A/N: Yes, Mouschi here. This is my.second SW fic, please be nice (though everyone already was to the much poorer "Worth Working For". Thank you.review if the mood strikes you.


"One.two.three." Leia counted quietly, picking at pulls on her snowsuit. She was done packing, and taking a moment for herself before being submitted to a torture that made her very blood boil. Why in the Force had Han Solo been chosen to chaperone her to the distant planet of Naboo? She was a princess, and a former senator at that. She was perfectly capable of transporting herself to the planet, conducting the trade for supplies that were so desperately needed on the new Hoth base, and coming back. Even if her flying skills weren't to be trusted, the base was full of much more desirable candidates.

But of all people, she had Han. Luke had been quick with an explanation to General Rieekan's decision. Han was only hiding out on Hoth, he wasn't an actual member of the rebellion, and he could get her there faster than anyone. In other words, it wasn't like he had anything else to do. But still, was that any reason to put her through the pain, the frustration, the down right annoyance? His charm was sickening, and to be locked with him, alone, for three days was to be faced with three days worth of one liners and unwanted passes. No matter what she said, Leia could not make the man shut up.

"Four.five.six." she continued, pushing the thought from her mind. Sitting down on her frigid bunk, she checked her overnight bag one last time.

"Toiletries.seven." her pulse quickened at the sound of footsteps. "Change.eight.nightgown.nine."

"Let's get a move on, Your Worship, we haven't got all day!" Leia whipped her petite frame around, glaring at the towering rogue standing in the doorframe. Annoyance welled up inside her. It wasn't so much the fact that she had been interrupted; rather, it was the fact that the one person she'd been trying to forget had let himself in and was already using his "unique" sense of humor to get her riled up. Angrily, she took the haversack and threw at him with all her might. Han threw up an arm to block it, and in doing so, caused it to clatter to the floor. Leia's possessions scattered about the chamber.

"Blast," muttered Leia.

"Nice work, Princess." Leia looked up, a mixture of rage and annoyance plastered across her features. Han smiled and shook his head before stooping to help her. Gingerly he moved her belongings towards Leia, who stuffed them, quite haphazardly, back into the bag. Within minutes, she was all packed again.

"Thank you," Leia muttered without meeting his gaze.

"All right then, Your Wor-" before Han could finish, a hacking cough ripped through his lungs and throat. Leaning against the doorframe, Han steadied himself.

"Are you okay?" Leia queried, her voice brimmed with honest concern.

"Just fine, Princess." With a wink, Han launched into his usual "charm". "Do I sense a hint of worry in your voice?" Leia rolled her eyes, grabbing the bag from the floor.

"Well, naturally, Captain. If I must be hauled off to Naboo for business, I would like my pilot well enough to fly in a straight line. Although, knowing you, that may be asking a bit much."

"Very funny Princess. You know I could out-maneuver any Imperial Ship, even after four shots of Tatooine's finest," returned the smuggler. Leia smiled wickedly as she pushed past him into the corridor.

"Yes, but that still prevents you from traveling in a straight line. Not all of us fond of flying upside down for twenty minutes."

"Oh, does Her Worship have a weak stomach?"

"Only to blind flirtation and flattery," snapped Leia haughtily. Han would've continued the banter, but another cough interrupted. Again he stopped, leaning his aching head against the wall. It was a full thirty seconds before Leia halted. She was about to chide him, but softened at the sight of Han. His pallor was obviously paler, and his eyes were slightly glazed.

"Go to the medic," Leia insisted without realizing the harshness of her tone. Han had recovered, and faced her at his full height.

"No, Your Grace, we are on a tight schedule. All I need is some tea or some soup." Leia shrank back before setting her jaw firmly. Behind her eyes, the blood was beginning to boil.

"Thanks to your little scuffle in the kitchen last week, we haven't got much of either which is why-"

"Some hot water then! Come along, Your Worship!" Han began again at a quickened pace, which Leia matched perfunctorily. From the canteen the members of the Alliance took a quick peek at what they referred to (behind their backs, naturally) as Match and Firecracker. Luke nudged the General who smiled, shaking his head.

"It only looks like a mistake, Skywalker."

"Chewie, are we ready?" Han called up to the wookie. Chewbacca stuck his head out of the Millennium Falcon and roared, waving a paw. Han laughed, then suppressed another cough. Saluting to the small throng that had left the canteen to see them off, Han jumped up the gangplank. Turning, Leia spotted Luke and quickly hugged him good-bye.

"The Force be with you, Leia," he smiled, his blue eyes dancing.

"Thanks, I'll need it." Without another word, Leia turned and entered the Falcon.

Han was seated in the captain's chair, flicking switches and checking monitors. Every so often, he'd give a little cough, but shrug it off. Silently, Leia took the co-pilot's seat, which was usually occupied by Chewie. The wookie was down in the main hold, checking that the smuggling safes were ready for the cargo Leia was to retrieve on Naboo. When the ship was ready, Han gently began the engine. During the take-off, Leia gripped the armrests; she'd never get used to the way that bucket of bolts shook.

"Well there you have it, Princess. You won't have to deal with the freezing climate of Hoth for a few days." Leia turned and strained to see the rapidly disappearing planet.

"It's actually quite beautiful from this altitude," she mused.

"Most things are," returned the suave pilot. Leia rolled her eyes and retreated into the only room with a proper lock-the refresher. It was quite musty and mildew was abundant throughout the tiny compartment.

"Yuck, doesn't he ever clean in here?" she muttered, clambering into the shower stall. She drew her knees into her chest, closed her eyes, and tried to take her mind off the work at hand. All she needed was an air neutralizer and the effect would have worked.

A bang on the door jerked her from the near pleasant experience. Leia groaned in frustration and sat up grumpily.

"You okay Princess?" Han's voice boomed through the door.

"Who's driving?" she queried, ignoring his inquiry.

"Chewie." The Falcon lurched, and Leia banged her against the fiberglass shower door.

"That explains it," she shouted sarcastically, rubbing her sore forehead.

"Very funny, Your Worship. Now then, I need to use the john, so either clear out or shield your young eyes." Leia stood shakily and left the stuffy 'fresher. As soon as she stepped into the corridor, fresher air flooded her lungs. She sucked it in thankfully before turning to the impatient pilot.

"Go ahead, flyboy."

"Breathe much, Princess?" She rolled her eyes, and gave him a small shove.

"I might pick up a few air fresheners on Naboo. It can't do any harm." Han didn't care about Leia's latest attack on his ship, though; he'd already rushed into the compartment and slammed the door. Leia could only continue her search for solitude.

The inner workings of the Millennium Falcon were a labyrinth of hissing machinery. Each seeming sanctuary turned out to be filthier than the last. Finally, she found a small corner that at least had a blanket. Hours had passed, and Leia had worked herself to a bone weary state. Climbing up into the hole in the ancient corridor wall, she pulled off her boots and draped the musty blanket around her shoulders. In matter of minutes she was sound asleep.

