"Princess of My Heart"

By EsmeAmelia

AN: I don't own Star Wars, okay? Here's another challenge fic for your enjoyment. This time I got challenged to write a fic where Han and Leia were separated from each other for a long time and then meet up again. I usually consider fics of that sort to be extremely formulaic, so this one was difficult. Let's see how it turned out...

Four years.

Four years today.

That was all Han Solo could think about as he sat in a small bar that nestled in the underbelly of Coruscant, which he had patronized nearly every day for the last four years, sometimes passing out from alcohol consumption, sometimes drinking nothing at all and only staring into space. Each time, he had only one desire, one purpose for these visits, which in all the sickness, blackouts, hangovers, and spent hours, he never achieved.

He wanted to forget her.

Forget her, pretend that she had never existed, that was what his soul constantly screamed, since he could never get her back. It was better to never remember her than to face the incomprehensible stretches of eternity without her. Even after his own death, even if there was such a thing as an afterlife, even then he couldn't look forward to being reunited with her. The fact that she was special and he wasn't made it highly possible that they would still be separated even in death.

Death...

Han rotated his mug between his palms in order to prevent his hands from shaking, his eyes concentrating on his distorted reflection in the orange-tan liquid in an attempt to keep tears from forming - an attempt that once more proved itself to be in vain. As his vision blurred, Han wondered how he could still be like this after four years had passed. He now remembered why he once had a policy of never getting attached to anyone. Anyone could die. Anyone could abandon him to suffer this.

Even his wife.

Tears fell into his drink, creating ripples in the liquid barely noticed by the former smuggler, whose mind was possessed instead by the lost communication with Leia's ship...the news of the explosion...the funeral without so much as a body. Her funeral had been far more elaborate than she probably would have wanted, but with an entire galaxy mourning her, it really couldn't be helped. Han had given a speech at her funeral that people called very moving, but he couldn't remember a word of it. It had seemed that he was in a trance that day, a dream where he was struggling to wake up, but could not.

For a long time he tried to convince himself that it had all been a mistake, that she would still come back, but as the years passed reality gradually consumed him. She wasn't returning. Ever. All the things that came with marriage - children, old age spent together - could never come to be.

There had been times when Han felt that he absolutely could not stand to live the rest of his life without her and had to do something about it. Three times Chewie caught Han pointing a blaster at his head and stopped him before he could harm himself. Several other times the Wookiee caught him taking too many of the sedatives and anti-depressants the doctors had recommended to help him through his grief. Han thought the best way those pills could help him through his grief was by ending his life, but Chewie wasn't going to allow it. The copilot ended up hiding the pills and monitoring how many of them his cub was allowed to take, like a parent supervising his child's medicine.

Although Chewie had ceased to hide the pills, he still insisted on being there when Han took them, even though the suicidal urges had ended. Sometimes Han wondered if the fact that he was no longer trying to kill himself meant he was moving on from Leia's death, but he always concluded that that wasn't the case. He wasn't moving on - he was just terrified of death.

Lando thought that Han should start dating and looking for another woman. The idiot. How could Lando, who had never had a relationship for more than a few months, possibly understand Han's pain?? If he even had the most minute bit of understanding, he would know that Han could never find another woman to replace Leia if he searched every damn planet in the whole damn galaxy.

The mumbling from the small holovid on the wall slowly brought Han's eyes up from his drink, like it was calling out to him, telling him that it showed something he needed to see. Perhaps it would be a distraction that could briefly remove his thoughts from Leia.

The holovid was showing the news - something Han would have immediately turned away from under usual circumstances, but something compelled him to look. Look not at the newscaster who was speaking in some language Han didn't understand, but to look at the headlines traveling across the screen underneath her.

He looked.

He read.

And five words seemed to leap into the bar and strangle him.

SENATOR LEIA ORGANA SOLO ALIVE.

Han lost the ability to breathe, his hands involuntarily shoved his drink to the floor, his eyes shot out of focus, and then he knew nothing.

----------------------------------

Cub, cub, are you all right?

Han gradually comprehended Chewie's voice calling to him, but his groggy state impaired his answering. A few more seconds passed before he felt the hardness against his head and realized that his eyes were closed. With a great deal of effort, he managed to peel his eyelids apart from each other, finding himself looking up at the blurry image of Chewie's face.

Cub, did you faint? Chewie asked in a desperate tone.

