"So, are you planning on telling me what's been bothering you since we left Coruscant?" Leia asked curiously. She leaned forward from her seat in the Millennium Falcon's cockpit to regard her husband of just three weeks as best she could. He’d been fidgety, and somewhat distracted for the past few hours, and Leia was determined to get whatever it was out of him.
"Bothering me? Why should there be anything bothering me?” Han replied, feigned surprise evident in his voice. He sheepishly turned his head, wanting to avoid catching her gaze, even from the corner of his eye.
Leia suppressed a smile. "Because I know you, flyboy, and there's definitely something up. You have that, I don’t know, shifty kind of look about you.”
"Shifty? Who me?” Han shot back innocently, jabbing a finger at his chest. ”Nah, I'm perfectly fine.”
Inwardly Han was saying a silent prayer to all the Corellian Gods that his new wife wouldn't continue to pursue this line of questioning. Maybe he was acting a little weird, but with very good reason. He had prepared a little surprise for her before they left Coruscant a few hours earlier, and wasn’t ready to share it just yet. If he could hold out for a little while longer, then it would all work out just as he had planned. Unfortunately though, he was starting to realise that he was probably going to lose this particular battle. He knew Leia well enough by now to know that like a Krayt Dragon with a fresh, meaty Bantha bone, she wasn’t going to drop it anytime soon. He had a really bad feeling about this.
Leia turned to the towering Wookiee occupying the seat adjacent to Han. "Chewie, I'm not imagining this am I? There's something a little strange going on, isn't there? He isn’t himself today."
Chewbacca gave a short, rather abrupt sounding bark, and turned his head to look at Han.
"See, he agrees with me.” Leia exclaimed, sitting back and folding her arms in defiance.
Han regarded his Wookiee companion with a frown. "Thanks pal, take her side why don't ya.”
"He's not taking anyone's side, Han.” Leia was quick to point out. “But clearly, Wookiee's share a woman's perfect intuition, not to mention the fact that you're an absolutely terrible liar.”
"I am not!!” Han cried, swivelling round in his chair. His mouth dropped open, and a hurtful expression crept onto his face, as Chewbacca let out what sounded like the Wookiee equivalent of a deep belly laugh.
"You see, that just proves my point.” Leia said, trying hard to suppress her own urge to chuckle.
The huge Wookiee growled excitedly, his long furry arms flailing frantically above his head.
Han swallowed hard. “Don't everybody rat on me at once.”
Chewbacca snorted indignantly.
“Yeah, laugh it up, fuzzball.”
Han heard Leia sigh. ”Well, I'll give you some time to have a little think about what's been bothering you. I'll go take in a nice sonic shower, and then maybe change into something a little more comfortable." She leaned forward and gave Han a quick kiss on the cheek, before turning to exit the cockpit. Pausing for a moment in the hatchway she added, "Oh, and Han, I will get it out of you when I come back."
Han swivelled back round and looked nervously across at Chewbacca. ”Do you think that was a threat?"
Chewbacca roared in agreement.
"Women, huh? Yeah, I don't get 'em either, buddy."
Han turned his attention back to the course he had been plotting when his heart sank. He suddenly realised that if she went into their cabin to use the sonic shower she would unwittingly discover the surprise he was saving for later. He had to stop her from going in there, and fast.
“Leia, wait, you can’t go in there." He called out.
“Why not?” her inquisitive voice came back.
Han had to think really quickly. ”Um, because it's a real mess."
Leia reappeared in the hatchway, frowning at him. "A mess? But it was perfectly fine when we got back from honeymoon, and that was only a week ago." She folded her arms and regarded him intently. "The Falcon’s been docked ever since, so what’s been going on?”
“Modifications, just a little something that needed to be done." Han replied, flashing her the best smile he could muster under the circumstances.
“So tell me, what is it?” Leia asked, the curiosity growing in her voice.
“Nice? Hmm, I’m not sure we share the same definition of nice." Leia replied with a wry smile.
Han gave her a cheeky wink. “Trust me on this one, sweetheart.”
Leia shook her head, and suddenly looked worried. “You know I get nervous when you say that.”
Han tried to reassure her, by turning to his Wookiee companion for back up. “There’s no need, right Chewie?”
The sound the Wookiee made at that moment was somewhere between a laugh and a snort, and Leia could tell by the somewhat bewildered look on her husband’s face that what he had said did not amuse him. “Hey, enough of that.” Han snapped back.
“So, when do I get to see this nice thing in our cabin?” Leia enquired, sounding somewhat hopeful.
“I was hoping to keep it a surprise for later.” Han’s smirk was more than a little suggestive.
“I’m not sure about that. You’ve told me more than enough to get me intrigued. So, you’re just gonna have to show me, now aren’t you?”
The Wookiee howled uncontrollably. Han raised his hands in surrender. "Ok, ok, you win. I'll show you."
Leia, looking more smug than the pitten that caught the womp rat, gave Chewbacca a little wink as she turned to exit the cockpit. Han followed quickly after her.
"You have him wrapped around your little finger there, don't ya?" Han remarked.
Leia didn't reply, but instead flashed him her very sweetest smile.
Han came up behind her and placed his hands over her eyes.
