Friday, February 24, 2017

There's a New Book, is Anyone Reading it?

I find it interesting, or perhaps just telling, that nobody has requested we start talking about this. Perhaps it's just because it seems like commenting in general seems to have declined. Whatever the reason, since at the moment things seem to be quiet and I have no other stories to post here, we might as well bring this up.

For those of you unaware, or who have simply stopped caring, this is the third book in the new version of post-ROTJ canon that follows Aftermath and Life Debt. And apparently it includes the birth of baby Ben Solo. I think as Han and Leia fans you know you've really been beaten into hopelessness when there is a book where Han takes care of his pregnant wife and she has the baby and none of us are talking about it. Well, maybe some of you are talking about it somewhere, but it's not like with Bloodline where a few of you really wanted space to talk about it.

I'm 99% sure I will not be reading this book, just like I didn't read the two that came before it, or Bloodline. I'm just not particularly interested in this new version of things when we know where it leads. I know we kind of got something similar eventually in the old "legends" timeline, but we had years of definitely not expecting that where we could think it was cute to see Han and Leia with their kids. And to be fair I was really angry about that whole thing too, so I'm certainly not trying to argue that that option was generally better, although a few elements of it certainly were.

My issue to is that they seem to be making a lot of stupid little changes, just for the sake of changes, that don't add anything and just make it worse. I read like a paragraph excerpt on tumblr somewhere I think that said that Ben was a Solo, Leia kept her name. Why? I mean to be honest, if we're going to make some changes like that and we're talking about a galaxy we don't know everything about, why not say that Ben's last name was Organa too? And yeah, it bugs me that Leia doesn't take Han's name. It shouldn't, because frankly if by some miracle I were to get married I have strong feelings about keeping my own name, but Leia is someone who got married quite young, and really maybe shouldn't even have that much attachment to a last name that she was adopted into anyway. And also the kids thing. It just seems odd that she would keep a different last name from her husband (who may or may not be interested in being a "family man" anyway, that remains unclear in this ridiculous new version of events) and her son.

Anyway, I don't want to rant too much about it, because really I used up all my anger over the changes months ago, and they could tell me in this book we find out Han is a wife-beater and I'd kind of shrug my shoulders and be like, well, given everything else they've done, what more do we expect? I just find it really interesting that as Han and Leia fans this is a book where they have a kid and nobody seems to have brought it up. Can you imagine if the movie had included a heroic, kick-ass kid of theirs how much we'd want to read about them coming into the world?

So has anyone read it? Going to read it? Heard anything about it? I'd be interested to know if anyone can read it and kind of separate it from knowing how it turns out to actually enjoy reading about Han and Leia with their new baby. That's just not going to happen for me, but I guess I should maybe be grateful that it will save me a lot of time and money to never have to read another Star Wars book. Oh, and lastly, I also am kind of annoyed that they called it Empire's End, since that was a comic in the old timeline that included baby Anakin Solo, who totally did not grow up to murder his father.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

2017 Valentine's Challenge Submission #9 from Amara Z

The room was surprisingly still when Han awoke. And almost fully dark. He and Leia had placed the windows on night setting before they had retired for the evening, effectively blocking most light and sound. Only the smallest amount of Coruscant’s ever present glow could shine through.

Han cracked an eye open to look at the chrono next to his side of the bed, wondering if it was almost time to get up. He kept himself from groaning as he realized it was the middle of the night. He shut his eyes with a sigh. Definitely not time to be up.

He dropped his head back on his pillow trying to get comfortable. Hopefully he could settle back down and get some more sleep. He rolled over, thinking about Leia’s warmth and softness and how it always helped lull him back to sleep or at least made things very pleasant. Liking the idea, he reached out towards his fiancĂ©e’s side of the bed wanting to pull her closer to him. But found it empty.


He opened his eyes again and ran hand over the space where Leia should be. The sheets and pillow were cold to the touch, letting him know she’d been up for a while. He scrubbed a hand over his face, trying wake up enough to think. Unfortunately this wasn’t a new occurrence. Over the years together, he had come to realize it was a pattern with her. He didn’t like it and knew she suffered a little for it.

Sliding to the edge of the bed, he donned a pair of sleep pants and shirt he kept by his side of the bed. He wanted to be there for her as much as he could.

Pushing to standing, he moved around the bed and shuffled quietly into the living room. The space was partially dark with shadows and patches of low light scattered throughout, creating strange dark shapes. It was still in here as well, the kind of eerie stillness only found in the middle of the night. He kept his footsteps silent as he moved forward on the chance Leia had fallen asleep on the couch. It would certainly be his preference if she had managed to do so. He stopped just short of the couch and grimaced. No Leia.

