Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars. It belongs to Disney and Lucasfilm. This is a purely fan-made story. It was made just for fun, NOT profit. No copyright infringement is intended.
In the months since the destruction of the Starkiller Base, life around the Resistance base on D'Qar had assumed a sort of normalcy. Or rather, as normal as a secret base of freedom fighters could get during a time of intergalactic strife. For instance, Finn, once known as the Stormtrooper FN-2187, had awoken from his coma. He was getting stronger everyday.
When Finn wasn't working on recovering his strength, he could often be found hanging out with his friend, Poe Dameron. Another Finn did with his spare time was use the Holo-net to communicate with his other friend, Rey. Shortly after the incident on the Starkiller Base, Rey had gone off to find Luke Skywalker. She did find him, and she'd stayed with him, to begin her training as a Jedi.
The first time Finn and Rey chatted, neither one of them could contain their excitement over seeing each other again. When Finn had been in his coma, he had a vague memory of Rey talking to him.
"We'll see each other again," she had said. "I truly believe that. Thank you, my friend." She then laid a gentle kiss on Finn's forehead. No matter how much a cynical part of Finn's brain had tried to convince him that this exchange had only been a dream, he knew in his heart that it had actually happened. And he couldn't wait for the day that he and Rey would be reunited in person. Finn was also looking forward to formally introducing Rey and Poe to each other. The scavenger and the pilot had chatted a few times via the Holo-net, and a friendship had already developed between them.
The already strong, albeit, long-distance camaraderie between Finn, Rey and Poe did not go unnoticed by General Leia Organa. Every time Leia spotted Finn and Poe corresponding with Rey, or whenever the young men talked about her, they got so happy. That, in turn, would make Leia happy, too. She had only known Rey for a short time, but she already felt such a strong connection to the girl from Jakku. The scavenger, the ex-stormptrooper and the pilot had become a constant source of light and joy in her life. She was very grateful that the Force had brought these three young people into not only her life, but their own lives as well. It helped her cope with the personal tragedy that had recently impacted her life.
From a strategic standpoint, the destruction of the Starkiller Base had been a success. But something happened there that had deeply and profoundly shaken Leia to her core. The incident played itself over and over again in her mind everyday, even though she hadn't physically been there in person to experience it. The disturbance in the Force she'd felt was so strong, that it had nearly caused her to be violently ill.
Leia's husband, Han Solo, was killed during the mission to destroy the Starkiller Base. That in and of itself was tragic enough. But what made his death even more unbearable was who had committed it.
Han Solo had been killed by his own son. The man who had killed Han was known to the galaxy as Kylo Ren. But to Han and Leia, he would always be their son, Ben Solo.
"If you see our son, bring him home." That's what Leia had told Han before he'd left for his fateful mission to the Starkiller Base. She had come to think of them as famous last words. If Leia had known then what she knew now, she'd go back in time to say something completely different to Han. She knew exactly what she would have told him. But she couldn't go back in time. Han Solo was dead, and he was never coming back.
Leia was busy working one day, when she felt a ripple in the Force, signifying that a ghost had temporarily ascended to the living plain. He brother, Luke, had taught her how to recognize such things. It wasn't Luke's ghost Leia felt, though. She was thankful for that. She just wouldn't be able to bear the thought of her brother dying, especially so soon after she had discovered his whereabouts. Even so, the Force signature Leia was feeling was quite familiar to her.
"Hey, sweetheart," came an unmistakeable voice. Leia turned. She gasped when she saw who was in front of her. It was Han. Leia opened her mouth to speak, but no sound would come out.
"To answer the questions you must have, no, you're not dreaming," Han told her. "And you're also not dead. But I still am, though," he added.
"Then how are you here?" Leia asked, having finally found her voice. "I mean, everyone knows you weren't..."
"Force-sensitive?" Han finished. "Yeah, I know. I had the same reaction when this happened to me after I well, you know, died."
"You didn't answer my question," Leia pressed. "How are you here?"
"I'm actually not all that entirely sure," Han admitted. "What I've been telling myself is that the Force has other plans for me." Leia nodded.
"Have you visited anyone else?" she asked.
"You're the first," said Han. "Hey, is Chewie here?" he asked, referring to his oldest and dearest friend, a Wookiee named Chewbacca.
"Yeah, Chewie's here," said Leia. "I'll comm him if you want."
"Thanks," Han replied as Leia went to comm the Wookiee.
"Just wondering, how long can you remain here in this state for?" asked Leia.
"Until sunset," said Han. Leia looked at her wrist-chrono. They had time.
