This is a big mistake.
Luke already feels it coming over him as a foreboding, crawling sensation. It's a deep, harshening itch, as he and Han weave their way into the dingy, overly crowded cantina.
If you ask anyone who knew worth a damn, Najiba is not a planet venturing on for most of its seasons. It's not a rock or a dirtball so much as it's nearly impossible to land on due to the ever-constant presence of the massive asteroid belt surrounding the planet (or as everyone called the "Children of Najiba" with such loving, grim acknowledgment.)
But it had been important to get themselves in.
Han managed to flatter the right people, so getting in smuggled in took a week's preparation, and Luke could review his mission data.
Nas Ghent — a member of the Galactic Empire before vanishing. An ex-starfighter pilot and a human who has been smuggling glitteryll and various illegal spices without the notice of the Rebel Alliance. Or really any side of the Galactic Civil War — unless they had the credits and needed their fix.
Leia received information about Nas' whereabouts and pinned it on this location.
According to her, it's less to do with the spice and more to do with the urgency to extract what the aging man knows about Vader and the internal dealings of the Empire. As a higher-ranking lieutenant and a trusted friend to the princess, Luke was granted permission to take on this top secret mission by himself.
"On his own" meaning… that as soon as Han Solo got wind from another pilot about Luke disappearing again, the older man dutifully left the responsibility and maintenance of the Millennium Falcon to Chewbacca.
"Why do I let you drag me into these scrapes?"
Luke remembers his own tone of indignation, after hearing Han complain as he gathered essentials in his sleeping quarters. "You volunteered, Han! I didn't ask you to come with." He also remembers the flicker of indistinguishable, heated emotion on Han's features.
"Well … someone's gotta watch your six, kid."
Luke's grateful about it. He is.
It's just harder to concentrate while worrying about both of their skins.
Unlike outside of the cantina, the atmosphere is dense with purplish-dark, wafting smoke and dry enough to sting Luke's sinuses. The beer he orders tastes more like sledge infused with wheat-grain and oranges, and a ghastly, pale green in the ice-cold jug topped with foam.
There's supposed to be an informant — someone claiming to be local and frequented the nearby area. Not local enough to be Najib, who are boisterous and sociable, and actual giant beings with muscles and razor-sharp teeth. They're not especially known to be patient with outlanders.
Luke doesn't spot any of the Najib, but plenty of wary and untrusting faces who peek back at him.
He keeps his woolen hood up, tugging it securely in place.
"Oh boy," Luke mumbles under his breath, tapping his fingers nervously against his beer-jug. He refuses another sip of the vile drink.
"Got any credit games 'round these parts?" Han asks, staring hopefully and nodding at the Aruzan barkeeper in front of him — a humanoid female with blue-tinged skin and layers of dark, braided hair. She previously understood their conversation in Basic, and seemed to be the only one.
"No, we don't," she replies in a droning accent, wiping out one of the murky cups. Han groans, rolling his head sideways and flopping on his stool. "Are you two honeymooners?"
"Yes, we are," Luke says automatically, struck by inspiration for their aliases. The greenish-beer foams spews from Han's lips . He lowers his own jug, coughing hoarsely and going a little bug-eyed at the heartfelt proclamation. Luke rams his knee against Han's leg, keeping his face vacantly pleasant as he adds, "We are. How did you guess?"
"Najiba is scenic for outlanders like yourself around this time." The barkeeper leers slightly at them, revealing her elongated, front fangs. "There are no penalties in this system for dipping your hands into the trade either, so some like to stay permanently. Draws a bunch of funny folk."
Luke doesn't tear his gaze from her, shifting in with his arms folded on the counter.
"… How funny would you say?"
"Sweetheart," the pet name hisses out through Han's teeth, and it courses an invisible, shuddery tingle up Luke's back. "Don't bother the nice lady—she's working."
Luke plays it off with a nonchalant shrug, and it thankfully earns him a brash, easy laugh from the Aruzan.
"Can't help it," he says, facing Han. "You happened to marry the chatty type."
He doesn't mean to push it but Luke winking coyly at him twitches Han's mouth to a frown.
So far everyone's buying it. It makes the disappointment of their informant not showing palatable.
Luke strolls out towards the rain-slick, permacrete street, waiting for Han to catch up.
No spacescapers or bigger, more advanced buildings than huts in the distance. Not many landspeeders or hover bikes, but there's certainly no hauler cars or chopters. A dot of the occasional light pole guides the way, but otherwise, not much electricity happening in the marshy wetlands.
