|Home||Help Search Members Calendar Affiliates Shoutbox|
|Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )||Resend Validation Email|
In the aftermath of the Death Star's destruction, it became almost a necessity to pick up stakes and move the entire Rebel Alliance to another base... and for the most part, it was almost a blessing for the one-time Princess Leia, to put such a place behind her. After all, the ziggurat on the jungle moon housed far too many memories of her father to make it a peaceful place in which to grieve... and so, it was simple enough to agree with Mothma's plans to go somewhere further afield.
But one thing she was less sure about - if all their allies would join them. Case in point? Han Solo.
He'd made great rumblings about getting paid and then getting out... and for the most part, she was in total agreement, because she had a feeling that he was just the sort of man who would get them all caught. But... deeper down, she almost hated to see him go. Why? Not even she was that honest with herself.
So... it was another day of packing up equipment, and while most who came across her would have been forgiven for not realizing the grubby and dressed-down woman with her hair in simple braids was Leia Organa... she still demanded respect. They had mere days to get their equipment out... and she wasn't stopping to do much more than breathe. she hadn't even properly grieved her mother and father... or planet.
Picking up another box full of gear, she heaved it towards the loading platform, and paused, stretching her back once she'd set it down where it needed to go. A hand on the small of her back, she watched Chewie stride towards the Falcon, wondering to herself where Han was. With her luck? He was close... too close.
Han had a lot of room to talk.
But somehow, he was still here after the battle was over, even though he had promised everyone he would take off as soon as they had finished. Hadn't he tried to leave before it had even started, though, too? Whatever it was that had kept him there wasn't normal, that was for sure. He didn't exactly sit there and analyze that, either. Han wasn't the type of man to linger on his thoughts and feelings. He wasn't a wishy-washy kind of guy.
He had been looking for Luke to see if he would give him a hand with a few last-minute, tricky repairs on the Falcon before they all took off. It wasn't going to take too terribly long, but it would've been nice to have it done before they had gone back into space. Chewie was preparing to leave soon on his own mission, back to his people, with a borrowed starfighter. It would be strange to not have lumbering Wookiee at his side, working on the ship and being a near-constant presence. He figured Luke was a decent enough stand-in for the time being.
Han's eyes scanned the area, sweeping over the heads of the Rebels working to load all their equipment away onto ships or doing late repairs like himself. Though he had been seeking out a head that was more blonde, his gaze landed on another familiar face - Leia Organa. He was simultaneously drawn to and repelled from her. They didn't exactly seem to get along the easiest... but he had to admit, there was something about her feistiness he kind of liked. He walked up behind her, thumbs hooked from his belt, nodding in greeting. "Morning, Princess," he said smoothly, inclining his head. "You seen Luke around?"
Still standing with her back to most of the hangar at large, and with her hands still settled in at the small of her back, she watched Chewie lift large containers onto the Falcon, obviously preparing the ship for some kind of trek. Assuming that it meant the furry creature and Han were on their way out, she just shook her head and frowned, knowing deep down that if Han Solo left the Alliance behind, even for short-term, it might be for good.
Why did that bother her so much?
Letting out a little sound nearer a huff than the Princess would have liked to admit to, she was about to turn and reach for another container of odds and ends... when she paused to hear footsteps at her back. Not turning her head, Leia simply let her eyes slide to the side, her gaze falling on familiar brown boots as they came to a rest beside where she was bending. If anything, she should have known those boots on sight, having been stuck in a ship for days, getting back from the Death Star after being captured.
No, not Luke. Han.
She should have known that he was right behind her... and if anything, Leia had to brace herself for some kind of witty comment about her appearance... but when it didn't come and he instead offered a good morning, along with a question about Luke... she turned to look at him, standing as straight as her small form might allow. "Morning," she said shortly, turned to grab up the container she'd been going for, then hoisted it fast, causing herself to lurch forward a little before correcting herself.
The question about Luke made her burn with some annoyance, though she wasn't even sure WHY. It was why she scooted past him with a lazy little shrug, despite the heavy container in her arms. "No, though he's probably over with the X-Wings. You know how he is..." she said... then stopped and turned on her heel to eye Han. "So... you're going too. Not going to rendezvous?" she asked, assuming, as she always did... that he'd leave.
It just made things easier.
At least she was answering his question. Fine. He'd just make this all business then. "I just came from there," he responded, his own tone a cross between wounded and guarded. "He was there earlier but left a few minutes ago. Thought he might've come by here." But no Luke around, just a sullen princess. "Guess not," he added almost lamely. "I'll keep looking."
