Friday, July 14, 2017

Recovery - The Review

Yay, here we are! Finally some good news for Han and Leia fans. I mean, first, look at the effort they put into the "cover" for this one. They swapped Han and Leia's faces to opposite sides so they're facing each other instead of facing away from each other. Symbolism! But truly, there really never was a real cover for this, because it was first published as an ebook, only available digitally and then later it was included in the paperback release of Star by Star as a prologue. I was always annoyed with the additions of ebooks to paperback editions, because typically I was on top of my book buying and would get them as soon as possible, which meant hardcover. In this case the paperback came out an entire year after the hard cover. I don't even really remember when I first heard about this, to be honest. And I'm positive that when I did, I really didn't even understand the concept of an ebook or how to even get it. So it was a while before I finally got to read it.

From what most of us were led to believe, this was written to sort of appease a lot of fans who felt that Han and Leia's reconciliation was, well, sorely lacking. And I don't know exactly how Troy Denning made his way to writing Star Wars books, but it became apparent right away that anytime he was involved, a Han and Leia fan could rest easy in the knowledge that they were in good hands and would be treated appropriately. But now, on to the story....

Han is with Leia on Corellia, about three weeks after the end of the last book, and Leia is still in very rough shape.

Han opaqued the transparisteel viewport, then stepped around the bed where his wife lay in a therapeutic coma, her eyelids rimmed by purple circles and her flesh as pallid as wampa fur. Though he had been assured Leia would survive, his heart still ached whenever he looked at her. He had almost lost her during the fall of Duro, and a stubborn series of necrotic infections continued to threaten her mangled legs-even more in doubt was their future together. She had greeted him warmly enough after they found each other again, but Chewbacca's death had changed too much for their marriage to continue as before-Han felt brittle now, older and less sure of his place in the galaxy. And in the few hours she had been coherent enough to talk, Leia had seemed hesitant, more tentative and reluctant to speak her mind around him.

Ah, now this is more like it. Balance Point led us to believe that all they had to do was kiss and make up and everything would be great. He was gone for a year. He acted basically indifferent toward her for a year. I mean, of course she is going to be a little hesitant and not quite herself. He spent a year acting like anything but her husband, so I'm sure it's been a while since she even remembers what it's like for him to be that man. And this also reminds us that you can't just severely injure one of our heroes and leave them near death and jump ahead later to when they're totally fine again without telling us what happened in between.

So Han has basically been just waiting for bounty hunters to find them. The Jedi are being hunted, and his wife and kids are at the top of the list. They are in the med facility under assumed names. He hears some commotion outside Leia's room and prepares himself for the inevitable. There is a big skirmish here and Han takes out a few of them after he leads them to believe that another woman in a bacta tank is Leia. Then security guards show up and help Han out but Han winds up in trouble with a lot of them. But none of that is all that important, as somewhere in the middle of the chaos, after the shooting stops but before the yelling is over, Leia finally wakes up and struggles to get some words out.

Han immediately stopped arguing with the CorSec officer and came to her side. With hollow checks and bags under his eyes, he looked exhausted.

"You're awake," he said, perhaps overstating the case. "How do you feel?"

"Terrible," Leia said. Everything ached, and it felt like she had a hot power-feed around her legs.

 I'm sure all of us can picture worried and exhausted Han going over to Leia once she finally wakes up. She had thought someone was stealing things from her, and Han tells her that they have more important things to worry about. She of course wants to know what things, and he tells her not to worry.

"When you tell me not to worry, that's when I worry," Leia said. Han had always been one of those men who navigated life more by instinct than by was one of the things she most loved about him...but his instincts since Chewbacca's death had been carrying him into some very dangerous areas. Or perhaps the territory only seemed dangerous, lying, as it did always farther from Leia.

I like this, too. I love that Leia knows this about him, and loves it about him. But it also makes sense for her to still not be entirely sure where she stands with him.

