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The Princess and the Scoundrel

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Leia put down her hair, removed her thick vest, and kicked off her boots before sliding into the middle bunk of the triple bunk bed. None of the bunks were at a very convenient height; the lowest one was barely off the floor, which was somewhat awkward, the middle one was too low to require a ladder and just high enough that it couldn't be climbed into easily, especially for someone so short, and the highest one required climbing up a steep ladder. The middle one seemed the least troublesome of the three. She pulled the covers up and closed her eyes to attempt sleep.

Attempt. She found that the mattress was thin and not at all comfortable, plus the temperature under the heavy blanket seemed to be rising by the second. Under ordinary circumstances, she would sleep in a light shift, but she had unexpectedly needed to leave Hoth with Han on the Falcon earlier and she had no clothing with her but the heavy, white snowsuit she was currently wearing. Speaking of Han, she was willing to bet he was a lot more comfortable than she was right now. The captain's cabin probably had a thick, cushy mattress on a double bed at a reasonable height off the ground. Han also owned this ship, so he surely would have had more appropriate clothing on board to change into.

She stretched her limbs out in a feeble attempt to redistribute her body heat. She was not at all surprised when it didn't work. Frustrated, she kicked the sheets off and glared at the bottom of the bunk above her. She had never been able to sleep without a blanket over her, but she was roasting under it in her snowsuit! She wondered if Han would have something more lightweight she could wear, but it would be such a blow to her pride to have to go ask him. He had kissed her earlier today. She found herself disturbingly attracted to that scoundrel, which was stupid, because Han was probably the type who evaded commitment and would no doubt break her heart if given the opportunity. She had been trying not to let her attraction show, but her reaction to his kiss betrayed her feelings and she had been trying to avoid him ever since, although she did grant him a chaste kiss on the cheek earlier. Asking him for a favor wouldn’t exactly count as avoidance! She stared upwards for a few minutes before deciding it might be worth it.

She sat up and winced when she bumped her head on the bunk above her. She swung her legs over the side of the bed. Her feet didn't even quite reach the ground, so she had to jump down. Quietly, she made her way out of the room and down the hall to the captain's quarters.

She lingered outside Han's door for a moment, trying to gain the strength to knock. She rapped her knuckles softly on the door and stepped back to wait. There was no immediate answer and she wondered if Han was already asleep. She pondered this for a few moments and was about to turn away and walk back to her own cramped, hot quarters when Han finally opened the door. He leaned against the doorframe and she couldn’t help but notice that he wasn't wearing a shirt. His shoulders were so broad and his bare chest was perfectly contoured and he had just the right amount of bronze-colored chest hair and...

"Need something, Princess?" he asked, snapping her out of her state of stunned admiration.

A smirk played at the corner of his mouth. She cleared her throat and tried to stand a little taller.

"Do you have anything cooler I could sleep in?" she asked. "I'm too hot with my snowsuit and the blanket."

Han raised his brow. "You know you could sleep without the blanket, right?"

She felt herself blush. "I can't sleep without a blanket."

"Hmm. You could sleep naked," he suggested, his lips twisting into a wicked grin.

She could tell her face was completely flushed. Han disappeared into his room for a moment and emerged carrying an old shirt. He held it out for her and she took it silently.

"Here. You know," he started, "that bunk in there can't be very comfortable. I have a nice, cozy bed that's the perfect size for two, so if you wanna..."

"No.” She glared at him, "I'll be fine."

"It was just a suggestion. I just thought it might be more comfortable in here," he said, using his best innocent act.

His proposition was tempting, really, but she would die before letting him know that. She had never been the type of person to allow her emotions to cloud her judgment and now was no exception. She shot Han one last dirty look before turning around to head back to her bunk.

"My offer still stands," he called after her. He sounded far too smug.