It wasn’t too surprising. With everything on her shoulders, it was a miracle she slept at all or didn’t break. But she managed, even thrived. Most of the time. At least the nightmares were mainly gone. Han stared at the empty couch thoughts of those moments coming back. He didn’t know how often she had awoken screaming or terrified in the middle of the night, inconsolable over the things that still haunted her. It had taken a lot of care afterwards for her to return to sleep. She had really caught him off guard when it first happened on the way to Bespin and they shared a bunkroom together. She apparently had hid it well until then by pretending to be an earlier riser or barking at him enough he was too distracted to pay attention. He had spent quite a few nights over the years comforting her and consoling her. The nightmares were few and far between now, a fact he was grateful for. At least it wasn’t probably that.

He continued through the living room, making his way to the far opening to their balcony. It was a long space that ran the length of their apartment. Open aired, it was often her other favorite place to relax. He stepped through the door knowing he’d probably find her there. And there she was.

She was sitting on a lounger on the far side, robe closed tightly, her arms wrapped around herself in a contented way. She was looking out at the sky and never ending lights. The balcony had privacy screen for when they didn’t want to be disturbed, but Han could tell with a glance Leia hadn’t bothered to set them and was enjoying the view unobstructed.

He smiled to himself as he stepped forward.

“Hey, sweetheart,” he said quietly causing her to look over. “Want some company?”

Leia smiled back at him. She looked tired, but her eyes lit up at seeing him. She patted the lounge right next to her hip in invitation, and slid over to make space for him.

Relief touched Han’s eyes and his smile grew as he crossed over and made himself comfortable next to her. He pulled her into his arms. Her body was warm and soft against his and it never stopped amazing him how perfectly she seemed to fit against him. He held her close as she snuggled in, loving how she felt. And when she sighed, he knew comfort was achieved. He kissed her tenderly top of the head.

He ran his fingers down her hair, caressing it lightly as he went. He repeated the movement, his hand trailing down her arm.

“You ok?” he asked softly as he continued to run his fingers down her arm. He felt a nod against his chest.

“Yeah. Couldn’t sleep.Too much on my mind.”

Han let out a low grunt and tightened his arm around her. He had figured as much. Leia had way more on her plate than most and probably more than she should. “The usual stuff?”

Her response was to bury her face in his shoulder as if the gesture would help her forget. She let out a long sigh. “Yeah.”

Han grimaced. “Anything I can do?”

She raised her head to look at him. “Tell me a story?”

A lopsided grin came to his face and his brow furrowed. “A story?” He wasn’t sure if he had heard her correctly. “What kind of story?”

Leia thought for a moment and shrugged. “Any kind.”

He took a deep breath thinking about what story he could tell. There wasn’t much she hadn’t already heard. He decided to go with one she knew she’d enjoy.

“How about the day we met,” he began, rubbing her shoulder gently. “You remember that. That day was crazy from the start. I didn’t think much of it when the old man and Luke showed up. Wasn’t much to think about. A fare is a fare right? But kreth, the whole situation was messed from the beginning. We couldn’t even get off Tatooine without any trouble.” He swallowed. “As you know, it just got worse from there. Stuck in an Imperial installation, no way out. And Luke just started going off about how he had to get you. I wasn’t about to get into the middle of that. Well, not without a lot of money involved. Sorry, sweetheart,” he said after she laughed.

“But you know me, I went for it anyhow. You should have heard the stupid conversation I had with another detachment. It really was such a hair-brained plan. I didn’t realize what I had gotten myself into.”

Han paused for a moment curious how long he should continue. He glanced down at the top of her head to see if she gave any indication. “Do you want me to stop?”

She didn’t respond immediately. She just snuggled closer, letting her hand rest on his chest and rubbing her cheek on his shoulder. “No,” she replied quietly, sounding like she was already partially asleep. “I like the sound of your voice.”

Han chuckled. Given her proximity to him, she probably enjoyed the vibrations coming from his chest more than the actual timbre of his voice.

“And then I met you. Gods, you drove me crazy. Things were bad enough and then you were there mouthing off and trying to contribute. Generally just annoying me. But you were just so damned cute. It made it hard to be too mad. Your dress was pretty see-through after the trash compactor and clinging to you in all the right places. That certainly didn’t hurt and didn’t mind the rest of it so much. I don’t think I knew then how beautiful you truly were. The kind of person you were inside. I could tell Luke was interested too. But took me time to get there and understand what I had in front of me. To realize the beauty that had drifted into my life that day.”

Han stopped, listening to the sounds, or lack thereof, around him. Leia’s breathing had slowed considerably, her chest brushing against his in long, deep movements. With a glance down, he saw her eyelids drawn against her cheeks. He smiled and kissed the top of her head again. He was glad she could finally get the sleep she needed.

