"Come on, Leia. Let the kid go with me. He won't cause any trouble."
Leia raised an eyebrow at her husband. "Really? With you there to encourage him?"
Han gave a look of innocence. "I don't know what you're talking about, Princess." Leia kept her eyebrow arched and then pointed her brown eyes down when she felt small hands press down onto her lap.
"Please, Mommy," her six-year-old son pleaded, brown eyes wide. "I'll be really good for Daddy, I promise." Leia sighed and picked Ben up before placing the boy down onto her lap. She pressed a kiss into his black curls.
"All right, Ben," Leia conceded. "But you must do everything your father says; no arguing with him. Is that understood?"
"Yes, Mommy," Ben promised, a big grin on his little face. Han gathered Ben into his arms and had a grin to match his son's.
"Me and Ben can have some father-son bonding time and Mommy can do all the senator things she wants," Han remarked; Leia rolled her eyes.
"Because making sure the Republic stays in one piece is just things," Leia commented dryly. "Go on, go and pack Ben's clothes ready for tomorrow." Han turned to leave to do that just but then his son began to squirm in his arms.
"Daddy, put me down," Ben requested politely, "I gotta say something to Mommy." Han complied with his son's request and immediately the boy ran back onto his mother's lap. Leia was about to ask what was wrong when Ben threw his arms around Leia's neck and then he gave her a cheek a kiss. "Thank you, Mommy."
Leia grinned and kissed her son back.
"You're quite welcome, sweetheart."
"Mooom!" The boy tried to wriggle free from his mother's grasp, but it was pointless. His mother had an iron grip—at least, that's what it felt like—on his arm and she was a woman on a mission. "Dad, tell her to stop!"
"Sorry, kid," Han chuckled and Ben glared at him - his father found his situation amusing! "I have no power over your mother. I couldn't make her stop even if I wanted to."
"Traitor," Ben muttered as his mother wiped her thumb by his mouth.
"Ben, where did you get this chocolate from anyway?"
Ben was about to answer but a voice interrupted him.
"Are you torturing that poor boy again, Leia?"
Leia turned to look at the voice; Ben spotted his opportunity since his mother was now distracted. He broke free from his mother and started into a run to the person the voice belonged to. "Grandpa!" His grandfather laughed and knelt down to Ben's level, opening his arms up to accept his only grandson. Ben ran into his arms and Anakin embraced the boy before lifting him into his arms. "Grandpa, what are you doing here?"
"Well, your mother told me you were going with your father," Anakin replied, smiling, "and I had some free time so I thought I'd come and see you off."
"Dad," Leia growled, stalking towards her father, "I know what you did."
Anakin laughed again, but nervously this time. "And what might that be, Princess?" Quickly he scanned through his memories so he could remember what he'd done to upset his daughter.
"You gave Ben chocolate, didn't you?" Leia accused, crossing her arms.
"What? Me?" Anakin feigned innocence, "I don't even know what chocolate is. Try accusing Luke. I bet he's guilty." That was partially true - Luke was there whilst Anakin gave Ben the chocolate and Luke did not try to stop his father.
"Yeah? I bet Luke will just say the same thing as you." Leia sighed. "Please refrain from spoiling Ben with sweets and chocolate, Dad. I know he's your only grandchild—"
"All the more reason for me to spoil him," Anakin grinned, "Isn't that right, Ben?" Ben nodded, giggling.
Leia glowered at her father and Anakin shrank back a little. His daughter was sometimes too much like her mother.
"Dad, I'm just trying to raise him with a healthy lifestyle. That won't work if you keep giving him food with nothing but sugar in."
"You're no fun," Anakin huffed as he placed Ben down on the ground. Anakin got to his level and gently grabbed the boy by his arms. "Now, Ben, you have to promise me you'll behave for your father. Got it?"
"Mommy already told me to," Ben whined.
Anakin laughed. "Well, it's what I used to tell your mother and uncle before I went away on missions. Then they went and grew up."
"We had to sometime, Dad," Leia smirked.
"You didn't have to marry the smuggler, though," Anakin said, glaring playfully at his daughter. "Oh, speaking of which..." Anakin stood up and marched over to his son-in-law.
"Solo," he began, voice firm and his blue eyes matching his tone.
"Sir," Han nodded, nerves flashing in his eyes as his father-in-law towered over him. Why was the man so tall? "I-Is there something I can help you with?" Anakin Skywalker, the Hero with no Fear, had always made the former smuggler a bit fearful, though he would never admit it.
He didn't have to, though; Anakin could feel Han's fear with the Force. The Jedi Knight smirked. "Solo, I want to know I can trust in you to keep my grandson away from harm."
"I wouldn't dream of taking Ben near danger, sir," Han replied, and Anakin knew the young father was being honest, even without having to use the Force. It was still fun to scare him, though. "He will be completely safe with me."
