something. They’d laugh and joke, despite knowing they were in grave danger. And when the work was done, there was unadulterated bliss in each other's arms.
Today, however, Leia had been uncharacteristically quiet. Han had attempted to tease her, very gently. She’d shot him a stare that would have withered a forest of japor ivory wood. Han’s heart sank, more than a little, but she remained silent. Not so much sullen as pensive, he’d observed. He let her work quietly, but when they broke for lunch, she looked extraordinarily sad.
“Princess,” he said softly. “What’s going on?” he asked as he prepared a dull lunch of flatbread and nut butter, with some Asteria water for here that he’d purloined on a supply mission for the Alliance. He’d paid for it out of his own credits, not theirs. He knew how much Leia enjoyed it; it was a favored beverage on her now-destroyed homeworld.
“Nothing!” she snapped. Then, realizing that Han had really done nothing to warrant it, she said more quietly, “nothing.”
Han let it go for a few. He knew if he coaxed her, she’d then become truly furious with him. They ate in silence for a few minutes.
Finally, she spoke quietly. “I checked the chrono.”
“We always check the chrono, sweetheart,” he said to her.
Leia looked up at him, her brown eyes riddled with grief. “It’s Mother’s Day, Han.”
Han reached across the dejerik table (what do you call it?) and gently cradled Leia’s tiny hand in his large one. “I’m sorry, sweetheart. I really am. You were close to your mom?”
Leia took a deep breath. “I’m adopted, as you may have heard around the base.”
Han gave her a wry smile. “I pay about as much attention to base gossip as I do to anyone who gives me orders.” Leia actually cracked a smile over that one. “When were you adopted?”
“As a newborn,” Leia answered. “So I have two mothers.”
“But you don’t remember your birth mother,” Han said. “So your adoptive mom is your real mom.”
Leia hesitated. “I know this is going to sound weird,” she said slowly, after considering her words, “but occasionally, I have some feelings about her. I think she was beautiful, kind, and very sad. But as you said, the woman I consider to be my mother is the one who raised me. The one who made me who I am.”
Han smiled softly. “Must’ve been a hell of a woman.”
Leia was trying not to let moisture reach her eyes, but there was such tenderness in Han’s voice and eyes and touch, it was hard to keep them back. She sniffled lightly, rubbing her eyes. Han silently handed her a tattered but clean serviette. He nibbled at his flatbread while Leia composed herself.
“Leia,” he said gently. “You don’t have to play strong with me when you don’t feel like it.”
Leia nodded. “I miss her so much,” she whispered. Han slid over on the banquette, placing his strong arms around her, and she buried her face in his broad chest. He rested his head on top of hers, clasping her close to his heart.
She was so warm, so soft in his embrace. He could feel her tears dampen his shirt, and he minded it not in the least. In fact, there was a stirring in him that had never, not once, happened to him before.
He wanted to be a father.
And he knew who he wanted his children's mother to be.
Of course, he told himself, this wouldn’t exactly be the prime time to bring it up. They’d been bedding each other for ten days--ten of the best days of Han’s life, to his mind. Nothing had ever brought him the sense of devotion and completion that making love with Leia had. He wanted to be a better man.
There was the added complication of the uncertainty of their futures. Han and Leia had no idea what might await them at Bespin. By Han’s own admission, Lando Calrissian was not a trustworthy soul, but their options had been limited. They wondered how long the war would continue--it felt as if it would never end, and they were not winning at this point in time. Nothing was certain in the universe, although there was something that both felt was solid between them, an anchor for their souls, satisfying a longing that went far beyond the physical.
Leia calmed, and Han kissed her tenderly on her forehead. “I’m sorry about your mom,” he said simply.
“Let’s get back to work, Flyboy,” she told him, taking his hand and leading him back to the engine room.
Leia assisted with repairing the aft stabilizer. She and Han didn’t say much, but she’d been moved by his simple, tender acknowledgment of her grief. She wondered about his parents, and why he never spoke of them. Perhaps he’d tell her someday, but he wasn’t big on discussing his past.
She felt closer to Han Solo than she ever had to another being in her life. There was something about this gruff but intensely genuine man that sparked emotions in her that she’d never encountered before.
As she watched him, covered with engine grease, bickering with Chewie, her thoughts traveled in a direction that both alarmed and delighted her.
Leia had long ago decided that her life would be one spent in pursuit of justice, freedom, the good of all. A personal life was out of the question. But she had begun questioning that as of late. Perhaps she’d been deliberately depriving herself of such possibilities--or that she’d not known that such desires existed until meeting this man.
What if he was the love of her life?
What would it be like to be married to Han Solo? To have children with him? She’d never seen herself as a mother, but there was a glimmer now, an idea of wanting to create something out of love that was intensely personal.
For the first time in her life, Leia began to imagine herself as a mother.
And she was quite certain who she’d like the father to be.