Now they get a visit from Han's cousin Thrackan, who of course he loves. They always have to mention that he looks just like him, except he has gray hair and a beard. They also note that Leia is probably the only person in the galaxy who despises his cousin more than Han does. Leia insults him a bit, proving that she has not completely lost her spirit. Then Thrackan says:

"I didn't know either of you was here until I saw on a newsvid that Han Solo had just killed three Corellian citizens."

 "Sorry about that," Han said, not appearing sorry at all. 

Haha, yes, that sounds like Han. Then we continue:

  Sal-Solo gave him a dark look, then looked back to Leia.

 "There won't be any charges, provided you."

 "Charges?" Han exclaimed. Even Leia could not tell whether he was angry or surprised, they been apart so long...and gone through so much alone...that she felt like she did not know him now.

Aw, see while this is sad, it does make sense. A year is a long time to be apart like that, and I think it would be difficult even for Leia to just go back like everything was normal.

Thrackan says something about how he expects they'll be gone soon.

 "We're not going anywhere until Leia can walk."

 Leia frowned. Their faces had been on newsvids all over the system, and he was talking about staying until she could walk. What kind of rocket juice had he been drinking while they were apart?

 "Han," Leia said gently. "We talked this over. You know I may... I ever..."

 Han whirled on her. "Until you walk, Leia."

 Leia recoiled, and Han hovered over the bed, staring into her eyes, not blinking, not breathing, not wavering, as though he could change what had happened on Duro...maybe even what had happened before that...through sheer force of will.

Han is obviously starting to seem like his old self. I'd imagine that it would be incredibly difficult to have gone through all of that and be apart only to have Leia nearly die so soon after they found each other again, and now not being sure if she will ever be able to walk.

"If it makes you feel better, I could always have you killed," Sal-Solo offered amicably. "That works for me."

 "And how do you think Anakin would like that?" Leia retorted. Their son Anakin was the only one who had ever been able to fully activate Centerpoint Station, and his absence was one reason the ancient superweapon wasn't working now. "He doesn't care for you much as it is, Thrackan. I doubt he'd be very helpful if you arranged death of his parents." 

Leia still makes excellent points. Anyway, then the doctor says they need to take with them the woman in the bacta tank, and Han is acting like it's Jaina, but it's not.

"Oh...right. Our friend." Han glanced at Leia, and something roguish came to his eye, something sly and fun and conspiratorial that had not been there since before Chewbacca's death. He looked back to Sal-Solo and sighed. "Look, I don't mean to be difficult, but we can't go without Jaina."

 "Jaina? Jaina's here?"

 Leia thought she had been the one to blurt the question, but realized that was not so when all eyes turned to Sal-Solo. At least she understood why Han had been acting so strangely. She had a vague memory of a deep-space rendezvous with the Jade Shadow, of kissing her brother and each of her children goodbye and idling them she would see them again on Coruscant. Something must have happened. Perhaps Han had needed Jaina to help him fly the Falcon, or perhaps Mara and Luke had run into trouble and been forced to divert. Maybe all of her children were on Corellia.

 She hoped not. She hoped Jacen and Anakin were safe on Coruscant... but it would good to see them, too. So good.

 "...Anakin?" Sal-Solo was asking-"Is he here, too?"

 "Just Jaina," Han said firmly. "Anakin and Jacen are on Coruscant."

 "Of course, you would say that." Sal-Solo was thinking aloud.

 If he could force Anakin to reactivate Centerpoint, he would have no worries from the Yuuzhan Vong or the New Republic. He could use it to isolate the whole Corellian system and run the place as his personal empire. "But I can find out. I have my ways."

 " could comm them on Coruscant," Han said. "Feel free to reverse the Holonet charges...I know how strapped things are here in Corellia."

 "Wait...what was that about tank three?" Leia demanded, not paying much attention to the exchange between Han and Sal-Solo.

 "Jaina in a bacta tank? What happened?"

 "You remember." Again, Han gave her a strange glare. "That hit on Duro turned out to be worse than we thought."

  The stress alarm behind the bed started to beep again.

 "Will you please disconnect that thng?" Leia demanded. Whatever had happened...whatever Han was trying to tell her...she did not want a machine giving them away. "And get me a repulsor chair. I want to see my daughter." 

