A/N: This one shot is a prequel to the one shot "Adventures on the Outer Rim". In that story, Han and Leia think back to a time when they were on Serenno. This is what happened. You don't need to have read "Adventures" to understand this story.

Timing is post-ROTJ, before Han and Leia are married.

Adventures on the Outer Rim - The Prequel


Han heard the door to their hotel suite open and shut. Then the sound of Leia's briefcase being set down. The familiar sigh, albeit this one more long and drawn out than usual. Next the clicking of her footsteps as she walked towards the living area.

It was all a familiar routine.

"Rough day?" He asked.

She held her hand up. "Don't ask."

For normal people this might be a veiled invitation to ask, but Han knew that for Leia it most definitely was not. "Go get changed," he replied instead as he stood up. "I'll get you a drink."

Leia continued on into their bedroom as Han dutifully made his way to their little bar.

They were on Serenno, in its capital city of Carannia. Leia was meeting with representatives of the eight noble houses, trying to negotiate their allegiance to the New Republic. Although she and Han would sometimes work together on these talks, especially if they involved trade routes and supply agreements, she had been working this one alone. Han wasn't complaining. From what he could tell by her nightly updates, this was just a bunch of spoiled nobles throwing tantrums. Besides, he had been spending his days elbow deep inside the Falcon's hyperdrive.

When Leia came back out, she was dressed in a pair of stretchy pants and a long, slim, sleeveless tunic, her feet bare. The leggings were olive green and made of a thin fabric that only traveled about halfway down her calves. The tunic, which was olive green as well, was made of an even lighter, gauzy material. Snug but not tight, loose around the hips but not flowing. It had a v-neck and Han appreciated how it showed off the cut of her collarbone beneath her alabaster skin. Scattered across the front from the left shoulder to the right hip, jeweled colored flowers were delicately embroidered into the fabric.

Han wordlessly handed her a drink which she accepted and sipped on immediately. He then offered her a wedge of a diash'e, a Serreno delicacy, and she dutifully took a bite.

She closed her eyes and hummed her enjoyment. "I haven't eaten all day."

That was another thing that could've gone without saying. Another familiar part of their daily routine. "You look beat," Han said and meant it. Every single night he had literally watched those noble bastards suck the life out of her. From the dark circles under her eyes. To the tight set of her shoulders. Her normally rounded cheeks, sunken and hollow. "You need a break, honey."

"Breaks are for bones," she said, accepting another bit of diash'e and washing it down with her drink.

Han made a face. It was something she said often. He knew that she thought it was some sort of joke. What an actual good joke was, was just one of the many things that Han had taken time to try and teach his Princess. Playing hooky had been another. She was the most intelligent, resourceful, tenacious woman that he had ever known. But, on some things, she could be a very, very slow learner.

But he was a very, very patient man.

"Let's get outta here," he offered.

She sighed, slumping her shoulders dramatically as an easy visual for her negative reaction to his proposal.

Princess Leia may have been on this outer rim planet because of her good negotiation and diplomatic skills, but Han Solo was no slouch either. "You need to get out and away from these same four walls," he continued, taking the drink out of her hand and setting it down on the table. "You need a change of scenery," he said, running the backs of his fingers up the cool, smooth skin of her exposed arm. "To let your hair down." He demonstrated by twirling his finger around a loose lock of hair. "Let loose." He pressed his lips against her neck, trailing kisses up until he reached her ear. "Enjoy yourself."

She moaned. Halfway between a good moan and a plain, old, tired moan. "I don't feel like getting dressed," she whined.

"You're dressed fine." He had replied without even looking at her, his teeth busy nibbling at the soft skin of her ear lobe.

In the silence that followed, he pulled away from her. As soon as their eyes met, she pulled a face. A face that said: Han Solo you know I trust you with a lot of things, but appropriate attire to leave the house in is probably not one of them.

He was really, really good at reading her.

"Trust me," he said, flashing his best lop-sided grin. "You don't even have to put shoes on if you don't want to."

Now her face read contemplation. She was at least considering his proposal. There was a staring contest. He was really good at those, too. He waited. Pulled a few faces of his own. She smiled. And then there was teeth, followed by laughter (a chuckle anyway). The slightest of nods indicated a reluctant consent.

