Title: Getting To Entasis

Author: pronker

Era: Leia is sixteen.

Characters: Leia Organa, OC, in this part; Ferus Olin, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Bail Organa and others in past and future parts.

Summary: Princess Leia Organa takes a step into a larger world.

Disclaimer: I am not George Lucas and make no profit from this fanfiction set in his Star Wars. I don't own Star Wars, its characters or settings.

A/N: This is an intertrilogy series in its second and final part, following "Male Gaze" and "Aphrodisiac." The first part consisted of "Song of Myself" and "Spring Fever."

IOIOIOIOIO

"I never have sex on a full stomach," Winter had said, composed as always. Leia filed the advice away in her head, but Winter was not Mother. Mother, what would you advise? The last kiss she had given Breha seemed to brush her own cheek as Leia thought hard about what her mother, the Queen, would say to her. Somehow, as in previous daydreams, the long-haired counselor with the twinkling blue eyes came to mind, but when he opened his mouth to speak, it was Breha's soft contralto that advised, "Go, my daughter, leap into life. It as least as worthwhile as death is, and my death should show you that life does not wait."

Leia balked at the doorway to the bedroom, barely hearing Girn's next words. Like a doll, only moving upon someone else's will and strength, she composed herself and turned inward. What of Breha did she have in her? Breha who died so long ago, adored by Leia but absent except for her holo-statues and the ring that Bail still wore. I don't have much of you in me, Mother. The exclusive relationship of Bail and Breha was not to be passed down to their daughter. Leia did not have the time to be flustered about it.

"This will make us work together even better," Girn said between kisses. He drew Leia towards the wide bed. "Trust me, Leia."

Leia's prime concerns used to be whether she could she run faster than Winter and whether to dump the salad on the floor for her pet to eat when Mother and Father weren't looking. Today, on the fourth day of her formal internship to an Imperial Senator and three hours following her debut speech on the Senate floor's night meeting, the Coruscanti whirlwind of new sights and sounds had intoxicated the Princess of Alderaan more than blossom wine. Mother, I think your spirit dwells within the Palace on Alderaan, now, as always, with Father. And I am not in that place anymore.

Girn buried his face in her neck as Leia fell onto the bed underneath him. She looked up. On the ceiling was a light fixture, an antique, by the look of it. Pale plaster had been shaped to a rosette, a large blossom with furled leaves outlining it, as if the ceiling grew downwards a pulsing live flower with its pistil a light source dimmed to one eighth strength. There were muted sounds coming from the next room in the hotel, along with a baby's shriek of innocent joy. Leia tuned out the sounds in order to concentrate on what was happening. Girn's face above her, a shadow darker than the rosette, filled her world with male scent and purpose. It sounded unnatural to her, but her holomags said that being on top for the first time was the way to go. Leia rolled over, dragging Girn along until she sprawled atop him. She ground down on him to show that she meant business. In the dim light, she saw his eyes widen and felt his hands at her waist, hesitating until she nodded. She did indeed want to be part of the Senatorial team.

Leia closed her eyes as Girn ruched the back of her new dress, rolling up the fabric to flow to either side of her ass. She braced her weight with arms on either side of him, lifting herself as he found the waistband of her undergarments, thrilling as he tore them off her. A few more squirms and they were flesh to flesh, panting and disheveled, pushing together to achieve what they both wanted. Leia felt the hardness leap as she rubbed her center on it. She took a deep breath, arching upwards to position what she could not see, and then Girn took over.

As if he were pulling on a rubber in the way that Leia had read was incorrect, Girn worked each cheek of her ass like a handle, walking her center down to meet his own, pulling steadily until the resistance faltered, then surrendered. Leia snapped her head back, surprised at the lack of sting. She clutched his shoulders and shuddered as he waited, shuddering too, and then they built a rhythm. Each time Leia threw her head back, all the shadows in the rosette's bas-relief rushed out to her, then receded, then she gasped in time with the slow-building pleasure. Feels better than almost anything in the galaxy.

