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burst me into bloom (i dare you to)

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Leia was cold.

In her just-roused state, she could have believed herself back on Hoth. But the illusion passed almost before she’d registered it: in her quarters on Echo Base, there’d been none of the natural light she squinted against now, no birds singing, no trees just outside for them to sing from.

Certainly no Han in bed beside her, though, turning to face him, she noted that he was to blame for the fact she’d woken up chilly. Some time during the night, he’d rolled over, then over again, cocooning himself in both his and her share of the quilt as he’d done so. Now he lay facing away from her, shaft of sunlight falling across his sleep-rumpled hair, deep, even breaths just this side of snoring, which she found oddly endearing even though they’d probably also played their part in waking her.

Gods, she loved Han asleep, had loved him asleep since the very first time she’d seen it, not on their slow voyage to Bespin but long before that, when an x-wing with a dodgy transceiver left Alliance technicians baffled. I ain’t an Alliance technician, he’d reminded her, and she’d found him out like a light in the fully restored starfighter’s cockpit hours later.

She’d even told him she liked him asleep, though at the time she’d said it was because if he was asleep he couldn’t be talking to her.

Now, though, she loved watching Han sleep in a way that made her feel warm despite the cold. It sparked a longing within her, a sweet ache that welled in her chest. It was the inverse of those awful months after Bespin, when she’d woken each morning to remember, again, that she was alone.

She shifted over on the mattress, draping herself half over him, pressing her weight into him. ‘It’s a good job I like you so much,’ she murmured into his ear, stroking his hair.

‘Mm,’ came Han’s response.

She leaned over to kiss his cheek, then burrowed her feet in among the layers of quilt until she found his bare legs.

‘S’cold,’ he muttered, still only semi-conscious.

‘Oh,’ she said, with mock sympathy, kissing his cheek again, nuzzling at his neck. ‘Really? Are you cold?’

‘Princess,’ he objected, as she pressed her toes into his calf. Waking fully, he rolled over to face her. ‘Oh,’ he said, taking in their very different states. ‘Sorry.’

‘I said you hogged the covers,’ she told him triumphantly.

Han opened his mouth, about to deny it, before evidently thinking better of it. ‘You should’ve kicked me,’ he suggested.

She wiggled her toes. ‘This seemed gentler.’

‘Like ice blocks,’ he mumbled, eyes closing. ‘’S the heating on?’

Leia frowned down at him. ‘Han Solo. You’d better not be hinting.’

‘You’re already out of bed, pretty much,’ he pointed out.

‘Yes, because you’re terribly selfish,’ she said, winding his hair between her fingers and tugging gently. ‘So I would say you owe it to me—ah!’ She broke off with a surprised squeak as he rolled, covers and all, on top of her.

He peered down at her. ‘Better?’

‘Absolutely not,’ she said, fighting back a smile. ‘You’re going to have to try a lot harder than that.’

‘Fine,’ he agreed, and leaned down to kiss her.

It was a good kiss, thorough and leisurely, and as they kissed Leia tugged at the covers until they were no longer a barrier between herself and Han. And then, finding she wanted no barriers between them at all, she slid her hands beneath his faded t-shirt.

Han broke apart from her. Arms around her, he rolled them so that she was on top of him, pushing her own shirt up and trailing his hands over the exposed plane of her back. Leia leaned down to press her mouth to his again, devoting her time and attention to kissing him until his lips were pink and swollen, to carding her fingers through his hair until it was in total disarray. Only then did she draw back to pull at the t-shirt bunched in one fist.

‘Mind if I take this off you?’ she asked breathlessly.

He nodded, lifting his arms and sitting up a little. ‘This you plotting revenge, sweetheart?’ he asked her, as she lifted the shirt up over his head and cast it aside. ‘Get me naked so I’m cold too?’

She grinned at him, and put a solemn hand over her heart. ‘I’ll keep you warm, I promise.’

Grabbing her hand, he kissed the back of it, then sat fully upright. Together they took on the enjoyable challenge of dispensing with the rest of their clothing while remaining as close as possible, and with that done she pushed him again to his back.

