Han had just gotten back from checking over the new ship when Leia greeted him at the door. It wasn't like her to be waiting for him. Generally, her schedule was so full that he had to look for her when he got home if he wanted to see her. He noticed immediately that she looked anxious.
"Hey," he said, "What's wrong?"
"I," she cleared her throat, "something's happened, and you're going to be angry."
"Okay," Han said slowly, letting the door slide shut behind him.
"Let's sit down." Leia started walking toward the living room, but instead of sitting she moved to the bar and poured them each a measure of Corellian brandy.
Han sat down on the couch. He was starting to feel anxious himself.
Leia handed him his drink and then looked at the furniture as if she couldn't decide where to sit. She finally settled on the chair across from him.
"Okay. I just want to say up front I had no idea this was going to happen."
Han looked at her. "Will you stop dancing around? What's going on?"
Leia blew out a steadying breath. "I was talking with the accounting team the other day." She didn't say anything else.
"The subject of marriage came up."
"Potential marriage. They were talking about legalities."
"Legalities?" Han took a sip of his drink. "What sort of legalities?"
"Well, as I understand it, any potential husband would have to be free and clear of any heirs that might make claim to the Alderaanian funds in the event of my death."
"What if they're your heirs too?"
"Any children of mine would be heir to those funds. I'm talking about children my husband might have with another woman."
"Are you asking me if I have any kids?"
"Because I don't. I was married once, but we didn't have kids. We were practically still kids ourselves."
"I know, but…" She looked away from him and took a long drink from her glass.
Han had a sinking feeling. "What, what have you done?"
Leia looked up at him. "I didn't do it. I didn't initiate. I didn't even imply that they should do this. I was furious with them for invading your privacy without your express consent."
"Apparently, some of the accountants took it upon themselves to do a check on you to see if you had any heirs. Their assumption was that due to our current living arrangement you were likely to, you know."
"Ask you to marry me."
"So they did an investigation on me?"
Han stood up and blew out an angry breath. "Okay," he said, pacing. "This does piss me off. It pisses me off because it's none of their damn business. It pisses me off that they didn't just ask me. It pisses me off that you didn't bother mentioning that you'd even had this conversation."
"Han, it's somewhat awkward to bring up the subject of marriage without sounding somewhat presumptuous."
"Leia, we've talked about marriage."
"In the abstract yes, but I didn't want you thinking I was going around talking about it with other people. They brought it up."
Han took another long drink. He cracked the joints in his neck and sat back down. "You know what. Screw them. So they did their investigation. Fine, now they know I don't have kids. Case closed. It's not your fault."
"Well…" Leia looked positively ill.
"What?" Han sat his drink down. "What?"
"They found an heir, a son, or at least they found a birth certificate that lists you as the father."
"It's got to be a different Han Solo. Solo isn't that common of a name, but it's not like I'm the only one. I'm sure there's at least one other Han."
"That could be." Leia reached for a data pad that was sitting on the coffee table. "It would be simple enough for you to look at the mother's name. If you don't know her, well, that's that."
Han took the pad. "Fine, but you should know that if I had a kid, I'm not the kind of asshole who wouldn't take care of it. Come on, you know me…" he glanced down at the mother's name. "Jessa?"
Leia put her hand over her mouth.
"This has to be a mistake."
"You've never slept with her."
"No, I mean, yes, I have, but…this isn't right. She would have told me. Besides, she had an implant. I know she did. This isn't right."
"Look at the date."
"See, look here, the kid's five years old. I've been with the rebellion for more than five years, so it couldn't have been me. It's been probably six years since I've even seen Jessa."
"Could it have been five years and nine months?"
"Leia, this is not my kid. I don't know why she would have listed me as the father, but I'm not."
"So you didn't have sex with her the last time you saw her."
Han looked at her. "Um."
"Han we have to be 100 positive. Actually, the accountants are pushing for a DNA test if we ever do want to get married."
Han took her hands in his. "I do want to get married, but I'm telling you I don't see how this could be my kid."
"We need to be sure."
"Look, Jessa and I had a very casual thing. She was part of a group of outlaw techs that worked for her dad. I took the Falcon there when she needed major repairs that Chewie and I couldn't handle on our own. Now don't get me wrong, I liked Jessa, we got along and all, but it was casual."
"But you were sleeping together."
"Occasionally, like maybe once a year. Probably what happened is that one of the techs knocked her up, she didn't want her old man to kill him so she put my name down as the father. I'd disappeared with you guys by that time so she probably figured me for dead and gone."
"We still have to be sure."
"Leia, what do you want me to do? Show up at her door and ask to have some of her son's DNA so we can do a test?"
Leia looked down at her fingers. "Yes, that's what I want you to do."