I like that Leia can see this glimmer in Han that has been missing for so long. And of course that Leia just wants to see her kids as well. Now we find out how Leia's legs feel.

 Leia's legs were no sooner lowered than they began to ache with a pain a hundred times worse than childbirth. It was unlike anything she had ever experienced, a bursting, throbbing, burning kind of anguish that made her wish the Yuuzhan Vong had finished the job and cut them all the way off. She caught Sal-Solo staring and looked down to see two huge Huttlike things sticking out where her legs should have been.

Ouch, well that doesn't sound fun. Poor Leia. They make their way to the bacta tank and the woman inside Leia notices is at least 30, and still has all of her hair, and Jaina had hers shaved off in the decontamination. Thrackan makes some comment that she is a little old to be Han's daughter. Leia realizes that for some reason they need to get this woman off Corellia. Leia realizes then that none of her children are there.

 Leia should have been relieved, but instead she felt let down and desperately alone.

Aw, poor Leia again. She just wants to see her kids! Finally they make it back to the Falcon so they can leave. It is still painted matte black and Leia is thinking about if it was so the ship wouldn't garner a second glance.

She wondered if that was what Han had intended when he-chose the new color, or if it had just been a way of expressing his grief over Chewbacca's loss. She might never know; they were no longer close enough that she could guess, and she was not comfortable asking. How sad was that, after defeating the Empire and having three children together?

Man, Leia is having a rough time here. It is definitely very sad that she no longer feels close enough to Han to ask him anything. Before they leave they are approached by someone asking for a ride. Han is pretty insistent that he isn't giving any rides, but Leia convinces him that she is definitely not going to be a helpful copilot, and this guy claims to be competent. Han quizzes him and decides he knows what he is doing and allows him on board, and they all head in and see Threepio who is of course happy to see them. Leia is having some trouble getting her chair where it needs to be.

Seeing that her chair would prevent the bulky bacta tank from entering the access ring, Leia mowed ahead. She was feeling terribly tired and weak, and her first instinct was to turn toward the main deck and stay out of the way. But she had been alone too much over the last year, and the thought of sitting by herself while Han and his new copilot solved their problems was more than she could hear. She needed to be with her husband...even if she was no longer quite sure he wanted her.

There is no shortage in this story of heartbreaking thoughts from Leia. Not just all that being alone, but she still doesn't know if Han wants her. I do think that she would harbor some insecurities here after the way he treated her. There is even a moment where Leia can tell that Han is impressed by his new copilot, and she "tried not to be jealous." This poor woman is starved for affection. They do get a brief moment alone while their new copilot goes to fix a light on the boarding ramp.

"I'm glad you're up here''

 Leia smiled. "Me, too."

Ok, so we're starting slow with Han and Leia interaction. Now Han gets to do some flying, and their new copilot comments:

  "This is Han Solo, isn't it? The Han Solo?"

 Han glanced over his shoulder and saw Leia shrug.

 "You know, I've been wondering myself." Her eyes drooped and Han thought she might be falling asleep, then she added, "But when I checked, that's what his identichip read."

 "One of them, anyway," Han said, glad to hear an matter how faint...of Leia's sharp wit. 

So, now we've moved to Han's point of view, and at least he is noticing Leia coming back to herself a bit. Han finds out his new copilot's name is Izal, and thinks it sounds familiar. Apparently he has a lightsaber though he hasn't used it. Han turns to ask Leia if she finds the name familiar.

 He turned to look and found her chin slumped against her chest Though her eyes were closed, her brow was creased and her hands were twitching, and it made Han's heart ache to see her suffer so even in her sleep.

 "Looks like I better put our patient to bed."

I'm sure it is difficult for Han to see his wife suffering like that.

 She did not stir, even when he lifted her into the bunk and connected her to the medical data banks. He knew she needed her rest, but he wished she would open her eyes just for a minute and give him a smile, some indication that she would recover...that they would. He had needed to mourn Chewbacca's death, he knew that, and maybe he had even needed to crisscross the galaxy helping Droma search for his clan. But only now was Han beginning to see how he had surrendered to his grief, or to understand that there had been a cost.

