Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. I'm not trying to make any money off them. Please don't sue me.

Past Lives

Han was shaving, and Leia was enjoying watching. She loved to watch him shave. He did it the old fashioned way with foam and water and a blade. She like that about him, it made him seem softer somehow and more masculine all at the same time. She disliked the sound of an automatic shaver, it took the romance out of the activity. The slow revelation of his face from the foam though, that was romantic, she could almost feel her hands running over the smooth surface of his cheek, his neck, his jaw.

Han glanced at Leia out of the corner of his eye. Then he turned his gaze back to the mirror and continued carefully shaving. Generally, it didn't take him that long to shave, but he had the suspicion that Leia liked to watch him do it and found it sexy, so he took his time.

She had draped herself with the sheet from the bed they'd been sharing and wandered into the bathroom a few minutes before. She'd plopped herself down on the closed toilet and propped one leg up, her foot resting on the vanity, her other leg lay casually stretched out before her.

Han smiled to himself. He had never seen her so relaxed, so comfortable, so out of the public eye. As he looked at her toes curled over the edge of his vanity, he thought, this is mine, no one gets to see this but me. He couldn't help wondering if she was conscious of just how sexy that naked leg was as it arched out of the sheet that covered the rest of her. He thought about running his hand along it to seek what the sheet kept hidden, but he decided to play it cool instead and kept shaving.

He swished his razor through the hot water in the sink and inspected his neck. He always started with his neck and then did his face.

He looked over at Leia. "Are you just going to sit there watching?"

"I thought I would, why does it bother you?"

"No, but it might be better if you made yourself useful. I mean, I'm always doing the shaving and you always just watch."

Leia gave him a demur smile, "What did you have in mind?"

Han held the razor out to her.

Leia arched her eyebrows, "You want me to shave you?"

Han shrugged his shoulders. "Why not?"

"I'm afraid I'd cut you."

"You won't cut me." His voice took on a husky quality that sent a shiver down Leia's spine.

She took the razor from him and stood to move next to him at the sink. Carefully she drew the razor down the right side of his face. She could feel the rasp of the hair against the blade and there was something strangely primal in the sound that it made. She smiled at him. Han smiled back. Leia looked away, blushing, and swished the razor through the hot water in the sink. She continued moving over both sides of his face and then above his lip until the only thing left was his chin. Leia stopped.

"What?" Han asked.

"I don't know how to shave around the scar."

Han paused for a moment, then took the razor from her hand. "Watch." he said, "then you'll know for next time." He winked at her.

Leia laughed. "Did you want me to peel some grapes for you while I'm in this mood?"

Han gave her a falsely tragic look and snapped his fingers. "Damn, we're fresh out of grapes."

"Where did you get that scar anyway?" she asked as she watched him in the mirror.

Han rinsed the razor. "When I was nineteen, I got in a fight, and this guy cut me with a bottle."

Leia arched her eyebrows. "Bar fight?" she said.

"Nope, it was a picnic actually."

"What kind of picnic has guys cutting each other up with broken bottles?"

Han ran his fingers over the scar and then the rest of his face, checking for missed spots. He didn't answer the question.

Leia tried a different tactic. "Was it worth it?"

Han seemed to think for a minute as he drained the sink. "I'd probably do it again." he finally said with a strange sigh.

Leia was surprised. She'd expected him to say something about being young, hot-headed and foolish. Only Han Solo, she thought to herself.

Han walked out of the bathroom and she followed, tightening the sheet as she moved.

"So what started it," she asked.

"This prick was talking trash about my wife, so I shoved my plate of food into his face."

Leia's heart stopped and dropped to the floor. Did he just say wife?

Han crawled back into his bunk. When he settled himself, he realized Leia wasn't getting back into bed with him, that she was standing in the middle of the floor with her mouth open clutching the sheet that draped her.

I've known this man for two years, she thought, I've been sleeping with him for two weeks and he never once mentioned a wife. Suddenly, she realized she was standing in the middle of the floor with her mouth open, and Han was staring at her. She shut her mouth but stayed where she was.

Han ran a hand across his face, cursing himself for answering honestly. "You gonna stand there all day?"

Leia looked at him blankly.

"It's not like I'm still married." He finally said, frustration obvious in his voice.

"So you're divorced?" Leia asked. Why didn't that make her feel any better?

Han cleared his throat. "Widowed actually."

Leia sat down in his desk chair. She felt terrible. "I'm sorry." she said. "You never said anything."

"I don't like to talk about it. Why, does it matter to you?" He asked, unsuccessfully trying not to sound defensive.

Leia could hear the hurt in his voice. She moved over to sit on the bed facing him. She put a warm hand on his forearm. "No. I just...we...I thought we...I just thought you would have said something before..." she trailed off awkwardly.

"Well, I said something now."

Leia shook her head, trying to understand what was upsetting her.

Han was frustrated with her silence and obvious discomfort. "Surely you don't think you're the first woman I've ever been with?" He said sarcastically.

