A/N: This idea came to me last night and I had to stay up late finishing it. I enjoyed writing it because usually my ideas don't come in anything less than 100k words. I almost posted it as part of my "A Collection" series of one-shots, but didn't because I think this might be a two-parter (see my notes at the end).
Anyway, hope you enjoy. Reviews are appreciated and inspiring.
Take a Dart and Throw It
Three Years after the Battle of Endor
It had all started out innocently enough. Some time not long after their wedding, Han Solo had plopped down onto one of those uncomfortable chairs in his and Leia's Republic-furnished apartment. Maybe we should get our own furniture, he had grumbled. I've always hated these dishes, she had agreed. What about a bigger apartment, he had countered the next day. How about a home of our own, she had inquired a week later. Where would you want to live, they had both asked one another. Let's think about it, they had agreed.
Three Days Later...
"Coruscant?" Leia offered with a shrug to her shoulders, like it was the most obvious and easiest choice.
"Negative," Han answered almost immediately from where he was standing in their bathroom, shaving his face. "This is going to be for us, not for the Republic or your job. 'Sides, there's no land on this damned planet. I want some dirt to dig my boots into."
Leia walked toward the bathroom and stopped inside of the doorway. She leaned against the doorjamb, crossing her arms and watching her newly minted husband run a sharp blade across his handsome face. "That's not what you said on Dagobah."
Dagobah. Han shuddered at the memory. He and Chewie had almost lost the Falcon in that sorry excuse for terra firma. He tapped his razor against the sink and ran the blade beneath the water. "That wasn't land, sweetheart," he said, winking at her and turning back to face his reflection. "That was swamp."
"Well, then," she replied. "What's your idea?"
One month later...
"How about Kal'Shebbol?"
Leia made a derisive sound. She was sitting at her desk in her office on Coruscant. "Could you have picked a planet further away from here?" she asked. "Kal'Shebbol is in Wild Space, for sith's sake."
Han had been looking out her window. He was waiting around for her to finish up so that he could take her out to lunch. Turning around he began ticking things off on his fingers. "It's got a nice climate. Not too many neighbors. A decent spaceport."
Leia, who had been typing on her console, stopped and looked up at him. "Han," she said. "Who would come to see us way out there? We'd be at the end of the galaxy."
"No one," Han replied enthusiastically. "That's the beauty of it."
She made another derisive noise, this one almost a snort. "I don't want to be so far from civilization. Where would I go shopping?"
Han rolled his eyes. "Name the last time that you did any shopping for yourself, I dare ya."
"That's not the point. If it's our house, I might want to do the shopping."
"Okay," Han unwillingly conceded. "On which planet then, would like to do this imaginary shopping?"
Two Months Later...
"I've got it!" Leia declared excitedly, snapping her fingers. She and Han were just getting into bed and she had been rubbing some cream on her elbows.
"What's that?" Han asked, he was sitting next to her with his back propped up on some pillows, a datapad in his hands.
She turned to look at him, smiling as if she had just figured out how to reroute the Falcon's auxiliary power system without having to replace every damn relay. "Commenor," she said.
"Commenor, what?" He asked, genuinely confused.
"Commenor," she repeated again, widening her eyes at him as if he were thick.
It only took his mind two heartbeats before it clicked. "Oh," he said, looking back at his datapad to the latest edition of Restoration Quarterly. "No."
"No?" She repeated, putting the lotion down on her nightstand. "Why not?"
"Too close to the Core," he replied, without taking his eyes off of the article he was reading. "Nothing closer than the Inner Rim."
Leia sighed dramatically and threw her hands up in the air. "This is ridiculous," she scoffed. "Any other criteria that you think I should know about?"
Han turned to look at her. "It's not criteria," he replied. "It's more like...boundaries. Besides, you started it when you just had to go shopping."
"Oh, forgive me for wanting to have actual food and refreshments for our guests."
"I can forgive the food and refreshments, it's the guests that I can't quite wrap my head around."
Leia shook her head, picking up her own datapad. "Forget I said anything."
Han turned back to his article. "Already forgotten."
Five Months Later…
"This is it, right here."
They were sitting in the cockpit of the Falcon on their way to Tython to see Luke at his new Jedi Academy. She had just assisted Han with the takeoff on Coruscant, talking to spaceport control and performing co-pilot duties until they had safely made it to hyperspace. Han was determinedly pointing at something on the Falcon's navi-computer screen, which usually meant that something was about to go terribly wrong.