"Welcome to Naboo, Chewie," Han winked to his co-pilot. He'd flown most of the two-day trip, with a wracking cough, and was almost ready to drop. Rubbing his forehead, he carefully landed the Falcon in one of the hangars outside of the city. Yawning, he turned again to his wookie comrade. "Better find the Princess. She's got quite an audience this afternoon."

Chewie began to search the innards of the ship. However, the princess was nowhere to be found. She'd hardly left the tiny crawl space, and when she did, Han and Chewbacca were always preoccupied. He returned to the cockpit, and shook the drowsy pilot. Sighing, Han hauled himself out of the chair, and helped Chewie double check the common compartments of the Falcon. After nearly forty-five minutes, Han gave up and used the com-link.

"Rise and shine Princess. We're on Naboo, and I know you have somewhere to be in two and a half hours." The com-link stuttered with static, several minutes passing before Leia answered.

"Good morning. Where the Hell are you?"

"I could ask you the same question, Your Worship!" exclaimed Han.

"I'm in the little bunk space behind the." Han rolled his eyes as Leia searched for a useable landmark. ".Big.red.clicking thing." In his head Han located the area, and pointed Chewie in her direction.

"Just hold tight, Princess, Chewie's coming for you," he muttered into the com-link. Feeling a small wave of nausea, he sank quietly to the floor. "Today is just not my day."

Within the tiny forgotten chamber, Leia pulled her boots back on and straightened the blanket on the shelf. Stretching her arms wide, she then placed her hands on her lower back. She smiled for the first time in weeks; the trip had thus far been practically stress free, but that was probably because she'd been let alone for the first time in weeks. When Chewie finally located her, Leia followed him back to the main hallways. Han hardly noticed as she strode briskly into the cockpit to find her overnight bag.

"Han, I'm going into the 'fresher to change for the meeting," Leia said as she again passed the poor man in the hall. He nodded, and propped himself up. "Chewie get him some coffee."

"What?" he responded weakly.

"You're my bodyguard, Solo. You knew that."

"Oh yes, Your Worship," he spat out, "Chewie, make it black!" Chewie returned to the tiny kitchen facility.

Within the mildew-infested refresher, Leia stripped out of her Hoth snowsuit. Naboo would be much too warm a climate for anything heavier than a single layered dress. She stepped into the eternally damp shower, and pulled on the faucet.

Cold water streamed onto her back, and Leia gasped briefly before stepping out again to open her bag. From it she pulled the few remains of her privileged life as Princess of Alderaan. Back inside the shower, she rubbed her waist-length hair with a sweet-smelling shampoo. After she rinsed out the pale pink suds, she slathered her body with a floral-scented soap and poured savory oil into her hair. She scrubbed her hands, finally removing a year's worth of grime from her fingernails.

Leia stood naked before the tiny mirror, quietly running a comb through her hair. She knew she hadn't much time, and so plaited her hair wet. With that weight off her shoulders and atop her head, she opened a tiny bottle and began to put a pale pink polish on her fingernails. The action tickled her; Leia hadn't painted her nails since long before her capture on the Death Star. Finally, she gingerly rubbed herself dry with an ancient towel. Leia dressed in a rose colored silk dress. It was brand-new, bought just for the trip. It was simple, undecorated, with an empire waist, princess seams, and gathered cap sleeves. The neckline plunged slightly, showing just enough cleavage to make Leia feel a bit dangerous. On her feet were a simple pair of pink pumps. The ensemble was a far cry from her Senatorial robes, but it had been ages since she'd worn anything pretty. Besides, it was only Han who would see her, not the troops that she needed to rally together. For their sake, she made herself as inconspicuously female as possible; to Han it didn't matter. She could wear a flight suit and he'd still try to impress her.

Leia applied a light dust of powder to her face, and gently pulled rogue across her lips. The effect was quite appealing. A few silver chains completed the "look". Leia smiled, quite pleased with herself.

As she strode confidently down the corridor, Han emerged from the cockpit, coffee mug in hand. He stopped short and suppressed a small gasp.

"Well, Princess, you've managed to completely take my breath away. You look as beautiful as anything.positively ravishing," he gaped.

"Keep dreaming, laser brain," Leia returned. Quickly, she pulled a light cape around her petite frame and hurried out the hatch that Chewie had opened. As he followed, Han could help but let his gaze fall to her tiny hips; they swayed almost hypnotically.

"So where are we headed?" he asked, sipping on the black concoction.

"A small café for lunch with an underground trade representative," she answered calmly, holding her hem up from the dusty road. Passers-by stopped in their tracks to gaze at the princess.

"You're making a scene, Your Worship," Han whispered to her. Leia bit her lip and turned to him.

"Soon we'll be in the wealthier portion of the city. Then we won't have so many stares." The princess was right; only five minutes later the two were weaving among Naboo's upper crust. As impossible as it seemed, Han found that the princess was actually dressed quite humbly compared to the other ladies. Leia strolled through the street, passing cantinas and vendors. When Han was sure his legs and head were about to fall off, she finally halted in front of a charming café.

"This is it?" the Corellian inquired.

"Yes," she replied, walking in. She took a small table near the rear. "Now, go stand at the bar where you can see me, but don't make yourself noticeable." Han nodded and sauntered over to the counter. He ordered another coffee, and was pleased to find it not only strong, but also sweet. Sometime he'd have to see if he could make a trade for a bag-it beat the Hell out of the stuff Chewie brewed.

A small droid rolled over to Leia's table. Han watched as she quietly ordered a drink. He smiled at her sophisticated decorum, but was shocked when a large glass of native fruit juice laced with vodka was delivered to her. She looked up and raised her eyebrows at him, a signal for him not to stare. Han sighed and turned back to the counter.

Hardly noticed, a young man dressed in expensive crimson-brown entered the café. He carried a small datapad under his arm and had a terribly handsome appearance. Han watched silently as the boy spotted Leia, did a double take, and tried not to look too eager as he hurried to her table.

"Hello, are you Giovian?" asked Leia pleasantly. The boy seemed not to notice.

"Hello, I've always wanted to meet you. My mother has spoken so highly of you, and-" Lines of confusion furrowed Leia's features.

"I'm afraid you may be mistaken. My name is Leia, and I'm looking for Giovian du Prise. Do you think you could point him out to me?" The young man blushed deep scarlet.

"Oh, I am so sorry. I must've been mistaking you for somebody else. I am Giovian du Prise, but please call me Gee." Leia relaxed a bit; if anything, Gee was obvious.

"I've been sent by General Rieekan to complete a trade that you and he began via holo two days ago."

