Author's Note: This idea just came to me one night, so I decided to write it up and post it; enjoy! And don't forget to R/R!!

By Any Other Name

What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.-

Juliet, from Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet"

We started out with "Princess"- uttered in that defiant, devil-may-care voice- and "Captain"- with that snippy, cool tone she used to have. I won't lie and say that I fell in love with Leia the first time I saw her, because it was more like, "What the hell did I get myself into?" And I'm sure she thought the same of me. After the four-hour trip to Yavin IV, we left the Falcon wanting to kill each other. She was unlike any woman I'd ever met; stubborn and bossy and totally dedicated to a cause. And me…let's just say that I was one of the few guys she knew who didn't worship her or put her up on a pedestal.

But I decided to hang around with the Rebel bunch after the first Death Star. After all, it couldn't be worse than smuggling for Jabba. And in those years before Ord Mantell, something changed between us. It became "Your Highnessness" or "Your Worshipfullness" on my part, and "Nerf-herder" or "Laser Brain" on hers. Sure, we enjoyed the banter- and so did the rest of the base, I'm sure- but sometimes I used to wonder if there couldn't be more to our relationship than fights and name-calling. "Sometimes" were those rare moments of understanding between us. Those were the times when we could be just Leia and Han to each other, and they were few and far between, usually ending in some tactless comment from me or a sharp remark from her that resulted in a huge argument. But while they lasted… they were great.

Anyway, then this little mission called Ord Mantell came along, and it changed everything. Because it made me realize that I was putting them- Luke, the Alliance, and especially Leia- in danger. Sure, it would hurt her if I left, but a blaster bolt to the chest would hurt a lot more. Boy, did Leia call me some names when she heard about that decision. But I was determined, so I boarded up the Falcon and got ready to leave.

But it wasn't five minutes before I was back at her side, watching out for her as the Imperials invaded the base. I'll never forget the look she gave me when she realized I hadn't gone. It was pure electricity She glanced up, her big brown eyes meeting mine for a flash, and said in that beautiful voice,

"Why are you still here?"

At least, it was romantic to me. Okay, I knew I had been reduced to 'you' now, but that didn't matter, because that was when I knew that I loved her.

So we got on board the Falcon, and over the next few weeks we went through every name in the book for each other, and then some. Finally I caught her in a corner of the ship and made her confess her real feelings for me. After that, it was one hell of a ride. We've had our ups and downs, but the trip to Bespin was definitely one of the ups.

Bespin. I can't even say it without a shudder. That was where a friend I'd known for 15 years betrayed me, Darth Vader nearly got his hands on Luke, and I almost never saw Leia again. And it was during that night we spent in our cell block there that we both realized something.

It doesn't really matter what we call each other. It never has. Because behind "Ice Princess", "Your Worshipfulness", and "Sweetheart" was Leia- a lonely woman who was almost afraid to fall in love. And behind "Captain", "Mercenary", and "Nerf-Herder" was a guy who'd been hurt before and didn't want to get hurt again. All the fights and glares and name calling were just elaborate disguises for our real feelings. We were so concerned with hiding our feelings and not being wounded that we never noticed what was happening right under our noses: the princess and the smuggler were falling in love.

It's funny now to remember all our previous arguments and fights. We laugh when we try to figure out what some of them were about, or why we said the things we did. After a few years of marriage, we still remember the insults. It's just that they've ceased to hurt.

After all, what's in a name?