It had seemed, at the time, a happy coincidence: that after four weeks apart, each of them zipping back and forth across the galaxy but never in the same direction, Han and Leia would both wind up stationed on the same planet at the same time.
It was happy, or happier , at any rate. They’d missed each other terribly, made do with long, longing holocalls and text notes that were by turns sweet, filthy, or both at once, but it was no substitute for seeing each other in person.
And now they could see each other in person… passing in the corridors of the Baressi parliamentary building, sharing amusement and pride and fury and exasperation in glances down negotiating tables, across the room during the numerous fancy dinners laid on for the delegation from the New Republic. But Han’s military strategizing took him to spaceports and outposts at the other end of the planet; Leia’s attempts to negotiate Baressi’s support for a better, fairer central galactic government ran for hours on end. They were staying in the same quarters, but it had taken until last night to even sleep in them at the same time, Leia coming in to find Han already passed out, neatly keeping to his side and his fair share of the covers; she couldn’t even wake him under the guise of needing him to move. Then this morning he’d slipped out as she slept, the message he’d scrawled in her datapad notes and left open for her to wake up to a small comfort in his absence.
So they were left with these tiny, fleeting moments, and it was both better than before and more agonizing.
Tonight . It was an unspoken promise made as Baressi’s deputy agricultural minister talked enthusiastically about crop yields: they’d make time tonight. And once the decision was made it was all Leia could do to pay attention, hand-writing her notes to stay focused and calm. She’d say he did nothing to help her, except that she couldn’t really hold it against Han that he was attractive to her all the time : when he leaned forward to ask serious questions, when he lounged in his chair with a skeptical furrow in his brow, when he ruffled absently at the back of his hair, when he glanced up and caught her eye, lips curving into a smile that was tinged with warm lust, yes, but, much worse for her concentration, told her that he was simply happy to be here in the same place as her.
Leia hastily turned her gaze back to her notes and avoided looking up at him for the rest of the meeting.
When the presentation ended, chattering beings filing out of the room and peeling off to their next engagements, she felt the brief brush of long fingers at the small of her back as Han passed her, and she stopped stock still in the corridor to stare after him.
It was a good job no one needed significant input from her for the rest of the afternoon; she sat silently preoccupied, imagining the imprints of his fingers where he’d touched her. Later, dressing for dinner, she found herself driven to distraction, unable to pull on her dress without imagining Han taking it off again, to pin her hair without picturing the mess he’d make of it later, to apply lipstick without thinking about him kissing it away.
‘Lookin’ good, Princess,’ drawled a voice behind her as she put her earrings in. Her breath caught.
‘I didn’t hear you come in,’ she said.
He took a couple of slow paces toward her. ‘Well, now I’m here, whaddya say we lock that door and turn in for the night, huh?’
Her eyes met his reflection’s in the mirror, and she raised an eyebrow, projecting wry amusement even as he stepped so close behind her it sent an electric current up her spine, silvery and quick. ‘You cannot possibly be suggesting we skip dinner.’
Han wrapped his arms around her. ‘Mm,’ he murmured, dropping his chin to her shoulder. ‘Dinner… breakfast…’ He kissed her neck and she couldn’t help herself, moaning softly as she tilted her head to give him better access. He kissed the side of her jaw, the shell of her ear, told her: ’I’ll skip a whole damn week of meals, sweetheart.’
She turned in his arms, draping her own around his neck, thumb skimming through soft hair. ‘Someone will notice.’
Han swept his palms over her hips. ‘There’s more’n a hundred people down there,’ he pointed out.
‘Someone will definitely notice if we’re absent… or…’ she paused, distracted, as his mouth returned to her neck, ‘…late, or… or… rumpled…’
‘ Rumpled ,’ he echoed, drawing back, eyes dancing with amusement. He cracked a grin. ‘Damn right I’m gonna rumple you—’
‘Princess Leia? General Solo?’ came a voice from outside the door.
Pretend we’re not here, Han mouthed.
Rolling her eyes, she called, with a level of composure that surprised even her, ‘Yes?’
‘I’ve come to let you know the soup will be served in ten minutes,’ the voice called.
