Han Solo and the Princess
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“With me, you belong...”
LEITMOTIF I: In which there is a lot of Corellian whiskey...
The first time that Han Solo (captain of the famous Millennium Falcon, pseudo-reformed smuggler, and admittedly handsome spacer) proposes marriage to Leia Organa (princess of a planet that no longer exists, member of a senate that no longer exists, and doe-eyed rebel ice queen), it is on a dare and he is drunk. Seven shots of cheap Corellian whiskey, a raucous drinking game with Rogue Squadron, and a perpetually jubilant mood following a crippling blow to an evil enemy, a victory celebration, and an Alliance Medal of Honor have been known to do that to a man.
To his credit, Captain Solo is not the only drunk sentient on Yavin IV, and to her credit, Senator-Princess Organa is perhaps the only sober sentient on Yavin IV. So instead of being angry, because she could have easily been angry, she only rolls her (soulful, beautiful, chocolate brown) eyes and shakes her pretty head, but not hard enough so any soft, loose tendrils fall from her elaborate braids.
“In your dreams, Flyboy,” she says, and Captain Solo gives her a half-grin and a mock bow and returns to his seat, somewhere between twelve laughing Rogues on their eighth shot of whiskey, one roaring walking carpet, one middle-aged Alderaani general who is not quite ready to deal with his grief, and one red-faced farmboy-turned-Jedi apprentice-turned-intergalactic hero, leaving her alone in her corner, left to nurse her half-full glass of too-sweet Nabooan champagne and think about everything everywhere but a marriage to a handsome Corellian scoundrel.
(But she tries not to think about what her father might say, because that thought just might be too painful.)
LEITMOTIF II: In which there is something like friendship...
The second time that Han Solo (captain of a barely-working tin can, swaggering space pirate, and arrogant bantha-head) proposes marriage to Leia Organa (stuck-up princess, too-careful politician, and fresh-faced beauty, if only she would just smile), it is fifteen minutes after she first rejected such a preposterous idea and she can’t decide if he is a little more or a little less drunk.
This time, instead of sauntering her way and leaning an elbow on the table in front of her so his face is level with hers and she can see every fleck of green and gold swimming in his eyes, he kneels before her on one knee and takes her delicate hand in his, calloused and strong, and repeats his question. Only, this time there is no smile in his voice and he is serious, so serious. She can hear the snickering of the Rogues and refuses to glance in that direction and refuses to look at him and refuses to look anywhere but their tangled fingers because she is suddenly and inexplicably overwhelmed with a deep and debilitating sadness.
“My father won’t be at my wedding,” she whispers quietly, though she meant to say, “No,” and Captain Solo, that jaded spacer, that strange enigma, understands immediately. He stands and pulls her up by her trembling hand and wraps a strong arm around her trembling shoulders and ignores the startled looks from the Rogues that she can just feel boring into her back.
She half-wonders where he is taking her, but she does not do so for long because they are suddenly outside, in the dark, beneath the stars, and he guides her (soulful, beautiful, chocolate brown) eyes to a shimmering light in the sky and whispers “Alderaan” into the crown of her head and his breath is warm in her hair. Then he circles her into him as her trembling gives way to sobs that she knows no one but he will ever witness and he strokes her back until she quiets, and silly drunken proposals are forgotten.
(She knew there was more to him than money.)
LEITMOTIF III: In which there is really too much violence...
The third time that Han Solo (captain of his own ship but not in the Rebellion even though the position has been offered at least five times, for the love of the Force, laser-brained scoundrel, and secret softy, but don’t you dare tell anyone) proposes marriage to Leia Organa (stubbornly duty-bound rebel, undiplomatic diplomat, and pint-sized powerhouse in pretty packaging), he does it to shut her up.
They are fighting again, because they do it so well and because it is easier than loving, and it started over gods-know-what but came around like it always does (always does, how does she do that?) to his inability to commit to the Rebellion and anything else but his Wookiee and his ship. So he steps towards her, one, two, three, reminding her of an exotic and sensual tango she’d seen once, danced by visitors to her father’s court, and he leans in so the tips of their noses touch and he can see her (soulful, beautiful, chocolate brown) eyes and she pretends not to notice the sparks and he whispers, “Why don’t you marry me then, Your Worship? Then you’ll see how committed I can be.”
And she struggles for her breath for a minute, but only a minute because then his face melts into that attractive, infuriating grin that he gets when he knows he’s won and she finds her voice again, enough of it anyway to bite out, “Captain, one of these days you’re going to have to answer for being such an arrogant fool.”
She doesn’t stay to watch his ego deflate and choses instead to turn quickly on one heel, an action that always rewards her with such a satisfying crunch of the ice beneath her boot, and stalks through the corridors of frozen Echo Base and decides that she is shaking from the cold and from the anger and most definitely not from the realization that she had almost said, “Yes.”
(He punches a wall when he gets back to his ship and breaks the third knuckle on his right hand, because he’s in love with her, and because he doesn’t want to be.)
LEITMOTIF IV: In which there is not a kiss...
The fourth time that Han Solo (temporarily blind captain of the Millennium Falcon, freshly bounty-free reformed smuggler, and shakily swaggering scoundrel-turned-nice man) proposes marriage to Leia Organa (duty-bound rebel leader on an extended leave of absence, recently liberated slave girl, and half-vindicated strangler of intergalactic crime lords), he is still suffering from hibernation sickness and she hasn’t yet gotten the collar off her neck.
He asks her as she leads him to his sorely missed bunk on his sorely missed ship, and she smiles, but he can only halfway tell because everything is still so blurry. He asks her again as she takes off his shoes and tells him to lie down, then she leans in so her breath is warm on his cheek and he can see her (soulful, beautiful, chocolate brown) eyes, eyes that he has missed so, so much, eyes that were sad and terrified the last time he saw them and are now deep pools of liquid jubilation.
He tells her that he loves her and that he is committed to her and he brushes trembling fingers over the collar on her neck and realizes that he is crying because she has endured so much for him. (Somehow, he forgets what he has endured for her, but when he remembers, he decides he would do it a million times over.) And when she tells him he’s worth it, he asks her again, and she wipes away his tears with a gentle hand and a gentle smile and says, “Let’s talk about this some other time, Nerfherder. You need your rest.”
Then she lays beside him and rests her head on his chest so she can hear his heart beating and feel him breathing and it reminds her that he is there and he is real and so alive. And he can feel the collar still around her neck, cold even through the blankets, as he begins to fade into the sweet oblivion of sleep, free sleep, and he thinks that, perhaps it is time to join her Rebellion, because it definitely couldn’t hurt his chances for happily-ever-after with her, because he is finally free, and because maybe, just maybe, he believes in it, too.
(Later, when he accepts the commission of general, he still believes in their mission, but secretly, it’s because he knows when they win, they’ll want to marry her off to the highest bidder, and he wants to get there first.)
LEITMOTIF V: In which there is finally an answer...
The fifth time that Han Solo (well-respected Alliance general, hero of the Battle of Endor, and honorary member of an Ewok tribe) proposes marriage to Leia Organa (twin sister of the very last of the Jedi, honorary member of an Ewok tribe, and soon-to-be Minister of State of the New Republic), he is still exhausted from the battle two days ago and so is she, and the setting sun is reflecting in her (soulful, beautiful, chocolate brown) eyes, and she says, “Yes.”
(And they live happily ever after. Because they have their love, and for once, that is enough.)