Darkness. Thick. Choking.
No time here.
A bottomless hole.
Night crushes, constricts.
Pain. Everywhere... pain...
Can't move. See. Breathe.
Or am I dead?
No. Still alive.
Feel it, in fibers, cells.
Heart beats. Barely, but still.
Only my mind works, not trapped.
And some senses.
Hear wind, howling.
And night. Thick night.
I know day. Once. Before this...
Whatever this is...
But...I do know this. It's familiar.
I've been held here. For always. Forever.
Remember what it is. Maybe I can beat it.
Can't let it win.
Must survive. Move. Breathe. Remember-- rememberememberemember--
Take it easy. Stay calm.
Can't panic. I'll go crazy...
Focus. Stay sharp.
I can do this. Stay sharp.
Ignore pain...dark...ignore it all...
Another darkness. Long ago. Longer than I've been here...
Speeder traffic noise outside. Rain against the window. Lying on my stomach in bed, covers pulled over my head. Warm and safe. Home.
This data card smells new, brand new. Can't wait. Wow! Better than I could've imagined. Graphics, schematics, statistical data. Every damn CorEng ship ever built. This is all I've ever wanted.
"What d'you think you're doin'?"
Dammit. In for it now.
"You're s'posed to be asleep. How many times do we have to go through this, Han?"
Han. Right--my name. Must've forgotten... what else can't I remember?
"I thought you said you were gonna behave yourself."
"I did! I am!" What have I done wrong now? Nothin' compared to last time...
"So what're you doin'?"
Can't look at him when he stares at me like that. "Y'know...just readin', 's'all."
"Well, it's way past your bedtime. Past mine, even. I should confiscate this for a week."
No! You've only just given this to me...that's not fair. And you owe me this, after forcing me to stay with Aunt Tiion and that moron, Thracken. You know I hate staying there when you go on trading runs. You know how much I hate Thracken. You keep promising to take me along, or let me stay on my own, but you never have!
Go on. Take it! You think I care about the stupid data card?
Take the damn thing for all I care!
"Han. Look at me."
No... Kest, no. Not again...
Da... Stop the blood. Put my hands in his chest and stop the blood stop the blood stop the blood...
No. Da, no. You feel cold...so cold.
Don't cry. Only little kids cry.
If I close my eyes, it'll all go away...
Which is worse? Memories...or this?
Whatever this is...
Sometimes...this is like hanging on a cliff, clutching for a hold.
Sometimes...I think...why not let go? Fall. Into whatever's below.
But sometimes...I remember what happened. What this is. Why I'm here.
Sometimes I remember her.
So I hold tight. Onto my mind. And all I've got left of her.
That damn kid's sure as hell takin' his time! How long does it take to bust a princess from a cell?! What the hell are you doin', kid? Goin' through the niceties of introductions?!
Whaddaya say to a princess, anyway? 'Your Highnessness'? 'Your Worshipfulness'? Hah!
What the hell am I doin' here? A detention block, in the middle of a prototype Imperialbattle station that just blew away an entireplanet. A crazy old man reckons hecan disable the tractor beam. A legion of troopers about to crash our party. And I let a farmboy talk me into rescuin' some snotty-nosed princess. I don't care howrich she is, I oughta be committed! Next time, Chewie, you gotta slap me when I get thinkin' like this.
Well...figure I got Chewie and me into this mess, guess I'll have to get us out. Just wish I'd stop and think about these schemes before--looks like the boys in white have arrived early. Won't take long to burn through that lift door, and they'll have blasters blazin' when they do.
Chewie's in direct line of fire! "Get behind me! Get behind me!" Nail 'em as soon as they enter, before they know what's hit 'em!
Door's gonna blow--Got him! Uh-oh! More troopers than I counted on. Need some cover. Down the cell corridor. C'mon, Chewie! Move it!
Good. There's Luke, and the troopers ain't followin'--yet. But I guess I've just managed to cut off our only escape route. "Can't get out that way."
"Looks like you managed to cut off our only escape route."
Who's the smart-mouthed broad? Thisis the princess we're rescuing? "Maybe you'd like it back in your cell, Your Highness."
Kest! That one was close! Those boys are playin' for keeps. We're stuck tighter than a vrelt down a hole. Somebody better come up with a plan or this'll be the last princess-rescue I everstage.
"This is some rescue."
What's she mouthin' off about now?
"When you came in here, didn't you have a plan for getting out?"
Don't she take the prize! "He's the brains, sweetheart!" Hey! She almost shot me! "What the hell are you doin'?!"
"Somebody has to save our skins."
An economy-size commando princess. Now I've seen everything.
"Into the garbage chute, flyboy!"
Dammit. I shouldathought of that! The Wook ain't gonna like this. "Get in there." Quit the bellyaching, Chewie! "Get in there, you big furry oaf. I don't care what you smell. Get in there and don't worry about it."
Now the kid. Before he loses his head or some Imp decides to play hero.
Kest, I can't believe I let the little pask'aghlla talk me into this! What the hell am I doin' here?! Rescuin' a princess? Rich? Powerful? Try a powerfully richpain in the ass!
