Pairing: Han/Leia, post-ROTJ
Summary: "The most powerful symptom of love is a tenderness which becomes, at times, almost insupportable." For imadra_blue's SW Valentine's Day Challenge.
Everyone told me it was the Ithorian flu that killed Leia.
When the Chief of State stands in your doorway and tells you how sorry she is about your wife's death, it's hard to remember that you're not supposed to swear and break furniture when the kids are home.
One of Leia's aides -- look, I don't know his kriffing name, he was over for dinner only a dozen times -- came in and rushed the kids back to their room. I didn't know what he said to me. I didn't care. Now wasn't the time for a parenting lesson.
Mothma's face was whiter than I'd ever seen it.
"How-- oh, Han, how did you not know? Luke didn't call you this morning?"
Then Luke ran down our hallway, out of breath as me. He saw us and knew he'd been too late to tell me first.
My comm had been turned off. My family was sleeping in.
Leia was never one to follow the directions. I used to love that. When she got to Ithor, the directions were simple.
If you have to go outside the embassy, wear a mask. If you encounter any strangers, run away. Don't touch anyone. Don't touch anything. Don't go near the water. Wear your mask.
She died in a makeshift medcentre, in the middle of the plague she had gone to only observe as a New Republic ambassador.
They found her after dawn. The antidote had been on-planet. When she found out it was stockpiled, she pushed back the diplomacy and started yelling at the officials to distribute it; but red tape had to be cleared. Zones had to be assessed. Going out into villages and and curing the sick was too logical.
It was simple. Leia found a driver too desensitized to ask any questions; he was just grateful for the credits. He dropped her off a few miles down the road, and she hiked the rest of the way. Everyone told me she was a hero. I should be happy. Folks got to walk away from their deathbeds. But I can't help but wonder -- as Leia worked through the night and decided that the symptoms on her own skin weren't a big deal, did she think about me? Would taking some of the cure for herself have been that horrible? Did she think about me?
I shouldn't be thinking this way. It ain't right. Everyone keeps callin' me, coming over to hug the kids, and telling me that they only hope Jaina grows up to be as loving as her mom was--
That's when I tell them to leave. Thanks for the lovely flower bouquets to ease our sufferin', but you gotta get on home. We're mourning and stuff.
Don't you EVER wish Leia's morals and decency and compassion on my baby girl. They only got Leia killed. I watch Anakin break into tears when he sees the other boys with their moms. I'm not thrilled right now by my wife's righteous self-sacrifice.
Maybe in a year or two, I'll start talking about her again. They'll know all their friends' parents would be space-dust if it hadn't been for Mom. Please, wait until the casseroles and sympathy cards are gone before you start conditioning my three brats to be martyrs. I'm not losing them. At least not while I'm still standing.
It's almost midnight. Jacen should be coming in here soon, thumb in his mouth, and holding a stuffed ewok. He hasn't slept through the night since the funeral. I'll pull him into bed with me, and we'll talk about all those dumb animals he likes so much. I'll try singing to him, he'll lose interest, and then we'll fall asleep. Now, don't get weepy on us. We ain't cute. I ain't some brave father of the year type.
We'll take it one day at a time. If my princess wants to freak 'em out and start visiting the kids, I hope they tell me. Tell Mom I say hello. Tell Mom that I'll let you become heroes, as long as I don't have to watch it happen by myself. Luke's at my place a lot. He's missing a piece of himself, too. When he comes over, he stares at the wall. Even Mara is upset. I think everyone who knew Leia is a little bit incomplete now.
I miss her. I'm so terrified, and I don't know where she keeps the forks. I would order the take-out, and Leia would find me a fork. That was our system.
Jacen is having a nightmare. I pat his back, and he calms down. He's going to be just fine; his mom is watching him constantly, ready to haunt him if he ever gets out of line and I'm not there. His eyelashes are fluttering. Leia would see someone in peril, and instantly see someone she loved. It was her curse -- nah, the galaxy's gift.
Everyone said Leia died from an uncontrolled flu. I know it was a heart condition. It was just too damn big.