Hello readers! I hope you all enjoy this final chapter!

Thank you to my guest reviewers, SheShe88 and cass, for your kind words!

Also, my heartfelt gratitude goes to JCBS for all her suggestions and to my husband for his support!

Chapter 3: New

Despite his exhaustion, Han could not take his eyes off the vision before him. Leia sat propped up in her hospital bed, her matted, unruly, semi-braided hair a testament to the monumental task she had accomplished. Illuminated by morning sunlight, she gazed at the small swaddled bundle in her arms.

"Beautiful," Han murmured. He leaned forward in his chair and touched a little palm, letting tiny fingers capture his pinky. Dark blue eyes found his own and he felt as if his heart couldn't grow any larger.

"She is, isn't she?" Leia whispered.

"Yeah." Elated. Smitten. Incredulous. Over the moons of Corellia. All these descriptors were pertinent, yet vastly inadequate. Han knew no single, accurate term or phrase for his feelings at the moment. Even love wasn't a strong enough word.

Occasionally, upon stepping back to observe his own life, Han still found the story hard to believe. A princess an' a guy like me had worked. The spirited royal who'd first barked at him for a poorly planned escape and then told him to leap into a trash compactor, had chosen him, a smuggler with a death mark, and he had chosen her. Some naysayers had deemed their unlikely relationship simply a shipboard fling, with ardent yet temporary passion that would dissipate once the novelty had faded. It hadn't been easy, but they had defied the odds and expectations. Adversity and unfathomable loss had brought them together, and through facing challenges as a team, they had developed a steadfast bond that never seemed old. And now this fourth little one had joined their family. "Our newest adventure," Han remarked quietly.

"Think we're ready? It's going to be chaotic." Leia smiled at their baby. "But you are going to help Mommy and Daddy by being a good sleeper. I just know it."

"How 'bout that, Brehana? You gonna help us out?"

Brehana blinked, then opened her mouth in a yawn.

"Well, whaddya know… the power of suggestion! I have a good feeling about you!" Han wiggled the finger Brehana was holding, and when she let go, he gently poked her button nose. Looking at Leia, he continued to speak. "An' we're ready as we're gonna be. No returns, no exchanges." He grinned mischievously. "Gonna get interesting."

As if it wasn't interesting already. Having endured so much loss, Han and Leia had wanted a large family, something neither had experienced growing up. But twins plus a third in a short period of time had presented quite a challenge. When Anakin had started crawling, Han determined that parenting had morphed from man-to-man to zone defense, in smashball terms. Three small children were more than enough, and Han and Leia were harried, but content. Before they knew it, seven years had passed.

You know," Leia commented. "We haven't been out of the little-kid stage for that long. Remember when Anakin ate the data chip? That wasn't even a year ago."

Han cringed. Oh yeah. That was fun, especially the aftermath. He shrugged. "Like I said, he'll make a good spy someday!"

"So what I'm saying is that we aren't that out of practice." Suddenly, Leia's eyes widened. "Oh! Time to eat!"

Han noticed that Brehana had turned her head and pressed her face to her mama's chest. Leia opened her hospital gown and placed a nipple in her baby's open mouth. Brehana suckled twice, then tore away and let out a high-pitched cry.

"What happened?" Although Han had watched her nurse their other children, there were some things he couldn't discern without asking.

"Latch isn't quite right," Leia replied as she made another unsuccessful attempt to nurse their baby. She grimaced, then said calmly, "It's OK, little one. We'll get this right."

Han knew what Leia wasn't saying. She was exhausted and uncomfortable. Hells, after three hours of pushing a human out of her body, just sittin' probably hurts. But what can I do? Then he remembered the special curved pillow they used to have for that particular purpose. He stood and scanned the room. "Ah… must've left it." Room pillows weren't an option, as Leia was propped against one, its softness cushioning her back from the hard mattress. The other lay in a corner, having been doused in a rather unfortunate yet completely predictable diaper changing incident. He strode to the door and stepped into the hallway.