"I have your word on that?"
Anakin felt a tug on his robes. He looked down to see his young grandson grinning up at him. "You can stop scaring Daddy now, Grandpa."
"But how else am I meant to get any fun?" Anakin asked, kneeling down once more. "Scaring your daddy is one of the best things to do." Then he smirked. "But I just thought of something even better."
Anakin suddenly grabbed his grandson and began planting kisses all over his face, causing the boy to squeal with delight. Han chuckled at the scene before walking over to his wife.
He gathered Leia into a warm embrace and kissed her forehead. "Ben will be safe with me, you know."
"I know that," Leia remarked, "I wouldn't let him go otherwise." She smiled warmly as her father now gave her son another embrace. "I will miss him, though it'll be nice to have some time to myself."
"Exactly," Han said, "And it'll be nice for Ben to spend some quality time with me. We'll have a great time."
"As long as he behaves," Leia sighed. She knew how her son was when he didn't get his way.
"Don't worry about that, Princess. I'll set him straight if I have to. I promise I won't let him get away with anything."
"Not even the tiniest thing?" Leia checked.
"Not even the tiniest thing."
"Dad, why didn't Chewbacca come with us?"
"He was busy, kid," Han answered, though it was in a distracted manner as he was flying the Falcon all by himself. "I should've asked your uncle to help me fly." He gave a low chuckle as he flicked a switch. "Heck, maybe I should've asked your granddad."
"Even though he scares you?" Ben asked.
"Hey, he does not scare me. He's just... a bit tall for my liking."
"Chewbacca is tall," Ben pointed out.
"Yeah, well, Chewie actually likes me."
"You're silly, Daddy," Ben giggled.
Han gave his son a pointed look. "Why am I silly?" His tone matched his expression.
"Because Grandpa likes you," Ben replied, "Anyone can see that. He just likes making you scared."
"He just doesn't like that I married his little princess."
"Mommy isn't a real princess, right?"
"Err..." Han thought about it for a minute; her mother was queen of Naboo for a while so did that technically make Leia a princess? But then, Senator Amidala did not request she be addressed as royalty, nor did she request her children to be addressed in that manner, too. "No, kid. Not really. Why?"
"You and Grandpa keep calling her a princess."
"That because she acts all stuck up like a princess," Han smirked, "and she has your grandfather wrapped around her little finger."
"Uncle Luke says I have everyone wrapped around my little finger!" Ben chirped, grinning.
Han grinned along with him and affectionately rubbed a hand down Ben's curls. "Well, your uncle never lies, kid."
Then, a yawn left his mouth.
"You're tired, Daddy."
"Well, we did get up pretty early this morning." Han set about putting the Falcon to autopilot. He didn't really like it, but he figured they would be safe enough. "Come on, kid," he said, hauling Ben into his arms, "Let's go and get a couple more hours or so.
“But I’m not tired,” Ben whined, “I got more sleep than you.”
“You’ll be tired once you get in bed,” Han assured, though he was trying to convince himself more than Ben. He certainly didn’t want to leave Ben awake all by himself—that would just be irresponsible. Ben was a curious child. He liked to touch everything. Who knows what the kid could break if left to his own devices? Besides, Leia’s father would probably kill him if he found out Ben was left unattended. He probably wanted an excuse to kill Han anyway. “Don’t worry, kid, I’ll be asleep as well.”
“But I don’t wanna sleep!” Ben cried, “I wanna see you fly the ship some more!”
Han sighed. “Look, Ben, you’ll get to see me fly it some more when we wake up.” He carried Ben to the crew quarters and placed the kid on his feet. Ben instantly pouted and crossed his arms. “Ben, your mother told you to do what I say, didn’t she?” Ben didn’t reply, only looking away. “If you get into bed and go to sleep, I’ll buy you a treat.” Leia wouldn’t like that – but Leia wasn’t here.
Ben perked up at the mention of a treat. “What kind of treat?”
“Well, we’ll pick something when we arrive,” Han answered, “but only if you get into that bed and sleep, kid.”
Ben’s pout returned, and Han was scared for a moment he was going to throw a temper tantrum, but his son walked up to him and put his arms around his waist. Han smiled and rubbed Ben’s hair.
“Come on, then.” Han picked Ben up and placed him on the bottom bunk. “Lie down and go to sleep. I’ll be right above you, okay? You don’t need to worry about a thing.” Han looked to make sure his blaster was nearby (because being safe now didn’t mean they'd be safe later) and then climbed up to the top bunk.
“Okay, Dad.” Ben lay down and put himself under the covers. “We’ll be okay, right?”
“Sure we will,” Han answered, “I have my blaster and you can use the Force, right?”
