Hazel Eyes (Wishes of Wind)
Summary: "Let's pretend, then, Princess," he drawled suddenly. "Let's say that for one minute, we're both different people. I'll be the Prince… and you'll be the Scoundrel." Sequel to "Brown Eyes." AU H/L, V/P.
A/N: I'd like to thank everyone who supported this sequel, and I have to say I'm excited to write it. I've been such a huge H/L fan ever since I first saw SW years ago... they were my first couple from the movies.
NOTE: My YA sci-fi/fantasy novel OCEAN OF EMPTINESS is available on Amazon. If you would like to read a sample chapter, please visit my website by going to my profile and clicking on my homepage. Also, if you'd like to be a fan on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, check out my profile.
Background: Set 19 years after "Brown Eyes." The Empire and the corrupt Rebel Alliance are at war with each other. However, a third organization is quickly growing, determined to bring both parties down.
Disclaimer: Don't own, never will.
Han Solo was on the prowl tonight.
Not for women, not for anything illegal… maybe. For a job. He'd been gambling for several hours and had to get Chewie out of several fights that could've potentially ended up lethal, but overall, it was good.
He just needed a job. A big job. Something that would let him go back to Corellia and have a few drinks before heading back out again.
The seedy casino on Rodia needed new carpets, he noticed blandly. As he strolled around the gambling tables, he saw less than savory characters drinking, laughing, and fighting. One man dropped to the floor in front of him, completely drunk. Han just stepped over him, completely unimpressed. And bored. Rodia wasn't exactly the best place to spend time, but its casinos were packed with fat cats, Imperial officers, and even rich Rebellion leaders willing to spend a few on gambling... or smuggling. Rodia, fortunately, was one of the few places where Rebels and Imperials would be the same area without threat of violence, for the most part. Here, both sides would come here for pure illegal reasons. Which, for him, seemed like a perfectly good reason to come. After all, he was in the smuggling business.
He honestly didn't give a kriff about the war between the Alliance and the Empire. It'd been going on for years, but honestly, he didn't see that much of a difference between the two. Both were corrupt, both were just after a power-grab, and both served his needs in some way. The Empire, he did admit, was much crueler and more hostile and vicious than the Alliance, but he'd seen the Alliance in action, and they weren't exactly angels, either.
"Solo! HEY, SOLO!"
Han instinctively put his hand on his gun and whirled around to face a red-haired man coming up to him with a grin on his face.
"Rendar, what the kriff are you doing here?" Han clapped Dash Rendar on the back. "Comin' in on my territory?"
"Your territory, Solo? Let's just call it open ground." Rendar said. "But I ain't here for the business. I'm about to snag something pretty big here."
Solo wished he knew what Rendar was talking about. The man was always up to something – Corellians were built that way. He just wished he were up to something, too. Right now, Chewie was on the other side of the floor trying to haggle a price with a bad-looking Nautolan, and he didn't have anything. And now, here came Rendar, saying he had something special up his sleeve.
Great. Kriffing perfect.
"Wanna let me in on the secret?" Han asked half-jokingly.
Rendar roared with laughter, slapped Han on the back. "Nice try, buddy. But no can do. This one's a hot cookie, and I'm keepin' to myself. Try Calrissian. He's just over there, makin' love with his sweet-talkin' to a hot chick over there."
Lando, sweet-talking. What else was new, Han wondered dryly.
"But fine," Rendar was saying, "I'll let you in on my sweet deal. It's a bigshot job, some major guy on Alderaan. Peaceful planet, I guess, but this guy's got me toting some major stuff. Figure I can tell you – smuggler's honor and all that kriff," he laughed. "But this guy's some big deal. I think he's a prince or something."
Han snorted. "Give me a break." But he desperately wanted Rendar to share more information. Maybe he could shake up this prince guy for another job.
"Yeah, I know, right? The rich and famous… in another world, right? Ah, well. That's how it goes." Rendar pointed across the room to a tall man with short brown and silver hair and a matching goatee. He looked pretty much like Han had pictured: well dressed, dignified, cool. The kind of guy Han hated.
"That's the guy. Bail Organa. Fully loaded," Rendar chuckled.
"Does he have a brother?" Han half-joked.
Rendar laughed again, shook his head. "Don't think so. But," he added in a low voice, leaning in closer, "I heard he's got ties to the Alliance. And I've heard the Alliance pays pretty kriffing well for smugglers these days."
"Didn't realize you were the sentimental type," Han said dryly.
Rendar snorted. "I'm not. Money, Solo. Speaking of the Alliance, though, I wondered if you'd heard anything about the Ord Mandell incident."
