Sunday, January 20, 2013

Valentine's Challenge: The Sequel. Submission #1

Our first story has been submitted by jzhanfan and is based on the above, awesome piece of artwork.  Enjoy!

A year ago, Han Solo had spent one of the longest hours of his life scraping the inside of his helmet visor to remove the frozen debris left behind by an errant sneeze. At the time, he’d declared that any of the fabled Nine Hells of Corellia would be preferable to Hoth for spending eternity.
Bespin (where the term “freezing chamber” had turned out to be a serious misnomer in Han’s opinion) and Tatooine (which had never been one of his favorite destinations, even before Jabba had put a price on his head) had caused him to reconsider that opinion. In fact, Han was feeling downright nostalgic about Hoth at the moment.

He was fairly sure his vision was getting better, but it was difficult to know for sure at the moment. Even the sturdy goggles they all wore didn’t allow them to see much further than the back of the person ahead of them. He was grateful for the goggles, though, as well as the heavy robes that Luke had produced at Kenobi’s old hut, because the swirling sandstorm lashed them with so much gritty debris Han didn’t think he’d ever get the taste out of his mouth.

The relative silence inside the cave was startling after so long in the howling wind, and he flipped his goggles up to drink in the first clear sight he’d had since awakening: the Falcon’s distinctive profile. Han Solo had lived on dozens of planets since he’d left the Academy, but walking into the ship, he found himself overcome with an unfamiliar emotion.

He was home.

He sank gratefully into the seat at the engineering station in the Falcon’s central lounge area, shedding the grit-encased cloak and hood with relief.

The Princess, who had followed Luke to his X-Wing to bid him farewell, entered the lounge behind him, speaking into her comlink as she shook sand from her own hood and pushed her goggles out of the way. “Chewie, I’m on board, where’s Lando?”

“I’m here, Princess,” came Lando’s voice in reply. “Chewie’s already started the warm-up sequence, we’ll be good to lift off in a few minutes. How’s Han?”

“I’m fine,” Solo grunted, tugging off one of his tall boots, “and you better not be up there getting sand all over my cockpit,” he finished, turning the boot over and shaking out a steady stream of sand and grit.

“We’ll be up in a few, Lando. Lounge out,” Leia laughed, bending to set the comm down on the bench as she looked over her shoulder at Han. “You need some help with those boots?”

She straightened up, casually dropping the heavy cloak from her shoulders, and the footwear in question dropped to the deck with a thump, forgotten, as Han gazed, wonderingly, at the vision before him.

He swallowed several times, unable to form a coherent response. A corner of her mouth turned up and he realized he must look like a fool, staring at her with his mouth hanging open.

But really, what was there to say? Leia Organa was standing a meter away from him, dressed in an outfit he’d seen countless times on Jabba’s dancing girls in the old days, back when he and Chewie had been on the Hutt’s payroll and enjoyed favored guest status.

Jabba had always preferred humanoids, T’welks usually, and he liked to see as much of them as possible. Leia’s high, round breasts were covered, just barely, by a bra top that consisted mostly of two curved metal plates with a decorative clasp nestled in the hollow between them. Another pair of plates circled her hips, forming a crude girdle, to which was attached trailing lengths of gossamer fabric between her legs. Her flat abdomen was completely bare, as was most of her back. He had gotten a fuzzy glimpse of the outfit on the skiff before they’d all donned their cloaks, but his vision was clearly improving.

The view was improving as well.

He’d seen her once, in a dress with thin straps and a tightly fitted bodice, at a formal event, and the idea of what she might have been wearing underneath it had been fodder for his fantasies for months afterward. But this… this was real.

“Wow,” he managed at last, and the smile that crossed her face was bright enough to rival the twin suns outside. She seemed not the slightest bit self-conscious and simply met his gaze. He held out his hand, and she took two steps toward him, standing so close that he could no longer resist the urge to pull her into his arms and hold her tightly against him.

Her outfit was not designed for close quarters. The decorative designs on the metal cups of her top immediately poked into his aching ribs and he took the opportunity to make some minor adjustments. She lifted her face to his in invitation and he didn't have to be asked twice.

The passion and longing in her kiss caught him off guard, and he broke off abruptly, his dry throat gasping for air. This wasn't the inexperienced and reluctant woman he'd kissed so often on the long trip to Bespin. This woman was as hungry for him as he was for her, and while he was more than pleased with this development, a nagging whisper at the back of his head wondered just what else had changed while he'd been frozen.