"Oh, shit." Han stood, furious with the suggestion.
"Fine, then we won't get married, okay? Situation settled." Leia picked up the data pad and made to go back to her office.
"Wait a minute. That's it? I do this or you'll never marry me?"
"Do this or I can't ever marry you. That's not the ultimatum it sounds like. I don't really care if we get married. I have no intention of ever leaving you. Whether or not we're married makes no difference to me. I love you. This was a horrible invasion of your privacy. I completely understand your reluctance to confront this woman. I'm fine with that decision." She touched his cheek. "I should get back to work."
Han watched her walk back to her office. "But I already bought the ring," he said to the empty living room.
It was two days later when Han and Chewie took off in the Falcon to find the outlaw techs. Leia didn't ask and Han didn't tell her where they were going, only that he was going and would be back within the week. It turned out to be easier than he expected to find the techs. An old contact from the Corporate Sector knew exactly where they were.
It was with a great deal of trepidation that he requested to land. They got their clearance without any difficulty, which made Han suspicious, but he couldn't tell if it was suspicion based on instinct or just nerves.
"Keep an eye out, okay Chewie. I got a bad feeling about this."
Chewie grunted his agreement.
There were techs there to greet them as they came down the ramp. Han kept his arms loose, prepared to pull his blaster at a moments notice.
Instead the techs were all business. "Han Solo?"
"Yes." Han sized up the young tech holding a data pad.
"Your clearance is old, but there's no block on your account." The tech glanced over Han's shoulder at Chewbacca coming down the ramp. "Will you and your associate come with me?"
They were escorted into a large hangar with ships of all makes and models in various states of repair. It seemed like a much bigger operation that Han remembered. The tech ushered them into a large room with several chairs, a drink machine and a large window overlooking the repair bays.
"Someone will be in to update your account soon," the tech said before leaving them.
Han walked over to the window and stared out appreciatively. "Wow, the old man's really done well for himself since we've been gone."
"The old man died three years ago. This is my facility now."
Han spun around to see a familiar face. "Jessa?"
"Han Solo." She didn't seem thrilled to see him.
Han grinned at her. "You look fantastic. How long has it been?" He pulled her into a hug.
"Six years, but who's counting?" She hugged him back, but just barely then stepped out of it.
"I can't believe it's been that long."
"It has. What can I do for you?"
Han ran a hand across his mouth. "Well, that's kind of a funny story. Is there somewhere we could talk?"
Han turned to Chewie. "I'll see you back at the ship, pal."
Chewie grunted and turned to leave as Han followed Jessa back to her office. He had to admit he was impressed as she shut the door behind them. The office was huge with expensive leather furniture and a huge carved desk. Behind the desk was another giant window overlooking the repair bays.
Han whistled softly. "This is some place you've made for yourself, Jessa."
"And yet, somehow I doubt it's as nice as what you're living in these days." Jessa arched an eyebrow at him.
Han cleared his throat. "So you've heard?"
"Hero of the rebellion, rumored to be Princess Leia's lover, but if I know you, it's no rumor."
Han grinned, "Well, you know me."
She frowned. "So what's the funny story?"
Han cleared his throat. "Well, as it turns out a Princess and a guy like me can actually make it work."
Jessa sat down in her desk chair. "That is funny."
Han smiled and sat down opposite her. "I'd like to marry her."
"I bet you would, she must be worth a fortune."
"True, but even married I wouldn't have access to that. Believe it or not Jess, I really love her."
"How touching. What does this have to do with me?"
"In order for us to be married I need to be free of heirs."
"Yes, there seem to be millions of accountants that want to be sure I don't have any heirs that will pop up in the future to try and lay claim to Leia's money."
Jessa shifted in her seat. "I see."
"You listed me as the father on your son's birth certificate. Now, I don't know why you did that, but I need a DNA test to prove he's not mine before I can marry Leia and you're the only one who can help me with that."
"I'm afraid I won't be able to help you?"
"Jessa, the test is a pin prick, the boy doesn't even need to know what it's for."
Jessa ran her fingers through her hair. "Oh, the test isn't the problem. I'd let you test him, but there isn't really a point."
"Why not?" Han didn't understand why she was being so circumspect.
"He's yours, Han."
All the air seemed to rush out of the room. It was a moment before he could whisper, "what?"
"But you had an implant, you said you had an implant." Han was straining to keep from shouting.
"I did have an implant, a faulty one. I got one of a faulty batch. If it's any consolation we won our class action suit."
Han leaned back in his chair. He couldn't believe this was happening. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"You disappeared. By the time you reappeared on the national news it was pretty clear that you had a different life."
"But, he's my son. You should have contacted me."
"No, he's MY son. He's five now and perfectly happy here. I don't need you stepping into confuse things."
