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The missing galley

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Deflecting kiss

Sitting still had never been in Leia's nature, and she'd had enough sitting during her turn at the cockpit. It wasn't like there were many activities waiting to be done when you were stuck in the middle of nowhere, on a freighter that left much to be desired, and as there was so much time to kill until they reached Bespin, she knew there would come a time when they all might be forced to sit and stare at the stars more than they wanted to.

For now, though, she'd decided to make herself useful, starting with putting together an inventory of all the provisions on board. Han had assured her hours ago that he and Chewie had replenished their supply of consumables while on Hoth, preparing for their imminent departure from the Rebel Alliance, but Leia doubted either of them had counted on spending weeks aboard the ship and with an extra passenger. In any case, she didn't have anything better to do.

There was enough to spare for any possible—and she hoped, unlikely—emergencies that might stretch their trip, but they would still have to make economies and be extra nice to Chewie. Gentle and kind as the Wookiee might be with his friends, belying appearances, Leia knew empty stomachs brought out the worst in everyone—and Chewbacca had a very large stomach.

There was also the matter of the type of food they'd be living off. Leia took a look at the open cargo compartments, then down at the datapad on her lap, and sighed.

'All right, Princess, get it out,' Han drawled, dropping casually on the floor next to her. 'How long till we have to turn to cannibalism?'

'With this stuff, I give it a week,' Leia said, holding up a polystyrene foam container of dehydrated soup. She hated dehydrated soup, and the way it always clumped up at the bottom. 'Couldn't you have stored some fresh produce in here?'

Han made a sweeping gesture. 'Look around, sweetheart. Do you see anywhere to store or prepare fresh food?'

Leia twisted her mouth. 'I guess it hasn't bothered me before because I've never spent more than five days on board. And it makes sense for this old thing you call a ship not to have a galley, given its size—'

'Do you want the owner of this old thing to space you?'

Leia smirked. 'But really, you'd think you'd want a galley in here.'

'It never had one.'

'You could have added it yourself,' she countered. More than half the things the Falcon had weren't in the original model.

'Chewie and me are good without one,' he insisted stubbornly. 'More space for cargo. We get real food whenever we dock.'

Before she could help herself, Leia said, 'Good to know you've never been unable to dock for a month before this experience.'

Han's face hardened in warning, but she wasn't pursuing a real fight, so she gave him a small smirk before changing her argument.

'If you had a galley,' Leia insisted, shifting to stop the pins and needles on her leg and accidentally bumping Han's knee in the process, 'you could make real caf.' She held up another sealed container. 'How can you stay awake with this muck?'

Han took the cup of instant self-heating caf from her, glanced at it, and put it back down with the rest. He knew she was right; that stuff wasn't the same, and it didn't taste as good either, like most spacer food. That was all they had, though.

'I should have given it some serious thought to having you on board for so many days without your precious real caf, Your Highness,' he said, pressing a hand to his heart in pretend contrition. 'Please, forgive me.'

'You really are a moon jockey,' Leia said, shaking her head and picking up her datapad again. She was more amused than annoyed by this act, but the proximity and the way he'd said "please" did other things to her. She considered moving away and caught herself in time.

You have permission to act on those things now.

They hadn't kissed since she had left him standing in the main hold, after he had comforted her—in his own particular way—and taken measures to help her sleep easy. Leia had to admit leaving the hatch open and having the sounds of voices from a broadcast cover those of the running engines had contributed to her falling asleep almost at once without the usual anxiety she felt whenever she lay down… but the growing intimacy between them—his caring for her coupled with his casual, comforting touching—had helped just as much. When she had showed up in the cockpit for her shift later on, he had merely asked how she had slept before heading off back to his bunk. Leia imagined he was more tired than he let on, considering he had barely slept since he'd gone in search of Luke. Still, she wished he had kissed her before leaving, to get her through the next four hours. It was kind of ridiculous how much she'd avoided even entertaining the idea of kissing him before, and how much she counted on it now.

