Written for LASOS, for being a damn good writer, an inspiration, and the friend who got me into Han/Leia. (See if you can find your own challenge specifications in there, hun!)

By Mathematica, for LASOS.

My child-

History is, in essence, a fairytale, only one that is neverending and unalterable. And so, the events I shall describe to you tonight are no less fantastical or finite or finished, even though the years have passed and the textbooks have passed their calculated and emotionless verdict on their lives.

(But remember, my child, he would caution her then, that heroes never really die, because every time you speak their name, they continue to live on.)

And so, we begin the fairytale of the not-so-stereotypical princess and the not-never-a-prince pirate. Though this isn't exactly the beginning per se, more like an anacrusis, if you will ...

Once upon a time, in a land that has long since ceased to exist, there was a beautiful princess with hair as soft as the lining of a velveteen coffin and eyes as black as the bruises on her skin and cheeks as red as the blood spilling from her arms. And she was brave and naïve and idealistic and everything that a princess should and should not ever be, because she was a princess, but she was not a princess of fantasy and children's books and lies. And since this is a history, and all histories are fairytales, we say that she was never, ever afraid, no matter how many times her nails raked grooves into the skin of her cracked palms and her teeth nipped into her bleeding-sore lips and she prayed for her death to be quick, like sleeping, even though she knew that it wouldn't be, and that she would no longer be a martyr if it would.

Once upon a time, this girl was rescued by a handsome young man, but he was the exact opposite of the courteous and courtly and charming saviours that the large-print story books described in such detail that it almost had to be real, even though it wasn't, and he was. And by the time the courteous and courtly and charming (almost-not-quite) Knight had come to belatedly claim his prize, they were already at it like prize fighters, the flames so hot that sparks flew between them, if someone cared to look hard enough. (And this is a fairytale, so we do look hard enough.)

And because this is a fairytale, we say that it was love at first sight, even though the only thing stopping him from putting a blaster bolt through her neck was the shadowy promise of gold lurking in her starlike eyes and the only thing stopping her from shoving him headfirst into the dianoga's waiting jaws was the fact that while she could pilot almost any ship, that hunk of junk looked too unsafe for even the devil to fly. We'll assume that he carried her into his white-painted speeder like a groom carries a bride over the threshold of a new home, with a smile on his face and an orchestral soundtrack in the backdrop. (And he did carry her; he dragged her onto the ramp of his crumbling ship while firing red-hot blaster bolts at the advancing armies and telling her to shut the hells up. But this is a fairytale, so such details are omitted.)

As in every fairytale, he embarked on a dangerous, difficult, and unchallenged quest to win her love (win, like an object's won), arguing his way through three years of imightnotgo and todayi'mleaving and maybei'llstay and even (briefly, in a fairytale second) contemplated joining what she saw as a noble crusade and he saw as a suicidal cause. But this is a fairytale, and so such things are never as simple. It took a month of denial before he admitted that he might, maybe, love her. Because this is a fairytale, he knew that a princess and a guy like him could, but it's just too hard to accept.

And when he admitted that he loved her, it wasn't in a romantic setting in a shadowy glade or at a courtly ball with whispering rumourmongers and the sob of a keening cello, but in front of the devil himself-and he wasn't clutching a ring in one (calloused, oil-spattered) palm, nor was he kneeling on the filthy ground amidst condensed steam and the screamscreamscream of machinery, nor was he holding her hand in his and placing tender kisses into her hair. But he was looking deep into her black-onyx eyes, and he told her that single I know and, somehow, the fact that the confession was coaxed from the deepest reaches of his greying soul on his would-be deathbed confirmed that fact more than any simpering prince in a silken room ever, ever could.

In every fairytale, there is a kiss between the beautiful princess and her handsome brave saviour and this tale is no exception, even though there was no swell of violin solos or grand, orchestral arias or any camera pan-ins or coos from the nonexistent crowds. They kissed because there had to be a kiss, except that she loved him before and she would have loved him if it never happened.

The thing about history, my child, is that there is not, nor will there ever be, a proverbial "happy ending" or a final crunch of credits or a happilyeverafter. Because with every day that they live - every day that they love - another chapter gets added onto the story, another line added onto the end.

But remember, my child, that this is a fairytale. And a fairytale always, always has a happy ending. Because if there is no cloud for the silver to line, then what fairytale is that then?