fingertips of one hand prickled with encroaching numbness, but he
dared not shift, not when Shallan rested against his bicep like a
pillow, her forehead tucked up against his chest. A glance down
showed only a shock of bright red hair, tousled and messy from sleep,
and a slim, silk-covered shoulder that rose and fell with her slow,
even breathing. His other forearm lay over her waist, lax hand very
nearly brushing the small of her back. Her own hands were pinned
between them, held comfortably against her chest, the curl of her
knuckles pressing into his belly through the thin sleep-shirt.
was gloved. He didn’t need to see that to feel
swallowed, his mouth dry. There was only one bed – a decent size
for one person alone, but very… intimate
two – and she’d refused to take it when he’d started to lie
down on the floor. She’d even climbed down and started dragging the
covers off with her as soon as he started to refuse. Bit
her lip, raised her chin, and did it; I should have insisted further,
stood my ground, but… Almighty, I was weak.
carefully, his hand drifted upwards, hovering a hairsbreadth over her
shift and following the curve of her back – as if he could memorize
the shape and feel of her, even without touch. The very ends of his
fingertips trailed through her hair and up to her shoulder, tracing
through the air above it. He lingered there a moment, the size of his
hand in stark juxtaposition with the gentle slope of her shoulder.
The desire to protect her – this small, porcelain-pale woman who
was so much stronger than he’d first realized – flared like a waking
ember in his heart. Not for the first time, he quashed it. She didn’t
want that. And now, with his exile, it wouldn’t matter even if she
At this angle, her face was hidden, but he could see the side of her
cheek, half-obscured by the haphazard, mussed fall of red. As
delicately as he could, Adolin brushed her hair out of the way.
was too much, or just enough. Shallan stirred against him, her knee
bumping into his leg and her hands slowly, unconsciously stretching
away the night’s stiffness before she lifted her sleep-hazed gaze
to his. A blink, what might have been a smile, and Shallan made
a lazy noise of complaint and snuggled right back against him.
stifled a laugh, though his answering smile was soft and apologetic. “Sorry I
woke you.” His fingertips stroked through her hair, making little
paths from her forehead all the way over and down to the nape of her
neck. If this was to be the first and last time he ever held Shallan
like this, then he’d indulge as much as he could.
not,” came her reply, slightly muffled against his chest. Shallan
breathed in, hands curling in his shirt, and looked back up at him.
“Even if it is too early.”
time he did
a low, soft bark of a chuckle, as she yawned widely. “That’s
right; you never were a morning person.” She said nothing of him
caressing her hair, and so he did not stop. The silky tresses parted
like water around his fingers.
And late nights gathering information don’t exactly help.” Her
gaze shifted, slipping away from his and back, not quite avoidant but
not steady either. The tip of her tongue peeked out to wet her lips.
“…but I’ve managed to get up early on some days, recently.”
hummed, smiling, but it was tinged with sadness. “War business?”
shouldn’t be this way. Broken Radiant or not, your hands were not
made for war – you should be charting out the wilds, finding new
plants and cataloging the habits of some intriguing creature that
caught your eye, or continuing your research with Jasnah, doing
things that make you happy-
see you in the sunrise.”
breath faltered in his chest.
reached up, nudging his hand where it had frozen in midair. With her
“Don’t stop. It’s… it’s nice.”
refused to form. His lips parted to speak but his mind was a jumble,
uncomprehending. Or rather, knowing
but in too much shock to process. His hand moved again, but this time
to cup her cheek, fingertips disappearing into her hair. “Shallan,”
was all he managed, a singular, incredulous exhale of disbelief.
laid her safehand over his, and his heart nearly stopped.
speak like a wife, parted and waiting.” His turn to wet dry lips,
now. “After everything that happened. After what I did.”
if I want to be?” There was a tremble in her voice and in her hand
safehand, bare, a measure of trust and comfort unparalleled
but her eyes were steady as steel. “Unless the world ends, this
Desolation won’t last forever.”
not- Shallan, I’m exiled.