Draping a leg over the edge of the lounge, he carefully pulled himself to sitting. He held her close to him as he did so as not to disturb her. Sliding an arm under her legs, he stood and slowly drifted back inside. Leia barely stirred as he carried her back to their bed. She merely rested her head on his shoulder and wrapped an arm around his neck. As he strode through the living room, he was grateful for her slight form and how easily he could carry her.

He kept movement to a minimum as he laid her on the bed. He pulled the covers over her before returning to his side of the bed. He quickly stripped his shirt off before sliding under the covers next to her. He moved as close as he could to her, wanting to feel her body next to his again. He laid facing her and put arm over her waist as if to protect her. Leia shifted slightly, mumbling as she got comfortable. Han’s eyes closed assuming things would be ok for the rest of the night.

“Thank you,” she murmured.

Han open his eyes again and smiled, not entirely sure if she was awake. He brushed his hand across her cheek.

“Anytime. That’s what I’m here for,” he replied. And with that he drifted off into dreamless sleep.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Just For Fun...

We haven't had any sort of fun discussion here in a while. So, ok, Valentine's Day is technically behind us. I do have one more story coming for you, and if anyone else had anything I don't particularly care that the day is over, I'd still be happy to post something. But for now, let's maybe just have some fun discussion.

How do you think Han and Leia would celebrate something like Valentine's Day? Let's not assume it is exactly the same as it is here, but just a similar kind of holiday, or even an anniversary or something like that.

I don't personally see them as the types who would do these grand romantic gestures. For one thing, I don't think they'd need that. Like I don't think Leia would need gifts or giant bouquets of flowers to know that Han loved her. And I don't think that Han would need much from her either, as I suspect it is pretty clear no matter what day it is how they feel about each other. But I do think it's fun to think about them doing nice things for each other, or one of them surprising the other with something. What do you guys think?

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Valentine's Challenge 2017 Submission #8 by Dant Solo

I wanted to write this to prove I can still write something short, because these days my stories turn out longer than I even expect lol. I told Zyra I was writing it because I just knew if I didn’t make myself obligated to, I would never finish it. Sure enough, I got to a point and was just stuck. But, I had told Zyra I was writing it so I had to finally finish it. The first simply fluff I’ve written in a long time. Hope you like it!
                                                 By Dant Solo

