"Invitation"

By EsmeAmelia

DISCLAIMER: Do I even need to say that I don't own Star Wars? Anyway, this was written in response to a challenge at a SW message board. If I feel like it, I may continue it, but for now, it's a one-shot.

Oh, and today is Carrie Fisher's 50th birthday, so this seemed appropriate to post today.

Soon after the Battle of Yavin...

Han was seated at one of the tables in the cafeteria of the current Rebel Base on...whatever planet this was called. The name was slipping his mind at the moment, but it would come back to him in time. Not that it mattered much, since they would probably be relocating again within a month. Or less. It had only been a few months since the destruction of the Death Star, but with all the moving they had been doing in order to dodge the Imperials, it felt like ages.

Well at least he could get some peace and normalcy - or what passed for normalcy with the Rebellion - at dinner. He was in the middle of enjoying his rather large meal when a hand suddenly appeared on the table, clasping a folded note. He suppressed his urge to jump, supposing that his concentration on the food had prevented him from noticing anyone approach the table.

Looking up at the owner of the hand revealed a too-familiar woman with her brown hair done in a simple braid and her eyebrows down, as if she were relishing in a moment when she could actually look down on the smuggler physically as well as mentally.

"Hey, Your Worship," Han said with a hint of annoyance. "What's this all about?"

Leia's mouth twitched. "If you would read the invitation, you would find out."

"Invitation?" Han said with a crooked grin and an exaggerated voice, eyeing the paper with interest. "So what's it to?" He rubbed the paper with his thumbs, as if trying to rub through the paper and reveal its secret that way. "Your chambers, mayhaps?"

Leia made a noise through her teeth that was somewhere between a hiss and a growl. "Watch your mouth, Flyboy. All it takes is a word from me to determine that the Rebellion no longer needs you, and then you'll be out to face those bounty hunters on your own."

"Easy, Princess," Han said with a smirk as he unfolded the note. "I know better than to think an invitation of that type would be written."

If Leia responded to that, Han didn't notice, since he was busy looking at the invitation she had unexplainably given him.

The invitation sported a holographic boarder of light blue that periodically changed to deep green, depending on which angle Han held the paper at. The text was printed in some fancy script that Han had difficulty reading. He wondered if it would kill Leia or the other Rebellion leaders to just once do something the simple way.

After a minute or two of straining his eyes, Han was finally able to decipher the beginning of the invitation. It read:

Han Solo,

Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan formerly requests your presence at a party held on the tenth day of the month in celebration of Her Highness's twentieth birthday.

Han abruptly stopped reading. "Wait a sec...you're only nineteen?" He looked back up at the princess, who was still glaring down at him. "Com'on, you gotta be kiddin' about that, right?"

Leia seemed determined to glare her way into his skull. "You got a problem with that?"

"Well...no...it's just..." Han found himself fumbling for words. "...I kinda assumed you were older...ya know...you bein' a commander and all..."

"Age isn't a factor here," said Leia, nineteen-year-old Leia, teenage Leia. Han tried not to let his eyes widen at the idea. Her position, demeanor, and especially her tendency to yell at him like he was a child had made him think she was at least twenty-four, possibly older.

"I never said it was, but your age sure explains a lot," Han said, his mouth forming a smirk.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

Han's smirk completed its formation as he spoke. "Well for instance, the way you yell at people

who don't do what you say. You probably don't want 'em to think they're takin' orders from a teenager, so you act like you aren't one."

Barely a second after he completed his sentence, Han felt the abrupt sting of a swat across his cheek, causing his head to reflexably turn to the side, which probably gave Leia the added pleasure of seeing his red cheek.

"And also," Han grunted, rubbing his cheek," your tendency to do that."

Leia gave an inhale so long that she sounded like she was getting ready to dive underwater. "Han," she said, sounding like she was struggling not to explode, "are you coming to the party or not?"

Han then remembered something Luke had given him a few minutes ago...something which revealed a rather interesting fact, if he remembered correctly. Despite his sore cheek, the crooked grin returned to his face as he discreetly reached into his vest pocket. This was going to be fun.

"Maybe, maybe not," he said. "Just outta curiosity, are you invitin' Luke to this party?"

"Of course," said Leia, the glare back on her face with reenforcements.

Han fingered the paper he had pulled out of his pocket. "So...have you actually invited him yet?"

"No."

Han waved the paper in front of his chest like an old-fashioned fan. "Well then, there might be a bit of difficulty."

"What are you talking about?"

Han raised his arm and started wiggling the paper in front of her face. "I'm talkin' about this little invitation that Luke gave me just a little while ago. Guess he hasn't given you one yet, eh?"

"Gimmie that," Leia said, her hand trying to grab the paper just as Han moved it out of her reach.

"Ah, ah, ah, Your Worship, this belongs to me," Han said, using the tone of voice that he knew irritated the princess the most. "But if you're nice to me, I may read it to ya."

Leia growled through her teeth, sounding like she was a Wampa about to charge.

