He awoke drenched in sweat with his heart racing and his eyes refusing to focus and the only thing he could think was, Tell me this is not happening. Unfortunately, as his mind adjusted to the dim light, he realized exactly where he was. He recognized the room, and more importantly, the sound-asleep woman lying next to him. Not good, he thought, his panic growing by the second. Carefully, so as not to awaken the woman, he crawled out of the bed, trending silently toward the refresher, and flicked on the light. The face staring back at him was not his own, but rather the unshaven face of his long-time friend, Han Solo. Barely able to comprehend what was happening, he listened as his sister's voice called out sleepily, "Han? Is something the matter?"
Luke turned around to face the bedroom, groping for words. "Leia?"
A soft snort sounded. "Did you expect to wake up with someone else?"
"No." But, somehow, it happened anyway, he thought morosely, suddenly wondering if Han was in bed with Mara. He rubbed his hands (Han's, actually, he supposed) together and reentered the bedroom. "Leia…." he tried again.
"Something is the matter, isn't it?"
"I'm not Han."
"So you're his evil twin brother? Oh… wait… his evil twin cousin?" Leia teased, patting the mattress. "I always wondered how you stacked up against my husband, 'Thracken'."
Luke felt his face flush at his sister's come-hither look. "Leia. I'm not kidding. Something very strange has happened, and this isn't Han anymore. At least not inside."
"Do you need a medic?" she asked, her tone changing from sultry to worried.
"I doubt they can help."
"Han… you're starting to scare me."
"Use the Force, Leia. Can't you sense me?"
Frowning, Luke could tell Leia was reaching out with her Force-abilities. Her expression changed from worry to shock, and she rapidly pulled the blanket up to her neck, covering her skimpy nightgown. "LUKE?"
"Yes," he replied miserably.
"How? How would I know? One second I was asleep with Mara, and then I had this really bizarre dream about Wookiees, DL-44's and rusty old YT-1300 transports. And then I woke up - here!"
"So… where's Han?" Leia asked cautiously. "In your body?"
"I don't know," Luke mumbled into his hands. "Maybe he is. Mara will kill him, if that's the case."
"Won't that be killing you, in a way? It is your body," Leia pointed out, biting her lower lip.
"I know that, but if she only senses his presence in the darkness through the Force, before…"
Leia jumped up, throwing off the covers and grabbing her clothes, then pushed Luke aside as she locked herself inside the refresher. "We have to stop her!"
"HER?" Luke objected loudly, wishing Leia would hurry. "What about Han? If he wakes up and doesn't know it's Mara, and thinks it's YOU…" He let his thought trail off, unspoken.
"I'll kill him myself," Leia yelled through the refresher door. She stepped out, wearing light-colored slacks and a blue shirt.
"Let's go," Luke said, nodding.
Impatiently, he asked, "What?"
"I know for a fact Han wouldn't want to run around Coruscant wearing nothing but his shorts."
Glancing down, Luke felt himself blush, while Leia rummaged around for Han's pants and a shirt.
As she thrust the clothes in his arms, she grinned. "Be grateful that he was wearing something," Leia commented dryly. "If this would have happened last night…"
Luke put his (Han's, actually) hands to 'his' ears, covering them. "I don't need to hear that!"
What a weird dream, Han mused through a sleep-muddled haze. Lightsabers? Lightning shooting out of fingers? X-Wings? Turning over, he reached for his wife, running his hand up and down her spine. He heard her murmur, and turn toward him.
"Morning, my love," she whispered softly.
That gave Han pause. My love? Not one of Leia's usual terms of endearment, since she was more inclined to call him 'scruffy' or 'nerf', and if she was in a really good mood, 'darling'. "Good morning, sweetheart." He opened one eye, looking at the spray of red hair next to his face. RED hair? Startled, he sat up, wondering when she found the time to dye her hair. "Leia?"
"LEIA!" Mara Jade spun around, her green eyes flashing in anger. "How long is it going to take before you get over your infatuation with your sister, Skywalker?"
"Sister?" Han pushed back the covers, scrambling out of the bed. Luke and Mara's bed! And he was wearing nothing except some stranger's shorts, with little red hearts printed on them. How in the seven Hells of Corellia did he wind up in bed with Jade? Leia was going to kill him. Luke was going to kill him. Kest, everyone was going to kill him!
"What's the matter with you?" Mara snapped out. "Waking up and calling me Leia, of all things! How dare you?"
"How did I get here? It's not my fault! What happened to Luke?" The questions came out of his mouth rapid-fire, his eyes wide with fear. "Don't kill me, Jade…. I'm sure I can explain this. Somehow. Maybe?"
Mara sat up. "Have you lost your mind?"
"Luke… do you need a doctor?"
Slowly, Mara got up and approached him, her face wary. "Yes. Luke. That's your name."
"Since when? Last time I checked, my name was Han Solo."
That comment made her laugh. "Is this some weird Tatooine holiday, where people play jokes on each other?"
"How would I know?" He ran his hand through his hair, and his eyes drifted over to the mirror over the bedroom dresser. "LUKE!" He spun around, looking behind him, then slowly turned back to the mirror. "I'm… I'm Luke?"
"I thought I already said that," Mara groused out.
"It's not possible," Han mumbled, unable to tear his (Luke's, actually) eyes off the mirror. "I must be having some really strange nightmare."
"So, waking up with me, your WIFE, constitutes a nightmare?"
"You're not my wife! Leia's my wife!"
Now truly worried for her husband's sanity, Mara reached out with the Force, and staggered backwards in shock. "You're not Luke!" She reached down, and grabbed the blanket off the bed, covering up her nightshirt.
"I told you so," Han replied a bit smugly, while wondering if death by lightsaber was painful.
"What have you done with Luke?" Mara yelled.
"ME?" Han pointed his finger (Luke's, really) at 'his' chest. "Why are you assuming this is my fault? I'm not the one with the hocus-pocus abilities. All I know is I went to sleep with Leia and woke up in Luke's body next to a dangerous female with a shorter temper than a snitz-weasel."
"Are you comparing me to a weasel?"
"Well, they are red," Han pointed out.
"I should kill you for touching me!"
"I thought you were Leia!" Han defended himself. "Sides, wouldn't you be killing Luke, too? Technically?"
"Rodders," Mara muttered. "I hate it when you're right, Solo."
After a moment's silence, Han asked, "Can you use your Force to tell what happened to Luke?"
Mara shut her eyes briefly, reaching out to sense her husband. A slight shudder passed through her as she sat down heavily on the edge of the bed. "He's coming. But…"
"He couldn't sense me 'calling' him. I don't think he can feel the Force anymore!"
Brother and sister made their way inside the lift, desperate to get to Luke's apartment before disaster struck. "Maybe you should comm Mara," Leia suggested, glad there was no one else inside the apartment lift at such an early hour. "Ask her if you, err, Han is there. Or maybe you should just ask if Luke is there." She shook her head. "This is very confusing."
