In Worlds' Womb

By My Barbaric YAWP

 

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The forest moon of Endor spun softly along its well worn path. It played catch up with the sun in its orbit, always catching just enough light to make life sustainable and allow the towering trees to burgeon and thrive. It was a dance—full of risk, daring, and romance—and, down on the moon’s surface, spread eagled in the dense undergrowth, eyes closed to stars above, Leia felt the dips, twirls, and pirouettes—heard the crashing crescendos and soft fermatas. She saw the moon turn—turned with it as it spun her out only to curl her back in like a gentle partner on the ballroom floor. She felt the pull down in her bones—deep in her heart—low in her womb. Every pitch and shift and slide resonated through her like a tuning fork.

So this is it, thought Leia, this is the Force. No good, no evil—just existence and the dance.

It was mind numbing and utterly glorious to be this alive—this attached to the world around her. A year ago, a month ago—hell, even a day ago, she wouldn’t have felt this…this…connection. This is the womb, she thought, and this is the grave. And it took a blaster shot for me to appreciate both.

Leia was accustomed to near death experiences. She was no stranger to death row, battle, or minor avalanches, and she’d never really minded until today, when the bastard had finally said it—had told her he loved her. And the fear had set in, spreading deep into her bones—as inexorable as fate or fire. Raise the stakes, Han, why not? Give me something else to lose—like I haven’t lost enough. But he was a gambler always—bluffing was just how he played the game.

With patience and conscious effort, she pushed herself back into the rhythm and the pull. She threw herself back into the dance and let it sweep her up with the turning moon—carrying her far away and deeper into herself.

She could feel every cell, every molecule sway and vibrate to the noteless tune—feel scar tissue forming ever so slowly under the clot in her arm, keeping time while the dance swirled on to new heights in the heavens. It was invigorating and totally rejuvenating—to feel apart like this—to be one soul and all souls and no souls—all at the same time.

She knew the new found awareness would pass in time. Away from Endor, the spin and pull would be less pronounced and the raw nerves that connected her now would eventually heal—leaving her more stable as a single entity and less able to mold herself into the Force.

But for the night—just this night—she could be all and nothing.

 


 

Han found her in the brush, with her hair fanned out around her and her limbs spread as far apart as possible. The light from the fires up the hill provided just enough light to reveal her lovely face, now more serene than he’d ever seen it before. She was at peace, and for once he felt intrusive and, more astonishing, apologetic.

He’d just made up his mind to leave her be and was about to turn when her voice stopped him in his tracks.

“So, it’s you.” She didn’t open her eyes, but her small smile caught him and drew him closer to her. Her voice was softer tonight—richer and smoother. It wasn’t different, per se, but more—everything—more Leia. In fact, everything about her was more. Her hair was more golden tinged and alive, her skin was rosier—more vibrant—her neck was lovelier, more graceful—even more kissable. It was all Leia—but it was the ultra-Leia. Leia at peace with the world—one with the universe—safe and secure and everything he loved and somehow more.

Maybe there’s some truth to this Force stuff anyway.

“It’s me. How are you?”

She opened her eyes lazily and smiled at him. “Alive.”

“You look it. Mind if I join you?”

She considered. “I suppose not.”

He grinned at her as he lowered himself to lie beside her. “Well, let me know when you’re sure then, highness.”

They lay in silence for a long time, letting the peace wrap around them in a cocoon. Han breathed in the night air, taking account of its freshness here for the first time. No musty, recycled spaceship air here—this was the genuine article. On a bed of leaves, beneath a sky of stars, Han Solo counted the air among his blessings. There were so many. He wasn’t the sort to get sappy about that sort of thing, but lying next to his greatest blessing of all, he couldn’t entirely discount the list.

I’m going soft, and I don’t care.

He almost thought Leia had gone to sleep when she finally broke the silence.

“I’ve decided you can’t take it back—even if you were bluffing.”

Han smiled at her tone—by the power vested in her, her worship has graciously decreed…

“What do I want to take back?”