"Ah yes, the General who wanted food supplies and my newly acquired FX-7," Gee mused, stroking his chin. Leia sucked in her breath. She thought she'd only be retrieving rations, not droids. Still, the General kept trades and smuggling as quiet as possible. The princess recalled her amazement last month when Han and Luke had mysteriously disappeared, only to return with the thermal cloth and other necessities needed for making snowsuits that could withstand Hoth's climate.

"Yes, Gee, that would be us," she returned, sipping her drink.

"I give it to you for.five thousand." Leia gaped. The budget set for her was not to exceed three thousand, and that had been thought much too high. Apparently Gee would not be as easy to trade with as Leia had assumed. Her political training whistled through her as she began to negotiate.

"I won't give you more than one and a half." Gee smiled sickeningly.

"Fine then, no trade." She didn't like the look Gee was giving her; it reminded her of Han, only Gee's intentions did not seem so jovial.

"Two hundred." Gee slid his foot up Leia's skirt, rubbing her calf with the top of his boot.

"How 'bout this? I cut a beautiful girl like you a deal. Two hundred seventy-five, and you come back to my ship with me for oh.the night." His eyes glittered insanely, and Leia realized that he'd been glancing at her chest. This was a tactic she'd never encountered before, and wasn't sure how to handle it. She gave a frightened look to Han, who could not see Gee's actions through the tablecloth. Han looked up and Leia quickly thought of an excuse.

"If you'll excuse me just a moment Gee, I need to get some air outside. I'll be back in just a moment," she stated meekly. Quickly, she hurried out of the café. Han counted silently to ten, then paid for his drinks and followed her.

"What is it, Your Highnessness?" he asked once he spotted Leia leaning against a wall, breathing deeply.

"He won't take less than five thousand," she replied weakly.

"Then negotiate! Honestly, you were a senator!"

"Don't you think I tried that?" she snapped, massaging her temples. "He'll take two seventy-five, if I sleep with him." Han could only stare open mouthed. Leia let down a little of her front just then. "I don't know what to do. I can't just up and sleep with a man, but we need those supplies! Do you have any ideas?" Han thought for a moment, pushing the thought of Leia actually making love to someone from his head-it wasn't too difficult. It was hard enough trying to imagine what she looked like under her snowsuit. Though, in this dress, much less was left to the imagination.

"Here, tell him you'll give him three thousand, but time constraints prevent you from staying after you load up," he began.

"Alright, go on."

"Then tell him that you'll throw in something to remember you by, and loop one of them necklaces around his neck. If he says yes, kiss him on the forehead and be sure to thank him. Then just carry on like it's a normal trade."

"And if he says no?" Leia asked, trying to imagine what Han had in mind.

"Just keep giving him necklaces until he agrees. If you run out, tell him that each necklace alone is worth, oh, two thousand. That should change his mind."

"Okay. Wait out here. You coming back in will look a bit suspicious," Leia said, her stately elegance returning at least. Head held high, she strode back into the café.

"Are you feeling better, Leia?" asked Gee when she'd sat down.

"Much. The air in here was a bit thick, and I became lightheaded," she replied.

"Very good. Now then, the deal." He looked at Leia hopefully. She took a deep breath and launched into Han's plan.

"Gee, I would love to go with you, but I am due back this evening. I can't possibly stay after we load the cargo. However, I'll give you three thousand, even, and this," she lifted the thickest chain from her neck, "to remember me by." Gently she looped it about his neck. He fingered the silver delicately. "Do we have a deal?"

"Ah, yes Leia, you've made this worth quite my while."

"Thank you," she replied, leaning over and kissing his forehead. "Now then, I'm at loading hangar 43-BQ. I'll meet you there in twenty minutes."

"Yes, most definitely," Gee replied. The two stood and left a tip for the waiter droid. Leia thanked the Force that he was so easily foiled. Outside they went their separate ways, and Han emerged from an alley.

"How'd it go, Princess?"

"He took three thousand and one necklace," she replied briskly.

"I knew you could do it. How could he refuse such an attractive woman?" Leia stopped and glared at him.

"Not now Han! I don't need this right now!" Without another word, the two continued back to the hangar in haughty silence.

Soon thereafter Gee arrived with two friends. He kissed Leia's hand dramatically before helping to load the supplies into the Millennium Falcon. Last to go in was the FX-7. Leia realized the importance of this droid as Gee's bumbling companions pinched their fingers in the door for the umpteenth time; Hoth was a dangerous place, and many Rebels were just as accident-prone. When finally the transaction was completed, Gee eyed her sadly.

"Such a beautiful woman. Tell me Leia, shall I ever see you again?" Leia fought the nagging urge to roll her eyes and give him a large piece of her mind.

"I doubt it, dear Gee," she replied, faking affection for him. He laid his hand against his heart.

"Then may the Force be with you, Leia."

"The Force be with you Gee." And without a word or glance, Leia strode into the Falcon. She flopped onto a seat in the cockpit and watched Han wearily prepare for take off. Chewie entered from the hold, stretching. He barked to Han, who nodded gratefully.

"Sure buddy, you can pilot us back. I ain't feeling real well," he said before retiring to his bunk. Leia watched him go, then aided Chewie. When the Falcon was well above Naboo and its atmosphere, she went back to find Han.

He was lying on his bunk, a pillow over his head.

"Kreth, I just want to die," he muttered. The light was giving him a headache and the cough hadn't gotten any better. Now his nose was running and he felt unbearably hot. There was no doubt about it: the smuggler was sick. Moaning, he rolled onto his side, and reached for the switch that would dim the lights. His arm was an inch too short to reach it, so he waved his arm blindly at the wall. Leia walked by and smirked at the hapless Captain's form.

"Here," she said, flicking off the lights. Han lifted his head from under the pillow.

"Thanks, Your Worship," he smiled weakly. A cough ripped through him just then. He spluttered, struggling to breathe. Leia knitted her eyebrows and came to his side. She pulled the pillow away from his face, and slipped her arm under his back. The movement startled both of them, although Han was glad for the small strength Leia's appendage added. With her help, Han sat up and the coughing finally subsided.

"You should've gone to the medic," Leia reprimanded. Han sighed and gently lay back down.

"There's a lot of things I should've done, Princess," he replied. If not for your little friend Gee, we could be napping like that big hulk of a Wookie did during your meeting." Leia didn't know whether to thank Han for his idea or apologize for the strain the result had put on him. So instead, she did what was most common of her.

"Well I'm sorry flyboy, I can't control the raging hormones of the male population. Maybe if you could all learn to think with your heads instead of your pants, life would go a bit smoother!"

"Well maybe if Her Highness wasn't so afraid of being touched-"

"Maybe if you'd stop convincing yourself that I like all these games you play! What part of 'no' don't you understand?!" She pointed to a sign she'd taped to his wall a few weeks ago, which depicted the same words.

"I'm illiterate," Han finished sarcastically. Leia felt her temper boil over.

"No, you're incompetent, unpleasant, and completely irrational!" She stormed at him. He pulled the pillow back over his face.

