Finally, I have an update. This is dedicated to all of those fluff fans out there - you know who you are ;) - I hope you enjoy!
After Han had declined their assistance in setting up the holiday tree, Leia and Kief disappeared into the kitchen. A barrage of swear-words and disgruntled howls soon echoed through the halls as he and Chewbacca labored to wedge the Balsama fir through the main door.
Han's godfather increased the volume on the audio system currently playing holiday music, in the hopes of blocking-out the nearby cursing going on, but with little avail. He shrugged at the princess. "Thought it was worth a try."
A tiny grin crawled up Leia's cheeks as she handed a steaming mug of spiced mocha to the older man, pouring herself a cup. "I'm used to it by now – though Han's eventually going to have to clean up his language. I'd prefer to have those words excluded from baby Solo's vocabulary," Leia added, patting her stomach before taking a seat at the rustic wood table. As the conversation in the adjacent room escalated into a shouting match, she took a slow, careful sip from her cup, peeking over the rim with raised eyebrows.
Shaking his head, Kief stirred in more Cascia cinnamon into his mocha and chuckled. "I see that those two still bicker non-stop. Good Maker in Paradise - don't they ever get tired of fighting?"
"Not that I'm aware of. Isn't it comforting, though, to know that some things never change? The only variable is who will end up getting in the last word," Leia revealed with a smile, surreptitiously eyeing what appeared to be some type of pastry in the middle of the table, her stomach growling in anticipation.
"Have you ever had goyenberry strudel? I made it especially for you, since you're eating for two now," Kief clucked happily. Unwilling to take "no" for an answer, he sliced a large piece for the princess, sliding the plate in front of her before she could protest and insisting, "Eat it up, sweetie!"
He didn't have to twist her arm. "I'm not sure if I can eat it all, but thank you - it looks absolutely delicious! Han is always telling me that I need to have more fruit in my diet," she justified with a tiny laugh, reaching for her fork.
"Wait a second...let me get the whipped cream from the cold storage. You need extra calcium, too."
After depositing a large dollop of indulgence on top, Leia swallowed a bite of the sweet strudel, blissfully humming in satisfaction. "This will give me extra energy to decorate the tree."
They sat together on the oversized homespun rug, with Han positioned between her legs, sighing in appreciation. "Oh yeah...a little bit lower. Right there, babe. You've got great hands, you know that, don't you?" he grunted happily, lowering his chin to his chest as Leia's nimble fingers massaged the tightness out of his shoulder blades.
"You've mentioned that to me a few times in the past," the princess smirked before placing a soft kiss against the nape of his neck.
As Leia continued working her magic on his back muscles, the two of them paused their conversation, contemplating in silence the idyllic setting surrounding him.
The plaster and wood-paneled gathering room was quiet, save for the occasional crackling of logs inside the massive stone fireplace, its Mapleton hand-carved mantel dripping with evergreen swags and topped with a myriad of illuminated candles. But the hands-down center of attention was the fragrant, decorated balsama fir heralding in the Winter Solstice season. Tiny strands of lights interweaved through its greenery , intermittently flickering and reflecting their brilliance off the jewel-tone antique glass ornaments that covered almost every branch. The entire effect cast a resplendent, golden glow throughout the room.
Han inwardly congratulated himself for having resisted the urge to turn the initially uncooperative evergreen into kindling. After a bit of "shaping" with a hand saw, they all had enthusiastically participated in its adornment.
But the best part of the evening, as far as Han was concerned, was observing the young girl inside his wife - the girl that had been rushed into adulthood from heartbreaking personal loss and war's heavy responsibilities – emerge again while hanging ornaments and tinsel. The former smuggler's chest expanded and he smiled a wide smile; Leia had been giddy and carefree, trading stories and jokes and had filled the room with her sweet laughter, which warmed his insides more than the nearby roaring fire. He wanted these slivers of normalcy in life, especially for her; moments she could enjoy and savor in the midst of the galactic chaos they were immersed in.
She scooted nearer Han, as close as her expanding belly would allow, folding her arms around his torso and resting her cheek against his bare back. "You did a great job with the lights," the princess grinned, her breath warm against his skin.
"Let's hope they don't burn out - the little bastards are manufactured in shady Outer Rim sweat-shops." Han turned his head sideways toward her with a satisfied smirk. "It took a lot longer than I remembered, getting the tree prepped and decorated, but it was worth it."
Leia agreed with an affectionate squeeze to his midsection. "Tonight brought back some wonderful memories for me...and created new ones, too," she lightly added, the happiness in her voice obvious. "I had so much fun, except for when you nearly had a fit when I climbed up the ladder," she chuckled, finding his over-enthusiastic concern for her and the baby's safety endearing.
"Hey, there was no need for you to take any unnecessary risks like that. Chewie easily reached the top branches," he defensively argued.
The princess emitted an amenable "hmm" and moved on to her next point, unable to resist the opportunity to further push his buttons. "You really selected a beautiful tree, Hotshot - even though you did have to saw a foot off from the bottom," she teased, the last words blending with a poorly muffled giggle.
