HAPPY BIRTHDAY may_child!
I was hoping to get a bit of a pic done for you, but I've had to concentrate on commissions...
Nevertheless, as promised, here is some
...previously on Tatooine
Solo woke and opened his eyes to darkness. There wasn’t a part of his body that didn’t ache and his head was a maelstrom of confusion. Shifting a little, he gauged that he was lying in a bed; could feel the roughness of the bedclothes against his skin, and tried to remember where he was.
He couldn’t, and moved a little more in the hope that it would give him more data without putting himself at risk. There was a body beside him. He could tell by the depression of the mattress and the bedclothes. And, now that he concentrated, he could hear her breathing.
He knew it was her. Didn’t know how he knew, but he was sure.
Solo tentatively moved his arm out from under the bedclothes. The air felt cool and he retreated back into the warmth of the covers, reached out and touched the warm body beside him.
Memories of her in his bunk on the Falcon came to the fore and for a moment he assumed that was where they were. Although it wasn’t usually this dark in his cabin. Maybe the lights had failed? He ignored the painful protesting of his joints as he rolled to embrace her. Pulled her against him and revelled in the feel of her body spooned against his.
The fact that she wasn’t naked flummoxed him a little, but he was slightly reassured when running his hand across her hip enabled him to slide it in underneath the wrap she was wearing.
He slid his hand across her stomach, enjoying the warm, silken feel of her skin as his hand travelled upwards, as well as the anticipation of cupping the delicious, soft fullness of her breast. The breast was fuller than he expected, and much firmer.
Leia stiffened and Solo frowned. He had the distinct feeling he’d forgotten something. Something important.
Her voice was hesitant. Whispering.
"You were expecting someone else?" he rumbled into her hair.
She rolled over to face him and Solo adjusted himself accordingly, straightening his legs and readjusting the covers to accommodate the changes. He still couldn’t see her face in the darkness and voiced his concern.
"Why is it so dark in here?"
Solo felt her hand caress his face and smiled. Then he heard her say, "It isn’t," and felt a deep-seated panic blossom in his gut.
"You have hibernation sickness," she continued, running her hands over his skin and reassuring him with her touch.
It was marginally effective. Solo remained where he was instead of leaping out of the bed in a literal blind panic. Disconnected images were flashing through his brain. Images that were meaningless yet terrifying.
"Your eyesight will return in time."
How much time?
"Where are we?" he asked, unable to disguise the tension in his voice, and heard her sigh.
"We’re still on Tatooine," she said softly.
"Tatooine?!" Now he did sit up. "How the hell did we get to Tatooine?!" What the hell had happened to him and why couldn’t he remember? "I thought we were heading for Bespin!"
There was a long pause, then Leia finally said, "That was over a month ago."
"Vader was waiting for us on Bespin," she explained. "He had you frozen in carbonite and delivered to Jabba."
Solo’s blindness had made him hypersensitive to the inflections in her voice. He could hear the tremor. Something terrible had happened.
"Why can’t I remember?" he demanded.
"You’ve suffered a major physical trauma, Han. It’s not uncommon for there to be memory loss-"
Physical trauma? That explained the pain he was feeling.
"Vader had me frozen?"
"What’d he do to you?"
Solo could hear the evasiveness in her voice. It was definitely not nothing.
"Put me in a cell," she continued. "Luke helped me escape."
"Luke? Where’d he come from?"
"It’s a long story, Han."
She sounded horribly tired, but he needed to know.
“I need to use the ‘fresher,” she said, deliberately changing the subject, and he felt her leave the bed. “Do want to try getting up or would you rather use a bottle?”
“A bottle?” It took Solo a moment to process what she meant, then a wave of disgust settled over him. Just how helpless had he been and for how long?
Leia must have seen his reaction and understood his need for some dignity because she said quickly, “Wait here, I’ll be right back.”
Solo listened to her move out of the room and tried to ignore the stabbing pains in all his joints as he shifted to the edge of the bed. He could hear Leia talking to someone in another room but couldn’t recognise the voice. Damn it, why wouldn’t she just tell him what the hell was going on?
Nearly a month. He had been frozen for nearly a month.
He thought he heard Chewbacca’s distinctive rumble and swung his legs off the bed preparatory to getting up, but he didn’t fancy wandering around naked as well as blind. He heard someone enter the room and, assuming it was Leia, asked, "Why don’t I have any clothes on?"
[They were a mess,] he heard Chewbacca say. [We had to throw them out.]
“Chewie!” he said, relief and delight at the sound of his best friend’s voice tempering his confusion. Had he been frozen fully clothed? Every other cryogenic facility he’d heard of insisted on the patient being naked.
[Hello, cub,] the Wookiee growled affectionately, and Solo felt fabric settle across his shoulders. Catching on, he helped Chewbacca feed his arms into the sleeves of the garment then felt large, strong hands under his arms, helping him to his feet.
Blindness aside, Solo felt the world spin, and was deeply grateful for his friend’s support. But he couldn’t stop himself from hissing as pins and needles, more painful than he had never experienced, shot up his legs the minute he put his weight on his feet.
Determined not to give in, Solo distracted himself from the pain by asking, "Who else is here?"
[Luke and Lando,] Chewbacca replied, helping him walk.
"Lando?!" A bizarre feeling of deja-vous assailed Solo and he paused. What was Lando doing here and why did thinking about his old friend fill him with rage? "Leia-"
“I’m right here, Han,” he heard her say from somewhere nearby.