 "Get well, Princess." He kissed Leia on the brow. "Don't give up on me yet."

 The monitors showed no indication that she heard. 

It kind of makes me sad to see that apparently Han is JUST now realizing what this whole thing had cost him. I guess at least he does finally realize, and hopes she won't give up on him. But things get a little crazy. Han sees evidence that there are some stowaways aboard, and he doesn't trust Izal. He tells Threepio to stay and not let anyone near Leia while he goes to talk to Izal, and winds up stunning him. But they are also now under attack by some ships, which doesn't help matters. But then someone starts firing the guns, and Han thinks it's Leia but apparently it is one of his stowaways, and another comes to him in the cockpit and tells him to fly the ship. It's a Barabel who also appears to be a Jedi. Han doesn't usually like being told what to do, but realizes if this was going to be real trouble then the Barabel already would've killed him. In the middle of dealing with the ships that are still attacking them, Han finds out that these stowaways are meant to look after the woman in the bacta tank who was a Jedi and had been a student of Luke's. They need to get to their own rendezvous, and Han doesn't want to go because Leia needs more bacta, but he is promised that they have some and can help her. Finally they escape the intruders, and then Leia wakes up:

 "Han? Han I..."

 "I'm sorry, Captain Solo," C-3PO interrupted. "But she's just awakened and insists she must speak with you this instant."

 "Han?" Leia's voice was raspy and weak, and she sounded con fused. "Han, I'm so thirsty. Could you bring me some water?" 

I thought that was kind of cute. There is all this craziness going on, and Leia wakes up and all she wants is for Han to bring her some water. But now might be a good time to mention my disappointment when we get this ebook that is supposed to be all about Han and Leia, and then we spend a good chunk right there with Leia just sleeping and Han dealing with these stowaways.

Now, three days later they reach the rendezvous. The Barabels and Leia want to help the Jedi woman in the bacta tank. Han changes Leia's bandages for her and starts to get angry that there is no bacta for her where they are, and that, to him, is the most crucial matter at the moment. 

He threw the soiled bandages down the disposal chute and started to leave. Leia's repulsor chair barely turned fast enough to keep him in view.

 "Han, wait!" Leia made a point of staying where she was; once she started moving, she would find herself following him clear into the cockpit. "Let's think this through."

 Han turned in the door. "What's to think through?" There was that hard look again—hardly unknown, but oddly out of place-"We need bacta."

 "We do," Leia admitted. "But how long will it take to reach Talfaglio?"

 "Ten and a half hours," Han said confidently. "I had Izal plot the course."

 Leia glanced toward the portable tank "We don't have ten hours, Eelysa will be dead in half that time."

 "And you in twenty."

 "We don't know that."

 "Well, I'm not taking chances." Han turned and vanished through the door

 Leia hastened after him, but her chair was no match for his angry stride. He was already disappearing around the curve of the corridor as she floated out of the crew quarters, and by then she finally understood the hard look in his eye.


 Han stopped, but did not turn.

 "We can't go." Leia wondered if she still knew this man at all, if he could have been so hardened by Chewbacca's death and the treachery of the Duros that he had truly become the selfish cynic he had fancied himself when they met. "We have to wait . . . and hope."

"We have to get you to a bacta tank." Han turned, his eyes filled with tears he refused to shed. "If we don't, you may not walk again."

 "Then at least I won't be walking on corpses." Leia started her chair down the corridor. "Han, haw you forgotten who I am?" Do you think I want to walk at the cost of someone else's life? Would you want me to?"

 Han shook his head weakly. Then tears began to escape his eyes, and he hurried up the corridor. Leia did not follow. She still understood him well enough to know when to leave him alone. He could face no more loss, and Leia was coming to comprehend—or was it fear? That when he looked at her in the repulsor chair, he saw another loss, something else taken by the Yuuzhan Vong.

