“Uh oh, what’d I miss?”
Leia heard her husband’s voice from behind her just as she finished closing the door to their children’s bedroom. It had been a trying day, to say the least.
Normally having Han return home would instantly ease any stress she was feeling. But on this particular evening, their three kids had decided to become complete terrors. And the effects of dealing with them were going to take more than a strong hug from Han to disappear.
She leaned her forehead on hernarm against the wall and heaved a sigh. “How much do you think we could get for them?”
Her voice was slightly muffled but she knew he heard what she’d said. She turned to him and continued. “I mean if we sold them, they’re probably pretty valuable, right? I mean, Force-sensitive, strong Corellian genes, rare Alderaanian heritage…”
Han gave her a half-smile. “That bad today, huh?”
She shook her head and took a few long strides before collapsing on the couch in the living room. “Do you remember that time we took them to Mon Calamari? And we made the mistake of trying to take them out to dinner before they had a chance to adjust to the local time?”
Han thought back for a moment and then had to smile in spite of what was far from a pleasant memory. The incident Leia was referring to had taken place about a year-and-a-half prior. Now, their kids were not perfect by any means. But they were generally good kids. Except, of course, when they got especially tired or hungry. And gods help you if you got a strong combination of both. They had wanted to have a nice family dinner, and it turned into shouting matches from everyone, throwing of food, and ultimately having to drag everyone out of the restaurant after causing quite a scene. The twins were five at the time, and Anakin was three. And Han and Leia vowed to never make a similar mistake again.
“No, it wasn’t that bad, was it?” Han said as he moved to sit next to her on the couch.
She looked at him briefly and then down at her hands in her lap. “Well, no. Definitely not quite that bad. But they were at each other’s throats all afternoon. Just shouting and arguing and even some hitting. I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to yell, too.”
He wrapped an arm around her shoulders and pulled her close. “It happens, sweetheart. They probably just need some sleep.”
She leaned her head against his chest and heaved a sigh. “I feel like a terrible mother. I made Anakin cry when I yelled at him.”
Han kissed her forehead. “He’ll be all right, sweetheart. We all have bad days sometimes. I’m sure when it’s time to put them to bed they’ll just want to hear their stories.”
“Maybe,” she replied, unconvinced.
After a few moments of silence, just as Leia was starting to really settle into Han’s embrace, he abruptly released her and got up.
“Where are you going? I wasn’t finished with you.”
“Just wait there a minute, I’ve got something I think you’ll like.”
Leia scowled as he disappeared toward their bedroom. She did not feel as though he would so easily fix her sour mood.
A few moments later Han sauntered back into the room with a small, wrapped box that he held out for her.
“What is it?”
“Maybe you should open it and find out.”
She wasn’t really in the mood for games but she snatched it out of his grip and began to unwrap the paper while Han sat down next to her.
“It’s a holocube,” she said as she held it up in her hand.
“You’ve always been so observant,” Han quipped; his low, gentle voice rumbling in her ear. “Take a look at what’s on it.”
Using her thumb, Leia flicked the switch to activate the images. The first thing she saw was an image of her holding the twins, looking down at them and smiling. It had to have been the day they were born because they were still in the med center.
The image shifted to another one, this time she was holding Jacen in her arms above her head, smiling at him while he smiled back at her.
Next was an image of her walking away from the holorecorder through the grass holding the hands of both of the twins, one on either side of her walking next to her.
The images kept coming, one after another. Swimming with Anakin, giving the twins a bath, lying on the couch under all three of them. Even an image of her asleep on her bed with baby Anakin conked out right next to her.
As the images went by she realized that somehow she had never seen any of them before. They had plenty of family holos from over the years of their family, but none of these seemed familiar. And she also realized that not one of them appeared as though she or the kids had posed for it.
“Where did all of these come from?”
“Well,” Han began, “I’ve been taking these for a few years. I was going to give this to you for your birthday next week, but you seem like you needed it a little sooner. I want you to see how I see you with our kids. And just look at the way they’re looking at you in some of these. Doesn’t look like they think they have a terrible mother.”
Leia felt her eyes welling up, and she turned to face her husband who was looking at her sweetly. “You’re unbelievable,” she said as she leaned in and held him close, his arms wrapping around her tightly.
“I know,” he laughed.
After a few moments of just savoring the feel of Han’s embrace, Leia heard Anakin’s voice from behind her. “Mommy?”
She pulled away from Han and quickly wiped her eyes before she turned around to see her youngest son who had an almost pitiful look on his face. “What is it, honey?”
The boy took a few steps closer until he could almost touch her and hesitated again before answering. “I’m sorry,” he said sweetly, his bright blue eyes looking up at her and asking for forgiveness.
Leia’s heart almost melted and she reached down and pulled her four-year-old son into her lap so she could hug him. “It’s all right, baby,” she said as she held him close. She could tell his little arms were squeezing her with every ounce of strength he had. “I just need you three to behave a little bit better for Mommy, all right?”
She felt him nod against her shoulder and she leaned back to give him a quick kiss. “I love you,” she said.
“I love you, too, Mommy,” he replied with a smile.
“No more giving Mommy any trouble, right?” Han said from next to them.
Anakin shook his head and smiled at his father. “No, Daddy.”
“Good, now c’mere,” Han said as he stretched his arms open and Anakin crawled across Leia’s lap to give his father a hug. “Ok, now go back in with your brother and sister and we’ll be in in a little while, all right?”
Anakin nodded and climbed down from Han’s lap before running back to his bedroom.
“See? They think you’re the greatest. And so do I.”
Leia shook her head at him. “I don’t know how you do it.”
He appeared confused. “Do what?”
“Well, a lot of things. But in this case I was thinking about how you’re always so sure that everything will be fine. Or how you always seem to come up with the most perfect thing at the most perfect time,” she said as she held up the holocube. “I can’t believe you did this. Are you ever going to run out of ways to surprise me?”
He shook his head and smiled. “Nope.”
She leaned in and hugged him again. “I better be careful or you’re going to completely outdo me when it comes to being a wonderful spouse.”
“Not a chance, sweetheart. I think you’re doing a much better job than you think you are.” He paused for a few moments and then asked, “So do you still want to sell the kids to the highest bidder?”
She laughed against his chest and then leaned back to look at him. “No. But maybe we can just rent them out for a week or two?”
“That’s more like it.”