"Tell me about it," Luke replied, patting his shirt pockets. "I don't have a comm on me, but I can still contact her, anyway." Luke shut his eyes, concentrating on his wife's presence. He felt nothing. A new sense of panic welled up."I can't feel her… maybe something bad has already happened!"
"Let me try," Leia quickly put in. The Princess reached out, immediately sensing her husband's confused and frightened emotions. Shifting slightly, Leia could also clearly sense her sister-in-law's presence - Mara was also confused, upset, and more than slightly angry. Looking over at Luke in concern, she commented, "I can feel both of them, and they're definitely in the same place, both physically and emotionally."
Luke tried again, with no success. Then he reached out for Leia's Force-presence, and to his utter shock realized he couldn't use the Force to sense her, either, even though she was standing next to him. "Leia.." he whispered, his face growing pale. "I can't use the Force. It's all… gone!" He dropped to his knees, looking up to the roof of the lift. "Gone! Gone I tell you!"
"Get a hold of yourself," Leia grumbled. "Are you sure it's gone? Maybe it's hiding."
"Hiding?" Luke asked, looking up at his sister. "The Force doesn't play hide and seek! It's just like I'm surrounded by those awful ysalamiri."
"Do you suppose if a Force-sensitive ate a ysalamiri, they'd stop being Force-sensitive?" Leia asked. "I've always wondered about that."
Luke looked thoughtful. "Maybe for a while… until, you know…"
"Why are we talking about eating ysalamiri?" Luke suddenly yelled. "I doubt they even taste good!"
"Fine. What were we talking about again?"
"I can't feel the Force!"
"Oh. That's right. That's not good."
He got to his feet. "It's even worse than you think, if I'm right about what's happened."
Leia frowned. "Explain."
"If I can't feel the Force because I'm in Han's body, that means…"
"Han can feel the Force if he's in YOUR body!" Leia yelled, slapping the palm of her hands to her face. "Oh, NO!"
"Han Solo with the Force," Luke muttered. "May the Force save the galaxy."
"Sith-spit!" Han swore. "Luke without the Force? How is that possible?"
"It's possible because you stole his body!"
"I didn't steal his body! If anything, he stole my body!"
"Why would he do that?" Mara snapped back. "Unlike you, Luke is normal!"
"Let me think..." Han drawled, ignoring the comment about Luke being 'normal'. "He's always been jealous of my rugged good looks and great physique. Now that I think about it, I'm surprised he didn't do this sooner."
"WHAT?" Mara stalked toward Han, her eyes blazing. "If he had the ability to do this at will, which he doesn't, YOU'RE the LAST person he'd pick to switch bodies with!"
"I'm taller than Luke," Han replied defensively, backing up a bit from the red-head's wrath. "At least I was, anyway." He looked down at Luke's body. "And I've got some chest hair."
"So what if he doesn't look like he's related to a Wookiee? I happen to like Luke's body exactly the way it is, you, you… stuck-up, scruffy-looking..." She stopped talking, searching for an insult bad enough.
"Nerf-herder?" Han supplied helpfully.
Han looked appalled and disgusted. "Hutt-kisser?"
"Oh, no," Mara said, another dreadful thought crossing her mind. "That is bad!"
"Can't think of anything worse than kissin' a Hutt," Han agreed.
"A Hutt-kisser ... with Force-abilities!"
Han laughed. "I don't have the Force."
"If you're in Luke's body, you do," she argued. Just then there was a loud rap on the outer door, and Mara hurried out of the bedroom and into the living area. "That's Luke."
"Good," Han said, following close behind. "He'd better fix this mess, real quick-like, if he knows what's good for him."
"I agree. I don't know which is worse - being married to you in Luke's body, or being married to Luke in your body!"
"Yeah? Well, think about it from Leia's point-of-view," Han commented dryly. "She can be married to her brother in my body, or me in her brother's body."
Mara had to agree - that was definitely worse.
Mara Jade-Skywalker hit the 'open' button, revealing Leia Organa-Solo and Han Solo. Except she knew the Corellian standing there wasn't really Han, but her poor, Force-deprived husband, Luke Skywalker. "Luke! How did this happen?" She hugged him, then stepped back, decidedly uncomfortable with hugging what looked like Han.
"I don't appreciate you stealin' my body," Han added very loudly from behind Mara. "I'll bet it's a Dark Side thingy, if you ask me."
Mara turned around to face Han, who was standing behind her. "Who's asking you, Solo?"
"You'd better undo whatever Force-garbage that caused this," Han huffed out, folding his arms across his bare chest, and trying to look intimidating. Wearing nothing but cute shorts, he knew he wasn't pulling it off.
"It's not my fault," Luke objected a second before realizing his words sounded exactly like something Han would say. "I don't know how I happened up with your body."
The Princess glanced nervously down the hall. "Can we come in? We're getting funny looks."
"Of course," Mara said, stepping aside and allowing them to enter. She looked down the corridor at an older, dignified-looking couple staring in her direction. "Take a holo, why don't you? It'll last longer!" Then she hit the 'close' button, leaving them gaping in the suddenly empty hallway.
The foursome stood just inside the door, staring at each other, and uncertain what to say. Finally it was Han that broke the uncomfortable quiet. "What's with these heart-covered boxers, Kid?"
Luke cleared his throat, blushing madly. "You could've put some clothes on before we came in." He looked over at his scantily clad wife. "You, too, Mara."
The red-head ignored Luke, turning her frosty stare on Han. "I'll have you know that those shorts were an anniversary present from me."
The smuggler snorted. "An anniversary present?" Addressing Luke, he added, "I hope you gave her something as cheap and idiotic in return."
Mara was incensed. "Luke thought it was a sweet gift! He wears them every night because he loves them so much." She faced Luke. "Right, Luke?"
"Um." Luke coughed, and looked down at the carpet.
"Um? What the hell kind of answer is that?"
"Well... it's just that you get, um, kind of irritated if I don't wear them..."
"You told me you loved them! You said it was the best present you ever got! So you lied? You hate them?"
"I didn't say that..."
"You might as well have!"
"Ha!" Han said, triumphantly. "I knew it. The kid hates these shorts, but he has to wear them to keep the peace."
"If you weren't in Luke's body, I'd haul off and slug you," Mara threatened. "As a matter of fact, since I'm mad at Luke right now, maybe I will, anyway!"
"Hitting is probably Dark Side, too."
"Take off those shorts," Mara demanded. "I'm going to space them!"
"Right now?" Han asked, reaching for the waistband.
"Don't you dare!" Leia objected, mortified.
"Could you both please go put on some clothes?" Luke begged, wishing Han and Mara would stop yelling at each other.
After Mara stomped off, Han flung himself down on the sofa, and put his feet up on the caf table. "I kinda like wearin' these things, especially since I get to look like you while I'm wearin' 'em."
"I didn't do this," Luke said, trying to defend himself.
"You think I did?"
"Then what happened?"
"I don't have any clue."
"Your very loud wife tells me you're not Force-sensitive anymore. Is that true? Does that mean you can't put us back the way we were? I sure as hell don't wanna be stuck with your body for the rest of my life."