Leia looked up at him. ‘I did tell you.’
He groaned. ‘How badly do we need Baressi to join the New Republic?’
She gave a soft laugh, tipping her forehead briefly against his chest. ‘Badly.’ Straightening up, she gave his arm a pat and instructed, ‘Go change your shirt.’
‘This better be the best kriffin’ soup,’ Han muttered.
The soup was fine, Leia supposed, though truthfully she barely touched it. Perhaps it was a good thing that she and Han were seated once again at separate tables; she wasn’t sure she could stand it if she had to sit next to him all night, so close and still just further than she wanted him to be.
Still, she found herself unable to keep her eyes off him, one moment willing him silently to look at her, the next blushing down into her bowl when he did so, his gaze full of heated promise.
She picked over her main course, barely made it through dessert, and, after the plates were cleared, allowed the minimum amount of time that could conceivably be considered polite before rising to her feet and announcing that she was suddenly very tired.
Then, without looking at Han, she made her way back to their quarters.
It was a lovely space, high in the uppermost corner of the old part of the building, a cozy seating area leading through to a warm green-and-gold-toned bedroom, double doors opening out onto a large balcony. The Houses of Parliament were surrounded on all sides by acres of grounds, far enough from any other building that on this unlit side, the stars showed up bright and clear against the sky.
Half forming an idea in the back of her mind, half simply too hot, Leia flicked the lamps on in the bedroom, took a soft, thick blanket from the gilded wardrobe, and opened the balcony doors.
The evening was perfect, pleasantly hot without being stifling, a gentle breeze blowing, the heady scent of Baressian lilac in the air. When Leia kicked off her shoes, the balcony tiles were still sun-warm beneath her feet. She glanced around the space, noting the sound wave disruptors placed strategically around the place for privacy, the fact that they weren’t overlooked here. Perfect . She spread out the blanket and lay propped on her elbows, looking up at the cascade of stars and waiting.
This time, when Han came up behind her, she was expecting him.
‘Nice night,’ he said, wasting no time in coming to lie next to her. He, too, had divested himself of shoes and socks; his sleeves were rolled up, and she let her gaze slide appreciatively to his forearms before looking skyward again.
‘You know it’s a wonderful destination for stargazing, Baressi,’ she said mildly. ‘The desert towns on the equatorial continent get a lot of tourism.’
‘Good for them,’ Han said, reaching out to run a finger along her arm, fine hairs rising to attention in the wake of his touch.
She bit her lip and gave him a sidelong glance, considering. She’d thought about pouncing on him the moment he was through the door. Now, she thought, there might be a certain benefit to drawing this out.
‘It’s something to do with the way they’re looking through the galaxy,’ she explained, voice steady.
His finger trailed back up to her shoulder, resting on the strap of her dress: a light, loose thing in a deep orange, blessedly free of fiddly buttons or tricky clasps. Han drew one strap gently down her arm and kissed the skin he’d bared.
She closed her eyes for a moment, then forced them open again. ‘The Department of Astronavigation keeps records on over a hundred thousand stars,’ she continued. ‘Not all visible to our human eyes, of course—the Baressians can see over much longer distances than us.’
His lips curved against her skin. ‘Interesting.’
‘Isn’t it? There are a number of constellations visible right from this balcony.’
‘Sure,’ he said, shifting, leaning across her to pull the other strap down, not quite baring her chest. ‘Constellations; I know ’em.’
She shot him an amused look. ‘Name me one constellation in the sky above us right now.’
‘Big Triangle,’ Han answered promptly. He wasn’t putting any of his weight on her, bracing himself so that he was hardly touching her other than where his nose nuzzled her neck, but still the proximity of him made her chest tighten, her hand coming up to stroke the plane of his back. ‘Small Square. Great Northern Somethin’.’
‘We’re not even in the northern hemisphere,’ she reminded him. ‘Do you want me to tell you about them?’
He huffed and drew back. ‘About the constellations?’
‘You’re gonna be my tour guide?’
She gave a modest shrug. ’I did have the honor of sitting next to the Chief Astronomer at lunch yesterday, after all.’