    Moonlight filtered through the clouds, a smattering of stars shining distantly, here and there. Head tipped up to the sky, Leia Organa leaned back in the oval-shaped repulsor chair on the balcony of her home. She shifted beneath the thick blanket protecting her from the cool air.
    The word had not existed in her vocabulary in so long. It seemed so strange now to have a permanent place to rest her head. Permanent for now, at least.
    She was slowly getting her life together. Getting a life.
    She had a home again, and family. A brother, a…whatever Han was, she mused.
    Boyfriend? The word seemed so juvenile, so casual. Roommate? Too platonic. He wasn’t exactly her life-partner, they had made no such vows. Consort sounded too formal.
    She glanced over her shoulder to where he slept, peaceful and content. They had such limited time together, between both their schedules.
    They had yet to be in a setting where she had to introduce him as anything but “General Han Solo.” Those within their circle knew of their relationship. Beyond that, she had no idea how well-known it was that they were…together.
    This is my companion, General Solo.
    Well, that just sounded absurd. He might as well be a pet growlie.
    Lover was too…sexual.
    She smiled to herself at the silliness of her thoughts. Once upon a time, not too long ago, there had been no time to ponder such frivolities.
    Quiet rustling behind her, footsteps creeping up on her, she sensed Han’s sleepy presence. Rubbing an eye with bundled fingers, he lowered to the floor at her feet.
    “Whatcha doin’ out here?” His voice was low and heavy with sleep. He leaned his head onto her crossed legs, one hand digging beneath the blanket to curl back and circle her waist. 
    Leia dove her fingers into the softness of his hair. His eyes were closed, expression dreamy and content. She loved to see him like this, relaxed and unguarded.
    “Just thinking.”
    One eye popped open. “’Bout what?”
    Unbidden, the corners of her lips rose. “Us.”
    The other eye opened as well. “What about us?” He didn’t sound worried, just mildly concerned.
    Leia laughed lightly. “Nothing bad. Don’t worry.” One hand slid from the blanket to stroke his cheek.
    “When you look at me like that, I can’t worry.” His thick voice rumbled in the low light, bringing her a slight shiver. His eyes grew concerned. “No nightmares?”
    “No nightmares,” she replied lightly.
    His eyes softened and closed again. She watched him, hands continuing to meander through his hair.
    “I love the way you touch me,” he murmured, making her smile. “No one’s ever touched me like that.”
    “Like what?” He always seemed to speak the most freely and openly when he was in that twilight of fully awakening.
    He frowned the way he always did when he was searching for the right words. “Like…like even your fingers love me. You’re loving me with your fingers.”
    Her smile widened brightly. He could be so blunt yet beautiful. “My fingers do love you.”
    His smile beamed in return and he snuggled closer to her with a sound of utter contentment that further warmed her. He pulled part of the blanket aside and rubbed his cheek against the skin of her leg.
    “You’re so soft…I didn’t know skin could be so soft.” His head rose and he rested his chin on the side of her knee, gazing up at her. “Must be your easy, royal lifestyle.” His eyes glinted mischief.
    She tossed him a mock-glare. “Yes,” she replied dryly. “These last few years have been particularly undemanding and peaceful.”
    His smirk turned to a slow grin. “Except when you were arguing with me.”
    She suppressed her smile, enjoying the banter. “Arguing with you? It was you who was arguing with me.”
    “Oh, I think your memory’s faulty, Your Highness.”
    She could no longer batter down the threatening grin. “You’re arguing with me again.”
    “Me?” he asked with exaggerated innocence. “I wouldn’t dare.”
    “It’s your default setting.”
    He chuckled, low but hearty, and kissed her thigh. The gentle, intimate gesture made her smile as she looked back out into the night. The city was lit up even more brightly than the stars in the sky.
    “I’ve always loved sitting outside at night,” Leia said wistfully. “It was a lot nicer when my view was filled with trees and mountains rather than lights and the paths of hovercars.” That familiar pang of loss hit her, no longer a deep ache. Closer to acknowledgement than grief now.
    Silence for several moments then Han spoke and his voice held a different timbre, something tentative and quiet. “You miss having everything you could ever want laid out in front of you?”
    The odd wording of his question took her a moment to process. “I’m not sure I would put it like that…I miss…everything I loved.” That pang again, but it didn’t crush her soul.
    The arm around her waist tightened and she sensed some shift in Han’s mood but couldn’t guess what he might be thinking.  A glance down showed him pensive. Her fingers brushed through his hair again.
    “What are you thinking so hard about?” she asked lightly.
    His eyes fell shut in defense and she wondered if he would answer truthfully or shut her out. Inner turmoil radiated from him in soft waves.
    “Nothin’, I just…” He paused for a long moment. His lower lip jutted out as he struggled. “Wish there was a way I could get it all back for you.” The words seemed to rush from his lips as if he were forcing them out.
    Leia sensed there was more to it than that but took it as presented. “If only it were so simple.”
    Han sat up with bright eyes, now fully awake. Her gaze was drawn to the tan skin of his strong, broad shoulders and her hand glided over that path, smooth, taut muscle beneath her fingers. He sighed through his nose, closed his eyes, and bent his head into the caress.
    “I love my new life with you,” she whispered, sensing he needed to hear it.
    The only indication he had heard her was a slight crinkle of his brow. She leaned over and kissed the top of his head, soft hair tickling her nose. It seemed somewhat of a miracle that they had arrived here. Their dynamic had shifted so dramatically after that one stolen kiss. All the resentment and animosity had just melted away, as if drifting into the distance on the breeze. 
    “You rescued me,” she said quietly.
    His head rose curiously, eyes questioning. “On Hoth?”
    Her lips quirked upwards. “No, from myself.”
    He was still puzzled, lips rounding slightly.
    Her smile grew and her gaze remained soft. “I lost myself after the Death Star. But, you found me.” It clicked more soundly into place. “Not found me exactly. You kicked in my doors and dragged me out.”
    Now he was smiling, eyes swirling with too many thoughts. Poignant emotions bounced between them, boomeranging back and forth. 
    “I love you.” His deep voice rumbled through her, thunderous. Before she could respond, he reached a hand into her hair and gently tugged her lips to his. His tongue delved into her mouth, softly, heat slowly rising between them. There was only the sound of the pulse in Leia’s ears, thrumming loudly.
    The ready hand at her thigh slid slowly beneath the blanket, like a heat-seeking missile, cupping her in his hand, causing her to strain into his palm. She broke the kiss to throw her head back with a soft, expectant moan.
    Forcing herself to come to her senses, she spoke in a throaty whisper. “We should…” She broke off at the light brush of Han’s fingers against her closed lips. For a moment, she could scarcely think. Her breath came in gasps as his fingers made a tantalizing path up, down, back again. “Inside,” she whispered, trying desperately to think past the movements of his fingers.
