By Jedi of Grace


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Leia watched him tear some tangled vines loose from the underbrush of the jungle.

His shirt, hanging from a nearby bush, dripped with sweat and humidity.
Whatever he had been doing in the ten months that he had been gone obviously included more than flying his ship around the galaxy; his muscles were much more defined than she remembered. She ached to feel those strong arms around her. It had been over a year since they had made love, since before Chewie died, and her body was not listening to her mind telling her to be patient and wait for Han to come around. He’d been back for a week, but was still sleeping on the Falcon. When this trip came up she thought it would be a good chance for them to know each other again. She hadn’t counted on getting stranded here, but wasn’t all together unhappy about it.

She walked over to where he had sat tying branches together with some vine. She dropped an armful of firewood on top of a stack he had started.
“Hi,” she said.
He looked up, his eyes briefly touching hers before returning to his work. “Hey.”
She sat down beside him on a fallen tree and listened to the thick jungle sounds, mixed with Han’s breathing. She tentatively touched his arm; his skin was hot and damp from his hard work. Han flinched slightly and cleared his throat.
“Do you think you could find me some more of this vine?” He lifted a piece to show her. “I need to weave it through these branches to make a bed so we can sleep off the ground and away from any critters that might come around.”
“Sure,” she replied casually. She tried not to feel rejected. She knew he needed to warm up to her again and would give him time. She squeezed his arm gently and got up. “I’ll look over there.”

She sat on the sandy ground, leaning against a log that had drifted ashore, watching as Han poked the fire, adding a few more sticks. In the dark shadows she could see his creased forehead. He had been fiddling with the shelter or the fire, or just wandering around the beach all evening; anything it seemed, to avoid sitting with her where a difficult conversation might take place. She knew he felt bad about being gone for so long. He had all but deserted her in his quest to hide from his grief.
He had built a nice little camp. Tree limbs made a comfortable shelter in case of rain, and he had cleverly woven vines together over some logs to make sure they would sleep off the sand. The bed was big enough for both of them, and she was glad he had only made one. Dinner had been a white fish she had found stuck in a tide pool. Roasted over the fire, it had been delicious.
She looked over at Han again. His shirt was still off, and hanging next to hers by the remains of the cooking fire. The jungle heat was intense, and at least by hanging their clothes out they could sleep dry and start off tomorrow without wet clothes. She wore her bra and a silky slip while her shirt and skirt hung out. It was so blasted hot; it only made sense to wear just the essentials. She knew it was kind of provocative, and she hoped it was logical enough to not seem desperate. Besides, Han was her husband; she had nothing he hadn’t seen before.
Finally, Han sat down on the log she leaned against. He was still an arms’ length away, but at least he was sitting. He poked at the fire with a long stick. She watched the sparks fly up in the night as a heavy log fell into the flames.
“It’s nice here,” she said, still watching the sky.
Han followed her gaze. “Yeah, not a bad place to be stuck, better than a lot of other places I’ve been stuck.” He glanced down at her. “We’ve been stuck,” he corrected
She smiled and nodded. She picked up a rock and tossed it in the fire, watching the sparks again. “I don’t imagine it will take them long to track us down. I gave Anakin our coordinates before we left. He’ll bring the Falcon.” Han nodded and glanced again at the sky, as if his ship might be coming now. She watched his profile in the firelight. He was concentrating awfully hard everything but her. She moved over to him and rested her arm on his knee. He kept playing with the fire.
“How’s Jaina’s squad doing?” he asked suddenly.
“Fine. They practice hard. I almost pity the Vong they go up against.”
Leia rested her chin on her arm. She wanted to tell him how desperately she had missed him, how the kids had missed him, but the words stuck in her throat. It had been a hard year. She had worried about Han constantly, only hearing rumors of his whereabouts occasionally. The Yuzhaan Vong were everywhere, she had feared any moment Han would take one chance too many. Now he was back, but would he stay? She sighed and flicked a bug off her knee.
Han stretched and moved to sit down beside her in the sand. She felt her heartbeat quicken, and reminded herself to be patient, to let Han take this at his own pace.
“I had to go.” Leia looked at him. Han cleared his throat and started again. “I had to go. It had nothing to do with you or the kids; I just needed to get out there. To try and find…something to make his death…worthwhile. To make sense of it.” Leia nodded silently. Her hand propped her head up against the log and she reached her other hand to squeeze his hand. He turned to face her, his eyes meeting hers for the first time. “It had nothing to do with you,” he said again. She could see it was hard for him to hold her gaze. His guilt for leaving her, for the things he said before he left and the way he had treated her was eating him up. She reached her hand up to caress his face. He closed his eyes and covered her hand with his. “I’m…” he started quietly.
“I know, Han. It’s okay.” He took her hand and kissed her fingers, then turned his face back to the fire. She looked at his hand, still tightly holding onto hers. She didn’t hide her small smile. A weight had been lifted between them; she could feel it.
He turned towards her again, not looking at her face, but gently trailing his fingers up her bare arm. She could smell the sweat and dirt from the days’ work on him. Usually he smelled like grease, if anything. She liked this very masculine scent. It was hard to tell if the heat she felt was coming from him or the fire. He reached her shoulder and absently played with the strap of her bra.
“Did you find what you were looking for?” Leia asked quietly.
Han continued to play with the strap; his fingers traced the outline of lace against her chest. After a moment he spoke, “Close enough.”
That was enough for her. She drew up her leg, feeling the coarse hair of his legs against her. He seemed fixated on her bra, gently fingering the outline of it, without committing himself to anything, in case she pulled away.
“You’re allowed to take it off, you know,” she said in a playful tone, gently trying to encourage him. He surprised her with his quiet, serious reply.
“I’m afraid if I do, I won’t be able to stop.” His voice was husky. He looked into her eyes, uncertainty showing.
Leia reached her hand around to her back, and with a flick of her fingers released the clasps herself. Han, his fingers still around the strap, slowly lowered it off her shoulder. His eyes flickered back up to hers. They had lost some of the shadow of the previous days, replaced by a rising desire. “I love you,” he whispered. He reached his hand to her head to bring her closer and kissed her with a hunger and desperate passion that took her breath away. Without breaking the kiss she moved to sit on his lap, facing him. His strong hands grasped her, holding her to him, never to let go again.

The End

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