Han squinted his eyes shut again. "I-I...I dunno." He reached into his hazy memories, trying to remember what had occurred before he passed out.

Were you drunk again, Han?

Although the memories still weren't returning, Han was fairly certain that he wasn't drunk, that he hadn't fainted because of alcohol. His body felt numb, like a great shock had gone through it. Gradually returning consciousness revealed that he was slumped over a table at the bar...it certainly seemed that he had passed out from drinking, but the blurs in his memory continued to insist that was not the case.

"N-no..." he stuttered. "I don't think..."

Instantly he felt the Wookiee's big arms around him. Come on, we're going home.

As Chewie pulled his stiff, aching body to a standing position, Han felt like something very important had occurred right before he fainted, something incredibly shocking. Why couldn't he remember what it was? It wasn't until he opened his eyes and found himself once again looking at the holovid when it all returned to him.

"Sh-sh-sh-she's alive..." he gasped.

What?

"Leia..." Han murmured, as if in a dream. "Leia...she's...not...dead..."

Chewie stroked his head. I know, cub. I saw the news.

Han felt like air was losing its way to his windpipe. "How...how...how did she survive? Her ship blew up...you saw it...we all saw it..."

Chewie wrapped an arm around the pilot's chest, as if he thought he might faint again. Her ship exploded, but no one was on it. The neo-Imperials were pursuing them, if you remember.

"Yeah..." Han said hesitantly, trying not to guess the explanation.

She and her crew abandoned ship and blew it up themselves, Chewie said slowly. Let them believe she was dead. And well, now that the neo-Imperial commanders are dead, she can come out of hiding.

Hiding?? Since when was Leia the type to hide from something? And for four years?? A portion of Han's consciousness wanted to fade away once again.

"Th-th-the commanders are dead?" he asked suddenly, vaguely realizing that he didn't know this bit of information either.

Chewie nodded. Leia killed them. She launched a surprise attack.

Han swallowed repeatedly, feeling like Chewie had better take him to the refresher before his lunch emptied onto the floor. His fingers grabbed a pinch of skin through his pants leg, the pain informing him that he wasn't dreaming. Leia was alive...Leia was alive...Leia was alive...

So why wasn't he overjoyed?

---------------------------------

All of Han's muscles were tensed at the same time as he approached the door to his apartment - once the apartment he shared with Leia. He felt as if his feet weren't actually touching the floor and his body wasn't actually moving. It was strange...surreal...once again as if he was in a dream. He found that he had to remind his feet of where to step. His hand reached for the button to open the door feeling like it was detached from the rest of him.

The door opened like a curtain revealing a secret, bringing both anticipation and dread of what could be behind it. At first it looked the same as the dreary apartment that had lost its life when it lost Leia, but after a few steps into the living room, the dizziness returned to Han's head at the sight of who was on the sofa.

She sat in the middle of the sofa, her bare legs stretched out of her shorts and brushing the floor in front of her, as if trying to show off the red streaks that now decorated them. For a few slow moments, those streaks were all Han could focus on. Her perfect flesh had been ripped open, the thought of which pushed at his lungs, making them want to gasp for air.

He found that he had to force his eyes to move away from her legs and up to her face - the face he thought would never look at him again. Her eyes were exactly the same as they had been four years ago - the same brown disks that could so easily cast a spell on him. They blinked rapidly at him, as if trying to hold in tears.

"Han..." she said softly.

Most of Han just wanted to jump on her and kiss her until his lips lost their power, but something was restricting him from doing so. All he had suffered in the past four years was creeping into his soul, focusing his attention on the one who had knowingly caused that suffering. His brows unwillingly lowered at his wife while at the same time a tear streamed down his face.

"Leia..." he choked out, finding himself mute after that. Four years' worth of words were swirling around in his head, but none of them could find their way to his mouth.

Leia quickly stood up, her hands in front of her, seemingly trying to dissipate anger at her. "Han...it had nothing to do with you."

Han's voice returned, loud and full of sudden anger. "It?" he shouted. "What's it? Is it you runnin' off and lettin' me think you're dead for FOUR DAMN YEARS??? Is it you not tellin' your own husband anything?? Is it you thinkin' that I didn't need you???"

"Han, listen to me," said Leia.

"Or maybe you could listen to me for once?" interrupted Han. "I know what you're gonna say - you're gonna explain how it was completely necessary to fake your death in order to prevent another war and this was only a small sacrifice in the long run. Am I right??"

