“He’s my son! I’m not going to send him away to some correction center!” Han Solo’s hand instinctively dropped to his blaster.
“The charge is manslaughter, sir,” the sergeant reminded him, his own hand moving to his holster, although he had every confidence in his bolt-proof armor. “All juveniles accused of committing violent crimes are required to await trial at the Hosnian Segue Center. Your son will have to come with us.”
“I only just got here!” Han retorted, unable to hold back a sneer. “Give us a moment, will you?”
The sergeant returned a curt nod. “Of course, sir. You have one standard hour.”
Han watched the officer tromp back down the Millennium Falcon’s boarding ramp before shoving a hand through his hair and turning to his wife. “How did this happen?”
Leia let out a long sigh. She’d been holding her breath. “Let’s talk away from prying eyes,” she urged, pulling him inside to the lounge area. “I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it myself,” she began, settling down next to him on the cushioned bench.
“He killed the kid next door?” Han gaped at her.
Leia nodded and took his hand in her own. “He didn’t mean to. It was an accident.”
“How did he get my blaster? You know I keep that one locked under three security levels. It even requires my thumbprint!”
Leia nodded and closed her eyes. “I know.” She wished the nightmare would go away. “That’s beside the point. Luke’s been teaching him to stop things in motion by using the Force.”
Han didn’t see the connection. “So? They’ve been tossing balls around.” He’d watched the master and padawan go through the exercise.
“Up until now, yes.” She absently fingered the hem of her tunic. “I came out into the courtyard just in time to see the blaster bolt hanging in mid-air. Ben told me he fired the blaster at the stone wall and then used the Force to stop the bolt before it hit the wall.”
Han rubbed his aching forehead. It had been a long journey from Felucia and he’d expected to come home to a hot meal and the loving arms of his wife and son. The tragic event had happened less than an hour ago. Leia hadn’t even had a chance to send him a holo. “So, how did the bolt hit the neighbors’ brat?” He looked up when she sharply pulled away and got to her feet. He sighed, sensing her annoyance. “What?”
“His name is Athin Keler…was,” she shot back, eyes flashing. “And he’s dead!” she choked. “That innocent little toddler died today because of our son!”
“Hey, I’m sorry, sweetheart.” Han rose and took her into his arms. “You said it was an accident,” he encouraged.
Leia let him hold her close for a moment before she wiped her eyes and went on. “When I stepped out onto the patio, looking to see if Ben had come home from school, I distracted him.” Her eyes went wide with horror as he relived the awful moment in her mind. “That’s when Athin came wandering through the gate. Ben forgot about the bolt. The Force released it and it hit little Athin in the head.” She wiped away fresh tears. “It’s partly my fault, too.”
Han’s arms tightened around her as he let out a long, slow breath. His expression darkened. “Where was Threepio?”
“In the kitchen making Ben a snack. Han –” she pulled back to look up at him, “– we’re going to lose our son.”
“It was an accident,” he reminded her. “Even droids can’t watch kids every second. And where were Athin’s parents anyway?”
She shook her head and turned away. “I don’t know.” She started to pace. “I’ve called Dr. Snoke. She’s on her way.” Leia hugged her arms about her as if she’d gone cold. “I’m hoping she can hold law enforcement at bay for a while.”
“Where’s Ben now?”
“He’s with Luke at the station.”
Han held out his hand to her. “Come on,” he said resignedly. “Take me to him.”
When their footsteps receded down the ramp and the door was sealed again, ten-year-old Ben Solo popped open the panel to the hidden smuggling compartment below deck and peered out, white knuckles gripping the steel decking.
Amanda Snoke looked down on the boy and folded her arms. “You can come out now, my little runaway,” she said with a smirk.
@MyKyloRen 1 November 2016