    One finger dove inside her moist heat and her moan was suddenly deep and frenzied. It was impossible for her to think and Han gave a gruff laugh low in his throat. His mouth moved to her ear and he licked her lobe. “You said inside.” His breath whispered into the cavern of her ear, sending a shiver up her spine.
    “The bedroom,” she whispered urgently. 
    “So traditional.” His mouth moved to her neck, sucking gently with his teeth.
    It was a struggle to form words and his stubborn insistence on misunderstanding was not helping. She grabbed him by one shoulder and shoved him back just enough to force their eyes to clash. “The media,” she said shortly.
The passion in his eyes blurred for a moment. Then understanding dawned with sudden clarity and his gaze cleared.
    Media drones followed her often enough for Leia to worry about being caught in a compromising position. She was not one to risk an audience.
    With a sheepish raise and lowering of his brow, he stood, held out a hand to her, and brought her to standing. Inside, he tugged the curtains shut before Leia pulled him by the hand to the bed with breathless anticipation.
    She pulled the sleepgown over her head and tossed it to the winds. Then his hands were gently lowering her by the shoulders until her back was against the mattress. His weight atop her body brought comfort, feeling him so solid, so there. 
    Her hair pooled all around her and Han grabbed a large tumble in his hand and tossed it upwards, out of the way. His fingers moved to her cheek, a gentle caress. Their eyes joined in a gaze of understood emotion and they both smiled softly at the same time. Leia’s heart thudded hard in her chest…it always moved her when he looked at her like that. As if he simply could not believe she were real.
    They made love slowly, savoring these moments ogether, as if they had all the time in the galaxy. The air was heavy with passion, filled with moans and gasps of pleasure as they teased each other into a frenzy.
    And then Leia was calling his name, desperate, digging her nails into the skin of his shoulders, body rising to a crescendo. Han quickly followed her over that edge of ecstasy into the twilight realm where nothing existed beyond that moment of fulfillment, mindless and all-consuming.
    Stillness…breathing, just breathing. The hard hammering of Han’s heartbeat against her own. Slowly, thought returns. One hand against the back of Han’s neck, stroking softly. Limbs weak, one leg curling around his waist, wanting to enclose him within herself, become even more intimately entangled. His lips, soft, damp, lingering against her cheek as one hand slips into the tangle of her hair. 
    They remained in that illusory haze, blocking out all else, able to pretend for just a little while that nothing bad could ever touch them, and the galaxy was a safe place.
    All too soon, reality returned to settle over them, worries pushing their way in. Han would be leaving again in just two days. The separations were difficult enough without the constant worry for his safety that left her with anxiety whenever she was not completely absorbed in an activity. It reminded her of the early days after Alderaan, when she pushed herself to the limit, never allowing herself the time to think.
    “Wish you weren’t leaving again so soon,” she whispered. “I hate to watch you leave.”
    His head lifted, expression earnest for a moment before splitting to an arrogant grin. “That’s why I go…so you can miss me.”
    The words were flippant, but Leia could sense the underlying emotion. He was doing what he always did; detracting from the seriousness of the moment, affecting a cocky air so that she would smile and roll her eyes instead of frowning.
    She didn’t take the bait. “I will miss you.”
    He gave up trying and sobered. “I’ll miss you, too.” He kissed her tenderly on the lips then rested his head against her breast.
    One hand caressed his shoulder absently. “I have that dinner with the State Department tomorrow evening.”
    Han groaned.
    “You don’t have to come,” she said, meaning it.
    He looked up at her, grimacing. “Well, if I don’t, that’s a whole ‘nother night I won’t be with you.”
    Excitement rose. She hadn’t expected him to accompany her. “So, you’ll come with me?”
    He sighed and rolled his eyes slightly. “Yeah.”
    A grin burst forth and she saw his expression soften to an almost-smile.
    “Just don’t expect me to like it,” he grumbled.
    “I won’t,” she replied, still smiling. “So, what should I call you?” she asked, suddenly playful.
    “How should I introduce you?”
    His brow was furrowed in confusion. “Whadda you mean?”
    Feeling suddenly sheepish, her enthusiasm dampened. “Nothing.”
    “No, c’mon, what’d you mean?”
    It was clear in his tone that he was not going to let this go without an answer. Leia stared at the ceiling, wishing she hadn’t said anything. “I was just thinking earlier…about what we are…or rather, what I should tell people we are…”
    The silence drew out momentarily, not nearly as comfortable as it normally was between them. Leia was tempted to reach out through the Force to find his feelings, but held back, uncertain.
    “What do you want us to be?” His voice was serious, husky.
    The question made her squirm and she was aware of heat spreading across her cheeks. She forced a trickle of laughter. “Well, my ‘boyfriend’ sounds silly.”
    “You wanna be my concubine?” The mirth in his voice was contagious and Leia found herself suppressing a chuckle. “Maybe a member of my harem.”
    The corners of her mouth turned up as an eyebrow rose. “I think you should be a member of my harem.”
    His grin slanted, eyes twinkling, and he slid up to settle eye-to-eye with her. “Oh, you are definitely not allowed to have a harem. You are all mine.”
    “Oh, and you think that you’re allowed to?” She was half indignant, half joking.
    His smile softened, his voice lowered. “Nah. You’re the only one I want.”
    Her head canted to a haughty position. “That’s more like it.”
    He chuckled low in his throat and it seemed to vibrate through her. She planted a quick kiss on his mouth then lowered her eyes.
    “I’m just…not sure what to say we are. All the terms either sound ridiculous, or formal, or…too serious.”
    “Too serious,” he muttered, barely audible. “Whadda you consider too serious?”
    Returning her eyes to his, she saw that he looked sober and curious in the low light. “Well, like…” She felt suddenly awkward. “Bondmate, for example, implies a life time commitment…” Her cheeks flushed darker. This entire conversation was a mistake…
    His gaze fell to follow his fingers as they stroked her forearm. “Is that something you would want?” he asked quietly.
    Her breath held in momentary suspended animation. She forced herself to speak. “What do you want?” she asked, swallowing hard.
    “I asked if you wanted that, Princess.” His eyes met hers, frighteningly serious.
    She watched him carefully, unable to read his intentions. Here goes nothing, she thought with a deep, inner sigh. “Yes,” she breathed.
    It took a seemingly never-ending moment for him to answer. “Okay then. Bondmates it is.” He smiled tenderly, brought her hand to his lips and kissed her fingers.
    She melted with relief and pleasure, smiling back at him. She knew he loved her, knew he was committed to her. But, having never talked of the future, she hadn’t known if Han Solo, who had always valued his freedom above all else, ever even gave thought that far ahead.
    She placed a hand alongside his cheek and they smiled together like two excited school children. Everything settled more firmly into place and Leia felt more at home than ever.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Valentine's Challenge 2017 Submission #7 by infamousnalani