Leia lowered her eyes. "Han...I didn't want to hurt you."

"Well guess what - ya did!" snapped Han.

Leia slowly reached out a hand, making a motion to touch her husband, something Han wasn't sure that he wanted. "Han..." she said hesitantly, "...it was a military strategy." Her hand brushed his arm, giving Han chills. "By letting the neo-Imperials believe that I was dead, I could..."

Han abruptly stepped backwards, sticking up his hand. "Don't," he said. "I don't wanna hear this military shit."

"This 'shit' happened to save many lives," said Leia, her brow furrowing.

"Yeah, I know," Han fumed. "Many lives. That's always your top priority, these many lives. Well what about my life?"

"Han..."

Han pulled out his blaster. "You see this? I had it pointed to my head, ready to press the trigger - three damn times. Cause I didn't wanna live without you."

Leia sucked in an abrupt sniff.

"Oh, you wanna see something else?" said Han. "Look at this." He stormed towards the refresher, grabbed the container of his sedatives from the sink, and stormed back to Leia. "See these?" He shook the pills loudly. "Supposed to help me sleep during times of emotional turmoil. Well guess what? I took some overdoses hopin' I'd sleep forever!" He slammed the container on the table next to the sofa. "If it weren't for Chewie watchin' my back, you'd have come home to find yourself a widow."

Leia sniffed again, her body beginning to tremble. "Han, don't you think I thought about you during that time? Don't you think it hurt me to leave you like that??"

"So am I supposed to believe you couldn't send me any messages that you were alive?"

Leia's breath shook, muting her voice down to a whisper. "It was to protect you."

"Protect me??" Han shouted. "You call this protectin' me??"

"If I had sent any messages, they could have been intercepted," Leia said between sniffs. "Had the neo-Imperials discovered that I was alive, they could have used you as a means to get to me." The glimmer of a tear crept down her face. "I couldn't live with myself if I had allowed that to happen."

"Yet you allowed all this to happen," Han said.

Leia's lips were shaking. "I..." Her voice trailed away as she buried her face in her hands, trying to block the sniffing sounds away from her husband.

Han felt waves of guilt pouring over him. Here she was, the only woman he'd ever loved, whom he'd thought dead for four torturous years, and he was yelling at her. Well done, Solo, he thought drearily. Great way to show her how much you missed her, right?

"Leia..." he began.

He wasn't given the chance to say anything else, for Leia ran past him, her face still buried in her hands, and shut herself in the refresher. After several moments of tranced hesitation, Han slowly approached the refresher door, only to find it locked.

He knocked on the door, trying not to let his desperation show. "Leia?" he pleaded. "Leia, please, open the door."

A loud sob from behind the door was all he needed to know that he wasn't wanted. She didn't want comfort, only the ability to cry away her guilt in complete privacy. After a long, lung-draining sigh, Han dragged himself back to the living room.

He slumped down on the sofa, suddenly exhausted. He leaned over his knees and rubbed his forehead, trying to place exactly when things got so mixed up. Why had he reacted like that? But then, why had she thought he'd be okay with her pretending to be dead for all this time? Why was this reunion that should have been joyous filled with such pain? He tried to come up with a way to make things better, but it hurt his head just to think about it.

Upon looking up, he eyed the container of sedatives like it was sent down from the gods, quickly deciding that being awake was too painful right now. Maybe he'd be in a better mood to talk after a nap. It would also give Leia time to settle down. He grabbed the container, opened the lid, and shook out two pills. Two pills, the correct dosage, as Chewie had often driven into his head. Feeling like he didn't have the energy to get water, he popped the pills into his mouth and swallowed them dry, which quickly sent the terrible bitterness of medicine through his mouth and throat. He swallowed repeatedly, scrunching his face, vainly trying to get rid of the horrid taste, soon thinking that taking them without water might not have been such a good idea. Not to mention that his throat felt like he had swallowed a couple of rocks, but he couldn't do anything about that now.

He lay down on the sofa, curled up on his side, hoping the pills would work their magic and put him to sleep as soon as possible. His eyes squeezed shut, attempting to block out the light in the room. As he slowly began to drift off, his mind swirled through thoughts of his wife, tiny moments that would disappear as quickly as they appeared.

Leia's smile on their wedding day...

Her eyes peeking over that air mask on that asteroid...

The sound of her voice after he woke from carbonite...