 And, Leia was astonished to realize, she saw the same thing in him. After Chewbacca's death, he had shut himself off from his family and disappeared into the galaxy to grieve alone. She had believed he just needed room, and she had given it to him. But now she realized he had left for another reason as well, to shield her and the children from a fury he could not control. Would he have gone, she wondered, if she had tried harder to reach him, just kept pushing and weathered the storm when he finally unleashed his anger? Would he still feel like such a stranger now?

 Deciding only a fool makes the same mistake twice, Leia started up the corridor. This time, she would not let him suffer in private.

Well they are certainly seeming a bit more like themselves here. Thinking of Han in this situation, I think of him as feeling somewhat helpless. And this is a rare reference to him actually shedding tears. Of course the best thing of all of this is that Leia decides she is not going to let him suffer alone anymore, and she needs to be able to reach him.

A ship finally approaches and they think it is bacta, but apparently it is a Vong vessel. And apparently they had wanted to know about bacta themselves and nobody is quite sure how worried they need to be.

"What if something goes wrong?" The worry in Han's voice was so foreign to the Han Solo that Leia remembered that she thought for a moment someone else was speaking. "Eelysa's the one who will pay the price."

 "And Leia, too, you're thinking," Izal Waz said.

 "The thought had crossed my mind," Han admitted

 Tesar covered Han's shoulder with a black-scaled claw "Han Solo, you worry too much. What could go wrong?"

 Leia had to smile "At least Jacen will feel better," she said, trying to take Han's mind off all the things that could go wrong.

I kind of like that little detail, that suddenly Han has become a worrier, and that is not something he used to have an issue with. Anyway, then a group of Barabel fighters show up to help. And at this point I was like, damn, this story has a LOT more actual plot to it that has nothing to do with Han and Leia than I remembered.

But now we finally get to some more quiet time. Han and Leia are at an abandoned spa that the Barabels use as their base. Han is doing some research while Leia is using leg braces to slowly walk around an abandoned pool for therapy. Which leads us to probably the most important part of the story for any Han and Leia fan:

Leia's clunking, grew louder. Han looked up to see her approaching, arms swinging wide to balance the cybernetic exercise braces that kept her legs from collapsing.

 "That's all." She stopped in front of her repulsor chair and turned her back toward it, arms extended for Han to take when he lowered her into the seat. "These braces still aren't adjusted. I can't even cock my ankle."

 "Give it some time." Han did not rise. Leia had only completed six of the twenty-five laps that Cilghal...the Jedi's most accomplished healer...had prescribed, and today was the first day she had gone beyond four laps. "You just need to get used to them."

 "Thanks for your opinion, Dr. Solo," Leia said dryly. She continued to stand with her arms out. "Now, would you please help me into my chair and take these things off?"

 Han slapped the stylus on the table. "Sure."

 Though thrice-daily bacta treatments had finally chased the infection from Leia's legs, it seemed to Han another infection had been festering a place bacta could not reach. There was a sadness in her that had been growing, since Corellia. Any effort to encourage her invariably met a sharp-tongued riposte, any bid to urge her on only resulted in a sullen retreat. This was not the Leia he had married all those years ago, before... well, before he had gone crazy and shut her out. She had Leia's face and voice and body and even her wit, but she held herself apart now; it was as though the Yuuzhan Vong had taken Leia away from him without even killing her, and now he wanted her back.

 "Han?" Leia was suspended hallway above the seat of the repulsor chair, her arms still clasped in his grasp. "Are you going to keep me hanging here?"

 "No." Han hauled her to her feet, then took her arm and pulled her two steps toward the pool. "Let's do a couple of circuits together. If something's out of alignment, maybe I'll see it."

 "If, Han?" Leia pulled her arm free. "Wouldn't I be the one who could tell?"

  Han sighed. "Look, maybe they're uncomfortable, but there are only so many adjustments, I've tried them all."

 Leia narrowed her eyes. "So I don't know what I'm talking about."

 "I'm saying give them more time." Han took her arm again.

 "Come on, just a couple more circuits."

 "Are you listening?" Leia refused to move her feet, and Han had to stop pulling or drag her over. "It hurts. I can't do any more today."

