When the second Death Star explodes, the galaxy breathes a sigh of relief.
The news of the Emperor’s death trickles slowly back towards the Core Worlds, but as the broadcasts come in, planet after planet throws its arms up in celebration.
By the time they make it all the way to Coruscant, the Rebels are welcomed as heroes.
There’s still a lot to do, of course. Founding the New Republic isn’t easy, and there’s still Imperials and their sympathisers in every corner. They’re easier to work around now that they’ve lost the head of their authoritarian, tyrannical snake, but there’s enough competent officers around that the fledgling democracy faces a challenge, and soon enough, one shows up.
Luke smiles and looks them in the eyes, and Leia squares her shoulders. Han backs them up, Chewie alongside him.
When they get back to the makeshift clean-up command centre, Mon Mothma asks what exactly they did to make those Star Destroyers surrender so quickly. Han grins, Leia smirks, and Luke laughs softly, eyes twinkling. She doesn’t ask again (though she does find the mission report in her office, later). Next time there’s an issue, she asks them first.
When things have settled down a bit, and the Senate has held its first election in the New Republic era, Leia proudly taking her place on the floor, Luke sets his mind to the Jedi. He opens up the old temple, looking for clues to the past, but he quickly realises that he needs somewhere new. So he keeps open an office on Coruscant, but he teaches his first students on a jungle moon. The heat reminds him of Tatooine, a little, and the water reminds him of how he’ll never be stuck on that rock again, and as he runs through the jungle, he thinks about how he’s cobbled together the curriculum from folk tales, scraps, the ramblings of ghosts, and his own steady intuition, and how half the time he feels like he’s barely a step ahead of his students (except that he is, one of them tells him late one night beneath the stars), but there’s peace in his mind and blood in his veins and he knows that this is how it’s meant to be. He reaches out through the Force, seeking Leia, who’s on the moon to visit for a day or two, but he realises that Han’s there, too, so he backs off quickly, blushing. In the morning Han tells him all about the treaty she’s been negotiating for the new government, and about the hyperspace runs he’s been doing to help the displaced peoples of the galaxy make it back home, and Luke feels proud. He says so, and he can see in Han’s face that he feels proud, too.
A few years later, the New Republic is in full swing, and the Imperial sympathisers are getting scarcer and scarcer. Luke knights his first student, and meets a new potential apprentice, all red hair and fire. Leia is pregnant, and Han holds her close, wanting nothing more than to protect her from harm, even though he knows damn well that she’s a Skywalker and an Organa, and she can protect herself. She lets him follow her around, smiling at his antics, and kisses him softly in the night. Eventually, the twins are born, and it feels like the greatest moment of their lives.
Leia rises to become Chancellor, eventually, with Han as one of her most trusted advisors. She’ll step down eventually, but under her leadership the galaxy flourishes. Luke’s Academy is a great success, and people in all corners of the galaxy compare him to another famous Skywalker, note the resemblance, and wonder, could it be? They do their best to raise their children in the spotlight- Han’s and Leia’s, and Luke’s- and the children never doubt that they love them. When the twins are old enough, they follow their uncle and mother and grandfather in learning the ways of the Force. Luke is delighted to teach them, and their siblings and cousins, when it comes to it.
It goes on for decades like this, the gentle peace that’s settled over the galaxy, Skywalkers, Organas, Solos, and their friends, leading people into the light. But peace never lasts forever, and eventually, they hear the whispers of trouble stirring in the Outer Rim, and they know it’s the start of something big.
Luke runs his fingers through his salt-and-pepper beard, looks across at Han with his greying temples, and Leia, strands of silver woven through her traditional Alderaani braids. The three of them share a look, one between old companions that somehow speaks of everything they’ve said and done across the years.
They stand up, and gather their children, allies, and friends.
And they turn to face the threat.