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Live in My House, I'll Be Your Shelter

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“Kids, almost time for dinner!”

Ben and Rey looked over at Leia from their game in the living room. “Okay Mama!” Rey called back.

Leia smiled as she watched the kids start to clean up their toys. Even though her son was 10 and her daughter was 8, they still loved role-playing with their toys every chance they got.

When the kids were younger, before they even started school, Leia and Han would play with them as often as they could. Rey and Ben particularly loved playing “Soldiers and Princess”—the kids would be the soldiers, Leia would be the horse they rode in on, and—of course—Han would play the princess they rescued.

But as they got older, the kids stopped wanting to play the more physical games and started playing more with their action figures and stuffed animals. They never directly asked their parents to stop playing with them, but Han and Leia knew to take a step back and only join in when their kids asked them to play.

That was fine with Leia—as long as she could still at least be in the same room as them, she was happy. Sometimes, watching them play was better than actually playing with them. Her kids had such wild imaginations—it was something she never could experience as a young princess, and watching their creativity flourish always melted her heart.

Leia let out a small sigh as she took last night’s leftovers out of the oven and plated them for herself and her kids. She hated how fast they were growing up—she deeply missed the days when she could carry Ben around the park or push Rey in her stroller down the street. She wanted to savor their childhood for as long as she could, but she felt her kids slipping through her fingers as the days went by.

Ben and Rey came into the kitchen from washing their hands and took their places at the table.

“Dad’s nerf smells great!” Rey said, sliding into her seat.

Leia smirked. “I could never fool you into thinking I cooked this, could I?”

“Nope!” she laughed, showing off her father’s cheeky grin.

Leia sat down with her children and their food. “So, tell me about school,” she said, taking a bite of her nerf steak.

“School was fun!” Rey cheered, eating her veggies. “At recess we were playin’ and the seesaw broke. I got to show my friends how I use the lug wrench!”

Leia almost choked on her food. “You brought your lug wrench to school? What did the teachers say?”

“They got mad at first but then Ms. Kang used it to fix the seesaw! Then she made me promise to never bring it back.”

Her mother couldn’t help but smile. “Your daddy will be proud, but I do agree with Ms. Kang—you should only use the lug wrench when you’re fixing things with Daddy. Okay?”

“Okay!” Rey agreed, chewing on more nerf steak.

Leia looked over at Ben, who was picking at his Corellian potatoes. “Honey? How was your day?”

“Alright,” he murmured, his eyes fixed on his plate.

She fixed him with a warm gaze, trying to project soothing waves through the Force. “Baby, what is it?”

Ben looked up at his mother. “I had a math test today.”

“How did it go?”

“Not great,” he murmured. “I don’t think I failed, but I know I didn’t do great.”

“Oh, Ben, I’m sorry.”

He looked at Leia with the same big brown eyes she gave him. “I tried really really hard, Mama. I promise, I did.”

“Baby, I know,” she soothed. “Some people are just not good at some things, even if they try really hard. But honey, we’re here to help you.”

“Yeah!” Rey cheered.

Ben let out a small smile, glancing at his little sister. “You’ll help me, Rey?”

“Course I will!” she giggled, eating more Corellian potatoes. “I can help you study!”

Ben looked taken aback. “You’d help me study? But you don’t learn the same math I do.”

“I can still help! What if you write stuff on cards and I quiz you?” she offered. “I can read!”

“Yes you can,” he chuckled. “We can try that. It could help.”

“Course it’ll help! You’ll do so good on the next test!” Rey insisted, her smile as bright as a thousand galaxies.

Ben gave her a piece of his bun, then looked over at Leia. “Mama? Are you okay?”

Leia had gone quiet, watching her children as she ate her own food. She jumped a little at her son’s question. “What, baby?”

“Are you alright?”

“Yeah,” she said, patting his hand. “I just like watching you two.”

“I like watching you!” Rey declared, her eyes bulging out as she stared at her mother.

Leia almost snorted blue milk out of her nose. “And you’re good at it,” she chuckled.

______________________________________________________________________

Later on that evening, Leia was staring at the datapad in her hands, her mind on anything other than the book she was allegedly reading.

Han’s weight dipped beside her in the bed. “What’s on your mind, sweetheart?”

“Hmm?” she murmured, still staring at the datapad.

“Well, I don’t think Voula Kubouski’s latest novel is that interesting,” he smirked.

“What do you mean?” she huffed. “I happen to love it.”

Han cocked a brow, tilting his head. “So is that why you’ve been staring at that page for the past twenty minutes?”

Leia glanced back down at the datapad and peered at the bottom of the screen, frowning when she realized he was right. She huffed again, scrunching her nose.

He laughed, kissing the tip of her nose.

“The book is actually very good,” she insisted.

“I’m sure it is,” he replied, leaning back against the pillows.

They were silent for a long moment. Leia deliberately took her time turning off the datapad and setting it on the nightstand. She brushed nonexistent lint off their bedspread, turning to face her husband.

“I feel like we’re missing something,” she began.

He frowned. “Missing something? What are we missing?”

“The kids are growing up so fast,” she murmured. “Soon they’ll be gone and living their own lives without us. We’ll only see them at Fete and miss out on so much . . .”

“Honey . . .”

“Han, I don’t think I’m done being a mom,” she said, all in a rush.

“You don’t stop being a mom when your kids move out, sweetheart,” he replied, stroking her thigh absently.

“No, that’s not what I mean,” she sighed, sitting up more. She started speaking faster, all in a rush. “I want all those days back, when they were babies and crawling around and crying—well, not crying, I don’t want them to be upset—I just miss when they were little and doing things—”

“Hey, hey, take a breath,” he soothed, rubbing his wife’s arms with his calloused hands. “What is it?”

Leia took a deep breath and looked directly into his hazel eyes. “I think I want more babies.”

Han’s face brightened, then quickly went back to a more neutral expression. “You want more kids?”

She smiled softly. “I do. I still have more love to give—I don’t feel like we’re ready to stop, Han.”

He swallowed. “Leia . . . what happened after Rey, with you . . . can we?”

She took his hand, remembering the trauma she had gone through after Rey’s birth. The tools used in her emergency procedure nicked the inside of her uterus, causing massive internal bleeding. After a three hour long surgery, her newly-scarred uterus kissed away virtually any chance of naturally-conceived children.

“No,” she shook her head. “But Han, I want to adopt.”

His eyes lit up again, grinning. “That sounds like a perfect idea.”

“There are so many children out there like me, like Luke . . . When I was a girl, I wanted to adopt kids, but I loved having them with you. Now, the time just feels . . . right, somehow.” She opened her mouth to say something else, then closed it quickly.

“What is it?” he frowned.

“I want more kids, but if adopting doesn’t work out . . . Ben and Rey make me so happy—they’re more than enough for me, for us. If it’s not meant to be, then we’re not meant to . . . I just don’t want to force it.”

Han gently cut her off. “Leia, I want to have more kids just as much as you do, but not at the expense of you or our family.”

She sighed, happy that her husband understood. She snuggled into his side, feeling Han’s arms wrap around her.

“So you’re ready to have more little babies running around the apartment?” she asked, absently looking at their bedroom ceiling.

“Well, under one condition.”

Leia raised an eyebrow, turning her head to face him. “Oh? And what might that be?”

“If we can name them Han Jr. or Hana.”