‘So glad you pulled this off, sweetheart.’
Leia smiled to herself, closing her eyes briefly as she took in the warmth of the sun.
‘I didn’t pull off anything; I’m just doing my duty. The people of Sesid suffered at the hands of the Empire on my last visit here, because of me. A personal visit to ensure they benefit from the New Republic is the least I can do.’ She let her eyes slide to Han’s face and her smile turned a little mischievous. ‘And of course, I needed a good escort, someone with both incredible piloting skills and quick reflexes to protect me in case of unexpected danger.’
‘Of course,’ Han said, draping his arm around Leia’s shoulders. ‘Only the best for Her Highness.’
‘Actually, I was told the best was unavailable.’
‘Yeah, but who else woulda taken you on a romantic stroll on the beach? I cut you a better deal.’
‘You always do,’ Leia said, tilting her head up. ‘You must like me.’
‘You bet I do.’ He bent his head down to kiss her, their feet slowing down as they took their time to savour the moment. They had every right to. The last time Leia had been on the planet, Han had been light years away from her, encased in a slab of carbonite; there was a second Death Star looming on the horizon, and Leia was once more giving herself to the Rebellion with all she had. Now, she was here as a Senator on official New Republic business. Han was with her, not just as her escort, but as a New Republic contractor whose budding shipping company would be in charge of the trade deals with the planet. Having conducted a first successful meeting, they were at liberty to enjoy the paradisiac landscape of Sesid, an aquatic planet dotted with many tropical and volcanic islands whose beaches were littered with white shells.
A mass of dark clouds was slowly rolling in, and disappointed tourists turned away from the beach until only a few stragglers remained, perched uncertainly on the rocky coast next to their speeders, ready to head back to a resort should the weather put a damper on their plans.
‘Maybe we should go back and rent a speeder,’ Leia suggested, squinting at the sky. ‘I don’t think we’ll make it to the Falcon .’
‘It’s the same distance. Let’s just hurry up, c’mon.’ Han grabbed her hand and they quickened their pace, Leia’s legs working twice as hard to keep up.
They weren’t fast enough for the weather, though: all of a sudden, a curtain of rain descended over them, fat drops of water pelting down.
‘Over there!’ Han yelled over the noise, pointing at one of the small secluded caves that dotted the coast. Leia let go of his hand and sprinted after him. As the skies cracked with thunder, she dived for the shelter of a low-ceilinged rock opening and dropped next to Han, chest heaving.
The black volcanic sand had sprayed over Leia’s sandal-clad feet and up to her calves as she ran. Although they hadn’t spent too much time under the rain, there were watery splotches on her clothes, and droplets fell from her hair into her lap.
She looked over at Han. While she had opted for a casual, weather-appropriate outfit, Han had stuck to his usual attire down to the boots, his only concession to the warm climate being his rolled-up sleeves. He was considerably wet, too, and the sand was sticking to every surface of him that came in contact with the ground. His expression was startled, as if, even after having been through a war, often in the line of fire, after going through each day without any certainty of what the next would offer, he could still be surprised by a sudden downpour. Their eyes met and, a split second later, they both burst into laughter. Leia wondered if somehow the look on her face had been just like Han’s.
‘Look at your hair,’ she said, grinning; reaching out, she ran her fingers through the unruly damp strands until they stuck out in every direction.
‘An’ you’re fixin’ it?’
‘Let me fix yours, then,’ Han said, and before Leia could withdraw her hands from his head and shield herself, his fingers were burrowing into her crown of braids, loosening them up and messing her carefully coiffed tresses as she yelped and laughed, protested and tousled his hair with even more earnestness until they were both breathless.
After they’d both removed their hands from each other’s head, Han leaned back on his elbows and stretched out his legs. Shuffling closer, Leia sat down next to him and looked out of the cave, at the falling rain and the waves hitting the distant shore.
‘It doesn’t seem like it’ll let up soon,’ she commented, unconsciously running a hand through her hair to assess the damage and comb it out of her face.
‘No.’ He turned his face to look at her and pointed at the cave. ‘But this place ain’t so bad, huh?’
‘But what if rains for hours? Chewie will worry, and we’re supposed to report back to Chandrila… and we’re not staying in a cave overnight again, Han.’
‘Relax.’ Han reached out and stroked her back. ‘If it doesn’t stop, we’ll make a run for it, okay? No harm in givin’ it some time, though, or we’ll just get soaked for nothing.’