“The part where you said you loved me.”

Han looked at her to see if she was messing with his head, but her eyes were closed and her mouth was firm.

“Well, if it’s non-retractable, that’s that then.”

“Just so.”

They returned to silence for a shorter period this time before she spoke again.

“You’re not going to argue?”

“Seems like a done deal to me—utterly nonnegotiable, I would say.”

Now it was Leia’s turn to crack an eyelid. She peered at him covertly for half a second before closing her eyes resolutely. “Good.”

Silence resumed for the time being, but Han simply counted the minutes. He reached five before she spoke again.

“You really give up rather easily, you know.”

Han sat up to look at her. Damn it all if she didn’t sound reproachful—

“I’m not giving up anything, you silly woman! I said I love you and I meant it—what does it matter if you won’t let me take it back—I wouldn’t have it as a gift.” He infused his tone with as much ‘so there’ as he could muster. He knew the anger wouldn’t help him in the long run, but really…

She opened her eyes and met his hovering a few inches above her.

“Oh.”

“You’re damn right, oh.”

“I love you.”

“I know.”

“I didn’t want to lose you, too.”

Han snorted. “You’re going to have to beat me off with a stick—and I’ll still come back, even if you manage to wield said stick.”

“I’m not weak.”

“No, you’re not,” he said seriously, “but any suitable stick is going to be twice your size.”

Leia glared at him. “Serve you right, too.”

“Probably would. You’d miss me though.”

“Maybe. Only if I really needed to hit something.” She stuck her tongue out for good measure.

“Oh, that’s cruel. I’m truly hurting here, Princess.” He grinned down at her, counting on the darkness of his own shadow to hide his pleasure to be sparing with her once again.

“Perhaps just a little bit. How bad is it?”

“Oh, life and death.”

“That bad?”

“Worse.”

“Worse? Why that’s terrible. You’ll have to try an old family remedy—we keep it only for extreme cases.”

“Yeah? That sounds about it—” She cut him off with her lips, pulling him down to her in the leaves. Han was grateful for the interruption on two counts: first, he didn’t know how to finish the sentence he’d be in the middle of, and, second, he got to wrap his tongue—not to mention body and arms—around Leia’s.

He ran his hand up from her hip, trailing warmth from stomach to breast, and making Leia ache and arch into him with the heat. Here she found a new rhythm—an echo of the old—harmonized but with new steps and spins. She felt the tune carry her through their love making, bringing her even closer to the man beside her—above her—within her. They had made love before—but tonight—this night—she felt the boundaries break away—leaving them with nothing but soul between soul.

An hour later, Han stirred beneath her breast. He nuzzled her stomach and kissed her collarbone before meeting her eyes in the glittering starlight.

“I think I felt the moon move,” he whispered, feeling foolish for saying it out loud until she stroked his cheek and nodded.

“I can still feel it. That’s the Force, you know.”

“That’s a little creepy.”

“Yes.”

He smiled and moved to rest his head against her breast.

After a moment, she asked, “Can you hear the heartbeat?”

Her tone told him she wasn’t asking about the one under his eardrum, but he answered her regardless. “I can hear your heartbeat.”

“That’s part of it. Now listen with your whole body.”

Had it been anyone else, Han would have rolled his eyes. But it was Leia, and she could make him hug a droid if she wanted to, so he closed his eyes and waited.

There was a pulse—not just the one beating a soft tattoo under his hear, but a deep, soundless moment that repeated itself over and over again.

“What is that?”

Leia laughed. “That’s life. And death. And everything in between. That’s the whole shebang.”

“Huh.” Han raised himself on an elbow and looked down at her. She was glowing from the inside out. He’d never seen her like this—never felt peace radiating off her like this.

“I love you.”

Leia grinned at him, brushing his wayward forelock off his forehead. She felt the dance release her from its direct awareness and slid off its arm with grace instead of disappointment. She’d found another partner, and his steps would carry her through the future—just another undertone in the symphony—but one all their own.

“I know.”

 

 

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