Ben nodded, “I can knock someone against the wall.”
“That’s my boy.”
An hour had passed. His dad was snoring away above him—at least someone was able to sleep. Ben hadn’t been able to sleep for anxiety of someone attacking the ship and the fact that he just wasn’t tired. He had tried closing his eyes to sleep, but slumber did not greet him. He wondered if his dad would be mad that he hadn’t slept, but his dad wouldn’t know, right? After all, his dad was fast asleep. He wouldn’t have a clue that his son hadn’t slept one wink… unless his dad could secretly use the Force. Now that was a scary thought.
Ben climbed out of the bed and glanced up at his father, just to double check he was still sleeping—even if his dad was still snoring. The boy grinned at the sight of his father’s sleeping form and hastily he crept from the bunk bed. A thought came to his head, albeit a dangerous one.
Maybe I can try and fly the Falcon with the Force.
Ben was confident in his abilities to use the Force; he had no reason not to be. He was the grandson of Anakin Skywalker, after all! The Hero with No Fear. It stood to reason that he would inherit his grandfather’s abilities in how well he used the Force. Surely, flying a “bucket of bolts”—as his mother had called it—would be easy and if he could do it then his father and grandfather would be extremely proud!
The raven-haired boy made his way to the cockpit and placed himself down in the pilot seat.
Now, what had his dad pressed to put the autopilot on? Ben muttered a curse word – he couldn’t remember, of course. This was where the Force came in handy, though. The young Solo closed his eyes and focused on feeling the Force… but it wasn’t responding. It wasn’t telling him which button or switch it was. Ben cursed again, though louder this time, and tried calling to the Force once more.
Ben cried in frustration and his hand flew out, hitting a random switch.
Then the ship suddenly jerked down. Ben cried out again, in surprise, as he was thrown out of the seat and into the controls. He pushed himself back into the pilot seat and quickly wrapped his hands around the controls and pulled them. The Falcon rapidly rose up but it wasn’t stable. Ben looked around in a panic and his hands fumbled around with switches in an attempt to make the Falcon stable but nothing he pressed work.
Kriff, I should’ve paid more attention to Daddy flying it!
Ben flicked some switches, hands flying around in a panic.
Ben hardly had time to react before he was yanked out of the seat. His dad shoved him behind him and climbed into the pilot’s seat. Ben bit down on his bottom lip and moved to make his way to the main hold, but just as he started moving his upper arm was grabbed and his dad began to drag him there.
“D-Dad!” Ben protested, digging his heels into the floor. “Let go! You’re hurting me!” Abruptly he was lifted into the air and then he was placed face down, lying over his father’s thighs, the lounge seat of the main being his only view. Ben let a gasp and began struggling. He knew what this was. “N-No, no, Dad, don’t!”
His dad’s answer was to rain down multiple swats on his upturned behind. Ben then felt pressure being applied on his back, bringing his struggling to a complete stop. The stinging in his behind just grew by the second. The boy knew it was useless to resist now. His father was stronger than he ever could be, even without the power to use the Force. Resigned to his situation, little Ben Solo lay his head down and cried softly.
After ten swats altogether his dad finally stopped. He lifted Ben up and, gently, placed the boy on his lap. He wrapped an arm around Ben, though his son was hesitant to go to him.
“Ben,” Han began, his voice heavy with emotion, “You know why I did that, don’t you?”
Ben sniffled and shook his head. He avoided eye contact with his dad and refused to rest his head on Han’s chest.
Han shot his son an incredulous look. “You really don’t think that flying the Falcon by yourself isn’t dangerous?”
“No,” Ben replied curtly, “You do it just fine. Even without a co-pilot. I can use the Force. It would’ve guided me.”
“Was the Force telling you to damn nearly kill us!?” Han snapped, causing Ben to flinch. The father sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “Look, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have snapped.”
“I wanna get off,” Ben muttered.
“Put me down!” Ben yelled. Han did as his son requested, but he quickly grabbed Ben by his arms.
“You can stop with that attitude right now,” Han warned, “You came with me to have a good time, remember?”
“Then you decided to hit me!” Ben’s face was red and tears ran down his cheeks.
“Hey, I did not hit you,” Han retorted.
“I’m gonna tell Grandpa you hit me!” Ben threatened. “He won’t like it.”
“Ben, I did not hit you,” Han repeated, his face growing redder by the minute. “And you can tell your grandpa that if you want—just don’t leave out the part where you tried to fly the ship by yourself, got it?”
“I would’ve done it if you let me!”
“Oh sure, because I’m really going to let you crash the ship into a planet.”
“You don’t know that I would’ve done that!”
Han arched an eyebrow. “Any idiot could see that you were going to crash.”
