The People Who Survive
by Rachel

The New Republic ended the trade that the Empire never could. A patchwork of treaties and laws slashed tariffs on luxury goods and all but legalized spice. Without the Rebellion there were no supplies to smuggle or guns to run. The ramshackle bar where he negotiated his only Corellian job became a posh restaurant with overtures in the décor meant to evoke the previous establishment.

On Coruscant, they call it progress. He snorts mentally at the thought. Of course, as a retired general he should not care that smuggling, an overly romanticized vocation without apprenticeship and with little success, is dead. Rather, if he should care at all he should be pleased. He snorts mentally at that as well.

He left Luke mediating on the beach but those serene blue eyes are probably watching despite the distance. Luke's face never betrays sadness, only concern, and when Han is drunk on red-burning liquor, he wants to take Luke's head in his hands and shake until his brother-in- law forever loses the calming cadence of the Jedi Code. The urge to push his fingers through Luke's hair is, he knows, a reflection of his own wish to lose the memory of Leia's lips silently forming "there is no emotion; there is peace" before plunging headlong into another pointless political squabble.

There are other memories that he would like to shake loose. After the Rebellion's impossible triumph above Yavin, he found Leia sprawled on a Massassi balcony, her numbing adrenaline gone, her sustaining anger exhausted. Six years after they met, Leia clumsily fumbled a glass and quietly confessed that she had never completely regained the sensation in her left hand after the torture orchestrated by her father. After the ball marking the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Empire, he awoke alone and knew that Leia was in the conservatory, still privately grieving for her family, her people and her world.

There are two monuments in the town square, neither of which is dedicated to him. This may be the childhood home of Han Solo and Corellians may be known for swindling but they are also too proud to invite tourists to their town. One monument is dedicated to police officers killed in the line of duty. His father's name is in the third column from the left and the cut is still sharp despite the storms that lash the coast. The other memorial is for the Alliance war dead. The Alliance kept no records and the stone is cool and smooth beneath his hand. He wishes that he could carve Leia's name into it.


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