‘All right, we’ll stay here for now,’ Leia conceded. ‘At least it’s warm.’
‘Yeah… too warm.’ Bringing his knees up to his chest, he removed his boots and socks, then his vest, which he folded and carefully placed on top of the boots next to him, and finally his blaster.
‘That’s why people don’t wear boots to the beach, you doofus,’ Leia said with a smirk, although she reached down to untie her sandals and took them off too, digging her toes into the sand with gusto.
Leia scooted back so she could rest her chin on Han’s shoulder, arms sliding around his waist. She fiddled absent-mindedly with the buttons of his shirt as they kept watching the rain in silence. ‘It’s a good storm. Not very strong, but still soothing,’ she said in a low, pensive voice.
Han chuckled and turned his face to place a kiss on her temple. ‘Glad to hear an expert’s opinion.’
‘Remember when I told you I liked storms?’ Leia asked, hands folding together over his stomach, her lips brushing against his shoulder. ‘We were huddled together on that alley in—’
‘Lothal. Yeah, I remember.’
He had been restless then, which Leia had thought was only natural, given the circumstances. But where he saw the storm as another difficulty for their mission, its unleashing had filled Leia with calm. ‘Well I hate ‘em,’ he’d snapped at her after her confession. She hadn’t found out until much, much later that he’d spent many a stormy night as a kid on the dirty alleys of Coronet City, curled into a tiny ball as the cold and the water seeped through his clothes, trembling with every clap of thunder.
‘Who would’ve known, back then,’ Han commented now.
‘Hm? Known what?’
He grinned, rubbing his hands over her arms. ‘That I’d ever end up liking storms, too. That we’d be huddled down together during a storm and not want to kill each other.’
‘Oh, you wanted to kill me that time?’
‘No, you did, Princess. I didn’t want to kill you, exactly, just… shut you up. Shut me up.’ Han shook his head, gazing out to the sea before turning back to look at Leia. ‘Didn’t know what I wanted, but y’looked so pretty, with your wet hair all ruffled and that far-off look you get. Like now.’
‘Like now?’ Leia pressed her lips to his jaw and under his ear. ‘You want to shut us up now, too?’
‘I’m thinkin’ about it,’ Han said, voice barely audible over the din of water on water. He winked at her. ‘Gotta do somethin’ to pass the time.’
Turning on his side enough to disconnect her chin from his shoulder, he placed a hand on her back and captured her smiling lips in a kiss. Keeping a hand on his hip now, Leia cupped his neck as she responded, mouths moving together in perfect synchronicity—it had shocked her, the first time, how well their lips fit together, how they seemed to know each other. Breaking the kiss after a while, Leia moved her lips to graze the corner of his mouth, the underside of his jaw, the crest of his cheekbone.
Oblivious or indifferent to her purpose, he found his way back to her mouth, tongue teasing until she let him in. She could taste the Gizer ale they had been offered to alleviate the hot weather earlier, but she always found kissing Han more intoxicating than any drink.
‘Can’t get too carried away,’ she mumbled when she managed to pull back.
‘Why not? ‘S still raining,’ Han said in his husky post-kiss voice, a smirk on his full lips.
‘But it can stop soon.’
Han spared a glance at the still pounding rain outside of the cave. ‘Doesn’t look like. Nobody’s gonna come here anyway.’
Leia frowned as she looked over Han’s shoulder, then at the opening of the cave, considering the chances of anyone walking by or seeking refuge there. Threading her fingers through Han’s hair, she fixed her eyes on his and said, ‘Okay—but just kissing and groping. We can’t have sex here, Han, I mean it.’
She tried to ignore the knowing grin he gave her as he nodded slowly and said, ‘Sure, Your Highness. Absolutely.’
‘Don’t give me that,’ Leia mumbled, letting him kiss her. ‘I mean it.’ Another kiss, and she put a hand on his chest. ‘Wait.’
Untying her long wrap skirt, Leia grabbed the edges and spread it out under her before leaning back on her elbows. She watched his hungry expression travel along the curves that stood out from under her blouse, down to the creamy patch of stomach between hems, and the tempting stretch hidden by her underwear. It was a look she knew well, made her anticipate his next move, warmed up her skin before he set it ablaze.
She had to shake off those thoughts now .
