It was over. The Empire had lost both their leader and strongest weapon, not to mention some of their finest troops. Sure, they still had Admirals spread throughout the galaxy, each probably with their own fleet, but without someone there to hold their hands and make sure they all got along, it was doubtful that they would be able to continue in a war. Years of the Rebellion's fighting, of losing allies and friends, had finally paid off.
The Empire was done.
A low groan dragged Luke out of his thoughts, bringing him back to the nearly deserted halls of Home One. He adjusted his arm, pulling Leia's slumping form closer to him. She usually didn't drink, but the fall of an unjust government was enough to get her slamming back shots of Corellian Whiskey. Luke had tried warning her against it, but only half-heartedly. Secretly, he had wanted to see her drunk, see her let go from the composed politician she always was, so it didn't take much argument on her part to get him to lay off. And now she was feeling the effects.
She groaned again as he jostled her body, but didn't make any move to stop him. Even drunk she knew when a battle wasn't worth fighting. Luke slowed his steps even more as he adjusted her, carrying more of her weight. He only had to get her down the last little bit of this hall, then a shorter one to get her to the room she was sharing with Han. Luke had gritted his teeth over that when he saw the rooming arrangement, but right now it wasn't looking so bad. At least he wouldn't have to be the one making sure she didn't choke on her own vomit.
He adjust his grip on her one more time as he reached the room, freeing a hand to knock. Han had been with them during the earlier part of the evening, but had soon left with Wedge. They didn't say anything about what they were going to do, but Luke suspected it had something to do with Republic Senate rules being the only form of card play allowed on a Rebellion Cruiser. Knowing the two of them, they would probably get bored and want to up the stakes. Hence their return to the room.
Luke's confidence in the theory wavered though, as no one answered the door. Even while playing Sabacc, Han should have opened the door, whether it be by getting up or simply pressing the button on a remote. There was the possibility they had gone to Wedge's room to gamble, but Luke found that unlikely. X-wing fighters had smaller, cramped bunks by their squadron's hangers, ideal for sudden calls to battle.
Pushing the mystery of their disappearance aside for now, Luke reached around Leia and pulled her keycard out of her pocket. He scanned it through the sensor, causing the door to rise along its track. He pulled her through, making sure to turn the light on before the door closed all the way, casting them into darkness. As the lights warmed up before actually brightening, he could dimly make out shapes around them, some human and others just humanoid. When the lights finally brought the room into full illumination, he was warmly greeted by a loud chorus of "Surprise!"
Leia head lifted at the sound, grimacing when she saw their gathered friends. Luke felt a pang of sympathy for her. She took pride in being a level-minded leader, in never letting the people she led see her weaknesses, but now they could all see her clearly drunk and out of it. Things were made worse by her needing his help to stand even semi-straight. She rested a hand against Luke's chest, pushing herself away from him and to the nearby chair.
As far as sitting down went, it wasn't very graceful. She threw her hands out in front of her body, trying to land them on the two armrests. Her left arm hit target, but her right landed on the cushion and sent her off balance. Using the hand she still had on the chair to pull herself back up, she awkwardly turned until she sat close to normally. Her hands folded on each other in her lap and she glanced around the room, trying to make it look like everything was normal.
To their credit, the guests didn't stare directly at her. They all quickly turned their attention to Luke, occasionally sending little peeks toward Leia. A few raised their glasses to him, a silent "good job" on dragging her through the halls all by himself. Han stepped out of the crowd, closely followed by Wedge. They stood on either side of the Jedi, both putting an arm around a shoulder.
"Uh, hey guys," Luke stammered, still a little confused about what exactly was going on. "What's this all about?"
Han smiled widely, gesturing to first Luke then Leia as he began speaking. "To celebrate the reunion of lost family, of course! What else it there that's worth celebrating right now?"
Luke rolled his eyes as the older man finished speaking. Han had to be drunk, at least partially, otherwise he wouldn't have thought of this as something to throw a party over. He may not see Luke as a competitor for Leia's affections anymore, but he should realize that Luke was now her brother. Her Jedi brother, to be specific. One wrong move on his part and he could end up on the wrong side of a lightsaber.
An intoxicated Wedge laughed from Luke's other side. "Isn't it great? I mean we found every single one of your friends and brought them here. Just to the celebrate the news!"
Luke's eyes made a round around the room, scanning the face of everyone in attendance. In truth, he only recognized one or two of them. He'd seen them running routine maintenance checks on his X-wing, but had never actually talked to them. He's never seen any of the rest, hadn't even passed them in the hall before. But, in an attempt to appear grateful, and hopefully make up for Leia's state, he acted like Wedge and Han had planned this while sober and nodded. He let himself make eye-contact with several of the gathered people, smiling as if acknowledging an old friend.
Luke sipped at the Tarisian Ale he'd been given, trying to ignore the burn as it slid down his throat. He'd never been much of a drinker, but he needed to do something to keep himself from strangling Wedge. The pilot was making rounds through the room, continually making sure everyone had some form of alcohol to drink. He didn't seem to realize that many of the people here would have to be at full attention tomorrow morning. Luke closed his eyes briefly as he used the Force to help people hold their liquor where it seemed necessary. He felt the cushion of the couch he was on dip slightly as someone dropped down beside him, but kept focused on the task at hand.
"Hey, that's cheating!" Han yelled inches from Luke's ear. The Jedi leaned away from him, intent on keeping his sense of hearing.
"I'm just trying to help some people out," Luke muttered, turning to face Han who had moved even closer to him. "You wouldn't want to have to drag people all the way back to their rooms, would you?
Han's brow creased as he considered the task. "Then who would drag me back to mine?"
Han scooted closer to Luke again, leaning in as if preparing to whisper a secret. "And if you help them, does that mean they can drink even more?" he asked, excited.
Luke rolled his eyes, but inwardly smiled. Han never changed. Tomorrow morning he'd probably complain about his hangover to Leia so he could get her sympathy, but as soon as he left the room he would act like he was perfectly fine. Then he could rub it in Wedge's face that he was the only one who didn't suffer after last night.
Han's fingers tapped him on the shoulder. "So does it?"
The party's attendees stumbled home in various states of drunkenness. Some could walk mostly upright, but many had to lean on each other to make it down the corridor. Luke hit the panel next to the door after Wedge left, leaving him alone in the room with Han and a unconcious Leia. Once again relying on the Force to sober him up, Luke flopped down on the small couch. It wasn't anywhere near as long as him, his legs dangled of the edge starting at his knees, but he felt he could spend the rest of his life in that spot. Somewhere behind him he could hear Han moving around as he slipped into the small bed next to Leia.
Luke didn't have to wait long before Han's snores filled the small room, creating an oddly comforting melody. The two men had shared a room during long trips on the Falcon, and Luke had grown used to hearing his friend snore as he slept. It seemed strange on nights when Luke couldn't sleep, worlds away from his friend, but right now the low sound ran soothingly through his mind and eliminated all stray thoughts.
Mind and body both cleared and sober, Luke told himself that he had to get up and go to his own quarters. He reminded himself of his warm bed on the other side of Home One and the stash of hot chocolate he kept there. He mentally wandered through mysterious worlds he had visited only in dreams that had happened there, but made no move to get up. After a few minutes Han's snoring swept those thoughts away too, and Luke felt himself drift off into the deep sleep he had been missing since Tatooine.