By Dant Solo
Head tilted down, eyes riveted and adoring, she watched the baby as she slept so soundly in her arms. Han had never seen such softness in her gaze, which was saying a lot. If anyone knew the vulnerability and raw emotion that boiled beneath her surface, it was Han. And yet, after all these years, this was a new side of Leia that he was seeing.
She had spent so much time in battle mode and her role as politician and leader that her femininity had suffered. Fortunately for Han, he had somehow managed to remind her that she was, indeed, a hot-blooded woman.
A little too hot-blooded, it seemed. Even with the implant, she had gotten pregnant in the blink of an eye.
He continued to silently watch them, chest swelling with pride. His wife. His child. How had these wonderful beings happened to him? How had he gotten so unbelievably lucky? He felt somewhat unworthy, but planned to spend the rest of his life making sure he was as worthy of them as he could possibly be.
And he would defend them with his life, no question.
A fierce feeling of love blossomed in his chest, even more powerful than he had felt for Leia before. This tiny, helpless human seemed to somehow bond them more closely.
Seeming to sense his strong emotion, his wife’s head abruptly popped up, eyes finding him instantly, a small smile gracing her lips.
“Hi,” Leia whispered. She appeared more content than Han had ever seen her.
“Hey,” he called in return. He felt his small smile grow quickly brilliant at the meeting of their eyes. He couldn’t help it. Such pure happiness flowed through him.
Pushing himself slightly off the doorway, he loped over to the glider and dropped to one knee before wife and child.
Staring down at their baby, he thought he had never seen something so small. “She’s so tiny,” he whispered, able to hear the wonder in his own voice.
“Babies usually are,” she replied, tone dry but laced with affection.
Han grinned, eyes raising to meet hers. “She looks exceptionally tiny. Then again, she probably takes after her tiny mother.”
She feigned a sour look that couldn’t possibly be genuine and Han grinned more broadly before rerturning his gaze to their daughter. Her little finger was curled delicately around Leia’s larger one, as if upon leaving the womb, she couldn’t bear to break the connection.
“She looks like you,” Han said quietly.
Her small smile brightened and she glanced up at Han before her gaze lowered to the beautiful bundle in her arms. “You think so?”
He loved the tender look in her eyes as her gaze caressed the diminutive features. “Of course. Look at that little nose, all that dark hair…she’s a mini Leia.”
She beamed like the sun for just a moment. “She has your mouth.”
“You’re just sayin’ that cause she was screamin’ so loud this morning.” He slanted a wry grin her way.
A light trickle of laughter fell from her lips. “No, look at her lips. Pouty, like her daddy’s.”
Han returned his eyes to the baby’s face, examining her closely. He saw nothing of himself there, only his wife. That seemed how it should be, since she had done all the hard work bringing this new life into the galaxy. Watching her give birth had been nerve-wracking, filling him with awe and a sense that this woman he loved could do absolutely anything.
“I dunno. I think she looks exactly like you,” he finally replied. He reached up to gently brush at the dark, downy hair that fully covered the soft, petite head. “Are all babies born with so much hair?”
“Some. Some are born bald.”
“I know where all this hair came from. See? Told you she looks just like you.”
She was smiling brightly again, eyes flitting to the baby, him then back to their child.
A tiny, magical-sounding sigh burst from their daughter’s itty-bitty lips and Han found himself watching her intently, entranced. Had they really made a human being? The intensity of the sudden pang in his chest took him by surprise, emotion overwhelming him, seeming to spread warmth across his skin. A glance up showed Leia watching him, eyes soft, a broad smile across her cheeks. A bit self-conscious of the burst of emotion, he returned the smile haphazardly and looked back to the baby.
“I can’t believe she’s ours,” Leia said with quiet wonder, echoing his thoughts. “We created her.”
He nodded, at a loss for words, and watched as she leaned down and placed the softest kiss on their daughter’s forehead. That pang returned to his chest, and Han couldn’t help but ponder again at how such a scoundrel had gotten so damned lucky.
