…These documents relate to the Alliance's mission to the Antiochus system, less than a year after the battle of Endor. At that time, Antiochus remained a mystery to the rest of the Galaxy. Through these messages, we learn how Organa and Solo came to learn the truth about Antiochus. At the same time, we see them experiencing their still-new relationship and navigating everything it means to them and to the new Alliance of Free Planets.

-From Private Hearts, Public Loves: Documents in the Lives of Leia Organa and Han Solo.

Record of Briefing by Admiral Gial Ackbar, as delivered to the Provisional Council

The Commander of the Second Fleet has received a request for assistance from the Antiochus system. Every 75 years there's a mass migration between the two inhabited worlds, Antiochus Prime and Antiochus-Rorus. The locals call it "the Great Turn." It's the only time the populations of the two planets are allowed to mix. This is a volatile time, and the system's Controlling Body has requested a detachment to assist in peacekeeping and logistics during the event, which lasts about a standard month.

The Fleet Commander requests both Naval and Marine forces, as well as one ranking diplomat and support staff. We've also recommended the addition of an Intelligence officer, in hopes he or she will go unnoticed among the rest. The reason: the Antiochus system has remained a mystery for generations. Though its location is strategic, and its main export apparently profitable, for hundreds of years they have avoided the Empire, the Republic, or any body seeking to gain control in the sector. We'd like to find out how this has come about. The fleet is desired to depart within four standard days.

Messages between Han Solo, aboard the Alliance ship Liberty, and Leia Organa, aboard the Alliance ship Home 1.

Han Solo to Leia Organa (HS - LO)

We just dropped out of hyper long enough to re-calibrate the drives and send out a data packet. I hope those private encryptions you set up work, Sweetheart. I don't think I slept more than two hours last night. So I guess this is just to say that I can't stop thinking about you.

Leia Organa to Han Solo (LO - HS)

I can't think of anything but you, either. I haven't slept either since you left. I wish I was with you. Let me test out those encryptions...

LO to HS (this and all subsequent messages sent under first-level encryption)

My love-

I miss you so much, even if it's only been four days. I just looked at the star charts to see where you must be by now-so far away, and so much further to go. I wish now that we'd handled things differently when this mission came up. I was so concerned about my professional integrity, and I so wanted to come with you, that I talked myself out of pushing the issue with the council. As soon as your shuttle left the bay on H1, I realized it had been a mistake.

When the war was more fierce, we never would have worried about these things. I would have fought to go because I know I'm the best for the job, not because I knew my heart would fly away with you on that shuttle. The mistake was mine, and yours too-I could tell you wanted to argue as much as I did, and I'll bet you decided not to for the same reason I did: because you didn't want anyone to think that we were making decisions based on our feelings. But I've come to my senses now and I remember-my heart and my brain know how to work together, if only I trust them.

I think a lot about the argument we had just before you left. I've come around a little, but not in the way you might think (no, you won't be hearing the sweet music of me saying you were right). No, I still think you were wrong in particulars: no one wants to get me out of the way for their own political ends. I don't think as you suggested that I have enemies on the Provisional Council-as such. This isn't the Couruscant underworld or even the Hutts' little dominion. I know you worry, and I love that about you, but I really don't think anyone is out to "get me" literally. On the other hand, paranoia can be fatal (in a figurative sense!) in the game of politics, and it would be a mistake to submit to it.

What I think is going on is this: Dodonna and Krilt too many opinions about what role I should be playing in the Alliance. It's that same old fight that's been playing out since Yavin: am I the "Heart of the Rebellion" or an actual diplomat? Am I an inspiration to the troops or one of them? just like always, Dodonna and Krilt wish I'd be a good girl and do the soft, nurturing jobs like tending to refugees.

That alone angers me enormously, but on top of that, I'm beginning to see that it's not just benign paternalism when they push me to hang back from missions and keep the homefires burning: there could be a distinct advantage for them in sidelining me. Now that we're beginning to do the serious work of forming a republic, there's been some tension on the Council. Just after you left there was a big argument in the Council over what we'd require of member systems in the way of sentient rights. It always seems so simple, but once you start asking questions, there are more and more. The line between ensuring rights and constricting them always seems to be shifting. There's no easy answer, and I was surprised to hear casually some council members threw out the rights of individual citizens.

I wish things get simpler for once instead of always getting more complicated. This isn't what I dreamed of when I imagined and end to this conflict. We're not founding some new shining beacon of peace and justice and hope-we're just continuing on like our forebears did: stumbling through the dark with nothing more than an overconfidence in our ability to decide what's best for everybody. I guess you can tell I'm feeling disillusioned. Do you have any advice for me? Stars, I've written too much already...

I love you more than anything, Han. I'm thinking of you always.

HS to LO

Hi sweetheart. Thanks for setting up this channel: I almost felt like I could hear your voice when I read your message. Don't worry about writing too much: I did manage to learn how to read somewhere along the way.

You might be right, maybe I would have fought harder to get you assigned to this mission, if I hadn't been sure that someone would tell me that I was thinking with my dick, or that I'd gone soft, or that I'm pussy blind. And you're right too that there was a time when I wouldn't have cared what anyone said.

