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to be alone with you at the close of the day

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‘Now, ain’t this a rare thing?’ Han asked.

Feeling far too relaxed to offer a proper answer, Leia just hummed in acknowledgement, smiling as she tipped her head back against his chest, her eyes closed.

She wasn’t sure the novelty of any kind of long, hot, water-based shower would ever wear off, not now that she’d spent years living with sonics and miserable icy trickles and that one time on the ironically-named Haven Base where the water came out faintly orange and she’d had to actively hope that the pipes were just rusting inside.

But there was the kind of decent shower she’d been thrilled to rediscover, and then there was this enormous, airy hotel bathroom, with its larmelstone tiles and its soft lighting and its huge rainfall showerhead and pinpoint accurate temperature control. Han and Leia had barely left their suite outside of the work they were there for, which largely took place in meeting rooms and conference halls that were every bit as lavish and well-equipped.

(It was surprising how many wealthy worlds and individuals that had kept very much to themselves during the Rebellion were suddenly ready to offer their help to rebuild now the really dangerous stuff was past, but Leia couldn’t find it in her to complain just at the moment.)

They’d showered together in the past, but all the other times really had been mostly about saving water or power, no matter how much either of them tried to make that reasoning sound like a flirty joke. And certainly now, meetings with representatives from this world and that sector finished for the day and not due to start up again until mid-morning tomorrow, they were in no rush at all.

Han swept his hands in deliberate strokes up and down her sides and then reached for the bottle of expensive-looking complimentary shampoo. She watched as he squeezed a little into his hand and began to work it into a rich lather between his palms.

He wove his fingers into her hair, starting at her hairline and working back toward the crown of her head in deliciously slow circles. She’d thought she’d relaxed when they left their last meeting, and then again when they’d got back to the hotel, and again when she’d stepped into the shower with him, but it was nothing to the way the day’s tension leached out of her now under his gentle ministrations.

‘All right?’ he asked softly, ducking his head to kiss her temple.

‘Uh huh,’ she sighed, then inhaled the fragrant steam now filling the room. ‘Is that starblossom?’

‘Hell if I know, Princess, but it smells good.’ His fingers flexed. ‘You feel all right after today?’

Her eyes opened and she peered up at him incredulously. ‘You want to talk about work?’

Continuing to work the shampoo gently into her hair, he said, ‘You were about ready to punch that delegate from Samaria.’

She groaned, partly at his words and partly because his fingers were pressing into her scalp with exactly the right amount of pressure. ‘It was that obvious, huh?’

‘No,’ he said, ‘but I’m right.’

‘He was being very stubborn,’ she pointed out. She reached back to touch his thigh, wanting her hands on his skin, too. ‘Did you get in by the nape of my neck?’

He wound her hair around his fingers, out of the way, so that he could stroke his other hand at the back of her head where she’d asked. ‘Lot of evidence to suggest you kinda like stubborn, sweetheart.’

She tipped her head all the way back to grin at him. ‘I can deal with stubborn if it comes with hot showers and scalp massages.’

‘Huh.’ He smiled back and dropped a kiss on her forehead. ‘Noted.’

His hands ran the length of her hair before he reached for the shampoo again. They should do this much, much more frequently, Leia thought. On her own, washing her hair was usually a long, tiresome job, but with Han doing it for her she’d happily spend forever over it, and he seemed very much in agreement, taking his time to reach every spot.

Piling the sudsy strands up on top of her head, Han dropped his hands down to her shoulders, thumbs pressing in just so, the heels of his hands smoothing out lines of tension in her back, easing tired, sore muscles.

‘I don’t remember if I said thank you,’ she said, rolling her shoulders slowly under his touch. ‘For coming here with me.’

He took his hands off her for a second to gesture around the bathroom. ‘Oh, yeah, huge sacrifice, sweetheart. Between the thirty pillows and the shower cubicle bigger than the Falcon’s cabin I’m not sure if I can stand another day of this.’

She resisted any urge to snark back at him, instead seizing one of his hands as it crept round to her front and brushing a kiss over his knuckles. ‘I mean it. You’ve kept me from dying of frustration or boredom and I don’t think we’d have had any movement with the Heptooinians today without you.’

‘Yeah, you would’ve,’ Han said, with warm conviction, his hand falling to her breast as she released it. ‘But I ain’t gonna quibble. You can whisk me off to a place like this any time, Princess; you just say the word.’

‘I’m not responsible for the hotel; you need to thank other people for that,’ Leia said, guiding his broad, wet palms over her skin.

‘Eh,’ he said, bending to press his mouth to the curve of her neck, ‘I’ll thank ’em some other time. Right now I’m busy.’

He tugged her carefully back under the hot spray and she closed her eyes as the shampoo rinsed out, pale foam running in rivulets down her body.

‘Hey,’ Han said, as he reached for conditioner. ‘Hope you’re planning on doing this for me.’

‘That doesn’t seem like an entirely equal distribution of labor,’ she said drily. She tilted her head to the side and up again, giving him a lazy smile. ‘Still, I’m sure I can think of other things to do.’

‘Funny,’ Han said, pulling her toward him so he could finally kiss her properly. ‘I’m feeling all inspired myself.’