Tears immediately sprang in Ben’s eyes and he directed them straight to Han’s eyes. “S-So now I’m an idiot?”
Han’s face instantly softened. He sighed and ran a hand down the side of his face. “No, Ben. You’re not an idiot. I didn’t mean it like that.”
Ben pulled himself away from his father’s touch. “Whatever. I hate you.”
Han’s face hardened. “Fine, if you’re gonna be like that…” The father stood up, grabbing Ben’s hand firmly in his own. The boy erupted with protests, but Han ignored him. He dragged his son into the cockpit and shoved him into the seat directly behind the pilot’s seat. “You can just stay here, strapped in for the rest of the flight.” Ben put up a big fight as his father strapped him into the seat but Han was used to it by now since the boy had struggled more times than not. Still, he had to say something to stop the child accidentally harming himself—even if Ben just ended up being more mad at him.
“Ben!” Han snapped loudly; Ben froze, looking up at his father with hurt flashing in his eyes. “Now I don’t want to hear you say a single word, unless absolutely necessary. I won’t speak either.” They could do without saying words that only held the purpose of hurting each other. Han would need to be pushed very far before he even considered speaking like that to his son, but Ben was one to lose his temper quickly.
Ben nearly objected this decision, but he put his head down and muttered a quiet, “Fine.”
“Good.” Han sat himself down in the pilot’s seat and turned the autopilot off.
The rest of the flight was in deadly, uncomfortable silence. Ben kept shifting every few minutes (though Han couldn’t blame the kid for that) and Han kept feeling the urge to talk to his son, but he didn’t want his words of pleasure to dissolve into words of anger.
However, Ben had stopped fidgeting for around fifteen minutes now. Han landed the Falcon on the planet of their destination. He let out a big breath and turned around to look at his son—and his lips curled upwards in a smile. Ben’s head was slumped down and his breathing was soft as his chest rose up and down. Han rose from his seat and began to free Ben from his restraints, working carefully to not wake the sleeping boy. Ben gave a little murmur when Han lifted him out of the seat but he did not wake. Han carried the child back to the bunk bed and gently lay him down on the bottom bed. The eldest Solo grabbed the bed sheet from the top bunk and placed it over his son. Ben shifted onto his side, deep in slumber.
Han knew it was irresponsible of him, but he decided he would leave Ben by himself; this trip was to get some parts for the Millennium Falcon and they had already been paid for so he would be gone at least ten minute—twenty minutes at the most. Besides, waking Ben up before he did himself was just asking for trouble since the boy was always irritable. No, it would be good for Ben to get more rest.
Han bent down and began to softly stroke Ben's curls (his curls came courtesy of Anakin), but he wished he could hug Ben close to him without waking him; Han had never known fear as when he saw Ben almost crashing the ship. He knew he shouldn't have punished Ben straight away, but his fear, plus anger, had fueled his actions. However, he was thankful that he didn't give Ben more swats than he did. With any luck, when Ben eventually awakened, the boy would be calmer and forgive him. If not... well, he'd cross that bridge when it came to it.
Han pressed a kiss to Ben's forehead (he was glad someone like Luke or Chewbacca weren't here to accuse him of going soft), made sure Ben would be comfortable and then left the crew quarter's. Han really did not like leaving his son alone, but he convinced himself that Ben would be fine. If the ship were ransacked, he'd be upset but his only concern would be his son.
But then, it wasn't like anything would happen to the Millennium Falcon.
He was in a bed. Why was he in a bed? Had he fallen asleep?
Don't be an idiot - of course I must've fallen asleep if I'm in bed! He scolded himself.
The boy sat up, swinging his legs around. He smiled as the bed quilt fell down from his body. I guess Daddy must have forgiven me... maybe I should forgive him, too. The child wandered out of the crew quarter's and stopped when he got to the main hold—Han was not here.
"Daddy?" Ben called out, a bit tentatively, just in case Han was still mad at him. Naught but silence greeted him, and Ben felt his stomach turn. "D-Daddy?" There was still no answer. "Are you still mad at me?" Ben swallowed the lump in his throat. "I-I'm sorry I n-nearly crashed the ship, Daddy."
This time, though, the silence did not worry Ben. It only served to anger the boy.
"Fine! You know what!?" Ben yelled, face red. "I was prepared to forgive you but if you're just going to ignore me then I won't!" The boy kicked the lounge seat—and he instantly regretted it, but he did not wince or whine. He just let out a roar of frustration, mixed with pain, and began throwing about all the loose items he could find.
He tipped things over and when he was done in the main hold, he ran through every room he could the - ship was doomed to suffer the full extent of his temper tantrum. He kicked, punched and threw over anything in sight regardless of whether it would move or not. Ben didn't know how long his temper had lasted as he was too enraged to—however, he also hadn't realised that had Han been on board the Falcon then he would've stopped Ben long before now.
