Han bought Leia new gloves on Corellian New Year.
For Corellian New Year—on this Han was clear. Loudly, vocally clear, multiple times, to such a degree that anyone listening who knew him well enough might have thought he was laboring the point a little too hard.
‘Look, it’s simple, pal,’ Han said to Chewie, pacing up and down the main hold as Chewie sat at the dejarik table plotting the route for their next run. ‘New year, new gloves.’
And yet, Chewie pointed out, not taking his eye off his chart, Han had not bought himself new gloves. Just the princess.
‘Ah-ah! Don’t start that. I don’t need new gloves, see?’ Han waved his own gloved hands in Chewie’s direction. ‘Leia needs new gloves. This is just about… practicality.’
This would have been a fair enough point, except there was an obvious gaping hole around the base of Han’s thumb, and Chewie did not believe it to be an intentional feature.
‘They weren’t expensive,’ Han said, which was a lie. Chewie continued to pore over star maps.
‘I just happened upon ’em,’ Han continued, as if Chewie hadn’t been co-piloting when Han took the Falcon several light years off-course to make the purchase.
‘Anyway,’ Han concluded, disregarding the fact that Chewie was not, at this point, an active participant in the conversation, ‘I don’t need you giving me shit on my New Year, all right? It’s a special time.’
Chewie couldn’t remember how they’d celebrated the last Corellian New Year, but didn’t think Han would be able to fill him in.
Chewie found the jar of hoyy seed butter in the forward hold, sitting among the supplies he and Han had picked up on their run to Taanab.
He couldn’t quite say that it was sitting there innocuously—next to the unbranded cans, cartons, and boxes of concentrated essentials and bland supplements, the fancy glass jar screamed luxury, all wrapped up as it was with genuine paper label and tied with charmingly rustic twine.
Hoyy seed butter had definitely not been on Dodonna’s list.
‘It’s a treat,’ Han said, when Chewie asked him about it. He swiped the jar and, finding himself without a pocket large enough to stash it in, hid it instead behind his back.
For whom, Chewie wanted to know, was it a treat?
‘Now, listen,’ Han said, in a way that answered Chewie’s question immediately. ‘People need to treat themselves sometimes. Especially—now, she doesn’t want everyone going on about it. But it’s Founding Day on Alderaan. Would’ve been. To celebrate House Organa’s… founding, I guess.’ He cleared his throat. ‘So I’m thinking Leia could use a little… something, right? And she likes this.’ The jar emerged from behind Han’s back again. ‘Couldn’t get enough of the stuff, back home. She was telling me.’ Flushing, he added, ‘Besides, she ain’t eating enough. Maybe this’ll… y’know, help a bit.’
He nodded to himself, and then his gaze sharpened on Chewie and he bounded over to the pilot’s seat, tucking the jar away where it would be safe in the event that they needed to pull any flamboyant moves. ‘Anyway, what’re we still doing hanging around here? I wanna show the rebels what we got ’em.’
Yes, in fact, Chewie was willing to let this one go.
‘When’s your Life Day?’ Han asked, apropos of nothing, breaking the companionable silence as he and Chewie worked on minor repairs in the circuitry bay.
Life Day was nowhere close, and anyway, Han didn’t celebrate it. Chewie felt this was a reasonable thing to point out, but, judging from his glare and the fact that he responded by bashing a vibrohammer against something that probably didn’t need bashing, Han didn’t agree.
‘I got this blanket,’ Han said, putting the hammer down and scratching behind his ear. ‘A nice one, not that scratchy Alliance-issue crap. I wanted to gift—uh—give it. To Leia. ’Cause it’s cold some nights, see.’
Ah. Chewie suspected that any frustration on Han’s part was not directed at him. Still, he wanted to check he was understanding correctly: Han wanted to give Leia the gift (‘Not a gift!’ Han objected) of a blanket for Life Day, a holiday that neither Han nor Leia celebrated? Where, Chewie wondered, was his present, it being his holiday, after all?
‘I—you don’t do presents!’ Han protested. ‘If Life Day was coming up, I’d take you home, same as usual. Do you want presents? ’Cause I can get you presents; I got no problem getting you presents.’ He gave Chewie a look of mild mortification. ‘Should I have been getting you presents all this time? You gotta tell me these things.’
