Poe Dameron was in no way prepared to look up into the mirror while shaving and realise Leia Organa was standing in his bathroom doorway, dressed in a red suit, and carrying two mugs.
‘Uh,’ Poe said. He quashed the instinct to stand to attention. ‘I’m sorry, General, I’ll just…’ He waved his face towel vaguely, acutely conscious that he was, one, covered in shaving foam, and two, only half dressed. She’s seen worse, he told himself, and then remembered exactly when she’d seen worse, and that did not help at all. The first time Poe met General Leia Organa, he had been balls-deep in her (estranged) husband. He remembered that very clearly, she no doubt remembered that too, and they never, ever spoke about it.
‘No, I’m sorry,’ the General said. ‘I didn’t think… your door was open. I don’t know about you, but I need caff before the next installment of trial-by-banquet.’ She raised one of the mugs she was holding, just slightly.
Caff. Caff was good. They’d been on the go all day, and had precisely one hour to clean up and suit up for the next state banquet. The Naboo might be governed by elected monarchs, but they were Old Republic stalwarts and remembered the House of Organa as long-standing allies. It wasn’t precisely a state visit, but they deemed Leia worthy of extra pomp and ceremony, and that provided acceptable cover for their actual purposes on the planet.
‘You’re right, that sounds wonderful,’ Poe told her. ‘Just let me finish up here?’ He turned back to the mirror, reasoning that commanding officers who appear in your bathroom carrying caff probably don’t require you to stand on ceremony.
Commanding officers who were checking out your ass definitely didn’t require ceremony, but Poe was not quite willing to trust the evidence of his eyes. Could be a trick of the mirror.
‘Don’t let me disturb you,’ Leia said. For one blessed moment Poe thought she’d make a tactful retreat and his life would go back to being plausibly normal. Then, no, she was definitely leaning against the doorframe and if she wasn’t checking out his ass, she was staring thoughtfully in its general direction.
‘What do you make of Kernaau?’ she asked. Poe blinked for a moment at the mirror. That would be Nume Kernaau, their negotiating counterpart from the Naboo-based medical supply company they were here to deal with.
‘In what sense?’ he asked. It wasn’t as if the General didn’t habitually talk business in nominally personal time: breakfast every day since they’d got here had been in the General’s quarters, accompanied by a barrage of information about the day’s program of negotiations and state functions.
‘Any sense,’ Leia replied. ‘Business. Political. Personal. I’m interested in your impressions, whatever they are.’
‘Uh.’ Poe paused for a moment, and went back to shaving. ‘To be strictly honest, he gives me the creeps and I don’t know why.’ Kernaau was a Nemoidian, but Poe was pretty sure he wasn’t making knee-jerk assumptions about the fellow just because his species didn’t match his citizenship. He was… obsequious.
Leia barked a quiet laugh. ‘Can we trust him?’ she asked.
‘Why are you asking me?’ Poe glanced up at her in the mirror. ‘I’m just the chauffeur.’
‘I’m curious,’ Leia answered him. Then, after a second, ‘I brought you in for your recklessness, promoted you for your leadership, now I’m wondering what your sense for… politics, negotiations, is like.’
‘Well, then, yes,’ Poe said. Great. On-the-spot job assessment while shaving. Join the Resistance, live on the edge. ‘I think we can trust him to deliver on the contract. But I wouldn’t trust him with my daughter. Or son. If I had either.’
‘My thoughts exactly.’ Leia sighed. ‘Good to know it’s not just me.’
‘Validation is one of the services I provide,’ Poe answered, automatically, in more or less the same tone he would use on any woman who was standing in his bathroom watching him shave. Then his brain caught up with his mouth and he was suddenly very glad to bury his face in the towel, because seriously, Dameron, you do not use that tone on your commanding officer.
‘You do have many uses,’ Leia said, and yes, she was definitely checking him out. He had his back to her but she could see most of his torso in the mirror.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, in the box labelled Embarrassing Encounter With Childhood Hero, Do Not Open, there was the memory of Leia Organa - six years younger but no less intimidating - looking him up and down as he pulled his clothes back in order and left her (estranged!) husband to sort out his own dignity. I can’t say I blame Han, either.