Han hadn't. "No. What incident?"
"Rumors are that during the battle between the Rebs and the Imps, some other guys got involved. Started shooting, took both sides out in a matter of minutes."
"So?" Han said irritably. "It's Ord Mandell. That kinda stuff's expected." What was Rendar getting at?
"Yeah, well, there were also rumors that a few guys with light swords were at the battle. I heard they were leading the mysterious third party."
Light swords? Now, that was interesting. Apparently, all of those crazy Force-type people had been eliminated when the Emperor had come into power. His right hand, Vader, had been one of the few left - working for the Emperor, of course. But Vader had gone missing years ago, presumed dead. No one had really seen any of those Force-people in years, decades, even. Although he hated to admit it, Han did think that was interesting. Maybe something was going on...
Not that he cared, of course.
"That might be a reason why Organa's got me smuggling some huge weapons out to the outer rim," Rendar was saying. "I think he's scared." Then, he grinned wickedly, green eyes glittering. "Heard he's got this famous ward – a princess. Heard she was here, but that's probably just rumor. Guess she's this famous beauty – long, dark hair, deep brown eyes…" He made a sound of disappointment. "But another time. Hey, maybe I'll get to meet her when I make the run for the old man, huh?" He laughed again, and Han found himself growing more irritated by Rendar and the situation by the second.
"I mean," Rendar continued, "You think a Princess and a guy like me-"
"No," Han interrupted shortly. No way a princess would go for an arrogant sithspawn like Rendar.
Rendar just laughed. "Sure, Solo. Whatever you say. Well, we'll see. Tell you what – let's make a bet. See if you get a job to Alderaan – and if you do, then whoever meets the Princess first gets free drinks on the other guy for the next year. Whaddaya say?"
Han didn't like to make bets, especially ones he could lose. He wasn't like Lando, he didn't belong in a casino. He belonged in space, flying free. But he highly doubted Rendar would ever meet the Princess… Still…
"Nah," said Han. "I'll pass." He felt stupid for doing so, but he and Chewie needed money, and frankly, he couldn't afford to lose. He wasn't as backbiting as Rendar, but then again, he really didn't want to be.
Rendar grinned knowingly, patted Han on the back in a condescending way. "Sure thing, Solo. If you change your mind, I'll be here all night." Still chuckling, he shook his head and went off in the direction of two beautiful blondes in skimpy outfits.
Han shot a sullen look after him and glanced around for Chewie. He wasn't with the Nautolan anymore, so it must've gone sour. Letting out a curse under his breath, he stormed out of the casino and went outside to the fountain area. It was a nice night, he had to admit, and, if there hadn't been light pollution, the stars would've been beautiful.
That was where he needed to be right now.
"Kriff," he heard a female voice mutter from the other side of the glowing fountain gently spouting water into a multi-lit pool.
Han frowned, started around the fountain. He didn't see anyone.
"Kriff it to Hoth," he heard the voice mutter again.
Now intrigued, he stepped closer until he reached the other side of the fountain. What he found startled him more than anything had in a long, long time.
It was a young woman, looking barely eighteen. He couldn't see the majority of her face because she was bent over, trying to yank her long white dress out of a small shrubbery that lined the fountain.
"Damn dress," she grumbled.
"You need help?" he asked, amused.
"No," she snapped instantly, and tugged harder.
Han leaned against the fountain casually. And for the first time that night, a grin crept across his face. "You sure? Looks pretty bad there, sister."
"I'm not your sister!" She gave one last yank, and rrriiiippp! The dress tore open a long, gaping hole right down to the hem, leaving a very large slit down the side of the dress. Growling, the young woman stood upright and glared at him.
In that moment, Han forgot to breathe. Kriffing sithspawn, she was beautiful. A smooth, ivory face illuminated in golden and crimson from the fountain lights. Her dark brown eyes, almost black, sparkled and gleamed in the dim light, and her hair, which he was sure had once been in a regal hairstyle, hung long and shimmering deep brown down her shoulders once her white hood fell to her shoulders. She was tiny, about a head or so shorter than he, and slim. But he could just tell she was strong.
Her jaw clenched. "What are you looking at?" she snapped.
Han blinked, forced a lopsided grin onto his face. Man, he'd never been taken aback by a woman like this before. "Hey, take it easy, Princess. Didn't mean to bug you."
Her eyes narrowed. "What are you, following me?"
"Following you?" he said, confused.
"Yes, you idiot, following me. Waiting until I was out of my mentor's sight to hound me with questions, proposals of marriage, or more likely, to try and kidnap me for ransom, hm?" Before he could speak, she marched forward, poked him on the chest. Yep, very strong. "Well, you better listen, pal. No one's kidnapping me, especially not you, got it?"