No home, no name, no family-”
Adolin choked on the knot of emotion that rose with saying the words,
the pain of it all searing like a white-hot lance. “Our betrothal
was nullified. I don’t even know how you found
to make. And yours. No other.” Her grip tightened, fingers curling
around his. “I’m not going to give up on this. I’m not going to
give up you.”
voice was barely a whisper. “You should.”
bit her lip, shook her head. “Never.”
if I told you that I
to break it? I thought this- the betrothal ended, so what if I wanted
to keep it that way?”
you’d be a liar. And you’re a terrible liar, Adolin.”
couldn’t help it: he laughed. Mirthless and with a faint glint of
tears, he laughed, leaning down and bowing his head to rest his
forehead against hers, eyes closed. “Yeah. That’s been pretty
well proven, hasn’t it?”
He felt her hand leave his, only for soft fingertips - one side
noticeably more calloused than the other - to trail up his face,
moving gently from his jaw to his cheekbones to the corners of his
eyes. “Since the first time you took me on a date, and answered a
silly question with far too much honesty for your own dignity.”
Adolin blinked his eyes open in surprise,
snorted, and shoved her shoulder with just enough strength to roll
her onto her back. “You bring that up now?”
But her ploy had worked. She was smiling, and… so was he.
make for a good story one day.” Shallan tilted her head, the angle
and there was a twinkle in her eye as she said it that worried him.
sat up for a moment, shaking the pins and needles from the arm she’d
slept on all night. Then he rolled the rest of the way to loom over
Shallan, hands braced on either side of her as she looked up at him
with that smile, hair fanned bright over the thin pillow. “That
sounds like you plan on actually telling
someone or ones in particular.” Shallan’s mischievous smile
widened, and she reached up to tangle her fingers in black and gold.
“Our children will have the strangest hair.”
We need more examples of genuinely happy, healthy relationships on TV and in books and in films. No more of this bullshit about how real, epic love is painful and impossible or deadly. Love should not break you! Love should make you stronger. (insp.)
Can we take a second to talk about the I love you. I know.interchange in Empire?
I get in a lot of arguments with my guy friends about this. Bless them - I mean really - because they think they are being progressive. And its actually kind of heart warming to see. But, usually, the people who think Han is an asshole for saying I knowinstead of I love you, too chalk his behavior up to some kind of toxic masculinity. Han won’t say he loves her because he refuses to be vulnerable. Han is too arrogant to admit he has a weakness. Han is aggressive. Han is downright cruel at times.
And… okay. I guess I can see where they’re coming from. But, to me, that is a really shallow interpretation of his character.
I guess what I, and I think many people who ship Han/Leia, see in that interchange is that Han’s response isn’t motivated by his own feelings. His response has nothing to do with what’s he’s thinking or how he feels.
It’s about validating how Leia feels.
Which, honesty, I think she needed more at that moment than a mirrored declaration.
Leia sacrifices everything for the cause. Her strength to put the rebellion before her personal interest is incredible. It’s her defining characteristic. It’s what we all know and love about her.
It’s also what she knows and loves about herself. By Empire, Leia has lost almost everything of any personal value to her. She’s lost her family. Her home. Her friends. Her position in the Senate. All she has is her own sense of identity. The only thing she can use to define herself anymore is her core values.
Can you imagine how difficult it would be to let anything compromise that?
Admitting that she has feelings for Han would be admitting that she has room in her heart for anything other than the cause. It would be admitting that her life is not solely defined by the rebellion that her family died for. It would be admitting that behind her emotionless, rational, militaristic persona is actually just a twenty-two year old girl with feelings, longings, and desires that are entirely selfish.
Han knows this about her.
Ultimately, it’s why Leia loves him. Because even Luke, her own twin with whom she shares a connection in the force, at times fails to see her as anything other than the princess.
But somehow this dirty, cocky, smart ass, nerf herder is the one person who has ever managed to look into her soul and see past every single wall she has built around herself.
Han knows her. She has never had to tell him anything. She has never had to pour her heart out to him. She has never had to make herself vulnerable in front of him. And yet, he still knows.
I guess many people see that scene and they see a cocky smart ass being clever and evasive instead of sincere when he says I know.
But that’s not what his eyes say.
His eyes say…
I know you love me.
I’ve known you love me for a long time.
It hasn’t scared me away.
It hasn’t made me think less of you.
It hasn’t made me see you as weak.
You’ve screamed at me, hit me, threatened me, insulted me, and done everything to push me away, but I still know that you love me.
And I know you know that I love you, too.
Because it’s taken an invasion of a base, a broken down hyperdrive, a giant cave dwelling slug monster, Boba Fett, a carbonite chamber, and Darth fucking Vader himself to actually make me leave you.
And I know that you will do everything in your power to bring me back.