‘Here I thought you brought me along just for my flight skills,’ he said. Not strictly true: Leia had brought him along as transport pilot, yes, but he was also the only other officer on the mission - Dr Kalonia had sent a clerk in her place - and consequently General Organa’s escort for state functions.
‘That and your dashing good looks,’ Leia said, evidently ending up at the same conclusion. The corner of her mouth twitched into something resembling a smirk. ‘This is a planet ruled by young women, it pays to make an impression.’
Poe considered, for about two seconds, the present Queen of Naboo and her coterie of handmaidens, based on the several occasions they’d seen her this week. ‘I’m pretty sure it’s not me she’s impressed with,’ he answered, honestly, turning around.
‘Oh?,’ Leia said, holding out one of the mugs. ‘Perhaps not.’
Poe took the caff, and looked from it to the General and back again. He was still only half-dressed. An awful lot of things in his life had been weird since he’d joined the Resistance, but this had to be the weirdest.
‘Just… let me put a shirt on,’ he said. If he didn’t know better, he’d think Leia looked abashed. Slightly. ‘And, ah, thanks. For the caff,’ he added, stepping past her and behind the screen which thankfully divided wardrobe-and-sleeping area from the rest of his quarters.
By the time he reappeared in full dress uniform, Leia had drunk her caff and was looking, well, exactly how she normally looked. Intimidating, but warm - there were crinkles at the corners of her eyes. Attractive, but in a way that Poe was quite happy to parse as off-limits. She looked him over, and her smile was appreciative, but no less off-limits than usual.
Leia did not exactly enjoy travelling on royal privileges, but the view from her private balcony over the old centre of Theed was a bonus. The older she got, the less she found herself able to sleep in, even after a hectic week like she’d just had. So she was sitting out watching the city come alive, resolved to leave breakfast for a sensible hour and let Dameron sleep. She’d sent C-3PO off to tell BB-8 not to bother waking him: the man had had a late enough night. Later than her, at any rate.
Not for the first time that week, Leia reflected on the fact that if she had come here with intent to manipulate something out of the Queen of Naboo (which she hadn’t. This time), she couldn’t have chosen a better offsider than Poe. Good looks and a slightly scandalous reputation - defected from the Navy, no less! - could get him a long way, if it came to that.
Years ago, Leia would have disliked it in herself, that she thought things like that. Not in herself for thinking Poe was good looking, no harm in thinking that. But in calculating his advantages and disadvantages so easily. And in calculating the weaknesses of the young queen (or her handmaidens) so quickly and without cause.
Years ago, she’d have worried about the implications of that. But years ago, she had her family whole, and her brother building his new Order, and the future of the Republic seemed bright and strong. Years ago, she had thought she’d put the days of double-agents and secret second lives behind her.
That line of thought was brought to an abrupt halt by a scraping sound behind her, and she turned around to see the aforementioned Commander Dameron attempting to open her balcony door without spilling either of the two mugs in his hands. Leia fought down the urge to scan the room behind him: it was only a sitting room, she knew she hadn’t left anything personal lying about, and she had had every intention of eating breakfast with him in said room in a few hours.
Besides, it wasn’t as if she hadn’t wandered into his suite while he was shaving just yesterday. Which she ought not to have done. And, having done it, she ought not to have stayed and she definitely ought not to have let herself admire his ass (and the lines of his back, or the slope of his shoulders) while testing out his instincts vis-a-vis Kernaau.
By this time, Dameron had defeated the door and stepped out onto her balcony, holding out a mug to her. It was, she realised, the same mug or at least the same design of mug, as the one she’d brought in to him yesterday.
‘Threepio said you were awake but breakfast would be late,’ he said. ‘I needed caff, and, well,’ he trailed off, still holding out the mug.
‘Thanks,’ she said, and took it from him. Caff never went astray, and Naboo did good caff. ‘I thought you might want to sleep late,’ she said, leaning on the railing.
‘No call to,’ Dameron said, coming up next to her and leaning likewise. ‘I came back here not long after you did.’
‘Interesting,’ Leia said. ‘I thought young… what’s her name? Carmille? I thought she might have kept you up till all hours.’ When she’d left, Dameron had been engaged in a spirited conversation with one of the Queen’s attendants about the merits of X-Wings versus A-Wing fighters.
Poe turned toward her, raising one eyebrow. ‘I realise we’re all infants to you, ma’am, but she has to be half my age.’