Leia giggled, "So this is some kind of game now?"
"You can see it, but only when I say. Want you to keep your eyes shut. And no peeking." He instructed. "You got it?"
"Ok, let's just get on with this."
They reached the access hatch to the cabin that they both shared, and keeping one hand firmly over Leia's eyes, Han stretched across to hit the entry switch with his other hand. The door whooshed open and Leia's nostrils were instantly filled with a light floral scent that seemed somewhat familiar.
“Ok, you can look now.” Han announced.
Leia opened her eyes, and for a few moments she was rendered totally speechless by the sight before her. The cabin was bathed in soft flickering light from an arrangement of various sized candles adorning each of the corners. They cast a gentle, romantic glow across the small room and highlighted the oversized bed, piled high with soft pillows and cushions, that had taken the place of the old battered bunk that had been there ever since Han had first acquired the Falcon. The brilliant white silk sheets shimmered in the candlelight and were scattered with an array of large crimson petals, which Leia instantly recognised as belonging to the fragrant Ladalum flower, native to her home planet of Alderaan. Now it made sense why the smell was so familiar to her.
“Well, what do you think?” Han enquired after a few moments of stunned silence.
“It’s... a…bed.” Leia stuttered, aware that her mouth was hanging open.
She felt Han’s arms encircle her waist from behind, pulling her into his embrace and then his sweet, warm breath close to her ear. “A real bed. No more cramped, squashy, single bunk. A proper, double bed. I figured I owed it to you after all this time.”
Leia couldn’t help but giggle. “You aren’t kidding after four years of sharing that shabby old bunk with you.”
“Couldn't have my Princess slumming it forever in a smuggler's bunk, now could I? But you gotta admit, it was damn cosy in there. But hey, less of the shabby!"
“We certainly had some good times," Leia said with a wistful smile. "But you can’t say it was comfortable and I think I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve almost fallen out of that thing.” She marvelled again at the sight before her and wondered how Han had managed to pull off something so thoughtful, and so beautiful. "Oh, Han, it looks lovely. It’s just perfect. "And, the flowers, they're...they're Ladalum petals."
"Consider it a belated wedding gift from me." Han whispered through her hair as he moved it aside to kiss gently behind her ear.
“Silk sheets too?”
“The finest Alderaanian silk, no less.” Han said, with a hint of smugness.
Leia was overcome with emotion. He had done all this, just for her? Han had never been the most romantic man in the galaxy, but occasionally he would surprise her with an unexpected gift, which was always greatly received, but this was something else. Alderaanian silk and Alderaanian flowers? Where did he find them? After considering that for a while Leia decided she probably didn’t want to know, and was just content to enjoy this wonderful surprise and not dwell on it too much.
“Thank you, it really is so beautiful.” She said, feeling the beginnings of tears welling in her eyes.
"What was that you said once?” Han pondered. "I do have my moments...not many of them…"
"But you do have them.” Leia finished. "And you certainly do, don’t you?" She turned to him and reached up, gently cupping his cheek. He caught her hand it and brought it to his lips, closing his eyes and kissing it tenderly before giving her a heartfelt smile.
"It's a shame though you didn't think of this before the honeymoon.” Leia remarked. "Not that I'm complaining."
"Ah well, it was the honeymoon that finally made me realise just how much we both needed this. Think we finally wore that old bunk out."
“You aren’t kidding about that.” Leia chuckled.
Han raised an eyebrow. ”So....you wanna try it out?”
"I'm not tired.” Leia grinned back, knowing exactly what he was playing at.
"I don't remember saying anything about sleeping." He said huskily, inching closer to her.
"Oh really, so you have something else in mind?”
"A new bed has to be broken in, just to be sure, right? Make sure it's good and sturdy.”
"Well...that sounds like a..."
Before she could finish the sentence Han was scooping her up into his arms. His face covered in a mischievous grin. Leia was unable to contain her laughter, giggling like an excitable teenager. Han reflected for a moment as he carried her the few short steps to the bed, how glorious the sound was. Her laughter was so infectious and without doubt the most wonderful sound he had ever heard. It was complimented so perfectly by her beautiful, radiant smile, beaming from her face, that melted his heart every single time.
“Han, what are you doing?” Leia cried.
“It’s only proper I carry my new wife to her new bed, isn’t it?”
“Is that a Corellian tradition?” She asked.
“Nah, I just made it up."
He placed her gently in the centre on the large bed, her body sinking ever so slightly. The silky softness enveloped her as he fell down rather clumsily on top of her, and this time the uncontrollable laughter came from both of them, and they held each other until the merriment subsided. Han eventually pushed himself up and hovered over her, his crooked grin shining down at her. Then for a few moments they just swam in the depths of each other's eyes, locked into one another's souls.
"I love you, you know.” He said softly.
"I know, and I love you, too."
Han lowered himself down and kissed her hungrily, passionately, as if he never wanted to stop. She eagerly returned the kiss, bringing up her arms around his neck, pulling him even closer. With an overwhelming sense of urgency, she found herself ruffling up his hair and wrapping her legs tightly around him as she did so.
In the cockpit Chewbacca chortled to himself. He didn’t expect the newlyweds back for quite some time.