 C-3PO looked up at the sound of Leia's sharp voice and started to say something, then wisely decided his assistance was not needed.

 "You mean won't," Han said.

 "All right, won't." Leia clunked the two steps back to her chair.

 "What's the difference?" Either way, you're helping me into that chair and out of these braces. If you can't do that—"

 "That I can do," Han said, surrendering to his exasperation. "I can put you in and out of this chair for the rest of your life, if that's what you want. What I can't is make those braces comfortable, so you'll just have to take the pain and keep going. When that task force of killers finally finds us—and they will find us—it might be nice if you could actually run for cover."

 "That's fine advice, coming from you," Leia said.

 "What's that supposed to mean?"

 "You can figure it out," Leia said. "After Chewbacca died. you certainly ran. And you kept running farther and farther..." Leia stopped and looked away, and Han finally understood that they weren't arguing about cybernetic braces, or how many circuits Leia made of the pool, or even how much she really wanted to walk again.

 Leia shook her head. "This won't get us anywhere. Let's just drop it."

 "No, go ahead," Han replied, "It's time you said it."

 Leia continued to look away. "I didn't mean anything..."

 "Yes, you did." Han spoke with a humility hard-earned over the last year. "The truth is, I might have a made a few mistakes in the way I handled things."

 Now Leia looked at him, her eyes as round as sensor dishes. "I suppose you might have," she said cautiously. "But you needed to grieve."

 "Yeah, and maybe I even needed to go help Droma find his clan. What I didn't need to do was concussion-bomb our family." Han was quiet for a moment, then...forcing himself not to look away...he said, "Leia, I'm sorry."

 Leia's eyes brightened with tears. She held his gaze for a moment, then clunked forward. Han reached for her hands, but she surprised him by wrapping her arms around his waist and pressing her cheek against his chest.

 "Me, too," she said. "I'm sorry, too. All these years, I've devoted myself to the New Republic and asked you and the children to sacrifice so much."

 "Hey, this is my apology." Han took her by shoulders. "And what you did for the New Republic is important."

 "It is but I had a part in letting this happen," Leia said. "Without you around, it became very clear that I haven't exactly been the glue that holds this family together."

 "Your hands were pretty full trying to hold the galaxy together." Han did not like where this was going; blaming herself for their family problems was not going to make Leia work harder in her braces. "I couldn't have picked a worse time to leave you on your own."

 "Haven't my hands always been full? That's the point. All these years, I think I've been trying to rebuild what I lost when Alderaan was destroyed." Leia placed her finger over his heart. "I couldn't see that I already had it—here with you and the children."

 Han was speechless. These days, even his apologies ricocheted.

 "If we hadn't found each other on Duro when we did," Leia continued, "I would have died alone...a stranger to my own family."

 Han wanted to say that wasn't true, or she couldn't know what might have happened, or that the Force had brought them back to each other. But all that sounded somehow hollow and not what Leia needed to hear. He needed to give her a jolt, to make her see that they had come through it, if only she would open her heart and eyes and see it.

 "You know who you remind me of?" he asked. "Borsk Fey'lya, claiming all the credit for himself."

 Leia's jaw dropped. "Borsk Fey'lya! How dare..." She must have seen the mischief in Han's face, because she let the sentence trail off and scowled. A hint of the old spark returned to her eve, and she gave him a sideways look. "Borsk! Not really?"

 Han half smiled. "Really. You're taking way too much of this on yourself. You'd have had to chase me across half the galaxy— and drag me out of a thousand tapcafs."

  Leia pondered this, then said, "You know, I am being too hard on myself." She seemed to shed two years of worry lines in as many seconds, then added, "As you say, you're the one who shut me out. What was 1 supposed to do, slap a set of stun cuffs on you and borrow an interrogator droid from NRI?"

 "Of course not," Han said, beginning to wonder who was toying with whom. "But like you said, we both played our parts—"

 "No, when you're right you're right-.I'm not going to argue." Leia's smile...not quite a victory smirk...turned as hard as durasteel. "But you're never doing that again, Han. The next time you need help, you won't escape."