‘And the Queen of Naboo,’ Leia added, drily. Poe, who had just taken a sip of caff, spluttered. ‘Or didn’t you pick up on that?’ He probably hadn’t. Leia might not have noticed the switch herself, if Luke hadn’t taught her ways to refine the senses she had always put down to intuition. Taking stock of the force-signatures around her was second nature by now.
‘They… swap places?’ Poe was quick on the uptake. ‘For security reasons?’ She saw him run the previous evening through his mind. ‘Or when the Queen wants to gather intel personally,’ he said. ‘Impressive.’
‘Quite,’ Leia agreed.
‘Well,’ Poe said, evidently still thinking, ‘unless she has some nefarious purposes for the knowledge that the Resistance are operating with elderly T-70s, I don’t think she got much out of me.’
‘Perhaps the young lady only wanted the chance to talk to a handsome pilot without being weighed down by her crown,’ Leia said. ‘Can you blame her?’
Poe’s head jerked up, and Leia suddenly remembered the last time she’d been unable to blame someone for favouring Poe.
‘I’m twice her age,’ he said, sounding agonised.
‘How old are you, Dameron?’
Poe caught his expression of dismay and marshalled it into one of reserve. ‘Thirty-two.’
‘Then I’m right in supposing Han was more than twice your age and that didn’t seem to stop you,’ Leia said, somewhat tartly. Most of the time she managed to put that out of her mind, because thinking about the time you found your now-subordinate balls-deep in your feckless husband does no-one any good. Nor does reflecting on the fact that your feckless husband’s taste has improved over the years.
‘I thought we didn’t talk about that,’ Poe said, covering his face with one hand. ‘I really thought we didn’t talk about that.’
‘We don’t have to,’ Leia said, taking pity on him. The bantha of professional distance had escaped the barn, but there was no reason to let it rampage around making havoc.
A second or two passed, and Poe straightened up again. ‘For the record,’ he said, ‘I have no regrets.’
‘That’s the spirit,’ Leia told him. She wouldn’t say so, but she’d have been disappointed in him if he did. Over-exposure to Han might have given her a weakness for men who’d own up to the most ridiculous of escapades. ‘Then indulge me,’ she went on. ‘I know what he was thinking.’ She permitted herself an appreciative glance over Dameron’s lean form. ‘But what in all the systems was your motivation there?’
Poe didn’t exactly blush - he was too tanned for a blush to show - but something in his expression suggested immense chagrin. He recovered well, though, scraping up a sardonic look from somewhere.
‘Yesterday you quiz me on diplomacy while I’m shaving, today I’m composed and properly dressed and you want to know about my sexual history?’ He put down his empty mug. ‘General, I know life with the Resistance is unpredictable, but is this supposed to keep me on my toes or confuse the hell out of me? Because it’s tending toward the latter.’
Well, shit. Leia took a moment to sit with that, because he was right, and she’d fucked up. The fact that Poe was easy-going and the Resistance at large didn’t stand on formality didn’t make it any better, it just made it easier to get away with.
‘My apologies, Dameron,’ she said. ‘You’re right. Both were out of line on my part. I’ve got no good excuse, I’m afraid, but I can say it won’t happen again.’
Poe regarded her solemnly for a second, then a tiny smile flickered across his features. ‘Which? The quiz while shaving, or the personal enquiries?’
‘Either,’ Leia said. ‘Come, let’s get breakfast up here and face the horrors of the day.’
They left the clerks on Naboo, to wrap up the small print with Kernaau. Leia declined to ride shotgun beside Poe in the cockpit, retreating instead to her compartment with C-3PO. She’d been in the cockpit all the way out to Naboo, with her feet up on the console just to make Threepio whirr in dismay. She’d meant to brief Poe on the political and industrial situation of Naboo, and she had, but they’d also debated the pros and cons of the latest “improvements” to the transport (privately, Leia thought nothing Maintenance could come up with would ever be so terrifying or so efficient as the Falcon, but she’d never say so), and swapped Resistance base gossip like… well, like friends. Poe knew more than she did about the prank war between Snap Wexley and Karé Kun that had come to a high point with a bright pink X-Wing last week; she knew more than Poe did about Admiral Akbar’s truly terrible efforts in home-brewed beer.
