Motives

Epilogue

New Alderaan, Ten Years Later...

Leia Organa Solo was standing in a large dressing room, a chubby toddler on her hip. Another toddler, a twin, was running away from her.

"Luke!" She called, pointing. "Catch that one."

The child stopped, stomping her foot and placing a hand on her hip. The sparkle in her wide, brown eyes matching her fiery disposition. "I, not that one. I, Aerye!"

Luke Skywalker gathered the girl up into his arms, curling her towards him so that he could blow loud bubbles against her belly. She squealed in delight.

"It's time," Leia said. And then she looked around the perimeter of the large room toward the double doors that led outside. "Where's Daltyn?"

"I'm right here." A lanky seven-year old, tall for his age with disheveled hair, came skidding around the corner and into the room. He was dressed in formal attire, the material of his suit, crisp and new. But his knees were sullied with fresh dirt and the tips of his shoes were covered in scuff marks.

"Where did you go?" Leia asked, exasperated. The child had been out of her eyesight for less than a timepart.

"There was a tree outside," the miniature of her husband answered simply.

But, of course, Leia mused. He found a tree to climb.

Her and Han's oldest son's favorite pastime was climbing trees as far up as he could go and pretending they were his very own starship. Balancing on the ends of scrawny branches, yelling with delight as in his imagination he soared through space with his imaginary co-pilot as they bobbled in the breeze.

"Come here," she said to the seven-year old as she put the other twin, two-year old toddler down. "What am I going to do with you?" She asked, as she brushed the dirt off his knees and attempted to straighten his unruly hair.

"I'm sorry, Mom," he said genuinely. "I tried to be careful."

"I know," Leia replied, standing up and looking over him. "Do you remember what you're supposed to do?"

"Of course," he replied, excitedly. And then he raised his arm out, elbow bent as he offered it to his mother.

Leia smiled proudly as she laced her arm through his. She then looked to her brother, who had a slightly more challenging job then her eldest son. "Ready, Luke?" she asked.

Luke was holding Aerye's hand while the little toddler leaned forward with all her weight and strength attempting to pull her uncle in the direction she wanted. "I'm on it," Luke replied tightly, his one arm stretched out holding onto the little girl while he deftly raised one of his legs, allowing the untethered little boy that Leia had just put down to run underneath it and right into Luke's free hand. "Gotcha," Luke said as the little boy turned and attempted to yank his little hand free.

Leia walked forward, arm and arm with Daltyn. "Aerye, stop pulling," Leia ordered. "And Carvyr, behave."

The two toddlers at first ignored the soft spoken directives of their mother as their uncle worked at wrangling them both.

"Enough," Leia said, her voice still soft but with a hardened edge to the single word.

The toddlers froze, looking over to their mother.

"It's time to walk up the aisle, like we practiced," Leia told them.

"I can't want to!" Aerye said with another stomp, although she had ceased pulling on Luke's arm.

"Can't!" her twin brother and co-conspirator added for emphasis.

Leia remained calm. "You promised your sister you would do this for her," she said. "And your father is going to be right behind us. Don't you want to get up to the front first?"

Aerye's brown eyes narrowed with the thrill of competition and Carvyr's hazel eyes widened with the tantalizing temptation of winning at something. Both twins turned toward the exit and began pulling on their uncle to follow them.

"Slowly!" Leia called.

"Encouraging them to race didn't help me much," Luke grumbled as he glanced back at his sister.

"You're doing fine," she said to him as he exited the room and entered the large assembly area.

Leia watched as her two youngest walked up a long, decorated aisle with her brother. She couldn't hear what he was saying, but Luke was whispering to them and they had relented somewhat on their rush forward and were walking mostly at a crisp but measured pace. They were toddlers afterall, and even their hurried steps were a slow crawl for Luke's normal adult stride.

