AN: I think it's obvious that I don't own Star Wars – if I did a certain something that happened in Episode 7 wouldn't have happened. Speaking of which, MAJOR TFA SPOILERS.
Now that the warning's taken care of, let me just say that I've been depressed as hell since I saw the movie, and I think you can figure out why. I'm literally still crying about it. Not kidding.
"His Last Gift"
The moment wouldn't leave her head. Over and over it played, the pain, shock, and sadness from her husband and the triumph – the triumph from her son. The very last moment when Han's life strand in the Force flickered, followed by nothing. He was simply gone.
She had been sitting on her bunk for maybe an hour, trying to cry. Blinking, squeezing her eyelids, trying in vain to produce a tear for her dead husband, but nothing would come. It was as if her ability to cry had died with Han.
A knock on the door only caused her to slightly look up. She swallowed, breathing several times, clasping her hands in her lap to keep them from shaking. "Come in."
The door slid open and there stood Chewie, his eyes full of tears, sniffling as he gently growled. [Are you all right, Leia?]
How could she ever answer that?
Chewie hesitantly stepped up to the bunk, still sniffling. Why was it so easy for him to cry? [Leia,] he growled, his voice so low that Leia could barely make it out, [I'm so so sorry I couldn't protect him.]
Leia gulped, gazing up into the Wookiee's wet eyes. "It wasn't your fault, Chewie. It was mine. I stupidly thought Han could reach out to our son, and now . . . now he's dead because I was so stupid."
Chewie put his paw on her head. [Don't say that. He believed he could reach out to your son too. You both loved him and there's no shame in that.] He sniffled again before reaching into his satchel. [Here, I have something for you.] He pulled out a small datapad and handed it to Leia. [Han wanted you to have this if he . . . if something happened to him.]
It was as if all of Leia's nerves froze at the same time. She stared down at the blank screen, her breath pulsing, her stomach tightening.
[Well?] Chewie pressed. [Aren't you going to play it?]
Her knuckles whitened as she squeezed the datapad. No, no, she wanted to say. She couldn't play it, not now, not when her husband's death was still so fresh . . .
But there were the Wookiee's tear-filled eyes staring expectantly at her. Whatever was on the datapad, he had already seen it.
"Fine," she whispered, having to draw all her strength to press the button to start the recording.
The screen flashed to life, showing her and Han standing at the alter on their wedding day – herself wearing a long white wedding dress and Han wearing a tan suit. She remembered how he had complained about the suit itching, but in this moment he was gladly bearing it.
"I, Leia Organa, do take you, Han Solo, to be my husband," the Leia in the recording said.
"I, Han Solo, do take you, Leia Organa, to be my wife," said the younger Han in that voice she had always loved to hear, even when he was yelling or being annoying.
The recorded figures, clasped hands, staring into each other's eyes. "In sickness and in health," they said together, "in richness and in poverty, in happiness and in misery, until death do we part, I take you."
Until death do we part . . .
The recording changed to a very pregnant Leia entering their apartment in her senate robes. "Han!" she exclaimed at the camera. "What are you doing?"
"Enjoying the view," said Han's voice from behind the camera.
"Hold on a sec," said Han, after which the camera angle became slightly lower from him putting the camera on a table, then he entered the scene with that familiar crocked grin on his face. "Look kid, here's what your mommy looked like before you were born." He put a hand on Leia's stomach. "So how's little Han Solo Junior anyway?"
The recorded Leia rolled her eyes. "I already told you we're not naming him that."
"Aw, c'mon," said Han. "I bet the kid'll like it."
Leia put her hands on top of her husband's. "I'd rather not call out 'Han!' and have both you and he come running every time."
Han was still grinning. "Hey, feel that?"
"Yes, I always feel it when he kicks."
"Well I think he likes that name," said Han, leaning down to her stomach. "Don't you, kid? You wanna be named after your daddy?" After planting a quick kiss on her stomach, he looked back up at the camera. "Here they are, my two favorite people in the galaxy."
"Oh?" said Leia, shifting her weight from foot to foot. "What about Chewie?"
"Eh, I think he's fine bein' number three."
"He can be number four." Han kissed his wife's cheek and the scene changed again, this time to Leia sitting in a hospital bed, suckling their newborn son, gazing down at him for several moments before she looked up and noticed the camera.
"Han!" she exclaimed. "What the hell are you doing?"
"Preserving this moment for future generations," Han's voice chuckled, again from behind the camera. "After all, it's Ben's first meal."
The present day Leia couldn't help but snicker a little.
"Yes," said the Leia in the recording, "and he'd like to enjoy his first meal without his daddy oogling his mommy."
"Hey, who said I was oogling you?"
Leia gave the camera a half-grin. "So you just happened to want to record me when my breasts are exposed?"
The camera moved closer and again lowered its perspective from Han sitting on the bed. "I'm hurt, sweetheart. You think I don't care about the baby." A hand reached into the recording and stroked the baby's downy head. "Say Ben," he said in a high voice, "your mommy thinks I'm just usin' your first meal as an excuse to record her breasts."
"Okay, okay, I'm sorry."
"Tell ya what," said Han, "you can record me next time I take a shower, kay?"
Now it changed to little Ben sitting in his highchair, his face smeared with orange baby food.
"C'mon Ben," Han was saying, holding up another spoonful of baby food in front of his son's face. "Ooooopen up the hatch, here comes the starship!"
But instead of eating the food, Ben Force-pushed the spoon out of his father's hand, knocking it to the floor, causing Leia behind the camera to laugh, though Leia in front of the datapad felt her stomach tighten.
The scene changed again to Ben when he was around three, sitting barefoot on the floor and playing with a toy Millennium Falcon.