She tried, for about fifteen minutes, to convince herself she wasn’t avoiding Commander Dameron out of embarrassment or awkwardness. Unfortunately, she’d made a lifelong habit of not lying to herself, so the attempt failed. She’d overstepped, repeatedly, and Dameron had been nothing but charming in response. Charming, but not particularly flirtatious, which… honestly, it would be easier if he had been. It wasn’t as if she hadn’t worked with the kind of man who’d try his luck on her before. Even when she and Han had been the celebrated darling couple of the New Republic, there were always a few men who thought they’d try their chances. As a rule, the kind of arrogance that required automatically disqualified them from Leia’s interests anyway.
It would also be easier if she could honestly say she had a blanket policy against taking up with her subordinates. Dameron was attractive; odds were good he found her reasonably attractive in return (she wasn’t fool enough to think she’d aged out of attractiveness, and she hadn’t been the only one inadvisably flirting in that bathroom). If she had an iron-clad policy against that sort of thing, they could both happily leave it at that.
The thing was, she had no such policy. Oh, she had common sense and a sense of responsibility and all of that. But it had happened before. Just… not for a very long time. Once upon a time, she must have known how to dance around all those pitfalls without treading on anyone’s toes.
Once upon a time, the voice in her head that sounded exactly like Chewbacca reminded her, she had had Han to do the bungling and mis-stepping for her.
The hyperspace route from Naboo to D’Qar was simple enough, but they had to factor in a deep-space rendezvous with another of their suppliers. Droid parts and ground-based electronics, this time. Fighter ship parts were funneled to the Resistance from the Republic Navy, but they needed more than X-Wings to keep the base running. Between the secret location and the fact that everything they had was second-hand and breaking down, every mission the Resistance sent out doubled as a supply run if it possibly could.
The transporter pulled out of hyperspace; Leia, ostensibly meditating, did not fail to notice that the time between dropping into sublight and commencing docking with their intended rendezvous stretched out longer than it ought.
Accordingly, she was not surprised when Poe’s voice crackled over the communicator into her compartment. She was taken by surprise by his question, but it took her about three seconds to jump to what turned out to be the correct conclusion.
‘General, can you send Threepio up here? Someone’s hailing us in Shyriwook, and I don’t -’
‘Shyriwook?’ Leia cut him off. ‘Oh, kriffing hell.’ Because nothing in the universe ever conspired to make her life less awkward or more simple. She slammed into the cockpit and leaned over Dameron’s shoulder to the communicator.
‘General Leia Organa here,’ she said.
‘Heyyyyy!’ Chewie’s voice came back to her, a little fuzzy but definitely pleased. ‘We were wondering if we’d get you or some miscellaneous underling.’
‘Oh, you wondered, did you?’ Leia moved away from Poe, sliding into the co-pilot’s seat and rolling her eyes. ‘What’ve you done with my supplier? And where’s that feckless freebooter I had the misfortune to marry?’
By the look on his face, Poe had figured out who was in the - she glanced at the specs on the screen - Baleen-class freighter Evrana. And he, at least, didn’t seem to be dismayed at the hideously awkward co-incidence of running into Han and Chewie less than three days after she had inadvisably broached the topic of his six-years-ago liaison with Han. In fact, he looked like he was having a hard time not laughing in her face.
Apparently Han and Chewie - by which Leia assumed Han, since Chewie always stolidly shared the blame for things that were in no way his fault - had lost a bet, and the forfeit was doing this supply run to the middle of sodding nowhere. And Han was presently unable to man the comms because he was fixing a very minor totally-not-life-threatening atmo leak in the upper decks.
It would be absolutely fixed by the time they docked. Chewie promised.
‘Yes, alright then,’ she said. ‘But we’re not breaking airlock until it is fixed, okay?’ Chewie muttered something about that being perfectly reasonable, and swore he’d make sure Han actually had it under actual control, not just under Han Solo control.
‘Yeah, it’ll be good to see you, too, Chewie,’ Leia told him. ‘And tell Han to put a shirt on this time,’ she added, before standing up.
Poe regarded her with a very, unnaturally straight face.
‘Commence docking procedure,’ she told him, hoping her poker face was just as good. ‘But don’t open the airlocks until Chewbacca confirms the atmo leak is fixed, okay?’
‘How will I confirm that?’ Poe asked. ‘I don’t speak Shyriwook.’