After Girn tensed beneath her, she nearly wept at the thought of incompletion, but he was no tyro. He spared himself not a whit, rolling her in a hug until she lay at his side. He shucked the rest of her clothing and his. Still handling her like a side of nerf, he dragged his tongue from the corner of her jaw to the hardened peak of each breast, biting until she squeaked, then plunged downward. With breath and lips and tongue and clever fingers, he fulfilled Leia's expectations, if not her dreams.

IOIOIOIOIO

I liked this. I want more. Leia drummed her fingers on Girn's flat stomach, listening to the hollow sound. He was the first to draw away, without a backward look, but a kiss to her fingertips. He turned up the lighting as he vanished inside the 'fresher, moaning oddly as he voided. Leia added the sound to the file she had labeled 'Men.' When he returned, Leia had drawn the sheets up to her waist, stretching out a hand, beckoning.

He kissed her fingers again. "My dear, thank you."

"I'm not good at it." Yet.

"You were superb. You are lovely, ambitious and you shall go far." Girn stretched beside her, and they both gazed up at the plaster rosette, curving and flowering in ecru scrolls. "You are like that ceiling flower, opening and showering beauty downward upon this world."

"It's nice of you to say - "

"Enough modesty. As in rhetoric, Leia, superlatives are best used sparingly, to make a point. When I say you are superb, you are. Now, let's move on to what your next career tactic should be."

I don't want to move a muscle until the next election year, thought Leia, but I know that's not what you meant. "I'd like to stay on as your intern for another three months after my first stint. I believe I can learn more from you."

Leia felt Girn's nod on the pillow beside her. She glanced sideways at him, his planed cheekbones, his eyes green as the background to a grass painting and his silver hair and mustache a frame for it all. Aesthetically, he fit all her requirements for a lover. He was what her holomags called 'distinguished.' "You will learn what I can teach you in these next three months, but Leia, already you have background from your Organa heritage and need only time to hone your skills. At the end of this three months, another intern will be coming on board."

"I'd like to meet another peer - "

"And so you shall, before you leave. If my agenda passes, my war chest will suffice for two interns at once, but until that time, one intern at a time is all the funding will cover." He rolled onto his side, speculative in the way that Leia was beginning to know. "Your work in these months will aid the effort for the Consummate Casino Collective."

If Leia were not so relaxed, she would have frowned. "And for the Spanos Prime Animal Nurturing Kalology, too?"

"That is a beginning effort. The Consummate Casino Collective is the ultimate goal. Think of it! Government funding for casinos Republic-wide, all funds not needed for bureaucratic purposes going for the pittins' welfare."

"Bureaucratic purposes."

"Indeed. The scope of the Casino project demands countless hours of work from many talented beings, Leia. Their services do not come cheaply, and should not."

Leia rolled her head to Girn's shoulder. "Do mine?"

She would have to be content with an intellectual reply. Girn was a centrist and would likely not be passionate in any area of his life. He spoke of his point of view often. Even the name of the sector he represented, The Commonality, suited him.

"We centrists seek balance." Girn turned as earnest as Leia had ever heard him. "I will use your talents, your sheer presence - and do not discount your youth - in the way that suits the sector best."

So the next intern will be one in a string, like me. I suppose it's all right if it is consensual. "What will you do if the next intern doesn't want to be part of the senatorial team" - she gestured at the sheets pooled at her waist - "like this?"

"I will buy companionship."

Leia eyed him tartly, the haze of sex dissipated. "You are handsome, genteel, and of course powerful. So why pay - "

She gulped. It might be for something strange. Fear rose inside her. Leia, you have as little experience in this as you do in the Senate. Dimly, the notion that she ought to be glad that she hadn't experience in some matters filtered through her ambitions. There may be places that you don't want to go in life, directions you do not want to grow in. Can you help doing it?

Leia thought harder. Disease didn't care if you were royalty. She crossed her legs. "So," she repeated. "This next intern. Female, I take it."

"As a matter of fact, yes."

"And she will take my place after I leave, in everything?"

Girn trailed a finger down her cheek. "Ifshe chooses."

"Then why, when you have a steady stream" - her voice rose - "of interns, would you pay for sex?" She could not make herself use the more common term for female companions. This conversation was not what she thought of when she and Winter speculated about pillow talk. She stared at the rosette, thinking of botany to calm herself, which led her to think of Fess and his usual goofiness. It helped her mood.