Han clapped his hands together and scanned the room for his holdout blaster. Victory!

Somewhere in Carannia...

During her diplomatic training, Leia had been taught that there were some things that beings just needed to see to fully understand and categorize in their minds. The establishment that Han Solo was currently pulling her through was one of those things. Oh, she had been in seedy bars before, but this one took that designation to a whole other level.

The air was wet and clingy, like a pimple-faced cotillion partner. The music was loud with a dark, deep, hypnotic beat, the rhythm contagious making it a bit hard to walk without adding a bounce to the steps or a sway to the hips. The place was dark except for the frantic trail that the strobe lights left in their wake, searching the dance floor to the beat of the music, outlining the clouds of smoke as they rose to the ceiling. Patrons were packed together rubbing against one another, blurring the lines between strangers and lovers.

The bar was standing room only and Han had to use the benefit of his height to elbow his way in and catch the attention of one of the bartenders. Leia continued to look around. Besides the sentient beings writhing to the music, there were several holographic dancers on top of pillars, tables and in cages hanging from the ceiling. Their ethereal bodies were all an opaque blue, which muted the bluntness of their nudity, but the effect was still more than a little bit erotic.

Leia looked back to the bar and found Han whispering into the ear of a bartender. There was nothing muting the wanton expression on the bartender's face. There was something about Han, his essence or his life force, that was intoxicating to any and all species. She supposed she should feel a little bit jealous and maybe she would've been, had the bartender not been a male nautolan and she knew Han to be straight as an arrow.

"He says he'll ping us when a booth is ready," Han told her. He had to press his mouth against her ear for her to hear him.

She accepted the drink that he offered her. She hadn't heard what he had ordered, had only caught the tail end of: make 'em a double. Whatever it was, it was smooth and hot going down her throat and she hummed in approval.

Han inched out onto the dance floor, pulling her along encouragingly. Leia followed, although a bit warily. They were only three steps away from the bar now, where people were just standing and watching, but she felt as though they had traversed a wide gulf between acceptable behaviour and deviance. Han pulled at her again, very gently and she walked into his arms. They began moving together to the beat of the music.

Dancing with a drink in my hand? What would Aunts Celly, Tia and Rouge say?! She tried to ignore their judgements from the grave as she moved against Han's body. She could feel his cool drink as he settled it against her lower back. He was looking down at her, his expression teasing. She was an open book to him, she knew this. He was reading her discomfort, hell even probably knew that she had been thinking about what her aunts might think. And now, he was looking smug. Damn him!

She tried to force herself to relax. A part of her knew that he was right, that she needed desperately to unwind. But it wasn't like some switch she could turn on and off. It took work and practice like everything else in life. And, if the way her feet were dragging like stones on the dance floor were any indication, she was way out of practice. She took another sip of her drink.

Han, for his part, continued to hold her close to him. His hips were swaying rhythmically, his feet gliding and shuffling to the beat. A break in the crowd allowed him to take her hand and spin her around so that she crashed back into his chest when he was done. He held her there, molding her body to his until they were one. She rested her head against his chest, letting go a little. Trying not to think about her feet following his, letting the movement of his thighs guide her steps. When it started to feel really good, she closed her eyes.

Leia was a bit disappointed but a little relieved when she felt Han's comm unit thrumming quietly, signaling that their booth was ready. He pulled away from her and when she looked up at him, he gave her a quick wink and a smile.

He guided her across the dance floor. She followed his lead, a deeper bounce to her step. A wider swing to her hips. Han elbowed into the bar again. Two more doubles. A different bartender. This one a female. Han drew the same reaction as before. It wasn't anything he did. It was effortless, this effect he had on sentient beings. Leia was more amused, less jealous than before. They traversed across the dance floor one more time, each of them with two drinks in their hands.

They slid into the booth together. On their small rounded table, there was a hologram of a naked female twi'lek. Leia set her drinks down and watched her. Her breasts were perfectly rounded and finished off with beautiful azure nipples directly in the center. Legs together, she spun, standing on tiptoes, showing off the curve of her ass. Looking down at Leia as if she knew she was watching. Leia sipped on her drink, mesmerized. She was not above admiring the female form.