You're asking my advice? Things must be real bad for that to happen. This whole idea of forming some kind of legit government seems to be sending everyone out of their heads. Call it what you will, but I call it a power grab. And there most certainly are people who would like very much to get their hands on some of yours. But you're right that it isn't some fist fight to decide who gets to take home the gruunder, this is...politics. Cleaner and dirtier at the same time, right? The people who are working against you here are your friends, not your enemies. And hey, come to think of it, the guys fighting you for the gruunder are your friends too. And with friends like that, who needs enemies?

I hate hearing you get down about all this junk. I'd say it isn't worth it, but then I remember that actually it is. Here's the thing: you aren't like anyone I've ever known-you actually make the world a better place. If I got to pick who ran the Galaxy, I'd pick you in a second. And it's because you're not dealing with all this bullshit for your own sake. You're doing it because you know things can be better. That's always blown me away. You make this world better, Leia, and we're both going to make sure you're in a position to keep doing it.

Please forget that I wrote any of that. Also, can you tell I miss you? I'm missing how you smell tonight. There's this way you smell when you come to bed sometimes-like soap and sex together. How do you smell like that? I could live on that smell...

LO HS

No, Han, I won't forget that you wrote that-ever. I'll keep those words with me, because they make all the difference in the world. And of course I'm asking your advice. Haven't you noticed that I do actually listen whenever you bother to say something of merit? You can only pretend to be an oaf for so long before people begin to notice you have a brain.

What's the difference between an enemy and a friend who's working against you? Not much, sometimes. But an enemy, you know you have to stop cold, by violence if it's necessary. If it's a friend, you should be able to prevail through persuasion, or flat honesty, or manipulation, depending on the person and your ethics.

Your language is getting very colorful there, Slick. What in the world does pussy blind mean? And what, dare I ask, is a gruunder? I'll be pondering that in the surface I need to catch. But before I forget, I know now, Captain, that you haven't unpacked your things and stowed them in regulation order. You're lucky that your quarters are exempt from inspection. I know you can't have unpacked because otherwise you wouldn't have written so longingly about that fragrance. Go unpack, and then massage me back.

HS LO

A Fine Evening to You, your Most Exalted Highness. I just spent five hours in that damn planning session for Antiochus: there were at least three times I wanted to bang my head against the table. This thing is going to be a mess, Princess, and it's got me worried. We've got the naval crew of 300 and their XO Rav'mo, Burnsse and his 75 Marines, our "diplomat" Rhaltiir and his staff of six, and me with the tactical/intelligence team of 12. Get everyone over the rank of corporal in one room together and they're all just walking around bumping into each other like rats in a maze, only I think the rats would do better.

It was so much easier to get through, though, thinking of the little surprise you left in my bag. Princess, you're sly. How did you manage to get your little shirt underneath all of my underwear? And how did you get it to smell like that? You've outdone yourself, Leia, you really have.

Pussy blind is when you're so into a pussy that you can't see straight, and I'm glad you don't know what a gruunter is. You shouldn't.

LO - HS

Why thank you, darling-really it was nothing. Before you left I suddenly thought to send a little piece of myself off with you. So I picked one of my camisoles (that's what they're called, by the way) that I think you like. I wore it for a few days, then put on a touch of my favorite fragrance, that I wear sometimes to bed or to make love. Then I hid it, and yes, I'm very pleased with myself, thank you. By the way, don't bother looking for your dark grey undershirt-it didn't make it off H1.

It hurts so much to be apart, but these messages make me feel so much more connected to you. Please, let's keep it up. When I read your messages, I can hear your voice in my head. It's a far cry from having you beside me, but it's the best substitute there is.

Your planning session sounds like fun: I'm awfully sorry I couldn't be there to share it with you. If it makes you feel better, the Caucus for a Statement of Rights is dead in the water. It's all down to how much we can demand of local sovereignties and what we're willing to leave in their hands. It is one very tangled ball of twine, and the Council is functioning so differently now. I suppose I got so used to the way things were during the fighting, and now with the new members and a new mandate, it feels like it's a whole new thing to get used to. And, too, I feel so hemmed in and resentful by the way I let myself get turned away from this Antiochus mission. Everything's just an awful muddle.

Turning to more pleasant things, I have a very important question about pussy blindness: is your definition literal or figurative? And please don't tease me about that gruunder thing: I can always just find out on my own.

I'll smile falling asleep tonight, imagining you holding my litte envoy close. You are planning to sleep with it, right? Must go. I love you-so very much.

END CHAPTER 1

NOTES

Hello readers! This is the long-delayed follow-up to Unhappy Reunion and Predictably Unpredictable. I've been working on it for over a year now, and I've been torturing myself with it. This chapter isn't utterly, perfectly perfect, but it's going to have to go out as is. Thanks, a million times over, to Fetts and AnnaFan, for reading more versions of this than I care to remember. A side-note: Unstable solutions is definitely still on-it's just easier to write and hasn't been waiting in the wings a tenth as long as this has, so it's on the back burner for a little bit. Happy reading! There's a lot of great fic out there.