He eyed her for a moment, really seeing for the first time that she wasn't all done up like normal - she was in more civilian-like clothes, hair in simple braids. Something about that made him feel like she was a bit more approachable... until he remembered that she was acting just as icy towards him as ever. He was almost ready to walk away, but her demeanor still grated at him. Then, she turned and asked if he was not going to meet at the rendezvous.
Ah. That was why she was acting like that.
A smirk slowly spread its way across Han's face. "Don't act so upset, your worshipfulness," he said smoothly, crossing his arms and leaning against a stack of crates. "I plan on sticking around a little while more at least. Seems your Rebellion could use a good pilot." And were willing to pay a bit for it too, but he didn't mention that. Instead, he tilted his head at her a bit, a teasing edge in his voice. "Didn't know you were gonna miss a scoundrel like me so much. You could've just asked me to stay."
It wasn't good that he didn't know where Luke was... but considering the planet wasn't very big, and neither was Luke foolish enough to hide... she knew that there had to be a good enough reason why Han couldn't find their friend. If anything, the thought that he hadn't seen him by the X-Wings was enough to make her turn and look across the tarmac, as if to catch him in a lie... but even she didn't spot any towheaded people lingering around the ships, as Luke tended to do.
Maybe he went to get some food? They had been running around since sunrise, after all.
She turned to look over her shoulder at Han, but both the tone he used, as well as the way he looked at her, it made her stop and narrow her eyes on him. If anything, she was used to such behaviour from him... because he always seemed ready to say some smart-assed thing, before striding off. Maybe this time she could get the last word? Eh, it remained to be seen.
"Nope, he didn't come by here... I would have told you," she told him honestly but still shortly, her expression just this side of sullen, still, for being interrupted. Now she had to worry about Luke, too, on top of everything else. "If he just left, maybe he's going back." And honestly, it seemed like what Luke would do. He didn't venture far from those ships, not for long anyway.
Still, watching him stand there, the two eyeing each other, it was hard to feel any way but judged, because he kept staring. It was enough to spark her ire to greater heights, wondering what he was thinking. she could see his eyes go to her hair, and it was enough to make a hand shoot up to smooth down what she imagined was a rat's nest... just before realizing what she was doing, and dropped it fast. Nope, she wasn't going to make him think she cared about the way she looked. Besides, she didn't care... did she?
Still, that slow smirk of his after a moment? It was the one thing that lit the fuse under her temper... and sent it to greater heights. "For kriff's sake," Leia began in a grumble... and eyed him angrily. "Would you stop calling me that?" she shot at him after a beat, only to stop when she suddenly got what he was getting at. He was staying, and while he was telling her that... he had the audacity to lean back, looking smooth and calm, even while her temper kept burning. It was enough to drive her crazy... and he must've known it... from the smirk on his face. Damn him.
"Me, miss you?" she began and shook her head, settling the crate back down at her feet, to press one hand at her hip, looking just as annoyed yet amused, as ever. "I don't know where you get these ideas, but if that makes you feel better... sure. Go ahead and think that," she added... then reached down to heave up the crate again... and began to walk past him. "I thought you had a debt to pay..."
What it had turned into was yet another confrontation with the last princess of Alderaan, her haughtiness herself. Despite all the names he called her to her face, that was one he was certainly keeping to himself. Besides, it seemed simply existing was enough to piss Leia off, if that angry expression all over her face was anything to go by. She certainly was all fire - short but full of a dignity that almost made him forget it.
Han's smirk only widened into a crooked grin as she cursed. "Language, princess," he admonished, mock-surprised by the words coming from her mouth. He had leaned back, and he didn't much change position, except perhaps to look even more at ease. Apparently his stance was enough to drive her up the wall. Maybe... he liked her that way.
Not liked her. But was certainly amused by her, at least.
He watched as she stuck her hip at out with her hand on it. "That so hard a concept?" he shot back when she echoed if she'd miss him. He shrugged, rolling his eyes as she continued. "Why else would you seem so upset about me missing the rendezvous? C'mon, Princess. Don't pretend you don't want me there. I know it's not my ship you want around." He eyed her, still as smug as before, though slightly hurt and hiding it.
Though he wasn't sure why. Han didn't care about her anymore than she did him, apparently. But he thought that he could get a bit more help with the Alliance now that he was with them - and if they were all honest, they could use a pilot like him and a ship like his. Leia picked up her crate and went back to work. He straightened slightly as she mentioned his debt.
"Yeah, I do," he replied, his tone a bit more annoyed. She disliked him so much she had to bring that up? "But I'm getting something from the Alliance, and I figure lying low with you all for a bit is helping me while I get some jobs lined up." Still, he eyed her, feeling like perhaps she would miss him after all. Why else would she be so touchy about him leaving? "Maybe after the rendezvous, I'll go take care of some things. It'll probably do you some good to not have a scoundrel like me around."