Something hit his foot and squeaked. What in nine hells? Han looked down to see a mouse droid back away, then dart diagonally across the hall, barely missing two young Twi'lek children and a smiling older couple, also Twi'lek, who had just stepped out of a room to his right.

"Hey! Droid!" he called out. If droids can take breakfast orders, then they can take bedding orders.

The droid stopped, then turned toward Han again.

"Room 216…" he began when he heard giggling followed by a yell. Looking up, he saw both kids break away from their guardians, then chase the squealing droid past him, bolting around the corner and toward the nurses' station. The man called out to them in a language Han assumed was Ryl, but the kids kept going.

Runnin' like hungry Wookiees after fresh meat, Han thought as the woman dashed by, giving what he believed was a sheepish smile and wave before she rounded the corner in hot pursuit.

He laughed to himself. Grandparents, probably. Good thing she's spry, 'cause soon they'll have another one to corral. Hope we get to see those days ourselves…

A picture of Leia as a grandmother formed in his imagination, her long silver-streaked braids trailing behind her as she chased several little ones and scooped a giggling toddler into her arms...

"Han?" Leia's voice garnered his attention.

Han turned toward his wife, who was struggling to adjust an alternately nursing-then-shrieking Brehana. OK. We need a Plan B. He ran a hand through his hair, and his eyes lit on the purple backpack they had used as Leia's overnight bag.

Raising a finger, Han announced, "Got it! Just a sec." He then opened the pack, pulled out his extra t-shirt, and stuffed the remaining clothing into the shirt.

He felt laughter rise in his chest as he presented his creation to his wife. Seems ridiculous, but I bet it works.

Leia grinned, then lifted a still-fussing Brehana to her shoulder, while he placed it on her lap. She began to lower their baby to the makeshift pillow when Han stopped her.

"Hang on. Not right yet." He arranged the cushioning so that it encircled her abdomen, then fluffed it. With a final pat, he stepped back. "There ya go!"

Han watched as Leia cradled Brehana in her arms, now supported by Han's handiwork, Leia again offered her breast. Brehana took it and began to feed.

His wife glanced up at him. "You're very good at attending to my needs," she acknowledged with a soft smile.

"Hey, my girls gotta be comfortable. Both of 'em. And I know you've never liked stuffed shirts but at least this one isn't that obnoxious senator from Socorro."

A look of disgust crossed her face as she crinkled her nose. "Please no. Don't remind me," she groaned. "This stuffed shirt serves a purpose. It doesn't need to brag continuously about dubious, lackluster accomplishments." She smiled down at their daughter, now nursing peacefully. "Its usefulness is quite clear."

Han caught Leia's gaze as she lifted her eyes. "Thank you, Han."

Leia's dulcet voice, even raspy with fatigue, sounded strong to Han's ears, reminding him of incidents too numerous to count of his wife's unwavering determination during difficult circumstances. She survived Imperial torture an' then took charge of her own rescue, blastin' stormtroopers like a sharpshooter... She marched into Jabba's palace to save me. An' then she killed the Hutt while still chained to him… He'd thought of those events and others many times over the years, marveling at his wife's courage and being eternally thankful for her survival.

Han knew that birth certainly was less risky than so many of her other accomplishments. Still, an unbidden image of what could have happened to Leia and Brehana flashed through his mind. Although the possibility had been infinitesimal, he felt sick with just the thought of losing either of them.

Yet, here she was, tired, yes, but most of all, healthy and strong while caring for the youngest and most vulnerable member of their family. Relief and gratitude coursed through his veins and flowed into his muscles, as Han again took a seat beside the bed. Placing a hand on Leia's shoulder, his gaze was drawn to her profile and her gentle smile at their Brehana. Transfixed by the beauty of his beloved wife as she fed the tiny life they had created, Han felt his voice catch.

"Naw, Sweetheart." He cleared his throat. "Thank you."