Genre: AU, H/L, drama, some humor, some romance
Characters: Luke, Han, Leia, Chewie, and Threepio. Also making appearances are Isolder, Wedge, and Gavin Darklighter
Notes: handmaiden_yane challenged me to write a story "about what if Leia married Isolder and not Han" so here it is.
An irksome expression crossed Han Solo’s face. “Remind me to resign my commission when this is over.”
Han, his fateful companion Chewbacca, and Jedi Master Luke Skywalker were the only beings in the antechamber outside the Hapan Great Hall. “The things we have to do to see my sister.”
“Fight off hordes of alien invaders.”
“Repel dark-side assassins.”
“Put down Imperial backed rebellions.”
“Solo and Skywalker: Saving the galaxy one threat at a time.”
They were still laughing when a great fanfare went up from the other side of the grand doors. “That’s our cue.”
“Actually I think that’s Leia’s grand entrance,” Han said.
Luke raised an eyebrow at his friend. “You mean you actually listened to Threepio when he explained what was going to happen during the ceremony.”
“I might have paid attention to a couple of things,” Han shrugged.
“You’ll remember to wait at the bottom of the stairs for Threepio to introduce her, won’t you?”
“I got that.”
“Is Isolder going to be there?”
“Yes,” Han grimaced. “He’ll be standing to her left.” Chewbacca barked something that echoed his partner’s feelings.
Luke examined their positions at the door. “You want to switch places so you don’t have to---.”
“No, no, I’m fine,” Han told him. “They took my blaster when we entered the palace.”
“That’s good to know,” Luke said.
Han looked at Luke’s waist. “They let you keep that?” he said, pointing to the lightsaber on Luke’s belt.
Luke shrugged. “Apparently they think the Queen Mother is fast enough with her own lightsaber to protect herself.”
The doors swung open, and the three heroes were greeted by another great fanfare. “Here we go again,” Han said, forcing a smile and squinting into the spotlight.
“Didn’t we just leave this party?” Luke asked, the thunderous applause and blaring horns nearly drowning out his words.
Han glance around at the audience that had opened a wide aisle for them as they approached the Royal Dias at the far end of the chamber. The last time they went through a ceremony like this, they were flanked by soldiers and pilots of a young rebellion. This time they were surrounded by a court of sycophants and members of high-society who probably never picked up a weapon in defense of their world in their life. Women wearing hats with brims that nearly touched their shoulders and feathers that nearly touched their heels, and stiff, lacy-white dresses that belled out nearly as wide as a hutt. Men wearing their waist-long hair tied back, the cuffs of their sleeves hanging down to their knees, touching the tops of their high-heeled boots.
“No, this is definitely a different party,” he told Luke. Chewie barked his agreement.
Even as they neared their destination, the Republic’s military representatives at the front of the room were all decked-out in their finest. Wedge Antilles smiled and nodded to his friends, raising a half-filled glass in their direction as a welcoming toast. While he looked resplendent in his dress-uniform, young Gavin Darklighter looked thoroughly uncomfortable in his, tugging constantly and the tight collar.
Stopping at the bottom of the stairs leading up the dais, Luke cleared his throat loudly when he spotted Han placing his foot on the first step. Keeping his eyes forward, Han casually pulled his foot back. “Old Corellian tradition,” he said loud enough for just Luke to hear. “Always test the first step before taking a leap.”
“Right,” was Luke’s only reply.
At the top of the dais, See-Threepio stepped forward. “And now, Her Royal Highness, Queen Mother Leia and the Prince Consort, Isolder.”
Trailed by their many attendants, the royal leaders of the Hapans Cluster entered the room with a chorus of shouting that drowned out any reception Luke and Han had ever received. Isolder was dressed in black and brown, matching the streaks in his hair, a white sash crossing across his chest from his left shoulder to his right hip. Beside him was a figure in a white gown that belled-out so far that it made the gowns worn by the women in the audience look tight in comparison. A wide, black sash encircled her narrow waist, with an onyx-hilted lightsaber hanging inconspicuously from it.
Han and Isolder exchanged polite nods, but he could not make eye-contact with Leia when he looked in her direction because the Queen Mother’s ceremonial veil hid her face.
Threepio stepped forward again when the applause for the royal family finally died. “The Queen Mother will now honor the Hapan Cluster’s heroic allies from the Galactic Republic with the Order of the Far Stars, the highest honor that can ever be bestowed on a non-Hapan.” The droid stepped aside, blocking Han’s view of Isolder, and allowing one of Leia’s attendants to step to the top of the stairs with a velvet-lined box. “First, the mighty Wookiee, Chewbacca.”
Chewie shouldered his was between his two friends, and climbed halfway up the stairs as Leia approached from the other direction. She turned to take a medallion formed in the shape of a cluster of stars from the box, and paused to allow to other attendants to pull back her veil. Her smile was brilliant, captivating Han to the point where he didn’t even notice she was speaking to Chewie as they leaned toward each other, allowing her to easily place the medallion’s ribbon over the towering wookiee’s head. She laughed, Chewie laughed, and as they parted, the two attendants lowered the veil, hiding her face once again.
“Jedi Master, Luke Skywalker.”
Luke and Han exchanged a glance and a nod. They both had expected Luke to be the last person to be rewarded, but sometimes certain protocols slip by even a Jedi Master.
Luke climbed nearly to the top of the stairs to receive his medallion. Again, attendants pulled back Leia’s veil to reveal her glowing smile. She grabbed her brother by the shoulders and embraced him, a break in protocol that brought a few gasps from the audience, but she was the Queen Mother, after all. She could do what she pleased. And how long had it been since those had actually spoken face to face? Three, five years? Before the Remnant’s invasion of the Hapan Cluster, at least. Should would probably keep him at her side for most of the reception later, if not all.
The siblings parted, the veil was lowered, and Threepio stepped forward.
“And now, the hero of Barantaan, Admiral of the Republic’s Eighth Fleet, commander of the coalition forces that defeated the Imperial Remnant at the Last Battle of Thor’al, and captain of the Millennium Falcon, Han Solo.”
Han climbed the stairs, his heart racing. He hadn’t been face to face with Leia in well over five years. Did she still hold any feelings for him? He thought he might hold some for her, but he wasn’t sure. Either that or he was denying them, which was a distinct possibility. When he reached the top, he was close enough that he could see her smile, face through the veil. “Quite an introduction,” he said when the veil was pulled away.
“Sometimes you actually are pretty amazing, Han,” she said.
There was something still there! Han could feel it, he could see it in the twinkle in her eye. This wasn’t the look of some grateful monarch, there was love in her face. Not for family, not for a friend, but she still loved him! The length of their separation had been so great that he had almost forgotten what it felt like. It was glorious!
He bowed his head, allowing her to place the ribbon around his neck. Her hands came down on his shoulders. Her fingers tightened. She pulled him close…
Han’s eyes lowered, finding a red line of light connecting the two former lovers. Then, just as suddenly as it appeared, it was gone. They fell to the ground in each other’s arms.
Cries of outrage filled their ears. The ignition of another lightsaber and a shout of “The Empire is avenged!”
“I love you.”