‘I just don’t want to get sand down there,’ Leia explained calmly. ‘Come on over, then.’
Before doing so, Han took off his shirt and tossed it over the rest of his items. ‘It’s gettin’ real hot here,’ he said, and crawled over her, planting a knee between her thighs and descending to kiss her once more, one arm braced on the skirt-covered ground next to her. The other scraped his nails over the strip of her underwear that lay across her hipbone before diving under her blouse. His rough palm stroked her side before cupping her breast and seeking her nipple over her silk bra, brushing and rolling it with his thumb until it responded. Leia moaned into his mouth, balancing her weight on one arm to wind the fingers of her free hand into his hair again. Encouraged by her reaction, he left her mouth to trail kisses down her chin, neck and collarbone. Then, he swiftly undid two buttons on the front of her gauzy blouse and pushed the neckline down over one shoulder to uncover her unattended breast, ducking his head to flick his tongue over her nipple through the thin scrap of lingerie, then grazing it with his teeth.
Arm trembling, Leia lowered herself slowly to the ground, holding his head in place as her chest heaved with shallow breaths. Her now free hand moved to his chest, where she gently dragged her nails from his collarbone to the coarse hair under his navel and back up again, to return the favour and rub her thumb over a nipple. Her lips curled in a smile when he groaned against her breast, but he quickly recovered and nibbled the exposed swell of her cleavage.
Her hips rose and her core pressed involuntarily against his thigh—and then, despite her best judgement, she rubbed herself against him. Leia bit the inside of her cheek as Han lifted his head and met her eyes, raising an eyebrow in challenge. She set her jaw and gave him a warning look. We need to stop. This is serious. We’re outdoors. It could stop raining any moment now. Don’t try to engage me in a battle of wills.
But Han knew her too well by now, for better or worse.
Straightening himself to be head-level with her again, his hand left her breast at last and wandered downwards, caressing her skin. He fingered the trim of her underwear almost casually and then, as if he’d changed his mind, skimmed his hand over the fabric to press a knuckle against her entrance, kneading her teasingly. Leia chewed on her lip, but she could hear the loud breathing from her nose over the sounds of the still raging storm.
Unfazed by her resistance, he finally dipped his hand under the fabric. His nails grazed over her curls and she shivered, her eyes still defiantly fixed on his (she should have gone for “disapproving”, but…) Two long fingers rubbed the length of her folds, gathering moisture before continuing their caresses, the heel of his hand pressing against her clit.
‘Han,’ she gasped, her hand gripping his arm. ‘We can’t…’
‘What?’ He lowered his head to plant a kiss on her mouth. ‘You said kissin’ and gropin’.’
‘This goes… hmm... beyond groping!’
‘No it doesn’t, I’m just touchin’ you.’
‘You’re fucking me,’ she said in one breathless gasp.
She watched Han’s face come alight with wonder, like it always did when he heard her talk like that, unable to get used to it, delighting in it every time.
‘No, sweetheart, this is fucking you.’
His fingers found their way inside her and quickly found the right rhythm as his thumb began to tease her clit with diagonal strokes. Finally losing the battle, Leia let go of his arm to fumble at her sides, grabbing handfuls of her skirt. She threw her head back as her hips bucked against his fingers, urging him to thrust deeper and faster.
Although her eyes had closed, she could tell he had stopped kissing her just to watch her reactions to his touch; now, she felt his lips on her again, nibbling at her face and neck, everywhere but her parted lips, leaving her moans and whimpers to escape freely and join the music of the storm.
Leia’s entire body felt damp, the humidity of the air combining with the perspiration of her flushed skin, every little breeze that brushed over her bringing shivering relief to the heat simmering between her and Han. Her eyes fluttered open and met his. This trip to Sesid had brought back memories of not so long ago, when she didn’t know if she’d ever see him alive again. Waking up at night with an invisible force weighing down her chest, she’d reach for him in the darkness of her cabin and grasp at the cold sheets next to her on the bunk, wondering, regretting… He’d told her she shouldn’t have regrets, back at the start of that fateful trip to Bespin. That’s why, at the last minute, before they took him away, she’d told him she loved him. That , she did not regret.
She had missed him back then, and she had been afraid of needing him so much. Their current periods of separation still made her miss him, but she wasn’t afraid anymore.
Suffused with love for him, she called out his name.