"I can't use the Force," Luke admitted. "You must have my abilities now, and believe me, I don't want to be stuck in your body, either."
"Why?" Han asked indignantly. "My body is just fine!"
"I like mine better. Besides not being able to use the Force, why would I want your body, anyway? I'm younger."
"I ain't old!" Han looked at his wife. "Tell your brother I ain't old."
"Of course you're not old, dear," Leia said soothingly. "Can you sense the Force, Han?" Leia sat down next to her husband, who looked like her brother - a very disturbing fact, to say the least.
Han leaned over and tried to put his arm around Leia, then frowned when she pulled away from his embrace. "I don't know what to, uh, feel for." He looked at Luke, who was openly staring at him. "If I'm stuck in your body, can ya teach me how to use the Force?"
"What? You?" Luke shook his head. "That seems like a really bad idea, Han."
"Why?" he asked, offended. "You teach every half-witted loser that crawls outta the woodwork that has the Force, but you won't teach me?"
"That should tell you something," Mara commented, now fully dressed. She came up from behind Han and threw Luke's Jedi robe over his head. "Means you don't even have half of a wit, Solo."
Han pulled the robe off his face, and looked at Leia. "Aren't you going to defend me?"
"Han, you know I love you... but maybe Luke's right about this. I don't think the galaxy is ready for Han Solo with the Force."
"But the galaxy won't know it's Han Solo," he argued. "They'll still see Luke Skywalker, and if Luke Skywalker can't use the Force, won't that hurt his reputation?"
"He does have a point," Leia said. "Until we figure out a way to put this right, we can't let anyone know what's happened."
"Other Force-sensitives will figure it out," Mara told Leia. "Especially your children."
"We'll have to explain to them they need to keep it a secret. If beings like Fey'lya or some Imperial War Lord finds out, it could spell disaster."
"Leia's right," Luke finally admitted. "We can't let this get out."
Han grinned and jumped up off the sofa, throwing the Jedi robe over his body. "So does this mean you'll teach me how to use this hocus-pocus magic?"
"I suppose if you're pretending to be me, I'll have to show you the basics."
"Wait a second," Mara inserted. "If we're not telling anyone, how about our living arrangements?"
"I guess Han will stay here, and I'll have to stay in Leia's apartment," Luke said, reluctantly. "How would it look if it appeared 'Han' suddenly started living with you, and 'Luke' moved in with his sister?"
"It would look bad," Mara grumbled. "But don't blame me if I end up really hurting Solo before this problem is fixed."
"Dark Side," Han pointed out smugly, a second before Mara's fist found his gut. "Oof." Han groaned, bending over.
"I don't care if it was the Dark Side - that felt good," Mara said in satisfaction.
"That was my body," Luke pointed out worriedly.
"Oh, well. You didn't feel it."
The buzzer rang, and Luke quickly opened the door. A Coruscant Security patrol stood outside with the older couple that had been listening to them moments earlier. "May I help you?" Luke asked politely.
"That's them," the older woman said, pointing out Luke and Han, who was still bent over and holding his stomach. "The blond man told this older man that he stole a body! We heard them arguing about it very clearly."
The Officer glared at Luke. "Where's the body you stole?"
"I didn't steal anybody's body!" Luke argued.
"All of you will have to come down to the Station," the Officer ordered the surprised group. "You don't go around hiding bodies unless there's been a murder."
Leia stalked around the small space, annoyed. Waiting somewhat patiently with her was Mara, sitting on a hard chair, watching the tense, petite Princess.
"I'm the Chief of State, for kest's sake!" Leia finally shouted at the locked door. "You don't arrest the Chief of State!"
"Technically, we're not under arrest," Mara pointed out. "We're only here for questioning."
"How long is it going to take for them to question us?" Leia groused. "We've been waiting for nearly an hour."
Mara smirked. "I'm sure they're too occupied with our spouses at the moment."
"Well, I'm going to have all of their jobs when this is done," Leia spluttered out. She glared at a one-way mirror, addressing her reflection. "Do you hear me? Start updating your job resumes, since you're going to be needing them!"
Han leaned back in the chair, balancing precariously on the back legs and ignoring Luke's look of dismay. "How many times do we have to tell ya, we didn't hide any kriffin' body!"
"Jedi Skywalker, then how do you explain what the Grizwulds overheard?" the weary interrogator named Lieutenant Larry B. Timett asked for what seemed like the hundredth time.
"The Grizwulds need to get hearin' aids," Han snapped out, waving his hand toward Luke. "I never told Han there he stole my body. What kinda stupid thing is that to say?"
"That's what they claimed they heard," the lieutenant repeated. "Solo stole a body."
"I don't CARE what they said," Han yelled, standing up so quickly the chair fell backwards. "I'm a Jedi Knight, and we don't go 'round hidin' bodies!"
Sighing, Lt. Timett, a human male nearing retirement age, turned toward Luke. "You seem to be awfully quiet tonight, General Solo. Can you help clear up what was being said in the hallway?"
"It's Captain Solo," Luke corrected the man, glaring at Han. "I can't seem to make up my mind about whether I want to actually work for a living, or let my wife support me."
"I resent that!" Han shouted at Luke. "I work my rear-end off for the stupid New Republic."
"Captain Solo never said you didn't," the interrogator injected, confused. "Could you please sit down, Jedi Skywalker?"
"Fine!" Han plopped down on the floor, then shut his eyes.
"Jedi Skywalker, I meant sit down in the chair. What are you doing?"
"Meditating, otherwise known as taking a nap. Leave me alone."
"Get up!" Luke roared. "You're making Jedi look like fools!"
Han opened one eye. "What do you care, CAPTAIN Solo?"
"Are you two on spice?" Lt. Timett asked nervously. "I can order a drug test, you know."
"I know I'll pass," Han muttered. "Being so squeaky clean an' all."
"Well, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if I didn't pass!" Luke yelled. "I'm surprised my brain can function at all, considering!"
Han jumped up, stalking over to Luke. "Considering? Considering WHAT?"
"Considering the amount of booze I ingurgitate on a daily basis! I'm surprised my liver still works, too!"
"I DON'T DRINK EVERY DAY!"
"If you two don't sit down, I'm going to have to call for assistance!" the interrogator barked out, interrupting the strange men.
Han turned toward the poor, confused man, his face red with anger. "I can explain ALL of this."
"I really wish you would..."
"I wasn't accusin' CAPTAIN Solo here of stealin' a body! I was accusin' him of stealin' my BOBBY! Those old people just misunderstood!"
"Bobby?" both the interrogator and Luke asked at the same instant.
"Yeah. Bobby." Han got a wicked grin on his face. "It's the name of my stuffed bantha toy, an' I can't sleep without it."
"That's not true!" Luke objected loudly.
"Han here was being a nerf, and stole him an' then hid him from me," Han continued, then looked at Luke. "And I want my Bobby back! Now!"
Luke looked stunned, then turned toward the silent interrogator. "He's lying. I don't have a stuffed bantha toy."