Honestly, everything always turned into a fight when Leia was facing down Han Solo... and for the most part, that was why she'd been forcing herself to stay busy, because she knew once he showed his face around her... she would have probably said or done something to piss him off... and he'd end up pissing her off in turn. There were very few traditions that she believed in, anymore... but that was one.
Frowning at him as he stood there, as if he didn't have a care in the world... Leia's eyes narrowed dangerously, all because she could all but see him devising some kind of horrible thing to say, and... yes, it might have been unkind to think that way, but she had experience on her side. He wasn't the kind of man who used social niceties like Wedge or Luke... and there was something about him that just set her teeth on edge. What? She didn't know... but she wanted to slug him.
And it grew even more so when he dared call her out on her language.
Eyes narrowing even further until they were two slits of dark brown, she had to force herself not to take a step forward, one hand forming a fist that she quickly loosened. He couldn't have been as surprised as he seemed, considering how he didn't really seem like he was doing anything more than relaxing there. A surprised person wouldn't have relaxed even further, now would they? Besides, she had a feeling she'd said worse around him before that... and as far as cursing went? Kriff wasn't the worst she could say... and she was sure they both knew it.
She was forcing herself to breathe, to not say anything that would make things worse, but it was difficult. Standing there, eyeing him as if she were the taller and he were the shorter, she didn't seem cowed in the least. He might have been hovering over her, inches taller... but with a lift of her chin, she exhibited all the grace she'd been born with... and then gritted her teeth as she turned away and heaved up the crate, intending to get back to work. Damn him for distracting her.
"You keep thinking that, and maybe eventually someone'll believe it," she muttered at him even as she stepped past him, cheeks burning and her neck bright red from both knowing he was right and from not wanting to admit it. He made her angrier than anyone else and... and why!? WHY did he get under her skin so much?
Pausing where she was almost right beside him, she eyed him with a little upward tilt of her chin, a little annoyed that he was towering over her in that moment. "Me?!" Leia asked him a little imperiously, just before shaking her head at him, lips giving him a mocking twist that she honestly didn't feel. She was more annoyed than ever to admit that to herself. "It has nothing to do with me," she began. "It's not just the ship we want around - you're a good pilot. We need 'em, now more than ever. With the Empire on the run, we need to keep up the charge and keep hitting them where it hurts," she told him honestly, knowing she could rely on the truth in that statement. Despite her personal feelings, they did need good pilots... Han and Luke were just two.
Still, she stepped past him, having mentioned the debt... and hearing his agreement about how he did need to pay it, she lifted her chin and made as if to walk past... just before what he said hit her. He'd been using them to lie low? She inhaled a breath through her nose and turned to look at him, fingers digging hard enough into the crate as if to crack one of the handholds. "You... you've been biding your time with us... is that it?" she asked him and gritted her teeth, willing to throw the crate at his head. She wouldn't. but it was tempting. "You.... you are a scoundrel..." she muttered darkly and turned to set the crate down, her chin stuck out stubbornly. "Then why show up to the rendezvous at all? What's keeping you here?"
And why did it hurt so much, the thought of him leaving? She should feel RELIEVED!
He could feel his mood slipping, and where he had been composed and even amused moments before, his anger was steadily rising. How did this diminutive woman know how to push all his buttons and make him feel like scum of the galaxy all at once? There was a fire in her that riled him up in all the best and worst ways. He had never really known someone to get under his skin so much before in his whole life.
And of course he left himself completely open for more insults. Leia threw back the fact that they simply needed good pilots, in addition to his ship. Fine, fine, he got the point. She didn't want, nor need, him there, and the only use that he was involved his piloting skills. At least he had that small boost of confidence, if he could even call it that.
But then she had to go mentioning the debt.
Perhaps his description of lying low was a bit much, and really, he was just doing that in addition to hanging around the Rebellion because... well, he wasn't entirely sure why. He had never wanted to help them out before, despite his own hatred of the Empire, and he certainly wasn't the hero. Maybe he was dragging his feet about leaving because of multiple reasons, but he certainly hadn't realized that Leia would be that adverse to one of them being that he was lying low.
And damn, was she mad. She seemed ready to chuck anything within reach at him, but instead it was words that were her weapons - almost always - and as much as Han wanted to say that they didn't sting, he'd be lying. The fact that she ended it all with calling him a scoundrel (and truly sounding like she meant it) was the final nail in the coffin. Fuming, he stood there for a minute, straightening up and ready to storm away from her once and for all. Why the hell did he keep hanging around her like he expected to actually treat him like a human being for once?