He didn't have much time to wonder, though, because she came up on tiptoe to kiss him again, and this time he didn't hesitate to give her what she so clearly wanted. Drawing her gently onto his lap, he reached beneath the trailing silk at her waist and found bare skin, soft and rounded beneath his hands. She nestled her head against his shoulder and sighed happily. His fingers were searching for the fastening that held her top together when all at once he registered the circumstances under which she must have acquired the outfit.

A cold prickle went down his spine. “Leia,” he said, finding his voice again in his sudden worry for her, “not that you don’t look incredible in this outfit or anything, but you’re wearing this because you were dancing, at Jabba’s, weren’t you?” She nodded, and he saw she was biting her lip and the worry spilled over into anger and indignation on her behalf. “Did he hurt you?” he asked, more harshly than he’d intended. Was he angry at her, at Luke and Lando – for letting her take such a risk - or at himself for not even thinking of what must be happening to her the last few days while he’d been in a cell with Chewie? He’d been too sick and miserable to think of anything but himself, and the guilt crept over him slowly as he realized just how much his friends had invested in his rescue, and how ungrateful he must seem. “What happened, Leia, after you freed me from the carbonite?”

“Nothing I couldn’t deal with,” she replied, lightly.

“But, Jabba…” Han knew exactly what Jabba and his cronies wanted with dancing girls.

She shook her head, gently. “I don’t want to talk about it. Not now.” She rested a hand against his cheek, her thumb stroking the rough stubble that was caked with a layer of sand. “You’re here. That’s all that matters to me.” Her arms circled his chest and he found himself rocking from side to side, cradling her against him. He didn’t want to let go.

And for the first time, it occurred to him that maybe, just maybe, he wasn’t going to have to.

“I missed you,” she whispered, “and the Falcon did too. It’s so good to have you here with us again. Where you belong.”

Where he belonged. That strange feeling came over him again. Home, he thought. This is what it feels like to be home.

"I love you," he said, without preamble, in a voice gruff with sudden emotion.

"I know," she replied, simply, leaning in the rest her forehead against his. "I know."


  1. OH!! I was so hoping someone would do a fic for this fabulous picture! Yay! This was so good!! I really really loved it! :)
    I absolutely loved the shift in the middle of the story. He was totally into it until he realized what the outfit actually meant. Love love love!!

  2. Fabulous job JZ! I have to echo what zolo has said regarding the shift half way through, I really loved how you did that. I like the references to Han being home, and can't help but wonder if Leia is part of that "home" as well as the Falcon. I like to think that he thinks she is, of course. I also like the contrasts between Hoth and Tatooine at the beginning.

    Great job.

  3. Awesome. This is a perfect compliment to that picture and, like Zolo77, I had been hoping someone would write a piece to go along with it. You did not disappoint! Way to go. :-)

  4. Wow! This was really really good. The start made me laugh with Hoth and the helmet and it was a subtle segue. I also like how Leia doesn't shy away from Han's gaze- I can totally see her doing that during ESB but after waiting for Han for so long, it seems right that she would just enjoy him being there to ogle her. ;) Good work!

  5. Ah, gotta love that pic and this was a nice story to go along with it. Definitely love how he is completely stunned when he sees her, and the switch from just wanting her right there to thinking about why she's wearing the outfit. And I also loved the change he sensed, that she was not the inexperienced woman he'd kissed on the way to Bespin. Nice job!

  6. I didn't like the picture until your story! I always thought that's not Leia because I'd expected her to be self-conscious as hell! :D I really loved your story and I wouldn't have minded if there was no switch of Han's mood. xD Although that's exactly that might have happened. I like the way you told Han is fully aware about Jabba & girls. And the reference to the inexperienced Leia on the way to Bespin. Maybe you would continue this story a little? :)

  7. Nice! I like it. I am glad that Han's better nature caught up with him and he thought about what the outfit meant for her.

  8. Loved the story. I find it interesting to watch Han try to reconcile the time around and during his imprisonment. Seeing his curiosity at what has happened while he was out. Wondering how Leia has been during his time away, turning from an "inexperienced and reluctant" woman into one of "passion and longing." Wondering what she had to go through to get to him, to get him out. His concern and distaste with himself over Leia's treatment and attire while in Jabba's custody. Great work, overall. Thanks for sharing and taking on the challenge.

  9. once again, sorry I have been unable to comment lately - thanks so much to everyone who took the time to comment on and enjoyed this story. I just loved this picture as soon as I saw it.