"Shortly after...your death, we found the missing piece of the map to Luke," Leia told Han. "Rey took it upon herself to find him. Chewie went her. They took the Falcon with them. The day Chewie and the Falcon came back without Rey, I was concerned at first. But then I realized that Rey had decided to stay with Luke and train, as I figured she would."
"Yeah, I know," said Han.
"How do you know all this?" Leia asked with a raised eyebrow.
"One of my favorite things to do now that I'm dead is to look upon the affairs of the living," said Han. "You won't believe how much being dead changes your perspective on life." He flashed one of his famous cocky, lopsided grins. Leia's heart skipped a beat at the sight of it, because Han's smile was something she was sure she'd never see again.
"Yeah, I can imagine," said Leia. "What things have you realized?"
"I've done a lot of reflecting on the irony of my death," Han told her. "What I mean by that is, I was a kid who never knew his father. Then I became a father who was killed by his own son."
Leia stiffened at this remark. When she'd sensed Han's death, she instantly knew Ben had done it, no matter how much she had tried to deny it. Ben Solo had always been a rather troubled young man. But no one could have ever predicted that he would go as far as to kill his own father. The thing is, though, Leia still firmly believed that her son could be saved.
"As strange as it may seem, I actually forgive Ben," said Han. "Just before I fell into the abyss below the oscillator, I had just enough strength left in me to gently caress Ben's face. And in that instance, I swear I saw a glimpse of the boy he once was. Whether I imagined this or not, it gave me solace as I took my last breath." Han cleared his throat. "Just out of curiosity, how did you tell people about my death?"
"The story I've told most people is that you couldn't escape from the explosion in time," Leia replied. "In fact, the only being currently on this base who knows the true story besides myself, Chewie and Finn is Poe Dameron. And that's because after Finn woke from his coma, he told Poe what happened. You do remember Poe Dameron, don't you?"
"Yeah," said Han. "I remembered he was one of the pilots from the briefing. Kes and Shara's kid, right? Even though he'd grown a lot since I'd last seen him, he was still recognizable. His parents would be proud of the man he has become. I keep remembering when Poe and Ben were kids. As close as brothers they were."
"Have you come across Kes and Shara in the afterlife?" asked Leia.
"No," said Han. "Well, at least not yet, anyway. I mean, I haven't even been reunited with my own parents."
"Your parents?" Leia asked in surprise. "You always told me you didn't remember them."
"I don't," Han clarified. "But I know they're in the afterlife. I just haven't run into them yet. I often wonder what it would be like to see my parents again. I say 'again,' because I must have known them when I was a kid. But I just don't remember. Part of me is eager to meet my parents. But another part of me is scared of this possibility. All I know is that I have a lot of questions for my mom and dad. Such as what happened to them? Had they been watching over me all these years? Are they proud of the man I became? And perhaps most importantly, would they even recognize me? After all, I've changed a lot from the little boy my parents once knew as their son. It may sound cynical of me to say this, but there is no child left within me. None whatsoever."
"Oh, I beg to differ," Leia told Han, a knowing smile playing on her lips. It was at that moment that Chewbacca showed up.
"I got your message, General," the Wookiee growled softly. "What can I do for you?" He froze when he noticed Han's ghost. "CUB!" Chewie cried happily. Momentarily forgetting, or maybe not realizing that Han was a ghost, the Wookiee made a motion to hug his best friend, but his long, hairy arms only touched air. "Sorry about that," Chewie grumbled sheepishly. "It's just that I've really missed you"
"Don't worry, Chewie," Han replied easily. "I understand. And I've missed you, too."
"As much I hate to interrupt your touching reunion," Leia broke in, "there's something that I just don't understand. How can Chewie see you?"
"I'm an interesting case as far as ghosts go," Han explained. "The term I've coined for myself is 'non-Force-sensitive Force ghost.' And though the process is a bit too complicated to explain, I underwent some training that allows me to appear to anyone of my choosing, regardless of whether they themselves are Force-sensitive or not."
"Do you want to help me work on the Falcon?" Chewie asked. "It'll be just like old times, Cub."
"I'd love to do that, Chewie," said Han. "I'd love that more than anything. Believe me. But I can't."
"Why not?" Chewie questioned.
"You know that ability I just described?" asked Han. "Well, as of yet, I can only achieve it among small groups of beings. Like, five or six, max. And I don't like to imagine the panic I'd cause at this base if everybody suddenly saw a hydro-spanner levitating in mid-air, seemingly of its own accord."
"I suppose you're right," said Chewie. The Wookiee made to leave, but then he turned back to face Han and Leia."Before I go, I still haven't told Leia about what I did after Ben killed you. Do you know what I'm talking about?"
"I do," said Han.