Her enthusiastic squeal the first time they made love...

Hugging her in the garbage crusher...

Their first kiss on the Falcon...

Her inability to miss an opportunity to insult him...

Running his fingers through her hair...

The memories soon began to fade away, gradually being replaced by blackness that slowly overtook Han's head until he fell asleep.

-------------------------------------------

After what seemed like hours, Leia's tears finally died down, leaving her with a headache and sore eyes. She breathed heavily and unevenly as she stared at herself in the mirror, the woman who had ruined her own husband for the sake of duty. Duty. Why was it always duty with her? Her whole life had been dedicated to helping others - and yet she neglected the person for whom she was the universe. She had saved him from carbonite so long ago, and yet now she had nearly caused his suicide. What sort of hypocrite was she?

The refresher door stood like a fortress, alienating herself from her husband. He probably didn't even want to look at her right now, but she was feeling trapped in here, aching to see him. The walls felt like those of a prison cell, barricading her from the outside world. She needed to get out and see him, even if he ended up yelling at her again. She deserved that anyway, a thousand times over. Her hand yanked at a handful of her hair as she unlocked the door, welcoming the pain it brought. Physical pain wasn't as unbearable as emotional pain.

Upon exiting the refresher, she found Han sound asleep on the sofa, likely worn out from emotion. The setting sun illuminated the room, highlighting Han's body like a spotlight. Leia stood a distance away for several moments, absorbing the sight of her husband, until she saw the container of sedatives sitting open on the table.

He hadn't just fallen asleep because he was tired. He had done this on purpose.

And he hadn't merely tried to sleep naturally. He had taken the sedatives to make sure he would go to sleep.

Leia tried not to take it personally. If Han wanted to take a nap, that was his business - he wasn't doing it to leave her...yet somehow she couldn't help thinking that this was some weird form of revenge, showing her what it felt like to be abandoned.

She sighed as she walked closer to him, remembering how she used to love watching him while he slept. Now, without tears blurring her vision, she was noticing how different he looked from when she had left him. He seemed to be thinner...much thinner, actually. She stared at his chest, able to see the bumps of his ribs even through his shirt. Her eyes moved up to his face, noticing the marks of blackness under his closed eyes, blackness that had accumulated from four years of not taking care of himself. Caused by her...

Once she was close enough, she reached down and touched his face, which she had been aching to touch for the past four years. She closed her eyes as she felt the stiff softness, imagining she was back in the time years ago, before she had tarnished their relationship, when they could just relish in each other. When she opened them again, she looked for some sign that he had felt her touch in his sleep, but found him in the exact same position. The sedatives had put him out cold.

With her hand still on his cheek, she crouched down next to the sofa, on eye-level with her husband's sleeping face, where she could hear his long breathing and see the slow rising and falling of his chest. She stared at his face for several moments, studying him as if by doing so she could reach into his soul and heal his wounds. Her thumb brushed over his chin, his scar, his lips, his nose, his eyebrows, absorbing the sensation of his face as if he would leave her forever tomorrow.

Maybe he would...

"Han," she found herself whispering, hoping that somewhere deep in his subconscious he would hear her. "Han...I'm sorry."

Han responded with nothing but a snore.

--------------------------------

While Han napped, Leia tried to find ways to keep herself busy, which actually proved not to be too difficult. In addition to neglecting his own health during her absence, Han had also neglected the apartment, which gave her a lot of cleaning to do. She normally didn't enjoy cleaning, but today she was aching for distraction. Yet somehow in the midst of washing clothes, putting things away, and scrubbing the floors, she always found herself coming back to the sofa, periodically checking on her husband, like she needed constant assurance that he hadn't woken up and left her.

Finally she ran out of things to do...or maybe she had just decided that cleaning wasn't helping. Whatever the case, she returned to the living room, noticing for the first time how late it had gotten. The sun had set long ago - her reunion with Han was now hours in the past. For some reason, another realization came with that - the realization that it was the anniversary of the day she had faked her death.

Leia felt like her soul was mixing itself up inside her. During all her time in exile, all the time dodging her enemies and planning secret attacks, part of her mind was always on this day, always aching to see her husband again, but also wondering how he would react to the discovery that she was alive. She had even occasionally wondered if she would come home to find her husband married to someone else.

At least she didn't have to deal with that...