"Not so loud, Your Worshipfulness. And besides, you forgot 'irresistible.'" Leia could bear him no longer. She yanked the pillow from his face and screamed directly in his ear,

"OH! I'm SORRY! IS THIS BETTER?" Leia stomped away from him, fists and jaw clenched. Taking aim, Han lifted his pillow and flung it at her. It hit her in the back of the head. Leia whipped around, glaring. Then, containing her anger, she walked out again. Han retrieved the pillow and relaxed on the bunk.

"Finally! She's gone!'

No such luck. Leia returned minutes later with a med pack. Wordlessly, she pulled a chair up to his bunk and unceremoniously forced an ancient thermometer into his mouth.

"Honestly, it's a wonder you're still alive, what with these primitive medical tools," she muttered. Han could only roll his eyes; as much as he hated being taken care of, he was too sick to do anything else.

'Besides, maybe I can get to know her Regalness a bit better,' he thought.

"Han, let me see it," said Leia, pulling the thermometer from his mouth.

"What's it say, Princess?" he asked, rolling back onto his side. She eyed its dull glow and was shocked by its reading.

"One-hundred six point three! Han, that is much too high!" She began pulling at his shirt buttons, worry lines etched through her forehead.

"I knew you'd melt for me sometime, Ice Princess," he smiled widely. Leia cuffed him lightly.

"It's a wonder you aren't delirious, Han," she murmured, sliding the shirt from his chest. "Or dead," she added. Reaching up again, she flicked the light back on. Han moaned and shielded his eyes with the pillow. "I'm sorry Han, I need to see what I'm doing," Han nodded, then began coughing again. Leia helped him sit up, and poured a small glass of water. She held it to his parched lips as he drank greedily.

"Thank you, Princess," he whispered weakly. Leia turned and went out silently.

Inside the 'fresher, Leia pulled the few clean towels Han and Chewie owned from the tiny cabinet and turned on the shower. After soaking them thoroughly in the frigid water, Leia carried them back to Han's bunk.

"Han, can you sit up for me?" she asked, shivering from the dampness that soaked through her dress. Han groaned and pulled himself upright. Gently, Leia laid the towel on his arms and chest. She caught her breath every time her hands ran over his muscular frame. He seemed so fit, but Leia could only worry about the heat that generated from his body. He was so weak and ill, and Leia has never dealt with him like this. She was so used to him being strong and confidant, trying to convince her that his plans would keep them alive, even if it was only for another moment.

Leia adjusted the towel over his abdomen, letting her fingertips run over the toned muscles. Mentally, she decided that he got them from scrambling all over this Force-forsaken junk heap; after all, when he wasn't doing that, he was eating or drinking. And sometimes leering.

"Like what you see, Princess?" Han asked cockily. Leia realized that not only did she still have her hand resting on his stomach, she was smiling. Embarrassed, she drew her hand away quickly, blushing profusely. There was not a thing she could do, and suddenly a thought crossed her mind. She smirked and continued to move the towels.

"Well, I can't say I'm complaining." Han's jaw dropped; he'd never had Leia react to him in this way. Perhaps she was finally giving up. Maybe he'd finally worn down her defenses and could now win her over in true Corellian form. He relaxed as Leia finished by pulling his blanket up over the damp mass. She stood and turned, leaving him there to rest.

"Where are you going, Highness?" he asked, not wanting the moment to end.

"To change. I'm pretty damp, and I don't have a fever to bring down. When I get back I'm taking those towels off of you, otherwise you'll catch a chill," she replied as she left for the little room adjacent to Han's cabin. Han sighed lightly, feeling cool and comfortable at long last.

Leia stripped out of her pink dress and did her best to hang it up nicely. It looked as though it had seen its last wear; the water left nasty looking stains on the fabric. Peering down at herself, Leia noticed pink water clinging to her skin.

"Oh! Damnit!" she yelled. This just went to prove that high prices didn't always mean quality. On the plus though, she'd managed to keep the poor tailor's family alive for one more day in this flailing economy. With the dry spot on her dress, she rubbed herself down before looking for clean clothes. "Double damn!" she muttered, realizing that she'd left her bag in the secret crawl space on the other side of the Falcon. Leia kicked a box in exasperation and it fell over, dumping open. "Merde! Merde! A thousand times, Merde!" she shouted, bending to clean up the mess. Moments later she realized what the box had contained: old looking, worn out work clothes doubtlessly left there by Han. After digging around, Leia found a set that made her heart quicken. Holding up a pair of slacks, she saw that they were made for a woman, a woman only a bit larger than she was.

So Leia wasn't the first lady Han had toted about the galaxy. She bristled with anger as she felt her stomach lurch in jealousy. Why the Hell should she care? Maybe because of her little display in the other room, but she'd just been too tired and stressed to argue. Give the man what he wants, and he'll shut up. Swallowing all her pride, Leia pulled on the slacks, belted them, and threw on a shirt. She held her head high and returned to check Han's fever.

"Found Cylyanya's old things I see," Han stated simply. "Kreth, that girl liked putting Y's in her name. Never did get used to how she spelled it." Leia ignored him as she pulled away the blanket and again put the thermometer in his mouth. An awkward silence followed, neither one willing to meet the other's gaze. Leia thanked the Force when the blasted contraption under Han's tongue finally beeped.

"Well, one hundred-two. Still a little high, but much lower than before. That's a good sign," Leia told him as she pulled away the wet towels.

"That's good, I was starting to get cold. Jeez, I forgot how small Cylyanya was. Almost as tiny as you, Princess." Leia fought the rising emotions within her, concentrating on her work. However, she could not help but let one little question slip out.

"How long did she fly with you?" Han laughed a little.

"Never flew with me, Hell she'd never give me the time of day. She dated a friend of mine, and when I won this beauty off him in the best game of sabacc I ever played, I made her leave the premises immediately, without her clothes-there's probably more in there, if you want them. It was my little pay back for how she treated me. Her sister Morgan, though, she was a sweetie. Ah, little 'Gani was about seven years younger than me, but she did mot of the original rewiring on here. Before Chewie and I got the feel of the Falcon, we'd have to call her on holo every time we did repairs. We kept in touch, until she ran off with some pilot." Leia had stopped working, fascinated with this tiny peek into Han's life prior to the Death Star rescue. Han smiled at her and shivered, snapping Leia out of her zone.

"Oh dear, let me pull up your blankets," Leia mumbled as she pulled the worn cloth over his pale body. She piled on a few thermals over that. "There, now we'll burn the rest of that fever out of you."

"Sounds good," Han answered before surrendering to another shuddering cough. Leia rummaged through the dilapidated medical kit for the slightest semblance of cough syrup. Finding it, she poured a spoonful and held it to the ailing captain's lips.

"There. That'll coat your throat," Leia whispered, smoothing his light sepia hair from his dampened brow.