Thunder rumbles overhead when Han joins him, absently pushing his bangs out of his face. They wander in the direction of the rental motor inns, remaining side-by-side. Han mutters down to him, and Luke can sense the discomfort — he does feel a little sorry.
"Mind explaining what the hell that was back there?"
"That did the trick, didn't it? Made us less suspicious, which is what we needed," Luke insists. He's not trying to be difficult, but it's hard to not get exasperated when Han makes faces like a temper-inclined child. "C'mon, Han, are you seriously—?"
He stiffens up, going quiet after a breathy, confused noise. Han crowds him out of nowhere, circling an arm to Luke's waist.
"Don't look up, kid," he tells Luke, lowering his head and whispering sternly. "Lean on me and act like you're close to losing your lunch."
Luke can figure out what's going on in moments, as soon as he feels the new, heavier presence, and smells the pungent odor of what has to be dead, rotting-meat of animal. It waters his eyes, which helps the effect of Luke forcing a groan and clinging weakly to Han's side. The stranger — strangers — based on multiple shadows being cast on the ground.
They gab away in a thick, gurgling language Luke's ears aren't familiar with.
But, before he knows it, Han is leading him away.
"Shoot, we were really in for it…" Han says, nearly laughing out his words, but not releasing the other man.
Luke avoids glancing up, partly for the charade, and partly for the warmth. "What did they want—ow," he complains, stumbling over a pile of litter. Like an idiot. His neck and cheeks redden when Han's burly arm tightens instinctively around him.
"Askin' about you and what business we had being here."
"… We should probably be more careful then."
Or at least get more convincing.
Han yells about needing a sparkstick when the lumen-beam on the tablestand whirs off.
With the gentlest nudge of his Force abilities, Luke summons the charge of the lumen globe to return.
It's not like they're getting much done in the room, anyway. Han spends the rest of the evening fiddling with the gears of his old, improved macrobinoculars and cursing, banging his tools. Luke observes him in concealed, unspoken amusement and then tries to convince himself to meditate, pulling his legs into a crossing position and shutting his eyes.
He takes deep, steadying breathes in and out, emptying his mind — until he simply can't.
Luke opens his eyes, jerking to full attention. Someone's here. He makes a cutting, sharp motion over his sternum for a 'shut up' at Han who glances over in curiosity. Luke heaves himself off one of the twin cots, reaching hurriedly on the tablestand for a stylus.
On a flimsiplast, he scribbles out: WE WERE FOLLOWED.
Han's eyebrows furrow together.
Luke gestures to the written words, jaw clenching and nostrils flaring. Taking it from Luke's hands, Han scribbles down with a growing smirk: REALLY? HADN'T NOTICED.
A low, frustrated sound and then Luke yanks the flimsi back.
THEY'RE LISTENING TO US RIGHT NOW, HOTSHOT. OUTSIDE THE DOOR.
Luke crumples it up and throws it in aggravation at Han's chest. He opens up the new message. Recognition and dread floods Han's expression, but only for a minute. Luke witnesses it quickly get replaced by the signature Han Solo grin.
THEN BUCKLE UP FOR THE RIDE. LET'S GIVE THEM A GOOD SHOW.
The anticipation rushes so suddenly and so overwhelming, and Luke feels a molten, floating sensation traveling inside his ribcage. Han's voice projects loud enough, with just the right amount of seduction and impatient attitude. "Come here… don't be like that."
What Luke doesn't expect is to be manhandled, Han fiercely picking him up by the hips like he weighs nothing and depositing him onto Luke's own twin-cot. The older man situates above him, without touching him further, Luke's knees spread open and cradling against Han's hips.
Han counters the outwardly scandalized, flushing look with his own 'get with the kriffing program' stare.
This is it — they're going to pretend to have sex to keep their aliases?
Luke holds his breath when Han adjusts himself, sitting up and moving a little to exaggerate the creaking the old, durasteel cot-frame. Okay, okay. Still lying unmoved on his back, Luke wordlessly blows air through his lips and then fakes a decent-sounding, soft moan.
Han gives him a firm, approving nod, circling a finger to indicate 'keep going'.
He repeats the moan, getting a little noisier, but this time Luke smiles in embarrassed disbelief.
"Just relax, baby," Han pretends to shush him, raking his eyes over Luke's body — and hell, this is just a bad idea. "I'm gonna take real good care of you."
Oh stars, Luke can't help it. He snorts out a genuine laugh, face scrunching up as Luke fights off more. Han's eyes read irritation. His left hand smacks into Luke's hip, and Luke uses the opportunity to choke out a whining groan, as if this was the single greatest moment to get off to.