‘Oh dear,’ she said mournfully, drawing her finger in a teasing circle around the hard peak of his left nipple. ‘I guess you’re cold after all.’

‘Good job you keep your promises, then,’ Han told her, with an easy smile. With one fingertip, he traced a path from her shoulder blade, down her back, over the rise of her rear, and then she let out a sigh as he put a hand between her legs, his touch sending sparks back up the length of her spine.

‘That’s good,’ she murmured.

‘Yeah?’ His eyes were dark, pupils wide, breathing picking up to match hers.

She kissed his chest, and pressed her hips deliberately against his, spreading her legs wider. ‘Yes.’

Two broad fingers crooked inside her and she moaned; with his other hand he tilted her chin up to kiss her again, no longer in that languid way they’d kissed before but urgent, and then he moved his mouth to her cheek and her temple and said hotly into her ear, ‘Want me to make you come like this?’

Leia shook her head, eyes closed, lifting her hips and reaching down the length of their bodies. ‘No—no, not like this; like—’

He groaned when her hand closed over him, cursed softly as she sat upright and guided him inside her, and he laughed when, still teasing even as her pleasure began to build, she suggested, ‘Something more like this, do you think?’

‘I can get on board with this, sweetheart, yeah,’ he agreed, eyes gleaming.

‘That’s good news,’ she said, and began to move.

Perhaps it was to do with the rush of tenderness she’d felt toward him on waking, or perhaps it suited the early morning quiet, but she couldn’t take her eyes off him. She felt greedy for all of him, not just the stroke of him inside her or the fingers now back at the apex of her thighs, but the way his head tipped back against the pillow, the roll of his throat as he swallowed, every gasp, every cry. She splayed her hands on his chest and felt the hammering rhythm of his heart. She watched his eyelashes flutter and his brow furrow as she tightened her muscles around him, keener to urge Han on than to chase her own climax. She reached for his free hand, threading her fingers through his, and something in the way she was looking down at him must have given him pause, because he squeezed her hand and said softly, ‘You all right?’

She nodded, slowing and leaning down to him. ‘Yes. Better than.’ She kissed him. ‘Just thinking.’

He squeezed her hand again. ‘What’re you thinking about?’

‘Just,’ she began, and swallowed, surprised to find a sudden lump in her throat. ‘Just that I love you.’

‘Oh, just that you love me, huh?’ Han asked, and for all they told each other I know, he still looked amazed every time he heard her say those three words. His mouth quirked up at one corner and he pulled her down to kiss her again, mumbling against her lips, ‘Love you too, sweetheart.’

Then he drew his knees up, feet finding purchase on the mattress, and his hands went to her hips again, helping to guide her movements as she rocked back against him, then forward again, falling once more into a steady rhythm that stoked the flames in her belly higher and higher. She lingered over him, her hands braced on his shoulders, meeting his eyes, savoring each sign that he was close, too: the rising color in his cheeks, the telltale catch of his breath in his throat.

‘Leia,’ he stammered out. ‘You’re so—’

Whatever he was going to say was lost, turning to a long guttural sound as his hips bridged beneath her; Leia reached down to rub two fingers above where they were joined and soon followed him over the edge, tensing hard as she came and then relaxing bonelessly onto him.

Han pressed his lips against her hair.

‘Ain’t a bad way to wake up, really,’ he said, once he’d caught his breath.

She rested her head over his heart and ran her hand over his chest. ‘I seem to recall I woke up to no bedclothes.’

‘Oh,’ Han said. ‘Figured what we just did meant you’d forgiven me.’

‘Well, I’m considering it,’ she conceded.

‘Huh.’ He brushed his finger against the tip of her nose. ‘Want me to go make you caf while you consider it some more?’

‘Ah,’ she said. ‘There’s one of the reasons I love you.’

With a smile and one last kiss to her forehead, Han rolled her to her side, disentangling their bodies and climbing out of bed.

Leia propped her head on her hand, biting her lip as she eyed him, adding, ‘And there’s another.’

‘You’re filthy, Princess,’ Han tossed over his shoulder, not bothering to put on clothes as he headed downstairs.

‘I can keep listing them,’ she called after him, and delighted in his answering laugh as she pulled the covers back over herself.