"Than-" Han began.

"Hush up!" Leia stopped him, holding her finger to his lips. "You'll spend your voice if you keep talking. Now, you get some rest," she smiled lyrically. Gently, Leia patted down the blankets over his still smoldering body. His hazel eyes glittered at her as their faces rested mere inches from each other.

"What," whispered the Corellian, "no good night kiss?" Leia blushed and began to pull away.

"Han.Captain.I-" Han snaked a hand out from under the covers and pulled her back towards him.

"I'm sick. Humor me."

"I don't think this is-" Leia's eyes finally met the twin orbs. For a lingering second they stayed, as if sharing some secret. Finally, Leia sighed and quickly kissed his forehead. Han smiled, almost bashfully, and winked with only the slighted breath of his cocky nature.

"Sweet dreams, Sweetheart." Leia, taken aback by the whole situation, bristled with his sudden familiarity.

"Captain Solo! That is hardly appropri-" she caught the glint in his brilliant Corellian hazels. It was clear that Han was so pleased with himself, there was no way he'd let anything-not even the princess's tyrannical ranting-spoil his mood. Throwing her hands up in exasperation, Leia stomped into the cockpit.

Only after he was sure Leia had gone did Han allow the wave of uncertainty to wash over him. This new feeling he held for the princess eluded him and he hated that. He'd been independent and more or less in control for longer than he cared to remember. When he was happy, he knew it, and could say 'Solo, you're happy.' The same for when he was sad, angry, or lonely-or any other emotion for that matter. Living on his own had taught him to know himself.

Lust too he understood. That familiar tingling throughout his body, the almost lost use of his brain, these sensations were second nature to him now. And he could honestly admit that those lustful emotions had flooded him during the medal ceremony on Yavin IV. To see the formerly grubby shrew of a woman stand above him wearing that gorgeous silk gown set his being aflame.

Yet still, the fire was fed by something else. Admiration perhaps. Though his words and actions would never prove it, Han felt a deep respect for any girl that knew which end of a blaster shot; Leia's aim was excellent. He was always amazed when he considered how many "unroyal" skills she possessed. And what she didn't know, she was more than willing to learn. Back at Echo Base, Luke's squadron was still buzzing about how she'd learned to weld in an hour. As for piloting, well, it still couldn't be trusted but was improving.

If this was love, Han was wary of it. True, there were several times every day that he wished to smack some dignity out of her. Yet just one glance at her soulful brown eyes drew all violence from him. He could watch her for hours, entranced.

"She's too young," he told himself out loud. Leia was barely out of her teens, and he was already into his thirties. Still, as soon as the words were out, Han knew they weren't completely true. In the grand scheme of the universe, ten years made little difference. And Leia was so mature and regal, she always seemed much older. That was because of her position, and Han knew fate had stacked the deck against him in that respect. A senator and a smuggler seemed improbable enough, but a princess who'd served on the Senate.Han felt his tiny porthole of opportunity closing. Yet in his near delirious mind, he played out the bedtime stories he'd been told as a child, in which the hero always ended up with the maiden fair. Secretly, he pretended that this war, these circumstances, were really some fairy tale that would make him an unlikely hero. Hell, he'd gone from having a bounty on his head to a medal around his neck in only two days. If that wasn't heroism, Han figured being a hero was harder than it looked.

'But,' he inwardly amended, 'I'm not in love with her.' His complete denial mattered little though, for the key word there was the unspoken, unconsidered 'yet'. Sooner or later he would love her; the seeds of a smuggler's undoing had been sown.

Leia stepped tentatively into the cockpit. Chewbacca sat in the captain's chair, calmly guiding the Falcon through hyperspace. The Wookie hummed an old folk tune to himself. Quietly, the princess slipped into the seat beside him. He turned to her and smiled, barking a low greeting. Leia felt more at ease.

"Do you need any help?" she asked. He shook his head. "But you have to fly manually, and it takes three days to get to base!" To herself, she cursed the precautions that prevented Han from adding any base coordinates to the navicomputer. Chewie began to explain something to her, but stopped when he saw the blank look on her face.

He thought quickly and began to act out his explanation. First he pointed to himself.

"You..." Leia began, catching on. Chewie pretended to steer the Falcon. "Fly." He held up four long claws; Leia scrunched her nose. "Four. Four.weeks? Hours? Days?" Chewie nodded energetically. Then he made the signal for negative and pantomimed sleeping. "You fly four days no sleep?" Chewie nodded again. "Oh I see!" Leia answered as the meaning of his words made themselves clear. Chewbacca shook his head ruefully. At that time, he'd hoped that he'd never have to do it again, but circumstances couldn't be helped. It was clear that Han needed to be returned to base as quickly as the ship would allow. "Well, I'll get you some coffee in the morning." The Wookie barked happily in agreement.

Leia slipped out of the cockpit and gathered her bearings. First off, she was starving. It was nearly 1800, and she hadn't eaten all day. Smacking her forehead, she realized that Han would be hungry too. Well, the last thing he'd do would be follow orders form her, so chances were, he'd still be awake. Leia decided to make some soup, and if, by some miracle, he was asleep, that would just be more for her.

In the tiny kitchen, Leia clattered around as quietly as she could. From the miniscule cupboards she found an expandable saucepan and a paper packet of instant soup. She added a touch of ration water-the pipes made such a horrific racket-and put the pan on the burner. Soon the aromatic scent of soup filled the air. Flicking off the stove, she poured two mugs full and set off for Han's cabin.

Silent as possible, Leia opened the door. In the dim light she could see Han staring up at the ceiling. He sighed heavily and put his hands behind his head. Leia knocked against the wall. The Captain glanced up at her.

"Hungry?" she asked. Han nodded and sat up. Shifting her grip on the mugs, Leia brightened the lights. She pulled Han's reading chair over to his bed and handed him a mug. They sipped in silence, pushing the last incident in this room from their minds. Finally, Han pressed the now empty mug into Leia's palm. She turned and left, as silently as she'd come. Han settled down for an early night's sleep.

Leia, on the other hand, was not anywhere near ready for bed. Even so, she retrieved her bag and changed in the 'fresher. Then she tiptoed back across Han's quarters and into the tiny adjacent room. She found the light's pull cord and got her first true look at the place.

Boxes of clothes, rags, and goodness knows what else where stacked on a tiny bed.

'So there's the crew cot,' Leia mused. She was pleased that she'd found a place closer to Han, where she could get a good night's rest while still being near the delirious captain. She pulled the boxes off, just basically whipping them with her arm. One, a little heavier, clanked against the ground. Opening it, she found a treasure trove of book and music chips. 'Aha! Entertainment!' Leia thought triumphantly. She dug around until she found one of slight interest. Mixed in with sappy romance novels (where did those come from?), detective stories, repair manuals, and a plethora of other items, was a battered copy of The Gem of Alderaan. The title intrigued Leia, as 'the gem of Alderaan' was part of her full royal title. Blood descendants of the Organa clan were given nominatives like 'the strength of Alderaan' or 'the hope of Alderaan'. Spouses were always given 'a gift to Alderaan', which Leia found horridly dull and thanked her luck that she was considered to be of the House of Organa.