Han didn't seem to be above it either. Yet, he got bored of it more quickly than Leia and after taking a sip of his drink, he slung an arm over her shoulder and squeezed.

"Now, where were we?" He asked.

Leia sipped her drink. Eyes still on the twi'lek dancer as Han peppered kisses along her neck. She tilted her head, offering her encouragement. The alcohol was settling nicely down deep in her gut. Warming her veins. Loosening up her limbs. She tilted her head a little more. Han had definitely been right. She needed this.

He was pressed tightly against her now. The hand that wasn't slung over her shoulder was now busying itself between her legs. Slipping purposefully between her thighs. Cupping the soft flesh there and squeezing. The twi'lek dancer was looking down at her. Encouragement and daring in her expression. In the sway of her hips. In the way her knees bent and opened and closed again and again.

"Han," Leia breathed.

She knew he recognized her hesitation. Knew he heard all her concerns and admonishments in just the one syllable of his name. She was not wholly surprised that he received the signal as encouragement or better yet: a challenge. His hand slid further up her thigh. Kneading and squeezing entirely different, very sensitive flesh. His kisses on her neck were no longer soft caresses. There was definitely a fair amount of suction being introduced.

"Han," she repeated. "We can't do this here."

"Sure we can." His words were hot against the shell of her ear and her body's reaction sent a hot frisson down through her inner core. She was sure that he could feel the heat against his palm.

Her whole body tensed, just the tiniest bit. But it was more than enough. He might ignore her words but he never ignored her body. It was similar to how he responded to the Falcon. Listening to and reading her thrums, rattles and hisses. Hyper aware of their every meaning.

He pulled back. His lips were moist and a little swollen. "What?" He asked, not aggravated but...persistent.

"We can't," she replied in way of an answer. Her eyes had abandoned the twi'lek and they were darting about the crowded bar. Sentient beings were everywhere, yet no one was paying any attention to what was happening inside of their booth.

"It's what these booths are for, sweetheart. People don't sit down in a place like this to order food." His arm was still slung around her. His other hand, still between her legs although it was still now. He had quit doing things with his fingers but his hand was still there. It felt awkward as they were talking but Han didn't seem to notice.

"I'm not: people," she replied imperiously. She didn't regret sounding so...uptight. Doing something because everyone else did it was the oldest line in the book. Every sentient being knew the "if everyone jumped off the bridge" speech. Surely Han did, too.

Han stared at her for a long while. He did that a lot. Back in the early days it had perturbed her, even sometimes deeply disturbing her. But now she knew that he was simply performing his calibrations and calculations in his mind. Which wire needed to be cut or soldered. Which nut had vibrated loose? Which switched needed to be flipped.

"You were just now enjoying yourself," he argued.

"That's not the point."

"That's exactly the point," he said, raising his hand in exasperation. "That's why we're here."

"I didn't know you brought me here just to grope me in public."

"Grope?" He repeated. His reply was tinged with a little bit of anger brought on by frustration, she knew. "I'm not some apex predator you just picked up at the bar, Leia," he said, forcing patience into his tone. "Relax," he continued, taking a sip of his drink and looking up into the crotch of the dancing twi'lek. "Let yourself enjoy this." He gave her shoulders a squeeze, wiggled his fingers back between her thighs as he whispered into her ear, "You know you were enjoying it."

She looked back up at the twi'lek. Her encouraging gaze had somehow turned judgemental. Leia took a long, deep draw from her drink.

"You sit in those damned negotiations all day," Han whispered in her ear. "And drive yourself crazy. You know how most beings get through that?"

The twi'lek was smiling down at her now and Han's fingers had started to move again, applying the gentlest of pressure and a delightful friction.

"They think about something like this," he said. "Their minds wander to...happier times and they're able to push through just one more day. One more hour. One more point of one more list of demands."

How did he know exactly how those meetings felt? She wondered as the tensed muscles of her thighs were loosening up again. Oh.

"You want to go in there tomorrow and finish this thing?"

Yes! Her insides screamed and the twi'lek agreed, crouching down with her hands on her knees and spreading her legs wantonly.

