Hi, I first got the idea to do this story when I was thinking about the parallels in the lives of Han Solo and Jack Harkness (ie. transformation from morally ambivalent to good through sidekick-hood to wise people). At first I was going to pair the two of them together, but then I realized that they were too similar and that wouldn't work, so I thought of someone who was a good foil to both of them and here we are. Wow, that explanation made this story sound a lot more literarily sophisticated than it is, sorry about that. Basically, it's two guys getting drunk in a bar. I don't one the guys, one of them is owned by George Lucas, the other by BBC. I also don't own the bar as the setting and beverages in this piece were lifted with utmost respect and admiration from Douglas Adams' So Long and Thanks For All the Fish.
Further disclaimers: I am less of a Star Wars nerd than I am a Torchwood nerd, so there may be some minor errors with geography and stuff, I hope they're not too egregious. Also, I've been watching a lot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer lately and I'm a little worried too much of Spike leaked into my characterization of John, but I tried to keep that under control, so it should be minimal.
Wow, what a long author's note, I'm glad that's all over with. Read on and enjoy.
Han's ears were ringing from the impact of his head slamming against the counter. He could feel the cold, hairy fingers of the severed arm round his neck, cutting off air flow as it pressed his face harder and harder into the rough wood.
"Alright, alright" Han gasped, his voice distorted by his uncomfortable situation, "I'll get Jabba the money, then I'll pay my bar bill, okay?"
Two loud bangs rang out and the pressure on Han's throat suddenly eased. He quickly righted himself and looked around in astonishment. The bartender lay dead across his counter, a bullet through his forehead. The hand, wounded but not by any means subdued, had scuttled round to the other side of the bar and reared itself, poised for attack in front of a man standing there.
The man stared it down, his gaze cool and level, something of a smirk playing at the corner of his mouth; the hand leapt.
It grabbed at the guy's face and he was down, wrestling it on the floor. Han shrugged and turned back to the drink he had been enjoying before the whole fracas with the bartender had begun, displaying the practiced apathy that all members of seedy bars must develop. Paying attention to a bar fight marks you as a newbie, and by extension, as a target. In the background, there was a loud crash followed by a series of meaty phwapping sounds, followed by profuse swearing in several languages and an earsplitting noise like five very long fingernails being scrapped across a wooden floor. Finally, there was a resounding thud and the bar's usual, sinister silence returned.
Han looked up; in one silky smooth motion, the man shoved the dead bartender off the counter and slid behind the bar. Han surveyed his inexplicable savior; there were a few deep scratches down one of his cheeks, their redness matching the man's scarlet jacket, it was some kind of military thing, longer in the back than the front with all kinds of braids and bands and things.
He extended a hand towards Han, "Captain John Hart". Han took it reluctantly; Captain John Hart had an accent he couldn't quite place, maybe lower level Coruscant, but not quite. "I'm Han Solo." Hart inspected the bottles in front of him, picked up one, Arcturan Mega-Gin, and chugged it like it was lemonade. "Ahh", he sighed, "that's good. I'm fresh out of rehab you know."
Han tried not to stare; he had never seen anyone down that much straight Mega-Gin before and remain alive, let alone upright. Still, he masked his surprise and asked the question he knew Hart was waiting for, "really, what for?"
"The usual, alcohol, drugs, murder…" John Hart leaned across the counter towards Han "…sex."
Han kept his face impassive as he tried to figure out the best way to take this comment. In the end, he decided to go at it from a business, rather than a personal angle, "So, drugs? What do you like? Cause I've got a friend down by Tatooine who may happen to have some really good…"
John cut him off, "Hello, rehab, didn't you here? I'm clean now." A slow smile crept up Hart's face as he finished this statement, "ha, gotcha, course I'm not." He took another swig of Mega-Gin. "So, you're a smuggler then?"
Han proceeded cautiously, considering this guy had just shot a man in cold blood, he thought it unlikely that he was a cop, but it still paid to be careful, "Let's just say I have a good ship."
