Everything goes wrong in a matter of seconds.
The Imperial loyalist is quickly apprehended and pressed to the ground, held in place for the binders. The high-powered blaster left abandoned, its muzzle faintly smoking. Luke's chest visibly smokes as well, the fabric of his Jedi tunic scalding-hot.
Han remembers the zigzagging life-readings, glowing sunset-red above Luke's med unit. They heave and load his unconscious body onto it, yelling and steering clear of the frightening, gawking bystanders. He remembers numbness.
There's no anger, no disbelief or sorrow. Luke's heart stutters and then ceases beating, flatlining the readings.
At the same moment, the chrono starts ticking in the back of Han's skull; a metrical, hollow unwinding.
He begins counting in silence.
Han's fingertips are cool, despite the blistering and humid temperature of the planet. Tatooine has the foulest odor, surrounding him immediately in Han's distorting perception, like sand and shit and fresh, hot blood.
It's not enough to stabilize him or to wait, but to jumpstart Luke's heart. The robotic arms inject him with stims, with things that will convulse and awaken Luke's muscles, with surging jolts of electric waves directly on his chest.
Wedge curses no one in particular through his snarling lips. He then curses some deity, pounding a fist to his thigh.
Han's eyes sting painfully, too-dry.
Four hundred, fifty seven.
Luke's flesh grows bone-cold, one of his hands wrapped loosely in Han's grasp.
One thousand, two hundred.
It doesn't feel like mourning. It feels more like drifting away into nothingness, untethered to reality.
A grim-faced Leia arranges the private ceremony on Chandrila, remembering her twin brother speaking the details of a Jedi's funeral. As his father before him, Luke receives the same honour — engulfed in blackening smoke and the flames.
Six hundred and four, eight hundred.
She cries in an empty corridor, hiccuping and gasping, Leia's face burning an ugly, flushed red.
Eight hundred and seven, three hundred, fifty-seven.
Han vanishes, ordering Chewbacca to remain with Leia and the Rebel Alliance. There's no welcoming arms on Corellia, but plenty of beer and lonely, dark rooms. Anger, disbelief and sorrow — crashes into Han's gut, making it difficult to breathe.
Tears streak down Han's cheeks, as he grips a dirtied, old poncho tightly to himself.
Ninety-four million, five hundred and ninety-three thousand, seven hundred, sixty-five.
Finally, the chrono stutters and then ceases its ticking.
Han awakens from his heavy, laborious daze, blinking several times. Artificial, white light floods from the cockpit of the Falcon, as his copilot yawns open-mouthed and kicks up his feet, arms folding comfortably behind his neck.
"Wasn't expecting you for a while," Luke murmurs, eyes lidding, smiling boyishly handsome. He laughs, clear and bright, not protesting or offended when Han reaches over. He knocks Luke's legs off the console.
"If I find anything wrong with her… I'm taking it out of your rear, kid," Han drawls, gesturing with his forefinger.
Luke tilts his head at him, unfolding his arms, meeting gazes. His eyes clear and blue, alive. He tastes warm and savory-sweet on Han's mouth, and Luke kisses him like it's never gonna happen again.
Maybe it won't.
Maybe it will.
The seconds melt away, with Luke's half-smile pressed up against Han's jaw, little puffs of air caressing his skin.
SW isn't mine. ONE OF MY WORST FEELINGS, EVER SINCE ROTJ AND SINCE HAN SOLO OPENED HIS MOUTH, IS THAT LUKE WILL DIE ON TATOOINE. HAN BASICALLY SET THAT IN MOTION BY SAYING THE THING IN THAT MOVIE. This was actually requested/collabed by Liz_Skywalker on AO3 - so the dedication is going to you. IT HAS A HAPPY ENDING ANYWAY? No, Han didn't off himself or anything like that. Luke was more alluding to a broken heart being what may have done it, but you can honestly see it however you want. I KNOW THIS WAS SAD, BUT I HOPE YOU ENJOYED READING ANYWAY! Any comments/thoughts so appreciated!