"This seems like a very strange explanation, Jedi Skywalker," Lt. Timett finally commented. "Why would I believe you sleep with a stuffed bantha toy named Bobby?"
"Yes, why would he believe that?" Luke added.
Han opened his Jedi robe, revealing his boxers. "I sleep in heart-covered shorts. Why is Bobby so far-fetched?"
"I HATE YOU!" Luke yelled, grabbing Han's wrists and pushing the robe shut.
"So you ADMIT you stole Bobby?" Han asked, grinning.
Luke glanced at the stunned interrogator. "Yeah. I stole his Bobby, okay? Can we leave now?"
"Someone is coming," Mara remarked, turning her face toward the exit door. Both women stood up as an older man entered.
"You're free to go," he said dryly. "Your husbands finally explained everything."
"They did?" Leia asked, shocked. So much for keeping this body-switching a secret.
"Yes." Lieutenant Timett shook his head sadly. "I really feel sorry for you ladies. I can't imagine being in your boots."
Mara frowned as the man handed her a small card. "It is difficult. Well, thank you for being so understanding."
"What did he give you?" Leia questioned as they walked quickly down the hall.
The red-head looked down at the card in puzzlement. "The name of a divorce attorney."
The ride back to Luke and Mara's apartment was strangely quiet, and no one said a word until they entered the apartment. Then Leia turned to face her husband. "What happened back there? Did you tell them about your bodies being switched?"
"No," Han answered sullenly.
"Why aren't you two speaking to each other?"
"Your brother called me a drunken spice addict," Han said, miffed. "I'm never speaking to him again."
Luke was astounded. "Me? You're blaming this on ME? You were acting like an complete idiot, and the entire Coruscant Security Force is going to think I'm insane!"
"What, exactly, did Solo do?" Mara asked, her eyes narrowing.
"He said I slept with a stuffed bantha toy named Bobby," Luke lamented, trying to ignore Leia and Mara's stifled laughter.
"It was one of my more inspired ideas," Han argued. "Bobby... body... real easy words to mix-up. At least he bought it. You should be thanking me."
"Thanking you? You showed my heart-shorts to the interrogating officer! Those Security Officers are probably reviewing that holo right now." Luke put his head into his hands, moaning, "I'll never live this down."
"You started it," Han objected. "You accused me of being a lazy oaf, living off my wife's income!"
"You made fun of my being a Jedi," Luke shot back hotly. "Meditating is not napping!"
"Boys," Leia inserted. "You both need to apologize to each other."
Neither man made a move to do so, until Leia grabbed Han's ear. "Ouch!"
Mara grabbed Luke's nose. "Ow!"
"I'm sorry," Luke grumbled.
"Sorry, kid," Han apologized reluctantly.
"That's better," Leia said, nodding. "Now we just have to figure out how to fix this body-switching."
"I'd like nothing better, but I haven't got any idea how to fix it," Luke grumbled.
"You need to teach me how to use the Force, and maybe then I can put us back," Han suggested.
"You still want me to teach you?" Luke questioned, eyes wide. "After that little 'Luke's a crazy Jedi' routine back there?"
"If you don't, I'll ask my kids," Han threatened. "They'll teach me."
Luke opened his mouth to argue, then realized Han was probably right. At least one of his kids, probably Anakin, would jump at the chance to show his dear old dad how to use the Force. "Fine. I'll show you," Luke muttered unhappily. "But if you abuse your - MY - powers, I'll... I'll..."
Mara stepped between the men, glaring at Han. "I'll disembowel you. Slowly and painfully."
"Has anyone ever told you that you've got yourself one mean woman, kid?"
Later That Afternoon
When the practice remote hit Han in his rear-end for the sixth time, he flung off the visor and threw it violently across the room. "That's it! I ain't wearin' that blinder for one more second!" He rubbed his backside, glaring at Luke, who was holding his hand over his mouth to cover up his grin. "It ain't funny."
"If I recall correctly - and I do - you laughed at me when Ben was trying to teach me how to use the Force," Luke pointed out.
"That was different."
"You were the one gettin' hit with the charge, not me," Han groused out, turning off Luke's lightsaber.
Luke shook his head in frustration. "You're not using the Force, Han. You're using your ears to track the device. And getting angry and throwing things is definitely Dark Side."
"I don't care," Han grumbled. "I ain't puttin' that thing back on my head, so you'd better figure out some other way to do this."
"You could try medita- "
Luke sighed, and pointed to a plate. "Concentrate on that plate, and try to lift it up."
Grinning, Han reached over and picked up the plate. "That was easy."
"You're impossible," Luke said through clenched teeth. "I need a break, so I'm going for a walk."
"Maybe when you come back, I can pick up a glass. Preferably one filled with gizer," Han called out as Luke stomped away. No sooner had the door shut, when the holo-com unit sounded. Since Mara had left earlier with Leia, Han was alone in Luke's apartment. Shrugging, he turned on the unit, and the face of a Bith appeared. "Yeah?" Han said by way of acknowledgement.
"Master Skywalker!" a refined voice said in heavily accented Basic. "Everyone is waiting for you." The Bith looked back over his shoulder, then faced the unit again. "Have you forgotten?"
"Ah, so you have forgotten," the Bith said, disappointed. "You promised our delegation from Clak'Dor VII that you'd give us a speech about the promising future of the Jedi Knights, as well as a lightsaber demonstration. We are all waiting for you at the Amaorti Building."
Han paused, taken aback by this information. "Oh. Well…."
"Are you ill, Jedi Master?"
"Then are you canceling?"
At first, Han almost said 'yes'. Then he gave a wide smile. "Of course not. Jedi Master Luke Skywalker's word is stronger than a shipment of one hundred proof Corellian whiskey. I'll head right over. Amaorti Building, right?"
"Yes. Floor seven hundred and twelve. You can't miss the big 'Bith Convention' signs, pointing the directions."
After the holo-com went dark, Han rummaged through Luke's stock of spirits, grabbing an unopened bottle of Whyren's Reserve before heading out, and mulling Luke's earlier remarks accusing him of being a drunk. Maybe it was time to show that Jedi Masters could be fun, instead of all stuffy. Besides, what kind of convention would it be without indulging in libations?
Luke walked along the outer sidewalks as airspeeders buzzed overhead. The crowds of beings pushed their way in both directions, entering and exiting various establishments as flashing lights advertised over the doors. Only a thin railing along the sidewalk kept disaster at bay, and sometimes it amazed Luke that more beings didn't plunge to their deaths after spending a long night partying.
With his head bent down, Luke entered a diner, determined to get some lunch and put his inauspicious attempts at training Han in the Force out of his mind. He'd barely sat down in one of the shiny, chrome plated booths when a loud voice called out.
Inwardly, Luke groaned as he recognized the voice. What had he done to deserve this? Reluctantly, he looked over to the long counter where Wes Janson sat, holding a large, dripping sandwich and waving madly in his direction. "Hello, Wes."
The pilot got up, awkwardly holding his heaping platter, utensils and mug, then made his way over to Luke's table. "Mind if I join you?" he asked, not waiting for an answer as he plopped everything down, splashing food and beverage over the tabletop.