We have a story from a first-time contributor and prior lurker here, so let's give her a nice welcome!
'Intimate Altercations'

That insufferable man, she thought, seething with pent-up rage. What she was clenching in her fist evoked mixed emotions that demanded to be acknowledged, something she wasn’t interested in doing. In her fury she didn’t notice the trail of people following her that were no doubt eager for the shouting match that was about to ensue. Luke, who was known for his peak in mood when Leia was around, made a point of avoiding her path but quickly joined in her slipstream.

“Whatcha have there?” He sing-songed.

“I’m not in the mood.”

“If you’re not why are you going to see Han?”

She stopped abruptly and turned around to face him then took notice of the gathering of people that had amassed. “Don’t you people have places to be?” With heavy groans they made their way back to their stations. “I’m not going to see him.”

“Yeah, and I’m not a pain in the ass.” Luke smirked and pushed her on the shoulder. “Admit it, you like fighting with him.”

“I do not! Who does he think he is giving me this?” Leia thrust her hand into his face.

“Leia, they don’t say they’re from him.”

“Who else was gone for a week and had the capability of bringing it back to this frozen hell?”

“Why would he give you flowers?”

Leia seemed taken aback. “Why wouldn’t he?”

“Because you keep insisting that you don’t have feelings for each other.”

“And I don’t.”

“Oh but you do,” he laughed. “Which is exactly why you’re on your way to blow up at him. You missed him,” he drawled out.

“I did not!” Leia stamped her foot and turned on her heel, heading towards the hangar.

Luke laughed once more and called out to her, “Keep telling yourself that!”

Leia's anger had mostly subsided when she had approached the Millenium Falcon. The landing ramp had been lowered, which was standard practice between the two. Many a late nights on Yavin she had taken the symbol as an invitation to accompany him, which had resulted in numerous rounds of Corellian ale and bad decision making. To the day just the thought of the stuff made Leia’s heart flip in her chest for reasons she didn’t want to consider while sober. Freeing herself from the memory, she shook her head and ascended the ramp.

Her arrival was plagued with hesitation as a result of the latest installment of their infamous verbal sparring that had occurred in the hanger the night before he was to depart for a supply run. He had agreed at their last late-night Sabaac tournament with Luke and Chewie that he would allow her to escape from the subzero temperatures and mundane white walls with him but the altercation ended with him revoking her place on the ship. When dawn came, Leia pushed her ego aside to wish him well, but was met with a drawn ramp and an intangible sensation that she had only felt when truly dejected.

She made her way into the common area and had found her treasured companion bent around a pipe in an exposed hole in the floorboards. Han sighed and pushed himself onto his feet, turning to face Leia.

“Enjoying the view, sweetheart? I heard you walk up five minutes ago.” His eyes flashed with lasciviousness and his lips fell into its natural smirk, threatening to derail her.

“Captain that is entirely unprofessional.” Leia lowered herself to the ground and allowed her snow suit-clad legs to dangle into the pit Han was standing in. He sauntered towards her, taking care not to step on a discarded tool or trip over a pipe. Her knees settled at the same height as his shoulders and he took her elevation advantage to his benefit and leaned against her legs.