"A boy needs a father," Han said softly.
Jessa frowned. "You survived without one. Besides, he's got fifty fathers, all the techs love him."
Han shook his head. "But—"
"I'm not really interested in discussing this further, Han."
Han felt like the world shifted beneath him. "Can I at least meet him," he said softly.
"I don't think that's a good idea."
"Why not?" Han said, an edge of anger creeping into his voice.
"It will confuse him. I'd rather not do that."
"He's my son."
"Apparently, he's mine too, and if he's going to disrupt the rest of my life by just existing, I would really like to meet him."
Jessa glared at him. "Let's fast forward here, okay?"
Han sighed. Leia frequently like to fast forward things. "What?"
"You meet him. You decide you want to be involved in his life. You start giving him gifts, suddenly you want him to come and stay with you and the next thing I know he's standing in my kitchen telling me he wants to live with you at the palace with the princess."
Han pinched his nose and stared at her. "Okay, first of all, we don't live in a palace. We live in an apartment."
"How many rooms?"
"How many rooms does your apartment have?" Jessa repeated.
"I don't know, a lot. What does that have—"
"More than ten?"
Han shrugged. "Yeah, but—"
"Is it on the top floor?"
Han blew out a frustrated breath. "Yes."
"Then it's a penthouse, not just an apartment. Princess Leia doesn't live in an apartment. Besides isn't she commissioning a ship?"
"Won't you move on board when it's finished?"
"That's the plan."
"Exactly, floating palace."
"That's not…" Han sighed. Of course, it was a floating palace. Leia had referred to it in much the same way.
"You and your fancy princess will not be filling my son's head with wild ideas."
"Leia doesn't have anything to do this, Jessa."
"Except now you can't marry her because you have a son. I'm thinking that's got something to do with her."
Han stood. "Not really. She doesn't really care whether we marry or not. It matters to me, not to her."
Jessa looked out the window. "I'm sorry, Han. You shouldn't have come here."
"Yeah, I see that." He opened the door and stopped. "You're wrong about her, you know."
Jessa looked at him. "What?"
"Leia, she's not some fancy spoiled princess, she's nothing like that. She's tough, knows her own mind, she's good to her people. You two are a lot alike actually." He nodded to Jessa and closed the door behind him.
It was late on Coruscant when the Falcon made landfall and even later when Han opened the door to the penthouse he shared with Leia and Luke and Chewbacca. Chewie said he was going to bed. Han headed to the bar in the living room for a drink. He poured himself a healthy measure of Corellian brandy and went out on the balcony. The lights of Coruscant were stunning as always and the view from their balcony was among the best in the city. He sat down on one of the chairs and sipped his drink.
He wasn't sure how long he'd been out there when he felt cool hands slip over his shoulders and down inside his shirt. Leia kissed his ear. "He's yours?" she asked softly.
"Yes, apparently she had a bad implant.
Leia blew out a slow breath. "Oh."
"She won her class action suit, if that's any consolation."
Han pushed down the lump that suddenly tightened in his throat. "She won't let me see him."
"It doesn't sound like it."
"Well, that's not fair." Leia moved to stand in front of him. She was wearing a white silk robe with the front open revealing a matching nightgown underneath.
Han looked her up and down than covered his face with his hand. He laughed softly. "She doesn't want us filling his head with fancy ideas."
"We have fancy ideas?"
"We could sue."
Han shook his head. "I won't do that. I won't put either of them through that."
"Then what do you—?"
Han looked up at her. "You know what I wanted?"
Leia raised her eyebrows.
He leaned forward and smoothed his hand across her stomach. "I wanted us to have babies. Sons and daughters, you and I."
Leia smiled at him. She straddled him in the chair and kissed him softly on the lips. "There is nothing preventing us from having babies."
"I thought you said we couldn't get married if I had any heirs."
"I don't have to be married to have a baby, Han." She ran her hands through his hair and kissed him again, pulling him into the kiss.
He parted his lips for her and drank her in, ran his hands over her hips and pulled her closer. Out of breath, he leaned back and broke the kiss. "But they'd be—"
"Ours," Leia finished. "Marriage is a set of customs and rituals that no longer exist for my people. I won't be constrained by the rules of a society long gone. We'll do as we please, Han." Her hands moved to free him from the constraints of his pants. He shifted his hips to give her what she wanted then moved his own hands up her thighs pushing up the hem of her nightgown as did so. He was delighted to find she wasn't wearing underwear. He paused one last time, "Leia, we're outside, in the open."
She smiled at him and shifted her hips until he was sheathed deep inside her. "I know," she said, "and it pleases me."
Han let his head fall back against the chair. "You do have good ideas."
"Yes," Leia smiled and leaned down and kissed him.