Wedge shifts his shoulders uneasily as the train pulls into the station. Beside him, Tycho remarks, “I can’t figure you out. You can fly into the middle of a battle no sweat, but you’re afraid of a lumbering, ground-based passenger train?”
Wedge mutters a response then flinches as Wes throws an overly enthusiastic arm around his shoulders.
“Our poor Wedge has some lingering trauma regarding trains,” the younger pilot explains with a grin.
“Oh?” Tycho says curiously.
“Getting carted off to the spice mines of Kessel on one will do that to you,” Wedge mutters darkly.
Tycho's curiosity only deepens, but they're forced to pause the conversation as the train comes to a halt and the doors open. The four of them present their tickets and climb aboard, quickly finding a booth. Wes and Hobbie clamber into one side, pressed cozily close together, as Tycho and Wedge seat themselves opposite.
“You were in the spice mines?” Tycho asks as soon as they've settled. He can't seem to quite decide between amusement and genuine sympathy.
“Nearly,” Wedge admits with a sigh. “My fighter went down during a skirmish, and some Imps got the drop on me.”
“So the squadron had to chase down the prison transport and pull his ass out of the fire,” Wes interrupts enthusiastically. “It was the first mission after Hobbie and I got together that we didn't both go on.”
Hobbie grins. “I told him to come back in one piece and with Wedge or I'd never look at him again.”
“And of course I wanted him to do much more than look, so rescue Wedge it was.”
“Gross,” Wedge and Tycho deadpan together, rolling their eyes as Wes pulls Hobbie in for a sloppy kiss.
While they're distracted, Tycho turns to Wedge. “You're really okay? Being on this train?”
“Yeah.” Wedge crosses his arms and gives a long-suffering smile. “These two may be assholes, but they know what I can handle.”
“Hey, I heard that!” Wes cries as he finally disengages from his boyfriend.
“Besides,” Hobbie offers sweetly, “I'm willing to bet this train has much nice accommodations than yours. Comfy seats, festive decor...”
“Drink service!” Wes finishes, waving over a passing attendant. “I'll buy you something, Wedge – maybe it'll help your blood pressure.”
Wedge sticks his tongue out at his friend but allows him to order a round of holiday-themed drinks for the four of them. Minutes later, glass in hand, Wedge gazes out the window and has to agree with Hobbie's statement.
This train is an all-around better experience than the one on Kessel had been. The lights are bright, the car pleasantly warm. Cheery music tinkles through the air, and bright lights and tinsel are strung through the aisles. Wide windows show the snowy landscape rolling by. It's quite unlike the cramped, cold, and dark he'd experienced before. Gone too is the primal terror of what awaits him at the end, and he'll take the low-lying anxiety over that any day.
Tycho is still watching him with concern from the corner of his eye, but before Wedge can protest further that he's fine, Hobbie changes the subject.
“Anyway, this is the only way to get to the holiday market since we can't fly there and everything else is buried in snow.”
“Stupid ice planets,” Wes huffs. “Only advantage is that it's the Festival of Light all year round here.”
“Anything's better than being cooped up onbase with nothing to do,” Tycho agrees. “Right, Wedge?”
“Absolutely.” Wedge grins at them, finally managing to shake off most of his lingering uneasiness. He's knows he's not in any real danger, and he really is looking forward to a night out with his friends. “We just have to be sure to keep Wes away from the egg punch. Last time was a mess.”
“No promises,” Wes and Hobbie chorus brightly as Tycho demands, “You have to tell me this story.”