‘Chewie makes himself understood,’ Leia said. ‘And, fair warning, last time I saw Han he had not only lost a bet but lost both his shirt and jacket in a game of coin-toss with a Toydarian.’
‘I’ll, uh, keep that in mind,’ Poe said.
Of course, he’d seen Han without a shirt before. As had she. She seen both him and Han half-naked, together and separately. Obviously Han had seen her in all sorts of states, which left the fact that Poe had never seen her less than dressed as the last bastion of dignity in the whole scenario.
Well. Chewbacca probably hadn’t seen Poe naked. She hoped.
Poe had no idea what to expect when he released the airlock into the Evrana’s docking bay. Atmo, ideally. Other than that… pants, possibly, but a potential lack of shirts. Not that he would object to encountering Han Solo without his shirt again, but if he had to pick a time or occasion, right in front of General Organa would not be his first choice. (Well. Not his first choice in any universe that followed sensible customs regarding what you did and did not get up to with your commanding officer.)
He hovered in the gangway behind Leia, taking quick stock of their surroundings. Stack of pallets to one side: that would be their cargo. Han Solo, hands smeared in grease and carrying a wrench, but dressed. Chewbacca, standing behind him and looking straight up at Poe. As soon as he had Poe’s attention, Chewbacca shrugged elaborately and rolled his eyes at Han and Leia, who were now staring at each other.
‘You found your jacket, I see.’ Leia folded her arms over her chest. Poe couldn’t see her face, but he was pretty sure he knew what expression she was wearing. One she used for intimidating miscreant pilots, yes, but the one she used for, say, prank wars that coated X-Wings pink, not the one for serious misconduct leading to dismissal.
‘Won it back,’ Han said, turning out the collar a little. ‘Different bar, same Toydarian.’
Leia didn’t seem to have anything to say to that. Poe started to wonder how long tact and respect meant he should stay out of this, and at what point everyone would be happier if he blundered in and started asking about the cargo.
Evidently Chewbacca had similar thoughts, because he shoved Han to one side and enveloped Leia in a hug. He was approximately twice her size.
It was at about this point that Han noticed Poe lurking at the top of the gangway, and the smirk he got was… well, gratifying. Poe knew he’d aged well (so had Han), but he wasn’t exactly the spitting image of his twenty-six year old self.
‘Dameron, isn’t it?’ Han said, beckoning him down with the wrench. ‘Should’ve guessed you’d end up with this lot,’ he added, and the look he directed at the back of Leia’s head was markedly fond.
‘Because he has a sense of justice,’ Leia said, disentangling herself from Chewbacca and turning around.
‘Yeah, and he’s reckless as hell, am I right?’ Han countered. Leia… Leia actually flushed. That was interesting.
‘Guilty as charged,’ Poe said, coming down the gangway. He wasn’t about to be talked over like a child, or appraised like a coveted high-functioning droid. He held out his hands and sauntered a little, by way of display, because he clearly had no sense of self-preservation.
He couldn’t be certain - he wasn’t practiced at reading Wookie facial expressions - but he was pretty sure Chewbacca was laughing at him.
Chewbacca was definitely laughing at Han, whatever it was he said next, because Han rolled his eyes up at Chewie and accepted the shove Chewie gave him in the direction of the stack of pallets.
‘Come on, reckless,’ Han said, ‘we’ve got cargo to load.’
They got the pallets loaded into the transport, with a bit of sweat and elbow grease and the help of a fairly dim forklifting droid. Of course, he didn’t get through it without ridiculously awkward questions, because this was Han Solo, and Poe had only met him once before this but had already figured out that tact was not his strong point.
‘So, how long did it take her to demand what the hell you were thinking?’ Han asked, leaning on one of the pallets.
Poe spluttered. ‘Uh. Until a few days ago?’ And he hadn’t answered her, he remembered.
Han shook his head, apparently disappointed. Poe considered the situation for a moment, then decided Han wasn’t his superior, he could give as good as he got.
‘What I want to know,’ he said, looking Han up and down, ‘is why she’s asking that. It’s not as if she doesn’t see the appeal herself.’ Well, she did once, and Poe was willing to bet she did still, at least in theory if not in actual marital practice.
Han snorted a small laugh. ‘She never did see what other people saw in me, though. Thought the likes of you,’ and yes, he was definitely checking Poe out right back, ‘were only encouraging my inflated ego.’