"Ben?" Leia asked from behind the camera, "do you know what that ship's called?"
Ben pursed his lips up at the camera. "Da . . . Mwenum Falcon."
"Yes, that's right," said Leia. "And do you know who owns the big version of that ship?"
The child grinned, a tiny reflection of his father's grin. "Daddy!"
"Yes!" exclaimed Leia. "It's Daddy's ship!"
Then the recording changed to Han and Ben sleeping on the living room sofa, the father's arms around his son. The camera was panning as Leia walked around them.
"Look at them," she whispered. "All tuckered out." She gave a small giggle. "I think someone was a busy little boy today."
Then Han stirred, blinking sleepily as he slowly looked up at the camera. "Leia . . ." he slurred, ". . . what're you doin' . . .?
"Preserving this moment for future generations, of course," said Leia.
Han waved up at the camera. "Turn that thing off and let me sleep," he groaned, closing his eyes again.
"Aww, is someone still tired?"
"Yeah, and you would be too if you were watching this kid all day."
Both the Leia behind the camera and the Leia watching the datapad giggled a bit as the scene changed once more, this time to Ben at age twelve, wearing a brown trainee Jedi robe, his father standing next to him.
"C'mon Ben," said Han, "let's see it!"
"Okay!" said Ben, stepping forward into a Jedi stance as he activated his newly-made lightsaber to the applause of his parents, though the present day Leia shuddered. The blue blade also had the small extensions on the handle . . . just like the red blade that had run through Han.
"So," Han was saying as he pointed to the extensions, "what're these things for, anyway?"
Ben shrugged. "I dunno, I just thought it looked cool. Uncle Luke wants us to be creative, after all."
Present day Leia was having trouble keeping the datapad steady as the scene changed one more time. Now Ben was eighteen, his hair cut short except for a padawan braid dangling over his shoulder. His Jedi robes dangled down to his ankles and his lightsaber now hung from his belt.
"Look how handsome you are!" Leia of the past squealed as she entered the picture. "Come on, give your mother a hug."
Ben obeyed, though with a bit of resistance.
"Mmm . . . my son all grown up . . . my son taking the Jedi trials . . ." Leia murmured.
"Okay," said Han, coming into the scene, his hair starting to gray, but his grin still the same one he'd had all those years, "don't smother him."
"Fine, fine," said Leia, kissing her son on the cheek. "Make us proud, Ben."
Present day Leia's hands suddenly shook so hard that she almost dropped the datapad. The day Ben had taken the trials . . . the day something changed in him . . .
The beginning of the end.
Chewie held out a paw to steady Leia's hands and encourage her to keep watching. After a deep breath, she managed to grip the datapad again as the recording changed for the last time, but now it wasn't to any family memory. Instead, there was only her husband, the years having completely grayed his hair and etched lines in his face, yet still as handsome as ever.
"Leia . . ." he said, blinking at the camera, ". . . I . . . hope you enjoyed that." He cleared his throat. "Well . . . if you're watchin' this, then . . . well . . . I died. Maybe I crash landed one too many times, maybe the First Order or some old enemy killed me, or . . ." He swallowed. ". . . maybe our son got me." He swallowed again. "Or maybe I just died of old age in my sleep . . . I hope so . . . but I gotta feelin' that won't be the case. Maybe it's the Force thing or maybe it's just how the galaxy's gone to shit, but I feel like I gotta make this thing while I still can."
Leia felt like she had lost the ability to blink.
"So . . . anyway," Han continued, "let's get this outta the way first. Leia . . . all that stuff I just showed you . . . I want you to know that I don't regret any of it. Not one bit." There was wetness at the edges of his eyes. "I love you . . . and I love Ben. Always have, ever since he was just a little blob in your womb. No matter what all he's done, I can't make myself hate him." He awkwardly scratched the back of his neck. "Damn . . . this is tougher than I thought. Hon . . . please, don't give up on him. Even if he killed me, don't give up. Kylo Ren can't have completely taken our son. Maybe you can bring him back . . . even if I couldn't."
His image was blurring in Leia's eyes, but still no tears were shed.
"And Leia, don't give up on me, either. I know you probably never wanna see me again, but I want you to know . . . I miss you. So damn much, and I damn well hope I didn't die before we patched stuff up between us."
"Shit," Han was saying, "I hate talkin' about death, so I hope you appreciate this, sweetheart." He swallowed. "Well . . . I dunno if us non-Force-sensitives get an afterlife, but if we do, we'd better be able to see you Force-sensitives there, cause an afterlife without you wouldn't be worth livin' . . . or not livin'." He gave a small snicker. "If we do get an afterlife, I'll be waiting for you, but I hope you won't join me for a long time." He leaned forward, letting Leia see the sincerity in his eyes. "I'm serious, hon, go on livin'. Don't let me bein' dead stop you from bein' happy." He swallowed yet again. "Well, I really, really hope that by the time you get this the First Order will be nothin' more than a memory and we'll be together again with our son, but if that ain't the case, then I'm glad I made this. If you ever find Luke, tell him I said hi. I love you. So so much."
The screen went blank, and Leia stared for several moments at her darkened reflection in the screen that had contained the last precious recording of her husband. Once again it shook in her hands, threatening to drop to the floor, but once again Chewie's hands steadied it. Chewie . . . Leia had forgotten he was even there. She slowly gazed up at him, into those eyes that were still filled with tears for his friend.
[Leia?] he asked.
Without a word, Leia slowly rose to her feet, still gripping the precious datapad, and wrapped her arms around the Wookiee, her husband's face and words pulsing in her mind, blurring together with the final moment of his life.
The tears finally flowed.
In loving memory of Han Solo, 29 BBY – 33 ABY.