Due to demand, I am going to start posting what I have written of the next part of my SW fanfic. The story arc that started with 40Days, followed by One Night on Bespin, then Family Matters. This new chapter is currently (and so cleverly ;~P ) titled Tatooine, and yes, you'll need to have read the others first.
I'll admit to a great sense of trepidation at doing this. I have never yet posted a fic as a WIP. Fortunately I have quite a bit of this written already, so I'm hoping the pressure will kick my Muse back into gear.
Oh, and while I think of it, it's probably worth an M rating so far. Not sure what the American equivalent to that is.
Ok... *takes deep breath* let's go...
Leia Organa had never been to Tatooine. Luke had described his home planet to her several times in the past and she had assumed his recollections to be coloured with negativity because of his unhappy experiences there. In the same way, she realised she now remembered Alderaan a little too glowingly because she’d been so fond of it. But, as she walked down the Falcon’s ramp into the dry, baking heat, Leia came to the swift conclusion that Luke’s previous descriptions of his homeworld had been generous.
Tatooine was horrible.
She was wearing simple clothes; a shirt and a pair of brown trousers, yet, despite the looseness of the fabrics, felt herself break out in a sheen of perspiration before she’d even reached the bottom of the ramp. And, a moment later, she was being pestered by flies. She swatted them away, irritably, and looked at her brother. Luke was wearing loose clothes as well and, had the dark cloak he was wearing over them not been such a refined weave, he would have blended perfectly with the natives.
Their departure from the Alliance had been surreptitious and unannounced. Largely thanks to the unpredictability of the Millennium Falcon’s regular captain, who would often take his ship out whenever he felt like it. By the time it was realised that the Millennium Falcon was doing something it was not supposed to be doing, they were out of the hangar and in hyperspace a few minutes later.
They had landed the Falcon in Mos Eisley under the name Sunfighter Franchise, but both suspected it would soon be recognised. Leia just hoped it wouldn’t bring them too much trouble. Unconsciously she ran her hand over the blaster she was wearing on her hip, and was comforted by it.
She had insisted Luke wear Han’s mother’s lightsabre and was surprised at how uncomfortable it made her feel watching him attach it to his belt. Leia had seriously come to think of it as her unborn daughter’s lightsabre, and seeing Luke wearing it was irritating. Luke was eager to make his own lightsabre, of course; had wanted to go to Ben Kenobi’s old house before going to Jabba’s so he could make himself a new one. Leia, loathe to spend any time at all not rescuing Han, had convinced Luke to wait until they had rescued Han by insisting he carry this one.
A full throated roar from the entrance to the docking bay had both Luke and Leia reaching for their weapons, then Leia recognised the voice and looked at the hairy behemoth bearing down on them with disbelief.
Disbelief was rapidly subsumed by bittersweet joy as she was swept off her feet and into the exuberant embrace of the Wookiee, an embrace she returned wholeheartedly. How the Wookiee had escaped and got to Tatooine, Leia couldn’t imagine, but his presence was more welcome than she could ever have imagined. Chewbacca attempted to set her back on her feet but she clung to him, overcome by emotion. It was as though, with Chewie here, their chances of getting Han back unharmed had suddenly increased a hundred fold. Because how could there be a Chewie without Han?
The Wookiee was murmuring soft assurances; talking to her, but Leia was too overcome to make sense of his language. Finally she pulled herself together, wiped the tears roughly from her face with the heel of her hand, and disentangled herself from his arms.
"Sorry," she croaked.
"How did you-?" Luke started to ask and Chewbacca cut him off with his reply.
Leia smiled weakly and translated, "He says he’d know the sound of the Falcon anywhere. He heard it come in and was coming to kill whoever was flying it." Running her hand over the Wookiee’s fur as though afraid that he would vanish if she stopped touching him, Leia looked at him and asked, "How did you get here?"
[Prisoner transport,] the Wookiee told her, then added wryly, [Destined for Kessell.]
Their mutual tales of escape would have to wait, Leia hurriedly decided and asked, "Has Fett delivered Han to Jabba?"
Chewbacca nodded. [Lando is there,] he said, then clarified, [At Jabba’s Palace.]
Leia felt her gorge rise and had to force it down. "Lando?" Then reminded herself that Solo and Chewie had spent time smuggling with Lando in the past. Chewbacca was well aware of the man’s limitations and would not have sent him out there if he didn’t think Lando could do the job.
[I was too recognisable,] Chewbacca explained. [I heard from Lando that Jabba has left Han in the slab and has it hanging on his wall.]
"Han is still frozen," Leia translated for Luke.
[We thought it preferable to get him to a medcentre before releasing him from the carbonite,] Chewie said, and she could hear the frustration at having to wait in his voice. [Lando is waiting for the right time to steal him out from under Jabba’s nose,] the Wookiee added.
"Steal him?" Leia said with disdain.
[You have a better idea?]
No, Leia admitted to herself, she didn’t. In fact her plan had probably been along similar lines. But hearing it as Lando’s plan left her predisposed to consider it stupid.
"Stealing Han out from under their noses is probably our best option," Luke put in. "I can use the Force and they’ll forget we were ever there."
Leia frowned at him, reminded of the way Luke had got them off Vader’s Super Star Destroyer. Something Vader had taught him. Manipulating sentient minds like that surely had to be a Dark Force thing? Yet, if it allowed them to walk in and out of Jabba’s palace uncontested, Leia was not about to quibble. Despite Yoda’s warnings to the contrary, Leia felt confident they could worry about light and dark sides of the Force later.
"I have medication and stuff to revive him if necessary," Leia told him, indicating her pack.
[Lando has some too,] Chewbacca said. He regarded them both for a moment then smiled hellishly and said, [Shall we go?]
Leia nodded and said for Luke’s benefit, "Let’s go." She started towards the entrance to the docking bay and Chewbacca fell into step beside her.
[There is a regular skiff transport out to Jabba’s at sunset,] he told her. [As far as the skiff crew is concerned we’ll be just another bunch of supplicants, but Jabba will recognise me.]
"Not if Luke can hide you," Leia said, but the look she caught from the Wookiee told her that he thought Luke might be placing too much trust in his use of the Force.
"Leia," Luke said, and she stopped to look back at him. "A word?" he asked, indicating that he wished to speak to her alone.
Wondering what Luke wanted to tell her that he thought Chewie shouldn’t hear, Leia threw the Wookiee a look of apology and indulged her brother.
"What is it?" she asked closing the distance between them.
"Maybe you should stay here?" he suggested carefully.
"What?" Leia said, and wondered if he’d lost his mind. "What for?"
"This is going to be dangerous, Leia," he said, then added. "And it’s not just yourself you’re risking."
Outrage washed over Leia and she opened her mouth to retort, then reconsidered as the outrage settled into deep affront.
"Have you finished?" she said darkly.
"If Chewbacca knew you were pregnant there is no way he would let you go," Luke told her quietly.
Aware that Luke was threatening her, Leia didn’t know what to say. She settled for giving him a fierce glare then walked back and fell into step with the Wookiee. Chewbacca gave her a querying look and she dismissed it with a shake of her head.
and on to the next bit...