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Icy Realization

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Han was feeling oddly disappointed as he and Chewie prepared to leave the Rebel base on Hoth. It couldn't be helped. They'd been running with this crowd for too long now; and like he'd told the princess, there were still people after his head. All the good intentions and high ideals in the world weren't going to deter a Hutt with money on his mind. But, surprisingly, Han was finding it difficult to leave these people. He was – God forbid – getting attached to them. He was starting to care about what happened to them.

Han hated that feeling

Emotions weren't really his thing.

Chewie roared something about faulty bypasses and power converters and insufficient something-something, and Han rolled his eyes. “Will you deal with it? I'll be there in a minute!” He was just going to check in with the door wardens again (they had some official title, but he couldn't be bothered to remember it. They guarded the door. Simple enough.). Luke hadn't been around yet, and he was hoping to have a quick talk with the kid before he and Chewie took off.

It was probably futile (Luke had bought this Rebellion crap hook, line, and sinker), but he wanted one last shot at getting the kid to sign up. These ideals were all shiny and stuff, but Luke would be wasted with them. Why get yourself killed for a hopeless cause when you could play both sides of the market and make double the credits?

“I'm sorry, Sir. Skywalker still hasn't reported back to the base.”

“He hasn't, huh?” Well, Han hadn't gotten back that long ago; Luke was probably still checking out that damn asteroid. Or his Tauntaun was getting lazy or something. It was early yet. The kid would be back before long. “Well, can you let me know as soon as he gets back? I'd like to speak to him before I leave.”

“Yes Sir.”

Han did not have a bad feeling about this.

When the kid still wasn't back by the time it got dark, Han resigned himself to the fact that he wasn't getting off this God-forsaken ball of ice any time in the next couple of hours.

“Dumb kid,” he muttered to himself as he guided his Tauntaun out into the icy wasteland. “He did it on purpose, I bet. Set it up with the princess to make sure that I stayed another night.” The wind hit him like a slap as he crossed the threshold of the base. Blast, but he hated snow. Give him Tatooine sand storms any day. “I bet that they want me to get my head blown in by some over-eager bounty hunter, that's it! They're out to get me.”

More likely, Luke's curiosity had gotten the better of him and he'd fallen into trouble – as usual – which Han would once again need to bail him out of. But the complaining helped. It almost made Han forget about that tiny, uncomfortable tingle of worry in the pit of his stomach. Caring for people wasn't his thing (he was sure he'd mentioned that when this whole stupid job had come up in the first place), and admitting it would hurt his image. A man was nothing in this galaxy without his image.

But damn if this wasn't a strange world of heroes and idealists he'd found himself in, if he could admit to himself that Luke mattered.

Stupid kid. If he wasn't dead when Han found him, he'd kill Luke himself.