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[personal profile] ysonesse

Dream World: Xandat

The air wherever here happened to be in this current dream was cold. That was what Nalieza noticed first.

She took in the surroundings. They were standing on top of the Falcon. A sun was slowly rising. Or so it appeared. When she looked closer, she saw that it actually sat paused, as if waiting for a call from some deity to ascend higher into the sky.

Han was staring out into the distance. "This is Xandat," he said, pointing across the horizon. "I wound up there by accident not too long before I met Luke and the old man in Mos Eisley. Got jumped by a cruiser out on patrol. That was when I had to dump the spice, and that was after they decided to pop the hyperdrive. It took three days to get everything working again."

"That hyperdrive. It's always been a heartbreak for you."

"Hey, nothing on this girl's ever been a problem." He looked down at the hull. "Okay, maybe one or two times she gave me some headaches..."

"A ship that has nervous breakdowns, who would have thought it possible?" she teased.

Han did not find the comment so amusing. He swung around and gave her a hard glare. "Look, if I hadn't been shot at by every damned fool who thinks he's some hotshot, none of those things ever would have happened."

He turned and took a few steps across the hull towards the access ladder. She thought he might climb down it and leave her up here alone. Instead, he put his hands on his hips and stared at the sky. The sun had not moved one inch. The clouds stretched out in thin wisps. And it was still cold. Same as before, and probably still the same a few minutes from now.

"This...all of this...it's getting..." he waved a hand around, indicating both the immediate surroundings, and the more vague air of the unconscious world he was trapped in. "It's like being an exile. I got kicked out of life because I did something stupid."

Nalieza turned away for a moment to look at the sky behind them. Dark blue; the sign of a foreboding and eternal night. She looked back over her shoulder and noted the sun still hung on the horizon. A visual commentary on his present circumstances. Suspended animation was the never-ending night, while his release from this state lay far away in the future, at some point she couldn't see, and he didn't seem to be able to envision anymore. That was the dawn light which could not go past the horizon.

"I'm not getting out of here, am I? I'm stuck like this forever, coming up in my head with every place I ever spent five minutes in. Seeing the past. No future. Not even any kind of present for that matter."

"Why do you think that?" She approached him slowly. Even in the shadowy light, she could see the expression on his face. Frustration, and some fear.

"I think it because nothing's changing. How long have I been frozen? How long have these dreams been going on? Because there's no sense of time here."

Nalieza felt sick. Telling him how long he had been in carbonite was something she had hoped would never come up. "Why?" she asked. She had to bite her lip to hold back tears before she could finish. "Why do you need to know how long this has been going on?"

"Wouldn't you want to?"

"Not really. I guess," she replied softly.

"Sorry, but I do. I have to know how long I've been out of it."

"But why? You already know time's passed, and that's bad enough. What good can it be to you to find out how much specific time has gone by?"

"Because..." he hesitated. "Because I feel lost. And maybe I want to know there's still a world somewhere that's normal. Where there's day and night, and one follows the other like it always has since the galaxy got created." He looked over his shoulder at her. "It's funny, but I've always been one of those people who liked to live in the moment." He turned his head back around and peered down into the darkness. "Since I've been here, all I can do is live in every moment I've ever experienced. And you know what? It's not so great."

"I understand that, Han. Really. But I still cannot imagine what you could gain by knowing."

"Why don't you want to tell me?"

A tear ran down her cheek. She wiped it away, then said, "There's no point in adding to your suffering."

"But I'm asking you to tell me. If it winds up driving me crazy, that's my fault. Right?"

She brushed away some more tears, but did not speak.

"Has it been days? Weeks?"

"No."

"Then what? Are you saying it's been a year already?"

"Not even close."

If she could avoid telling him the actual amount of time...but no, that wasn't possible now. Once the box of torment was open, none of the fleeing demons and terrors could be grabbed and shoved back inside. And the box could never be closed again.

He asked the final and obvious question. "How many months?"

She trembled, digging her fingernails into her palm. Then she said softly, "Three months. That's how long you've been in carbonite."

He said nothing. All he did was cross his arms over his chest and stare down at the ground. She noticed that he was shaking, as if the cold in the air had created a chill inside of him.

"Look, they're coming for you. It's just going to take some more time."

"How much longer?"

"It's a matter of when. Try to hold on to that."

"It's interesting how you can know all of this for sure."

"Why would they abandon you? They're your friends!"

He didn't answer her for a moment. But when he did, what came out surprised her.

"You know this is all my damned fault. If I hadn't trusted Lando...I failed there," he said.

How long had he been feeling guilty about what took place in Cloud City? And why did he feel responsible? "How could you have failed? By not being able to escape? Who could get out of something like that?"

"But I've been in tight situations before. I got out of a Corporate Sector prison once, and I busted out of the Death Star. How come I couldn't get us away from there?"

"You were up against impossible odds."

"I don't need to be reminded of odds."

"Wrong."

She tried to examine the ground underneath the Falcon. Nothing was visible below them. Then she looked up to see the darkness that had been behind them in the sky descending and then coming over the dry brown hills to hover just above the surface and surround the freighter. It was appropriate, somehow, in an ominous fashion.

"Do me a favor," he said.

"What?"

"The next time I ask you how long I've been in here...don't tell me."