"You're really cute when you're speechless, you know that?" Han said as he unfolded Luke's invitation. "Okay, since ya haven't yelled at me for three-point-eight seconds, I'll read it." He cleared his throat loudly, wondering when Leia would reach her breaking point.

" 'Dear Han,'" he read. " 'Hi! Hey, I was wondering if you were doing anything on the tenth. If you're not, I'd like you to join me and some friends at a little party. See, the tenth's my twentieth birthday, and I'd love it if you could come to my party. Let me know if you can come. Sincerely, Luke.'" He eyed Leia as he folded the note back up. "And notice how he did that without any fancy-schmancy holostationary or unreadable script."

Leia's eyes were still on the now-folded note as Han tucked it back into his vest pocket.

"So both your birthdays are on the tenth," Han continued. "And you're both turning twenty, too." He flashed an open-mouthed grin at the princess. "You guys ain't twins, are you?"

For the tiniest of moments, Leia's eyes bulged, like she was taken aback by the news, but the moment was short-lived: it died almost the instant it was born. "Han, that's ridiculous," she said.

"Pretty weird coincidence, though, you gotta admit," said Han.

"Not so weird when you consider that billions of people are born in the galaxy every day," said Leia.

"And they're all workin' in this Rebellion, I'm sure," scoffed Han. "Not to mention that they all

grew up with adopted families and/or their aunts and uncles."

Leia bared her teeth at the smuggler. "Watch it, or I'll bring 3PO in to tell you the odds of us being twins."

"Well, then I'll have him tell you the odds of you bein' born on the same day and growin' up without knowin' your parents," said Han, leaning back in his chair and resting his head on his arms. "Maybe at Luke's party, I'll give 'im a warning that he might be flirtin' with his sister."

"He doesn't flirt with me," Leia sai abruptly. "I'll have you know that he has shown absolutely no interest in me. Unlike you, he can actually behave when we talk."

Han closed his eyes, hoping to give the impression that he wasn't listening. "Yadda yadda, maybe that's just cause you subconsciously know you're twins."

"You want us to be twins, don't you?" Leia shouted. "You want to eliminate the competition, right?"

Han began humming to himself in a purposely-irritating tone, not opening his eyes.

"Dream on, Solo," said Leia. "Besides, there are plenty of other men in the Rebellion besides Luke, you know."

Han started humming louder, gradually growing loud enough to block out Leia's voice.

"ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?" Leia's ear-piercing voice forced Han to open his eyes and cease his humming.

"Hey Your Highness, I'm just tryin' to think of what Luke would like for his birthday," he cracked. "Seein' as how I can only come to one party and all."

"So you're not coming to mine?" Leia said in a noticeably gentler voice. And what was that - did Han hear a hint of disappointment in her voice?

"Hey, I can't be in two places at once," he said matter-of-factly, "and given the choice between a formal gathering of high-and-mighty Rebel leaders and a night of drinkin' with a few other guys, I take the latter."

Leia gave a flat snicker. "You honestly think Luke will serve alcohol at his party?"

"Like you will?"

"There'll be Alderaanian champagne," Leia said with a smirk.

"Yawn," said Han, slurring his voice and covering his mouth with his hand in an exaggerated gesture. "Do you royals ever have real drinks?"

"Have you ever had champagne?" Leia said, her hands now on her hips.

Had he? Han was briefly silenced as he tried to remember if he had ever tried champagne. It was a rich guy's drink, something not usually found at the seedy bars Han often patronized. Maybe they served it at the celebration party after the Battle of Yavin? But if they did, did he actually have any? He found that he couldn't remember too many details from that party - perhaps due to the fact that he had sampled far more than champagne there.

"I'll take that as a no," Leia said in the smart-aleck voice that was oh-so-familiar to Han.

"Well so what?" said Han. "I don't need to try it to know it can't beat a good Corellian whisky."

Leia exhaled through her teeth, making a loud hissing sound. "Why did I even bother inviting you?" She squeezed her hips. "Well fine, if all you care about is what kind of alcoholic beverages they serve, I don't even want you at my party!"

"You know you don't mean that, sister," Han said in his cocky voice. "Ready to beg me yet?"

Leia's fingers were curling into fists. "Well, see if I come to your birthday party when the time comes!"

Han smirked. "Well who says I'd want you to come?"

Now it was Leia's turn to smirk, as though she suddenly thought she had gained the upper hand. "Don't try to fool me, Solo. If you wouldn't want me to come to yours, then why are you trying to get me to want you to come to mine?"

Han searched his mental collection of wisecracks for a good response, but to his surprise, nothing came. Leia's words had caught him and were hanging him from the ceiling with the truth. Even Leia's smug grin at him couldn't bring him to speak.

"Tell you what," Leia said, not commenting on Han's silence, "I'll talk to Luke and see if we can merge our parties." She promptly turned around and started walking away, as if she wasn't going to give Han any time to respond. "That way, you won't have any excuse."

Han kept his eyes on Leia's rather interesting backside until she vanished into the crowd, his hands fingering her invitation. Merged parties, huh? Would Luke agree to that? He figured that just in case he didn't, he'd better decide which party he would be going to.

He wondered what Leia would like for her birthday.