‘ Han... ’
‘Yeah?’ He was still staring down into her eyes, face soft and warm. ‘Want me to stop?’
‘No… I need you, now .’
Sometimes—when they had the time for it and weren’t rolling on the floor of a semi-public cave—he was able to resist it and convince her to let him finish the job before he complied. Still, she could see the effect it had on him on those times, hearing that he was wanted.
Leia barely had time to see his grin before he kissed her deeply. Her hands flew to his face, cupping his cheeks as she lifted her head to meet him. His hand left the inside of her underwear, leaving her tender and tingling as he unbuckled his belt and pulled it off.
Suddenly, her eyes widened as she remembered what they were lying on top of. She touched his hand.
‘Wait—Han—I’m sorry, we can’t—’
‘Why not, you have your skirt, won’t get sand—’
‘Yes, but I have to walk out of here wearing the skirt. It can’t be stained.’
Han rolled his eyes slightly and gave her a lovingly exasperated smile. ‘All right, we’ll roll over. Trust me?’
After Leia nodded, he resumed his work on the front of his pants; she watched as he pulled them down, and then she reached to press the palm of her hand against his taut cock until he groaned. Giving his lower lip a playful nip, she lifted her hips and pushed her underwear to the side as he guided himself inside of her in one stroke. They moaned and fell down together in a heap of tangled limbs, Leia’s forehead pressed against his collarbone; a beat later, Han’s palms were flat over her back and he was rolling them over, off the skirt and onto the sand.
Leia planted her knees on the ground and pushed herself up, making him grip her thighs and call out her name as her hips pressed down on him. She started moving, leaning over him as a hand caressed his lower belly but, surprising her, Han put a hand over her hip to hold her still and pushed himself up when she guessed his intention. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders and grinned at him.
‘Yeah, you like that, don’t you? And it’ll cover you in case someone walks in.’
Leia laughed, slapping him lightly on the back. ‘Goddess, why did you have to say that!’
‘Ain’t nothing like the thrill of danger, Princess.’
His hips rose slightly in encouragement, and, still shaking with mirth, Leia rocked herself on his lap to set the rhythm. Her knees dug into the sand as she lifted herself up and slid back down in slow, long strokes, her head thrown back while he buried his face into the cleavage of her blouse again and teased her nipples with his tongue.
‘You know, I really appreciate that big mouth of yours sometimes,’ she mumbled into his hair. Han let out a guffaw against her breastbone that made her clench around him in pleasure and quicken her pace.
‘ Fuck , Leia!’
One of his arms tightened around her and the other landed on the floor for balance as a particularly enthusiastic thrust from Leia’s hips pushed him back. She let out a breathless laugh that ruffled the hair over his forehead.
‘Rocky ride, hotshot?’
The intense look on his face told her he was nearing his orgasm, but she couldn’t keep going for long: her knees felt raw against the sand. Tipping his head up, she bent to kiss him deeply as she ground into him, one of her hands reaching between them to speed her own release. She came first, and he caught up seconds later as her body tightened with waves of spasms.
Once spent, Han slouched back on his elbow, his other hand stroking Leia’s back as she leaned into his chest. Leia’s ears slowly cleared of her pounding blood and the sounds of hers and Han’s moans and ragged breaths, and she noticed the rain sounded lighter now.
Han turned to look at her and softly blew some wisps of hair off her forehead.
‘Now I’ll get sand in my ass,’ he grumbled.
Leia chuckled and dropped a kiss on his shoulder.
‘Sorry. Want to go dip it in the ocean?’
With a snort, he said, ‘I’m good.’
Moving off his lap, Leia knelt beside him and readjusted her underwear and top, then reached for her skirt, shook the sand off and tied it around her waist again. Han pulled up his pants before stretching down on the sand, arms crossed under his head.
‘Don’t get too comfortable,’ Leia warned, smiling lazily down at him as she laid one arm over Han’s chest and leaned into him. She pointed her chin at the dripping entrance of the cave; it was drizzling now, and it had been several minutes since she’d last heard thunder. ‘We should take our chance soon, just in case.’
‘Alright,’ Han said. ‘Soon.’
But he didn’t move. The sight of his warm chest rising and falling was too tempting; promising to herself than she would not fall asleep, Leia folded her arms on top of it and laid down her head, revelling in the feeling of Han and the sounds of the rain for just a little bit longer.