Tuesday, August 23, 2016

August Writing Challenge Submission #3 by Knitzkampf

A Toast
By Knitzkampf
They were crashing.
We are going to die.
We're crashing we're going to die we're crashing we are going to die we are going to die. I can't believe we're crashing. We are going to die! Leia felt entangled in the crash webbing surrounding her in the navigator's seat. The force of the plantet's gravity pulled her with unceasing relentlessness in her seat. She clenched her teeth, struggling to open her eyes. Please don't let me die.
The uselessness of the moment gripped her as forcefully as the gravity. It didn't matter what the mission was anymore; it was a lost cause. The ship they were flying in was also a lost cause. Piece of crap, Han Solo had protested before they left. Obnoxiously, vociferously, he had argued to take the Falcon, but had been overruled. She'd jumped at the chance to leave Hoth, even just for a couple of days; to feel the warmth of a sun's light, to see green. She'd jumped, and now she was going to die. I don't want to die. Who knew? Some on Echo Base had been jealous of her trip. Now they would be stunned, shocked, lucky to be freezing their asses off in the snow. She and Han and Chewie would be dead.
It broke her heart. I don't want to die.
While they crashed her screams and heart beat thundered in her ears. I'm terrified. Han, it's OK, give it up. We're dead. I'm terrified. Don't let me die alone. Hold me. Please hold me.
Han and Chewie were putting up a hell of a fight. They were caught in an ion storm in a piece of crap. Leia had never realized how interminable a crash death was. She'd always thought it all must happen rather suddenly; hopefully painlessly. But the screaming of the ship, the blaring of the alarms, the heat of the cockpit, her terror – it all went on and on; forever, and during it all her brain shouted more and more insistently don't let me die!
I don't want to die, she prayed continuously.
"Come on, come on, come on." Han had stopped threatening the ship. Instead of muttering how he would hack it to pieces and melt it down, he was now making deals with it. Move for me, that's it.
Orange flames escorted their descent. Fire. We're in atmosphere. Going to be soon now.
Leia knew they were going to die. Keep your eyes open, she told herself. See your last. Think your last. Make it count.
She was going to blow up, just like Alderaan had. She was in a ship about to hit a planet. She forgot the name; it got sucked out of her with the air. Alderaan was a planet hit by a ship but it was all the same. She thought of her father, who must have stood helplessly watching until impact, and she could see Han, desperately fighting his own.
"Yes!" Han exulted. "Thrusters," he ordered Chewie. "If we have 'em."
Apparently they did, for the Wookiee complied, though Leia had no idea if Han meant engage or disengage.
We're upside down, Leia noted. Crashing upside down. Please don't let me die like this. She was sorry to have regrets. She would never see Luke become a Jedi, never know the outcome of the war, never finish growing old, never settle Han once and for all.
A whooshing, the window engulfed in orange, her vision upside down, Han slammed back in his seat. A freedom, a lightnessness. Such noise. Howling and shrieking from outside, blaring and piercing from in. A ripping, tearing; the vessel gouging great chunks of earth, hurtling without control up, then down over the surface. Ripping, shredding; the vessel disintegrating, pieces of metal falling to the side, and all the while Leia screamed constantly, hunched in her seat, her hands over her head.
They seemed to be slowing. Alarms still blared. Leia stopped her screams, but she remained frozen in place.
Han used her back to help vault himself out of the cockpit. His hand's pressure was different than the crushing weight of the gravity before they entered atmosphere. He only used her for leverage, but oddly, it was comforting. She always liked it when he touched for another purpose other than the chance to touch her. He was best when he wasn't playing games, and he certainly wasn't playing right now.
Together. We'll die together. It was a nice thought. If there was to be an end to them, they might as well surrender the fight and die together.
She remained hunched over, panting, listening. Is this it? Have I died? I think – I'm alive.
She had no idea how long she remained in the navigator's seat. She'd been there when they lifted off, and she was still there, In the minutes after crash, just trying to understand that seeing smoke and smelling melted plastic and hearing various creaks and groans as the vessel settled meant that she was alive. But Han and Chewie had shaken off not just the webbing but the whole crash and were already darting about, assessing, repairing, collaborating.
"Alright," Han announced, sauntering back to the cockpit.
Her stunned eyes met his and all she could think was he was alive too, and he really didn't look all that different from when she had seen him at breakfast. Then he had been sleepy and efficient. Locks of his hair were starting to take their haphazard places after his shower, and his eyes were green and businesslike.
