Back Early

Leia finally comes back from a mission gone unusually long. Han was sure as hell not worried. (Post-ROTJ because that's my style.)

She knew she'd worried them all. From the moment of her late-night return, she'd sensed it in the air. Everyone had approached her slowly with a look of confusion in their eyes, as though they were seeing a ghost — and they addressed her with great relief and thanks, over-appreciating her participation in the off-planet mission. When Janson had first spotted her, he'd shouted, "Hey! I thought you were dead!" And Luke had bluntly confessed that he'd been worried sick over her.

And so had Han.

Han hadn't really talked about it with Luke, but Luke had noticed a sharp change in his demeanor. Han had, in her overlong absence, been quiet. He'd been cold. He'd been irritable, and he'd started fights with members of the council — even more than usual. And every time Luke had asked him if he was all right, Han would insist that he was fine. But Luke didn't think so.

Leia didn't think so, either, because she knew that should the roles have been reversed, she would have been in full-blown anxiety mode. She'd been sent out on a dangerous and supposedly brief mission to another system, to meet with many powerful political leaders and lay out their future plans for the Rebellion. She was slated to return in a week, but instead, she'd been stuck behind for two-and-a-half weeks. They hadn't been attacked, though — their flight was delayed due to a complication with border security. And their communications just wouldn't go through to the base.

He was turned in for sleep by now, locked up in his cabin somewhere in this huge building. She still hadn't memorized the layout of the building, but she did remember how to find his residence. She'd sneaked out into his room too many times to get lost anymore. So she headed there now, ready to greet him with a smile and celebrate her return — all night.

Since she didn't want to wake anyone else down this corridor, she didn't bother with knocking on the door. He wouldn't be awake to answer it anyway, if she knew him. And the lights were off, so it wasn't as though she would be interrupting anything.

She peeked into the room silently, though she could see very little in the unlit room, and listened for any noise. Deep breathing filled the air, and nothing else; so she shut the door behind her and entered further into the room. She walked slowly so as not to run into anything, reaching out with every step until she found the foot of the bed — and his foot, beneath the blankets. Just touching him sent her into a smile. She'd missed him so much.

At first, she only sat on the edge of the bed, observing him quietly in the dim light from the window. His face was smushed in sleep, his lips parted, his hair a total mess — wearing a white shirt and boxers — and looking so handsome she could hardly keep from kissing him right then. Instead, she turned and began to undress, dropping her dirty clothes and everything above her t-shirt. Then, she slipped under the sheets next to him, amazed by the comfortable heat, and curled up next to him. For a moment, she simply lay there, inhaling his air and feeling his warmth.

She was going to just let him sleep, but she struggled not to wake him up. Looking at him now, she missed him more than she had the past few weeks. She missed talking to him, and looking into his eyes, and hearing his voice… She missed him. But he needed sleep!

Then his hand came over her waist subconsciously, and her heart was too light to be stopped. She leaned over and kissed him gently, sighing in delight. Two-and-a-half weeks was too long.

He stirred to life at her lips, his eyes opening slowly, so she drew back to look at him. He blinked at her furiously, as though he couldn't get his eyes to do their job — and then, all at once, he appeared to be intensely puzzled. And then, the darkness on his face was somewhat lifted.

"You're back early," he said sarcastically, looking her up and down. His leg followed the example of his arm and snaked its way around her, like a cocoon of warmth. He brought his hand up to her hair and muttered, "What happened?"

She blinked sleepily and tilted her head nonchalantly. "Our flight was delayed. We didn't run into any trouble, if that's what you were worried about."

Silent for a moment, he eventually shook his head. "I wasn't worried."

She raised an eyebrow. "At all?"

"Nope," he said, propping himself up on his elbow. "You damn near killed me thousands of times for just pissin' you off. I'd be more worried about the other guys."

Leia smiled, though she could sense a hint of defensiveness in his tone. "Well," she said as she reached to slip a hand into his hair, and yawned. "I was hoping to spend a little more time awake tonight, but I don't think I'll be useful for much longer."

His hand came down to brush her jaw gently, and he, too, yawned. "Yeah. We'll have to make up for it tomorrow." Then he pulled her closer to him for a kiss, long and slow as their heads fell back against the pillows. She grinned and kissed him again, taking more time, wasting more time…

He pulled back momentarily, and whispered, his voice a bit rough, "I missed the hell outta you."

She chuckled at this statement and replied, "I missed the hell out of you, too." And she kissed him again.

Once they were both too tired to go on, Han took the initiative and pulled her into his embrace, his head resting above hers, chin buried in her hair, and her face pressed into the side of his neck, where she could smell him best. He bunched the blankets up around their sides, because she preferred to be surrounded in sheets and he preferred to have her as close to him as possible. Both lying on their back, practically on top of each other, they rested their eyes against the blue light and sighed.

Then, when the room was quiet and she was just beginning to feel sleep approaching, she heard a little confession.

"I was worried."

She didn't know if he knew she was awake or not, but she didn't respond. She'd already known this, of course, though it was nice to hear him say it. So she just tilted her head toward him, resting her ear against his pulse, and exhaled.

She wondered if there would ever come a day when she'd stop having to leave him. She hadn't slept well at night since she'd left, and if he had come with her, she might have been rested enough to function. Maybe she could convince someone to sign them up together. Maybe she could orchestrate…

I'm tired.

So she told herself to stop thinking about the future or the past and to just enjoy what she had tonight.

Disclaimer: I do not own Star Wars or its characters.

This has been in storage a little while, and with Episode VII coming up, I figured I might as well post. I've been working on this super-long Office fanfic, plus a new novel, and it's all crappy first-draft stuff so... I just wanted to put something out there, completed. I hope you enjoyed. I hope you'll leave even a tiny review - it'll really make my day!

This may or may not have been written simply because I like imagining Han and Leia curled up in bed together.