Breakfast with the Twins
by MJ Mink
They hadn't even reached the restaurant before Han was beginning to regret his impulsive offer to cope with both kids and give Leia--and the exhausted Winter--the morning off. Not that Jacen was any problem. He sat strapped in the passenger seat and answered only when spoken to. No, Han thought with a shudder, it was his precocious daughter who was a pain in the proverbial posterior.
"Siddown, Jaina!" he snarled over his shoulder.
The dark head bobbed out of sight for a moment.
Jacen leaped and squealed. There was a giggle from the direction of the inadequate back seat.
"You wanna eat flapcakes, you apologize to Jacen."
"For what, Daddy?"
Jaina's head thrust between the seats. From the corner of his eye, Han registered the look of utter innocence. Jacen had prudently squirmed as far from his sister as he could.
"For whatever you did to Jacen."
"Didn't do nothin'."
"You didn't do anything," he corrected automatically.
Jaina giggled, Jacen snickered.
"Mommy said we'd drive you crazy."
Oh, she did, did she?
The conversation was cut short by their arrival at the unsuspecting Intergalactic House of Flapcakes. They walked from the speeder lot, and Han stopped at the door, crouched and looked Jaina straight in the eyes.
"Okay, daughter. Listen and listen hard."
Jacen's eyes rounded at his tone. Even Jaina looked somewhat taken aback. Something inside Han gave a sigh of relief. How the hell could he cope with the New Alliance if he couldn't intimidate a five-year-old?
"I'm listening," Jaina breathed.
"When we get in there, you will behave yourself. That means doing everything that your Mom and Uncle Luke expect from you at the table. Is that clear?"
Jaina mumbled an affirmative, predictably intimidated by the mention of that icon, Uncle Luke.
"Is that clear?" Han repeated.
Jacen backed away. Jaina's lips trembled. Han stood and felt like the ogre of the civilized galaxy. What was he supposed to do now? Pin on a silly smile and say, so now you're scared witless, let's go have a good time?
"Here," he said finally and held out a hand to each child. "Let's go eat."
The intimidation tactics lasted with Jaina for at least ten minutes, long enough to get settled in the booth and to place their orders. Just reading the menu was an adventure for all concerned. Jaina's eyes grew saucer shaped as Han described each item. Jacen's lips moved almost imperceptibly as he followed along.
"Jacen's never been here before."
"Neither have you," Han pointed out.
"Almost," Jaina contradicted. "But I got to eat flapcakes at DoDonna's. What I mean is," she leaned forward and there was awe and pity in her voice, "Jacen's never ever had flapcakes before inna rest...raunt."
Jacen smiled shyly. "C'n I have anything?"
"Anything you want," Han said expansively and hoped that he wouldn't regret it.
Jacen lived dangerously. He ordered something that seemed to come with a dozen toppings, each one more full of threats to the environment than the last. Han wondered if Leia would have insisted on something less politically incorrect. When it came right down to the order, Jaina showed herself to be a traditionalist. Plain flapcakes. A full stack, not the children's version that Han knew he ought to insist on.
"How come you didn't get one that looked like that?" Jacen asked curiously, pointing to the flamboyant depictions on the menu.
"Because." Jaina stuck her lip out belligerently.
"Because why? You were the one who told me about the whipped cream and stuff."
"'Kay." Jaina subsided. "He started it."
Jacen blinked. "I didn't start anything. I just asked a question."
"Sometimes," Han said with a grin, "with us Solos, that's all it takes."
Two pairs of brown eyes looked puzzled.
"What does that mean?"
"More kaffa?" A server droid hovered by his elbow.
"Thanks," Han said. This mission looked like it was going to require a fair dose of kaffastim.
"I'm real hungry," Jaina said pointedly.
"Breakfast will be provided momentarily," the droid said and trundled off.
"Drink your juice the way Jacen did."
Jaina eyed the juice doubtfully, but she raised the mug and took a big gulp. "This isn't as good as Winter's. Winter makes it the way Unca Luke does. With real glelups in a machine that goes VAROOOOM!"
Only the type of reflex that had kept him safe in space saved the remainder of the juice from decorating the carpet.
"Oops." His daughter looked sheepish. "Jaina! Be careful!"
It was such a perfect imitation of Leia that Han had to bite his lip to keep from laughing.
