Rakes and Royalty
Takes place just before the ceremony on Yavin's moon at the end
of "A New Hope"
Han stood up. He took a deep breath and faced Chewbacca with an
"I'm going for a walk."
Chewbacca responded with whiney grumble.
"I know the ceremony is about to begin, but we've been waiting
here all afternoon and I don't feel like
sitting around anymore. I'm going to see if I can find Luke....or
somebody who can tell me why this is
taking forever and a day," Han grumbled back.
The abandoned temple which was serving as the current rebel headquarters
was an ancient stone
structure of immense size. As Han ambled through the vast empty
corridors he started to think
venturing out of his chamber unescorted might have been a bad
But even this was better than just sitting there, waiting, with
nothing to do but concentrate on keeping
himself clean and well-pressed. No, it was good to get out of
that room. Besides, Chewie kept
shedding on his vest.
He turned up a smaller corridor, hearing faint voices at the opposite
end. A young woman in a utility
uniform approached him. She gave him a quizzical look.
"Are you lost, Sir?"
Han stopped walking and faced her. He straightened to his full
height and shook his head indignantly.
"Of course not," he informed.
"Are you looking for Princess Leia?" the woman amended.
Han's eyes lit up. "As a matter of fact..."
The woman smiled warmly. "You were heading in the right direction.
The second chamber on the left,
just up the hall."
Han returned the smile. "Yeah, the princess. I wanna see the princess."
He turned from her and gazed
in the direction she had indicated.
Leia looked up at the sound of someone knocking on the door. She
turned around in her chair and
"Shall I get that, Your Highness?" her assistant asked.
"No, Genna....COME IN!....Keep working on my hair, we're running
late as it is," Leia instructed. She
faced the door. "COME IN, I SAID!"
The door opened slowly. Han Solo, of all people, stuck his head
in. His eyes swept over her
appreciatively and he offered her a crooked grin.
"Your Worship, very nice, very...elegant. Your 'Prince Perfect',
whoever he is, will be impressed."
Leia realized her mouth was hanging open and quickly snapped it
shut. "There is no...prince," she
muttered, smoothing the bodice of her white gown distractedly.
Han beamed back at her. "Really? Isn't that interesting? A beautiful
princess in need of a prince."
Leia turned away from him just in case she blushed at his compliments.
"What are YOU doing here?
You're supposed to be getting ready for the recognition ceremony,"
she said a little too sharply. She
took a deep breath, ordered her heart to stop racing.
Han feigned insult. "I am ready," he declared, stepping all the
way into the room and closing the door
behind him. "I've been ready." He spread his arms and turned
around for her. "What d'ya think?"
Leia fought a smile. "Nice. Now if you'll excuse me......as you
can see, I'm getting my hair done." She
gestured slightly behind her to the tall woman plaiting her long
"I don't mind," Han said, stepping closer, "If your servant doesn't
Leia sighed. "Genna is not my servant, Han. She's a personal assistant.
I don't...." She paused, catching
Han's condescending smirk. She turned to Genna. "If you'll excuse
us for a moment, please," she
Genna nodded and hurried out, closing the door behind her.
Han had inched his way to the edge of Leia's dressing table and
leaned his hips casually against it. He
crossed his arms over his chest in contentment. Gods! She just
kept getting better looking everytime he
saw her. Gazing down at her the way he was, he realized just
how lovely she was. How womanly. He
felt privileged to see this side of her as well as the no-nonsense,
her. He found he liked that about her. She was strong, but still
feminine. She was unlike any woman he
had ever met before. Courage and beauty in one tidy, intriguing
little package. He sighed with approval.
Leia tried not to look at him directly, but it was hard. He really
did look nice. Quite handsome in fact,
but she wasn't about to tell him that. He always acted as if
he knew that already. He was too cocky as
it was. He probably had dozens of women swooning over him daily,
telling him all that and more. But
Leia knew there was much more to him than he liked to let on.