"Yeah, you like it rough, dont'cha?" Han says, all sultry, rumbling voice, but narrowing his eyes.
He gestures violently, mouthing out something.
Luke clamps his lips tightly together, nodding. After regaining his wits, he responds, sighing out, "Mmhm, just like that…"
"How about a little lower then?"
It's his turn to rule this fodder of a show, isn't it?
Luke can't help staring in mild pleading and then giving up when Han shakes his head, looking almost as lost as him. This is a bit excessive. Han's probably going to call it quits, accept that they may get into a brawl with scumbags. Luke stops Han from deciding this, gripping onto the outsides of Han's thighs until his knuckles whiten.
The question in Han's dark brown eyes dies as Luke's fingers skim down. He deepens his breathing, making it consciously heavier.
Luke swallows hard and closes both of his eyes, drudging up a faint-glow memory of himself and Wedge — an abandoned base-corridor in the middle of nowhere, nobody looking for them. He barely got out of his florescent-orange pilot's uniform when Wedge kissed him sloppy and eager, pulling open Luke's slacks and mouthing down on his fattening cock.
He erases Wedge's face out of the memory, and all other details except the feeling of saliva-damp lips open. Luke's cock sliding hot and aching down someone's throat.
"Oh, damn," comes out of Luke's mouth, babbling and edging on cracking apart. Disconnected from the circumstances, and Han slowly gaping at him, Luke has already abandoned himself to the role — exhaling moans, writhing and clenching his leg muscles. "Yeah, yes," he cries out euphoric, tilting his head backwards on the raggedy cot-sheet.
With unexpected swiftness and a low, noncommittal grunt, Han vanishes, climbing off Luke and the cot underneath.
The other, panting man drags himself out of the self-induced fantasy and gazes up, just in time for the refresher-door to clunk shut, locking behind Han. Luke remains the same place, as another hour passes. He doesn't shift from being upright, his legs pressing tightly to his chest, Luke's chin and face digging to his bare knees.
This really is his fault.
Han seems all too happy to forget last night, joking about being fake-married while together. They both have been convincing enough for whoever has been spying on them (not that Luke dismisses the imminent chance of more trouble — they're Rebel fighters on a Galactic Empire planet after all).
According to the standard hours, they've been present on Najiba for four days.
Four days of nightly, freezing cantina visits, and other low-lit, social dwellings; four days of attempting to gamble with information and persuade those inhabitants around them for more; four days of pretending he's completely infatuated with Han freakin' Solo, complete laserbrain and pilot to the Millennium Falcon, smuggler extraordinaire, and Luke was never pretending at all.
That's the worst of it.
He's reveling in the stupidest romantic gestures, when Luke feels a caress of large, warm fingers across his shoulders or his lower back, or when their arms hook each other's waist . It's always Han that initiates it because he's grinning and flaunting around like a loon-bird, rubbing and tickling over Luke's hipbone.
Or the time Han gathered his hands into his, staring Luke dead in the eye, pressing a friendly, tender kiss to one of Luke's palms.
Luke hated him for that one.
This time, he decides to one-up him, while they're standing under a rosy-colored light pole. Luke cups Han's neck with both of his hands and raises on his tiptoes, leveling their shared distance. Luke's mouth fumbles against his, pursing and close-lipped, and then inhaling against Han's skin.
"For… good luck," he murmurs, peeking through his eyelashes. The blue of Luke's eyes lusty-dark.
Han says nothing to him, but those tanned features soften in understanding. He grabs Luke's hands, tugging them away from his head and letting them go, but not at first. It's not until they're inches from breaking grip when their fingers separate, mourning the loss.
Their informant appeared at the very last minute, heavily cloaked when they weren't, but neither of them able to see his face underneath the bone-white mask. Luke didn't choose the locally-made beer when he ordered — for once, Luke wanted a beverage that didn't taste like hazardous waste-product.
The cup cradled within his hands. A swirl of glimmering orange and blue — starting from the center of the vortex. Luke drank deep. The sweet-sour, heightened fragrance and creamy flavor popping against his tongue—
It invaded, assaulted his senses, numbing—
He's not real.
He's not… he's(not) here.
Luke can sense it just as clearly as the spice(spices) effects, sweeping in lightning-brilliance over his nerves and veins. It's not him, encased in white walls. It's(not) him, crawling hungrily onto Han's naked lap, into the ring of his arms, grinding on Han's cock twitching to fullness.