He paused mid-turn, though, when she asked him why he was sticking around anyway. She dropped the crate to the ground, her face a portrait of her bullheadedness, and Han knew the question wasn't meant to be rhetorical. He opened his mouth, eyebrows furrowed and his own face set with frustration. He shut it again a moment later, words not coming as easily as they usually did for the pilot who always had a smart-ass answer for everything. But a second later, he was launching in, mouth a mixture of a grimace and amusement.
"Why do you even care?" he shot back. "You're the one so upset that I wasn't going to make rendezvous and that I'm using your precious Alliance to lie low." He smirked slightly, though he was honestly ready for her to try to deck him. "Seems like you want me to stick around, Princess. And just why would that be? Maybe you like having a scoundrel in your life." If nothing else than to have someone to blame, he thought wryly.
Leia was furious... and honestly, the source of her irritation REALLY couldn't miss it.
There wasn't even just one little sign that she was annoyed, either... no. She wasn't a bull, her nostrils weren't flared and she might not have been stamping the ground, but she was standing there, angry enough to feel the rising temperature at her temples, her blood all but boiling in her veins. It wasn't so much anything he was doing, either, that was raising her ire... because this wasn't anything unusual. Nope, his mere presence seemed to be enough.
Sure, the very fact that Han Solo could stand there, acting like he was not some kind of mercenary, using them for cover... it irked her to an extreme that she knew her father might have coped with best... but he was gone. Instead, such things just went from mild conflagrations into full-fledged firestorms because she had no means of calming down, her eyes narrowed to fiery slits in her face. Yep, if ever anyone was in danger of bursting into flame purely because they were annoyed, it was likely Leia Organa right then... and she would have happily set Han ablaze too.
Even so, she didn't get closer, didn't throw a punch at him the way she might have wanted to. Instead, she watched him fume, too... his anger setting hers to a higher level than before. After all, what did he have to be upset about? She was the one who fought undercover for so long, to keep the Rebellion going... and still lost her father and home planet to the Empire's greatest weapon. The mere memory of her father was enough to make her eye him a little, wondering what Bail Organa might have thought of the scoundrel in her midst.
But then she set that aside. No, she'd think about him later... and mourn him then, too.
It was the one question that'd hovered on her tongue that seemed to make Han turn to look at her, though, even as Leia made sure to set the crate down at her feet. Her entire attention was on him, watching his mouth open and close like a fish, as if fighting to find words to say that might appease her. In the moment, she didn't think any might.
Yet... when he did finally come up with something to say, she jerked back from him and just shook her head at him. "Who, me? Upset about you leaving?" she said and scoffed quite openly, her eyes narrowed even as she turned away a little, arms crossed over her chest. Then again, they were better than letting them hang free... because she just might have decked him once in the face for what he said next. After all, the mere idea of her wanting a scoundrel in her life? Who would have ever wanted to admit to such a crazy thing, anyway?
Okay, maybe deep down... she did. But she wasn't about to admit it, either.
"Like I said, you're a good pilot," she told him even as she loosened her arms and turned back to bend to get the crate from where she'd settled it at her feet, though she didn't pick it up. Instead, standing in profile to him, she turned her head to look over her shoulder at Han, her eyes narrowed. "You must make friends everywhere you go, with this kind of way about you," she muttered and then bent, crouching down to reorganize a few things in the crate. "I would have thought you'd be dying to leave anyway? What does it matter what I think?" she added, grabbing the handles after a moment to get to her feet.
This time, she watched him, her eyes narrowed just a little. "Seems like you want to stick around... and not just because of lying low. Why are you still here?" she asked, her shorter stature not hiding the very real truth: she was staring him down.
But why did she seem so annoyed that he might not make rendezvous?
So as she just stood there, arms crossed, insisting that the only reason she wanted him around was due to his piloting skills, Han just rolled his eyes. His arms crossed themselves, unwittingly mirroring her closed-off posture. If she wanted to insist that she didn't give a damn about him and that the Rebellion was the only thing on her mind, then fine. Fine. He didn't have to stick around where he wasn't wanted.
"Kinda thought that maybe you didn't hate me as much as you first let on," he shot back, after she asked why he cared what she thought. "But seems I was wrong. Must be hard to get a bit of civility from the princess 'round here." He stared her back down boldly. She asked then why he was staying around, besides laying low, and he just shrugged off-handedly. "Lying low. Taking a break. Maybe it's nice to rest when you've been runnin' for a while."