Hart grinned alarmingly and whistled, "I'll bet you do." Han, rapidly growing less and less comfortable with this strange man's company, even if said strange man had saved his hide earlier that evening, hastily changed the subject. "What do you do?" he asked. "Do? I'll do anything, Human, Ood, Sontaren, even Gungan once." Han squirmed imperceptibly, "no, I meant like, what do you do for a living?" He looked Hart up and down and glanced around the room, "are you a record company executive?"
He laughed and pointed to himself with the hand that wasn't clutching the bottle, "Who, me? Nah, I can sing though; I think I'm pretty good at least. Anyway, no, I'm a Time Agent."
Han tried not to scoff, he'd had friends in, shall we say, not strictly speaking legal intertemporal goods transport and apparently the Agency couldn't do its job for shit. That he was a time agent explained a lot about Han's new acquaintance; everyone knew Time Agents were all as mad as a bunch of Wookies in a trash compactor.
Hart was fiddling with something behind the bar, liberally splashing some fierce liquid into two glasses, opening a box and carefully removing two wiggling cubes, and finally, skewering two small, green fruits on a stick. His face lit up as he slid one of his concoctions across the counter, "Fancy a PanGalactic Gargleblaster?"
Well, Han thought, he did save my life earlier, he can't be too bad of a guy, it wouldn't hurt to have one drink with him. "Don't mind if I do."
Morning light glinted feebly through the bar's grimy windows. Han sat up slowly, he was lying of a dusty couch in the corner of the bar and his head was throbbing. "Aggh" he cried, leaping up with a start as he realized that his limbs were entangled with those of the man he'd met last night. The sudden movement made his stomach lurch and he groaned, "What happened? I feel like I've been hit over the head by a gold brick wrapped in a slice of lemon."
John Hart looked up brightly, "I know, isn't that the best part?" He stood and wandered over to the place where Han was currently leaning against the wall for support and, nimbly snaking his arm around Han's shoulder, reached a hand up to ruffle Han's hair.
Han's eyes widened in alarm, "No, no. no, no, no" his mind disintegrated into a torrent of panic, what had happened the night before? "It's not like that. I'm not that…We can't have."
"Relax," drawled Han, "we didn't do anything, not that I didn't try, but you totally weren't into it. In the end, we picked up some Twi'lek chicks; it was a good time."
Han breathed a deep sigh of relief and wobbled towards the door, mumbling to himself, "I gotta get out of here." Hart watched his go, smiling slightly.
Five Years Later, well, sort of five years later, John had long ago learned that it was pointless to even try to keep track of time linearly, John was sitting in a ripped and stained armchair in a frankly disgusting motel in Mos Isely, staring blankly at an aged and flickering holovision set. There was a half empty bottle of something tremendously strong sitting on the dirt-encrusted carpet, next to a faded but suspiciously red-brown stain.
Hart was taking a little alone time. After the whole debacle with Jack and his loyal little team and Jack's pretty new eye candy, he'd wanted nothing more than to crawl away to some galaxy far, far away and get drunk. Stupid bloody Jack, settling down and getting so stuffed full of morals and shit; he was such a pompous bastard and… and… damn, John still wanted him back, wanted him so fucking badly.
He let a hand trail off the arm of his chair and grope about on the floor until his searching fingers found the bottle. He took a long drink and shook his head, enough thought of Jack Harkness; let's see what's on the tube. John aggressively jammed the remote's buttons, unable to find a halfway decent channel or even any porn. But wait, something caught his eye; he backtracked to a station he had flicked by several channels ago, a news station. He leaned in closer to the holograms for a better look and stared in disbelief…
Han Solo. What the bloody hell was he doing on HV? John watched dumbfounded as Solo stood for some sort of ceremony and as someone placed a big, fat medal around Solo's neck.
A reporter's clear, female voice commentated, "I'm here at the dedication ceremony of the Royal Medal of Honor. It is being given to several brave citizens, including those pictured to my left, Han Solo and the young Luke Skywalker, honored today for their roles in the rescue of Princess Leia and the destruction of the Death Star."
John moaned and slammed his head back into his chair, not him too! Not another reformed criminal makes good, not now! Why oh why did everyone he liked always turn out to have a heart of gold?
So there it is. Please, please review, even if you just point out typos or complain about my run on sentences.
Thanks very much to my friend Mattie, for helping test pick up lines to see what kind Hart would use and for giving this story her stamp of approval.