Chapter Twelve: New Beginnings

Anakin sat in the cockpit of his starfighter, using binoculars to study the man his daughter was greeting.

A year had passed since his near-fatal injury, and he had since returned to Bast castle five tumes in an attempt to turn the castle into a nice, comfortable place to live. Briar had been promoted to housekeeper after his old one died of old age three months ago, and she was doing an excellent job keeping the castle in order.

Anakin had successful located Corran Horn, son of Nejaa Halcyon, seven months ago. He and Luke had become fast friends, and he had readily agreed to train as a Jedi at the newly restored Jedi temple on Coruscant, along with fifty younglings who had chosen themselves to become Jedi.

A stable Republican government was once again in place in the galaxy. The treaty with Jurn had been dealt with by non-Force-sensitive politicians; the master code of Coruscant had proved vital in reinstating the government.

Now, Anakin had other, more personal problems. Like his daughter's love life.

Prince Isolder of Somewhere-Or-Other (Anakin couldn't be bothered to remember exactly where) did not impress him in the least. He hoped Leia was not seriously considered the Prince's proposal of marriage. If she was, well, he'd just have to scare him off with the overbearing, overprotective, evil-eyed, lightsaber-swinging Jedi father routine, no matter how viciously Leia threatened to draw and quarter him.

Once Leia and Isolder had exited the docking bay, Anakin hopped out of his starfighter and went to find Luke to get his opinion on the Prince.

"Look, just tell her how you feel," Luke instructed Han.

"But what if she says no?" Han replied fearfully.

"She won't."

"But what if she does?"

"She won't."

"But --"

"Then she'll marry the Prince!" Luke snapped, his patience evaporating. "Just like she will if you don't ask at all!"

Han glared, but he picked himself up and headed out to find Leia.

Han ran into Anakin on his way up the stairs, nearly bowling the Jedi Master over. "Anakin!" he he gasped as they gripped each other's arms in an effort to regain their balance. "I uh, I kind of, I mean, you know, me and Leia, we, uh, well, I want to --"

"Han, shut up before you hurt yourself," Anakin interrupted, a smile creeping across his face. "Yes, you can marry my daughter."

Han nearly fainted in relief. "Thank you, sir!" He dashed off to find Leia before she could give Isolder an answer.

Six months later:

Han stood with Luke, who was officiating their ceremony, on the balcony of the lake house on Naboo, where Leia's parents had gotten married years before. He watched as Anakin and Leia, arm-in-arm, walked toward him. Leia was a vision in the white gown that her mother had worn at her wedding, and Anakin was looking very proud. He caught Han's eye and winked.

Han remembered clearly the conversation he'd had with Leia right after Anakin had given him his blessing to marry her.

"Well, I – I asked, uh, IaskedyourdadifIcouldmarryyou."

She blinked those gorgeous brown eyes at him. "What?"

He took a breath. "Your dad gave us his blessing. I – I asked him if I could marry you."


"Yes. He said yes. It was good." Han swallowed his hyperventilation.

She smiled. "That bad, huh?"


She shook her head at him fondly. "You were fine asking him to help you upgrade the Falcon's hyperdrive."

"I wasn't asking to marry his only daughter then!"

"Ah." They were quiet for a few moments, then Leia glanced at him from underneath her lashes. "So . . . is there something you want to ask me?"

"Are you kidding!" Han yelped. "I haven't recovered from asking him yet!"

Now, watching her walk toward him, her rosy cheeks fairly glowing, Han was so glad he had gotten the nerve to ask her to marry him soon after that.

It was a small ceremony, and over quickly. "By the power invested in me as an officer of the New Republic," Luke concluded, "I now pronunce you husband and wife."

A princess and a smuggler, Anakin thought as he watched his daughter and new son-in-law kiss. Who would have thought? It's about as likely as a queen and a slave. He grinned and met his son's gaze over Han and Leia's heads. I wonder who he'll end up with. Maybe an assassin . . .

For some odd reason, a picture of Mara Jade, former Emperor's Hand, popped into his head.