Then Chewbacca was directing him into the sani, helping him to sit and stopping him from falling off as dizziness took hold once more. Solo groaned; a vague protest at the indignity of needing so much assistance. His head had started to throb.
[It is good to see you up and about,] Chewbacca rumbled softly.
“I feel terrible,” Solo moaned.
By the time Chewbacca was helping him back into bed, the pain had become quite profound and Solo wanted nothing more than to curl up and go back to sleep. But it seemed Leia had other ideas.
"I brought you some water," he heard her say as she sat beside him. "You need to drink."
"I need to know what’s going on," Solo replied tersely, but he sat up a little and let her help him drink.
The water felt wonderful going down, and he emptied the cup. Then it hit his stomach and started doing something nasty. Leia tried to get him to drink more, but he shook his head.
"Han, you have to drink."
"I’ll be fine."
"Han, I don’t have another infuser; you have to drink."
She had used an infuser on him already? Just how sick was he and how long had they been here? Where was here for that matter? Solo let her help him drink again, but made sure he only took a small sip. If anything, the protest from his stomach was even worse this time.
He lay down in an attempt to find some relief, but it didn’t help. Vader had been waiting for them on Bespin. Had captured them. Had Leia been tortured? What had his stupid ship cost him this time? Why wouldn’t she tell him?
Solo groaned into his arms as he felt her caress his back. "Everything hurts," he growled. My body, my head, my heart… What’d he do to you?!
"I’ll get you something for the pain," she said, and he felt her leave the bed.
"That’d be good," he said flatly.
She didn’t go far, and he listened to the distinctive sounds of her charging a hypo with a pressurised cylinder. Felt the cool of the metal as she pressed it against his neck.
"Ow!" he complained irritably as it discharged, then berated himself as she apologised. She was only trying to help him. Maybe the cryogenic suspension or whatever had left him hypersensitive as well as blind? That really had hurt.
[What’s the last thing you remember, Han?]
Chewbacca’s voice seemed to come from a long way away, and Solo shook his head, afraid to answer the Wookiee in case his stomach really started to protest against the water.
"Do you remember landing on Cloud City?" Leia asked.
He shook his head.
"Do you remember leaving Hoth?"
Solo considered for a moment, then nodded. He had started to wonder whether the memories he had of Leia in his bunk were simply wishful thinking, then decided that, from the way Leia had been letting him touch her, they must have been real.
He wanted to reach out to her, but not moving was less painful.
“Leia…” he murmured.
He felt her hands cup his face, almost flinched at the strength of her grip, and her lips met his in a kiss that was anything but gentle. Desperation was the first description that leapt to mind, and Solo wanted to back off a little, but suddenly found himself struggling to get his thoughts into some sort of order. He’d wanted to ask her something and now he couldn’t remember what it was. What had she been saying?
“Painkiller’s kicking in,” he heard her murmur, and Solo wasn’t sure he knew what she was talking about. He tried to respond, but all that came out of his mouth was a sort of garbled grunt.
“Don’t fight it, Han.”
Her voice seemed to come from a long way away, yet he could feel her hand caressing his face.
What a waste, he thought, dimly aware that her lips were touching his again. He’d never been able to comprehend painkillers that just put you to sleep. What was the point if you weren’t awake to enjoy the pain-free time?
Leia felt Solo’s lips go slack beneath hers and moved back a little so she could focus on his face. Studying him, aware of the rhythmic rise and fall of his chest as he breathed, Leia wasn’t sure that the expression on his face was one she could call peaceful. She thought he simply looked unconscious. But at least he was out of pain. For the moment anyway.
Chewbacca rumbled something that she didn’t quite catch, squeezed her shoulder in a reassuring way, then left the room.
Guilt that she had not yet managed to determine or identify whatever it was that had triggered her ability to heal Solo on Hoth assailed Leia once again, and was tinged with panic. Leia knew that fear was her greatest problem. She was afraid of failing, yet even more afraid of succeeding. Afraid of using the Force successfully and falling to the Dark Side in the process. . Why was she able to heal so effectively when Luke, who was far more experienced with the Force, couldn’t? It just didn’t make sense.
Leia lay down and ran a hand lightly along the side of Solo’s face; closed her eyes and listened to the soft rumble of male voices from the room above to stop herself from thinking about it. Turned her thoughts to the child growing inside her.
Divided your attention is. Hard for you to focus will it be.
Yoda had certainly been correct about that. Nevertheless, as Luke was incessantly pointing out, she had healed Solo on Hoth.
"I wasn’t pregnant last time," she mumbled softly, and closed her eyes while she sought out the comforting presence of her daughter. Little Organa-Solo, she thought fondly, mentally caressing the child and using the title the medic, Gizela Shalleron, had given her with some amusement.
Or should it have been Skywalker-Solo? Leia wondered suddenly, opening her eyes and staring at Solo’s profile.
No! she thought defiantly. That would be giving her biological father far more recognition than he deserved! Leia allowed herself a small moment of smug satisfaction; infinitely pleased that her daughter was carrying the name of the man Leia had always considered to be her real father.
Smiling softly to herself, and comforted by the gentle innocence of her daughter, Leia snuggled against Solo and told the child growing inside her, This is your daddy. And, for the first time since they’d rescued him, allowed herself to feel joy that Han was there beside her. Alive.
Half asleep and deep in the flow of the Force, Leia instinctively reached out to Solo and, instead of trying to heal him, satisfied herself with simply loving him.