Just the way he sat with a cup of kaf- the way his body held the seat, the way his fingers laced over the mug's handle, the way his eyes watched her with that playful glint - he had a latent power that was many things to her. It was friendship and virility; partner and rival; a push and pull that was simultaneously attractive and unnerving.
But of course he had changed drastically, because she had too. She had survived the most amazing crash landing the galaxy had ever witnessed, she was sure of it. He looked quite awake now. Somehow in her mind she described it as delighted, but in her state of shock she knew that couldn't be right. Certainly his eyes were bright with adrenalin. The open neck of his shirt revealed an odd pattern of bruises and his hair was sticky and spiked with some substance that changed its color.
"I've got good news and bad news," he said, finishing his announcement. He stood in the cockpit doorway, one arm behind his back, a sly play on his lips and the cockpit fell away, dropped; receded into a far away distance while he loomed in front of her, holding everything together.
She continued to stare wordlessly at him. He was always so wrong, that's what kept her from speaking. He should not look delighted, the cockpit should not be standing around him, he should not be making a game of their survival.
"The good news," he continued, nonplussed by her mute stare, "is there's a settlement not far off. Chewie's going to go and make contact." Han gestured out the window but she was not yet ready to take her eyes off him. "It's forest and farmland. He reckons he can make better time than us, through the trees. He thinks two days. Then we have to wait to get picked up."
He waited if she had something to say, raising his brows expectantly. "Planet's pretty much unaltered, considering it's in the heart of Imperial space," he went on conversationally. "I bet the Imps don't wanna mess with that ionic atmosphere. We won't have to worry about them checking on us."
Leia finally found her voice. "Are we going to blow up?"
He smiled, kneeling by her seat and unbuckling her crash webbing. "No. You can come out of there now, you know."
He helped her stand. Her legs were shaking. They had gripped her seat with such desperation that she barely had strength to stand.
"You get jolted around some, even with webbing," Han explained. "You should walk around some."
"What's the bad news?" Leia prompted him.
He grinned, used to her shaking him off. "The bad news is, this is all we have to drink."
The arm he was hiding behind his back appeared, holding a bottle of Chandrillan wine. Leia had sampled it before. It was strong stuff, bracing and delicious.
"Just one bottle?" she asked.
"No, there's a case."
It was incongruous that a case of wine happened to be stowed with their mission gear. No doubt Han Solo was smuggling again.
"Give me that," she ordered.
His brows up again, he offered it to her. She unscrewed the cap and drank deeply.
Another look was crossing his face, one she'd seen before when she did something he didn't expect. He looked entertained, uncertain, fascinated.
She knew she had that effect on him. Deep inside, it caused a well of pride, that she, Senator Princess Leia of Alderaan, reminded vagabond Han Solo that he hadn't seen everything.
She smacked her lips. "That's not bad news, that this is all there is to drink."
"Well, it's all we have to eat, too."
It took her a moment to digest this information. "What?" she asked. Already, combined with the giddiness of her survival, she felt the effects of the wine. She saw him clearly, in stark outline, but the background fuzzed and blurred. His voice was warm like the wine going down her throat, and behind that were the creaks of the vessel.
"There's no food," he added helpfully.
"But, we sto-. What hap -" she sputtered to object.
"All covered in smother," he said.
"Oh." She nodded in resignation. Smother was a flame retardant and extinguisher. That's what was in his hair, she realized. At least that part of the piece of crap had worked. For what it was worth. Their food supplies were ruined. Smother was poisonous to ingest, a harsh irritant on the skin.
Suddenly, her mind latched on emergency procedures. "Is the ship secure? Are either of you injured? What about shelter, supplies? And -"
"Put down the manual, Your Flightiness," Han said. "Chewie and I already salvaged what we could. We've got a makeshift shelter. Just needs putting together."
She blinked. She couldn't deny that he had some sort of effect on her, either. If she wasn't careful, he reached a part of her she rarely acknowledged. It was nudging her now, the part that just wanted to feel; to live in the moment. I survived a crash. I'm alive! She held the bottle up. "Should I use this to wash the smother out of your hair?"
He smiled. "No, but I'll have a drink."
"You need to wash," she told him when he had finished. She held out her hand and took another swig when he handed it to her.
He nodded, prompted to scrub at his hair. He wiped his hands on his pants. "Chewie already did. There's water just a bit to the south."
"He's already gone?" Leia was surprised at their efficiency. She shook her head, pressing the bottle into his belly until he took it. He lifted it to his lips and took a drink. "Cheers," he said.