She could tell that Girn turned amused, yet still did not laugh at her or at himself, and that was when Leia knew that he would never be her one and only. "Because there aren't enough interns, and because I don't pay them for the sex. I pay them to go home."

IOIOIOIOI

The night passed dreamlessly, and when Leia awoke, she saw that Girn was on his way out the door. He added over his shoulder, "Read up on the rules for Vingt-et-un and give me a summation of those, as well as on the current casino rules." He tapped the door, it opened and he turned. "I particularly want to know your thoughts on the early surrender rule. If all goes according to plan, the half per cent player advantage added to the half per cent already in place can be used to further the Consummate Casino Collective and for the pittins, too."

"Yes, Senator." Leia's head swam. None of this had been in Madame Vesta's classes. Gambling, the Madame had stated with thinned lips, existed to part fools from their credits. The only reason a sane galaxy permitted it was to enable recreational stretches of mathematics for the weary mind. Then she had corrected herself. "Class, one talent a lady must cultivate is the semblance of understanding why one would gamble. That, in and of itself, makes the activity comprehensible: it is for fun, nothing more." The class nodded. "Dress well, be pleasant, and find something else to do if your escort ignores you for gaming. Plan his comeuppance, if nothing else."

She jerked back to the present and slipped her gown over her head with nothing on beneath it. That felt cool and strange. Thanking the stars that she had not undone her braids last night, she fastened her shoes. To her surprise, Girn had closed the door and sat on the bed, enjoying the view.

"Girn, why are you, a human, representing a near-human population?" Leia eased away from Girn's questing hands. This was serious.

"Don't be as workaholic as my constituents, Leia." Girn pressed closer. "It's most unattractive."

Leia swayed to the side, intent on an answer. "I think I ought to know." She practiced her simper, thinking of Fess. "It will help me help you better."

Girn folded his arms. "I was nominated because of my gambling interests. Vorzyd IV and the rest of the Commonality make an important collection of swing votes. You know how divided the Senate is, and as a gambler, my instincts are on point approximately 73.15 per cent of the time."

"Approximately." I never need to know the odds.

"I cannot be more accurate than that. I apologize."

"And the native Vorzydiaks - "

"My constituents are a sober, hardworking group. I would not see them taken advantage of. They are useful to the Empire's society, and as you may have guessed by now, Leia, my amusement with the galaxy in general ends when they are at risk."

"Theyare your commitment."

"My one and only." In another being, the smile would have been described as feral. "They elected me, they put me in power to protect their interests, and I owe my lifestyle to them. You've researched my background, Intern Organa. You know I come from mediocre stock. Our claim to fame was that we had a swimming pool. My sister escaped that life, and so did I."

It was time to change the subject.

"This party tonight, Girn, what will you want me to do?" She played with his collar, straightening it unnecessarily.

"Leia, simply be yourself." Girn returned the gesture, cupping Leia's chin afterwards. "You know, I realized last night how eager you are to learn." He moved his hand to her neckline. "This will have to go. There is a chiffon special in your closet waiting to display you to your fullest advantage. It's time you spread your wings."

Well, that's suggestive. My wings are a little sore at the moment. "Meaning what?"

Girn rubbed her shoulder, then drew small circles on her backbone. Leia shivered. She thought of Winter's analogy of women realizing their power over men coming like a thunderclap and wondered if men experienced the same epiphany. Suddenly, she felt as exposed as that day of the field trip, when clashing storm systems deluged her and her classmates. Only this time, there was no Fess to point out a sheltering tarla tree, and her friends from childhood were parsecs away.

"Three or four Vorzydiak businessmen, allies of mine in the casino movement, would like to get to know you better. They are nearing retirement age and are determined to explore certain proclivities that they have not had the time to indulge in their working lives. My last intern pleased them greatly. I'm certain you will, as well."

Leia leaned into him, because she had to. His hands forced her into a half-embrace. She pressed her forehead into his chest, feeling the rumble of his voice more than hearing it. The sateen shirt ruffles caressed her lips and it was difficult to think. "I can hold my own in a conversation, Girn."