Poe took a second to parse that. So there had been the like of him (men? pilots? the terminally reckless?) in the past tense. Well, that explained a lot of things about the most spectacularly awkward encounter of his life, starting with the many ways it could have been more awkward and wasn’t.
He glanced over to where Leia and Chewbacca were sitting on a pile of boxes - not their cargo, someone else’s - arm in arm, evidently gossiping like teenage girls. Leia looked up just in time to catch his eye and Poe would not duck his head to avoid her, no he would not. He also would not wink rakishly, because surely there was a limit to how many Rebellion legends you could chat up at a time. Not that he had any particular expectations from Han, but a man could flirt without cause.
Still, when he looked back to Han, Han was gazing over at Leia with a mixture of daft fondness and deep sadness.
‘Let me guess,’ he said, and oh dear, this was not the suave chat-up he had intended, ‘she never figured what the likes of me saw in you because she saw something else entirely?’
Han gave him a serious, considering look. ‘Something like that, yeah,’ he said, quietly. ‘Come on, we’ve got just two more of these to get on board.’
‘I suppose you’ve got somewhere to be, important Resistance things to do,’ Han said, coming up to where Leia and Chewie were sitting. Poe trailed behind him, looking pleasantly dishevelled, and making no attempt to pretend he wasn’t eyeing off Han’s behind. What a man his age saw in Han’s sixty-something ass… well, Leia would like to say she had no idea, but Poe had been in that ass, and Leia would be lying if she said she thought Han would be any less gratifying a fuck now than he had been five or fifteen years ago.
She would also be lying if she said she couldn’t see straight through Han’s diffidence. Force damn him, there had been a time when he’d shed some of the defensive loner act, but that time had been a long time ago.
‘No, as it happens,’ she said. ‘We’d meant to spend the night in orbit somewhere, long enough to be sure no one’s tailing us. Right, Dameron?’ she asked, glancing over at him.
Poe nodded. ‘That’s right. I can hang out here, keep an eye on the radar, if you want to…’ he hesitated a second, ‘catch up with Han.’
The look of alarm Han wore as he spun around was quite funny, really. Or it would be, if Leia could be certain the alarm was occasioned by the prospective loss of the handsome Commander Dameron, and not by the prospect of being alone with her.
Fortunately, Chewie cut in with ‘don’t be ridiculous, Dameron,’ and swung down off the pile of boxes they were perched on. ‘Wash first,’ he said, glaring at Han and Poe both. ‘Then beer.’
While Han explained to Poe that they were being banished to wash up, Leia followed Chewie up to the crew deck.
‘Bets on chances of them getting out of the washroom in short order and without fucking?’ Chewie asked, tossing Leia a bottle.
Leia thought about this for a moment, while she cracked the cap. ‘No bet,’ she said. ‘Dameron’s got to look me in the eye as his commanding officer. Once six years ago is bad enough.’
‘I wouldn’t be so sure,’ Chewie warned, but she was right. The pair emerged, minus grease and dust, already bickering about something. It might be to do with the forklift droid, Leia thought, or possibly Poe had ideas on how to upgrade Han’s processing circuits so he’d be less dim.
Beer turned into dinner (terrible freeze-dried space rations) turned into inadvisable shots of Shesharillian vodka. They didn’t talk about the Resistance (much), and they didn’t talk about Luke and they certainly didn’t talk about Ben, which oughtn’t to have left them much to talk about. Except Han could talk the leg off Tauntaun, and apparently Poe could keep up with him, and Chewbacca was having far too much fun making jokes at Han’s expense that Poe couldn’t understand.
She probably should’ve exercised some kind of sensible influence, rather than getting decidedly tipsy with her feckless husband, her unfairly attractive subordinate, and her favourite Wookie. But Poe seemed to be enjoying himself.
Given all the topics she and Han had to avoid, it was inevitable they would end up on the one topic she and Poe had between them to avoid.
‘Leia,’ Han said, leaning very seriously over the table. ‘I have one question for you.’
‘Why haven’t you tapped this yet?’ he asked, gesturing at Poe like he was exhibiting him. Poe spluttered into his vodka.
‘Why do you suppose I want to tap all the ones you do?’ Leia countered. Poe, who had put his vodka down, buried his face in his hands. Leia was fairly sure he was laughing. ‘Also,’ she added, ‘I’m his commanding officer!’