'Where in the universe did Han get this?' Leia wondered. Turning it, she saw the owners plate: Morgan Bartelu. "Oh, this must be that girl's sister's. She must've left it in here with the clothes that Han never cleaned out.' From the box she fished out a worn datapad and loaded the story in. She curled up in bed and by the time she turned off the light, Leia was well into an intriguing tale of a young Alderaani princess who disguised herself as first a peasant, then a soldier.

She awoke with a start, unsure of her surroundings. Stretching silently, Leia let the previous day wash over her. She eyed her wrist chrono-0700; it was a good time to get up. Pulling back the thin covers, she wondered if she could find any more of Cylyanya's clothes. Leia dug through the box until she found a pair of plain cotton overalls. She pulled them over the tee shirt she'd found the day before. On an impulse, Lei grabbed a long sleeved shirt and put it over the overalls-space could be cold. Leia left it unbuttoned and marveled at its soft gray coloring. Almost blue and almost green. It felt wonderfully warm against her arms.

Leia tiptoed past Han; he still seemed to be asleep. In the kitchen she made a pot of coffee and took it to Chewbacca. He barely looked up, but accepted it thankfully. Sighing, she leaned against a wall.

"I've barely been up twenty minutes and already I'm bored to death. I need something to do. I'm much to antsy to read right now." It was surely a bad sign if she gave up to talking to herself this early in the trip. Mild insanity was something Leia was familiar with, a plague she usually dealt with by burying herself in work. Well, an inventory needed to be done of the new supplies. Somehow it always seemed that Leia ended up with the most monotonous tasks, no matter where she was. Inventory after each new base, essentially becoming a holomarketer for the Alliance, and she even had a running stint as a waitress in the cafeteria. She hated the job, but she and all the other girls on Echo Base did it every Friday for the troops' morale. By far, Leia got the most catcalls, until she made an example of a Rebel pilot. Then the attention was focused on her dear friend, Sergeant Ailin Nastia.

Standing in the hold, Leia whipped out her battered business datapad. She opened up the inventory file, then a new document. Taking a deep breath, she started counting. Canned rations, freeze-dried rations, powdered rations, and-hello-a box of fresh fruit. Leia grinned brightly at the note inside,

Dear Laah These native fruits should appeal to your palate during the long and lonely trip home. Much love, Gee

So the boy was even worse than Han and couldn't spell her name. Regardless, she was thankful for the gift. Fresh fruit was a distant memory of her childhood, when she'd lie in the orchards making wishes on clouds. Or during her early diplomatic meetings, when she'd offered them to lighten tensions. Or-

"Stop it Leia. Daydreaming about Alderaan won't get anything done!" she berated herself. Then she threw herself back into the task with gusto. An hour and a half later, Leia sat down on the ground and began putting it into a report for Rieekan. She'd barely finished when a loud crash resounded through the Falcon. Leia sprinted to the most likely source, Han's quarters.

Han lay on the cold floor, shivering uncontrollably. He'd woken with a strong need to go to the bathroom, and had intended to do so. But before he could take more than two steps, the world went gray. His skin had grown clammy as his ears buzzed. Han had dropped to the floor, all strength disappearing. Leia found him this way, and knelt beside him.

"Han, you moron!" she fumed, fury masking her concern, "what the Hell are you doing out of bed?" Han breathed deeply, trying to hear Leia over the buzz. Finally, his ears cleared.

"Had to pee. Guess my head about fell off," Han moaned. Leia helped him to his knees.

"Here, might as well get you to the refresher."

"I'm going to need help getting there."

"I figured," she muttered, pulling him to his feet. Her strength surprised Han, but he could only put his weight on her as the buzzing began again. Each step was labored and painfully slow. When they finally reached the 'fresher, Leia waited as he went in. Moments later he was out.

"Okay, Your Worship, back to the bedroom,' he smiled weakly.

"My, that was quick," she replied while he looped his arm about her shoulder. She chose to ignore the seductive half grin playing about the Captain's features.

The way back was quicker, though Han still could not fight the buzzing. He was very relieved when Leia helped him into the bed. She propped him up and pulled the blankets up to his waist. Without a word, she stuck the thermometer under his tongue. It blipped and she removed it. The process was becoming routine now.

"What's it say?"

"One hundred one," she replied with a smirk, "lowering nicely."

"That's good," he replied, putting his hands behind his head. She sat in the chair she'd pulled over the night before.

"You hungry? I haven't eaten yet," she said, pulling her legs up to her chest.

"Starving actually," he said. Leia stood and turned.

"I'll be back soon," she called over her shoulder.

She returned to the kitchen and found a canister of porridge. It was ready in minutes, and Leia tasted it. A little bland. She added a thick, sweet Corellian sauce that was also placed on the counter. Much better. Then back to the sickbay.

"Smells good," Han complimented her as she returned.

"Thanks," she responded, handing him a bowl and spoon. They ate holding their bowls close to their faces. The sticky syrup made the breakfast worlds above anything either had eaten since coming to Hoth. At least on Yavin and their other previous bases, there had been native fruit to liven up the rations. There'd been sunshine, too, and balmy nights that allowed for long walks under the glories of the night sky. Leia sighed deeply into her porridge.

"What are you thinking about?" asked Han, scooping more of the thick, sticky goodness into his mouth.

"How nice the other bases were compared to Hoth," she replied. "Yavin was so peaceful. And that one.oh, where was it? The one where you and I'd go on walks and swim with Luke?"

"Can't recall the name."

"Well, anyway, I miss walking under the stars and not worrying about freezing to death," Leia finished, setting her bowl on the tiny nightstand. Han smiled roguishly.

"I could keep you warm, Sweetheart."

"I think not, Captain Solo!" she returned indignantly. Han rolled his eyes and caught her arm in his hand.

"Not don't you pull that princess crap out now! I'm just teasing you. Honestly, you could afford to lighten up."

"Han, the media has already accused me of anorexia twice. If anything I need a little meat on my bones."

"Leia, that's not-" Han looked up and saw her smile, then burst into a loud laugh. She was joking? Rare, indeed. "Can't argue with you there!" he conceded before another bout of coughs ripped through his body. Leia gave him a drink of water and a large dose of cough syrup before she felt that he'd be all right.

"No then, I don't want you to talk anymore," she began, once again adopting the tone of a matron.

"But it's so boring, being sick and all!" Han protested. Leia grinned, hurried to the room next door, and returned with the datapad and a small assortment of book chips.