Her jaw felt like it wanted to yawn, but she stifled herself as she looked down at Han, who was still fast asleep. Surely the effect of the sedatives must have worn out by now and been replaced by natural sleep, Leia thought. And if it hadn't, she would somehow force it to - because if there was one thing of which she was certain, it was that she did not want to be alone in that double bed tonight.

She reached down and grasped her husband's side, shaking it gently but rapidly. "Han," she said, "Han, come on, get up."

Han grunted as his head turned up to face her, but his mind remained unaware of the outside world.

Leia shook him harder. "Han," she said, trying to be gentle, but quickly losing patience with her husband who was a heavy sleeper without pills to assist him. "Han, it's time to get up."

Han only grunted again.

"Han!" Leia unexpectedly shouted, still shaking her husband. "Han, wake up, it's time for bed."

Finally Han groggily began batting his eyes open, giving a long yawn, seeming almost to have forgotten the four-year separation from his wife. "Weird reason to wake me up..." he mumbled.

"Can you really blame me?" said Leia. "That bed's too big for one." Then, finding that her instinct to use sarcasm around him hadn't faded in all this time, she added, "So how was your sedative-induced nap? You know, the one you took while your wife was devastated?"

"I've had better ones," Han muttered as he rubbed his eyes.

"I'm sure," said Leia. "Probably some of your overdoses knocked you out for several days."

Han sighed, still looking like he wasn't completely awake. "Look...Leia...I didn't think you wanted to talk to me."

Leia sighed back, sinking down on the sofa, sitting next to Han's stomach, his torso and knees serving as arms for her makeshift chair. "Well what if I did? What if I wanted to apologize for all this time?"

"So you're sorry for all those lives you saved?" Han said, his tone sounding like he wasn't sure whether or not he was joking.

Leia fiddled with a strand of her hair, playing with it as if it had magical powers that would make everything all right. "Han...I'd go into a long speech about how I've been a politician since before I was even an adult and how I will always have enemies and I will always have concerns that involve the entire galaxy...but I don't think that's what you want."

"Damn right," said Han, wiggling his stomach and legs out from behind Leia so he could sit up.

"Well what do you want?"

Han's hazel eyes stared at her in silence, moist dots appearing at the edges. "I would've thought you'd know." His finger brushed the edges of his eyes, but the moisture reappeared after a moment. "What do you think I've wanted all this time? Somethin' I guess your job keeps you from givin'."

"What?" said Leia, guessing the answer but thirsting to hear it come from her husband's mouth.

Han fiercely grabbed her shoulders, squeezing her like he was trying to break her flesh. "YOU!" he shouted.

As abruptly as he had grabbed her shoulders, he let them go, after which he rose from the sofa, grabbed the sedative container, and stormed into the bedroom before Leia could say another word.

-------------------------------------------

Han sat up in bed, his knees up to his chest, his arms resting on his knees, unsure how long he had been in this position. Leia had passed through the bedroom a few minutes before, barely glancing at him as she headed to the adjacent refresher to change into her nightclothes. She hadn't even seemed to notice that Han was wearing her favorite pajamas. Or maybe she had noticed and was choosing not to acknowledge it...she was still difficult to figure out.

Not that he really felt much like sleeping after the long nap he'd just had, but Leia had expressed that she just might want him with her tonight, which might be an opportunity to make amends...or at least an opportunity to be together for a while.

Leia exited the refresher, giving Han pause at the sight of her wearing his favorite nightgown - her sleeveless yellow one. Her brown hair curled around her shoulders, bringing contrast to her gown. Han felt himself beginning to shudder at the sight of her.

Leia still didn't take notice to what Han was wearing - instead she held up the now-empty sedative container. "I found this on the sink," she said, looking almost like she was grinning. "That's a pretty big overdose there."

Han shrugged. "I flushed 'em. Don't need 'em anymore."

Leia crawled onto her side of the bed, which Han had kept empty all this time. "You do know that you could suffer side effects from abruptly getting rid of them, right?"

"Heh, I already got hangovers just about every day after you left - I doubt I'll notice."

"Is there anything you didn't do to make yourself a wreck while I was gone?" asked Leia.

Han leaned against the back of the bed. "Well, I don't think I started usin' deathsticks, but seein' as how I was drunk most of the time, I might've without knowin' it."

Leia made a noise that sounded like a snicker. "Not that you weren't already a wreck when I left."

"And what's THAT supposed to mean?" Han exclaimed, trying to sound exasperated.