The item eventually stop Ben was a falling knife. Pain shot across Ben's hand and his other hand shot to cover the wound. A string of curses tumbled out his mouth as he fell to his knees, cradling his hand. Tears sprang to his eyes and hated that he could not wipe them away.
Ben's head shot up - why did his father sound worried? Shouldn't he be angry that Ben had just trashed the ship? But, before Ben had time to think it through, his dad rushed into the room and immediately scooped Ben up into his arms. He embraced the confused boy tightly.
"Are you okay, Ben?" his dad asked, sounding like he had just run miles to get to his son, "They didn't hurt you, did they?"
"W-What?" Ben squeaked out.
"The people who trashed the ship - did they hurt you?"
Then it hit Ben - Han thought somebody else had trashed the ship because he hadn't been on it! The colour drained from Ben's face as he thought about how Han would react if he ever found his son was the one responsible! Han would stop loving him, he was certain.
"They did, didn't they?" Han asked, his facial expressions hardening, "Show me what they did, Ben."
Ben lowered his eyes to the floor as he raised his hand. He couldn't bear to look at his father as he lied to him.
"Why would they hurt you?" Han was just about keeping his anger in check, purely for the benefit of his son, "You're just a kid!"
"I used the Force on them," Ben replied, voice small, "and they didn't like that. So they grabbed that knife from the shelf," he pointed to the knife of the floor; if he was going to lie then he was going to make sure he would never be found out. If Ben told Han that the non-existant attackers used their own knife then he would definitely be found out because Han would recognise that knife as his own, "and c... cut me."
Han carried him to the crew quarter's and into the refresher. He set Ben down on on his feet by the sink. "Wash your hands," he instructed Ben and the child obeyed him without question, "I know it stings but it'll help, trust me." Han gave a tiny smile. "I've had enough cuts to know that you definitely don't want it to get infected." When Ben was done Han gently helped his son dry his hands and then he picked him back up into his arms; his destination this time was the main hold.
Han grabbed the first aid kit, sat down on the lounge seat and settled Ben onto his lip. Ben squirmed a little and Han felt guilty, even if Ben did deserve his punishment.
The father got out an antibiotic wipe and showed it to Ben. "This will sting, okay? I'm sorry, kid, but I don't want you to get an infection."
Ben nodded, eyes straight on the wipe. "Okay, Daddy."
As softly as he could Han wiped the antibiotic across the wound on Ben's hand; Ben gave a yelp and Han felt another pang of guilt. Han wiped the wound until he was satifised and then fished out a bandage.
"I know the cut isn't deep," Han started to explain as he wrapped the bandage around the cut, "but the cut is too long for a plaster."
"Won't Mommy think it's worse than it really is?"
"Perhaps," Han replied, "But it's Anakin's reaction I'm really worried about."
"Because I promised to keep you away from harm."
"You didn't tell those people to attack me."
Han made sure Ben's bandage was secure and frowned, sighing. "No, but I left you by yourself, Ben." He brought Ben into another hold, "I would never forgive myself if you had been hurt much, much worse. Heck, I'm gonna beat myself up over your hand."
"You don't have to, though; I'm okay, Daddy."
"I don't think that will save me from the wrath of your granddad, kid."
"What the hell is that on Ben's hand?!"
So the wrath began.
"Hey, I can explain—" Anakin held up a hand, stopping Han in his tracks.
"Save it, Solo. I don't want to hear your excuses." Anakin grabbed his grandson's hand and gently guided him down the open ramp of the Millennium Falcon onto the floor of the hangar. Anakin knelt down and put his hands on either side of Ben's head, looking straight into his eyes. "You can tell me the truth, Ben; did your father hurt you?"
"Hey, what kinda bullshit accusation is that!?" Han cried, storming down the ramp; Anakin stood up to meet him, glaring deathly at the former smuggler. "I'd never hurt Ben! You can't just say crap like that!"
"You promised me that Ben would come to no harm! That means no bringing him back with any wounds that need a bandage!"
"If Ben came back with a little scratch you'd accuse me of the same thing!"
"Are you surprised? I know you've ki—"
Luke, who had been silent wth embarrassment at his father's actions, sprang into action and put himself inbetween his father and brother-in-law, facing Anakin. "That's enough, Father." Luke only called him that when he was being serious or displeased with Anakin. "You forget that Ben is here; don't say something you'll regret saying in front of him. Besides, you know full well that Han would never harm Ben. What were you thinking?"
Guilt crossed Anakin's face and briefly he directed his blue eyes to his grandson before looking back to his son. "I'm sorry," he humbly apologised, "It... was out of order."
Han scoffed, "Yeah, no kidding there."