"Wonderful girl. Either I'm gonna kill her or..."
...what is this? My fourth beer?
I hatethis sitting still shit. Makes me edgy and bored. How'd I ever let the Rebs talk me into this one? "It'll be a milk run, Han. Real easy. No problems."Sure. No problems. Trust the Rebs to get stuck with a supplier who can't deliver on time. And no one bothered to mention Ranaash is also the ass-end of the galaxy. Can't believe I can't even wangle another deal to improve the profit margins on this run. No wonder the Imps ain't bothered thinkin' about this place. So why the hell am I?
That's it. I've been on this dirt ball planet--and with the rebellion--long enough. I'll give 'em five more hours and then I'm haulin' jets. I need a change of scenery, in every sense. Bail out of the rebellion for good. Maybe I'll head to Nar Shaddaa for some action, or trawl back through the Corporate Sector. Somethin' to get me moving again. Get me away from these rebels and their lost cause. I'm a smuggler, not a damn delivery boy!
Maybe one more beer will improve my mood.
Great. Now Gruesome's awake. Pretending he's been working on the hyperdrive. Looks grumpy as all hell.
"Don't you think you've had enough to drink?"
"What? Are you my mother now?"
"I'm just concerned that we can't afford notto be vigilant when we aren't really certain of the threat."
"You're sober, ain't ya?" Righteous bastard. "'Sides, I shoot better when I'm drunk. Not that I am. An' even if I were, we ain't got nothin' to worry about. There's no dealin' happenin' here. Pretty tame compared to some other joints we've seen."
Damn Wookiee! Okay, so maybe I ain't usually this casual in strange territory, but I've had a lot of things on my mind lately that a Wookiee just can't understand. Had hoped the beer would help. And another thing he won't understand is that I've been as horny as a vornskr for weeks, and nothin' I do seems to help. Maybe what I need is some female release. When I get like this, I'm like a nashtah with a bone--and ain't that the truth.
"Wise up, Han. You know as well as--"
"Screw you, Wook. I'm outta here."
Find a bar, a drink, and the right woman--any female who seems interested. This one's kinda cute, perhaps a bit young and too much paint for my liking but it don't matter. Nice outfit. Don't leave much to the imagination, that's for sure.
Kest, she's mutilatin' Basic with that accent. Can't understand much of what she says, anyway. Might be best if she keeps her mouth shut--I'm not in the mood for small talk and I bet she ain't either, otherwise she wouldn't be here.
That's right, baby. Keep runnin' your hand up my leg like that and I'll follow you anywhere. Just a little higher and I'm all yours. Hey, watch how you handle the goods there, sweetheart. Yeah. That's better. Just slip your legs up and make yourself comfortable.
Nice tits. I've always thought more than a mouthful's a waste, but I'll make an exception in your case.
You like that, huh, sweetheart? Yeah, well, I like touchin' you there, too.
Put your head back like that for all the guys, Leia, or just me?
Shit. Why am I thinkin' of her?This girl is nothin' like Leia. Nothin'.
Ah, Kest. If I don't get back on track I'm gonna lose it.
Wait a minute, sweetheart. Just need a drink--damn! Great. Just what I need. Alderaani ale.
Screw 'er. I don't care what she'd think if she knew I was here with this girl. 'S'got nothin' to do with her. I owe her nothin'.
Get a grip, Solo. Back to this girl here, not the Alderaani ice queen.
Yeah. That's better. You want a bit of Corellian, don't you, babe? I tell ya, it's the only way to fly.
So ignore her breath and kiss her. Might help. Her tongue's a bit forceful but that might come in handy later.
This girl is nothing like Leia. Can't imagine Leia acting like this in public. Straddling me in a crowded bar, running her hands over me, letting me touch her. My loss...
Okay, let's get this over with. Oh, you think so too, huh? Told ya I'd follow you anywhere. So where we goin'? Nice place--ten credits for a stall out back. Very classy.
Let her undress herself. I ain't payin' for it, so it's just an extra chore for me.
Ah, no thanks, babe, I'll just keep my blaster here next to me. Pout as much as you like; I ain't stupid. And the boots and trousers stay on.
Where were we? Kest. How old is this girl, anyway? Must be over-age if she's here, right? Kinda homely lookin', now I think about it. Maybe I should dim the lights. Couldn't hurt. 'S'pose this won't take long. Just do her and get outta here.
All right, all right. What's the rush? Wanna sample all the customers?
Gotta think of someone else if I'm gonna make it through this. Yeah, someone else. Think of... Leia?
Now I've started, I can't stop thinkin' about her. Everywhere I go, she seems to be. Or someone says her name. I can even pick out the fragrance she wears. Damn. It drives me wild when I go into the Command Center just after she's left and I can still smell her perfume. More than once Rieekan has stopped a briefing and waited for my attention to return. He suspects something. Well, I think he's wrong...how do you seduce a princess, anyway?
And sometimes I wonder: Is she followin' me, or am I followin' her?
She's gotta feel something for me. Has to. Sometimes I catch her lookin' at me--just stolen glances really--but there's something there in her eyes, something between us.