"Sometimes they want more than conversation."

Girn put both hands on her shoulders, tilting her away from him. Leia had the distinct impression that their galaxy views were on opposite ends of the ecliptic plane. The implications of his words bit into her, hard.

"Well, I won't dance for them, if that's what you mean," she floundered. "What exactly do you mean, Girn?"

The hands on her shoulders leaned her forward so that he could kiss her forehead. "You mustn't be provincial, Leia. You live in Imperial City now. Vorzydiaks aren't anyone to fear. They are Near Human."

She was becoming lost in his arms. Muscle memory flooded her brain as the hot embrace of last night returned to the forefront of her thoughts.

"Mmmmmmm." He buried his face in her crown of braids. "Be nice to them, that's all I'm saying." He swayed her backwards, as if they were dancing again at her Sweet Sixteen Standard party. "They'll reward our casino movement with more support. It's the intern thing to do." He smiled that half-smile of his. "And, you may find that they have some talents you've never heard of. At least, I'd never dreamed of their expertise in a few important areas of life. I can teach you their methods, or maybe they and I can tutor you, together. Yes, they can do things with their antennae - " He trailed off.

No. This will not happen. No, because I control who I let get next to me. "N - they're nice, I'm sure, Girn, but - "

"You can think about it. I was not pressuring you."

But you were. "I won't be a bargaining chip." Use language he can understand and for stars' sake, don't lose this job! Don't let Father down!

"Why so serious?" Girn released her. "Time for my power brunch. Fetch yourself some food, Leia, and this afternoon I'd like you to compile a report on the latest developments in finding a casino venue on Hraki. Have it on my desk at fifth hour." He sailed out the door at Leia's assurance that she would complete her task to his satisfaction, and then some.

Leia strolled to the cafeteria, selected a Byss cheese sandwich, and as she drifted through the checkout line, thinking about her options, a headline strobed at the rack of holomags: "How To Call It Off." She ducked her head as she put the publication on her chit and took it with her to a table. Tucking into her sandwich with a vengeance, she read as she ate.

How To Call It Off

The ideal location is the home. If there is a scene, no longer will you say goodbye as you pay the bill for your meal while gathering your cloak as onlooking servers gawk at the commotion. Let your former love pitch a fit and throw you out privately. Say, "I'm sorry," and calmly leave.

Be vague about your reasons. If you do not, the significant ex-other may think there is one thing that can be fixed and all will be okay. Do NOT be so vague so that the other person has no idea what you are breaking up about. Say, "It's a lot of things, and I have mentioned them in the past, but mainly I'm not focused on you as you deserve, and that's unfair."

Show a holo of the two of you together, saying that you are keeping it as a way to remember the times you had together.

Try not to have farewell sex.

Leia forgot her sandwich. She scrolled through advertisements for couples' retreats, half-price vacations to Hologram Amusement World, and partway through the issue, found something more relevant to her thoughts:

How To Discern When To Move On: Do three or more of these scenarios sound familiar?

- He's stopped talking about the places he'd like to go on vacation with you.

- She's stopped suggesting that you two take holovid appreciation classes together.

- He's taking more than a few hours to answer your comms, and when he does, he's terse.

- She does not throw any of her laundry in with yours.

- He doesn't ask you where you've been, what you've been doing, and when you're coming back.

- She does not want to hear about the adorable things your pittin did last night.

- He doesn't want any terratta strips even though you are making them anyway and it's really no bother.

- She's gone on to a new hairstyle and did not consult you. When you want to have sex, she says it will ruin her 'new look.' She returns from an errand, rumpled and with windblown hair and there was no wind.

Gah, these were for long-time relationships. Leia picked up her sandwich again and prepared to learn about gambling. By second hour, she had committed to memory that insurance was a separate side bet, having nothing to do with your hand and that when you believed that the count was high, you placed a bet that the dealer had a Vingt-et-un. There was a high house advantage and a poor bettor advantage, but sometimes it paid off. It seemed an added danger to gambling, Madame Vesta's voice said snootily in her head. Even money, where's the fun in that? Leia riposted to Madame's cultured tones.