He scoffed and shrugged again, hands falling back down to his waist. "But maybe that's not so welcome in your precious Alliance." He scanned the crowd for Luke again, sighing. He was still angry, but the fumes were dying a bit and he was tired of arguing. Maybe it was for the best if he just walked away from this one. "Look, I'm gonna make the rendezvous point, maybe help out a little. Then I'll be back to paying off my debt and doing my own thing. I'll be out of your hair in no time.
"For now, I'm off to find Luke. Good luck packing." He gave a little mock bow and a hint of that still-annoyed smirk. "Princess." Turning, he strode off, face immediately contorting back into fury as soon as she couldn't see him.
Leia didn't want to really think about it too much, why the thought of Han not showing up at the rendezvous would be so upsetting. Nope, it wasn't because she wanted to see him, of that she was certain. Yeah, it all had to do with the plain and simple fact that they needed good pilots, good people to help fight the Empire... nothing more.
Mhm, she was going to stick with that one... even as she noticed he was turning to walk away.
Frowning at his back, what he'd said still ringing in her ears... Leia just gritted her teeth, wanting nothing more than to simply let him go, so she wouldn't have to appear to be the bad guy, YET again. Indeed, the way that he constantly reminded her of her faults, and made every last nerve of hers his target, it was almost as if he wanted to see her angry. Why in the hell would he do that, unless he was some kind of crazy person? It was easy enough to overlook his faults, especially when he was behind the controls of his ship... but there on the ground, watching him act so smug... it just made her want to punch the back of his head.
She wouldn't. She couldn't.
Instead, she just grumbled a moment, watching the way he walked away... just before turning to face him, having slammed that crate back down to the ground. "I don't hate you, but you really are pushing it sometimes!" she tossed at his back, the annoyance in her voice unmistakable. Hands on her hips, she simply watched as he kept going... until she just couldn't' take it anymore. People didn't leave her presence... not like this.
And so... she reached down to the coiled mass of soft rope in the crate, and gripped it... and pondered a moment, knowing what she wanted to do, versus what she knew she SHOULD. And then, in the last second... she ignored the voice at the back of her head, telling her to behave... and instead, grinned wickedly, throwing it overhand at Han, knowing it would hit him... and while not hurt? It just might get his attention.
So he had turned his back on Leia and started to storm off. They'd both cool down by the time they made rendezvous, surely, though it'd probably not change things for them much if they weren't. Han thought that the conversation was all over, however, and that she was done - but clearly not. It was only a short moment later that a bundle of rope whacked him in the back of the head.
He spun around almost wildly. She had hit him. By throwing something at him. What the hell?
His eyes were lit up with refreshed anger and indignation. He looked down at the bundle and then back at Leia. "You threw that at me!" he snapped, stomping back towards her a few steps with a finger pointing accusingly down at the offending item. "You threw that coil of rope and hit me in the back of the head!" It might've been stating the obvious, but he was almost dumbfounded by the ridiculousness of what had just happened.
"What the hell?" he demanded, near furious. He took another step towards her so he could tower over her. "How old are you?"
Did she know it was wrong to throw something at another person? Of course.
Was she upset that she'd done it? Ohhh, definitely not.
The look on Leia's face even advertised that fact, more than anything, the second that Han spun around. Sure, she could have seriously hurt him if she'd been trying to, but the coil of rope had been soft, and though her aim had been true, she hadn't thrown it with enough force to make it do much more than bounce off the back of his skull... which was more than a little satisfying. After all, he thought he could walk away from this fight? Not a chance.
Smirking even more devilishly as he turned his head at once to stare her down... Leia remained right where she was, hands on her hips, and raised her head, looking entirely unrepentant for the flash of anger and annoyance in his eyes. Lifting her chin even higher, she was unable to stop herself from looking proud of herself even as Han turned fully to all but tell her what she'd done. If he was trying to make her feel bad? Wasn't working.
"You bet I did..." she said shortly, the smirk growing more smug, though she took the moment to cross over arms over her chest, just staring him down as he began to stalk towards her in indignation. Had she hit him a lot harder than she thought? Was that why he was stating the obvious? Should she throw something else to fix him?
Her eyes going to the box, as if to perhaps take up another coil of rope, she was almost convinced to do it again... when she realized he was a lot closer than he'd been before. Watching as he cut the space down between them, Leia didn't move from her spot, holding her ground like a queen.
Lifting her chin for the way he was trying to intimidate her with his taller stature, she simply narrowed her eyes at him, her head tilted a bit back to look him in the eye, unflinchingly.. just before his question made her shrug. "Nineteen," she tossed right back at him, just before cocking her head to the side. "What's your excuse?"