"What's it?" Leia asked, leaning forward so that she could better see the screen.
"Centares," he supplied and she could see the small dot of a planet at the edge of his fingernail, resting right on the Perlemian Trade Route on the far edge of the Mid Rim.
Leia couldn't recall anything specific about Centares, so no immediate reason to dismiss the idea came to mind. "What's it like?" she asked.
"There's a parts warehouse there that caters only to the YT-1300 series."
"Is that right?" Leia slid back in her seat and pressed a few buttons on her computer screen.
"Yeah," he replied, looking back at her and just then realizing that maybe that wasn't the best selling point for his wife to make a new home. "And, uh, I think I remember the weather being really, really nice."
"You think you remember the weather?" She repeated sarcastically, pressing a few more buttons on her screen.
"What? Are you the only one that can have shopping criteria?"
"Centares," she read from the words that had just popped up on her screen, "the last civilized stop before the wild and woolly Outer Rim."
"See?" Han said, slapping his knee. "Civilized!"
"If a planet has to call out the fact that it's civilized, then it's not civilized."
Four Months Later…
Han stopped, his lips pressed against the soft skin of his wife's belly. Looking up at her he asked, "Seriously? We're gonna talk about this right now?"
She shrugged. "It just came to me. What? You always tell me that I should relax and think about charting hyperspace lanes."
He pushed himself up so that he was sitting back on his heels. For a brief moment he seemed to be contemplating all he knew about Onderon. Then, looking back at Leia, he said, "I don't think so."
"Why? It's Inner Rim, almost Mid. Good climate. Nice shopping district. Stable government."
"And right next to those long-haired, primadonna Hapans. No, thank you."
"Oh, so now we not only have to worry about our own planet, but the planet next to us, too? Maybe I should start looking for a whole new solar system?"
"That's a good idea," he said, leaning back down and pressing a kiss on the bone of her hip. "Why don't you try doing that right about now?"
One Month Later…
They were in a meeting together. A really big, important meeting. Sitting around a very large conference room table in a room with a wall of windows overlooking the Coruscanti skyline. The biggest names in the Republic were there: Mon, Ackbar, Jan, Carlist, just to name a few.
Princess Leia was standing up and speaking in front of everyone there. She hadn't failed to notice when Han suddenly put his head down and began writing furiously on his notepad. She continued to speak, not missing a single beat even when Han finally held his notepad up to her and she read the word "TYNNA?" written in big, bold letters.
Tynna? She thought to herself, but all that would come to mind was Separatists and the Imperial Senate.
Han had stayed there, nonchalantly holding up his note to her with a questioning look in his eyes. No one else was paying any attention to him. Leia fumbled over a few words as she glared at him trying to shake her head so infinitesimally as so no one else would notice. She probably looked like she was about to suffer from a stroke.
"Leia?" Airen Cracken inquired. "Is there something wrong?"
Leia looked over to Airen and replied, "No." And then she surreptitiously looked in Han's direction, widening her eyes at him and repeating, "No."
Han made a face. It was something between disappointment and amusement. He laid his notepad face down on the desk and rested his chin on his hand. He then began looking out the window as if deep in thought.
Leia sighed and turned back to her presentation. "So, as I was saying…"
Three Days Later…
Han was in the shower. He had just finished washing his hair with Leia's expensive shampoo. The stuff that he repeatedly (and vehemently) denied ever using, the sudsy evidence still cascading down his face and body as he rinsed.
His eyes were closed, face upturned to the spray when he heard the shower door being flung open and immediately felt the rushing draft of cold air. He opened his eyes. The floral scented soap stinging.
"What?!" He growled, staring at Leia who was wildly staring back at him. Thinking himself caught, he began preparing his excuses and immediately thought of offering to pick her up another bottle of the exclusive toiletry. Maybe two.
She put her hands on her hips. "What about Endor?"
His eyes widened, which burned like hell. "Endor!" He yelled into the shower spray, turning his face back into the water and sputtering the word. He took his hands and rubbed them against his face, turning back to look at her.
She was still standing there waiting and waiting impatiently by the looks of it.
He held his finger up to her. "One word," he said, scowling.
She folded her arms against her chest. "Let me guess: No?"
He shook his head in the negative, dropped his hand and turned his body into the shower spray. Lifting his other arm up and rinsing his armpit, he looked at her and said, "Ewoks."