"You need this," Han whispered, the tip of his tongue circling the inside of her ear. "You need to let go. You need something besides a bad night's sleep to walk back into that room with tomorrow."

It was hypnotic. His words. His hands. The twi'lek. But still. "But…"

He pulled away from her, looked at her straight on. "You are out there liberating sentient beings all the time," he said, a strong set to his jaw. "Let me liberate you a little, huh?"

She looked at him for a long time, performing some calibrations and calculations of her own. In the end, she could formulate no proper argument, no serious rebuttal. And she thought, Well, what can I really say to that?

She watched as the smile of triumph marched across his lips, curling up one side of them. He dipped his head towards her and she met him halfway, her lips parting and inviting him in as they dove together into a mind-numbing kiss. Her previously idle hands joined the party as she traveled across the hard muscle of his outer thigh and curled around and squeezed the softer flesh near the inside as he had done to her earlier.

His answering moan was captured inside of her mouth before he pulled away, eyes ablaze with lust as he returned his attention to her neck. Her fingers nimbly trailed the outline of the hardness she found at the crux of his inner thighs. Not to be outdone, his hand reached inside of her leggings. Long fingers pulling light fabric back and down until the hardened calluses of his fingertips were brushing against sensitive flesh.

"Han," she whispered again, her head lolling back. It wasn't a plea to stop but it was most definitely a question about limits and lines being crossed.

"Just a quick one," he promised, nuzzling his forehead against her neck.

She instinctively looked around. Han's body was toward the crowd and she was certain that the chances of anyone seeing were slim to none. And the way that Han was currently liberating her clitoris suddenly wiped away any questions of propriety that she could now not even remember thinking about.

"Oh," she whispered, tilting her hips up and lolling her head back again.

"I know," Han replied, sucking at the skin on her neck. Grinding his palm where his fingertips had been and sliding a finger inside of her.

"Oh," she said again, all breathy and inappropriate. She squeezed her own hand over the hardness beneath it and Han groaned in reply. And then it hit her. That glorious release. The mother of all "letting go's". She rode it out, Han's hand and fingers expertly piloting her through from takeoff to a very soft and very satisfied landing.

She felt his lips curl into a smile against her neck. His finger slid out of her, he pulled his hand from within her leggings, wiping the wetness shamelessly against the dark, olive fabric of her pants.

"Good?" He whispered against her ear.

She blew out a breath, turning her head to look at him. Smiled dumbly, feeling numb. Feeling free and relaxed. Feeling… "Very liberating," she replied.

"Good," he said, smiling and taking another sip of her drink. "Because we ain't done yet."

"Wha-?" she replied, taking a quick sip of her drink and scooting out of the booth as Han pulled her with him.

No longer content with flirting with the outskirts of the dance floor, Han led her deep into the middle of the crowd. "Now," he said, turning to face her when he stopped. "Let's see if you can really let go."

She watched Han take a sip of his drink and then snake an arm around her waist and pull her closer. A moment of skepticism passed through her mind. Hadn't she just totally let go back in that booth? What more was there to do that could be more liberating than a public orgasm? But she ignored that voice. Forgot about the rules of not dancing with a drink in hand or standing too close to a suitor. Let the beat of the music move her feet. Instead of following Han, she introduced her own rhythm, had him join instead of lead her.

The more she danced the more she found that there was just a little more to "let go" of. Pressing her hips up to Han's as they moved together with the music. Absorbing the heat of some stranger rubbing against her back. Chasing the sparkle that danced across Han's hazel eyes as they glistened with the strobe lighting and his natural, internal mischief. A kiss. Both of their tongues, cool from their drinks. Adding a rhythmic sway to her shoulders. Raising her arms above her head and swaying them to the music. Remembering how that twi'lek had rounded her hips and wriggled her chest, emulating the moves she had so intensely studied.

Han looked mesmerized himself. Looked at her like she had looked at that dancer. He took his drink and raised it up, following the line of her arm, dragging the cool perspiration of the glass against the heat of her skin. Bending forward and tasting a few drops with the tip of his tongue, introducing his own heat. And then he kissed her again. She lowered her arms, draping them on Han's shoulders, resting her cold drink against the back of his neck wishing she had the height to return the favor with her tongue on his skin.

