I composed the bulk of this story in August while I drove alone from Maine to New Jersey one afternoon. I had an absolute blast, and when I got home I wrote it down and sent it to a few friends. It has since been incorporated into the follow-up story to Unhappy Reunion, but that story is taking a little longer than I'd hoped to get ready for prime time. Meanwhile, here's a little fluff I thought up to pass the time Southbound on Route 95. Happy Holidays from Lady Peter!
[Post-ROTJ. After an evening of friendly carousing with their fellow ex-rebels on the Moon of Endor, Han and Leia are walking through the darkness, more than a little drunk and in high spirits.]
They walked down a ground-level path leading to the residences, their steps slow and ever so slightly uneven. Every few minutes there was a rumble of thunder; if they were wise, they'd hurry up before getting rained on, but neither of them was concerned with with practicalities tonight. They'd just passed under one of the amber security lamps when Han spoke. "Hey."
"Why haven't you ever asked me about this?" He was gesturing to himself, but they had passed out of the lamp-light and Leia couldn't see clearly.
Leia was hit with her Han Danger Sense. "What would I ask? I know what happened: Luke told me. I've heard a few other versions of the story too, but I think the one Luke told me is the truth."
"Which one did he tell you?"
"Speeder bike crash, just after you left the service. Is that the real one?"
"Yeah. Wow: I told Luke the real story. I really must've had a soft spot for the kid."
"So I know how you got it - what else is there?" But that's not what Han meant and she knew it. She paid this feature no mind, gave it no mention – as if it wasn't there. And that must strike him as strange, since it was such a distinctive part of his physiognomy, one that people (mostly women) frequently commented on.
"I don't know, just-" Her danger sense was telling her to keep control of the conversation before it got out of hand. "it's not polite to ask someone about something like that. I didn't want to insult you."
"Like you've ever worried about insulting me?"
"I've never intentionally brought up something that would cause you real pain." Yes: that sounded good.
"I don't know, it just seems weird to me." Leia's danger sense spoke up again: he's not giving up-go on the offensive.
"Why, because every other girl you've been with has brought it up?"
"Uh, I don't know." Good: you've got him rattled.
"Really. Well let me guess. I bet every girl you've had has made some kind of comment, right?"
"I don't know, maybe."
"Han, I've heard women stay things to you about it. What's more, I've heard women talk about it when you're not around."
"Really? Who? When was this? What did they say?"
"I'm not telling you who. It was during that first year after Yavin, when you were pretty hot stuff around the base."
"I stopped being hot stuff? I don't remember that part."
Leia stumbled a bit. "Don't make me roll my eyes: I need to watch where I'm walking."
"Here: take my arm."
"Like you'd be so much help. I saw what you drank tonight!"
"Come on, humor me. So give: what were these ladies saying about me?"
"Oh, just the usual." She affected a high, girly voice and hung on his arm in a cloying way. "'He's sogorgeous! Have you noticed that scar on his chin? I wonder how he got it? Have you heard? It just makes him even hotter! Milli told me she actually licked it when they were together behind the far bunker.'"
She straightened up and returned to the sardonic tone she'd been using, but kept her hand on his arm. "Yes, seriously. I just know women must love to touch it... what a cliche. It seems to be viewed among your admirers as some sort of fetish object." The topic was getting more and more touchy, but somehow she still felt safe having this discussion. Walking in the dark, not looking at each other, they could keep the tone light and be reassured by each other's touch.
"Don't you count yourself among my admirers?"
"No. I never wanted to be one of your admirers. And I'm not now, either."
"But to get back to the scar..."
"We must!" He swept her into his arms and squeezed, while pressing wild but innocent kisses all over her face and neck.
Leia answered through her laughter. "Why must we? Because you want to hear me say it? You want me to tell you that I love it, too? You want me to touch it? No way. I have my pride." Again, she negated the possible sting of her words by putting her arm around his waist as they continued on.
"But if it wasn't for the admirers..."
"And the former lovers..."
"OK, and the former lovers, then what?"
"You are too vain!"
"And you're too proud! Haven't other guys ever told you how beautiful you are? Hasn't anyone else ever talked about your big brown eyes?"
"I suppose." Not many, she wanted to add, but left it.
"But you still like to hear me say those things, right?"
"Yes." She could just get her answer out around her sudden grin. He stopped again under the next security lamp and turned her to face him.
"Then come on. It belongs to you now, anyway."
In an instant, her mood was utterly sober. "No. No one can own someone that way."
"Sure they can. If it's freely given." Finally she looked up, first into Han's eyes and then at the feature in question. He pointed. "Go ahead." So she touched it. Really, she'd wanted to all along, just like all the other women who'd been counted among his admirers. She couldn't bear to be so average, so trite. But as she drew her thumb along his chin now, she felt her face soften and her eyelids dip just a hair. It didn't matter that others had done it before: somehow it still had power.
"I guess there's something to it." Even Han sounded a little surprised at it.
"There is. I don't know why."
Their eyes met again and Leia felt the magnetic pull towards Han that meant things were about to get serious. But they were still a good 500 yards from the hut that was reserved for her, and she might have just felt a raindrop, so she attempted a good faith effort at turning away and continuing along the path, but Han was having none of it. The moment she broke the spell between them by starting to pull away, he gave a brief shake of his head and pulled her to him, and then they were kissing and Leia really didn't care any more that they might be seen, or that it was about to rain...
And that's where I'll leave our couple for now. To find out where things go from here, follow me and tune in for Predictably Unpredictable, the sequel to Unhappy Reunion!
A Merry Christmas to those who observe it, and welcome to the return of the light!