"No, go right ahead."
"Great." Wes sat down, immediately continuing his dining. "What're you up to, Solo? Princess finally kick you out?"
Luke almost laughed, then a suddenly evil, definitely Dark Side thought came into his mind. But, he quickly reasoned, since he couldn't access the Force, he wasn't at risk of becoming the next Palpatine. Right? Putting on a typical Solo-type scowl, Luke said, "It's that obvious?"
Wes nearly choked on his sandwich. "What? Are you serious? I was just kidding."
"Yeah," Luke drawled, leaning back against the back of the couch. "She finally had enough of my drinkin' and hangin' out with low-lifes. Told me I gotta change and be something I ain't, or I gotta leave. So I left."
"Sith-spit, Solo! That's just awful," Wes gasped out. "You two are going to work things out, aren't you? I mean... you and Leia are just... I mean, you just are."
"Well, we ain't anymore. Things are pretty bad between us." Luke felt a trickle of sweat run down his back as he started having doubts about his plan to get even. Leia would kill him if she ever found out, and knowing Wes's loose lips, she'd find out soon enough. Of course, the part about 'things' being 'bad' right now wasn't exactly a lie, Luke tried telling his guilty conscience. And certainly the part about needing to change was the truth. And Han did sometimes hang out with unsavory-type friends, and drink too much on occasion.
"That's awful," Wes repeated, putting down his sandwich. "I don't know what to say."
Leaning forward and lowering his voice, Luke said, "Don't say anything about this, Wes. I mean it. If you tell anyone, I'll have to vape you." Maybe that would work. Luke could say he was just joking around later - Wes understood about jokes.
"I won't say anything," Wes promised.
Luke had a bad feeling about this.
Bith Convention, early evening
When Han entered the large convention hall, he felt his heart drop to his boots. Thousands of Bith sat at round tables, or stood in small groups. A noisy band played in one corner. Other than serving droids, Han was the only non-Bith in the entire room, and he suddenly regretted his impulsive decision to come. He'd never been fond of giving speeches, but during the past ten years he had certainly been forced into giving more than his fair-share, what with being a war hero, a former general, and the husband of the Chief of State. The major difference with this speech and all the past ones was that he'd had professional writers prepare the speech and help him practice. Han almost turned around to leave, but a long-fingered hand grasped his shoulder before he could.
"Jedi Master Skywalker," a breathy, fluted voice sounded in his ear. "You've finally arrived."
Slowly, Han turned to face the thin being with huge, dark eyes and a bulbous head. "Yeah, I'm here." He stuck out his hand. "Luke Skywalker at your service."
"And my name is Ambassador Kvek Gugg. Thank you for coming." He waved his hand toward the stage. "Please, follow me, and you can give your speech and demonstration immediately."
"Uh, sure." Han held up the bottle of whiskey. "How about gettin' me a mug?"
The Bith's huge eyes grew alarmed. "Alcohol? You intend to drink, right now?"
"Sure," Han said, nodding. "A good helping of booze always makes my speeches better. And if your conventioneers drink, too, it'll sound great."
The Bith looked dubious. "My kind do not assimilate alcohol well."
"You don't drink?" Han asked, incredulous. "Your entire species? That's terrible!"
"Of course! Besides, I'm sure there's a law somewhere about not drinkin' at a convention. You don't want the Security Officers to come and start makin' arrests, do you?"
"Well, good. Then tell those server droids to start bringing out the good stuff. I can't give a speech to a sober audience."
Ambassador Gugg nodded. "I will go tell them right now. I was unaware of this law. Thank you for correcting this error, Jedi Skywalker."
"Not a problem," Han said happily. "And once everyone is nice and loosened up, I'll give ya that lightsaber demonstration, too." He pulled out Luke's lightsaber from under his robe, and waved it by the Bith's face. "I'm sure you'll be impressed."
"I am certain I will."
Fourteen-year-old Jacen stared in disbelief at his mother. "Dad's Uncle Luke? And Uncle Luke is dad?"
"Yes," Leia replied.
"That's too neat," Anakin said. "I wish I could switch bodies with Lumpy. Being a Wookiee would be so cool… they don't have to take baths."
"This isn't forever, is it?" Jaina shrieked, ignoring her dumb little brother.
"Stars, I hope not," Mara grumbled. "I refuse to be married to Han Solo in any shape or form."
Leia glared at her sister-in-law. "What do you mean by that? What's wrong with my husband?"
"He's not my cup of stim-tea. No offense, Leia."
"No offense? What's Han ever done to you?" she said, her voice raising several notches. "I'd like to point out that at least you're not related to Han, and my husband is stuck in my brother's body. Luke isn't my cup of stim-tea, either."
"Luke has this way worse than either you or Han," Mara replied, annoyed. "He's not only stuck in that nerf's body, but he can't access the Force."
"Han is NOT a nerf!"
"You call him that all the time!"
"I CAN CALL HIM THAT BECAUSE HE'S MY HUSBAND!" Leia yelled. "You have NO right to call him names!"
"Fine!" Mara said hotly. "But he's not sleeping in my apartment, either. He can go sleep on his dump of a ship." She turned and headed out the exit.
"Han's ship is NOT a dump!" Leia shouted after her, barely able to get the words out before the door slid shut.
"Mom?" Jaina whispered.
"Dad's ship is kinda dumpy."
Leia turned her steely gaze at her off-spring. "You kids go clean your rooms."
"Wookiees don't have to clean their rooms," Anakin protested as he hurried away.
Taking a big swallow of Whyren's, Han stood on the platform overlooking the Bith. Was it his imagination, or had they gotten much noisier and rowdier since being served spirits? He shook his head. It must be his imagination – they'd only had time to indulge in one drink. Han cleared his throat, tapping on the mike and making a loud thudding sound throughout the huge room. "Can I have your attention, please? I'm ready to make my speech now."
"Speak! Speak! Speak!" the Bith all shouted at once.
Han couldn't recall having given a speech to a more enthusiastic crowd. Grinning broadly, he started in. "My name is Luke Skywalker! I'm a war hero and the greatest Jedi Knight ever born!"
The crowd let loose with a huge roar of approval.
After they quieted a bit, Han continued, "I'm gonna train more Jedis, err.. Jedi.. uh, Jedees than any Master has ever trained before!" More applause. "And some of 'em will be Biths, too." Much more applause. "All my trainees love me and my hot Jedi wife. An' me an' the little woman – that's my wife, Mara – are gonna make lots of our own little Jedis, err.. Jedias, too." Somewhat confused applause followed this proclamation because the Bith were unable to reproduce like most beings throughout the galaxy. "So, in conclusion, in a few years, this galaxy will be crawlin' with tons of new Jedies, and I'll go down in history. Everyone will erect statues of me and write books an' make holo-shows of my life. I can only hope they find actors cute enough to portray me. Now, let's all drink some more, okay?"
This suggestion was met with impassioned clapping and hooting, and the Bith promptly refilled empty mugs and downed another generous portion of alcohol. "Lightsaber! Lightsaber! Lightsaber!"
