This is a very AU (of course!) crossover story set between ANH and ESB. And 1883.
Characters – Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Leia Organa and um, you'll have to wait and see…
Wanted - Dead or Alive
From a hilltop vantage point, Luke Skywalker scanned the green landscape with his macrobinoculars, finally sighing and lower the unit. "Not a thing."
"They're not coming," Han Solo stated firmly, folding his arms across his chest as he leaned against a large boulder. "I knew it. You can't trust a Trandoshan. Simple as that."
Princess Leia Organa shot a glare at the smuggler. "Klarr is a Saurin, not a Trandoshan, and his clan has been supplying the rebellion with information for months. We need those particle guns he promised to sell us."
"Months? Big deal," Han countered. "If Saurins are so much different than Trandoshans, then why did he ask directly about whether Chewie was coming along? They're all the same, if ya ask me. Nasty lizards that hate Wookiees."
"I didn't ask you," Leia responded. "He'll be here. He must have been delayed for some reason."
"Klarr didn't say Chewie couldn't come," Luke pointed out. "He just asked if he was coming with us."
"The way he phrased it, 'Will that worthless hair-covered beast that is incapable of speaking in basic be tagging after his master?' isn't implying he'd rather not have Chewie with us?" Han asked with a scowl. "Chewie wasn't happy when the rebel brass told him to stay at the base. He takes his life-debt to me serious."
"Seriously," Leia corrected the Corellian automatically, her mind already racing ahead to the myriad of reasons Klarr had failed to show.
"I ain't kiddin', Princess," Han said tightly.
Hearing his annoyed tone, Leia twisted her neck to gaze up at the smuggler. "I've never questioned Chewbacca's loyalty to you, Captain."
"Then why did you say that?"
"Say what?" Leia asked, her own irritation level rising.
Luke decided it was time to interfere before things escalated out of control. "She was just pointing out the correct word was 'seriously', not 'serious', Han."
"I don't need any lesson from Her Royal Grammarness," Han snapped.
"Apparently, you do," Leia replied, unable to keep the superior tone from her voice.
Desperate to forestall an argument, Luke held up his hands in a peaceful gesture. "Hey, it's just that we're all tired and hot, and that makes us say things we normally wouldn't say."
"Says who?" Han asked.
"Did you see that pretty little pond on the way up here?" Luke questioned, trying to change the subject.
"What about it?"
"Well, it looked like a nice place to cool off," Luke explained, motioning his bickering two friends to follow. "Wouldn't that feel good? A nice dip in a refreshing pond. It even had a waterfall."
"You're obsessed with water, Kid."
"It's better than what you're obsessed with, Solo," Leia said, carefully making her way down the rocky trail.
"What would that be, Princess?" Han asked with a leer.
Leia refused to take the bait. "We don't have swimsuits, Luke."
"Not a problem," Han said quickly, before Luke could answer. "We'll skinny dip."
The Princess's eyes widened at that comment. "Not a chance, Flyboy! It'll be a snowy day on Tatooine before you'll ever see me undressed."
By this point, Luke had led them back to the pond, and the young man was already grinning in anticipation of the refreshing bath. "We can swim in our underwear."
"Feel free to do just that, Luke," Leia said, plunking down on a suitable rock. "I'll sit and wait for you to have your fun."
"She'd rather have her fun watching us," Han told his friend with a wink. "Wet shorts get mighty revealing."
This time, Leia's temper boiled over. "How dare you!" She leapt up from the rock. "I'd rather watch a couple of Gamorrean mud wrestlers!"
"And to think that the boys back at base say you have no sense of fun," Han chided, shaking his head. He started to take off his shirt, waiting for the Princess's next reaction. It didn't take long.
"What are you doing?"
"Stripping down. You wanna watch?"
"Argh!" Leia spluttered out, feeling her face flush at the sight of the shirtless Corellian. "I'm going back to that dump heap of yours and wait there." She spun on her boot toe and stomped off through the thicket.
"Maybe we should forgo the swim and follow her," Luke said, looking over his shoulder at the inviting pond. "She shouldn't walk around alone. It could be dangerous."
Han continued undressing. "The Falcon is only parked about three hundred yards away, and we haven't seen a living soul since we got here. Her Holy Huffiness has a blaster and she can take care of herself. 'Sides, now that she's gone, we don't have to worry about modesty."
Luke knew from experience that Han spoke the truth – more than a few times in the past the spunky Princess had saved their necks, and not the other way around. Besides, that pond was very, very tempting…. "You're right. She'll be fine for an hour." Quickly, Luke peeled off his clothing, and cannonballed into the small lake.
In another pond, on another planet, in another time…
"This does feels great," the blue-eyed blond-headed man said, dunking his head under the water. "I'm glad I let you talk me into taking this swim."
Another man, this one with dark hair and brown eyes, was currently swimming in the middle of the pond, and he settled into an upright bob to talk. "You've got to listen to me, Kid. I always know what's best, because I'm the brains."
The blond man gave a strained look over at his friend. "Hey, Brains. Have you considered the fact that while we're wasting time enjoying this cool dip, those bounty hunters are getting closer and closer?" He waved his hand toward their clothes, boots, and weapons sitting a few yards away, safe and dry. "I still think we should've worn our skivvies."
"Are you joking?" the other man replied. "I hate how wet woolens feel. First they get prickly, and then they get all dry and scratchy."
"Could've killed two birds with one stone," the blond said. "Our monthly bath plus a clothes washing." After a moment, he asked, "How do you suppose those men found out we were in town?"
The dark-haired man shook his head sadly. "Never trust a woman, that's what I always say."
"I don't think Clem is behind this," the other man argued. "She may not be opposed to blackmailing us on occasion, but she's still a friend."
"You still think it's a coincidence that right after we stopped by her place, all of a sudden Briscoe and his clowns show up in town? Well, I don't. She sold us out."
The blond was about to argue the point when he became distracted by a strong current of swirling water. "Did someone pull out the plug on this tub?"
"What are you babbling about now?" The other man tried to move toward shore, but immediately was pulled into deeper water, with his partner pulled along as well. "What's going on?"
"I was trying to tell you – Brains - that we're caught in some type of undertow!"
"That's not possible!" He frantically, and unsuccessfully, tried to swim toward the edge of the small lake.
"Try telling the lake that…"
Both men were sucked underwater.
"We'd better get back to the Falcon," Luke said, trying not to sound disappointed that the reprise was over. "Leia might have gotten in contact with Klarr."
"I hope not," Han muttered, pulling himself out of the pond. "I still don't trust a Trandoshan."
"Han," Luke said, his voice sounding a bit panicky.
"I… I can't swim closer to shore. There's some type of whirlpool swirling around me all of a sudden."
The Corellian noted that Luke wasn't kidding, and the younger man was being sent in a tightening circle toward the center of the pond by a menacing vortex. "Hold on, Luke. I'm coming." Han jumped back into the water and swam in confident strokes over to his friend. "Grab my hand!"
Luke grasped the smuggler's wrist, and desperately tried to pull himself free of the current. The only thing he accomplished was pulling Han into the whirlpool with him. "Now we're both in trouble," Luke gasped, trying to keep his head above water.
"You can say that again," Han agreed, thrashing about fruitlessly.
Seconds later, both men were pulled under the water.