The look in his eye was sharp, mirthful. ‘Yeah. All right, then.’
‘There’s the Warrior, of course,’ she said, throwing herself into it quickly before she could change her mind and just tear his clothes off. ‘Made up mainly of stars from the Epsi Collective, though including some from neighboring sectors. You can spot it easily enough because her trigger hand is Lazerian, which is the brightest star in the sky.’
‘Warrior,’ Han said, nodding. ‘Got it.’
Still propped on her elbows, she watched him as he shuffled further down her body, nosing aside one of the triangles of thin material that made up the bodice of her gown and kissing the curve of her breast. Leia’s breath caught, but she carried on. ‘The Great Feline is thought to bring luck to those it appears directly above.’
He brushed his lips over the front of her dress, sternum to naval. ‘Yeah? ’S’it above us right now?’
She glanced upward. ‘Not quite.’
He lifted his head, cracked a grin at her. ‘Ah, well. Maybe you’ll get lucky anyway.’
‘Pay attention,’ she said primly. ‘The Compass, which is made up of seventeen stars… is also known as…’
Han paused in inching the skirt of her dress up her legs, fingers running figure-eights on her thighs. ‘As?’
She shifted on the blanket. ‘I don’t remember—oh!’
With a smirk, Han trailed a finger back down from the apex of her thighs to her knee. ‘Shame,’ he said, tugging her underwear down and off and then lowering himself carefully to lie between her legs. ‘How’m I gonna know how to navigate?’
His mouth replaced his fingers and she gasped and fell to her back. ‘I think you can navigate just fine.’
Han made a sound of agreement, placing a line of kisses up, up, up. ‘Tell me more,’ he requested.
‘About your navigational abilities?’ she asked, eyelids fluttering.
His teeth grazed her skin. ‘About stars.’
Large hands cupped her thighs, pushing them gently but insistently apart, and a deep, heavy throb thrummed to life where Han’s breath ghosted over her. The sky above went hazy.
Han pressed a prompting kiss to her thigh. ‘Leia.’
She inhaled sharply, stars coming back into focus. ‘Well,’ she said, voice shaking just a little, ‘we can’t forget the Green Lady, of course.’
‘’Course not,’ he agreed. His tongue darted out, making fleeting contact with wet, sensitive flesh, and she whimpered.
‘There’s, um, the Frying Pan—’ she started.
‘Hey, hang on,’ Han objected, lifting his head. ‘That’s all I get on this Green Lady? The hell kinda tour is this?’
Leia’s answering huff was half frustration, half amusement. ‘What do you want to know?’
He dropped a smattering of small kisses, like a constellation themselves, between her hips. The muscles of her abdomen clenched. ’Whatever you wanna tell me.’
‘She’s a famous character in old Baressian mythology,’ Leia managed. ‘She…ahh…’
Han was more deliberate this time, a fast swipe of his tongue the length of her sex and then an achingly slow drag that had her clutching his hair, hips beginning to rock unbidden. He slid his arms beneath her thighs and then back over the top of them, anchoring her so he could get better access.
Leia swallowed. ‘…I—there’s—somethingaboutaforest—oh—’ She broke off again, eyes falling closed, breathing coming faster as Han’s tongue danced against her in a teasing caress one moment and pressed into her the next, as he set soft lips and then the faintest skim of teeth against her clit, as he made a greedy sound and hauled her even closer. It was that sound, that sign of how much he’d missed doing this, that brought forth her answering moan, and then it was like she’d been unstoppered, unable to keep from crying oh, oh, oh, Han, yes , tension pooling molten and sweet as warmed honey in her belly and between her legs. Her thighs shook in Han’s firm grip, and she was struck by something almost like fear that it would be over too soon, even as she pressed forward, seeking more. ‘Han,’ she begged, ‘Han,’ and he must have picked up on the change in her tone, must have understood what she meant by it, because he pushed up from where he was lying and reached down to fumble open the fastening of his pants. Impatient, she sat up, and he drew back onto his knees, letting her free him from his boxer shorts. He lifted her dress up over her head before pulling her into his arms and guiding them both back down to the blanket, kicking off his pants and shorts the rest of the way.