"Ah," Han said loudly into the mike. "You wanna demo, now. Huh?" He took out Luke's lightsaber, igniting the green blade. This action produced such a tremendous roar of approval, that Han was encouraged. "I'm gonna cut this podium thingy right in half!" He stepped back, cleaving the black, narrow lectern down the middle, causing both sides to crash down.
Then all hell broke loose. Drunken Bith began throwing everything that was not bolted down - dishes, glasses, utensils, centerpieces, each other… Frantic server droids tried to escape the mayhem, only to be tossed up into the air. Food began hitting the stage in large globs. Bith started breaking bottles of booze over each others' craniums.
"HEY!" Han tried yelling into the mike, which no longer worked thanks to the lightsaber demonstration. "HEY!"
A few of the closer Bith noticed his frantic attempts to get attention, and to Han's horror, starting throwing food in his direction. "You can't do that!" he protested. "I'm Luke Skywalker! Jedi Knight!" A blob of pasty food hit him in his left eye.
Suddenly, the main door opened, and security officers swarmed into the room. This created a huge panic, and a solid wall of Bith headed toward the stage in an attempt to get away from the officers.
"It's the LAW!" a Bith could be heard shouting. "We haven't had enough to drink!"
Han's eyes grew wide, and he dropped the lightsaber right before he turned and ran toward the back exit.
Tycho couldn't believe his ears. "Are you sure Leia kicked him out?"
"Yup," Wes nodded authoritatively. "Han told me himself. I guess Leia didn't like him running around and boozing all the time, and he wouldn't change, so he's out on his rear."
"Wow." Tycho shook his head. "That's too bad."
"I don't believe you," Corran said. "Leia would never divorce Han."
"Wes heard it from Han Solo himself," Tycho insisted. "He said Solo was running around on her."
"No!" Corran gasped. "Han was cheating on Leia?"
"I guess marriage doesn't change a guy like Solo, does it?"
"No...I guess not."
Wedge listened, his eyes wide. "Leia caught Han having an affair? With who?"
Corran shrugged. "Who knows. But that's what I heard."
"That's unbelievable," Wedge said, shocked. "I wonder what Lando's heard."
"If you find anything out, let me know," Corran requested urgently.
Mara was preparing dinner when she sensed Luke's presence outside the door. She hurried to open it, and saw the face of Han Solo, looking a bit guilty. "What's the matter?"
"Nothing," he mumbled. "Can I come in?"
"Of course, my love," Mara quickly replied, giving him a tight hug and a kiss on his cheek. "This is your home, you know." She stepped aside, allowing her husband to enter. Neither one noticed the small spy-bot lurking in the hallway.
Late that evening
Sitting dejectedly in a small bar, Han watched as the Holo-Shrill stuck a holo-camera in the face of Bith Ambassador Kvek Gugg.
"So, Ambassador, can you describe to us how this all happened?"
Gugg shook his jowls sadly. "I warned Master Skywalker that my kind does not assimilate alcohol well, but he was very firm we should partake."
"Luke Skywalker? The Jedi?" the Shrill prodded, his face lighting up with glee at this information. "He was behind this riot?"
"I'm afraid so," Gugg replied. "He insisted it was against some Coruscant law to not drink at conventions. I did not think Jedi could lie, but the Authorities have assured me there is no local law against not drinking at conventions."
"Do you have any proof of your accusations, Ambassador?"
The Bith held up a lightsaber. "Jedi Master Skywalker dropped his lightsaber as he fled the scene. I think he was drunk."
Han cringed as the Bith waved Luke's lightsaber around for everyone to see. Somehow, he was going to have to figure out a way to retrieve that thing, or Luke would never forgive him.
The reporter turned to face the viewer. "There you have it, gentle-beings of Coruscant. None other than Jedi Master Luke Skywalker was the instigator behind this uncontrolled mob action. I'm sure there will be a full investigation regarding his role in this matter, since the Bith have caused considerable damage to the inside of the main convention room. Someone must be held accountable!"
"It wasn't my fault," Han whispered softly at the viewer. "The same thing might have happened if Luke had been there." Sighing, he knew it was time to face the consequences with his family, and he started to stand up just as another breathless Shrill came on screen.
"... Breaking News! ... Chief of State Leia Organa-Solo to file for divorce on grounds of infidelity! Holo evidence of Han Solo kissing Mara Jade-Skywalker!... Breaking News!..."
Han swayed slightly, too stunned to move. Finally, a slurred voice of a drunken Bothan sitting on the stool next to his mumbled, "Well, I guersh dat 'splains why yur drinkin', Skywalker."
Leia answered the door and found a tearful Winter standing in the entryway. "Winter! What's the matter?"
"Oh, my poor, brave Leia," Winter cried, throwing her arms around her long-time friend. "I'm so sorry!"
The Princess drew back from Winter. "You've heard?" she asked, surprised. How in the galaxy did Winter hear about Han and Luke switching bodies?
"Of course! Everyone's heard… it's on the holo-news!"
"Tycho told me, and he heard it from Wes."
"How did Wes find out?"
"Han told him," Winter replied.
"Han? You mean Han as Luke, or Luke as Han?"
Winter's face grew concerned. "Leia…have you been drinking?"
Flustered, Leia asked her friend, "Drinking?"
"Not that I'd blame you," Winter continued on. "Did Han really think he could get away with it? He is married to a Force-sensitive, after all. And with Mara of all people! Luke must be crushed, too."
"Luke is pretty upset about all of this," Leia said cautiously, no longer certain what Winter was talking about.
Winter threw up her hands. "I never, in a million years, would have thought Han and Mara would be attracted to each other. I thought Han loved you! I thought Mara loved Luke!"
"He does love me... she does love Luke..."
"So this is all a physical thing, then?"
"What?" Leia spluttered out. "They'd better not do anything like that!"
"You mean to say you don't believe they already have?" Winter asked, astounded. "Leia... you really have to get a grip on reality. People don't have affairs unless they, um, get physical."
"Who's having an affair?"
Winter put the palm of her hand on Leia's forehead. "No... no fever," she muttered to herself. Then she took both of the Princess's hands in hers. "Leia... Han - your husband - is having an affair with Mara.. Luke's wife."
Leia's mouth made a little 'o', and she blinked several times. "What?"
"It's been all over the holo-news, Princess," Winter said gently. "A spy-bot even caught Mara giving Han a kiss before letting him into her apartment this evening." She shook her head sadly. "I guess that explains why Luke was drunk at the Bith convention and started a riot."
"Riot? What riot?"
"A few hours ago. That's been all over the news, too. Luke even dropped his lightsaber when he ran away."
Han had started a riot, and lost Luke's lightsaber? And now the media believed Mara was having an affair with Han because Mara let Luke into his own apartment? This was almost too much to take in all at once. "Winter... I'm going to have to kill Han."
Winter smiled. "That's my Princess!"