"Here, I'll read to you. Aunt Tia always did when I had a sore throat," she said brightly. Almost like the little girl Han realized that she was remembering. Like Han, Leia kept her past quite secret, although Han would only have to ask a senior officer to know more about her. However, he'd rather hear it straight form her lips. But, again like Han, Leia kept those lips firmly clamped. Only through little slips, like this one, did either learn of the other.

"Sounds good. Read that crime one.The Night Life."

"You sure have a lot of book chips for somebody who's illiterate."

"Ha ha. Just read it." Leia loaded the chip and began reading. The two were instantly sucked into the novel that wove a twisted web of lies and deceit. They breaked only for lunch when Leia left to refill Chewie's coffee mug and returned with sandwiches. Han fell into a relaxed, though feverish, sleep soon before dinner. The Princess tucked the coverlet about him and again joined Chewbacca in the cockpit.

"Need some company?" she asked, sitting beside Chewbacca. He nodded and motioned to his mug. "Oh, need more?" He nodded, and Leia fetched another cup of the steaming black liquid. The two sat in silence for awhile, watching the empty space and stars. Chewie smiled to himself; Han was great company and a true crony, but Leia was different, a puff of fresh breezes. Kind and sweet, when she wasn't screaming at him. Although, Chewie decided, it was only out of frustration directed at his companion. Leia inhaled the pleasant aroma of coffee and sat back against the seat. "Stars are beautiful tonight, aren't they?" Chewbacca nodded and turned to face her completely. Their eyes met, and for a moment, shared a bond that sealed every semblance of friendship up to this point.

Until a blinking red light accompanied by a shrill alarm destroyed the tranquillity. Chewbacca growled in annoyance and surprise. Leia jumped up and flicked on the navicomputer.

"We're in the South Passage. We can make a landing on the fourth planet, if need be," she called over her shoulder. Chewie barked affirmative and began the decent into the atmosphere. How lucky indeed, that they were so close to a safe harbor. The South Passage was of no interest to the Empire and the fourth planet was the most hospitable. A bedraggled Han stumbled into the cockpit.

"What's going on?" he asked groggily.

"Nothing that we can't handle! Now back to bed, Captain." Leia pushed past Chewie and the equipment to try to force Han back.

"Why are we landing?" Chewie growled a response. "Engine's behaving badly? That's not something you can handle without me! Feels like we're crashing!"

"We're not! It's all under control!" Leia shouted, to no avail.

"Look, whether we land nicely or not, I'm going to have to fix that damn engine! Chewie is the sub-light or the-" The atmosphere shook the Millennium Falcon violently, sending Leia crashing into Han. They hit the floor as Chewbacca struggled to land gracefully.

"Look, why don't we all get a good night's rest. If you're temperature is normal, or at least under one hundred, tomorrow you and Chewie can take care of the engine," she implored. Han sighed and stood shakily.

"All right. Now we ought to strap ourselves in." Barely in the nick of time, Han and Leia buckled themselves into the chairs. Chewie made a desperate landing, and when all was right again, flicked off most of the power. The three eyed each other, visibly shaken. Leia stood and guided a disgruntled Han back to his cabin. By the time she came back to the cockpit, Chewie had already retreated to his sleeping quarters.

"I'm not going to bed," she grumbled to herself. A stench rose to the cockpit. Leia followed the smell into the refresher and was greeted with the sight of an overflowing toilet and spewing shower. "Oh, sithspawn!" she muttered. Digging around in the cupboards, Leia found a wrench and began with the toilet. Thank goodness her refresher on Hoth had gone haywire last month. At least now she had some idea what she was doing. With the water turned off in the refresher, Leia began to mop up the mess. As she pushed her brush back behind the toilet, something growled and bit the end off. Leia jumped up and screamed. The thing crawled out, grinned at her and growled again. "Okay! Okay! I'm going!"

In the kitchen, she eyed herself in the reflection on the cooling unit. Her hair was more out of her braid than in it and she looked incredibly grubby from her misadventure in the refresher.

"To bathe or not to bathe.well, since the water's off and there's a thing in there, I guess I'll just stink," she grinned to herself. This trip was removing the veil of the Ice Princess. As long as word never got back to base, or worse, Rouge Squadron, she was safe. And for the first time in a long while, Leia was happy. Smiling freely, joking with Captain Solo, and so many other actions that were so foreign to her. This joy was sorely needed, and the princess was a bit surprised to discover that.

In this Force-forsaken place with something screwed up on the Millennium Falcon, Leia was able to unwind. Wear her hair looser, skip her almost militaristic showers, dress in color for goodness sake! Princess Organa could be the girl she was born, simply Leia. The only problem would be that sickening voyeur who'd probably squeal to Rouge Squadron about her uncharacteristic behavior. Well, she'd have to be firm with him still, or just become even more of an Ice Bitch once they returned to Hoth.

"Might as well give this kitchen a shine," she murmured thoughtfully. Leia got out a bucket, filled it with water and soap, then began washing the kitchenette floor. Beneath years of grime and boot scuffs, she discovered a somewhat homey floor. "See, Leia, the place isn't so bad once you apply a woman's touch and a lot of elbow grease." She continued on the counters and appliances. By the time she decided that she was tired enough for bed, Leia had left the kitchenette fairly sparkling.

She fell into a well-deserved and peaceful sleep. She dreamed vividly, but thankfully without nightmares. Her head danced with images of flowers and fields, while Leia, the child, whirled around and around in the grass. As her world spun wildly, she heard the echoing voices of her family singing to her. On and on into the night, over and over again, Leia watched her earliest childhood memory play out for her mind's eye.

"Leia! Leia! Leia!" Now the voices had taken a deeper and less distant tone. Slowly the princess opened one eye, then the other, and squinted at the form standing inches from her face.

"What?" she asked groggily.

"It's under one hundred, see?" A thermometer was shoved into her face. "I'm going to work on the sublight engine, kay?"

"Fine, she grumbled, rolling back onto her stomach. The excited Captain Solo raced off to begin repairs on his beloved Falcon. Leia could only groan and run over the string of images playing for her. My, she'd been unusually open and nice to him this trip. Barely an argument at all; she even sidestepped some with a little humor. Sleeping on it hadn't helped. The actions of the week still seemed strange to her, and she wondered if Solo had anything to do with them. Yes, she'd refrained from arguing because of his illness, but even before she knew how bad he was Leia had been sweet. Perhaps it was her gratitude from saving her from Gee or just staying out of her way. Whatever the reason, it had to stop now before she became completely vulnerable to him. That was the last thing she could do. If Han were to get any closer to Leia, she would be letting herself in for a dangerous game.

The advice of her aunts droned in Leia's ears as she mentally ticked off the reasons why they should never become too close. 'Too uncouth.makes me angry, which is not productive.drops too many double entendres.and passes for that matter.' On and on she went, until she decided to get up.