'What I meant is, the Falcon is like your home, isn't it?' she made herself ask, trying to banish her thoughts by reading over the information she had typed down so far. 'It'd make sense for you to have a galley in here, that's all.'

When Han didn't respond at once, she looked up. He was scowling at the deckplates, whether upset or considering her words, she couldn't decide, but she suddenly realised what she had implied.

'I'm sorry,' Leia said, touching his arm lightly, 'I didn't mean to say it was your home...' She trailed off. She knew Chewie had family back in Kashyyyk, and that Han was welcome there, but she was sure the Falcon was the closest thing to home Han had. Although for all she knew about his past, which wasn't much, he could have an entire secret family she wasn't aware of. She filed that thought away as inconvenient.

Han shrugged, apparently not upset at her, just thinking.

'You're right, it's kinda home by now, but...' Leia had the impression that he was struggling with something. She wanted to ask what it was and help him bring it to the surface where they both could see it, but he decided to complete his sentence before she figured out what to say. 'It's also how I earn my credits and, like I said, cargo space is precious. Never found a good enough reason to add a galley.'

Leia deflated slightly at his somewhat predictable answer.

'Well, you'll have to consider adding one if you ever intend to get me on board again. I won't be able to look at another ration bar after this trip,' she commented offhandedly. She blanched when her brain caught up with her words. Of course he wouldn't have to do any of that. After this trip, she'd probably never be aboard the Falcon again.

A beat passed where they sat still, not quite looking at each other. Leia wasn't sure how to save the moment and go back to the almost light-hearted conversation of before—or if she would rather drag the matter out and make both of them deal with it. Judging by the emotions flitting on his face, she thought Han didn't know how to proceed, either, most likely because he was trying to guess how she'd want to proceed.

He settled for a lopsided smile and scooted closer, one hand braced on the floor next to her thigh as the other came to rest on her neck, his calloused thumb brushing over her jaw.

'I'll keep that in mind, sweetheart.'

Then he kissed her, and while she knew he'd done it mainly to deflect from the topic of his leaving, Leia wondered if he had wanted to kiss her again as much as she had. She was tempted to tell him all the things she'd like to forget just to see where it'd take her.

Making out while their heads were more or less at the same level was definitely more comfortable, Leia decided. There was something to be said about kissing someone much taller (or shorter) than yourself: neck pain. She probably had less to complain about than Han, who did all the bending, but this position also gave her better access. Her arms wrapped around Han's neck, and his hand left her face to find the small of her back, both of them pulling the other closer until her chest was pressed against his.

Unwittingly, she let out a groan, which turned into a muffled gasp as a clattering sound startled them into breaking apart. Leia turned her face away as she picked up her datapad, which had fallen from her lap, and tried to catch her breath.

'Um… so… even if there's no galley, we still have to eat,' she said, feeling almost dizzy as her heart pounded inside her chest. 'So I guess I should go back to…'

'Sure. Right. You do that. We don't wanna drink up all of that disgusting caf and run out of it just 'cause you didn't finish your inventory,' Han said, smirking.

'Oh, shut up. You don't want to be trapped inside this piece of junk with me without caf and bored, do you?'

'When have you ever been bored around me, Princess?' Han asked, pushing himself to his feet. 'I'm sure we'll find something to keep us entertained.'

Grinning, he turned to leave, but calling him out on his bluffing was Leia's favourite tactic, so she said, 'Like what?'

Han turned back to her and shrugged, unfazed. 'I dunno, maybe I'll build you a galley.'

I'll keep that in mind, sweetheart.

Of course, she knew he had been joking, and she'd gladly share the illusion. It was easier to pretend that the ending of this trip wouldn't be any different from the ending of all the other trips they had shared before, that it wouldn't be the ending of them. But as Leia watched him leave, she couldn't help a small pang in her chest for the galley she'd never have the chance to see.