She was seeing him in a new light. Maybe it was how she first met him, she thought, in the Falcon, with a Wookiee and a high price. He came wrapped in a package of defenses and braggadocio but the crash had wiped his slate clean. She couldn't fault him for this crash and his pure determination to win was similar to her own approach to life.
"Come on out for a walk," he encouraged. "Mission be damned; we're still off Hoth."
"Bring lunch," she instructed.
"It's already cooling in the water," he laughed.
They had to jump out of a breached hull and Leia got smother all over her pants. It started to itch fairly quickly. But it felt good to itch. Better than the alternative, being dead. I'm alive. I'm alive, and I'm walking on green farmland and in the distance there are mountains and the sun is warming me inside and out and life is a beautiful thing.
Leia turned around, stumbling a little from the tall grass and wine. Behind them the crashed vessel lay like a crumpled, crushed pile of debris. "How did we survive that?" she marveled.
"I know how to crash," Han said simply.
She snorted, moving her eyes from the wreckage to Han's. He wasn't bragging. "Seriously," she said. "I have this image like we were upside down."
"We were," he told her. "I figured the winds would flip us, and crashing belly up is a whole lot worse than right side up, so I put her on her back and hoped the winds flipped us they way I wanted 'em to."
They marched over the high field of grain. Leia pumped her knees, and she threw her shoulders back, exhilarated by the sunshine. She took the bottle from Han and threw the cap into the field, where it disappeared in the tall grass. "I was so sure we were going to die," she said, putting her lips over the bottle.
The planet was lush, fertile, brimming with life.
He had a turn with the bottle. "I was hoping we weren't."
"And I'm so glad to be alive. Yes, the mission is failed, but you know what? We'll get another chance, right?" Sweat trickled down her temple and everything seemed so simple, so clear.
"Right," he nodded emphatically. "Things could be worse."
"Things could be much worse. It could be raining, or we could be arrested, or eaten by some wild animal..."
"Or dead."
"Or dead," she agreed, giggling. Already too much wine.
Han shook the bottle. "Here," he held it out to her after taking several swallows. "Finish this."
When she had drained the bottle's contents it took several tries to find Han's eyes. "We should celebrate," she declared.
"Let's," Han agreed. "Can you imagine them, back on Hoth, in their private office," he added, painting an image of High Command. "All worried about their mission and their piece of crap ship and personnel MIA" He laughed. "And we're going swimming." They both laughed. The water sparkled in the sunlight. There was a gurgle, bubbles frothing to the surface.
"It's a spring," Han said. "That'll clean the smother up fast. I thought we'd poison some domesticated animals that use this for their drinking hole."
He sat down to pull off his boots, and Leia stretched out on the lush grass above the embankment, still holding onto the empty bottle, her arms and legs spread out so that no part of her was hidden from the sunshine. She found she was smiling in contentment. She opened her eyes, wary of the sun's glare, but it was behind her and above her stretched the sky, a pristine blue, and some trees, thick with foliage and some kind of moss. Inside the canopy of the tree she detected movement; life. Sounds of twittering and leaves rustling, but she couldn't see any particular animal.
Water slapped, and Leia rose up on her elbows to see why. Han was already wading in, stripped to his briefs. He was different than her in this respect too. He was never physically shy; it was just a body and everyone had one. But his lines were long and lean and defined, and a part of him had to know that people enjoyed looking at him.
She watched him splash water over his shoulders, saw him react to the water's temperature with a shiver. He's alive, too. Full of life.
He disappeared under the water and she took the opportunity to slip out of her leggings and tunic. She put her toes into the water, rinsed the smother off her calves and shins. The spring was crystal clear and deep; she could see her toes wiggling up at her and she could see Han under the surface, rubbing at his hair like she would in a shower, legs kicking in a dance to keep him underwater.
She smiled and waded ankle deep to the wine. Han had corkscrewed the bottles into the spring's bottom. Several bottles sat nestled in a sand embrace. She grabbed two and started for him. Water lapped around her thighs, cool against her warmth. Her movement caused it to bounce around her legs, teasing her underwear with wetness. She shivered.
Only his head was atop the water but he was swimming smoothly, slowly stroking his way to her. She could see his eyes gleam and that same expression of uncertainty and awe was evident as he watched her. It made her smirk and it made her heart race.
Blood coursed through her ears, loud and insistent. You're alive, it pulsed. Celebrate life.