He settled first in the cradle of her thighs, and then, by mutual, silent agreement to draw things out, rolled them lazily to their sides, hitching her uppermost leg over his hip. She reached down to close her hand around him again. His eyes slammed shut and when they opened again the way he was looking at her was heated, but vulnerable, too.
‘I missed you,’ he told her, tucking a bit of hair that had come loose from her braid behind her ear before resting his hand back on her thigh.
‘I missed you,’ she murmured back, and kissed him, arousal ramping up again as his calloused fingers tightened on her leg, as she tasted herself on his mouth, as she squeezed the hard length of him and felt him buck into her hand. With a stifled groan he rolled to his back, taking her with him, and she arranged her knees either side of him, positioned him against her entrance, not taking him inside just yet but dragging the head of his cock against her, slow and deliberate, so that he clutched her hips and muttered, ‘Gods, sweetheart, I swear I’m gonna…’ He trailed off, eyes closed, tongue darting out to wet his lips.
‘Perhaps,’ she mused, though her thighs were trembling with the effort of not sinking down, her own breath coming ragged, ‘you’d like to learn more about constellations first. You can see them better now, after all.’
His laugh was mildly hysterical. ‘Ain’t lookin’ at stars , Princess. You—’
He broke off again as she pushed down onto him. ‘Oh,’ she moaned, spreading one hand against his ribcage, trailing the other down from her throat, between her breasts, all the way to where they were joined. For a long moment she stayed there, relishing the feel of him inside her, under her, his chest rapidly rising and falling beneath the shirt he still wore.
‘Please move,’ Han begged, between clenched teeth, and Leia obliged.
He’d already stoked such a fire in her, just barely held at bay by their brief lull, and now as she fell into a rhythm, fingers stroking her clit in time with the rise and fall of her hips, she could feel the pressure building fast. She could come this way; already those first familiar tremors were beginning inside her. Yet through the fog of arousal she landed on a sense of not like this , and then of irritation at herself, that she should feel so deeply satisfied and yet still sought something more.
But Han spared her the trouble of figuring out what that was, because she found herself suddenly on her back again, one leg flung over his shoulder, the other pinned beneath his hand against the blanket. He gave her a brief, searching look before pushing back into her, and yes , Leia thought, hissing the word aloud too as she realized, fist bunching in the soft wool beneath her, that this was exactly what she wanted: to be open to him, sheltered by him, as he drove into her, every stroke of his cock precisely intended, it seemed, to wring the most pleasure from her. She reached down to touch herself again, spurred by Han’s muttered praise and pleas that she heard as though through water: gods, Leia, you feel so good, I love you so much, d’you know how long I’ve been wanting to fuck you, are you gonna come for me, sweetheart, c’mon, I wanna see you come—
With a cry, Leia surfaced, shaking, leg slipping from where it was hooked over his shoulder; she put her arms around him, holding him close through her orgasm. He stilled inside her for a moment; for a moment it was just her and Han and the stars. And then he began to move again, faster now, drawing out the last trembling aftershocks of her climax and chasing after his own, and she stroked his back, wrapped her legs around his waist, murmuring encouragement of her own, until he went taut over her, deep inside her, and she squeezed her muscles tight around him both to help him along and to feel the heavy pulse of his cock as he came.
Breathing hard, he let his weight come to rest on top of her, slipping free of her and moving down her body so they were eye to eye.
‘Personally,’ Han said conversationally, when he could form words, ‘I’d come on this tour again.’
She smiled, closing her eyes, and noted, ‘You certainly did come on this tour.’
With an amused hum, he pressed a kiss to her mouth, then her collarbone, then her sternum, before settling on her, head resting on her breasts.
‘Not too heavy, like this?’ he asked her.
She shook her head, carding her fingers through his hair. ‘No, I like you here.’
‘Good,’ he mumbled, feeling blindly for her other hand. ‘That’s good. I like me here, too.’
‘Though you’re missing the view of the stars,’ she said softly, squeezing his fingers in hers.
He lifted his head to look at her, eyes warm. ‘Wouldn’t worry about that, Your Highness. I got a pretty nice view down here.’