"What's he talking about?" asked Leia.
"I think it'd be better if Chewie tells you himself," said Han. "But not right now. Some other time, when I'm not here." Chewie left. "How much longer until sunset?" Han asked. Leia looked at her wrist-chrono again.
"About an hour," she replied. She looked up. "Oh, there they go again." Han moved to get a better look at what Leia was seeing. Poe and Finn were sitting at a computer. "No doubt they're talking to Rey, again. It's their favorite pastime."
"Ugh!" Han exclaimed "I forgot to ask Chewie if he would go back for Rey when her training was complete."
"He will," Leia said reassuringly. "He told me he would. I also hope that when Chewie brings Rey back, Luke will be with them."
"Do you think Luke even wants to come home?" asked Han.
"I'm sure he does," said Leia. "You know, in a lot of ways, Finn, Rey and Poe remind me of us, that's you, me and Luke, all those years ago. A trio of the most unlikely friends. Though, something tells me that Finn and Rey might end up becoming more than friends."
"I got that impression, too, during our time together," said Han. "Oh, it's funny how young lovers start as friends."
"Yeah, that is funny," Leia agreed. "Especially in our case. I mean, let's face it. When you and I first met, we weren't exactly on the most friendliest of terms with each other."
"Well, it's hard to be friendly when you're concentrating on a rescue," said Han.
"Is that so?" asked Leia. "Because I seem to recall that during the rescue, one of the things you said about me was, and I quote 'Wonderful girl! Either I'm going to kill her, or I'm beginning to like her!'"
"Well, as I seem to recall, I'd said those words AFTER you'd jumped down the garbage chute," Han countered. "How could you have possibly heard them?"
"Luke told me years later," Leia replied. "In fact, it was actually on the day you and I got married. You remember that day?"
"How could I forget?" Han asked in response. "It was one of the happiest days of my life."
"Mine too," said Leia. She noticed that the sun was finally starting to set.
"Well, that's my cue to leave," said Han. A portal back to the afterlife began to form. Han turned from Leia, and started walking towards the portal.
"Han, wait," Leia called. "I regret not doing this the last time I saw you when you were still alive. There's no way I'm going to pass up the opportunity to do so now." She reached up to kiss Han. She half-expected to only feel air, as had been the case when Chewie had tried to hug Han earlier. But to her surprise, Leia's lips actually touched Han's. It was as real as any other kiss they had ever shared. When the kiss was over, Leia's brown eyes stared deeply into Han's hazel ones.
"I love you," Leia said softly. There was only one thing Han could say in reply.
1. While The Circle of the Force, which was a Star Wars/Lion King crossover, was officially the very first piece of Star Wars fanfiction I've ever written, this story is my first non-crossover Star Wars fic.
2. This is also the very first Han/Leia fic I've ever written. I've been a Han/Leia shipper for about almost as long as I've loved Star Wars itself. I mean, in all the years I've spent reading Star Wars fanfiction, the ones I read most often have all been about Han and Leia. And of all the couples in Star Wars, I always knew Han and Leia were going to be the one I would write about first. The only reason it took me so long to write about them, is that I couldn't think of a good enough idea. But then Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out, and I knew what I had to write about.
3. I may be a lifelong Han/Leia shipper, but ever since I saw The Force Awakens, I've shipped Finn and Rey. And while I set out to write a Han/Leia fic, I thought it was only fair that I add some implied Finn/Rey stuff to this fic.
4. When Han says "There is no child left within me. None, whatsoever," it's a quote that Harrison Ford has actually said in real life. I came across that quote recently, and I just liked it so much, that I felt I had to use it in a fanfic.
5. When Han says "Oh, it's funny how young lovers start as friends," it's a reference to an Elton John song called "Seasons." It's a song that I don't think very many people are familiar with. I mean, I only know of this song because it was featured on an episode of the TV show The Wonder Years. But I like that song, so that's why I used some lyrics from it.
6. The thing Chewbacca is talking about that he hasn't told Leia yet is how he shot Kylo Ren with his bow-caster after Kylo Ren killed Han. I would have added this, but I thought it would be too depressing. However, I am thinking about writing a follow-up to this where Chewie tells Leia what he did.
7. The title and concept for this fic were partly inspired by Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. Anyone who's seen that movie will know that Will Turner would be reunited with Elizabeth Swann for one day until sunset every ten years. Now, I personally believe that Will was freed from his curse after his first ten years as captain of The Flying Dutchman. But I thought the premise of the one day thing would be an interesting idea to adapt into a Han/Leia fic, even though this fic takes place only a couple of months after Star Wars: The Force Awakens, rather than ten years.