Leia clenched her jaw, angry at his tone. "Hardly." was her response.

Han shrugged his shoulders and threw his hands up. "So."

Leia glared at him, "So...so...so I would like to think we're close enough that you would feel comfortable sharing things like that with me."

"I did." he protested.

Leia moved away from him. "Okay, fine, if you don't want to talk about it, fine, forget it." She started getting dressed.

Han was nodding to himself, angry at her failure to see his point. "Okay," he said, standing up, "You want to talk about it. Let's talk about it."


He cut her off. "We met when I was fifteen. After my mom died, I went to live with my Uncle Frank on Oceanus IV, it's one of Corell Prime's moons. Small colony there, not many people, not a lot of land mass. The whole place is a series of caverns underground. The people farm on what little above ground there is, but mostly the industry is fishing." Han sat back down on the bed, his anger diffused for the moment. "For a city boy like me, it was...well, it's hard to describe how it was. Let's just say I didn't want to be there. And then I met Janey. She was..." Han paused and then smiled, remembering the first time he'd ever seen Janey, they way she leaned against her speeder bike, her hair whipping in the wind, as though she had all the confidence in the world. But she'd ducked her head and dropped her eyes when he'd made eye contact. And from that moment on he was smitten. Han broke from his reverie, he looked over at Leia. "She was breathtaking," he finally said, "tall and blonde and sweet and gentle. I couldn't take my eyes off her."

Leia tightened the sheet around her self-consciously, feeling short and inadequate.

Han didn't seem to notice her sudden discomfort. He was lost in the memory.

"It took a long time for me to meet her," he continued, "see her old man was a real asshole. And Janey just kind of, she just...she spent a lot time avoiding him, and when she couldn't avoid him, she'd be gone, sometimes for days, stuck with him out on that boat."

Leia could see that Han's fists were clenched, and the muscles in the back of his jaw kept twitching. Han stopped, suddenly unsure of how to explain what happened next. Finally he settled on something less than perfect but brief and hopefully clear enough for Leia to get the picture.

"You see," he said, "Uncle Frank let me have my own place, 'cause there wasn't enough space in his rooms. I mean, you know caverns aren't exactly easily expanded, so he put me in this little room, just a hole in the wall really, down a ways from his place. And I don't know, one night she just...showed up. It's not the kind of place where people lock their doors. I'm not even sure if I had a lock. Anyway, I just woke up and she was there."

"That's kind of weird," Leia said softly.

Han looked at her, as if suddenly remembering she was there. "You don't know the half of it," he said, "I'd only said maybe 10 words to her at that point, then I wake up with her lying next to me. She said later, she picked me because I seemed kind. But that first night, she didn't say anything, didn't do anything. And me, I was afraid to breathe." Han laughed softly at his former self. "But, we were pretty much inseparable after that. We got married when I turned 18, she was few months younger. Things were great, but...uh, you know, she just..." His voice choked. He didn't want to do this, now he remembered why he never did this.

"You don't have to..." Leia moved closer to him, but he stopped her.

"No, we started this let's finish it." He was suddenly angry at her. He was angry that she felt she had a right to know this about him, he was angry that he had drudged up all these memories, and he was angry that suddenly she wanted him to stop.

"Now, see, before she met me, Janey was kind of a wild child. I mean she would do just about anything with anyone to get away from her old man. And see the guy at the picnic was one of the guys..." Han took a deep breath and let it out again. "If he had just kept his mouth shut, but he just had to say something, couldn't let it go. And I...I couldn't let it pass." He let his chin drop to his chest and rubbed the back of his neck. He waited a moment and then sat back down on the bed and looked up at Leia. "When he popped me with that bottle, all hell broke loose. People moved to separate us and everybody started yelling and screaming, and some old bitch went after Janey, going on about it being her fault and about how her kind was always trouble. Basically, a bunch of nerfshit, but Janey, being Janey, took it to heart. She goes tearing off toward the speeders. I had like four people standing over me looking at my chin, so I didn't see her running until she was most of the way there. I ran after her, I was calling her name, but...hell, she never listened to me."

Han scrubbed his face with his hands and shook his head to clear the awful images from his mind. "So basically, there I was, 19 years old and my whole world was splattered on the side of a canyon."

Leia closed her eyes, bowed her head.

"Damn woman, always drove like a maniac." he sighed.

He was silent, and Leia moved beside him on the bed and took both of his hands in hers. She gently kissed each of his palms.

Han sighed and said, "So, I joined the Navy, I figured if I couldn't be happy, maybe I could be like my father." He laughed softly. "And we see what that kind of thinking got me."

After a moment's pause, Leia put her arms around him. He tensed for a moment, but then to her surprise, he relaxed and let her hold him.

I love you. She thought, as loud as she could.

Han sighed as they lay back into the bed and Leia shared her sheet with him and pulled a blanket up over them. In eleven years, this was only the second time he'd told that story, and Chewie was so drunk the night he told him, Han figured the big Wookie probably didn't remember a word.