Or am I imaginin' things that ain't there?
Kest, she's wearing my shirt. She's just let me into my cabin, as simple as that, and she's wearing my damned shirt.
I love the idea of her wearing my clothes. Wearing my clothes afterwe've fuc--after we've made love. And it would be "making love" with her, not just screwing. Not just sex. I would love her.
Her hair is down. Damn, she looks beautiful.
She's blushing--embarrassed, angry with me for showing up in just a towel. Moron. But she lets me in anyway. So make the most of it, Solo.
I'll sit here and talk all night with you, beautiful. There's nowhere to hide, nothing to be afraid of. You're trembling. You like me because I'm a scoundrel. There aren't enough scoundrels in your life.
Too quick, Solo. You moved too fast. But...dammit--it's enough just to sleep with her. To hold her.
You could use more than a good kiss, Princess.
There's someone behind me. I bet it's her. I hopeit's her.
She's been watchin' me since we woke up. I think she's decided...she wants me.
Don't know what you're doin' here, huh? Yes, you do. We both know.
Let me love you, Leia.
Her lips warm against mine. Wanna kiss every part of her body. Those strong fingers in my hair, guiding my head. She tastes sweet, succulent.
She seems so small beneath me, delicate...almost feel clumsy. Take it easy with her, Solo. Be gentle, more gentle than ever before.
Aahh...unbelievable...above her...inside her...
Kest, she's tryin' to match my rhythm. Hold her close. Help her out. Give her as much pleasure as she's givin' you.
Incredible. How does she know what to do?
Oh, Kest, she's kissing my throat. Her breath in my ear...sighing...moaning...whispering my name...
Sometimes... it's as if I'm not alone here...
Sometimes... I think she's here. With me.
Maybe not with me. More like, I can hear her.
She says it'll be all right. That she's coming. She wants me to wait for her. Please.
Hold on, she says.
Or maybe I'm just going crazy.
Bespin...I've got a bad feeling about this place.
"What would you like?"
Just one last night to love her. Face facts. Make choices.
She's all I've ever wanted.
"Then you're as good as gone."
I'll be back. Promise.
But I can't tell her.
What? Vader? How--?
And Fett. Bounty hunting scum.
Lando-- "he's after someone called Skywalker."
"Luke? And we're the bait."
Fixed us up real g-aahh!
Tell her...I should tell her...
Before it's too late.
My mind feels raw. Numb around the edges.
There are gaps in my memory. Losses. Empty spaces where I can't remember what I've just thought.
What happens in those gaps?
It's not sleep. I don't sleep here--more like lapse into states of nothing. And even then, my mind doesn't feel like it does now.
Maybe I'm going crazy.
Leia. Think of Leia...
She looks fragile, but she isn't.
I should be protecting her. Saving her. No Skywalker heroics this time. Dammit, I can't even move my damn hands! And why am I the only one bound? What's goin' on?
Just keep lookin' at the back of Fett's head and movin'. I gotta come up with something. Think, dammit! Think!
Take a few of 'em with me. Grab a rifle. Knock 'em off the ramp! Go down fighting--except, what would happen to Leia? What would they do to her?
There's nothing I can do. Nothing.
Gotta think of her.
She's been awfully quiet since the troopers came. Wonder what she's thinking. Whatever it is, she won't show it. Won't give 'em the pleasure. Kest, she's brave. Braver than the rest of us who just pretend.
So Lando's here as well. Slimy bastard. Come to gloat, I bet.
"You're being put into carbon freeze."
Leia! Don't crack now, sweetheart. Don't show 'em how you feel. Put that old indomitable look on your face. Tell 'em they can screw themselves, for all you care!
Smile for her, Solo. Tell her it'll be all right. Tell her how you feel. Tell her--
No! Chewie, no! Calm him down. Now! Before it's too late. The princess. He has to take care of the princess. Someone's gotta protect her. Look after her. I can't.
Tell her, Solo. Before it's too late. Tell--her lips against mine. The moisture of her mouth--no! Damn bastards!
She looks upset...pain. Everywhere...pain...
"I love you."
I know. I've always known. Regret nothing, sweetheart. I've always known. It's like I've known since forever.
I can't believe I'm standing here so calmly. This is really going to happen. Looks like my luck has finally run dry.
But I have to be strong--for her sake. Make it easy for her. I can't hurt her.
Better me than her.
Keep lookin' at her, Solo. Focus on her. Leia. Maybe the last thing you'll ever see...
I hope she's all right. She has to be.
Someone would rescue her. Chewie? Luke?
Someone has to!
Yeah...I know what this is. I remember now.
It only makes it worse.
That bastard Fett. He's takin' me to Jabba.
I gotta get outta here. I gotta save her. Save Leia.
Kest. Why didn't I tell her? Why didn't I tell her?!
Night. Cold. Pain.
What is this? Where is this?
I knew what this was...didn't I?
Remember holding you...asleep with you...
...my knees behind yours...holding you against my chest...
...breathing into your hair...
...kissing your neck...
You know I love you. Don't you?
I love you...
"I know, Han."
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