Luke swiftly turned to face Han. "You're in the wrong as well, Han. You used distasteful language in front of Ben and you know how Leia feels about that. You should be grateful that she couldn't make it."
Han sheepishly smiled, "Do me a favour and don't mention it to her."
Luke nodded. "As long as you two promise to stop arguing. Now, Ben," Luke walked over to his nephew and got to his level, "What happened to your hand?" he asked softly.
Ben let out a deep breath - he was going to tell another lie to protect his father. "Three people came on board and started trashing the ship. They demanded credits and when Daddy said he didn't have any on board one of them pushed him over and he knocked his head and passed out." The look on Han's face was pure bewilderment. "I got mad and used the Force on them and they didn't like that so they got a knife and cut me across the hand. It's not deep, but it's long so Daddy put a bandage on it."
"That's really what happened?" Anakin questioned Han.
Han timidly nodded, "Uh, yeah. That's everything."
"Actually, Grandpa, there's something else," Ben remarked.
"What is it, Ben?"
"I... I nearly crashed the ship."
"... Excuse me?" Anakin's rage flared up once more. "You let him fly the ship, Han!?"
"Of course I didn't let him! We went to get some rest, he obviously woke up before me and decided it would be a good idea to try and fly the ship by himself."
"I hope you at least punished him."
"No, I told him to do it again as soon as possible," Han dryly commented, "Obviously I punished the kid!"
"How?" Anakin demanded.
"Is that important?" Han didn't want to embarrass Ben, though his son had already flushed red.
Anakin gave his son-in-law a hard look. "Yes."
Han looked away. "Well... how would you punish Luke and Leia if they were Ben's age and they did the same thing?"
Anakin turned his head to shoot a look at Luke, to which Luke grinned sheepishly, and turned back to Han. "By giving them a punishment they'd remember every time they sat down."
"T-That's what I did."
Anakin sighed and bent down to Ben. "Ben, I'm disappointed that you would try something as reckless as that, but I hope you've learnt your lesson."
Ben quickly nodded. "I swear I won't ever do it again."
Anakin kissed Ben's forehead. "Good boy." He stood and gazed to Han. "That's everything? There's nothing else I should know about?"
"No, that's all of it," Han answered.
"Glad to hear it." Anakin lifted Ben, smiling. "Let's get you home, then." Anakin's eyes sparkled with mischief. "I might even have some more chocolate to give you—if you behave."
"Really!?" Ben gasped with delight as Han groaned and Luke laughed.
"Yes, but you have to make sure your mother never finds out."
"Ben, why did you lie to your grandfather?"
Ben winced - Han had seen his grandfather and uncle out just ten minutes ago and he was already asking him about that? The young boy kept his attention on the holovid he was watching, nibbling away on the chocolate Anakin had awarded him—until Han snatched it away.
"Dad!" Ben whined, "That's mine!"
"Ben, I know I'm not one to talk, but I really don't like it when you lie, especially to your family." Ben was extremely thankful his father couldn't use the Force because he would feel nothing but guilt radiating from Ben; it was bad he had lied to his father, but now he had lied to his granddad and in full view of his dad. "Ben?"
Ben held his hands in his lap, eyes firmly on the ground. "I... I wanted to protect you," the boy replied, "Grandpa was already mad at you because of my hand." Ben's bottom lip quivered as tears threatened to spill; he was telling the truth right now but he couldn't stop thinking about what would happened if his dad ever found out the truth:
That his only son was the thug that trashed his Millennium Falcon.
Han sighed and drew Ben onto his lap. "Thank you, Ben," he said, rubbing a hand over Ben's curly locks, "but I'm a grown man. I can handle Anakin."
Han held up a finger to silence Ben. "But nothing, Ben. You know lying is bad."
"... Does that mean we have to tell Mommy the truth about my hand?"
"Yeah, kid. It does."
It was an hour later.
Leia had chewed Han out for leaving Ben alone on the ship and then proceeded to hug Ben closely to her as if he was going to be taken away from her, despite Ben's protests that he was fine. Then she found out that Ben had lied to Anakin about what happened. Ben knew if she was comfortable with using physical punishment she probably would've used it then, but since not she just sent him to his room to think about what he had done.
That was where Ben was now. He was sat on his bed, knees drawn up to his chest and arms wrapped around his legs as he listened to his parents get into an argument.
Ben let tears fall.
It was all because of him.
He then jumped as he heard the front door slam. He rushed off his bed and out of his room, forgetting about his mother's order for now. He found his father standing there, just staring at the front door—until he heard his son.
"Ben." Han winced as he turned to face him. "You definitely heard all that."
Ben nodded. "Where did Mommy go?"
"She went to tell Anakin that you lied to him and that I left you alone on the ship."
Ben paled. "W-What? Really?"