“You’re so caught up in being professional,” he placed his hands on the outside of her knees and slowly made short strokes along her thighs. Han felt her shiver and retracted his hands, bracing himself against the hole in the floor. “You good?” He beamed.

Leia avoided his question and thrust the bouquet of various flowers towards his chest. “Why’d you give me these?”

“Thought you’d get a kick out of them. You know, because sweetheart’s day is coming up and you insist you hate it when I call you that.”

She rolled her eyes, becoming increasingly impatient. “You truly don’t know anything about flower etiquette.” She undid the material binding the dainty pieces together and reached for one of each type. 

“Yellow carnations represent disappointment, geraniums symbolize stupidity, and meadowsweet is uselessness.”

“Yeah, I know, why do you think I picked them out for you?” Han laughed at her admonishment and caught the flowers as Leia hurled them at his chest.

“You’re horrible.”

“That’s why you like me.”

“I don’t like you.”

“Who else would have the nerve to pull something like that on you?”

“Not any respectable man.”

Han rolled his eyes and pulled Leia into the pit with him, pulling her into an embrace, to which she made no effort of trying to remove herself from. Her body heaved with a sigh and she leant into him. 

“Sometimes you’re alright.”

“Most times.”


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Valentine's Challenge 2017 Submission #6 by knitzkampf

Let me preface this by saying I can't do fluff! I can't. I tried, but I just can't write anything with them already together and happy. So this is different than the other wonderful offerings. It's got angst, but it still has love.

Princess Leia of Alderaan closed her eyes to the gentle glow of the Falcon's cockpit. Han had asked her to set the ship's chrono to Standard Time, and a blue glow emitted from the console, marking month and hour. She was deep in thought, thinking of time and space, together and separately.

Floating towards her, as if they were delicate molecules in space, she heard voices. The prissy, precise pronunciation of C-3PO and Han's warm, scoundrel's mumble. Listening, she felt herself softening. Han was irritated. Wanted the droid to shut up and let him work in silence, she could tell. She knew him so well, really. He snapped at her, too, but never to make her go away, which was what he wanted the droid to do now. No, he was always daring her to come closer.

It's what he had always done. Always, since she had known him. Then and now. For all their time.

So much time.

The prospect groaned inside her. If he couldn't make repairs, they would drift, in space, for how long?

Time had stopped for her. She knew the moment precisely. Couldn't set it on a chrono – she had been drugged, tortured, and had no idea how long she'd been a prisoner on the Death Star, but nevertheless, time had stopped.

She was nineteen when it happened. She still saw it when she closed her eyes, the fireball of dust that was her planet. She'd simply stopped. Frozen in time. It was how long ago? It didn't matter. The one strand of gray hair, the lines at the corners of her mouth were due to time. Even being frozen in time left signs.

Sweet sixteen and ne'er been kissed.

Her eyes jolted open. Where had that come from? Some silly saying, an Alderaani teasing, reinforcement of virtue and femininity.

But it had time in it. An age. Sixteen. She'd been kissed, she wanted to protest to whatever had put the thought in her head. Kissed by then, since then.

Sweet twenty-two and kissed deeply.

Tomorrow was Lover's Day.

Again, she shook her head, wondering what had prompted that thought. Ridiculous, that she should have gleaned that information from the ship's calendar. On Hoth, it would merely be the third day of the week, no special significance at all. On Hoth, where it was so cold, so perfect. Frozen, everything frozen. Mechanics malfunctioning, relationships not progressing. Frozen in place. She was comfortable there.

She was stuck on a broken-down freighter, for who knows how long; too long. They would move through space and time past Lover's Day.

He was giving her space. Time, too, perhaps. Which had stopped, twice now. Once in horror, so many lives snuffed in one single instant.

The second time in sweet seduction. Damn him. Time, his time, had been building to this moment. He'd known it. But for her, it came as a shock. Frozen, she'd always been able to hold him off, stop his progress, tell him not to love her. If she pictured herself, it was arms up, forging a barrier, preventing him moving through into her space.

The little cramped circuit bay. He finally managed to grab hold of her hand, she couldn't hold him back. His face was serious, earnest, smoldering. He'd liked being called a scoundrel, though. Seemed to enjoy it immensely. Her eyes on his lips, her heart thumping, thumping, beating time, a rhythm forward, thawing. She was twenty-two, stuck on a freighter, and tomorrow was Lover's Day.

She stirred a bit in the captain's seat, peering out the cockpit view port. The freighter too was in a cramped space, hunkered down deep past a cave entrance of an asteroid. The Empire was above them, time killers. She could hear the thumps of the bombs they dropped, destroying asteroids, trying to flush them out of hiding.