Han read her expression and the cool, mischievous sparkle in his eyes turned molten. Another kiss. This one, even more inappropriate. Deep. Searching. Full of promise and foreshadowing. The place where their hips were grinding together was getting more and more interesting.

"Let's get the hell outta here," he growled into her ear.

He was already walking toward the exit. She set her empty glass down on a passing table. Turning her head to look back toward their booth. It was still empty. Digging her heels in a bit, Han turned back to look at her. "You wanna go back to the booth?" She asked, tilting her head in that direction.

Han looked at her then. A really, really good inspection from the top of forehead to the tips of her toes. His gaze returned to her neck and settled there for several heartbeats. Later, when she had access to a mirror, she would fully understand why. He shook his head decisively. "Not a good idea," he replied and turned and continued to lead her out and toward the exit.

Outside, in the warm, muggy air of Carannia, they made their way back to their fancy hotel. She managed to mostly temper his advances in the backseat of the hover car, but she was thankful that it had been a droid driver, just the same. Apologies would have to be made to the night doorman and the lift attendant. Maybe send the lift attendant a generous tip. And goddess, how much further would things have gone if Han hadn't finally figured out how to get the door to their suite open? A passing thought of who might be in the flat beneath them crossed her mind when they fell over the divan, pants and leggings wrapped around their respective ankles. She returned his favor from inside of their booth and he liberated a few more mothers-of-all-let-go's before they finally made it to the bedroom.

She might've put on a show for him. Things got fuzzy around that time. Standing on the bed, dancing like that twi'lek while Han leaned against the wall watching her, running his hand up and down while his eyes remained trained on the sway of her hips, the bend of her knees, the curve of her ass. Fuzzy isn't the right word to describe what happened next. But, suffice it to say, Leia Organa fell asleep without any lingering doubts that there was anything left to let go of...

The Next Evening

Han heard the door to their hotel suite open and shut. Then the sound of Leia's briefcase being set down. The familiar sigh, followed by the clicking of her footsteps as she walked towards the living area. She stopped as soon as she saw him, made a deliberate show of unwrapping a long scarf from around her neck and tossing it over a nearby divan.

The weather in Carannia was hot and humid. Leia had not even packed any scarves. Han had had to bribe a local boutique owner to open early so that he could buy one for her early this morning. He decided not to mention the scarf or the current condition of the tender skin along her neck. He took a sip of his drink instead and asked, "How'd it go?"

Her expression had been a little bit stormy when she had entered the room. Probably due to having to wear that scarf all day. But then he watched as a different, more welcomed expression, spread across her face and softened her eyes. She dropped her hands down and walked over to the sofa, kicking her shoes off before sitting next to him, her legs tucked up underneath her so that her knees pressed against his thigh. She took a finger and tucked some of his stray hairs behind his ear. "It went...really well."

Han ticked an eyebrow up but didn't say anything. He didn't like to gloat.

"Go ahead," she said, running her hand down the side of her thigh. "You can say it."

"Nah," he said, leaning forward to put his drink down. Turning toward her, he grinned devilishly and replied, "I'd much rather hear you say it."

She smiled at him. "You were right."

"Again," he added. "I was right, again."

"Don't push it," she said, standing up and picking up her shoes.

"So," he ventured, not entirely sure just how much she remembered from late in their last evening. "You think I might be able to get another show tonight? You know? For your benefit as much as for mine."

She was walking away from him toward their bedroom, surely to go and get changed out of her work clothes. She didn't bother to turn around when she answered him, saying over her shoulder, "Dream on, flyboy."

Han laughed and leaned back into the sofa cushions, thinking. Working on hyperdrives could be a frustrating and tedious business, too. He could use a few things to let his mind wander to. To get him through one more hour or one more day of flashing red control panels, whining alarms and smoking maintenance hatches. Several parts of the previous night were particularly memorable. Particularly wander-able. The booth. The dance floor. The lift and the show on the bed. He closed his eyes and leaned his head back, remembering.

Dream on? He most definitely would.

A/N: Thanks, as always, to Zyra for beta-reading.