He turned around to scowl at Leia, but his eyes betrayed underlying amusement at her ribbing. "I knew you wouldn't let that go without some smart aleck comment," Han grumbled before a roguish grin lit up his features, and he challenged, louder than he realized, "Go ahead, Princess. Just say it. I know you're dying to."
She looked at him, eyes sparkling and her lips curling upward into a mischievous smile. "I told you so," she burst out.
Already on his knees, Han swiftly straddled her, trapping Leia between his arms with a wicked laugh. "It's payback time, Sweetheart," he declared, rubbing his stubbly cheeks against her delicate skin and tickling her sides without mercy. She tried to stifle a shriek before breaking into uncontrollable laughter, Han quieting her with a series of kisses that swiftly turned passionate.
His hands searched for the edge of Leia's dark green tunic, slipping underneath to caress her swollen abdomen, groping upward to discover other hidden curves. Reveling in her pregnancy-engorged breasts, Han caressed them at a languid pace before teasing the hardened peaks between his fingers. "Let's start celebrating the season now – how about giving me an early gift?"
"Well, this is the season of giving," she whispered, her own arousal glimmering inside her pelvis while feeling him spring to life against her. "Question is, do you really deserve it?" the princess taunted, her fingers travelling southward to skim along the waist of his Bloodstripes.
"I've been a good boy this year," Han insisted adamantly, his manhood growing larger and harder in anticipation of being buried deep inside her, hopefully very soon.
"Actually, you've been excellent," Leia giggled, her hand eagerly groping the large bulge tenting out his pants.
Han lowered his mouth to hers for another persuasive kiss, wasting no time in pulling her leggings and panties down simultaneously in one swift yank. As he sucked the flesh at her pulse point, Leia hazily gazed toward the open-air doorway with a sense of propriety suddenly poking at her mind. She caught her breath and gasped. "Wait, Han. We can't do this here!"
"Sure we can," Han chuckled against the princess' neck, his lips working their way across the edge of her jaw to nip at her earlobe. He ground his surging erection against Leia before his fingers crawled up her legs, smirking at the luscious wetness his fingers found at the apex of her thighs.
Leia arched against his masterful touch, a soft whimper of pleasure escaping her lips, but garnered his attention with a tug to his hair. "What if Kief or Chewbacca come in here and see us?" she questioned warily. "That would be..."
He interrupted her with a ragged intake of air and a lecherous grin. "They won't. I told them we wanted to enjoy some private time by the tree tonight, and to only come downstairs if the place catches on fire."
She gaped at Han, blinking slowly. "So that's why they both disappeared after dinner faster than a couple of Jawas with hot merchandise," Leia thought out loud. The princess stifled a giggle and winced, blushing a pretty shade of pink that was noticeable even in the muted light. "My Gods, Han, you're incorrigible."
"You're gorgeous," he drawled huskily with a lopsided grin that seemed to affirm her assessment of him. "Sweetheart, let's make another holiday memory under the tree. NOW." Han's playful demeanor transformed into one of primal urgency. He freed himself from the confines of his pants and boxers with an almost tortured moan, his erection rock hard and swollen to the point of pain.
Gazing at her husband's magnificent naked form, any of the princess' remaining inhibitions dissipated as another wave of desire rippled through her body. Leia grasped the edge of her tunic and pulled it over her head, discarding it beside her with a dulcet smile.
Han pulled her onto his lap, smothering her with a barrage of voracious kisses while his hands quickly rid Leia of her bra. She moaned into his mouth as they descended onto the soft rug, a tangle of arms and legs.
The love radiating between them was both overwhelming and completing, as their hands and mouths stroked and touched and tasted every centimeter of each other's skin at a frenzied pace, until finally Han plunged into her. Leia was more than ready as he filled her to the hilt, driving them to fulfillment with the sounds of her cries and his moans filling the room. She fell over the edge into ecstasy and he jumped after her, bodies collapsing together, slick from sensual release.
Brushing a damp swath of hair from Han's forehead, Leia whispered her love for him as he cradled her face, thumbs stroking the apples of her flushed cheeks with a look of pure adoration. They shared a few tender kisses before the noticeable movement of their son – wedged between them while growing inside her - drew Han's attention. His eyes widened, the sensation eliciting a broad grin.
"I take it you felt that, too?" the princess questioned with a joyful smile, guiding his hand between their bodies to her abdomen.
Han nodded in wonder, gently pressing his palm against the squirming baby inside her. "That's my boy," he beamed proudly before shifting off of Leia, his arms pulling her closer and surrounding her in a secure embrace. He touched his lips against her temple in continued amazement at how lucky he was. "You've given me so much – Gods, I love you," he murmured, his voice thick with emotion. Despite all the struggles they would return to soon, at least for the moment, all was right in the universe. "Merry Solstice, Sweetheart."
She kissed his chin, then nuzzled into his chest with a sleepy grin. "Merry Solstice, Flyboy."
Belated Happy New Year! - And if you're in the mood, please review; I just love those!