What had he done? Brought her out of Hoth, onto this broken ship, his ship, and it was warm, so warm. She would melt if she didn't get out of this snow suit.

His kiss had started time again. Brought total climate change. She smiled, regretfully, at that. Because she was warm now when once she'd been cold. So cold. Her chill covered everything. She was sure it was how they wound up on Hoth, the entire Rebel Alliance. Her touch turned all to ice.

Tomorrow was Lover's Day. She closed her eyes again and like a friend the moment everything died visited her. She was nineteen then and twenty-two now. She had a gray hair. Time hadn't stopped. She had stopped.

How sad, she thought now.

Han wouldn't know it was Lover's Day. He had his own methods of stopping time. Day after day of needing to leave turned into year after year. Three total now. Yet in his typical offhand way, he'd given her a gift of sorts.

For past Lover's Days she had received presents. Candies from her parents, bouquets from the adoring public that lined the streets. People that loved her but were not lovers. This year she had received a kiss, and space and time. And a day early, at that. She grinned softly, her knuckles in her cheek. Han Solo, gambler, had cheated time.

He was probably happy back there, about the kiss. The bastard. But the thought was affectionate. He had flown them into a cave, and anybody that followed had crashed and burned, and now nobody knew where they were. He had stopped time for all who were out there, so he could start hers again.

Something ticked in the cockpit. Her eyes sought it out. Time made noise, when you were counting it. So did bombs. But they counted down, too, didn't they? Was it a malfunction? Something else on this heap to be wrong?

C3PO's metal fingers had poked at Han's shoulder, like depressing a reset button. Stop the clock, turn off the alarm. Leia had never used hers much in her quarters on Hoth. What did she need to measure when there was no passage of time?

His voice back there, soothing. She could picture, it, as if it wasn't her shoulder his large hand rested on, as if it wasn't her jaw his fingers lightly brushed. Her hand held in his other. She could see her body, her back against the wall yet open to him, trembling. Wary, terrified in the knowledge he was going to kiss her, and she was going to let him.

His hands were on his ship now, just as broken as she. Maybe more. She realized he treated them the same. Like a lady. Except for the yelling and the cursing. But he loved them.

They were in trouble; there was no doubt about it. She had made repairs. Set Standard Time, gotten too warm in her snow suit.

But he couldn't get the hyperdrive back online yet. Said he might need parts, which of course did not exist out in the nowhere of space.

He was worried, she could tell. She had a sense he felt time was running out, that there was only so much he would be able to do before it all went up in a puff of smoke. The gambler's creed. So he set about kissing her and fixing the Falcon, make things as right as he could if he didn't get the chance to come back and finish it properly.

How sad, she thought again.

Destiny is your time to choose was an old Alderaani proverb. Alderaan had not chosen to die, certainly, but it had anyway. And she had stopped with it; not died, entirely, but allowed it, slowly. Like her hair turning gray; a gradual shift. She had invited Death in. And Han, Han was Life; knocking, merry, not gradual at all but sudden and spontaneous.

Destiny was fluid, he taught her. She had chosen once and she was choosing again.

He'd held her hand, kissed her. His gift came early, before Lover's Day. If they could just get away from the Empire, whether they flew off with the repaired hyperdrive or stayed hidden in this asteroid, then they would have all the time in the world.

He was giving her space, he started time, and she was warming.

Time was racing. She was twenty-two now, she had a gray hair, a man had kissed her because he'd wanted to for a long, long time.

The Empire was out there. They had to get away, they just had to. She was not going to let them stop her again. She would spend Lover's Day in a cave on an asteroid, or hopefully, in hyperspace, and the Empire was going to leave her alone.

A shadow crossed the cave. She sat forward, leery, used to being afraid. It's how she spent the last three years but this was new, this was different. Her heart raced, sweat gathered in her armpits. This fear didn't have the icy control over her.

A creature landed on the view port, rubbery, toothy, wings and tail. She heard herself make a noise, part revulsion and surprise, and dashed out of the cockpit.

Time was up. She needed to confront the captain.

"Something's out there," she ran up to him.

She almost expected him to give her a scoundrel's wink, that delicious half smile, say cheerfully, "I'd say there's somethin' in here too, Sweetheart." But all he said was "Where?" His hair was mussed, the goggles marked a line on his forehead, and he was intent on his repairs. He had done what he could for Leia, what he always knew he could do, if she would only let him, and now his focus was on his ship.

"Out there, in the cave," she declared. She was breathless, anxious. He was grim and determined, and all she wanted was to grab his elbow as he passed her. He was in motion, moving forward, and she thought to stop him; stop his time, so she could tell him. But instead she followed him, grabbing an oxygen mask, thinking there'll be time for that later.