Journeys and Destinations
Chapter One: An Invitation
Ambassador Leia Organa Solo sat at her desk staring at her holoscreen. The words on the screen were written by her brother, an invitation to join him at their mother's home world of Naboo and meet their recently discovered relatives. Her eyes moved away from the screen and landed on the window overlooking Coruscant. Lost again in her thoughts, Leia exhaled heavily and dropped her eyes down to her hands resting on the input terminal. She began typing her response for the fifth time today:
Things on Corsucant are very busy right now and I don't think it's the best time for Han and
She closed her eyes and shook her head, her fingers stilled once again. Opening her eyes she found the delete key and held it down as she watched her words disappear. She straightened herself up in her chair and quickly typed:
Yes, we'd love to join you on Naboo. As soon as I have my itinerary I will
Again, the invisible, duracrete wall shot up in front of her and the right words refused to come. Finding the delete key once more, Leia erased her latest entry, disconnected her datapad and left her office for the day.
As soon as she palmed herself into their apartment, the sight of an old friend immediately perked her up.
"Chewie!" she exclaimed as she made her way into the living room where Han and the Wookiee sat.
Both Han and Chewie rose from their seats as Leia approached them. First she stepped into a big hug from the towering Wookiee and then accepted a quick kiss from her husband, before they all sat back down and visited for awhile.
"How long are you on Coruscant?" Leia asked.
[I'm here for the Galactic Counsel meeting as a representative from Kashyyyk. I arrived a couple of days early so that I could check up on you two.]
"I heard that you were unanimously elected, congratulations," Leia offered with a warm, proud smile.
[Thank you. It seems some good has finally come out of the time I spent with Han. I've become quite famous now.]
"I told you I'd never steer ya wrong, buddy. See, my master plan has finally started to come together," Han joked.
"Well, whatever recognition you are receiving is certainly well-deserved," Leia responded before adding, "both for your bravery, of course, and for putting up with Han for that long."
[Yes, well it certainly was a pleasure to pass that torch on to you, Princess.]
"Alright, that's enough, you two. I don't think we all want to start comparing notes on who's the hardest to live with."
Leia exchanged a knowing glance with Chewie as they silently agreed to let that topic lie, both knowing that Han had ample dirt on the two of them to at least give them a run for their money on that debate.
"Should I cook, or do we want to go out for dinner?" Han inquired as his wife and his friend turned their attention back to him.
"I'll let Chewie decide. I'm up for either," Leia offered as she turned to look at Chewbacca.
Chewie hesitated a moment and then looked over to Han and replied, [A quiet dinner with just the three of us sounds good, as long as you don't mind cooking.]
"No, not at all, buddy," Han replied with a smile as he stood up, excused himself and disappeared into the kitchen.
Leia and Chewie visited while Han cooked dinner. As Ambassador-at-Large, Leia was interested in Chewie's unadulterated opinion of the New Republic. Chewie, after spending months leading Kashyyyk's military on a quest to find and free enslaved Wookiees, had returned to his home planet and been elected as their political representative to Coruscant. His passion for his people and his realistic view of the capabilities of any galactic government were refreshing to the embattled Ambassador.
Leia was finding it more and more difficult to cower to the necessary evils of big government. Although the New Republic was by far an improvement from the tyrannical Empire they had overthrown, no large scale administration could escape its share of bureaucracy and Leia had found herself right smack dab in the middle of what seemed to be the worst of it.
As she spoke with Chewie, she envied his position. There was no doubt for him whom or what he was fighting for. When his starship touched back down on Kashyyyk, there would be millions of friends and family, names and faces that he would have to answer to. He carried an agenda not only in his datapad, but in his heart, mind and soul. The rights, freedoms and support that he fought for would benefit his people, his children and himself.
Stoking the passion from within her in the name of the New Republic alone was becoming increasingly difficult for the Princess. That fire had been dwindling almost since the day her starship touched down on Coruscant. The transition from Alliance Rebel to New Republic Ambassador had been a bittersweet one.
The culmination of years of hard work and suffering, it was a great success and accomplishment finally realized. Yet, her greatest achievements had not come from toppling figureheads or exploding Death Stars. They had come in the form of the Wookiee sitting across from her right now, a husband cooking dinner in the kitchen a couple of meters away and a brother traveling the galaxy a million parsecs from here. All else paled in comparison and she continually struggled to find the right balance between her new home life and the passion for her work that she had always been known for.
After dinner and a couple of drinks, Chewie retired to one of their guest rooms and Han and Leia to their bedroom. Once Leia had completed her nightly routine, she joined Han in their large bed as he watched the holonews.
Snuggling into the crook of his arm, Leia nestled her head on her husband's chest and said, "It's so nice to see Chewie again."
"Yeah," Han agreed as he wrapped his arm around his wife and gave her a squeeze.
Leia felt her chest tighten and her eyes get moist. Why sometimes at the slightest, simplest displays of affection did she get so worked up, she didn't know. It was as if the love she felt from her husband expanded inside of her to the point of bursting.
Without saying a word and without as much as a sniffle on her part, Han – in that innate way he had at reading her – reacted to her silence as he asked worriedly, "Hey, what's wrong?"
"I received a letter from Luke," she said, the words spilling out as they had a tendency to do around Han.
"He's been to Naboo," she replied and then lifting her head up off of his chest, she propped herself up on her elbow and looked at him as she continued, "he wants us to meet him there. To meet…our relatives."
"Yeah, oh," she replied absently as she turned towards the holoscreen and watched a reporter talk about the escalating crime rate on Coruscant.
She looked back at Han and replied, "I haven't answered him yet."
"What do ya want to do?"
She looked down at his chest and then lowered herself back down to rest her head on him as she sighed and confessed, "I don't know."
Han took his hand and rubbed it up and down on her back as he stated simply, "Talk to me."
She lifted her hand and placed it on Han's chest and as she watched her fingers trail circles on his sternum, she answered, "I want to go…"
"But, I'm afraid."
"Of what I'll find. Luke assures me that everything is wonderful and she was wonderful and they're all wonderful, but history tells me…"
"Hey," Han said as he took his hand and tugged at her chin. When she looked up at him he continued, "Everything about your past doesn't have to be horrible."
"I know," Leia agreed as she shook her head and then looking down at her hands she confessed, "And she was actually someone I idolized, that I mirrored my aspirations after…you would think that this would have been a dream come true for me."
"Maybe it is. You can't spend your life waiting for the other shoe to drop."
Looking back up at him she countered, "I can't go around unprepared for what I might find, either."
"Whatever you find doesn't change who you are. We've been through that, Leia."
"I know," she said quickly as she leaned into him and gave him a kiss. What she had already put this man through and how he continued to hang around never failed to amaze her.
"And hiding from it doesn't change it either. You've never been one to run away from anything."
"Hmph," she grunted with a smile, "Except you."
"Nah," he contradicted her with a smile and a squeeze of his arm that was wrapped around her, "You mighta tried pushing me away, but you could never stay away from me for too long."
"Yes," she said as she leaned into him, "you're like…" Raising her eyes to look up at the ceiling while she searched for the right word, she looked back down at him with a big smile and whispered, "Spice."
He grinned at her and pulled her to him as he said, "Well, if you mean that I'm expensive, illegal and make you crazy, then yes, I am."
"No, I meant that you're addictive," she said as she dragged her leg up his side and leaned further on top of him, "you make my heart race," she added as she nibbled at his ear, "and that you drive me crazy."
"I'll go with that," Han agreed as he turned her over to lie on top of her, gave her a wicked grin and then lowered his mouth to hers for a deep, passionate kiss.