 Han felt like the spa's supplemental gravity inducers had reset themselves. He had flutters in his stomach and bells in his ears, and he even felt a little weak in the knees. This was the Leia he remembered. She took his shirt collar and, unable to rise on her toes, began to pull him down so she could kiss him.

 "Not so fast." Han disengaged himself and retreated to the edge of the empty pool. "If you want to do that, you come over here."

 Leia raised her brow. "You're going to make me work for this?" She looked him up and down, then finally clanked after him. "It had better be good.''

 Han gave. her his finest smirk. "Oh, it'll be good." He waited until she was almost to him, then began to retreat along the pool's edge toward C-3PO. "Just the way you remember."

 "The way I remember?" Leia echoed. "Taking a lot for granted, aren't you?"

 They were interrupted by an excited cry from C-3PO. "I've found something!" 

Wow. Well, that's a lot to take in, isn't it? In some ways I don't like that Leia feels like she needs to apologize for how she had been, well, the entire time. And the implication that she was never the glue that held them all together. I do like that Leia finally gets mad and makes it clearer that what he did wasn't ok, and Han sincerely apologizes. It does feel very authentic though that after this heartfelt conversation they revert to teasing each other. I can very much picture Leia grabbing Han's shirt and pulling him down, and I love that he plans to make her work for that kiss. But damn it, why is Threepio always interrupting?!?!

Ok, then there is more plot stuff, trying to figure out who the traitor is who is trying to find where Leia is to send someone to kill her. Also Leia is getting better with walking but having odd tremors and is told she needs to find a nerve splicer as there could be some nerve damage, so she and Han and researching that. And then this cute line:

Leia leaned across the arm of her chair and kissed him. They had been doing a lot of that lately. "Han, you're a genius."

Aw, yay! Lots of kissing! Then this bit:

"I need him to convene a corruption panel."

 "Without good evidence?" A knavish smile came to Han's lips.

 "I didn't think you played dirty."

 "I'll make an exception," Leia said. "This woman's trying to outlaw my children." 

Yeah, I totally can see Leia playing dirty if her kids are in trouble in any way. Anyway, some other plot stuff later and then we are at this corruption panel, and apparently it is a surprise that Leia was able to get there. But, lucky for her, her whole family is there.

 "What I want to know is how you're going to get to the accuser's table," Jaina whispered. All Leia's children were there, along with Luke, several more Jedi, and Leia's new Noghri body-guards. "We'll have to float you!"

 "We'll clear the aisle, Mom," Anakin said, nodding to Jacen. Leia caught him by the arm.

 "Now isn't the time for the Jedi to seem arrogant," she said. "I'll walk."

 "Walk?" Han asked. "How?"

 "With a little help from my family." Leia looked to Jaina—Jaina who had been so angry with her and felt so abandoned by her on Duro... and asked, "Would you mind?"

 The smile that came to Jaina's face was almost as lopsided as Han's. "Trust me?"

 Leia felt her daughter reach out in the Force, then felt herself rise into a standing position. Her legs started to move, by Jaina's will instead of her own, but in a reasonable imitation of walking. The room erupted into a fresh round of murmurs as the vidcasters commented on what they were broadcasting. Luke and the others took protective positions around Leia, and they started forward.

It's so nice that Leia finally has her whole family with her, supporting her. And I liked the little moment between her and Jaina. And that they are all helping her walk. They are accusing Senator Viqui Shesh of being a traitor for the Vong, and attempting to have Han and Leia killed. And she didn't even show up to the meeting, which to Leia means she was confident that they would be dead. But overall it's good news because her Senatorial membership is suspended until they figure out what is going on. And she had been working to help swing the vote in the other direction to surrender the Jedi to the Vong.

So then we move to a week later, and Leia is in bed getting that whole nerve thing taken care of. Her whole family is there with her, and they are watching the votes come in.

 The nervesplicer said something about normal sensation and improving motor control. But Fey'lya raised his brow just then, and Leia missed whatever it was the doctor said next.

 "Did you see that?" Han asked. "He's surprised."