Leia’s brow furrowed ever-so-slightly. “I hope I can be the mother she deserves,” she whispered.
It surprised Han. It was so rare for her to express doubts about herself. She was always so self-assured, so ready for anything. Even during child birth, she had gritted her teeth with barely a complaint, even when he could see her eyes diluting with pain. He placed a hand on her arm.
“Sweetheart.” His voice was heartfelt and reassuring. “You’re amazing at everything you do. Why would being a mother be any different?”
Her grateful smile didn’t cover up her lingering doubts. “Every other role I’ve taken on, I spent years preparing for. Senator, leader for the Rebellion, reinstating a Galactic Republic.” She paused, glancing askance for just a moment. “I’ve had no preparation for being a mother.” Insecurity filled her eyes, slackened her posture, and she bit her lip, averting her gaze.
For a fleeting moment, he just watched her, at a loss for words. He glanced at the newborn, swaddled so protectively in her embrace. Delicate life, so utterly dependent on them for every possible need, defenseless and fragile. She was counting on them, her parents, to provide a stable, nurturing environment for her.
In an instant, Han felt overwhelmed, understood completely how Leia was feeling. How could he possibly be responsible for this innocent life? He swallowed against the sudden fear that seemed to choke him.
With a quick intake of breath, he remembered who Leia was…so strong, independent, so able to rise to any occasion. She, who took care of the entire galaxy, fought for every citizen’s freedom…he had every confidence that his wife could lead him in this, the most important of journeys. Shaping this brand new spirit into who she was meant to be. Alone, he would have been hopeless, undeserving of even attempting it. But, Leia would show him the way.
He smiled tenderly and placed his fingers beneath her chin, guiding her to look at him. “Leia,” he began tentatively, as always, uncertain of the right words. “You take care of the whole galaxy. How hard can one little baby be?”
She was looking back at him with quiet disbelief, brow raised as if challenging him to continue.
He attempted to rise to the occasion. “With you as a mother, our little girl will grow up to be the most amazing person, just like her mama. Ready to conquer anything that comes her way, standing up for what’s right, tough, and brilliant, and beautiful. She couldn’t be anything but.”
The corners of her mouth were turning up just a bit, almost against her will, as she tried to fight the threatening smile.
“And with me as a dad,” he added, forcing all the bluster he could manage. “She won’t be allowed to date until she’s thirty. And the whole galaxy knows what a great shot I am, so there won’t be any boys brave enough to come around here.”
Now the smile broke, full-force, quiet laughter brimming from her lips.
Between them, a low, angry-sounding gurgle spewed from their daughter’s bow-shaped lips. They both looked down expectantly as tiny eyes fluttered open and the smallest yawn Han had ever seen elongated the little mouth. It was, quite possibly, the cutest thing he could have imagined.
“See, she does have your mouth,” Leia pointed out. “Look how big it is.”
He tried to aim a mock-glare at her, but he couldn’t even fake annoyance. Instead, he found himself grinning.
A soft cooing noise brought their eyes back to the baby, whose dark-bluish eyes were on her mother’s face. He wondered what they looked like to her.
“Hi, sleepyhead,” Leia softly cooed back in a quiet, high-pitched voice Han had never heard from her until she met their child for the first time.
Her eyes seemed enormous, too wide, as if she were shocked and confused at the world that lie outside her mother’s body. The little lips were open just a bit, adding to her look of amazement.
“I love you, little girl,” Leia murmured. She brought the baby close to her face and nuzzled her cheek with her nose, smiling tenderly. “We’re all going to be just fine.”
And just like that, Han could see she had moved past her doubts. He liked to think that his words of encouragement had spurred her on, but he knew his wife. She didn’t really need anyone else’s input. She did just fine on her own.
Their eyes met and they shared a smile of sublime happiness. He was the luckiest man in the galaxy. And their baby was the luckiest as well, to have the most amazing mother who would teach her she can do anything.