Han stopped, preferring she finish wading to him so he could watch her seductive movements. She held his eye and decided to enjoy more of the wine. She threw her head back, exposing her white throat and drank in show for him. It was hard to recap it, ruining the moment, but she got it done and shook off the sudden warmth of the sun on her forehead, drinking in his gaze.
Suddenly she was underwater. It took her by surprise, and she wasn't prepared with a breath. The bottles of wine prevented her from treading her way back up to the surface.
Han's arm scooped her up under the ribcage and suddenly she was atop of the water again, his face so close she could see more than the shadow of stubble on his cheeks and the serious look in his eyes.
"Drop off," he mentioned casually. He took a bottle from her and moved her against him so that she understood he was offering himself as a ledge. She thought to demand he bring her to shallower water but there was something about the water, and his skin, and how silken the two became, how warm the water grew around him, how soft it was and how firm he was.
Water streamed from her mouth, air moved through her chest and into her lungs. I'm alive.
Han unscrewed the bottle with his thumb and finger of one hand. The cap was in his palm, and getting a tight hold around her he reared both their bodies out of the water to hurl it towards the shore. Wine splashed out of the bottle. She turned her head, her hands holding on to his biceps, and saw that his throw was a few meters short. She laughed.
The little cap floated merrily on the surface.
"Are you going to get it?" she asked him, praying he would say no.
"No," he said. "'We're going to wind up drinking the whole thing anyway." He swung the bottle up to his lips and drank several swallows. Leia watched his throat move.
"Because we're celebrating," she reminded him, drinking from her own bottle. Wine surged down her throat, detouring for her windpipe. She coughed.
He chuckled, patting her back lightly. "There, there, Princess." His feet moved along the water's bottom, half-walking them towards the center of the spring. She was balanced against his thighs, and they moved her up and down as his feet slid along the bottom.
Oh, my she thought again and took another hearty swig. "Shell-". She frowned, gathering her tongue and lips to try again.
"Did you find a shell?" he asked politely.
"No, I meant shelabrate." She laughed. "Celebrate. Are you tipsy?" she asked. "Cause I am," she said, without waiting for his answer. "I don't want to drown, 'cause I just came to life."
The water made a gentle lapping noise against their bodies. There was song coming from wildlife; she knew something small was in the trees but couldn't see it. The ship was behind them, Chewie had a day's journey ahead, and it was just she and Han, half naked in a pond.
"A toast," Leia declared.
"Alright," he agreed. He raised his bottle. "What to?"
"To Life."
"To Life," he answered. They clinked their bottles. "And being alive." They drank.
"Yes," Leia said, smacking her lips again. "I feel so alive. I feel everything. Everything. Do you?"
"Mm," he slurred. "The wine, and the sun..."
"And the water, and the little singing creature in the tree..."
"And you."
"And you." Leia closed her eyes and leaned her head back. She could still sense the sunshine under her lids. Her head buzzed with the insects flying around the grass. She hadn't noticed them before. She was high on wine, high on life. "I admit, I like the feel of you."
His mouth twitched a smile. "We ought to crash more."
"We're crashing right now."
"Nothing we can do to stop it," he said in a sensuous murmur, his eyes on her lips.
They were venturing into new territory. Or was it their crash landing? "Han Solo," she announced, sitting straighter in his lap and making sure he was looking at her. "I want to cel- celebrate life. I want nothing more than to shout my life to the sky."
"Go ahead," he encouraged.
"I'm alive!" she shouted, cocking her head for an echo that didn't come.
Several creatures left the tree. "We're alive!" they shouted together.
"Do you think Chewie can hear us?" Han smiled, using his tongue to catch some wine that spilled down his chin.
"When we get picked up," she said, curling a lock of his hair around her finger, "we'll go back to being alive."
"Wait, what are we now? I thought we were alive."
"We are Life Itself," she asserted. He nodded in affirmation and touched his bottle to hers again.
"But, when we go back," Leia said after she had swallowed, "there'll be meetings, and reports, and you'll be smuggling, and you'll leave, and we all might die. So, so what I want to do..." Her voice trailed off and she lay her cheek against his chest.
"You want to shelabrate," Han prodded.
"Yes," she nodded largely, blinking. "You and me, we should shelabrate. But not you and me, you undershtand? Just you and me, only this once." In her current state she was making perfect sense, but his glazed eyes made her wonder if he understood. She did not want to celebrate the push and pull of their relationship, whether he was staying or leaving, how she loved or loathed. She wanted to celebrate the moment; their lives won together.
Something returned to the tree and took up a song. Leia smiled dreamily. "Only this once, Han Solo, and then we go back to being just day to day alive, not shep -sep – spec. Spectacularly alive."