Feelings, loyalties, and principles that
ran deep and rooted themselves irrevocably in his psyche. Leia
could tell all this just from looking into
his eyes. His eyes were deep and dark and expressive. She sighed
in spite of herself. He could
imprison her with those eyes. He had an intense and alluring
gaze that promised strength and intelligence
and tenderness all at the same time.
Leia cleared her throat. She knew she was blushing now. More at
her own wandering mind than
anything Solo had done.
"What do you want?" she managed and glanced up at him briefly.
Han shrugged innocently. "Just...wanted to find out why the hold
up...you know. On the ceremony." He
picked her hair brush up off the table and studied it. "Now I
know. " He leaned towards her slightly.
"You look fine, so can we just get on with this thing, huh?"
Leia narrowed her eyes at him. "Captain, I apologize for the inconvience
I am causing you, but I'm a
little more involved in the strategic planning of this rebellion
besides waiting around in formal wear to
present the occasional medal to the esteemed few."
Struck by her harsh tone, Han veered as far away from her as his
precarious perch allowed. "I didn't
mean it like that, Princess. Don't be so quick to jump to conclusions."
"And what conclusions am I jumping to?" she snapped back, locking
her eyes with his. "You march in
here uninvited, then start complaining and insulting me--" She
stopped suddenly, realizing she was
looking right into those liquid brown eyes of his and then promptly
forgot why she was angry.
"Insulting you? I did no such thing! And I was too invited! You
said 'come in.' "
Leia took a steadying breath. "Look, will you just go.....please,
so I can finish my hair and then we can
get on with this ceremony?" She turned around and faced her reflection.
Instead of leaving, Han straightened and came up behind her. He
brazenly began running the hair brush
slowly over her head, following the silken cascades past her
shoulders and down to her waist. His face
was completely statementless as he set about his task with earnest
"I can help," he offered.
Leia watched him dumbfounded. "H-Han....."
"It's all right," he whispered. "You look just fine. You don't
need to do anything. To look better, I
mean." He reached forward and lifted the hair from her back,
brushing her bare neck with warm
Leia skin tingled where he had touched her.
"Captain...I don't think--"
Han wasn't about to let her think. He was enjoying himself too
much. "I bet you never wear your hair
down. You don't realize how pretty it is...loose, like this."
Han caught a lock between his thumb and
forefinger and stroked it languidly.
Leia could feel an uncomfortable heat spreading through her body
at an alarming rate. She struggled to
detach herself emotionally. "Well, it gets in the way. I have
to keep it pinned up," she rationalized.
Han leaned over her shoulder, and gazed at her reflection. Their
eyes met and he smiled slowly. He
turned his head until his lips were almost touching her ear.
"Then why do you wear it so long?"
His breath tickled her and she squirmed slightly, breaking the
spell of intimacy he had cast over her.
She stood up and sidled away from him. She took a deep cleansing
breath, feeling able to breathe
freely for the first time in a long time. She held out her hand
for the hairbrush which he reluctantly
surrendered to her.
"I remember my...mother...always wore her hair long. I wanted
it to be like hers, I guess," she said,
faltering somewhat. She looked away, feeling exposed and vulnerable.
She wasn't used to feeling like
that and it made her uncomfortable. HE was making her uncomfortable.
He was making her feel all
sorts of things she had never felt before, and he wasn't even
doing anything. He was just standing there.
She wished he would go away.
She forced herself to look at him. She sighed softly. He was very
handsome in a rakish sort of way. It
was mysteriously appealing to her. And confusing. She didn't
want her face to betray her thoughts and
deliberately steeled her statement. He seemed to have no such
qualms, however. The way he was
looking at her was very unnerving. Predatory, was the first word
that came to her mind.
"I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship," Han
Leia stared up at him. She nodded slowly in stunned silence.
Han bowed slightly. "I'll go now. Catch ya later," he said smugly