 "That can't be good," Jaina said.

 "It's hard to know." Leia reached out and found Han's hand.

 "Nobody has been able to tell what Borsk thinks will happen."

 The doctor stepped into Leia's line of sight. "Princess Leia, I have some news."

 "In a minute."

 Leia cast an appealiiig glance at her daughter, who quietly used the Force to slide the doctor out of the way. 

Hah, I like that they sometimes use the Force like that. And that Leia reaches for Han's hand. Anyway, the vote comes in and everyone seems happy. And the doctor tells Leia she is healed and will be fine. In spite of the vote going well, Luke is uneasy about how many people are against the Jedi and worries for them. He wants someone to set up a way for them to get around.

 "That's right," Luke said. "The Jedi are going to need a quiet way to move around the galaxy, a great river that can carry them wherever they need to go."

 Leia saw where this was going. "And you're thinking Han and I would be a good team to set up this great river?"

 "You do have the skills," Luke said. "A smuggler and a diplomat."

 Han did not even hesitate. He simply took one glance at their children, got a hard look in his eye, then set his jaw and turned to Leia. "What do you think, partner?" Want to wander around the galaxy together?"

  "Sure." Leia pulled him onto the bed and twined her fingers into his. "But I'm navigating." 

The end. Well, there we have it. Not a bad consolation prize for the lack of good stuff in Balance Point. Of course I love the end, when Han and Leia are going to go off and work together on something important. Basically this is how they are going to operate from here on out. Not running off and doing things alone or with others, but working together on things. Which is as it should be.

Overall obviously some really nice moments in here. Although as I said, for a short story that was dedicated mostly to them, there was a lot more plot stuff than I had remembered. I liked that the kids got included at the end as well. I think generally I feel like this did a good job of getting Han and Leia back to themselves. Maybe it's missing another intimate moment or two, but this is Star Wars pro fic, and this is about as good as it gets in that regard. And it gets us to the most important part, which is Han and Leia being together again.

For the Han and Leia factor, we have to give this one a 5. I mean it focuses entirely on them, we have some real emotional conversations, which is something that we rarely if at all see in any of these books or stories. And they finally begin acting like themselves again. 


  1. Wow, great review! I really like the idea of HxL going off on the Falcon together, traipsing around the galaxy to get things done. It's too bad it took so long to get them to that point! Sigh...

    1. It is sad it took this long, but at least they got there!

  2. A few of your comments cracked me up. First, the artwork. Pretty funny how all they did was switch positions of their faces. Then, your complaint how there was a lot of "plot stuff" in this short story supposed to be H-L centered. Exactly how I've read these books. And as serious as the reunion scenes were, at least in inner monologue, there was this almost distracting humor. Leia's chair in the way all the time, and her 'clunking' noises as she walked about.

    1. Well, I mean, there did seem to be a lot of plot stuff that wasn't Han and Leia that took away from the Han and Leia stuff. I guess that is the difference between this and what a fanfic writer would've done with it. You're right there was some funny stuff about Leia trying to get around.

  3. I read this...but I'll be darned if I can remember any of the plot stuff LOL. I think I just skimmed until I got to the parts I wanted to read...

    1. Right? Honestly, I was surprised when I re-read it and saw how much plot there was. Or that for an entire chapter Leia goes to the back of the ship and goes to sleep while Han talks to these other dudes. Who snuck that plot in there?

  4. Aside from Tatooine Ghost, this is probably my favorite SW pro-fic. I love the whole, "Oh, it'll be good," exchange in the pool, and then how Han and Leia work together after that. Their very last exchange, when they decide to travel the galaxy together, and Leia pulls Han onto the bed, is also great. Nice how the whole family is together near the end, too. Thanks for taking the time to review, Zyra!

    1. Yes, the "It'll be good" exchange is wonderful. And Leia teasing straight back with, "Taking a lot for granted, aren't we?" Because we all know it will definitely be good :)

  5. Thanks for summarizing all the relevant (ie, Han/Leia) bits! I'll count this as having read the book, since I'll never actually get to it -- I'd rather read fanfiction.