Han brought the bottle to his ear. "I hear wine talking," he said.
"It is the wine," she protested. "And the creatures, and the sun, and that piece of crap."
Han laughed. "Shall we drink to the piece of crap?"
So soft, like the water, his rough hands gentled by the soaking. Light on her ribs, tiny pressure points. She was desirous. It's the wine. Please, little singing animal. Remind me. He is so wrong. Push, pull. She was in his eyes; she could see her reflection.
His lips were parted and she knew he could see himself in her eyes. She put her fingers on his bruises. Push. "How did you get these?"
A kind of agony crossed his face and he drank again but she knew it wasn't from her touch. Or maybe it was.
"Chewie," he said finally. His heart was beating rapidly under his bruised shoulder blade. "He was holding me down in my seat."
She shook her head in appreciation for the two. "I love him," she declared, and he smiled. "Just this once, Han Solo," she reminded him. "Can you do that?"
"It might kill me," he admitted.
Pull. He was walking them again, her rear bumping on his thighs. She leaned back to hold onto him there. His hands slipped from high on her ribs to over her waist. She tugged on his leg hair, but he didn't flinch. They had more wine.
Walk, bump, walk, thump. If he doesn't touch me I'll kill him, she thought.
"I'm going to kill you," she said aloud, dreamily. She dropped her bottle suddenly and he made a move to scoop it up before water got in it.
His brows went up. "You will? How?"
"Damn you, Han Solo. Like this." She moved her hands from his thighs, making sure to drag her nails over the front of his briefs and planted them firmly over his chest, spreading her fingers over his nipples.
"Alright then, Princess," he surrendered in a whisper. "Kill me."
Their mouths met, hungry, wet, sloppy from too much wine. Their heads shifted direction, tongues licking, teeth biting. She kept her hands clasped along his jaw to hold him still and sucked the wine off his lip. Han scuttled them quickly to shallower water so he could grip her better and the bottle of wine clunked against her head.
"Wine. I've had too much wine," she sighed for breath. Push.
"Is this only the wine?" he asked.
"No. It's the water. Too much water."
He laughed, and she caught the heady bouquet of wine on his breath. He kissed her neck. "The water's nice," he hummed in her ear.
Pull. "We'll be hungry later," she gasped.
"I'm hungry now." He had more control with his feet planted firmly in the water's bottom. He let go of the two bottles, and they floated lazily nearby while his hands pressed over her breasts. He lifted her bra.
She arched her back, securing herself around him with her legs and reaching with her fingertips to grab a floating bottle. She reared her head back and drank deeply as his hands stroked her flesh, bringing her nipples taut. After she swallowed her face came forward to meet his, flushed; her mouth open, her chest heaving more in reaction to his hands than the need for air.
"There isn't much left," she said, wiggling the bottle to slosh the contents. Push.
He took it from her and craned his head back. Her fingers traced the tendons of his neck. All of him, so hard and yet so inviting. Pull.
"Little singing creature," Leia sang.
The bottle was empty. Han tossed it aside and they froze their positions, his hands back on her breasts and her pelvis tilted against his legs. They watched it bob along the surface until gradually, slowly, it began to sink. Push.
"Just this once," Leia sighed. "I'll never feel like this again."
"Until we crash again," Han said. "We're always crashing."
"We are," she agreed, putting her head to his chest. The bruises were in front of her eyes, the lovely shape of his body. "You're so wrong," Leia said.
"So are you," he said.
That surprised her. "I am? Little singing creature, am I wrong?" There was an answering trill. They laughed. "But you can fly," she told him. "You can really fly."
"Want to fly?" he asked her, starting to move again in the water.
She grasped his face again and held his eyes. So often they played, or they were hard, but right now they were open and vulnerable and wanting. "I want to fly," she answered. Pull. Pull me, Han Solo.
They moved through the water, Han walking them, the water bouncing against the embankment with the movements and coming back to gently push on them again. His mouth on her throat was gentle, tender; his hands cupping her bottom demanding and impatient.
She hopped forward on his lap, so their centers intersected. She pulled back a little, amusement on her lips. "I did something," she crowed.
"You did," he practically groaned as she caressed her fingers over his growing erection. "You're killing me." He sounded delirious. "Leia, if this is wrong you have to decide now."
"Little singing creature, decide for me." Push? Pull? She received the same answering trill. Push. "Little singing creature says to help me fly, just this once. Do you think it flies?"
"I hope it does, if it feels like this," he moaned."Something this good can't happen just once."