Mara tapped her foot, arms folded as she stared at her husband. "What have you done, Luke?" When he shook his head miserably, Mara groaned. "Whatever it is, you can just blame it on being stuck inside that scoundrel's body. It's probably predisposed for making trouble."
"I... I sort of told Wes that Leia kicked me - I mean, Han - out."
The red-head snorted. "That's not too hard to believe, actually."
"Still, I shouldn't have said that. I feel really guilty about it."
The holo-com buzzed, and Mara when answered it she wondered why the same Coruscant interrogator from earlier in the day was calling her now. "Yes?"
"Jedi Jade-Skywalker, this is Lieutenant Larry B. Timett. I must say, I didn't think I'd be contacting you so soon."
"Neither did I."
He cleared his throat before continuing, "Would your husband be home, by chance?"
Mara glanced over at Luke, then returned her gaze to the older man's face. "No. What's the matter, now?"
"Well... there seemed to be some trouble at the Bith convention this evening, and Ambassador Gugg indicated Jedi Skywalker was involved. I'd like to ask him some questions, as well as return his lightsaber."
"WHAT?" Luke yelled, moving into the range of the viewer. "He lost my LIGHTSABER?"
"Your lightsaber, Captain Solo?" the confused man asked, frowning at the screen. He'd already heard the rumors about Solo and Mrs. Skywalker, but to see it confirmed with his own eyes was surprising. He focused on Mara. "I know the husband usually loses a lot of personal belongings in a divorce, and I'm not saying Skywalker might not deserve it, but giving away his lightsaber to your, um, paramour, seems rather harsh. Even if he is a crazy person."
"It's MY lightsaber!" Luke yelled. "I'm coming right down there to get it!"
Lieutenant Timett looked startled. "Are you sure? I can mail it to you. Express, even... it will be there tomorrow! I don't even have to talk to Skywalker, considering the circumstances. I'll just put down the riot to an act of, um, fate?"
"No, don't you dare mail it!" Luke replied hotly. "We're coming right down." He turned off the screen, and turned to his wife. "Did he just call Solo your paramour?"
"Besides calling you crazy? Yes, he did, " Mara muttered. "What, exactly, did you tell Janson?"
"I didn't tell him we were having an affair!" Luke cried out. "I just said Leia kicked me, err, Han out for drinking too much with his loser friends!"
"It seems that part got lost in the translation, Luke," Mara said dryly. "Now everyone thinks I'm his loser friend."
"Let's go get my lightsaber, and head over to Leia's apartment. We need to fix this body switching... now!"
Late that night
Winter answered Leia's door, and found half the Rogue Squadron standing in the entryway, along with Kyp Durron.
"We came as soon as we could," Kyp said hurriedly. "We want to show our support for Princess Leia."
"Winter?" Leia's voice called out. "Who's there?"
The group of Wes, Corran, Wedge, Tycho, and Kyp all pushed their way inside the apartment as Leia brought out two cups of caf from the kitchen. "I guess I need more caf," Leia commented, indicating they should sit. "What brings you here so late?"
"Well, after hearing about Solo's affair, and Luke's drinking, we thought we'd come over and hold an intervention," Kyp said.
"You know... to try and help straighten Luke and Han out!" Tycho added.
"We can't let Master Luke turn into an alcoholic," Corren put in.
"Why else would he have given a drunken speech to a Bith convention?" Wedge said. "Poor Luke must be beside himself with grief."
"I just can't believe Mara would do this," Wes added. "When Han told me you kicked him out, he never mentioned having an affair."
Wedge turned to look at Wes. "He didn't?"
"Nope. Just told me Leia kicked him out for drinking and hanging around his smuggler buddies too much."
"Then why did you tell me he was cheating on Leia?" Wedge asked Corran.
Corran appeared offended. "I didn't make it up! Tycho told me he was running around!"
"Well, Wes told me he was!" Tycho said defensively.
"I never said he was cheating on Leia!" Wes argued. "I only said he was running around! I never said with a woman!"
"That doesn't change the fact the spy-bot took holos of Han and Mara kissing," Kyp pointed out.
It started with a little giggle, and the men stopped arguing and stared at Leia. In seconds she started laughing, then she held her sides and collapsed down to the floor, snorting hysterically.
"Poor Leia," Winter murmured. "She's lost her mind."
An hour later
Han knocked on his own door, feeling annoyed that he didn't have the right to simply enter anymore. It was his home, after all. Why should he feel like a guest in his own apartment? He was a bit surprised when Kyp Durron opened the door, grinning.
"Well, if it isn't Master Skywalker! Been to any good conventions, lately?"
"Come in," he said, moving aside. "Don't be a stranger."
Slowly, Han stepped in the apartment. Not only was Kyp inside, but also Wes, Wedge, Tycho, Winter and Corran. He looked at Leia, who was busy refilling cups of caf. "Are you throwin' a party?"
"No," Leia replied. "They just came over for a little visit. They were worried about you, Luke."
"Yes, sir!" Wes replied, jumping up and hugging Han. "All those holo-reports of riots, and hearing you were in the middle of it all, had us very worried, Luke!"
"And then we heard about Mara," Corran said, shaking his head sadly. "We just can't believe she left you for that Corellian. I always knew Solo was the scum of the galaxy."
"Hey!" Han objected, frowning. "Han's not that bad."
"How can you defend him?" Wedge asked in disgust. "After he stole your wife?"
"Sometimes things aren't what they appear," Han said weakly. "I think we should wait until we hear their side of the story."
"There you go again, Luke, willing to see the good in anybody," Wedge said. "You're always the optimistic farmboy, even when the whole galaxy is crumbling down around your ears."
Leia handed Han a cup of caf. "Here you go, brother. I know you must have a hang-over from all that whiskey you're not used to. You're not like that scruffy-looking bantha I call a husband, who drinks a dozen bottles a day."
"I do not!"
"She said Solo was the drunk, not you," Winter pointed out.
"I'm ... I mean, Solo isn't a drunk, either."
"Well, look who has the nerve to show up here!" Wes shouted, pointing behind Han. "Solo and his new mistress!"
Han spun around, coming face to face with a very angry Luke and Mara. "You lost my lightsaber," Luke said accusingly, waving the hilt in Han's face. "I had to go all the way down to the Security Building to find it, and they weren't very happy to see me, either!"
"But I see you got it back, kid," Han mumbled, backing up away from the dangerous weapon.
"Sure, Solo," Kyp yelled out. "First you steal his woman, then you claim his lightsaber is yours. That's just not right. Do you want me to blast him with some Force-lightning, Master Luke?"
"Don't call me anyone's woman, Durron," Mara warned. "I'll have your head on a plate."
"I'm NOT Han SOLO!" Luke yelled before anyone could start shooting at him. "I'm Luke Skywalker!"
"You sure look like Solo," Wedge pointed out. "You can't possibly think we believe that you two somehow ended up in each others' bodies."
"We ended up..." Luke stopped, and glared at Leia as Wedge's words sunk in. "You already told them."
"I had to tell them," Leia snapped back. "They thought Han was having an affair with Mara, thanks to you!"
"You started that rumor?" Han shouted at Luke. "Why?"