Chewie laughed. No, he didn’t want presents, and yes, he trusted that Han would take him home, but as Life Day was not coming up, and as—and this point was crucial—neither Han nor Leia celebrated Life Day, why did Han not simply give Leia the blanket and say he’d thought of her?
‘Ah, come on,’ Han muttered. ‘I can’t be giving her special treatment.’
That starship had long left the port, in Chewie’s opinion, but that was okay, because Leia was special.
Han huffed, but didn’t deny it.
‘Chewie,’ Han shouted through to the cockpit, ‘I need a holiday.’
This was a nice idea, but it was not really within their means to take time off. What kind of holiday was Han thinking of, Chewie wanted to know, and would he settle for a few hours in a cantina where no one was likely to try to kill them?
‘No.’ Han appeared in the entrance to the cockpit. ‘Not a holiday like a vacation. A holiday like an event.’
Chewie stared at him, baffled. He needed an event? What did that mean? Was it a cover for something?
‘There’s gonna be a meteor shower on Pyria VI,’ Han said, coming and taking his seat, feet up on the console. ‘Thought…uh, someone might like it.’
Lots of people might like it, Chewie agreed. The meteor showers visible from Pyria were among the most stunning in the galaxy, provided you weren’t standing in the wrong place.
‘You know,’ Han said, idly flicking a switch. ‘Thought Her Highness could stand to get off base for a little while.’
On this Chewie agreed too, but, he wondered, was the meteor shower itself not the event Han was looking for?
‘I can’t just take her to see a meteor shower for no reason,’ Han objected, adding at Chewie’s further questioning, ‘’Cause it’d be weird, that’s why.’
Han was terrible at courting, in Chewie’s opinion, and as Han’s friend, and someone who badly wanted to see this work out, Chewie did not mind telling him that.
‘This—this isn’t—I ain’t courting anyone!’ Han spluttered. ‘You been staring into hyperspace too long, pal.’
Now he stared out the viewport himself, a dreamy sort of look coming over his face. ‘You think it could work out?’ he asked. The look vanished. ‘Not that I want anything to work out.’
Chewie thought he ought to get a grip, and had no problem telling him that, either.
‘Chewie,’ Leia said, springing lightly up the Falcon’s ramp, face flushed and smile wide, ‘is Han around?’
As if on cue, Han appeared behind Chewie.
‘Princess, hey!’ With practiced nonchalance, Han leaned up against the loading door. ‘What can I do for you?’
‘Well,’ Leia said, ‘I wanted to wish you a happy New Year.’
For a moment, Han’s brow furrowed. ‘Wh—oh, right, yeah!’
‘I got you something,’ she said, waving a small package at him.
Han beamed, bounding down to meet her, taking the package with nothing short of joy. ‘Well, that was real nice of you, sweetheart.’
‘New year, new gloves, right?’ Leia asked, as he peeled the wrapping away.
Han took a moment to reply. ‘Yes. Yep. That’s a well-known Corellian phrase.’
Leia frowned. ‘It is?’
‘Well.’ Han paused, shrugging, turning the gloves over in his hands. ‘Some people know it. I know it.’
Chewie knew Han well enough to be able to tell that his hesitation in responding was only in part because he had made up a nonsense tradition in order to give Leia a gift. For one thing, Chewie could tell from here, this was a particularly beautiful pair of gloves—a perfect fit, snug and warm, but not so cumbersome that they’d prevent Han carrying out tasks around the ship.
For another thing, Chewie was sure Han could count on one hand the number of gifts he’d received in his entire life.
‘These are, um…’ Han was putting the gloves on now, flexing his fingers. His voice caught when he spoke again. ‘These are great, sweetheart.’
Leia leaned in close to him. ‘Well, your other ones had a huge hole in them, so…’
‘It wasn’t huge,’ Han retorted, gloved hand sliding around her back, tugging her into a hug.
‘Oh, it was so.’ Leia’s reciprocation was instinctive; she reached for one of his gloved hands and turned it over gently in her own. ‘These are a matter of practicality, if nothing else.’
They were so well suited, Chewie thought, and left them to it.