"Death is once," she philosophized. "This is our thanks for the crash." She kissed him with her tongue, her fingers curled over his erection, trying to burst through his briefs. She wiggled her fingers, found the opening and released him to the water. She sighed, oh gods. Just the feel of him under her hand was arousal; what she did for him and what he did to her.
He gasped too. This was right; she was sure of it. She was drunk but should be dead. There was no better way to celebrate life than for two bodies to touch each other. "Little singing creature decided my fate."
"And a lovely fate it will be, Princess," he murmured. One arm pressed over her upper back to press him to her while with the other his fingers played between her thighs. "Stay here," he directed.
He made sure to catch her eye before taking a breath and submerging himself. He climbed down with his hands along her body to slowly sink himself to the bottom. Leia waited for him to resurface. His hands slipped up her legs, squeezing her rear, and he dragged one hand from the back along her center and to her front. She squirmed all over, under the water and above. He pulled down her panties, rubbing his palm over her curls and into her folds.
"Oh, gods," she exclaimed to the singing creature while he was still underwater. "I want him. Give him to me. Just give him to me."
He popped back up, that knowing, insufferable, wrong smirk on his lips. "I wish," the wine had her utter. Live for the day, she reminded herself. Celebrate life when you can.
"You wish?" he clarified but she only sighed in answer.
She drew him into her, both exhaling in a moan of satisfaction. Push. "Princess," he whispered, his breath hot in her ears as she wrapped her legs around him.
"Captain," she answered, lifting her hips, inviting him deeper. Pull.
"Am I still wrong?" he paused, looking into her eyes. He filled her again. Push. He stopped, pausing to wriggle his hips sideways.
"So wrong," she said through clenched teeth. "So fine."
Pull. They quieted, the singing creature sang, and the water lapped around his neck, her breasts. Their movements were small, slow, deep. Push.
"I'm flying," Leia whispered. "Gods, I'm flying." She lifted herself higher, arms outstretched, her breasts slapping the water, making her laugh. Han broke their clench just enough to suckle at her nipples while his finger toyed inside her. She lay her head back on the water, moving it side to side while Han's finger wiggled and rubbed, feeling how the water massaged her neck, adding to the sensation of surrender.
Push, pull. They moved faster together. So alive. So very, very alive. She abandoned the water to clench Han tightly around his neck, sucking on his throat, grabbing at his chest.
Leia's lips moved. Oh I feel. I feel. So good. Life. Life is beautiful. "I feel it," she shouted.
Han inched out of her again, just enough to watch her face. His tongue went in her ear and she rolled her eyes back. "Push," she grabbed his hair in her fist. "Pull."
He brought her forcefully shoreward, moving her so quickly and unexpectedly that she lost her bearings. "Water, water," she exclaimed. "Feel me live, just this once."
He lay her on her back in the shallow water. It was the heat of the day and their bodies were flush with arousal. He was inside her again easily, thrusting powerfully, lost in desire. "Oh, just like that," she hollered and heard him grunt triumphantly. Water slapped all around their joined bodies, accompanying them, showing them. The gurgle of the spring never left Leia's ears, evidence of the constancy of life.
Push, pull, push pull she groaned incoherently until her voice halted in ecstasy. He took the tempo from her and now their breath heated each other, their heads moving to necks, lips, cheeks, chest. Always, Han held the rhythm, until they were exclaiming joyfully each time their bodies stopped each other. She clutched his rear, caressing, grabbing, moving her finger up and down his spine. One last powerful thrust and she arched her hips up, thrusting her own self for him. Her release was like a strangled cry; his a soft series of gasps. The singing creature took flight.
She lay on her back, half in the water. It lapped over her breasts, under her neck, the sand rough and coarse on her back. There was the sound of her breathing, and his, that was all.
She thought she might love Han. Whatever it was she felt for him she was certain he returned it. But she was sleepy now, too tired and spent to try and evaluate what she had done and why. The intensity of the moment was passing, and soon she and Han would have to set up the shelter and wait for Chewie.
One bottle still managed to float, bobbing along on its own.
The spectacular moment of cheating death wouldn't change anything. He still had to go, and she still hated it.
"Princess?" Han said delicately. She turned her head, shading her brow with the palm of her hand. "Just once, you're sure?"
She nodded.
"There's more wine," he said suggestively, hopefully.
She smiled at him. She nestled her fingers in his chest hair and swung a leg over his.
Han squeezed her other hand. "Life sucks," he said sadly.
The sun still shone. The insects were buzzing and the creatures scampered in the tree while all the while the spring gurgled, water rising out of the ground in an eternal cycle of renewal.