"I'm sorry, kid—but it's true. I tried to convince her not to go, but you know, she hates lying to her father." Han sat down and ran a hand down his face. "Anakin is gonna kill me."
"Daddy, is Grandpa going to punish me?"
Han pulled Ben to him and placed the boy to stand inbetween his legs. Then he pulled Ben into a tight embrace. "I don't know, Ben. But I'll do everything I can to stop him if he wants to." The father-son pair stayed like that— until Anakin came bursting through the front door, Leia closely behind him with cries to calm down. They did not seem to reach Anakin's ears, though.
"You left my grandson by himself!?" Anakin would've punched Han if it were not for Ben. "What were you thinking!?" Han was silent; he knew there was no way he could excuse his actions. "You can't even come up with some weak excuse," Anakin snarled, scowling, "Because of you my six-year-old grandson was hurt! I hope you're proud of yourself, Solo." Anakin then turned his gaze on Ben, the scowl staying on his face.
Ben felt like a small insect right now.
"How could you lie to me like that, Ben?" Anakin questioned, "You're old enough to know better." He walked past, standing in the entry to Ben's room. "Come on, I want to talk to you."
Han tightened his arms around Ben, whom whimpered, "Are you gonna punish me?"
"No, Ben," Anakin replied without hesitation. "I just want to talk to you. I promise."
Ben stayed where he was for a few seconds before he moved over to his grandfather. Anakin took Ben's hand and led him into the boy's room.
Anakin placed himself on Ben's bed and then he put Ben down onto his lap. Just like when Han was questioning him earlier, Ben folded his hands into his lap and his eyes were fixated on the ground.
"Ben?" Anakin's voice was soft and not hard like Ben had been expecting. "What Leia told me wasn't the truth either, was it?"
Ben refused to answer.
"Ben, I can feel all the guilt pouring out from you in waves. I won't leave until I know the real truth."
The child still did not speak.
Anakin put a finger underneath Ben's chin, forcing the child to look at him. "Ben, whatever it is, I won't punish you. You're clearly already remorseful for it. So, please, don't bottle it up. Tell me."
"Daddy will hate me," Ben almost whispered. "He'll never want to talk to me again."
Anakin put both hands on Ben's black locks and soothingly rubbed them. "Ben, your father could never hate you; not even if you turned to the dark side. He will always love you. I'm sure—"
"I trashed the ship!" Ben squeaked out. He clamped his eyes shut, even afraid of his grandfather's reaction.
"What? That was... you, Ben?" Anakin only sounded confused. "Then... how did you get a cut on your hand?"
"I was... trashing the engineering bay a-and a knife fell," Ben replied. "D-Daddy had already been mad at me! I-I just didn't want him to be mad at me again... do I have to tell him now?"
"That's a choice only you can make, Ben," Anakin answered, "but your father does feel bad because he thinks someone attacked you."
"I know," Ben whimpered, a single tear falling, "B-But I'm too scared to tell him."
"You don't have to be," Anakin assured him, "I'll be there, and your mother—"
Ben looked up in alarm. "What if Mommy hates me, too?!"
"I know she won't, Ben. But I have to ask—why did you trash the ship in the first place?"
"I fell asleep," Ben began, "and Daddy put me into bed. When I woke up, I called out for him, saying that I was sorry but when I got no reply I thought he was ignoring me... so I got really mad."
"You didn't hurt yourself in any other way, did you?" Ben simply shook his head. "Oh, that's good to hear. So, want to tell Han or not?"
"... I'll tell him."
Anakin kissed Ben's forehead. "I'm proud of you, Ben; that's very brave of you." The man stood, hauling Ben into his arms. "Now or never, then." The grandfather walked back into the front room and Han was quick to notice how upset Ben looked.
"What have you said to upset him?!" Han demanded, going to take Ben from Anakin but the older man stepped back.
"Calm down, Han. Ben has something he wants to tell you." Anakin placed Ben on the floor and the child took a deep breath.
"Dad... I..." Ben paused to gaze behind at his grandfather.
"It's okay, Ben."
Ben nodded and turned back to his father. "Dad..." The boy turned his head away. "I trashed the Falcon. Not some strangers."
"... Excuse me?" Han asked sharply. "You trashed the ship?"
Ben winced at his father's tone and he expected his father to pull Ben to him and swat him, but to Ben's surprise Han just stormed out of the apartment.
He hates me...
"Dad, can you leave us, please?" his mother asked his grandfather; she had her arms crossed and she was staring out of the window.
Mom hates me, too, doesn't she?
Anakin embraced his grandchild and then swiftly left.
"Mommy, do you want me to live somewhere else?"