It's(not) him, getting fucked open in overly gentle, rhythmic thrusts, lubricant dripping out of his ass, flesh red and brutal. Han's teeth flash out and bite down on Luke's shoulder.
The needy, little groans(not) erupting from him, wanting and pleading for more. The hot, incoherent breathes against Luke's face, against his hair and his golden, stubble-dusted cheek where Han's mouth rests, when they're(not)—
Everything swirls around him, disappearing, and he's (not) disappearing along with it, immersing into total blackness. Into the shrieks and howls. Eyes, so many disembodied eyes peering out and bloody, gleaming teeth snap apart.
Darth Vader on a smoking, lower-leveled structure, opening his leather-gloved hand to Luke's face.
A girl appearing on the top of his island, willfully climbing the stony steps of the First Jedi. She stares pleadingly into Luke's face, opening her bag and holding out his father's lightsaber—
With a ripping, choked-up scream, Luke wakes violently on one of the twin-cots, quivering and covered in perspiration.
As he heaves himself onto his side, an infuriated-looking Han grabs his shoulder.
"Gee—kid, you try'na give me a heart attack?" he barks out.
"Nas Ghent," Luke says, urgently, blinking out the haze building in his vision. "Nas Ghent… it was him in the mask. We saw him. He—"
Han interrupts, scowling, "Yeah, apparently slipped something nice into your drink while he was at it." He forces Luke to lie back down onto a pillow, telling him gravely, "You weren't breathing, Luke."
Instead of being startled by the news, Luke gazes up at him, incredulously.
"Han, tell me he didn't get away." At the silent and obviously frustrated confirmation, he arches himself up, getting dizzy when Luke weakly jolts into a sit. "No—"
"It was him or it was you," Han insists, grabbing him again, this time with his blunt fingernails clawing into Luke's upper arms. "There's no use getting riled up now. You need rest."
"We can't fail this mission…"
Han's voice drops into a low, angry growl. "A spice smuggler got away, so what?" he says, holding Luke in place from squirming. "You think it's worth getting yourself killed for it?"
"Leia said he worked for Vader. He had intel—"
"Okay, he was a glorified smuggler for the bad guys. Somebody will catch him."
"… was supposed to be us," Luke mumbles grumpily and frowning, no longer thrashing. He sinks gradually back to the cot-frame, wincing at the increasing dizziness.
"Stop complaining and get some rest," Han says, more softly. His thumb-pad lands against Luke's forehead, along with several other fingers, touching over his hot, flushed skin lightly. "Need to… get the rest of it out of your system first, y'hear me?"
It's too much for him. Luke doesn't want to fake this charade anymore.
"You know, we don't have to pretend in here…"
Han looks at him solemnly, dropping his fingers.
"Who's pretending, kid?" he asks.
The response strikes a chord of fear and thrill in Luke's heart. It leaves him speechless. Han leans over him with a determined glint in his eyes, and for a second, Luke thinks he's gonna kiss him — instead, Han's mouth pushes against Luke's forehead in a comforting, heated seal.
It's better than a kiss, by far.
Maybe not the best… but it's better.
It's eternal springtime here — the hydrophytes and watery soil, the electrical storms and rains.
And, Luke says goodbye to it, preparing to be smuggled with Han out of the Faj system and back to the Rebel Alliance. Waiting too long increases the chances of taking a hit by the asteroid belt.
He considers passing it up, for however long the elliptical orbit takes, staying for a little bit and using up the rest of their credits. Luke heard about a Byzal canyon on the planet, used for the swoop racers. He knows they would have enjoyed getting a view of it.
Just… pretending a little while longer.
But, it's not what a Jedi would do. Not really. And he can't assume that's what Han wants. Even when their hands are gathered together, their fingers never breaking, eyes gently seeking each other.
There's a meaning still to come. Luke knows it's there between them, and it's no mistake.
SW is not mine. I feel like I've been working ages on this fic. Hours and hours on Wookiepedia, and I loved every minute. Again, I'm not huge into tropey stuff, but as soon as I saw this prompt on the starwarskinkmeme: "Luke/Han, Pretend married. Luke and Han pretend to be married for a lengthy mission. It's not long before they both realize they wish it was real." I knew I had to try it out. I feel pretty confident about this, and I'd love to hear your thoughts! :) Thank you guys!
* spice/spices = drug/drugs
* sparkstick =matchstick
* lumen-beam/lumen globe = lamp/lightbulb
* flimsiplast/flimsi = writing paper
* refresher =bathroom
* glimmering orange and blue drink = A canonverse euphoriant from a flower that may result in the user experiencing intense nightmares/visions