‘She always does fancy the ones I like,’ Han said, to Poe’s quivering shoulders. ‘I have excellent taste.’
‘You have terrible taste,’ Leia said. ‘But, being nearly indiscriminate, your taste does occasionally hit on something worthwhile.’
‘I’m wounded,’ Han protested. ‘Chewie, tell her to be nicer to me!’
‘Why would I do that, ass-face?’ Chewie said. He stole Han’s glass and downed the several shots of vodka that were in it.
Han moaned. ‘Dameron! They’re ganging up on me! Help a man out here.’
Poe looked up, and he was definitely laughing. ‘Help you out how?’
‘Tell her I have excellent taste,’ Han said. ‘You’re implicated, you can’t get out of it.’
The laughter faded out of Poe’s face, replaced by something warmer and more steady, and he looked over at her. No, he looked her over. ‘Yeah, Han,’ he said, ‘I reckon your taste is pretty spectacular.’
Oh, shit, Leia thought, her brain catching up with her. ‘I should… get some sleep.’
Chewie made a disappointed noise beside her.
‘Leia,’ Han said, solemnly, ‘if you’re not going to tap that, I will.’
‘Feel free, Han,’ she said, and mustered up a smile.
Poe was watching her. She had a feeling her smile wasn’t all that convincing. ‘Not that I wouldn’t tap that,’ he said, indicating Han with a flourish. ‘But I am quite willing to concede precedence, ma’am.’
‘Nice manners he has,’ Chewie said, nodding approvingly.
‘I was not,’ Leia said, forcefully, ‘planning on tapping either of that. Er. You.’
‘Whyever not?’ Han said. He looked over at Poe, probably looking for some kind of backup, but Poe was still watching her, brow creased.
‘Because,’ she said, ‘he’s my subordinate and you are my ex-husband!’ Oh, this had been a terrible idea. Well, the beer part had been fine. And the dinner. And the vodka, until… it had gone wrong somewhere.
Chewie made a growling noise and shifted a little closer to Han. Leia recognised that, that was his defensive mode.
‘What, you disowned me in the last year without telling me?’ Han asked. He looked genuinely hurt. Leia ran the previous sentence back through her head. Ex-husband. Technically not, if only because Luke was missing and their son was… well, what he was, so who else did she have?
‘No,’ she said, sinking back into her chair a little. ‘I didn’t.’ The moment hung in the air. Poe’s gaze was tracking back and forth between them, evidently waiting for something to crack.
The something that cracked turned out to be Chewbacca.
‘You all have shit for brains,’ he said. ‘Fuck together. All of you. I will be on the bridge.’ And he stood up and loped off.
Han looked speculative. ‘He has a point.’
‘Is this what you do without me around?’ Leia asked. ‘Let Chewbacca run your sex life?’
‘It’s what I’m reduced to,’ Han said. ‘But it works.’
‘I, uh, think I’m missing something here,’ Poe put in. Right. He didn’t speak Shyriwook.
‘Commanding officer!’ Leia said, almost pleading, to Han.
‘Never stopped you before,’ Han said. Poe was putting two and two together, she could see. His eyebrows shot up, and then his expression settled into something expectant. Well, he didn’t seem horrified, at least.
‘Dameron,’ Han said, turning to him. ‘Let me get this straight, because she’ll never ask. Would you have a problem with sleeping with a superior officer? This superior officer in particular.’
‘No sir!’ Poe answered, immediately, and shot Leia a look that went straight to her groin. He could keep looking at her like that, he could definitely keep looking at her like that. That would be fine by her.
‘Would you in fact positively and definitively like to sleep with this superior officer?’ Han asked next.
‘Yes sir!’ Poe said, and then added the caveat, ‘although for the record I wasn’t, you know, thinking about it in advance or anything because that would be weird.’
‘Yes, yes, we know it would,’ Han said. He never believed anyone when they said that. This, Leia presumed, meant he constructed elaborate seduction plans for every attractive person he met. ‘And you know what else is weird?’ Han went on. ‘Calling me sir, under the circumstances.’
‘Oh! Right, sorry,’ Poe said.
Leia found herself snickering. ‘That’s one fetish he’s never harboured,’ she said, to Poe, with a conspiratorial sort of smirk.