"Like you don't know?" Leia teased, now unmistakably smiling at him, showing those lips that always increased Han's heartbeat.

"Oh, so you're the one who pretends you're dead and yet I'm the wreck," Han said in a muttering tone, sinking under the covers.

Leia's smile faded as she sighed through her nostrils. "Han...I wish I knew what to say." She leaned back, stretching her legs in front of her, once again showing Han those fresh scars. Han wasn't sure which was making him more uncomfortable - Leia not knowing what to say or her torn legs.

With great caution, Han slowly put his hand on his wife's leg, feeling that skin that sent electricity through his nerves. "So...how did this happen?"

Leia put her hand on top of his, making him think for a second that she was going to push it off, but instead she squeezed his fingers, warming them up. "It was in the last battle..." she mumbled.

"Yeah?" said Han, gently stroking her leg while she continued to grasp his fingers, their hands moving as one.

"We attacked the neo-Imperials' base," Leia said in a hushed voice, "and well...once the commanders saw that I was alive, as you can imagine, I became their prime target." Her thumb ran between his knuckles. "As the battle neared a close with our side winning, I guess the neo-Imperial soldiers thought that if they were going to lose, at least they could get some personal revenge." She gave a loud sigh. "They planted a thermal detonator in one of the walls, and most of the building collapsed - with us in it."

Han involuntary sucked in his breath.

"Miraculously, I was able to get myself out of the debris and rescue some of my followers," continued Leia, "but...well, not without this happening." Her hand slipped off of Han's and ran over the streaks on her leg. "The doctors say I'll have these the rest of my life."

A long moment passed with no one saying anything. Han traced Leia's new scars with his fingers, slowly digesting the news that they would always be there, that her unaltered legs were a memory. Yet that thought was soon completely overtaken by the thought that he was touching his wife. Touching his wife. And her flesh was soft and warm - not stiff and ice cold. Leia was alive...alive...alive.

Like her skin was magnetic, Han leaned in closer to it until his lips met with her leg, her flesh tasting the same as it had years before. His eyes closed, letting his attention settle on the sensation under his lips.

"You are weird," Leia said, jolting him out of the trance.

"What?" said Han, opening his eyes and looking back at his wife's face.

"First time you kiss me in four years, and it's on my leg," she continued.

"Oh?" said Han. "Are we ready for the better place for me to kiss you yet?"

Leia sighed as she pulled the covers over her legs, hiding her scars once more. "Are we?"

Han felt a grin creeping across his face. "Well why don't we find out?" The exhilaration that he once felt around her was slowly returning, gathering all its energy, which in turn, began dissipating the anger at her.

Leia gazed ahead, seeming to look past her husband to the far corners of the room. Her mouth opened like she was about to answer, but silence continued to dominate the moment. Han swallowed repeatedly as the shivers returned to his nerves, but his body felt frozen in place, waiting for something, though he couldn't tell what it was.

Apparently Leia didn't know what it was either. After what felt like several minutes of sitting still, she slowly began to lean towards her husband, triggering Han's reflexes to close his eyes and purse his lips.

But the kiss didn't come. Instead, she pinched the shoulder of his pajama top, shaking the fabric between her fingers. "You wore these on purpose, didn't you?"

Han shrugged. "Been wearin' them a lot lately. Wore 'em the night I thought you died."

"Any particular reason?" Leia said slyly.

"They're comfy?" Han said with a slight grin.

"Are you sure that's the only reason?"

Han reached over and grabbed a piece of Leia's nightgown between his fingers. "Well look who's talkin'. You're wearin' this on purpose, aren't ya?"

"Maybe," said Leia, returning Han's grin. "I've been waiting to wear it again for four years."

Han found himself laughing, the years of separation draining out of him, feeling the only thing that mattered now was his wife next to him.His heart jumped as Leia leaned close to him again, this time aiming for his lips.

The kiss that followed brought sweet forgetfulness, letting Han relish in the moment, and only the moment. The past faded away, leaving only one thought - she was here. With him. What more could possibly matter?

After several moments of this glorious trance, Leia pulled out of the kiss, gazing at her husband with those eyes, her breath becoming louder and heavier.

Han grinned as widely as he could, his fingers once more pinching her nightgown. "Say Leia," he said slyly, "any chance you might be interested in taking this off tonight?"

Leia's laughter gave him a definite answer, both for tonight and for the future.

THE END