Once the three of them had made it to the front of the room, Leia and Daltyn began to walk up the aisle. Leia's eyes scanned the crowd. It was nice to see so many familiar faces standing and watching as they walked by. Family and friends, some old, some new. Young faces, their expressions full of hope and admiration. Older faces, eyes softened with emotion and mouths curled up with unadulterated joy. They had been through so much, all of them and it was days like this that reminded them of new beginnings and filled them with hope of their future.

Leia reached the front of the room with her eldest son and the pair took their places beside Luke and the twins. Her brother whisked Aerye up into his arms and Leia placed Carvyer back on her hip. Once settled, a triumphant note of music filled the hall and all eyes turned toward the back of the room once more.

Leia spotted the face of her husband first, his tall form towering over the crowd. His expression was solemn and earnest. He still did not enjoy pomp and circumstance in any form, however, this was a day of mixed emotions for everyone - and especially for a father.

Eliza came into her view next. The now twenty-five year-old looking elegant and beautiful in her simple, yet stunning bridal gown. The pair made their way up the aisle in the same fashion as Leia and Daltyn had, their eyes scanning across the faces of all the well wishers in the crowd. Han caught Leia's eyes halfway through their march and winked at her, his face relaxing as he returned her encouraging smile.

When father and daughter reached the front of the room, Han shook hands with Eliza's fiancee, kissed his oldest daughter and watched as she let go of her father's arm and took her soon-to-be husband's in its stead.

Han then walked to stand next to Leia, catching Aerye in his hands as she leapt toward him, escaping her uncle's grasp. He planted a quick kiss on Aerye's chubby cheek and then kissed Leia on the lips.

"You did good," Leia whispered to him, patting her hand against the lapels of his fancy jacket.

"Four kids didn't do it," he replied in a whisper. "But that one handshake sure as heck aged me."

"Growing old is a blessing," Leia replied, thinking of all the faces that weren't in this crowd today. "And we're doing it together and gracefully."

They all watched as the ceremony continued. Eliza was marrying a young man that she had met at university, a member of one of Rydonni's minor houses. Between Han's ties with Corellia, Leia's with Alderaan and now Eliza marrying into a family from Rydonni - their little family was solidifying a true triumvirate between those three systems that had aided in the creation of the planet they now stood on.

Han had completed his term as President of Corellia leaving them well set for the independent future that his inauguration speech had promised. Leia had narrowly escaped the perennial title of queen and instead, to her preference, had served her time as Viceroy as her father had done before her. Once again a Panteer was wearing the Alderaanian Crown and when it came time to name a new monarch it would be decided by vote between the heirs of the four royal houses: Panteer, Organa, Thul and Ulgo.

The brief wedding ceremony culminated in a kiss between Eliza and her new husband as the room erupted with applause. Leia watched as Han cradled Aerye in his arms, hugging her to him more tightly as Eliza and her husband turned away from them and walked back down the aisle arm-in-arm.

Han sighed, looking down at Leia.

"Ready to go?" she asked.

"To this cajillion credit party that I paid for?" he replied, his somber expression turning annoyed. "I don't plan to miss a single phrik-coated timepart."

"There's that old mercenary that I fell in love with."

"What's a mercenary?"

The pair looked down to their seven-year-old son.

"We'll explain later," Leia said as the family began to follow the other guests out of the large room.

"Is it like a bounty hunter?" Daltyn pressed. "Or a Jedi?"

"Not like a Jedi," Luke replied calmly.

"Or is it like a spy?" Daltyn continued.

"Enough questions," Leia replied as they walked out into the open air of the capital city of Appenza and approached their family speeder.

Daltyn frowned and seemed to fall into deep thought for a moment and then his face lit up as he said, "If I stop asking, will you let me drive the speeder?"

Han laughed and ran his fingers across his son's hair. "Now, that's my little mercenary!"

Leia shook her head and smiled as she and Han loaded the twin toddlers into the backseat with their Uncle Luke and then Han, Leia and Dalton slid into the front seat together. The vehicle smoothly drove off to the reception and towards many, many more happy years and memories together.


The (real) END!