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Selling Out

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“Leia’s a grown woman,” Wedge pointed out. “She has the right to make her own decisions.”

That was the trouble with asking Wedge Antilles for life advice, Han thought. Even slouched in the Falcon’s copilot’s seat with half a bottle of local whiskey inside him, Wedge was infuriatingly reasonable.

“Not when she’s... she’s...” Han waved a hand as if he could pluck the right words out of the air. “She’s selling herself, Wedge. Or letting the New Republic sell her.” He flopped back in his seat. “It’s not right.”

Wedge was quiet for a minute. Then he asked, “You sure about that?”

Han scowled. He was drunk, too, but not too drunk to know when Wedge was being... Wedge at him. “‘Course I’m sure. She marries Isolder, we get the money to win the war. ‘S just like any other girl playing herself out to pay a debt. ‘Cept bigger.” He narrowed his eyes, tried to put on his suspicious face. “Why? You see it some other way?”

“Mmm... maybe.” Wedge chewed on his lower lip for a minute, his face thoughtful. “I think all of us are already doing the same thing.”

What?” Han asked, momentarily distracted by the mental image of Wedge in a compromising position with Prince Isolder of Hapes. “Explain yourself.”

Wedge’s brown eyes twinkled, just slightly. Then he sobered. “We’re all out here, every battle, buying victories with our lives or the lives of our pilots,” he said. Han knew that Rogue Squadron was still down two pilots from recent battles; Wedge spoke out of very personal experience. “If the Princess was to sacrifice her life to bring about one final victory, if she could end the war that way? She’d be a hero.” He took the bottle from Han’s hand and drank some more. “I mean, more than she already is. A different sort of a hero.” He handed the bottle back. “This way, she just doesn’t die. She goes to a life of luxury, eventually power... maybe she’ll even find happiness.”

Han snorted rudely. “No she won’t.”

Wedge gave him a sharp look. “The happiness? Maybe not. But the rest—“ He broke off and stared out the Falcon’s viewport for a moment, out at the stars. Very softly, he said, “My people throw their lives away every day for this dream of a peaceful future, Han. I can’t begrudge the Princess her opportunity to do the same.”

Han sighed. “That’s really, really not what I wanted to hear.”

Wedge shrugged. “Sorry, Han. Romantic advice really isn’t my specialty.” He reached for the bottle again. “Mirax seems pretty happy with her pilot — maybe you could ask Corran Horn for some pointers.”

The next day, Han strolled into the officers’ lounge on the Rebel Dream. A familiar face caught his eye. “Hey, Janson,” he said.

Wes Janson, looking as unfairly young as he had on Hoth, glanced up from his datapad and waved. “Hey, Solo. What brings you slumming it down here with us?”

Han looked around the lounge, nearly empty at this hour. “I’m looking for Corran Horn,” he said. “Have you seen him?”

A momentary frown crossed Janson’s face. “He was just here,” he said. Han thought one corner of his mouth might have quirked in amusement, but the expression was gone almost before it formed. “What do you want him for? Anything I can help with?”

“I doubt it,” Han said. He considered his next words, then decided, ah, what the hell. “Wedge seemed to think Horn could give me some, ah, romantic advice.”

“Oh-ho,” Janson said, nodding sagely. “Leia and the hot prince.”

Han glared. “You’re not helping.”

Janson smirked. “I’m not trying to. She’s already sleeping with you. Beyond that point, none of my expertise really applies.” He tilted his head, as if an idea had struck him. “Although...”

Han knew he shouldn’t, but he asked anyway. “Although?”

Yep, that was the patented Wes Janson shavit-eating grin. “You could wait until he dies under mysterious circumstances and then be on hand to console her. It always seems to work for the commander.”

One of the other pilots in the lounge, a brown-haired human woman, spoke up. “That was one time, Janson. And it didn’t exactly work out that well.”

“Hey, Iella’s still talking to him,” Janson retorted. “I’d call that a win. Anyway, wasn’t there that other time, with what’s-her-face?”

The female pilot tossed a sofa pillow at Janson’s head; he caught it neatly. “You have no standards, Janson,” she said.

Janson threw the pillow back. “True, but I have a lot of fun,” he said.

Han shook his head and left them to it.

He finally managed to track down Corran Horn in a deserted hallway. Horn looked a bit nonplussed to be stopped by General Han Solo. “Is something wrong, sir?” he asked.

“You’re not in trouble,” Han reassured him. “Commander Antilles said you might be able to help me with, ah, a romantic problem...”

“Oh,” Horn said, his face brightening. “Her Highness and the Hapan situation?”

Han grimaced. “That’d be the one.”

“Well, the way I see it,” Horn said, “you need to remind her why she fell in love with you in the first place. Sweep her off her feet. Maybe arrange a private romantic getaway. Women love that kind of thing.”

Han smiled, starting to feel a little more optimistic. “You think so?”

“I know so,” Horn announced confidently. “After a few days alone with you, she’ll forget all about Prince Isildur.”