Four Weeks Later…
They were on another diplomatic visit together walking along the cobblestone streets of a quaint shopping district. A warm sea breeze was coming in from the south and Han drew in a deep breath, savoring the pleasant atmosphere. This place wasn't so bad, he thought, looking around with a more critical eye as an inkling of an idea began to strike him.
He looked at Leia walking by his side. She had been talking with their guide but now she seemed to be enjoying the view just like Han had been doing. He sidled up closer to her and slung his arm over her shoulder. She glanced up at him and smiled lovingly, reaching across and squeezing the hand that was holding onto her. The sky was a clear, crystal blue and in the distance he could see the jagged peaks of white, snow-capped mountains. He breathed in again. Satisfied. It felt right here. They felt right here.
Han smiled looking around once again before looking down at his wife and asking, "What about-"
"No," she answered him, cutting him off. She patted the hand she had just recently squeezed as if trying to soften the blow. "Entirely the wrong political climate."
Han made a face, taking his arm from around her as he repeated her words very low and in a sing-songy, mocking voice, "Entirely the wrong political climate."
"What was that?" She asked.
"Nothing, dear," he replied happily, walking up to one of the open market displays and fingering at a piece of jewelry. "Just admiring all this lovely shopping…"
Two Months Later…
"Okay," Leia began. "Hear me out."
The soft clanking of metal on metal stopped for a second and Han's voice echoed out from the maintenance crawlspace of the Falcon. "Yeah?"
"I've got a planet right on the Corellian Trade Spine. Outside of the Inner Rim, in the Expansion Region. Phenomenal climate. Beautiful landscape. Peaceful government with little to no natural predators."
There was silence coming from the crawlspace. Leia was sitting at the technical station in the Falcon's lounge. They were on their way back from Belkadan where they had gone on an olive branch visit to see the Rakatans there. Once part of the Infinite Empire and loyal to the Imperials, the Republic was trying to make inroads with the isolated species. Halfway to the Braxant Run hyperspace lane, the Falcon had dropped out of hyper and left Han and Leia limping along on its sublight engines, harkening them back to a very similar trip in the early days of what they hadn't realized was their romance.
"Han?" Leia called, beginning to worry.
She heard the sound of metal on metal as Han seemed to begin working again. "What is it?"
Leia drew in a nervous breath. If they kept going at this rate, they would never find a home of their own. "Kinyen."
"With all the Gran?" He moaned.
"Yes," she replied, working to hide her aggravation. "It is the Gran homeworld, so there will be Gran there."
Han snorted. "Yeah, like ninety-nine percent Gran."
"Ninety-six," she corrected. "What's your point?"
"My point is," Han was saying as he scooted out of the crawlspace. Leia was watching as his feet were first to come wriggling out. "I don't know," he continued, as Leia was treated to a very nice show of his backside squeezing out of the small space. Until finally, the entirety of his body was kneeling on the floor of the lounge and he said, "I was thinking we would go somewhere a little bit more...cosmopolitan?"
Leia smiled at him. Not only did he look so damn sexy with his hair all mussed up and grease on his nose and forearm, but there was just something about the expression on his face when he was worried about his beloved Falcon. "Alright," she said, standing up and offering him her hand to help him up.
"Alright?" he repeated, accepting her help and coming up to stand right in front of her. "What? No arguments?"
"No," she said, shrugging her shoulders. "I've resigned myself to the fact that when we're supposed to find our home, then it'll just happen."
He nodded, skeptically. "Is this some kind of Force thing?"
"No," she answered. "More like...woman's intuition."
"Well, good," he said. "Now can we get back to trying to fix the ship? You know? So we can actually live to see this house on some yet-to-be-determined planet?"
She shrugged her shoulders, thinking back to the last time this had happened to them. "Have you looked to see what else is around us?"
Han held his finger up. "I haven't looked, but I've been thinking and you're not gonna believe this, but…" He began walking toward the cockpit.
Leia followed. "There's a Lando system somewhere out here?"
"Better," he said, sitting down at the navi-computer. And then he looked back at her and made a face. "Or worse. Depending on how you look at it."
Dubrillion, Thirty-six Hours Later…
"Han and Leia Solo, to what do I owe the pleasure?"
"Are you really going to make him say it?" Leia asked, while Lando Calrissian kissed the knuckles of her left hand.