"Why? WHY? You made me look like a complete clown! A drunken clown! Whatever gave you the idea to go to that Bith convention and pretend to be me?"
"They called and said they were expecting you!" Han defended himself. "I thought I was doing you a favor. And I wasn't drunk at the time, by the way."
"A FAVOR? By getting a mob of Bith plastered and losing my lightsaber? That was a FAVOR? Well, next time, don't do me any favors!" Luke turned his glare on Wes as he clipped his lightsaber to his belt. "And you promised not to say anything, too."
"Hey, Skywalker," Wes said, holding up his hands. "If you don't want something juicy spread around, don't tell me about it."
"Oh, Luke knew exactly what he was doing when he told you," Han informed Janson as he moved closer to Leia, who glared at him and moved away. "He wanted the galaxy to think I was cheatin' on Leia."
"Well, that just proves the galaxy is completely nuts," Mara said. "I'd have to have a brain-transplant to have an affair with you, Solo."
"Don't you think for one second you're getting away with trashing Luke's reputation, flyboy," Leia added, wagging her finger at Han. "You're going to be paying for this for a long, long time. By the time I'm done with you, you're going to wish I'd only frozen you in carbonite and hung you on the wall." She watched as Han moved over to the balcony and stepped out for a bit of air, wiping a film of sweat off his forehead.
"I wish Callista were here - maybe she could help us," Luke mused.
"What?" Mara said, her voice suddenly as cold as ice.
"Did I say that aloud?" Luke asked worriedly. "You know what I mean, my love...Han and I switched bodies, and Callista took over another woman's body on purpose... so, uh, I thought she could help?"
"Why are you bringing her up?" Mara snapped. "Do you fantasize about her a lot, with her long legs and blonde hair? You probably hate my red hair, don't you?"
"No...no, my love. I love your hair."
"Do you think about her a lot?" Mara ground out.
"Not much at all," Luke answered hastily. "It's just that this situation has kind of reminded me - "
"Not much?" Mara interrupted. "How much is 'NOT MUCH'?"
"It's never a good idea to bring up old girlfriends, kid," Han said from the balcony, chuckling and glad the unwanted attention had focused on Luke instead of him.
"DON'T CALL ME KID!" Luke screamed, his face red. "Has it occurred to you, that while I'm stuck in your dumb body, that I'm MUCH, MUCH OLDER than you now?"
"Not THAT much!" Han objected. "And don't forget, I'm stuck in your vertically challenged body." Han looked nervously at Corran as Luke slowly started stalking in his direction, his fingers stroking the handle of the lightsaber. "Tell Luke gettin' mad is all Dark Side."
"ARUGH!" Luke yelled in frustration, launching himself at his brother-in-law.
For a brief moment, there was a scuffle on the balcony before both men shouted, "AAHHH!"
The group inside the apartment could only watch in horror as Han and Luke toppled over the railing, and disappeared.
After a second of stunned silence, Wes muttered, "I don't think that's how an intervention is supposed to end."
"LUKE!" Mara yelled, just as Leia rushed toward the balcony. The red-head quickly followed, staring down into the inky darkness that was flecked with the various speeders and ships that passed by, both below and above their heads.
"They're gone," Leia gasped, looking down. "And that's such a long, long way down, too. I always told the children to stay away from this edge, but I never thought it would be Han falling off. That just goes to show you, doesn't it? Husbands are even worse than kids."
"I never got to tell my Lukie the news!" Mara cried out. "It's not fair!"
"News? What news?"
"I'm pregnant," Mara moaned, holding her stomach. "Now that Luke is gone, he'll never know. This is all Solo's fault. I'd kill him if he weren't already dead."
A loud cheer went up from inside the apartment. "Way to go, Skywalker!" Wedge said happily. "About time!"
"Luke's a real little devil, isn't he?" Wes added with a wink. "I started having my doubts if he had what it takes, since he was taking so long. I mean, first he took forever to ask you to marry him, and now you two have been married for, what? Four years already, and still no kids? Of course, the media will probably think Solo is your baby's daddy after today..."
"I beg your pardon?" Mara snapped out.
"This is such wonderful news, Mara," Winter said, giving her a hug.
"Wonderful?" Mara snapped. "My husband just fell off a balcony ten thousand stories above the surface of Coruscant, and now I'm a poor, grieving widow. How is that so wonderful?"
Kyp stepped forward. "Mara, I know you're upset, and apparently your hormones are making you insane right now..." He moved back as Mara reached for her lightsaber. "But, you need to reach out with the Force and feel! Luke isn't dead, and neither is Han."
"He's right," Corran added. "I can tell they're alive, too."
Both Mara and Leia reached out, sensing the frightened presences of their husbands. "See?" Leia said happily. "Everything is just fine."
"Fine?" Mara groused. "Luke is going to pay for scaring ten years off my life when he gets home."
"Hang on!" Luke screamed up to his brother-in-law. "If you let go, we're goners!"
Han twisted his head, and looked down at Luke, who was holding onto his ankles for dear life. His own fingers were already aching from the effort of grasping the metal edge of a large, slow-moving sail barge. Strong odors wafted from inside the barge, making Han gag. "I'm hangin' on! But this edge is real slick, an' I don't know how much longer I can hold out. Your extra weight ain't makin' it any easier, ya know."
"Pardon me," Luke yelled sarcastically. "If it'll save you, I'll just let go and fall a couple of miles to my doom."
"Don't say 'doom'," Han said loudly. "You sound like Threepio."
Luke shook his head in dismay, then a sudden revelation came to him. "Han?"
"Have you noticed something odd?"
"You mean odder than two men hanging on to the side of a garbage scow two miles up in the air?"
"I mean... I'm back in my own body!" Luke informed his brother-in-law joyfully. "Which means, I have the Force back!"
"How did that happen?" Han yelled down.
"Well, once I re-entered my own body, I'll be able to access the Force due to - "
"NO! I mean, how did we switch back?"
Luke frowned. "I have no idea." He concentrated, using the Force to back flip up to the edge of the barge, leaving Han still hanging by his fingertips. "But since I have no idea how we ended up in each others' bodies to start with, I'm not complaining about being back. Maybe it had to do with the stress of almost falling to our deaths. I suppose it could have also - "
"Could you please help me?"
"Let me think." Luke tapped his chin thoughtfully.
"LUKE! I'm about to die here!"
"Say you're sorry about the Bith convention."
"And losing my lightsaber."
"And calling me short."
"That's the truth, actually..."
"Fine. Hang there."
Grinning, Luke reached down and pulled Han up to safety. For long minutes, both men sat on the edge of the reeking barge, swatting at the flies buzzing around the mounds of garbage. "Have you ever noticed how frequently we end up in garbage?" Luke asked conversationally.
"Or how garbage always ends up saving our lives?" Han mused.
"It does at that," Luke agreed.
"Do you wanna go get drunk before we head home?"
"I think the events of this day have justified a certain level of inebriation."
Han stuck out his hand. "Friends?"
"For life," Luke added, taking his grasp.