by Sasjah Miller

His gesture surprises me.

The glove I have recently started to wear fits snugly, a little too snugly perhaps, and there are mornings when I have trouble putting it on. The nerves remember that it has not always been like this: flesh and metal molded together into something new, something alienatingly familiar.

They sometimes remember all too well what it was like and they will scream to me that this is not right, that this thing that moves like living flesh is not and never will be a part of me and they punish me by relentlessly flooding my brain with the agony they felt when my father's light sabre seared off my hand that day in one terrifyingly graceful move.

Those are the bad days.

The really bad days are when my mind keeps playing that scene over and over until I want to curl up in my sleeping cot and scream my lungs out and die, like I was meant to, like it was predicted, like my father wanted me to. The days when the endless void outside the Millennium Falcon seems more filled with life and meaning than my own black existence inside it.

This day is one of them.

And out of the blue Han is there in the tiny cubicle with me. He doesnít speak, just reaches for the glove that lies on the floor, almost invisible, black on black, gently takes my shoulders and uncurls my body, his warmth a reassuring presence, takes the hand in his own.

I must look at him but I will not look at the way his shirt falls open and how his smooth chest is only partly hidden by the soft white fabric (he canít be all that much older than me). I will not look because I will not feel anything when the hand that is not my own slips inside that shirt and caresses the warm living skin beneath it. The nerves do not remember it.

So, instead I look at his face, where that cocky smile is playing around his lips the way it always does, but it is tempered by another emotion and I am not sure that I want to know anymore about that because I have seen the way Leia looks at him.

He pulls the glove around my hand, stroking it gently so there are no creases or folds to hinder me in my movements. The glove stretches as I bend and flex my hand, remembering what it was like, before.

Chewbacca calls to him from somewhere in the depths of the Falcon, requesting his help immediately. He squeezes my hand a final time, thumb sliding over the black fabric, and smiles before he turns and wrings himself out through the tiny door.

"You know, black leather looks great on you, kid," he says.

The End