It was difficult even for Luke to ascertain who was more nervous when Aubé and Kay'leb came out of their bedroom. His wife, who positively glowed in the new blue frock that gracefully fell over her newly acquired baby bump, or his sister, who looked regal in a gown reminiscent of the one she wore on Besbin, all those years ago…
As Luke took her into her a gentle, one armed embrace, Aubé offered a tentative smile at Leia which she returned with her usual grace and dignity.
"Aubé, you remember my sister, Leia…" said Luke with more ease than either of the women felt.
Aubé attempted a little bow, "Your highness…" she said shyly as Leia rose to greet her. "Belated congratulations to yourself and Captain Solo…"
"There's no need to be so formal, Lieutenant – I mean, Aubé…" Leia replied drawing closer, her hands extended. "You're part of the family now."
"Speaking of family," Kay'leb interrupted brightly. "Perhaps my brother-in-law would be kind enough to assist me in the kitchen? I have the need for some Corellian brandy tea and I don't know my way around."
Aubé's mouth dropped open in horror, but before she could utter a word, Kay'leb started to laugh, and gently touched her nose. "And what did I tell you about that, dear sister? A little more of that and less of –"
"Kay'leb!" Aubé cried, mortified while Luke only shook his head, hiding a wry smile beneath his hand. Leia, not quite understanding the joke only looked puzzled.
"Come on then, brother," said Luke, no longer trying to hide his amusement. "We'll leave the ladies to get reacquainted…" and with a little bow of his own, he lead Kay'leb into the kitchen, leaving Aubé and Leia alone together in the sitting room.
It was Leia who spoke first.
"Your brother is quite a character," she observed. "I think all Corellian men have that streak in them…"
Aubé rolled her eyes. "You mean, acting like a gundark in a glass shop? Yes, and I think my brother is their king."
"Captain Solo – Han – was, is the same way," Leia sighed in mock exasperation. "Tact isn't one of his stronger attributes."
"It's not Kay's either," Aubé agreed. "But for all of his arrogance, he is a very gifted Healer. When Pem was born…" she trailed off, suddenly introspective for a moment, and Leia let her continue in her own time.
"Well, he was very good to me… to us," she said at last. "And I don't know how I would have managed these first few months without his knowledge."
"When is your baby due?" Leia asked, sitting down across from Aubé. "The Healers say my twins are due the first week of spring planting, and honestly I don't know if I can wait that long!"
A pained look flashed briefly across Aubé's face, but it disappeared just as quickly. "So soon?" she asked. "You look wonderful! I tend to look like the side end of a sand crawler almost as soon as second month!"
Now Leia laughed, and before long the two women were deep in discussion about their mutual upcoming motherhood, and all that it entailed.
Nearly twenty minutes later, Luke and Kay'leb emerged from the kitchen, each with a glass of Leia's brandy in hand. They stood at the doorway, observing and for the moment, unnoticed by the two talking and laughing women.
It was Leia who saw them first, and her broad smile was only matched by Luke's own. "Well boys," she said between fits of giggles. "I hope you were busy in that kitchen making something to eat! Both Aubé and I are almost starving!"
"She's right, you know," Aubé added with a grin. "And between us, we're supposed to be eating for five! I don't 'spose there's any of that wonderful food left that Captain Solo brought by this morning?"
Luke stuffed his hands into his pockets, and looked down at the floor grinning. "Sorry, Nails. While you and Leia were getting acquainted, your brother and I finished it all off…"
"Toa and I have… other plans for this evening," Kay'leb said sagely. "But perhaps the rest of you, Captain Solo and Master Chewbacca and Pemberian can meet up at Ryack's at the Spire, I've been told their banquet service is rather nice."
Luke's eyes met Aubé's, and although he spoke aloud, the question was directed at her, and her alone.
"So, Bé," he said quietly. "Are you ready to face the Galaxy as 'Luke Skywalker's wife'? I can't promise you it'll be easy…"
"I never expected it to be, Luke," Aubé murmured, rising to embrace her husband. "But as long as you are by my side, it'll be worth it… What ever may come, we'll face it together…"
He pressed his lips to her forehead. "Yes, together," he whispered. "Together as husband and wife…"
A/N Thank you to all of those who have read to the very end. I understand how Leia's initial reaction would put people off, and it wasn't an easy thing to write, but to try to gloss over as it 'appeared' to me would have been doing the story an injustice - As a storyteller, I like to think I'm just 'reporting back' what I see, and sometimes that means showing the 'uglier side of characters, beloved or not. On the other hand, yes, I know Kay is an arse, among other things, but I do hope you got to see a *little* of his nice side!
Once again, thank you for coming along, and I'll see you next time.