Looking at herself in the mirror, Leia could admit that she’d missed this.
Having access to an actual mirror was a novelty in itself; for the past five years she’d mostly just caught sight of herself reflected in starship paneling and datapad screens. It wasn’t like it had mattered—she could braid her hair with her eyes closed, and no one cared too much about appearance when they were trying to save the galaxy from tyranny.
But now that there was occasion to care, it was nice to feel nice, Leia decided, even though every part of this experience was tinged with something a little strange. It was strange to be able browse Coruscant’s markets at her leisure, that prickly feeling at the back of her neck never quite disappearing, but it was lovely to choose clothing that actually fit her, rather than adjusting Alliance-issue pants and shirts. Strange: to find herself living if not in then very close to the old senators’ quarters, if only temporarily—she’d been clear that while she understood the practicality, she didn’t want this to be her and Han’s permanent living arrangement. Completely wonderful: a proper shower where she could take her time, fit in such luxuries as moisturizing. And even as it stirred complicated feelings about the last formal events she’d been to in the capital, as Alderaan’s ambassador, the event itself, celebrating the fledgling New Republic, was nice, too.
Attending with someone she loved definitely helped.
‘Luke’s on his way,’ Han announced, appearing in their bedroom doorway. He stopped, let out a low whistle as he stared at her. ‘Wow, Princess. You look… wow. You look real pretty.’
She beamed at him. ‘You look real pretty yourself, flyboy.’
‘Don’t I just?’ he asked, pleased with himself, as well he should be, in his crisp new shirt and pants that fit… very well. Leia let her eyes drift pointedly downward, tilting her head a little.
Han’s grin was truly wicked. ‘Want me to spin for you?’
She arched her eyebrows. ‘Save it for later.’
He came closer to her and then stopped short, lascivious look giving way to something more… entranced. ‘Hey. Something’s different.’
‘A few things are different,’ she agreed.
‘No, it—no—’ He gave a short, sharp shake of his head, eyes still wide and fixed on her. ‘What did you do with your hair?’
‘Oh, I—’ She pulled the loose, heavy locks over one shoulder to show him, running her fingers through to newly blunt ends. ‘I had it cut. Not a lot, just enough to get it…’ She trailed off with a bemused smile as he reached her, still peering closely at her hair. ‘Han? Everything all right?’
‘Yeah… yes.’ His eyes snapped up to meet hers, then back down to her hair, and he reached out a hand.
He’d always loved her hair, helped her brush it or braid it, sometimes, liked seeing it fan out over the pillow, and him touching it in moments of closeness was hardly new. But now the way he let the weight of it rest against his palm, rubbed glossy strands through his fingers, was almost reverent. ‘It’s all smooth,’ he noted, sounding a little dazed. ‘And silky.’
‘Well, it hadn’t been trimmed in years; you’re sure to notice a difference.’
‘Yeah, but—you can see all the—’ he gestured vaguely toward the setting Coruscant sun with the hand not occupied with her hair, ‘—all the light reflecting off of it, and stuff. Looks kinda red, here. And gold.’
‘I washed it properly. No sonic, no dubiously sourced shampoo; I treated myself to something from the salon.’ Nice to know it had worked—she’d thought the fancy goop seemed to have given it back some of the luster it had lacked the past few years; it was good to have such a fervently positive second opinion. Still, she wasn’t sure why it was making Han quite so—
He let out a dreamy sigh, still combing his fingers gently through it. ‘Huh.’
‘Should I check the shampoo for hypnotic properties?’ she asked dryly. Much as she’d always liked the feeling of him playing with her hair, it wasn’t long before they’d have to leave.
‘Sorry,’ he said, hand falling to his side. ‘Just… never seen it like that before.’
‘Since you’re so fascinated, you can help me decide how to braid it,’ she suggested.
‘What?’ This seemed to fully snap him out of it. ‘You’re not gonna leave it down?’
‘I wasn’t planning on it, no.’
‘But—’ He looked plaintively from her hair to her face and back again. ‘But it’s so nice.’
‘Yes, but I like the embroidering; I want to show it off,’ she explained, pointing down over her shoulder to the fine detail on the back of her jumpsuit, sure to be obscured by loose hair.
‘Oh,’ he said, sadly. ‘That makes sense.’
‘It will be nice up.’
‘Well, yeah; you’re gonna be the most beautiful being in the room no matter what,’ he said. He sounded indignant that anyone might think otherwise. Still, the look on his face as she turned back to the mirror and began to section her hair was so disappointed that Leia both laughed and took pity on him, releasing her hair again and turning back to him.
‘I’ll compromise,’ she said, stepping forward to wind her arms around his neck and going up on her toes to kiss him, smiling against his mouth as he gave a little groan and sank his hands immediately back into her hair.
‘Compromise how?’ he mumbled. ‘That half-up thing’s still gonna cover your back.’
‘How about—’ she nipped at his lower lip, ‘—I put it up—’ she deepened the kiss a little, teasing her tongue against his, pulling back again to continue, ‘—and later…’
‘Later what?’ Han asked—demanded, really.
Leia came off her toes, stepping back to straighten his collar. To let him see her hair, now surely a little less sleek, though somehow she didn’t think he’d mind.
‘I put it up,’ she repeated, voice low, ‘and then later, you get to take it back down again.’
It took him maybe half a second to take in what she’d said, and then his eyes gleamed, full of desire. ‘Sweetheart,’ he said, pulling her back to him, ‘I think we got ourselves a deal.’