"Here we are," the droid chirruped, three plates balanced along one arm. Dexterously, he set them down in front of them. "Is there anything else I can get for you?"
Jaina peered at the containers of syrup. "Which one is the plema?"
"That one." The droid favored her with a pat on the head before hurrying away.
"Wow!" Jacen regarded his platter with awe. Someplace under the layered fruits and smooth mounds of cream and preserves, there presumably were flapcakes. "Wow!" he breathed again.
"Let me help." Han reached for the syrup.
"I c'n do it!" Jaina said loudly and grabbed for the sticky container. "Yecht!" She looked at her hand. "That's icky."
"Have it your own way." Han ignored her and debated between the syrups for his own plain stack.
"Gotta shake it up first," Jaina said.
What happened next occurred in a horrific type of slow motion. Jaina knelt on the bench, her arm pumping vigorously. There was a flash of plastic as the orange top separated from the container. To a pair of shrieks, a fountain of sticky plema syrup flew into the air.
Jacen squealed in surprise as the syrup hit him in the hair and trickled down over his face.
Han ordered a short obscenity as the gooey liquid splattered him.
Jaina froze, amber stickiness coating her from one end to the other.
The woman in the next booth leaped to her feet, blinking in disbelief at the ruin of her best suit.
Jaina found her voice. She chose the same word as her father, issued many decibels louder.
"Oh!" mouthed Jacen.
"JAINA!" bellowed Han.
"Isn't that the Chief of State's consort?" said the woman's husband.
Leia had lain in bed, drifting in that pleasant state between sleep and wakefulness. She rose, treated herself to a leisurely bath and then took her time dressing. She was just pouring herself a cup of freshly brewed kaffa when she heard the speeder.
She blinked at the clock. Either the IHOF was getting faster or Han had bowed to pressure and they'd ended up with Egg DoDonna's. She reached in the cupboard for another cup for Han. If her experiences alone with the children were anything to go by, her lover would be in dire need of a kaffastim jolt.
Oddly, there was no chorus of voices, no sound of feet on the stairs. Leia cocked her head and listened. Finally she heard the door closing.
Still no voices.
Another door opened and closed.
What had happened?
Leia's curiosity got the better of her. She went down the stairs.
As Leia headed for the garage, a small naked figure flashed by her.
"Hi, Mommy." Jaina gulped and vanished.
"What on--?" She stopped in the doorway, eyes wide.
Han had Jacen standing on a tarp. He was stripping off the last of their son's clothes. Jacen gave her a weak smile.
"WHAT is that in your hair?"
"Syrup," Jacen said. "I tried to help."
Han removed the final garment. "Shower," he ordered. "Or into the bath with Jaina. Scoot."
A second naked body flashed past her.
"Han, what is going on?"
"You really don't want to know." Han dropped Jacen's sweater into the unit. Peeling off his own shirt, he added it and set the unit to clean.
"I wouldn't have asked if I didn't want to know."
Han looked disgustedly at the tarp on the floor. "Is there a garbage bag down here anywhere?"
"Not until you tell me what happened."
Han scowled. "Jaina happened, that's what. And what's more, they knew who I was. I'll never be able to go back there again."
"No great loss," Leia murmured. "When the children want to eat out, it's better that we support Jan's new business. Now tell me what Jaina did."
Han shuddered. "Jaina sprayed the whole damn place with plema syrup. Me. Jacen. Herself. The couple in the next booth. I had to buy this tarp to sit the pair of them on in the speeder. You got any idea how far plema syrup can travel?"
She couldn't help it. Fate was too kind. Leia leaned against the wall and laughed until tears ran down her face.
After a long moment, Han joined in.
"Don't you ever leave me alone with them again."
Leia snuffled, wiping streaming eyes with her fingers. "Now you know."
"Now I know," Han repeated. He stopped and blinked. "Oh, Force! I sent the pair of them to have a bath. What do you suppose--?"
Leia patted his cheek. "Everything you can imagine and then some," she said sweetly. "And as you sent them there, you can take care of it." She paused in the doorway and gave Han a radiant smile. "I'll be upstairs having kaffa if you absolutely can't cope."
She wiggled her fingers and left Han open-mouthed.
From the open lav door, she could hear the re-creation of a major Rebel battle in progress.
She ignored it and went back to her coffee.