Life Debt

By Andie O'Neill

Summary: Chewie has accepted his duty to take care of Leia per Han's orders… it doesn't take long for Luke to notice and start wondering why.

A/N: I kept replaying that scene on Empire Strikes Back when Han tells Chewie to take care of Leia, and that's when I thought of this story.

Disclaimer: Wish I owned it, but I don't! Why?!

Chewie fought ferociously, howling in anger as he threw Stormtroopers aside to protect Han.

"Stop Chewie!" Han shouted. "Stop! Stop! STOP!" Chewie wouldn't hear it. Another Stormtrooper is thrown to the ground. "Hey! Hey." The Stormtroopers scrambled to put restraints on the Wookie. "Listen to me! Chewie, this won't help me! Hey! Save your strength! There'll be another time. The Princess… you have to take care of her."

Chewie cried out sadly as Leia walked to Chewbacca's side.

"Ya hear me? Huh?"

Chewie growled his understanding and looked down at the Princess as she gazed sadly at Han. Their eyes locked and they immediately came together in a passion filled kiss. Stormtroopers pulled Han away, though his eyes never left Leia's. Chewie watched them both, his anguish too strong to take. He would take care of Han's Princess.

"I love you," Leia told him.

"I know," Han assured her in return.

They never looked away from each other. Leia cried, and Chewie howled as Han was lowered down into the pit. A heavy smoke surrounded Han Solo and as he was pulled back out Chewie wrapped his arms around poor Leia. She holds onto him just as tight, and jumps as Han's frozen body slams against the floor. Chewie held her just a bit tighter despite his restraints. He would take care of Han's Princess… until they could get him back.

Chewie hadn't really kept Leia out of his sight since they'd returned to the rebel fleet. Leia had been more than grateful for his support, comforted by the large Wookie's presence. Before long as they waited for news from Lando, Leia had pretty much moved into the Falcon. No one dared confront her, especially when her Wookie was there protecting her. They were smart; they wanted to keep their limbs.

Luke took a sip of the Alderaan wine Leia had given him when he'd come on board the Falcon for a visit. "Is there any news from Lando?" Leia asked.

Luke looked over at Chewie who sat beside Leia. He'd never seen the Wookie so protective of Leia before… it had always been Han. The once farm boy wasn't exactly sure what had happened, perhaps without Han Chewie had felt lost, without purpose… or perhaps it was something else. Luke had a feeling it was something else. "Uh no… not yet. It may take time for Lando to infiltrate Jabba's group… establish himself as worthy to be in Jabba's presence."

Leia deflated, as she always did when she learned they still knew nothing of where Han was and if he was okay. It seemed to be all Leia cared about… not even the Rebellion was important to her… only Han. "I'm sure it won't take too long. If Lando's anything like Han… he'll find away."

Luke nodded in agreement, before glancing at Chewie once more. "Chewie, would you give us a moment please?"

Chewie hesitated, immediately looking to Leia who gave him a subtle nod. Chewie got up and left them alone, though Luke doubted it was last too long. "Sorry about that," Leia apologized.

Luke smiled. "He certainly has become protective of you."

"Before Han was… frozen," Leia looked away a moment before continuing, "He asked Chewie to protect me."

Skywalker, though a Jedi, was took off guard by Han's last words, never having expected it. Han and Leia had always butted heads, but it was obvious he'd missed much. Something had happened during their trip to Bespin… something that had changed their relationship drastically. "Leia… what happened, between you and Han. There's something you're not telling me," he urged her gently.

Leia hesitated, suddenly uncomfortable. "Luke-"

"I know you two Leia… you've fought each other since day one. Something has changed," he interrupted calmly. The Force flew through him, giving him the insight to know what to say. He needed to know what had changed between them.

Leia sighed and looked down, a red blush appearing on her cheeks. "He kissed me."

Luke wasn't sure he understood. It was obvious the kiss had been influential, but how? "Kissed you?"

Leia nodded. "It's almost a blur now. One minute I'm complaining about him, the next he was kissing me and I was kissing him back. I liked it, and what was worse… I wanted more. Threepio decided to interrupt just in time as usual… and I of course immediately ran. I just didn't know what to do, how to react… what to think. I was too confused to understand what had happened. It felt right, Luke, and I didn't understand it." Leia finally looked up and her blush deepened. "I'm sorry… I should be-"

"Please Leia… I understand. You loved him."

Leia smiled sadly, nodded her head. "It was fate, Luke that much I do know. That's why I was so scared… it was too powerful and I had no idea how to react to it. When I finally embraced it… I'd never felt so at peace."

Luke understood how she felt. As he embraced the Force he could feel the peace of mind that came with it… he was finally fulfilling his destiny, just as she was fulfilling hers. "Embracing one's destiny always brings us peace… the knowledge that we know who we should be… or who we should be with."

"I can't lose him. I won't lose him… not when I finally know where I belong. I belong with Han, Luke. How can fate give me that and then just tear it all away. It's already taken my home… it won't take my life too."

Luke pulled her into a comforting hug when he saw the tears in her eyes. He knew she would never let them fall. "We will find Han, Leia. I promise you that. We won't rest until he's back." He knew he should be saddened by Leia's relationship with Han, but he wasn't. Fate had something else planned for him, and it didn't involve a relationship with Leia as he'd previously believed. He could feel the Force… encouraging him that he was right, that he wasn't meant for Leia, and that one day they would find Han… he would bring Han back to Leia and to Chewie. Slowly he pulled out of their hug and laughed when he saw Chewie return. Leia laughed too. Slowly he rose and patted Chewie's shoulder. "Take care of her, Chewie," he instructed the Wookie before walking down the Falcon's ramp toward his quarters. He knew Chewie would.

The End