He really wanted to kiss her right now. Kiss her or kill her. "Whoa, geez, take it easy," he said, holding up hands in self-defense. "Why would I want to kidnap you?"
She looked at him as though he were insane. "Because I'm the damn Princess of Alderaan, you scruffy-looking nerf-herder!"
Han's mouth dropped open. "W-What?" he stammered.
"Who'd you think I was?" she demanded. "Are you on drugs? You just called me 'Princess!'"
"It was because of your snobby Ice Princess attitude!" Han protested. "I didn't actually think you were the Princess of Alderaan!"
"Then what are you doing out here?" she snapped.
"What, a guy can't get a breath of fresh air? Have you been in that casino?"
She folded her arms over her chest and nodded grudgingly. "Fine, you have a point."
"Course I do. Geez." He rubbed the back of his neck. "Ya know, a friend of mine was lookin' for you. Made a bet with me that he'd meet you first." He didn't know why he was telling her this – she'd probably be furious.
Her eyes narrowed, and her head tilted to one side. Uh-oh. Not good. But, once again shocking him, she demanded, "How much?"
"What?" he asked blankly.
"How money did he bet?" she asked impatiently.
Wow. Now he really wanted to kiss her.
"Free drinks for a year for the one who won," Han blurted out.
The Princess eyed him skeptically, looking as though she were deep in thought… or as if she wanted to cut his head off. He swallowed. He hoped this wouldn't get him in trouble with her mentor, Bail Organa.
"Here's the deal," she said suddenly. "I'll go in with you, show your friend that you met me first. And you make him give me half of the free drinks. Deal?" She held out a slim, small hand.
This night, one which Han had previously thought would be the worst night ever, was quickly becoming the best night in his life. He grinned broadly, shook her hand. "Deal, Your Highness."
"Don't call me that," she muttered. "I don't like it."
"Sure thing, your Worshipfullness," he said. He found that was enjoying this conversation more and more.
She shot him a deadly glare. "Not that, either, you dirty scoundrel."
"No promises, sweetheart," he said, and mockingly bowed to her, holding out his arm. After a moment, she reluctantly slipped her hand into the crook of his arm and allowed him to lead her back towards the casino. "But why not Princess?"
"I don't like being reminded," was all she said.
He paused, halted, and turned to look down at her. "Let's pretend, then, Princess," he drawled suddenly. "Let's say that for one minute, we're both different people. I'll be the Prince… and you'll be the Scoundrel."
She started laughing. "I don't think you could ever be a prince," she snickered.
He felt as though he should be offended, but he just grinned along with her. "Don't think so. I'd probably go crazy."
The Princess smiled, glanced up at him. "I think I'd have to agree. And you don't look the part. But..." She studied him more closely, and he felt his heart race increase even further. "You do have nice eyes, though. What color are they, hazel?"
"Brown," he managed to get out.
"No, they're hazel," she said matter-of-factly. "And as I outrank you, I think my opinion is the one we're going to have to go with." Despite her arrogant tone, he saw a small grin flickering on her mouth.
"Hey, right now I outrank you, remember?" he said. "Just play along, Scoundrel." He tugged her gently along with him, and they reentered the casino together.
"Fine," she sighed. After a moment, she said more soberly, "I think we're all pretending in some way. We all wear disguises. Facades."
Han had met many princesses before, and this one wasn't like any he'd ever met. She certainly wasn't stupid or ignorant. She'd been through life, and he had the feeling that it hadn't been the easiest life, either. "That's a grim outlook on life," he observed, wondering what she would say.
"It's a grim world," she said gravely.
Han didn't like the dark look on her face. He wondered what she'd been through. He wanted to bring that beautiful smile back to her face, make her look younger. He squeezed her hand, grinned down at her. "C'mon, lighten up for tonight. You're the Scoundrel. You gotta act the part."
She straightened her shoulders, raised an eyebrow at him. "And how should a Scoundrel act?"
"Well," he said, "You're coming in with me, so that's a good start."
His world spun when she grinned mischievously up at him.
"Then, Your Highness," she said playfully, "Let's also make it a good ending, hm?"
And as they entered the grand ballroom of the casino, in sight of everyone, she leaned up and kissed him on the cheek.
Han felt as though he were on top of the world when he saw the dumbstruck look on Dash Rendar's face. Then, he glanced down at the beautiful woman on his arm. His heart did a giant flip when he saw the way her eyes were shining.
Let me know if I should continue! :)