A short, sweet vignette about Leia and Han. My attempts at writing a good fanfiction Leia.

Facets of an Arrogant, Cold-Hearted, Gambling Brute

The night is hot, the breeze is warm; but all she feels is cold.

It's like she's in the middle of a blizzard; the cold swirls all around her, chilling her to the very bone. She can't feel, she can't think. Blindly, she stumbles through the jungle, her feet tripping over each other and woven, loose vines scattered on the soft ground.

The world is hazy, and no matter how many times she blinks she can't get away from the chilling fog. Her teeth chatter even though she's covered in sweat, her clothes glued to her body like a second skin. She's freezing.

She walks, running away from the jungle base. Running away from all of them—the celebrations of the joyous Alliance, the men and woman who are overjoyed at the destruction of the Death Star.

Odd, the Death Star seems so trivial right now. Memories of being tortured upon that very structure seem surreal, fake. The Death Star is gone—just like Alderaan.

At the thought of her home planet, she begins to cry again, her sobs sounding frantic and erratic.

Pictures, unbidden, enter her mind. Small children playing outside see a sudden flash of light, and within an instant they are burned to death, blasted into oblivion. Husbands and wives, young and old, together, in love, suddenly ruthlessly murdered. Her father, sensing that something was wrong—for he always seemed to have a knack for sensing danger—and not having any time to ponder it because in a split-second, he too is dead. Her mother, sick and frail, as Leia always remembered her, screaming out in terror as her life ended.

She lets out an erratic sob, and begins running, her pace frenzied. She doesn't know what's happening, isn't aware of anything real. All she feels is cold, and pain.

Suddenly, she pitches forward, tripping over something that isn't there. She plunges into the mud, her arms reaching out to catch her before she falls all the way. Her legs and torso are splattered in mud, and suddenly it begins to rain.

She doesn't bother to get up, doesn't have the strength to even try. Instead she slips in the mud, stretching out on the cold ground and buries her face in her arms. She cries, violently, stupidly. Randomly, it strikes her that it's taken her nearly three days for her emotions to finally catch up with her.

Oddly, selfishly, she wishes she had died on Alderaan, so that none of this would have happened.

She thinks of the people she's run from: Luke, the kind, gentle farmboy, her best friend. He's like her brother, sweet and shy and supportive, even though he's obviously in love with her.

Mon Mothma, the cold, impersonal woman, her gray eyes startling clear. Strong, reliable—a woman that Leia has known her whole life.

The General, the man she's come to trust and rely on as she would her own father.

She quickly runs through names, but the list is predictably short. She's startled at how little friends she actually has.

She comes to the smuggler last, though she can't possibly fathom why. There's something about him that is so different from anyone she's ever met, though her first impression was that he was an arrogant, cold-hearted, gambling brute, which he is. But there's another facet to him that she doesn't understand. He came back, and though he can't find an excuse why, she has the oddest feeling that maybe he does care.

She abandons such coherent thoughts and just sobs. She doesn't remember how she even got here in the first place. She doesn't care.

Suddenly, she feels a hand on her hair, and for a moment she thinks she has imagined it. But then she hears her name, quietly, deftly spoken.

"Leia," a soft, familiar voice says.

She doesn't look up. For all she cares, it could be Darth Vader, and he will strike her down in cold blood. Impassively, she wonders what the afterlife will be like.

The hand that is on her hair moves to her shoulders, where it is joined by another hand. Slowly, she is pulled out of the mud, sobs still racking her body. Through teary eyes, she looks up and finds that Han Solo is holding her, looking at her with concern and tenderness. The image only makes her sob harder.

She finds herself lifted into his arms, where it feels warm. She clutches onto him, not caring about appearances or reputations or anything of the sorts. She needs him.

He whispers meaningless words to her as he brings her back towards the base, comforting words that are meant only for that: comfort. Usually such sentiments irritate her, but coming from him, right here, right now, she treasures them.

Her sobs gradually die down until she is left breathing slowly, calmly, in his arms. Already her thoughts are much clearer, and she's stopped shivering. She realizes that Han is carrying her.

She knew it, of course, but she really realizes it, and for a moment she considers demanding to be put down.

But she doesn't, for some reason.

She rests in his arms, feeling small against such a large man. He brings her inside the Falcon, carrying her up the ramp and into the warm ship.

She sees Chewie rushing towards them, glancing frantically at the woman in his friend's arms. He barks something in his native language, something she doesn't understand.

"She's all right, Chewie," Han reassures the Wookiee softly. "I'm gonna take her to the spare bunk."

Chewie seems to accept the answer, and goes about his business.

Han carries her into a small room with a single bunk, where he gently places her down on the bed, evidentially not caring that they are both covered in mud.

Leia, suddenly feeling awkward, turns her face away from the man who's gone and done it again: completely shocking her by doing something caring and sweet. She can't figure him out, and it's unsettling.

Minutes later, they're arguing again, though she doesn't know what about. She screams at him something about being a selfish nerf-herder, and he retaliates by telling her she has a heart made of stone.

And suddenly, she's crying again.

Han stops yelling, and immediately looks contrite. Awkwardly, he pulls her into an embrace, hugging her against his chest and whispering apologies. And in the stillness of the night, she tells him everything.

It isn't until the next morning, after the ceremony where she presented awards to Luke and Han for their bravery, that she approaches him. Softly, avoiding his eyes, she tells him thank you.

He smirks, though to his credit it is an almost-smile, says, "You're welcome, Your Worship." She smiles back, an almost-smirk.

The rest of the day continues on as normal, though neither can deny that things are no longer the same.

She tucks his smile somewhere away in her heart, and treasures it.