"You okay, Princess?"
After checking the cabins, the refresher and the hold, Han's finally tracked down Leia to the cockpit. She's curled up in the Captain's seat, knees to her chin, turned towards the viewport. She looks smaller than ever, and twitches at his voice, turning quickly. He internally berates himself for startling her.
She nods in response to his half question, half greeting; and gives a weak smile as she vacates his seat, and slides back into Chewie's. Han grins at the sight, and swings into his usual seat.
She'd spent a while having a long, hot shower in the fresher, and instead of the snowsuit she had favoured during their stay on Hoth, she'd taken him at his word and changed into some of his old clothes.
Never did Han think he'd see the day the Princess sat swamped in a spot designed for a seven-foot wookiee, wearing his sweatpants and grey shirt (much too big) idly watching the stars as he sat next to her in the dark cockpit of the Falcon.
Mind, he'd never thought he'd see the day she'd let him kiss her either.
From an outsider's perspective, what with her combat boots, long braid and blaster, Leia would look simply like Han's copilot. The Corellian spends a split second imagining what it would be like jetting around the outer rim with Leia there permanently, but quickly disregards the thought.
He's leaving, leaving as soon as he sees the Princess safely to the rendezvous. But Bespin is three and a half weeks away at least.
You think a princess and a guy like me?
"You're worried about Luke." He says it as a statement rather than a question, because he doesn't trust Leia not to lie through her teeth to avoid crossing that emotional bridge.
She glances around, and finally meets his gaze. Her thoughts come out in a rush.
"What if he didn't make it out of the base in time? He's one of the most wanted after Yavin - the imperials- it's my fault he-"
He pulls his hands up. "Woah, hold up. Princess, none of this is your fault. There was nothing else you could've done! You would've died on the damn base if you had stayed any longer."
"I would've gotten a transport - you didn't have to come and snatch me straight from the command centre!"
Han gives her a look.
"Snatch you!? I was savin' your life, princess!"
She opens her mouth to speak, but he cuts her off. "Luke's a tough kid. And we'll get nowhere by being pessimistic. We're in close quarters for a standard month, and-"
It's his turn to be interrupted. Leia's incredulous exclamation is sharp and horrified in the quietude of the cockpit.
"Sorry." His mouth quirks upwards. "We can cut down by fixing some things on the way, and we've enough supplies to last us double that time. But yeah. A month at least."
He watches awkwardly as she puts her head in her hands in despair. Surely spending a few weeks with him isn't that much of a horrible prospect?
"Hey - It's-"
She looks up, derisive amusement only half concealed. "Let me guess. Not your fault?"
He raises his eyebrows, slightly taken aback and more than a little put out.
He changes tack, prompting another eye roll from the Princess. "It's - it's getting late. You wanna grab something to eat?"
He says it so hopefully he inwardly curses. What happened to smooth? He choked that one out like a stuttering teenager.
He thinks, horrified.
He stands up, turns around and stretches, cracking the joints in his arms, shoulder blades popping. He glances back at Leia, who is furtively darting her eyes towards the muscles of his back.
He almost bites his tongue in two to refrain from pointing this out, but he's trying to get her out of her self-inflicted isolation, and baiting her won't help.
"Come on, princess. If we go to sleep an hour earlier, we can start changing to Bespin time - spacelag sucks."
He pauses in his saunter from the cockpit, and puts on a parody of an upper-class accent.
"I might not be the best cook, your highness, but I'm sure I can find something to suit your more refined palate."
She wrinkles her nose.
"I only hope I'm not poisoned by the spacer grime you're used to cooking."
"For your information, your worship, I make the best spacer grime this side of the outer rim."
Their spat keeps them going all the way to the galley, where Leia has to concede defeat, because the toast Han deftly prepared is excellent.
It's cramped, and while Han cremates another slice for himself (I like it burnt, he says, gruffly) the princess perches herself onto the countertop and watches him work.
They discuss rations and repairs. Tomorrow Han will teach her the finer points of using a microfuser to fix circuit boards, and someone can take inventory of supplies. Water showers are ruled out to be replaced with sonics. Shifts are organised: after Threepio finishes the night watch, Han will take over for a few hours.
This leads Leia to consider Han's copilot, and asks:
Han swallows a charred crust. "Down in the aft hold settin' up his hammock."
"I thought Chewie had the crew cabin?"
"He does, usually." Han swings around and points at her. "But you've messed up our schedule. Chewie's takin' the hold, I'm sleeping in crew, and you can make yourself comfortable in the Captain's cabin."
The princess blushes pink at the implication, and at the fact the Han has edged towards her.
