Leia palmed open the apartment door and stood listening for a moment. A series of beeps and a crackle reached her ears. She pursed her lips and strode into the lounge. Her brother and husband-elect were sprawled on the floor, playing Podracing 2 on the games console. Leia snorted.
"Hi, Leia," Luke said, eyes never leaving the screen. Han grunted.
"That's cheating!" Luke protested as Han's pod cut across his.
"If you can do it in the game, it's not cheating, is it?"
Luke pressed his lips together and leaned forward, hands gripping his control. With a small grimace, he executed some complex manoeuver. Han yelped, and Luke leaned back with a sigh of relief.
"You went upside down! You can't do that!"
"If you can do it in the game..." Luke repeated, his eyes sparkling. "Beat you into the ground!"
"If that were a real podrace you would have fallen out," Leia pointed out shortly.
"If it had been a real podrace he wouldn't have been racing, because humans can't," Han pointed out. He reached over and gave Luke a noogie. Luke didn't take well to this, and Leia watched, tapping one foot, as the two men staged an impromptu wrestling match.
"What's wrong, Leia?" Luke asked suddenly, from flat on his back. He gave a jerk that flipped Han off him, apparently effortlessly.
"No fair, Luke-no Jedi stuff, okay? Bad day, sweetheart?"
"Just wonderful," Leia said. "The holopress are having a field day."
"Well, we expected that, didn't we?" Han said with a shrug.
"Yes, but-" Leia pulled a flimsiplast copy of News of the Galaxy from her bag and dropped it onto his stomach.
"Society Romance, page four? That the one?" He turned up the article and cleared his throat. Luke sat up to look too.
"Yesterday Republican Alliance leader and Princess of Alderaan, Leia Organa, 24, announced her engagement to dashing-" he paused to remark, "I like that!"; Luke groaned.
"-dashing Alliance general Han Solo, 33. Hey! They got my age wrong!"
"Han," Luke said in his long-suffering voice, "I don't even know how old you are, how're they expected to?"
"Their whirlwind romance-" Han continued.
"What does that mean, anyway?" Leia interrupted in disgust.
"Loud, violent and damaging to anyone within a standard kilom of it?" Luke suggested innocently. Leia glared, and he hastily added, "Sorry!"
"-whirlwind romance is already the stuff of legend. When her lover was captured by Hutt crime boss Jabba, the fiesty Princess-" Leia groaned "-single handedly-"
"Hey!" Luke protested. "What about the rest of us?"
"The only person singled-handed at Jabba's was you, kid," Han quipped. Luke gave him a very unamused glare, and he dived back into the paper again.
"-single-handedly rescued him and broke the tyranny of the Hutt. And a holo of the two of us. I'm disappointed they don't have a one of you in that slave get-up."
"Does my body look dead to you? Read on; here comes the catch."
"However, concerns have been heard over the chances of the marriage lasting. 'A notorious womaniser like Solo and an Alderaani princess? It's foolishness!' said General Jan Dodonna of the Alliance, 63. 'He simply swept her off her feet. No woman would have had a chance,' said Alliance soldier Lt Pav Antilles, 28."
"How can they say things like that?" Luke asked indignantly.
"They can say anything if it sells news, Luke," Leia told her brother.
"Pav Antilles is just jealous," Han said complacently. "She couldn't have thrown herself at me harder if she'd used a rocket launcher." Leia frowned, and he hastily added "Not that I was interested."
"Notorious womaniser," Luke said to the ceiling.
"Sweetheart, don't listen to him. Kid, if I ever cheat on your sister, you have my permission to lock me up, as I've obviously gone crazy."
"I know, I know. I was joking."
"Hey," Han said as he read on, "it mightn't be me you have to worry about. Listen: Moreover, rumours abound of the Princess' past-some say continuing-involvement with the hero of Yavin-"
"Oh, no," the hero of Yavin moaned; Leia sighed.
"-Commander Luke Skywalker, 24. Boyishly handsome Skywalker-oy, they never said Iwas handsome!"
"Look on the bright side; at least you aren't 'boyish'," Luke pointed out, and Leia laughed.
"-Skywalker is said to be 'extremely close' to Princess Leia-"
"They have no idea," Leia murmured. "Same womb for nine months."
"Look, they have one of your military mugshots-you look about fifteen, kid-captioned 'Skywalker: jilted lover?'"
"Twelve, more like," Luke said, covering his eyes.
"According to that article," Leia grumbled, "I'm a naive little aristocrat who was seduced by a Corellian pirate and am now cheating on him with his best friend, who also happens to be my twin brother."
"They don't know that," Luke pointed out reasonably.
"Where do they get these ideas?" Leia asked, flinging up her hands. Han grinned wickedly.
"Well, sweetheart, if they'd been in that medcentre in Echo Base-"
He was treated to two editions of the Skywalker glare, in blue and brown.
"Shut up!" the twins said simultaneously. Leia continued, "That was your fault anyway-"
"Oh, yeah, I grabbed you by the scruff of your neck and threw you at Luke," Han retorted.
"Drop it, Han," Leia ordered in her dangerous voice. Luke scrambled hurriedly to his feet and headed for the kitchen, murmuring under his breath, "Tomorrow's headline: Princess Leia Assaults Fiancé, Luke Skywalker Admitted to Hospital for the Psychiatrically Disturbed."