This is simple, she thought. And then she got into the ins and outs of the early surrender rule, and all bets were off.

IOIOIOIOIO

Taking a deep breath, Leia reported to Girn at fifth hour. "To surrender is to abandon your hand on a prompt from the dealer, recovering half your original bet. For a time, early surrender, or surrender offered before the dealer checks his hole card, was offered in unsophisticated casinos galaxy-wide until the owners learned of the better house odds if the rule were late surrender, meaning after the hole card was checked. The strategy of the casinos at that point was to reel in gamblers who were knowledgeable about the odds and keep them gambling, playing on the compulsive tendency of gamblers to continue gambling until they went broke." This was the difficult part to realize, that beings would drive themselves away from the very thing that they loved, because they would have no more funds to continue. But such was life, Madame Vesta had intoned, finger wagging.

Leia continued. "Most medium strength hands should be surrendered if the dealer has a Highest card showing, if the table follows the early surrender rule. For the late surrender rule, only the worst hands ought to be abandoned. For current standards of casino rules regarding number of decks for Vingt-et-un being two, and, and - " Leia drew another deep breath - "in the list of standard variations on those rules, the early surrender against a Ten rule offers the second highest bettor advantage, that of 0.24 per cent, far from 0.48 per cent, which is the topmost bettor advantage, that of the table using a single deck, not a double. In conclusion, the early surrender rule adds one-half per cent to the one-half already there, making one per cent. Late surrender offers 0.08 per cent bettor advantage."

Girn steepled his hands. "Excellent." He glanced at the padd she had prepared but did not open the file.

Smiling, Leia sat beside Girn. "And this will help the pittins and the Consummate Casino Collective? How?"

"We gamblers have weaknesses, even the best of us. That is why my colleague, The Honorable Orn Free Taa, called gambling 'voluntary taxation for the stupid.' And him with his esoteric vices, the rogue. But back to how, my dear. As a centrist, I believe in progressive taxation and the casinos will be taxed according to their great wealth. The early surrender rule will lure in the mediocre gamblers, the ones who almost believe in 'sure things' or perhaps even do so."

"There is no such surety."

"No. Yet we dream, do we not? And these beings will accumulate their small stakes, play and lose often enough so that their money will accumulate to fund and maintain not only the casinos, but the pittins' welfare." He smiled that half-smile of his. "The pittins eat a lot of kibble."

"It, it, this is economic liberalism? I thought that system of thought opposes government intervention in a free market, as much as Palpatine allows one?" She had not met the Emperor yet, and did not want to.

"Economic liberalism does not, generally. But a basic tenet is that individuals should make their own choices with their money, as long as it does not impinge on others. And Leia, no one forces anyone into a casino."

No, not even in an Empire was anyone forced to gamble. Coerced, tickled, yes, but when the Empire wanted something, it used eminent domain on property or on people.

Leia had to ask.

"Does your status representing a swing sector grant any special privileges from the Empire? Because I must mention, respectfully, that this sounds like something it would not endorse." She didn't think he would mind her flaunting her opinion, and in any case, after last night, she had a certain standing. An opinion sounded like something an intern could contribute.

"Oh, I think they will. They get their cut in that monopolies such as that run by Big Leo will be unable any longer to limit the choices of the gambling poor, who will gravitate up to the casinos running Vingt-et-un early surrender tables, seeking to win their fortune. So we will have government intervention in supporting the early surrender rule, which will wide range of opportunities for the poor to a greater number of casinos. That way the potential gamblers, who now veer away from gambling at all, will step into the gambling world." Thoughtfully, he added, "A great deal of the pittins' support, Leia, will come from the gleanings of these modest gains in the casino revenues. And you know, I like the agenda even more because it is not greedy." He sat beside her, this person who claimed her loyalty in very real ways. "It will not rock the boat greatly. We simply skim off the cream of the funds and divert its flow to the Consummate Casino Collective."

"And to the S.P.A.N.K."

"Of course. By the way, where on Hraki is a prime spot for a casino?"

Nibbling on a hangnail, Leia nodded absently. "Montferd. The mountains are beautiful this time of year."

IOIOIOIOIO

TBC