As the Falcon approached the Rebel moon base around the curve of Yavin, Han scrubbed at his eyes. After their battle with the TIE fighters, he hadn't been able to rest at all during hyperspace: too hopped up on adrenaline and needing to be behind the controls.
Maybe he could nap while the Rebels loaded up his reward.
"Are we there?" The voice came from behind Han – Luke's voice. Han swiveled in his chair. The kid was wrapped in a blanket, his hair rumpled on one side, like he'd fallen asleep leaning against a wall or something. His eyes were still a little red.
"Unless Chewie programmed the navicomputer wrong and we're really lost," Han said. Chewie huffed at him in annoyance, which Han probably deserved, then told Luke, Your pelt is a mess, gesturing at his own head fur to make the words clear.
Luke blushed and swiped his hand through his hair, darting a look back down the hallway. Han rolled his eyes. It was like the guy'd never had a crush before.
"We'll be entering atmo soon, if you want to stay for the view," he offered by way of distraction. Han never got tired of coming down on a new planet, personally. There was something about the possibility of a place, stretching out new horizons for you in that brief span of time before you landed and found out how disappointing it actually was.
"Yeah!" Luke said eagerly, then looked back again, biting his lip. "Leia's still asleep, though. I should probably wake her up before we land."
Chewie shook his head, unfolding himself from the co-pilot seat. He patted Luke on the shoulder, making him stumble into the back of Han's chair, and padded down the hallway.
"Guess you get a front row seat," Han said, trying to hide his surprise. Chewie loved landings, too. He must like the kid after all. "Just don't touch anything."
"Don't you need a co-pilot?" Luke asked, sliding into Chewie's seat.
Han snorted. "For a nice easy set-down on a landing platform? Don't insult me."
"Geez, just asking," Luke said, then, "Wow."
Han glanced up. They'd come around the gas giant into view of the moon. It was a muddled blue-green color, kinda plain, with no rings or satellites of its own. Boring. But Luke looked like Chewie had just hit him over the head, his mouth gaping open like the farmboy he was.
"It's so green," Luke said, in a tone of reverence. "Is that all vegetation?" As far as Han could tell, Luke had never been off Tatooine, which was a horrible, barren dust ball even by the galaxy's broad standards.
"Mostly trees. Big ones," Han said, checking his scanners.
"Trees," Luke echoed, his eyes shining.
Han looked away, uncomfortable. This kid didn't seem to have any emotional setting that wasn't 'On/High': grief, annoyance, fear. Bravery. Wonder.
He jabbed irritably at the repulsorlift controls, keying them on as they entered the gravity well. "Yeah, trees. Maybe you can climb one when we get there," he said cuttingly.
"Really?" Luke said, all delight. Han resisted the urge to slam his head against the control panel. This kid. If he didn't know better, Han'd say he was beginning to like him.
He had a bad feeling the kid was going to stay and fight with the Rebels, though. Stupid idea. You couldn't fight something as big as the Empire, even before they built a weapon that blew up planets.
Maybe Han should offer Luke another choice: a ride on the Falcon anywhere he wanted – after Han paid off Jabba, of course. No point in the kid throwing his life away. He was good in a fight, and Chewie liked him, of course.
Luke wasn't half bad, for a farmboy. Han could stand to keep him around.
The whole trip down through Takodana's atmosphere, Han tried to shake the feeling of familiarity about this whole mess. Angry creditors on his tail, a narrow escape on the Falcon (damn, but he'd missed his girl), a teenager fresh off a desert planet and shedding sand everywhere, and a droid with secret information for Leia.... It was fine. He'd get them to Maz, Maz would get them to Leia, Leia would get to Luke, and Han could get back to avoiding all of them.
The girl took Chewie's seat in the co-pilot chair, but was smart enough to keep her hands off the controls after Han glared at her the first time. He'd flown this descent a hundred times; she could just sit there and watch.
The two kids sat in silence as they flew over the rolling hills and lakes to Maz's castle. It was weird for them to be so quiet; when Ben had been that age--
Han swallowed hard and focused back on the controls. They were just a couple of weird kids, that was all. The guy was lying about being in the Resistance, obviously, but the girl seemed on the level. She definitely knew her starship mechanics.
They crested a ridge over a valley of tangled forest, and she finally spoke. "I didn't know there was this much green in the whole galaxy," she said.
Han looked over at her, startled by the pang of an old memory of Luke flying into Yavin. She wasn't really much like Luke, other than the desert planet thing; she reminded him more of Leia, all determination and directness.
But her face just now, lit up in quiet awe....
Han turned away and adjusted the altitude levels. Dammit, he just kept making the same mistakes over and over again. He didn't even know her name yet, for crying out loud.
He flicked another look at her as they cruised over the lake to Maz's. Han missed Luke some days as much as he missed Leia and Ben. He'd regretted a lot of things in his life, but not asking Luke to come with him, and definitely not going back to help him with the Death Star.
He was gonna have to offer her a job or something – after checking with Chewie, of course. She'd be an idiot to take it, after seeing those two crews that were after him, but she had just hijacked a ship to save a droid and some guy she'd met a few hours earlier. And she did appreciate the Falcon.
Well. It wasn't the worst idea he'd ever had.