Back in her room, Leia stripped out of her hot snowsuit and changed into the shirt Han had offered her. He was much taller than she was, so the shirt was gigantic on her petite frame. It reached almost to her knees and she had to roll the sleeves up. It felt strange, but oddly pleasant, to wear a man's shirt. It smelled like soap and slightly of grease and like something else distinctly and overwhelmingly Han. She crawled back into her bunk and attempted to make herself comfortable, but, even without her snowsuit, the bed was still awful. Han may have had a point when he suggested she would be better off in his room! She rolled into fetal position and waited for sleep to overtake her, but it did not.

With an irritated sigh, she rolled out of bed and plodded back down the hallway to Han's quarters. She pounded angrily on the door. She didn't even care if she woke him up; this was so humiliating. Han opened the door and grinned at her.

"Couldn't stay away from me, huh, sweetheart?" he asked.

She glared at him and stomped past him into the room.

"Don't think my coming back has anything to do with my alleged attraction to you," she muttered, "That damned bunk feels like a bed of nails."

He looked as if he didn't believe her.

"I'll sleep in here on one condition," she informed him. "You sleep on the floor."

Han snorted. "It's my bed."

"Fine." She glowered. "I'll take this side and you sleep on that side. And don't you dare try anything or I will hurt you badly."

"I won't touch you."

"Good."

"Good."

She settled into her side of the bed and pulled the blankets up to her chin. Han's double bed really was so much more pleasant than her bunk. The mattress was thick and soft unlike the flimsy one, and the sheets felt refreshingly cool against her bare legs. She rolled over so that she was facing away from Han and noticed he was doing the same. She finally drifted off into a reasonably peaceful slumber.

When she woke up the next morning, she realized two things. The first was that she was no longer on the edge of the bed, but in the middle. The second was that a man was pressed up against her back. She craned her neck to look at him. Han was still sleeping soundly and his arm was draped around her waist. Unfortunately, being held by him wasn't at all unpleasant. She knew she should disentangle herself from his body and roll out of bed, but she didn't for some reason. When he was sleeping, Han looked peaceful and almost innocent, though she knew him to be anything but. She stared at him in bewilderment.

Suddenly, Han stirred slightly and his hazel eyes fluttered open.

"Leia," he said, looking pleasantly surprised. "You're in my bed."

"I slept in here, because mine was uncomfortable, remember?"

He blinked a few times. "Oh, right. Whatever happened to that my-side-your-side rule you made?"

"Don't look at me. You're the one with your arm around my waist."

He smiled that crooked smile of his. "You're not on your side of the bed, either."

He was right. Their faces were mere inches apart and she was breathless.

She wasn’t sure who moved first, but suddenly their lips were pressed together and she was twisting her body around to face his. He ran his lips over hers slowly at first, drawing out the sweetness of this stolen kiss. She reached up to cup his face in her hands and draw him closer. His lips were soft, yet strong, and... My Gods, she had lost every last shred of her dignity and she was enjoying it immensely. Really, at this point, she would just look foolish if she went back to acting like she wasn’t attracted to him, considering how enthusiastically she had kissed him back now. Twice. Their kisses grew harder and more urgent and they were both breathing heavily. There was no C3PO to interrupt them this time. Suddenly, he pulled away.

"Leia," he breathed. "I thought you'd be angry when..."

"Shut up," she interrupted him. "I give up on pretending I don't want this."

"Good."

He leaned in to kiss her some more. Leia may not have had much experience with such prolonged, passionate kissing, but she wasn’t naïve. She knew where kissing usually led, what it entailed for two adults. To her astonishment, Han made no attempt to remove her clothing or even to “cop a feel.” Her impulse was that she wanted him to, but her dominant, more rational side was grateful that he wasn’t pressing her to rush into anything. He seemed content to just hold her close and enjoy the feeling of his lips on hers for a while.

As the couple, as well as their droid and Wookiee companions, continued their journey to Bespin, Leia reflected onwhat a strange and unconventional pair she and Han made—a princess and a scoundrel.