A/N: Hey everyone! Just a short, angsty Han/Leia one-shot. Reviews are wonderful.
Yawning, Han Solo trodded down a hallway of his Corusanti apartment toward his bedroom. Exhaustion creeped into the corners of his eyes and mouth. Letting out a few choice words, he recoiled in pain as his foot made contact with a child's starship model. He rubbed his foot and picked up the toy with tired arms. He stopped outside a bedroom in the hallway and peered inside. Finding his children to be asleep, he carefully walked in and put the toy back on a random shelf.
He smiled at his two children, sleeping on opposite sides of the room. Stepping on a loose floorboard, a creak! was heard throughout the room. One of the slumbering figures started to stir. Han walked over to his daughter's bed, cursing himself for waking her.
"Daddy?" she whispered. "I can't sleep."
"I'm sorry I woke you--"
"No, not 'cause of that."
Han furrowed his brow. "What's wrong, sweetheart?"
"I don't know." Jaina Solo was now sitting up on her bed. Her father plopped down next to her.
"Want a glass of water?"
Han sighed. Jaina snuggled closer to him. After a few moments, she spoke.
"Daddy? Tell me a story."
Han gently stroked his daughter's dark auburn hair. "A story about what?"
"A story about... a princess. A beautiful princess."
Her father blinked his eyes, as if caught by surprise.
"I might know one, Jaina. But it's a little scary."
"I'm not scared of anything," the five year old declared, slightly raising her chin.
"All right, but you have to go back to sleep when the story's over." Smiling, Han sat with his back against the wall, making himself more comfortable. "A long time ago, there was a beautiful princess. She and her friends were fighting for the freedom of the kingdom they all lived in. At the time, there was an evil king who had taken control of it. The princess and her friends defeated the evil king, and took back control of the kingdom. The princess fell in love with a pirate--"
"A pirate!" Jaina giggled. Han put his finger to his lips. The last thing he wanted was to wake Jacen, Jaina's twin brother, too.
"The pirate and the princess fell in love. They had never met anyone like the other before. The pirate--"
"Did the pirate have a parrot?"
Han blinked. "No, sweetheart, he didn't. Anyway, the pirate asked the princess to marry him--"
"I'm going to marry Artoo!"
Han sighed. Jaina bit her lip. "Sorry, Daddy."
"It's all right. Like I was saying, the pirate asked the princess to marry him. The princess said she would, and both of them were very happy. The two of them were safe and lived with their friends in a huge palace, the size of a planet." Jaina scooted closer to her father.
"But at the same time, there was an evil queen who, one day, came to the pirate and princess' kingdom. The queen wanted the beautiful princess to marry the queen's son. The princess laughed, and told the queen that she'd never leave her pirate in a million life spans." A sad smile spread across Han's face. "The angry queen left the kingdom. Soon enough, the princess and the pirate were married, and forgot all about the mean ol' queen. The princess and the pirate had kids, and they watched 'em grow. A couple of years later, the princess discovered she was going to have another baby. The princess, the pirate, their family and friends were very excited. But again, the evil queen came back to the kingdom with her son. The queen was very jealous of the princess, because she was adored by the people who lived in the kingdom, while the queen was despised by her own people. And the son, well, he was jealous of the pirate, because the pirate was married to the beautiful princess and was very happy. Happier than he'd ever been in his life."
Jaina looked up. Her father had suddenly stopped talking.
"What happened next?"
Looking into his daughter's deep, brown eyes, he continued. "The evil queen set a trap for the princess. The queen knew that the princess would never leave her pirate, no matter what. So, she decided to... capture the princess." Jaina let out a quiet gasp. "However, the pirate, the pirate's best friend, and the princess' brother raced off to where the evil queen was keeping the princess. They rescued her, and brought her back to their own kingdom."
Han had gone silent again.
"Daddy? They all lived happily ever after, right? Like all the other stories?"
Her father tightened his grip around her. "Yes, sweetheart. Happily ever after." He smiled. "I think it's time for you to get some sleep. You and your brother are going to see Uncle Luke tomorrow."
Jaina nodded, staring at her father. She could tell when people around her were sad. Once, she had told Uncle Luke that she should tell how a person felt without the person telling her. Uncle Luke had looked like he wanted to say something, but never did.
Blinking, she knew her father was upset.
"Yeah, I'll get to sleep." She threw her arms around her father's neck. "Goodnight, Daddy. I love you."
"Love you too. Good night, sweetheart." He gave her forehead a kiss and walked out of the bedroom. The young girl drifted off to sleep, dreaming of princesses and brave knights.
Wrapping his blanket tightly around him, Han Solo sat on the balcony outside his bedroom. His focus was on the bright star that was Alderaan. The star had disappeared off the various star charts in the galaxy after it had been destroyed, but passing light years still displayed it in the night time sky on Corusant. The city was freezing, with the looming blue and purple skyscrapers appearing to be sharp icicles. The sharp wind chapped his lips and stung his cheeks.
Han Solo was frozen to his core.
Han had been a storyteller, and had created a work of fiction that night. His story was true, for the most part. But to tell his five year old a tale about her mother being killed by blaster fire from a vengeful political rival definitely wasn't the best lullaby.
The wind assaulted him through the blanket. His sobs blended in with the howling Corusant wind.
Han laid down in his bed later that night. His tears had dried somewhat, and fell into a dreamless sleep. But just like every other time he went to sleep, he saw a woman with chestnut brown hair and playful eyes, reassuring him within a time that could only be described as the blink of an eye, that he would be fine.
The princess would never leave her pirate in a million life spans.