‘Unlike some people, Princess,’ Han said.
‘She doesn’t,’ Poe began, in the same tone all her best Resistance members used any time someone brought out the royal titles. She really doesn’t like it when you call her that. Except, well.
‘Oh, I see,’ Poe said, brain overriding instinct. His eyes went a little wide.
‘Don’t you dare, Dameron,’ she said, pointing one finger at him. Even if the idea did have a certain appeal.
‘Poe,’ he said. ‘I think you’d better call me Poe. Under the circumstances.’ He shot a questioning look across at Han, looking for validation, and he got it.
‘Fair point,’ Leia conceded. ‘As long as you call me Leia.’ Poe nodded, and Leia suppressed the urge to reach over the table and shake on it. ‘Come here, then, Poe,’ she said instead. ‘He’s not going anywhere,’ she added, when Poe glanced back at Han. Han made an expansive please, be my guest sort of gesture, and Poe got up to come around to Leia’s side of the table.
Poe wasn’t as tall as Han, but almost anyone seemed tall next to Leia, and besides, she was sitting down. He hesitated, but she pulled him down so he had one knee on the seat of her chair and she could lean up to him. The hesitation didn’t last long: whoever he’d been kissing, aside from Han, in his life, he’d evidently acquired some skill. One hand settled on her jaw, shifting the angle and leaning a little deeper into the kiss. His thumb brushed gently over her neck. He wasn’t forceful or hurried at all, but he handled her confidently and firmly, and yeah, Han really did have good taste.
‘You’ll do,’ she said, breath coming a little quickly, as he pulled back. Han was watching them, with an expression she remembered very well: not precisely lecherous, it was the look of appreciation that said he could tell she was enjoying herself and he only expected the night would get better.
Poe sat back onto the table in front of her and reached across to Han. The movement gave Leia a delightful close-up view of the way his body shifted under his shirt as he twisted around, all lean muscle and sinew.
‘Am I right in thinking you’re not just in this for the view?’ Poe asked, one hand snaking around the back of Han’s neck. Han didn’t bother answering that, just leaned forward to kiss him. The view was very, very good indeed from where Leia was sitting, for about ten seconds before Poe’s elbow slipped on the table and he ended up flat on his back, Han laughing down into his face. Actually, the view was still pretty good then: either design or good fortune meant she was gazing directly at Poe’s spread legs and the promising bulge in his trousers.
Seeing no good reason not to take advantage of that, Leia stood up, skimming her hands up Poe’s thighs and stepping right up between his legs. He made a strangled sort of noise, which a quick glance down at his face suggested was a good sign. Leia left one hand wrapped around his hip and with the other, reached out and pulled Han across the table to kiss her.
‘Oh hell,’ Poe muttered, somewhere beneath them. ‘I might die.’
‘Don’t do that,’ Leia said, pulling back a little to distract herself from the fact that Han Solo was a rotten sodding bastard who knew exactly how to kiss her and turn her wits to jelly. ‘We haven’t done with you yet.’
‘Have you got a plan yet, Princess?’ Han asked, leaning in to nip gently at her neck.
‘I’m open to suggestions,’ Leia said, shuddering a little and tightening her grip on Poe’s hip.
‘I’ve got a suggestion,’ Poe put in, dragging himself up onto his elbows. ‘How about we do this somewhere with, oh, I don’t know, a mattress? Or at least a bigger table?’
‘Good thinking,’ Leia said, and bent down to kiss him, quicker and messier than before. She straightened up and turned to Han. ‘I suppose you have bunk rooms somewhere on this bucket?’
‘Leia,’ Han said, looking supremely pleased with himself, ‘I have an actual bed.’
‘Gosh, when’d you last have sex in one of those?’ Leia said, stepping back and offering Poe a hand to pull him upright. ‘You must be getting old.’
‘You could at least pretend to be impressed,’ Han said, pouting a little. Leia snorted in an unladylike fashion, unable to remember the last time she’d pretended to be impressed with Han. Probably never.
‘I promise you I will be very impressed,’ Poe said, ‘with your bed, if you take me to it, and bring Leia with us.’
Han’s grin practically sparkled. ‘I like this kid,’ he said.
‘Yeah,’ Leia agreed, leaning into Poe’s side. ‘I kinda like him too. Now take us to that bed.’