  1. Whatever Leia and Han are drinking here, I want some of it. :) This is such a weirdly dreamlike story. It makes you feel like you are actually drunk with Leia as her brain just dissolves. I love it. It's like going down the rabbit hole. I love, too, that this story is so different from the other entries so far. A blissed-out, totally spontaneous romp. Love it. Bravo!

  2. Thanks, Knighted Rogue. I don't know why my brain insisted on setting this before Han and Leia were a couple, and it made it twice the challenge to make it something readers could accept, given their characters, especially Leia's. I hope I succeeded -

  3. I agree with the above that this almost seemed dream-like when I was reading it. I think partly because I was expecting it to be a dream since it is before they were really a couple. I was definitely not expecting one of the entries to cover this timeframe.

    I did like that Han was still even in his somewhat drunken state insistent on making sure this was what she wanted. And clearly, it was ;)

  4. knitzkampf, nobody writes quite like you do! This is wonderfully bizarre in tone; as the others have said, there's a dreamlike, hazy quality to it. I got the feeling that Leia was in shock, abuzz with the thrill of surviving, and (as a consequence) vulnerable to her own deeply hidden desires. Now I have the strong desire to crash-land Han and Leia somewhere so I can play with this kind of scenario, too. :) Thanks for sharing your story.

  5. Glad you liked it - and that's what I going for with Leia, so I'm relieved it came across. And please - crash land away! I'd love to read your take. :)

  6. This is so awesome! The dreamlike quality of this story pulls you in; such a beautiful execution! I can just see Leia talking about "shelebrating" her survival, and Han's asking her if she wants to fly...whew. Like Rogue said, I'd be on board for some of whatever they're drinking!
    Nicely done, and thank you!

  7. Release date is October 16


    1. Awesome, can't wait.

      In the future though can we keep comments unrelated to a posted story on other blog posts? In this case the one requesting submissions for the writing challenge is fine. Just for the authors of the stories it's nice when the comments are all related to their story and not just random other stuff. I know it's a pain since there is no way for other people to start a thread, but hopefully people still see your comments elsewhere. The exception of course is if the author of the posted story explicitly says that they don't mind or would like other discussion in their story comments.

  8. I too really like the dreamy, half-real quality of this one. I've always been drawn to stories of how people who survive some sort of very close call do something that would have seemed very out of character (but is probably in accord with their true character) when they realize they've cheated fate.

    Nicely done!- although I will never love anything you write more than I love Han's line "The manager can't do anything about this script. Sorry" in your "Dragon's Star" ff.net story that mocks TFA. I laughed out loud at that one.

  9. Had to read this one twice, okay thrice now. Something is unique about Knitzkampf's style, not just the humor, but something that gives it a quirky feel. I really enjoy this one. Light, dreamy and not what I expected at all. Can I say you are the Tim Burton lite of this genre? I don't mean that as an insult if you are not a fan. It's just everything is a bit light lovely and weird. Love it!

    I agree that "Dragon's Star" is worth a couple of reads for those who hated TFA.

  10. Angela, Kels - thanks. It's neat to consider a style. Wish I knew what mine was! Some authors are so consistent and recognizable.
    And I'm glad to see "Dragon's Star" find some more readers. I really enjoyed writing it - made me laugh and filled some need.

  11. I just found this and I am madly in love. Madly. IT's fantastic. I love the inner-monolog stuff and the wild-on-adrenaline meets drunk-on-wine meets need-for-life-affirming sex. Have you read "Scarlett"? there's a crash followed by sex in the sand in that book, too, only you write it better. So good. I adore this story.