Lando placed his other hand on top of Leia's, it was warm and soft. "I'd place my money that nothing at all is wrong with the Falcon," Lando whispered conspiratorially. "I mean, what man wouldn't want a coupla days out in space all alone with you, Princess?"
"It's repairs," Han grumbled, taking Leia's hand into his own. "Don't you ever give up?"
"Not in my nature, Han old buddy," Lando chuckled, clapping Han on the back. "And why should I? When lady luck has been so kind to me?"
"Lady luck, huh?" Han asked. "Where was she on Bespin? Or is that the name of that torture chamber of yours?"
"Let's talk about Dubrillion," Leia interjected. "I hear you have an asteroid belt that people pay to fly through."
Han mumbled something about a rip off and how he had done the same for Leia free of charge.
"Lando's Folly," Lando replied, smiling brightly and ignoring Han.
"How long have you been here?" Leia asked.
The group was walking from the landing pad to a nearby building. They had landed in one of Dubrillion's major cities but unlike Coruscant, it's skyline had a beginning and an end and there were lush, green forested landscapes in the distance with rolling hills, fertile valleys and large lakes.
"A little over a standard year ago," Lando replied. "Right after your wedding, as a matter of fact."
"Probably stole it from one of our guests," Han whispered.
"What was that?" Lando asked.
"We would've never guessed," Leia covered. "You look like you truly belong here."
"Now that sounds like something I would say," Lando said with a wink.
"Gimme a break," Han rolled his eyes and grumbled.
Several Days Later...
After a whirlwind tour of all that Dubrillion had to offer, Han and Leia were back on the Falcon and on their way to Corsucant. They were both sitting in the cockpit, Leia had signed off with Lando on the radio and had just completed her co-pilot duties after safely slipping into hyperspace.
She took the headset off and hung it on its hook. Han was still punching in a few buttons, completing his last minute checks and probably ensuring that Lando hadn't sabotaged his precious ship in any way.
"You know what I'm thinking, don't you?" She said to him.
"I know I'm surprised it took you this long to say it."
"It was beautiful."
He held his finger up without even looking at her. "One word: Lando."
"It's in the Outer Rim. You wanted the Outer Rim."
"Do you even remember Bespin?"
"You forgave him for that."
"He was at our wedding."
He turned to look at her. "That was so he would know."
She laughed. "You're joking."
Han stood. "Yes." And then he held his hand out for her to take and when she did he began to lead her out the cockpit, past the galley and into the lounge. "But only halfway."
Leia shook her head, letting go of his hand as he moved over to the technical station. "It was very cosmopolitan," she teased.
"I knew I would regret using that word," Han replied, looking down over the dials and switches.
"It had cities, but not too big. We could live on the outskirts, near the mountains on a lake."
"It's a big planet. And I told you that I wanted to have visitors."
"Visitors, that would eventually leave the planet," Han said, turning around to look at her. "I didn't even want to be in the same orbit as the Hapans, what makes you think I want to share atmo with Lando?"
She crossed her arms. "You're being ridiculous."
"How come when I say something it's ridiculous but when you want to go imaginary shopping it's fine?"
"I talked about going shopping over a year ago," she said, real frustration coming out in her tone. "I'm over going shopping. I just want to decide on a damn planet and build a home with you."
Han's face softened as he stepped toward her. "I want that, too." He put his hands on the sides of her arms, wrapping his fingers around her biceps. "I've never had a real home, other than the Falcon."
She knew this about him, but it was so very rare to hear him say it. The muscles in her heart twisted and clenched. She hadn't had anywhere to call a real home since the day she had met him. Suddenly it wasn't such a mystery as to why each of them wanted this to be so absolutely perfect. But anywhere would be perfect, she reasoned, so long as they were together.
Leia shook her head, looking up at him. "I don't know. Why don't we just...get a printout of the galaxy…"
Han smiled, easily following her line of thinking. "And a dart?" he ventured.
She nodded. "Yeah. And just…"
He lowered his head, kissing her softly before whispering against the shell of her ear, "Throw?"
To be continued...
A/N: So, hope you enjoyed that. My original thought was to leave it there but then this Epilogue was begging to be written actually describing the house and planet that our favorite couple finally landed on. I haven't written it yet, so if you have a vote or an opinion or a favorite planet of your own, please let me know. If not, I'll just throw a dart...
Part Two coming soon. ~Push
*Leia's description of Centares as "the last civilized stop before the wild and woolly Outer Rim" is from Wookieepedia.