After dressing in the pants and gray shirt, Leia walked out to find Han on the refresher floor, tinkering with what she'd begun.

"Sweetheart," he said through clenched teeth as he struggled with a pipe, "if you're going to start something finish it."

"I'm sorry, Captain, I am unused to being leered at by alien lifeforms. One who'd think your attempts would prepare me, but that thing."

"So you've met Miik," Han interrupted her, thankful to stop her usual firestorm.

"It has a name?" she queried incredulously.

"Xenophobe, Princess?" Leia became quite flustered as she picked at the shirt she wore.

"No," she stuttered, "it's just that-"

"Must be the shirt, then," he finished, wiping his hands on his pants. "That's my Academy uniform dress shirt you've got on." Leia's jaw dropped.

"You were in the Imperial academy?"

"What, you thought I was born with these skills? Damn, you overestimate me, Highness." Leia dropped her eyes, not wanting to think of Han as a student of the Empire. Not even he had seemed to posses that kind of evil.

"No," she finally whispered, "one would have to be a sea mammal of some kind to be born with such an innate ability to fall out of the sky," Leia finished with more fire.

"Oh, that hurts, Princess. Need I remind you that nearly all of your pilots and officers studied at the Imperial Academy?" he said without looking up from his new task, getting Miik, the toilet creature, to get back behind the toilet.

"Their redeeming factor, Captain," Leia bristled, "is that they at least join officially with us. Though I must say, I'll always have an eye on you, no matter how respectable you may masquerade to be."

"Yeah, can't take your eyes off this," Han replied, pointing to his chest.

"Hardly, Captain Crash Landing," she said simply before turning on her heel and heading for the kitchen. "And don't you have an engine to tinker with?" Leia heard the distinctive sound of a wrench hitting the wall and the squeal of what was probably Miik. "That man."

Han retrieved the wrench from the other side of the room and finished adjusting the water flow on the shower. He sighed, and stood up. Stars popped in front of his eyes, but soon disappeared as he took a deep breath and leaned against the wall.

"Okay, onto that engine," he muttered, walking over to the massive opening where Chewbacca was already tinkering with the engine. The wookie growled at him as he hopped down with him. "What seems to be the problem, buddy?"

The two plugged away for some time, and soon the work became mundane. Thankfully, no microfusing needed to be done, but extensive adjustments had to be made. As the day wore on, Han sulked about the princess's sudden transformation to Her Most Holiness. Obviously, she had been putting on a pity act during his sickness.

Leia wasn't in the best of moods either. She should've been back at base by now. Back at base where she could be with women who could sympathize with her. All of the women on base had an interest in Han, but out of the six of them, only two were still devoted to their "love". Leia and her three closest friends would probably be sharing their weekly cup of "Anti-men vodka" by now-if the Falcon was able to complete a mission in one piece. Well, no reason she couldn't have one by herself. Leia found the bottle from the stash she'd unearthed the night before and poured herself a generous glass along with a little tonic and fruit juice.

Yet another crash sent Leia sailing out of her reverie. At Chewie's thundering growl, she jumped up and raced to the hole. Chewbacca was struggling to push Han, who'd fainted, out onto the corridor floor. Leia reached down and pulled the near lifeless captain up. She laid him gently across the floor and splashed her drink into his face. He started and opened his eyes.

"Where am I and why do taste like fruity tonic?" he groaned. Upon recognizing Leia's features, Han smiled. "Oh I see, you wanted to have your little way with me, and I didn't responded like you hoped." He sat up and grinned wider. Leia slapped him across the face.

"Bastard! You could've killed yourself down there!" she screamed. Han looked at her in surprise.

"I was just resting my eyes, Your Worship!"

"I'm sure." Chewie watched the hostility grow between the two, but trusting Han was all right again, he put the finishing touches on the repairs.

"What do you care, Most Holy One?" Han asked beginning to stand. Leia pressed him back down and pulled his face closer.

"Oh I care," she whispered venomously, "I care more than you will ever understand! I care.Han, I." Han looked into her eyes and saw the tears sparkling in them. He breathed in sharply.

"Princess." Chewie suddenly barked out to them, knowing the tension would surely kill them both. "Chewie says everything's good to go. Let's blast out of here and get back to base." Leia relaxed, but still remained close to him.

"All right, but promise me one thing," she whispered hoarsely.

"Anything," he replied, truly meaning it in the deepest sense of the word.

"See the medic when we get back." Han nodded reluctantly then the two stood.

"Echo Base, here we come."

In the hangar a fairly large crowd had gathered to watch the landing. Twenty minutes earlier, the Millennium Falcon had been picked up on radar. As usual, Match and Firecracker were delayed; only lengthening the story the two would tell. Sergeant Nastia stood with Lieutenant Marijah Perrian and Com. Operator Soreen Wi Nikos. The three already had a bottle of vodka ready and waiting for their fourth member, Leia. The two other women on base were already preparing themselves for the arrival of Captain Solo. Rouge Squadron was collecting final bets on which state of the usual "I want to KILL him/her" tirade they were in. The rest just wanted a glimpse of the action. When the three familiar forms trooped down the gangplank, the entire throng breathed in deeply. Leia led the way to Rieekan and handed him her report.

"Thank you, Princess," the general smiled.

"General, such a pleasantry it is to see you again," she replied.

"I trust it went well?"

"Yes, quite-Solo! Where do you think you're going?" Leia snapped. Han stopped in his less than successful attempt to sneak off.

"Um.going with Rouge Squadron for a drink," he said sheepishly.

"We had an agreement, Captain." The members of the crowd eyed each other knowingly. Leia moved closer to Han so that she was facing him.

"But I'm feeling ever so much better, Your Worshipfulness," Han tried. In one swift movement, Leia drew his blaster from the thigh holster and held it menacingly to his chest. There was a collective gasp as everyone realized that the princess was quite serious in her actions.

"So help me, Solo, don't make me do this! Now go!" she yelled.

"Okay! Okay! I'm going!" said, holding his hands up and backing towards the medical center. He sneezed loudly, then on a second thought turned to her again. "Can I have my blaster back?"

"OUT!" The collective gave one sigh in unison. Leia found Luke and hugged him hello.

"How was your flight?" he asked as the Rouges raked in their cash.

"You have no idea how happy I am to see you."

"That bad, eh?" inquired Sergeant Nastia, handing Leia a glass of vodka as the six began to walk to the cafeteria.

"That man, Ailin! Honestly! He knows what makes me tick, and yet," The group eyed Leia as she paused thoughtfully. "he knows how to make the ticking stop." They nodded appreciatively. Suddenly, the wayward captain came racing from the opposite direction.

"NO MED CUBICLE CAN HOLD THIS CORELLIAN!" he shouted triumphantly. Leia made a feral noise of anger deep in her throat.

"Relax and take deep breaths," Luke advised. Leia inclined her head stiffly as she whispered through clenched teeth,