He's barely a foot away, and the counter has boosted her height. They're at the perfect angle for a romantic liason, but she pushes that thought from her mind very quickly.
"No. I'll take the crew cabin." She frowns. "I don't want to be treated like-"
Han raises an eyebrow. "Royalty?"
"I don't know," says Han, shrugging. The crew cabin is right above the aft hold, and Chewie snores... Not to mention my cabin has it's own fresher, a bigger bunk-"
"Han," she insists. "I'm not going to have a breakdown if I don't get silk sheets and a mint on my pillow. I've been in the alliance for three years."
She looks around at the worn galley, and adds for good measure:
"Granted, this bucket of bolts is a new low, but I'll manage."
Han smiles. "Real nice, sweetheart. Real friendly."
He finishes his toast, stacks the two plates, and yawns. "Have it your way, your highness. I'm going to bed."
He returns to his spot between her legs and her heart begins pounding as he leans in.
It's a kiss extremely different from the passionate one they shared in the circuitry bay, but all together more intimate.
Han is slow, but it only takes Leia a second to reciprocate. His hands move to her waist and feel as if they are scalding her.
Without thinking, hers make their way back to his hair.
He doesn't have to lean down from here; pulling away is almost painful. He looks at her face before she can react and become a senator again.
Her cheeks are pink, and eyes shut, (ecstasy? He hopes so) and she stays blushing as they open.
Han turns and walks away without a word, a cocky spring in his step.
He pauses by the door, spins back round, and smirks. "You'll wash up, won't you?" He says sweetly.
Han winks before he exits.
What she was expecting from him, she didn't know.
Leia rolls her eyes (again) as he marches off towards the cabins, and resolutely begins to scrape crumbs from the plates.
Time passes rather quickly with something to do, and before long Chewie has come up to bid her goodnight and retire to the aft hold.
She doubts sleep will come fast, but she might as well be comfortable. In the refresher she brushes her teeth (trying not to think about the fact she has to use Han's toothbrush) and changes into another of his shirts to sleep in.
She felt a little self conscious, walking along the towards the crew cabin in nothing but her underwear and Han's threadbare shirt, but she consoles herself in the fact that nobody is around to see her.
Threepio is still taking watch in the cockpit, Chewie's snores are echoing below her.
The princess slides the door open quietly and drops her clothes onto a small shelf in the bulkhead. She remembers from their last mission that the lighting is voice activated, and mutters: "Lights, level two."
Leia is not alone in the crew cabin.
Blinking in the sudden brightness, Han Solo rubs his eyes and groans something along the lines of 'mnnnmmmm'.
It's astonishing that Han has the energy to grin so widely even when ten seconds ago his was in a deep sleep.
"What's wrong, sweetheart?" He lifts a corner of the sheet. "There's room for two, if you want..."
She glares at him, and tries to ignore how nice sweetheart sounds when his voice is thick with sleep, and the fact that Han isn't wearing a shirt.
"Is there a reason you're naked in my bed?" She asks pointedly
Han raises a brow in amusement.
"Is there a reason you're not naked in mine?"
She glares at him with a look that could melt durasteel.
He yawns and stretches, and for a moment Leia can confirm he is indeed wearing underwear.
Before the Princess can launch into her argument for sleeping in crew, Han runs a hand through his (messed up, flat on one side, criminally adorable) hair and says:
"I told you, Princess. I'm in crew, you're in the captain's cabin." He sits up a little, and she's faced with nothing but bare chest and pectorals, and she swears to all the gods that he is doing this on purpose.
"So you can drag me out of here, hop in with me, or sleep in my cabin."
It's in horror Leia realises since Han woke up she's been edging towards him, her mind subliminally pushing her towards the bunk Han is occupying. His eyes have moved down to her legs, and when he looks back up to meet her eyes, she snaps to her senses.
She can't do this. Not now, not yet, maybe not ever.
She snatches her clothes from the shelf and marches resolutely towards the door.
"You are completely-" she yanks it open - "Insufferable."
He smiles. "That's why you love me, princess."
She rolls her eyes, and he shuts his, and mutters as he slumps into the pillows: "Lights; off."
As the door closes, she can just make out Han's voice.
"'Night, princess. Sweet dreams."
Hoping he can't hear her, Leia pauses to whisper:
He does hear her.
The captain's cabin is warm, and the bunk is soft, and the sheets smell familiarly of Han.
Maybe she can get into this. She has nothing to lose.
She wants this.
Maybe that's why she has everything to lose.
Leia collapses into the bed, only jerking up after she feels something on her pillow.
It's a mint.
- and it's such a long way to Bespin.