Leia's head snapped towards her child; she hadn't been expecting that. She was going to reply with "of course not" in a rather curt manner but the tears slipping rapidly down Ben's cheeks changed her mind. Leia got on her knees in front of Ben and softly wiped his tears away.
"Of course not, honey," Leia replied, her voice soft. "Why would you think that?"
"Because you and Daddy hate me now," Ben sobbed and Leia pulled him to her, beginning to rock the boy as Ben cried into her shoulder.
"Your father would never hate you, not in a million years," Leia comforted, "and I can't even begin to imagine what you could do to make me hate you." Ben's tears subsided at his mother's words. "If I know your father, he stormed out because he didn't want to say something he might regret."
"Because he doesn't like me r-right now?"
"Because he loves you so much," Leia corrected, "He probably doesn't want to say something in the heat of the moment. Oh, honey, you are the most important person in our lives, and you should never think any different."
Ben pulled back and he looked straight into his mother's eyes. "Daddy won't yell at me when he comes back?"
"I'll make sure he doesn't," Leia promised, "I won't let him talk to you until he's calmed down." She rubbed a gentle thumb over Ben's cheek. "Why don't you go and get into bed? Then your father can wake you up if you don't before he comes home." Ben opened his mouth to protest—but he paused for a few moments before nodding.
Leia smiled and slipped her hand into Ben's smaller one. She led her son back into his room, picked him up and put him into bed.
"Have a good sleep," Leia told him as she pulled the covers over him and kissed his forehead, "and don't worry about your father; everything is going to be all right."
Ben hoped his mother was right.
When he next opened his eyes the sun was beginning to set. Ben furrowed his brows, sitting up in his bed; how long had he been asleep? Surely his father had come back by now? Why hadn't he woken him up? It was because he didn't want to talk to Ben, wasn't it? Ben didn't blame him. He had done something unforgivable after all.
Ben realised he had another problem as well: he needed to use the fresher, but that would mean going out of his room and if his dad was there he didn't want to face him. But, he couldn't wet the bed either. That would be embarrassing, especially since he could prevent it happening.
The little boy sighed and ran both down his face; he had no choice, did he? He had to risk it. He hopped out of bed, crept over to his door and opened it slowly and only so he look through it—and he gasped, freezing.
His dad was home. He was sitting on the couch, datapad in his hand. His dad wasn't smiling—he was still angry at him. Ben just knew it. He would use the Force to find out exactly how Han was feeling but Ben was afraid of what he would find.
If I stand here any longer Dad is gonna notice me...
Ben sank to his knees and hands, opening his door far enough fo him to crawl through. The little boy felt his stomach turn as he quickly crawled from his room to fresher; he felt very fortunate that he did not have to crawl straight past the couch in order to reach it.
The youngest Solo relieved his bladder (he was thankful that the toilet was silent) and crawled out of the fresher.
I can't believe Dad didn't notice me!
"Ben, you're awake?"
Fear washed over him. Panicking, Ben bolted into his room, slammed the door shut and buried himself under his bed covers. He grabbed his pillow and hugged it, wishing Han would not follow him. Ben was so absorbed in it that he didn't notice his door being opened.
Ben chose to ignore him.
He felt Han sit down on the bed, but Ben remained where he was.
"Ben. I know you think I'm angry with you... and honestly, for a while, I was."
Ben stiffened; he was going to get yelled out, or worse—he just knew it.
"I was really angry, but that's why I stormed out; I didn't want to say something I would regret later. Remember when I said we both had to be silent on the Falcon? Well, this is the same situation."
Han let out a breath when his son still remained silent. "Ben, come here, please? You don't even have to sit on my lap, you can just sit by me."
"... You won't hit me?" asked Ben's muffled voice.
"No, Ben. I won't hit you."
It took Ben a couple of more minutes but eventually he crawled out from under the safety of his bed covers. He was expecting his father to have a hard expression, but Han was just smiling—then Ben was grabbed by Han. Ben yelped and tried to get away, but Han just pulled the boy to him and wrapped his arms around his small son.
"Sorry," Han said, "But you looked like you needed it."
Ben smiled and rested against his father.
"All I need to know, Ben, is why? Why did you trash the Falcon?" Han didn't sound upset, merely curious.
Ben pulled back from his father, but, even though Han wasn't angry, he did not dare to look at Han. "When I woke up I called out your name, saying I was sorry for nearly crashing the ship, but you didn't reply so I got mad thinking you were ignoring me."
"Oh, Ben." Han deeply sighed. "It's all my fault. I shouldn't have left you alone in the first place. You didn't anything other than your hand, right?"
Ben shook his head. "No. Just my hand. The knife fell from a shelf. It's what stopped me."
"We had quite an adventure, huh?" Han rubbed Ben's hair. "Well, at least you did. But please don't repeat it."
Ben nodded, grinning. "Promise."